David French on Native-Born Ingrates

 

David French has a new article on immigrants.

Immigrant citizens don’t owe a special debt of gratitude of to this nation — a debt over and above the gratitude that native-born citizens should feel for their home country. To be crystal clear, I believe Ilhan Omar and every citizen immigrant should be grateful for their place in this country. What I reject is the notion that native-born citizens like myself can demand a level of gratitude from immigrants beyond what we demand from native-born citizens.

In fact, to the extent that we should parse gratitude at all, I assert a simple proposition — the people who did exactly nothing to become citizens of the greatest nation in the history of the earth should be among the most grateful people on this planet. We should be grateful to God that we weren’t born elsewhere. We should be grateful to those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” to defend our nation and our Constitution. We should be grateful for those who endure great hardship to defend our liberty, safety, and prosperity.

Against the backdrop of this immense American gift, native-born Americans by the countless millions don’t trouble themselves to be educated enough about their own country to pass the basic citizenship test that we give to prospective citizen immigrants. All too many native-born citizens forsake the moral obligations of citizenship and instead focus only on reaping its considerable legal and constitutional benefits.

I think French is wrong. I think my native birth is worth more, because my parents sacrificed a lot to make this country better. My father and his brothers and fought in WWII. My brothers-in-law fought in Vietnam. I have been signed up for selective service for 35 years. Together we have paid about a hundred years of taxes to build the $100 trillion of infrastructure the USA has. Isn’t that worth something? David French seems to say “no”.

My story is actually very common. People fight and work and die to make the country better. It seems to me that those sacrifices build up an inheritable equity and when we choose to share that equity with outsiders, the newcomers should be extra thankful to get a share. I don’t care about civics tests, because I think that being American takes more know-how than can be summarized on a 3×5 card. A lifetime of living American counts for a lot, even if somebody cannot summarize the first three articles of the Constitution.

I am not saying that immigrants can’t be great Americans. I know many that are. I am saying that great Americans are always thankful for the opportunity to be American and appreciate the efforts of those that built and sustained the greatest country ever.

Published in Immigration
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There are 129 comments.

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  1. Brian Wolf Coolidge

    I think that if you read it again you agree with David French not disagree. You basically make his exact point in your post that he makes in the article. 

    • #1
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Brian Wolf Coolidge

    DonG: Against the backdrop of this immense American gift, native-born Americans by the countless millions don’t trouble themselves to be educated enough about their own country to pass the basic citizenship test that we give to prospective citizen immigrants. All too many native-born citizens forsake the moral obligations of citizenship and instead focus only on reaping its considerable legal and constitutional benefits.

    Can you actually disagree with this? Do you think our politics would be what they are if Americans cared to learn basic American civics and history as they should? Should we not be grateful enough to do that kind of basic work?

    • #2
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. cdor Member

    Both David French and the OP, DonG, are correct. Immigrants are not required to love our country more than natural born citizens. I would hope they would love it at least as much. Otherwise, why go through all the trouble to gain citizenship here? Afterall we have a First Lady whose moment of pride in our country only came because her husband was elected President. As hard as Ilhan Omar tries, she can’t be less grateful than Michelle our Belle.

    • #3
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:32 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Hoyacon Member

    Immigrant citizens don’t owe a special debt of gratitude of to this nation — a debt over and above the gratitude that native-born citizens should feel for their home country.

    I call straw-man on this insofar as it seems aimed at recent controversies. The question is not whether immigrants owe a “special” debt of gratitude, but rather whether hyper-criticism of the country is acceptable coming from those who were born elsewhere– particularly in circumstances where personal freedoms pale as to what they have found here. This isn’t necessarily about comparing one type of citizen to another; I would feel the same about flag-burners. It’s about respect for one’s country and a knowledge of at least some acceptable limits of criticism.

    • #4
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  5. Franco Member

    The real issue here is not that Americans (or Trump) are anti-immigrant, but that far too many immigrants are anti-American. So how can people who repeatedly condemn America for (a)historical offenses claim victim hood when they just got here? And came willingly? Or maybe they should charge their parents with bringing them to this hellhole? 

    They want to dilute our electoral power by holding the door open for tribal allies who aren’t in the least interested or invested in American values. This is obvious, even if it isn’t often articulated.

    Even African-Americans, whose ancestors were brought here against their will don’t have as much criticism and bile as some of these recently arrived tribal colonizers.

    And here is where the split will take place. Democrats can’t hold onto both factions -agitated immigrants and blacks – without trouble, and Grandmaster Troll Trump is making sure this is on the forefront.

