Steve King Wants Us to Become More Like Europe So That We Don't Become More Like Europe

The Eurocentric paradox at the heart of American nationalism


One of the oddest things about Steve King's lame comments about how "You cannot rebuild your civilization with someone else's babies" is that it reflects a kind of Europhilic Europhobia. By which I mean, it's based on a Eurocentric view of Western "civilization," it is often spoken of in the context of praising European nationalists like Geert Wilders, and it comes advertised as a warning that America must not follow the same dangerous path of immigration/assimilation/insufficient-babymaking as Europe:

Most paradoxical of all, as I explain in today's L.A. Times, is that the very immigration politics and polices the likes of Steve King (and Donald Trump, and Steve Bannon, and Jeff Sessions) prefers are much more likely to make America more like…Europe! Excerpt:

"We need to get our birth rates up," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned Monday on CNN, "or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half a century or a little more." Rarely has the first-person plural revealed so much confusion. […]

The ascendant America First brigade just can't get enough of their nationalist brethren across the pond, from the U.K.'s Nigel Farage to France's Marine Le Pen to Hungary's Viktor Orban. Wilders, King enthused, understands "that culture and demographics are our destiny." […]

Such pessimistic cultural determinism is the polar opposite of the creed-based optimism made famous by Ronald Reagan. "You can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman," the Gipper said in a 1990 speech, paraphrasing a correspondent. "But … anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American."

King's not having any of that.

Read the whole thing here. Yesterday, Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward and I discussed the Kingfuffle (and more) on the Reason Podcast.