Societal Suicide

I have great respect for Tom Simon, possibly more than anybody else I read except for Dr. Feser (with apologies to all you guys). In his best moments, which he manages to hit much more often than not, he has a depth of insight equal to that of the great G.K. Chesterton, and his fiction is almost as brilliant. I don’t try to go out of my way to antagonize him; quite the contrary. I push his writing wherever I can.

With that said, I’m just not buying his stance on immigration at all. He made a case to me not long ago in my comments section that sounded fairly sensible at the time, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I realized how dangerous it really was. His quote:

[My comment] To make this clear, you would be okay if the French only allowed ethnic Frenchmen to emigrate and settle in France?

No, I would not; because the French have made it very clear in their laws and constitution that the criterion for French citizenship is not French ancestry, but the choice and capacity to fully participate in French culture. There are millions of Frenchmen whose ancestors were Irish, German, Italian, Polish, or for that matter, Algerian or sub-Saharan African; and according to the criteria they have established, they are full Frenchmen. If the French suddenly decided that only those of pure French blood should be allowed citizenship, they would have two choices:

1. Revoke the citizenship of those French citizens who are not ethnically French. This would be a grave injustice to those who lost their citizenship, for they would become men without a country.
2. Not revoke the citizenship of such citizens. This would be clear hypocrisy, for it would retain millions of persons on the roll of citizens that were not entitled to such a status. If the basic principles of French law allow Monsieur So-and-So to be a citizen on Tuesday, it is a violation of those principles to deny that citizenship to his twin brother (like him in every respect, including culturally) on Thursday.

Now think about this for a moment. Really think about it. Think through the implications. Because a group of Frenchmen decided around the time of the French Revolution or thereabouts to change the criteria for French citizenship from something else it had been for, oh, roughly the entire history of Europe, to something different, France is now required – literally required – to allow anybody in, and provide citizenship to, anyone who decides they want to participate in French culture.

Are you worried about losing the French national identity? Do you see what’s happening in France and think “Gee, maybe we should stop letting anybody who claims they want to be French, be French”? Too bad.

I’m sorry, but I’m missing the problem in saying “Hey, people here who are ALREADY citizens, you’re grandfathered in. Now we’re changing the criteria for citizenship. Where on earth is the grave injustice there?

But let’s grant the point. Seeing what we see in essentially *every country that has attempted to be a proposition nation*…maybe the whole melting pot thing actually was a pretty bad idea?

I mean, is it so wrong to consider that possibility? Maybe? Because it doesn’t seem so crazy to me.

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13 Responses to Societal Suicide

  1. Joseph Moore says:

    Take it further: What about the ethnic Frenchman who doesn’t want to be culturally French? That’s a pretty big chunk of Frenchmen, seems to me. Or are those on both sides of the French Revolution equally OK as Frenchmen? Who decides which side is, if it’s only one side?

    You don’t need unassimilated aliens to bring a culture down. At least in the case of France, they are an effect, not a cause. I suspect the same here: if we had a strong culture that insisted on a baseline of civil behavior, we could absorb newcomers easily enough, and identify and expel those that refuse to conform. Unless you want to count the grandchildren of the Pilgrims, it wasn’t immigrants who caused our current problems. Rot is from the head down.

    • I don’t necessarily disagree, or at least, I haven’t looked into it enough to really agree or disagree. I just think it’s really dangerous to say that just because some group a few 100 years ago decided that “frenchman” suddenly means something it never meant before it means they’re now morally obligated to grant citizenship to anyone who says they want to be French.

    • Crude says:

      How about the very, very many NON-ethnic French who clearly don’t want to be culturally french? Deport them en masse and you’ll be deporting a ton of people as well.

      Does Simon support that? I suspect we’ll suddenly see that ‘the choice and capacity to participate in French culture’ – or American culture – is very, very watered down.

      • For what it’s worth, I’d be wary of ascribing many of the more obvious errors to Tom. He’s too smart for that.

      • Crude says:

        He’s too smart for that.

        You know vastly better than I. All I know is that I’ve heard this plea from Wright, Simon, and others before. If they’re sincere, then a *massive* amount of recent illegal immigrants, and even some legal, are due for deportation. They haven’t acclimated to our culture and they’re hostile to it.

