Coming to America: Hang onto a Dream

America is the only country in the world founded on ideas; not on race, not on culture, not on language, but on the ideas of human liberty and freedom. These ideas, as our founders noted, are universal, but they have been lived out here better than anywhere else on earth. That’s why so many people from around the world have come to America; to experience the liberty and freedom denied them at home.

As we celebrate the founding of our nation on July 4th, I suggest watching the opening two minutes and 25 seconds of Neil Diamond’s movie “The Jazz Singer,” featuring a short version of his iconic song, “Coming to America.”

You can also watch him sing the complete version of “Coming to America” in concert in the final scenes of the movie here:

Happy Independence Day.


Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst and founder at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 10:05 | Posted in Uncategorized | 58 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Dick Winningstad

    And a good weekend to you Mr. Buckstein! I will be at the St. Paul Rodeo enjoying a bit of Americana. But always remember that the Declaration of Independence was serious stuff. The signers pledged to each other their Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor. They literally put their futures on the line to gain independence.
    The end result is why so many want to come to this country.

    • Very true, Dick, serious stuff indeed. The least we can do is recognize what they gave us, and do what we can to preserve it.

  • Eric Blair

    Actually, this country was founded on race. Or was it accidental that slaves were predominantly, almost exclusively, black. To ignore that element of our history, is to seriously misunderstand where we came from. I would recommend Edmund S. Morgan’s book: American Slavery, American Freedom.

    • guest

      That you would thou purser attendant some break wind left wing palooka idyl ship moribund on a Sargasso Seize-all cruise’n

    • Ron Swaren

      Eric never runs out of misinformation. No, US slaves were not “exclusively” black. Obviously you don’t know how the British Empire subjected many people, including Irish and Scots, plus religious groups, forcing them to purchase their freedom as indentured servants in the colonies. I happen to know that the Norwegians lived in conditions of dire poverty, close to slave like conditions—until a religious revivalist, Hans Hauge, provided a new direction, between his years long stints in prison. They had been reduced to half their population by the Black Death, then were subjected by the German Hanseatic League, then Sweden and then Denmark. Farming was nearly impossible because the conditions were incredibly icy and cold.

      The US chose to let craftsmen and tradesmen from Europe in to settle because they figured those types would be more useful than hunters and gatherers. And during the entire Trans Atlantic slave trade, less than five percent came to the US–all the rest went to Latin America and the Caribbean. And it paled in scope and brutality to the Arabian East-Africa slave trade.

      • Eric Blair

        I do know my history, enough to know that indentured servitude was not the same as slavery. In fact, the failure of indentured servitude to provide a stable labor base read to the rise of slavery in the colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.

        Read again.. I did not say that slaves were exclusively black. There were Native American slaves as well, but they were more difficult to control.

        Brutality of other countries does not excuse or in any way detract from the reality that this country was founded, in significant part, upon slavery. Your digressions and misdirection only makes me believe that you know it too. If there is anyone engaging in misinformation, it is you.

        • Ron Swaren

          Est. 1.5 million Europeans captured for slavery by Barbary states, Ottoman Empire, et al. And for you, there is this cute little interactive map from Slate, which also says: “Of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans to eventually reach the
          Western Hemisphere, just 388,747—less than 4 percent of the total—came
          to North America.”
          https://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_history_of_american_slavery/2015/06/animated_interactive_of_the_history_of_the_atlantic_slave_trade.html
          (quoting from Wikipedia)
          Dr William Petty, Physician-General to Cromwell’s Army, estimated that
          as many as 100,000 Irish men, women and children were transported to the
          colonies in the West Indies and in North America as slaves. And that’s just part of it.

          • Eric Blair

            Allow me to repeat… we are talking about the founding of this country, and Steve’s contention that it was not founded on race, when race actually figured quite large in the establishment of the United States.

            Misdirection Ron. That’s what you are doing. Do you have kids? When they were young, would you let them get away with pointing out that some other child did something worse?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Race was not the reason. Because slavery existed, a common feature of the economic systems throughout the 18th century world, is not evidence that the founding was race based.

          • Eric Blair

            Considering that our slavery was based upon race, especially at the time this nation was founded, it certainly is. In 1776 and 1789… how many white slaves were there in the United States?

