Immigration and Islam

Anne points to this Douthat column which, so far as I can tell, is an exercise in painting with as broad a stroke as the New York Times allows. The whole “first America / second America” false dualism things is a pretty thin veneer. Nor does it quite capture the patriotic portrait of “second America” Douthat was going for.

After explaining the difference between these two Americas, Douthat offers up a brief history of religious and ethnic integration into American civil society and then moves on to the present conundrum: Islam.

The steady pressure to conform to American norms, exerted through fair means and foul, eventually persuaded the Mormons to abandon polygamy, smoothing their assimilation into the American mainstream. Nativist concerns about Catholicism’s illiberal tendencies inspired American Catholics to prod their church toward a recognition of the virtues of democracy, making it possible for generations of immigrants to feel unambiguously Catholic and American.

So it is today with Islam. The first America is correct to insist on Muslims’ absolute right to build and worship where they wish. But the second America is right to press for something more from Muslim Americans — particularly from figures like Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the mosque — than simple protestations of good faith.

Leaving aside the obvious fact that Muslims have actually been migrating here for many years and sprouting up second and third and seventh generations in the United States, this use of a specific instance – the Cordoba Center – to segue into a larger framework in which American Muslims writ large are not doing enough to assimilate is, to put it bluntly, nonsense. (And are no American Muslims a part of Second America? Then they must all be part of First America…unless we’re working on creating a Third America. That’s possible, too.)

He goes on:

Too often, American Muslim institutions have turned out to be entangled with ideas and groups that most Americans rightly consider beyond the pale. Too often, American Muslim leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes.

I wonder what exactly qualifies as ‘too often’? What percentage of Muslim institutions fit this criteria? Furthermore, what bearing does this have on the question of the Ground Zero Mosque?

For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, they’ll need leaders who don’t describe America as “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June). And they’ll need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam.

They’ll need leaders, in other words, who understand that while the ideals of the first America protect the e pluribus, it’s the demands the second America makes of new arrivals that help create the unum.

Leaders like this guy, perhaps? I mean, if we’re going to just lump everyone of a particular faith together and cherry-pick the ‘leaders’ who we feel best represent them, why not pick the loudest of the bunch?

And if we can identify the group’s leaders, then we can pigeonhole the entire population’s motives. We can attribute the words of the few to the motives of the many. We can rile up “second America” against the fearful Other. And we can do it all quite nicely by calling into question the sincerity of the group’s desire to properly integrate into mainstream culture. It’s their fault, after all, that they haven’t made it all the way. Why would any real American want to build a mosque so near ground zero?

Since Douthat made immigration and integration central to his thesis, I think it’s only fitting that we move on to Exhibit B: this column by former Florida governor, Jeb Bush and Robert D. Putnam in the Washington Post. Bush has a few very interesting things to say about civil society and immigration. After pointing to statistics on immigrant inter-marriage and assimilation which show these things are occurring at higher than ever rates in America, Bush and Putnam write:

One important difference, however, that separates immigration then and now: We native-born Americans are doing less than our great-grandparents did to welcome immigrants.

A century ago, religious, civic and business groups and government provided classes in English and citizenship. Historian Thomas P. Vadasz found that in Bethlehem, Pa., a thriving town of about 20,000, roughly two-thirds of whom were immigrants, the biggest employer, Bethlehem Steel, and the local YMCA offered free English instruction to thousands of immigrants in the early 20th century, even paying them to take classes. Today, immigrants face long waiting lists for English classes, even ones they pay for.

Why is this important? A legal immigration system is the not-so-secret edge in a competitive, interconnected world economy. Immigrants enhance our ability to grow and prosper in the dynamic global marketplace. We will need every possible advantage to expand our economy amid its fiscal challenges. Moreover, the aging of our population places a premium on young, productive workers, many of whom must come from immigration.

They go on to offer solutions to this conundrum. In short, Americans need to (1) help immigrants learn English; (2) invest in public education; and (3) help communities that have the highest rates of immigration because these communities are the hardest hit by economic changes, healthcare costs, etc. Nowhere in here does Bush advocate that the immigrant communities themselves hire new ‘leaders’ or adopt new PR programs. He calls on Americans to step up their own efforts to help immigrants assimilate.

The writers even pulls the E Pluribus Unum card:

Assimilation does not mean immigrants shed ethnic identities. Our national experience with hyphenated identities shows that good Americans can retain a strong sense of ethnic identity.

We’ve lived our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of Many, One”), better than any other country. But we ought not to airbrush our ancestors’ difficulties in assimilation, nor fail to match our forebears’ efforts to help integrate immigrants. Government, churches, libraries, civic organizations and businesses must cooperate to address this challenge, as they did a century ago.

That’s right. Americans themselves need to step it up, help immigrants assimilate better, and create a society in which more open immigration laws can actually lead to a better, more vibrant and economically flourishing culture. Perhaps the wisdom of this advice, if not the particulars, could be applied to the Ground Zero Mosque and to Muslims in general, many of whom aren’t even immigrants, but Americans whose families melted into the pot generations ago. Surely part of this process of assimilation, of ‘one among many’, requires Us to quit telling Them what to do or who their leaders are or ought to be.

Unless our society is much more fragile than Second America is always making it out to be.

Update.

