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Why the Democratic West Dreads Diversity

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the “end of history” where “Western liberal democracy” becomes “the final form of human government.” A quarter century on, such optimism seems naive.

Consider the United States, the paragon of liberal democracy. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 14 percent of the people approve of Congress and only 19 percent approve of the GOP. Seventy-one percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction. Nor is this the exceptional crisis of a particular presidency.

JFK was assassinated. LBJ was broken by race riots and anti-war demonstrations. Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, resigned. Gerald Ford was rejected by the electorate. Ronald Reagan was highly successful—like Nixon, he won in a 49-state landslide after his first term—but during the Iran-Contra scandal of 1987 there was a real threat of a second impeachment. And Bill Clinton was impeached.

Our democracy seems to be at war with itself. Now there is talk of impeaching Obama. It will become a clamor should he grant executive amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. Political science has long described what seems to be happening.

From the tribal leader comes the monarch, whose reign gives way to an aristocracy that produces a middle class that creates a republic, the degenerative form of which is that pure democracy of which John Adams wrote: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” Then comes the strong man again.

Is that our future? Is Western democracy approaching the end of its tether, with the seeming success of authoritarian capitalism in China and Russia? Recent history provides us with examples.

World War I, begun 100 years ago, brought down many of the reigning monarchs of Europe. The caliph of the Ottoman Empire was sent packing by Kemal Ataturk. Czar Nicholas II was murdered on the orders of the usurper Vladimir Lenin.

Fighting off a Bolshevik invasion, Marshal Pilsudski rose to power in Poland. Admiral Miklos Horthy ran the communists out of Budapest and took the helm. Mussolini led the 1922 March on Rome. Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 failed, but his party utilized democracy’s institutions to seize power and murder democracy. Out of the Spanish Civil War came the dictatorship of Gen. Franco. And so it went.

Vladimir Putin may be the most reviled European leader among Western elites today, but he is more popular in his own country than any other Western ruler, with 80 percent approval, for standing up for Russia and Russians everywhere. Polls in France say that, were elections held today, Marine Le Pen would replace Francois Hollande in the Elysee Palace.

Eurocrats bewail what is happening, but, inhibited by secularist ideology, fail to understand it. They believe in economism, rule by scholarly global elites, and recoil at the resurgence of nationalism and populism. They do not understand people of the heart because they do not understand human nature.

People don’t enlist, endure, fight and die for cerebral constructs. Who, then, will own the future—of Europe, America, the world?

The day of the democratist and transnational elite appears to be passing. In Europe, the Scots, Catalans, Corsicans, Venetians, and Flemish seek to secede from England, Spain, France, Italy, and Belgium, respectively. Not only the National Front in France, but also the UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage and a dozen other nationalist parties on the continent want out of the European Union and an end to immigration. And they are no longer intimidated by name-calling.

In America, a tectonic shift has taken place in public opinion with the arrival on our border of 60,000 children from Central America and the threat by Obama to issue executive amnesty to 5 million illegals. Last week, Alabama Congressman “Mo” Brooks said there is a “war on whites” in America, being led by Obama, noting that under civil right laws the only group one may discriminate against is white males.

Nor has Brooks recanted under fire.

In a Washington Post column answering Brooks, “A Welcome End to American Whiteness,” Dana Milbank concedes that, by 2043, white Americans will be less than half of the U.S. population. They were near 90 percent in 1960. Far from being something to fear, Milbank writes, this “is to be celebrated. Indeed, it is the key to our survival.” Immigrants pouring in from the Third World will bring a “fresh labor supply” and “fresh blood to cure us of what ails us.” A tired America will be revitalized.

Perhaps. But sociologist Robert Putnam discovered that the more ethnically and linguistically diverse a society becomes, the more its social capital evaporates, and the less do its multicultural members gather together to cooperate in common causes.

And from those recent polls, Americans seem to look on the prospect of an even more racially and culturally diverse America of tomorrow, not with anticipation, but with a measure of dread.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.” [1] Copyright 2014 Creators.com.

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#1 Comment By Mr. Patrick On August 8, 2014 @ 12:22 am

Whites are already less than half the population by any definition the Founders’ generation would have recognized, and have been for most of the 20th century. The racial hierarchy will redefine itself so as to keep the same order of precedence, even as the lineups of the regiments change. As ever.

#2 Comment By tz On August 8, 2014 @ 12:33 am

The problem is trying to ignore other variables. Democracy when government is small and remote is a good thing. Democracy when the government is jackboots harassing and eating out the substance of those who lost the election is a tyranny worse than a dictatorship.

