The "They Will Not Assimilate" Argument Rising Yet Again From the Grave

How many times does an argument have to be wrong, and for how long, before it finally loses credibility?  I suppose the answer must be nearly infinite, because the "they will not assimilate" argument is rising again, despite being about 0 for 19 on the groups to which it has been applied.  Germans, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, Mexicans and now Chechnyans.   This argument always seems to be treated seriously in real time and then looks stupid 20 or 30 years later.  As an extreme example, here is Benjamin Franklin writing about Germans in 1751:

why should the Palatine Boors [ie Germans] be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.

(By the way, if you want to retain an unadulterated rosy image of Franklin, who was a great man for many reasons, do not read the last paragraph at that link.  People are complicated and sometimes even great men could not shed all the prejudices of their day.)

The only good news is that the circle of those acceptable to the xenophobic keeps getting larger.  It used to be just the English, then it was Northern Europeans, then much later it was all Europe and today I would say it is Europe and parts of Asia.  So that's progress, I suppose.

Fun fact:  Ironically, the English King at the time Franklin wrote the quote above was George II.  He was actually a German immigrant, born in Germany before his father came to England as King George I, jumping over numerous better claimants who were Catholic.  His son actually assimilated very well, as George III spoke English as a first language, and his granddaughter Victoria practically defined English-ness.  By the way, Victoria would marry another German immigrant.


  1. norse:

    Nobody is immune to rationalizing prejudice. That's why open and informed debates are so needed.

  2. Johnathan:

    (Regarding last paragraph of linked article) Wow. I can imagine there are many politicians today who still feel the same way but it's only political correctness holding them back from voicing it. I guess that's progress of a sort.

  3. Joshua Vanderberg:

    So, how long does it take for assimilation to take place then? Tamerlan looked to be fully assimilated into western culture. He was not.

  4. tjic:

    The SWEDES are too "swarthy" for Franklin? WT*?!?

  5. MARK:

    Ben Franklin aside, there is a difference. When you immigrated to the United States in previous eras you had to assimilate. You had no choice. If you didn't you would starve to death.

    I am not claiming that immigrants in those eras did not retain some of their culture, the "Melting Pot" and all of that. That is a good thing and part of the social fabric of the country that made it great.

    But, many of today's immigrants do not have to assimilate. They simply collect the welfare benefits and leave it at that. The entire Boston issue highlights that. And to me one of the most critical issues about immigration is told by that story. What does an immigrant, legal or otherwise, have to do to get deported from this country? Beating up his girlfriend (i.e. committing a crime) did not raise any issues. Living on welfare? Nope. Returning to his home country which he had allegedly received asylum from? Nah. Being identified with being part of an extremist group? He said he wasn't so that was good enough for the FBI.

    I personally believe that immigrants, legal and otherwise, to this country are a net positive. We need the labor. Migrant workers do jobs that Americans will not do (any argument to the contrary is hogwash because no AMerican is going to wander the counry picking oranges, harvesting almonds, and all of the other backbreaking labor in the agricultural field, or work as domestics). If you look at demographics, the lack of labor could someday become critical, particularly if you look at the number of retirees taking social security checks (someone needs to work to pay the FICA).

    But, at the same time, what is the purpose of letting in immigrants, legal or otherwise, that do not work. Assimilation is secondary. Their value to the country is economic. If they are not working there is no reason for them to be in the United States. And, receiving a visa, or even being allowed to be in the country, is a privilege that we should enforce more consistently.

  6. nehemiah:

    Muslims have not assimilated very well in Europe. There are "no go" sections in European cities where non-Muslims must conform to the cultural, legal and religious norms of Islam or expect to be greeted with violence. There are over 80 Sharia courts operating in Britain. There is a movement underway to convert 12 British cities into independent Islamic states (Muslims Against the Crusades). Sure it isn't likely to happen, but the attempt is being made and that doesn't bode well for assimilation does it.