Josh Barro has a very rational conservative take on why opposition to Cordoba House is antithetical to American values. It’s well worth your time.

See also, Jamelle Bouie and Jonathan Bernstein.






114 replies
  1. 1
    Dave says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    It was a very stupid column, the worst he’s written since the one where he said liberals needed to agree to outlaw abortion if they didn’t want doctors getting shot.

  3. 3

    Douthat’s basic problem is that Douthat-id wants certain things and then Douthat-superego gets busy on putting a thin veneer of respectability on whatever idiotic, nativist, or Opus Dei-lite theology his id happens to have vomited forth.

    Some days he’s better at hiding that than he was on this most recent column.

  4. 4
    mr. whipple says:

    Teh geh are trying to assimilate into Merkin culture by getting married, but they are too thin.

  5. 5
    suzanne says:

    If the shit Douchehat shovels was spouted by anyone else, it would piss me off.

    But the man’s a Douchehat. And that’s why I invariably start laughing uproariously by the second paragraph of whatever he writes,

  6. 6
    Hugh says:

    Yes. Great post.

  7. 7
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I don’t understand Ross du’Twat’s point. If the Muslims learn to assimilate better into American society they’ll do things like shop at Baby Gap which will make it more difficult for Real Americans(R) to identify the terrorist babies. And then the terrorist will have won.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    I appreciated Douthat’s “We was just doing some good natured hazing of the new guys” shtick side-by-side with Atrios’s:

    Two skulls unearthed at a probable mass grave near Philadelphia this month showed signs of violence, including a possible bullet hole. Another pair of skulls found earlier at the woodsy site also displayed traumas, seeming to confirm the suspicions of two historians leading the archaeological dig.

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/20.....ricas.html

  9. 9
    Crashman says:

    Right on, E.D.

    Douthat is just awful. Everything about him screams whitebread milquetoast. Why in the world did the Times ever hire him?

  10. 10
    debbie says:

    I don’t think Arab-Americans have been any more ambiguous than Irish-Americans or American Jews have been.

  11. 11
    gwangung says:

    Surely part of this process of assimilation, of ‘one among many’, requires Us to quit telling Them what to do or who their leaders are or ought to be.

    Nothing keeps a subgroup alive better than majority americans telling minority americans that “Why can’t we just be plain Americans.” Let it alone. Don’t keep pickin’ at it–that’s the sure way to keep groups distinct and away from the mainstream.

  12. 12
    jrg says:

    Yes. If only the Muslims would assimilate into our culture, they might understand our basic freedoms – like property rights and freedom of religion.

    Douthat’s a moron.

  13. 13
    Alwhite says:

    HEY! Doesn’t everyone remember when some American Catholics were sending money & guns to the IRA? The governments of Ireland and England both complained & asked the US government to help stop the flow of resources to a terrorist group. I remember that.

    And don’t you all remember how there was a great hew and cry to not allow Catholic churches be built in America until this terrorist support had been totally renounced? Yeah, me neither.

  14. 14
    Xenos says:

    Somebody remind me, how long did it take until the Irish were considered ‘white’? At least a century?

    And let us not get started on the first couple hundred years’ worth of bigotry regarding the other excessively monotheistic minority from the Middle East.

    The assholes who hate for the sake of hatred have always been with us.

  15. 15
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Shorter Douthat:

    But we don’t want the Irish Muslims!

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    Nor does it quite capture the patriotic portrait of “second America” Douthat was going for.

    I suspect you’re being too kind to Douthat here, and that this is exactly what he himself believes. At least it’s consistent with the beliefs I’ve read and heard him espouse.

  17. 17
    Svensker says:

    For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, they’ll need leaders who don’t describe America as “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June).

    Basically, what he’s saying is that for Muslims to “integrate” they need to pretend that 9/11 had nothing to do with the U.S.’s actions in the Middle East/support for Israel. And they also need to agree that Palestinians are sub-human scum that deserve to be stomped by Israel.

    That is the bottom line, really. And that is why there is going to be a big problem in the U.S. over this issue, because we cannot talk openly and honestly about the Middle East.

  18. 18
    Xenos says:

    @Alwhite: To extend that analogy further, since the Cordoba Center is run by Sufis, it is like having the threat of IRA bombs be the basis for opposing the construction of a Quaker Meeting House.

  19. 19
    carlos the dwarf says:

    So, can anyone explain to me why Douthat is respected at the Times and Kristol was run out on a rail? There seems to be no difference in the amount of xenophobic cray-cray they bring to the table.

  20. 20
    elm says:

    Thanks for posting this E.D.

    Also, wtf is Douthat on about with the “Anglo Saxon diaspora”?

    ETA: Some googling suggests that the phrase “Anglo Saxon Diaspora” is mainly used to signify pseudo-intellectual cultural/ethnic superiority.

  21. 21
    Cermet says:

    Very good post Mr. Ed- your learning how tp deal with people who demand facts, not fluff (like all your previous readers before BJ) … slowly, you too will learn how to be a liberal and only put facts first, and your beliefs second – good work.

  22. 22
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Alwhite: Let’s not forget that one of those IRA supporters was Congressman Peter King, Republican from Long Island, NY. (Yeah, he’s joined the anti-cultural center jihad.)

