Friday, April 06, 2007

The Vandals

Normally when we get a new post from Fjordman, it arrives in email form and the Baron formats it for the blog, finds an illustration, and then posts it. Once it’s up, I read it and follow the discussion in the comments.

This last time, however, when I saw the subject line on the email that would become his most recent post — “Gang Mayhem Grips Los Angeles” — I was intrigued. For personal reasons (discussed in an earlier post in which I described the gang beating my son recently experienced) the issue was on my mind.

Thus, I opened the email draft from Fjordman to see his take on this phenomenon of American gangs. As usual, his essay was perceptive. However, several ideas of my own floated by and I realized that, even as cogent as his interpretations were, I nonetheless had a few quibbles with parts of his argument. Such a reaction is unusual for me; normally I find myself nodding in agreement, or wondering how in the world he manages to dig up so much material.

As my differences of opinion so quickly bubbled up, I hit “reply” to Fjordman, giving my point of view. And now I find I’ve been thinking about gangs ever since. This thought process has been reinforced by speaking with some teenagers in Li’l Kumquat (a.k.a. Charlottesville, Virginia) who had some intriguing (if somewhat dramatic and garbled) information about gang membership as it is evolving there — three thousand miles from Los Angeles in a small Virginia town noted for its quality of life… or so the magazine articles and polls devoted to that kind of information claim.

Here is what I dashed off to Fjordman in my reply. This original response is then followed by further elaborations and ruminations on a disturbing phenomenon.

To Fjordman—

Yes, you will get much resistance to this idea, just as we have — and our congressional representative has — on the idea of establishing and maintaining a firm border…

In a way that I can’t articulate yet, though your ideas have helped me here, the problems of sovereignty in this country are similar to the ones the EU created. But ours differ in several respects:

A train full of Latin Americans heads for the border

  • The illegal immigrants are at least nominally Christian, and some of them are actually practicing Christians;
  • We never made a conscious decision, complete with a “Constitution” to let the floodgates open;
  • Our history of being able to absorb huge numbers of immigrants in successive waves lulled us into thinking this was similar;
  • In our previous experience, diversity and hatred of America were not part of the orthodox belief system of those in charge. “Victim” had a rare and specific application;
  • Also in our previous experience, immigrants were anxious to settle into their own enclaves and work out the process of assimilation — and when financially successful, sometimes to return home to the old country.

There are similarities between the murderous Mexican gangs now and the Mafia of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. Same rules, just way more vicious and public. We have the same problem, though on a much smaller scale, with Russian immigrants. I think they will eventually assimilate however. Or most of them.

And of course there is added to the mix an unknown but sizeable number of Islamic terrorists who hope to bring us down, either through physical or economic destruction. The flight of money out of this country through m-phone wireless deposits is taking place at a fast and increasing pace.

The problem is not limited to LA, unfortunately. …[In a nearby town] the police watch for groups of three or more [boys or men], wearing large white t-shirts. That’s one of their costumes, or so I’m told. Readers from South Carolina tell us that the situation is even worse.

But nothing is as bad as California; it is lost. And there’s a saying here in the US: “as California goes, so goes the country.”

I think I may try to interview a few policemen in the town, and the sheriff in our county, just to see what they have to say. If the ship is sinking, I’d like to know on what part of the deck I’m standing.

Reaction to your post tomorrow should be interesting.

Dymphna
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So that is more or less my dashed off note to the Fjordman. I’ve been thinking ever since about his post, and how the situation appears to me. When I sent my note, my ideas were not in any order, I simply wrote them as they occurred to me. Now, though, I’d like to revisit those ideas and expand upon them.

I deliberately didn’t look at the comment section of Fjordman’s post: I wanted these impressions to be my own (though I certainly plan to see what others think once this is up on our blog).
- - - - - - - - - -
At any rate, here is my expanded version of those initial thoughts:

1. The illegal immigrants here are at least nominally Christian, and some of them are actually practicing Christians;
 
 I know this to be true since I see the signs on Catholic churches offering Mass in Spanish. And I’ve read about the attraction that evangelical Christianity has for some Hispanics. It cannot be gainsaid that these waves of illegal immigrants at the very least emerge from a Christian tradition. That similarity gives them and us a cultural bridge that is not available with immigrants from other traditions such as Muslims. Their ethno-religious subgroup — Latin American Catholicism — differs is some respects from the European roots (Irish, Italian, Polish, etc.) of North American Catholicism in general. But the substrate has unbroken commonalities.
 
 An Episcopal priest I knew has a doctorate on the history of religion in America. He told me that upon completion of his dissertation he was going to head to the Southwest to see about helping to set up Christian schools in the barrios. He had done some research in the San Antonio area and found Hispanic parents more open to private, parochial education for their children than were local African American parents.
 