            There were certainly many in the new country that found slavery to be an abomination, so why did it continue? Why didn’t the words, “All men are created equal…” pertain to blacks (except for a few in the North, but even then they weren’t treated as equal citizens).

          • Dick Winningstad

            And I will reply, again, that slavery was a common part of the world’s economy. Yet not the major reason for our founding otherwise all the States would have had an equal distribution.

          • Eric Blair

            That is simply not true. Distribution doesn’t have to be important to all the regions, when one of significant regions found it incredibly important. The needs of the slave holding states trumped freedom and equality for all. Nor, is it THE major reason, but one of them.

          • Dick Winningstad

            And yet you said it was the major reason. “Actually, this country was founded on race.”

          • Eric Blair

            Yes, and then in a later post I walked that statement back and said it was too strong. That I should have said it was one of the major components.

          • .

            What a sap sack of redundant scat ‘buy’ Eric Blair!

        • redbean

          Some Irish people, tainted by their Catholicism, were sold by the English as slaves – not indentured servants. In the late 1600s, they were ten times cheaper than African slaves.

          As for Native Americans, they were not profitable as slaves. They ran away too frequently, as they had better survival skills than others. They weren’t subdued until after the Yankee generals like Sheridan and Sherman (“The only good Indian is a dead Indian”) had perfected their craft on defenseless Southern women and children.

          • Eric Blair

            The conditions for Irish conscripts and indentured servants, while not good by any measure, were not the same as chattel slavery that existed for Africans. By the time of the founding of this nation, there were, essentially, only African slaves.

            How many children of the Irish remained “slaves”… compare that to the experience of African slaves and their progeny.

            Which is why Ron’s citing of 300,000 imported slaves is not the entire story by any means. By the time of the founding of this country, and into the nineteenth century, black slaves would number in the millions because of the internal slave trade.

          • redbean

            I’m not trying to minimize the experience of African slaves. And yes, it was easier for an Irish slave than an African one to blend into Anglo society.

            But I’m also not talking about Irish conscripts or indentured servants. There were Irish political prisoners and kidnapped children sold into slavery by the British starting in about 1625 and continuing for 200 years.

            “For some reason, history likes to call these Irish slaves ‘indentured servants’. As if they were somehow considered better than African
            slaves. This can be considered an attempt at whitewashing the history of the Irish slave trade.”

            “There does exist indentured servitude where two parties sign a contract for a limited amount of time. This is not what happened to the Irish from 1625 onward. They were sold as slaves, pure and simple.”

            “In reality, they were considered by some to be even lower than the blacks.”

            https://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/27/1265498/-The-slaves-that-time-forgot#

          • .

            “Shanty Irish” a pc colloquialism for the time. Never mind the other street labels.

    • Gardenhomeboy

      Is racism real? Was racism real at the time of the founding? Is racism bad and morally abhorrent? Yes, Eric, you know that. But your claim that the US was FOUNDED on race isn’t supported by much other than the fact that racism existed when the US was founded. Sure we had racist institutions such as slavery then and we have institutions which perpetuate racism today(the police to name one), but to say that we were founded on racism is pretty ridiculous and not genuine. This country was founded on ideas such as liberty, freedom, civil rights, limited government(read as a defined role for the state, not small gov’t vs big gov’t), commerce, etc. I could maybe agree with you if you were less absolutist in saying the US was founded on race rather than simply saying race was a significant component of our founding. Race is one that we(and all nations) need to work to remove from our national character.

      • Eric Blair

        I was too absolute in my statement… race/slavery was a very important element in the founding of this country. Important enough that it made its way into the Constitution. To make the statement that this country was not founded on race, however, is to simply ignore the historical record. Our freedoms did not occur in a vacuum… and slavery/race was a defining element of our establishment as a nation.

        My sentiment is genuine… slavery as an institution didn’t gain steam until it
        became obvious that indentured servitude could not always provide a
        ready and trained labor force. That labor force helped the colonies
        grow and prosper.

        Liberty, freedom and civil rights weren’t intended or extended to everyone. There were some free blacks, but they the exception, rather than the rule.

        • Gardenhomeboy

          can you explain to me what founded on race means? I already said racism/slavery were important during the founding, but that other factors were important like the Enlightenment. As far as slavery being important in the US, it has been important in many nations throughout history. It seems like you think race is the ultimate causal factor in US independence and government systems. I don’t think that racism is the fundamental causative factor explaining why our government, society, and economy are they way they are today. I think Enlightenment values and norms are better at explaining stuff than racism.

