Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dr. Fleming writes this response:

Catholics who argue for mass immigration from Mexico are making two mistakes: first, in treating the Catholic Church as a kind of universalist ideology–something like Communism–and, second, in pretending that nothing else matters. Obviously, common faith is important and it would be better not to have religious diversity within a body politic. We do not, however, always live in the country we would like to and have to accept reality. Whatever our background, we must be artificial Englishmen, to some extent, if we are to be fully American, and being English we are then European and being European we draw our cultural inspiration from Greece, Rome, the Germanic and Celtic barbarians in our past, and from the Jewish traditions reinterpreted by the Church.

I think, on balance, that people from non-British backgrounds from one to three generations back might be better off if they preserved–or rather learned–their ancestral languages and cultures as a sort of reserve culture. American culture is now so thin and the WASP element so diluted and so self-hating, it is only healthy for a third-generation Greek or Italian or Pole to bone up on his heritage. The same goes for those who come from Middle Eastern and Asian cultures who, if they are Christian, can stay connected with the European tradition. As for non-Christian immigrants, I don’t think they should be encouraged, though, ultimately, it is none of my business. The problem with MacIntyre is that he could never entirely escape his leftism, which requires him to be fair and objective toward aliens. As for a common American core, I don’t think that is possible any longer. We have to recover, reinvent our civilization and pass it on. That can only be done in small communities. The entire world is against us.

"We have to recover, reinvent our civilization and pass it on." Elsewhere he advocates a return to the "classics," in their original languages. The New Scot should be in better shape than me. More thoughts from Dr. Fleming on liberal education here.

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