God Save Steve King: Culture Matters

Congressman Steve King of Iowa showed real civic courage in his recent statements on immigration. Christians should rally around him.

By John Zmirak Published on March 14, 2017

Most of the controversies that liberal journalists whip up these days have little basis in fact. But the tempest around Rep. Steve King is real, and points to profound issues that Christians, Americans, and conservatives need to think about. As The Hill reports:

King in a tweet praised Geert Wilders, including a cartoon depicting Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that reads “Western civilization.”

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the congressman wrote.

“It’s a clear message,” King said on Monday. “We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more. And Geert Wilders knows that and that’s part of his campaign and part of his agenda.” 

King went on to criticize illegal immigration to the United States and immigrants who don’t “assimilate into the American culture.”

“Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization. Some embrace it, yes. But many are two and three generations living in enclaves that are pushing back now and resisting against the assimilation,” he said.

King also emphasized his view that “Western civilization” is “a superior civilization.”

The reaction to King was ferocious and predictable. Kim Bellaware at the Huffington Post labeled King a “white nationalist.” Worse, some self-styled conservatives took this occasion to polish their credentials as good multiculturalists, and suggested darkly that King was implying that children of non-European descent are somehow intrinsically inferior. As Belleware noted, every liberal’s favorite conservative, would-be NeverTrump spoiler Evan McMullin, promptly denounced him:

And a lonely Republican in Minnesota’s state legislature was happy to oblige:

In contrast, Ben Shapiro defended King in The Daily Wire, noting:

Not Every Patriotism is the Same

Of course, Shapiro is right, especially in an American context. As Samuel Huntington noted in his classic study Who Are We?, America has evolved away from ethnic particularism as the source of our national identity. Through the experience of mass European immigration in the 19th century, then the Civil Rights movement, we pruned down the list of conditions we implicitly required for considering someone a “real” American. At the time of the Founding, that list was pretty extensive.

For leftists, having a pulse and making it successfully across the U.S. border legally or illegally is sufficient to make you an American.

A full-fledged “American” in 1783 was expected to be white, Protestant, English-speaking, and committed to the principles of the U.S. Constitution — which Huntington characterized as “tolerant, Anglo-Protestant” classical liberalism, a worldview whose philosophical spectrum runs roughly from Edmund Burke’s views to John Locke’s.

Today, mainstream conservatives have dropped each of those conditions except the last one: We demand that new arrivals — and fervently hope that native-born citizens — accept the political and cultural heritage of Anglo-Protestant liberalism, circa 1783. There is more to that heritage than just Constitutional principles. It also includes civic virtues that our Founders took for granted:

  • Self-reliance, instead of a dependence on government handouts or hereditary privileges;
  • Participation in self-government, via voting, service on juries, and in the military;
  • Patriotism that ties you to the country as a whole, not simply your blood-kin, creed, or tribe;
  • Tolerance of those with different world-views and faiths, provided they let others live in peace;
  • Respect for our heritage of liberty, and concern for the liberty we leave to our posterity.

What marks off leftist multiculturalists is that they drop even these conditions — and demand that the U.S. welcome immigrants who accept neither our Constitutional principles nor our culture. Apparently having a pulse and making it successfully across the U.S. border legally or illegally is sufficient, nowadays. Deny that, and the Left will denounce you as an extremist.

Do Europeans and Japanese Need to Learn Americanism?

One of the reasons King’s statement sparked such passions is that he seemed to be likening American identity to older versions of patriotism whose nature is markedly different. In The Netherlands or in Poland, in Japan or in Korea, the nation has traditionally been defined quite differently than in the U.S. Those smaller, more homogenous nations have a distinct ethnic component to their sense of nationhood. Extreme versions of such nationalism can verge over into ugly, nasty racism, as the 20th century taught us. (Then again, non-ethnic systems like Communism can prove even worse. Benign Polish nationalism helped bring that Leviathan down.)

Citizens of Israel or Croatia experience nationhood as a large, extended family.

But things need not go that far. There is a benign sense in which citizens of Israel or Croatia experience nationhood as a large, extended family. While they might “adopt” those of different ancestry who embrace their nation’s other values, that openness won’t dissolve the norm that the nation is bound by a sense of familial kinship — the ordinary, human feeling that’s shared by members of an Italian-American club in New York City, or a black fraternity in Georgia. That’s the same feeling which on a micro-scale makes ordinary people prefer to beget their own children, rather than sterilizing themselves and adopting needy children from other lands. I have actually heard people say that doing that would somehow be “more Christian.” That suggestion is multiculturalism in its chemically purest form.

It is simply cultural imperialism, or ugly American snobbery, to suggest that the U.S. model of nationhood is the only morally legitimate one on earth — and that the forms which patriotism takes in Mexico, India, Hungary, or the Netherlands, are somehow “Cro-Magnon” or racist. We should assert, of course, that human and civic rights must be accorded to every human being as the image of God — and disfavor nations that mistreat human beings because they belong to minorities. The plight of Asian Christian “guest workers” in Saudi Arabia, for instance, or suppressed Tibetans in China, ought to move us. But we shouldn’t treat all forms of national association other than propositional Americanism as failures to attain the proper goal of every nation on earth: to be just like us, in every way.

Ordinary people prefer to beget their own children, rather than sterilizing themselves and adopting needy children from other lands.

