The Corner

Sam Huntington’S Nativism

Alan Wolfe has a vicious review of Huntington’s new book, Who Are We?, in the new issue of Foreign Affairs. Wolfe makes some interesting points disputing Huntington’s argument for the importance of Anglo-Protestant culture in America. I’d love to see Huntington’s response. But Wolfe clearly falls down in his unwillingness to address seriously Huntington’s arguments about immigration. Huntington argues the current wave of immigration into the U.S. is different than those in the past because of its persistence (there has been no pause as there has been historically), its regional concentration (current immigrants aren’t dispersing throughout the country the way they did in the past), its illegality (illegal immigration is an enormous problem when it wasn’t in the past), its contiguity (the immigrants are coming from a bordering Third World country), and its numbers (the current wave is dominated by huge numbers of Mexican immigrants). On top of all this, important mechanisms of assimilation have broken down. Although Wolfe addresses some of the assimilation points, he ignores most of this and limply concludes “immigration is here to stay.” One of Huntington’s points is that the country’s elites aren’t willing to grapple with the problems associated with the current, historically unprecedented wave of immigration. Alan Wolfe proves his point.

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