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Monday, June 17, 2013

Coming to America

How does one define a nation? That is truly the fundamental question of amnesty.

The libertarian argument in favor of amnesty comes down to the question of whether nations even necessary at all. If the only characteristic that matters is freedom then borders and the other vestiges of nationhood only interfere with the flow of the free market.

America then becomes a set of ideas and its only usefulness is as a space for harboring those ideas. This ideological definition of a nation demands that it sacrifice its survival to its ideas.

This notion is found most strongly among liberals for whom the actual physical survival of the country ranks a distant second to its duty to live up to its ideals. That is why liberals can argue that torture is wrong even in a ticking nuclear bomb scenario.

In the real world countries don't do well as vehicles for ideology. A country is a practical entity that encompasses the real life needs and challenges of people, while an ideology tends toward rigid self-righteous fantasies. Countries need ideologies to define them, but becoming prisoners to rigid ideological ideals can destroy them.

Any ideology whose logic is followed to its final conclusion leads to a horrifying and unlivable society.

The logic of libertarian amnesty would fill the voting rolls full of supporters of big government and the welfare state in the name of economic freedom. It's not the worst illustration of how ideologies commit suicide through following the siren song of their logic to the farthest north. It's not even the worst such example involving immigration. That honor belongs to the European left whose immigration policies have doomed the survival of every value it claims to care for. But it is typical of the destruction wrought by dismissing people and their nations as interchangeable cogs in a machine of ideas.

The multicultural left is not entirely wrong about cultural relativism; it is only wrong in assuming that its existence demonstrates the lack of any absolute values or truths.

To a tribal society, America is a land forever in contention and American leaders are mere tyrants who represent no one. In a tribal society where legitimacy stems from family, the President of the United States is no more than a bandit with a large army and a heap of weapons. Not only does he have no tribe, but he boasts of his confusing tribelessness in his books, at times pretending to be a member of different tribes.

America is a power to tribals, not a tribe. An empire that fills its land with tribes and imagines that it can rule over them. A land in which their tribe may rise supreme.

What happens when an identity based on economic regulation or deregulation meets one based on family? The expansion of the welfare state is only one of the minor consequences of this collision. Democrats and Republicans have come to think of themselves as regulators and deregulators, but for all the flowery prose that gets trotted out at conventions, this is less an identity than an engineering philosophy of government that has little meaning to tribals who view government as either "mine" or "yours", as a source of patronage, money and power to their tribe or to their rivals.

Family is largely immune to the clash of ideas. Ideas are for introverted societies exploring their own depths while families are for extroverted societies bound on missions of conquest. While the introverted society explores inner space, the extroverted society explores the outer space at its borders. 

While the ideologues study to see how the tribals will fit into their plans, the tribals are checking out the real estate. That is how it happened in the Roman Empire. That is how it happening in the clumsy new Rome of the EU.

19 comments:

Edward Cefala said...

Sultan, you're the man. But you mispelled well as we'll.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

thanks, it was auto-correct

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with you, but you always are profound. I will be buying your book when it is published!

Naresh Krishnamoorti said...

Perhaps your last two essays can be rewritten at a later time. They contain brilliant insights, but are poorly argued. The antepenultimate paragraph in The End of Control is the key to that essay.

In this one, the key is that libertarians don't understand human nature, or how human beings form communities and societies. Man is not a disembodied spirit who lives on ideas alone. He is flesh and blood and has natural affinities for his family, his culture, his community, etc. There was a time, a long time ago, when Gary Wills had something intelligent to say, and he argued that the essence of American conservatism is anti-ideological.

fsy said...

Here's the issue:

My family spent 2 generations in America. My father was born in the U.S., my mother in Rumania (she came over as a baby in 1920.) My brother and I who grew up in America now live in Israel because it seems like the place for a Jew to be. It's a little scary (more than a little actually), but America no longer seems as safe as it did back in the 70's, say.

The point? The U.S.A. is just a geographical location roughly between two lines of latitude and between the Atlantic and the Pacific. For many many of its residents, it is only an ideology that can make it into a nation, but here you show the paradoxical nature of that fact. What now?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

fsy, it means avoiding overcommitting to a simple definition and understanding that there has to be a balance

a nation needs ideas but it cannot be an idea

a nation must be a people, but it cannot only be a people

TL Winslow said...

Yes, the history of the Roman Empire can be very instructive when it comes to the US-Mexico issue, but not in the way DG thinks.

Since 9 C.E. when the Germans kicked Roman butt and the Romans gave up their plans of absorbing Germania as a Roman province, wave after wave broke the limes (wall) and invaded the happy peaceful Roman Empire, taking bite after bite out of it. Yes, they repelled them for centuries, but in the early 400s the "inferior" Germans finally sacked Rome, forcing the Romans to give them Gaul and even make them Roman citizens. They even helped the Romans expel Attila the Hun, but just 25 years later they saw their chance and took over, breaking the empire up into several German kingdoms ran by relatives. The Roman Empire was kaput, and after the Muslims began invading, the Dark Ages set in.