  23. 23
    Smurfhole says:

    @Alwhite:

    The heyday of anti-Catholic “fun” was in the 19th century. In 1844, anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia resulted in the regular Army being called in to protect the Irish neighborhood of Kensington from the rioting would-be lynch mobs.

    Not to be outdone, the rioters raided Fort Mifflin, south of the city, and armed themselves with cannon. They then pulled these cannon through the streets and had artillery duels with the US military.

    Then of course, you have the Draft riots and subsequent riots in New York City; but since the Catholics were the ones doing most of the rioting (albeit, often for causes worth rioting over), those may not count.

    Here’s a fun picture. Someone should send a copy to Douthat.

  24. 24

    That’s one interesting Jeb Bush column, E. Does this mean he’s running for President, or that he’s completely given up? It’s so reasonable and forward-looking and inclusive about immigrants, I wonder if he’ll be drummed out of the Republican Party. Or will they just ignore him?

  25. 25
    Paris says:

    Cordoba House has very little to nothing to do with immigration. As mentioned in the post, there are generations of native born muslims and converts in America. This is DoucheHats attempt to conflate two issues in an apologia of bigotry.

  26. 26
    Xenos says:

    @Doctor Science: Maybe I am crazy, but I think the financial elites are looking for a a principled exit path from the GOP now that the crazies have taken over.

    Maybe Jeb sees himself as the next Abe.

  27. 27
    Poopyman says:

    @Smurfhole:
    That corresponded with the rise of the Know-Nothing Party. Obvious parallels with the Teabaggers have been mentioned here before.

  28. 28
    Jules says:

    @Smurfhole:

    That picture is horrible…and hi-larious all at the same time.

  29. 29
    morzer says:

    This column by Douthat illustrates perfectly why so many of us have trouble taking the “reasonable conservative” shtick seriously. Maybe you can get a semi-reasonable viewpoint out of Douthat and his ilk once in a while, but you get a lot more of the low bigotry of soft expectorations, so to speak.

    Too often, American Muslim institutions have turned out to be entangled with ideas and groups that most Americans rightly consider beyond the pale. Too often, American Muslim leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes.

    Personally, I would suggest that Douthat rewrite this paragraph as follows:

    Too often, Republican institutions have turned out to be entangled with ideas and groups that most Americans rightly consider beyond the pale. Too often, Republican leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from hateful causes.

    I’d suggest there’s more evidence to support the second version, and that Douthat should do some serious thinking about why this is, starting with a good, hard look in his mirror.

  30. 30
    morzer says:

    @Doctor Science:

    Maybe he’s becoming a Cristian?

  31. 31
    Daddy-O says:

    My immigration policy:

    Let anyone in that wants to come in. Period. It worked for CENTURIES. It will work FOR us in the long run.

    All of us. All Americans. The only problem is that whites will soon be a minority, but that’s only a problem if you see it that way.

  32. 32
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

     

    A legal immigration system is the not-so-secret edge in a competitive, interconnected world economy. Immigrants enhance our ability to grow and prosper in the dynamic global marketplace. We will need every possible advantage to expand our economy amid its fiscal challenges. Moreover, the aging of our population places a premium on young, productive workers, many of whom must come from immigration

    I’ve been saying this for years.

    Good post, EDK.

    Douthat is an ethnic and religious bigot, full stop, and a historical ignoramus to boot. In a just world this column would be enough to get him fired from the NYT. Short of that, we can at least start referring to him as “notorious religious and ethnic bigot Ross Douthat”. It won’t stop the Atlantic blogmafia from linking to him and treating him as if he isn’t a loathsome and poisonous voice on this subject, but we can at least try to interject some much needed sense of shame into the conversation.

  33. 33
    Pangloss says:

    When are those bloody Irish going to start assimilating?

  34. 34
    Daddy-O says:

    @Paris: Very well put. We need recommend buttons here!

  35. 35
    kay says:

    We native-born Americans are doing less than our great-grandparents did to welcome immigrants.

    Speak for yourselves, conservatives. I’m doing all I can to “welcome” immigrants, despite your constant, incessant screeching and cynical political posturing. I can’t even keep track anymore. I need a List Of Grievances. If it’s not the terror babies, it’s the border, and if it’s not the border it’s a community center. Before that it was bi-lingual ballots, and before that it was English as a second language, or a Mexican flag.

    Who is Jeb Bush talking to, and is there some reason I and millions of other Americans who are not doing what conservatives are doing have to be included in his broad indictment?

    I think this should have gone out in an email to conservative leaders. Maybe he could make some calls.

  36. 36
    Poopyman says:

    @Doctor Science: @Xenos:
    Dunno whether it’s limited to the financial elites. I’ve talked to several former Republicans who wonder what the hell has happened to their party. I suspect either a very public rift or 3rd party would have fairly large support among the rank-‘n’-file.

    Anyway, for Jeb to be sticking his head into national debate at this point tells me he’s thinking of running.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:

    @Alwhite:

    Gerry Adams is white, and he doesn’t speak with a funny accent. Any other questions?

    Very truly yours,

    Peter King

  38. 38
    morzer says:

    @kay:

    Maybe we should create a reservation for Nativist Americans, and appoint Chief Douthat as their spokesman. We can trade them beads, firewater, old copies of Leo Strauss…..

  39. 39
    Daddy-O says:

    @Doctor Science: I don’t know if they’ll drum him out of the GOP, but I DO know this: He’s married to a Messkin.

