The issues involved in formulating an American immigration policy have become something of a microcosm for the larger ideological confrontation of our times. As in that larger confrontation, there has been some tendency for Conservatives to speak with great caution, lest their words be misconstrued by those whose principal argument is always to cast aspersion on the motives of others. Many who would like to see immigration sharply curtailed, or drawn more from human stocks that played the greatest role in formulating the traditional American ethos (the National Origins approach, which worked reasonably well between 1920 and 1965), have hesitated, lest they be pictured as "racist xenophobes" or fear-driven foes of any change. Others hesitate, lest they say things which may hurt the feelings of people they work with, or with whom their children go to school.
Clearly, decisions on Immigration & Naturalization cannot be left to those who are too worried that they may be mislabeled to make objective evaluations of essential factors. Personal likes and dislikes have very little to do with formulating sound policy; nor is one's degree of respect or disrespect for other nations, the key determinant. It is a crass form of demagoguery that would seek to attribute one's advocacy of a limitation on residential visas on national, ethnic or racial grounds, to prejudice or intolerance, rather than debate the argument offered. The determinant of suitability should be compatibility with what you seek to further or preserve, not a derogatory attribution towards those you would reject. Men of good will can debate rational issues without aspersing the motives of those with whom they disagree. Here, as on other issues, no Conservative need ever be defensive.
We have dealt in Chapter Thirteen with the question of How To Recognize The Bigot In The Argument, and with actual implications of the Leftist denial of human differences in Chapter Five, as well as in Chapter Seven (The Lies Of Socialism). These will have some bearing on questions that pertain to the formulation of a wise--or at least intelligent--immigration policy. But a more specifically focused discussion on some widely held, and avidly promoted, fallacies is in order here. Consider:
The first question, of course, is what actually constitutes a Nation, its attributes, functions and purpose? As we have repeated in various essays, "A Nation is not a game of musical chairs." It involves concepts of kith and kin, of shared struggle; of common sacrifice and common triumph. If a Nation has a specific domain, it is about homeland, the land where one's "fathers died." In Vattel's classic Eighteenth Century treatise on the LAW OF NATIONS, the defining standard at the time the Founding Fathers launched America, and for at least a century later, the subject is addressed thus:
Nations or states are bodies politic, societies of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by the joint efforts of their combined strength.
Such a society has her affairs and her interests; she deliberates and takes resolutions in common; thus becoming a moral person, who possesses an understanding and a will peculiar to herself, and is susceptible of "obligations" and "rights."
One of the most misleading and outworn shibboleths of our day is that America is a "Nation Of Immigrants." That represents a confusion of concepts. It is not that most Americans cannot trace their ancestry to other lands. They can. But the birth of an American nation will not be found in any act of immigration. America did not arise somewhere else to be transported hither, nor form a motivation for an original settlement. The idea of a national society of men, whether limited to each individual State, or growing out of the shared common resolutions of the several States in the Constitution, with a will peculiar to their union, arose among those who fathers had long since passed from the status of settlers (coming from various lands but mostly from the British Isles) into the status of permanent, rooted inhabitants: People with a wealth of shared experiences, good and bad, in the land in which they were to discover a new national identity.
To call us a Nation of Immigrants is to imply a denial, or at least trivialization, of that essential quality of any Nation that she is a society with affairs and interests, that deliberates and takes resolutions in common ... becoming a moral person, possessing an understanding and a will peculiar to herself. The American ethos was not created in equal parts by the original and subsequent waves of immigration. Those who came later sought to join an established political society; one well defined by essential documents, with a clear sense of its own unique identity and history.
Another misleading concept may be seen in the Emma Lazarus poem, The New Colossus, which has been inscribed at the Statue Of Liberty, and includes these lines, "Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/ The wretched refuse of your teaming shore." No lines have been applied more frequently and fervently to immigration into America, but no lines could be more truly misleading. The implication of tired, poor huddled masses, of refuse is the antithesis of those brave and confident settlers, who established the foundations, from the ground up, for what became the several American Republics that emerged from the Revolution; those, each very distinct, political societies--each reflecting its own unique pattern of settlement that had lead to a peculiar social infrastructure--which then found broader common purpose, enabling them to form a Federal Union.
