More Christian Brexit Hysteria From The Anglican Church

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To believe that Brexit is the greatest threat to Britain’s Christian heritage and values is profoundly misguided

The people over at Reimagining Europe are at it again.

The Rt. Revd. Dr. Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, is concerned that Britain may be about to throw it’s European-given Christian heritage out with the EU bathwater. One might consider it strange that he considers Brexit to be the existential threat to British Christianity rather than, say, increasing secularisation or the aggressive attacks by the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics on what were once traditional Christian family values, but such is the way of things these days within the Churches of England and Wales.

Bishop Cameron writes:

In spite of the fact that the Bible has more to say about the distribution of wealth, social justice and the welfare of nations than ever it does about eternal life, Christianity and religion have gently been tidied away by many to the sidelines of political life. To ask therefore about a “Christian Brexit” might provoke the response “Why should there even be talk of such a thing?” While fear of religious extremism may have fuelled the leave vote, Brexit is trumpeted as a clinical economic exercise, perhaps with a little national pride thrown in but free from ideological fancy. So many might wonder why would religion get mixed up in it?

In fact, Christian philosophy is something woven into the very fabric of British society.  It undergirds many of our attitudes and values, even if the rationales have become obscure, and the foundations repudiated by many.  Christianity came to us from the continent, and bound us to the continent, whether it was the mission of Pope Gregory to the Angles on the cusp of the seventh century, or the repudiation of one sort of Europe (the Catholic) in order to embrace another (the Protestant) in the sixteenth.  Even if we’ve chosen to renounce the politics of European integration, this doesn’t imply a rejection of a shared European culture – which is just as well given that most of British culture derives from a classical and Christian European past.  Could there even be a Britain without Christendom, the Angevin Empire, and the struggles for the European soul played out in the Napoleonic and World War conflicts?

It’s great that somebody is now asking these questions. I’m just astonished that the good bishop has identified Brexit as the greatest threat to this cultural heritage, rather than any of the other far more pressing issues. Of course Britain would not exist in anything like it’s current form without Christendom. Why does that mean that Britain should have voted to remain in a supranational political union beset with so many problems and unloved by so many?

And of course renouncing the EU’s explicitly political union and integrationist purpose does not mean that we reject our “shared European culture”. Given that Bishop Cameron understands that these are two different things, one wonders why he is concerned that rejecting one would even endanger the other.

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So which Christian values do I wish to see thrive in a Britain set apart?  One of the worst aspects of the Brexit vote, much commented upon, was the permission unintentionally given for xenophobia.  Too many immigrants (even to the third or fourth generation) are now made to feel unwelcome; too many folk have been given licence to be rude or violent.  I want to see a Britain which affirms our human connectness and the fundamental attitudes of respect and hospitality.  We need a people centred Brexit, which respects the individual choices and irrevocable commitments that immigrants and ex pats have made about their futures in the expectation of a border free Europe which is now slipping away from us.

I’ll have to take the bishop’s word for this. I have many friends and acquaintances in parts of the country condescendingly referred to by elites as “Brexitland“, but I myself live in cosmopolitan London, where Brexiteers and not “immigrants” are the scorned and endangered species. And while I do not question the veracity of media reports of xenophobic and racist incidents in the wake of the EU referendum campaign, from my own experience of strongly pro-Brexit places such as Stoke-on-Trent or my hometown of Harlow, neither have I witnessed anything like the wave of supposed anti-immigrant sentiment which the left-wing, pro-EU media insist is taking place.

Furthermore, if third and fourth generation immigrants are being made to feel unwelcome, clearly this is an issue which extends far beyond Brexit and Britain’s place in the European Union. As with the disastrous start to Donald Trump’s presidency in America, there is a tendency to blame every bad thing that happens in Britain on Brexit rather than seek to intelligently separate those factors which existed prior to the referendum and need addressing separately, and those which are legitimately connected with Britain leaving the EU.

The bishop then waxes lyrical about the “irrevocable commitments that immigrants and ex pats have made about their futures”. I’m sorry, but I have to take issue with this. The ultimate expression of making an irrevocable commitment to a new country that you want to call home is to become a citizen of that country. When my wife and I eventually move back to the United States, I eagerly look forward to the day when I receive my US citizenship as it will be an acknowledgement of the commitment I am making to that great country. Why should it be any different for somebody who intends to permanently settle and build their new life in Britain?