Buchanan wrote about Nixon. Who expanded the government, told each citizen they could drive no faster than 55MPH, and destroyed the US Dollar by delinking it from gold (Communists noted destroying the currency is the easiest way to destroy freedom). But instead of these high crimes and misdemeanors, he was threatened with impeachment over trivia.

Even the nationalism. Democratic. But with a heavy handed, micromanaging government.

When you give men power, eventually the devil – yes, I mean lucifer, satan – will seize it.

#3 Comment By Neal On August 8, 2014 @ 6:43 am

I must, with great sadness, agree with Mr. Buchanan on these points. I often wonder why it is so difficult for the so-called “people of the heart” to open their hearts to others. The fire under the great melting pot has gone out. It is, I think, a form of greed that drives my fellow liberals to want more immigration. We are told that smart people from other countries flock to american and make us all richer.

[2]

I suppose on some level that is true, but there is a cost. The people of the heart aren’t ready for it. That doesn’t really sound right… it seems more accurate to say that people with no heart aren’t ready.

#4 Comment By mle.detroit On August 8, 2014 @ 6:47 am

How profound – what Carol Stone has called “shouting in a bar.” [grin] Can’t argue with Putnam’s data, but there have been several “common causes” in our history in which “multicultural members gather together to cooperate.” Example: Navajo, blacks, women – think World War II. C’mon, Pat, this is BS: Think bigger. Think outside your box.

#5 Comment By wycoff On August 8, 2014 @ 10:11 am

The key is to get back to the melting pot. If Catholic Italians, Slovaks, and Hungarians can become “white”, then the vast majority of Hispanics (many of whom are also Catholic descendants of Europeans) can also become “white.”

The trick is to avoid the extremes- we can’t “embrace diversity” and allow them to come in and replace our institutions with theirs, but we also need to avoid polarizing them into the “other.”

I think that the first step is to shift the animus from the immigrants themselves to their corrupt, ineffectual governments. Let’s put the blame where it really belongs. That way we don’t alienate people by targeting children and teens. The Mexican, Honduran, Salvadorean, etc. governments (and ruling classes) should have to pay us for taking in their huddled masses.

#6 Comment By collin On August 8, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

Without diversity, can a country grow either? The general diminished status of Japan in the world is one of the most interesting counterpoints to this position. While you point to the demographic bust but in the 1980s they were most competitive and functional countries ever. (Now replaced by probably by Singapore.) Doesn’t a country need a little tension of diversity to grow?

#7 Comment By crf On August 8, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

Rule by scholarly elites in Europe?
I’m not convinced. Wealthy (mostly), and connected. But their positions with regards to economics and science are seldom scholarly. I imagine they more closely conform to the idle thoughts of billionaires.

Not so different from the United States, then.

#8 Comment By Michael Yarmanian On August 8, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

The real problem isn’t so much diversity as it is non-assimilation. When foreign flags are flown in allegiance to a foreign culture, when sections of the nation speak only one language which is not English, when migrant workers with no intention of assimilation clog the low skilled job market with their cheap labor, the idea of America being a melting pot is a total sham.
Even though the latest horde of illegal immigrants is made up of children, America must not be brow beaten into supporting them. They are not our children as the Vice President so easily states they are. We have our own children whether black, Hispanic, Latino, and yes even whites living in abject poverty. It’s these children, our own American children, who need help. Our own diversity should not be feared, it should be celebrated. It should be nurtured back to health before the borders are re-opened.

#9 Comment By The Wet One On August 8, 2014 @ 4:12 pm

Wow.

This is a markedly American (and I use that term as perjoratively as possible) article. I’m so glad my family packed up and left that place a century ago to more civilized lands.

Ugh. What disgusting sentiments.

#10 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On August 8, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

“…fresh blood to cure us of what ails us” (Dana Milbank–Washington Post). Typical garden variety liberal humbug to which Shakespeare might have responded”Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished”.

Well, I guess we can always dream, eh Mr. Milbank.

#11 Comment By Richard Wagner On August 8, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

@crf Very well said! I spent some time in London, and saw exactly that. Worse yet, those billionaires are finding themselves in the leadership roles over academic institutions, thereby crushing what’s left of European scholasticism.

#12 Comment By Richard Wagner On August 8, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

@mle.detroit You tell Pat Buchanan to “think bigger”, yet you counter his reference to large scale demographic trends with an anecdote?

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 8, 2014 @ 6:24 pm

“They do not understand people of the heart because they do not understand human nature.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this article as usual and as happens on occasion I have issue.

