Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Reverse Assimilation
Posted on 04/24/2007 7:13:50 AM PDT by UnklGene
Reverse Assimilation -
It seems increasingly likely that Canada will change to accommodate new immigrants' values, rather than the other way around
Mark Steyn - April 9, 2007
What is immigration for?
I don't mean what are immigrants for. I myself have lived hither and yon over the years, and at a personal level I vaguely feel individuals who aren't a charge on the state ought to be able to move around the world with reasonable ease. As it happens, Canadians do this a lot. You can meet the Dominion's finest in Brussels, Delhi, Hong Kong, almost anywhere on the planet. And I've yet to be in a taxicab anywhere on earth and be told by the driver, "We're now passing through Little Canada." Canadians emigrate as individuals.
But in the western world "immigration" is a phenomenon distinct from "immigrants." For a start, it's not about the immigrants, but about the host society. At some point, most advanced democracies decided that mass immigration was a virtue regardless of who's coming and any economic or other consequences. This is a relatively novel way of looking at a nation-state. A few years back, Hedy Fry sneered that she couldn't see why people were making such a fuss about illegal immigrants given that the first white men hadn't asked permission from the people who were already here, either. Which in its delegitimization of the Canadian state, not to mention its other implications, might be considered somewhat inflammatory. Yet Ms. Fry was a minister of the Crown and no one seriously expected M. Chrétien to reprimand her. By contrast, to question immigration in even the most cautious way is to risk being demonized as a racist. Canadians see themselves as a nice people, and so even to raise the subject of immigration feels like an assault not on distant foreigners so much as on our self-image.
But here's the thing. Whatever the virtuousness of immigration, a dependence on it is a sign of profound structural weakness, and, when all the self-congratulation about celebrating diversity has died down, that weakness ought to be understood as such. For example, the other day Statistics Canada released its 2006 census figures, and the press coverage was mostly the usual boosterism--"Canadian Census Sees Cities Surging" (The Globe and Mail). This is true: we are an increasingly urban nation. But it is not the most salient fact from the numbers. Canada, reported the CBC, "had the highest population growth rate among G8 countries." Also true, and closer to the core statistic. Of the 1.6 million new Canadians added to the population between 2001 and 2006, only 400,000 came from natural growth--i.e., kids. The other 1.2 million--i.e., 75 per cent--came from immigration.
Compare this to the United States, where over 60 per cent of population increase comes from natural growth. That's to say, this is not a good-news story but a bad-news story. Canada remains demographically weak: the American fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is enough to sustain the population even without immigration; the Canadian fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman leads to steep population decline. Ten million parents have seven-and-a-half million children and 5.6 million grandchildren and 4.2 million great-grandchildren: an inverted family tree. You can imagine what shape Canadian social programs would be in under that scenario, and that's before Junior decides he'd rather head south than pay 70 per cent tax rates just to prop up medicare for Gramps and his buddies.
So immigration seems like an easy way to pick up the slack--until you unpick what the census is actually saying, and The Globe and Mail and CBC are so artfully avoiding. If native Canadians (if you'll forgive the expression) are already a 25 per cent minority in the country's population growth, they will be a small and ever smaller minority in the Canada of the future. Indeed, they're already at such a low demographic ebb that it calls into question any kind of trans-generational inheritance: "Canada" is in danger of becoming merely a zip code. The novelty junkies have a point: maybe it is time to rewrite that "home and native land" lyric.
Prior to the boom of the nineties and oughts, the all-time blockbuster immigration year was 1913, when 400,000 "new Canadians" arrived. Whether they looked at it like that is another matter: most of them were British subjects moving from one part of His Majesty's realms to another. In that sense, it was not "immigration" at all, or not as currently understood. The 2006 census numbers take as a given that the Canada of the 21st century will be a project built almost exclusively by foreigners.
