Cella's Review
Politics, Culture, the Public Square

“. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, July 27, 2004  

 On Thursday, July 22 at 8:22pm Mary Christine Cella, our second daughter, was born, after a very speedy labor of only 3 hours or so. The delivery was without complication, and both mother and baby are healthy. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 12.5 ounces, with a full head of dark hair which we expect will fall out soon (her sister is very blonde, as my wife and I were as children). There had been some complications earlier in the pregnancy, but these (thanks be to God) had no discernible effect on the labor and delivery. Little Mary sleeps most of the time — even fairly well at night.

My friend Mr. Bill Luse, in noting our new arrival, quotes a line that may be Chesterton’s; I will quote a full passage which is surely Chesterton’s, from his collection of essays, The Well and the Shallows:

Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect.  They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation.  He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world.  People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved.  They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilization. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.

The reader will, I trust, forgive such polemics on so joyous an occasion — but I do indeed feel that my personal freedom has expanded. Only the “jaded and enslaved” could feel that it has diminished.

posted by Paul Cella | 10:53 AM |

Tuesday, July 20, 2004  

Heather MacDonald’s reporting on the rise of a Hispanic underclass (in the current issue of the fine publication City Journal)) makes for a lurid and alarming read. It certainly damages the picture painted by many politicians and commentators of a thriving immigrant community of virtuous soon-to-be-Americans.

David O’Connell, pastor of the church next door to Soledad [a troubled charter school in Los Angeles], has been fighting L.A.’s gang culture for over a decade. He rues the “ferocious stuff” that is currently coming out of Central America, sounding weary and pessimistic. But “what’s more frightening,” he says, “is the disengagement from adults.” Hispanic children feel that they have to deal with problems themselves, apart from their parents, according to O’Connell, and they “do so in violent ways.” The adults, for their part, start to fear young people, including their own children.

The territorial attachment — that mad twisting of patriotism which is among the familiar features of this ugly phenomenon — is conspicuous and aggressive.

[Mario] Flores expresses the fierce attachment to territory that is the sine qua non of gang identity. “I was like, ‘I love my neighborhood. If you don’t love my neighborhood, I’m going to f**k you up.’” Charles Beck, captain of the LAPD’s Rampart Division, marvels at this emotion. “They all come from identical neighborhoods, identical families, and go to identical schools, and yet they hate each other with a passion.” The territorial instincts can only be compared to the Balkans, says Corporal Kevin Ruiz, a Santa Ana gang investigator. “There’s people who all they do is patrol gang boundaries. They’re like me, in a way: I’m looking for bad guys; they look for rivals.”

It is of course impossible, in this context, not to enter into controversy about the ever-explosive issue of immigration; and Ms. MacDonald does not shy from the controversy:

Open-borders apologists dismiss the Hispanic crime threat by observing that black crime rates are even higher. True, but irrelevant: the black population is not growing, whereas Hispanic immigration is reaching virtually every part of the country, sometimes radically changing local demographics. With a felony arrest rate up to triple that of whites, Hispanics can dramatically raise community crime levels.

Hispanic immigrants are often touted for their social conservatism; but let us not forget that blacks were also social conservatives before the Johnson-era Great Society policies poisoned, subverted, and finally rent asunder the black family. The wounds inflicted on once struggling but solid families by the social engineering spirit which permeated 1960s, stand in my mind as among the most towering and terrible failures of modern intellectual life yet recorded. The same awful degringolade is well underway among Hispanics.

Many cops and youth workers blame the increase in gang appeal on the disintegration of the Hispanic family. The trends are worsening, especially for U.S.-born Hispanics. In California, 67 percent of children of U.S.-born Hispanic parents lived in an intact family in 1990; by 1999, that number had dropped to 56 percent. The percentage of Hispanic children living with a single mother in California rose from 18 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 1999. Nationally, single-parent households constituted 25 percent of all Hispanic households with minor children in 1980; by 2000, the proportion had jumped to 34 percent. [. . .]

In one respect, Central American immigrants break the mold of traditional American underclass behavior: they work. Even so, Mexican welfare receipt is twice as high as that of natives, in large part because Mexican-American incomes are so low, and remain low over successive generations. Disturbingly, welfare use actually rises between the second and third generation—to 31 percent of all third-generation Mexican-American households. Illegal Hispanics make liberal use of welfare, too, by putting their American-born children on public assistance: in Orange County, California, nearly twice as many Hispanic welfare cases are for children of illegal aliens as for legal families.

