This Land is My Land

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By:Thomas Fleming | November 14, 2014

I am writing a piece refuting some of the pseudo-Christian arguments against restricting immigration. Much of the evidence I had previously collected for the chapter of my never-ending book project, but I had been looking more closely at some of Pope Francis’ naive statements and comparing them with the misleading entry in the Cathechism, which perversely puts the right of workers to immigrate in search of a better job as a corollary to the Fourth Commandment. Go figure. 

It occurred to me, as it has many times in the past, that humanitarians are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own people in order to help aliens who may be indolent, vicious, criminal, or hostile to the way of life of the country where he arrives seeking “asylum.” I thought of the fable of the hedgehog and the rabbits, used by Carol Gilligan and her disciples in their “research” on the morality of adolescent girls. I use quotations because the feminist project of Gilligan and co. was really to talk the girls out of whatever wholesome values they had imbibed from their families and replace them with leftist universalism. 

In her version of the fable, a hedgehog comes to the rabbits’ burrow seeking help and when he recovers he accidentally pricks some of the bunnies. What should they do? The normal response is to say, the rabbits should throw out the intruder. After all, it is their home, isn’t it? O no, cry the feminists. They should learn the virtue of sharing.

As I sketched in a reference to the fable, it occurred to me that I had not come across it in Aesop, La Fontaine, or the Brothers Grimm. The least I should do is to look it up. What I found was a collection of clever fables by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian. You can read a rather inadequate and leaden translation here or if your French is adequate the rather witty original here.

If you are too lazy to read either, then let me summarize the main point for you. The hedgehog of Florian’s fable is not an injured or helpless creature but an asylum-seeker who has been kicked out by his own people because of his mischief. He comes to the rabbits breathing fire against his former friends, and the gullible bunnies take him in, feed him dinner, and offer to adopt him into their community of peace and friendship. However, after supper the rabbits reassemble to talk about their business—which consists mainly of gathering and eating wild thyme—when out of the blue the hedgehog shoots a quill at one of the children. The father protests, but the hedgehog lets off a barrage of quills at the rabbits, who surround him and complain. His answer is that he is sorry, but he cannot change his nature. The chief rabbit tells him if he cannot behave, then he can go off and have his quills clipped.

“‘Ma foi’, dit le doyen, “‘en ce cas, mon ami,
Tu peux aller te faire tondre.’”

So there it is: On the eve of the French Revolution, one of the victims of the humanitarian terror—Thermidore sprang him from jail but he died from abuse in a short time—explode’s the myth of the asylum-seeker (France was full of such people) and defended the right and duty of peaceful people to defend their homes. 

All this recalls the parody song sung by the Yale Party of the Right, back when there were right-wingers in America instead of American Conservatives:

This land is my land
It isn't your land
If you don't get off
I'll blow your head off!
I've got a shotgun
And you ain't got one!
This land was made for only me!



11/16/2014 04:27 AM

  That's too bad. I thought the hedgehog story was Aesop. It is one of the stories in the LB Glisson-illustrated version that I read to my children and I really appreciated that one for its pertinence to our time. Cest la vie... well, can I at least assume that the Fox and the Ape is real Aesop?

Nicholas MOSES
Paris (FR)
11/17/2014 11:18 AM

  French prose and poetry was so delicious and hearty before Hugo, Chateaubriand and those other moronic sentimentalists ruined it in the 19th century. Thank you for calling my attention to yet another worthy author of the great era I'd had yet to come across! Also, kudos for the subtle dressing-down of Conservatism Inc, NR and AmConMag all in one sentence: "the Yale Party of the Right, back when there were right-wingers in America instead of American Conservatives"

11/17/2014 03:11 PM

  Try not to be too hard on Chateaubriand. It was an age of sentimentalism, and, he, at least, had some wholesome instincts. Hugo, I have never been able to abide, even as a student, whether in prose or verse. The terrible problem with French Romantics, it seems to me, is that they strive for the mysticism of the English and the Germans but then have to express it in French eloquence. It is interesting, though, how French verse reaches a second flowering in Baudelaire and also the Parnassiens, whom I read with great pleasure to this day. Dom and I should both have recognized that the fable, even in its weakest form, addresses an ideological hypocrisy of which the Greeks--apart from early Stoics who were not really Greek-- were largely ignorant. Imagine someone telling a Demosthenes or even a Plutarch that uninvited immigrants have a right to live in your country and suck up tax dollars and make trouble. In the classical period, a polis extended rather view civil privileges to non-citizens.

Nicholas MOSES
Paris (FR)
11/17/2014 05:28 PM

  The one thing Hugo accomplished was to arguably save the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, and in hindsight that was not such a positive thing at all. In the 19th century, in the age of Gothic revival it would doubtlessly been replaced by something at least passable. The edifice is only beautiful in its parts and put together looks like a royal mess (no pun intended), especially compared to the more thoughtful Gothic structures such as Notre Dame de Reims. (Even within Paris the Trinité, Saint Sulpice, Saint François Xavier, Sainte Clothilde and any number of Churches are far more pleasing to look at.) But I would be willing to accept the Cathedral for its value as a monument within Christendom were it not for the horrible impenetrable muck of tourists and especially Romani who have rendered the place so unprayerful and so unlovely. A friend of mine worked during his student days as a security guard/usher in the Cathedral and once stopped a man from entering capped: - "Gentlemen are asked to take off their hats, Monsieur." - "No, I'm a woman!" Nowadays, between the Cathedral and the police headquarters, the Île de la Cité is the one spot all Parisians from every quarter and every belief system avoid like the plague. I get into heated arguments with my friends over this, but I tend to think the whole incident another example of how lefties - including (especially) "historical preservationists" and museum curators - ruin everything they touch, no matter what their pretentions to the contrary. But speaking of parasitic "refugees" and the Notre Dame, I would certainly like to see Dr. Fleming's prescriptions applied to FEMEN...

11/17/2014 08:44 PM

  It sounds as though these leftists all manifest some variant of the Stockholm Syndrome. And now Lame Duck Obama wants to end-run the constitution by granting blanket amnesty to these invaders. Then again, the constitution has long since been reduced to nothing more than something used to line birdcages anyway, so why should we be surprised?


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