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Huckabee: United States Does Integration Better than Europe

Mike Huckabee is a political rockstar in the United States.  Even atheist Democrats who disagree with many of his policies cannot help but be charmed by the former governor.  My friend and a fellow blogger Kevin (one such atheist Democrat) gives his take on this phenomenon at the blog Wyatt Gwyon:
Of the Republican candidates, Huckabee is the most straightforward in presentation and generally the most rigorous in his analyses… I certainly do not concur with the majority of the political positions that stereotypically come with his fundamentalist Christian system of belief, but I am clear on what he believes and can respect his convictions to those beliefs for their principled consistency. Huckabee is a profoundly known factor.
IMHO, style is what has buoyed Huckabee’s presidential bid.  It is not a coincidence that his campaign picked up momentum only a week after he became “Chuck Norris Approved” in a humorous commercial run  prior to him sweeping the Iowa primaries last week.

Huckabee has nonetheless been criticized for lacking a solid foreign policy platform.  This week, he dabbled on the issue of US-European relations by speculating who is better at cultural integration.  As reported by the National Review Online:
It is also difficult for us, with our culture of assimilation, to understand that life for European Muslims is different from life for American Muslims.  Muslims in Britain or the Netherlands or Germany are second-class citizens because those countries have more homogenous populations that don’t readily integrate outsiders.  Instead of melting pots, Europe has separate pots boiling over with alienation and despair. In some countries, like France, it is more a lack of economic integration, while in others, like Britain, it is more a lack of cultural integration, but whatever the reason, Europe is a much more fertile breeding ground for terror than the United States. Unintentionally, some of our closest allies are producing some of our clearest threats. 
I agree with Huckabee that Europe does a poorer job of integration than the US, and that this can breed violence.  However, I find it difficult to pin exactly why the US is a more successful 'melting pot'.  Perhaps one factor is upward mobility: I suspect an individual can transcend their parentage easier in the US than in most European countries, which in turn mitigates social and cultural stratification.

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Don S on :

"Perhaps one factor is upward mobility: I suspect an individual can transcend their parentage easier in the US than in most European countries, which in turn mitigates social and cultural stratification." I think a critical factor is the tertiary education system in the US, which is far more pervasive and varied than it is in Europe. France and Germany may do a significantly better job in secondary education than the US does although it is questionable how many slots in the superior gymnasnia and ecoles are practically available to assimilated (or non-assimilated) minorities in these countries. But the US has many more colleges, universities, junior colleges, and technical schools available to students at all levels of achievement. Immigrants may be relatively late-starter so adult education may be a critical factor for their development and may leave their children with a worse relative disadvantage than immigrants children in the US do. The only European countries I know in any detail are Italy and the UK. In Italy in particular the university system is poorly funded and immensly overcrowded, so advancement in Italy is more dependent on interest and lever-pulling. Who you know and what leverage you can exercise matter far more in Italy than native merit and achievement. I don't think that is necessarily the case in Germany and France however. Rather in those two countries I think it matter's critically which children get into the best preperatory schools. It's all done by merit, of course. But merit can be manufactured or influenced heavily by middle-0class parents. This is certainly the case in the UK by my observation. It's also the case in the US of course. But the US has so many good colleges and universities that it matters less. The immigrant child may not get into Harvard or Berkeley, but Tufts or U Cal Riverside (very good substitutes) may be open to them.

Pat Patterson on :

Agreed, yet the pollen count in Riverside in the fall and spring is brutal.

SC on :

Interesting take. I've one problem with it. The proliferation of universities, colleges, junior colleges and the like is a relatively recent phenomenon; and assimilation success in the US is much older.

Don S on :

I'm not sure that is actually true, SC. It's true that there are a lot more universities in the US than there once were (a lot of the growth occured during the 60's and 70's). But many of those *new* universities were actually promotions from other kinds of schools. Teacher's colleges, junior colleges, various kinds of technical schools, etc. Don't forget that high-quality *finishing* education was not limited to colleges and universities in times past - there were many very high-quality high schools which fulfilled a similar function to what universities do now. Ex-President Harry Truman was a product of such a high school located in Kansas City, a city whose high schools had a enviable reputation for many years. Another difference is the lack of private universities and colleges in most of Europe. Switzerland has a few and there is Bocconi in Milan but I'm not aware of any others. Private colleges predate most public colleges in the US; I believe the first public university was the University of Virginia. In earlier days I think schooling had an impact (the US had better mass-schooling than any European country of the time). But assimilation was also promoted by the fact that a newcomer could head out to a frontier and clain a chunk of land gratis (or almost gratis), thus instantly promoting himself into the middling classes. Many communities of immigrants were single-nationality and spoke German, Russian, or other languages within their bounds, only really integrating in the second generation (if not later). So you're kind of correct but also kind of wrong in implying that the growth of universities is a recent phenomena; Calling them universities is recent, yes. But the schools existed well beforehand in most cases, I think.

