Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

On Assimilation

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The idea of rapid assimilation, integration, intermarriage, and Americanization was once melting-pot clear. Immigrants arrived in the U.S. eager to find something better (whether economically, politically, culturally, or socially) than what they left behind.

So they accepted the premise that the general core of American customs, traditions, and protocols, such as free-market economics, protections of private property, the chauvinism of a middle class, legal transparency, due process, an independent judiciary, the rule of law as defined by the Constitution, republican and consensual government, freedoms as outlined in the Bill of Rights, separation of church and state — within a general landscape of both Christian predominance and tolerance of competing faiths, rationalism, and ongoing expansion of civil rights.

To do otherwise and reject such a menu, was seen as an absurd paradox: Why would an emigrant leave an apparently less pleasant place simply to replicate its institutions in his new home and thereby contribute to re-creating the original problems that he had fled from? (That is not to say that people are rational, as Texans and Floridians discover when some California refugees start imposing their destructive California tastes upon arrival in the very no-income-tax, less regulated, and smaller-government states they sought out.)

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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