Not only is the Canadian state insouciant about this ultimate outsourcing, it welcomes and celebrates it. For example, anti-monarchists such as John Manley and Brian Tobin routinely build their case on the line that in an ever more diverse Canada immigrants from Syria and Belarus can't be expected to relate to the Royal Family. This would be a very curious argument even in countries with robust immigration traditions--that a foreigner admitted by the state at its discretion should have the right to decide not which of his old country's customs he was going to retain but which of his new country's customs he was prepared to accept. It would ring very odd in most places--go on, get a job in Saudi Arabia, and try the same line on their royal family. So, when we buy the Manley-Tobin pitch, we're essentially accepting the principle of reverse assimilation, the obligation that Canadians assimilate with immigrants rather than the other way round.
And thereby lies great peril. Not for the Queen. She'll get by, whatever Canadians decide. But the Manley-Tobin line raises some very interesting questions. If our Liberal grandees are so convinced new Canadians won't accept the Crown, what other features of our inheritance will they also reject? How many Canadians will be saying "eh?" in 20 years' time? Or following hockey (assuming there are still any hockey teams up here)? How many will recognize "Sir John A. Macdonald"? What would such a nation be remembering on Remembrance Day?
Commenting on the latest census trends, the Toronto blogger Mark Collins remarked that "it's not one's grandfather's Canada." Mr. Collins was referring to the accelerating urbanization of the country, but it might be truer to say that contemporary Canada is a land without a grandfather, a land without an inheritance, and that the remorseless shrivelling of a continental nation a mari usque ad mare into half-a-dozen megalopolises is merely a symptom of that. According to StatsCan, 93 per cent of immigrants who arrived between 1991 and 1996 live in urban centres. Again, this is a point of divergence with Canada's neighbour: in the U.S., the population is moving to exurbs and rural districts. That, in turn, helps explain the healthy fertility rate: America is one of the cheapest places in the developed world in which to find a four-bedroom house with a big yard. Who wants to raise three kids in a city apartment?
So Canada's urbanization seems unlikely to do anything for that near European fertility rate, but it will inevitably place strains on our constitutional settlement. Can six metropolitan areas still be governed as a confederation of ten provinces? To be sure, the CBC will conjure the usual fantasies--wacky sitcoms about a lovable Janjaweed militia living on Newfoundland, et cetera. But the reality is that nothing but nostalgia will justify maintaining the Atlantic provinces as separate jurisdictions, and how nostalgically inclined the multicultural utopia of Greater Toronto will be inclined to be is anybody's guess.
In 1913, when those 400,000 newcomers arrived, we knew more or less who they were. We have no very clear idea who the 300,000 or so immigrants per annum of the next few years will be. We assume it's like those Immigration Canada posters from 1997 marking the 50th anniversary of Canadian citizenship and showing people of many lands holding hands around a globe: Canada is like a neat stamp collection, with one of everything. In practice, it's not like that. There will be more of some, less of others. Will the Chinese decide there's greater economic opportunity at home? Will fading European populations prefer to spend their sunset years far from the turbulence of the Continent? Will the recent upsurge in French Jews emigrating to Quebec continue? Or will it degenerate further into, as Le Journal calls it, Montrealistan?
Well, StatsCan is rather coyer on those details. But that's the reality: the Canada of tomorrow will be built by who shows up. For the sake of multicultural virtue, we decided to outsource the future. Nothing much to do about it now except hope the gamble pays off.
mark for later
Canada’s government, through its immigration policies, has destroyed Canada. Did any of its elected leaders tell the people that this was going to be the outcome? How are they all going to like living under Sharia law? Is there a lesson to be learned here for the United States?
The word “immigrant” basically stands for the self invited. Mr. Steyn should spend his time asking these “immigrants” themselves what they think of Canada, the people who created Canada and the West in general. Even conservatives such as Steyn (and he is one of the more courageous) make the same assumptions about the self invited as liberals out of misguided respect for the worthless tenets of self-hating PC.
“And I’ve yet to be in a taxicab anywhere on earth and be told by the driver, “We’re now passing through Little Canada.””
He must have not yet visited Little Canada, MN on the east side of St Paul, MN.
Steyn never fails to have at least one brilliant zinger in every piece.
reverse assimilation is a tenet of university multicultural programs.
the denver koa radio signal comes into socal and i was listening to a woman explain to the radio host the the local university
deliberately segregates freshmen minority students so that
they will not assimilate into white culture.
