Lazy Sunday XXVIII: World History

Most of my pieces here at The Portly Politico focus on American politics and culture, with some occasional dabbling in British and European affairs.  But contrary to Ron Swanson’s historiographical claim, history did not begin in 1776 (though everything that came before may have been a mistake).

As such, I’ve written a few pieces about events, current and historical, that take place in more exotic locales.  While I am a parochial homebody, I appreciate travel and the contributions of other cultures (I still wish I’d seen London and Paris before they became part of the Caliphate).  I wish I had the time to do more of it (on that note, stay tuned for details of my trip to the Yemassee Shrimp Festival).

So, here’s some worldly pieces for your Lazy Sunday:

  • North Korea Reflections” – I wrote this little piece on the occasion of President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore.  My interpretation of the summit was cautiously optimistic.  It’s still unclear what the future holds for US-Nork relations, but the gambit seemed to work—North Korea is a still a bloodthirsty, repressive, totalitarian regime, but they aren’t lobbing missiles around constantly anymore.
  • The Impermanence of Knowledge and Culture:  The Great Library and Notre Dame” – this post was a synthesis of two events—the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, and the burning of a substantial portion of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  The fire at the latter riled up conservatives and traditionalists because the structure had endured for so long as a symbol of Christianity and of France’s faithfulness.  France is not a very faithful country now, but Notre Dame remains a powerful symbol of man’s capacity for focusing on the greatness of God.  The major point of this piece was to drive home how even great edifices eventually crumble, and that knowledge and culture must be preserved actively if they are to endure.
  • Sri Lankan Church Bombings” – coming on the heels of the catastrophic Notre Dame fire, the island nation of Sri Lanka was shaken on Easter Sunday of this year with Islamic terrorist attacks on churches.  Democrats referred to the slain Christians as “Easter worshippers” in what appeared to be a concerted effort to appear politically-correct.  Yeesh.
  • America’s Roman Roots” – I wrote this piece earlier in the week, based on an excellent op-ed a colleague sent my way.  Commentators often fixate on the similarities between the United States today and the Roman Empire, but often miss the parallels to the Roman Republic.  Those parallels exist because the Framers of the Constitution pulled heavily from Roman tradition, even naming key institutions like the Senate after their Roman counterparts.  The Roman Republic holds valuable lessons for Americans for how to craft a robust society that enables citizens to live worthwhile lives.

That wraps up this little tour around the globe.  Rome, France, Sri Lanka and North Korea—not a bad start, though I’d better get Africa and Latin America into the mix soon, lest I catch flack from the SJWs for lack of inclusion.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Americans Oppose Illegal Immigration

Today’s Number of the Day from pollster Scott Rasmussen notes that 76% of American voters believe that illegal immigration is bad for the country.  That is a substantial majority (and it makes you wonder about the other 24%).

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.

Read More »

Don’t Let Anymore In

The world has been on fire this week because—in the absence of any real news—President Trump said something on Twitter that’s funny.

The hand-wringing over President Trump’s tweet about “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” returning to their home countries to fix them up has had the Left and the Right scurrying to condemn the president.  Ben Shapiro, whose podcast I quite enjoy, dedicated an entire hour to excoriating the president over the Tweet, and another hour to analyze it further.

Shapiro is wrong on this one, and more than a tad disingenuous, which is unusual for him.  He claims that President Trump tweeted that these women should be “sent back” to their countries of origin—which, as far as I can tell, he never said or wrote!  When a crowd at a rally in North Carolina began chanting “Send Her Back!” after the president ran down a litany of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s anti-American, anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist, pro-Islamist statements, that seemed to exacerbate things, the president quickly stated that he did not like or agree with the chant.

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You Can’t Cuck the Tuck: Immigration

Consistent with my own posts on immigration, and particularly Somalian immigration, Tucker Carlson nails it (see the video in the Tweet below):

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Lazy Sunday XIII: Immigration

I’ve really been beating the drum about immigration lately, so today’s Lazy Sunday should come as no surprise.  Illegal immigration is a major crisis facing the United States and Europe, and it’s one we ignore at our peril.

Indeed, even legal immigration presents a problem if left unregulated.  Massive amounts of immigration leads easily to ethnic cloistering; if left unchecked, entire neighborhoods or cities can become unrecognizable.

An essential component of conservative nationalism is that a nation is made up of a people.  In the old European conception, that manifests itself as the nation-state:  a group of people sharing a common lineage or shared blood.  Sometimes that identity is self-consciously constructed, but it still stems from the notion that a certain people and a certain land make up the nation.

