Immigration, sweet Christianity, and the demonic

This is an excerpt from an article posted at VFR during the big immigration debate in May 2006, “The Senate, aided by economists and Christian thinkers, progresses toward the inconceivably insane”:

All of which brings us back to the question: what is the demonic? It is an impulse without limits, uncontrolled by anything outside itself. The demonic comes about when the natural, social, and divine order, which, as Plato says, keeps the different functions of society and the different parts of man’s being doing their proper work, in balance with other parts—when this order breaks down and impulses are released without restraint and without regard for any larger world. The demonic doesn’t have to be a matter of Nazi- or al Qaeda-type evil. It can be something that seems oh-so-sweet and oh-so-reasonable. When Christian authorities declare—as the American and Mexican bishops declare, approvingly quoted by Mary Ann Glendon—that the wealthier nations must have a generous and accommodating attitude toward migrants from poorer nations, that statement, so simple, so moral-sounding, so reasonable-sounding, is in fact demonic. It is demonic because these Christians have taken one part of Christianity, the rule of compassion, removed it from its biblical and personal context (the Good Samaritan helped one person who was in need of help, he didn’t self-righteously tell his society to open its borders to tens of millions of unassimilable foreigners), and turned it into a political principle ruling all other principles, the One Ring to Rule Them All, unleashing chaos and ruin on the world. Or, to use a different metaphor, Glendon has taken the tender protective feelings of a mother toward a small child and made it into the formula for the relationship between the “strong” West and the “weak” non-Western immigrants. In its proper sphere, which is the relationship between mother and child, motherly love serves its proper function. Placed artificially into a sphere where it doesn’t belong, the relations between entire nations and peoples,—and then, moreover, made the ruling principle of that sphere—motherly love becomes demonic.

True, in the last four paragraphs of the article, Glendon, summarizing and expanding on the bishops’ “principles,” throws lots of qualifying phrases into the mix (nations have the right to control their immigration, poor migrants must also be morally responsible even as they are being welcomed into and coddled by the host country), so as to make the bishops’ manifesto sound deeply considered and not crazy, but it’s just window dressing. The thrust of the statement is plain to see: an unending imperative laid on the Western nations to allow themselves to be flooded by non-Western peoples, who, moreover, just happen to be mainly Catholic peoples. These liberal Catholic spokesmen have put aside everything else, everything we know about human limits, everything we know about the need for nations to maintain manageable and cohesive societies, everything about being beware of sins, including the sinful tendencies of other people on whom we bestow our unconditional and inappropriate favors—which (human nature being what it is) inevitably feeds their greed and aggression against us. This liberal Christian project means forgetting all that, and treating all the nonwhite peoples of the world as though they were that wounded man lying on the side of the road to Jerusalem and we were the good Samaritan. Except, as I’ve said, the Samaritan personally helped that man and took responsibility for what he was doing. He didn’t, like Mary Ann Glendon, sit in a comfortable aerie at Harvard University, calmly and oh-so sweetly and thoughtfully telling his society to commit suicide.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 17, 2009 07:14 PM | Send

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