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More than three decades ago, my aunt Hilda wrote an account of her father’s voyage to and life in America for my daughter to read “someday.” She began it this way: “Your great grandfather, Moore Engelhardt, a boy of 16, arrived in New York from Europe in March 1888. It was during the famous blizzard and after a sea voyage of about 30 days. He had no money. He often said that he had a German 50 cent piece in his pocket when he landed. His trip had to be in the cheapest part of the ship — way down below in steerage. Poor boy, I’m sure he was seasick a good deal of the time. Since he was alone, he sort of attached himself to a family of a lot of children and, for the first few months in America, I imagine he slept behind the stove in somebody’s kitchen.

“I don’t know the whole story of his trip from somewhere near Lemberg in Poland to Hamburg where he boarded the ship, but from the few things he told me about it I gathered that it wasn’t easy. He worked at anything he could find to earn money for the trip, saving every penny he didn’t need for daily living. I do know that it took him two years. His last job was as a scribe for a lawyer in Hamburg. There were no typewriters, but he had beautiful handwriting, almost as perfect as printing.

“The reason for his trip to America at the early age of 16, besides the stories he had heard about gold in the streets of New York, was, as he told it, a strange one…”

In other words, my grandfather was a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid (though without even parents to bring him here since he ran away from home). Like so many other immigrants of that era, he made it to the United States from a shithole part of Europe — of, to be exact, the Austro-Hungarian Empire — and he was lucky. He spent the rest of his life in Brooklyn, New York. A few decades later, Jews like him, or Slavs, or Italians, or Asians of any variety — the Haitians, Salvadorans, and Nigerians of that era — would essentially be put under the early twentieth-century equivalent of Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” and largely kept by law from entering the country. In those days, the analog to Trump’s bitter complaints about Muslims and others of color was: Europe was “making the United States a dumping ground for its undesirable nationals.” (So said Henry Fairfield Osborn, the then-president of New York’s American Museum of Natural History, in 1925.)

ORDER IT NOW

So history — specifically, the history of nativism and racism — is only repeating itself in this not-so-new century of ours. Back then, northern European immigrants were favored by that same law, so no one should have blinked when Donald Trump, who (like me) grew up at a time when those bans of 1924 were still in place, extolled Norwegians as the dream immigrants he wants to come here.

It wasn’t just racist but absurd for him to suggest that anyone from a country that regularly turns up at the top of the list of the “happiest” nations on Earth would have a driving urge to emigrate to our not-so-New World for a not-so-new life in a plutocrat-strong America with its 1% elections and ever widening inequalities of wealth. Still, for just a little while give reality a pass and let the wondrous Ann Jones, TomDispatch regular and author of They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars — the Untold Story, take you to a planet in a galaxy far, far away and allow you to imagine what this country might actually be like if it were overwhelmed by Norwegian immigrants.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Immigration 
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  1. If only the exclusion laws could be applied retroactively to remove the author of this piece of hate directed at heritage Americans!

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  2. You are a TRAITOR.

    I don’t understand why this garbage is carried on the Unz Review.

    Do you really think that the Austro-Hungarian Empire is comparable to Haiti?

    Or that slavs and Italians are comparable to negros?!

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Well said. Thank you.
    , @Wally
    Ugandan President Backs Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Comments: ‘He Speaks to Africans Frankly’
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/23/ugandan-president-backs-trump-shithole-comments-he-speaks-to-africans-frankly/
    , @druid
    And the descendants of this brave man are now Zionist fascists!
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  3. nebulafox says:

    OK, here’s the thing: we’ve got a welfare state now, combined with cheap, rapid intercontinental transportation. We have a globalized, mature economy now, one that is not going to grow rapidly, and one that is going to provide less and less jobs in the future-especially to low-skilled, working-class citizens. (Note: as robots become more integrated into the economy, not only we need less people, we need less work to begin with.) We’ve got 7 billion people in the world, and growing, especially in Africa. We’ve got a completely urbanized nation, with rising rental costs causing major population shifts.

    None of this was true in the early 1900s, when we needed all the raw labor we can get. For context, the frontier had only been officially declared over a little while earlier. Forget the wisdom of it all: having pseudo-open borders policy was *viable* in the first place then in a way it simply isn’t now. The United States simply cannot afford to take in as many people as our elites want to take in the long run.