          • Eric Blair

            I am reacting specifically the statement by Steve with reference to the founding of this nation. I do not think of race as the ultimate casual factor. It was, however a significant and essential factor in the establishment of democracy in this country, and how that democracy was conceived.

            How can you argue otherwise? How could slavery exist in a contained box away from everything else that was occurring? How could our founders write, evidently with little irony, that, “All men were created equal”? Were the referring to blacks in this country? But.. you know… they weren’t worth giving freedom to? They weren’t endowed with inalienable rights?

            Ideas do not exist in a vacuum, and many of our important ideas about freedom and democracy came out of Virginia – probably the most important of the slave owning states, if not the most important state in colonial America. Virgina was an economic powerhouse… and slavery was fundamental to that. Liberty was conceived as applying to white people, and a few select people of color (and not just white people, but white men – women would take at least another hundred years before they could start to vote).

            I do think that slavery/racism is a causative factor in explaining who we are today. Slavery can’t be simple viewed as a distinct institution that didn’t have any effect on the formation of this country. And of course racism has defined who we are down through today. We still haven’t settled issues of race and equality in this country and that is despite more than 200 years of history and a civil war.

          • Ron Swaren

            I think that is a valid remark though. If the Founding Fathers had not been somewhat privileged people (i.e. owned slaves) would they have been able to come up with the level of thinking required to do what they did, that is organize a new nation, detached from any monarchy and indebted (at least in theory) only to the people? However, bear in mind that oftentimes nations go backwards rather than forwards. Ours went forward, don’t you think? So why is that? And within a comparatively short period of time acted to end slavery.

          • Eric Blair

            Yes, they would have, and I believe the could have.

            Yes, the ended slavery, and then we immediately proceeded to make sure that blacks remained second class citizens. Quite a few nations have moved “forward” (which is a very subjective term, I’m sure you’ll agree).

            Keep in mind that Britain ended the slave trade before the US.

          • redbean

            “Yes, (they) ended slavery, and then we immediately proceeded to make sure that blacks remained second class citizens.”

            No, “we” couldn’t have done that unless you believe in time travel.

          • Eric Blair

            Editorial “we” as in the nation. Not good writing on my part… its what happens when I dash things off to quickly.

          • Ron Swaren

            The South was in turmoil; The infrastructure was ruined, there was a new source of competition for the blue collar tradespeople and industrial innovation was decimating old forms of employment. Many left the south, heading for wide open spaces in other states. People who had come to Oregon just wanted to escape the whole thing, since it was two months of travel just to get to the east.

          • redbean

            “How could our founders write, evidently with little irony, that, “All men were created equal?”

            So they were human beings with blind spots, just like you and me. Yet they put their lives on the line for their beliefs, unlike you and me (at least, not yet).

            “Virginia was an economic powerhouse… and slavery was fundamental to that.”

            How about prosperous colonial Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – where slaves were used in the shipping industry as well as domestically? Yankee banking and shipping interests continued to profit from transporting slaves long after this was made illegal in 1807.

            Eventually, slavery became uneconomical to the Northern industrialists because of the cost to house and feed them even when business was slow. Instead, the morally superior Yankees employed the seemingly endless supply of freed blacks and immigrants (those Irish Catholics sure were handy). After all, they could be fired at will, segregated into tenements, and there was no need to support their children or grandmothers. Since workers weren’t property, there was no loss to the balance sheet when they died early.

            “We still haven’t settled issues of race and equality in this country and that is despite more than 200 years of history and a civil war.”

            It wasn’t a “civil war.” The south did not attack the north. They sought secession from the north just as the colonies sought secession from King George, and like the northern states debated at the Hartford Convention (1814-15). The rest of the western world (e.g., Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain) ended slavery in the 19th century without slaughtering more than 3/4 of a million people including large numbers of civilians (a new thing at that time).

            Maybe the historical trauma from all that bloodshed has something to do with our problems today? Or, maybe some very powerful interests profit from maintaining this division of people into racial groups? After all, if we fight amongst ourselves, we won’t recognize our common foes.

          • Eric Blair

            LOL.. the south didn’t attack the north? What did they fire at Fort Sumpter? Pumpkins?

