On Immigration

by John O’Sullivan

Just a brief diversion from tonight’s main topic.

My old friend Andrew Sullivan responded on his blog to my Corner posting yesterday on McCain and immigration by naming me as a contender for the Michelle Malkin award. Naturally I am flattered at being connected, however remotely, with the beautiful and intelligent Michelle (who is also, incidentally, the best scoop-hound in the blogosphere). On the substance of the matter, however, Andrew might have given me the benefit of some rather obvious doubts.

Having quoted me as saying that comprehensive immigration reform would create “new voters overwhelmingly likely to vote Democrat in a quicker time scale,” Andrew asks: “Is John saying that conservatism is an inherently racial or cultural phenomenon that future Hispanic-Americans will be unable to support? I don’t see why that should be the case. The United States, meanwhile, is a multi-cultural nation, in case John hasn’t noticed. That’s part of its strength.”

Well, there is no reason for Andrew to follow my thinking on this, but I have written and spoken on this topic interminably in recent years, always making the point that legalized illegal immigrants would be overwhelmingly natural Democrat voters because they are overwhelmingly poor working people — and such people tend to vote Democrat. “Racial or cultural” phenomena have almost nothing to do with this.

Sure, such voters might gradually convert to voting Republican over time–it took Italians about sixty years to do so — but their movement in that direction is retarded by mass immigration that makes it easier for them not to assimilate to the common American culture.

On which point do we live in a multicultural society? We certainly live in a multi-ethnic society in which some ethnic groups retain cultural traits from religion to cuisine. But most Americans speak English, regard their American identity as their prime identity, and are united by a common culture that blends different ethnic influences to produce something distinctively American.

As for “diversity,” it’s a complicated question — but among its other effects, too much diversity produces social distrust. Maybe that explains Andrew’s suspiciousness.