    David French is a kitten chasing a flashlight beam. If he can demonstrate to his ( paltry few) readers another angle to his virtue, he will be doing that every time.

    • #5
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:36 PM PDT
    • 25 likes
  6. EDISONPARKS Member

    No matter where you are (ie: a job, a school, a state, any social group, etc.), and someone new arrives from an entirely different (worse?) circumstance it is completely appropriate to hold the new arrival to some level of cultural assimilation, and the fact that the new arrival came to the new place voluntarily under the notion they voluntarily chose the new place/group, the notion they want to assimilate should be assumed.

    If the new arrival behaves in a manner which makes clear they are unhappy with the new circumstance, even though the new circumstance is no different than when the new member arrived, then I believe it is completely appropriate to tell the new arrival to go pound sand.

    • #6
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  7. Aaron Miller Member

    To state the obvious, bad politics from immigrants is especially annoying because they chose to be here. 

    Advocating to make the good thing one joined even better is respectable. Fundamentally rejecting what one joined and trying to remake it defeats the purpose. 

    But it’s fair to say that an immigrant can become a citizen and advocate against our Constitution and traditions without acting like a foreigner, because native Americans are today evenly split along those lines. The ideas and values that built America might not remain our nation’s character. We must distinguish what should be from what is.

    • #7
    • July 16, 2019, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. EB Thatcher
    EB

    When I helped my husband study for the citizenship test, I was delighted to find out that I would have made at least a 90% without having studied. But my family was very conservative and taught all of us about our history and our government, members of our family have fought in every war beginning with the American Revolution, and our ancestors originally came here fleeing persecution in France.

    I can say unequivocally that over 50% of the people I worked with would have failed the citizenship test. And probably 30% of them never bothered to vote (actually that was probably a blessing.) But it did show their attitudes.

    I can also say that the majority of immigrants (legal) that I have known and that have gotten their citizenship truly love this country and do appreciate its blessings. I have to think that the complainers get outsized publicity because……the media.

    • #8
    • July 16, 2019, at 4:03 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  9. Bob Thompson Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    The real issue here is not that Americans (or Trump) are anti-immigrant, but that far too many immigrants are anti-American. So how can people who repeatedly condemn America for (a)historical offenses claim victim hood when they just got here? And came willingly? Or maybe they should charge their parents with bringing them to this hellhole? 

    This. We should not have a single immigrant in America who is not supportive of America. This is why we need more control of our borders and our other entry processes. I suspect we have allowed entry to many claiming asylum (perhaps honestly) but who have not left behind their earlier loyalties. That is a problem for the rest of us in America.

    • #9
    • July 16, 2019, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  10. E. Kent Golding Member

    I have an Asian Indian friend who is way more patriotic than most Americans. It angers me — not at him, but against the native born Americans who don’t see what he sees. He is not unrealistic — he sees all the faults of America. But he weighs the faults against the faults of where he came from, and he weighs the virtues against the virtues of where he came from. And he thinks America is better.

    • #10
    • July 16, 2019, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 26 likes
  11. HankMorgan Coolidge

    I think:

    1. Native born Americans should be very grateful for having been born into the greatest country the world has ever known.
    2. Immigrants to America should be very grateful for being let into the greatest country the world has ever known.
    3. David French is a an overly smug and pompous [CoC].

     

    • #11
    • July 16, 2019, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 26 likes
  12. Amy Schley Moderator

    French: What I reject is the notion that native-born citizens like myself can demand a level of gratitude from immigrants beyond what we demand from native-born citizens.

    I agree with French, but probably not in the way he thinks. 

    I think every woman, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that it’s not socially acceptable to chop off her clitoris in this country should be exiled to Somalia.

    I think any LGBTQ person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for the social and political protections they have in this country should exiled to Iran or Saudi Arabia

    I think any person of color, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for equal protection under the law and general lack of racism in this country should be exiled to Zimbabwe.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for the relatively free market in this country should be exiled to Venezuela.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that they are free to speak, publish, worship, and assemble as they wish in this country should be exiled to China.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that they have a president constrained by law from harming them in this country should be exiled to North Korea.

    I don’t care if they were born here; be a patriot or get out.

     

    • #12
    • July 16, 2019, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 29 likes
  13. Bob Thompson Member

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    French: What I reject is the notion that native-born citizens like myself can demand a level of gratitude from immigrants beyond what we demand from native-born citizens.

    I agree with French, but probably not in the way he thinks.

    I think every woman, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that it’s not socially acceptable to chop off her clitoris in this country should be exiled to Somalia.

