Monday, February 05, 2007

Tom Tancredo gets an "F" in Sunday school

Today, Tom Tancredo--the anti-Catholic representative from Colorado who, if not a racist himself at least hangs out with racists--said yesterday that today's America seems familiar to him.
"We have a cult of multiculturalism. This is what permeates our society," he said. Immigrants who come to the United States but refuse to assimilate by learning the language and following the laws water down what it means to be an American, he said.

"It's a cultural, political, linguistic tower of Babel," he said.
Tancredo, who once said "Hillary Clinton doesn’t know the first thing about the Bible" proves his own Biblical illiteracy with this analogy.

The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel is not one which should be used by those who would attempt to create a homogenous society. In Genesis 11:1-9, the story goes:
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (KJV)
Only the most obtuse reader can fail to understand that this story describes a society so lacking in diversity that they make the hubristic attempt to reach heaven. God, clearly, is on the side of the "cult of multiculturalism," which He created in this moment in order to keep any culture from getting too big for its britches.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is your best post to date.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good nitpicking point, but the "Tower of Babel" reference has a commonly understood meaning, which is that cultural and linguistic differences can undermine a society. Are you saying it is "God's" will for our society to be undermined? Are you admitting that unrestricted immigration might not be good for our country?

The Tower of Babel could actually be seen to be metaphorically equivalent to our economy, which keeps growing as a result of immigration, and a lack of unity might be the flaw equivalent to God's judgment which will bring the whole hubristic enterprise down. Unrestricted immigration is promoted by people who want to use the country as a means to an end. This includes those who benefit economically, those who seek to gain political advantage, and those who identify with people coming here from somewhere else rather than with their own fellow citizens. No other country is run this way to such an extent.

By the way, I didn’t see anything anti-Catholic in what Tancredo said.

-Hal K

11:12 AM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

"Good nitpicking point, but the "Tower of Babel" reference has a commonly understood meaning, which is that cultural and linguistic differences can undermine a society. Are you saying it is "God's" will for our society to be undermined? Are you admitting that unrestricted immigration might not be good for our country?"

Since both sides of the American Civil War claimed to be abiding by or carrying out "God's will", I'll abstain from suggesting what God's will is for America.

But in the Babylonian case, God obviously thought this particularly society, with its hegemonic overtones, needed to be undermined. So, to the extent that our "cult of multiculturalism" weakens or undermines a cult of American exceptionalism, than, well, I have to say it is serving a useful purpose. Or else, we embark on a program of forced linguistic, racial and cultural conformity which leads to...

Well, I could identify some recent historical examples, but I'll leave that to the mind of the reader.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, those of us who are right-of-center and in favor of restricting immigration also tend to be opposed to "American exceptionalism" in the militaristic sense. Just take a look at The American Conservative magazine or read some of what Pat Buchanan is writing. Bush, who definitely believes in American exceptionalism, is also strongly in favor of amnesty, or whatever you want to call it. Multiculturalism goes hand-in-hand with American exceptionalism. You think that by letting in lots immigrants you will increase the number of Democrats, and perhaps you are so focused on liberal ascendancy that you are willing to overlook all of the negative side affects such as sprawl, overcrowding, and wage suppression. Perhaps metaphorically you are helping to build a Tower of Babel while arrogantly seeing yourself in the role of "God."
-Hal K

12:16 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...


You wrote: "You think that by lettin in lots of immigrants..."

I don't see myself "in the role of God," but only argue that Tancredo is sorely missing the point of this tale. I would suggest, however, that you not try to read my mind anymore than you attempt to read God's. I know you fail to understand mine.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Carl Gordon said...

