Managed Citizenshiprnby Paul GottfriedrnAmericans No More:rnThe Death of Citizenshiprnby Georgie Anne GeyerrnNew York: Atlantic Monthly Press;rn352 pp., $23.00rnGeorgie Anne Geyer is no stranger tornthe immigration issue. For yearsrnher syndicated columns have includedrnspirited criticism of efforts toward the redefinitionrnof American identity. Theyrnhave attacked what Geyer calls the “citizenshiprnmill,” the thoughtless naturalizationrnof masses of Third World residentsrn(not all of them legally in thernUnited States), bilingual education, andrnthe increasingly weird expressions ofrnmulticulturalism. Taking relentless aimrnat these targets, her book features mindbogglingrnaccounts (worthy of Sam Francis)rnof such enormities as publicly financedrncelebrations of Aztec deities inrnmunicipalities that also ban Christmasrndisplays, and the extension of votingrnrights to illegal Marxist immigrants inrnTacoma Park, Maryland. Geyer throwsrnlight on the extent to which naturalizationrnis a political ploy, used to increasernthe electoral strength of those groupsrnwho work to have it expanded. Shernexposes the reasoning of liberal immigrationrnexpansionists by citing them directly.rnIn one particularly revealing comment,rnDoris Meissner, Commissioner ofrnthe INS, explains that “Naturalizationrnhelps counteract anti-immigrant attitudes”rnand should therefore be “promoted.”rnGeyer does not cite an even morernoutrageous statement quoted by PeterrnBrimelow in Alien Nation, by Earl Raab,rndirector of Brandeis University’s Instituternfor Jewish Advocacy, according to whomrnwe should welcome the prospect thatrn”Half of the American population willrnsoon be non-white and non-European.rnWe have topped the point when a Nazi-rnAryan party will be able to prevail in therncountry.”rnDespite her underscoring of thernproblem that Americans are no longerrncitizens in their own country, Geyerrnmight have done more to set this problemrnin its proper context. While ChiltonrnWilliamson and Wayne Lutton have explainedrnthe historical process by whichrnwe have reached the point described byrnGeyer, Americans No More barely touchesrnon the real reasons for a changing andrndenatured American identity. All too oftenrnthe author falls back on neoconservativerncommonplaces uttered by invariablyrn”brilliant” scholars. However, contraryrnto what Geyer may have been told, MaxrnLerner was not a distinguished historianrnbut a journalist; Bruce Fein is a neoconservativerncolumnist and lawyer, not a legalrnscholar, etc. Nor are the remarks shernheard William Bennett and other neoconservativernluminaries deliver at Washingtonrnconferences worthy of respectfulrnnote. They do not illuminate the backgroundrnof our current liberal notion ofrncitizenship.rnGeyer quotes approvingly anotherrnicon of neoconservatism, Abraham Lincoln,rnwho spoke on the changing compositionrnof the American Republic in anrnIndependence Day speech in 1858, withoutrngrasping the cultural context of hisrnwords. Though Lincoln was struck byrnthe fact that most of those then living inrnthe United States could not “trace connectionrnwith those days [of the founding]rnby blood,” he insisted that theyrncould return to that “glorious epoch” byrnembracing the principles of the Declarationrnof Independence, “the father of allrnmoral principle.” At least as striking asrnLincoln’s appeal to the Declaration is hisrnsense that the “ethnic history” of the earlyrnrepublic had been broken. Like RalphrnWaldo Emerson and other Eastern Republicans,rnLincoln believed that thernUnited States was significantly differentrnin its ethnic composition from what itrnhad been 70 years earlier. Yet that republic,rnstill predominantly Northern Europeanrnand Protestant as well as heavilyrnrural, continued to enjoy what John Jayrnin Federalist 2 considered one of the specialrnadvantages of the American Republic:rnbeing “a people descended from thernsame mentors, speaking the same language,rnprofessing the same religion, attachedrnto the same principles of government.”rnObviously Lincoln, who plannedrnto send manumitted slaves back to theirrnancestral continent, believed there wererncultural limits to how far citizenshiprncould reasonably be extended. Oppositionrnto slavery, for Lincoln and some otherrnRepublicans of his time, did not signifyrna dedication to a modern “inclusiverndemocracy.”rnSince then, the United States hasrnchanged dramatically in its ethnic andrnpolitical character. It is not the samerncountry it was in the mid-19th century,rnhaving lost the ethos that once defined itrnas a cultural and constitutional nation.rnAs Aristotle pointed out, a regime doesrnnot stay the same bv virtue of occupyingrnthe same place for several generations, ifrnthe original people have been displacedrnby another. In the case of the U.S., therndisplacement has been twofold: first,rnAmericans tolerated the arrival of peoplesrnincreasingly different from thernfounding stock; next they transformedrnthemselves in ways that would havernmade them alien to their own ancestors.rnIn time they lost their cultural understandingrnof “democracy” and “constitutionalrngovernment,” in wavs that Geyerrnactually applauds since these have donernaway with sexism, racism, and otherrnforms of parochialism. Gever perceivesrnthat the consent of those already here isrnno longer required for the acceptance ofrnculturally bizarre and impoerished applicantsrnfor American jobs, and Americanrncitizenship. Yet she fails to note sufficientlyrnthe changing meaning of thernword “democracy,” which refers nornlonger to popular self-rule but has becomernsynonymous with socializationrnand political management. One cannotrnfully understand the breakdown of consensualrncitizenship without taking intornaccount the nature of managed massrndemocracy. The “death of citizenship”rnis not an abuse to be corrected by advocacyrnjournalism and seminars on thernvirtues of Lincoln. It is the inevitablernbyproduct of the managerial revolutionrnapplied to popular government, and itrnrepresents a problem now confronted b’rneven vestigially Western peoples.rnPaul Gottfried is a professor of humanitiesrnat Elizabethtown Gollege inrnPennsylvania.rnFor Immediate ServicernCHRONICLESrnNEW SUBSCRIBERSrnTOLL FREE NUMBERrn(hronk |{srn1-800-877-5459rnFEBRUARY 1997/27rnrnrn