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  4. neutral says:

    I very much doubt that his ancestors would have immigrated to a land that had the demographics of Haiti or Mexico or other third world shit holes. They would be disgusted that one of their descendants were such massive race traitors.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    A number of Jews went to Mexico. Few to none afaik went to Haiti. The DR opened its arms to persecuted German Jews in the 1930s but got few takers.
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  5. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @neutral
    I very much doubt that his ancestors would have immigrated to a land that had the demographics of Haiti or Mexico or other third world shit holes. They would be disgusted that one of their descendants were such massive race traitors.

    A number of Jews went to Mexico. Few to none afaik went to Haiti. The DR opened its arms to persecuted German Jews in the 1930s but got few takers.

    Read More
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  6. “It wasn’t just racist but absurd for him to suggest that anyone from a country that regularly turns up at the top of the list of the “happiest” nations on Earth would have a driving urge to emigrate to our not-so-New World for a not-so-new life in a plutocrat-strong America with its 1% elections and ever widening inequalities of wealth.”

    Wow, patronising and arrogant, but at the same time naive and ignorant: A stellar example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    There are plenty of first-worlders who’d love the chance to land in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley to ride a start-up tiger to riches. They have start-ups in Europe in general and Norway in particular, but it is a tough slog because the oligarchy here has the road to riches paved to their own front doors far better than in the USA.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sane Left Libertarian

    the oligarchy here has the road to riches paved to their own front doors far better than in the USA.
     
    This statement is preposterous on its face, since the US has a much higher percentage of hyper-rich (especially in the government) and a much higher percentage in poverty than the Nordic countries. So obviously the oligarchs here are better at stealing from the rest of us.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Sam L. says:

    Where I live now, there is a significant population of descendants of Danes, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes.

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  8. The stupidity of this argument is that it implies that all 7 billion of the earth’s citizens have the right to live in the US. Libtard = Dumbass.

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  9. Ms. Jones points out eloquently the hypocrisy built into the doctrine of the Trump base. They claim to want to make the US more like the Northern White European nations. Well, people in those nations for the most part have guaranteed healthcare, education, and pensions, as well as cheap high speed internet, cheap cell service, modern, top-flight infrastructure, strict controls on banks and insurance companies, and so forth – these are considered rights. But at the first mention of such niceties in the US, the right, with their radio and newspaper monopolies, start screaming about communism.

    Do you want to be more European or not?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wally
    And the EU is going broke because of their neo-Marxism.

    Oh yeah boy, the right runs the media. LOL

    It's Jews who preach neo-Marxism that run "radio and newspaper monopolies".

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34f3a02c70471d86059812f8553ef878a4b89db7188ea04dc11a76060a9c839a.jpg

    , @siberiancat
    We absolutely do want the industrious Europeans who would love to run from the redistributive neo-Marxist European superstate.

    I know quite a few.
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  10. @The Alarmist

    "It wasn’t just racist but absurd for him to suggest that anyone from a country that regularly turns up at the top of the list of the “happiest” nations on Earth would have a driving urge to emigrate to our not-so-New World for a not-so-new life in a plutocrat-strong America with its 1% elections and ever widening inequalities of wealth."
     
    Wow, patronising and arrogant, but at the same time naive and ignorant: A stellar example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    There are plenty of first-worlders who'd love the chance to land in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley to ride a start-up tiger to riches. They have start-ups in Europe in general and Norway in particular, but it is a tough slog because the oligarchy here has the road to riches paved to their own front doors far better than in the USA.

    the oligarchy here has the road to riches paved to their own front doors far better than in the USA.

    This statement is preposterous on its face, since the US has a much higher percentage of hyper-rich (especially in the government) and a much higher percentage in poverty than the Nordic countries. So obviously the oligarchs here are better at stealing from the rest of us.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    I didn't say European oligarchs are better than American oligarchs: They are simply better at oppressing the masses. Don't worry though, the American oligarchy is learning a thing or two. Didn't DHS just hire an ex-Stasi guy?

    As for stealing more money, the US has historically been a bigger market: Don't worry, EU is working on that.

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  11. @Thorfinnsson
    You are a TRAITOR.

    I don't understand why this garbage is carried on the Unz Review.

    Do you really think that the Austro-Hungarian Empire is comparable to Haiti?

    Or that slavs and Italians are comparable to negros?!

    Well said. Thank you.

