In his Aug. 19 column, M.D. Harmon criticizes “elites” in the Western world who burden ordinary citizens by welcoming refugees from the Middle East.

He closes by citing the conservative writer R.R. Reno: ” ‘Capitol City’ (the elite cocoon in ‘The Hunger Games’) is what history shows you will get when resources are concentrated in the hands of deracinated, disconnected and disdainful elites.”

No doubt many readers ran to dictionaries or Google to find that “deracinated” means uprooted, or alienated “from a native or customary culture or environment.” So, according to Mr. Harmon, the reason Angela Merkel allowed in so many refugees is that she is disconnected from her roots and fails to put German interests first.

“Deracinated” is not a word in common usage anymore, but it is one that was in vogue in the first half of the last century – among the Nazis. Being deracinated was as bad as being Jewish, or being cosmopolitan, a dire threat to the purity of German blood and culture.

Their tradition lives on: “A deracinated white man is superficially white: he looks white, dresses white, speaks with a white accent and cadence – but inside, he has been drained of the values and characteristics that make white people unique. He is without race in any meaningful sense.” This is from the website of Their paradigm of the deracinated white is Jeb Bush, whose “Mexican wife and mestizo children give him away.”

I am not calling Mr. Harmon and Mr. Reno “Nazis,” and I agree with Mr. Harmon that the reception of large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees into the West raises very difficult issues. But those issues are not going to be solved, and the real frictions caused by economic and cultural gaps are not going to be eased, by resorting to labels that have such a tainted legacy.

Neil Gallagher