Canada’s Secret to Escaping the ‘Liberal Doom Loop’

This take in The Atlantic may be a bit too pollyannish, and would have benefitted from some critical voices being included, but nevertheless has the big picture largely right in terms of the reasons for Canada being comparably exceptional:

…In 1971, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of the current PM Justin Trudeau, offered an ingenious compromise to assuage all parties. Rather than say that Canada was unicultural or bicultural, he created a policy of multiculturalism. He announced that no one group defined Canada and that the government accepted “the contention of other cultural communities that they, too, are essential elements in Canada.” This had a three-part effect, according to Andrew Stark, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. It appealed to new immigrants by honoring their heritage; it accommodated Quebec by retaining French as an official language; and it placated the west by diluting French-Canadian influence.

One might have expected Canada’s equivalent of the Tea Party to have brewed in its western provinces. But the most successful Canadian populists today aren’t really anti-migrant or anti-globalism. Quite the opposite, Canadian conservatives have seen free trade and multiculturalism as a weapons to take on the political dominion and cultural elitism of the eastern provinces.

“When the right is leading the cause for immigration and saying to the left, you’re not doing enough to welcome immigrants into the country, it creates a competition to see who can do more,” Russell said. “This, of course, increases the size of the immigrant community and the immigrant vote, which becomes an unignorable political force.” In Canada, multiculturalism isn’t a kumbaya song. It’s hard-nosed politics.

Breaking the Doom Loop

Last year, as I saw right-wing populism sweeping the developing world, I offered a “liberal doom loop” theory to unite several trends in fertility, immigration, racism, and liberalism. In this theory, low fertility and the threat of stagnating populations would encourage some governments to accept more immigrants; this diverse influx of people would make certain groups (particularly white, older, and less educated) afraid of economic and cultural threats posed by other ethnicities; the anxious electorate would back illiberal populist movements to preserve whites’ economic and cultural authority; and these votes would ultimately threaten the liberal welfare state.

What lessons can the Canada example offer other countries? Some of its features defy imitation. The U.S. cannot instantly recreate 200 years of inter-state relations. Its legacy of slavery permanently poisons its relationship with race. White Americans still hold fast to old-fashioned, Westphalian notions that a nation-state ought to signify a sovereign monocultural identity—an idea Canada’s government rejected more than 40 years ago.

But there is a clear lesson worth importing from Canada: When a city or province passes a certain threshold of diversity, pro-immigration politics can become a self-sustaining virtuous cycle. International research on xenophobia has found that whites who don’t know many foreign-born people are more likely to fear their presence, while those who actually know immigrants are much more likely to have positive attitudes toward them. This is true even in the U.S., where, despite Trump’s election, immigration is more popular than any period in the last 30 years. A majority of babies born in the U.S. for the last four years have been non-white. Historic ethnic diversity is not a future the U.S. can choose to accept or reject; it’s the only future on its way. And it’s a world where Republicans might finally choose to imitate Canadian conservatives by looking to steal immigrants’ votes, rather than their children.

The physicist Max Planck once said that a new scientific truth doesn’t triumph through persuasion, but rather through attrition, as “its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” This generation of Canadians has grown up familiar with the idea that immigrants can be liberal or conservative, and now both liberals and conservatives are fighting for immigrants. If American conservatives recognize the political potential of appealing to the foreign-born, the United States will join Canada in the future that may be spreading, albeit fitfully, around the world. “Multinational, multicultural Canada might offer more useful guidance for what lies ahead for the peoples of this planet than the tidy model of the single-nation sovereign state,” Peter Russell writes. “Canada could replace empire and nation-state as the most attractive model in the 21st century.”

Source: Canada’s Secret to Escaping the ‘Liberal Doom Loop’

Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark Is Threatening to Immigrants – The Atlantic

Good article with its conclusion on the longer-term implications:

The true peril of Trump’s comments on Wednesday is this: that the state will be further empowered to suspend human rights. Dehumanization is not just a buzzword, but a descriptor of a specific and well-known psychological and sociological process, by which people are conditioned to accept inflicting increasingly inhumane conditions and punishments on other people. Taking from the well-worn lessons of American racism, dehumanization means both a broadening of what’s acceptable and just who is unacceptable.

