January 28, 2008

I must admit I was taken aback by the hostile reactions I received last week for offering an enthusiastic endorsement of the Web site VDare.com”€”albeit one in which I included mild caveats concerning three VDare writers (Brenda Walker, Jared Taylor, and Kevin MacDonald), whose views I do not share. The torrent of comments, which has spread to other sites, came not from the usual suspects “€”business-lobby flacks eager for cheap labor; ethnic activists hungry to boost the numbers of their constituents; misguided Catholic idealists following the dictates of bishops who long ago gave up on handing down the Faith to native-born Americans and instead wish to pack the pews with recent arrivals; neocons who are paranoid that any expression of American majority sentiment will lead to genocide.

No, I got slammed from the Right. I do find it reassuring that people who gleefully adopt the moniker “€œwhite racialist”€ consider me outside their ranks. They are quite right. Anyone who elevates an attachment to ethnic identity over the fundamental truths of morality and the claims of supernatural charity will find no friend in me. That goes from leftist hucksters who use black churches to peddle black nationalism (see Obama’s racist guru), to materialists on the Right who regard Christianity as a Jewish disease that undermined the tribal solidarity of Europeans with its universalist claims. To either of these groups I have nothing much to say… We share no premises in common.

I would like to say something to people who are conflicted on the subject. There are millions of people out there who feel that it is legitimate for Americans (and majority Europeans in their respective countries) to try to retain the basic cultural identity of their homeland. If asked, they would likewise defend the right of Japanese, Brazilians, Fiji Islanders, and other nations to preserve the historic character of their countries. Most of these people do not harbor theories about the intrinsic “€œsuperiority”€ of their own ethnic groups. They are not nationalists who wish to impose their ways on foreigners, to take their land and subjugate their peoples. Instead, they are patriots, who love their lands much as they are, and wish to keep some continuity between the present and the past”€”and to spare their descendants the fate of other dispossessed populations, like the Serbs of Kosovo and (increasingly) the Maronites of Lebanon

The people who feel this way, who think that the U.S. has the same right to control its border with Mexico as Mexico has to patrol its frontier with Belize, mostly don”€™t despise foreigners. In fact, on a personal basis, they”€™re typically friendly and solicitous. (In all my years of mixing with people who favor paring back immigration, I can count the number of genuine xenophobes on two hands”€”with one middle finger left over that I can hold up towards La Raza, and another to aim at David Duke.)

There’s a term for people who favor slow, incremental change that respects our heritage over radical, irreversible acts of social engineering: They”€™re called “€œconservatives.”€

But there’s a movement out there to try to radicalize these folks, indeed to make them “€œvölkisch.”€ To get them to adopt the term “€œracialist”€ to describe their perfectly ordinary human craving for continuity. To take up, in other words, a banner that has been dragged through the darkest muck of human misery, through the ashes of death camps in Poland, and the killing fields of Rwanda. And in adopting such a term, they wouldn”€™t just be picking up unwieldy political baggage, like a lefty Edwards Democrat volunteering to call himself a Stalinist. No, they”€™d also be elevating the issue of race to a centrality it doesn”€™t deserve, turning one locus of loyalty”€”out of many which ought to compete in the human soul”€”into a fetish. In other words, they would be making themselves into ideologues, sinking to the level of the Nation of Islam, the historic White League, and La Raza.

Of course, this would do great damage politically, and render almost impossible the passage of perfectly reasonable limits on the numbers of unskilled immigrants the U.S. takes each year”€”reforms that make sense for a wide variety of reasons. All cultural questions aside, mass immigration of low-skill workers during a time of industrial decline and energy and water shortages makes no economic or environmental sense. Indeed, as economist George Borjas has documented, the ongoing influx of low-skill workers over the past 30 years is the single largest factor in freezing working class wages—and amounts to a massive, state-sponsored tax on the working poor to benefit the investor class.

Such policy questions certainly matter, but morals matter more. The practice of racial self-worship (alas, all too common among minority groups) sows ugly division among the existing, multiracial community of Americans, and lowers the bar of civility that makes peaceful coexistence possible. As a descendant of the former Yugoslavia on one side, and Ireland on the other, I take civility seriously.

Worst of all, by claiming the tainted term “€œracialist,”€ and adopting its implications, any man of any race engages in an ugly extended narcissism, a kind of idolatry. He opens himself and his soul to the low, seductive voice that undermines simple human empathy, that seeks out scapegoats beyond the “€œtribe,”€ that urges retribution against the White Devil, the Gringo, or the International Jew. That voice dehumanizes us, which is no surprise since it is not of human origin. It’s the voice that whispered so long ago “€œYe shall be as gods.”€ Once tune your ear to this voice, and soon enough you will be asked, by a very different Voice: “€œCain, where is thy brother?”€


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!