The original identity of America's founders, based on Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, was diluted by the "great wave" of immigration between 1880-1924. Chilton Williamson Jr. argues that today American identity is under an even more intense attack from new arrivals. While he touches on the consequences of immigration for working-class Americans and the environment, his real concern is the preservation of American culture. Right through that earlier wave of immigration, Williamson believes that a core identity based on the values of the constitution was preserved. He argues that immigration should now be curtailed to protect that culture, responsibility, and family. The disintegration of "values" is due more to the self-serving motivations of native elites--it would remain even if immigration were eradicated.
From Publishers Weekly
An "immigration mystique" purveyed since the pre-WWI era by politicians of both parties promotes high-sounding but flawed justifications for large-scale immigration to our shores, declares Williamson, senior editor of Chronicle (and formerly National Review's literary and senior editor). This mystique, he says, wrongly equates a generous immigration policy with displays of national moral worth and fosters an unrealistic dream of multicultural globalism based on the mistaken assumption that the U.S. has a special obligation to peoples of color in former European colonies of Asia and Africa. The conservative core of Williamson's argument is familiar: non-European and Third World immigrants bring with them "opposing values" from "proletarian and peasant cultures" that jeopardize the nation's dominant WASP culture, prevent us from consolidating a national identity and thus threaten "to condemn the United States to endless cultural adolescence." He further contends that mass, unskilled immigration displaces U.S. citizens from jobs, saps productivity and impedes technological advances. His polemic takes on liberals as well as conservatives who favor open borders.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.