The dangers of that broadening were evident in another recent viral moment. In a video clip that made the rounds on social media, 42-year-old New York lawyer Aaron Schlossberg was seen ranting to a restaurant employee and customer for speaking Spanish to each other. With no evidence that anyone present was an unauthorized immigrant—or that a crime was taking place—Schlossberg threatened to call ICE against the employees and the restaurant. Given what is known about the routine processes of ICE arrest and detention, this was at best a threat of disruption, and at worst a threat of violence.

The most likely outcome of Trump’s “animals” rhetoric isn’t a return to some mythological Pax Americana, as his supporters might suggest. Quite the opposite: It could fuel more informing on neighbors, more regular harassment for people of color, a deeper and wider dragnet, and an increased acceptance of brutality and extralegal practices. That’s what happens when people stop being people.

via Trump’s ‘Animals’ Remark Is Threatening to Immigrants – The Atlantic

Secretive Fraternities Are Feeding Anti-Semitism in Austria – The Atlantic

Good long but disturbing read:
Like many Austrian fraternities, Germania zu Wiener Neustadt sometimes uses a songbook at its get-togethers. It looks ordinary enough, with its red cover, gold crest, and curling script. The cover is studded with metal nails called “Biernagel” that keep the book slightly elevated so it doesn’t get wet when lying in beer.Unlike most other songbooks, however, it contains lyrics about killing Jews. “Step on the gas,” one line reads. “We’ll manage the seventh million.”

When the Vienna-based newspaper Falter (for which I am a frequent contributor) wrote about the book in January, it promptly derailed the political career of one of the fraternity’s most notable members: Udo Landbauer, who was running as a candidate for Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) in state elections on January 28. One day before the vote, the Austrian president suggested he step down. On February 1, Landbauer resigned from all political positions. He had been a city councillor in Wiener Neustadt and the head of the FPÖ’s district office in that city.

Landbauer, 31, who was also the deputy chairman of the fraternity for a couple of years, claimed he hadn’t known about such lines: “Not being a gifted singer, I didn’t go through all the pages,” he said in a television interview. The songbook outraged the nation anyway. The prime minister of Lower Austria, Johanna Mikl-Leitner of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), said she wouldn’t work with Landbauer. Bad international press followed, causing embarrassment the FPÖ could ill afford. In the six weeks since it had become the junior partner in a coalition government with the ÖVP at the federal level, it had struggled to appear respectable. The party had gotten negative press just two weeks earlier, when its minister of the interior proposed “concentrating refugees into camps.” The Jewish community of Vienna, where the majority of the country’s 12,000 to 15,000 Jews live, has been boycotting the FPÖ; it refused to participate in the government’s official Holocaust memorial ceremony last month.Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria’s vice chancellor and head of the FPÖ, announced that he would install a committee of historians to examine the party’s ties to anti-Semitic groups. The party revealed last week that former FPÖ parliamentarian Wilhelm Brauneder will head the commission. Brauneder, who during his tenure as the dean of Vienna University’s law faculty in the late 1980s permitted an event organized by a German right-wing extremist, gets to choose the members of the commission, which is set to issue its first report this October. Whether or not the historians will also study the fraternities’ history depends on whether the fraternities, which are private organizations, voluntarily grant them access to their archives.