 His ideas stayed with me, though I can no longer locate his email to ask how things turned out. I was encouraged, though, that the Episcopal Church might be returning to one of its early missions: education of the poor. Should the Presiding Bishop ever decide to focus on this overwhelming need, rather than the au courant causes of the day, ECUSA (the Episcopal Church in the USA) might begin to flourish again. I’m not holding my breath, though.
 
 It’s still good to know that someone has seen this need as his calling. And it is intriguing to know that not all poor Hispanic parents are in reality as they are portrayed by the drama-driven MSM.
 
2. We never made a conscious decision, complete with a “Constitution” to let the floodgates open;
 
 In other words, unlike Eurabia, there were few people working behind the scenes to create the Mexifornia we have now. Certainly there were and are greedy agribusinesses, or short-sighted individuals who want cheap labor for their households, or construction companies looking to cut costs that welcome and encourage the rising tide of illegal immigrants. They don’t have to face the reality of the Mexican Wave. But this flood was never the carefully arranged plan — or series of plans — that Bat Ye’or has described so well in her explanations of Eurabia’s carefully orchestrated evolution.
 
 One motivation she mentioned was hatred of America, especially by the French. By making alliances with oil-rich Arabia, France hoped to pin America to the wall. Was a similar hatred one of the motivations for the Mexican government? Or was that border to their north simply an irresistible short-cut for corrupt politicians? Did America’s presence allow them to avoid the results of population pressure and citizen unrest in the face of repression? Was illegal immigration their pressure valve, the one which prevented revolution and governmental accountability? And was there, in the Mexican government’s assistance to those wishing to cross illegally, a desire for the revenge of old wounds?
 
 Probably. But even with that in mind, how many Mexican illegals were planning to return home? And where did the tipping point occur — that is, the point at which those crossing the border were more and more dysfunctional and unprepared for life in a huge urban ghetto? When did escape from the barrios begin to seem an impossible dream? When did the tide turn against assimilation?
 
3. Our history of being able to absorb huge numbers of immigrants in successive waves lulled us into thinking this was similar;
 
 When you look back at the waves of immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is amazing to contemplate how successfully that polyglot assimilated (all except the French, anyway. In certain parts of New England, they clung to their religion and culture through successive generations. In fact, my anthropology professor in college [mid-1970s], who was in her late twenties when I met her, said she didn’t learn English until she was a teenager). How could we have predicted that this wave was actually a tsunami? Were we complacent because our cultural history proved we were good at welcoming in foreigners?
 
4. In our previous experience, diversity and hatred of America were not part of the orthodox belief system of those in charge. “Victim” had a rare and specific application;
 
 We have been slow in catching on to the deleterious effects of the multi-culti program, both for illiterate immigrants and for ourselves. It simply never occurred to the average American that the elitist elements in our midst hated all things American, that they were too sophisticated for something as jingoistic as patriotism or a profound sense of place. Don’t forget, the elitists were upwardly mobile — with the emphasis on mobility. Their allegiance was to themselves and to their careers. Generations of families were separated by thousands of miles as the boomers moved in search of tenure, promotion and affluence. Networks of efficacy replaced bonds of loyalty. In fact, “networking” became crucial without intergenerational safety nets.
 
5. Also in our previous experience, immigrants were anxious to settle into their own enclaves and work out the process of assimilation — and when financially successful, sometimes to return home to the old country.
 
 When that spirit changed, we were simply not paying attention. It did not seem credible that groups of people could wrenchingly uproot themselves and land in this country while also despising it and refusing assimilation. Left to their own devices, this process might not have happened. However, with the academic de rigueur theory of cultural equivalence and victimology — not to mention the encroaching entitlement programs — immigrants weren’t given the opportunity to meld. Children weren’t taught English. Adolescents, illiterate and with no marketable skills became estranged from both their families of origin and their new environment. They began to band together, sometimes in emulation of gangs in their native countries. It was safer to belong to a gang than to fend for oneself. Again, at some point, the gang culture reached critical mass. Like a cancer it is now metastasizing well past the initial tumor of Los Angeles. It is making inroads everywhere there is a market for recreational drugs, or a lack of male mentoring for young men. How many of these deprived, depraved, and violent men boys actually grew up in the predictable presence of their fathers? That doesn’t make them victims, it merely traces the likely trajectory of life lived horizontally.

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The immigrant trainThe endless history of mass immigrations, driven by hunger, or the desire for freedom, or the need to escape persecution, or simply cultural pressures is as old as man himself. We can no more change this restless tide than we can sternly tell gravity to stop letting things drop.

Needless to say, many of those groups were and will be Vandals, or people much like them. The satisfied have no need to move, do they?

