If you want to understand more fully why Texas’s terrain elicits less environmentalist meddling than California’s, see my 2012 Taki’s article “The Politics of Topography.”
Cowen is chipper about America’s Texas-like future, but it sounds thoroughly crummy. Cowen sums up his vision:
In some ways, the new settlements of a Texas-like America could come to resemble trailer parks….
Still, I guess that’s an improvement over Cowen’s old call for America to enjoy some Rio-style shantytowns.
Actually, Texas isn’t as awful as Cowen makes it sound. When you adjust for the fact that it’s 55.5% nonwhite, it’s doing OK by most measures.
Strikingly, Cowen never mentions in his Texas article any of the following words: “Hispanic,” “Latino,” “Mexican,” “immigrant,” or “white.”
Obviously, it’s hard to say much that is nontrivial about Texas or the future of America without daring to mention demographics. Cowen knows that perfectly well. Yet with Malcolm Gladwell’s popularity finally in decline, there’s a big market niche opening up for happy-talk Frequent Flyer books. Human Resources departments don’t like to invite “controversial “authors to speak at corporate sales conventions, so it’s best not to ever mention race or ethnicity.
Tyler is a lot smarter than Malcolm, so why shouldn’t he be the New Gladwell?
Of course, dumbing himself down to be noncontroversial also means that Cowen has to ignore most of the intriguing political implications of Texas.
Democrats have long tried to attract massive immigration from south of the border so that they can put them on “a path to citizenship” to turn America into a one-party state, Vermont writ large. Yet a central irony for the future of American politics is that these upcoming Democratic voters will be unlikely to generate enough wealth to pay for the expensive Vermont-style policies that liberals crave. Sadly, Vermont policies without an ultra-white Vermont-style population to pay for them tend to lead to Detroit.
The mirror image irony is that successful Republican-ruled states such as Texas, in contrast to economically stultified Vermont, attract so much nonwhite immigration that the Texas GOP is demographically doomed in the long run.
Texas is currently only 45 percent white. At present, Texas remains in Republican hands because of Texans’ remarkable degree of white solidarity: In 2012, for example, Romney won 76 percent of the white vote in Texas. That’s an extraordinary share in a state with a well-educated white population and without a huge black population to rally whites in political self-defense. I suspect that the ancient tradition of Texas chauvinism, braggadocio, and dislike of other Americans gives Texan whites a seemingly non-racial theme to unite around. Yet while Texas nationalism has worked well to intimidate Mexicans from voting, it tends to alienate the rest of the country. So it’s hard to see how Republicans could extend this “Don’t Mess with Texas” attitude nationally.
Thus, the hottest idea that Republicans have come up with in 2013 to deal with their demographic deficit is to prove they aren’t racist by outsourcing their leadership to the Spanish-surnamed Cuban novices Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
How’s that Cuban putsch working out, anyway?
In the long run, both politically and economically, Texas is in deep trouble. The Houston Chronicle, in an item entitled “It’s Basically Over for Anglos,” cited Rice U. demographer Steve Murdock as noting:
“Last year, non-Hispanic white children made up 33.3 percent of the state’s 4.8 million public school enrollment….” The state’s future looks bleak assuming the current trend line does not change because education and income levels for Hispanics lag considerably behind Anglos, he said. “It’s a terrible situation that you are in. I am worried,” Murdock said.
Unsurprisingly, Cowen doesn’t mention Murdock’s forecast. As George Orwell noted:
It’s an important faculty to cultivate while reading my stuff.
Seeing stunted versions of my thinking show up on the cover of TIME magazine reminds me that my function has become to serve as the “dark matter” of American intellectual life, both repelling and attracting many of today’s more interesting thinkers.
For example, on the op-ed page of The New York Times, you can routinely find one columnist trying to refute my specific observations as if they were the conventional wisdom, followed by another who does an excellent job of transmuting my writing into a more politically palatable form.
Leo Strauss made popular the notion that important thinkers are devious about what they mean, and I seem to be particularly influential upon those familiar with Strauss’s “hermeneutic argument” about “esoteric writing.”
If you are interested in tracing my Straussian influence, I’m not going to name too many names, but if you want to understand who is in the Washington Metropolitan Area School of Serious Public Intellectuals, just remember the phrase “friends of Reihan Salam.”
It’s funny that I’ve become a Straussian grey eminence since my motto is, “Always tell the truth, because it’s easier to remember.” That I come up with lots of ideas worth borrowing is less because I’m so smart than because I seldom worry about when to apply 1984‘s “protective stupidity” brakes.
To my delight, the other salient of my influence is among comedy writers. Only this year did I get around to finally watching the most honored sitcom of the last decade, and I was pleased to notice how it increasingly drew jokes from the Steveosphere. But that’s a story for another day.
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