Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

In many countries worldwide over the last 200 years, people have bordered one another and dueled over disputed lands:  Bessarabia, Kosovo, Danzig, Alsasce Lorraine, Ossetia, Palestine, etc.  Often different names for places, different languages, and a question of cultural supremacy was the root of the conflict.  Spiritual–not material–questions of whose culture, religion, language, heroes, symbols, and people would be dominant were the main issues.

America and Mexico share the largest frontier of a First and Third World country on Earth.  Mexicans in Mexico (and now in American public schools) are taught how America dastardly stole the Southwest.  It is brushed over that Mexico lost a war, signed a treaty, and even sold additional lands to the US some decades later in the form of the Gadsen Purchase.  Nonetheless, for them this is an ancient land, their ancient soil, and they want it.  Quite a few of them live here now, and where they have coalesced in large numbers, they have little respect for American claims over the symbols, culture, and language of their new home.

Once upon a time, perhaps 30-50 years ago, the fewer Mexicans that lived here were more fully assimilated, particularly in smaller towns where they worked in agriculture. They were eager to fit it, not least because their differences were often a source of derision by natives. It was a painful process, but it yielded great dividends for everyone concerned. (Of course, there’s always been some tension, as in the infamous Zoot Suit Riots.)  It’s noteworthy in the video above that one of the young American-flag-wearing students was part Mexican, though he has chosen his American identity.  His type, once more common, is becoming the minority.  The very numerous Mexican-Americans are reinforced every year by huge numbers of native newcomers from Mexico, are cordoned off in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, enjoy a parallel media and a compliant education system, and see nothing but declining pride and confidence by Americans, as exemplified by this school principal’s idea that it’s “disrespectful” to wear an American flag in America on Cinco de Mayo.

A little cultural pride by immigrants is to be expected, though it’s dangerous for it to be tolerated without parallel displays of loyalty.  But in this instance it’s more fraught with political and social meaning because there is, in effect, a colonization of the American southwest taken place, complete with linguistic, political, economic, and social ascendancy, complete disrespect for our laws and customs, and mass departure by native born Americans.  This is not about having a few margaritas at Chilis and seeing a native dance.  Most Americans enjoy such things.  It’s about whether native born Americans and our country’s sacred symbols will be complete displaced, as the Serbs have been displaced from Kosovo, the Germans from Alsasce Lorraine and Danzig, the Romanians from Bessarabia, and so many others have been pushed off their lands by a more confident, more numerous, and more organized group.   If there’s one thing a video like this should convey, more than anything else, it’s that diversity is anything but our strength when it involves the migration of large numbers of very different people that have no interest in assimilating into their new, chosen land.

There is already a Mexico, and it’s hardly a paradise.  If we don’t want to see the entire Southwest turn into Tampaulipas North, then we need to kick out the illegals and forcibly erase the cultural pride and expressions of those that choose to live here, just as they (and their taskmasters in the media and academia) are trying to erase ours.

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The American Conservative has been a bit unwieldly from the start, attracting dubious characters whose only “conservative” instinct was isolationism rooted in the very unconservative impulses of pacifism and alienation from the values of fellow Americans.  Pat Buchanan has had little involvement for a while.  Taki left and started his own magazine, which now appears to be headed towards self-destruction.   What remained has been adrift for quite a while. Now, confirming for the millionth time the truth of O’Sullivan’s First Law, the American Conservative under the leadership of Ron Unz has started to question the immigration reform views of traditional conservatives, suggesting that fears of Hispanic Crime–which tends to be 3X the rate of native-born whites–are overstated and exaggerated. Don’t we have the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal to promote such mythology?

Of course, crime is not the only reason to oppose massive Latin American immigration.  There are other issues like the job security of native born Americans and the ways that Third World values corrupt our political culture and collective ways of life.  Ignoring these other concerns shows a real lack of conservatism, and the suggestion that these fears are irrational is not only stupid, but is easily refuted factually, as Heather MacDonald and Steve Sailer have done for years.   But the bigger question is:  why, even if crime were absolutely a non-factor in Latin American immigration, would a conservative, concerned with conserving a particular American way of life from change and degradation, support what has been one of the most significant drivers of our national dissolution, disunity, and decline.  I would not want millions of people from anywhere coming here, even if they all were quite pacific.  Conservatism is supposed to be about conserving something, but Unz has demonstrated (again) a marked indifference to the survival of America as a coherent and historical entity.

