Immigration is a hot button issue to be sure.
Some believe, (myself among them) that perhaps it’s time to align our immigration policy closer to that which other nations employ.
Denmark is one of the most developed countries in the world. Because of their good educational, political and healthcare systems, all which are underwritten by the United States’ military, many people want to move there. Denmark has an exam that test prospective immigrants on their knowledge of Danish history and culture. This exam has a pass rate of less than 33%.
Libya, yes Libya. The current basket case of North Africa has strict rules about immigration, if you can believe it. What passes for their government even suspended tourist visas for a time.
Iran, astonishingly ranks in the top 10 for difficulty if you want to emigrate. Wait, what? Yes, just in case their human rights record isn’t enough.
North Korea? The penalty for immigrating illegally ranges from 2 years to death. You know, just in case you thought moving there would be a good idea.
Japan requires a 5-year residency in order to apply for citizenship, and the vetting process is exhausting. On the surface, their declining population makes this seem counter-intuitive, but their strides in robotics may make this a wash. Japan is one of those nations that have smoothed the marriage between Eastern Culture and Western Values. Good for them.
Switzerland requires a 12-year residency and complete cultural immersion. You have to acquire citizenship of a municipality before gaining national citizenship.
Austria requires anywhere between 15 and 30 years of residency before applying for citizenship.
Learning From History…
Nations, I have often repeated are Borders, Language, and Culture. Migration and Demographics are what tell the Story of Human History. Any nation that cannot control its borders has no borders, and therefore is not a nation.
The Winter of 406 A.D. saw the Rhine freeze. This ever-important barrier had served to separate the declining Roman Empire from the aggression of the migrating Germanic peoples. Increases in the population of the Central Asian peoples, created enormous pressure, pushing the tribes of the Vandals, Alans, and Suebi westward.
On New Year’s eve, the tribes crossed over the solid ice into what is modern-day France.
Most of the Roman towns on the migration route had been stripped of their garrisons to address the more direct threat of the Visigoths who had invaded Italy. Meeting with very little resistance, the ancestors of the modern day French settled into Gaul, displacing or inter-marrying with the Roman and Celtic inhabitants.
Fifty years later, in 476 A.D., the last Roman Emperor Romulus-Augustus abdicated, thus officially leaving Roman Hegemony in the hands of the Byzantines to the East.
The end of Rome as a world power did not signal the end of Western Civilization. Constantinople, would carry Rome’s mantle for centuries to come. The West would cede Rome’s North African Colonies to the encroaching Islamic tyranny, but the forming European states would grow and thrive as the barbaric tribes assimilated and adopted Western Values.
Men like Charles Martel and his descendent Charles The Great would stand firm. The values embodied in the triumvirate of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome would flourish and grow giving birth to the Enlightenment, the Post-modern era, and that outrageously useful i-Phone you’re carrying around.
Who Adapts To Whom?
This can last if, and only if the newcomers adopt Western Values. This requires some hard questions. Do recent immigrants have any experience with or knowledge of western style democracies? Do they believe in human rights? Or to put it another way: Are they making us better or worse? Are they a net benefit?
Political thinker Ben Shapiro takes a libertarian view on immigration, advocating the free flow of labor with one caveat – no welfare state. I can find a lot of merit in this stance. Of course, Shapiro concedes that the welfare state is a reality, and here to stay. I wish it weren’t, but it is. And since it is here to presumably stay, then you need a secure border. There’s no sane argument against this.
We need to be careful if newcomers hail from regions where equality of the sexes and freedom of speech are unfamiliar concepts. The idea is for newcomers to assimilate into the greater American Culture. Not for the newcomers to insist that American Culture adapts to them. The culture clash occurring in Europe is exactly what we want to avoid.
Demographics & Values
Rome as a nation did not survive the Germanic Migrations of the early first millennium. But they shared enough cultural values to enable a degree of assimilation. The Frenchman today relates to the Republican values of the Roman who lived 2,500 years ago. It’s safe to say that the German building his homestead in Alsace shared similar principles with the Gaul farming next to him. Both no doubt frowned upon “honor killings,” sanctioned incest, and welcomed the good habits of sanitation, hygiene, and the rule of law.
Not all was rainbows and unicorns, of course. In fact, during the Middle Ages, it should be noted that some nation states flirted with big-government feudalism. This was a system that created unnatural restraints. Trade, art, and the sciences did not flourish as much as they would during the coming Renaissance. But this is a subject for another article.
Demographics are everything. It is what makes the language and the culture within the borders. Culture is simply that which we value. Bill Maher of all people asked that if Germany was 51% Muslim, would it still be Germany? We need to ask the same question for the United States. If we were 51% fascist, would this still be the United States of America? If 51% of the people votes via referendum for a complete and immediate re-distribution of wealth, would we be the same country?