    Read More
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  12. @Sane Left Libertarian

    the oligarchy here has the road to riches paved to their own front doors far better than in the USA.
     
    This statement is preposterous on its face, since the US has a much higher percentage of hyper-rich (especially in the government) and a much higher percentage in poverty than the Nordic countries. So obviously the oligarchs here are better at stealing from the rest of us.

    I didn’t say European oligarchs are better than American oligarchs: They are simply better at oppressing the masses. Don’t worry though, the American oligarchy is learning a thing or two. Didn’t DHS just hire an ex-Stasi guy?

    As for stealing more money, the US has historically been a bigger market: Don’t worry, EU is working on that.

    Read More
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  13. Wally says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    You are a TRAITOR.

    I don't understand why this garbage is carried on the Unz Review.

    Do you really think that the Austro-Hungarian Empire is comparable to Haiti?

    Or that slavs and Italians are comparable to negros?!

    Ugandan President Backs Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Comments: ‘He Speaks to Africans Frankly’

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/23/ugandan-president-backs-trump-shithole-comments-he-speaks-to-africans-frankly/

    Read More
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  14. Wally says: • Website
    @Sane Left Libertarian
    Ms. Jones points out eloquently the hypocrisy built into the doctrine of the Trump base. They claim to want to make the US more like the Northern White European nations. Well, people in those nations for the most part have guaranteed healthcare, education, and pensions, as well as cheap high speed internet, cheap cell service, modern, top-flight infrastructure, strict controls on banks and insurance companies, and so forth - these are considered rights. But at the first mention of such niceties in the US, the right, with their radio and newspaper monopolies, start screaming about communism.

    Do you want to be more European or not?

    And the EU is going broke because of their neo-Marxism.

    Oh yeah boy, the right runs the media. LOL

    It’s Jews who preach neo-Marxism that run “radio and newspaper monopolies”.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    “In other words, my grandfather was a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid (though without even parents to bring him here since he ran away from home). Like so many other immigrants of that era, he made it to the United States from a shithole part of Europe — of, to be exact, the Austro-Hungarian Empire — and he was lucky. He spent the rest of his life in Brooklyn, New York.”

    If your grandfather had stayed in Europe, he would have worked to build up Europe. Looks to me modern Europe became as rich and stable as the US. Where do people get this idea of ‘America or Bust’? US stopped Japanese immigration, but Japanese did a good job in making Japan a modern nation. Most Chinese are in China, but they turned a poor nation into a developed nation. Not being allowed to come to America is NOT end of the world. People can have good lives in their own nations. It’s arrogant to say “Your life sucks unless you make it to America.”

    Also, was the US of the 19th century less of a ‘shithole’? Most people were farmers who worked from sunup to sundown. They just got by. Or they toiled in factories. Also, US was made possible by pogroms against Indians who were pushed into shithole reservations. So, didn’t your grandfather benefit in the US by the destruction of another people? Living standards in the US was hardly better than in Europe. The only advantage was there was chance of owning land and more social freedom.. but this came at the expense of blacks and Indians.

    Also, when we consider how US become an imperialist power, didn’t your grandfather and others like him come to the New World to aid and abet in the creation of a World Empire that would invade, destroy, and terrorize so many nations? Imagine if America had been left to the Indians and animals. There would be no US as superpower invading and destroying other nations. And only militarily but financially and culturally, spewing filth like rap music all over the world.
    And Europe sure would have turned out better if US hadn’t entered WWI and help defeat Germans/Austrians.

    People like Tom Englelhardt can’t make up their minds. They often denounce US as an empire that threatens and destroys the world. But they are so happy that their ancestors made it to America. Well, what did their ancestors do in America? They worked and paid taxes to build and support the empire. Engelhardt’s grandparents and parents worked and paid taxes to support wars in Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and etc. If Engehardt proud that his family and ancestors all contributed to the US empire as workers and tax payers?

    Anyway, speaking of shithole nations…

    It’s true that many Europeans left for America. But today, both US and Europe are rich and advanced. In other words, history shows that EVEN IF Europeans hadn’t come to America, they would have done pretty well in Europe…. just like many Japanese and Chinese have done pretty good in their own nations. Whether in the Old World or New World, Europeans had the means to make great progress.