The American conception of nationalism is only slightly different:  the American people don’t have to share the same patrimony, but they do have to share similar values.  Those values are Anglo-Saxon in origin, but they can (and must) be adopted by anyone.

As such, ethnic cloistering subverts the assimilation process, placing fundamentally alien populations in the midst of natives.  That’s a recipe for conflict, as it undermines social and national cohesion.

“Nationalism” doesn’t have to be a dirty word.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with a group of people wanting to have their own nation.  No America should feel like a thoughtcriminal because he wants to protect his country from unregulated foreign invasion.

Some food for thought for your Sunday morning.

  • Open Borders is the Real Moral Crisis” – One of my first posts on immigration (and last week’s TBT feature), the context for this piece was the child separation policy and the faux outrage about it (notice how you never hear about this anymore?).  When I wrote this piece, this issue was red-hot, and I anticipated all sorts of social justice whinging.  Now that the political usefulness of child props is waning, it’s interesting to read it with fresh eyes.  My basic argument is unchanged, though:  we wouldn’t be dealing with child separation and the like if it we simply enforced the law.
  • The Facts on the Border Crisis” – This piece looked at the history of Texas Republic and the oft-forgotten Mexican War.  Texas was a major province of Mexico.  After gaining independence from Spain, the young Mexican government invited white American yanquis to settle the territory if they converted to Catholicism.  When the Mexican government attempted to abolish slavery, the American settlers—many of whom came from the Deep South with their slaves in tow—balked, demanding to keep their slaves.  When General Santa Anna attempted to enforce the Mexican constitution, the Texans rebelled.

    The point:  large, marginally-assimilated foreigners dominant in one geographic area is a recipe for disaster.  Now, Mexico is doing to the Southwest what Americans did to Texas in the nineteenth century—they even call it the Reconquista.

  • Somali Shenanigans” – Case in point:  the resettlement of Somali refugees and immigrants into Minneapolis has completely transformed the demographic makeup of a large neighborhood in the city.  That’s also changed the politics of the State’s Democrat-Farm-Labor Party, which now caters to this largely unassimilable contingent.  Indeed, they’ve now elected Ilhan Omar to Congress, a woman who allegedly married her brotherallegedly married her brother to commit immigration fraud.
  • Immigration by the Numbers” – This post details the costs, social and economic, of immigration, focusing primarily on the huge amount of American dollars sent to foreign nations as “remittances.”  Remittances are funds earned in the United States and wired back to family members in an immigrant’s home country.  It’s a massive business, accounting for $148 billion in total, with $30.02 billion going to Mexico (China also gets a pretty penny).  That’s American wealth draining off to support other countries.
  • Deportemal” – Rounding out this week’s Lazy Sunday is a little post about the lawlessness that stems from illegal immigration.  The attitude of illegals is excessively cavalier:  in addition to existing in a state of persistent illegality, they leverage their “shadow” status to avoid real penalties for petty crimes.  The frustration for legal citizens is palpable:  we’re held to a rigid legal standard, while authorities turn a blind or helpless eye to illegal activity from illegal aliens who feel entitled to breaking the law because their home countries suck.

Illegal immigration is a frustrating assault on the lives of American citizens and the rule of law.  Rather than indulge such wide-scale lawlessness, we should robustly and aggressively prosecute and deport illegals upon apprehension for any offense, from the smallest jaywalking misdemeanor to child rape and murder.  If you’re caught and you’re illegal, you’re going back!

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Immigration by the Numbers

Yesterday I wrote about the dangers of inviting in large numbers of immigrants from a fundamentally alien culture into Western societies.  The Somali population of Minneapolis has created a veritable “Little Mogadishu” (consider paying homage to such a blighted place) in the heart of the Twin Cities, a neighborhood riddled with crime and terrorist recruitment.

Most immigration to the United States is not nearly so pernicious—unlike Europeans, Americans generally don’t have to worry about waves of unassimilable Muslims conquering entire swaths of our major cities—but while our immigrants are more assimilable than Europe’s, the sheer number of immigrants makes that assimilation more difficult.

As I wrote yesterday, the old friction of immigration is no longer there.  Families can instantly contact one another across oceans and time zones, and travel back home—or, more likely, travel to the new home in the West—is more affordable than ever.

Couple that ease of travel with our ludicrous interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which allows foreign nationals to spit out “American” citizens if they can just cross the border when the contractions begin, and you have a recipe for invasion.