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Leading neoconservative Elliot Abrams, reveals his essential liberalism and indifference to America as an historical entity by calling for massive Haitian immigration as a response to the Haitian earthquake.   As we all know, there’s plenty of jobs to go around in America these days, and the Haitians that on Monday are swarming US Navy helicopters and practicing voodoo, would make fine citizens the minute they cross our frontiers.

This goes beyond mere liberal stupidity.  Abrams is a self-serving hypocrite. He openly and without apology promotes one set for rules for his ethno-religious group–Jews–for whom he publicly frets about “alarming demographic data” in the form of intermarriage, while promoting quite another set of rules for the historically European country he calls home.  For neoconservatives, America’s demographics deserve no respect and are only noticed as a remind for their own group’s status as a minority, a problem reminiscent of their once very vulnerable status in Europe, that must be rectified today through purposeful relegation of native-born European-Americans to minority status.  This is not good policy, and it will likely backfire some day on those whom it aims to protect and render invisible.

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What’s happening in Haiti is very sad.  But the images coming from there are utterly predictable. The outpouring of global charity at most is treating the symptoms; the causes remain, and this mass death will be repeated elsewhere in similar countries for similar reasons.  Let’s face it:  Haiti’s chief problem is that it’s filled with Hatians.  The mass death toll from this event is a consequence chiefly of that fact.  Its government, economy, construction practices, and every single aspect of society is hellish, not so different from what prevails in Somalia or Afghanistan, and it’s been that way pretty much forever. If Haiti were filled with Swiss or Americans, very few people would have died.  But whenever a big disaster hits the Third World it’s followed by mass extermination.  By contrast, the 7.1 earthquake in San Francisco in 1989 killed about 60 people.  These facts are not coincidences.  When these horrible things happen, I tend to think: one more super unlucky consequence of living in the Third World, none of which will be changing any time soon, because the foundation of those societies, their people, are not changing any time soon.

In addition to understandable sympathy and charity in the short term, is the question of what to do with our own little corner of the globe.  If the Third World is the way it is not because of a lack of resources, but rather its people, as well as institutions that reflect the values, prejudices, and shortcomings of such people, why do we want millions and millions of such people to come to our country, which is run very differently and does not have Third World problems, until fairly recently?   This is a purposeful policy choice by our leaders who are either short-sighted or devilish themselves.

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One of my least favorite parlor tricks of liberals, including neoconservatives and libertarians, is to define “rational” as a very narrow range of individualist philosophical views, based on a few pseudo-scientific axioms of one kind or another, and thereby rendering it nearly impossible for one’s opponents to win an argument before the discussion has begun because their opponents’ concerns, such as the good of a nation or the Glory of God, are defined beforehand as irrational and irrelevant.

There is much of this in Ilya Somin’s recent discussion of the evils of nationalism over at Volokh or in a surprisingly dispassionate defense of disloyalty by David Schraub over at the University of Chicago. This is what Enlightenment Universalism is, of course. It rejects the organic, historical and blood ties of peoples. It rejects the idea that God and revealed truth might have some influence in our political and moral life. It denies that matters that cannot be reduced to philosophical formulae might also be true, such as the idea that men should not marry men, women should first and foremost be mothers, or that people who talk and act funny and have unpronounceable names should be treated differently than our native-born sons.

What I wrote in response to Schraub exposes this little sleight of hand that all-too-often avoids the merits of the issue:

Majorities in fact have real power and a real moral right to preserve themselves as a people. Unless they’re suffering from mass psychosis, they do and should impose certain standards on those who would benefit from the nation and its laws and its protection, not least not to actively aid enemies of the nation.

We sadly ask so little of citizens, particularly newcomers, who often have dual loyalties. We are in fact a remarkably tolerant people, and it’s gone too far, culminating in such ridiculous acts as serving in foreign armies by the President’s Chief of Staff and the mass murder of soldiers after repeated statements of disloyalty by the terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan.

Nations are safer, more secure, and more pleasant when people are loyal and have some sense of allegiance and community. There will always be loyalty of one kind or another, but where disloyalty to the nation is tolerated usually it’s reserved instead for some other nation or group, whether it’s one’s ethnic subgroup, one’s religious community, a foreign nation, or some combination of the three.