I am not at all overly enthusiastic about our immigration policy bend — in fact, it’s down right careless risking more than we will ever get — including importing Miss Coulter’s, Fox’s and liberal and conservative’s elite foreigners.

And while I deliberately shun touting my reading resume’. I like to think that with respect to critical thought and analysis I could hold my own. In other words, being intellectual, does not preclude opposing any give on immigration.

As I have taught and worked among black people, I think I can state unequivocally, they are not among the immigrant population policies that pose concern and if anything might be inclined to agree with you on much of this – if they get passed any angst about color and perhaps, in spite of.
_____________________________________________

I am not an enemy to foreigners. I love to travel, but when I do, I am keenly aware that I am a guest and can demand little or nothing. I am a guest and if I am not their in accordance with their laws, I should expect upon being caught, a quick exportation. That is the case in every country I have ever visited — everyone expects me to have a passport, aside from Mexico and Canada though I think this has now changed).

I am troubled by this comment,

“This is a markedly American (and I use that term as perjoratively as possible) article.”

Because if in fact our international neighbors are markedly: French, Italian, South African, Tanzanian, English Scottish, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Icelandic, Danish, etc. The suggestion or complaint that the US is following suit as if in error or at fault of something akin to moral lapse seems a tad more than unfair.

And it’s not even the US is following suit. But is responding to her traditional past o guarding her own identity and her people. Perhaps through a lens of lax immigration policies, the turn seems harsh ethnocentrically harsh.

But there is another option, the people f the US are tightening their belts. While still giving generously trillion in aide abroad even as she runs into deeper and deeper into debt.

#14 Comment By David On August 8, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

‘If Catholic Italians, Slovaks, and Hungarians can become “white”, then the vast majority of Hispanics (many of whom are also Catholic descendants of Europeans) can also become “white.” ”

LOL. The issue of ‘whiteness’ was indeed raised re. Italians and, to a lesser extent, East Europeans, but there were three major differences between them, and Hispanics. Firstly, they were, per definition, Caucasians. Yes, a certain percentage of the Hispanics is ‘white’ i.e. a direct descendant of white settlers, but the majority of them have Indian ancestors too.

Secondly, the East Europeans and the Italians migrated to a land that is very far from their own. keeping in touch with relatives was all but impossible, save a few phone calls and letter per year. Hispanics, on the other hand (especially Mexicans) can keep in touch with their relatives easily. (Admittedly, the rapid development of telecommunication also helps.)
Thirdly, the mentioned immigrant groups did not consist a single entity – the same cannot be said about Hispanics. Of course there are dozens of different groups, and there are massive differences between, say, Cuban and Mexican immigrants, yet all speak Spanish and their cultures share the same roots. Italians, Hungarians, Slovakians, Poles, etc did not have anything like this.

Also, the ‘melting pot’ worked a way more effectively in the past in large part because the culture wasn’t pc. Nowadays it is. Demanding assimilation is but unthinkable.

Be as it may, what the US needs is a large influx of highly skilled people (companies need a WAY more green cards and visas) not poor and uneducated masses.

#15 Comment By EngineerScotty On August 8, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

At the time Adams spoke those words, the number of attempted democracies in the history of the world could be counted on the fingers. He would soon help give birth to one that would survive over two hundred years.

As has been pointed out to you several times, Pat–many of the slurs you lob at various ethnic communities that you distrust, were within the century lobbed at the Irish. Many of the slurs that are lobbed at religions such as Islam, were once lobbed at Roman Catholics. Perhaps the US will one day fall–entropy gets everyone in the end–but from this liberal’s point of view, the biggest problem we have is that reactionary elements of the polity, unwilling to share the country’s patrimony with new arrivals, are being as obstinate as they possibly can.

Liberalism is not the problem, illiberalism is.

#16 Comment By Alex On August 11, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

The sentiment of the article reflect’s a small-minded worldview. Yes, synthetic states in Europe are being pulled apart. Conquered people want to be free. This is no different than at any other time.

However, the majority of Americans of color are happy to be in the United States. They want to be Americans. We do not see balkanized portions of the U.S. where multiple generations grow and die speaking another language. Children of immigrants assimilate. They learn English. They become doctors, lawyers, musicians, cooks, computer programmers, etc.

All of the concerns Buchanan raises are the same concerns that are always raised by him and his ilk.

#17 Comment By Barty On August 11, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

I love how whiny and passive aggressive the readers who comment on articles are.

#18 Comment By Alex On August 12, 2014 @ 9:35 am

David,

Please read a history book. Really, good luck telling someone from Mexico that her culture is the same as that of someone from Cuba or Puerto Rico.