Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia before coming to the United States as a refugee aged 14. Last November she became the first Somali to be elected to the United States Congress, and one of the first Muslim women. She has yet to even take her seat in Congress, but she’s already decided American society needs a radical overhaul:
We have to find the root causes of domestic terrorism.
We need gun reform to keep innocents safe.
We need to be honest about how social media has made it easier to radicalize young men.
And we need to talk about how white supremacy, sexism & racism perpetuate the problem.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 14, 2018
I have written before about how I don’t think new citizens to a country should be given the vote: if you want a say in how you are governed, feel free to stay at home. I might be persuaded those who have lived 20 years in a country should have the right to vote, but I also don’t see their being denied as a fundamental injustice. The views of those who were born in a country ought to prevail over those of newcomers who chose to relocate, but people are so wedded to the idea of universal suffrage this idea sits well outside the Overton window in the west. The trouble is, universal suffrage is about 100 years old at best, which in historical terms makes it very much still in the experimental stage.
One of the more hubristic characteristics of modern political commentators and activists is they believe their preferred policies mark the end of history, that the societal conditions they have largely imposed on others will be here forever. Few stop to think that the Ottoman empire lasted 600 years before disappearing altogether, so perhaps the jury is still out on 5 years of gay marriage and 40 years of wimmin’s rights. Now it may well be that a society in which religion plays no major role, gays get married, and legislation ensures gender parity in the upper management of big companies is very pleasant and all who live in it enjoy long, healthy, fulfilling lives. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the society will survive more than a generation or two. It rarely occurs to people that pleasant societies might not make durable societies, whereas history certainly suggests that societies built on harsh conditions can prove remarkably enduring.
My point is that any society which allows rank outsiders to enter and immediately set about agitating for radical change probably won’t last very long. Any society which allows foreigners to take part in their national political process such that they attempt to overturn parts of the constitution, suppress free speech, and denounce the population as racist is engaged in a suicide pact. The Founding Fathers stipulated that the US president must be an American; had it occurred to them that Somalis would be running for Congress and seeking to radically change America, they might well have imposed similar criteria for all holders of elected office. Serious countries do not allow their political systems to be infiltrated in this manner: Britain banned Catholics from holding public office for two hundred years, believing them to be a fifth column. Somehow, America has gone from a country which insisted newcomers adopt their values to celebrating those who don’t.
I’m sure there are lots of very good, principled arguments for allowing Ilhan Omar to run for Congress and then denounce Americans as white supremacists, just as I am sure there are sound reasons for allowing known jihadists to roam free in European capitals. But the question is, can a society which tolerates this survive? And if so, how long before it is unrecognisable? This won’t end well.