There is something very obvious going on here, and part of the answer is in the authors and their backgrounds. They are ethnic and religious minorities, and highly educated transnational cosmopolitans to be exact. They are not typical Americans, but their views are highly influential. Big surprise, “Uzair Kayhani” came to Schraub’s defense. I’m surprised Osama bin Laden himself didn’t pipe in. The views of these people are why the Army tolerated the anti-American rantings of Major Nidal Hassan. They are why we tolerate foreign tongues and weird styles of dress by foreigners in our cities. This is why it’s been drummed into us to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

The universalist enlightenment liberalism they are promoting is a set of rules that is very useful for minority tribes surrounded by a majority with different values and interests. These views advance the minority by rendering the majority’s dominance on cultural, economic, and political matters less so, such that its older standards of excellence are dismissed as exclusionary and morally suspect. Who cares if you were descended from those on the Mayflower? That’s ethnocentric and elitist. Who cares if your granddad fought in World War II? It doesn’t matter where you were born or what your family ever did, you’re just a citizen no different than an FOB in a Hijab.

Under this viewpoint, the majority’s becomes one voice in a multicultural chorus. Of course, in spite of its pretensions to fairness, it’s obviously a self-interested ideology. When these same minorities are in charge or in the majority–such as Jews in Israel or Chinese in China or Muslims in any Muslim country–they almost always adopt different and sensible rules aimed at the self-preservation of their nation and their religion.

I do not necessarily begrudge them such nationalism at home; within the limits of justice, it is natural and to be expected. But I do begrudge the attempt by alienated minorities of all kinds to redefine and rewrite the rules of the game in my home, where we have a majority, our own folkways, our own traditions, and our own way of life. Those traditions, of course, are and were very flexible. They were flexible enough historically that many minorities felt welcome here and did not, until recently, feel it terribly offensive to have Christmas as a federal holiday or to change their names from Chandrakumar to “Sean.” But this tolerance was not our only value. It was part of a broader tradition, that of a real nation with more than a creed but a real national character–courageous, risk-taking, unpretentious, in love with space and freedom, upwardly mobile, self-reliant, proud, God-fearing, patriotic, inventive, practical–but this character has been deliberately and maliciously erased by the deliberate efforts of a subset of minorities and newcomers, for whom such very minor indignities as Nativity Scenes, the “strong silent” WASPy ideal of masculinity, and the old informal rules of “fair business,” undermined their own rise to power.

Don’t fall for this trick, friends. What appears to be a fair, universalist, philosophical account of the good is often based on controversial and unproven premises; a little looking makes it clear often that the speaker is insincere, his arguments are sophistical, and that his goals are the same tribalism (in the ascent) for which he denounces you, even when you’re merely trying only to defend a known way of life.

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In response to a jobs-protection provision in a pending amnesty bill, Hispanic chauvinist Ruben Navarette writes:

Why should [as Rep. Luis Guittierez said] “no one born here in this country … ever lose an opportunity for gainful employment at the expense of someone not born here?” Remember, these aren’t illegal immigrants but legal immigrants coming on visas.

Why should U.S. citizens get a benefit not from education or hard work but from something they had nothing to do with — where they were born? If a job is available, U.S. workers should be free to compete for it, but not have it handed to them on a silver platter. Likewise, foreign workers who come here legally should have a shot at competing for that same job.

Of course, protectionists claim that the playing field isn’t level since foreign workers will often accept less money to do the same job, thus putting American workers at a disadvantage.


Pro-immigration activists alternately talk about compassion while saying “tough” to Americans. The only unifying principle is the good of their tribe. Ruben is a Hispanic. He is not a loyal American. He has demonstrated this repeatedly in his writings, which are totally indifferent to the good of other Americans. It matters not where he was born; it’s clear he’s totally indifferent to the common good and can’t even think in such terms. This kind of talk would be intolerable among anyone but minorities.

I suppose if we enforced our laws against border-hopping, stopped fraudulent H1B Visa applications (which supposedly require a company first to hire an American), and generally leveraged US power for the benefit of American citizens, even at the expense low-skilled Mexican workers, “tough,” wouldn’t exactly fly with Ruben. That’s when we’re called to be “compassionate.” Ruben’s column is not a moral statement aiming at justice but a triumphalist one: we’re winning, you’re losing, and you people need to deal with it and stop complaining. “You” . . . Americans that is . . . must be sacrificed for the principles of globalism, for the “economy,” for all the bad things your ancestors did, and for the good of morally exquisite Third Worlders that are trying to make more money at our expense.

