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.

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  1. I also strive to be European, which is why I’m extremely racist and rarely bathe.

    1. That’s good, but do you get into fights at sporting events? If not, you really need to work on your Europhilia.

    2. But at least you use a bidet.

  2. That’s some set of hair Geert sports.

    1. Rock me Amadeus.

    2. Na-nu.

  3. Does anyone really believe that if the United States was formed from 13 Somali dominated colonies, or Bantu, or Berber or Bedoins, et cetera, that it would be a country that you’d want to live in today? I can’t imagine that sort of country being a hotspot destination for immigrants in any era of history.

    1. Wakawaka clearly does.

    2. If they had the same institutions, why not? People don’t flock here for the paleness of our skins or the flabbiness of our buttocks. Our forebears came from Eurotribes that never learned to bathe until the Muslims taught them how. Property rights as we understand them today were barely one generation removed from those who signed the Declaration of Independence.

      1. But they didn’t have the same institutions back then and they don’t now. That’s the whole point. Property rights and individual liberty, to name but two concepts, weren’t invented over night or even in one generation. They took many centuries to develop and sorry to tell you, but not every culture on Earth has followed the same path and not every culture on Earth presently has the wherewithal to incorporate such principles and concepts into their institutions. The fact that you think property rights just happened to be fabricated from thin air one day tells me everything I need to know about your insight. I don’t think I even need to delve into your claims about Muslims having invented bathing.

        1. You know that a lot of those concepts come originally from the Middle East, right?

          1. Assuming purely for the sake of argument that your assertion isn’t total bullshit, it’s a totally relevant argument for you to make because those places exemplify these principles and have of course carried them forward into the modern era, thus explaining their high living standards and their mastery of civilization.

            Migrants from those places have “those concepts” culturally drilled into them, making them the perfect class of immigrant to any western society. Of course that is the case, because otherwise your little statement would be a complete non-sequitur.

    3. and that’s where I am wondering where and how King’s assessment is wrong. You can already see how Europe is changing with near-unfettered immigration, and not of the type the US saw last century where people were willing to assimilate to a new land.

      When enough people from over there come over here, eventually over here becomes over there.

      1. When enough people from over there come over here, eventually over here becomes over there.

        The caveat here is that it all depends on people’s choices. Immigrants who choose to forsake their former loyalties, customs, and cultures and adopt those of their new home can help preserve what makes their new home great. Immigrants who choose to maintain their former loyalties, customs, and cultures, and bequeath these to their children, will help erode what makes their new home great in favor of what made their old home terrible. Any nation which wishes to maintain its identity must strive to attract the first class of immigrant and discourage the second. This, of course, is easier said than done.

  4. “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.”

    Great quote. Why anyone would want to be like Europe is beyond me. The Europeans are an inferior version of Enlightenment values. And the only reason why the West should ever be preserved is if it is in defense of liberalism and not some silly ethnic salvation.

    King is a jackass

    1. The critical part that The Gipper left out is that you actually have to want to. The process of assimilating into a society and a culture doesn’t somehow happen magically all on its own. The onus to do so is primarily on the person coming in; it depends far more on his attitude and mindset than it does on the rest of society.

      If people come here with a Saul Alinsky, Shikha Dalmia style “fuck you” attitude, their kids will be more likely to end up detonating a bomb in our faces than ever doing anything useful or constructive. Sadly, a lot of people in America now encourage this hostile mindset and the politics of division for their crass political purposes.

      1. The US does a pretty good job at assimilating people. So long as we do not allow others to dictate the culture (which some tribalists on the Left insist) we should be fine.

        1. It does such a good job that ballots in Houston come printed in thirteen languages. Ballots which means only citizens should be reading them. That’s an out and out failure of assimilation that you avert your eyes from.

          1. So? May be you should learn another language to grow your brain a little. Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore seem to be doing fine with a bunch of different languages. In fact, some might say that is part of the reason they are thriving.

