...What's shaping the immigration debate is something altogether deeper and more interesting. And if you want to understand what it is, start with education. Between 1960 and 1980, the share of Americans enrolled in higher education exploded. The U.S. became the first nation in history with a mass educated class. The members of this class differed from each other in a thousand ways, but they tended to share a cosmopolitan approach to the world. They celebrated cultural diversity and saw ethnocentrism as a sign of backwardness.UPDATE: His column is one of those self-evidently wrong things, but, in addition to the many comments, I nonetheless feel the need to point out:
...Liberal members of the educated class celebrated the cultural individualism of the 1960s. Conservative members celebrated the economic individualism of the 1980s. But they all celebrated individualism. They all valued diversity and embraced a sense of national identity that rested on openness and global integration.
...And if you want to predict which side a person is likely to be on, look at his or her educational level. That'll be your best clue.
As the sociologist Manuel Castells generalized, "Elites are cosmopolitan, people are local." People with university values favor intermingling. People with neighborhood values favor assimilation.
...It's not the '60s versus the '80s. It's - to mimic Mark Lilla - between the people who have absorbed both the '60s and the '80s, and everyone else.
It's between open, individualistic cosmopolitans and rooted nationalists. It's between those who ride the tides of the cultural mainstream and those so driven by marginalization that they're destroying the best compromise they will get.
Immigration2007a · Tue, 06/12/2007 - 13:43 · Importance: 1