Pat Patterson on :

I agree with Don S here as, for example in California, the older JCs or community colleges were founded as early as the late 1890's into the early 20's. Well before the post war baby boom generation made higher education available and virtually mandatory for professional success. I can use my own family as an example as my grandfather, in the early part of the 20th century, was only able to finish 9th grade in Scotland and then went into the mines before emigrating to the US. While his sons were able to finish high school and one went on to a JC in California and then ultimately to a state college. None of this would have happened in Scotland if the family had stayed.

SC on :

"So you're kind of correct but also kind of wrong in implying that the growth of universities is a recent phenomena; Calling them universities is recent, yes. But the schools existed well beforehand in most cases, I think." That's fair, and on reflection, I agree. Both you and Pat raise good points, in particular by pointing to the teachers colleges throughout the country that later became universities, or for that matter finishing schools that similarly transformed: One of the later I should never have overlooked is Stephens College which sits next door to the University of Missouri. Also, I wasn't aware that the JC system in California went back that far, Pat. Interesting. I suppose my view is a bit prejudiced by my own family history: Beginning the American adventure in the late 1870's or 80's, midwestern always, farmers and working class, mine being the first generation with more than a high school education. And while that may be a common of experience, the availability and awareness of tertiary education in a variety of forms may vary well have played its part in the sense of opportunity here unbound.

Don S on :

One reason I was so kinda kinda in the previous post is because while the schools did exist before 1960 it's also true that per-school enrollment expanded a great deal in the post-WWII era, so in that sense you're initial thesis is perfectly correct, SC. My point that the US retains it's long term advantage in availability of mass education compared to Europe is equally true. My family history is similar to yours & Pat's. My grandfather parlayed a good high school education into an executive career during the Depression until health problems made him an invalid. My mother was the first college grad in the family; about half of my generation of cousins are college grads; two hold professional degrees (JD and MBA), and a third is working on a masters of Philosophy.

SC on :

Also, your points about the importance of elementary and secondary education as well as the "frontier" are hard to overstate when talking about assimilation or the building of, as you put it, a middling class.

Detlef on :

Well, if the communist rag "The Economist" is right then upward mobility is now lower in the USA than in Europe. I do seem to remember that print edition. Or was is the WSJ? "the U.S. and the UK are "the least mobile societies" among the world's "rich countries." France and Germany "are somewhat more mobile than the U.S.; Canada and the Nordic countries are much more so." http://tinyurl.com/2n784n "Land of opportunity" "More telling, maybe, is the international comparison. America stands lower in the ranking of income mobility than most of the countries whose data allow the comparison, scoring worse than Canada, all of the Scandinavian countries, and possibly even Germany and Britain (the data are imperfect, and different studies give slightly different results). Strikingly, the research suggests that mobility within America’s middle-income bands is similar to that in many other countries. The stickiness is at the top and the bottom. According to one much-cited study, for instance, more than 40 percent of American boys born into the poorest fifth of the population stay there; the figure for Britain is 30 percent, for Denmark just 25 percent. In America, more than in other advanced economies, poor children stay poor. Other data show that in America, more than in, say, Britain, rich children stay rich as well."

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

Interesting article in Spiegel Online says: "Integration is back on the political agenda in Germany these days. The xenophobic rhetoric underscores decades of foreigner bashing by the country's politicians. And it may explain why immigrant youth here have fewer opportunities than in any other industrialized country." ...AND... "Fully 59.4 percent of Germans either "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement that too many foreigners live in Germany -- an increase of 6 percent over 2002. In addition, 35.3 percent of those polled agreed that foreigners should be sent home should there be a shortage of jobs in Germany, up from 27.7 percent in 2002." http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,527694,00.html

Zyme on :

Is this a surprise? Around 40% of all children here have a migration background. Which people on this planet would blindly tolerate such developments?

SC on :

Interesting points, Detlief. But you've left me, at least, to wonder what you make of them. You've got some data there. What's your interpretation?

