Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Suicide of a Super Power

Pat Buchanan has written about the demise of the European-American peoples beneath the trampling of northward trekking, Third-World immigrants.
"America is disintegrating. The centrifugal forces pulling us apart are growing inexorably. What unites us is dissolving. And this is true of Western Civilization....Meanwhile, the state is failing in its most fundamental duties. It is no longer able to defend our borders, balance our budgets, or win our wars."
Noman doesn't disagree with the overall concern expressed in the assessment, though he's more hopeful than Buchanan about America's righting its course, sooner rather than later.  But, Noman doesn't blame the problem on invading hordes from the south, frijole wolfing Telmarines.

Neither is he sure that the forces tearing the West apart are centrifugal rather than totalistic drawing us to the center of one world tyranny rooted in redistributionist, command and control--in brief, anti-freedom, anti-personal--ideologies.

Specifically, Buchanan decries the acceptance of a permanent underclass.  Noman thinks it's even worse than he suggests.  The Democratic Party's only game plan seems to be to expand this base indefinitely and to milk it for votes into perpetuity.

He highlights the lethal role of dechristianization in the process of decay.  It's hard to look at TV or movies and disagree with him.   This, however, is not the fault of immigration.

Moreover, Buchanan is altogether too dour about Catholicism's American prospects.
“Half a century on, the disaster is manifest. The robust and confident Church of 1958 no longer exists. Catholic colleges and universities remain Catholic in name only. Parochial schools and high schools are closing as rapidly as they opened in the 1950s. The numbers of nuns, priests and seminarians have fallen dramatically. Mass attendance is a third of what it was. From the former Speaker of the House to the Vice President, Catholic politicians openly support abortion on demand.”
Even the collusion of atheistic communism, Russian Orthodoxy, anti-Polish bigotry and historical antipathy could not extirpate Roman Catholicism from the Soviet Union.  Conditions are much more hospitable in the US despite Catholic baiting, self-hating Catholics, radical secularism and hangover prejudices from European history.

The Church's situation is much more optimistic than Buchanan sees, perhaps because he's looking wistfully at the past rather than hopefully at the future.

Noman wishes he were more apostolic and grounded more in our true hope: eternal salvation.

Parochial schools are closing.  But, alternative schools are arising to fill the needs of religious parents and children.  There are four such choices in Ann Arbor alone, in addition to four non-endangered parochial schools and a flourishing high school.

Many, not all, seminaries and parishes are filling with John Paul II vocations.  The Church emerged from the post-Vatican II dessert with firmer direction, better catechetical tools, and more elaborated social doctrine than it enjoyed when it entered.

The Holy Spirit doesn't make mistakes.  The Church, and all humanity, benefits today from a treasure trove of Papal teaching necessitated precisely by the gauntlet it has been forced to run.

Forms have changed.  So does life.  But, Jesus still lives in his Church, as does the Holy Spirit; the Father keeps watch, hears us and cares.  He sustains us in his being.

Fear not.  Set out into the deep.

Elsewhere, Buchanan writes that "white America is an endangered species" and that Mexico is moving north."  Noman takes his point about the freedom, prosperity and toleration that this mostly caucasion, Judeo-Christian nation has given birth to.  But, he is not so concerned as Buchanan about the potential Hispanization of American culture.

As Rick Santorum rightly pointed out in last night's Republican Presidential debate, Hispanics are largely faith-filled, pious, family-loving people.  He did not mention that they are also mother-venerating, but could have.

They are also largely Catholic, even when in opposition to the Church.  The Spanish joke has the atheist asking the evangelical missionary, "If I don't believe the Catholic Church, which is the one true Church, why should I believe you?"

America could stand to learn some things from our neighbors to the South, and doesn't need to lament their cultural influence.  As good as we are, we don't know everything.  Buchanan is the first to point out, moreover, that we have forgotten much of what we knew.

Naturally, Hispanics like all immigrants need to be assimilated to America's ways, ideals and beliefs: e.g., liberty, equality, opportunity, tolerance, exceptionalism, industry, responsibility, character.  Failure to do so is less the fault of Hispanic immigrants, like Noman's parents, who come to America with stars and stripes in their eyes and America the Beautiful in their hearts, than of the multi-culti frauds that refuse to inculcate them.

