September 22, 2017
The DACA issue compels us to confront our time’s either-or: patriotism or multiculturalism? We can’t have it both ways; which shall it be? Though it would have been unthinkable at any other period in history, most of the intellectual class chooses multiculturalism. Their preference, that is to say, is not for the interests of their own country, but for those of non-Americans. This is bizarre, for while patriotism, like so much else in human affairs, is a mixed thing—often crossing over into a crass and dangerous nationalism, for example—it does refer to actual practices and customs, embodied values whereby people define themselves and, in some cases anyway, live the good life as they pursue common ends. As a concept, patriotism has a real world significance and application. It is not so with multiculturalism, because this no longer denotes the activity of disparate peoples basically becoming less so as, through assimilation—that is, the adaptation of a particular, rather bourgeois way of life—they become a coherent culture.
For today to require that people submit to certain criteria in regard to lifestyle is to be racist (or ethnocentrist, or intolerant, or whatever), since the highest good is diversity, even to the point of undermining our own interests, which, of course, are not always compatible with other people’s, nor obviously equal to them. Since for the multiculturalist intellectual we have no right to require that other people, in order to live among us, submit to our way of life, the state, if it goes the multiculturalist path, must become a vast confusion of conflicting interests. Nor can they be sorted out, because, again, such intolerance of diversity would not be politically correct. So we can only hope that immigrants will choose our way of life, which, of course, they may or may not do.
What is more, insofar as illegal immigrants and their children want to live here, it’s certain that they are essentially self-interested, like any other animal whose fundamental characteristics are need and desire. Hence the naiveté of assuming that “dreamers,” for example, are some sort of national good. Indeed, on September 19, while trying to advance the cause of those whom the media disingenuously describes as “undocumented immigrants,” Nancy Pelosi was rewarded with their ungrateful interruption. “We undocumented youth demand a clean bill…We undocumented youth demand that you do not sell out our community and our values…We undocumented youth will not be a bargaining chip for Trump,” the San Francisco protesters chanted in a frenzy that included a demand for amnesty for all illegal immigrants. We see here the audacious entitlement of non-citizens who assert that our government should answer to them. America is the land of opportunity, the saying goes, and what makes our country so universally attractive is the fact that human nature itself is fundamentally opportunistic. Having been shouted down as “a liar,” Pelosi sniveled back: “You’ve had your say, and it’s beautiful music to our ears.” It’s as if a man were to spit in your face and you were to thank him in return. Pelosi could learn a lot from Machiavelli, who taught that the price of generosity is insolence.
From a certain point of view, to be sure, the multiculturalist intellectual appears wonderfully generous and compassionate. He does not want anyone to suffer, and God knows, there’s never any lack of suffering on this harsh planet. So he wants America to be a kind of party of plenty to which everybody is invited. He affirms “open immigration” and lauds “sanctuary cities,” denouncing anybody who advocates only legal immigration as “racist.” And yet his goodwill comes at a high cost: however many invitations he may send out, there’s only enough food and drink at the party for some, a tragedy that his sentimental mind does not want to acknowledge. So he turns his eyes away. The truth burns too bright, he feels, and now he burrows into delusion’s dark cave.
With their eyes fixed on reality, both Martin Luther King Jr and Booker T. Washington, we should remember, were against illegal immigration—an idol for the multiculturalist intellectual—because they knew it was awful for the poor, and for black Americans in particular, who most felt the effects of the general devaluing of “unskilled labor.” It is a vital question: Just how “inclusive” should we be? They weep very loudly, the leveling relativists, but still the nation must ask itself: Who is more important, the poor of El Paso, Texas or the poor of Juarez, Mexico? We realists, we patriots choose the first. But in the age of tolerance the incompatibility of human values is intolerable. And now listen to the multiculturalist intellectual’s conclusion: “Compromise is painful; therefore, comprise is wrong.”
And it is revealing, it is just what we should expect that Americans who subscribe to this comforting illusion are never working class. Their social betters shall be comfortable in any event, unlike the poor whose quality of life declines as illegals and their children work for wages at which the rest of us scoff. Now it’s here, one notices, that there emerges another facile type, no better informed than his counterpart on the Left. Representative here is Bill Kristol, who, in his February 7 interview with Charles Murray, lamented the plague of our “decadent, lazy” and “spoiled” white working class. We no longer want to dig ditches and build houses, he declared in apparent moral peril, cash registers cha-chinging at the standard display of virtue. The plain as day truth that such blue collar work, for many if not most people, no longer suffices for living a respectable life, one in which a person can support, and therefore have, a family, does not occur to Kristol. The son of Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb, and the former student of