Allowing mass immigration is a policy choice. It’s a choice to underenforce the laws, and it’s a choice to let people in with visas. No company or family or individual would behave the way Navarette counsels when dealing with people they genuinely care about. No CEO would say, “Well we can give this business to our own in-house team and save some jobs and keep the money in house or we can save a nickel by sending it to a vendor.” There is a community of interest in a firm, and the firm’s management is supposed to look out for the good of the firm as a whole. This is obvious. No family would shrug its shoulders at a brother or sister or dad’s job loss due to the pressure of low-wage, low-skill competitors. A country is no different. It was obvious, until recently, that its leaders should look out for the good of its citizens.

There is no doubt that Navarette would not be fighting for mass immigration if it did not benefit his group to acquire greater numbers, greater cultural influence, and greater wealth at the expense of native-born Americans. We know this because leftists like him who now prattle about the virtues of globalism spent a good part of the middle 20th Century defending the mass exclusion of “neo-colonialists” (i.e., white Europeans) from places like India, Rhodesia, and Mexico. Leftists swooned with admiration as these countries built up nationalist economic orders, complete with protectionist state-owned monopolies like PEMEX. When will Navarette dare to speak out about this vital feature of Mexican political and economic life? Can anyone imagine Navarette telling South African blacks or Indian nationalists or Mexican protectionists “tough” when they defend their historically nationalist and anti-white policies?

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The picture that emerges of Major Nidal Hasan is of an obnoxious, provocative, and disloyal gadfly.  He showed little respect for the uniform, his peers, or the rights and wrongs of the war on terrorism after the 9/11 attacks.  His deranged criticisms were absorbed by the politically correct and risk-adverse culture of today’s military.  Consider this nonsense from the Army Chief of Staff, General Casey:  “Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

Worse?  Worse than 15 dead and 28 wounded?  Worse than an institution whose deracinated soldiers were well trained to know that raising an objection to someone like Hasan could be “racist” and thus the end of one’s career?

People outside the military don’t realize quite how much the h.r. nonsense we’re all accustomed to in academic and civilian life has become the lingua franca of the military since the Clinton’s administration, the Tailhook scandal, and the unnatural integration of women into combat-like roles.

We are fighting a war against radical Muslims, but no one is allowed to notice this inconvenient fact, even inside the military.  Today’s p.c. soldiers are supposed to train indifferent Iraqis and Afghanis, police these crummy countries’ sectarian elections, brook their proteges’ constant whining about civilian casualties (even though their own internecine struggles are positively Satanic in comparison), and ignore the fifth columnists in their midst like Sgt. John Muhammad (DC Sniper), Sgt. Akbar (who fragged his fellow soldiers), and now Major Nidal Hasan.

Neither Bush, nor Obama, nor most of the leadership at Ft. Hood takes note of the fact we have a self-professed Islamic enemy.  And that some of these enemies were born here, wear our army’s uniform, and have conflicted views about the country the rest of us love.  Instead, these manifest facts are dutifully suppressed by the ideology of diversity.

I think the media’s and other elites’ refusal to look at the content of Islamic beliefs, the relative lack of patriotism of the American Muslim community, and the way this community and the broader American community talk past each other is a problem. Non-Muslim Americans wrongly assume Muslims want to be treated fairly as equals.  Some do and would be content with that.  But Muslims on the whole see themselves as an elect, a superior community that needs to be treated deferentially.  This is the meaning of the Danish cartoon riots, the pushy suppression of dissent under the rubric of “hate speech,” and the double standards on accidental civilian deaths by western forces on the one hand (unintentional but worse in their eyes because committed by infidels) and the nearly daily and far more deadly bombings and killings of Muslims by other Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Their idea of “due respect” is anathema to a democratic society built on tolerance and Christian ideas of freedom and conscience, whether in Europe or the United States.

Channeling Aleander Kojeve, Francis Fukuyama in the End of History noted that the animating principle of democratic societies is the abandonment of the earlier “warrior aristocracy” ethic, whereby one group in the community demanded recognition as superior because of its physical courage, in favor of the more limited respect between each stratum of society merely as an equal to the others.  This practical equality of self-perception and social demand by different cohorts in our own society has a lot to do with our vital and relatively strong traditions of self government and peaceful social life.

