Features January 2011
Assimilation & the persistance of culture
On the history of immigration in the United States.
Freedom, as it has historically been understood in the English-speaking world, includes as fundamental assumptions a cultural norm of individualism and a government that does not attempt to assume the role of a parent. These characteristics are deep-seated in our culture. Cultures are persistent, although neither immutable nor unevolving. So long as we are able to maintain our culture, it will be substantially free. By global standards, the culture and social systems of the English-speaking nations are some of the most individualistic. Interactions with other cultures therefore inherently involve a challenge to those features of our culture and a challenge by our culture to the less individualistic, less free features of theirs.
The more interaction between our cultures and others, the more we engage substantially different cultures, the more friction we can naturally expect. The modern phenomena of rapid, low-cost mass transfer of people...
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