    That might explain his ‘inclusive’ penchant. Very Republican of him to get on the right side of an issue because it hits home.

    Here in Missouri, we got a single-issue progressive law passed mandating insurance companies to treat autism covered as a medical issue, but only after a GOP member of the legislature pushed it and pushed it and pushed it–because he had an autistic child.

    It’s as if conservatives had no way to put themselves in another person’s shoes…and THAT is an actual symptom of autism itself.

  40. 40
    Poopyman says:

    @Pangloss:

    When are those bloody Irish going to start assimilating?

    As someone whose ancestors came over in the 1840s and who is 7/8ths Irish, let me just say that I’ll get back to you on that.

  41. 41
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Dear New York Times person:

    I find all of this very strange. There’s been a mosque in one form or another since the 1930’s in Quincy, MA, a nine-iron from what was one of the largest shipyards in America. Built warships there, too. Never thought twice about it as a kid. Now it’s around the corner from a Chinese temple.

    It’s America, you dumbass.

  42. 42

    Very nice, Erik.

    I have no new facts to offer [hat off to Cermet] but I still think, as Doug said,

    Religious bigotry is religious bigotry is religious bigotry.

  43. 43
    scav says:

    Any guesses where the first purpose built Mosque was apparently built in the US? What area has been culturally ravaged and destroyed by the forces of that which is insufficiently the real ‘Merca since (guess)?

     

     

     

    Cedar Rapids Iowa, 1934.

  44. 44
    Svensker says:

    @Doctor Science:

    That’s one interesting Jeb Bush column, E. Does this mean he’s running for President, or that he’s completely given up? It’s so reasonable and forward-looking and inclusive about immigrants, I wonder if he’ll be drummed out of the Republican Party. Or will they just ignore him?

    Jeb is still connected to the “old” Republican Party — the party of his father, James Baker, etc. Rich elites who were expected to “do the right thing”, keep the empire going, but in a polite and practical manner. Even his doofus brother George still had some of that (he was not a bigot and he refused to attack Iran). Jeb is a dying breed, but it will be interesting to see if he gets any traction in the new crazy fascist right wing.

  45. 45
    Smurfhole says:

    @Poopyman:

    It went on beyond the demise of the Know-Nothings, though. Even the 1920s KKK was largely fueled by anti-Catholic bigotry in vast regions where there were few African-Americans to be seen. In fact, the KKK could probably enjoy something of a resurgence if it joined forces with the Teabaggers on the nativist issue.

    @Jules:

    Filthy, Papist, potato-eating swine. America won’t be fit for Anglo-Saxon civilization until we send this Hibernian filth and their Roman Popery-dopery pagan mumbo-jumbo back on the coffin ships they came from to their foul little homeland.

  46. 46
    Poopyman says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    It’s America, you dumbass.

    Nicely summed up, Davis.

  47. 47
    Smurfhole says:

    @scav:

    That explains why God floods Iowa so often. Clearly, they must destroy that mosque or continue to face Biblical plagues.

  48. 48
    Daddy-O says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Ditto the ranking full stop.

    Here’s the deal: Once our economic hegemony subsides (hastened by the Bush Crime Family’s attempts to destroy America), what do we have left to offer immigrants?

    Our freedoms. Period. Our laws. Period.

    They will continue to come here, not just to get rich, but to live outside totalitarian states or less progressive nations, even giving up their families and cultures.

    Sounds like a heaping helping of old-school conservatism, but it works.

  49. 49
    scav says:

    @Smurfhole: yeah, must be it (might also explain the five smells that linger about that fair city) but I’ve always wondered by someone so omnipotent could have such lousy and inconsistent aim (let alone Ames).

  50. 50
    Poopyman says:

    @Smurfhole:

    In fact, the KKK could probably enjoy something of a resurgence if it joined forces with the Teabaggers on the nativist issue.

    Hmmm. Who’s to say that already isn’t happening? The Klan is media-savvy enough to know that it would be better done on the down-low, and I would think that even the Teabaggers would think twice before publicizing it, if they were even aware of it.

  51. 51
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @carlos the dwarf: Bill Kristol was not exactly run out of the New York Times on a rail (although he should have been). He was signed up to write a year’s worth of columns; for that year he stunk up their Op-Ed page with his garbage, and favored the world with the imbecilic grin on his byline photo. The NYT should have paid him his severance and chased him out after all the corrections they had to run for his first column.

  52. 52
    Woodrowfan says:

    @scav:

    I think there was one in Maine even earlier.

  53. 53
    Smurfhole says:

    @Poopyman:

    Something to watch for, anyway. If we start hearing nice things about the Klan from any quarter. Then again, their “brand” reputation may be too tarnished at this point. Better to use dummy front-groups like the various Tea Party organizations to disseminate the glorious tenets of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  54. 54
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Woodrowfan: Albanians, Bosinans and other Balkan Muslims had a sort-of-mosque connected with the Biddeford and Saco textile mills. (They were carpet spec1alists.) The community faded out over time, but some of the Quincy Muslims traced their roots back up here.

  55. 55
    Frank says:

    The steady pressure to conform to American norms, exerted through fair means and foul, eventually persuaded the Mormons to abandon polygamy, smoothing their assimilation into the American mainstream.