    In France there are some 750 so-called Sensitive Urban Zones that the police pretty much leave alone.

    In Rome, the Piazza Venezia is being commandeered by Muslims for daily prayer.

    An imam has labeled Sweden as the "best Islamic State" with 25% Islamic population and widespread no go zones. Muslims expect us to assimilate to their culture.

  7. skhpcola:

    More open borders bullshittery from Warren. Who knew that being a libertarian neo-leftist involved so much hard work at twisting logic and the truth. He will do anything to try to validate his naive philosophy about immigration, even if he continues to make himself a clown. Good work, progtard!

  8. morganovich:

    this seems like an easy fix mark. i absolutely agree that you cannot have open immigration and a welfare state or you provide bad incentives. the way to fix this is simple: you create a guest worker designation and give it out easily. such people may enter, get a job, start a business, own property, etc. but they are not a citizen. they cannot vote, they cannot get welfare or medicaid etc. their children, even if born here are not citizens automatically. (though that will require a constitutional amendment) they pay taxes including a special levy in lieu of fica that can be used to pay for their kids schooling and for esl immersion classes to bring them up to speed.

    we get the benefits of immigration without the issues or welfare state abuse.

  9. steve:

    Well the French haven't assimilated into Canada very well. Or perhaps, it is the English who did not assimilate with them since the French were there first. All I can make of this is that numbers might be important. If you have a whole province, then maybe assimilation doesn't happen. Or perhaps its politics preventing the assimilation, like I assume happens all over the world with adjacent countries.

  10. MingoV:

    How about an opposite example: French descent people in Canada who, to this day, have not assimilated.

    Immigrant assimilation usually is assessed by looking at the next generation--those were were born in America or arrived here before school age. The USA has made massive accommodations to Spanish-speaking immigrants, so there is less need to learn English and assimilate. Not surprisingly, in some parts of the USA, many second generation immigrants are not assimilated. I don't know if that has happened before in the USA. However, it's not a reason to be biased against these second generation adults: we created the conditions that let unassimilated people do almost as well as assimilated ones.

  11. LarryGross:

    glass half full/empty. How many immigrants including Muslims - DO assimilate and become ordinary productive, law abiding citizens? If 75% or 50% or even 25% did not - there might be a case for doing something but one or two sensational examples do not mean "all".

    what we DO have to be careful of is importing labor to do very low paying jobs and to essentially become sub-class who do not share in the same opportunities available to native born people. That will cause them to group together as an aggrieved class of people. IMHO of course.

  12. Morven:

    The US has operated from the beginning by importing labor to do very low-paying jobs; I don't see continuing to do that as a problem.

    Warren's right; one should compare rhetoric now to the past rhetoric against previous waves of immigration. They generally have a lot in common, and people have a long record of being wrong about the horrendous consequences of immigration.

    In my experience (living in the Southern California for 15 years until last December), most of the US-born kids of Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal, speak English and can get jobs that require them to speak English. I've known quite a few, in fact, whose Spanish is worse than mine, and I'm a white Englishman who has learned what smattering of Spanish I know without any instruction in it whatsoever.

  13. marque2:

    Well you just have to see what is happening in England and France, to see that maybe we have a 1 - 19. There have been studies showing that once a Muslim population reaches about 10% things start going really awry. There is a lot of hold due to fear from others in the community.

  14. marque2:

    Or Muslims in France and Britain, and Sweden who seem to be refusing to assimilate. And those of Dearborn, Mi, as well.

  15. marque2:

    Prejudice is a rational reaction to help us survive. If you have been informed a neighborhood is bad, you might avoid it, without even having visited it first. That is Prejudice, and yet, I certainly would tell you it is a wise choice to stay away from the gang banger areas of Chicago, for instance.

    Calling your opponent prejudice also is usually a last resort when you have no better argument.

  16. mesaeconoguy:

    Great insight, though I think you meant "prejudiced."

    See also, "racist."