Don S on :

"Well, if the communist rag "The Economist" is right then upward mobility is now lower in the USA than in Europe." Sadly this seems to be true. But an equally important question is what form the social mobility is taking: i.e. which demographic groups are upwardly-mobile - and which are not? Another piece from the 'communist rag Economist' detailed how the formerly 'Red' suburbs of Paris, Lyons, Lille, Toulouse, etc have converted from being the habitant of the 'Red' French working-class to Muslims, many of them non-working. This seems to have occurred from 1975-on. Many French working-class (or their children) have left these suburbs. Presumably most of them are upwardly-mobile. But the Muslims don't seem to be upward-mobile. This may leave France with good-looking statistics but also a huge social justice problem. Something similar seems to be happening in Belgium, Nederlands, and the Nordics; I am less certain about Germany, Italy, and Spain. The situation in the US is somewhat different. Many whites have been upwardly-mobile - until this decade, anyway. The old negro working-poor class split during the period 1965-1980, with perhaps half upwardly-mobile but many of the rest sinking into the non-working underclass. Muslims in the US comprise two groups - immigrants and Black Muslims. The latter group share the experience of other negros both good and bad, but the immigrants frequently are educated, hard-working & ambitious, or both. Muslims are not noted as slum-dwellers in the US. I'm pretty certain that social classes are being formed throughout the western world, but the specifics vary. I'm far from certain that the situation in Europe is any better than that in the US, despite income-mobility statistics. Both societies have been badly failing in building bridges up for the underclass, although the development of an underclas is of more recent vintage in Europe than in the US, and so you have more comforting statistics. I doubt Europeans who look under the statistic will be comforted, however....

Zyme on :

It would be quite suprising if the US was doing a worse job at integrating foreign people. How could a country be more accommodating than by having a philosophy of mixing everything in a melting pot? In Europe immigrants have to meet more demands than just saying they want to become good citizens. This varies of course between the european states. In Germany for example you have a very good position for immigration if you can prove german ancestorship. If you can´t, well tough luck. Although this enables many people´s naturalization due to a german ancestor living more than a century ago, it does keep our cultural homogeneity from exploding. Since this homogeneity is a fundamental trait of our people, you cannot simply ignore it without endangering the integrity of our society and creating contempt among the natives. Personally I support the naturalization of merited foreigners as long as they have accepted german values. But I would also think of a quick denaturalization of those first generation immigrants that violate the law to be worth considering.

Reid of America on :

I believe the US has a much higher caliber of Muslim immigrants than does Europe. In the US, Muslims have above average incomes and below average social problems such as crime and poverty. Muslims only make up 1% of the US population. Why is this? The US isn't importing Muslims for menial labor. That is largely done by hispanic immigrants from south of the border.

quo vadis on :

There are a number of reasons, but I think perhaps the most important is the nature and origin of American culture and of Americans themselves. There is no ‘native’ culture in the US. The original Native American (aboriginal) culture was long ago supplanted by a composite immigrant culture. The shared ancestral experience for Americans is the experience of the immigrant and our ancestral icon is not a Roman Legionnaire, a Louis XIV courtier or a Teutonic knight (or whatever), it is the confused and hopeful immigrant stumbling through Ellis Island. Few of us can trace our American ancestry back more than 3 or 4 generations and many of us knew some of our immigrant ancestors personally. I was accustomed to hearing my mother speak Italian to her parents when we would visit them. The source of one’s Americanism is not one’s genes or ‘roots', rather it’s something you acquire by leaving your ancestral roots behind. My own ancestral lands are scattered all over Europe and North Africa and all seem completely foreign to me. The rootless nature of the typical American makes it difficult for any of us to regard those whose families immigrated more recently as somehow less authentically American.

Zyme on :

Convincing description!

Don S on :

"makes it difficult for any of us to regard those whose families immigrated more recently as somehow less authentically American." Except for Mexican illegal immigrants, of course. The irony is that most Mexicans clearly descend from indian tribes and thus are MORE authentically American (if anything) than us children of immigrants. In a geographical sense at least.

Zyme on :

Could it be then that the original identity of the land of emigrants is vanishing and a cultural establishment takes over in the US as well?