Then, this week, the FPÖ suffered another blow. Falter published a new story, this one reporting that the Viennese fraternity Bruna Sudetia also used a songbook containing the same anti-Semitic song. Its head, Herwig Götschober, works on social media for the cabinet of Norbert Hofer, the FPÖ’s minister of infrastructure, and is a district councillor for the FPÖ in Vienna. Götschober reacted by saying that he rejects these lyrics, and added that he had never seen this songbook before. The fraternity is now under investigation, as the circulation of Nazi content is prohibited by Austrian constitutional law; Götschober went on leave from his post.On its homepage, Götschober’s fraternity has a section about its history: World War II is only mentioned when the bombing of its Vienna headquarters in 1944 is described. This silence about the Nazi era has been typical of Austria for much of the 20th century, when the nation saw itself as the first victim of Hitler’s expansionist politics. In 1986, the Nazi past of former UN general secretary and presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim resulted in international pressure. Consequently, then-chancellor Franz Vranitzky acknowledged Austria’s complicity in the war and Nazi crimes in 1993. It took until 2012 for the government to recognize May 8, the anniversary of the capitulation of the Wehrmacht in 1945, as the Day of Liberation. German-nationalistic fraternities still commemorate the dead soldiers on that date. Arguably, scandals like those involving anti-Semitic songbooks keep bubbling up because Austria has yet to grapple with its WWII past as thoroughly as has, say, Germany.

The far right in Austria has a long and vocal history of anti-Semitism, but recently it has been trying to shed that image, instead prioritizing anti-Muslim rhetoric. As part of this shift, members of the far right at times claim they want to protect Jews against Muslims. But their relationship with the fraternity system proves they haven’t shed their anti-Semitism either.The chances are extremely slim that a reassessment of the sort Strache announced would eliminate anti-Semitism in the FPÖ. In order for the party to rid itself of anti-Semitism, it needs to cut its ties to the fraternities—a structural problem that is nearly impossible to tackle.

Austria has many high school and university student associations. What makes these fraternities (“Burschenschaften”) unique is that they’re infused with German nationalism. They originated in German university towns in the first half of the 19th century and stood for a united German nation. During the Nazi era, the fraternities were merged with the Nazi students’ associations. They reemerged after the war. Today, not all members of these fraternities are far-right extremists, anti-Semites, or neo-Nazis; some are right-wing conservatives who adhere to old traditions, like a mask-free fencing ritual that often leaves members with scarred faces.

Members swear to secrecy about what happens during their gatherings—which is why the songbooks shocked many. It also means that people don’t know how much other Nazi material is being circulated. In his most recent book, the journalist Hans-Henning Scharsach lists several fraternities that still include former Nazis, such as Rome’s Gestapo chief Herbert Kappler, among their honorary members. Another group organized a carnival party in 2008, photos of which appear to show guests dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members and Orthodox Jews.

In total, there are no more than 5,000 members of such fraternities nationwide, yet these members are important because they’re overrepresented in the ranks of the FPÖ. Strache himself is a member of the fraternity Vandalia. (He is also known to have had frequent contact with neo-Nazi groups in his youth, which he described as a “youthful folly” but never said was a mistake.) Among the party’s MPs alone, roughly one-third are members of various fraternities. The fraternities are an important source of highly educated and loyal personnel.

Which makes Strache’s announcement somewhat hard to believe: “Fraternities have nothing to do with the FPÖ,” he said the day after the Germania zu Wiener Neustadt songbook was made public.“That was a real slap in the face for the fraternities,” said Nina Horaczek, a journalist with Falter who broke both stories, adding that Strache’s attempt to distance himself from them isn’t a good long-term strategy for him. After all, his brothers backed him when he became the head of the party in 2005. “If fraternities need to leave the party, Strache would be the first to go.”

Although the fraternities are by no means the only source of anti-Semitism in the FPÖ, they are considered a gateway into the party. Severing these ties isn’t just difficult, it’s undesirable for the party—which means that the FPÖ will continue to at least indirectly foster a safe space for anti-Semitic thought.

“As long as Strache doesn’t say, I was a neo-Nazi in my youth and I apologize for it, any sort of historical examination is worth very little,” said Doron Rabinovici, an author and historian of Austrian Jewry.

Martin Engelberg, a Jewish MP for the conservative ÖVP, is more optimistic. In a TV debate on the Austrian channel Puls4, he said, “This process won’t happen in just one day,” referring to the plans of his coalition partner, the FPÖ. At a recent MP swearing-in ceremony, the FPÖ’s MPs didn’t show up wearing cornflower pins—the symbol Nazi party members used in Austria before 1938—as they had in previous years. Instead, they wore edelweiss flowers, a rather neutral symbol of Austria. Strache had also given a speech at the fraternities’ annual ball a few days earlier, saying that they had to stand against racism and anti-Semitism. “Those are [positive] signs,” Engelberg said.

