Google+
Close

The Corner

The one and only.

Less Unum Demands Less Pluribus



Text  



Bravo for Rich’s piece on the social-engineering effects of current immigration policy. He ends with an irrefutable observation:

If we are to avoid the racialized politics that tears at the fabric of other multiracial societies, we’ll need a revival of a patriotic assimilation that long ago fell out of style. More pluribus demands more unum.

More pluribus does indeed demand more unum. But with our elites so implacably opposed to the very idea of unum, shouldn’t we adjust our optional federal immigration program to introduce less pluribus? (Or plures, or whatever — this isn’t Latin class.) Peter Wehner, in his review of my book several years ago, said mine was a counsel of pessimism and declinism, a consequence of the belief that “America can no longer incorporate newcomers.” On the contrary, we still can successfully incorporate newcomers, but our powers in that regard are much diminished — can anyone really disagree? And, while I very much approve of efforts to strengthen patriotic solidarity among our fellow countrymen and an appreciation of our nation’s past, that’s a much more difficult and protracted project than just cutting legal immigration from its current level of 1.1 million a year. After all, immigration is just another federal program, like farm subsidies or Medicaid, and a lot easier to change than either of those. When the tub is overflowing, you first turn off the tap.

John Miller wrote in The Unmaking of Americans that “If the schools miss their chance [to inculcate American language and values], un-Americanized children grow up to become un-Americanized adults — at which point their Americanization becomes much more difficult and unlikely.” Our own children face this same problem, of course, but they have a family history in America to draw on — a grandfather who was wounded at Normandy or a great-grandmother who came through Ellis Island or even a distant Cherokee ancestor who fought for the Confederacy. The children of immigrants have none of that and have to adopt America’s past as their own. Until patriotic assimilation again becomes the norm in our schools (and workplaces and churches and government offices, etc.), it’s unjustifiable to admit millions of additional newcomers who will need to be patriotically assimilated if our republic is to cohere.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review