I have lived in many different places in my life, and I have never noticed that communities are “destroyed” when new people come in. They change, certainly, but change is inevitable; the only alternative is stagnation, followed by even more massive and dislocating disruption.
And the reason change is inevitable is that whole logic of basic freedom. We’re not really concerned with how people do things in other countries regarding this topic; we’re concerned with how we want America to be doing things. I recognize that your viewpoint is a common one at the moment, but I would challenge you on it. Why not go out and actually meet some of these immigrants you’re keen on demonizing? Should be easy enough, just about every community has a few immigrants running around. Maybe ask them why they came here, learn more about their circumstances.
I’ve done this. I grew up in the country, and moved to the city after I finished high school. And I was immediately confronted with people who were different. In my current city, I live around all kinds of people. But all it took me was a few conversations with folks who weren’t from around these parts to figure out that, by and large, they all came here for the same reasons:
- Looking for economic opportunity
- Fleeing political persecution
- Desire to live in a place where their vote mattered
- Desire to live in a place where the law was followed
- Desire to live in a place where they could own property
- Desire to practice their religion openly
- Desire to live in a place with relatively honest government
I have yet to meet the immigrant who came here to destroy the American way of life, because those points are the American way of life. The rest is just window dressing. And I’m not worried about terrorists coming over with immigrants or refugees. That happens sometimes, but the risk is ridiculously low.
People will practice tolerance as long as it is mandatory and convenient, and then they will commit acts of war when they are given a justification or the power to do so.
You’re making my point ;).
Regarding Islam, look, if you watch FOX all day long or only read the John Birch society’s pamphlets, you’re gonna get one impression, and it isn’t going to correspond with reality. Muslims are just people. They’re subject to the exact same frailties of the species as anyone else, no more, no less. Islam has no monopoly on repression, religious excess, authoritarianism, or atrocity, and the religion has the same proportions of moderates and extremists as any other — they just get more press coverage.
Devout Muslims in the US correspond roughly to Southern Baptists in terms of their belief structures, personal piety, and overall religiosity, which I’ve always thought was kind of hilarious — if the far-right Christians could ever get off their panicked high horse, they’d notice they have a natural ally faith community for a lot of their core political issues. I’ve lived next to many, many Muslim families and had conversations with many, many Muslim people and never had any kind of problem or issue, and the stats back me up on that.
In any case, I rather like immigrants. They tend to be hardworking, smart, courageous people. It takes a lot of guts to move to a totally new country and start over, particularly one where you don’t speak the language and you know the culture will be different, and especially when you take into account that many of them end up doing jobs well below their qualification level when they get here. I wouldn’t do it. I’ve been speaking English too long to be super stoked about having to integrate into a new language situation. So it always impresses me when other people do.
Plus, if it wasn’t for immigrants our food options would suck. Can you really imagine life without Pad Thai? I don’t want to. Perhaps I’m just decadent that way.
Let me finish up by saying that this article wasn’t about multiculturalism per se. But this discussion has reminded me that this might be a good topic for a future article, so I’ll see if I can work one in.