The friction which results from rubbing two strangers together often produces enough sparks to start a conflagration…or a new ethnic group. It could be natural selection at work: the strong and the restless move on, seeking change. The settled and satisfied stay by the hearth and hope the Vandals pass them by.

It will be a long haul, making Americans out of Vandals. The Romans eventually failed in their excellent adventure — and their enemies didn’t even have cell phones.

Will America make it? Probably. But what and who we will be when this has peaked and receded is hard to imagine. I was going to say “when this is over” but we’ve all read enough history to know it’s never over. There is simply a new and frightening world change to contemplate. Or maybe we are simply determined to stay frightened.

We thought the changes rung in by the last century were truly radical. Enough to bring history to an end. But are they all that revolutionary, really? Last night I was reading a 1907 edition of O. Henry’s short stories. Holding the book in my hand, I though of all that had transpired since O. Henry wrote those stories. And all the journeys that book had been on since the Baron’s grandfather first owned it. The characters O. Henry created — the Americans, the politicians, the city folk, the men and women — all dreamed the same dreams we do, if on a smaller stage.

But I do not think that those generations not yet born, those living in 2107, picking up a book of this year’s fiction will find the stories nearly as comprehensible, congenial or diverting as the characters O. Henry observed and patched together a hundred years ago. After all when he wrote his novelties World War I had not yet occurred, much less Dachau, the gulags, or Rwanda.

In a hundred years whatever is going to happen will be a part of the past. Whatever civil wars that may transpire will be over and some sort of new order will be in place, however tenuously. No doubt we will seem much more sullen and constrained and fearful to the generations who follow us and the coming conflagrations of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, some advice for the interregnum from Robert Hunter:

Out of ninety-nine people all running around
Not one in a hundred got his feet on the ground.
You find one in a thousand holding some in reserve
For when the real true action comes around the curve.
Take care of your people, get some of them fed,
Hide the ones in trouble out under your bed.
Keep an eye to the future, an ear to the past
After thinking it over, notice nothing much lasts…

33 comments:

Conservative Swede said...

1. The illegal immigrants here are at least nominally Christian, and some of them are actually practicing Christians;

"That similarity gives them and us a cultural bridge that is not available with immigrants from other traditions such as Muslims."
---

This is exactly why I think that the Mexican conquest of the American south will be permanented, while the Muslim conquest of Europe will not. Americans will not have the stomach to reverse this invasion. Maybe if the country south of California and Texas had been Turkey, and this had been a mass invasion of Muslims. Maybe. But now they are Christians, and there is this "cultural bridge". The Americans would not be able to continue to see themselves as nice if they fought and reversed this invasion. It would go against their very nature.

The Mexification of the American south has very powerful momentum. These demographic changes are completed sooner than we'd think. The areas will no longer be bilingual; English won't be accepted. This will be celebrated by many Americans as a proof that America is even more diverse than before. The land will nominally remain under the United States. This is in the interest of the Mexicans, since this is how they can continue their economic parasitism. This will also provide the Americans with the charade that the whole thing is just another proof of the success of the American model. All while the two parties will struggle to gain the votes of the Mexicans.

The situation in Europe is clearly different. First of all, the "celebrate diversity" impulse doesn't have a long history here. It's just a veneer on top of our traditional nationalism, imposed upon us by American imperialism since the end of WWII. Secondly, since we are dealing with Muslims, we will not have the option--as the Americans--to accept our loss and humiliation, and celebrate it as a success. We will literally have to fight for our lives. It is in this situation we will shed the skin of post-WWII American indoctrination and go back to our old ways. Because we have to, and because we can.

Ten years of further Balkanization and Milosevics will have turned up in many places around Europe. Ralph Peters writes "I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims." We cannot be sure that America will actually bomb e.g. the Netherlands a decade or so from now. But we can be sure that over a hundred million Americans will be in favour of doing so. To save the Muslims from the European "fascists".

PapaBear said...

One factor that enables the current gang culture is the Welfare State. Most people don't really take into account how mens behavior is shaped by women, and the average man's desire to have a woman in his life.

Back in the 20's and 30's, while a successful gangster might be able to get a girlfriend, he was not as attractive as a potential husband as somebody with a conventional job. The reason for this is that he stood a good chance of going to jail or getting killed, and this meant that he wasn't a stable source of support for a family. This was a significant incentive more men to "go straight", and try to get a conventional job.

We started seeing this change in the 60's, as welfare allowed women to be supported by "Uncle Sugar". This reduced the need for underclass women to look for a stable husband. Instead, a criminal with lots of money becomes more attractive than somebody working a low-paid conventional job. There is no need for stability, because if the current boyfriend gets killed, she can find another, and meanwhile "Uncle Sugar" pays the bills.