    In contrast, much of Third World is still shitty whether Third Worlders leave or stay.
    And Third World arrivals in the West make things shitty in the West as well. Look at Somalis in Sweden and Minnesota. Puerto Ricans had access to US largess forever. So, what did they do with it?

    So, why does Engelhardt make all these preening noises and thump his own chest? Because his main identity is self-righteousness and feeling good about himself by accusing others of ‘racism’. It’s so cheap and predictable.

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    • Agree: The Anti-Gnostic
    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "If your grandfather had stayed in Europe, he would have worked to build up Europe."

    Why would he have remained if his family was poor, being persecuted for their beliefs, and/or being conscripted? There was little to "build" given their status. Tens of millions of Europeans left. Leaders of those nations were relieved to get rid of potential malcontents. Remember, most of these immigrants were peasants who sought a better life for themselves, and believed that they could move upward in American society more rapidly.

    "Not being allowed to come to America is NOT end of the world. People can have good lives in their own nations."

    CAN being the operative word here. But it really is up to the individual to decide whether or not they can get to where they want to in life.

    "So, didn’t your grandfather benefit in the US by the destruction of another people?"

    Did not your ancestors also benefit from the policies of the federal government that removed Native Americans by force and assumed control of areas from around the world?

    You have to go back.

    "Well, what did their ancestors do in America? They worked and paid taxes to build and support the empire."

    No, they worked and paid taxes to forge the life they wanted to lead, which led to the further development of a nation they loved.

    "In other words, history shows that EVEN IF Europeans hadn’t come to America, they would have done pretty well in Europe."

    No, they COULD have done well, provided the right conditions. Obviously, tens of millions of immigrants from Europe believed their prospects to advance upward in their society were dim, so they chose to improve their lot in life by coming to America.
    , @Ace
    An excellent comment.

    Let it be said, however, that my 19th-c. father advanced without finishing high school and sure has heck didn't have his foot on the neck of any negro or Indian while he made his way in life. Nor can the U.S. economy and body politic be seen solely as some grotesque distortion premised on subjugation of minorities. They at all times had the opportunity to improve their lot and their communities. They faced obstacles but it's tiresome to hear forever and forever about how white racism was completely without any basis and that whites sucked the life and spirit out of those people and that and only that was the cause of minority problems. Especially today, if one wants not to become and educated, contributing lady or gentleman one has to work very hard at that and millions of minorities do just that, and with attitude as our lagniappe. That has been true at all times. Blacks shuck and jive on that point but they know what they for the most part refuse to do to, or are incapable of doing, to improve themselves. Think Camden or Southside Chiraq.

    The notion that people pay taxes and therefore they endorse any and all actions of their government is, shall we say, a limited view. According to that view, I am an ardent supporter of U.S. duplicity and moral debasement in Syria.

    The perennial problem of humanity is that ordinary people have their hands full making a living and, for better or worse, they don't walk around pondering the problems of vote fraud, judicial supremacy, the Deep State, runaway spending, or the abandonment of constitutional originalism. If anything, there appears to be a 50% electoral constituency in favor of runaway spending that benefits them. Democracy works its inevitable and unstoppable magic. And its absurdities know no bounds, certainly in the present hour.

    Concepts such as abortion as sacrament, affirmative action, living Constitution, BLM, white privilege, homosexual marriage, Jewish media domination, AntiFa immunity, or attacks on free speech sluice out across the land like spilled sewage. Citizens should ride herd on government but don't so, especially with the stupidity of the 16th and 19th Amendment and the Supreme Court betrayal of the 1930s, we have increasingly what is runaway government untouchable by the sovereign people. So much for "exceptionalism."

    Mark Twain was unusual in his time for his opposition to imperialism but it is incorrect to look back at the age of European and American imperialism as an unmitigated evil. Overwhelmingly, I think, imperialism existed at a time of third-world ignorance and depravity -- think, inter alia, of suttee, the high Chinese civilization and its fetish for concubines and bound feet, and the Bantu interest in imperial expansion -- and it required little study or imagination then to see dastardly imperialism as a decided improvement in the lives of third worlders. Blacks in the former Belgian Congo openly express their wish that the Belgians would return and run things. No doubt a sediment that can be found in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the new and improved South Africa. The film "Africa Addio" is a good point of reference for people not interested in fairy tales. Modern attitudes toward national sovereignty and the evils of imperialist dictat are an exception to millenia of less enlightened human attitudes, though it is to be hoped that the U.S. would apply that enlightenment in Syria and elsewhere right now.
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  16. druid says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    You are a TRAITOR.