There are a number of ways to take the quoted lines. Certainly, there is no need to disparage the idea that America has in fact been a haven for refugees from misery. One can be an altruist and praise that idea, without implying that our primary purpose is to be such refuge--that we will not only welcome refugees with good character, but are deliberately soliciting them en masse. One thing that the Founding Fathers were most definitely not trying to do, was glorify "the masses." From first to last, they relied upon the responsible individual. And he was not huddling with the mob. He was charting his own destiny!
The first duty of a Nation is to its own future generations. Suggesting that, in celebrating the concept of Liberty, we should embrace the status of a haven over the preservation of an existing, well-defined, character and identity, is to lose one's way in a scarcely considered sentimentality. This has no place in the formulation of policies that will effect countless generations yet to come. There is certainly a place for sentimentality; for kind, gentle nostalgia as well as forward looking reflection on the human drama. But policy needs to be formulated with a first emphasis on the realities of the subject. Policies based upon fancy or fantasy, on ignoring reality, can only destroy the softer more sentimental values along with the realistic interests thus neglected. Neither America nor Europe has become a kinder, gentler place, since it began welcoming the huddled masses of an undifferentiated humanity.
Another widespread illusion is that of a melting pot, the belief that America is somehow the fusion of all her peoples, and that that fusion solves every problem flowing from a population with diverse roots. While there has undoubtedly been a blending of some stocks, and varying degrees of interbreeding among others, there is no consistent pattern from which to postulate anything inherently positive or inevitably negative from observations of these phenomena.
There has been considerable intermarriage and assimilation among Americans of the stocks best represented at the time of the Revolution. This process does not appear to have resulted in a recognizable change in the political or social values found in the resulting population, absent some other factor. There has also been some blending among those stocks that have arrived more recently, although clearly to a lesser extent. Here the changes in attitudes may appear somewhat greater, but the directions of those changes appear to be dominated--at least to a major degree--by considerations related to the characteristics of the individuals in relation to characteristics of the surrounding population.
Thus the children of the blended immigrant line, raised in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon, Scots-Irish community, may be far more likely to have a conservative, traditional American outlook, than the children of a blended immigrant line surrounded by huge blocks of ethnic minorities. We say may because absent a carefully controlled study on a comprehensive scale, it is difficult to isolate all relevant factors. But there is considerable evidence for our point in the continuation of old voting patterns in most areas of the United States.
New York City, the ever cited epitome of the "melting pot," moved sharply to the Left with the great waves of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, from the late Nineteenth Century. She has remained there, indeed apparently sucking the longer rooted inhabitants into her own very "Liberal" culture, through the decades since. A stark example of the practical implications can be found in New York's reaction, when Republican Conservatives nominated Barry Goldwater for President in 1964.
Goldwater's grandfather, a Polish Jew who had emigrated to America by way of an earlier stop in Great Britain, immediately settled in the West, where he had various adventures. The bottom line was that he never lived in a predominantly ethnic enclave. He moved in basically rooted American circles, and his son married a girl of an Anglo-Saxon heritage. The result in young Barry was a self-reliant individual of recent stock, thoroughly assimilated into the American tradition. The rest is history.
By early in his second term in the United States Senate, Goldwater had so well articulated the Conservative position, that he began to emerge as successor to the late Robert Taft, Sr. as spokesman for the Conservative wing of the Republican Party. When Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960, Conservatives in both parties began to look to Goldwater as an answer to the new "Liberal" Administration. And in 1964, he captured his party's nomination, drawing support primarily from the more homogeneous States. The contrast between Goldwater's supporters, from a largely mainstream American political base, and the folks in New York's great ethnic enclaves was profound indeed. The Senator represented an assimilation of stocks within the ethos of the Founding Fathers; but the "melting pot," that was and is New York City, represented something quite different.
There is clearly more ethnic antagonism in New York than in those areas where smaller numbers of the same ethnic minorities actively seek acceptance and, at least a degree of, assimilation into a traditional American culture. Among those New York groups where a common culture has developed, there has not been much movement towards traditional American norms--towards respect for limited Government, individual responsibility and pride in the pioneer virtues of the American past. That common culture seeks to exploit opportunities and benefits, but does not even recognize what was unique in the American experience that made those opportunities possible; nor show much understanding of what it will take to preserve them for a common future.
