Dec 21, 2015

Every Nation Is a "Nation of Immigrants:" Brief Remarks on the Poverty of US Discourse on Immigration

via Ur-Fascist Analytics

Leftist and Jewish support for liberal immigration policies is often coupled with superficial arguments, weak analogies, and hollow rhetoric; a prime example is the argument that the US, as a "nation of immigrants," is obliged to carry this fact to its logical conclusion and liberalize its immigration policy. I argue that every nation is a "nation of immigrants" and that this has no political implications, much less liberalized immigration.

As of this writing, the page dedicated to US immigration on the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) website, which tracks "hate speech" and monitors "anti-Semitic" behavior in the US, and is a fervent supporter of the State of Israel, has a button with the words: "We are a nation of immigrants." This page lists several resources and links, and it even includes a link to comments and remarks on John F. Kennedy's, A Nation of Immigrants.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish founder of Facebook, in pushing for amnesty and donating to undocumented immigrants, argued that "America was founded as a nation of immigrants" and, consequently, that "We ought to help young people from every nation..."

Barack Obama has regurgitated this phrase repeatedly, and the White House's website has a page dedicated to elaborating to Americans why they should open their hearts to others who, like we were at one time, "strangers, too." The claim is that America's origins lay with people who arrived here from other countries. Like Zuckerberg and the ADL, Obama wants America to liberalize its immigration policy, and disregard any real criteria.[1]

This argument is pervasive in US discourse and rhetoric on immigration. Leftists, Jews, and even some on the "right" use it. The claim, at root, is that America is not defined by racial or ethnic heritage, but rather as a plurality of peoples who have "immigrated" to America. To see the full implications of this argument, and how it is flawed, it is necessary to distill it. Its basic logical structure can be identified; distilled, its form is something like this:
Premise 1: All "nations of immigrants" are not defined by ethnicity or race.
Premise 2: America is a "nation of immigrants."
Conclusion: America is not defined by ethnicity or race. 
The concomitant of the conclusion is that US immigration policy should be less restrictive, or even omit racial and ethnic considerations, since America is not defined by race.

Premise 2 is actually true, but I will discuss it later; its truth, however, must be viewed in relation to what is often understood about being a "nation of immigrants" in US popular discourse. Premise 1 is false, based on the nature of the truth of Premise 2. Once Premise 1 and 2 are properly understood, the falsity of Premise 1 ensures that the Conclusion does not follow from the stated premises. This is an unsound deductive argument.

The argument is deceptively persuasive, for several reasons. One is that the argument is based on a valid deductive argument form. Here is the distilled argument form:
Premise 1: All N are not-R.
Premise 2: A is an N.
Conclusion: A is not-R.
Arguments of all sorts, legitimate or not, can use this same argument form. An example of an argument that is legitimate and sound is this: All nourishing foods are not poisonous, fresh apple is nourishing food, and in conclusion, a fresh apple is not poisonous.

Both the apple argument and the "nation of immigrants" argument use the above form, but while the apple argument is valid and sound, and legitimately persuasive, the "nation of immigrants" argument is unsound and illegitimate. The "nation of immigrants" argument uses a false premise, and the conclusion cannot follow from the premises, as a result. The "nation of immigrants" argument should not persuade anyone that hears or reads it.

The National Review published a critique of the "nations of immigrants" argument. It accepts the basic claims of the argument, but argues that it means nothing, politically; Americans should not be compelled to liberalize immigration policy further, because of it.

My argument rests on a different basis. The claim that America is a "nation of immigrants" is trivially true, because all nations are "nations of immigrants." It is true that America was founded by immigrants who came from another place. But what people, of what nation, has not originated with "immigrants" who arrived from somewhere else? Every people originates with a founding population: People journeying to a destination from elsewhere.

The ancestors of modern-day Britons were immigrants when they came to the British Isles. Likewise, the ancestors of modern-day Germans immigrated to the territory of modern-day Germany. The ancestors of both moved into continental Europe, as did the Neanderthals that came to continental Europe, before them. American Indians immigrated from Asia to North America, across the Bering Straight, and continued moving about, further.

The history of humanity is but a unique instance of the history of organic life; likewise, the history of America is but a unique instance in the history of all nations. There is nothing that distinguishes the fact that America originates with immigrants from any other nation, just as there is nothing to distinguish the fact that human beings have sought out new living space, from other organisms. There is no basis for separating either of these.

When a founding population, whether it is a population consisting of birds, lizards, turtles, or human beings, settles in a place, that population will continue to act to segregate itself from members of other subspecies (that is, races). This is exactly what happened in colonial America. European settlers did not grant citizenship to non-Europeans, and they did not allow large numbers of non-Europeans to settle even as non-citizens.
 The same holds for the ancestors of modern-day Chinese, Germans, and Mexicans. People move around, and they take up residency somewhere; a nation in its infancy starts with a founding population that arrives from elsewhere, and so long as there is nothing to constrict the descendants of that founding population, it will try to preserve its identity.
The point is that the first premise in the "nation of immigrants" argument could not possibly be true. A "nation of immigrants," whether it is Germany, China, Mexico, or Afghanistan, will work to preserve a reasonable degree of racial homogeneity, even if there is a degree of ethnic heterogeneity within the population. The same applies to other nations; there will be numbers of non-indigenous racial aliens in most nations and most peoples.

Political ideology, derived from the Civil War, two World Wars, and constant anti-racial postwar propaganda, has diminished America's early European-based racial identity. Without the two World Wars, and especially World War II, the momentum to racially diversify and pluralize America would never have gained traction nor culminated in the 1965 Immigration Act. America's current racial diversity is owed to this political ideology.

The argument that because America is a "nation of immigrants," whose founding population consisted of foreigners, should not only disregard racial or ethnic criteria but further loosen any relevant criteria for immigration, exploits a trivially true fact of America's early history that happens to be true for most nations in the world. Applying it consistently would cause every unique people, of every nation on Earth, to wither into abstraction.

[1] America, in fact, already has a "liberal" immigration policy. From 1925 to 1965, America used racial quotas to determine how many immigrants of each racial and ethnic group could immigrate to America. The 1965 Immigration Act abolished quotas. What Obama, the ADL, other Jewish and leftist groups, and Zuckerberg are trying to do is liberalize our policy even further, to not only disregard racial and ethnic issues but make immigration even easier, and make citizenship easy even for foreigners who arrive in America criminally.

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