Fat Steve's Blatherings

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

USAmerica: Europeans Just Don't Get It

      Varifrank has a post in which he tells about the misconceptions about the United States held by the Europeans he works with (hat tip, Clayton Cramer).  It's long, but very good.  Read it all.

      One point sticks with me particularly: an Englishman told Varifrank that "what made his country great was how no matter how long I lived in England, I could never be English, but that he could come to the States and be an American right away."  The Englishman was slightly off, as it takes five years to be eligible for citizenship, but otherwise correct that he could become an American, but Varifrank couldn't become English.  In fact, it's even worse than that.  I still remember the shock I got reading a Len Deighton novel, where a women says she was mocked at school for being a Hungarian.  When she replied that she was born in England, the kids jeered "If you were born in an orange crate, would that make you an orange?"

      As Varifrank comments, what made and makes us great is precisely that we do accept anyone from any country as a potential USAmerican.  We're not even very fussy about citizenship -- Tracy Ullman, still a British subject, mentioned that when she comes through customs, the inspectors say 'Welcome home.'  What lost the British their empire, starting with us, was that they couldn't accept 'colonials' as their equals.  What will destroy western Europe over the next half century is their lack of ability to assimilate.  And what will make us even richer, greater, and more powerful is precisely that we will welcome foreigners, and make them part of the family.



  • Wretchard, over at Belmont Club, has a more detailed parallel discussion on the effects of unassimilated immigrants on Europe. What are the implications of the recent trend in America toward immigrants, such as some muslims,who do not share traditional American values and morals and have no desire or intention of assimilating. Could we find ourselves down the road facing a similar situation that France and Holland are facing today?

    By Anonymous Tenowist, at 10:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home