The problem with this lifestyle is that you can only have so many people supported by welfare, before the middle class is no longer able to support the weight any more. If Atlas shrugs, the subsequent scenario will not be pretty

Dymphna said...

C.Swede:

you have a point about the "nice" self-image. However, some changes are in progress. For example, the more liberal churches, which used to provide sanctuary to illegals, have quit doing so. Or at least I can find no recent evidence of their work in that area.

Blowback is happening.

ESL --English as a Second Language -- is on the uptick in schools and in adult education.

Papa Bear is correct about some of the underlying causes. If we were able to root our the Hillary Clintons, et al, we would be in a better position to further cut the entitlement programs.

Thank you, ex-President Clinton for signing those laws which put restrictions on Uncle Sugar's payouts. I know it's working from what I see in my own family -- girls with babies have to live with mom and dad now because they don't have jobs and they've run thru the limited amount of dole money available. One result is that they seem to be quitting the cycle after one child...we'll see if that continues.

Another point: Americans are born do-gooders. We like to help *individuals* who fall on hard times. In fact, there's a website, prosper.com (don't have the link) where people can risk a loan to someone who wants to get back on their feet. The person doing the loaning has the advantage of a somewhat higher return than a savings account. The recipients have a chance to start over...

We just need to get rid of the handouts still remaining. And I don't mean programs for disabled vets or the truly mentally ill. I mean that most of Roosevelt's and Johnson's sand poundingly stupid economic ideas need to be taken behind the woodshed and put out of our misery.

In other words, government in D.C. needs to go on a diet, big time. The move for some kind of tax reform will carry in its wake a rethinking of the harm Uncle Sugar does to his nephews and nieces.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/06/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

A Jacksonian said...

One of the prime differences between the modern over-run of the US borders and the more or less orderly immigration of times past, is the want by the earlier waves to assimilate into US culture and the commonality of the Nation. That was an unspoken requirement to have English as a working language, and my family recounted that, as children, they needed to act as interlocutors for their parents while shopping and such, until their parents got up to speed on the language. Grandparents in particular were in need of this. That said many churches and civic organizations organized evening and night classes in english to help promulgate the language in their communities.

While many of those in previous waves of immigration came here for jobs, like miners from Cornwall and Poland and Germany, a good number also came to escape religious repression at home. By having common culture and respect for religion, these communities could find a home and place to fit in with the rest of America. This was a conscious decision to become *Americans*... not wander back and forth over a border and be a fully acting citizen of no country, but just out for yourself. Being a Citizen *meant something* to those previous waves, while I see that harshly lacking in current unregulated and illegal immigration.

I am fully supportive of ending all US Government subsidies to farmers and businesses, including those of water subsidies for the desert southwest farming areas and dry climate California farmers. They are not paying the replacement rate for their water, it is denied to large cities that *do* have to pay for their consumption at a scale far higher than farmers, and such farming is not encouraging efficient, modern land use nor agrictulture. The first test robots for picking *fruit* that can analyze each piece and determine ripeness and quality is in the test stages in universities and research areas in Florida and Georgia. Mechanized, all-weather pickers that can be set for quality of pick type can also be set as individual plant tenders and have other functions that will further reduce the need for humans in these areas. By utilizing GPS and automated rain gauges and water saturation of soil meters, we are already seeing the first generation of 'staged harvests' that only harvest crops at their peak for maximized payback. Humans do not have the longevity nor discrimination necessary to do such work on a 24/7 basis. Unassimilated individuals who have broken Federal laws to get here are not going to like this as they will be *replaced* by automation over time. And if taken in as a poor underclass *now* in a decade they will have no basis for the manual labor that they originally came here for and without assimilating the work ethic of the existing culture their contributions to it will be marginalized even with a large population base.

This is not a recipe for stability in a mechanized, manufacturing based state with attendant need for high skill services. This may not be religious unrest, but do consider how long 'Liberation Theology' has been in-place in large parts of Latin America and how that outlook will impact the Nation.

Finally, what is not addressed, is the expansion of Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda in Latin America, as seen in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and a number of incidents in Panama. Not only based but spreading, apparently, beyond the Middle Eastern ex-pat community and into Latin America base population at-large. A number of civil arrests in the US point to Hezbollah operatives already having connections to organized crime, in the form of the Far Eastern Triads and Eastern European Mafia, and with the narco-terrorist contingent, especially FARC in Columbia, but also to Mexican drug gangs. The idea of a small but zealous radical islamic community that is ethnically from Latin America, but that is tied to Islamic Terrorist organizations is chilling. And as the US refuses to recognize that cheap trade with those seeking to undermine the US allows for a variety of weapons to be made cheaper and more widely over time, the lethality of such terrorist organizations rises as the cost of sustainment goes down.

