Structure and Assimilation

A commenter on a blog I follow talked briefly about this as part of a larger comment. The thrust of the aside concerned the ink spilled arguing about government structure, but that while structure is important, what’s at bottom is “an increasingly complex and heterogeneous society” that’s hard to manage.

I think that proceeds from a false premise.

Our society need not be “increasingly complex and heterogeneous.” Certainly the technology we use in our society grows more complex, and even more heterogeneous (recall the hoops being jumped through to get Microsoft Windows-based programs to run on an Apple PC, or the hoops requiring satisfaction to get Linux-based systems and Microsoft-based systems to play nice together, to take just one small area). The training and education needed to operate our technologies also grows in depth, breadth, and length of time to achieve operational capacity (just try to let your Ford or Chrysler be all it can be without reading a multi-hundred page tech manual first).

But our society, our interactions with each other and our government need not be more complex or more heterogeneous. Our nation was founded on some simple principles, with personal responsibility and a personal duty to look after those who cannot look after themselves at their core. These are not complex principles. We just over-engineer them as we try to get government to do more and more for us while demanding ever greater and greater precision in execution.

Our current…heterogeneity…also results from an overemphasis of the value of other ways, other moralities, at the expense of our ways and the Judeo-Christian morality at the heart of our nation. That overemphasis flows from, among a number of causes, a lack of effort at assimilation—by us of those who come into our country and by those who come here from other countries. Too many immigrants value their old ways and morals over the ways and morals that created the environment here that contains the very opportunities for which those immigrants and visitors came. And we let them not assimilate, we don’t encourage them or help them reconcile their ways with ours and live with our ways in our house. That failure comes from the nonsense of moral equivalence.

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