Last week I said that I was increasingly of the opinion, for reasons of political survival, that the President and his coterie of GOP pragmatists should pull the plug on the immigration offensive, retreat and regroup.

Obviously, more so now than then. Fold your cards and wait for the next deal.

What continues to frustrate me most about the immigration debate?

We (America) have a serious problem (immigration), which we are not addressing. Instead, we (conservatives) are having an internecine bloodletting in which too many of the most severe national challenges are obscured by pernicious abstractions. Although it is in our power to come up with something workable, I fear that we are more likely to do nothing, perpetuating the status quo that brought us our current crisis, beating ourselves into critical condition in the process.

Last week I listed three "realities" that opponents to immigration reform generally ignore. The post precipitated a frank and constructive discussion. You may review that post and comments here.


The angst over immigration (a serious problem) clouds and distorts an even more important discussion concerning who and what we will be as an American nation. We are in the midst of a national crisis, but it is not a direct result of millions of underclass Mexicans entering the American bloodstream. The real problem is that we are not prepared to assimilate them properly. That is, Hispanics are not killing the traditional process of assimilation; the traditional process of assimilation and American inculcation is dead.

The real solution: FIX THE PROBLEM OF ASSIMILATION, which means educating young people (not just immigrants) to be good Americans. What is a good American? A good American is a functional citizen; patriotic and loyal, yes, but, more than that, a person who apprehends the essence of our national inheritance and our collective responsibility to posterity.

Ten days ago, Tocqueville directed me to this Rod Dreher post (here), entitled "ferocious differences," in which Rod explained how Mexicans and Americans are not like one another.

Dreher recounts the story of "a fourth-grader in a local school [Texas Metroplex]-- a Hispanic boy, the son of Mexican immigrants who can't speak English...[who offered up his] favorite figure from history: Santa Anna, the villain of the Alamo."

Dreher continued: "It was striking to me because this first-generation Texas boy had completely inverted the founding myth of Texas. And by 2020, say the demographers, Hispanics will be the absolute majority in Texas. How will Texans of the future think about Texas, when the villains and the heroes of the Alamo are reversed?"

Tocqueville is a big fan of Rod Dreher, as am I (albeit to a lesser degree). Dreher is always thoughtful, compassionate and logical. But he makes the increasingly common mistake of conflating the issue of who they are with who we are. Admitting that "the Mexicans that come north will be chewed up by the dynamism of capitalism, in time" [emphasis mine], Dreher correctly reminds us that this wave of immigrants possess "a lot more psychological resources with which to resist assimilation" (which include a unique sense of history, "contiguity to Mexico" and the "overwhelming numbers" of culturally similar fellow travelers).

Once Again: the Dreher post here; it really is a great read.

Can the power of the American story overcome the culture and history of a Mexico that they are leaving behind? Of course! As Dreher asserts, integration and assimilation will happen naturally over time.

However, the process needs our specific attention and action. We must approach the acculturation of these immigrants with a plan of action. We must inculcate these groups with traditional American values. In ordinary circumstances, this would not be a daunting task. Immigrants are generally inclined to see the good in our system and our history--or go home.

The Greatest Danger.

However, we must also acknowledge that we are in an all-important fight for cultural hegemony in which our enemies are not external; they are us. We are currently atop an educational complex run amok. Instead of imbuing students (immigrant and native-born alike) with a history that values "one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," our system is busy poisoning these optimistic immigrants with an alternative narrative of exploitation, pessimism and victimization.

A point that Dreher considers within his post--but does not emphasize--is the twenty-first century reality of American-born Americans steadily losing touch with our own myths. My question for Rod: what were the Anglo kids in that class saying, many of whom, no doubt, possessed deep genealogical roots back into the era of the Texas Republic? My guess it that they were relatively uninterested in Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie or William Barret Travis.

More over, the identification of Santa Anna as an heroic figure is not a Mexican myth. Mexican history portrays Santa Anna as an inept scoundrel. The notoriously dictatorial and deceitful Santa Anna provides a figure only an anti-American academic could love. My guess is that the sanctification of Santa Anna in the case Rod mentions emanates from the bias of the fourth-grade teacher rather than the domestic Mexican-American culture of the student.

Our most serious national problem is that we are surrendering our sense of American exceptionalism and goodness. We are no longer teaching and believing in the grand experiment in self government based on the ideals of justice, opportunity and a republican subordination of self to community. We are no longer celebrating our national morality.

More than anything else, we need to guard and fight for our culture where it is most at risk: universities, pop culture, and government. We can easily assimilate 25 million immigrants from Mexico over time--if we stay faithful to a traditional unifying American narrative. The greatest security threat of our time rests in failing to pass on our national inheritance to the 100 million American-born citizens who are right now deciding who they are and what they want to be.

Recognize that ACCULTURATION is the key to security. Recognize that promulgating a narrative that takes apart the single unifying principle of a nation is suicide.