If the price of homogeneity is that we all have to look like Steve King, I’m not paying

Steve King, who is definitely one of the dumbest politicians in America, put his foot in his mouth once again. He is endorsing openly racist ideas, making David Duke happy, and confirming once again that the Republican party has become the shit-hole where we dump our very worst people.

King in a tweet praised Geert Wilders, including a cartoon depicting Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that reads Western civilization.

Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies, the congressman wrote.

Actually, yes you can. In fact, you must. Our country alone contains over 300 million people, is Steve King planning to fill the nation with the fruit of his loins? Obviously not. When he says our civilization, he has a broader group of people in mind than just his immediate family. When he says somebody else’s babies, he’s explicitly making a division among the people living here to exclude a group. The question is, where is he drawing the line within our people?

I think we can all guess. And it’s understood that somebody else’s babies are quite simply the brown people who don’t look like him.

There’s a word I like: ecumene. It recognizes that there is a broader community of people living in a land, bound together by the ties of our culture, but still allowing for diversity. I don’t like people who want to shatter our ecumene.

It’s a clear message, King said on Monday. We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more. And Geert Wilders knows that and that’s part of his campaign and part of his agenda.

Guess what, Steve King? Our countries are going to be transformed whether you like it or not, and whether one ethnic group or another has greater birth rates. People gripe about different generations within a population, and always have. Cultures change, always. It’s human nature. The concern is to shape those changes in positive directions. One example of that is public education, which Steve King’s party wants to destroy.

Also, our birth rates? Whose? Is Steve King a resident of the Netherlands? Perhaps he thinks he’s being inclusive. I warn you, though: allow Iowans to find commonality with the Nederlanders, and next thing you know, you’re going to have to let Belgians into the club. And if you let Belgians in, you’re going to have to recognize your affinity to the French. From there it’s a slippery slope to Iowans becoming cosmopolitan people of the world, and there goes your dream of redneck insularity.

King went on to criticize illegal immigration to the United States and immigrants who don’t assimilate into the American culture.

I’m in a state where you can buy lefse and lutefisk any day of the year, where communities celebrate Syttende Mai, where individuals proudly fly blue and yellow flags, where we tell Ole and Lena jokes. Is that OK, Steve King? I notice that you have a motley assortment of flags on your desk, including a Traitor’s Flag.


I think that it is fine to be proud of your heritage, and people should celebrate the customs of their Latin American or African or European or Asian ancestors. It’s when it becomes exclusionary, and you try to shame people for their history, or you use your history to justify oppression, that it becomes a problem.

Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization. Some embrace it, yes. But many are two and three generations living in enclaves that are pushing back now and resisting against the assimilation, he said.

Like, say, Minnesota? My family came over from Sweden and Norway in the early 19th century, it’s been like five generations, and they haven’t forgotten old customs. My grandparents even moved again from Minnesota to Washington state and found communities of like-minded Scandinavians to live among! Yet somehow second-generation citizens who speak English at school and still speak Spanish to their abuelita are a problem?

How much assimilation do you want?

King also emphasized his view that western civilization is a superior civilization.

I like Western civilization, too, but I think its strengths are openness and willingness to share the benefits of society with all (which, come to think of it, was also true once upon a time of Islamic civilization and Roman civilization and Chinese civilizations, or at least, those civilizations that thrived and grew).

So why does Steve King want to make changes that turn us into an inferior civilization?

I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective, he said.

Oh, jebus. I just imagined an America populated exclusively by balding, potato-nosed, pop-eyed, pale-skinned, thin-lipped stupid people, and it was horrific.


  1. bodach says

    PZ, as you must know by now, we have almost rid Ballard of the Squarehead scourge of Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. No longer do these grinning and amiable people infest this part of Seattle, with their weird foods, hard work, and supportive community.
    We are trying to keep the Irish out, obviously, but the struggle continues.

  2. waydude says

    Lol “our birthrates”

    Psst, hey King, you what helps lower birthrates? Having more money. Seriously, you worried about all those brown babies, raise the standard of living for them and less brown babies! Just think about it, instead of wars to kill all those brown babies you could spend far less and just improve their lives and the benefits are less crime, more education, a better and more stable society. Eh? EH?! Nah, you’ll just keep killing them.

