Writes columnist John Leo, "Putnam adds a crushing footnote: His findings 'may underestimate the real effects of diversity on social withdrawal.'"
Putnam is an optimist about the long-term, but his optimism seems rooted less in his findings than in his hopes and America's experience with the Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920.
But that Great Wave was followed by the Great Lull -- little or no immigration from Coolidge through JFK to 1965, when LBJ opened the floodgates, though he probably had no idea what he was doing with the Immigration Act of 1965, which goes unmentioned in his memoirs.
Putnam's implications are ominous. For we are talking here about nothing less than the survival of our country.
America is expected to add something like 100-120 million people in four-to-five decades, almost all people of color who have never before been fully assimilated into any First World nation. Every great city is going to look like Los Angeles, and, as Putnam reported earlier, Los Angeles is a textbook example of a multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual city where levels of suspicion and mistrust approach the maximum.
As we know, it is the legal immigrant community that is the sea in which the illegals swim, feed and flourish. And if legal immigration from the Third World increases the levels of suspicion and mistrust, not only among immigrants and native-born but also among all minorities, and even within each ethnic and racial community, what are we doing?
For this is about whether America in thirty or forty years is going to be a giant dystopia, in T.R.'s phrase, "a tangle of squabbling nationalities" and not really a country or nation or people at all.
Between 1924 and 1965, the Melting Pot worked. It converted the children of 15 million European immigrants into American citizens with shared traditions, values and culture.
But today's immigration is different. And today's America is different. The numbers coming are huge, and they are coming from countries, cultures and civilizations whose peoples have never before been assimilated by any European nation. And they are arriving in an America whose Melting Pot is broken and whose elites lack the vision to see or the moral courage to confront the imminent peril.
Politically correctness may yet prove fatal to the republic.