            1. I speak three languages. Do you really want to play this game because I guarantee I win? But good example of how supposed cosmopolitanism is really about status signaling.

      2. My grandparents were immigrants. They chose to assimilate. But…. my grand aunt did not. She made a beeline to an “ethnic” community and never bothered learning English. Today that community is a quaint tourist trap, but back then it was for those immigrants of who didn’t want to assimilate.

        But guess what? Her kids did. Magically, on their own.

    2. He may indeed be a jackass, but he made it clear that he wasn’t talking about ethnicity.

      1. OK, brain fart, he made it clear it wasn’t about race, but you said ethnicity, my head read it as race and repeated what you wrote… in other words, ignore my comment above, with apologies.

        1. Accepted without comment

    3. It’s strange then that if these “Enlightenment” values are so compelling to all ethnicities that Reason’s writing staff is so old and monochromatic. Makes you wonder what kind of racist bile courses through the Reason staff. Not a single black guy on staff. Don’t black people love the Enlightenment. I certainly think they must.

      Either there is some ethnic component to these things or else Reason is run by some pretty fucked up racist.

      1. It’s okay, they’re cultural libertarians.

      2. Gee I wonder why people of color wouldn’t subscribe to a philosophy that would freeze all privileges and disadvantages in place and call it freedom.

        1. Such as communism?

  5. OT, but

    Federal Inquiry of Fox News Moves to a Grand Jury, but Without Preet Bharara

    The political drama around the federal courthouse in Manhattan did not end with the sudden, unexplained turnabout of President Trump in firing Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Whomever Mr. Trump nominates to replace Mr. Bharara will inherit an investigation of Fox News.

    Mr. Ailes helped prepare Mr. Trump ahead of debates in last year’s campaign. In 2014, Mr. Trump intervened in a dispute between Mr. Ailes and a former aide who said he had damaging information about Mr. Ailes and the network.

    Mr. Trump negotiated a settlement on behalf of Mr. Ailes, and later boasted of his work, telling the journalist Gabriel Sherman, “When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me.”

    The existence of the grand jury investigation of Fox News was disclosed in a state court proceeding last month by Judd Burstein, a Manhattan lawyer representing a former daytime host for Fox, Andrea Tantaros, who said her career suffered after spurning advances from Mr. Ailes. She charged that the network operated like a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”

    Correction: a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like Republican cult.

    1. fucking thing. I meant this:…..slandEarth

  6. When/how did “our” civilization recede?

    Tuesday, November 5, 1940, FDR’s election to a third term. When Americans threw off their individualist spirit for promises of collectivist security, failing to heed Franklin’s admonition about “a republic – if you can keep it” and Jefferson’s comment about the “tree of liberty”.

    The veneer of Western Civilization is frightfully thin, Europeans with their couple millennia of monarchy, feudalism and Divine Right aren’t fully on board with the idea that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights. And it looks like a declining minority of Americans are enthusiastic about the idea, too.

    1. Consider your body – your arms and legs and brain – and consider this: Who is the “you” to whom this body belongs? I would suggest that “all men are created equal” refers not to their bodies and their disparate abilities but to the human soul. “You” are not a material physical creature but a consciousness, a mind, a spirit, a soul, call it what you like. You have an inherent self-ownership and an inherent right to own that which you create that a large part of the world would deny. Even if your creation was an accidental random act of an insensate universe, it gives you no less title to your existence than if you found a gold nugget lodged in your boot-tread and someone wanted you to turn it over to them on the grounds that you didn’t earn that gold nugget but merely found it by sheer luck. It’s still yours, even if you did nothing to deserve it, the debt you owe for your existence is between you and your creator and no man may rightfully demand a rent payment. But there sure are an awful lot of people who think “you didn’t build that” is a handy-enough excuse to justify stealing shit they had no part in building, either.

  7. King’s statement was clumsy and stupid, like the man himself. But once you get past the OMG RACISM!!!1!!! aspect, he has a point.