    If I have my history correct, the only way the Mormons would be allowed statehood was if they agreed to abandon polygamy. This is the only reason the Mormons agreed to change.

    I don’t recall the Muslims attempting to become the 51st state. Thus, the comparison is invalid.

    By the way, should we now also demand Christianity to agree to mainstream American values and stop bombing abortion clinic and murdering abortion doctors? This entire debate is beyond stupid.

  56. 56
    scav says:

    @Woodrowfan: I’m just reporting what the building (Mother Mosque) says (backed by wiki, which probably comes to the same deal). I’m wouldn’t be surprised if there were contenders for the title and I’d certainly expect earlier building conversions to mosques.

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Woodrowfan: Albanians, Bosinans and other Balkan Muslims had a sort-of-mosque connected with the Biddeford and Saco textile mills just before WW1. (They were carpet spec1alists.) The community faded out over time, but some of the Quincy Muslims traced their roots back up here.

    (Repeated because original was spiked for embedded bon*r pill reference)

  58. 58
    Xenos says:

    @morzer:

    Maybe we should create a reservation for Nativist Americans

    Let them have Oklahoma.

  59. 59
    morzer says:

    @Xenos:

    I was considering Alaska.. but Oklahoma has some definite merits.

  60. 60
    Violet says:

    Too often, American Muslim leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes.

    What the hell? “Reasonable conservative” Douchehat wants Muslims to “disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes”? Can he please ask the same thing of his wingnut cohorts? The country would be way better off.

  61. 61
    Brachiator says:

    I get confused. I barely got used to the stupid conservative insistence that there was a Real America(tm) somewhere out there (presumably juxtaposed to an Unreal America). Now, scratch that in favor of a First, Second and maybe even a Third America?

    Is this a hierarchy? Can you get demoted to one of the lower Americas if you misbehave?

    Damn, Douchehat brings the stupid and even tries to put a smiley face on bigotry (“But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer, and both have been necessary to the American experiment’s success”).

    Sorry, can’t use it.

    Great corrective E.D.

  62. 62
    Woodrowfan says:

    @scav:

    that’s OK. I’m still looking for the reference, and, if I remember right, it was temporary…

  63. 63
    kay says:

    @morzer:

    Maybe Jeb Bush could get on the phone, relying on the HUGE Bush Family contacts list, call off the conservative attack dogs, and then we could discuss this with less spittle flying around.
    This is a political tactic by conservatives, and if there’s anyone who knows that, it’s a Bush.

  64. 64
    Kiril says:

    @Amir_Khalid: Kristol was the reason I stopped reading the Times. It was stupid and emotional, but at the time I remember thinking it was just one thing too much for to keep spending money on a paper that published Kristol (not even gonna bother calling him names or explaining why). Anyway, the Times people called me now and again and asked if I wanted to restart my subscription and a couple times I said not until Kristol is gone. But then a funny thing happened: I realized I didn’t miss the Times at all except for the crossword puzzles. And after a while, I didn’t even miss those.

  65. 65
    Mary G says:

    <a href="http://www.ordinary-gentlemen......woods/This is another post by Kain that I enjoyed this week.

  66. 66
    GregB says:

    Arab-American Darrell Issa is a model of American cultural assimilation. He became a car thief at a young age and a scumbag politician later in life. Stealing cars for profit not suicide bombs. How refreshingly American Mr. Issa.

    Meanwhile in PA archeologists are digging up evidence about how the old timer Americans used to deal with those recalcitrant Irish immigrants who were unwilling to assimilate.

    They massacred them, then burned the remains and told everyone there was an outbreak of cholera.

    Irish bones.

  67. 67
    schrodinger's cat says:

    What does the mosque have to do with immigration? Why conflate the two issues?

  68. 68
  69. 69
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Xenos: How about that island in Alaska from where you can see Russia?

  70. 70
    Xenos says:

    @morzer: Now I think about it, maybe they should have to cede some territory in Georgia to the Cherokees and pay reparations for the Tulsa riots before we should leave them in peace in the earthly paradise that we call Oklahoma.

    Making them walk all the way through the snow might be tempting, but we liberals are better than that.

  71. 71
    martha says:

    @kay: I’m not sure that they have the ability to do that, honestly. It would take guts. And they’ve been enjoying watching the show. Only now, as the crazy is being codified into long-term party death, are they realizing that short-term benefits may not be what it’s all cracked up to be.

    I just wish the Democratic party that doesn’t exist in the real world knew how to tie the bankers and the crazies together, once and for all. They’ve been weak on that one.

  72. 72
    Jesse Ewiak says:

    Yeah, the GOP has had a good streak of not nominating bigots as their actual Presidential nominees. McCain obviously was moving right on immigration to placate the base, Dubya was a classist, not a racist, Dole was too old to matter, Bush I was your typical New England WASP, Reagan again only used racial language for political gain and tossed it away if necessary (ie. amnesty).

    But, unfortunately, it’s very likely that in the next cycle or two, we’ll see a Presidential nominee that’s a slip up away from saying s*ic or n*gger.

  73. 73
    YellowJournalism says:

    A “high-profile mosque”? The thing only became high profile after all the attention it’s received, thanks to idiots like Douthat, who don’t even understand that it’s not a mosque.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: For this, we look at the other big issue du jour amongst Republicans: anchor babies. I don’t think it’s an accident that there’s a flare-up over this at the same time as the Cordoba House.