While EU citizens have been bribed for several decades with promises of a “borderless world” – while politicians have simultaneously kept silent about the damage done by undermining the nation state through the EU project – there is in fact nothing abnormal about expecting people to take that final oath of loyalty and allegiance before fully accepting them as a fellow countryman. You don’t prove your commitment to small-L liberal, British values simply by turning up, getting a job and starting a life here. An immigrant’s commitment to their new country should be more than the sum of the taxes that they pay and the personal enjoyment that they and their families receive as a result of making the move. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, citizenship is about asking what you can do for your (new) country, not just what your (new) country can do for you.

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I want to see a Britain which reasserts its care for the weakest in its own society and in the citizenry of the world; which is committed to international development and international exchange.  We need a culture which is open to and accepting of heterogeneity.  In such a future, “British” should not stand in contradiction to “European”, but incorporate an international spirit: a continuing commitment to lowering barriers and not raising them.

Now this is just generic leftist pablum. Do we not already have an extensive welfare state? Do we not already lead the world by (wrongly, in my opinion) devoting an extraordinary fixed percentage of our GDP to inefficient, government-administered international aid? “British” does not stand in contradiction to “European”. But rather than becoming interchangeable, as EU integration ultimately demands, in future

Of course we should remain an open and tolerant society, but a culture which is “open to and accepting of heterogeneity” to an unlimited degree is a culture which refuses to assert its own values, fails to properly assimilate new immigrants and which fosters breeding grounds for unimaginable, unforgivable horrors like the sexual abuse epidemic in Rotherham, or the infant mortality rate as a result of consanguineous relationships in the London Borough of Redbridge. One might expect a Church of Wales bishop to be at least as equally concerned with these social problems as with the feelings of immigrants who felt perfectly happy in Britain until the Brexit vote but who now apparently feel besieged and despised, but apparently this is too much to ask.

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Brexit may not be a spiritual or religious enterprise, but we do have to defend the best aspects of our national life to build a future of which to be proud.  All the churches, including the Church in Wales, have to engage vigorously in the public debate about Brexit and our society as advocates of a Christian vision of social inclusion and people centred politics.

No. The trouble is that the Church has been lustily involved in the Brexit debate all through the referendum campaign and now it’s aftermath, but in an incredibly one-sided manner. Almost to the last person (with a few honourable exceptions) the bishops and clergy have come down hard on the side of remaining in the EU, often argued by clerics with a tissue paper-thin understanding of the issues at hand but a burning desire to signal their progressive virtue.

Has Bishop Cameron ever stopped to consider how an ordinary, decent, Brexit-supporting person might feel when confronted with the Anglican church’s institutional metro-leftism and scornful opinion of Brexiteers? Has he stopped to think what effect the Archbishops of Canterbury and York might have on the Brexit-supporting faithful when they so transparently agitate in favour of remaining in the European Union, and cast aspersions on the morals of those who dared to take a different position?

The bishop’s article concludes:

In challenging times of change it falls to us to demonstrate what loving our neighbours really means.

Yes, it does. Bishop Cameron might like to reflect on how he lives out those values in his own ministry, with particular regard to how he engages with the sincere beliefs of those within his own Welsh diocese who voted in good conscience for Brexit, are now looking forward in a spirit of optimism to its enactment, and are perhaps hoping for some pastoral encouragement (rather than despairing forgiveness) as they do so.

Because if this article is any guide, he has a long journey ahead of him.

 

 

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Stop Applauding “Election Fatigued” Brenda From Bristol

If you are emotionally taxed by having to trundle off to your local polling station once a year, maybe you don’t deserve the privileges of citizenship

I know that the cardinal rule of politics is that the people are always right (unless they happened to vote for Brexit) and must be praised, flattered, bribed and otherwise pandered to at all times, but sometimes individual people are wrong and need to be told as much.

Among this category of people: those who have been extravagantly expressing election fatigue, as though having to spend 30 minutes travelling to their local polling station and putting a cross in a box is far too arduous a task to be demanded on anything more than a biannual basis.

On the day that Theresa May announced that she would seek an early general election on 8 June, “Brenda from Bristol” became an overnight celebrity for her comically exaggerated negative response to a BBC reporter’s request for a vox pop asking her opinion on having to choose a government again.

Naturally in this day and age, Brenda from Bristol immediately went viral, as George Osborne’s rag the Evening Standard reports:

A woman from Bristol whose nonplussed response to news of the General Election sparked a wave of support across the country has told reporters she cannot believe her new “celebrity” status.

Brenda from Bristol caused a stir this week when she was asked what she thought of the election and replied: “You’re joking? Not another one!”

