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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"The case for mistrusting Muslims" (and what it means to us in terms of immigration)

Theodore Dalrymple has a piece in the LA Times that addresses the issue of Muslims in Britain.
A friend who met me at the airport said something that must by now be true of many ordinary British people. Just as we used to wonder, on meeting Germans of a certain age, what they had done during World War II, so she wondered, when she found herself next to a young Muslim on a bus or a train, what he thought of the various bombings perpetrated by his co-religionists and whether he might be a bomber. She found herself looking for the nearest exit, as we are all enjoined to do by flight attendants before the plane takes off, in case of the need for swift exit.

There are reasonable grounds for suspicion, of course. Surveys — for whatever they are worth — show a surprising, and horrifying, degree of sympathy, if not outright support, for the bombers on the part of the young Muslim population of Britain. They show that a large number of Muslims in Britain want the implementation of Sharia law and think that murdering British Jews is justified simply because they are Jews. And when an atrocity is perpetrated by a Muslim, they evince no passion remotely comparable to that aroused by, say, the work of Salman Rushdie.

Mark Steyn cuts to the quick.

...the economic rationale for mass immigration turned out to be bogus: Muslims came in huge numbers to do "the jobs Britons won't do" and be textile workers in northern English towns. Thirty years later, there are no textile mills, but those northern English towns are Muslim.

The economic argument for mass immigration is always reductionist, simply because people do not think of themselves as solely (or even principally) economic entities. The government may see immigrants as textile workers or bus drivers or even neurosurgeons, but what matters is how those individuals see themselves - and as Europe has discovered a significant segment of that population has embraced a core identity unrelated to textile mills, NHS hospitals or any other economic enterprise.

Many of the people who supported the immigration/amnesty bill no doubt view the Mexicans coming here as a permanent source of cheap manual labor; much like black slaves, only without the fugitive slave laws. But that's not how they view themselves. People are not parts of a machine doing the the unquestioning bidding of the people who think they control the levers of power. This "machine" turns on its master. Assimilation into American culture - and there is an American culture - has fixed that problem in previous generations. Unfortunately, the culture is now not now geared to the "melting pot" but to the creation of separate islands, distinct and different, with their own customs and their own language. This is a recipe for disaster.

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