I first found out about him and his controversial essay from NR, back when I was a devout print subscriber, amid the heady days when campus protests were novel enough to be terrifying. NR ran a little blurb about Williams College cancelling a scheduled talk from Derb, and I’ve been listening to his podcast—an entertaining mix of news, science, political and cultural commentary, and updates on the president of Turkmenistan—ever since.
As a teacher, one of my favorite “weeks” of the school year is this one. I put “weeks” in quotation marks because, from a teaching perspective, this isn’t truly a “week,” or even a “short week” (four days, such as the Labor Day holiday early in the academic year). Instead, it’s two days of either cramming in tests and material, or of laconically drifting into the glorious Thanksgiving Break.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the changing, dying rural communities I observed on a trip through western South Carolina. You’re not supposed to say as much, but I don’t like that the culture and the world I grew up in are changing. I’m not sure when it became taboo to say, “This is my home and these are my kin,” but apparently that’s no longer acceptable if you’re a conservative Christian in the American South, especially if you’re a white man.
Around the time I wrote that post, I stumbled upon two excellent posts from the Abbeville Institute that express that sentiment beautifully. One, “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Leslie Alexander, is a poetic, heartbreaking glimpse at a personal sense of alienation: the writer, a Louisiana native with deep roots, finds herself adrift in Dallas, a land that lacks not only has “no regional culture here—one of common language, mores and manners–there is not even an American one.”
The other, from Nicole Williams, is a more technical and historical dive into the emergence of the “New South,” the story of how an economically devastated postbellum region, in a search for economic opportunity, ultimately sold its culture and identity for a mess of pottage. The title says it all: “What Price Prosperity?”
This piece, dating back to late May of this year, was a full-throated screed against the manifold injustices of illegal immigration. Few topics make my blood boil more: the flagrant violation of the rule of law, the entitled attitude (“we have it tough, so we have a right to be here”), the two-tier system of justice—all are make my stomach turn.
So, here’s my prescription to cure our ills: a healthy dose of “Deportemal“:
Then there’s the matter of the vast gulf between mainstream American culture and the virtually premodern peasant cultures from which most illegal migrants come. Child rape is serious problem among men of certain Latin American cultures, as a recent piece from The Blaze demonstrates. A twenty-year old illegal immigrant impregnated an eleven-year old.
A major theme—perhaps clumsily conveyed—of yesterday’s post was that Americans should be able to keep their culture and local identity without shame. As I noted, struggling rural communities are particularly susceptible to being swept away by large-scale immigration, legal or otherwise. Thus, we see small South Carolina towns gradually hispanicize, turning into little replicas of various Latin American cultures, rather than the old Southern culture that predominated.
One often hears that Americans should be tolerant and open-minded to other cultures, and to extend maximum understanding and patience. That is a generous and worthy view: I don’t expect the Chinese foreign exchange students at our school to speak accent-less English and understand liberty their first day off the plane. In that instance, we go out of our way to attempt to understand the cultural background from which those students came.
It’s another matter, though, when it involves the permanent or long-term relocation of foreign aliens to our land. Remember the expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” That rule always seems to apply to Americans—who are routinely criticized for being uncouth abroad—but never to any other ethnic group, and especially not to cultures outside of the West.
It’s an enduring frustration of mine: one-way cosmopolitanism.
This weekend I drove through some very rural parts of western South Carolina to check out some small-town festivals (Subscribe Star subscribers will get the full story this Saturday, and read my ode to candy apples, which this same trip also inspired). My route took me north from Aiken through Ridge Spring, South Carolina, then up through Chappells and Saluda to Clinton, located on the cusp of the Upstate. Then it was a 90-minute drive back south through Saluda, Chappells, and Johnston on the way back to Aiken.
Most of this section of South Carolina is farmland, dotted with small towns or unincorporated communities. Some of these towns were once thriving little railroad junctions, or the communities of prosperous farmers or textile mills.
Now, they often feature quaint but dilapidated downtowns (often full of barber shops and wig stores, but plenty of boarded-up windows), a few stately old homes, and a great deal of poverty.
What I noticed on this most recent trip, however, was the clear uptick in Hispanic residents and businesses.
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Yet for all those declinist comparisons—apt though they may be—Americans should extend their historical gaze back further, to the Roman Republic. That is what Dr. Steele Brand, Assistant Professor of History at The King’s College, urges Americans to do in an op-ed entitled “Why knowing Roman history is key to preserving America’s future” (thanks to a dear former of colleague of mine—and a regular reader of this blog—for sharing this piece).
When breaking that number down by partisan affiliation, it’s not surprising that 90% of Republicans believe that illegal immigration is bad. What is somewhat surprising is that 63% of Democrats believe that illegal immigration is bad. That suggests that opposing illegal immigration and border control continue to be winning issues.