  17. LarryGross:

    what? go away dumbass.

  18. mesaeconoguy:

    You can’t put a percentage tipping point on these things, though you can probably come close with a passive social-democratic society which lets aggressive minority interests run roughshod.

    The problem with “those guys” is that the religion says a lot of violent things literally, which take time to filter out.

    That, and they’re about 800 years behind “modern” religions, due to their isolation for so long.

  19. mesaeconoguy:

    You just answered your own question, and revealed your own ignorance simultaneously above, prick:

    “what we DO have to be careful of is importing labor to do
    very low paying jobs and to essentially become sub-class who do not share in
    the same opportunities available to native born people. That will cause them to
    group together as an aggrieved class of people.”

    We’ve already done that, thanks to (mostly) leftists, and now you wonder why wages have plummeted and foodstamp recipients are at record high.

    Fuck you, shitbag.

  20. James Blakey:

    Count me as an Open Borders, but guy....

    If we had an ancap society, or even a Big L LIbertarian county, I would say come on in. We can always use more hardworking productive people.

    It's tough to get accurate statistics. I find both sides of the debate tend to bend the truth and numbers to their side.

    But the more I've looked at it, it seems there is a great deal more government aid/assistance going to immigrants (both legal and illegal).

    A common refrain from the pro side is that immigrants are eligible for most aid since 1996. But that's not really true. There are many exceptions. Food Stamps for example: refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, Amerasians, person granted withholding of deportation or removal, etc. Plus US citizen children of illegal immigrants are eligible for food stamps.

    And how about schooling. The younger Boston Bomber went to a high school that spends more than $25,000 per pupil per school year. Most of these low-skill immigrants (especially if they bring their families) are going to be net tax burdens,

    I agree the solution is to restrict their benefits, but I think that is unlikely to take place, and if were, I doubt it would stick. Progressives would accuse those of opposing gov't aid to immigrants as cold-hearted racists and their enables on the media would just pile it on.

    Abolish the welfare state and then let the folks in.

    Abolish th

    I agree

  21. mesaeconoguy:

    PS, the Boston Marathon bombers were on welfare, as was their mother, who is blaming the US for “taking her sons away from her.”

    What was that about “sub-class” and “aggrieved class”?

    Fucking tool.

  22. mesaeconoguy:

    Dearborn is bizarre.

    It’s 2/3 Ford/UAW/Teamsters (burger joints, taverns, and transmission shops), and 1/3 Mohammed (Mosques, and related).

  23. LarryGross:

    well.. if the "aggrieved class" votes dumbass, guess what? fools like you become dinosaurs hiding out with guns and survival food - and of course your internet connection!

    at some point, you're no better than the Boston Bombers...just another whacko waiting to go nuts!

  24. mesaeconoguy:

    That's your whole goal, isn't it, Lar? Get the underclass to vote for you. Suck them in, and siphon from everyone else.

    At least you finally came clean.

  25. LarryGross:

    heck guy.. your behavior ensures it... we have no choice because whackos like you guarantee that outcome.!

  26. mesaeconoguy:

    Heck, guy, shut up Larry.

  27. obloodyhell:

    The issue of assimilation is not a Chechen thing, it's an Islamic thing.

    If there is an issue with assimilation, it derives from the nature of Islam's being a religion of "fake it until you can take the place over".

    This seems rather duh.

  28. obloodyhell:

    1) Yes, you can put a tipping point. There are enough examples of Islamic "infiltration" into societies to offer rough stats. There appear to be key tipping points at about 10, 40, and 80% iirc.

    2) Yes, I'd concur that Islam COULD be fixed over time. But it's not going to be fixed over time with too much of the "powers that be" telling islam -- and petty much every OTHER grouping except white americans and jews -- that THEIR culture is just as good as the US's -- even better, since only the US is "evil". We have lost the heat that made it a "melting pot". Now it's just a loose mixing of dusts that never melds. As long as you reinforce their insanities with enabling behaviors, there's not going to be a change.

