Reader Michael B. Bobrow (Letters, May 8, 1995) asserts that the desire to limit the immigration of non-European ethnic groups is not an expression of racism, because restricting immigration on ethnic grounds not an issue “of color, but of culture.” He claims that the motive of such restrictions would be to preserve “Western and European civilization,” which he defines as “our own heritage, identity and values,” and which, he says, will not survive “unending Third-world immigration.”
Western civilization, which in most respects has reached its highest development in the United States, upholds such values as reason, individualism, the protection of individual rights and the rule of law. It’s one thing to recognize that these cultural values are superior to the varying degrees of unreason, collectivism, and statism embraced by the non-Western world; they are. It’s quite another to assume that individuals from non-European countries are incapable of embracing these values. In fact, it is precisely the link that people such as Mr. Bobrow attempt to establish between color and culture—the premise that one’s identity and values are determined by one’s racial membership and represent one’s ethnic “heritage”—that defines racism.
The battle for the preservation of Western culture is an intellectual battle, not an ethnic battle, which needs to be waged by pro-reason intellectuals in the humanities departments of our universities, not by armed guards at our borders. To choose to leave the country and culture in which one was raised in order to move to a different land and embrace a better culture is a heroic act of individualism, and more than sufficient evidence that such a person agrees with the ideology of the country he has chosen. In fact, if we could exchange our native-born, collectivist intellectuals one-for-one for these new Americans, the future of the United States and the Western values it stands for would be immeasurably brighter.