“Oh for God’s sake, I can’t honestly… I can’t stand this.

“There’s too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?”

She was later tracked down by BBC reporter John Kay who asked her what she thought of her newfound fame.

According to the same report, Brenda from Bristol is now being “inundated with offers” from other media outlets to offer her comically exaggerated world-weary take on the election campaign on an ongoing basis, by news outlets that would rather get their viewers to chuckle along to something inane than attempt the hard work of educating them on matters of policy.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to have stopped to question whether throwing a hissy fit about being summoned back to the polling station is actually praiseworthy behaviour in the first place.

Even the normally aloof and anti-populist New Statesman sycophantically applauds Brenda from Bristol’s anti-election tirade:

What was your reaction when you found out that there would be yet another election?

That your doormat would no longer be a doormat but a hellish rectangle tiled with garish leaflets of smiling white men making hollow promises? That the only thing on the news now will be people saying the word mandate with increasing passion and intensity? That your Facebook wall will no longer be a heartwarming collage of when you first virtually connected with your lifelong friends but one long sincere ill-written political screed with neither paragraph nor point, but asterisks nonetheless? That you will have to wake up, yet again, dead-eyed and clammy-skinned, on the morning after an election, yet again, to your radio telling you your country voted, yet again, to kick itself wholeheartedly in the teeth?

From the highbrow to the lowbrow press, in other words, Brenda from Bristol is being held up as a role model, lavishly rewarded for a fleeting moment of pointless fame in much the same way that Abby Tomlinson was forced into our collective consciousness after creating the “Milifandom” on social media.

‘Twas ever thus. Pitch a memorable hissy fit on Question Time or heckle a senior politician while the cameras are rolling and the nation’s political media will beat a path to your door as though you are some kind of political oracle, uniquely able to capture and channel the zeitgeist of the moment. Spend your time wading through important but impossibly dense documents and breaking them down so that regular people can get to grips with complex policy issues (as Richard North of eureferendum.com and Pete North do so well) and you can look forward to toiling in semi-obscurity, senior journalists well aware of who you are but determined to keep the spotlight away from anybody they consider to be a professional threat.

In a year’s time, Brenda from Bristol will likely have her own talk show, in which fawning politicians will appear to be mockingly berated for trying her patience. Or some enterprising millennial will have set up a YouTube channel for her, in which she records two-minute rants about various policy issues which grind her gears or overly stretch her powers of concentration.

And why? What did Brenda from Bristol do to deserve this fame and this overwhelmingly positive public reaction? She suggested that there is “too much politics”, and that it is unreasonable for ordinary people to march themselves down to a polling station as frequently as once per year to offer their input as to how the country should be run.

Brenda from Bristol is essentially Richard Dawkins’s haughty attitude about non-experts daring to dabble in politics made flesh. Dawkins is famously of the opinion that matters like Britain’s membership of the European Union are so complex and so technocratic that they should be taken permanently out of the hands of ordinary people and left to self-described experts, who of course think dispassionately at all times and are never prone to biases or antipathies which colour their judgments.

This is the real reason why the media is so overwhelmingly supportive of Brenda from Bristol, and why she is receiving so much unearned airtime. Most political journalists are themselves members of the political and cultural elite who have been most upset by Tory rule and further destabilised by Brexit. Nearly to the last person, they support the EU and revile populism because at their core they believe that the people and their base passions should be kept at arm’s length from the levers of political control.

Sure, the political and media class were happy for us to vote once every five years so long as we were picking from a palette of political opinions which are all just varying shades of beige – pro-EU, pro-mass immigration, pro-globalisation, pro-multiculturalism, pro-NHS, pro-welfare state and so on. But when true democratic choice becomes available – as it was with Brexit, and as Jeremy Corbyn currently offers with the Labour Party – they take fright, worried that the British people will select a future for themselves other than the one which the elite have carefully laid out.

No wonder that Brenda from Bristol unwittingly became their idol. Albeit for very different reasons – sheer laziness on the part of Brenda, a desire to regain the initiative and take back control on the part of the elite – both of them want the same thing. Both Brenda and the political elite want ordinary people to outsource the major decisions impacting their lives to an elite class of self-described experts. They essentially support technocracy over democracy.

The rise of Brenda from Bristol therefore damns us all. It puts much of our political and media class to shame for disrespecting democracy and seeking to put down the growing rebellion against self-interested rule of the elites, by the elites and for the elites. But it also puts we the people to shame for being so lacking in political engagement and civic virtue that we genuinely consider it an unwarranted imposition to have to remain educated on political matters throughout the five-year electoral cycle.