    I think any LGBTQ person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for the social and political protections they have in this country should exiled to Iran or Saudi Arabia

    I think any person of color, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for equal protection under the law and general lack of racism in this country should be exiled to Zimbabwe.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful for the relatively free market in this country should be exiled to Venezuela.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that they are free to speak, publish, worship, and assemble as they wish in this country should be exiled to China.

    I think any person, native-born citizen or immigrant, who can’t be thankful that they have a president constrained by law from harming them in this country should be exiled to North Korea.

    I don’t care if they were born here; be a patriot or get out.

     

    And none should be working to take away any of the things you have listed.

    • #13
    • July 16, 2019, at 5:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Front Seat Cat Member

    I agree with French that it can’t be demanded that immigrants be grateful – that would change the definition of all that our country stands for. But an interesting point you both make: history – why is America great? Why should anyone be grateful to gain entry and citizenship? When that history and sacrifice is no longer being taught, but the picture is being distorted as a racist, oppressive past, to new generations, and it is, then the true America is lost. Youth, and new immigrants to our shores, can only relate to today, to examples our citizens are setting, what teachers and professors are teaching. WWII is not on their radar. We need to keep telling the story of America.

    • #14
    • July 16, 2019, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  15. Old Bathos Member

    It is not just the ingratitude. It’s adopting the anti-American posture of spoiled, half-educated privileged white Americans that is so galling. Racist, hate-filled country? Compared to what? Somalia?

    We owe benefits and health to those who arrive from dysfunctional places because we are racist and bad?! 

    Trump vs. the ‘Squad’ not a winning setup for the left,

    • #15
    • July 16, 2019, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  16. Brian Wolf Coolidge

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    I think:

    1. Native born Americans should be very grateful for having been born into the greatest country the world has ever known.
    2. Immigrants to America should be very grateful for being let into the greatest country the world has ever known.
    3. David French is a an overly smug and pompous [CoC].

     

    With you on one and two don’t see evidence for 3

    • #16
    • July 16, 2019, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. DonG Coolidge
    DonG Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    I agree with French that it can’t be demanded that immigrants be grateful – that would change the definition of all that our country stands for.

    There are laws and there are cultural expectations. I think it reasonable to expect immigrants to thankful. I also think immigrants that are haters should be rebuked. Not by law, but by culture.

    • #17
    • July 16, 2019, at 9:02 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  18. DonG Coolidge
    DonG Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    This is why we need more control of our borders and our other entry processes. I suspect we have allowed entry to many claiming asylum (perhaps honestly) but who have not left behind their earlier loyalties. That is a problem for the rest of us in America.

    Yes and this is a problem of degree. If we have 2% of the country poorly assimilated, we can deal with that as those folks are relatively dispersed. But if we have 15%, then they all group together and there are pockets where poor assimilation is multi-generational. That is a problem as we have seen in Nordic countries. The grouping is more likely, when immigrants have limited language skills and are dependent on others. In my experience the children of better immigrants (good English skills, good employment) are fully assimilated. 

    • #18
    • July 16, 2019, at 9:12 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  19. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    It’s not about showing gratitude, it’s about showing ingratitude. 

    • #19
    • July 16, 2019, at 9:44 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Zafar Member

    DonG: I think French is wrong. I think my native birth is worth more, because my parents sacrificed a lot to make this country better.

    What about the native born with negative equity? I’m thinking relatives of school shooters or more mundane drug dealers and white collar criminals.

    A China-like social credit system might address that.

    • #20
    • July 17, 2019, at 2:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Henry Castaigne Member

    The problem with anti-American immigrants is that they learn to be anti-American from Americans. Think of Sarah Jeong, that Korean immigrant who thought being bigoted to white men was OK. She learned that in college.

    I knew a Mexican-American who was so in love with being a victim he became a lefty. His anti-American leftism was purely American made. He was anti-American the same way that the anti-Americans were when I was in college. Also, he will never renounce his American citizenship even though his family were middle class in Mexico. 

    We need to focus on the bile of Marxist post-modernism on American shores more than anything else. That is what could destroy our culture. 

    • #21
    • July 17, 2019, at 4:45 AM PDT
    • 24 likes
  22. J Climacus Member

    I think what I expect to see is something like the zeal of a convert in an immigrant. Sort of like the difference between a cradle Catholic and a convert to Catholicism. For a native-born American, being American is part of his identity for as long as he can remember. It’s who he is. Sure there should be gratitude, but it won’t be the same as the gratitude of the convert/immigrant. It won’t be so much externally demonstrated as manifested in everything he does.

    Again, another analogy would be between newlyweds and a 30 year married couple. Both can be grateful for their marriage, but the gratitude will be manifested in very different ways.

