The Atlantic

Why Won't Steve King Assimilate and Embrace American Values?

The Iowa Republican retains an Old World outlook on race and ethnicity that is anathema to those who support the principles of the American founding.
Source: Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters

Last year, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, published a report titled “Patriotic Assimilation Is an Indispensable Condition in a Land of Immigrants.” It complained that “elites—in the government, the culture, and the academy—have led a push toward multiculturalism, which emphasizes group differences,” and ominously warned against “deterring national unity by requiring Americans to remain sorted into separate ethnic categories.”

Instead, it argued that Americans, regardless of their background, should unite in assimilating to the universal principles of equality, liberty, and limited government.

Since Representative Steve King has complained that political correctness causes people in the United States to “just walk on eggshells,” afraid to address things “that are really on their mind,” I trust he will forgive my bluntness in rendering a judgment about him: King is living proof that some Americans do fail to assimilate in this manner, even when their families have been in this country for several generations.

The Iowa representative finds himself at the center of controversy for tweeting that Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” His words seemed to imply that someone like Tiger Woods, born to parents of African and Asian descent, or comedian Aziz Ansari, the child of Muslims born in India, are less authentic members of our culture than babies born to parents of European ancestry who alone can “restore” Western civilization.

His assertion of group differences properly offended many.

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