Brenda from Bristol represents a shared desire for a return to the stale old status quo, where bipartisan consensus on all the core questions made a mockery of democracy and rendered general elections a mere “rubber stamp” occasionally given by the people to the political elite.

For the sake of all the work we have done to overthrow this failed model of governance, we should stop praising her.

 

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There’s Nothing Virtuous About Being a Rootless ‘Citizen Of The World’

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Someone give that woman a medal

Most self-described citizens of the world are actually no such thing. They might enjoy the company of very similar people in increasingly similar global cities, but they probably couldn’t think of a single thing to say to somebody of different socio-economic status from a smaller town twenty miles down the road

Pete North explains perhaps better than anyone exactly why those people who style themselves as liberal “citizens of the world” are often no such thing – neither tremendously liberal, nor engaged citizens of anywhere, in any meaningful respect.

North writes:

In the end there is nothing especially virtuous about people who are well travelled and outward looking. A society needs all stripes to function. We need people to work the routine jobs and then we need a fluid workforce not tied down with responsibilities. Moreover, having dealt with more well pampered HR people than a person ever should, one thing I have noticed is that travel does not necessarily broaden the mind.

If you take an incurious person and lavish travel upon them you are wasting your money. Some of the most shallow, snobby and fatuous people I know would consider themselves liberal citizens of the world. Such people have no concept of what it is to be building or maintaining something with a long term plan. They latch on to the fashionable and socially convenient worldview that the EU is the manifestation of liberal values but it little more than virtue signalling.

And develops his argument:

What I find is that the broader your horizons, the harder it is to fit in wherever you go, and so there remains a polarisation between the settled and the travelled. It is then no surprise that there is an obvious demographic divide and opinion is split between the ages.

In this, the remain side of the Brexit debate seem keen to pour over these demographic studies to pathologise the leave vote, and consequently delegitimise it, as though you need to be of a particular set for your opinion to hold any worth. Democracy is lost on such people. The whole point of democracy is one person; one vote, where we take a sample of opinion and move together on the basis of compromise.

In something as binary as EU membership though there is only winner takes all. There is no third option on the ballot so we move with the majoritarian view which is to leave. For whatever reasons they voted for, they did so in accordance with their own views based on their own choices. Their worldviews are formed by what they see and hear in the media, but also in the street and in the workplace. They are the best judges of what is important to them. To suggest that choosing a more conservative lifestyle means you are not qualified to make such an estimation is to invite the very sentiment behind the leave vote.

What these people know better than anyone is that the frivolous and rootless people telling them how to vote are no better than anybody. I imagine the working classes would like nothing more than to live a more adventurous life but they don’t because they can’t afford it. It’s then a bit rich to tell them that the EU brings them freedom of movement and prosperity.

Earlier this year Theresa May said “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means”. I smiled when I heard that. Nothing quite so succinctly demolishes the flimsy worldview that believing in the borderless homogenised EU, along with all the pompous garb that goes with it, is somehow enlightenment. May recognises that being a citizen is more than holding outwardly liberal views. It means making a contribution – to be part of something.

It takes no particular talent to drift through life going place to place – and in so doing all you’re likely to meet is others who have made the same choices or enjoy an extraordinary privilege. Far from broadening the mind it merely reinforces a particular mindset which is never exposed to the values of the settled community. It’s why self-styled “citizens of the world” have no self-awareness and do not for a moment appreciate just how naff they sound to everybody else.

In my experience, self-described citizens of the world have tended to describe their outlook in terms of what they get from the bargain rather than what they contribute to the equation. They call themselves citizens if the world because being so affords them opportunities and privileges – the chance to travel, network and do business. Very few people speak of being citizens of the world because of what they give back in terms of charity, cultural richness or human knowledge, yet all of the people that I would consider to be true citizens of the world – people like Leonard Bernstein or Ernest Hemingway – fall into this latter, rarer category.

What does it really mean to be a modern day “citizen of the world”, anyway, besides having a determinedly self-regarding outlook? Most of those who claim the title – either members of the ruling class or young hipsters whining that their futures and European identities have been somehow ripped away from them – are from the big cities, London most prominently. But to a large extent, many world cities are so alike in culture that one can negotiate and skip between them fairly easily,  even with a language barrier.

London has Starbucks, museums, galleries, bars and hipsters. So do Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Rome, Warsaw, Manchester, and everywhere else in Europe. In our interconnected world, large global cities are if not interchangeable then at least often share a common culture and vibe.

