The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, May 08, 2004  

On Samuel P. Huntington’s Hispanic Problem

Nearly two weeks ago I mentioned in passing one of the most astonishing articles I recently had encountered in the otherwise respectable magazine, Foreign Policy, “The Hispanic Challenge,” by Samuel P. Huntington, chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and a co-founder of the magazine.

At the time I mentioned that I was surprised Huntington’s polemic received little attention in the blogosphere. I was technically correct about that -- “little” being the key word -- but a reader subsequently alerted me to a three-part dissection of the demented professor’s tripe by the voice behind Pedantry.

I missed it, but you shouldn’t. You can find the series here (“The Myth of the Melting Pot Chalks Up Another Victim”), here (“Mexican Immigration: Not New, Not Unique, Not Unprecedented”), and here (“It’s Not the Mexicans, It’s Tim Berners-Lee’s Fault”).

This is top-notch work.

In the meantime, Huntington got a pass from the New York Times Magazine, which on May 2 published an unconscionably ignorant interview -- excuse me, “Q&A” -- between the strange doctor and Deborah Solomon.

And today I ran across an article in the latest issue of the New York Press: “Hispanic Panic: Samuel P. Huntington and the Return of the Know-Nothings,” by John Dolan, a review of Huntington’s latest book, Who Are We? The Challenge to America's National Identity, from which “The Hispanic Challenge” was excerpted.

Talk about getting raked over the coals. These are just the first two paragraphs:

Samuel P. Huntington is a bigot, convinced that immigrant hordes are poisoning our Anglo-Protestant America. This in itself is not surprising; there have always been plenty of his kind on the American scene. Nor is it surprising that this bigot is a professor at Harvard. Nativism, in its 19th-century surge, was very much the darling cause of the New England elites.

What is surprising is that now, a century and a half after the Know-Nothings vanished in disgrace, Huntington feels free to promote his nativist hatred in print, and can be celebrated for doing so. Post-9/11 America, as John le Carre has said, has lost its mind. Huntington’s screeching is a worthy contribution to the bedlam.

I guess I can forget about entering Harvard’s doctoral program in political science.

[Post-publication addendum: See also “Strom Thurmond Was an Old-Fashioned Democrat, Too!” by Danny Loss at No Loss for Words.]

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