            It was, indeed, a civil war. Perhaps not by your definition, but by many. Nice thing about language, it is very elastic.

            I would say our problems today had a lot to do with how the South dealt with their black population after the war when the North and continued racism in this country.

          • Eric Blair

            And let me be clear, not just the South. The North still had quite a laws in the various states that kept their black populations at the level of second class citizens. They weren’t slaves, but they were treated with equality either.

          • redbean

            Maybe they did fire pumpkins, considering the death toll: One horse and zero humans.

            Context: Lincoln wanted 50% tariffs vs. the competitive 10-15% sought by the south. The south was also prepared to pay their share of national debt and to purchase federal property. These terms were insufficient to fund Lincoln’s expansionism and corporate welfare.

            Lincoln refused to meet with southern peace negotiators and sent warships to restock Ft. Sumter, knowing this aggression would not go unanswered. Or, at least that’s how northern newspapers saw it at the time.

            As for “how the South dealth with their black population after the war,” Reconstruction was designed and implemented by the North, as was Jim Crow.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Hmmm…. Slavery a part of the Constitution? Where? The only part I am aware of related to the subject is the clause not to interfer with “The migration or importationof such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit,…” until 1808 in order to get the South on board for the nation (Art. 1 sec. 9). And to count “… 3/5 of all other persons” to limit the impact on the numbers of representatives the slave states could send to Congress (Art. 1 sec. 2). Slavery is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution until the 13th Amendment when it was made illegal.

          • Eric Blair

            So if they don’t actually mention the word slavery, then slavery wasn’t a part of the constitution (despite your examples where it was)? WTF? You gave two examples of where the Constitution was about slavery.

            Funny how everyone back then knew those sections were about slavery.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Your statement clearly said slavery was in the document. I disagree. And showed it was not. The 1808 part certainly included regulation on the slave trade but also indentured servants and immigrants. In your modern idea of the national government being all powerful, you overlook the idea back then that the states were an equal partner in the nation and the clause was telling the national government to not interfere with State activities until 1808. Afterwards the national government was free to regulate immigration and the other activities including slavery.
            3/5 people are non-citizens not just slaves.

          • Eric Blair

            Yes.. the 3/5s were just slaves, not non-citizens. Everyone back at the founding of the United States seemed to understand that.

            Also, perhaps that you’ve forgotten that the Constitution was crafted to make for a stronger central government in reaction to the problems inherent in the Articles of Confederation. There would not have been a 3/5 representation rule without slavery, nor would there have been the section that would allow the country to end of the slave trade with Africa (but not the internal slave trade) in 1808. Both of those sections were added at the insistence of slave holding states, and were intended to help protect the institution of slavery in the south. They knew that at the time, Dick. Are you telling the writers of the Constitution that they were wrong?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Of course the major reason was to lessen the impact of slaves counting for representation. And yet you insist the country was founded on race while showing there was division among the founders. And to the point that slavery was not mentioned in the document to avoid division between the sections, I suggest your premise is wrong.

          • Eric Blair

            We are now officially going in circles. Simply because it is not mentioned by name, does not mean that slavery is not in the Constitution. If you read other posts related to the first one, you’ll see that I have already said that I was too absolute in that statement.

    • redbean

      Mr. “Eric Blair,” I’m sure you know who said this: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

      “Founded on race” ??? Define “founded.”

      • Eric Blair

        If you read my other comments, you’ll find the answer to that question.

        • redbean

          I’ve read them all. By “founded,” do you refer to the religious seekers on the Mayflower, the fighting of the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution or something else?

          • Eric Blair

            The founding of this nation from the importation of slaves to the colonies through the revolutionary war. Race and slavery played a central role in the founding of this country.

          • Henry Marcus Allriche

            Butt, lo, white men can’t jump any higher than allotted hooey PDX Trial Blazer contractures.

          • Dick Winningstad

            If slavery was the major economic activity you might have a point. But since it wasn’t a major part your point is wrong. Trade and commerce of goods were the major economic activities of the colonies.

          • Eric Blair

            OK. So, who made up much of the labor force of many of the tobacco and cotton plantations of the South? Were tobacco and cotton trade goods regularly supplied to the Europe and other points of the world?

          • Dick Winningstad

            That was not the only economic activity in the colonies. Your view is very narrow.