So you can successfully get smashed in Lisbon, Dublin, Stockholm and Munich? Congratulations, Mr. Citizen of the World. What do you want, a medal? Now go try to strike up a conversation with someone from your own country but from a different social class or region. Try going for a night out in Harlow or Wolverhampton or Preston. Your non-prescription hipster spectacles and quirky denim dungarees might buy you immediate entry to the trendy coffee shops of Amsterdam or the bars of Barcelona, but they’ll get you nowhere in Stoke-on-Trent.

And increasingly this is what it comes down to. We have a broad class of people with access to (and the desire to be part of) this emerging global tribe based in the top cities, and a class of people either cut off from this world or with little desire to participate in it. Now, we should certainly use economic policy to lift those who want to live more global lives into a position where they can do so, and avoid the urge to persecute or condescend to those who do not. But in general, we could all do with a bit less smugness and sanctimony from the Citizen of Starbucks Brigade.

For a start, the vast, vast majority of these people are such poor citizens of their own countries that they would feel adrift and culture-shocked, as though in a foreign land, if you lifted them from their home city and moved them to a smaller town thirty miles down the road. This is not some elite band of super-enlightened, non-judgmental, globally-minded, culturally-aware aesthetes, eager to experience new things. This is a pampered, cosseted tribe of relatively well-off millennials, many of whom are in thrall to the divisive Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics, who barely understand their own compatriots yet arrogantly believe they are ready to be unleashed upon the world.

There is nothing particularly noble or praiseworthy about overcoming a language barrier to work and make friends with other people just like you who happen to live in other countries – which describes the vast majority of those people now tearfully painting the EU flag on their cheeks at anti-Brexit demonstrations and angrily declaring themselves “citizens of the world”.

Want to do something more challenging and actually worthy of praise? Try earning a reputation as somebody with friendships that span ages, social classes and other demographic indicators. Try living up to the ideal set by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch

And if you do so, you might not necessarily become a Man, my son. But at least you won’t be just another insufferable, identikit, cookie-cutter individual who conspicuously supports the European Union – despite barely comprehending what it really is – purely as a means of signalling your virtue to your insufferable, identikit, cookie-cutter fellow citizens of the world.

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When Will Open Borders Zealots Just Admit That They Want To Abolish America?

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Talking about “undocumented immigrants” in the same breath as refugees, permanent residents and citizens has only one purpose – to imbue illegal immigration with a nobility it does not deserve, deliberately undermining the beleaguered nation state. And the time has come for open borders zealots to be honest about what they are trying to do.

Under the guise of discussing the sanctuary city phenomenon, New York magazine has a propagandistic but otherwise pointless article profiling 44 “New Yorkers” of varying and sometimes dubious immigration status, whose sole purpose seems to be to deliberately blur the lines between various types of immigration, thus giving political cover to the illegal kind.

Why 44 immigrants? Presumably this is an allusion to the fact that Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States, and because he supported the DREAM Act and implemented the DACA policy (even though only four of 44 people profiled in the piece are themselves beneficiaries). Yes, that is the kind of pseudo-analytical, emotional codswallop that we are going to be dealing with here.

The piece begins with suitable pomposity:

That ours is a sanctuary city — arguably, the sanctuary city — shouldn’t be surprising. After all, for 130 years we’ve displayed, in the New York Harbor, the most iconic symbol of welcome in the world. In the weeks after an election season defined in part by an ugly debate over who should be allowed to live here, New York photographed dozens of immigrants and new citizens, ranging in age from 1 month to 91 years, to suggest the breadth of the New York–immigrant experience.

Of course, capturing the full breadth would be impossible — there are 3 million New Yorkers who were born somewhere else, more than a third of the city’s population. All of which is a good reminder that even the city’s hoariest come-hithers — make it here, make it anywhere, etc. — contain an implicit promise: Our city is open to anyone who’s willing to give it a shot. Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, yes, but also your ambitious, your artsy, your queer, your shunned, your misfits, and anyone else who can’t, for some reason, feel at home where they are. Whatever it is you’re a refugee from, this city can be your refuge. We may have a fabled reputation for crossed-arm toughness, but in reality, New York is the city whose arms have always been open the widest.

We then delve into the profiles, many of whom are of babies who clearly cannot speak for themselves but who are nonetheless selected because of their emotional resonance (using babies to build emotional support for a political argument is fine when it concerns immigration, apparently, but try to do so in connection with a …different subject, and many on the Left will immediately lose their minds).