  29. obloodyhell:

    Yeah, there's also been a marked increase in sexual assaults, though their police and media are doing everything possible to suppress knowledge of it.

    Gangs of roving Islamic toughs accosting euro women, kidnapping them, and taking them off to be gang-raped.

    But even if it gets mentioned, their status as "Muslims" is conveniently elided.

  30. Don:

    I read the last paragraph, and it doesn't alarm me. I would remind you of two facts:

    1. Franklin was a life-long abolitionist.

    2. Franklin was a first-rate propagandist.

    Among the prejudices of the day, how better to try to convince people not to bring slaves to the Colonies than to make them think about it in terms of "Darkening" the "Complexion of [his] Country?"

    Doesn't seem inconsistent with what I know of the man's writings.

  31. john mcginnis:

    One could defuse the whole `they won't assimilate argument` by simply defining that all governmental transactions shall be in English only. That a problem? Well then I point you to the fact that is the rule that Mexico enforces in all its governmental dealings.
    My primary concern is that if 16 languages flourish we cannot continue as a nation on any practical functional level. That being said I can understand today's difficulty in assimilation. You show up in the 1800's you learned english or your options were limited at all levels -- jobs, entertainment, family, etc. Today? Pop a dish on your roof and you can be receiving the same channels you used to see from your PoO. Assimilation is an immersive experience and modern tech makes it harder to do so.

  32. AIG:

    I'm an immigrant myself to this country, and I understand that such arguments have been made ever since the founding of this country. Nonetheless, one has to admit, that there is a substantive difference, if not a numerical difference between the immigration of today and that of the past. The substantive difference between and Englishman and an Irishman, or a German, or an Italian, as great as may have seen to them at the time, is not the same as the difference between an American of today and a Mexican, a Pakistani, or a Chinese immigrant of today.

    I do not mean this in any way to be derogatory, but I do not think (in fact I happen to know this to be true, having lived in immigrant circles) that many of the immigrants we are attracting today have neither the capacity nor the willingness to integrate. And even if they did, the difference between our mentality (I consider myself American), and many of theirs, is so great, that even if we meet half way, WE would have traveled far from our own character to get there.

    A German and an Englishman may have met each other half way, to create the American of today. But they had a very short distance to travel. I look at some people I know (for example, Chinese immigrants who conitnue to embrace the spirit of communitarianism and totalitarianism), and say to myself "do I WANT that to be an ingredient in our melting pot?"

    Are there no harmful ingredients that can spoil the melting pot? I think, to some degree, the Boston bombers show that there are. The caricature that certain parts of California have become, show that there are. What some elements of our educational system have become, show that there are.

    Certainly the solution to this cannot be a limitation to immigration, but rather a long hard look at the sorts of people we attract, the reason they are attracted to this country (think of the fact that the Boston bomber's parents lived on welfare), and our capacity to integrate them without compromising ourselves.

  33. mesaeconoguy:

    The UK doesn't have 75% arms possession.

    A shotgun does a very large amount of damage.

  34. mesocyclone:

    Come on.... go visit the nearby Mexican barrios if you dare. There are third generation gang members (maybe fourth by now) in the Phoenix 9th street gang, for instance.

    Our modern culture is radically different from that of prior immigrations - with a welfare state that won't vanish because Libertarians pretend it isn't there. And the result of that, or whatever else has changed, is that a significant number of the descendants of immigrants go into a multi-generational culture of crime and dependency - one that we have yet to see the end of.

    If the Phoenix barrios don't do it for you, drop by Boyle Heights in LA. Or, read a few of Victor Davis Hanson's pieces on the way the central valley of California is now barely a third world society.

    Immigration by poor people from certain cultures, under current conditions, is an unmitigated disaster.

    On this issue, Coyote is blinded by ideology. Utterly blinded, if the past is any evidence.