    Anderson Cooper interviewed a Texas state representative on this, and while she didn’t lose her shit like Gohmert, she did break and rambled on about how terrorists can waltz across the border and plant a dirty bomb in Houston. Completely unrelated to the whole point about anchor babies, but she used it as evidence of some sort.

    Far as I can tell, it’s all all linked in their mind through the common thread of xenophobia.

  76. 76
    Poopyman says:

    @Xenos:

    Let them have Oklahoma.

    Haven’t the Cherokee suffered enough?

  77. 77
    morzer says:

    @kay:

    The trouble is that political tactics don’t just stay political. In all honesty, this sort of small-town bigotry off the leash has gone so far, so frequently of late that I don’t think the GOP elite list can stop it, even assuming they want to. Once you give the beast a taste of raw meat, it just wants more.

  78. 78
    morzer says:

    In a shocking move, I see that our principled adulterer conservative statesman Newt has decided to weigh in on Cordoba House, with his usual mixture of fairness and balance falseness and baloney:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....hp?ref=fpi

  79. 79

    […] own thoughts on the Douthat column are up at Balloon Juice. This entry was posted in American Times and tagged cordoba house, Jamelle Bouie, Jonathan […]

  80. 80
    Bill Murray says:

    The Irish were assimilated during the great migration when it was realized there skin tone was ivory and not ebony.

    Our ancestors helped many groups more than we did, that’s why hey passed the Chinese Exclusion Act (with the Scot Act and Geary Act following on) and eventually SCOTUS went along. Massachusetts Senator George Frisbie Hoar heavily opposed the act as legalized discrimination

  81. 81
    Svensker says:

    @morzer:

    God. It really seems like it’s time to get out of this country. If the economy tanks, like it looks like it’s going to do, we’re going full on fascist, I think.

    Obama may = Hoover. I just don’t think he’s going to be followed by FDR.

    Am I being too much of a pessimist?

  82. 82
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @morzer: …so by the time the media reads the memo about how calling the place a mosque is wrong, the right will be in full force demagoguing another falsehood, saying that the dude behind this project is a radical.

    God fucking damnit.

  83. 83

    […] history of immigration is getting a lot of buzz in the blogosophere, notably for its fantastically simplistic view of the current issues involving the integration of Muslims into American society. But there […]

  84. 84
    morzer says:

    @Svensker:

    I wish I could say you were being too pessimistic, but we certainly seem to be facing the perfect sh*tstorm, thanks to a lousy economy and right-wing extremists in full-on ignorant bigot mode.

  85. 85
    morzer says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    I imagine they’ll start gibbering about anchor mosques next.

  86. 86
    matoko_chan says:

    Look Kain.
    This is what is wrong.
    Americas god is dying.
    Conservatives are homogeneously older white christians. The Tea Party and the GOP are both religious parties.
    The right has been biomemetically engineered via selfselection to be lower IQ highly religious xenophobes that CAN’T learn….they are only capable of responding to slogans and demogoguery. Conservatives simply don’t have the substrate.

    America is the first great experiment in Protestant social formation. Protestantism in Europe always assumed and depended on the cultural habits that had been created by Catholic Christianity. America is the first place Protestantism did not have to define itself over against a previous Catholic culture. So America is the exemplification of constructive Protestant social thought.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer thus got it right when he characterized American Protestantism as “Protestantism without Reformation.”
    That is why it has been possible for Americans to synthesize three seemingly antithetical traditions: evangelical Protestantism, republican political ideology and commonsense moral reasoning. For Americans, faith in God is indistinguishable from loyalty to their country.

    You and Douthat ARE exactly the same on this.
    Quit whining about YOUR base and FUCKING EDUCATE THEM or just STFU.
    We won’t be rid of them until they die off.
    or just switch sides. quit fucking pretending.

  87. 87
    matoko_chan says:

    @Jesse Ewiak: Dubya was a WEC and a western culture chauvinist. Quit pretending.
    He lurved the Sauds and ignored their radical shariah and the Princes misdirecting the islamists onto the west.
    The Bush Doctrine and COIN are nothing but proselytizing judeoxian democracy.
    The reason we have poured 6000 american soljah lives and a trillion in treasure into the bottomless pits of Iraq and Afghanistan is that Bush was too stupid to get that when muslims are empowered to vote they vote for shariah.
    suck on that, cudlips.

  88. 88
    matoko_chan says:

    and WE ALREADY KNOW THIS SHIT.
    you wont talk about racism in the teabaggers or abortion rights, coward.
    either quit pretending and switch sides or GTFO.
    we aren’t going to help you reform your base.
    that is your job.
    go do it.

  89. 89
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    I see your struggle for rationality is going poorly, Matoko. Had you considered that ED Kain might just be writing these pieces as his way of refuting what the right-wing is doing? Or will you not be happy until he stands outside your personal 7/11 with a huge-ass sign approved by you?

  90. 90
    Duwamps says:

    @Daddy-O:

    Actually, the US has a long history of limiting/restricting immigration:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....ted_States

  91. 91
    Duwamps says:

    @burnspbesq:

    You’ve clearly never heard Mr. Adams speak…

  92. 92
    Svensker says:

    @matoko_chan:

    You’re always lecturing us about how we don’t really know shit about Islam and how dare we try to tell you anything about your religion.