Some examples:

Prioska Galicia
Age: 19
From: Mexico
Undocumented

“I remember the sound of helicopters, and running, and the cold breeze, and my mom trying to cover me up,” Prioska Galicia says about the night she crossed the border into Arizona in 2004.

She was 6 years old. A recent high-school graduate, Galicia aspires to go to college, but that hope is tempered by the uncertainty of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals under Trump. “We want to work. We want to succeed. Other people don’t see it like that. They see it as us wanting to take other people’s jobs.”

Okay, so here we have what might be a seemingly typical case of an illegal immigrant smuggled into the United States by her family – and a very sympathetic case, at that. Galicia is, I am sure, a model petitioner for citizenship in every way.

But then we see Galicia’s case placed alongside examples like this:

Tristan Kelvin Bosc
Age: 1 month
From: United States
Citizen

Bosc was born in November to German and French fathers who met in 2005, two years after moving to the United States.

“For us, it was a choice to move here,” says Benoit Bosc, one of Tristan’s fathers. “You don’t want to over-romanticize it, but you know, the land of dreams where things are possible. We hope that it stays this way because for him, that’s the future.”

Presumably Tristan’s German and French fathers both emigrated to America via one of the legal routes open to them. So why even include such people in an article about sanctuary cities, unless for the deliberate reason of muddying the waters that separate those who follow the process and those who circumvent the process? Maybe there is a word slightly less harsh than “propaganda” to explain what the New Yorker is doing here, but if so, I struggle to think of it.

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Pepper Tsue
Age: 2
From: South Korea
Citizen

Tsue and her family moved to New York in 2015. Her mother is Korean and her father is Taiwanese-American.

At home, her mother, Seyun Kim, speaks to her only in Korean. When Pepper started preschool in September, Kim packed a translation sheet for the teacher. It included words and phrases like water, mommy and daddy, and I want a hug. “She’ll learn English,” says Kim. “But it’s important for her to know Korean, too.”

What a marvellous case study in good integration – a mother who deliberately refuses to help her own daughter to assimilate into their new country by conversing with her in the dominant language, and who then has the temerity to pack her daughter off to school with a translation sheet for the teacher, so that those already living here can do all of the hard work. Yes, this is exactly the kind of example that we should be promoting.

One doesn’t like to think ill of people. But what is one supposed to think of the New Yorker when it cherry-picks cases such as this, and celebrates them precisely because they go against the grain of integration and assimilation? Seriously, what is the excusing factor here? I fail to see it.

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Indigo Van Eijck
Age: 11
From: The Netherlands
Lawful permanent resident

Indigo Van Eijck is in sixth grade. His family started commuting back and forth from Rotterdam when he was 5 for his father’s work in landscape architecture.

“I had to learn a whole new language,” he recalls. “You do learn English in the Netherlands, but only very little. You say things like, ‘Hi, how are you?’ but in a very Dutch accent.” The family became legal permanent residents in 2011 but still goes back to the Netherlands for a month every summer. “The people are different here,” Indigo says. “Nobody really cares if you go to the store in your pajamas in the morning. At home, most of the strangers you meet on the street are nicer ― probably because the population is so much smaller.” He misses his native cuisine when he’s here, and he made Indonesian dumplings (which are prevalent in Holland) for Thanksgiving. But the sushi in the Netherlands, he says, “is awful.”

So now we have the son of a clearly wealthy landscape architect and a lawful permanent resident. What place do these people have in an article purportedly about sanctuary cities? What do Indigo Van Eijck and his family need to take sanctuary from, precisely?

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Fayza Gareb
Age: 22
From: Syria
Refugee

Fayza Gareb’s family fled Syria for Turkey in 2013 when the Assad regime began bombing her family’s village near Aleppo.

“I worked as a waitress in Turkey,” she says. “The first time I heard a plane’s voice over the restaurant, I went under the table because I was scared it would drop bombs like in Syria.” Her father longed to make it to the United States but died of cancer before the family was admitted last August. Gareb and her mother, sister, and brother were among the 15,000 Syrian refugees President Obama pledged to accept in 2016.

And now we have refugees thrown into the mix! Refugees who have been lawfully admitted into the United States and who therefore are at no risk of deportation or particular persecution by federal authorities. Why does New York Magazine see fit to include these cases side-by-side with undocumented child migrants from Mexico, lawful permanent resident children of successful landscape architects and natural born citizens?

Then we have that rarest of cases, a South Korean undocumented SJW, banging on about her relative “privilege”:

Stephanie Ji Won Park
Age: 24
From: South Korea
Undocumented

Stephanie’s family came to New York in 1998 when she was five and overstayed their tourist visas.