    I don't understand why this garbage is carried on the Unz Review.

    Do you really think that the Austro-Hungarian Empire is comparable to Haiti?

    Or that slavs and Italians are comparable to negros?!

    And the descendants of this brave man are now Zionist fascists!

    Read More
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  17. J1234 says:

    It’s usually historians on the left who cry, “History does not repeat itself!” then turn around and make the direct parallels between immigration of the late 19th century and the immigration of today. Population density has nothing to do with anything in their analogous world. Thirteen centuries of conflict between Muslims and Christians throughout the world also has nothing to do with anything. The linguistic diversity of 19th century Europe vs. the linguistic monolith of Latin America also has nothing to do with anything, they apparently think.

    The main thing that separates today from the 19th and early 20th century is that there are a whole lot of people today who believe in the perverse ethical construct that a nation full people of European descent is immoral. Even in Europe. And they see immigration as a means to achieve their moral world.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ace
    ** full people of European descent **

    This clearly distresses the author of this odd piece.
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  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The US should have never absorbed that grandpa Jew – as evidenced by his parasitical, subversive offspring which can’t stop themselves from undermining their hosts. This is not going to end well, Ann.

    Read More
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  19. iffen says:

    Still, for just a little while give reality a pass

    You should know.

    Read More
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  20. Corvinus says:
    @Anon
    "In other words, my grandfather was a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid (though without even parents to bring him here since he ran away from home). Like so many other immigrants of that era, he made it to the United States from a shithole part of Europe — of, to be exact, the Austro-Hungarian Empire — and he was lucky. He spent the rest of his life in Brooklyn, New York."

    If your grandfather had stayed in Europe, he would have worked to build up Europe. Looks to me modern Europe became as rich and stable as the US. Where do people get this idea of 'America or Bust'? US stopped Japanese immigration, but Japanese did a good job in making Japan a modern nation. Most Chinese are in China, but they turned a poor nation into a developed nation. Not being allowed to come to America is NOT end of the world. People can have good lives in their own nations. It's arrogant to say "Your life sucks unless you make it to America."

    Also, was the US of the 19th century less of a 'shithole'? Most people were farmers who worked from sunup to sundown. They just got by. Or they toiled in factories. Also, US was made possible by pogroms against Indians who were pushed into shithole reservations. So, didn't your grandfather benefit in the US by the destruction of another people? Living standards in the US was hardly better than in Europe. The only advantage was there was chance of owning land and more social freedom.. but this came at the expense of blacks and Indians.

    Also, when we consider how US become an imperialist power, didn't your grandfather and others like him come to the New World to aid and abet in the creation of a World Empire that would invade, destroy, and terrorize so many nations? Imagine if America had been left to the Indians and animals. There would be no US as superpower invading and destroying other nations. And only militarily but financially and culturally, spewing filth like rap music all over the world.
    And Europe sure would have turned out better if US hadn't entered WWI and help defeat Germans/Austrians.

    People like Tom Englelhardt can't make up their minds. They often denounce US as an empire that threatens and destroys the world. But they are so happy that their ancestors made it to America. Well, what did their ancestors do in America? They worked and paid taxes to build and support the empire. Engelhardt's grandparents and parents worked and paid taxes to support wars in Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and etc. If Engehardt proud that his family and ancestors all contributed to the US empire as workers and tax payers?

    Anyway, speaking of shithole nations...

    It's true that many Europeans left for America. But today, both US and Europe are rich and advanced. In other words, history shows that EVEN IF Europeans hadn't come to America, they would have done pretty well in Europe.... just like many Japanese and Chinese have done pretty good in their own nations. Whether in the Old World or New World, Europeans had the means to make great progress.

    In contrast, much of Third World is still shitty whether Third Worlders leave or stay.
    And Third World arrivals in the West make things shitty in the West as well. Look at Somalis in Sweden and Minnesota. Puerto Ricans had access to US largess forever. So, what did they do with it?

    So, why does Engelhardt make all these preening noises and thump his own chest? Because his main identity is self-righteousness and feeling good about himself by accusing others of 'racism'. It's so cheap and predictable.

    “If your grandfather had stayed in Europe, he would have worked to build up Europe.”