The family situation goes beyond the “anchor babies” phenomenon and the child migrant crisis.  Our immigration system prioritizes family members over skilled, English-speaking immigrants.  As Scott Rasmussen notes, nearly 750,000 immigrants annually enter the United States legally simply because they’re related to someone already here.  Immigrants can send for their spouses, children, and parents under this system—who then can bring over their spouses, children, and parents, creating the “chain migration” President Trump has decried.

The president is not alone.  According to Rasmussen, 75% of voters believe our immigration system should prioritize skilled immigrants, not family members.  That cuts across partisan lines (suggesting that immigration reform is a winning issue for electoral candidates).  And that 750,000 number reflects 66% of legal permanent residents admitted to the United States.

Remember, another key source of friction in immigration is that, in the old days, it could be years before an immigrant could bring his family over.  Indeed, some immigrants might never see them again.  It’s probably humane to allow Pedro to bring his wife and eighteen kids.  But his doddering parents?  His alcoholic uncle?  His son’s wife and kids? Where do we draw the line?

A further issue is that, with the ease of wire transfers, more and more wealth produced in the United States is sent back home.  Rasmussen reports that immigrants send a whopping $148 billion home.  That’s wealth produced working in the United States.

$30.02 billion of that $148 billion goes to Mexico.  When President Trump campaigned on Mexico paying for the wall, he didn’t mean the Mexican government would cut us a check.  Instead, he argued that the United States could tax these remittance payments to fund the border wall.

It’s an idea brilliant in its simplicity, and it shifts the costs of illegal immigration to the immigrants.  Want to pick our tomatoes at slave labor wages and send the money back home?  Fine, but you’re going to pay for the means by which we’ll prevent your mountain village from crossing over, too.

Immigration policy should benefit America and its citizens first.  I often hear the specious argument that “Americans won’t do certain jobs.”  Hogwash.  Big corporate farmers and Silicon Valley billionaires just want cheap fruit-pickers, coders, and nannies.  There are millions of working poor Americans who, for a living wage, could fill those jobs.  Alternatively, mechanization and automation could complete many of those roles.

The South went through the same issue with slavery:  wealthy Southern planters wanted cheap labor to grow cotton, and Northern textile mills were happy to pay a reduced rate for slave-produced cotton.  The losers were poor working folks and farmers.

Similarly, elites profit financially (and socially—they get to feel virtuous for employing Consuela to raise their kids) while wages for working men stagnate.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress should push again for the taxing of remittances, and a major push should begin to rid ourselves of “birthright citizenship,” a ludicrous misreading of the Fourteenth Amendment (which was intended to naturalize the former slaves and their progeny, not the children of foreign visitors who happened to give birth on American soil).

More importantly and immediately, we need to build the wall and deport any and all illegal immigrants.

Somali Shenanigans

Mass immigration and open borders are huge problems, but their costs are sometimes difficult to see.  Generally, Americans take a rosy view of immigration, as it conjures up images of plucky Irishmen crammed onto ships, chuffing past Ellis Island.  We’re the melting pot—people of different creeds and races come here, each contributing some distinct spices to the stew, but ultimately subsuming into the larger cultural heritage and mores of the host country.  Learn English, learn the Constitution, follow the rules, and you’re golden.

Of course, that all assumes the assimilability of the immigrants.  Back in those rose-tinted Ellis Island days, waves of Irish, Italian, and Eastern European immigrants (not to mention Chinese and Japanese migrants to California) caused great consternation, as each ethnic tribe and nationality stuck to its own.  With the National Origins Act of 1924, that great wave of migration trimmed to a trickle, with quotas favoring immigration from Western Europe.  Combined with the national struggles of the Great Depression and the Second World War, those migrants had time to get “baked in” to the national pie, and emerged full Americans.

Consider, too, that these immigrants came to the United States at a time when there was significant friction by doing so.  Many of them would never return to their home countries, or would do so only many decades later.  Lacking the access to mass, global communications networks, many of them never saw or heard from their relatives and families again.

Today, immigrants are able to communicate seamlessly with their relatives back home—a wonderful marvel of our modern-age.  They can also hop a jet plane and be back in hours (or get here quickly).  That same friction is no longer present to the same extent as it was 100 years ago.

Couple that with massive legal and illegal immigration, and the push to assimilate begins to vanish rapidly.  That push becomes more of a gentle nudge, if that.  Why learn English and the local customs when you can be surrounded by your hombres from back home?

