Brangelina provides a lesson for Western immigration policy

Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie childrenIf I do this post right, you will end up agreeing that there’s a very close relationship between Western immigration policies over the past twenty years and the way in which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie allegedly have raised their children.

With news of Brangelina’s breakup, the tabloids are rehashing allegations about the decidedly non-traditional way in which they’re raising their six children, three of whom they adopted and three of whom are their biological children. Before I go any further, I don’t think there’s any question but that Brad and Angelina love their children. Love, however, is not always enough and, indeed, love untempered by other virtues can be downright damaging.

Angelina is apparently the lead voice in the household when it comes to parental decisions. Obviously a disciple of Rousseau, she believes that children should run free, untrammeled by adult conventions and expectations. The Daily Mail, as one would expect, has some details:

Aside from regular visits to war zones and refugee camps, which Angelina thinks is good for their development, daily domestic life has been a form of chaos.

There has long been a retinue of six nannies — one per child — chosen to reflect the unique heritage of each.


Numerous former nannies have given hair-raising accounts of their time looking after the children. An unnamed former nanny told In Touch celebrity magazine that the brood were constantly swearing and fighting, with Maddox and Pax in particular having ‘bad tempers’.

She added that Maddox, then nine, drank wine and drove a car around their property.

It was said the children listened more to Pitt for discipline. The nanny added: ‘They have no control over the kids. In the middle of the night they’re running down the hallway waking their parents up and trying to get into their beds.’


People who have spent time with the family say that chaos reigns wherever they are.

Indeed the decade of Brad-and-Ange family life has certainly included more movement than stability. Aside from their house in LA, they have settled in New Orleans and in France, rented houses in London and called myriad luxury hotels a temporary home.


A source said: ‘With nannies for each child, they have never done night feeds or any of the daily work of getting the kids into routines. And because of the travelling, it’s almost impossible to get children settled when they have jet lag.

‘The nannies sit up watching cartoons with the children at all hours of the night, while Brad and Angie are sleeping soundly in another room.


‘Brad might suddenly turn up and decide to eat pizza with the kids or he’ll take them out for the day and totally throw their routines.

‘For example, they once took the twins out in the middle of the night in Jordan and fed them ice cream.

In my experience raising my own children and watching others raise theirs, Jolie has chosen the worst possible way to raise children. Her choices lead to chaotic, unhappy homes and children who become lost, unhappy adults. The best way to raise a child is to temper that unlimited love with boundaries and discipline. (When I use the word “discipline,” I’m not advocating corporal punishment. I’m using it in the old-fashioned sense of teaching, as one would to a disciple.)

Children thrive in a home in which, beginning as early as possible, they are instructed in the ways of the family. These are the families in which the parents say, “In our house, we don’t pee on the floor, throw food around, hit each other, torture animals, have screaming temper tantrums, etc. In our house we do speak politely to each other, clean up after ourselves, do well in school, treat people and animals with kindness, and so forth.” The kids, having crossed the border into the family, whether by birth or adoption, are expected to assimilate. The good parent encourages each child’s unique qualities but makes it clear that the children have to get with the family program.

As the Brangelina experiment perfectly illustrates, when parents reject their children’s assimilation into family norms and, instead, allow the children to retain their own childish norms, you end up with a dysfunctional war zone. No one is happy, least of all the children.

In the Brangelina household, I see a microcosm of Western immigration policy. Back in the old days, Western countries used to treat immigrants in much the same way that traditional families treat children: You can come in, but we expect you to modify your behavior to fit our norms. Within the privacy of your own homes or ethnic and religious communities, you can practice your cultural and religious traditions, but only if they do not interfere with how we do things here in the West.

This was certainly the case in America. Proportionately speaking — that is, as a percentage of the entire American population — I’m pretty sure that many more immigrants poured into the United States between 1880 and 1920 than have come to America in the past few decades. (I’m too lazy to check, but you all should feel free to do so.) What America did wrong in those days was not to step in and provide some support for the new immigrants in order to avoid the tenement horrors so graphically illustrated in Jacob Riis’s book How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York. There is a point at which a country’s  support for self-reliance as opposed to welfare for those utterly incapable of caring for themselves or laws to protect the innocent from the predatory shades into sadism.

However, what the American government and culture did correctly back in the day was to insist that those who came to America must assimilate. The strong message was that, if you wanted to get out of the Hell that was the immigrant ghetto, you had to learn to speak the language, develop the manners, and accept the mores of greater American culture. Society would not bend to you; you would have to bend to society. If over the years some your more pleasant traditions (food, clothing, etc.) managed to blend into America’s larger culture, that would be fine because those additions would enrich America. (There was no nonsense about cultural appropriation in a saner era.) Otherwise, said America Past, we will not change ourselves for you.