    Why would he have remained if his family was poor, being persecuted for their beliefs, and/or being conscripted? There was little to “build” given their status. Tens of millions of Europeans left. Leaders of those nations were relieved to get rid of potential malcontents. Remember, most of these immigrants were peasants who sought a better life for themselves, and believed that they could move upward in American society more rapidly.

    “Not being allowed to come to America is NOT end of the world. People can have good lives in their own nations.”

    CAN being the operative word here. But it really is up to the individual to decide whether or not they can get to where they want to in life.

    “So, didn’t your grandfather benefit in the US by the destruction of another people?”

    Did not your ancestors also benefit from the policies of the federal government that removed Native Americans by force and assumed control of areas from around the world?

    You have to go back.

    “Well, what did their ancestors do in America? They worked and paid taxes to build and support the empire.”

    No, they worked and paid taxes to forge the life they wanted to lead, which led to the further development of a nation they loved.

    “In other words, history shows that EVEN IF Europeans hadn’t come to America, they would have done pretty well in Europe.”

    No, they COULD have done well, provided the right conditions. Obviously, tens of millions of immigrants from Europe believed their prospects to advance upward in their society were dim, so they chose to improve their lot in life by coming to America.

    Read More
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  21. Ragno says:

    Today; today, Moore Engelhardt is “a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid”, who arrived here in 1888.

    Yesterday, trust me, he was “a Jew who’d fled Nazi Germany to live free of persecution”; and you’d be left to do the finger-math yourself to figure out just when in the 1930s he got here.

    I believe it was a co-tribalist of Engelhardt’s who first coined the concept if they want it in blue, then turn on a blue light. A concept, as it happens, that works even better with guilt trips than it does with an actual product.

    Read More
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  22. @Sane Left Libertarian
    Ms. Jones points out eloquently the hypocrisy built into the doctrine of the Trump base. They claim to want to make the US more like the Northern White European nations. Well, people in those nations for the most part have guaranteed healthcare, education, and pensions, as well as cheap high speed internet, cheap cell service, modern, top-flight infrastructure, strict controls on banks and insurance companies, and so forth - these are considered rights. But at the first mention of such niceties in the US, the right, with their radio and newspaper monopolies, start screaming about communism.

    Do you want to be more European or not?

    We absolutely do want the industrious Europeans who would love to run from the redistributive neo-Marxist European superstate.

    I know quite a few.

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  23. Ace says:
    @Anon
    "In other words, my grandfather was a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid (though without even parents to bring him here since he ran away from home). Like so many other immigrants of that era, he made it to the United States from a shithole part of Europe — of, to be exact, the Austro-Hungarian Empire — and he was lucky. He spent the rest of his life in Brooklyn, New York."

    If your grandfather had stayed in Europe, he would have worked to build up Europe. Looks to me modern Europe became as rich and stable as the US. Where do people get this idea of 'America or Bust'? US stopped Japanese immigration, but Japanese did a good job in making Japan a modern nation. Most Chinese are in China, but they turned a poor nation into a developed nation. Not being allowed to come to America is NOT end of the world. People can have good lives in their own nations. It's arrogant to say "Your life sucks unless you make it to America."

    Also, was the US of the 19th century less of a 'shithole'? Most people were farmers who worked from sunup to sundown. They just got by. Or they toiled in factories. Also, US was made possible by pogroms against Indians who were pushed into shithole reservations. So, didn't your grandfather benefit in the US by the destruction of another people? Living standards in the US was hardly better than in Europe. The only advantage was there was chance of owning land and more social freedom.. but this came at the expense of blacks and Indians.

    Also, when we consider how US become an imperialist power, didn't your grandfather and others like him come to the New World to aid and abet in the creation of a World Empire that would invade, destroy, and terrorize so many nations? Imagine if America had been left to the Indians and animals. There would be no US as superpower invading and destroying other nations. And only militarily but financially and culturally, spewing filth like rap music all over the world.
    And Europe sure would have turned out better if US hadn't entered WWI and help defeat Germans/Austrians.

    People like Tom Englelhardt can't make up their minds. They often denounce US as an empire that threatens and destroys the world. But they are so happy that their ancestors made it to America. Well, what did their ancestors do in America? They worked and paid taxes to build and support the empire. Engelhardt's grandparents and parents worked and paid taxes to support wars in Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and etc. If Engehardt proud that his family and ancestors all contributed to the US empire as workers and tax payers?

