Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Immigration and Multiculturalism

A multicultural society is doomed to fail.

This excellent column by Michael Barone in U.S. News on on the rising tide against multiculturalism in Europe explains how the tide may be turning over seas when it comes to attempting to integrate immigrants. Instead of believing all cultures should be celebrated equally some in Europe are starting to view immigration in the same manner as America.

Since the first people came to North America as colonists, immigrants have not expected life here to be easy and for the most part they have not been disappointed. The earliest colonists struggled to establish colonies in a hostile environment without any of the ammenities they knew in their homelands. They were forced by necessity to carve out farms, villages and finally create cities from a massive wilderness inhabited by natives who were not always that friendly.

Later generations came to a more established nation, but that very complexity brought new burdens to bear. Rampant predjudices against Irish, Italian, Jewish Eastern Europeans and Asians made life here harsh. However, each group of immigrants realized that America offered them something that they could never find back home.


The hope that if they worked hard, educated themselves and learened the ins and outs of their adopted homeland then they and their children could raise themselves to a better station in life.

All an immigrant had to do was look at the prior group to see what it had accomplished. The Italians of the late 1800s could see Irish cops, and politicians. The Eastern Europeans in the early 1900s saw Italian business owners and this continues today.

All of these people gave and took from their new country. They realized that to get ahead you had to make some concessions to the locals, but in the end America did not demand that you give up your cherished religion or old country practices.

While America was willing to offer hope to a newcomer, what it would not give is charity. And in the end that was a blessing.

Charity is the first item given to many newcomers in Europe. There is an entire welfare system in place designed to get someone settled in, but not to encourage them to do more. Millions of Arabs, North Africans and South East Asians live in small enclaves scattered about European cities. They endure massive unemployment and are social outcasts.

The liberal/socialist safety net that caught them upon their arrival has turned into a trap from which they cannot or will not escape. After all, why work when the government is willing to give you money for sitting around your apartment all the while building a festering hatred for your lot in life and the country that is nice enough to support your layabout ways.

This situation never arose in America. If you did not go out and work you starved. It was a harsh, but simple formula. This system does work. By forcing people to go and fend for themselves they have to interact with those already here and learn the local culture and habits. In turn the established citizenry is forced to mingle with the newcomers. This is a simplification of a process that is anything but effortless. The immigrants will suffer the predjudicial slings and arrows that are still fired with annoying frequency.

But the end result is and was an American. Call it hazing if you will. If an immigrant truly wishes to belong it must be proven.


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