Fukuyama to his credit more recently noted that, “Democracy’s only real competitor in the realm of ideas today is radical Islamism. . . . Some disenfranchised Muslims thrill to the rantings of Osama bin Laden or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the appeal of this kind of medieval Islamism is strictly limited.”

This is all to say that the Nidal Hasans of the world are not an existential threat, particularly to the United States.  At the same time, they–and by “they” I mean Muslims in America in general–should not be considered presumptively loyal.  They should prove themselves.  Every other immigrant group has done so, usually in the uniform and with the sacrifice of blood.  But unlike the Japanese and immigrant Italian and German Americans in World War II, Muslims have largely been MIA from the War on Terror and have shown a lack of moral clarity regarding the same.

Is it too much to ask a little expression of anger that anyone anywhere thinks like this bastard, Hasan?  Can we not say, roughly, “Love it or leave it.”  If they insult us, show discomfort with the uniform, express sympathy for Islamic terrorists, or otherwise threaten the military and its need for uniformity, Muslims and anyone else who thinks like this should be shown the door.  In other words, while we should not abuse loyal and peaceful citizens, we should be profiling.  We should be demanding displays of loyalty.  And we should be kicking out bad guys like this from the military and from the country before they do us any harm.  Diversity is hardly important and its loss is not a greater tragedy than the loss of life from some of our best Americans at the hands of someone who was only here because of a misguided and reversible immigration policy.

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Aren’t you glad that Mexican illegal immigrants are doing jobs that “Americans won’t do” like washing dishes and cooking food in restaurants, cleaning your houses, and watching your kids for $7/hour? I mean, what’s a little swine flu when we’re talking about saving a nickel on a hamburger or maid service?

Our open borders, particularly to the Third World, means long eradicated third world diseases, third world habits of sanitation, and third world problems become our own. It’s not the fault of individual Mexicans or anyone else that they’re born in that part of the world, acquire certain bad habits, or get exposed to problems due to their native countries’ public health infrastructure. But it is an avoidable problem for America, and much of the immigration problem amounts to whether we’re willing to exercise any will or political power to preserve a distinctive and valuable way of life that we have created for ourselves in the United States, including such features as habits, manners, politics, economics, education, language, religion, respect for the freedoms of others, and all that goes into the American way of life.

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Above is an interesting chart. So is this one:

There clearly were many factors in the housing bubble, all of which aligned to create a perfect storm of sorts: higher levels of leverage among investment banks, a trade imbalance, reliance by institutional investors on misleading ratings by ratings agencies, inflationary monetary policy, conversion of housing assets into opaque financial instruments, reduced lending standards, the pressures of the Community Reinvestment Act, the mystique of home ownership, business models that invited fraud, and a pervasive mania of speculation. But one factor that seems increasingly undeniable is the Bush administration’s belief that Hispanics were “natural Republicans” and that the best way to get them into the fold was to give them a stake in the “ownership society” through various housing subsidies. Hispanics’ increasing numbers in the so-called “sand states” had a lot to do with the bubble’s disproportionate influence in those regions, and these subprime borrowers’ low levels of human capital and earnings eventually led to the music stopping as payments were unmade and new borrowers could not materialize to prop up the inflated housing prices. I mean, throughout the boom, no one said, “Does it make sense a sheetrocker from Chiapas making $11/hour can afford a $400K McMansion in Anaheim?”

This is what may be called an “overdetermined” event. In other words, without large levels of Hispanic immigration and Bush’s obsession with cultivating Hispanic political support, the bubble may still have happened. But it seems unlikely that it scale would have been quite so huge and the wave of defaults quite so numerous in the absence of the low-skill Hispanic immigration wave the U.S. has undergone since the 1986 amnesty. A million people per year is a lot of people. As the chart above shows, subprime lending tripled in the boom and the bulk of that expansion was increasing lending to blacks and Hispanics. Even more important, as shown in the second chart, blacks and Hispanics–according to the Boston Fed–have default rates nearly two times higher than white subprime borrowers. Of course, the media, the Democrats, and the Republicans don’t want to discuss such things; it’s not considered polite, and, thus, the greatest demographic and social change of the United States since the Civil Rights movement is thoroughly and deliberately under-analyzed and misunderstood by well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) political elites.