I guess when you mix politics with religion, let alone screw up your metaphors, you get at least an interesting disconnect from reality. As part of my pointless attempts at community integration, I'm further continuing with my exploitation of the different churches in my village. Because I care! Today I attended seasonal bung service at the Zion Christian Church (ZCC). From what I've gleaned from the disinformation of their web site so far, the ZCC pastor has the largest member of all the churches in my village. I believe the ZCC has grey and roan foal origins, related to Gum Legs, which I bet the entire Gardner fortune on in the 5th at Santa Anita, only to end in disappointment whence he slipped on the errant mule muffin left from the previous $10,000 claimer. It's easy to know who ZCC members are in the community because they all wear a miniature toilet plunger over a small piece of green felt, cut in the shape of their favorite cookie. Both of the General Duty Asses (short for assistants) in my surgical penis clinic are ZCC members. Non-ZCC members are gagged, stripped and forced to engage in the ZCC and their odd rituals, I was warned. Today as the clinic driver was transporting me home, I mentioned ZCC and he laughed. He said that the ZCC do indeed have some odd rituals, among them drinking lots of instant coffee, sticking a metal pipe in their anus to induce diarrhea, listening to "Bob and Ray Show" reruns, and jumping while simultaneously farting and singing. Well, at the service I attended I observed none of these odd rituals except the coffee and the jumping/farting/singing thing. I was especially happy about being left out of the metal pipe to the anus ritual!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

Well, as I tried to indicate, I don't claim to be speaking for God or carrying out God's will. But the Tower of Babel story or myth suggests that God created different languages and from that, different cultures, a situation that Buchanon conservatives seem most incensed about.

And funny thing is, it is not the liberal who claims to be speaking for God--we're regularly decried for being morally relativistic atheist hedonists--it is the conservative movement in this country, in both its neo-con and isolationist wings--that is most dedicated to the proposition that there are carrying out God's infallible and self-evident will and that this will must be imposed on others and across the country--a proposition I find scary.

America's a pretty big country; I think it can make do with high levels of immigration. As for its wage-suppressing implications, I'm glad to hear you're apparently concerned about poverty and income inequality. It must mean you support increasing the minimum wage.

But in any event, immigration (I know you guys are usually OK with "legal" immigration, it's the "illegal" immigration from non-English speaking peoples you mind) is at least partially driven by the level of economic inequality worldwide and labor--that is, people--are going to migrate to where wages are highest.

But in addition to being heartless and vitriolic as the most ardent anti-immigration voices tend to be (by the way, how was it that such anti-immigrant stalworths such as J.D. Hayworth got whupped in November?), is the problem that it is very unlikely that they will be satisfied with linguistic conformity, but will eventually demand racial, ideological and cultural conformity to go with it. And the history of this emphasis is rather ugly. Most anti-immigrant voices also declare that America must return to its "Christian" heritage, a further illustration that the anti-immigration movement isn't just concerned with immigration and linguistics--it's fundamentally concerned with eradicating diversity across the board, whether it is diversity of color, language, religion or thought.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was addressing bulworth when I said "You think..." I realized afterwards that I didn't make this very clear. I don't have time to write a detailed response, but I think your view of this country is a bit paranoid, bulworth. You fear American exceptionalism, and yet you promote this idea that America alone is too dangerous to be allowed to exist intact. What I am saying is, let’s just try being a normal country for a change.
-Hal K

2:30 PM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

"We have a cult of multiculturalism. This is what permeates our society," he said. "Immigrants who come to the United States but refuse to assimilate by learning the language and following the laws water down what it means to be an American, he said.

"It's a cultural, political, linguistic tower of Babel," he said. "

Tancredo sounds like the paranoid one.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

Tancredo says "immigrants...refuse to assimulate by learning the language..."

How does he know this? Are there facts to back this up, and to the extent there are, how are we to understand his judgment that their "refusion" to assimulate "waters down what it means to be an American"?

This is the essential paranoid style. Wild, unsubstantiated, scary accusations about The Other intended to provoke people's prejudices.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

How does one "water down what it means to be an American"?

Is America that weak that it can be "undermined" by immigrants who "refuse to assimilate by learning the language".

And does he have in mind a language or ethic group other than those of Mexican or Spanish extraction?