Ms. MacDonald is particularly hard on Michael Barone’s book The New Americans, especially its comparison between the Italian immigrants of the early twentieth century and the Mexican immigrants of today. She often, shrewdly, lets her interviews make the points that hit political correctness hardest:

Without prompting, [Santa Ana police officer] Kevin Ruiz brings up the million-dollar question: “I don’t see assimilation,” he says. “They want to hold on [to Hispanic culture].” Ruiz thinks that today’s Mexican immigrant is a “totally different kind of person” from the past. Some come with a chip on their shoulder toward the United States, he says, which they blame for the political and economic failure of their home countries. Rather than aggressively seizing the opportunities available to them, especially in education, they have learned to play the victim card, he thinks. Ruiz advocates a much more aggressive approach. “We need to explain, ‘We’ll help you assimilate up to a certain point, but then you have to take advantage of what’s here.’ ”

Ruiz’s observations will strike anyone who has hired eager Mexican and Central American workers as incredible. I pressed him repeatedly, insisting that Americans see Mexican immigrants as cheerful and hardworking, but he was adamant. “We’re creating an underclass,” he maintained.

Immigration optimists, ever ready to trumpet the benefits of today’s immigration wave, have refused to acknowledge its costs. Foremost among them are skyrocketing gang crime and an expanding underclass. Until the country figures out how to reduce these costs, maintaining the current open-borders regime is folly. We should enforce our immigration laws and select immigrants on skills and likely upward mobility, not success in sneaking across the border.

This is the kind of article — from the pen of an extremely respected reporter — that is exceedingly difficult to refute. Instead it will likely be ignored.

(Cross-posted at Redstate.)

posted by Paul Cella | 4:55 PM |

TCS ran an essay of mine yesterday, and I didn't even know about it. Anyway, here it is, derived from previous blog material.

For success is quickly transformed into excess, which in democracy usually means comprehensive tyranny. Even the absolute monarchs in the mold of Louis XIV had to contend with other interests, each with organic sources of power; while the whole idea of democracy, in its pure form, includes the reduction and ultimately the obliteration of those interests. Thus the founders of the United States erected artificial structures to restrain democracy. [more]

posted by Paul Cella | 3:21 PM |

Saturday, July 17, 2004  

What unspeakable viciousness is described here. I can attest to what goes on in these vile sessions, having endured a mercifully mild but still traumatic one while in college.

posted by Paul Cella | 11:05 AM |

Friday, July 16, 2004  

The invaluable Michelle Malkin reports on some rare good news concerning immigration.

posted by Paul Cella | 8:17 AM |

Wednesday, July 14, 2004  

John O'Sullivan's cover story in the current issue of The American Conservative is outstanding. Essentially an extended review of Samuel Huntington's controversial new book, the essay ranges over a variety of ideas and arguments which, I firmly believe, will prove to be among the central questions on which the political world will hinge for some time to come.

Mr. O'Sullivan's conclusion:

So Who Are We? is worth ten divisions in the new American culture war about patriotism. It demystifies every radical argument employed to deconstruct the American nation and the customs, habits, and traditions that sustain it. Even more usefully, it demonstrates that some conservatives and neoconservatives are unwitting accomplices in this demolition. They are misled in this direction either because of their attachment to outworn ideological definitions of America — formulae that once served a useful role in smoothing assimilation but that now act as carriers for multiculturalism — or because they have the false patriotic belief that America is not a nation with its own character but the entire world in embryo and so capable of indefinite expansion. Above all, perhaps, by attracting the kind of denunciations that reveal a deep animus towards the United States in the attackers, Huntington’s book has revealed that there is a substantial anti-American intelligentsia (and lumpen-intelligentsia) within the American nation committed to a sort of “counter-tribalism.” These are the patriots of an America that does not exist — the America of multiculturalism, bilingualism, and diversity that, in President Clinton’s words, “can live without a dominant European culture.” They therefore hate the America that does exist as an obstacle to their dreams. And they tend to sympathize with attacks upon it—and to react against anyone who defends it.

I have posted on this same topic at Redstate. I expect some fireworks in the comments.

posted by Paul Cella | 3:01 PM |

Tuesday, July 13, 2004  

Over at RedState, I have a long essay of tribute posted today about a great Conservative.

posted by Paul Cella | 5:44 PM |

Sunday, July 11, 2004  


Well, is it still under construction, but it's now up and running. Redstate, that is. I have been invited, and have warmly accepted the invitation, to join in a community weblog dedicated to “the construction of a Republican majority in the United States.” The founders are three bloggers of just distinction: Ben Domenech, Tacitus and Mike Krempasky. I am told that at least ten others have agreed to contribute. I am excited about the launch of this thing.

I can't say yet how much I will be posting over there, or how much the posting will affect my activity here at Cella's Review; these things will find their natural balance in time. But I can say that this will be a valuable addition to the public conversation maintained in what is called the Blogosphere. Redstate.org. Long may it prosper.

posted by Paul Cella | 9:27 AM |

Saturday, July 10, 2004  

Yet another wonderful benefit of mass immigration: human slavery! To be specific, sex slaves.