She first became aware of being undocumented in middle school, at Horace Mann. “I was thinking about the high-school-senior Bahamas trip, and my mom was like, ‘Hopefully in a couple of years something will happen,’” she says. “Whenever I introduce myself as undocumented I do a whole spiel where I say I think I’m one of the most privileged undocumented people out there. “Like, ‘Oh, I found out because I couldn’t go on a senior trip to the Bahamas.’” As she started applying for colleges, the realities of her status became more clear; still she considers herself lucky. “If I were to be deported, I’d be deported back to South Korea. Yeah, that’ll be tough, but it’s not the same as going back to a country where the chances of being murdered are very high. Maybe it’s a state of denial, but I’m just trying to focus my energy on people that are in a worse position.”

The heart bleeds. Thank goodness there are sanctuary cities like New York which provide a safe space for South Korean tourist visa abusers and their families to skip the queue, spurn the lawful routes of entry into the United States and avoid being sent back to the terrible, dangerous and backward country of South Korea.

More:

Kathleen Bomani
Age: 31
From: Tanzania
Lawful Permanent Resident

Bomani’s Tanzanian parents met while studying at Howard University. Her sister was born here, then her parents moved back home and had her and her brother.

“We spent most of our summers here in the U.S. So then I came for college — at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I studied corporate communications,” she says. She came to New York to live permanently in 2009. “In New York, no one asks you where you’re from because you have an accent. Everyone’s from somewhere. It has a completely different feeling from the rest of the United States. The possibilities of what one can be — there’s just something in the air here.”

Quite why that atmosphere of possibility cannot be maintained while observing federal immigration law is never quite explained, either by Bomani herself or by New York Magazine, who casually use her life story as part of their insidious propaganda.

And finally:

Lourdes
Age: 47
From: Mexico
Undocumented

“I wish for her the same thing I wish for them, the best of life,” Lourdes, 47, says about her granddaughter Kamilla and her children, Ricardo Aca and Montserrat Aca, who are both Dreamers.

Lourdes crossed the border in 2004 and worked as a housekeeper and factory worker before sending for her children. “For me the most important thing is for them to study so that they have a better future, and hopefully stay in this country that we’ve learned to love. Because, in reality, we consider this country now like our country. There was a moment when I felt exasperated, that perhaps I had made a mistake in having brought them over,” says Lourdes. “But looking at it now, I feel like it was worth it. Everything that we went through was worth it.”

It is great that Lourdes and her family have “learned to love” America. Of the various kinds of illegal immigration this is the best kind – people who have or are assimilating, and feel gratitude toward their new host country. Perhaps this kind of illegal immigration is even the most typical, as leftist zealots loudly insist. Perhaps. And certainly we should have sympathy for people like Lourdes and her family – though they retain agency and responsibility for their actions, they were also victims of the strong “pull factor” of illegal immigration, the blind eye turned toward illegal immigration by American business and government.

Many such people are already now American in spirit, and there is nothing to be gained by deporting them. But neither is there anything to be gained from placing them on a pedestal and attempting to endow their actions with some kind of undeserved nobility. Immigration laws exist for a reason. And as with all laws, either support them or argue for their repeal, don’t equivocate while openly celebrating lawbreakers.

As one reads the New York Magazine piece, one is struck by the fact that the vast, vast majority (40 out of 44) of those profiled are either full citizens, lawful permanent residents or approved refugees, none of whom need the shelter of a so-called sanctuary city to live in the United States without fear of deportation. There is absolutely no good reason for these people to be included at all. But there is one very bad reason.

Because the goal here is not really to celebrate sanctuary cities specifically. Despite the title and preamble to the New York Magazine piece, this is nothing more than a convenient hook, a ruse. The real goal is nothing other than the perpetuation of this omnipresent, simplistic, holding-hands-beneath-a-rainbow leftist vision of a borderless world where more than sharing a common humanity (which of course we do), we also share the automatic right to live wherever we want in the world, regardless of whether we choose to move there legally or illegally.

It is part of an insidious attempt to undermine the idea of borders, of nationality, of the nation state itself, and to smear anybody who objects to this radical and untested vision as being a backward-looking reactionary at best and a dangerous racist at worst.

The only reason one might be motivated to publish an article praising sanctuary cities and then profiling the wealthy children of notable Dutch landscape architects is if one is actively pushing this absolutist open borders agenda, a worldview in which there is zero moral or bureaucratic distinction between somebody who obeys immigration law and somebody who proudly flouts those laws.

