Loving #BIGBROTHER makes you a #PATRIOT, says F@KE Libertarian CATO Institute

Fake-libertarian, pro-open borders think tank CATO Institute would like us to believe that loving big brother is a sign you love America and are a great American.

CATO’s shocking claim is part of their broader narrative that immigrants today are patriotically assimilating better than ever, challenging both common sense and the work of John Fonte at the Hudson Institute, who has found that “patriotic assimilation of immigrants to American identity is weak and ambivalent.”

(CATO’s claim lends credence to the insidious proposition currently taking root in the federal government that a “sense of nationalism, reverence for individual liberty, and suspicion of centralized authority” are indicators of “far right extremism,” as I’ve written about previously.)

Despite multiple references to Fonte’s research, CATO ignores perhaps the biggest finding undermining the “immigrant as patriot” narrative. By a huge margin (almost 50 percent), native-born citizens are more likely to believe in American exceptionalism than naturalized immigrants:

“By 21 percentage points (65% to 44%), native-born citizens are more likely than naturalized immigrants to view America as “better” than other countries as opposed, to “no better, no worse.”

But, taking it as self-evident that love of government authority constitutes patriotism, CATO then rolls out the results from something called the General Social Survey (GSS), which shows that “immigrants tend to have more confidence” in government than do later generations of Americans. In an apparent effort to avoid using any concrete language, CATO concludes that such a finding “is not what you would expect from reading Fonte’s research.”

In other words, according to CATO:

Loving the government makes you patriotic,

AND, Immigrants report loving the government more than later generations of Americans,

THEREFORE, immigrants are assimilating to American identity and are more patriotic than native-born Americans.

(But if later generations of Americans by and large have less confidence in government, then isn’t confidence in government by definition less American?)

The GSS asks immigrants and their descendants (out to four generations) a series of questions about their confidence in the separate branches of the federal government. The questions are phrased like this:

“ I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them?”

Regardless of which branch is mentioned, first generation immigrants are more likely than any other generation to have “a great deal” of confidence in the federal government. Later generations become consistently more skeptical of the federal government, with fourth generation Americans generally the least likely to say they have “a great deal” of confidence in the federal government and most likely to say they have “only some” or “hardly any” confidence in the government.

The only exception to this is the military. First generation immigrants are least likely to say they have “a great deal” of confidence in the military. Confidence in our armed forces then climbs in every successive generation. Fourth generation and older Americans are most likely to say they have “a great deal” of confidence in the military AND the least likely to say they have “hardly any” confidence in the military.

This inflated confidence in centralized authority on the part of newly arrived immigrants is almost certainly based, at least in part, on immigrants’ lack of civic knowledge about America. According to John Fonte at the Hudson Institute, native-born citizens have much greater civic knowledge than naturalized citizens, with immigrants who have not naturalized presumably having even lower levels of civic knowledge. For example, according to Fonte, native-born citizens are more likely than immigrant citizens to “support an emphasis in schools on learning about the nation’s founding documents,” and “By 14 percentage points (93% to 79%), more native-born than immigrant citizens knew that Thomas Jefferson (not Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, or Martin Luther King) wrote the Declaration of Independence.”

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