In fact, ours is a noble experiment, a hopeful bet on the idea that sound political principles and a flexible, robust culture will assimilate newcomers in large numbers — instead of being itself dissolved by the sheer entropic force of human differences.

One way to make sure that a country really does collapse is to pretend that it doesn’t matter whether its citizens are willing or feel able to have a decent number of children — or if they outsource that “dirty job” to recent or future immigrants, as if human children were interchangeable production and consumption units, and child-rearing were some grubby sweatshop industry. A government that pretends this is true will actually harm the prospects of parents who wish to have decent-sized families, and become in turn addicted to immigration to fill in the “gaps.” For every “missing” German baby, import a Syrian. What could possibly go wrong?

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  • Gary

    Diversity weakens societies. That is why the US is weak and getting weaker. We have people here who were born and raised in other parts of the world who don’t have much of anything in common with Americans who were born and raised here. And then we also have people who were born and raised here who see the world very differently. They disagree about almost everything of importance. Mix that all together and you have a country of people who want to go in different directions. People who dislike each other because of their many disagreements. Its a country that is either going to have to divide, or where there will eventually be a civil war.

    • Thomas Sharpe

      Marriage has always corrected that. As most immigrants were Christian, this was never an issue. The Italians and Irish (both Catholic) are so intermarried that it is relatively impossible to find a family without the influence of both cultures. The same with Hispanic immigration today, I know of many many marriages between Hispanics from the Southern Hemisphere and descendants of European Caucasians.

      Try suggesting to a Muslim father that his daughter should be free to marry whomever she pleases. She may try, she will be ostracized or even killed as part of honor for to the family. With his son it will be different, infidel wives are welcome, then all the children are considered Muslim. I am not speaking here as some bigot, this is honest reality.

      It’s not diversity that weakens, its separate group think without intermarriage.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    “God save the king”. Yes, Mr King is a fresh political voice championing the cause for assimilation in a nation under siege by globalist pariahs w/out conscientious consideration for the ramifications of the threat they promote. Seems like the messengers of this newer form of cultural dissimulation aren’t going to let this voice of reason go untainted by their group think. Maybe every proponent of this anti-nationalistic ideology should themselves embrace all cultures antagonistic to their lifestyle into their own homes & families for a while. Then perhaps they will be prepared to revise their seriously flawed agendas fostered upon an unsuspecting audience not yet ravished by their leprous political doctrine. They could use a good dose of Shariah to shake them to their senses ….

  • Billy Chickens

    Everyone knows that we’re talking about Islam here so why the reference to “race”? Islam is a RELIGION, not a race. Muslims are NOT a race of people. They are people adhering to ISLAM, which, just as Christianity, is made up of all races of people. Muslims will not assimilate because of their RELIGION, not because of any particular race they happen to be.

    • Thomas Sharpe

      Islam cannot be perceived to be only a religion. It is a Theocracy, with strong tendencies toward dictatorship and a general absence of reason and/or self-criticism. Is or is not not Islamism the truest form of Islam?. And it is racist, ask any Jewish person about that.
      Sharia Law which any (good?) Muslim believes, is not compatible with Western Democracy, Natural Rights and Freedom, especially women’s freedom and freedom of speech or religion.

  • eddie too

    i believe that a universal culture is gestating thanks to modern communications. while it is not possible to predict the birthday of this universal culture, its birth is inevitable.

    to me, the real battle involves ensuring this universal culture respects the dignity and freedom of the individual human being versus this coming universal culture being based on forcing each human being to surrender his or her dignity and freedom to the power of the collective, i.e. government.

    while, without question, cultures based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ excel in developing all aspects of human life, there is in this world also a spirit of dissolution and chaos that deceptively encourages some human beings to believe that everyone should submit to the power of the collective through the imposition of totalitarian legal systems. ultimately, the battle is between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spirit of dissolution and chaos.

    through faith, i am led to believe that the Gospel will triumph in producing a universal culture of respect, dignity and freedom for individuals in the midst of a benevolent government.

  • Aliquantillus

    The fabric of European civilization is already fully destroyed. This destruction has a name: Secularism (or: Secular Humanism). The introduction of Islam is only a minor disturbance compared to the thorough destruction of Christianity by Secularism. Geert Wilders is just an exponent and representative of this Secularism and he and his Freedom Party movement only intensify this secularist trend.

    A couple of years ago, when a there was a proposal in the Dutch parliament to prohibit Shechitah (Jewish slaughter practice) Wilders was a fanatical supporter of it. When it would come to a similar question on the Brit Milah (circumcision), he will be the first to support it. He constantly talks about the Judeo-Christian heritage of the West, but the only meaning this expression has for him is “non-Muslim”. He has shown that he is prepared to throw the Jews under the bus in order to destroy religious freedom for Muslims. He is also a declared supporter of full and eqaul rights for homosexuals and other sexual deviants. What has this to do with either Christianity or Judaism? It is pure and unadulterated anti-religious Humanism.

    That’s why in my eyes Wilders’ ideology represents a danger instead of a cure for Western civilization. It has nothing to do with a restoration of the cultural roots of the West. For Christians or Jews to put their hope in a person who wants to enforce secular conformism on all is a very serious error and a political miscalculation of enormous proportions.

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