Without being serious about Trade, Foreign Policy and entry into the Nation via *any means* the US is not prepared to deal with the late 20th century, not to speak of the 21st. 'Feel good' Foreign Policy is getting us killed as individuals and a Nation, and endangering the concept of Nation State. And without that last there is no basis for liberty and freedom, but large basis for Empire. No Empire has ever spread freedom and liberty, although it has categorized 'subjects' and raises and lowers status at whim. I do not like the outcome of these things, as they move in no good direction for anyone, even those just wanting to exploit the US for a bit to get some cash.

Conservative Swede said...

Dymphna wrote:
you have a point about the "nice" self-image. However, some changes are in progress. For example, the more liberal churches, which used to provide sanctuary to illegals, have quit doing so. Or at least I can find no recent evidence of their work in that area.

The Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R. 4437) possibly lead to a temporary decrease. But those American do-gooders are already back at it:

Beware of the "New Sanctuary Movement", both articles from March 2007:
Resurgence of Churches to Offer Sanctuary for Immigrants
"The resurgence of religious groups providing sanctuary is reminiscent of the 1980s, when more than 200 churches across the United States opened their doors to undocumented immigrants escaping violence in Central America, the report notes. In Los Angeles alone, the movement has brought together 17 churches of various faiths and immigrant rights organizations."

Churches Plan to Give Illegal Immigrants Sanctuary
"Local and national religious leaders from a dozen faiths _ including Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian _ have been meeting and planning for a few months, said Pastor Cesar Arroyo of San Pablo's Lutheran church in North Hollywood."

Also check out this:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
"We envision a world where all communities welcome refugees and migrants. Working in global partnerships and with faith-based communities, we welcome a transformation of our communities and ourselves when we receive the gifts of refugees and migrants, and draw strength and inspiration from diversity."

Lawrence Auster about Open-borders Lutherans (LIRS)

And especially for Fellow Peacekeeper, another gratuitous Auster reference to Nietzsche:
"Oh, where is Nietzsche, where is that nonpareil psychologist of decadence, and particularly of Christian decadence, when we really need him? Imagine what he, who was so hostile to what he saw as the the weak shuffling Christian clerics of the 19th century--the 19th century! an age of moral giants compared to ours!--might have said about today's nation-crushers for Christ."

Dymphna said...

Finally, what is not addressed, is the expansion of Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda in Latin America

Agreed, I didn't cover this. It was long enough covering Mexico and Central America. I could have expanded on San Salvador, for example.

However, Latin America's radicalist Liberation Theology fools help to perpetuate the sharp divide between rich and poor. Unfortunately, most former Spanish colonies have no clue about building a middle class of entrepreneurs...it's just not in the culture. Nor is any kind of organized, distributive charity for the needy.

If I had to choose one hell over the other, I'd rather be Hispanic in LA than in the favelas of Brazil.

What we are faced with here is a matter of will. The best thing that could happen to this country, aside from radical tax reform, is the abolition of the Department of Education....just for starters. *Then* English classes would increase exponentially.

Fat chance anytime soon.

Conservative Swede said...

Dymphna wrote:
ESL --English as a Second Language -- is on the uptick in schools and in adult education.

I'm trying to parse this sentence. English as a Second Language - the very concept carries the mindset of institutionalized bilingualism. What is the language of all the other lessons in such schools?

As far I as can see, you see an "uptick" for bilingualism (as opposed to monolingual Spanish) as a "blowback is happening". In this world of glossocracy it is easy to be lured into the mindset of celebrating loss as a success.

Baron Bodissey said...

Conservative Swede --

You may not realize it, but there was (and is) a significant portion of progressive opinion in the USA that believes that Mexicans shouldn't have to learn English at all, and that all their services and social interactions should, by right, take place in their native language.

Seen from that point of view, "English as a Second Language" is an improvement.

You may just need a little more context about all the troublesome trends that are at work here in the Great Satan.

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

English as a Second Language - the very concept carries the mindset of institutionalized bilingualism.

Conservative Swede -

Although I understand and agree with your assertion from a theoretical perspective, ESL in practice is NOT bilingualism.

I was a high school teacher in an inner city in the South that was 60% African-American, 40% Hispanic...although most weren't Hispanic, since they spoke only English (common misperception).

Anyway, those who couldn't speak English were placed in ESL. Granted it depends on the teacher, but ESL + the other all-English classes actually helped.

What I saw that hurt was the OFFICIAL Bilingual Education being implemented in several schools in the District.

Why? Here's why: They found NOBODY willing to take the paycut to take the jobs, then went to Mexico City to find 5-6 teachers, NONE OF WHOM SPOKE ENGLISH!