  3. says

    Also, our birth rates? Whose?

    I am pretty sure King has never and will never birth anybody. As I said elsewhere: It’s the deep seated anger that women* are fucking whom they want and having babies if and with whom they want. It’s no wonder they’re blowing for a full attack on contraception access and abortion rights/access.

    *In this case cis white women

  4. says

    #1: You mean the Scandihoovians have been outbred by those dastardly Scots/Irish rascals? I change my mind. Clearly we’ve got to have a great grand fucking contest to bring up our numbers.

  5. cartomancer says

    I’ve had sex at least two and a half times, but my numbers haven’t increased at all. I think there’s something amiss with this theory.

  6. Larry says

    Which civilization is King referring to here? The one that allows people to dine at restaurants that offer cuisines from just about every nation in the world? Or the one where people listen to music whose rhythms and intonations stem back to music in Africa. King’s fucking religion wasn’t even made up by whites; it’s from the middle east (where jebus was brown, like everyone else in the area).

  7. markgisleson says

    King’s CD is directly south of yours. It is not the most conservative corner of Iowa (SE with old Klan rumblings gets that ‘honor’).

    The difference between Morris and Sioux City is a Democratic Farm Labor tradition. More liberal colleges and a farm sector that is not 100% Republican (i.e., dairy).

    What King’s CD lacks is any kind of progressive counterweight. Instead, DNC writes off district and it grows steadily more right wing because you truly can say dumbshit in King’s CD without fear of public disagreement.

    Empower progressives in King’s district. It will never get better until we work to stop making it worse. And by empower I do not mean protests meant to antagonize. I mean clearing your throat when trash gets talked. Raising eyebrows when friends cross lines. Letting people know where your boundaries are and then not smirking when they politely make an effort not to offend you. In Iowa, that’s just like shouting (and shouting is like arson).

    But mostly, stop writing off parts of the country as ______. A meaningful Democratic party runs good candidates everywhere. I miss that party, even though I haven’t seen it since I was young.

  8. says

    King has been thinking those things his whole life. He has probably discussed the issue with his fellow confederate-flag-displayers. He’s so happy now that he can spew that racist, white nationalist sludge in public.

    Trump, Bannon, Miller and others in the Trump administration will have to figure out how to hide their secret glee. Most likely, they’ll just hide and pretend it never happened, or pretend that King’s comments have nothing to do with them. Spicer will be questioned during press briefings about his racist comment. He’ll come up with a new word salad to cover that.

  9. raven says

    Xpost Patheos

    “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

    What civilization? What culture?
    There is no such thing as white culture or western culture or American culture.

    I have nothing in common with Steve King or the racist morons in Iowa who keep reelecting him.
    They might as well be from another planet from my viewpoint near the Pacific ocean.
    I’m not even a xian any more.

    PS There is so much wrong with Steve King’s 2 year old view of reality. Among the most glaring here is, that civilizations and cultures grow and change rapidly. They evolve, combine, split in real time, years and decades.
    I was born at the end of the Ozzie and Harriet Eisenhower years. Grew up in the 60s and 70’s. And am now stuck in the era of Fascist America. It’s a lot of changes in cultures in my own lifetime.

  10. yaque says

    Ghandi, I think, said something like
    “Western Civilization? That might be a good idea”

  11. says

    The society so many conservatives seem to crave would be so fucking boring. All people the same shade. All the men their preferred version of manly, all the women whatever version of “feminine” they have in mind (and only men and women, with all of them cis and straight). One menu you can order from, but maybe some occasional foreign stuff if it’s not too adventurous. Here’s the music we prefer, please assimilate and learn to only play it this way.

    There’s more, but sorry. I’m already dying of boredom.

  12. kosk11348 says

    I notice that you have a motley assortment of flags on your desk, including a Traitor’s Flag.

    The Civil War ended over 150 years ago. Anyone still defiantly flying the flag of the Confederacy has zero room to talk about immigrants “refusing to assimilate.”

