THE DEMOGRAPHIC BOMB

Clay Shirky clay@shirky.com
Thu, 18 Oct 2001 22:56:24 -0400 (EDT)


> But. Allow me to play the devil's advocate. One can mount the
> argument that immigration should be controlled for entirely cultural
> reasons.

Well yes, and you've hit on the greatest weakness in my position,
namely that I am so complete in my distaste for multiculturalism, and
so tropic towards rootless cosmopolitanism, there will never be a
country where my views will be tested. I would love to see a WTO for
immigration barriers instead of trade barriers, but I suspect I will
go to my grave never witnessing an industrialized nation that drops
all immigration controls.

Instead, I have adopted the solution people of my bent have always
adopted, which is to become a citizen of that virtual nation which
exists on that archipelago of metropolitanism, Hong Kong and New York
and Paris, London and Jakarta and Sao Paulo, and I make of that
citizenship what I can.

> My own optimistic view is that western culture is much more virulent
> than even the mullahs imagine, and that were we to accept five
> million fundamentalist Moslems onto our shores, in twenty years
> their children will be liberal Moslems, and in forty years, their
> grandchildren will be blasphemous, promiscuous, secular humanists.

Yes, this is what I believe too. 

Since my views are so out of the mainstream I have little evidence for
this other than a statement of faith, but I believe that in the same
way that you do not need to be an Arab to use Arabic numbers, you do
not need to be born in the West to be a Westerner, and that like
gunpowder or noodles or the idea of zero, democracy and free markets
and the rule of law came from specific times and places, but that they
are technologies which can be adopted anywhere by people who have the
understanding and the need.

-clay