Michigan has a pretty good head start.
“Fundamental Bible-believing people do not have the right to indoctrinate their children in their religious beliefs because we, the state, are preparing them for the year 2000, when America will be part of a one-world global society and their children will not fit in.”
—Nebraska State Senator Peter Hoagland, speaking on radio in 1983.
who is this guy?
Peter Hoagland was a Nebraska Democrat State Senator back in the early 70’s and early 80’s. He missed one term then got reelected.
That’s a great quote. The guy’s a real visionary.
Wiki says he also moved up to the federal level:
He was elected to the Nebraska Unicameral in 1978 and served until 1986 when ran as a Democrat successfully for the One Hundred First United States Congress. He ran three more times, being reelected twice and being defeated in 1994. He is a member of the Episcopalian church, a member of the American Bar Association, and a member of Common Cause. He now lives in Bethesda, MD
Thanks for the Steyn ping, Pokey!
Nebraska State Senator Peter Hoagland, speaking on radio in 1983.
It certainly answers our questions regarding the unresponsiveness of the President and the legislators to the voices of the people.
The Plan is in place and nothing is going to cause our chosen leaders to veer from their chosen course.
Please continue to pay your taxes so that we have all the funds necessary to continue the decline of our American sovereignty, Independence, Liberty and Freedom.
Please continue to re-elect the men and women who have chosen to ignore The US Constitution and their Oath of Office. These men and women are determined to allow the continued invasion of the United States by illegal aliens from every nation in the World.
We will NEED sincere RINO’s and Progressive Democrats in Washington, DC who will continue to see that the word of God is not permitted to be spoken in our public education centers. We must not raise our children in the belief that God gives us our Rights in America. That belief would forbid our government from removing them! Help to crush Christianity and bring forth the pagan society. Accept the Muslims as the people who preach Peace amongst Nations.
Take the cause of a New World Order to heart and help kill this nation.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
“Take the cause of a New World Order to heart and help kill this nation”
Any form of amnesty will signal the end.
About the Petition:
The liberal media is not disclosing the real truth about immigration. American citizens are not being told the full story, and are being deceived with misinformation.
A prime example is the recent PEW Research Survey that showed that 77 percent of the American people did not want an increase in legal immigration;yet the media refused to report it, or they manipulate the numbers. Left unchecked and unchallenged, the medias biased reporting, will sway the outcome of the immigration debate.
That is why Grassfire has launched a national Demand the Media Tell the Truth!" about Immigration petition. Teaming with the nations foremost media watchdog group, the Media Research Center, we want to give outraged citizens a true platform to help usher in a new era of responsibility and truth in reporting as it pertains to immigration!
Headed by media expert Brent Bozell, the Media Research Center is leading the charge in this effort. Each day, MRC analysts and researchers painstakingly chronicle and expose the medias immigration bias. By signing this petition you will be joining a fast-growing grassroots army that is demanding the truth from the media!
Gee, Hoagland’s quote made it into a highly select group of big thinkers:
Actually, his quote seemed similar to a 19th century visionary setting a date certain for the end of the world. At least he didn’t proclaim a new date when 2000 came and went.
B U M P
Hoagland = nutcase
Unfortunately Steyn appears to be right. My uncle and his in-laws’ extended family live in GTA (more precisely Markham/Scarborough) and all I get is that they appear to live in little Hong Kongs rather than anything like Canada. In contrast, my brother and family live in Metro Detroit just 4 hours away and even if they retain lots of Chinese customs they have far more of “native” American influence and values.
As a migrant background I found it is a bit like walking on a tight rope. Do we define assimilation in believing in the natural rights and republican (small r) values that underpin America’s foundation, or go on the routes like watching NFL and eating apple pies and hamburgers? Steyn is also unclear on the issue of “How many Canadians will be saying “eh?” in 20 years’ time? Or following hockey?”. It was Steyn himself who noted the Islamists who beheaded Danny Pearl 5 years ago were educated in the London School of Economics and were avid followers of cricket. If we use the “you are assimilated into New Zealand life if you follow rugby and eat meat pies” manifesto they are 100% assimilated Britons. Besides, who defines these cultural habits as “native”? 100 years ago pizza was considered un-American food, and today you will be regarded as loony if you say spaghetti is not American.
