Thanks for the challenging thoughts here.
Midwest Minutes

If those outside perspectives are willing to coexist, then yeah. If those outside perspectives entail our destruction and subjugation, then no. We’ve run this experiment before; it ended with the Crusades.

I think if we’re going to blur the line between “us” and “them,” specifically in the realm of immigration, then we need to aggressively pursue plans of assimilation. That way, perhaps some of the benign surface-level culture remains, and falafels become part of internationalized cuisine just like hamburgers and pizza, but the problematic cultural/religious elements are dissolved away into the greater culture. It’s when we are overly laissez-faire about assimilation (even condemning it as “cultural imperialism” or “cultural appropriation,” depending on the direction) that the culturally neglected immigrants ghettoize and radicalize. And this general trend seems to hold true even outside of the immigration context: closed-off and xenophobic cultures tend towards extremism.

I think in that sense, we’re spinning our own cowardice and laziness as compassion. We’re utterly neglecting cultural dialog instead of engaging constructively with other perspectives, which would involve criticizing them. It’s easy to learn about other cultures on just a surface level and then make pious noises about them being wonderful, and going on with our day. It’s more difficult to try and understand another culture and then evaluate its strong and weak points, with our own culture for comparison.

I’m not accusing you of any of the above, by the way. It just seems to me that between the utopian expectations of over-eager, noncritical “inclusion” and the reality that we’re seeing in the world, there’s an ever-growing tension. We’re not getting peace at all. And that includes the situation in Europe, which unlike America is not pointlessly bombing the Middle East but rather bending over backwards for their migrants. Europe’s not doing so hot, and the far right’s having a field day with it. Not an ideal situation.

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