Time for another tremendously controversial statement.
I’ve heard it argued that Americans should be open to immigration because many Americans are descendants of European immigrants. We’re told how we have no right to keep the land to ourselves, especially after taking it from the native Americans. In other nations, Europeans are told they should open their borders as payback for what was done during Europe’s colonial period. There are three reasons why I absolutely disagree.
- Whatever Europeans did during their colonial period, that was then, done by other people, not by people alive today (in most cases at least; certainly when it comes to the US). Don’t blame the descendants for what their ancestors did.
- In the past, wars for land were fought. Hardly anyone today lives in a country that their ancestors settled peacefully. Iceland may be the only exception. Almost every piece of land that is currently inhabited has been fought over and changed hands violently. So really, this argument would apply to every single group of people in the world. Yet nobody suggests that other cultures lack the right to keep themselves closed from multiculturalism. (This is also why giving Middle Eastern land to Jewish people to enable them to run an ethnic nation or a theocracy was ridiculous. They lost the land thousands of years ago. That doesn’t mean their descendants should get it back. That said, now that they did get it back many decades ago, it wouldn’t be right to take it away again.)
- Perhaps most importantly, being the descendants of immigrants who did not assimilate shows us exactly what happens to any culture that allows (or is forced to allow) people to immigrate without assimilating. The native Americans once had a many cultures thriving across North America. Then the Europeans came. They did not assimilate. As a result, there was conflict, and the Europeans won. And so, the native culture was all but destroyed. Why in the world would we, the descendants of the Europeans, make the same mistake, and let our culture wind up getting destroyed by non-assimilating immigrants?
So: be pro-immigration, anti-immigration, whatever, but do not tell me that I must be pro-immigration because my ancestors immigrated. That’s like saying I must be pro-meat eating because my ancestors ate meat.