It is not as easy walk as a migrant. I wish I could have the courage and wisdom to do what is right of God.
Gives whole new meaning to "Oh, Canada!" Doesn't it?
Caution for other countries: Don't try this at home!
This is a very big question and I’m afraid there is a whole can of worms that awaits to be opened. Should we decide meat and three veg is good for all American and decide to purge burrito from the streets? Should we banish the low in cholesterol tofu for the heart disease stoking fatty beef patties? Should we force Chinese and Jewish grown up children to stop sending money to support their parents as this is “un-American”?
These are some of the types of questions native-born New Zealanders asked me when I came to New Zealand 15 years ago. And yet the same New Zealanders are the first to complain there is no meat pies and sausage rolls the minute they land in San Francisco.
Come on now. give these hard working, fun loving, family valued, hard working and cost effective undocumented temporary guest workers a break.....enough is enough....if Bush likes them, they must be ok....
Our Lady of the Snows
(Canadian Preferential Tariff, 1897)
A NATION spoke to a Nation,
A Queen sent word to a Throne:
Daughter am I in my mothers house,
But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,
As the gates are mine to close,
And I set my house in order,
Said our Lady of the Snows.
Neither with laughter nor weeping,
Fear or the childs amaze
Soberly under the White Mans law
My white men go their ways.
Not for the Gentiles clamour
Insult or threat of blows
Bow we the knee to Baal,
Said our Lady of the Snows.
My speech is clean and single,
I talk of common things
Words of the wharf and the market-place
And the ware the merchant brings:
Favour to those I favour,
But a stumbling-block to my foes.
Many there be that hate us,
Said our Lady of the Snows.
I called my chiefs to council
In the din of a troubled year;
For the sake of a sign ye would not see,
And a word ye would not hear.
This is our message and answer;
This is the path we chose:
For we be also a people,
Said our Lady of the Snows.
Carry the word to my sisters
To the Queens of the East and the South.
I have proven faith in the Heritage
By more than the word of the mouth.
They that are wise may follow
Ere the worlds war-trumpet blows,,
But II am first in the battle,
Said our Lady of the Snows.
A Nation spoke to a Nation
A Throne sent word to a Throne:
Daughter am I in my mothers house
But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,
As the gates are mine to close,
And I abide by my Mothers House,
Said our Lady of the Snows
Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.”
Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference,
Evians, France, 1991
I would like to be added to the Steyn ping list please!
My nominee would be:
"...that's the reality: the
Canada North America of tomorrow will be built by who shows up."
Leave it to the Canadians to move south.
To St. Paul...
A Mari usque ad Mare (”From Sea to Sea”), Canada’s motto, was derived from Psalm 72:8, which reads in Latin “Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae,” and in the King James version, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” Attention was first directed to the verse when, apparently at the suggestion of Samuel Leonard TILLEY, the term “dominion” was chosen to represent Canada as a whole when the British North America Act was drafted.
Like father, like son.
Aw hell, and Nixon went to China.
For a long time there, I just thought I got wiser. Naw, just ornier.
Aw come on, re-elect all the NAFTA supporting globalists you can find.
I have something in mind, but it has nothing to do with re-election. Far from it.
What is going on today is unprecedented in our nation's history. Here are some facts gleaned from Bureau of the Census data that provide an indication of what is really happening:
--The 35.2 million immigrants (legal and illegal) living in the country in March 2005 is the highest number ever recorded -- two and a half times the 13.5 million during the peak of the last great immigration wave in 1910.
--Between January 2000 and March 2005, 7.9 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country, making it the highest five-year period of immigration in American history.
--Immigrants account for 12.1 percent of the total population, the highest percentage in eight decades. If current trends continue, within a decade it will surpass the high of 14.7 percent reached in 1910.
--Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, three-and-a-half times the rate for natives. Since 1990, immigration has increased the number of such workers by 25 percent, while increasing the supply of all other workers by 6 percent.