Ugh, sorry, that still catches in my craw...but it does beg the question: how is anyone expected to learn English when it's not spoken at all?

I'll take bad ESL anyday.

Conservative Swede said...

You may not realize it, but there was (and is) a significant portion of progressive opinion in the USA that believes that Mexicans shouldn't have to learn English at all, and that all their services and social interactions should, by right, take place in their native language.

This is horrible. As I said, I fear that the American south will end up monolingual (i.e. Spanish speaking). Today, more and more employers require both English and Spanish language skills. There will come a future when they will only ask for Spanish. Never underestimate the power of demography!

Seen from that point of view, "English as a Second Language" is an improvement.

...while at the same time being a surrender to institutionalized bilingualism. Mentioning this as an "improvement" without striking against its glossocracy, is a way of giving up.

And what's behind the increased demand for ESL, really? More Mexicans?

You may just need a little more context about all the troublesome trends that are at work here in the Great Satan.

I just provided you and Dymphna with more context about your country, a few posts ago. The decrease of churches providing sanctuary to illegals, as observed by Dymphna, surely can be attributed to the Sensenbrenner Bill of December 2005, don't you agree? But equally so, this merely meant a minor setback for these do-gooders. They have been planning it for months, and they have just launched the New Sanctuary Movement. I'm sure you will be able to observe the changes.

And don't be silly about the "Great Satan". It should be clear that I have nothing in common with the crowd that sees America as the Great Satan. It should be equally clear that I see America as the Great Christ.

They way I see the answer of Dymphna is that she hasn't absorbed the big picture of the situation, and only mention rather insignificant things, and even about those she's catching at straws. I know it is not easy to see your nation fall apart, and I grieve with you. I surely know how it is.

For the bigger picture, read e.g. this: Nation Crusher. There are strong forces at hand working on uniting Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

I know people find me annoying for striking at their Christian goodness. But it's only for their best. We have to be strong before we are good. Otherwise we won't make it.

Conservative Swede said...

Kafir_Kelbeh,

The reality you describe, and how ESL is considered better than the alternatives, only reflects how very bad the situation already is. It's very bad indeed.


PS. I forgot to mention in the answer to BB, but if anyone here is the Great Satan, I am :)

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

And what's behind the increased demand for ESL, really? More Mexicans?

C.S. -

Forgot to mention, 51 languages were spoken in the city where I taught. All were placed in ESL.

As for Bilingual Education, Spanish. That's it.

Hope that clarifies the differences between ESL and Bilingual programs within our Education System.

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

I don't know, C.S., is it wrong to insist all foreign language speakers learn English?

That's the point behind ESL...

Yes, it can be abused. I saw that. But it doesn't assume that 1 group is incapable of keeping up.

That's the real premise behind the Bilingual program...

Yuck.

Conservative Swede said...

Thanks KK for the clarification of the difference between ESL and Bilingual programs.

I can understand how adults are sent to ESL classes. But why children?

And the very concept "English as a Second Language" tells us that the idea of assimilation has been abandoned. Why don't they just learn English, as in the old days? Isn't English supposed to be the first language of these children as American citizens/residents?

Even if ESL is not formally a Bilingual program, won't it be so in practice, considering the demographic outlook in many places in the south?

With a healthy rate of immigration, the children of immigrants would end up in classes of mainly natives. Not as now in groups of only other immigrants, speaking Spanish to each other in the school yard. We have the same problem in many suburbs in Sweden.

Even if it is so that more individuals now voluntarily want to learn English it makes no difference for the overall situation. What is necessary is a changed attitude of the Americans, and the political will to oppose Mexico as a nation.

Anonymous said...

In all, a fine post. I'll just touch on a few things.

"It cannot be gainsaid that these waves of illegal immigrants at the very least emerge from a Christian tradition."

I have to disagree here to a great extent. The West's Christian tradition goes back almost two thousand years and is fully a part of American cultural foundations, faithfully stewarded by each succeeding generation. People coming from Central and South America have ancestral affiliation with Christianity that is comparatively brief; plus, it's legacy contends and conflicts with cultural foundations handed down by Amerindian tribes for generations before the Spaniards arrived.

The dichotomy makes the common virtue and value substrate between the two a cobbled one, at best. Despite all the "nation of immigrants" chanting, this nation has not ever proved itself capable of assimilating large masses of immigrants who were not Western European in origin. The "cultural bridge" is largely chimera.

"And was there, in the Mexican government's assistance to those wishing to cross illegally, a desire for the revenge of old wounds?

Probably."


You hit that nail on the head. Mexico is just as assuredly promoting war with America via immigration as the nations of Islam are promoting war with the West by the same means.

