The difference between immigrants and colonists

For years, I’ve been trying to articulate the difference between good immigrants and bad immigrants, meaning those that benefit a country and those that I’d like to see kept out.  This has become a particularly pointed concern for me in light of the PC attitude that encourages immigrants of all stripes not to give their allegiance to their home country.  Clifford D. May, in an article about Bat Ye’or’s latest book regarding the inevitable Muslimization of PC Europe, puts together in a single paragraph the concept I’ve struggled with for so long:

Immigrants can enrich a nation. But there is a difference between immigrants and colonists. The former are eager to learn the ways of their adopted home, to integrate and perhaps assimilate — which does not require relinquishing their heritage or forgetting their roots. Colonists, by contrast, bring their culture with them and live under their own laws. Their loyalties lie elsewhere.

It’s a depressing notion, but it is a relief to see it summed up so neatly.

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    Thanks, Book, for publishing that. It’s one of the best descriptions I’ve seen of the differences among the people who settle here. 

    One thing that has always puzzled me is Mexican illegal immigrant advocates’ indifference to their own parasitism. Mexicans are generally a proud people, yet the ones who shout the loudest about breaking U.S. laws in the name of compassion and recompense for past Anglo wrongs simply can’t see what tapeworms they are. When you take constant advantage of a complex, sophisticated infrastructure that took generations of toil and sacrifice to build, with no thought of ever putting back in even a fraction of what you’ve taken out, you wind up destroying your host. As many critics of illegal immigrants have asked before, after you’ve turned the Southwest into another Mexico, what decent country will remain for you to run to and pillage?

    I don’t blame Mexicans as much as I do their Anglo sympathizers who should know better. Mexican culture is based on keeping your head down, working hard and avoiding detection. Society’s official structures are acknowledged as corrupt, so it is the unofficial structures, which operate on a very ad-hoc basis, that get people through. The concept of planning ahead, which assumes a stable, civil, law-abiding society, simply doesn’t occur to most Mexicans. They’ve never had nor been able to build a lasting version of such a society. In the absence of civil society, concepts like public political paricipation, civil rights, entrepreneurial risk taking, education and saving for the future take a back seat to recreating the tight and reassuring protection of the village—the one place where it is possible to pay little heed to the big, demanding world outside.  

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    I know that there has been a big deal made among some Mexicans about the land that the U.S. supposedly “stole” from Mexico (you know, the part of Mexico that had all the good stuff, like super highways, WalMarts, universities, health center, etc.). However, one point the Mexican immigrants don’t realize is that, when the U.S. took over the Southwest, it was an area that had been ignored by the Spanish and Mexican governments and in which the local people were left pretty much at the mercy of rapacious Indian tribes (the Mexican and Spanish government forbade the peasantry to own weapons).
     
    There was no civil society to speak of when Mexico controlled the Southwest and West and there won’t be if the “reconquista” should ever come to pass.

  3. Michael Adams says

    Eighteenth and early nineteenth century Spanish maps show Texas as Comancheria, a wild area north of Mexico.  The Spanish invited Moses Austin, and, later, his son, Stephen F, to settle Anglo colonists in Comancheria as a buffer between the Comanches, who’d turned really lethal when they got horses, and Mexico.  Some intrepid Friars had, indeed, established missions in Comancheria, numbering my Cherokee ancestors among their converts. Otherwise, wild country. The Tennessee crowd loved it, a generation of wild fighting, whee doggies! Just in case anybody missed the obvious, the Tennessee and Missouri fellows brought their rifles in those covered wagons. I don’t know, but ought to find out, how they got that cannon, the one that Santa Anna came to confiscate at Goliad, where he was greeted by an army of ruffians with a battle flag with a picture of the cannon embroidered on it, with “Come and take it” the embroidered caption.
     
    I do know that the Twin Sisters were donated  by sympathizers in New Orleans.  More on those ladies another time.

  4. Mike Devx says

    I just had a thought somewhat related to your post, Book, concerning our recent resident contrarians abc and zachriel.

    My thought:  abc and zachriel were colonists.