        And I’ve noticed that when time comes to discuss that, then suddenly this talk of needing to assimilate – and how those who come here with no intention to assimilate should be tossed – gets very murky, very fast. The unspoken idea seems to be that in theory we’d deport these people, but in practice we either won’t, or we’re going to take two decades to give them a chance to assimilate (even against their own stated wills).

    • Hrodgar says:

      Eh, if we had a strong culture we could absorb MORE newcomers. There does still come a point where the influx is to rapid to be assimilated, and the influx is pretty rapid right now, at least in the southwest. Not to mention that the very fact that we have a sick and weak culture is MORE reason, not less, to keep folks out, both for our sake (lest worn out we die) and for theirs (as a sort of quarantine, lest they catch our spiritual disease, as in fact many of them seem to do).

      And just because one problem causes another problem doesn’t mean the second isn’t a problem all its own. Sure, France has plenty of problems before its recent invasion by Mahound, but that doesn’t mean that what Andrew Biezad calls the Third Hijra is not a problem. Even in our own country, the role of immigrants in our current problems isn’t non-existent; I have heard of an Italian mafia, an Irish mafia, and even a Russian mafia, but I don’t think this country has ever been afflicted with an English or Dutch mafia.

      But the point at issue, as near as I can tell, is whether or not we have an obligation to accept as citizens anybody who wants to come here, wherever “here” happens to be.

      Now, of course we have an obligation to give alms to the poor and practice charity to our neighbors; this may from time to time mean letting them live with us, perhaps even permanently. In a handful of cases, it may even mean adopting them into the family. But no one claims that you have an obligation to let anyone, or even just anyone who promises to abide by the rules and traditions of your family, live in your house; still less does anyone claim that you have an obligation to treat them as an equal to yourself in your own house. You do not even always have an obligation to let in your own flesh and blood, much less strangers you neither know nor trust.

  2. vishmehr24 says:

    “a group of Frenchmen decided around the time of the French Revolution or thereabouts to change the criteria for French citizenship ”
    Is it a fact?
    I should have supposed that to be a subject of the French monarchy had nothing particularly to do with the ancestry. If you happened to be born in an area ruled by the French king, you were automatically a subject of the French monarchy. There were many non-French subjects, eg. German speakers in Alsace and Italian speakers in Savoy. The entire preocupation with nationhood conceived in terms of race and ancestry is 19c.

    • Not race. Just not the idea that if you move in and promise to act French, it doesn’t make you French. Again, I’m more arguing against something than for a specific thing. Melting pot nations are a new idea.

      • Anymouse says:

        I think Vishmehr’s point is that *nations* had limited relation to government before nationalism, and the french revolution. The idea of nation in general was not followed, certainly for large states like Japan, Germany, France, which were feudal to varying degrees. There was no French citizenship before the revolution.

      • Even so, the melting pot concept is still a new and largely dangerous one.

    • vishmehr24 says:

      The potential dangers of the melting pot concept pale before the actual history of the nationalism esp of nation conceived in terms of racial purity. The notion of racial purity is also new, indeed it is associated with modernity. The pre-moderns were more into purity of the lineage, their own particular and definite thing. Not with vague and unknown ancestry of the whole nation.
      The French were a constructed nation, built not through common ancestry but through conquests and gradual accreartions over a thousand years,

      • The notion of racial purity is also new, indeed it is associated with modernity.

        I’m being unclear. I’m not a racialist or whatever you might want to call it. I probably wouldn’t qualify as a nationalist either, differing with them on some fundamental things (mainly involving liberty as a fundamental purpose of government; I am not a liberal, classical or otherwise).

        I’m just objecting to the idea presented in this post – that if you come to the country and claim that you want to take part in French culture, we’re obligated to take you in.

      • vishmehr24 says:

        I doubt the very premises. Is it really true that the French Govt has obligated itself to confer citizenship on any Francophile that wants it?
        And Frenchman is not a synonym for “a citizen of France”. Not all citizens of France are French.
        Tom Simon’s second point is also absurd.
        “it is a violation of those principles to deny that citizenship to his twin brother (like him in every respect, including culturally)”
        Some one who has been in France x number of years is clealy unlike someone who has not been there in one fundamental respect.

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