Who’ll win the Irish vote?

We keep getting told that demographics favor the Democrats and look bad for the Republicans, as America becomes more ethnically diverse, a phenomenon particularly evident in the growing Hispanic vote.  But Josh Gelertner gives us a history lesson putting all of this into context.

He points out that ever since the machine politics of Boss Tweed in the 1850s, Democrats have pandered to immigrants fresh off the boat in exchange for their votes.  Thus the Irish became an important part of the Democratic base.  The same thing happened with the next wave of immigrants, the Italians.  But after awhile, each of these groups assimilated into American culture, whereupon they stopped voting exclusively for the Democrats.

He then argues that the same thing will happen to Hispanics–indeed, that it has already started to happen.  Today, no one talks about the Irish or the Italian vote, though they used to.  The same thing, Gelertner says, will happen with all immigrant groups. The American melting pot keeps working.

Read his argument after the jump, including how anti-Hispanic sentiment today is similar to the anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of the past.  Does he have a point, or is he too sanguine about immigration?

He seems to assume that cultural assimilation happens naturally.  In the past, America worked hard to “Americanize” its immigrants.  This was a major task for schools.  As late as my day, we had lots of American history (in which Americans were portrayed as good guys), required Civics classes (teaching the Constitution and the workings of Democracy), and even lessons in “Americanism” (Cold War anti-communism, including the superiority of individualism over collectivism, free market economics over socialism, and freedom over regimentation).  Instead, schools today teach multiculturalism. Cultural assimilation is impossible if there is no particular culture to assimilate to.

[Read more…]

A shark that was 512 years old?

It turns out that Greenland sharks routinely live to be 272 years old.  One was caught recently that may have been 512 years old.  That is to say, she would have been born in 1504.

She had been swimming in the northern sea, starting only 12 years after Columbus discovered America.  She would have been 13 years old when Martin Luther posted his theses.  She could have eaten a Pilgrim.

This would make this species of shark the longest-living vertebrate.  Scientists are trying to figure out how these creatures can live so long, hoping to apply their findings to human beings.

UPDATE:  The shark, whose long life was ignominiously ended when it was caught in a fishing net, was female.  So I have changed the earlier pronoun “he” to “she.”  Also, as the linked story says, the scientists determined that the shark was between 272 and 512 years old, probably more likely 400 than the upper limit.  But still, that’s old.

[Read more…]

Conservative Swedish theologian made bishop in Latvia

The Baltic republics, geographically and culturally, are almost Scandinavian.  Now that a national Lutheran church–that of Latvia–has gone confessional, that affects its theologically liberal neighbors.

A Swedish theologians whom the state church refused to ordain because he doesn’t believe that women should be made pastors, has been made a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, which has come around to that same conviction.  His story, detailed after the jump, shows how various organizations–including one started by novelist Bo Giertz–are keeping orthodox Lutheranism alive in those northern climes. [Read more…]

The politics of refusing power

Usually, politics is a competition between individuals and factions each of which wants to be, as we say, “in power.”  In Japan, though, there is a political struggle between a faction that wants to put a man in power and that man who does not want the power.

As we blogged about, the party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won enough seats in parliament to accomplish his goal of revising the Japanese Constitution, which was primarily the work of Gen. Douglas MacArthur after World War II in an effort to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful Democratic nation.  Abe wants to bring back elements of pre-war Japan.  He and his party have connections to a group that wants to bring back both Japanese militarism and Emperor worship.

But now the Emperor has given an unexpected speech in which he rebuked those efforts, including the desire to give him more power and to treat him as a god.  Ironically, those who think the Emperor is a god are opposing him!

[Read more…]

The new “Star Trek” captain will be “diverse,” but what “level of diversity”?

CBS is coming out with a new Star Trek series, starting on its main broadcasting network, but then moving over to its new pay-for-access channel.  An Entertainment Weekly article on the show, based on an interview with the producer, tortures the term “diverse” in ways I hadn’t heard before.

We are told that the commander of the spacecraft will be a “diverse actress.”  [How can an individual be “diverse”?  Is that, like, shizophrenic?  Or just someone with a multi-faceted personality who can play many different parts?  Oh, I guess “diverse” is now a euphemism for a class of people who aren’t white, male heterosexuals.]

But the part has not yet been cast, so the producer didn’t know “what level of diversity” she would be.  [So diversity comes in levels? Is Asian one level, and Hispanic another level?  Is black the highest level?  She is a woman, so that counts, but would making her a lesbian give them a higher level of diversity?  What if she is an Alien?] [Read more…]

California drops the proposed law targeting religious colleges

As we blogged about, the California legislature was all set to pass a law punishing Christian colleges if they “discriminate” against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.  Colleges would be unable to set behavior standards for students and would have to hire faculty members who didn’t believe in the religious position of the institution.  This would effectively shut down evangelical, Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, and other religious institutions–or force them to change their teachings.

Due to the concerted effort of California religious institutions, religious liberty protests, political pressure, and widespread criticism, the legislator who proposed the measure has dropped the discrimination measure from his bill.  Colleges would still have to report to the state any expulsions for homosexual behavior and any other invocations of the religious exemption.  But for now, California’s religious schools have won an important victory. [Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X