  35. bobby_b:

    They all become entitlement and rights whores.

    Which is to say, their assimilation is both rapid and complete.

  36. bobby_b:

    " . . . even great men could not shed all the prejudices of their day."

    In fairness, it had been my impression - arguably not an overeducated one - that many of his similar writings were aimed more toward trying to discourage the continual buildup of the slave population than toward expressing pure racial disparagement.

  37. LarryGross:

    Wow. Asians were imported to work on the rails. The Italians and Irish were imported as laborers and all of them tended to clump up in their own neighborhoods maintaining their own cultures, languages, etc.

    And of course, as pointed out by bobby_b, as a Country, we had no problem importing uber cheap labor as actual slaves. We also had no trouble herding Native Americans onto reservations,etc.

    It took a LONG, LONG time for them to assimilate and we STILL have enclaves of Asian and others neighborhoods and sections of towns and Indian reservations (now with casinos), etc.

    but when an entire culture of people is basically treated as low skill workers without them having the same opportunity to pursue the American dream as native Americans, then yeah.. they may develop "attitudes" about it and some of them may actually radicalize. just simply amazing how that works, eh?

    the funny thing is that Warren's views on this are so out of character with the rests of his views - that are usually in agreement with some of the same commenters here.

    oh... and yes. this is another one of those differences between "progressives/libtards" and Conservatives and it seems to be roiling the ranks of the Conservatives who can't seem to bring themselves to view immigrants as constituents - even though many do vote as they found out in the last election.

  38. mesaeconoguy:

    God are you stupid.

    This is completely consistent with libertarianism. But you can’t distinguish that from “conservatism” or “right-wing extremism “or ketchup.

    Larry, you make the choice of dumbest asshole alive very difficult, between you, Max and Toad Manson.

  39. mesaeconoguy:

    Lar, glad you’re polluting the threads over at Café Hayek, and getting eviscerated. At least you revealed your actual identity (dumbass - “Gross” is supposed to be a nickname; your children, God forbid you reproduced, must be proud).

    We thought you were a selfish socialist pensioner cunt, from your insipid commentary. Good to know the antennae are still working.

    Now, jam that head into your rectum just a little bit deeper, Metamucil.

  40. LarryGross:

    geeze - Xenophobia is consistent with libertarianism? who knew? I though libertarians were
    in favor of individual freedom....for everyone GAWD!

  41. LarryGross:

    It's German - meathead. German immigrants.. can you conceive it? why I bet your ancestors are immigrants also, eh?

  42. TiminKuwait:

    "We have lost the heat that made it a "melting pot". Now it's just a loose mixing of dusts that never melds."
    That is really good and very true!!

  43. mesaeconoguy:

    Yeah, shortened from GrosseScheisskopf, oaschloch.

    German, LMFAO

    Fuck you Larry “Big” cunt

  44. mesaeconoguy:

    I though libertarians were

    in favor of individual freedom

    You’re in favor of individual “freedom” as long as everyone agrees with you, and pays for you, right, Lar?

  45. mesaeconoguy:

    That’s how it works, right Lar?

    Everyone pays for you? Since you’re old and useless, I have a recommendation: seppuku.

  46. mesaeconoguy:

    My apologies, Lar – that was way out of line.

    An honorable death is beyond your capacity.

    Lar, since you’re responsible for destroying my healthcare (and my kids), I have a wish: you should get a taste of death by state – you need to be denied critical care when you most need it, and tossed in a mass grave like a medieval bubonic plague corpse. Hopefully very soon.

    If not that, I want you face up in a guillotine, like the Nazis used to do.

    Either one would be a fitting end to your pathetic

  47. LarryGross:

    you have kids? I was afraid of that...... lord....

  48. mesaeconoguy:

    Fuck you, prick.

    They’re paying for your greed, bastard.

    That’s why you need to be suicided.

  49. LarryGross:

    even if I helped to defend your sorry ass? you DID want a STRONG defense did you not?