What does successful assimilation look like?

Irish immigrants to America are often held up as models of successful assimilation, so we can use their history to predict the consequences of mass immigration today.

Mass Irish Catholic immigration to America began around 1830. Almost immediately, Irish immigrants established or revitalized political machines like Tammany Hall and gave them the votes that they needed for dominance—and the ethnic gang alliances, which were needed for intimidating voters and stuffing ballot boxes. There were a lot of Irish gangs, but the most notorious was the Winter Hill Gang, which smuggled weapons to the IRA, infiltrated the FBI, and went to war with another Irish gang—in the 1960s and 1970s.

Irish-Americans were an important source of funding for the IRA, and several Irish congressmen, like Peter King, backed it—until at least the 1980s.

To make the calculations easier, let’s say mass Hispanic immigration to America and mass Muslim immigration to Western Europe began in 2000. Judging by the experience of the Irish, we should expect Hispanic and Muslim gang activity, mass support for corrupt political machines, and perhaps even funding of foreign terrorist groups (which, in the case of the Muslims, are much worse than the IRA) to continue until at least 2150. And this is an unrealistically optimistic estimate: the Irish were more culturally similar to the founding population of America than the Hispanics are, and vastly more so than the Muslims are to the native peoples of Western Europe.

2150. Is it worth it?


8 responses to “What does successful assimilation look like?

  1. Pingback: What does successful assimilation look like? | Reaction Times

  2. morkys July 2, 2016 at 3:03 am

    I don’t think we can really get a good estimate TBH. Too many factors are different than any of the past migrants waves, and not all in the bad direction.

    Far right guys talk all the time about how USG is trying to indoctrinate everyone w/ mass media and education, but that should also make it easier to assimilate people if we actually wanted to. Mass media homogenizes language, and religion is in decline, so two of the strongest ethnic identifiers are vulnerable to attacks that they wouldn’t have been in the recent past.

    I mean, nondenominational Islam is apparently a thing now, and lots of 3rd gen or so immigrants give up their old national identities and replace them with generic Americanized ones. These guys are totally under the thrall of the system, and it would be easy AF to make them identify however you wanted if you had the media, or academia.

    I think far rightists might eventually face a choice between being thralls to the state 5eva and outsourcing our ability to pass down values completely, or living in a sorta shitty multicultural society.

    • nydwracu July 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm


      Mass media cuts both ways even if the power structure decides it wants to assimilate immigrants and their descendants: on the one hand, the Cathedral exists, but on the other hand, immigrants can easily stay in touch with ~the old country~, or at least a mass-marketed fake version of it.

  3. Lamar July 2, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Another thing to take note: The Irish gangs dominated the American underworld, obviously focused in New York and such, from the 1830s to 1860s, but gang activity had largely died down by the 1870s.

    However, new ethnic rivals from another heavy increase from immigration, most especially the Southern Italians, but also more Irishmen gangs and new Jewish gangs, and African Americans, and other ethnic groups caused the underground to become great again. If America had not had so much immigration during this time period it would have been likely that the Irish would have assimilated much more quickly.

    Before the 1960s or 1970s or so, while exceptions are there, Hispanic Americans were largely very assimulated and weren’t even really usually considered all that much different from whites, or at the very least were on the same level as other “ethnic” whites. This was because of the very low percentage they made up and low immigration, much more hispanics who had been in new mexico or California or Texas since forever. The continued and nonstop heavy immigration as boded ill for thier identities from the perspective of people who consider themselves very much Americans first and foremost, however.

  4. Texas July 2, 2016 at 7:34 am

    That reminds me,the 1790 Census said that English Americans made up 48% of the population, Scotch-Irish 8 percent, German 7 percent, Irish 5 Percent, Scottish 4 Percent, Welsh 3 Percent. This means that British Americans made up about 2 out of 3 of every American in 1790, and about 80% of the white population at that time.

    Episcopalians utterly dominated the list of founding fathers, with Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and other British denominations making up most of the rest. Catholics and Lutherans had two each.

    As recently as the 1980 Census, over 33% of Americans reported to be of British Ancestry, and over 40% of the white population.

    In addition, an interesting poll from 1982 asked Americans to rate whether they thought the contributions of various ethnic groups in America were a good thing or a bad thing. The top rated group was the English, at 66% good, only 6% bad. 2nd highest rated was the Irish, at 62% good, 7% bad. Third highest rated group, Jews, 62% good, 9% bad. The lowest rankings groups were the Cubans, Haitians, and Puerto Ricans, which all recieved very negative ratings and little positive.

    Link below, page 77 or so of “The Good News is the Bad News is Wrong”, a book claiming that the USA is the first univeraslitic nation and that immigration is basically good it seems:


    • nydwracu July 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Self-reported English ancestry fell dramatically from the 1980 census to the 1990 census.

      • Texas July 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        Right, people over time tend to identify with their most ethnic heritage, if half English half Scottish they’ll identify as Scottish american, if half Scottish half German as German american, if half German half Irish as Irish american, half Irish half Italian as Italian American, half Italian half Jewish probably Jewish american, etc.

  5. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2016/07/03) - Social Matter

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