We are very pleased that you have chosen to come to our wonderful country. We are truly honored to receive you in our midst. There are just a few formalities to get out of the way, to make sure that you and our country are a good match.
You are here because we believe in human rights; and so must you. But with human rights come human responsibilities. In order to stay here you will have to become one of us, and to do that you have to be willing and able to accept these responsibilities.
We have a rich and ancient national culture, which you will have to wholeheartedly adopt and to help us develop it and safeguard it from bad influences. You may, of course, keep your memories of the national culture of your country of origin, especially when it comes to music, dance, the visual arts, cuisine and so on, but you must understand that if you are to live with us, it is our culture that has to come first. Therefore, you will have to abandon any elements of your old culture that are incompatible with ours. If you fail to do so at any point, then you will be asked to leave.
We have a subtle and expressive national language, of which we are quite proud. Not all of us are expert in its use; many of us make mistakes in speaking and in writing it. But those of us who were born here have a birthright to be here, even if we make mistakes. Not so with you: your continued presence here is entirely conditional on your mastery of our national language. Of course, we will offer you all the help we can in learning and perfecting your language skills, but if you fail to demonstrate oral and written competence within a reasonable period of time, then you will be asked to leave.
We have many freedoms, which we treasure above all else. One of them is freedom of religion: each and every one of us is free to choose what to believe, or whether to believe anything at all. We are a secular society, and religious principles can never be allowed to determine our laws or policies. It is very important that you respect freedom of religion, including freedom from religion. Even your own family members must be free to decide whether to be Neopagan, Pastafarian or Atheist. If you refuse to grant them this freedom, and attempt to use religion in a socially divisive or discriminatory manner, then you will be asked to leave.
Another very important freedom is freedom from discrimination. Our people enjoy the same basic rights regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, age or physical and mental abilities. If it is discovered that you discriminate against people, including members of your own family, and deny them their rights, then you will be asked to leave.
We also enjoy numerous liberties: we are pretty much free to do and say whatever we want, as long as nobody gets hurt by our actions. If you are to become one of us, you must respect these freedoms and liberties and help us defend them. We are forever debating the limits of what is permissible; for example, at what age should young women be allowed to take part in bikini contests, or whether it is permissible to have sex on the beach if it is dark, there are no minors present, and everyone is too drunk to care anyway. As a newcomer, you will need to abandon the notions of what was or was not permissible in your country of origin, and work on understanding and accepting ours. If you try to deny us our liberties, or to impose your notions on us, then you will be asked to leave.
To make sure that there are no misunderstandings, please read this over again carefully and ask any specific questions this raises for you, especially on how this pertains to your native customs, culture or religion. We will make every effort to give you good, accurate answers. And once you are satisfied that you understand what is being asked of you, you must decide whether or not to swear the following oath.
I do solemnly swear:
- That it is my earnest desire to become one of you, to obey your laws, follow your customs, absorb your culture and master your language.
- That I will make every effort to become a valuable, accepted, respected member of your society.
- That I will abandon any elements of my culture or religion that are incompatible with the rights and liberties you enjoy.
- That I am swearing this oath of my own free will and in good faith.
- That I understand that I will be expelled if I break this oath.
If you decide not to swear this oath, then you will be asked to leave.
Mastering the language is an interesting requirement... We aliens will need to be provided with a free TV for practicing :-)
Although I fully agree with those conditions (and those are conditions that apply anyway, at least until now, due to social pressure, except in certain ghettos), explicitly making that oath express contempt and the presumption that you considered not abiding in the first place... I don't know, maybe just a more positive enunciation of that "get rid of your culture if it doesn't match" would suffice.
What a surprise-published on Tuesdays sometimes means Monday. Missed last week and find the two articles six days apart are only tangentially related but thought provoking. I'll move North if living underground is not cool enough. As for immigration--generous rules but legal repercussions for flaunting whatever flawed rules we as a nation cobble together. If I would like to be Swiss-it's not up to me to vote myself on to their island. Unless of course they prefer proof of commitment by being willing to break their laws. So yeah I'm for no more hyphenated Americans but how many culturally diverse friends do I have to invite to the club for a round of golf to prove my multi-ethnic bonafides?
Not sure about the satirical content amount here. Cultures are always changing. Introducing novelty can be is a source of resilience. No culture has an inherent right to privilege over any other.
It's been my experience true multiculturalism doesn't work. Everyone keeping ALL of their old country culture to the exclusion of their new country. Being of WASP ancestry, doesn't make me right about my culture though. Of course the fly in the ointment here is about 1/4 of me is Eastern European, Hungarian to be exact. My great granparents both came over and met for the first time in the US. Of course they kept some of their culture. They met while keeping to the Hungarian community, but then became part of the new one. What I saw growing up in the 70's living in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Livonia Michigan, was that while folks were different, they also acted somewhat the same and pretty much blended in. My high school had 2300 or so students, but only five blacks at that time. A couple of Asians and good handful of folks from the Middle East. I do know one of the Asians and a couple of the Middle Easterners had old country culture, but they also adopted their new country's ways. One male is retired U.S. Army. Where they different looking? Yes. Were they picked on for it? Yes, but only by the idiot bullies who bullied others too.
So to sum it up IMO, keeping culture is good, but making the effort to be part of the new culture is necessary for a more peaceful coexistence. Of course what no one realizes, is that sometimes, the old country culture influences the new country culture and becomes part of it to some degree.
