[lit-ideas] Re: Long Live the Evolution

  • From: andy amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 06:56:49 -0700 (PDT)

Given the emotionality in this response, it's clear you know nothing at all 
about the book.  No one is deploring multiculturalism.  We are a country of 
pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants and St. Patrick's Day parades and 
Columbus Day parades and all the rest of it.  The point is that today's wave of 
immigration differs from past waves in their unwillingness to assimilate.  
Where the Italians and the Irish and the whoever came over with the thought of 
becoming Americans, staying here, learning the language, making this their 
country, today's largely Hispanic immigrants come to our shores not as would be 
Americans but as Mexicans, etc. who never really left Mexico, etc.  They come 
not to America but to a new and better Mexico.

> The book I am referring to is, Mexifornia: A State of Becoming, by=20
> Victor Davis Hanson.
> America the Melting Pot requires at least one ethnic response.  I=20
> wonder how people feel about the Balkanization of the United States=20
> into XXXXX-Americans.

M.C. Don't see anything wrong with it.

A.A.  You don't see anything wrong with Balkanization?

>  Students less often answer questions with "I feel" and more often=20
> with, among others,  "As a Latino-American I feel".

M.C. So?

A.A. So it's an us/you mentality, that's what.  Us/you is a loaded stance.  

>  Many American-born Hispanics (we'll pick on them because they are the=20=
> most numerous) dream of going back to an idealized  Mexico,

M.C. Seems like the most natural desire in the world.

A.A. Not, as stated above, for the earlier generations that built this country.

>  the same Mexico that would give them a far inferior way of life.

M.C. You know this for a fact, do you? Does *every* Mexican living in=20
Mexico have a life inferior to that of *every* Mexican living north of=20=
the border? I kinda doubt it.

A.A.  Every, no.  Most, yes.   The government is corrupt, the standard of 
living is low.  NAFTA didn't start out going to Mexico because the standard of 
living is comparable to the U.S.  There is no thriving middle class in Mexico.  
If there were, why would people literally die in the desert trying to get here, 
to take the lowest of the low jobs because that's better than what they could 
get there.

>   Likewise Chinese and all nationalities who have their feet planted=20=
> here while their hearts are elsewhere. 

M.C. "Nationalities" have neither feet nor hearts. People do. Where=20
peoples'  feet are is easy enough to observe, measure and quantify.=20
Where their hearts are is (a) impossible for you to know and (b) none=20
of your beeswax.

A.A.  This sounds inflammatory.   Not to mention that it is in fact possible to 
know where people's hearts are.  One need only look and listen.

>  Most menus require a second language,

M.C. Quelle horreur=A0! I can't believe that such barbarism is allowed=20=
within a nation so great as the USA! Excuse me, the shock is too great,=20=
I must go and lie down.

A.A.  You know, I like your way with words.  I can use you on my team.  The 
point I think that you're missing is that by segregating themselves into a 
position as essentially second class citizens, they do no one a favor, least of 
all themselves.   The argument usually proffered is that these people take the 
jobs English-speaking Americans don't want, so what's wrong with that.  Do you 
think this makes the people taking these miserable jobs feel good about 
themselves?  Do you think people who feel lousy about themselves are going to 
be contributing citizens in the long run?  Or do you personally favor the 
development of a servant class?

> and even the local Social Security offices "speak your language", by=20=
> the dozens.  Seems a schizy way to live, not just for the country but=20=
> for the individuals with joint loyalties as well.

M.C. It might be interesting to examine the presuppositions underlying=20=
this way of viewing things:  a nation's inhabitants should have only=20
one loyalty: their hearts and souls should be utterly and inalienably=20
devoted to the Fatherland. Sounds to me like an ideology of which=20
Goebbels would heartily approve.

A.A.  Sounding the fascism alarm ensures steering clear of the facts.  Do you 
get upset when people disagree with President Bush?  They are, after all, 
attacking an ideology.

M. C.   At the risk of being declared a rootless, parasitic =
intellectual,  I=20
will nevertheless declare my preference - by a country mile- for the=20
richness of multiculturalism. While less comfortingly secure than=20
jingoistic fascism, it can open our eyes to the infinite wealth of=20
every culture, every one of which has precious wisdom to contribute.=20
Nationalism of the kind illustrated above is just a hypertrophied=20
version of individual egotism, and is just as puerile and stupid: it=20
appeals to humanity's basest instincts. Hence its popularity,=20
especially amoing the ignorant.

A.A.  We are a multicultural country already.  We are moving from a 
multicultural country to a segregated country of upstairs/downstairs.  
Emotional responses such as yours don't see that people who move to a country 
without ever really moving to it are being jingoistic.  They are renting space 
instead of owning it, dreaming of returning to a place that essentially doesn't 
exist, hence my use of the word idealized.  Non-assimilation is in the 
interests of a new and better Mexico, not the United States of Americas.


        All best wishes, Mike.
Michael Chase=09
l'Annee Philologique

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