Goldwater, raised in the West among rooted Americans, had those pioneer qualities; became a powerful voice for the ethos they represented. But the great repositories for more recent settlement in New York had not consolidated around those norms; rather, if they had consolidated at all, it was around Socialist values that many had brought with them. What assimilation there was, saw even the well rooted older New York elite, and others who had come to the City because of its position in World finance, increasingly embracing alien values and old world notions, long repudiated here. Thus the New York leadership of Goldwater's own party repudiated him as an "extremist." And thus, to other degrees more or less in proportion to the degree of unassimilated immigrant influence, America's ethnic communities doomed the candidacy of the first Grandson of an immigrant from Eastern or Southern Europe to run for President of the United States.
There are two likely phenomena here, interacting to reinforce the same effect. There is, first, a tendency of people to settle among those with whom they feel most compatible. There is, second, a tendency for a particular social milieu in which one settles to reinforce those values which one has in common with one's neighbors. The Goldwaters settled among those with whom they felt comfortable. So did those in New York's vast ethnic neighborhoods, who continue to vote to change their adopted homeland, either in the direction of the places that they left, or in a direction which reflects an ongoing hatred for those things that they sought to escape.
There is certainly a "melting pot" effect, but the fondue in which one ends depends not upon some American magic, but on other immediate human ingredients in the pot; and some fondue is much lumpier than others. The phenomenon is largely irrelevant to the question of formulating a wise immigration policy, except as it provides a warning against unselective, mass migrations. That is not the point that those, who rhapsodize over the "melting pot," intend to make.
The most absurd idea of all is that there is an inherent benefit in ethnic diversity, in "multi-culturalism," within a particular community. There is no objective study that will support the notion--if we do not dignify it by calling it a "notion"--that having schools where the children being educated have radically different life views, family histories, even native languages, somehow benefits rather than confuses the educational process. Nor is there any demonstrated benefit in having a residential neighborhood so befuddled. Indeed, the tendency of immigrant groups to settle in their own ethnic neighborhoods, is itself a rejection of the merits of what the Left--especially under President Clinton--has sought to promote for all of us.
This does not mean that there is no "multi-culturalism" in the American tradition. Indeed there is! Each of our States--certainly each of the original States--had a distinct culture, a unique ethos that reflected the nature of its settlement, and the post settlement interaction of the settlers. There were also, of course, common cultural traits among the several States; and it was the existence of the latter, the common interests and common values, which propelled sentiment towards our Federal Union. But note, the general Government was only given powers reflective of what was truly common. All other attributes of Government were left to the States. Yet none of that is what the Left has promoted in its present adulation for diversity.
Read again Vattel's definition of a State or Nation, and you will see how well our Federal system fits. You will also see that the idea of a multi-cultural community, as advanced today, is a negation, a denial of the Nation. Whether its deliberate promotion rises to the level of actual treason is a more complicated subject. But it certainly rises to the level of a nihilistic assault on values very precious to most of us. This is not just another difference of opinion.
As observed, America did not spring from immigration. It grew out of the dynamic experiences of those who had already settled here; some for over five or six generations before the formal separation from the Mother Country. Those experiences, in earlier generations, had involved passage hither by small groups of families or individuals on dangerous wooden ships. Some of these had sought particular destinations, where various royal grants had secured at least religious toleration within a defined area for those of their particular persuasion. Thus the Cavaliers and their sympathizers went to Virginia, the Roundheads or Puritans to Massachusetts, Catholics to Maryland, Quakers to Pennsylvania, etc.. Others, who had not been too involved in the major ideological schisms in Western Europe in the Seventeenth Century, sought land wherever they felt the climate appealing and others, in the area, at least tolerable.
