Thursday, April 22, 2021

Everything Old is New Again...

...or, "There is nothing new under the sun." (Although the opinions seen as publishable in The Atlantic have definitely swung a hundred and eighty degrees.)

From June of 1896: 
"But it is not alone that the presumption regarding the immigrant of today is so widely different from that which existed regarding the immigrant of thirty or fifty years ago. The immigrant of the former time came almost exclusively from western and northern Europe. We have now tapped great reservoirs of population then almost unknown to the passenger lists of our arriving vessels. Only a short time ago, the immigrants from southern Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Russia together made up hardly more than one per cent of our immigration. To-day the proportion has risen to something like forty per cent, and threatens soon to become fifty or sixty per cent, or even more. The entrance into our political, social, and industrial life of such vast masses of peasantry, degraded below our utmost conceptions, is a matter which no intelligent patriot can look upon without the gravest apprehension and alarm. These people have no history behind them which is of a nature to give encouragement. They have none of the inherited instincts and tendencies which made it comparatively easy to deal with the immigration of the olden time. They are beaten men from beaten races; representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence. Centuries are against them, as centuries were on the side of those who formerly came to us. They have none of the ideas and aptitudes which fit men to take up readily and easily the problem of self-care and self-government, such as belong to those who are descended from the tribes that met under the oak-trees of old Germany to make laws and choose chieftains."

From April of 2021:
"This is utter fantasy. European immigrants at the turn of the century faced nothing like the restrictions that prospective immigrants face today, let alone the immense, militarized deportation machine Americans have come to accept. They were poor, uneducated, and didn’t even need to speak English to enter the country; a minuscule fraction were excluded. The distinction between immigration before and after 1965 is that in that year, the U.S. repealed restrictions based on race and ethnicity that almost entirely prevented immigration from Asian and Africa. The America First Caucus document’s falsehoods about post-1965 immigration echo Anglo-Saxonism’s pseudoscientific presumptions that recent immigrants are somehow qualitatively incapable of “self-care and self-government.”"