Now that the Republican Party has tethered itself firmly to a nativist immigration policy (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/17/071217fa_fact_lizza) it is worth noting that the present wave of nativism did not originate full blown out of the mouth of Tom Tancredo. Although the
Huntington: The High Priest of the New Nativism
There is much that is odious in Samuel Huntington but the worst is a relentless racism that is targeted at almost anyone who is “non-Western” and includes Muslims, Chinese, Africans and most pointedly Hispanics.
Most of the argument … relied on a vague notion of something Huntington called "civilization identity" and "the interactions among seven or eight [sic] major civilizations," of which the conflict between two of them, Islam and the West, gets the lion's share of his attention. In this belligerent kind of thought, he relies heavily on a 1990 article by the veteran Orientalist Bernard Lewis, whose ideological colors are manifest in its title, "The Roots of Muslim Rage." In both articles, the personification of enormous entities called "the West" and "Islam" is recklessly affirmed, as if hugely complicated matters like identity and culture existed in a cartoonlike world where Popeye and Pluto bash each other mercilessly, with one always more virtuous pugilist getting the upper hand over his adversary. Certainly neither Huntington nor Lewis has much time to spare for the internal dynamics and plurality of every civilization, or for the fact that the major contest in most modern cultures concerns the definition or interpretation of each culture, or for the unattractive possibility that a great deal of demagogy and downright ignorance is involved in presuming to speak for a whole religion or civilization. No, the West is the West, and Islam Islam.
In fact, Huntington is an ideologist, someone who wants to make "civilizations" and "identities" into what they are not: shut-down, sealed-off entities that have been purged of the myriad currents and countercurrents that animate human history, and that over centuries have made it possible for that history not only to contain wars of religion and imperial conquest but also to be one of exchange, cross-fertilization and sharing. This far less visible history is ignored in the rush to highlight the ludicrously compressed and constricted warfare that "the clash of civilizations" argues is the reality.
(Said, The Nation). This, of course, is not accidental. Ludicrous though
Uncountable are the editorials in every American and European newspaper and magazine of note adding to this vocabulary of gigantism and apocalypse, each use of which is plainly designed not to edify but to inflame the reader's indignant passion as a member of the "West," and what we need to do. Churchillian rhetoric is used inappropriately by self-appointed combatants in the West's, and especially America's, war against its haters, despoilers, destroyers, with scant attention to complex histories that defy such reductiveness and have seeped from one territory into another, in the process overriding the boundaries that are supposed to separate us all into divided armed camps.
(Said, The Nation, emphasis mine)Vitriolic Anti-Hispanic Tome Penned by Huntington
In April of 2004,
Most Americans see the creed as the crucial element of their national identity. The creed, however, was the product of the distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers. Key elements of that culture include the English language; Christianity; religious commitment; English concepts of the rule of law, including the responsibility of rulers and the rights of individuals; and dissenting Protestant values of individualism, the work ethic, and the belief that humans have the ability and the duty to try to create a heaven on earth, a “city on a hill.”
Nothing less than “heaven on earth” is threatened. Notice the facile values that “we Americans” are said to possess and which are presumably absent in Hispanics – Christianity, religious commitment, the work ethic, etc. Values which are not only ambiguous but which are arguably as present in the Hispanic culture as they are in the also-vaguely defined “Anglo-Protestant culture.” Using the same loose paradigm that defined his “civilization” tome,
“Your New Enemies,” by Said Shirazi, www.dissidentvoice.org,
Although the foregoing analysis should be enough to discredit
Huntington trades in racist stereotypes: "no... Mexican... believes in 'education or hard work...'"
Given the fallacious assumptions underlying his argument,
What is most disturbing about the Samuel Huntington’s fallacious and racist diatribe is its respectability in mainstream circles. These articles are published in the leading academic journals on foreign affairs. As noted earlier they were warmly received and nary a mainstream commentator bothered to note the logical lapses in