So what's the lesson? We should accept Mexico and its Mexicans as part of the American Empire as full U.S. citizens now and not let it degenerate into a wasteful and dangerous long-term war that only makes us weaker. Right now the American public is stuck on stupid and thinks we can build and maintain limes like the Romans did, while at the same time knowing that they won't hold them. They even toy with the idea of granting citizenship to the fraction that successfully breached the limes, which actually is like allowing Mexico to annex us, keeping their corrupt Mexican govt. intact, able to make alliances with our worst enemies. But the only real solution all along is to accept all Mexicans as U.S. citizens in return for them abolishing their failed runt nation and its ever-corrupt govt. and setting up 10 new states, letting one govt. rule all, ours, complete with our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It can be done with a plebiscite, starting with an offer of immediate U.S. citizenship for every Mexican on both sides pledging to support the megamerge.

A 60-state U.S. can finally secure its borders on the south side at the Mexican coasts, and easily control immigration from overseas. There will be no Germania next door trying to break through our limes, and we will become E Pluribus Unum, with the freedom solution allowing free 2-way migration that will develop the new states to the same level as the other 50, creating an economic boom and reducing unemployment to zilcho. It's only when the border is viewed as a unidirectional sieve that evil desperate apocalyptic thoughts come, but after the border is erased, allowing non-Mexican "gringos" to freely migrate south, the solution becomes pure good, win-win. Imagine gringo-Americans born in Veracruz and Mexican-Americans born in LA running for Congress at the same time. Imagine some of the new states having a non-Mexican majority.

Only I have a far-seeing bipartisan 7-step plan on the table. Spend the time to visit my Megamerge Dissolution Solution Blog and jump on my bandwagon that's based on knowledge of history not kaput white supremacy and English supremacy.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Why stop at absorbing Mexico? We can join with all of Latin America.

And then the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as soon as we merge with Mexico, all the drug cartels will immediately disappear... or, instead of running drugs to the border will they be running their candidates for Congress... hmmmm... Lovely thought.

Anonymous said...

What's your name again, win-slow or lose-fast?

DenisO said...

You can't win 'em all, as they say. "Coming to America" was one that just didn't make sense to me, or I didn't get the point. Maybe it was too obvious, --a change?

"The logic of libertarian amnesty would fill the voting rolls full of supporters of big government and the welfare state in the name of economic freedom."

In a big "L", Libertarian, society, the Constitution would determine whether a Big Government or welfare state could exist. Since the Constitution limited the Federal Govt. to just a few responsibilities and powers, it could not be "Big", or a welfare state. So, the fundamental question is whether there is a Constitution that controls. If each new generation is taught that it is a charming "relic" of early American history, does it exist? If it doesn't, then someone should point out that Countries' can't survive without rules of operation.
If States want to be welfare states, as long as they don't deprive their residents of their Constitutional rights, they can try, and are not forbidden by the Constitution, just by the laws of economics, as residents can move to other States. Taxpayers would leave and the voting rolls would be full of "takers", who could not elect State politicians that could print money, like the Federal Governments always do. Once Lincoln undermined States' rights, regardless of his motives, Big Government started becoming unrestricted. The Founders designed a Government that was very limited in power because they knew the nature of man led him to tyranny, and there would be less-than-virtuous Leaders elected sooner or later.
We live in a Country without an "operating system", and it is easy to see where that leads.
Regards

Artie said...

Daniel I have been reading your work daily for several months; it is brilliant material and a major influence.

Will you consider a presidential run in 2016?

playertwo said...

Americanism has been turned from being a liberating idealogie to a 'wealth' by the jealous baby boomer liberals of the elite. just like 'whiteness' is a race 'wealth'. therefore if you tell a low information voter or new immigrant that they should be patriotic to the ideals of America, they will laugh at you because the new socialist immigrant man or woman believes the best place for wealth is in the party's hands so it can be fairly distributed. there are only white men on rushmore. to them that is 'America' and they have no problem with it disappearing.

Anonymous said...

American Limes merged with Mexican Tequila; Winslow may be on to something. Just not sure we could survive the hangover. Therefore it would be far better to negotiate the takeover of our northern neighbor instead. At least they speak the same language and have some experience with democratic institutions.

Anonymous said...


Artie, read his bio DG was born in Israel he couldnt run for president

Good article DG

IgorR said...

The empire may be lost by crossing the Rubio-on.

fsy said...


a nation needs ideas but it cannot be an idea

a nation must be a people, but it cannot only be a people



That sounds like a classic quote, and someone probably has said it before. The problem is that we no longer feel the need to belong to a nation (because we have been conditioned out of that feeling.)

betsy madds said...

Clever

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Somehow I don't think that would end well

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