Deconstructing Americarnby Samuel Francisrn”You can take a man out of a country, but you can’t take a country out of a man.”rn—AnonymousrnThe Unmaking of Americans:rnHow Multiculturalism HasrnUndermined the Assimilation Ethicrnby John ]. MillerrnNew York: The Free Press;rn293 pp., $25.00rnIn Ed Wood’s notoriously bad 1950’srnscience-fiction movie, Plan NinernFrom Outer Space, there is a scene inrnwhich the fihn’s star, the decrepit BelarnLugosi, is shown walking into a room;rnthe following scene shows the samerncharacter coming into the room from thernother side of the door. But while it is Lugosirnwho walks into the room in the firstrnscene, the actor who plays the characterrnin the second scene is clearly not Lugosi.rnBetween the filming of the two scenesrnLugosi had died, and Wood, with hisrnusual ineptitude, was obliged to cast anrnextra as the same character—of course,rnwithout explanation.rnThose familiar with Plan Nine may bernreminded of it in reading John ]. Miller’srnnew book on the assimilation of immigrantsrnand the threats to assimilation thatrnhe sees, the two scenes in the movie —rnvith and without Lugosi —serving perhapsrnas a metaphor for what Mr. Millerrnand his brand of pro-immigration conserrnatism imagine happens to immigrantsrnas they pass through the GoldenrnDoor of the United States. While theyrnSamuel Francis is a nationally syndicatedrncolumnist and editor of the SamuelrnFrancis Letter, a monthly newsletter.rnusually don’t die in the process, they dornbecome entirely different characters,rnand we (or at least Mr. Miller) can watchrnthem walk through the door on one sidernas foreigners and emerge on the other asrnAmericans. Of course, in the moviernthat’s not what was supposed to happen,rnwhile, in the real world (as opposed tornthe imaginary one conceived of bv Mr.rnMiller), it doesn’t happen at all.rnMr. Miller appears to be in favor of virtuallyrnunlimited immigration to thernUnited States by just about anyone orrnanything that can walk, crawl, swim, fly,rnor flop across the borders, but he believesrnalso in the assimilation or “Americanization”rnof immigrants. His main targets inrnhis book are two sets of people who opposerneither assimilation (the multiculturalistsrnof the left) or immigration itselfrn(whom he dubs the “neo-nothings” ofrnthe right). The “neo-nothings” includernmost of those who write for this magazinernon the subject of immigration —rnmyself (guilty of “racial paranoia”),rnChilton Williamson (whom it is temptingrnto “write ofiF as a crank from the nutrnwing of the conservative movement”),rnformer National Review editor PeterrnBrimelow, and “one of our gloomiestrnprognostieators,” Thomas Fleming. Mr.rnMiller has adapted his devilishly cleverrnsobriquet “neo-nothings” from the antiimmigrationrn”Know Nothings” of thernearly 19th century, but only after somernpages of tittering over his new term doesrnhe inform us that the}’ were called KnowrnNothings not because they were ignoramusesrnbut because they were supposedrnto say “I know nothings” about the secretrnpolitical society of which they werernmembers. That is not what Mr. Millerrnmeans about us.rnOur problem is that we harbor “a particularistrnview of American culture,” inrnwhich “to become an insider [i.e., to assimilate],rna person must undergo a longtermrnand complex process of socializationrnthat should begin at birth.rnAmericans are a people,” in the neonothingrnview,rnnot because they are dedicated to arnproposition, as Abraham Lincolnrnsaid at Gettysburg, but becausernthey share in a distinct nationalrnculture that is ultimately rooted inrnan assortment of commonalities.rnThese commonalities are based onrnkinship, religion, territory, language,rnor other characteristics.rnForget all the high-flying rhetoricrnAmericans hear on the Fourth ofrnJuly.rnAside from a few quibbles about this formulation,rnhe’s right. That is exactly whatrn”neo-nothings” (otherwise known generallyrnas “paleoeonservatives”) believe andrnwhy they are opposed to the kind of massrnimmigration Mr. Miller not only favorsrnAUGUST 1998/27rnrnrn