    They had no interest in assimilating.  They came in, parked themselves, and just did their thing, deliberately oblivious to whatever was going on around them.  I’m not saying I’d expect them to agree with our general opinions – they came here deliberately as permanent contrarians, after all.  But every blog has a tone, a vibe…, and you can disagree with most people there while still meshing with everyone, falling in sync with the general tone or atmosphere.  It’s an empathy thing.  They were utterly uninterested in us except that we were “the faceless wrong ones” who required correction.
     

  5. Jose says

    Great post and comments.
     
    Michael A: I loved the story about the cannon and the flag.  There are a couple of Wikipedia articles that mention it.
     
    Mike D: Good thought about Z, etc.

  6. excathedra says

    An excellent and accurate shorthand to describe far too many of our immigrant population, both illegal and legal.

    It is a measure of our decline as a nation that we put up with this rank and unsubtle disloyalty. A sign of a fatal (?) lack of nerve and lack of natural self-confidence and national self-assertiveness. 
    As Columbus Day is coming up in a month of so, it reminds me of one of the unchallenged liberal tropes around the idea of colonization. Rather than a celebration of discovery and newness, as it once was, it is a half-hearted nod to a complex past fact, at best. According to the t-shirts and banners and the renaming of the holiday to “Indigenous Peoples Day”, we are reminded that we, Americans, are the illegal aliens.

    And it’s true.

    Once, when our national self-consciousness was intact, we could tell the story of “settlers” without squarely facing the fact that we –Europeans and their American descendants– invaded and conquered this hemisphere and by most any means available dominated and displaced the previous peoples.

    Although it is deeply unwelcome in our current victim-lionizing and pseudo-pacifist culture to say this, I think it would be much better if we recognized and asserted that our settlements and expansion was only possible because, at bottom, it was a world-historical movement of invasion, conquest and replacement. And not to apologize for that.

    Rather than letting regret dominate us, because the massive numbers and high techology of the invaders made the contest with the Indians a foregone conclusion (especially after the depopulating epidemics swept the continents), I would have this remind us that unless you are both self-confident and strong, you, too, America, will be replaced.

    What our UN-befuddled discourse wants to make us ignore is the fact of history, that nations and tribes which are vigorous and self-confident and have the means will indeed expand their territory if it is in their interest. Just because we are privileged (as well as hobbled by and burdened with) the high-minded Enlightenment values of the Declaration and Constitution –none of which the Founding Father ever really meant to apply to anyone other than a class of white men– does not except us from the human condition and human nature.

    The next time I am asked to feel bad about the European invasion and conquest of this continent, I will decline to do so unless every previous invading and conquering people get in line ahead of me. I am still waiting to hear from the Mongols, the Mughals, the Muslim Arabs and Turks…to say nothing of the Aztecs.

  7. Charles Martel says

    Considering what the Aztecs liked to eat for lunch, I think I’ll pass, too, on songs of praise for their colorful, peace-loving, in-tune-with-nature ways.

  8. pst314 says

    “Considering what the Aztecs liked to eat for lunch, I think I’ll pass, too, on songs of praise”
    But those victims of human sacrifice and cannibalism went willingly and joyfully to their deaths. I have it on good authority from wise progressives that this is true. Thus the Satanic Aztec religion is infinitely better than Christianity. (Isn’t it amazing what “progressives” will claim?)

  9. jj says

    I of course agree with you, but you just about killed a friend of mine last night.  We were sitting on the deck watching the sunset – with fine cigars -  and he read May’s paragraph on the laptop.  He started to laugh, and actually did laugh so hard he fell out of his chair.  I thought you’d done him permanent damage.
     
    Of course, he’s from right down the road.
    Lives on the Lower Elwha reservation.
    Lives there because he is one.
    He thought it fits in neatly somewhere under “just desserts,” or maybe: “what goes around comes around.”
    He looks at some of this kind of stuff a little differently than we might.
    He doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for our BS.
    But he’s always grateful for a good laugh.

  10. Mike Devx says

    jj: He doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for our BS.

    I don’t know if this one is bs.  You could say a colonist represents a government when he arrives, an immigrant just represents himself.  But I think it’s fine to see the words as, a colonist arrives to take over, an immigrant arrives to join in.
     

  11. jj says

    From his standpoint it’s pure BS.  What are we whining about?  His people lost the country owing to overwhelming force of arms being brought to bear – we’re pissing it away. 

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