The Right of No Refusal

The cultural-Marxist Left’s war on Western civilization and American society is conducted on many fronts, including the courts and the streets, but also on a daily basis in the arena of public opinion, via the language. One prominent example has been their transformation of the two human sexes, male and female, first into “genders” (a term drawn from English grammar, and of which there are three, including neuter) and then into multiple genders. This of course demands a new set of pronouns which promptly are given “identity” characteristics, the better to tribalize and thus weaponize these hitherto unknown species of human beings.

Another example is the transformation of the words “immigrants” and “asylum,” which in the space of a decade or so have now acquired a host of subtextual signifiers of race and class in order to change their meaning. To those of us who are the descendants of the last great wave of genuine immigration, which ended around 1920, the words have a sentimental patina about them, recalling the great-grandparents from the old countries of Europe still glimpsed in sepia-toned photographs—the folks who arrived with nothing, worked hard, married either within or without their ethnic group, built houses, started families, moved up and moved out into the mainstream of American society and disappeared into history.

They are our familial heroes who arrived with no entitlement chips on their shoulders, and asked for nothing but an opportunity to work hard and do well. And in exchange, they promised allegiance to their new land, swore to put aside, insofar as possible, the old ways, customs, and conflicts, endure nativist tribulations, and subsume themselves into something larger called the United States of America. None of them arrived with a “right” to enter the country, none expected either a handout or the immediate right to vote, and all understood they were here at the sufferance of the American people.

How quaint that all seems now, as caravans of “migrants” ripple through Latin America like a northward-bound peristaltic wave, heading for El Norte to demand entry—sometimes in the name of “humanitarianism” and other times under the banner of the “Reconquista.” At the same time, something similar is happening to Europe, which since at least 2015 has been under prolonged invasion and, often, actual assault from Muslim Arabs, sub-Saharan Africans, and Middle Eastern and subcontinental Asian “refugees” fleeing the consequences of their own dysfunctional homelands and exploiting European “rights” of “asylum” largely established after World War II in response to the Holocaust.

As the Left constantly reminds us, in a direct appeal to emotion over our reason, we are all immigrants in America—as if that somehow reduces real Americans, whose families have been here for generations, to the status of current “immigrants” or even potential immigrants who have not yet begun their treks toward the Rio Grande.  By this standard, the offspring of the Irish, the Swedes, the Germans, the Jews, the Italians, the Greeks, the Poles, and all the others who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have no more claim on America than the population of Honduras or Afghanistan still living in Tegucigalpa or Kabul.

In short, the European-American Left has altered the meaning of the words “immigration” and “asylum” in order to change the very nature of Western societies. They’ve done so in part by applying the (reductive, to be sure) American model of a multi-ethnic society in which citizenship is signified solely by a passport to the ancient European nation-states, in which what constituted a Frenchman or a German went far deeper. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, for example, the remaining “Volga Germans”—who had been in Russia for centuries—were welcomed back to Germany with full citizenship, because they were Germans by blood.

The European Union, as misbegotten an exercise in applied cultural destruction as there ever has been, first eliminated the border controls within most of its territory; now, since the German chancellor effectively threw open not only Germany but the EU to prolonged cultural “enrichment” from the Third World, the EU’s borders are mostly notional—and “Italians” are no longer Italian as a result.

To point this out is to incur charges of “racism,” when in fact, the past two decades aside, it is an entirely unexceptionable statement and would have been all the way back to the Roman Empire. The French and the Germans, to take just one obvious instance, are different peoples, who speak different languages, have a very different kind of music and literature, and evolved politically in quite different ways. In part as a result, they fought prolonged and highly destructive wars from Napoleon to 1945, and the creation of the EU was in part an attempt to neutralize the warring powers at the heart of Europe. In Leftist parlance today, however, they’re all simply “white people,” and thus inherently in opposition not to each other, but to the rest of the world.

Neutralize the French and the Germans the EU most surely has, but the war is still taking place, this time in the streets of Paris and Berlin—and in this case the combatants are the people of those two nations versus not only the colonizers of the religion of peace, but their own governments, who have taken the side of the “immigrants” for Marxist political reasons disguised as compassion.

As an excuse for their attack on national sovereignty, the Euro-bonzes point to the critically low birthrates in most European countries as proof of the need for “immigration,” on the theory that Arabs and other non-Europeans will behave exactly, and with the same productivity, as native Europeans, especially once they get a load of the benefits that modern European societies just can’t wait to bestow upon them.

That the low birthrates are the direct result of a cultural malaise brought on by a loss of faith in traditional Christianity as well as the easy availability of contraception and abortion generally goes unremarked, as those are generally thought of as good things, indeed, “women’s rights.” But, hey, après nous le deluge as Madame de Pompadour said.

The thought never seems to occur to the native Europeans that an equal—indeed, more likely—possibility is that the EU will come to resemble the Third World, that the same cultures of ignorance, technological inability, low standards of pubic hygiene, and general backwardness will simply be replicated in Western Europe until they eventually overwhelm the host peoples. (The Visegrád Group of Eastern European countries wants no part of this; they are, accordingly, racist.) And then where will the “asylum” seekers seek asylum next?

Perhaps in America, although the change in administration has resulted in a toughening of border controls, so that thankfully seems increasingly less likely. President Trump has contributed to the conversation by pointing out the absurdity of laws that not only do not prevent unwanted arrivals but compel the government to take their claims of “asylum” seriously until disproven in the legal system. Thus, we’ve seen the spectacle of Latin American “migrants” being escorted onto buses and dispersed around the country, while in Europe, “migrants” from Libya and Tunisia are intercepted by NGOs and even navies just off the North African shore and then escorted to Italy or Greece for processing.

Were the terms “immigration” and “asylum” not so thoroughly corrupted, therefore, we might be having a more reasonable discussion of the problem. But for the racially obsessed Left, “migrants” now mean brown and black people, while “asylum” means the right of free and unfettered entry into the First World, with no end either in sight or even contemplated. If these continue to be the meanings of the terms, we are in for the most profound period of social and national disruption since the fall of Rome.

Is this really the legacy we want to bequeath our children?

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Photo credit:  VICTORIA RAZO/AFP/Getty Images

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About Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)