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While many American elites imagine immigrants love it here, are motivated by high ideals, and offer a great deal to this country, Vanishing American notices something that anyone who has spent time with real immigrants has noticed: a certain ambivalence and, at times, hostility to America, its people, and its culture, viz.:

It’s very important to many Americans that others like us; many Americans seem to have an excessive need to be liked and to gain the approval of foreign people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a fellow American ask a foreign person, whether a visitor or an immigrant, how they like it here in America. They always ask with a sense of expectation, as if they just know the answer will be glowing praise for America, and gratitude for being here. And yet, of all the times I’ve heard the question asked of various tourists and immigrants, the latter almost never offer praise for this country or gratitude for being here. Like our European exchange student of so many years ago, they compare this country unfavorably to their own, and in some cases, offer criticism of American behavior. Maybe I’ve heard a few people say they love it here, but many, at best, give noncommital answers. Some, when Americans ask them ‘do you like America’? will give a rather unconvincingly affirmative answer, probably believing that they have to answer yes when put on the spot.

Quite honestly, most of the immigrants who are coming here now come here not because they like us, or capitalism, or anything else about our country. The come here because of the lure of prosperity and a higher standard of living, a safer and easier life. Granted, not all find a bed of roses when they come here, but they seem to like the trappings of life in America just enough to stay despite their feelings for us, not because of any affection or affinity.

Still, most Americans, in their puppy-dog fashion, crave hearing that our new ‘Americans’ love us, and love apple pie, baseball, the Stars and Stripes, and the Fourth of July. Many Americans are shocked when they come to find out that our need to be loved by foreigners is not requited with love towards us, or even an equal need to be liked by us. Quite frankly, many of the immigrants are aware that their increasing presence in our country discomfits many of us, and they don’t care. They do not care. Our opinion of them is of no consequence; we are of no consequence to them. We are an annoyance, an obstacle.

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Vanishing American, a hardcore conservative par excellence, has a great post on the Octomom, Nadya Suleman, which I’ll excerpt below:

I think she has a point that the ‘new America’ is in some very sad ways epitomized by Nadya Suleman. Suleman would be a rarity in the pre-1965 America in many ways. First, she is the product of a marriage between an Iraqi (or a ‘Palestinian Iraqi,’ according to some) and an American woman. Secondly, she is an only child, reflecting another ‘new American’ tradition, that of the small family.

Again, her single motherhood would have kept her from the public limelight back in the old America. Nowadays, permissive Americans would call that practice ‘stigmatizing’, but the fact was nobody celebrated single motherhood. If an unmarried woman gave birth, it was a hush-hush thing. No baby showers given, no announcements in the newspaper. It was thought to be more considerate of the mother and the mother’s family not to trumpet such a thing, but to keep it quiet. And the news media would not have created a media frenzy over a single mother giving birth to multiples.

I doubt that any ethical or respectable doctor of the past would have even considered giving fertility treatments to a single woman, and of course IVF was not in existence then.

This story is an illustration, too, of how technical and medical advances are not necessarily a good thing if they are not under the control of ethical and responsible human beings. An amoral or immoral people with advanced technology will not use it wisely or well.

‘Octomom’ appears to be an example of the narcissism that is such a plague on the ‘new America.’ The idea that the decision to give birth to a flock of children without a father, and without a means of steady support, and without a real plan of being able to care for them, is a thoroughly selfish and short-sighted idea, something only a narcissist would consider. It appears she subscribes to the libertine idea, so popular among many young Americans that ‘I have a right to do whatever I want; it’s my life and my decision, and no one has a right to judge me.’ There is no thought whatsoever for the fact that no man is an island; our ‘personal’ and individual decisions often have serious consequences for those around us: our families, neighbors, and society at large, let alone our children and future generations. Only overgrown, selfish children believe that their ‘personal’ decisions and choices are nobody else’s business. But much of today’s America fiercely defends the belief in their sacred right to behave as they please, free of any ‘judging’ by other people.

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One of Bush’s more asinine theories of foreign policy, a theory at the heart of much of neoconservatism, is the idea that everyone everywhere wants American-style freedoms and American-style democracy.  As he said in his 2007 speech on the surge:

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

But is this really what a great many Iraqis want?  They surely want order, commerce, fair treatment, and the good of their individual tribes.  But freedom? And if they celebrated the fall of Saddam, hasn’t it been clear that for some this was a signal that they now could oppress their erstwhile oppressors?