Those individuals and small groups cleared land, dealt with sometimes hostile Indians and the vicissitudes of weather in a yet uncharted and uncatalogued domain, developed farms, built settlements, and established local social and political institutions. The single folk married and formed new families. Their children married and continued the process, literally building new political and economic societies from the ground up. Their motives were their own futures; for each, the safety, contentment and well being of his own family and unique community. It was really only when the Mother Country began, after the bitter French and Indian Wars, to intrude more directly into the local affairs of this diverse network of very individualistic communities, that a common purpose emerged that caused them to reject their prior patriotic identification with that Mother Country, although still celebrating a common ethnic heritage. That common purpose was born in struggle. America, before only a continent, now becoming a nation composed of 13 equally sovereign States, had long since become for many the Land where my fathers died.
None of those descended from the original Seventeenth Century settlers, nor their own immediate descendants, ever intended the ethnic or cultural morass, which misguided or malevolent Leftist policies have brought to 21st Century America.
In the last Chapter, we cited Jefferson's justification for the Louisiana Purchase in a desire to secure ethnic congeniality and consanguinity along both sides of the Mississippi. While early Americans certainly did display what Jefferson had described 21 years earlier, under Query VIII of his 1782, Notes On The State Of Virginia as "The present desire of America ..to produce rapid population by as great importations of foreigners as possible," Jefferson had doubts, very relevant to our subject, which he went on to describe:
But is this founded in good policy? ...are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers by the importation of foreigners? It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which they must of necessity transact together. Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other... a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet, from such, we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. ...
These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience, during the present contest for a verification of these conjectures.
After additional elaboration, Jefferson went on to distinguish the case of those with special skills, "useful artificers," which he sought to actively obtain. Yet substitute "maxims of socialist states" for "maxims of absolute monarchies" in the passages above, and the commentary applies in all particulars to America in the year 2004.
George Washington also expressed his views on immigration in many places. A far more correct statement of American hospitality to the potential refugee than the Emma Lazarus poem, would be the following from George Washington's December 2, 1783 message to a group recently arriving from Ireland:
The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment. [Emphasis added, along with two minor changes in spelling.]
On March 30, 1785, Washington took a similarly generous tack towards agricultural settlement in the newly free America:
...the emancipation of a country which may afford an Asylum, if we are wise enough to pursue the paths which lead to virtue and happiness, to the oppressed and needy of the Earth. Our region is extensive, our plains are productive, and if they are cultivated with liberality and good sense, we may be happy ourselves and diffuse happiness to all who wish to participate.
On May 28, 1788, General Washington reached out to potential Dutch settlers, who had been ruined by a foreign interposition, in a letter to Rev. Francis Vanderkemp:
I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong; but I shall be the more particularly happy, if this Country can be, by any means, useful to the Patriots of Holland, with whose situation I am peculiarly touched, and of whose public virtue I entertain a great opinion.
You may rest assured, Sir, of my best and most friendly sentiments of your suffering compatriots; ... I shall flatter myself that many of them will be able with the wrecks of their fortunes which may have escaped the extensive devastation, to settle themselves in comfort, freedom and ease in some corner of the vast regions of America. The spirit of the Religions and the genius of the political Institutions of this Country must be an inducement. Under a good government ... this Country certainly promises greater advantages than almost any other to persons of moderate property, who are determined to be sober, industrious and virtuous members of Society. And ... a knowledge that these are the general characteristics of your compatriots would be a principal reason to consider their advent as a valuable acquisition to our infant settlements. [Emphasis added.]
Note that while cordial, there was no sense of an undifferentiated humanity. Proven virtue and industry were greatly preferred, particularly in a congenial people. In June, 1788, in a letter to Richard Henderson, Washington injected another obvious consideration:
Although, I believe that Emigrants from other countries to this, who shall be well-disposed, and conduct themselves properly, would be treated with equal friendship and kindness in all parts of it; yet, in the old settled States, land is so much occupied, and the value so much enhanced by the contiguous cultivation, that the price would, in general, be an objection. [Washington went on to strongly recommend settlement in the lands being opened up along the Ohio, and to endorse various informational publications, including a guide for potential immigrants written by Benjamin Franklin, and Jefferson's Notes On Virginia, which we have previously quoted.]
