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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Huntington's Nativism

Louis Menand of the New Yorker has a review of Samuel Huntington's "Who Are We?" Menand goes after Huntington's nativism:

The new immigrants are people who, as Huntington describes them, “may assimilate into American society without assimilating the core American culture.” Many maintain dual citizenship (Huntington calls these people “ampersands”); some do not bother to become American citizens at all, since the difference between the benefits available to citizens and those available to aliens has become smaller and smaller (a trend that originated, Huntington notes, among “unelected judges and administrators”). In a society in which multiculturalism is encouraged, the loyalty of these immigrants to the United States and its core culture is fragile...

One keeps wondering what Huntington, in his chapter on Mexican-Americans, means by “cultural bifurcation.” What is this alien culture that threatens to infect Anglo-Americans? Hispanic-American culture, after all, is a culture derived largely from Spain, which, the last time anyone checked, was in Europe. Here is what we eventually learn (Huntington is quoting from a book called “The Americano Dream,” by a Texas businessman named Lionel Sosa): Hispanics are different because “they still put family first, still make room in their lives for activities other than business, are more religious and more community oriented.” Pull up the drawbridge!

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