Sunday, May 21, 2017

What Makes the Current Influx of Immigrants from Central America Different From Past Waves

        This post is intended to follow up on yesterday's post entitled "The Reconquista." I had linked to a video by Black Pigeon that discussed some differences from the Latin American (mostly Mexican) immigrants of today versus the waves of immigration experienced by the United States at other periods. He noted, correctly, that one factor is the social cohesiveness of Latin Americans which is assisted by the fact that most have settled near each other, and have a social and cultural reinforcement that comes from close proximity to the border and the ease of crossing said border. He also observes that, unlike other immigrant cadres, Mexican immigrants view the United States (or, at least, large portions of it) as belonging to Mexico.

       What is clear, however, is that they do not view themselves as part of or belonging to the same European Tradition (i.e., the West), let alone being descendant from English or German Protestant roots, as does most of the United States. The same could be said, though, for immigrants from Catholic Ireland or Italy, yet even these immigrants--which lived in close proximity with one another and maintained close contacts with their homelands--assimilated, for the most part, into the then existent culture. Won't the same happen with Latin American immigrants?

       It traditionally has not. The United States has periodically had large influxes of Latin Americans (again, primarily Mexican) move into the United States and, for the most part, not assimilate.  On occasion, these immigrants have moved back south of the border when government hostility has increased (e.g., the 1910s, or as a result of Operation Wetback).  But, by an large, Latin Americans have been hostile toward integration.

       Let me suggest another factor, one briefly discussed by Carroll Quigley, arguably one of the most significant historians of the 20th Century. In his book, Tragedy and Hope, Quigley notes that "Spain and Latin America, despite centuries of nominal Christianity, are Arabic areas." Latin and South America are part of what Quigley describes as the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
The old French proverb which says that “Africa begins at the Pyrenees”does not, of course, mean by “Africa”that Black Africa which exists south of the deserts, but means the world of the Arabs which spread, in the eighth century, across Africa from Sinai to Morocco. To this day the Arab influence is evident in southern Italy, northern Africa and, above all, in Spain. It appears in the obvious things such as architecture, music, the dance, and literature, but most prominently it appears in outlook, attitudes, motivations, and value systems.
He explains:
       In Spain, the Arab conquest of 711, which was not finally ejected until 1492, served to spread Arab personality traits, in spite of the obvious antagonism between Muslim and Christian. In fact, the antagonism helped to build up those very traits that I have called Arabic: intolerance, self-esteem, hatred, militarization, cruelty, dogmatism, rigidity, harshness, suspicion of outsiders, and the rest of it. The Arab traits that were not engendered by this antagonism were built up by emulation—the tendency of a conquered people to copy their conquerors, no matter how much they profess to hate them, simply because they are a superior social class. From this emulation came the Spanish and Latin American attitudes toward sex, family structure, and child-rearing that are the distinctive features of Spanish-speaking life today and that make Spanish-speaking areas so ambiguously part of Western Civilization in spite of their nominal allegiance to such an essential Western trait as Christianity.
* * *
       In Latin America the Mediterranean version of Arabized life again found its traits preserved, and sometimes reinforced, by the historical process. In Latin America non-Spanish influences, chiefly Indian, Negro, and North American, can be observed in such things as music, dances, superstitions, agricultural crops and diet (largely Indian), or in transportation, communications, and weapons (largely European); but the basic structures of family and social life, of ideological patterns and values are, to this day, largely those of the Arabic end of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis.
Thus, he states:
To this day, the characteristics we have listed as Arabic dominate Latin America: no real concern for the soil, the area, for workers, one’s fellow men, or the community as a whole; the dominance of family connection and of masculine dominance with its dual standard of sexual morality, its cult of virility, its selfishness, self-indulgence, lack of self-discipline or of concern for others; and the whole Mediterranean view of politics as a system of exploitative, personal relationships of an arbitrary and corrupt character combining extortion, bribery, tax evasion, and total divorce from community spirit or personal responsibility for the welfare of others or of the nation.
       In contrast:
For the West, even as it nominally ceases to be Christian, and most obviously in those areas which have, at least nominally, drifted furthest from Christianity, still has many of the basic Christian traits of love, humility, social concern, humanitarianism, brotherly care, and future preference, however detached these traits may have become from the Christian idea of deity or of individual salvation in a spiritual eternity.
Quigley suggests that this could be overcome by Latin Americans actually practicing Christianity. That is, adopt and follow the Christian ideology "that places emphasis on self-discipline, service to others, love, and equality, [which are] virtues, almost wholly lacking in practice in Latin America...."

       It is interesting to contemplate that, just as Europe is being overrun by Islamic invaders, we in the United States are similarly being overrun by immigrants that Islamic in their culture, if not in their religion.

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