John Daniel Davidson
Tucker Carlson’s monologue Tuesday night going after Rep. Ilhan Omar for her anti-American statements provoked predictable accusations of racism, in particular against his contention that Omar is “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
But as my colleague David Harsanyi noted, Carlson wasn’t criticizing Omar because of her race or religious background, but because of her radical ideas, “because she doesn’t believe in the traditional ideas that define American life.”
Harsanyi disagrees with Carlson about immigration as a whole, though. He says, contra Carlson, that liberal immigration policies are good, and add much to American society. In general, this is correct. Or at least it has been the case throughout most of our history.
Where Carlson has a point, however, is in his assertion that, “No country can import large numbers of people who hate it, and expect to survive.” That’s true of both immigrants and the native born, and indeed Carlson has also noted recently that no country can be governed by people who hate it—like the crowded field of Democratic candidates scrambling to denounce America—and expect to survive.
The question, then, is whether we’re doing enough to ensure that both immigrants and the native-born don’t end up hating America the way Omar, who has every reason notto hate America, obviously does. We arguably ask too little of our immigrants and don’t do a good job of assimilating them—and by assimilating, I mean instilling in them traditional American values.
But the reason we don’t do a very good job of that anymore is because we don’t do a very good job of creating Americans from the native-born population in general.
The immigration question, in this context, is a little like the question of adding more states. Why, under a post-constitutional progressive regime in which state governments are in thrall to federal policy, would any conservative want to add more states to the union? Under the circumstances, adding more states would make our structural problems with so-called “cooperative federalism” worse, since there’s zero chance that any new state would resist federal money and the strings attached to it.
In the same vein, why would we want to take in large numbers of immigrants just to have their children attend public schools and universities that indoctrinate them with progressive ideology and teach them to hate America? Indeed, the infiltration of our institutions by progressives is pervasive. You can’t even go to the local public librarythese days without having transgenderism and other progressive values forced on you.
Beyond institutions, we’re now faced with the horrible phenomenon of woke capitalism, in which massive corporations aggressively push identity politics on their customers, whether they ask for it or not, and what used to be unifying symbols, like a Revolutionary War flag, are instead taken as icons of slavery and racism.
It’s hard to create patriotic Americans in such an environment, and harder still to persuade newcomers to be patriotic Americans. While it’s true that the United States is far better at assimilating immigrants than, say, France and Germany, we are steadily becoming more like those countries in this respect.
Some, like The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, think it’s “absurd” to say that Omar proves anything, for better or worse, about America’s immigration system. “Isn’t getting elected to Congress a great achievement, and proof of assimilation?” he asks.
Well, no, not really. Omar and others on the far-left want to eradicate the American constitutional system, which they believe is a source of oppression and injustice. That they want to do so by gaining control of the levers of power is, if anything, proof that they’re serious—that they really mean what they say.
But we might improve on Carlson’s assertion that Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration is dangerous by taking one step back. Somewhere along the line, despite everything America gave to Omar and her family, she was taught to despise this country.
That should give us pause, because it means the problem goes far beyond immigration. It includes all of us, and nearly every institution of public life. Omar, in this view, is living proof that the way we educate our children, and the way we live now as a nation, is very dangerous indeed.