  13. says

    Geert Wilders’ appearance reminds me of Zorin, the villain in the James Bond film A View to a Kill. King is the kind of person who’d be a lackey to a James Bond villain, and probably get shoved in front of a bullet by said villain.

  14. tacitus says

    There was a study done way back in the 1980s in Germany that looked at the birthrates of immigrants from various nations over time. Their findings? As soon as immigrants set foot in Germany, their birthrates began to fall — i.e. those who were in the middle of having families immediately started having fewer children, and the trend continued to fall to the national norms over the next two generations.

    None of this should be surprising, but it is an inconvenient truth to those pushing the European Caliphate bullshit.

  15. gijoel says

    That last comment from King reminded me of the Red Dwarf episode ‘Rimmer’s world’ where everyone was clone of the obnoxious hologram Rimmer. Needless to say, things devolved quickly.

    As for increasing the birth rate, those brave Republicans are working on that. Namely by reducing women’s access to contraception and abortion. #arseholes.

  16. =8)-DX says

    Heh, hearing PZ using “ecumene”, reminds me of another word. OK, different meaning, but I remember my fundie catholic parents hotly contesting such a notion as:

    the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches.

    Gotta also get along with the religious if common land is something we should unify around.


  17. mod prime says

    The flags, from our left:

    Looks like Iowa state flag.
    US flag
    Gadsden flag
    Vatican City
    A Confederate Battle flag.

    Interesting selection.

  18. says

    Wonder what the folks who fear liberal university “indoctrination” think of the idea that people in the USA should all make themselves “assimilate” into “the” American culture…

  19. jrkrideau says

    Steve King, who is definitely one of the dumbest politicians in America

    I was going to question that since there seems to be some really stiff competition (see Congressman Hank Johnson and the tilting Guam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7XXVLKWd3Q or Ben Johnson and ancient Egyptian grain storage) but yes, after reading some of Steve King’s tweets and statements, he certainly is in the running.

    And he certainly is xenophobic. I don’t think calling him racist does him justice. BTW that’s with the funny flag? I thought Iowa was with the Union but I don’t know much US history.

    I don’t think we have lefse and lutefisk in my small Canadian city. I’d probably need to go a good 160 km to find a source. I have found sources for Iranian–style pomegranate molasses, orange blossom water and onion oil among other things. Chicken roasted in pomegranate molasses, aah.

    I was ranting a year ago about Canada accepting Syrian refugees. As I said the time. we need more Syrians. Every wave of immigrants adds variety to the cuisine and Syrian cuisine is reputed to be excellent.

    A new restaurant opened last week with a somewhat unusual Thai–Syrian cuisine. Might be a story there. It would probably scare and enrage King. Perhaps I should send him their take–out menu?

  20. magistramarla says

    Ahhh – My grandson would really freak King out. He has our very, very proper English last name, but he slips easily between Spanish and English, calling me Gramma and his other grandmother Abuela.
    We’ve said that someday he will surprise people when the “white boy” with the proper English name can understand every word that they were speaking in Spanish!
    Really, why can’t these regressives understand that diversity in this country is a strength, not a weakness?

  21. magistramarla says

    We happen to live in the middle of one of the most ethnically parts of our city. We never needed much of an excuse to do so, but since the orc in the oval office came out with his attempt at a Muslim ban, we’ve been making an extra effort to visit nearby Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants. We’ve been enjoying spending our money with our neighboring immigrants.

  22. JohnnieCanuck says

    We’re in a small couple of communities here on the Wetcoast of Canada, less than 20,000 altogether. Last restaurant we went to has a South India heritage. Love the way the spices shift and change as you are chewing. Then there’s several Greek, Japanese, Chinese and Thai ones. All good.

    You know, one of the nicest things about our neighbour, Vancouver, is the way high school and college kids so often seem to pay no attention to ethnic differences when it comes to dating. I read something a while ago that Vancouver has more inter-ethnic couples of more variety than any other place in the world. Something to be proud of.

  23. Jeremy Shaffer says

    King went on to criticize illegal immigration to the United States and immigrants who don’t assimilate into the American culture.”