--The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 29 percent, compared to 18 percent for native households.
--The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 18.4 percent, 57 percent higher than the 11.7 percent for natives and their children. Immigrants and their minor children account for almost one in four persons living in poverty.
--One-third of immigrants lack health insurance -- two-and-one‑half times the rate for natives. Immigrants and their U.S.‑born children account for almost three-fourths (nine million) of the increase in the uninsured population since 1989.
A central question for immigration policy is: Should we allow in so many people with little education, which increases job competition for the poorest American workers and the size of the population needing government assistance? How did we get into this predicament in the first place?
Prior to 1965, the US was taking around 178,000 legal immigrants annually. In 1965, Congress replaced the national origins system with a preference system designed to unite immigrant families and attract skilled immigrants to the United States. With these changes and some subsequent ones, the result was that most of our legal immigrants now come from Asia and Latin America, and not Europe. Chain migration designed to unite families has also brought in aged parents, children, uncles, etc., many of whom are not contributing to our society and in fact, require more social services. Even with quotas in certain immigration categories, we are now legalizing the status of over one million people annually and millions more are waiting in lines overseas for their turn to come in. Chain migration has also changed the "mix" of immigrants, making it less diverse.
Mexico accounts for 31 percent of all immigrants, with 10.8 million immigrants living in United States, more than the number of immigrants from any other region of the world. Immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean account for the majority of immigrants, with 54 percent of the foreign‑born coming from these areas. Of those who arrived 2000 to 2005, 58 percent are from Latin America. This lack of diversity has hindered assimilation and could well result in the Balkanization of the country by language and culture.
We need a rational, sensible immigration policy for many reasons, some of them economic and some of them cultural, i.e., the ability to assimilate these massive numbers into our society .
Since 1970, the population of the US has increased by 100 million; since 1990; by 53 million; and since 2000 by 20 million or the equivalent of our six largest cities. The Bureau of the Census projects that we will have 364 million by 2030 and over 400 million by 2050 with one-quarter of the population being Hispanic. The annual arrival of 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants, coupled with 750,000 annual births to immigrant women, is the determinate factorÂ or three-fourthsÂ of all U.S. population growth. These additional people will require infrastructure [roads, water, electricity, gasoline, etc.], and impact our schools, hospitals, social welfare systems, penal system, etc. Couple these increases with an aging US population faced with entitlement programs about to go belly-up in 10 years and you have some serious public policy issues that could threaten the future of this country.
Just as Social Security is the third rail of American politics, so is real immigration reform. No one really talks about decreasing the numbers of legal immigrants or changing the laws to give us a system that acts to benefit this country in terms of supplying us with people who will contribute economically to our national well-being. We are after all a "nation of immigrants" and our politicians and others speak as though we have gone through all of this before. No one is against legal immigration, and some even want to increase the numbers. The real fact is that we are taking in unprecedented numbers of legal immigrants and when you add an additional 500,000 to one million illegal aliens annually, you have a recipe for disaster.
But one thing you have not discussed in your post is the immigrants themselves? Are you more interested to get an unemployed white trash from Manchester than a computer systems engineer from Taiwan? If it more beneficial to get Lionel Jospin than I.M. Pei?
Short answer: An I.M. Pei. Right now we don't have a rational legal immigration policy. Chain migration is bringing in people who may not contribute to our society. If you read more closely what I wrote, you will see that I did address the "immigrants themsleves", i.e., "...changing the laws to give us a system that acts to benefit this country in terms of supplying us with people who will contribute economically to our national well-being." I would much rather see us expand the H1B visa program and use that as a source of new citizens than the present system.
I’m with you on this. I was paranoid that someone will want European immigrants so badly that they will be willing to take welfare queens from Bristol just because they are English.
I have here a booklet about immigration advice published in Hong Kong in 1989 just after the Chinese Communist crackdowns of democracy movement. At that time HK Chinese were scrambling to find a way out in wake of 1997 and in it, the US is comparatively the hard part to immigrate (legally of course) if you are not a relative of someone who is already here. Many well qualified professionals or with business minds chose Canada or Australia instead.