The sorry history of liberal movements in 19th Century Europe and South America should give some pause to those who believe that people everywhere desire freedom.  That desire has often been fleeting or coexstensive with darker desires of envy, revenge, and license.  We’ve seen this in our own times, particularly in Eastern Europe, where misguided notions of freedom left a great many Russians, Poles, and others with unfortunate disrespect for free markets, borne by the rapidity of the social change and the inclusion of accidental aspects of free societies that could have been disregarded in deference to national cultures and other goods.

I recently read Tocqueville’s excellent work The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution and was struck by the relevance of the following passage:

I see quite clearly that, whenever nations are poorly governed, they are very ready to entertain the desire for governing thesmelves.  But this kind of love for independence, which has its roots only in certain particular and passing evils brought on by despostism, never lasts long; it disppearas along with the accidental circumstnaces which caused it.  They seemed to love freedom; it turns out they simply hated the master.  When nations are ready for freedom, what they hate is the evil of dependency itself.

At home and abroad, a desire for security by the lower classes above all is the main competitor of freedom.  Instead of looking to export this difficult to maintain good overseas by military force, America would be better served to cultivate its own national independence at home.  But instead of the Republican evils of imperial adventures abroad and the false freedom of unproductive financial gimmicks at home, Obama promises humanitarian interventions overseas and crippling debts at home in the name of economic stimulus.  Having replaced the old stawart American people with a newer breed through mass immigration, and having accelerated that old breed’s decadence at home with the welfare state begun in the 1930s, the various effects of liberalism have rendered the old American type that “hate[d] the evil of dependency itself” in short supply to say the least.

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McCain often identifies America’s problems in moral terms as opposed to ideological differences on policy. Is this really the root of political friction? Liberals of good will justify most of their proposed impositions on the market economy with the same language of community, sacrifice, and public spiritedness. For them and McCain too, America is a cause and a project, not just a place, a people, and an extended family. McCain’s defenses of free markets and limited government stand uneasily alongside rhetoric like this:

We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington.

The — the constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause. It’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not for you. . . .

Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

This rhetoric is reminiscent of Ross Perot’s. He was a similarly self-confident figure and an old-fashioned patriot who thought our policy differences could be easily resolved if only people of would abandon their blinders of self-interest. This is a natural enough instinct about personal vocation from McCain, whose entire life has involved government service, including honorable service in the military. But as a diagnosis of what’s wrong with our politics and how to solve them, this formulation seems wrong.

Bush, Clinton, and McCain’s triangulation obscures that there are deep disagreements since the 1960s about core values on issues ranging from free trade and abortion to immigration and the Iraq War. People’s disagreements on these issues, as often as not, do not flow from narrow self-interest so much as disagreements about policy, history, identity, and priorities. After all, self-interest is not why white males like Bill Clinton and Joe Biden support affirmative action or massive destruction of our economy to combat the alleged crisis of global warming.

McCain’s rhetoric, in spite of its superficially unifying character, invites greater conflict and acrimony. His confidence in his own pure motives and the call of history invites crude put-downs of his opponents, which he has indulged in repeatedly, as if folks what want to keep America’s population and demographics stable for cultural reasons are merely a selfish faction.

It’s true, the Democratic Party’s rhetoric often invites narrow self interest: join us and take money from the rich people! But Republican rhetoric does in some respects too: you should keep your money and do what you want with it. It’s better kept with you than the government. While pork barrel spending offends McCain’s sense of national interest, large and expensive government projects, such as “transforming the Middle East” or “defending democracy in Georgia,” do not. He seems a bit blind to the ways even well-meaning government programs can harm our collective interest in being able to pursue our individual goals, plans, and concerns. He also seems not to realize that one man’s pork barrel interest is another’s necessary local project to benefit “his community.” In other words, McCain’s lack of principled conservatism leads to a kind of dissonance in policy and does not equip him to resist calls for grand historical government projects that are exceedingly expensive. Prosaic, but necessary, big cuts in spending on entitlement programs do not appeal to his sense of grandeur and historical mission. For example, nothing in McCain’s view of the world would find anything wrong with the New Deal or the Great Society.