    In a video I recently watched, someone made the point that American culture is part black, so it’s therefore impossible for white supremacists to save it.

    “I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective, he said.

    Yeah, when everyone’s white, there’ll be no racism anymore. Because the whole history of “European culture”- you know, that thing white supremacists claim to own- isn’t chop full of bigotry and discrimination despite the fact said people were supposedly all white. I could say that’s because the people we refer to as “white” is a recent social invention and if people like King ever got their way they’d develop a hierarchical system that was just as pointless and bigoted as the racism they promote now*, but I’m just a panty-waist, liberal SJW, so what do I know?

    Hateful people will find a reason to hate, no matter how petty.

  24. jrkrideau says

    @29 JohnnieCanuck
    Thread drift
    Something a Vancouver Canuck might appreciate (How’s the season going?)
    I was reading some mystery book where the protagonist who was in Vancouver and whose French was very weak needed a bilingual person to help.

    She meditated on the problem that there were tons of bilingual people in Vancouver but they were usually English–Punjabi or English–Mandarin.

    Come to think of it I used to know a man of Japanese descent who was interned in WWll. He grew up in a French speaking enclave in Vancouver and ended up tri-lingual. He worked for the Post Office and he was very popular with Foreign Affairs when they needed a guide/ escort for high powered Japanese groups.

    Come to think of it Hydro Québec was leading a tour from Shanghai a few years ago and they had found a tri-lingual engineering student from Montreal. Maybe we should encourage King’s emphasis on the great English language. It would give us an amazing commercial advantage. :)

  25. gmacs says

    Wait, hold up,

    Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization. Some embrace it, yes. But many are two and three generations living in enclaves that are pushing back now and resisting against the assimilation

    What the fuck does he think European communities were doing in Iowa? One of the major tourist sites and home-goods producers in the state is Amana Colonies, which was a German enclave. Pella Windows is based in a town that used to be a Dutch enclave.

    My grandfather was educated in Norwegian. There is a Dala Horse factory 15 minutes North of where I now sit, in King’s district. I can name several small towns here in central Iowa that are almost entirely of Norwegian ancestry. Hell, Story City has a “Velkommen” sign on the way into town.

    He’s always been so clearly full of shit. It astonishes me that he keeps getting elected, or even nominated, since a lot of Republicans don’t even like him.

  26. numerobis says

    jrkrideau : Government jobs in Nunavut you can often get a bonus for being functional in two of the four official languages, if it’s relevant for your job (which it is for a lot of jobs). In practice it seems to generally mean English + French or English + Inuktitut, but you would theoretically qualify with Inuktitut + Inuinnaqtun.

  27. numerobis says

    magistramarla: a friend who lives in Paris, her son spoke spanish with his abuelita, german with his oma, french at school, and… I’m not sure with the parents, but they spoke english to each other when they met.

    King’s worst nightmare? Probably, there’s some mexican involved .

  28. MadHatter says

    Been living in Europe for the last few years and what struck me when I first moved here was how different everyone continues to view themselves to be! Get three pale-skinned people in one room, from three different EU countries (even neighboring ones), and the cultural differences are still clear enough that it’s not so hard to understand why Europe was constantly warring with itself until a few decades ago. Put any three people from the same country, different areas, in one room and they just as quickly identify all the differences that are not outwardly apparent.

    Kick all the [insert racist BS descriptor here] folks out of anywhere and it doesn’t take long for other differences to become important. I remember going to a southern state years ago and feeling quite out of place culturally despite sharing a language, whereas by comparison I found it very easy to fit in when I moved to the Pacific NW from a SW state.

    I will never understand why people like King think homogeneity is a good thing.

  29. jrkrideau says

    # 35MadHatter
    I will never understand why people like King think homogeneity is a good thing.
    Because anything different from what he grew up with frightens and threatens him? At a guess, he lacks the mental flexibility to deal with new things and ideas.

  30. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    He’s got a point. Do we really want to accept a people who keep their own traditions, continue to speak their own language, practice their own religion, dress in their own weird way, educate their kids in their own schools, and just generally refuse to assimilate?

    When will America wake up to the Amish threat?