Don S on :

Hmm, interesting question, Zyme. I don't think so, at least not among the older ethnic groups (Irish, Italian, Germans, Chinese, Nisei). Ethnicity has in some ways become a hobby for many of them. I originally come from Milwaukee, which holds a series of elaborate ethnic festivals each year during the summer (Italian Fest, German Fest, etc). I don't claim to understand the illegal immigration backlash of the past few years because I haven't lived in the US since 1999, but it is clearly concerned largely with Mexicans and other Latinos because they form the bulk of illegal immigrants in the US. I don't realy get it except that it seems to have todo with fears of unlimited numbers of illegals crossing the borders and overwhelming the local taxpayers with demands for welfare payments, social services, schooling, health care, etc. Legally enforced bilingualism seems to be a particular target and possibly fears that Latinos will take over entire swathes of US territory from the current inhabitants in some areas. I don't understand or like the backlash so I took the opportunity to tease the backlashers by pointing out that most Mexicans are actually more authentic Americans than us realtive latecomers measured by the length of tenancy of our ancestors. At base I think it's part of a seperate phemomena, the growth of social classes in the US. We used to pride ourselves on being the 'Classless Society', but that no longer seems to be true. The basic paradigm continues to hold force, however. We still regard ourselves as a country of immigrants even though we don't treat our Mexican bretheren consistently npw. Never have, really.

Anonymous on :

Don S: The motive behind the anti-illegal immigration campaign differs from state to state. Some of it, the Tancredo type, is based upon good ole nativism and racist fears of a brown wave overwhelming our beautiful lilly-white counties. In other states, it is a question of economic well-being and social concord. When a certain segment of the population only follows the laws that benefit them, it stirs up resentment. And the lack of any local government enforcement of existing state laws regulating employment, building codes, driving insurance/licensing et cetera only annoys the local electorate even more. No one wants to see the establishment of generational barrios/ghettos like in Brooklyn, New Orleans or LA, where the writ of the law does not run and families live in a parallel society and economy.

SC on :

Don, don't confuse last summer's opposition to Congressional legislation with blanket opposition to immigration: overlap to be sure; but not the same as Anonymous, in part, points out. Zyme, indeed raises an interesting question which I would phrase this way: At what point will American identity become as rooted as he has described German identity? To me it would only be possible after a very extended period in which immigration was insignificant as a demographic dynamic; which has not occurred except for historically brief periods, and is not likely to occur anytime soon. On a side note, I spent a semester's leave in Texas in the fall of '04. Only because of that time do I have any sense of why President Bush has been so out-of-step with, or has had such a tin ear for, the unease that uncontrolled immigration along the Mexican border causes with a large number of people. Texas, and I assume the border states generally, are just a different experience having lived with that reality for as long as the border has existed, really. The irony is that because of that long history, Hispanic immigrants, particularly from Mexico, may turn out to be the most assimilable of all the immigrant waves so far. This isn't, however, to say that responsible government oversight of the borders isn't necessary or good.

Don S on :

"Hispanic immigrants, particularly from Mexico, may turn out to be the most assimilable of all the immigrant waves so far." True. I became aware of this while reading two of James Michener's books- "Texas" and "Centennial". One of the characters in "Texas" was a Mexican-American whose ancestors had lived longer in Texas than any anglo not descended from American Indians. MExican immigrants are also major characters in 'Centennial', Mexicans have a long hisoty of coming to the US and assimilating.

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

I received an email today with some immigration statistics that may help explain some of the US backlash: "You think the war in Iraq is expensive, check this out 1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year. http://tinyurl.com/zob77 2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html 3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens. http://www.cis.org/art icles/2004/fiscalexec.html 4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English! http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.0.html 5. $17 Bi llion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 7. 30% percen t of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers. http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html < http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.htm l> 9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime probl e m in the US http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html 11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many a s 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, c rossed into the U. S from the Southern border. Homeland Security Re port: http://tinyurl.com/t9sht 12. The National Policy Institute, 'estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.' http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pdf http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pd f& gt; 13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm 14. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States '. http://www.drdsk.com/articleshtml The total cost is a whopping . $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR"

Kyle - Atlantic Review on :

I received an email today with some immigration statistics that may help explain some of the US backlash: "You think the war in Iraq is expensive, check this out 1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year. http://tinyurl.com/zob77 2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html 3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens. http://www.cis.org/art icles/2004/fiscalexec.html 4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English! http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.0.html 5. $17 Bi llion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 7. 30% percen t of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers. http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html < http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.htm l> 9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html 10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime probl e m in the US http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html 11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many a s 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, c rossed into the U. S from the Southern border. Homeland Security Re port: http://tinyurl.com/t9sht 12. The National Policy Institute, 'estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.' http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pdf http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pd f& gt; 13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm 14. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States '. http://www.drdsk.com/articleshtml The total cost is a whopping . $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR"

quo vadis on :

Not likely anytime soon. 1 in 5 Americans is either an immigrant since th 1960s or a descendant of one of those immigrants.

