Coming To America


Coming To America

  The European Union is pulling apart, not a pretty sight and not something that is particularly good for the U.S., or bad for the U.S. depending on your view. Certainly its economic woes, or those of partners such as Greece, Italy and Spain, will have a negative effect on our economy, particularly since our big banks are involved. On the other hand, economic competition between the U.S. and Europe will favor the U.S.

  However, deconstructing the currency, the euro ( except in the U.K), or eliminating free travel between the partners would be chaotic. There are 27 countries affected, from the U.K. on the west to Romania on the east.  It’s all a bit of heavy reading, and I don’t want to go much further except to use that topic to launch another. That topic is what many Europeans left behind when they came to America and how America is different and why it is different and why we don’t want to be like Europe.

  Yes, I’m aware that 12 per cent of our population is latino or hispanic, or whatever is the proper designation, and 10 per cent came forcibly from Africa, and that another bloc comes from Asia or the Middle East reflecting our wars.

  But, all that aside, people came to America:

  To leave behind religious differences or wars, to escape rigid and confining tribal or national rules and regulations, to escape an all powerful, crushing central government, to escape or be free of cultural bonds that restricted their personal lives, or to escape all four of those, and, yes, some came just to escape their own pasts. However, the key is most came to pursue their individual goals, their dreams, and that goes for most of the non-Europeans, too.

  It was not an all protective state that attracted these immigrants. It was the lure of individual and cultural freedoms that permitted a multi-culturism on a volunteer and not a government ordered order. Unlike later communist countries, no one sought to destroy cultural differences, but instead permitted individuals to preserve their cultures within a frame-work of individual freedoms. Individual integration into a new way of life focusing on individual freedoms was the attraction because those freedoms permitted individuals to survive and grow and succeed (and sometimes to fail) without the oppression of an all-powerful, all seeing government. It is no coincidence that communist countries had to keep its people in while America has had to limit people from coming in, or that Europe had continual religious and political wars and ideological revolutions.

  George Washington, in his farewell address in 1796 warned against tying America to “European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice” and spoke of “steering clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world”. That hasn’t worked out too well although we’ve had more countries emulating us rather than the other way around. However, it was America’s uniqueness to which he spoke.

  Now, Europe struggles with a partnership that wiped out borders and created a common currency, that struggles to centralize economic power, and even cultural power, refuses to commit enough to its own military defense, but has no apparatus to seek the approval of the people it tries to govern. The individual countries appear to be going their own way and more toward socialism and more centralized and controlling government.

  Under those conditions, expect more to want to come to America unless, of course, we mess up and commit to be more like them.

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