    Anyway, speaking of shithole nations...

    It's true that many Europeans left for America. But today, both US and Europe are rich and advanced. In other words, history shows that EVEN IF Europeans hadn't come to America, they would have done pretty well in Europe.... just like many Japanese and Chinese have done pretty good in their own nations. Whether in the Old World or New World, Europeans had the means to make great progress.

    In contrast, much of Third World is still shitty whether Third Worlders leave or stay.
    And Third World arrivals in the West make things shitty in the West as well. Look at Somalis in Sweden and Minnesota. Puerto Ricans had access to US largess forever. So, what did they do with it?

    So, why does Engelhardt make all these preening noises and thump his own chest? Because his main identity is self-righteousness and feeling good about himself by accusing others of 'racism'. It's so cheap and predictable.

    An excellent comment.

    Let it be said, however, that my 19th-c. father advanced without finishing high school and sure has heck didn’t have his foot on the neck of any negro or Indian while he made his way in life. Nor can the U.S. economy and body politic be seen solely as some grotesque distortion premised on subjugation of minorities. They at all times had the opportunity to improve their lot and their communities. They faced obstacles but it’s tiresome to hear forever and forever about how white racism was completely without any basis and that whites sucked the life and spirit out of those people and that and only that was the cause of minority problems. Especially today, if one wants not to become and educated, contributing lady or gentleman one has to work very hard at that and millions of minorities do just that, and with attitude as our lagniappe. That has been true at all times. Blacks shuck and jive on that point but they know what they for the most part refuse to do to, or are incapable of doing, to improve themselves. Think Camden or Southside Chiraq.

    The notion that people pay taxes and therefore they endorse any and all actions of their government is, shall we say, a limited view. According to that view, I am an ardent supporter of U.S. duplicity and moral debasement in Syria.

    The perennial problem of humanity is that ordinary people have their hands full making a living and, for better or worse, they don’t walk around pondering the problems of vote fraud, judicial supremacy, the Deep State, runaway spending, or the abandonment of constitutional originalism. If anything, there appears to be a 50% electoral constituency in favor of runaway spending that benefits them. Democracy works its inevitable and unstoppable magic. And its absurdities know no bounds, certainly in the present hour.

    Concepts such as abortion as sacrament, affirmative action, living Constitution, BLM, white privilege, homosexual marriage, Jewish media domination, AntiFa immunity, or attacks on free speech sluice out across the land like spilled sewage. Citizens should ride herd on government but don’t so, especially with the stupidity of the 16th and 19th Amendment and the Supreme Court betrayal of the 1930s, we have increasingly what is runaway government untouchable by the sovereign people. So much for “exceptionalism.”

    Mark Twain was unusual in his time for his opposition to imperialism but it is incorrect to look back at the age of European and American imperialism as an unmitigated evil. Overwhelmingly, I think, imperialism existed at a time of third-world ignorance and depravity — think, inter alia, of suttee, the high Chinese civilization and its fetish for concubines and bound feet, and the Bantu interest in imperial expansion — and it required little study or imagination then to see dastardly imperialism as a decided improvement in the lives of third worlders. Blacks in the former Belgian Congo openly express their wish that the Belgians would return and run things. No doubt a sediment that can be found in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the new and improved South Africa. The film “Africa Addio” is a good point of reference for people not interested in fairy tales. Modern attitudes toward national sovereignty and the evils of imperialist dictat are an exception to millenia of less enlightened human attitudes, though it is to be hoped that the U.S. would apply that enlightenment in Syria and elsewhere right now.

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  24. Ace says:
    @J1234
    It's usually historians on the left who cry, "History does not repeat itself!" then turn around and make the direct parallels between immigration of the late 19th century and the immigration of today. Population density has nothing to do with anything in their analogous world. Thirteen centuries of conflict between Muslims and Christians throughout the world also has nothing to do with anything. The linguistic diversity of 19th century Europe vs. the linguistic monolith of Latin America also has nothing to do with anything, they apparently think.

    The main thing that separates today from the 19th and early 20th century is that there are a whole lot of people today who believe in the perverse ethical construct that a nation full people of European descent is immoral. Even in Europe. And they see immigration as a means to achieve their moral world.

    ** full people of European descent **

    This clearly distresses the author of this odd piece.

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