    Sure, if you took randomly-selected infants from around the world and had American parents raise them in American society, there would probably be very little difference from having the same parents raise their own genetic children. But that’s not what happens. They will be raised by immigrant parents, who when we’re talking about massive immigration will NOT be raising them in American society, they will be raising them in whatever ghetto of third-worlders they wind up in. And they will grow up with the same attitude toward tyranny that their parents have, which is that tyranny is OK as long as you’re on top.

    1. And they will grow up with the same attitude toward tyranny that their parents have, which is that tyranny is OK as long as you’re on top.

      Oh, you mean just like Euro-whites?

    2. Once you get past the racism…

    3. tyranny is OK as long as you’re on top.

      That seems to be the guiding principle of a lot of lily-white Americans too.

  8. Is it wrong to say that anyone can become an American if he/she wants to become an American? Not just live in the US and vote for free stuff, but adopt our language, respect our institutions, etc. I think the vast majority of immigrants do this, but not all. Maybe it doesn’t matter in the long run, but it would be okay to discuss it wouldn’t it?

    1. Do you live in the Southwest? Perhaps if you wanted an answer to your question you could move there. Where entire neighborhoods exist in which English is never spoken except basically by police officers.

      1. You mean on the Navajo reservation?

      2. I live in Texas and my son goes to the University of New Mexico. Those neighborhoods where no one speaks English have existed since the 1600’s when they belonged to Spain. One could argue that English speakers are the unwanted immigrants.

        1. If you actually live in Texas you know full well that most Tejanos know English, as their families have lived in an English speaking land for generations, and that the neighborhoods where English is uncommon are those of more recent arrivals.

          1. Most of the ones in the valley are bilingual. As are, interestingly, the Anglos.

        2. Spanish isn’t their language any more than English is.

          It’s so weird how the European conquerors that utterly devastated local civilizations, destroyed them to the point at which all they have is a parody of a European culture, are so much more accepted–and it’s all because that pseudo-Spanish culture that exists in Central and South America has brown people in it.

          Everyone forgets that Spain was a brutal empire, that those brown people are the conquered subjects of Spain, that they weren’t allowed to speak their own language. That when they fought and died, they were doing it for their conqueror.

  9. This argument makes no sense. What is the supposed paradox? This is a classic case of projection. The really paradox is how libertarianism pretends it can import the detritus of the world and maintain American norms.

    King straighforwardly wants to maintain American ideals by promoting the fertility of the descendents of the people who created and sustained those ideals. Almost like that phrase “for us and our posterity”a where did I read it that again must have been EU constitution. Reason wants the supplant the Constitution with a silly poem.

    1. You are the detritus of the world. Deport yourself.

      1. Troll fight! Troll fight!

    2. King straighforwardly wants to maintain American ideals by promoting the fertility of the descendents of the people who created and sustained those ideals.

      Wanting to maintain certain ideals is one thing. Making it about “demographics” and how a certain race must remain “pure” and keep out members of other races is another.

    3. In the early part of the twentieth century the same arguments were being trotted out about ‘subhumans’ from Eastern and Southern Europe. There were serious claims about their IQ and racial dilution.

      We’re talking, of course, about people like Irving Berlin (who wrote God Bless America, among other things), Fiorello Laguardia, the Shuberts and the Nederlanders (who debased America with the invention of the Broadway musical) and so on. I could probably come up with a similar list of ‘subhumans’ with Chinese and Japanese names. There’s nothing new under the sun, except that supposed libertarians are now supporting this racist nonsense. Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman didn’t. Of course they were part of the subhuman horde that invaded last century.

      And no, it isn’t different in this age of welfare. There’s still no evidence that second and third generation children of immigrants don’t assimilate and intermarry. And we have forty or fifty years of welfare since the ‘Great Society’ as data.

  10. Maybe more people would breed with you if you didn’t look like Star Trek aliens of the week. Look how big that guy’s head is!

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