Wednesday, October 12, 2005

America's Mexican Immigrants
"Seem Wealthier Than I Am!"
The European Visitor Exclaimed


Yeah, no kidding.

Victor Davis Hanson had a European visitor recently who noted that America's first generation Mexican immigrants seem to be doing better than the average European:


The differences between American and European material wealth are now marked and growing — Americans increasingly enjoy larger homes, more cars, more appliances, cheaper food and energy, more advanced health care, and more disposable income ...

A recent European visitor to my farm, a member of the professional and affluent class, was stunned when I showed him the new suburban houses and multiple cars of first generation immigrants from Mexico living nearby — in the poorest section of one of the poorest inland counties of rural California. “They seem wealthier than I am!” he exclaimed. In a global sense they really are, even without the subsidized train tickets, day care payments, and a government-guaranteed six-week vacation.

Some transatlanticists will grant these endemic problems, but assure us that Europe’s problems will be self correcting, that more conservative reformers will eventually retake power and mimic the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions to prune back government largesse and encourage renewed self-reliance — noting in addition that we have the same enemy in Islamic fascism. Nothing in Europe’s history, however, suggests that a moderate response to the current maladies is likely.

Popular frustration over Islamic terrorism and unassimilated minorities may grow, and Europeans could become tired of appeasing extremist mullahs and terrorists and begin looking for principled opposition based on real military power. A few politicians may warn of the dangers of a future Europe with only one worker for one pensioner, of a self absorbed society where children, religious fraternity, and hard work are seen as retrograde, or caricatured as American.

But it is just as likely that any European counter-reaction will be unproductive. Instead of calling for more American-style assimilation and intermarriage, critics could prescribe strict isolation of Islamic minorities. Re-arming could make Europe even more hostile, rather than promoting Western unity. The longer work hours, reduced welfare subsidies, increased transparency, and economic flexibility needed by Europe might be received by the masses not as necessary medicine, but as foul concoctions forced down their throats by the hated American competition.