The FPÖ has also been trying to present itself in recent years not as anti-Semitic, but as decidedly supportive of Jews—a stance that seems politically opportunist. One way they attempt this is by showing support for the Jewish state: Strache and other party officials have been visiting Israel and meeting with far-right membersof the ruling Likud party (official Israeli policy, however, is to boycott the FPÖ). In December, Strache said it would be his wish to move the Austrian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has also said Israel has the right to build West Bank settlements.Several scholars, a few of whom were featured in a recent Haaretz article, have made the case that some European far-right parties have adopted similar stances:

Cas Mudde, a political science professor at the University of Georgia … highlighted the stance of many radical rightists on the Jews. Jews, says Mudde, are seen to embody a modernity to be defended. Europe’s large Roma minority, on the other hand, are seen as barbarians living on the fringes of modernity, while Muslims are seen as barbarians living inside modernity—the enemy already inside the gates, according to the far right.

As a result, the philo-Semitic turn of many far-right parties, in the words of sociologist Rogers Brubaker, comes directly from these parties’ preoccupations with Islam. Writing earlier this year, Brubaker argues that the far right has come to redefine Jews as fellow Europeans and exemplary victims of the threat from Islam.

Another far-right European party that has tried this strategy is France’s National Front. Founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen, who made statements offensive to both Jews and Muslims, the party was taken over in 2011 by his daughter Marine Le Pen. She expelled her father from the party and gave it a facelift, publicly embracing Jews while continuing to speak negatively about Muslims. In 2014, she told French Jews, “Not only is the National Front not your enemy, but it is without a doubt the best shield to protect you. It stands at your side for the defense of our freedoms of thought and of religion against the only real enemy, Islamist fundamentalism.”

As the historian Ethan B. Katz has written, “The extreme right in France has repeatedly invoked Muslims and Jews in the same breath, at once highlighting both groups as different from the rest of the population and seeking to rally them against one another.”

These kinds of tactics may have influenced the FPÖ. “It’s possible that Marine Le Pen played a role in the FPÖ’s move away from anti-Semitism,” said Danny Leder, an Austrian journalist who has been based in France for decades and has covered the right-wing parties of the two countries extensively. “On a European level, the FPÖ was always the National Front’s junior partner.”Leder emphasized that “the threat [against Jews] is real.” In recent years, France has experienced several deadly Islamist terrorist attacks directed at Jews. The Austrian watchdog NGO Forum gegen Antisemitismus reports a steady increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the past few years, and in its 2015 report the increase in Islamist anti-Semitism was significant.

Both the National Front and the FPÖ have used these incidents to foment further hatred. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest anti-Muslim sentiment has become more widespread. Le Pen, in 2010, compared Muslim prayers in the streets to the Nazi occupation. And in Austria, “Daham statt Islam” (“Home instead of Islam”) was Strache’s campaign slogan in 2006. Last November, Landbauer called Johanna Mikl-Leitner, his rival in the state elections, “Moslem-Mama Mikl,” and claimed that she was “pushing Islamization in kindergartens” because a syllabus for kindergartens required that children be introduced to holidays from various religions.

Oskar Deutsch, the president of Vienna’s Jewish community, does see Islamist anti-Semitism as a significant threat, but he doesn’t believe the far-right is a true ally in combatting it. “Muslims, Roma and Sinti, and Jews—as minorities, we’re all sitting on the same branch,” he said. “If you’re sawing off one of our seats, we’re all falling.” But some Jewish leaders, like Engelberg in Austria, or the French Jews who voted for Le Pen, have seemed willing to give far-right parties a chance, perhaps encouraged by public displays of philo-Semitism.

Meanwhile, anti-Muslim sentiment helps to keep the far-right base happy. This base, however, has not abandoned its anti-Semitic strain, and party leaders still at times project anti-Semitic signals. Strache’s 2010 visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, where he wore his fraternity hat when head-covering was required, perhaps illustrates this best.

