Muslim immigration no threat, says Podhoretz

In the midst of a long interview in which he criticizes his fellow American Jews for their failure to break free of their habitual belief in liberalism, Norman Podhoretz shows that he has still not broken free of his own habitual belief in mass immigration and the supposedly all-powerful forces of assimilation:

Despite my own criticisms of the American Muslim community, I would not say that it is a big threat to America. I also suspect that the next generation of American Muslims will become more Americanized than its immigrant parents, because the melting pot still seems to be more effective in promoting assimilation than “multiculturalism” is in promoting separatism and balkanization.

While I don’t generally like the expression, may we be finally permitted to say at this point that Norman Podhoretz just doesn’t get it?
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 28, 2003 04:25 PM | Send

Universalism is suicide for Jews.
Podhoretz is wed to this lunacy. I believe that his son and son-in-law are more sane.

Posted by: Ron on October 28, 2003 8:41 PM

While I hold anti-immigration views, I do think that he’s correct- American Muslims will assimilate. Modern secular society has managed to seriously weaken the hold that Christianity and Judaism have on most folks, and I seriously doubt that Islam or any other religion will do better in America.

Most American Muslims will simply lapse, becoming Muslim in name only, and it will happen more quickly than with other immigrant groups, because they are already scattered all over the US, and are ethnically divided.

Freed of the social pressures that force them to conform in Islamic societies, American Muslims will abandon their arduous religious practices, and adopt the easier materialistic culture of their neighbors.

Posted by: William Elkwood on October 29, 2003 4:06 AM

To Mr. Elkwood: That is what they thought in Europe, and it has repeatedly been shown to be untrue, in country after country. In fact, the first generation is often seen to assimilate a little bit, and then the second generation has a backlash and becomes more radical and more open to the messages of radical Islam.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on October 29, 2003 8:37 AM

“Modern secular society has managed to seriously weaken the hold that Christianity and Judaism have on most folks, and I seriously doubt that Islam or any other religion will do better in America.”

The problem is, modern secular society tends to attack traditional Christianity and traditional Judaism, but defend Islam, since Muslims in the USA are often seen as the “rightous underdog” by leftists and many “moderates” [side note: I HATE the term moderate—it usually means pro-PC, pro-open immigration, pro-affirmative action, pro-welfare state, and pro-victim politics, just not as much as the far left is in favor of all those things]. For example, some on the left have applied the term “Islamophobe” to refer to those who are not sympathetic to Islam, while they certainly would not use such a term to refer to those who hated Christianity or traditional Judaism.

Posted by: Matt W. on October 29, 2003 12:27 PM

Indeed Mr. Coleman, but there are major differences between Muslim immigrants to Europe and those to the United States. To put it bluntly, the quality of our legal immigrants is better.

American Muslims don’t form an economic underclass, concentrated in ghettos with others of the same ethnic group, which is what happens in Europe, and leads to the adoption of Islamist identity politics by the losers who inhabit those places.

I will be alarmed if we emulate Europe and start importing large numbers of unskilled peasants from North Africa and Bangladesh. But that isn’t happening here- at least not from the Muslim world.

Posted by: William Elkwood on October 29, 2003 1:14 PM

While Mr. Elkwood is correct on the socioeconomic differences between Muslim immigrants in the U.S. and Europe, that doesn’t change the extremist nature of the Muslim immigrants that we actually have here. To believe in his hopeful assimilative scenario is to ignore the vast community of Wahhabi mosques and fundamentalists schools that teach hate of America and the West and look forward to an Islamization of America. There is simply no comparison between this phenomenon and the cultures of previous immigrant groups.

It is folly to think that passive assimilative forces will remove the Muslim danger from America. _America_ must remove the Muslim danger from America.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on October 29, 2003 1:45 PM

“Universalism is suicide for Jews.”

Ron, truer words were never written.

Matt W. wrote,

“[I HATE the term moderate—it usually means pro-PC, pro-open immigration, pro-affirmative action, pro-welfare state, and pro-victim politics … ].”

On the subject of “moderates” and “independents” see this article by James Nuechterlein, “Goo-Goo Time”:

Not only is it perfectly true that moderates and “independents” are for the most part liberals, but they manifest an exceptionally holier-than-thou variety of the liberal disease, more than the run-of-the-mill form of that pathology though it hardly seems possible.