          • Eric Blair

            No, and I never claimed it was, but it was very important economic activity to the United States. My view is narrow because we are talking about the importance of slavery to the foundation of this country. That does not mean that other economic factors weren’t important to. I believe you are being deliberately disingenuous.

          • Dick Winningstad

            No, I am taking you are your word, “Actually, this country was founded on race.” Which I believe is wrong given the wide sweep of the economy and the ideas propagated from the founders.

    • Dick Winningstad

      Nope. Otherwise slaves would have been evenly doistributed through out the colonies/states. Mr. Morgan is a good historian, Iwill need to look at his book. Note that the reviews I read on his book emphasize his study of slavery in Virginia not the nation as a whole. New England certainly had different ideas on the subject than Virginia did.

      • Eric Blair

        There distribution certainly doesn’t detract from my point at all.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Of course it does as you are broad brushing the whole country.

          • Eric Blair

            No.. I’m arguing that slavery was an important and significant factor in the foundation of this country, and that since slavery was imposed upon blacks, race was a factor in the establishment of the United States. That does not preclude other significant and important factors. I think you are deliberately ignoring slavery to whitewash (pun intended) our history.

          • Dick Winningstad

            No I was taking you at your word, “Actually, this country was founded on race.” And suggesting you are wrong.

          • guest

            ‘rhetoric’ Blair ought jack hisself over into a corner and turn over a new belief in flavor of common sense promulgated by what’s right, and naught off dildo mats converting from a what’s left of US blank.

  • Bob Clark

    Just say No to the government centric control aspirants when they try selling the White Privilege guilt trip.

    Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

    Look to the good and champion it, rather than doing the guilt pounding method of the Democats who use it to advance their aspiration for socialistic solutions.

  • Jack Lord God

    True, this country was founded on an idea. However that central idea seems to have been both utterly lost. The idea of America was that individualism came first, with government intrusion and needs a distant second. That idea has been reversed – many of us now feel what the government does for its citizens is the paramount measure of a society rather than what the citizens are free to do for themselves. A civilized society is increasingly defined as one where increasing government scope in peoples lives, accompanied by the diminished freedom that necessitates is the standard of judgement.

    The proponents of such ideas are clever indeed, with their main weapon being to keep the populous fighting chimeric enemies that can never be defined, thus never defeated. Evil corporations, racism, climate shifts, all of these are enemies that can never be defined or identified, thus they can never be defeated. The solution, however, is always the same. Corporations are evil by virtue of their sheer size, so government must grow bigger to combat them. Racism requires a leviathan justice department in order to police a few heinous events a year. Climate shifts require impoverishment of a society while those who promote it most seem to buy beach front property with wild abandon.

    And in the midst of it the populous cries out for government to give them more. We have more people on welfare in it’s various forms than ever – yet circus barkers tell us our head of state is an economic genius. Starting a business, the very engine of our way of life is now virtually impossible.

    They have us very well distracted indeed.

  • Habib

    I, too, have come to America. I am from Pakistan. Everyone here around me is fat. We don’t eat ourselves sick in my country. We don’t have storage companies for all the junk like here where people’s have so much it all does not fit in their home. The movies here are disgusting. Every other word is F—. This I do not understand. Music here is horrible. And what is the Facebook? Why is everyone staring into little screens like they are addicted to opium, some of which comes from my country.
    How can a cup of coffee here cost the same as a week’s wages in my country? That is wrong.
    Dogs and cats here live better than most people in my country. No one should have so much riches that this can happen.
    Schools here are silly. No one works. Everyone is above average. I code for a living and still have not met one person under 30 who knows even half of what I know in coding.
    No one seems to work much. 5 hours a day seems like the most and all these days off for silly holidays. How does anything get done here?
    In my country we actually work hard and get much accomplished.
    Your politics amazes me. Everyone lies and lies and then does what they want once in office. Look,at your own ex governor. What a sad, pathetic, little man child. In Pakistan he would be in jail!
    Of this I can assure you.
    I know you are going to say go back, but I have more opportunity here than in my own country. I send half of what I make here (Intel) back,home to my family, and yet still I live like a god.

    • guest

      A cunning linguist with more acumen than a Dem seated on a roiler coaster ride on over Obama/Clinton mounting slide into facetious bay of the gullible.

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)