Still, the FPÖ keeps framing scandals such as the songbooks as isolated cases, in its attempt to convince people that Jews are no longer the enemy of the party. Fraternities are clearly enmeshed with the FPÖ, which means that—despite all public claims to the contrary—the party will likely keep its ties to anti-Semitism intact.

Source: Secretive Fraternities Are Feeding Anti-Semitism in Austria

The Obama Doctrine: Why Islamism Isn’t Like Communism – The Atlantic


In one of my recent conversations with Obama, he dilated on this point in an interesting way. (“The Obama Doctrine” contains many thousands of words of Obama’s thoughts on foreign policy. However, I could not, for reasons of space, include all of what he had to say. In the coming weeks, I will be highlighting some of the things he told me that did not make it into the original article.) Obama made these particular comments during a conversation about Ronald Reagan’s influence on Republican thought. His main argument here is that rhetoric that could legitimately be deployed against an ideology like communism cannot be similarly deployed against the world’s second-largest religion.

Obama first praised Reagan’s “moral clarity about communism,” saying, “I think you can make a credible argument that as important as containment was in winning the Cold War, as important as prudence was in winning the Cold War, that at a time when perhaps the West had gotten too comfortable in the notion that, ‘Look, the world is divided and there’s nothing we could do about it,’ Reagan promoting a clearer moral claim about why we have to fight for freedom was useful and was important.”

The danger comes, Obama told me, when people apply lessons of the struggle against communism in the struggle against Islamist terrorism.

“You have some on the Republican side who will insist that what we need is the same moral clarity with respect to radical Islam. Except, of course, communism was not embedded in a whole bunch of cultures, communism wasn’t a millennium-old religion that was embraced by a whole host of good, decent, hard-working people who are our allies. Communism for the most part was a foreign, abstract ideology that had been adopted by some nationalist figures, or those who were concerned about poverty and inequality in their countries but wasn’t organic to these cultures.”

He went on to say, “Establishing some moral clarity about what communism was and wasn’t, and being able to say to the people of Latin America or the people of Eastern Europe, ‘There’s a better way for you to achieve your goals,’ that was something that could be useful to do.” But, he said, “to analogize it to one of the world’s foremost religions that is the center of people’s lives all around the world, and to potentially paint that as a broad brush, isn’t providing moral clarity. What it’s doing is alienating a whole host of people who we need to work with us in order to succeed.”

Obama said that the manner in which a president discusses Islam has direct bearing on the fight against Islam’s most extreme manifestations. “I do believe that how the president of the United States talks about Islam and Muslims can strengthen or weaken the cause of those Muslims who we want to work with, and that when we use loose language that appears to pose a civilizational conflict between the West and Islam, or the modern world and Islam, then we make it harder, not easier, for our friends and allies and ordinary people to resist and push back against the worst impulses inside the Muslim world.”

Source: The Obama Doctrine: Why Islamism Isn’t Like Communism – The Atlantic

The Ugly Fight Over Arabic in Augusta County – The Atlantic

One of the better pieces on the Virginia county controversy over the content of a world religions module of geography classes, and the choice of the shahada as the example of Islamic calligraphy:

Of all the phrases to choose, though, why this one? Using the profession of faith, an essential part of converting to Islam, feels strange, especially when there are so many other possibilities that could achieve the same task. (The phrase is also on the flags of Saudi Arabia and ISIS, among other places.) Why not bismillah al-rahman al-rahim (in the name of God, the most gracious the most merciful), a far less charged phrase? There’s no reason to believe that LaPorte was trying to indoctrinate her students into Islam, but the choice of phrase just feeds paranoia about it. It may be just another case of conservative political correctness run amok, but there’s also something uncomfortable about using someone’s expression of faith in this impersonal way. It’s hard to imagine a case in which students would be asked to recite the Apostle’s Creed as part of an academic lesson on Christian liturgy.