While Washington saw a need to recruit some artisans in Europe for the construction of the then unnamed Federal City in the District Of Columbia, after becoming President, his primary focus remained on considerations that related to the more rustic life of a time when even the developed parts of America were far less crowded. Thus he wrote to Louis Sigeur, who had recently purchased an estate in Delaware:
The United States open, as it were, a new world to those who are disposed to retire from the noise and bustle of the old, and enjoy tranquility and security. And we shall always consider men of your character as among our most valuable acquisitions.
Yet Washington had also foreseen the same possible ethnic problems that Jefferson had later used to justify the Louisiana Purchase. After discussing his plans to improve the inland navigation of the rivers so as to bring the Atlantic States into better connection with those being formed to the West, and provide a more convenient route for produce than that over the Mississippi, in a letter to David Humphreys, on July 25, 1785, he discussed the potential problem:
...if the Spaniards instead of restricting, were to throw open their ports and invite our trade. But if the commerce of the country should embrace this channel, and connexions be formed; experience has taught us... how next to impracticable it is to divert it; and if that should be the case, the Atlantic States (especially as those to the westward will in a great degree fill with foreigners) will be no more to the present union, except to excite perhaps very justly our fears, than the Country of California which is still more westward, and belonging to another power.
Washington also addressed the same concern as that of Jefferson, cited in this Chapter, in a letter to Vice President John Adams on November 15, 1794:
My opinion, with respect to emigration is, that except of useful Mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement: while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people.
We have quoted at some length from Washington to give a fair and balanced picture. Clearly he was sympathetic to those of good character, at least in Europe, who had been uprooted. But clearly, also, their settlement was in the context of an uncrowded America, with vast regions, without the noise and bustle of the old world. And finally, the prospect of huge ethnic enclaves, with large numbers of the unassimilated, was seen as a potential menace, not a benefit. Washington wanted a Nation as Vattel defined it.
With the final settlement of the frontier, any American serving reason for massive immigration ended. While it may be quite harmless--perhaps even desirable--to encourage the continued migration of some with special skills--so long as they are willing to accept a traditional American value system and to swear a new allegiance--there is no rational reason for not tightening up controls at the border; no patriotic one for not directing the process of Naturalization towards the preservation of a proud and noble heritage. The present ongoing dilution in the "Liberal" pursuit of social chaos, euphemistically labeled diversity, is simply not acceptable to anyone who loves this country.
In Chapter Fourteen, we mentioned without attribution the proposition of a self-proclaimed "Conservative" spokesman--the Editor of a weekly news magazine--that the Conservative position on immigration was to welcome the easy entry of those willing to perform jobs that native Americans might not want to do. We recur to the point, which we will label the Barnes Error, to illustrate one of the most egregious fallacies in the argument for a liberal immigration policy. It is not our wish to pick on Mr. Barnes. Yet it should be obvious that his position is neither Conservative nor the result of very careful analysis.
The self-indulgent idea that one should import others to perform basic chores in a Society, has been oft-tested, yet has seldom proven to confer real benefit. Rome learned the hard way, where such dependence ultimately ends. But Americans have had an equally clear lesson.
It was precisely because some earlier Americans wanted license to continue to import persons from other ethnic stocks to perform jobs that Americans didn't want to do, that Art. I, Sec. 9, of the Constitution interdicted any interference with the importation of such labor for the first twenty years of our Federal Union. While it may certainly be argued that there is a fundamental difference between the forcible importation of African Negroes, and allowing poor Mexicans to enter volitionally; that difference is primarily from the standpoint of the labor. From the perspective of the American mainstream, the similarities are far greater than the differences.
In each case, a segment of affluent Americans saw immediate utility in having a ready source of available new labor, but were either unable or unwilling to consider the long term consequences of actually importing or hiring that labor. This reckless disregard for future consequences reminds one of the after us the deluge attitude of a very self-indulgent circle in France in the days of Louis XV; a generation whose often innocent heirs, including a King, who had aided America in her fight for freedom, paid a terrible price in the 1790s to redeem their fathers' folly.