    • #22
    • July 17, 2019, at 5:28 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    I think coming to America and then working to undermine it should not be legal. 

     

    • #23
    • July 17, 2019, at 6:17 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    The problem with anti-American immigrants is that they learn to be anti-American from Americans. Think of Sarah Jeong, that Korean immigrant who thought being bigoted to white men was OK. She learned that in college.

    I knew a Mexican-American who was so in love with being a victim he became a lefty. His anti-American leftism was purely American made. He was anti-American the same way that the anti-Americans were when I was in college. Also, he will never renounce his American citizenship even though his family were middle class in Mexico.

    We need to focus on the bile of Marxist post-modernism on American shores more than anything else. That is what could destroy our culture.

    And that will bring hysterical cries of First Amendment violations and threats to ‘academic freedom’. 

    • #24
    • July 17, 2019, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think coming to America and then working to undermine it should not be legal.

    It isn’t, but we don’t enforce such laws because they are ‘icky’. 

    • #25
    • July 17, 2019, at 7:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Hang On Member

    As usual, French misses the entire point.

    Why should we have an immigration system that allows anyone in who is not grateful for the freedoms that abound in this country?

    Why should we have an immigration system that screens such people out?

    Why do we have an educational system that teaches people to hate this country? I think conservatives are entirely blind on education. They think that charter schools will fix things. Utter nonsense. Teachers go to teachers colleges where they are indoctrinated. Teachers go to teachers colleges where standards are lax and it spills over to how children are educated. The problem is far worse than anything charter schools or educational choice can fix.

    • #26
    • July 17, 2019, at 7:17 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  27. Bob Thompson Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I think coming to America and then working to undermine it should not be legal.

    It isn’t, but we don’t enforce such laws because they are ‘icky’.

    I often wonder what the Congress people who take an oath to uphold the Constitution think what they are doing means, I even wonder what any of us think it means, and what we think the consequences of failing to do so should be? It looks as if it is actually meaningless since nobody ever would think to go back to it and raise a question.

    • #27
    • July 17, 2019, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  28. Unsk Member

    Franco: “They want to dilute our electoral power by holding the door open for tribal allies who aren’t in the least interested or invested in American values. This is obvious, even if it isn’t often articulated.”

    While I am not anti-immigrant, the issue of diluting the voting power of those who love and cherish America and it values by endlessly bringing in more immigrants who don’t is a very serious one.

    I live in a state, California that has been inundated with new immigrants, both legal and illegal, these last thirty some odd years. Many of these people are good people, but given the state of our media, our schools and other cultural forces, these people generally do not understand what made America great and vote that way. Also millions are voting who have no right to and I am talking legal and illegal residents.

    That said my state has roughly half of the estimated 3.5 million ghost voters nationwide or potential voters who are registered to vote but who don’t qualify and should not be allowed to vote.

    The consequence of all these factors allowed Hillary to gain over 4 million more votes in my state alone than Donald Trump, and this is from a state from 1952 to 1988 that voted Republican every Presidential election – save one – the LBJ landslide.

    Given all these factors, our current immigration system is decidedly unfair to those on the conservative end of political spectrum.

    • #28
    • July 17, 2019, at 8:26 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  29. cdor Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    Even African-Americans, whose ancestors were brought here against their will don’t have as much criticism and bile as some of these recently arrived tribal colonizers.

    African Americans can be our county’s proudest and most loyal citizens…many, many are. This is an excellent issue for President Trump to promote.

    • #29
    • July 17, 2019, at 8:43 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. Jon1979 Lincoln

    As this ties back to the Trump comments on Omar (as the lone actual immigrant within The Squad), her complaints do come across as similar to someone who’s won luxury box tickets to the Super Bowl and spends the whole time complaining the box is in the corner of the end zone, there’s no single malt scotch or Gray Goose in the suite’s bar and the big screen TV’s angled too far away from the window to see all the new commercials during the time-outs.

    There’s no reason why the Congresswoman can’t do that, and she’s perfectly within her rights to complain. But for moats people, the question of “Compared to what?” and “If it’s so awful, why are you here?” inevitably crop up, so I’m not quite sure what type of bigger point French is trying to make here, except to make a bigger point that’s in general the opposite of what Trump is making.

    Trump’s Sunday tweets were too broad to not invite push-back, because three of the four he was targeting are U.S.-born. But just as Ilhan Omar as the right to be angry about everything the U.S. has stood for over the past 244 years, others have the right to be mad at Ilhan Omar for her perpetual anger at a country that took her in over 25 years ago.

    • #30
    • July 17, 2019, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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