(Note: one of the greatest things about writing for Wizbang is the audience. This site has a truly amazing collection of commenters, whose contribution to Wizbang cannot be understated. I’ve often used comments to build whole pieces around, when something just strikes me right. Usually, it’s to smack around some twit who ought to have their keyboard taken away before they hurt themselves.
And sometimes someone says something that is just so profound, so right, so insightful, that it sends me off in a furious “why the hell didn’t I think of that before?” writing. This is one of those pieces. Thanks, epador.)
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the illegal alien problem, and I think I might have to reconsider my stance. In retrospect, I don’t believe that illegal immigrants are quite the threat that I’ve said they are.
My problem isn’t with immigrants at all. It’s with colonists.
Traditionally, people who leave their homeland to live elsewhere fall into two categories: immigrants and colonists.
Immigrants leave behind their native culture and society to join another. They might bring pieces of it, but their main motivation is to be a part of that society, perhaps improve it a bit with parts of their own, but the mainly intend to assimilate. They see something better for them, and want to be a part of it.
Colonists, though, intend to extend their homeland. They feel an obligation (“white man’s burden”) to bring the benefits of “civilization” to a new land. They come bearing all the baggage from home that immigrants leave behind, determined to recreate the best parts of home. And if there happen to be people already there, why then they must be made to share the blessings of liberty.
Colonialism has a rather spotty history. In the United States, it served us quite well, until it chafed too much and we went our own way. In Africa, it was a disaster, and that continent is still bleeding from the wounds. In India, it seems to have been just about right — the Indians got just enough of Western civilization, then tossed out their Colonial masters and now are one of the most successful nations on Earth.
Nowadays, in America, we are being colonized again. We have groups coming in and establishing their own little ghettos and havens, where their own language, customs, and beliefs reign supreme. In one town in southern Texas, the local government passed an ordinanace proclaiming Spanish as their official language.
It’s happening in Europe, too. Parts of many European cities — such as Paris — have Muslim enclaves, where the laws of the nation simply don’t apply. They handle their own matters, have their own system of “justice,” and woe unto any outsiders who wander into the wrong place.
We are, indeed, a nation of immigrants — but we weren’t established by immigrants. The first Westerners here were colonists. It wasn’t until after our colonial days ended that we became a destination for immigrants, and grew so rapidly and prospered so well.
Colonists are not necessarily bad things. Should we ever manage to establish a presence off the Earth, we will need those hardy people to lead the way. But colonists have a very bad history of conflicting with established societies — just ask either type of Indian, for example.
We need to welcome the immigrants, but we need to stand up and defeat the colonists. We’re doing pretty good as we are; we don’t need to be “civilized.”