Hell, I'd make this oath incumbent on all native born citizens of the U.S. upon achieving majority.
Glenn - in the argot of the age: "plus one".
It would be something to have ALL people take an oath or statement of citizenship at some age. The Founding Fathers set forth a Bill of Rights, but a Bill of Responsibilities would have been a good thing as well.
A few weeks ago, I wrote something regarding a "New Magna Carta", along similar lines; a new "Balanced Consitution" for a post-peak age. Anyone have any thoughts on how these kinds of things might be implemented, even in a limited fashion?
The oath of citizenship for folks coming to the US is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28United_States%29. Interestingly, it seems once you are in, it is tough to get kicked out: http://immigration.findlaw.com/citizenship/can-your-u-s-citizenship-be-revoked-.html
Sounds like Utopia. Is there anywhere that actually meets the ideals in this description?. Certainly not where I live.
I was much amused by a movement in California, which gained much momentum, which would require that ballots be provided in Sapnish for voters who did not speak English. Since the ability to read, write and understand English is a requirement for citizenship, and only citizens can vote, this struck me a wierd at best.
Hell yeah. If I moved to Germany, I'd learn German and do my best to fit in. I grew up where, as a white person, I was never going to fit in, no matter how much I knew of the native culture or how well I spoke the local creole. Solution: I GTFO.
As someone who lived most of my life (as in over half a century) as an immigrant, I must say I wholeheartedly endorse this philosophy right down to the details.
When I lived in San Francisco, one of my favorite events was the Ethnic Dance Festival, where immigrants from all over the world would recreate their "music, dance, the visual arts" in a month-long party of diversity. Yet there was never any sense that this would challenge or detract from the dominant culture. Quite the contrary. The very presence of this diversity (which would not be possible, perhaps not even tolerated, in many of the source countries) served as an homage to the strength of the dominant culture.
I forgot about the Oath. Funny, I've taken it three times. Went into the Army twice and once as Federal LEO.
As to the language requirement. As Alex says. If I live there I try to learn the language.
As much as I enjoy your sense of humor, Dmitry, I hope this post wasn’t satirical at all.
Of course, cultures constantly change and exposure to other cultures has always revitalized the arts. But the notion that “no culture has an inherent right to privilege over any other” - on its own turf - is worse than wrong-headed.
If I were to be permitted to move to Austria, or Albania, or Paraguay, or Papua New Guinea, I would not presume that any of those cultures would be obliged to accommodate my language, diet, religious beliefs, or anything else. I would expect to need to learn their language and ways of doing things and, at the very least, to accept that my beliefs do not prevail in my new, adopted society.
If I should have a new neighbor move in next door who is from Viet Nam or Cameroon, or Iran, I would welcome them and be glad to help them learn the ropes here. I would enjoy learning about their cultural traditions, probably add some words from their language to my vocabulary, and might even discover that I enjoy their music.
But I would not take kindly to their assertion that our local school was now responsible for offering classes in their native tongue, let alone that their deity should govern the world and I should be killed if I disagree.
I feel great shame at the way my country has created refugees in one country after another, and I do think it only fair that we try to help them, preferably by rebuilding their own country. But working off the bad karma of our evil foreign policy has to stop short of allowing our own culture, such as it is, to be sundered. In the difficult days ahead whatever cohesive force our culture still retains will be of critical importance.
There have been very disturbing cases in Canada, where I immigrated in 1970 (and resided until 1980), including honor killings by Kurdish immigrant families, forced marriages and so on. Because of the "mosaic" ethos prevalent in [mostly-immigrant] Canada, the authorities are loathe to take any action until laws are broken. Of course people are clever enough to skirt around actual displays of illegal acts, particularly in the U.K. (bundling off young Muslim girls from Heathrow to forced marriages in Karachi, on the pretext that "You're just going home for a holiday to meet your kinfolks", is very common, and difficult to intercept).
Latin Americans may keep their language and religion, but their fundamental world-view has not been drilled into them the way it takes place in the Arab East, in many Indian subcultures, or with the Chinese. They can therefore adapt easily to the "melting-pot" culture of the USA. Few Japanese-Americans nisei or sansei are fluent in Japanese and often seem to exhibit extreme "Babbitt" attitudes and behavior to demonstrate how "American" they really are.
I have also read that there are thousands of legally-immigrated Chinese in the big American cities who, for lack of linguistic ability or connections to a non-Chinese cultural milieu, are trapped in virtual slavery, working in restaurants, laundries and other, often brutal, environments. They are exploited by fellow Chinese and often paid next to nothing, but few manage to escape.
A military draft is a direct (and drastic) way to enforce cultural adaptation. Without some extreme measure like this it is so easy for moneyed immigrants to maintain superior isolation. Think of the recent cases of rich Saudi bastards trying to enslave women - and pretty much getting away with it.
Hamtramck is going to be an interesting case study, with a Muslim-controlled city council.
I thoroughly enjoyed your article Dmitry.
Then I read the comments.....ahhhhhhh!!!
The inmates are now running the asylum!!!
I cringe at the thought of immigrants picking up U.S. "culture." In point of fact, the migrants and immigrants I have met are often more American than Americans.*
* (Maybe just the ones I hang out with.)
Well Dimitri, I think I would climb on that spaceship and go away with them. There is no hope
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