Meet Arnold, probably a mutt, but when asked, and depending upon my mood, I alternately explain that Arnold, 170 pounds of dog, is an Anatolian shepherd or a direwolf. I also tell small children that he is a baby polar bear, but that he doesn't yet know this and shouldn't be told, because he still thinks that he is a dog. Arnold is indeed a sweetheart.
In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Nation of Mutts" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/opinion/brooks-a-nation-of-mutts.html?_r=0), David Brooks informs us:
"Soon, we will no longer be an outpost of Europe, but a nation of mutts, a nation with hundreds of fluid ethnicities from around the world, intermarrying and intermingling. Americans of European descent are already a minority among 5-year-olds. European-Americans will be a minority over all in 30 years at the latest, and probably sooner."
"On the whole, this future is exciting. The challenge will be to create a global civilization that is, at the same time, distinctly American. Immigration reform or not, the nation of mutts is coming."
As regards this intermingling and in response to an earlier Brooks's op-ed entitled "Speed of Ascent" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/opinion/brooks-speed-of-ascent.html?_r=0), I wrote:
"Which brings me to my next inane question: Is the President black or white? I suppose you might observe that today it matters less than ever. Consider the ethnic backgrounds of: Vin Diesel, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry, Beyoncé Knowles, Tiger Woods, Will Smith, Lenny Kravitz and a host of other remarkably talented celebrities (see: http://www.imdb.com/list/SmPQhHBlI0g/).
I am leaving would-be Native American Senator Elizabeth Warren off the list, but it should nevertheless be apparent that America is growing more integrated and more tolerant with the passing of the years."
There is also much to be said for immigration, which can also serve as an invigorating elixir. As stated by Brooks today:
"Immigration boosts economic dynamism, and more immigration would boost it more. There would also be a lot of upward striving. Immigrant groups tend to work harder than native groups. They save more. They start business at higher rates than natives."
However, immigration can also be a double-edged sword, which can bring trouble to which Americans are unaccustomed. One need look no further than the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston Marathon bombing. "Honor killings" in the United States? Yes, this horror has arrived (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57409395-504083/honor-killing-under-growing-scrutiny-in-the-u.s/).
And as for immigrants working harder than native groups, Brooks would be wise to have a gander at Europe, where unemployed immigrants are stretching the social welfare system to the limit. As reported by Forbes in 2009 (see: http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/23/france-uk-muslims-business_oxford.html):
"In both France and the United Kingdom, Muslims’ economic integration has been poor. In both, unemployment is high (above 20% and sometimes approaching 40%) among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and North Africans. Earnings are also weak: According to 2000 data, male Bangladeshis were earning about three-quarters the average wage."
And as reported by the Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/religion-and-politics/europe-integrating-islam/p8252):
"Despite signs that Muslims are beginning to succeed in business and academia in countries such as France and Germany, many analysts say most of Western Europe's Muslims are poorly integrated into society. They cite closed ethnic neighborhoods, high crime rates in Muslim communities, calls for use of sharia law in Europe, the wearing of the veil, and other examples as evidence of a conflict with European values."
You see, David, the issue of immigration is not a cut and dry as you think. A recent Pew Research Center survey (http://www.pewforum.org/Muslim/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-exec.aspx) found that 1% of US Muslims "say violence against civilians is often justified," and 7% say that such violence "is sometimes justified" - these are horrifying numbers. In order for immigration to work, tolerance and some shared values are required.
Oh my goodness! Have I said something wrong that is "not conducive to the public good" and which will bar me from entering the UK (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2013/06/geller-and-spencer-refused-entry-into.html)? I suppose that I will have to take that risk.