The problem in the United States is part of an illicit global enterprise in which an estimated 800,000 human beings are bought, sold and forced across international borders each year. At least 15,000 people are trafficked into slavery in this country, say officials, and some believe the number could be as high as 50,000 per year.

Many of the victims involve children who are forced into child prostitution and pornography rings, witnesses testified [before the U.S. Senate].

Meanwhile, how does the Department of Homeland Security respond to a series of successful round-ups of illegal immigrants in Southern California? By shutting down the round-ups, naturally — then it sends Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson to get humiliated on a radio talk-show. A pitiful performance truly worthy of Open Borders ideologues and bumbling bureaucrats.

Happily, The Financial Times ran a story on this nincompoopery on its front page.

posted by Paul Cella | 9:15 AM |

Wednesday, July 07, 2004  

Welcome readers from Roger Simon. My commentary on the Bat Ye'or address is here (just below this entry). Similar discussions of the confrontation between Islam and what used to be called Christendom (and now, in its decline, goes by the name “the West”) abound on this blog.

[1]“A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mohamet produces an endless procession of Mohamets.” [more]

[2]All this is to say that patriotism of that broader variety which includes the Jews of Palestine, whose society descends from our civilization, but excludes the Arabs of Palestine, whose society is part of our civilization's greatest historical rival and antagonist, is perfectly understandable, unavoidable, and ineffaceable. It is nothing to be ashamed of. To require of Americans that they hold out a fastidious abstract impartiality in this bloody conflict, a conflict so distant from them, is to simply misunderstand the nature of man. It is the victory of stale rationalism over sanity; abstraction over human sympathies. It is a very modern error. [more]

[3]A central theme of Among the Believers is that within Muslim societies Islam cannot be contained; there is no civil society, no secular buffer to the fiery passion of fundamentalist Islam. The situation is profoundly unhealthy: Faith spills forth into the other areas of life —- political, economic, aesthetic, individual —- effacing all that was there. It leaves the society barren of everything but Islam. [more]

posted by Paul Cella | 10:13 AM |

Tuesday, July 06, 2004  

Bat Ye’or’s essay on the slow but seemingly inexorable conquest and subjugation of Europe by Islam is a grim read indeed. I did not fully appreciate how deep the despair and treachery went.

The spirit of dhimmitude is not merely that of submission without fighting, not even a surrender. It is also the denial of one’s own humiliation through this process of integrating values that lead to our own destruction; it is the ideological mercenaries offering themselves up for service in the jihad; it is the traditional tribute paid by their own hand, and with humiliation, by the European dhimmis, in order to obtain a false security; it is the betrayal of one’s own people. The non-Muslim protected dhimmi under Islamic rule could obtain an ephemeral and delusive security through services rendered to the Muslim oppressor, and through servility and flattery. And that is precisely the situation in Europe today.

Ms. Ye’or documents some specifics of this system earlier in her piece:

During the past three decades a considerable number of non-official agreements between the countries of the CEE (subsequently the EU) on the one hand, and the countries of the Arab League on the other, determined the evolution of Europe in its current political and cultural aspects. I will cite here only four of them: 1) it was understood that those Europeans who would be dealing with Arab immigrants would undergo special sensitivity training, in order to better appreciate their customs, their moeurs; 2) the Arab immigrants would remain under the control and the laws of their countries of origin; 3) history textbooks in Europe would be rewritten by joint teams of European and Arab historians – naturally the Battles of Poitiers and Lepanto, or the Spanish Reconquista did not possess the same significance on both Mediterranean littorals; 4) the teaching of the Arabic language and of Arab and Islamic culture were to be taught, in the schools and universities of Europe, by Arab teachers experienced in teaching Europeans. [. . .]

Dhimmitude is not only a set of abstract laws inscribed in the shari’a, it is also a complex set of behaviors developed over time by the dhimmis themselves, as a way both to adapt to, and to survive, oppression, humiliation, insecurity. This has produced a particular mentality as well as social and political behaviors essential to the survival of peoples who, in a certain sense, would always remain hostages to the Islamic system.

It is difficult for the mind to fully compass what Ms. Ye’or describes. “The horror of treason,” wrote Whittaker Chambers, “is its sin against the spirit.” And the spirit of Europe, which is Christian, is afflicted by such sin as it has never really seen since Pagan Rome crumbled.

What is perhaps most discouraging is the indifference of Americans, and even American Conservatives, to this conquest of our father civilization. Europe can rot for all I care, they say. The great mediaeval cathedrals will be converted into mosques, Poitiers and Lepanto remembered (if remembered at all) as defeats not fierce flaming victories that they were, and American Christians will hardly bat an eye. How pitiful we will be.

posted by Paul Cella | 11:59 AM |
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