My American Conservative article outlining my "citizenist" philosophy is now on-line. Here's an excerpt on the problems with neoconservative "propositionism:"
Neoconservatives have long claimed to dissent from this reigning multiculturalist orthodoxy by advocating a philosophy of immigration that observers have dubbed propositionism. The neocons argue that immigrants should be admitted based on their current—or eventual —assent to the propositions underlying the United States government, such as “All men are created equal.” But the neocons have failed to answer numerous questions about how their philosophy would work.
If American values are rare, do we really want to deplete the rest of the world of the few people who agree with us? In many Third World countries, a “brain drain” saps medical care and economic progress. Do we want to be also responsible for “proposition attrition?”
On the other hand, what if agreement with American propositions is as common as the neoconservatives have claimed in trying to justify our Mesopotamian misadventure? President Bush has asserted that most Iraqis share our fundamental political values. If that’s true of the furious Iraqis, who are notorious even among other Arabs for self-destructive lunacy, then how many billions of other foreigners qualify to move to America? How then does propositionism help us choose among the hundreds of millions who want to immigrate?
And exactly whom would the propositionists keep out, other than the most fanatical Muslim fundamentalists? With the exception of a handful of refugee dissidents, the vast majority of immigrants to America are in it for the money and are willing to mouth whatever platitudes would be required to get in.
Finally, there’s an insidiously Jacobin implication to propositionism. If believing in neoconservative theories should make anyone in the world eligible for immigration, what should disbelieving in them make thought criminals like you and me? Candidates for deportation? For the guillotine?
Ultimately, propositionism seems less like a well thought-through philosophy and more like ethnocentric nostalgia, an intellectualized exercise in ancestor-worship. Emotionally, the neocons abhor asking tough questions about today’s immigrants because they see that as the equivalent of asking tough questions about their own Ellis Island immigrant forebears and, thus, about themselves. [More]