And if one takes this position, if one tacitly argues that current illegal immigrants living in America should all be praised and lauded and conferred with immediate citizenship, then surely the same goes for anybody around the world who wants to pick up and move to America tomorrow? And then you have no nation states anymore. And no America.

The people at New York Magazine are not stupid. Many of them are blessed with the ability to spin a fine turn of phrase and argue convincingly for the things in which they believe. So when can we stop fighting this tiresome shadow war and get down to the meat of the matter? When will they come out and honestly admit that they want to abolish America?

_

Postscript: If “abolish America” sounds harsh, what else should one call a suite of policies and actions which actively seek to reward lawbreaking and encourage vastly more illegal immigration while demanding absolutely nothing in return by way of bureaucratic compliance, respect for the law or intent to assimilate?

open-borders

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John F Kennedy On The Responsibilities Of Educated Citizens

John F. Kennedy, May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

From Kennedy’s address to the 90th anniversary convocation of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, delivered on May 18, 1963:

But this Nation was not founded solely on the principle of citizens’ rights. Equally important, though too often not discussed, is the citizen’s responsibility. For our privileges can be no greater than our obligations. The protection of our rights can endure no longer than the performance of our responsibilities. Each can be neglected only at the peril of the other. I speak to you today, therefore, not of your rights as Americans, but of your responsibilities. They are many in number and different in nature. They do not rest with equal weight upon the shoulders of all. Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of responsibility. All Americans must be responsible citizens, but some must be more responsible than others, by virtue of their public or their private position, their role in the family or community, their prospects for the future, or their legacy from the past.

Increased responsibility goes with increased ability, for “of those to whom much is given, much is required.”

[..] You have responsibilities, in short, to use your talents for the benefit of the society which helped develop those talents. You must decide, as Goethe put it, whether you will be an anvil or a hammer, whether you will give to the world in which you were reared and educated the broadest possible benefits of that education. Of the many special obligations incumbent upon an educated citizen, I would cite three as outstanding: your obligation to the pursuit of learning, your obligation to serve the public, your obligation to uphold the law.

If the pursuit of learning is not defended by the educated citizen, it will not be defended at all. For there will always be those who scoff at intellectuals, who cry out against research, who seek to limit our educational system. Modern cynics and skeptics see no more reason for landing a man on the moon, which we shall do, than the cynics and skeptics of half a millennium ago saw for the discovery of this country. They see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.

But the educated citizen knows how much more there is to know. He knows that “knowledge is power,” more so today than ever before. He knows that only an educated and informed people will be a free people, that the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all, and that if we can, as Jefferson put it, “enlighten the people generally … tyranny and the oppressions of mind and body will vanish, like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

[..] Secondly, the educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public. He may be a precinct worker or President. He may give his talents at the courthouse, the State house, the White House. He may be a civil servant or a Senator, a candidate or a campaign worker, a winner or a loser. But he must be a participant and not a spectator.

[..] Third, and finally, the educated citizen has an obligation to uphold the law. This is the obligation of every citizen in a free and peaceful society–but the educated citizen has a special responsibility by the virtue of his greater understanding. For whether he has ever studied history or current events, ethics or civics, the rules of a profession or the tools of a trade, he knows that only a respect for the law makes it possible for free men to dwell together in peace and progress.

He knows that law is the adhesive force in the cement of society, creating order out of chaos and coherence in place of anarchy. He knows that for one man to defy a law or court order he does not like is to invite others to defy those which they do not like, leading to a breakdown of all justice and all order. He knows, too, that every fellowman is entitled to be regarded with decency and treated with dignity. Any educated citizen who seeks to subvert the law, to suppress freedom, or to subject other human beings to acts that are less than human, degrades his heritage, ignores his learning, and betrays his obligation.

I think that we can all take something from this speech as an inspiration to strive to be better citizens, no matter our position on American politics and the forthcoming presidency of Donald J Trump. None of us are above learning from the example set by great men and women of the past.

Yet nobody gives speeches like this any more. Why?

Is modern political speechwriting so poor because it reflects the abysmal quality of our present political discourse, or is our political discourse so poor because our contemporary leaders, more concerned with bribing and placating a fickle public than calling us to any kind of higher duty, have increasingly lost the rhetorical skills required to persuade and inspire their citizens?

 

president-john-f-kennedy-address-to-congress-announcing-the-apollo-program

Bottom Image: Wikimedia Commons

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