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The level of Hispanic immigration to this country is unprecedented. That is why it is problematic. It is the quantity, not the quality.

I think Buchanan and Tancredo are wrong when they say this country is in danger, but the citizens are the owners, and they have a right to be able to pass this country on to their own descendants, not someone else's descendants. The level of immigration we are experiencing undoubtedly changes the culture. We are losing a sense of place. People don't trust their neighbors. Cultures, like plants, need to be left alone in order to flourish. Look at New Orleans. Blacks move out. Hispanics move in. Old culture is gone. Look at the whole country. People keep moving. Immigrants move to the inner suburbs. Native-born move to the outer suburbs. Nothing persists except the whole rat race. Immigration fuels this.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...


Cultures, like plants, need to be left alone in order to flourish Wha-? That's A) crazy talk, since no culture has been left alone in the history of the world and, left alone, cultures don't flourish, they stagnate; and B) I would argue America has never actually had a specific "American culture" per se, and was not designed by its founders to have one. Instead, I would say there's an American character and I think those who brave the deserts in order to find hope for their families represent that character much more than coddled Yale legacies who couldn't run a McDonald's clean-up crew without the help of daddy's friends.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you leave any piece of land alone for a while, something will grow there. A culture can grow anywhere, and you can take or leave the pun. By insisting that there be no American culture you would deny its inhabitants something all people want and yearn for. This is unnatural.

Sure there is mixing of cultures, but if there is constant mixing everywhere then you get an uninteresting monoculture.

You are advancing the notion that America is an idea, as if a nation could be artificially synthesized by "designers." I find this to be far too sad and sterile a condition to be placed on any group of people for too long.

So you think we don't measure up to the people crossing the border hungry for a better life? So what? Let people be for a while.
-Hal K

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is nitpicking at it's finest. Obviously another open border, pro-illegal, globalism is great enthusiast, wants to find fault with Tancredo.

I do believe America has it's own culture, it maybe made up of many bits and pieces of other cultures, but there is nothing like it as a whole anywhere else on the planet.

What many of of those who worship on the alter of multiculturalism fail to recognize is that America is more than just an idea. It is a place where real people live, work and raise their families. Those people have the right to protect their way of life from all the problems that come with increased population. America belongs to the American people, not the world.

7:53 AM  
Blogger 5th Estate said...

In my view the Tower of Babel story is a cautionary tale about religious power. The citizens cohesion and ambitions challenge God's supremacy so he destroys their ability to communicate and cooperate. Well that made for a peacful world didn't it?

8:51 AM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

Sorry, all, but every time you write "have the right to protect their way of life," it reads to me as, "I'm scared that brown people will have power." Tell me why that's not true, because there's no such thing as a consistent "way of life" unless you live on a commune in Northern California or among the Amish. Life changes every second, people.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a logical flaw in your latest argument, nitpicker. You say that since life changes anyway there is no point in trying to slow down the rate of change. This doesn't follow at all. It doesn't have to be one extreme or the other.

If you have to play the race card then it is a sign of a losing argument. Besides, if I were to say "no I'm not scared of brown people having power" what difference would it make? I was not talking about power and control, except to the extent that unrestricted immigration shifts economic power away from the middle class.
-Hal K

10:40 AM  
Blogger sam d dobermann said...

Good on you Nit, for point out the one clear reading of the Tower of Bable story. It is interesting how so many of the Bible's stories get twisted to be used for purposes opposite their plain meaning.

When that WOP, Tancrado says:

"We have a cult of multiculturalism. This is what permeates our society," he said. Immigrants who come to the United States but refuse to assimilate by learning the language and following the laws water down what it means to be an American," he said.

Tancredo is just echoing what has been said during repeated waves of bigotry coming with repeated waves of immigrants. For example after 1850: The floods of Irish were sure to capsize US with their loyalties to the Pope and hugh families -- they would out breed good "American" women which was one of the driving forces to the campaign to make abortion illegal which swept through the states (and even impelled the Church in Rome to change its policies which had permitted abortion up to 80 days).

