Imagine we are invaded by space aliens. Lots of folks have imagined this, of course, and this imagining is the basis for many popular books and movies. In most of these scenarios, the aliens, who are obviously more technologically advanced, have come to conquer, exterminate or exploit us.
Why do we think this? Because that’s what we would do? That has been the general historical pattern-that is, more advanced societies have invaded others and either wiped them out entirely or turned them into vassals.
Entire books have been written on the advantages of the compound bow or the stirrup as the shapers of history (history=ODBA=One Damn Battle after Another.) The message is: he who has the most lethal technology wins.
That is a classic imperial mindset, but then Anglo-Americans operate on the classical imperial mindset. But let’s imagine aliens invade us and do not exterminate us. They do not even want to suck our vital essence. They only want to entirely change our way of life. It will be for our own good, they say. No more wars, violence, ignorance or disease.
Would we breathe a sigh of relief and set out to adapt the new way of life? Or will we fight them down to the last man?
When this has happened in the past, some natives have fought bitterly while some (often from the same tribe) have tried to instantly adapt the new culture. Neither tactic has been very successful. The fighters were killed off and the adaptors deteriorated. They became deculturated, stripped of their way of life and this seems to have very bad effects on people. Alcoholism, poverty, violence and a general giving up of the will to live seem to follow.
It seems that our way of life is intimately linked to our life itself; it is not something that can be changed like our Tshirt. We do, however seem to be able to adjust slowly, to adapt new ways-IF it is voluntary and gradual. Here in America, I suppose we have immigrants from every nation on earth. New arrivals adapted-gradually-to the predominant culture and learned the language and customs. It seemed to take a few generations.
The rising popularity of right-wing parties in Europe and anti-immigrant parties in the USA are perfectly understandable. When a flood of aliens arrive and do not integrate-when a few aliens even demand that the host country adapt to their ways!-expect fireworks. The host people feels their way of life is threatened; they say this plainly. Perhaps they are correct. This is just humans being human, lectures on political correctness and multi-culturalism are not going to change this.
The solution is smaller numbers of aliens “invading” and those aliens realizing they are guests and behaving accordingly. Learn the language, learn the customs and integrate gradually. It doesn’t mean the alien has to lose their way of life, either. My family is quite aware that our forefathers came from Poland. “Alien invaders” don’t have to lose their way of life, but they have to adjust it, or risk an awful lot of hostility.