Maybe in deference to "the cold war," we should call the attempted overthrow of institutions and culture by migration the "foot war?"

When you look back at the waves of immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is amazing to contemplate how successfully that polyglot assimilated (all except the French, anyway. In certain parts of New England, they clung to their religion and culture through successive generations. In fact, my anthropology professor in college [mid-1970s], who was in her late twenties when I met her, said she didn’t learn English until she was a teenager). How could we have predicted that this wave was actually a tsunami? Were we complacent because our cultural history proved we were good at welcoming in foreigners?

The only reason the assimilation worked was the effectiveness and enforcement of the Johnson-Reed Act. Can you imagine what might have happened after the US went to war with Germany and Italy in WWII had there not been a stop via legislation to the mass-immigration that prevailed between 1890 and 1921? How would the large and unassimilated German and Italian diaspora reacted to our going to war with the homelands with which they were still allied? Could we have won? I have serious doubts.

Their allegiance was to themselves and to their careers. Generations of families were separated by thousands of miles as the boomers moved in search of tenure, promotion and affluence. Networks of efficacy replaced bonds of loyalty. In fact, “networking” became crucial without intergenerational safety nets.


I've never seen the ugly side of capitalism, which I consider corporatism, phrased this way before. This is pretty brilliant. I doubt that worship of profit above all would work well if executives still had regular face time with their parents and grandparents.

Lucille said...

Why don't they just learn English, as in the old days?

CS, I'm not sure what your issue is. Do you see as problematic providing formal language classes instead of simply expecting someone to learn by immersion, or on their own time? Could you clarify?

livfreerdie said...

I think y'all are forgetting one thing, drugs. The lawlessness of Mexican drug zones is spilling over the border. Remember the "witness/victim" of the border patrol agents left over 700 pounds of marijuana and between that time and the trial he was caught again trying to smuggle in another 700+ pounds?

Muslims to the right of me, drug gangs to the left, here I am, stuck in the middle. Starting to feel like the Light Brigade.

Tom

Conservative Swede said...

Lucille: Do you see as problematic providing formal language classes instead of simply expecting someone to learn by immersion, or on their own time?

Kafir_Kelbeh: I don't know, C.S., is it wrong to insist all foreign language speakers learn English?


It seems as if Lucille and KK think that the current American educational system is the best possible ever. No wait. They consider it the only possible, since by criticizing it they assume that the opponent could only be in favour of no school education at all.

Interesting...

Immigrant kids are best assimilated, for a whole number of reasons, by going to the same schools as the natives (not by being segregated into special programs of different kind). All historical experience shows this, and the results are hugely better. How many times do I need to repeat this?

Lucille said...

It seems as if Lucille and KK think that the current American educational system is the best possible ever. No wait. They consider it the only possible, (*snip*)

CS, I spend half of my school years in Christian schools, and should I have children, they will attend private schools as well. Don't waste your time and mine with wild assumptions such as the above.

Conservative Swede said...
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Conservative Swede said...

Lucille,

I was going to write that it were just your own wild assumptions bouncing back at you. I took your comment as absurd since every school has formal language classes. So the only way to be against it, is to be against school, and against learning English, altogether. Something which should be very clear that I'm not. Apparently you meant something else.

Archonix said...

The thing is, if these children don't know any english then they have to learn it somewhere, don't they? It would be very ifficult for them to learn it in the english classes everyone else attends because those are aimed at refining an already known language.

Now, I don't know how it is in the states, but in the UK they teach ESL in an entirely english-speaking environment. I expect it's similar in the states. SUperficially you might then be able to argue that they should just be in the same calsses as everyone else, but that's only if you don't understand that the methods used are different. Primary english classes are aimed, as I said, at refining what's there. ELS classes are aimed at teaching someone to speak a language they don't know yet, and I'm going to keep repeating this in subtly different ways until it gets through.

You see, in ELS, the teacher communicates only in English. It's av ery effective method. However they have to start simply. They start with their name. They indicate various objects. They demonstrate the pronouns. By the end of the first two lessons they have got their students to string together a sentence. "My name is... I am learning englis at a school" or something similar. The requirements are different. Much more attention needs to be paid to the first principles, not the refintements.

You simply cannot teach english to students who don't know it without giving them extra attention. Argue it all you want but you won't win. It is not an acceptance of bilingualism if the classes are taught in an all-english environment. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. I recon you simply saw the name "english as a second language", jumped on the "second" and then went from there. The name is unimportant. The function is important, and that function is to give the students a working knowledge of english so they can learn properly in school.

Archonix said...

And as you can see, I still need to work on my refinements. :)

Lucille said...
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Lucille said...

Archronix expresses everything I was about to say, so I won't bother adding a response of my own.