And while drawing a parallel with the forced importation of Negroes into America from 1619 to 1808, and the eventual consequences of such action; perhaps someone will inquire of Mr. Barnes, how he can morally justify the importation of Mexicans as a source for cheap labor, at a time when large numbers of American Negroes--who have no where else to look--remain unemployed? One must wonder also, whether he, or other sophisticates--i.e., those deluded by sophists--have ever bothered to study the voting habits of those whose skills may be limited to those activities that others do not want to perform, once they or their heirs fall into the hands of demagogues with agendas? Has Barnes studied the effect on public schools of introducing large numbers of the children of the less skilled into common classrooms? Does he understand why the largely middle class, Spanish speaking Cuban community in Florida votes conservative, while the largely unskilled and semi-skilled Spanish speaking Mestizo community in Los Angeles votes on the Left? The determinant is not language, but identifications and values.
There is another "notion," floating around in some pseudo-Conservative business and political circles, that presumes a political advantage in favoring "Liberal" immigration policies as the basis for an appeal to so-called "Hispanic" voters. It is difficult to see how these people see this playing out, when most of them do not even bother to understand the very distinct and quite differently oriented groups, all being lumped crudely and insultingly together under the Hispanic umbrella. One can refine the problem by asking simply, how do those who embrace the Barnes Error propose to keep the children--of those who come here to do the jobs that Americans do not want--from the clutches of demagogues waiting in the wings to recruit them, developing and playing upon a jealously, contrived out of the reality that they are not so well off as their self-indulgent patrons?
Look around America, today, and everywhere that you find a susceptible group, you will see demagogues at work. Armed with the Fourteenth Amendment, which confers citizenship on anyone who happens to be born in America; using voting laws and policies designed to make it ever easier for the least knowledgeable among us to vote, and vote as those demagogues suggest; those who seek a Socialistic America have already wrought terrible damage on social institutions, once designed to maximize the importance and responsibility of the individual. In almost fifty years of Welfare State efforts to uplift those at the bottom via educational reform and social engineering, the primary results have been ruined schools and ruined neighborhoods. America hardly needs new recruits to supplement the ranks of the less skilled. Why must we repeat past folly?
In his 1989 book on The Geography Of American Achievement, Nathaniel Weyl addresses aspects of what we have labeled the Barnes Error in a number of places. Consider the following from page 3:
The massive influx of any class of immigrants whose levels of achievement are substantially below the national average creates a multiplicity of problems. These problems can be magnified if their descendants, for whatever reason, remain at the bottom of the social and educational pyramids.
A major issue ... is the dilution of the quality of citizenship. The injection of large populations of low-achievement levels into the body politic can lead to political movements based on envy and resentment. It can transform politics into a catering to special interests in which minority groups cast their ballots to further the interests of their own people rather than for the general good of the nation. What is perhaps even more ominous is the prospect of a decline in the quality of the electorate in terms of knowledge, ability and intelligence with the result that the people elected to govern ... attain high office less because of ability than ... of a facility for communication at a mass level, the capacity to reduce complex issues to the sort of slogans that children can understand.
Are these fears imaginary? Two centuries ago, our ancestors were swayed to approval of the Constitution by the Federalist Papers. Can one conceive of a similar document being read or comprehended by today's electorate?
It is no part of our purpose here to demean the patriotism or wisdom of any American, simply because they or their forebears came comparatively recently to the United States. The compiler of this handbook did not descend from stock present at the time of the Revolution. Indeed, three of our four grandparents did not arrive until over a Century later, one in the late 1870s, one in the 1890s and the last at the start of the Twentieth Century. While we are sure that each came here, at least in part, for the opportunities that America had to offer; implicit in their coming and pursuit of an acceptance, which would allow them and their heirs the benefits of citizenship, was an assumption of moral duty.
In any civilization--and certainly in the West with its strong roots in Biblical values--for people to dishonor their parents, and their parents' parents back through the generations, is to reject the ongoing dynamic of that civilization. The virtuous amongst us, throughout history, have sacrificed present enjoyment to pass on a better life to their children. The America, which her loyal sons and daughters enjoy today, was the Founding Fathers' gift to their own progeny. That they invited others to share such a wondrous patrimony can not change that reality. Yet in the great ethnic enclaves in America's large cities, changing America has been a goal of many politicians.
