Is the United States no longer One Country, Indivisible?

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Americans as individualists create their own communities through their families.  Individualism is a considered and peaceful sentiment that disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and to withdraw to the side with his family and his friends; so that, after thus creating a small society for his own use, he willingly abandons the large society to itself.”  I like his joining individualism and community.  One needs freedom to express individualism, and the Declaration and Constitution are nothing if not about freedom.  Individualism does not mean being a loner, but freedom to be a part of a community that allows expression.  Tocqueville’s time in America was when our people were mostly born here. The waves of immigration would soon follow, beginning with the Irish potato famine.  John Quincy Adams said of immigration, “The American Republic invites nobody to come. We will keep out nobody.  Arrivals will suffer no disadvantages as aliens. But they can expect no advantages either, Native-born and foreign-born face equal opportunities.  What happens to them depends entirely on their individual ability and exertions and on good fortune.”  The community of family and neighbors Tocqueville described includes immigrants that meet the Adams description.  The Founders wanted immigrants who came here wanting to be Americans, and there has been no shortage of them since.  But immigration restrictions began in 1895, when Ellis Island and a few other port cities on the Pacific and Atlantic established immigration stations. Shortly thereafter the law closed immigration to some by the Chinese Exclusion Act.  Then during World War II Japanese-American citizens were “resettled” off the West Coast to internment camps.  A country that would exclude some and remove others is a country that would later come to an even lower point in enacting eugenics laws and sterilize some of its citizens. Immigration has been a progressive playground since 1895, and continues today.

American culture has from the beginning meant to except itself from Europe’s culture.  In fact, immigrants coming to America from Europe came because they were fleeing from Europe.  After the Civil War, the economy flourished, productivity increased, food, clothing and housing costs were cheaper here, and economic opportunity afforded discretionary spending among some of the population. Many American families sent children to Europe to study in universities; they brought back European ideas of culture, philosophy, education, et al.  Their education, unsuited for commerce & industry, they found employment in American universities and the federal government. They taught progressive philosophy in American universities and implemented the same in government.  Some of these educated citizens feathered their own nests by convincing the people that more educated people would bring efficiency and better administration to government. Too often it has not worked that way.  Consider the following: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”  This was Oliver Wendell Holmes’ point in authorizing Virginia law to surgically sterilize certain “mental defectives” without their consent (Buck v. Bell 1927). Today, America is threatened by European “multiculturalism” from the same elites who formerly sterilized people.  Thomas Klingenstein in an essay published by The Claremont Institute’s “American Mind” summarizes what multiculturalism is:

“Multiculturalism [a political philosophy] conceives of society as a collection of      cultural identity groups, each with its own worldview, all oppressed by white males, collectively existing within permeable national boundaries… It carves “tribes” out of a society whose most extraordinary success has been their assimilation into one people.  It makes education a political exercise in the liberation of an increasing number of ‘others,’ and makes American history a collection of stories of white oppression, thereby dismantling our unifying, self-affirming narrative – without which no nation can long survive.”

The Civil War was waged on the basis of two different understandings of Justice – equality of rights for all or unequal rights for some.  Winning that War saved the nation.  Today, splintering the nation among the separate identities of multiculturalism threatens again to embrace two different bases for Justice.  One based on the Constitution, the other on social “justice”, defined solely on “results” for some part of the population.  If results for a “tribe” within America are not “right” – defined by that community — social justice provides compensation to that community.  This is flat out wrong with the Declaration and the Constitution and is as great a threat to the nation as was slavery in the past.                                                                                     February 17, 2020