Not that the new compromise seems great either. “Although students will continue to learn about world religions as required by the state Board of Education and the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning, a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future,” the district said in a statement. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Arabic calligraphy is of world-religion interest specifically because it is Islamic. Because Arabic is the language of the Qur’an, it has attained an exalted place in Islam throughout the world, well beyond Arabic-speaking countries. And because many forms of Islam prohibit or discourage figurative imagery, elaborate, beautiful, and highly stylized calligraphic artwork using Qur’anic phrases is a staple wherever Muslims are, around the world. Islamic art is a major chunk of world art, and while it’s inextricable from religion, it’s also a larger, civilizational thing than mere devotion. Using a secular Arabic phrase glosses over all that context.

Think about it this way: Would someone try to teach a class on Western art while excising Christian art as indoctrination? Of course not—in part because they’d have very little to work with in the centuries between Constantine’s conversion and the Renaissance. But Islam is something different, something that many Americans still view as a threat. My colleague Emma Green reported earlier this week on how schools in Tennessee and around the nation are facing intense efforts to roll back even the most academic, detached lessons on Islam. In many of these cases, too, the fight is being led by a small but vocal band of parents who find the act of educating about Islam, a religion with 1.6 billion followers around the world, itself objectionable and dangerous. It’s no coincidence that these battles almost always occur in heavily white, Christian school districts.

The Augusta County assignment was more vulnerable to outcry because of the unwise step of including the shahada. But there’s little question this is about fear of Islam, and not about objections to religion in the public schools. After all, Augusta County schools also offer students the chance to leave school once a week to attend Bible study.

Source: The Ugly Fight Over Arabic in Augusta County – The Atlantic

Why Are Immigrants More Likely to Concentrate in Certain Industries? – The Atlantic

Interesting case studies of the importance and impact of bonding capital within immigrant communities (enclaves) and link to occupations:

In the U.S. one might notice a curious concentration when it comes to jobs—certain ethnicities dominate certain industries. Greek immigrants are more likely to run restaurants than immigrants from other countries, and Koreans more likely to run dry-cleaning shops. Yemeni immigrants are 75 times more likely than immigrants of other ethnicities to own grocery stores, and Gujarati-speaking Indians are 108 times more likely to run motels.

Specialization among ethnic minorities, immigrant or not, isn’t new: It’s happened with Jewish merchants during Medieval times and with the Chinese in the laundry industry in 1920s California. Why does it happen so often? A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research attempts to explain this phenomenon.

William R. Kerr and Martin Mandorff, the paper’s authors, found that the social insulation of immigrant communities plays a big role in creating business pipelines into industries where previous generations have already found success. The trend is most common among groups that have tight-knit networks and in industries that lend themselves to self-employment. A variable that decreases the likelihood of ethnic concentration is when an job requires extensive licensing, certification, or education within the U.S, since many immigrants will have difficulty getting those bonafides.

The authors find that the way that immigrants socialize is especially relevant to the heavy concentration of immigrant-owned businesses in very specific industries. Immigrants often cluster, both geographically and socially, with those who are similar to them. Many arrive and stay with family or friends, and still others choose to move to a community with familiar customs and language. Staying within the same communities—and marrying within them—is most common among groups that are small and less assimilated.

This proximity can have important ramifications when it comes to how and where these groups find employment. Socializing—everything from religious to recreational activities—involves hanging out with people from a similar country or region. This can result in a transfer of jobs and skills to new immigrants that make them more likely to continue working in a certain industry, be it driving a taxi or cooking in a restaurant.

And the effects of that can multiply when played off the predisposition toward entrepreneurship that exists among specific immigrant groups. For instance, 45 percent of Korean men are self-employed compared to 15 percent of the male immigrant population overall. This tendency toward self-employment means that not only are owners are willing and able to hire fellow immigrants for their businesses, but also that there’s the ability to create an intergenerational trajectory, where owners are able to pass their business down to their children and grandchildren, continuing the job-clustering effect.