It ill behooves the heirs of any immigrant to foul the nest his parents found here. The moral and ethical laws of hospitality and adoption do not just benefit those taken in. In a moral society, there is a corresponding duty of loyalty from the beneficiaries to their benefactors. We cannot repay Washington and Jefferson other than to respect the heritage they bequeathed to their own--their immediate kith and kin. For those of us who arrived later, to share that heritage and enjoy its benefits, to fail to help preserve the character of the Society which conferred those gifts, is to profane, not reform; to undermine, not build; to betray not serve.
It is probable that most immigrants, who came to America before 1990, wanted to be good Americans; many passionately so inclined. Yet like Eve in the ancient Garden, many who have benefited greatly,being here, have listened to the insinuations of fork-tongued demagogues, instilling ethnic resentment where there should have been only respect. The usual vehicle is to encourage jealousy at a perceived economic or social advantage. But why should anyone be jealous of the position of someone, whose forebears made the subject's present enjoyment of a better life possible? Why should anyone allow a vicious assault on the validity of the Tenth Commandment, which forbids such community destroying envy, to induce one to forget that there is supposed to be a benefit from past achievement. Again, honorable people work to provide material advantages to their progeny. Any social or economic advantage, which the descendants of the original American stock enjoy, is well deserved. It was earned by men we all should honor.
The even sadder phenomenon is that the flip-side of the twisted politics and thought processes that have induced resentment in the new, have been used to instill guilt in the old. The resulting mix of resentment and guilt has facilitated an intellectually bankrupt climate, which is stultifying public debate on ethnic questions.
We have addressed issues, above, that go to the quality as well as quantity of immigration. While it is important that desired aptitudes and unique talents be taken into account in allocating whatever openings there may be, the most important single quality that should be required for anyone admitted into America for possible naturalization and citizenship, should be a clearly demonstrated understanding of the loyalty owed to an adopted country and its way of life. That may be far from a sure protection against demagogues seeking to alienate. It is at least a start. Any other policy contains an implicit attack upon our heritage.
While we would never suggest that the diseases that kill individuals are as serious as the social maladies that destroy nations, there is still a very definite and undeniable public health issue involved in the formulation of immigration policy. The plain truth is that all nations do not have equivalent services to protect the public health or to control contagion; nor do all peoples have the same susceptibilities to, or the same abilities to resist, particular pathogens. When we accept large numbers of immigrants from countries with population types quite different from those of the rooted American, we may be inviting in many who carry chronic infections for which their stock has greater resistance than ours; bacteria which may find inviting hosts among our native population.
That introducing new stocks of man into close proximity to others, already settled, can have disastrous consequences to those others, may be attested by the havoc wrought among American Indian tribes by tuberculosis, carried by the Caucasian Settlers who founded the modern American civilization. In similar fashion, the original Hottentot inhabitants of the South African Cape were largely wiped out by disease for which the White Settlers had considerable immunity, developed over many generations of previous exposure. The obverse to this same principle would be the terrible scourge which syphilis, carried into Europe by the Spanish explorers returning from South America (where the disease was endemic among Indians who had developed a great measure of resistance to its more severe effects), wrought across the mother continent in the Sixteenth Century. But there are much more recent examples.
The HIV virus was not officially identified until 1983; but initial reports of efforts to trace its origin in the United States led to some of the Haitian Boat people, who had fled to America as refugees during the Carter Administration in the late 1970s. While those reports have probably not made it into many publicly accessible archives, it appeared at the time that some of these impoverished Haitians had become prey for affluent American Homosexuals, whom had thus become infected, with the virus spreading like wild-fire among the unsuspecting frequenters of centers where perversion had already become an accepted "life-style."
In the interim since this infestation, other diseases once virtually eradicated North of the Rio Grande, such as cholera and tuberculosis, have begun to suddenly reappear. There may be others, not yet diagnosed--perhaps far more deadly, perhaps with pathogens not yet identified--that will soon make their presence known. The point is not to paint an alarmist picture; rather to urge an intelligent recognition of the problem; a problem which would be largely non-existent, had America continued with the restrictive Immigration policy adopted in the 1920s, but abandoned in the face of Leftist pressure in 1965; a policy to which we have long advocated a return.
