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Immigration Myths (contd.): Zangwill and The Melting Pot
Israel Zangwill's The
Melting Pot was the hit of New York's 1908 season.
It has provided a metaphor for immigration enthusiasts
ever since. (Not original with Zangwill, of course.
Emerson had earlier used the term "smelting
pot" for the same idea, and there are many
Here are some points of interest
to VDARE's readers:
Firstly, the book is dedicated to
Theodore Roosevelt, "in respectful recognition of
his strenuous struggles against the forces that
threaten to shipwreck the great republic which carries
mankind and its fortunes."
Roosevelt was indeed opposed to
pointless racial bigotry, and attracted a lot of
criticism by asking Booker T. Washington to the White
House for lunch. But he also made a famous speech to the Knights of Columbus telling them that America
had no use for Americans who still clung to their
allegiance to the old country.
Secondly, David Quixano is a
refugee from Russia, which conducted vicious pogroms
against its Jewish population under the Czar. (Russia
was an Evil Empire even before Communism.) He has
post-traumatic stress as a result. In America, he
meets Baron Revendal, who ordered the massacre in his
home town, and the Baron threatens to shoot him.
Immigration reform moral:
immigration can bring in the persecutors as well as
the persecuted. If America wants to shelter people
from persecution, the Government will have to take
sides in every conflict in the world.
In a similar incident 81 years
later, a Ukrainian
murdered Ennis Cosby. Cosby's mother blamed
She believed that Russia couldn't be racist,
when there were no blacks there. In fact, Russians,
like most foreigners, are more racist than Americans. So people who don't like hate crimes
should rethink their enthusiasm for immigration.
Melting Pot shows the way in which foreign
governments rely on America's open arms:
The wicked Baron shares his program for the Jews of Russia:
"One-third will be baptized, one-third massacred, the other third emigrated here."
His American interlocutor says: "We're going to stop all alien immigration."
The wicked Baron: "To stop all alien–? But that is barbarous!"
So foreign despotisms can solve
their internal problems by forced emigration.
This is more or less the
position of the Mexican
Government, which has always claimed the right to
be moderately despotic, and run its economy into the
ground, but wants the United States to provide a haven
for refugees from Mexico's political and economic
Fourthly, Zangwill, long before The Melting Pot was written, had examined the problem of Arab-Jewish tension in what is now the State of Israel.
His conclusion: Israel would have to be a nation-state (i.e. more or less exclusively Jewish) if it wanted to be a democracy.
It's probably best if you click on this article to read about his suggestions, lest VDARE be accused of anti-Arab racism just for quoting it.
To be fair to Zangwill, I
should point out that he didn't mean to cause the
present Palestinian refugee crisis; he couldn't have
predicted that after Palestinian Arabs left for what
he called the "million square miles" of
Arabia, that the Arabs wouldn't let them in.
final quote from The
Melting Pot should appeal to VDARE's readers:
A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians-into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.
I should have thought the American was made already--eighty millions of him.
April 25, 2001