An authentic conservative political vision must acknowledge a few things about our times. While government is not the only problem, it is an impediment. The government has become too big, and its goals are often hostile to civil society’s institutions like private enterprise, religion, and the traditional family. Government is out of control only partly for reasons of narrow self-interest. Indeed, grand altruistic projects based in the “selfless” goal of equality like social security and Medicare cannot be easily reigned in through rooting out corruption. Their problems are structural; we need to make tough choices about priorities and spending and the purpose of government, and those tough choices will require shrinking government rather than expanding its commitments in the name of concern for the public good. McCain’s shown little appreciation for these difficulties the redistributionist agenda imposes on the private sector, partly, no doubt, because he is completely insulated from economic worries and the suffocating impact of taxes and regulation. Finally, in our ethnic politics, everyone is playing by the rules of power and self-interest except for whites.  What, after all, is the meaning of groups like the National Council of La Raza or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  McCain, however, to show his own bona fides is silent on affirmative action and repeatedly supports massive amnesty as a grand historical gesture.  Unfortunately, amnesty and continued mass immigration will an opening for greater disunity and stress our over-generous welfare state and public health resources.  The diminution of America’s traditional majority and leadership class will ultimately lead to a cruder, more Balkanized ethnic politics that we see in corruption-ridden places like Los Angeles and Chicago.  If McCain truly cared about America and could somehow connect the dots, he’d realize that keeping this country populated with native-born Americans is part of the formula for having the kind of national political culture he desires.

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They just had a big ol’ bash for Nelson Mandela’s birthday in the UK. Will Smith, Annie Lennox, and even crackhead Amy Winehouse made an appearance. Nelson Mandela, of course, is a terrorist who fought long and hard for majority rule in South Africa. He spent many years in jail for a real terrorist crime: attempted sabotage of trains in South Africa with bombs. He and the ANC movement ultimately succeeded, and South Africa has since gone down the tubes with out-of-control violence, rape, economic troubles, and overall chaos.

You would not know about this somber reality from the happy celebration in Europe. Much of the anti-Apartheid movement there was part of a broader and rather extravagant exercise in self-loathing. Nationalism was deemed the origin of the two very terrible World Wars, and it too was the root of colonialism. Colonialism undoubtedly had many evils attached to it, though in practice it varied quite widely from place to place, and those evils should be compared with the evils that preceded European rule or followed in the restoration of majority rule.

After abandoning their colonial empires out of necessity, Europeans in the 60s had little to feel guilty about. So after condemning their parents–about whom they could do very little–they set about an orgy of condemnation of the small number of whites still living in Africa. They labeled them as the apotheosis of evil and treated them far more shabbily than the far more murderous Soviet Union and friends.

Europe swiftly threw Rhodesia and South Africa in front of the bus in the 70s and 80s, while saying little about the mass murder of fellow Europeans in Hungary (1956) and the Czech Republic (1968). It’s very easy to be generous with the lives and fortunes of people that are distant from you. The European indifference to the problems of majority rule in Africa is akin to the American liberal indifference to the problems working-class whites face on such issues as school bussing or gun control. Liberal policymakers send their kids to fancy private schools and live in well-protected high rises and gated communities. Yet their co-ethnics with far less wealth must deal with race riots in high school and out-of-control crime enabled by misplaced compassion. The way Europe has treated European settlers in Algeria, Rhodesia, and South Africa is the same phenomenon: costless “charity” with other people’s lives. It’s an opportunity for irresponsible self-satisfaction, self-condemnation, and other ugly practices.

Looking for dragons to slay, the Europeans also opened the floodgates to mass immigration from their former colonies in the 60s. What began as a trickle is now a raging torrent. From the murder of Theo Van Goth and Pim Fortuyn to the Paris riots of 2006 and the all-too-frequent “honor killings” on the streets of Britain, unease has grown into real fright and despair.

What should the leaders who brought about this doomed course do? Surely they won’t talk straight about what’s happened and what needs to change going forward. Better to forget and celebrate the likes of Nelson Mandela, whose black-ruled South Africa has predictably emerged as failed state replete with corruption, disorder, and all of the other traits of Africa as a whole.  Minority rule coupled with prosperity and order has been replaced by failure on every mark of good governance save one, majority rule, which is cold comfort to people murdered in their beds by thugs.

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