Let’s go a step further:  what if your host culture no longer promotes or defends the rightness of its own beliefs and values?  Instead, it promotes multiculturalism and diversity as self-evident goods.  The official and cultural messages are no longer “assimilate” and “respect our laws, values, and God,” but instead become, “do your own thing” and “we’re nothing special—we don’t even really believe this stuff.”  Suddenly, there’s no compelling reason to assimilate into a culture that lacks confidence in itself.

Take all of that and add in a culture that does have some conviction in the rightness—and righteousness—of itself, and you’ve got the makings of a cloistered, insular community of unassimilable immigrants in your midsts.

Such is the situation in Minnesota with the Somali “refugees” living there.  They are, almost universally, devout Muslims.  They are also what the cool kids call “visible minorities”—they’re black—which serves as a further impediment to assimilation.  Islam in its most fundamental form is, essentially, at odds with Western civilization.  The very existence of Sharia law conflicts directly with the Constitution.  It’s all a recipe for disaster.

Indeed, the situation in “Little Mogadishu“—the Somalian neighborhood in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area—is a miniature form of the Islamic migrant crisis Europe has endured for years now.  Like the banlieues of France and Belgium, Somalian Muslims have created their own ethnic enclave in the heart of a State once dominated by Swedes and Germans.

Little Mogadishu is, sadly, following the pattern of other Muslim-dominated areas in the West.  It’s crime rate is through the roof, growing 56% in 2018.  Most of that increase is due to gang violence between competing Somali street gangs.

Minnesota—in a suicidal display of “Upper Midwestern Nice”—has encouraged the accumulation of Somalis into its State, creating a powerful ethnic voting bloc that holds increasing sway over the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party (the technical appellation for the Democratic Party in Minnesota).  Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who can barely speak English without an anti-Semitic accent, is a troubling figure to have walking the highest corridors of power.  She’s a political figure ripped straight out of sub-Saharan

That’s had lethal consequences, too, such as Somali police officer Mohammed Noor’s fatal shooting of Australian Justine Damond.  That killing drew attention to what was likely an unfortunate diversity-hire.  The Minneapolis Police Department is, apparently, attempting to hire more Somali officers to improve community outreach in Little Mogadishu, but why did the city allow such an alien enclave to develop in the first place?

That incident at least received coverage from the mainstream media.  What didn’t was this piece from InfoWars, which details (with police documents) the antics of a group of eight or ten Somali teens.  It seems these precocious, vibrant youngsters were spreading diversity with hammers and pipes in an attempt to rob elderly white people.

Some of these attacks are, no doubt, the result of typical inner-city gang violence.  But the insidious influence of radical Islamism is alive in well in the environs of this Minneapolis banlieue.  Fox News calls it “the terrorist recruitment capital of the US.”  Ami Horowitz, in a jaw-dropping YouTube video, demonstrates that Somali Americans believe Sharia law is preferable to (and, by implication, should replace) America’s constitutional law.

So, how does the United States avoid replicating the errors of Europe and Minnesota?  Tighter immigration restrictions would be a key first step.

Another would be more drastic, and unlikely politically.  Indeed, were it to succeed, the precedent it established could be destructive in the long-run to religious liberty.  I’ll elaborate:

Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust.”  That is a beautiful statement in favor of religious liberty.

That said, Islam may very well be the grand exception.  It is a faith that is fundamentally incompatible with the faith, culture, and laws of the West.  It has no desire to reform (indeed, it may lack the ability to do so), and it contains within it no separation of church and state.  The faith of Islam is the law code.

As such, one could argue it may be necessary to amend the Constitution to ban Muslims from serving in higher office.  That is a bold step, and one that I shrink away from even as I ponder it.  But can there be any guarantee of loyalty from followers of a religion that is so hostile to American and Western values?

Of course, the flaw in this approach is that individual Muslims are, like lapsed Catholics and Protestants, sometimes easygoing about their faith.  At the same time, even lax Muslims have a tendency to radicalize quickly.  Just look at the Boston Marathon bomber, who went from being a pot-smoking loser to killing innocent people in the blink of an eye.

Regardless, the West has to wake itself up to the real, existential threat Islam represents.  We’ve spent nearly 1400 years fighting against its aggressive expansion—the Battle of Tours, the defense at the gates of Vienna, the Reconquista—only now to invite the invaders in with open arms?

A few hundred Muslim immigrants a year is no big shakes.  But if we adopt Europe’s “come one, come all” approach, we’ll lose everything that makes our country great, and free.