Conservative Swede said...

Hi all!

First of all I'm glad that we all seem agree about being against bilingual programs of any kind.

In answer to Archronix: What you seem to claim is impossible, was possible in the old days. Earlier generations of immigrants to America didn't have special programs such as ESL. But as it often happens in America, this approach was ruled illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lau v. Nichols (1974). They named it the "sink or swim" method. They could have named it the "torture and mayhem" method, for all that I care. It did work!

Just think for a moment. Has the assimilation of immigrants been better before or after 1974? We all seem to agree upon that while the pre-WWII immigration and assimilation in America set an astonishing historical example, the immigration/assimilation of the last decades has been problematic, to say the least.

Of course there are more factors then the eduction system at play. But if the so-called "sink or swim" method had been such an utter failure, in the old days, how could then the overall assimilation have been such an astonishing success?

Anyway, if it is indeed so that the Americans fighting bilingualism, have agreed upon seeing ESL as the cure. Well, then I should not be standing in the way. Maybe this is the realistic effort at this point, and you have to win back what you can in small steps.

james higham said...

...to assimilate into US culture and the commonality of the Nation...

This is the whole point. Schools in their own language is not. It is not a Spanish country. It is English speaking.

Dymphna, I tried to join 910 but they have no mechanism for joining. They say go to the forum but once there you can only log in, not join.

Oh well, I tried.

Conservative Swede said...

I just wanted to comment upon how the methods of assimilation and education of the old days appear to seem unrealistic and unbelievable to modern Westerners.

The "sink and swim" method is only such from a welfare statist point of view. Through this prism a societal need is not considered dealt with unless it is done so with a government dictated program.

The immigrant children didn't sink, because there was a fabric of the society, of family, neighbours, teachers, the church, employers, etc. taking care of each other. America is a country where this has worked exceptionally well. As Dymphna pointed out "Americans are born do-gooders. We like to help *individuals* who fall on hard times."

Excessive use of government dictated programs for any kind of societal need, breaks apart this social fabric, because there won't be any need for it anymore. People end up more and more isolated from each other. If taken all the way, there will just be the citizen and the state and nothing in between (lo and behold the Swedish Model!)

It's when we are converging towards a society of "the citizen and the state and nothing in between" that we can see clearly that individualism and collectivism are not opposites but branches of the same tree (with its roots in the era of the French Revolution). Where the opposite is the society of the fabric of connectedness among family, church, local community etc.

Sweden is of course worst off in this respect. That's why I can see the pattern so clearly. But by the mindset of modern Westerners, all Western societies have fallen into this trap, and are headed deeper in this direction.

comrade_tovarich said...

I'm happy to see that ESL programs are growing, which suggests English is in demand and being supplied. However, if you are or have been a member of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), you might have been frustrated with the organization's promotion of bilingual education over ESL itself (and its "official statement" against the Iraq War, a document that disappeared from TESOL's website after some TESOL members compained). That is one reason I quit TESOL some years ago: Why pay dues to an ESL group that perversely works against ESL teachers? Perhaps TESOL's top-level (advocacy) policies have since changed, though I doubt it.

Voyager said...

Just make it illegal to post any advert, flyer, or any official signs or documents in a language other than English unless a certified and accurate English translation is displayed alongside the non-English document

Archonix said...

conservative swede: ESL essentially is sink or swim, just with a more focused aim than simply dropping people in the pool and telling them to swim. Instead it's "swim for that target on the far bank!". All-english teaching environment, remember?

What's not to like?

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

“It would be very ifficult for them to learn it in the english classes everyone else attends because those are aimed at refining an already known language.

Now, I don't know how it is in the states, but in the UK they teach ESL in an entirely english-speaking environment. I expect it's similar in the states.”

Archonix, you are absolutely correct in your assessment about ESL in the States. (No further comment required.)


“What you seem to claim is impossible, was possible in the old days. Earlier generations of immigrants to America didn't have special programs such as ESL. But as it often happens in America, this approach was ruled illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lau v. Nichols (1974).”

C.S., I want to express my agreement that it did work and still does. I’ve certainly never claimed ESL was the best or only option…if you recall, I mentioned the potential for abuse, etc. But I’ve seen some amazing teachers basically immerse their students in English…mush like the ‘sink or swim’ of olden times.

The 1974 S.C. decision was made by a LIBERAL court, so maybe that gives you perspective as to why I just state my preference of ESL to Bilingual in the system…but not as an absolute solution.

Does that clarify my perspective a bit? :)


“That is one reason I quit TESOL some years ago: Why pay dues to an ESL group that perversely works against ESL teachers?”

Tovarich (Tovaresh? Po Russki?) – Oy vey, that sucks. (No further comment required.)