Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One Generation, One Vote

John Derbyshire is still not assimilated. While discussing “moral universalism” (the theory that we should not discriminate between would-be immigrants from different parts of the globe), he wrote:
I am curious to know just how "basic" that moral universalism is. In respect of immigration policy, it is a pretty recent addition to our "basics." Fifty years ago nobody would have known what you were talking about. Everyone understood that immigrants from some regions and cultures were to be preferred over those from others. Even Edward Kennedy, speaking in the U.S. Senate in support of the 1965 Immigration Act, took pains to assure the chamber that: "The ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. ... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa or Asia..." Where is the moral universalism there? If Senator Kennedy had been a moral universalist, or believed that his voters were, why would he have felt the need to say those things? What would it matter what happened to the "ethnic mix," or which "country or area" immigrants came from?
Recent innovation? The United States didn't discriminate between voluntary immigrants from different areas before 1882. Immigration discrimination was the law for less than 2/5 of American history. It occupies the approximately the same amount of American history as slavery or legalized abortion. By the standards of “One Generation, One Vote,” it is not part of American tradition.

Even during the immigration discrimination period, observers could tell it was an alien idea. (It was based on an attempt to turn the United States into a fake European nation. Why do you think Senator Kennedy was in favor of it?) For example, according to G. K. Chesterton:

…: America invites all men to become citizens; but it implies the dogma that there is such a thing as citizenship. Only, so far as its primary ideal is concerned, its exclusiveness is religious because it is not racial. The missionary can condemn a cannibal, precisely because he cannot condemn a Sandwich Islander. And in something of the same spirit the American may exclude a polygamist, precisely because he cannot exclude a Turk.

Now in America this is no idle theory. It may have been theoretical, though it was thoroughly sincere, when that great Virginian gentleman declared it in surroundings that still had something of the character of an English countryside. It is not merely theoretical now. There is nothing to prevent America being literally invaded by Turks, as she is invaded by Jews or Bulgars. …

I will admit that the current multicultural fad is a recent, regrettable, and (I hope) temporary innovation.


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