Tuesday, February 24, 2004

# Posted 12:57 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

MY BOSS IN THE NEWS: As a peon at the Weatherhead Center, I know that if I don't have anything nice to say about Sam Huntington then I shouldn't say anything at all. One of the legendary scholars of his generation, Sam commands automatic respect from all of us who get our paychecks from the Center that he did so much to create.

Which is exactly why it is so delightful to see David Brooks rip into Huntington's latest book on all of our behalves. As Brooks aptly says, this is another book about the Clash of Civilizations, except this time the clash is on the homefront. And the enemy is from Mexico. Huntington's basic idea is that Mexican-Americans don't believe in the American dream. The more of the them there are, the closer they come to destroying the identity that made America great.

Now, I admit that I don't know the first thing about demographics or immigration. If Huntington has the evidence, he may be right. But it just sounds so cliche. In the early days of the Republic, they said the Germans couldn't be real Americans. Then they said the Irish couldn't be real Americans. Then the Italians. Then the Jews. Then the Chinese. Then the Koreans. And then the Pakistanis. But all of them seem to have adapted just fine and made America that much stronger. (OK, so I admit I'm not objective when it comes to evaluating the Jews.)

Anyhow, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out at Harvard. Will people challenge Huntington in the hallways? Will they remain silent out of deference? Or will they have the same reaction because of pity? I'll let you know.
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