Anonymous on :

That would be meso-American indian tribes which have what to do with northern American indian tribes?

Don S on :

Meso-American indians are just as American as north American indians. People customarily use "American" instead of anything more precise; Latin Americans have an equal claim to American identity. If you count length of tenancy, more of a claim!

Anonymous on :

Very true, but what claim do Mesos have in el Norte? Aztecs, Olmecs yada yada never made it to Arizona, California, Michigan or New Mexico. The Mestizoes did and got whupped.

Don S on :

The classical view of how Indians spread into the Americas was that they were Asians who crossed the Bering Strait in Alaska. I don't know what the current scholarly view is, but if that theory is true than every American Indian of whatever nationality is descended from north American indians. A long time ago perhaps, but who sets the cutoff point? As a practical and legal matter I agree that generational barrios/ghettos aren't a good thing. But I can't agree with the moral argument that descendants of European immigrants have a better moral claim on the land than current Latinos. If that were so then North American Indians have a claim which trumps that of any European immigrant; perhaps we should all be compelled to move back to Europe, Africa, and Asia on moral grounds?

Anonymous on :

Never said anything about having a more moral claim to inhabiting the continuous United States. Just attempted to point out that this La Razza race based historic perspective is tenuous per its own racist criteria (all central Americans are mestizoes other than .01%) and causally suspect (i.e since the Olmecs were subjugated by the later Aztecs, should the Olmecs descendants receive preferential treatment in central Mexico? Can DNA tell the two apart?). When has an historic right based on race ever ended peacefully?

Elisabeth on :

The easy answer is the difference between a nation state modelled on ethnicity and territorial boundaries versus one inspired by an idea. The assimilative process for an immigrant to America becomes much easier due to the simple fact that all he has to do is profess his allegience to the American idea, take a test, and it is socially unacceptable to question his sincereity ( I have never seen it happen). Whereas in Europe, even second generation citizens are often referred to as foreigners or by their father's country of origin. Another component is cultural attitudes. The evolving frontier allowed American culture to be more welcoming to immigrants in its inception--there is always more land and room. This expansive conception has influenced our economic thinking as well. We do not usually consider prosperity as a zero-sum proposition; hence, immigrants doing well does not irk the locals. I have never encountered that attitude amongst the middle class in Europe. Finally I would add that American culture is more aware of the assimilative process being determined by how the wanted the immigrants feel. Not just social seminars and special employment programs at the Auslaenderamt but does it appear that the locals welcome your presence and, one hopes, contribution to society? Isaiah Berlin said it best that 'to be an object of contempt or patronizing tolerance is one of the more pyschologically damaging events an individual or society can suffer.' (paraphrase). I dont think the Europeans have cottoned on to that fact.

Don S on :

"The evolving frontier allowed American culture to be more welcoming to immigrants in its inception--there is always more land and room. Quite a profound observation I think. When nativist sentiments in the US are strong it's usually correlated with economic hard times. The Mitchell Palmer/KKK revival of the early 20's and Ross Perot's "Giant Sucking sound" of the early 90's were driven by the post-WWI recession and the recession fo the early 90's, respectively. I think the backlash against illegal immigrants of the past few years has been driven by economic insecurity as well. Many people in the middle classes have experienced salary cuts this decade and I think virtually everyone knows somebody who has been impacted. Even people who haven't yet been impacted by globalisation know they are vulnerable. Factory jobs have been outsourced abroad for a generation but now a lot of knowledge work is also going to India and China. Knowledge workers form perhaps half of the US workforce. Add in manufacturing workers (or those who would have been factory workers a generation ago and are now in low-paying service jobs) and you may well have a functional majority of the US electorate who are already downwardly-mobile or whom fear it. Knowledge work was a refuge from shrinking manufacturing employment for my generation; now there are no refuges left! One group of knowledge workers have no clue about this: tenured academics and think-tank academics who assure us that everything is peachy. Which it is, for them. Their jobs can't be outsourced. Politicians have mostly been oblivious as well; but the chickens are coming home to roost. One advantage of the US political system is that it provides a way to force politicians to listen every 4 years, and a loud message is being delivered this year I think! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_sucking_sound http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmer_Raids

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