QUOTE OF THE DAY - TEACHING VALUES TO IMMIGRANTS - AT 10:58 A.M. ET: Directly related to the story below, Britain's great columnist, Janet Daley, remarks on the need to teach immigrants the values of the societies they're entering, something not always done. From The Telegraph:
How do you create a home-grown terrorist? For a while, Britain seemed to hold the copyright on the formula for this. First, you import a huge number of people from places where there are unresolved historical conflicts, with no stipulation that they learn anything about their adopted homeland (not even its language). Then you make no attempt to integrate these groups – which are large enough to constitute self-sustaining communities – into the culture and political traditions of the country that is now their home, nor do you advise the schools to inculcate any sense of pride or pleasure in the new national identity to which they are entitled...
...So eager are you to show that you accept other cultures whose attitudes and assumptions (on, for example, the treatment of women) are opposed to the official values of your society, that you benevolently overlook what is being taught in their schools even when those schools are being supported by government funding.
Daley points out that this has been the British way. She notes that America thought that "it can't happen here," until recently.
When the Muslim American Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, he did not just murder his military colleagues: he killed the American illusion that "it couldn't happen here." And he unleashed an argument not just on practical topics such as racial profiling but on the much wider question of how much America's foreign policy decisions – how it should conduct itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – should be influenced by the feelings of minority groups within the US itself.
The left, led by its journalistic shock troops, argued that Major Hasan was just a stressed-out shrink who snapped. Nothing to do with militant Islam, nothing to do. At the same time, the left argues that our "policies" inflame Muslims and lead to things like this. Daley notes the left's problem:
The Left-liberal camp is now in the rather uncomfortable position of holding two contradictory interpretations of Major Hasan's actions. There is the one that Mr Krauthammer describes: this incident is a one-off act of lunacy, so the fact that Hasan was a Muslim is of no importance (even if he thinks it was – after all, he is insane).
But the other argument made by the Left puts Hasan's religion at the centre of his action: Muslims, even ones born and bred in the US, are being driven to violence by American foreign policy.
What a miasma of moral confusion we are succumbing to – all for the sake of avoiding a question that must be asked: how does a liberal society cope with a minority in whose name acts of violence are carried out in its midst? Surely the answer must involve a much more muscular liberalism: a robust belief in the values that permit people of different beliefs to live together peaceably and an unapologetic determination to enforce those values in every quarter of the country.
COMMENT: That's what liberalism used to stand for, but no more. Now it's a term that's often a euphemism for something much further left. That is especially true in Britain and Europe.
Daley nails it: How do we welcome people of "other cultures," while at the same time demanding that they adhere to American values? Or British values? Strange, but we did it so well at one point. When I was growing up, and attending school in the once-great New York City school system, it was expected that we would pledge allegiance to the flag, sing patriotic songs, and learn, without apology, about the great ideas that are the foundation of this country.
If you were an immigrant, you were expected to become an American. Yes, the melting pot never fully melted. People clung to old cultures, but, at the same time, they wanted their children to be fully American, while respecting the traditional ways.
Today, we've become far too accepting of the notion that an immigrant group can stay foreign and not accept their new country. There can be no America if that attitude persists, but "no America" would be just fine in some precincts of the left. They relish the thought.
We don't want to go backward, but a return to a higher notion of immigration would not be a bad thing. The motto of the United States - "Out of many, one" - should guide us.
November 29, 2009