One thing that I’ve found interesting is the intrinsic solipsism possessed by many stranieri resident in the USA, some of whom actually think that pointing out the fact that their lack of an American heritage, or their children’s lack of an American heritage, comprises a coherent argument against my various observations and expectations for the future rather than underlining it. This email from an Englishman married to a Filippino is fairly par for the course.
I’m English and I moved to the States more than 20 years ago, as a young man. I’m a naturalized citizen. I voted for Obama twice and, this time around, I voted for Clinton, but I can understand why people recoil from the worst parts of her candidacy. Regardless, to me, as a European liberal, she was going to protect things that believe in. Not as much as Bernie might have, and I voted for him in the primaries. Anyway, this is all incidental and background. I wanted to ask you about the language of race ebing used by the alt-right and by Trump both during the election and afterward. And whether it makes you feel at all queasy.
As an empathetic person I’m always trying to understand both sides: I can see why someone in Virginia, or Pennsylvania, or Florida, or wherever, is upset that illegal immigrants have taken their jobs. And I understand, and have been outspoken in my way, about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism here, and everywhere. I understand it all. These are real threats, not imagined. But here’s my problem: how do we become unified as a country if some groups have been singled out to be treated differently? My wife was born here in the States, but her family is Filipino. Both her parents are doctors who came to the States in the 1970s. They have lived the American dream. They worked like dogs for years and now they own a big house in the middle of the country, and a house in California, and a house in the Philippines. They have their Audis and there Mercedes and their Porsches. Clearly, they deserve what they have worked for. We disagree politically. They voted for Trump, I think.
My wife is American. Speaks like an American. Went to school and got a master’s degree in America. Highly educated. And we’re waiting for the moment that someone who doesn’t know her walks up to her in a grocery store and tells her to go home. Where is home? She doesn’t speak Tagalog. She can’t go to the Philippines. And why should she. She’s American. Our children, we have three boys. I’m waiting for them to come home from school to tell me a classmate told them they’re different, not American enough, not good enough. That they are what’s wrong with America.
So I’m wondering, does the alt-right have any reservations at all about framing the discussion in this way. Identity politics is only okay if you can know for certain you’re getting the identities right. Isn’t diversity good? Right now, we’re wondering if we should take our American kids and try to get jobs in my native England instead. I’m not being egotistical but I think we have so much to offer America. We can’t do it if people look at my brown children and assume they have no place in shaping it. Do you have any concerns that demonizing the groups that people belong to instead of the bad actors within them will have negative results?
Taken to its logical conclusion: if Trump’s candidacy ignites a race war, would you be happy, or sad, or indifferent?
In answer to the questions:
- No, “the language of race” being used by the Alt-Right and by Trump doesn’t make me at all queasy. I think it has been remarkably restrained, considering the seriousness of the situation.
- Why would the Englishman be concerned about “the rise of Islamic fundamentalism” here and in England but reject the obvious American concerns about the invasion by people like him and his wife? Don’t Muslims have the same right to invade other countries and settle in them en masse that Englishmen and Filippinos do?
- The man’s wife and her parents should consider going home. Because it is home. They even have a home there! They’re not American. They are Filippino. That’s why they’re waiting for someone to tell her to go home. She knows she’s not at home in America and he knows it as well. It is no one else’s fault that she didn’t learn her native language and it is no one else’s problem either. His kids are not part of what is wrong with America because they are not American. They are invaders and settlers, just as the second-generation Muslims who have driven the native English out of Bradford are invaders and settlers.
- The Alt-Right has no reservations at all about framing the discussion this way. The Alt-Right does not hide from reality, whether we like it or not.
- Identity politics do not need to be “okay” any more than gravity or sunlight do. Identity politics are normal, historical human behavior that always dominate multiracial societies. And history shows that an angry invaded people fighting displacement in their own homeland tend not to be very careful about identities; the lines usually end up being drawn in a rather crude and binary fashion.
- No, diversity is not good. Diversity is very, very bad. Diversity destroys community. Diversity + Proximity = War.
- America neither wants nor needs what the Englishman is offering. Tens of millions of Americans would probably like to deport him on the basis of him being a foreigner who voted for Obama and Clinton alone. He and his children would have even more to offer the less-developed Philippines, but the truth is that he doesn’t give a damn about Americans, what they want, or what they need, he’s merely intent on living wherever he thinks it would be most beneficial to his family. He’s concerned now because he’s beginning to sense that the ground is shifting underneath his feet and it may not prove to be the most beneficial place in the future.
- Why should his brown children have any place in shaping America to their liking? They are not American and what they want is not what native Americans want. Geographic location is not nationality. I didn’t become Japanese because I lived in Tokyo, and I’m not Italian just because I reside in Italy and speak Italian. Nationality is not a difficult concept, it is not an abstract concept, and it consists of considerably more than official government paperwork.
- No one is “demonizing” anyone. To observe that the man, his wife, her parents, or his children have zero American heritage between them is not demonization, it is accurate observation. We can also observe that their behavior is very much in line with the Alt-Right’s predictive model for it. He’s not concerned that the Alt-Right is wrong, or evil, he’s concerned that we are correct.
- It is not Trump, his candidacy, his presidency, or the Alt-Right that will ignite a race war. What will ignite ethnic conflict in the USA is the same thing that has always ignited it everywhere around the world since the dawn of Man; the presence of different ethnicities in the same geographical location. This outcome has been the most likely one since 1965, and no amount of solipsism, handwringing, appeals to emotion, and searching for a Nazi bad guy is going to avert it.
BN has a rather different perspective:
Read your article today. On the train I dug out The Fate of Empires by John Glubb as it reminded me of what you were saying. It still amazes me the reaction one gets when it is shared with liberals. If they can move beyond coarsely dismissing the author they sputter and say “America is different. We are different.” Is there any scenario you see the identity politics and brewing ethnic tensions in the US de-escalates? I think if Trump utterly fails as president maybe it defers it. But just do not see him failing.
The fact is that only Donald Trump can significantly delay the inevitable strife, and he can only do so by accepting a lot more of it than most Americans are presently willing to accept. If Trump somehow managed to return the US demographics to 80-85 percent white in the next eight years through immigration restrictions and repatriations, that would buy the USA at least another generation, and possibly two, of relative domestic tranquility.
Even a return to the pre-1986 amnesty demographic balance would be a de-escalation scenario. But I find it very hard to believe that the God-Emperor Ascendant has the vision, or the nerve, to push that far ahead of the conceptual curve. The best we can probably hope for is that he will keep the situation from actually getting worse, and thereby stave off serious domestic conflict until an eventual financial collapse, which I anticipate in the early 2030s.
And finally, a reader from Bradford adds a somber note:
The community of my street doesn’t exist anymore. The social organizations don’t exist any more. It’s all been erased except that the stone, brick and mortar still stands.
Devastating. That is what the Englishman and his family have to offer America. Social destruction. And that is why all sane Americans should want them to go home, whether that is Manila or Bradford. It’s not about the quality of the immigrants, the scale of the mass migration has rendered that irrelevant now. It’s a simple and straightforward matter of quantity.
That is what the Alt-Right is standing against. That is why the Alt-Right exists.