Samuel Huntington authored a comprehensive evaluation of immigration and cultural trends in the United States, “One Nation Out of Many: Why ‘Americanization’ of Newcomers Is Still Important” (Magazine article from The American Enterprise, Vol. 15, No. 6). The article dealt with immigration assimilation trends in the United States, and pointed out some rather alarming facts. One of the foremost trends was Huntington’s provision of undeniable statistical evidence of a clear disconnect with the general populace by political elites such as establishment institutions composed of local newspapers and TV stations, local politicians, universities, labor unions, business federations, and minority pressure groups. Almost as if to reinforce Huntington’s point regarding this disconnect, Lois Menand published an article in the New Yorker, entitled “Patriot Games: The New Nativism of Samuel P. Huntington”. Lois Menand is a professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. He has also taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Princeton, Columbia, and the University Of Virginia School Of Law. It seems evident from Professor Menand’s credentials, he is amply qualified to represent the “establishment institutions” Huntington referred to, and dutifully proceeds to express his opposition to the most, if not all, the principles Huntington establishes.
Huntington carefully analyzes and discloses the results of his research which substantiate his claims and conclusions. He describes a “core culture” in the United States which he describes as being composed of the Christian religion; Protestant values; the English language; British traditions of law, justice, and limits on government power; and a legacy of European art, literature, and philosophy. Out of these traditional values, derived from fundamental principles established by the Protestant roots of our nation, he describes how the American Creed is formulated, with its principles of liberty, equality, human rights, representative government, and private property. Huntington expresses his concern that the assimilation of immigrants, which was established by the Constitutional architects as a means of assuring loyalty and national homogeneity, is no longer possible when “establishment institutions” are creating an environment which precludes assimilation under the pretext of ‘cultural diversity’ or “multiculturalism”. This, he claims and provides evidence to support, is because the “establishment institutions” have adopted policies of “deconstruction” which are harmful to the best interests and solidarity of our nation and contrary to the will of the constituency.
Menand submitted his article as little more than an unsubstantiated denial of all the concerns and evidence Huntington had so eloquently expressed. Without ever really making any counterpoints or rebuttals, Menand proceeds to regurgitate his mocking degradation of the fundamental concerns Huntington expressed. He alleges that culture, “ultimately, is everything that is not nature. American culture includes American appetites and American dress, American work etiquette and American entertainment, American piety and American promiscuity all the things that Americans recognize, by their absence, as American when they visit other countries”, as if to say that all that is necessary to adopt the American “creed” is to look like an American. It is difficult therefore, to say the least, to discern whether Menand is making a statement or simply repeating something Huntington has stated in a derogatory and demeaning fashion. Due to this fundamental vagueness, it is a major challenge to extract any message from Menand’s article other than his objection to Huntington’s article and his profound contempt for anything contrary to the “establishment institutions”; “Huntington is a domestic monoculturalist and a global multiculturalist (and an enemy of domestic multiculturalism and global monoculturalism).” Other than being a profound statement of the obvious, so what?
In summary, Huntington made his case with sufficient evidence to demonstrate the danger which is inherent in unassimilated multiculturalism and the divisions it produces in the body politic. Immigrants have traditionally been assimilated into the American culture as the American culture adopted the values and culture of its immigrants, producing the unique ‘hybrid’ culture of the United States. Past generations of Americans have been proud of the unique qualities of our ‘hybrid’ culture. Now we have people who are attempting to impose their beliefs on Americans and encourage immigrants like Hispanics and Muslims to refuse assimilation. The outcome cannot be anything but grave, for the cognitive dissonance produced by competing cultures can never produce anything but prejudice and an ‘us against them’ predisposition. The contemporary irrational violence and terrorism which prevails in the USA is the manifestation of mental illness and aversive behavior produced by a dysfunctional society – the consequences are not unintended, but a component of a destructive agenda which will get worse before it gets better, if left to continue as it has been!