To grasp the varied patterns in basic health conditions and the great differences in disease frequencies between America and the Third World, the reader might start his investigation with the January 20, 2000 report of the Clinton C.I.A. on the general subject:The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States. [If this link no longer works, it means that someone at the C.I.A. has decided to make the report unavailable.] While the long term interest of the Clinton Administration might be very different than that of the user of this handbook, with the report somewhat reflecting the bias of those to whom it was being submitted, the underlying facts are undeniable. While not the overriding basis for restricting immigration, both in scope and by origin, it certainly offers an additional argument for which the Left can have no satisfactory answer--not if American, as opposed to foreign, interests is the criterion.
We have not developed the illegal immigrant issue, but it may be disposed of in three sentences: It makes no more sense to accept one who commits a crime to enter into a community, than it would to welcome a burglar as a future tenant in one's home. People, who put a perceived selfish interest ahead of the hard won rights of others, are obviously not those who in Washington's words by decency and propriety of conduct ... appear to merit the enjoyment of life among us. Nor should amnesty be considered while they remain on this side of the border.
Clearly, the very liberal attitude towards immigration at America's birth, was based upon a reality--a vast emptiness--that no longer exists. There are no vast empty areas in the settled portions of America; and virtually no one is trying to settle (for a variety of reasons) in those still largely open areas. America is now overwhelmingly urban, and in fewer and fewer localities are we still free "from the noise and bustle" of the old world. No one concerned with the quality of life can justify massive immigration now. But the numbers alone are not the only issue.
We have dealt with the idea of an undifferentiated humanity at a number of other places, both in this Handbook, and at the website that hosts it. It is the ultimate insult to all peoples to imply that the qualities that make each definable group unique, do not really matter. The present immigration policy of the United States, which has led to a huge inflow of those from countries which contributed very little to the original culture that grew out of the clearing, settlement and construction of the America of the Founding Fathers, can only be justified if one takes the position that human differences are not important. But a nation reflects the nature of its people. We all matter. But we do not all fit in every community or every situation.
The Socialist need to pretend a plastic humanity is very much in play here. It is rapidly destroying the very concept of the Nation, as we have known it; as Vattel defined it: As an expression of those things that are unique to a people, who possess an understanding and a will peculiar to herself. Those who would preserve a corner on this earth, where our values remain sacred, had better take a stand. When the Left persuaded Congress to abandon the National Origins standards in 1965, a valuable tool for screening immigrants as to the likelihood of compatibility was eliminated. Since then, the floodgates have been open for people who have shown neither interest nor knowledge of the American tradition as it was understood earlier, and even less affinity for the traditional stock. Compounding the general phenomenon has been acceptance of an absurdity-- "dual citizenship"--the very concept being tantamount to total negation of the Vattel definition accepted by the Fathers.
Mesmerized by the promise of the affluent life, often without ever understanding the system which gave us that affluent life; with a higher birth rate and universal suffrage, manipulated by the ever present demagogues; newer immigrants--many not even here legally--are changing the character of the population in large areas. From a Conservative perspective, those already naturalized have had a profoundly deleterious influence. The gains for Conservatives in what was once termed the Reagan Revolution--that seemingly successful counter-revolution back towards the historic ethos of America--have been largely swept away. The trend, already in place whether by design or omission, to undermine respect for the American tradition in the schools, has been accelerated. As many of these newer citizens have retained foreign ties, as well as foreign values, there is the potential for a Fifth Column in almost any conflict in which America becomes involved with any faction in the Third World. (This is certainly a concern at the moment, in the War on Terror.)
Obviously, these comments do not apply to all; but they do apply.
The need for a tough new policy must be one of our paramount concerns. Time is running out on the American heritage.
[N.B. The purpose of the Washington and Jefferson quotes, above, will be obvious. They illustrate the attitudes of the Founding Fathers. So in another sense does the citation to Vattel--the accepted authority on these points for a very long time. But it is not our intention to merely appeal to authority. This is intended to be a tool to the Conservative debater, and Vattel's definition has an inherent logic. One can reword the definition in different ways; but you must come back to something very similar, conceptually, to explain the actual dynamic.]