Posted by: Undorned on October 29, 2003 8:03 PM

Here (linked below), a man who is both a prominent Israeli and a Jewish universalist perfectly illustrates Ron’s observation that “universalism is suicide for Jews.” This chap’s *universalism* has got him already with the tape measure out, measuring Israel for its coffin. Aren’t you being a bit premature, Mr. Burg? Can anyone imagine the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, for example, or the guys at the Jewish Task Force in Fresh Meadows, Queens, talking like this — surrendering to such abject “Israel-comes-last” despair and simple wrongness born of an inability to conceive of an Israel that might not need to come last? Can anyone imagine George Washington talking like this during the darkest days at Valley Forge? Nations are not built by universalists like Mr. Burg. Left-liberal that he is, he is not temperamentally capable of thinking — of entertaining even for one split-second the thought in his brain — that the Jewish nation has a right to exist just like any other. He can’t conceive of it. For him, the Jewish nation has only one alternative: to perish.

Posted by: Unadorned on October 29, 2003 8:29 PM

Late to this, but if you think the imported American Muslims are of a higher quality then those in Europe- guess again. The Somalis have no skills, none- all they seem to be able to do here in Minnesota is collect food stamps (do a google on “minnesota food stamp fraud”) and drive taxis. The Bantus don’t even know how to use a door knob, much less indoor plumbing. I was in college at the UofM with Arabs in the early 80’s and I must say- their attitudes then are the same as now- they hate America, they hate Americans. They are here soley because they (like all recent 3rd world immigrants) have destroyed their native lands and are now seeking to invade a new host and destroy it.

Immigration, by and large, in the 20th century was about culture cracking, pure and simple. It remains so thus far in the 21st.

Posted by: Robert Brandtjen on November 13, 2003 12:25 AM

I have no reason to doubt Mr Brandtjen’s observations. They tally with my own. Immigration is about culture cracking. The more self-confident America of 1900 was able to require a reasonable degree of assimilation, even though strong differences persist between the descendants of that immigration and colonial-stock Americans, and among the nationalities that made up that immigration. The “great wave” put plenty of cracks in American culture, but didn’t collapse it. The America of 2000 had unilaterally disarmed in matters cultural and religious and the assimilative challenge today’s immigrants pose is far greater, no matter what Michael Barone says. The cracks mass third-world immigration is making in American culture today could break it irreparably.

I think Mr. Elkwood is off-base for two reasons. My observations, again, of New York and other places where Moslems congregate now that we let them are that Moslems have a strong degree of cultural and religious cohesion, far stronger on the whole than the Christian natives. The only long-established New Yorkers who rival them for self-imposed segregation are Hasidic Jews.

The newly arrived Moslems (not all of whom are legal by any means) have little inclination to assimilate themselves to the culture of the American majority, to the extent one can still define such a thing in popular terms. Certainly, to posit that there is an American norm in a place like New York City is now a bad joke. Worse, those who purport to speak for the American majority have neither the inclination nor the intestinal fortitude to require that Moslems (indeed, any immigrants/illegal aliens) assimilate or - better still - return to their homelands. The case of Moslems is one of migrants who choose to live in ethnic enclaves and avoid assimilating to the surrounding society. That is no surprise as, pace neocon wishfulness, they do not view America as a superior political order to which they want to swear allegiance but as an economic treasure chest to plunder. Something immigrationists don’t like to bring up is that that is how most immigrants throughout our history have seen America, even if their descendants have settled down and become Americans.

Even if Mr. Elkwood’s supposition about the superior quality of Moslem invaders of America relative to Moslem invaders of Europe were true, as I think it is not, it would not matter. The religious and cultural threat large-scale Moslem immigration poses would remain. More important, Moslem immigration is only a small part of the demographic invasion underway. We are importing an indigent peasantry in the tens of millions from Latin America, China, Southeast Asia and, now, Africa. Moslems in Western nations are a problem, but they are only one aspect of a larger problem. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on November 13, 2003 1:45 PM

Using profanity and name calling are attempts at bullying. When done in writing, it is even more cowardly.

Posted by: P Murgos on June 29, 2004 12:23 PM

Mr. Murgos was replying to a poster who was using adolescent profane insults, whom I have deleted. In most cases it’s not necessary to dignify someone like this by replying to him or criticizing him. As soon as I become aware of such offending posts, I simply delete them.

I may reach the point where I decide to require registration for VFR commenters, but the idea doesn’t appeal to me.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 29, 2004 12:37 PM
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