Of course, there were always gaps between attitude and practice. There was racism, anti-religious sentiment, and other ugly stuff, but the paradigm was still “become American.” The melting pot, with a red, white, and blue color scheme, was normative. Moreover, as every second, third, fourth, or fifth generation American knows, it worked. Your grandparents lived in the tenements, your parents had a nice working- or lower-middle class home, and you are solidly middle- or even upper-middle class.

All of that has changed in the past couple of decades. When immigrants come, our officials and our dominant Leftist culture hasten to assure the new immigrants that they need not change one whit. Instead, America will not only bend and contort itself to conform to their norms and traditions, America will engage in ritual self-abnegation to apologize for all the horrible things it has done both at home and abroad. America, as Wayne and Garth would say, is not worthy. Those Americans engaged in this ritual self-abuse seem incapable of understanding that the primary reason immigrants come here is because their own culture failed them, whether economically, socially, or just in terms of keeping them safe.

Here’s where Brangelina and American immigration policy blend. Good parents, even while celebrating what makes their children unique, recognize that these brand new (and welcomed) interlopers in the parents’ home need to be properly socialized, both in order to keep the home livable and to allow the children to be successful when they leave the home. The same is true when legal immigrants from non-Western nations come to America. While we can appreciate the nice parts of immigrant culture (something America has long done), a healthy country acknowledges that these welcomed interlopers into the country need to be properly socialized, both in order to keep the country livable and to allow the immigrants and their children to become successful in their new environs.

By contrast, bad parents feel terribly guilty that, unlike the helpless creatures before them, they can so effortlessly tie their shoes, properly use the toilet, handle scissors, color within the lines, and do all the other skills that they have forgotten they too had to drill to master. These misguided parents think that it’s a kindness to ignore the drill and the high expectations and, instead, to shower their children with untempered love and to grant them absolute license.

These misguided parents fail to understand that what they are handing out isn’t freedom. Instead, it’s simply turning the home and those poor children into slaves to chaos. The children are almost never happy (I’ve long likened them to frightened passengers in a plane that’s proven to have no pilot) and the house is uninhabitable.

Of course, Brad and Angelina, having a combined worth of about $400 million, don’t have to deal with the inevitable fall-out from their misguided belief that children need only love without boundaries. The part of the article that I didn’t quote from had this to say about Brangelina’s approach to the domestic war zone:

And — perhaps most peculiar of all — from time to time Mum and Dad would leave just to get away from it all.

Brad said that when he and Angelina wanted time alone, their only option was to check in to a hotel. ‘You got to leave,’ he said, laughing wryly.

That’s right — when their system fails, Brad and Angelina have the wherewithal to run away.

The same pattern plays out on a national scale here in America, which has adopted the same approach to immigration that Brangelina adopted towards children. The dominant Leftist culture says we must feel guilty that we are already the recipients of America’s bounty. America is therefore forced to abandon the principles that created this bounty and, instead, to yield to the whims of people whose behaviors do nothing to help sustain or grow the bounty that attracted them in the first place. As with the Jolie-Pitt children, what the immigrants experience isn’t either freedom or love; instead, it means turning this nation and those poor immigrants into slaves to chaos.

And just as is true for Brad and Angelina, the powerful Leftists that visit this dysfunctional immigration policy on the American people wall themselves off in pricey compounds where they are entirely removed from and untouched by all the damage they’re doing.

So here’s the point:  It’s not the Jolie-Pitt children who are bad, it’s the parents who are bad (and that’s true despite acknowledging that Angelina and Brad love their children). Likewise, in America at large, the problem isn’t so much the immigrants as it is the appalling decision our Leftist power brokers have made not to simultaneously welcome immigrants while demanding that they adopt American ways. Doing the latter will not only make them good citizens, it will allow them to master the mainstream and leave the immigrant ghettos.

Two additional points:

First, while I, the child of immigrants, am staunchly in favor of immigration, I still completely oppose illegal immigration. This is not racism or nationalism on my part. It is a strongly held belief that a nation gets to control its borders and set its own immigration policy for good or ill.

Second, the Leftist mandate that we apologize to new immigrants who voluntarily come to this country and that we make no cultural demands on them is especially pernicious with Muslim immigrants. Most non-Muslim Third World immigrants are excited to come to America and benefit from its culture. These are the immigrants who, through public schools, the media, and Leftist outreach are eventuall corrupted into view themselves as victims, rather than adventurers.

Hardcore Muslims are different. They come here as conquerors and American self-abnegation only encourages them in that belief. This means that, with Muslims, we have to be extra firm in demanding assimilation, something which history shows worked with past generations of Muslim immigrants.

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