Then as the Irish flood slowed down the eastern and southern Europeans surged in threatened our very fabric; they too, had Papist loyalties, besides they were a few shades darker than the real Americans -- (except of course the American Indian which we were trying to kill off or keep out of sight on reservations).

But these less white Europeans -- we called them WOPS and Hunkies and Bohunks were needed to do the work of the packing plants and the steel mills and yes, the agricultural stoop labor.

Every time it was claimed that the "American character" was being diluted, flooded, would be washed away by the hordes of unwashed, ignorant, load on America. But the hordes still came and Lo and Behold: America prospered.

The word "multiculturalism" is the new curse: previously "mongrelization" was one of the favored epithets.
So the crap that the WOP Tancredo is peddeling is not new. Oh and the term WOP which his Italian forbearers assuredly heard often meant WITHOUT PAPERS referring to the masses of Illegal Italian Immigrants there were. I wonder if he could produce his immigrant ancestors' papers.

Uh, Hal, if you believe that the middle class as presently constituted HAS and economic power, I d like you to show it, but first define what you mean by middle class. Do you realize that for 2004. if you (and your spouse) made more than 100,000 AGI you would be in the top 3.7% of incomes?

What most people don't stop and think about is that most of the people that come here, while they may not speak English, usually have high school or partial high school education, which means we get workers without paying school expenses. Many of the immigrants do have jobs that have medical benefits and the do pay taxes and into Soc security. Detailed studies have shown they are not an economic drain but an asset.

As for the idea that there is an American Culture and an American Way of Life, that is self-centered poppycock. YOU would define this culture and way of life as fitting what you know, what your friends and relatives and maybe members of a few more groups in whch YOU participate live. However someone else would define it totally differently. That is why it is so dangerous for a Government, any government to subscribe to one cultural view. And whe I speak of culture, I include religion - for that differs from culture to culture.

Your way of life that you want to protect probably differs considerably from the ways of life of many other Americans. There are many communities in America in which you could not live/visit for 2/3 days without feeling profoundly uncomfortable and disoriented, and in an urban Chinatown - in a chinese speaking houshold, an Amish community - no electricity, a Navajo home - no English at all in some and Navajo language radio stations oh and no running water for over 70,000 even today, an upper class enclave in Palm Beach where you would be treated as a visitor from space who might bear something contagious, or on a working ranch, in a meat packing plant, once home to the Bohunk and WOPS who are now in Congress. . . . Or just take New Your City. Most "American" don't feel like it's part of the American culture - or Hollywood - which is really funny because what is "American" is so unalterably shaped by Hollywood's output.

America is not a melting pot or even a homoginized brew of "bits and pieces of other cultures". And actually, but for the language and greater sense of community - we are all in this together- there are many places "like it as a whole" else where on the planet - like Germany, New Zealand, Austrailia.

America is actually like a patchwork quilt - a Crazy Quilt style where the patches keep shifting in sizes and some blending occurs on the edges.

But maybe the early fearmongers were right - 5 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices are Catholics, very religous Catholics. That's scary.


1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


When I said "economic power" I was mainly talking about the ability to demand a decent wage. I meant an inclusive middle class. I should have included all people with low incomes.

If you think culture comes from Hollywood then we are really talking past each other. "Culture" was just one aspect of what I was talking about, anyway. Go back and read what I wrote, if you wish. I never suggested that the government dictate culture. I just want them to enforce the law on employing illegals, which would be quite easy if the business lobby would let them. I didn't say there should be one "American Culture" either. If people stayed in one place more there would be more interesting regional differences. I don't have time to deconstruct your whole comment. You want what you want, which is for the country to become majority Hispanic. Why? Who knows? According to bulworth it has something to do with white Christians being dangerous, but there must be more to it. Consider how liberals have low birth rates. Liberalism is a suicide cult.
-Hal K

4:57 PM  

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