    Well, speaking as a Protestant Christian, I’d say the same thing back to you. You don’t really know shit. You know a little, but you’re an outsider looking in and you don’t really understand what you’re seeing. Same with the guy who wrote the article, who is apparently an Aussie. So try for a little humility on the topic, OK?

    But if you like, I’ll send you my head measurements.

  93. 93
    Neo says:

    Reid spokesman: “First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Sen Reid respects that but thinks .. mosque should be built someplace else”

    So what is his excuse ?

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    @morzer:

    I imagine they’ll start gibbering about anchor mosques next.

    Anchor mosques.

    An absolutely brilliant conceit.

    A tip of the hat to you.

  95. 95
    matoko_chan says:

    @Svensker: i was raised catholic, catholic girls school, the whole enchilada.
    i was an atheist from highschool till i reverted.
    what are you denying about that article i linked?

    refute me instead of bitching about me.
    id love an argument on substance.

  96. 96
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer:

    Had you considered that ED Kain might just be writing these pieces as his way of refuting what the right-wing is doing?

    what good is it doing for him to say it here? you guyz got this. we already KNOW the conservative “low-information base” has serious problems with reality, science, intellectuals, compassion and teh darkskinned.
    And he won’t talk about “free market innovation” “abortion fetus=slave issues” or racism in the tea party….he says he won’t discuss that. OFF LIMITS!
    all i want is he should stand and deliver.
    let him defend the fetus=slave idiocy here. let him actually TELL us what useful ideas are left in conservatism.
    i think its pretty obvious conservatism is an empty purse at this point.
    Let him work in his own garden and educate his base.
    or switch sides.
    hes just a waste of spacetime here.

  97. 97
    MattR says:

    @matoko_chan:

    hes just a waste of spacetime here.

    Should we take a poll to see who people consider to be a bigger waste of spacetime – E.D. Kain or you?

  98. 98
    eka says:

    Why isn’t anybody stating the fact that alot of musilims in America are actually African Americans. Islam in America is as old as slavery itsself. By the time of the slave trade islam had already spread to west africa, alot of the slaves were practising muslims before they got here, and some were able to hold on to their faith. I hear the pundits talking about muslims as them, when infact the face of an American muslim will most probably be black

  99. 99
    matoko_chan says:

    @MattR: go for it.
    i repeat….what is he doing here?
    telling us his base is made up of ‘low-information’ old white christian racists? we know that already.
    im more interested what conservative memes he thinks are defensible.
    if there are any.

  100. 100
    JamesC says:

    I can’t make heads or tails of makotochan’s rantings. It doesn’t seem to jive with anything published about the actual mechanics of adaptation and evolution, or even correlate with current statistical evidence or the realities of democratic politics.

    How in the nine hells do you “self-select” for a lower IQ? And what the hell does IQ have to do with actual intelligence? Or is s/he making the classic mistake of thinking that a standardized test is an actual barometer of intelligence, despite the numerous exhibited flaws, subjective fallacies and blind spots in the various forms of the IQ testing?

    Last I checked, people don’t breed on criteria of intelligence. Or, if they do, it’s generally on the far vaguer scale of “can s/he hold a reasonable conversation about ordinary things?” rather than “is his/her politics a perfect mirror of my own?”

    Arguing that there is a (badly defined) intelligence gulf between the bog standard Conservative and the bog standard Liberal, and that we should somehow formulate decisions and policies based on that, reeks of the same sort of bigotry and intolerance that Ross Douchehat is advocating. All you’re doing is generalizing “intelligence” instead of “race” or “religion,” and pretending that, despite the fact that /nobody/ has managed to develop a functional formal theory of intelligence yet (be patient dammit – neurology and artificial intelligence is in its infancy, why jump the goddamn gun), “intelligence” as an excuse for intolerance is somehow more acceptable.

  101. 101
    morzer says:

    @JamesC:

    How in the nine hells do you “self-select” for a lower IQ?

    Chairman Matoko is living the concept as we speak.

  102. 102
    matoko_chan says:

    @JamesC: im not talking about genetic breeding. im talking about memetic selection.
    Conservatism is social levelling for IQ and education. People with lower IQs and less education are drawn to conservatism because they get skill ups for religion and “commonsense”. its called rubberbanding in game theory.
    some current literature on why there would be an IQ gap.
    neuroscience
    the savannah principle
    i can link more if you are interested.

  103. 103

    @morzer: Chairwoman. All I know is that she really, really, really, REALLY likes pie.

    @Mary G: I actually liked your first link better. I thought you were saying that E.D. now is where Cole was in 2006.

    E.D., great post. I cannot read Douthat, and I am glad that others do and deconstruct him so I don’t have to break out the brain bleach. I doubt that a measured response like yours will have any impact on Douthat, but I am hoping that others will read this post and think about it a bit.

    As for J. Bush, I would agree with kay. Some of us have been welcoming to immigrants–so J. Bush must be talking to his compatriots. Nevertheless, he is right, so props to him.

    Finally, assimilation does indeed go both ways. Look at the effect other cultures have had on America and tell me that it’s only the immigrants doing the assimilating.

    Finally finally, the cultural center has nothing to do with immigration as noted above so Douthat is moving the goalposts in a different direction. By conflating the two, the right is just fanning the dual flames of bigotry against immigrants and against Muslims. Fuckers.