These same social connections can provide a sort of informal mentorship. In their research, the economists found that in 17 out of 25 case studies of immigrant groups, the industries where ethnic groups displayed the greatest concentration of entrepreneurship were also the industries where they displayed the greatest concentration of overall employment. That’s because the clustering around specific industries isn’t just helpful for finding work—it’s helpful for learning how to buy and run your own business as well. The relationships forged in these tight knit communities are especially helpful for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, who can pick up important tips on starting and maintaining a business from those in the community who have navigated challenges like taxes, startup capital, and inspections. And when it comes to self employment, such advice and support is critical, and may give some groups a huge advantage.

Source: Why Are Immigrants More Likely to Concentrate in Certain Industries? – The Atlantic

Donald Trump, Elizabeth I, and the English Origins of Birthright Citizenship

A good in-depth piece on the history of birthright citizenship, and how it was derived from British judicial decisions:

The Republican frontrunner’s assertion that the United States is “just about” the only country “stupid enough” to grant citizenship to all children born within its borders is easily proven false. Far from a scarlet letter of perversion, the U.S. policy is more like a badge of membership in the Western Hemisphere, where nearly all countries adhere to a version of the principle, a commonality some scholars argue is a legacy of colonial pro-immigration policies in the New World.

But the term “birthright citizenship” is also misleading. There are actually two common types of birthright citizenship in the modern world, and both are incorporated into U.S. policy. Trump and those who agree with him apparently only object to one of them.

You can be born into U.S. citizenship by being born in the United States—the principle known as jus soli, or “right of the soil.” Most countries in the Americas feature jus soli citizenship. And you can also be born into U.S. citizenship by being born to U.S. citizens, even if you’re born abroad—a concept known as jus sanguinis, or “right of blood.” “Roman law,” said University of Michigan law and classics professor Bruce Frier, “was very distinctly in the jus sanguinis category.” The policy has also frequently been incorporated into modern European states, emphasizing membership in the nation through parentage.

Yet the real irony of calling “birthright citizenship” a peculiarly American stupidity is that historically and theoretically speaking, geographical birthright citizenship is precisely as American as apple pie. That is to say: it’s English—and thoroughly monarchical in origin.

Given his “anchor baby” rhetoric, Trump may be pleased to learn one thing: The case many scholars cite as establishing the theoretical basis for geographical birthright citizenship did indeed involve a troublemaking toddler. The toddler was a Scottish aristocrat, and the case was a property battle.

In 1603, Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen,” died without an heir. The solution was to give her cousin Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland, a second crown, making him James I of England. The tough part about that, according to the University of Miami law professor Kunal Parker, author of a forthcoming history of immigration and citizenship law, was that “under English law, aliens—those who were born outside the allegiance to the king—were not able to hold or convey titles of real property.” Thus, in 1608, an English court found itself answering an intriguing question: If two-year-old Scottish infant Robert Colville had been given lands in England, were his claims on those lands valid? The traditional English position at the time of the case, Parker said, “was of course because he’s Scottish and hence an alien he should not have good titles to lands in England.” “Every one born within the dominions of the King of England is entitled to enjoy all the rights and liberties of an Englishman.”

In his influential report on what has, inexplicably given the actual names of those involved, become known as Calvin’s Case, the English judge Sir Edward Coke articulated a distinctly feudal-sounding jus soli principle that formed the basis of much law to come: “Every one born within the dominions of the King of England, whether here or in his colonies or dependencies, being under the protection of—therefore, according to our common law, owes allegiance to—the King and is subject to all the duties and entitled to enjoy all the rights and liberties of an Englishman.” Furthermore, “Seeing then that faith, obedience, and ligeance are due by the law of nature, it followeth that the same cannot be changed or taken away.”

In other words: People born in the king’s lands are his subjects and owe him allegiance, while he owes them protection, and there’s nothing the subject can do about it. This idea failed to delight the Lockean consent-of-the-governed junkies of later decades and centuries. As the law professor Peter Schuck and the political-science professor Rogers Smith put it in their famous 1985 critique of U.S. immigration policy, Citizenship Without Consent, “At a conceptual level, [birthright citizenship] was fundamentally opposed to the consensual assumptions that guided the political handiwork of 1776 and 1787.”

Source: Donald Trump, Elizabeth I, and the English Origins of Birthright Citizenship – The Atlantic