One need not assail immigration in order to fix a government-caused problem.

The following left Noman scratching his head, at least with respect to the American context.
“Peoples of European descent are not only in a relative but a real decline. They are aging, dying, disappearing. This is the existential crisis of the West.”

Is Spanish not a European culture, language and heritage?  If he means to say that Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina are not European, or Western, he is wrong.

Latin America is decidedly an offshoot of European civilization and religion, no less than North-America.  As such, it shares a broad cultural heritage with America that should neither be denied nor discarded. 

It troubles Noman, who is generally a fellow traveler of Buchanan's, that he means something racial--white, Anglo-Irish, Germanic--when he references things American.  It does not help to identify it as European, or Western, and to speak of the "non-Europeanization of America."

There is room for more in this country, and the Church, than the insular group he alludes to.  There is also room in the conservative movement and Republican Party.

Buchanan writes that "where equality is enthroned, freedom is extinguished.  The rise of the egalitarian society means the death of the free society."  He's mixing two things here.

Equality and freedom are not diametrically opposed.  Freedom is an equally shared property of the human soul.  It is a freedom to choose the good, or against it.  And social equality is a condition of the free society.

Thomas Jefferson made the connection in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The problem is one of definition--equality of opportunity, or of result?  if the egalitarian society means the latter, which many if not all on the Left believe, then equality is problematic and dangerous to liberty.  But, one need not discredit an ontologically undeniable and socially necessary principle to correct erroneous interpretations.

"The family is the incubator of inequality and God its author."  Amen.  But, God is also the Creator before whom we all stand equal.  He is not a respecter of persons.

That is the root of an equality more radical than any distortion that multi-culturalists can conjure up.  Buchanan is capable of more precision, which Noman hopes the book supplies.
“Historians will look back in stupor at 20th and 21st century Americans who believed the magnificent republic they inherited would be enriched by bringing in scores of millions from the failed states of the Third World.”
Noman disagrees.  Rather, future generations, historians included, will look back and bless the nation's adherence to first principles and noble ideals in troubled times.

The magnificent republic we inherited--and should defend tooth-and-nail in all its magnificence, regardless of blemishes--was bequeathed to us, inter alia, by the scores of millions from the failed states of the world.

As Emma Lazarus wrote, and Liberty proclaims:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
George Washington wasn't a descendant of the Third-World.  But, Steve Jobs was.  Leonard Lauder, Estee's son, writes in today's WSJ that immigrants and their children founded half of Fortune 500 firms like Google and Intel.
There is no doubt that immigrant entrepreneurs and their children have fueled our economy. My mother is a prime example. Josephine Esther Mentzer was a daughter of Hungarian and Czech immigrants. Estée, as she was called by her family, was always interested in beauty and cosmetics and started selling skin care products to beauty salons more than 65 years ago. Her creativity and hard work are today embodied in a successful global corporation that provides jobs for thousands of people in the U.S. alone. 
Our story is hardly unique. A new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy has found that more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. These companies generate more than $4 trillion in annual revenue—more than the gross domestic product of every country with the exception of the U.S., China and Japan. 
One need not go back far to see how important opening our borders is to tomorrow's American businesses. Companies in the Fortune 500 founded since 1985 were more likely to have been started by immigrants than those founded before 1985. Think of such names as Google, Intel, eBay and Yahoo!, among other newly minted iconic companies, and then remember that they were started by first-generation Americans. 
In fact, more than a quarter of the high-tech and engineering businesses launched here between 1995 and 2005 had an immigrant founder. In Silicon Valley alone, the percentage of immigrant start-up companies is more than 50%, according to a report out of Duke and the University of California, Berkeley.
The broad brush with which Buchanan paints immigration simply doesn't do justice to the phenomenon.

He writes about the triumph of tribalism:
We may deny the existence of ethnonationalism, detest it, condemn it. But this creator and destroyer of empires and nations is a force infinitely more powerful than globalism, for it engages the heart. Men will die for it. Religion, race, culture and tribe are the four horsemen of the coming apocalypse.
Is he suggesting that we wage war on it, resist it, brace for it, or surrender to our own impulses for it?

America is not one of those countries naturally vexed with ethnonationalism.  We are not bound by ties of ethnicity, blood, land, history or culture--which in America is decidedly a small-"c" affair.

