Research Paper: Immigration and Society

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Immigration and Society: Views from Michael Lind's the Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution and Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster

Book Synopses

The Next American Nation

Michael Lind is an American writer, most of whose work has revolved around policy research, books and editorials. Throughout his life, Lind has occupied numerous positions which allowed him to both spread his view, as well as gain new insights. Some of the most important past positions include those of professor at the Harvard and Virginia Tech Universities, or editor and staff writer for the New Yorker. Today, Lind occupies the positions of editor at the New American Contract and Policy Director at the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program. Michael Lind is the editor or co-editor of numerous books and articles, including works such as the Radical Center: The Future of American Politics (co-edited with Ted Halstead, 2001), Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics (2003), or What Lincoln Believed, 2005 (New America Foundation).

The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution was published in 1995 under the aegis of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group. The 448 pages book is centered on the idea that the current approach to immigration within the United States is an erroneous one and will reveal numerous side effects in the future. Lind's work is organized into nine chapters, excluding the acknowledgements, the introduction, the notes and the index, as follows:

(1) the First Republic: Are We a Nation?

(2) the Second Republic: Euro-America;

(3) the Third Republic: The Making of Multicultural America;

(4) the White Overclass and the Racial Spoils System;

(5) the Revolution of the Reich;

(6) Alternative Americas: Democratic Universalism, Cultural Pluralism, and the New Nativism;

(7) Liberal Nationalism: The Trans-American Melting Point;

(8) National Democracy and the Fourth Republic of the United States; and finally, the ninth chapter

(9) the National Story.

As it can be seen from the structure of the book chapters, the Next American Generation commences with an assessment of the historic past of the United States. "Picture North America in the year 2000 a.D., as Thomas Jefferson might have imagined it in 1800" (Lind, 1995). It then moves on to assessing the development of the country through time, from the beginnings of the United States as a British colony, to eventually analyze the contemporaneous elements, and come to an end suggesting that the future can be different, better different, if we learn how to better deal with immigrants. Lind recognizes the dissatisfactions of the working native born Americans, who argue that immigration causes them to lose their jobs or forces them to accept lower levels of remuneration. Despite these however, immigration is presented as a greater force, out of which the impact on certain classes of American workers is a mere component.

Reading the book, the individual will become aware that Lind is a great admirer of French history, with its gradual successions in power. Based on this model then, he constructs the image of a United States in four different republic forms, all centered on the elements of a democratic republic, and ruled by multi-party parliaments. Each of these moments in time is organized and assessed within a different chapter. The most important findings of the respective chapters dealing with the three republics are succinctly revealed below:

The First Republic was generally formed from British Protestants who came to the new continent with the stated desire of conquering it; these activities resulted in the formation of the Anglo-American First Republic, which existed from the Revolution through the Civil War

As the Civil War broke out and the Americans were able to declare their independence and grow as a nation, they attracted the attention of western Europe, from where people began to immigrate in hope of achieving the American dream; this second republic is called Euro-American and it lasted until the commencement of the Cold War

Lind states that the despite the pressures of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, the underlying reason for the formation of the Third Republic was the ongoing war in Vietnam; this new stage does not differ greatly in composition from the previous republic in the meaning that the levels of immigration remain high, with the specification however that the proportion of European and Asian immigrants shifted (less Europeans were drawn to the U.S. As more Asian and Latinos saw opportunities in the North American country). The major characteristic of this historic time however relies in the political approach to the matter of immigration in the meaning that the United States came to be presented and perceived as a multicultural formation, with the emphasis on nationalism suffering reductions.

Throughout the following chapter, the White Overclass and the Racial Spoils System, Lind argues that the third republic is nothing more than a political scam orchestrated by the white overclass, who are depicted as the real rulers of the North American state. The overclass includes high professionals, which often contribute to the campaigns of politicians. By having recognized and embraced the multiculturalism of the country, the politicians defined five distinct categories of Americans citizens -- whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. Lind's belief is however that the move was constructed so that these representatives of the white overclass would be able to gain a greater level of control over the country's population and resources. Otherwise put, the former Harvard professor believes that the politicians defined these five ethic classes with the intent of then turning them against each other, so that they lose focus of the real duties and obligations of the political and over classes.

Lind also blames the white overclass for a series of economic downturns. For instance, he points out the stagnation of the income per capita in the assessed period and argues that it was the high professionals who worked towards this desiderate in order to maintain their expenses at a minimal. Following the same agenda, they also imported merchandise and labor force, which came to negatively impact the native born employees. Additionally, the overclass promoted immigration despite its net disadvantages, for the simple reason that it found a way to ensure that they would not feel its negative impacts. "The white overclass can afford to be indifferent to the decline of the wages and quality of life of the average American because its members have devised ways to insulate themselves from rotting cities, poor jobs, crumbling urban public schools, wandering maniacs, crime" (Lind)

After an enumeration of the elements which make the American nationality worthy of protection, Lind moves on to proposing a series of modifications which should occur and give birth to the Fourth Republic. He does not state how the transition to the next stage in America's history would be achieved, but he leans towards the lack of armed conflict, but the basis on reforms. The most relevant of these reforms revolve around a reduction of immigration in the meaning that only immigrants seeking civil refuge should be allowed to enter the country. Then, he also points out to the necessity of terminating free trade and reducing imports to a minimum. He argues that all products sold within the U.S. should be produced within the U.S. And that the country should only sign trade agreements, for lower tariffs, with developed economies (Reilly, 1997).

1.2. Alien Nation

Despite the fact that his linkages to the academic community are reduced in comparison to those of Michael Lind, Peter Brimelow is an extremely popular presence in the field of economic works. Most of his emphasis has been placed on editing articles in various publications, such as the Forbes Magazine or the Financial Post. A specific component of his work has been that of militating for a reduction in immigration within the United States. Proof of his commitment to this agenda stand his numerous works, but also his hosting of VDARE -- a highly popular anti-immigration website (VDARE Website, 2009).

Brimelow's list of works includes books such as the Worm in the Apple: How Teacher Unions are Destroying American Education; the Debate in the United States over Immigration or the Patriot Game: Canada and the Canadian Question Revised. Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster was printed in 1995 under the aegis of the University of Texas and Random House Publishing, but its circulation has recently been stopped. The controversial book has raised the interest of politicians, economists, sociologists and the general public and, through today, more than a decade after its first publishing, it still raises interest and generates disputes.

The central element in Alien Nation revolves around Brimelow's belief that immigration to the United States is a growing problem that must be immediately addressed. He links numerous social problems, including the challenges faced by the healthcare system or by natural environment (in terms of pollution), to the forces of immigration… [END OF PREVIEW]

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