  104. 104
    JamesC says:

    @makoto_chan

    You still don’t account for my critique on why IQ as a measurement is in itself an irrevocably fallacious definition of “intelligence,” and you still don’t address why treating it as a viable measure of discrimination is just as bad as the shite that Douchehat breathed out.

    Furthermore, the studies you’ve linked are only tentatively supported at best, most probably specious in its formulation or approach, and at worst outright wrong. Again, you have to explain exactly why the hell you’re holding onto IQ as a legitimate measure despite its known structural problems. And again, neurology is at best in its infancy. Unless you’re able to demonstrate why their factual shortcomings and blind spots aren’t crucial weaknesses in your position, they don’t make valid rebuttals – an unfair position for you, perhaps, but this isn’t a college debate. What’s factual is more important than what’s fair.

    In the parlance of debaters, however, you are dropping core and critical arguments left and right. This is, to put it mildly, a most unsatisfactory state of affairs on your part.

  105. 105
    morzer says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I always imagine Douthat wearing a long trench coat and a big face-concealing hat and muffler as he ventures out to the Indian takeout restaurant under cover of night.

  106. 106
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Out of curiosity, where in game theory did you find rubber-banding, and can you explain the mathematics that underlie it?

    There is a phenomenon in game design called rubber-banding, but that’s rather different from your description.

  107. 107
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: in the class i took, game design and EGT and bidding theory and were all units. the maths for my example are prolly SBH, since the metric is social capital and not skill.
    im not here to debate…..im here to spit damn until classes start.

  108. 108
    JamesC says:

    @matoko_chan:

    If you’re not here to debate, you probably shouldn’t be using inflammatory rhetorics then, aye? You should also probably not be asserting expertise on issues of intelligence based off what is apparently badly remembered notes from an intro class on game design.

    Game theory being a branch of applied mathematics that attempts to encapsulate human behavior in strategic situations, a class on game design gives you a… somewhat shallow understanding of its complexity and various issues.

  109. 109
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    In short, you don’t know what you are talking about. Call us when you have something to contribute, and don’t try bluffing people who actually do know something.

  110. 110
    matoko_chan says:

    @JamesC: im sorry, i just dont feel i should have to give remedial courses in basic inheritance. a lot of the people here are bioluddites that reject a biological basis of intelligence.
    i thought the commentariat here was better educated, i guess.
    lets begin….there are four paths of inheritance: symbolic, behavioral, genetic and epigentic. (Boyd and Richardson) symbolic and behavioral are memetic and environmental inheritance. genetic and epigenetic are organic dna based types of inheritance. when i talk about memetic transmission and selection fitness i am talking about cavalli-sforza’s idea of cultural transmission of memes from his book Cultural Transmission and Evolution: A Quantitative Approach.
    when i talk about evolution of religion i am talking about JMS’s book Evolution and the Theory of Games and Pascal Boyers book Religion Explained.. Both islam and christianity are CSSs, Dawkins defn of culturally stable strategies from chapter 4.

    When i mention the word inheritance and IQ in the same sentence the people here freak out and start raving about some 16 yearold book by a political scientist called the Bell Curve.
    no one debates me on substance ….they just call me a racist and claim IQ psychometrics are psuedoscience.
    you are absolutely right.
    :)
    this is a pointless waste of time….its like trying to explain quantum biology to a pack of talking dogs….they aren’t interested.

    ty Cole for lettin’ me speak my mind.
    sayonara..

  111. 111
    morzer says:

    @matoko_chan:

    You don’t offer science, and you can’t give us the math. It is a pointless waste of time, because you don’t know the basics. For you, it’s just a matter of cobbling together some ideas you haven’t understood, and then yelling like a three-year old when people call you on it.

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Finally, assimilation does indeed go both ways. Look at the effect other cultures have had on America and tell me that it’s only the immigrants doing the assimilating.

    Absolutely. I often joke that here in Southern California, at the end of America First/English Only meetings, some guy or gal turns to a fellow attendee and asks, “Want to go get some sushi? I know this little place down Sepulveda near La Cienega.”

    And I wish I could find the reference, but I once read something about how during the 18th century a European visiting the American south noted the degree to which the white planters walked and talked like Africans.

    And so it is today that a Mexican restaurant celebrates St Patrick’s Day, and on and on and on.

  113. 113
    Jon says:

    all of these blogs need to stop linking to douhat. It’s just driving up his readership.

  114. 114
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer:

    you can’t give us the math

    this is true.
    you don’t have the substrate.
    im offering science, but its leading edge science and not 16 yr old books by polysci majors.
    im into the biological basis of behavior and you old bio-luddite people are still into magical thinking an’ decades old faux research and laymens literature.
    it is a profound waste of everyones time.
    there is no third culture at balloon juice.
    why stop at ED? Cole should just give McMegan and Douthat front page slots too. you are all the same.

    bi la kayfah

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] history of immigration is getting a lot of buzz in the blogosophere, notably for its fantastically simplistic view of the current issues involving the integration of Muslims into American society. But there […]

  2. […] own thoughts on the Douthat column are up at Balloon Juice. This entry was posted in American Times and tagged cordoba house, Jamelle Bouie, Jonathan […]

Comments are closed.