Something Is Missing

"If anyone wish to migrate to another village, and if one or more who live in that village do notwish to receive him, if there he only one who objects he shall not move there."

        —The Salic Law, c. 490

In this commentary on the American experiment, Michael Barone declares that the United States has been evolving into a multicultural society for a century or more. The mass immigration of Hispanics and of other Third World populations that is now taking place is a reenactment of the tidal wave that reached us from Ireland and Eastern and Southern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While latter-day immigrants and our visible minorities are confronted by elites that have come "to doubt the fundamental goodness and decency of the society they nonetheless felt entitled to lead," Barone is optimistic about the prospects for integrating the "new Americans" into some kind of national mainstream. From his perspective, "striking parallels" exist between today's hyphenated Americans and some of the older settlers. Blacks are following the paths trod by the Irish-Americans several generations ago: going into politics, the police force, and civil service as a way of raising themselves socioeconomically. Asians are behaving like European Jewish immigrants by practicing...

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