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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Huntington's Book

As readers of this space know, I've posted a number of reviews and other commentary on Dr. Samuel Huntington's book Who Are We? By and large, the things I've posted are critiques of the book, and they tend to adhere to my point of view on the subject. I really haven't given the other side much thought or credence. For the sake of balance, I'm posting an excerpt from a thoughtful review of the book and a response to critics of the book written by John O'Sullivan for Pat Buchanan's American Conservative Magazine. I still don't agree with some of the premises of the book, but the O'Sullivan piece is, in my mind, as good a rebuttal as I've seen short of the first-person defense mounted by Dr. Huntington himself on C-Span (which I also posted some time ago):

Some of the critics, however, promptly dealt with the difficulty that they could not refute what he had said by refuting things he had not said but would have said if he had been the unreconstructed bigot they desperately wanted to wallop. Several denounced him for relying on the “lazy Mexican stereotype.” In fact, he had pointed out that Mexicans’ propensity for hard work led inter alia to the displacement and reduced incomes of low-paid native-born American workers. True, he had also quoted Mexican and Hispanic writers to the effect that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were less inclined than Americans to believe that hard work was likely to lead to success—and that they were held back by that. Yet this argument is so different from the “lazy Mexican stereotype” that they could be confused only by minds already disabled by ideological fanaticism. It is worth noting, though, that falsely accusing others of relying on stereotypes is fast becoming stereotypical in itself.

Warning: the piece is longer than what I usually post here, but it is also very thorough.

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