By Timothy Birdnow
The Spanish conquest of the Americas sparked a theological, political, and ethical debate about the use of military force to acquire control over foreign lands. This debate took place within the framework of a religious discourse that legitimized military conquest as a way to facilitate the conversion and salvation of indigenous peoples.[...]According to Uday Mehta, liberal imperialism was the product of the interaction between universalism and developmental history (1999). A core doctrine of liberalism holds that all individuals share a capacity for reason and self-government. The theory of developmental history, however, modifies this universalism with the notion that these capacities only emerge at a certain stage of civilization.
Normalization is the colonization of the mind, whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor's reality is the only "normal" reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.
If mass immigration from Latin America has debatable benefits for the United States as a whole, if a majority of the American people is against it, and if immigrants cannot vote until they become naturalized (which can take years after their arrival), why would nine-tenths of the legislators we spoke with be so keen on increasing immigration?Before these encounters, I believed that it was a problem of either diffusion of responsibility, "creeping non-decision," or collective rationalization with those legislators, but that was dispelled the more of them we met. Most of them seemed to be aware of the negative or at least doubtful consequences of mass immigration from Latin America, while still advocating mass immigration.[...]Republican lawmakers we spoke with knew that naturalized Latin American immigrants and their offspring vote mostly for the Democratic Party, but still most of them (all except five) were unambiguously in favor of amnesty and of continued mass immigration (at least from Mexico).[...]Also curiously, the Republican enthusiasm for increased immigration also was not so much about voting in the end, even with "converted" Latinos. Instead, these legislators seemingly believed that they could weaken the restraining and frustrating straightjacket devised by the Founding Fathers and abetted by American norms. In that idealized "new" United States, political uncertainty, demanding constituents, difficult elections, and accountability in general would "go away" after tinkering with the People, who have given lawmakers their privileges but who, like a Sword of Damocles, can also "unfairly" take them away. Hispanics would acquiesce and assist in the "natural progress" of these legislators to remain in power and increase the scope of that power. In this sense, Republicans and Democrats were similar.
Several of the concerns targeted for reform by the Progressives were direct or indirect results of the great wave of immigration and industrialization around the turn of the century. In the single decade from 1900 to 1910, 8.8 million immigrants entered the United States, many of whom came from nations, ethnic groups and religions that contrasted with the traditional dominance of American immigrants from the countries of Western Europe. Immigrants from southeastern Europe provided cheap labor to support the rapid growth of major industrial centers and settled in densely-populated urban enclaves Political parties and bosses used the voting base offered by these immigrants to pursue their own goals, often by aiding immigrant families with practical assistance in jobs, housing or other benefits. The poor housing, sanitation and health care, as well as the extensive exploitation of child labor in both factories and at home, prevalent in most immigrant communities also became a focus for reformers.
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