That is our advantage in this respect, despite its being a disadvantage in others, e.g., fewer commonalities.  In the countries he is referring to, Culture is King, and Capitalized.

America is bound by ideas, fidelity to ideals and adherence to propositions like the aforementioned: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, chief among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As for America's ability to engage the heart, Noman sometimes weeps with gratitude at the singing of the Star Spangled Banner or waving of our flag.  One need not be Hispanic to feel these sentiments.

The fact that some may not share them--at MALDEF, ACORN, Harvard or the White House, for instance--says nothing about America's power as an object of love, piety and devotion.

This is not to deny the fact that our free society is always susceptible to invasion by ideas and movements foreign to it, and to various deconstructionists who utilize the benefits that America so lavishly affords them in order to destroy it, or so alter it as to make it unrecognizable.
“Through its support of mass immigration, its paralysis in power to prevent 12-20 million illegal aliens from entering and staying, its failure to address the “anchor-baby” issue, the Republican Party has birthed a new electorate that will send it the way of the Whigs.”
Mass immigration (legal) is separate and distinct from illegal immigration.  Noman wonders if illegal immigration would be such a problem if legal immigration were sufficiently "mass" to satisfy domestic needs.

It is Buchanan's equation of the Republican Party with the "White Party" that gives Noman the heebe-jebees and strikes him as being singularly unhelpful, not to mention unsavory and wrong-headed.

Where doe's Herman Cain fit in Buchanan's constellation?  Marco Rubio?  Bobby Jindal?  Why should Republicans just give up on the communities from which they spring rather than try to win them over?  Because they're not sufficiently white, or European for Buchanan?

The new electorate can vote with the Republican Party, as well as against it.

Michelle Bachmann showed us the right way in the other night's Las Vegas debate by demonstrating with passion to women that she was more in touch with their feelings, fears and needs than feminists were.

Win people!  Don't drive them away by tightening the circle of belonging and poking sticks at those assigned to the outside.

With respect to borders, he writes:
“Are vital U.S. interests more imperiled by what happens in Iraq where we have 50,000 troops, or Afghanistan where we have 100,000, or South Korea where we have 28,000 -- or by what is happening on our border with Mexico?...What does it profit America if we save Anbar and lose Arizona?”
(n.b. that would have been a better quote if he'd linked Anbar to Ann Arbor.) 
The question of where our troops might be better deployed is one on which reasonable minds can differ.  Noman appreciates that the question is in play in the Republican Presidential debates due to the presence of Ron Paul.  But, outlandish talk about losing Arizona repels even people concerned for border integrity.
“We are trying to create a nation that has never before existed, of all the races, tribes, cultures and creeds of Earth, where all are equal. In this utopian drive for the perfect society of our dreams we are killing the real country we inherited -- the best and greatest country on earth.”
Noman agrees--with undoubted national pride, parochial naiveté and more than a touch of ignorant bliss--that America is the best and greatest country on the earth, indeed in the history of humanity.  That is what his immigrant elders always preached to this first-generation American.  Eleven years of living abroad only convinced Noman that they were right.

He subscribes to American exceptionalism--we are good, blessed, and maybe even destined.  America is "the last best hope of man on Earth."

To Noman's mind, trying to create a nation grounded in human dignity and the common good of any and every person regardless of accidents of birth is ideal rather than utopian, and worthy of the highest aspirations of the greatest country on earth.

He is willing to join Buchanan's protest against the multi-cluturalists, anti-capitalists, Christo-phobic secularists, and assorted grievance mongers whose strenuous exertions claw at the nation's vitality.

He is not inclined to share Buchanan's espoused sentiments, however.

Noman is willing to assume that the excerpts selected in Drudge's synopsis so shear flagrant money quotes from reasoned argument as to make them only seem the rantings of a disgruntled xenophobe.  For the sake of conservatism and the Catholicism that Buchanan evidently cherishes, Noman hopes that is the case.

He fears, however, that Buchanan's obsession with, and virulence towards, southerners and Third-Worlders says little about his objects of reproach, and much about his losing struggle against interior demons.

Noman prays that this is not the case, and for Buchanan and those whose loyalty he commands in case it is.

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