Peter Brimelow celebrating his 66th birthday with his daughter Felicity and Ulrich von Dog, October 13, 2013
Peter Brimelow writes: This is an adaptation of a talk I recently gave to a Dissident Right dinner club in New York City. Several friends of VDARE.com were in the audience.
Around Easter of 1980, I was in Paris trying to persuade my first wife, whom some of you knew, to marry me. I thought that, in the interests of full disclosure, I ought to tell her everything. So I said, look, I’m involved in an anti-Communist faction in journalism and we’re going to lose. I think there’s a real serious possibility that we’re all going to end up in a Gulag.
And, besides that, it’s crippling to our careers. I’d been approached by the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] to do on-camera reports about business. I could have been Lou Dobbs! [Laughter] But when they heard I’d written anti-Communist stuff, they said they couldn’t possibly hire an anti-communist—even though what I would have been covering was entirely non-political.
Maggy was a Canadian and wasn’t particularly political. She listened to this and said she’d not thought about it before, but, now that I’d explained it, she could see it was true.
So, she asked with female practicality, why didn’t I change sides?
I usually tell this sort of story to illustrate that miracles do happen. Nobody—nobody—expected the Soviet Union to collapse. We, those of us that grew up in the 1950s and earlier, really did think in the 1970s that there was a very good chance the Soviet Union would prevail. Whittaker Chambers was convinced he was joining the losing side when he renounced communism in 1938.
But in fact, later in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president. And by 1991, the Soviet Union had collapsed.
Miracles actually happen quite frequently in politics—not always the right way. To those of us who grew up in the 1950s, the idea that the Afrikaners, who had fought this tremendous war against the British just 50 years earlier, would ever let go of their South African nation-state was inconceivable. And yet they did.
Similarly, to those of us who grew up in the 1950s, in the days of Paul Blanshard when the Roman Catholic Church seemed to be an ominously well-organized state within a state, it was inconceivable that it would go through this incredible Vatican II revolution (particularly because it meant dumping the greatest musical tradition in the history of the world).
It’s been a surprise to me to find that people under 40 simply don’t recall the Cold War, how serious it was and how terrified people were much of the time. They know about WWII, interestingly, but they just don’t know about the Cold War.
It’s easy now to say that the Soviet Union’s command economy was always doomed to collapse. But it wasn’t obvious at the time—and it was obvious that the Red Army had defeated the Wehrmacht, no mean achievement to put it mildly. We were right to take it seriously.
As I say, I normally tell this sort of story to make the point that miracles happen, and very quickly. But I’m afraid it is also true that they un-happen. And that, unfortunately, is what we’re experiencing now.
Cultural Marxism has come sweeping right back. John Derbyshire [a dinner guest] and I have discussed the interglacial moment that existed after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when it was possible to publish Politically Incorrect stuff in the Main Stream Media. I got my Alien Nation published, Murray and Herrnstein got The Bell Curve published —a whole series of un-PC books got published by mainstream publishers which would not be published now.
I speak from bitter experience. I have been unable to get an Establishment publisher to let me update Alien Nation, although it was very successful at the time. (See here for Introduction to 2013 Kindle edition).
There is now an extreme control of American political debate that wasn’t the case ten years ago.
The internet is a two-edged sword. It’s disintermediated journalism—it makes possible non-PC publications like VDARE.COM, we can find audiences and build an institution.
But it also means that anybody who writes for us gets relentlessly hunted down. This is why [another dinner guest] doesn’t write for VDARE.com under his own name anymore. In fact, almost nobody writes under their own name anymore, except me and other a couple of other old lags like John Derbyshire, because I can’t have younger people taking the risk—It is just too damaging to careers, even in completely unrelated areas.
And the worst aspect of the Cold War victory’s unhappening: the West now faces another existential threat—every bit serious as the Soviet Union. And that is mass Third World immigration.
In the U.S., mass immigration as was kicked off again by the 1965 Immigration Act, after a 40 year pause during which there was essentially no immigration at all. Simultaneously, enforcement against illegal immigration collapsed, so that there are somewhere between 12 and 20 million illegals in the country right now.
The demographic impact of this is dramatic. Because immigration is skewed by public policy toward non-traditional sources, by 2040 a majority of people in the U.S. will be non-white. This is a country that was 90% white in 1965, when the Immigration Act was passed.
Now, of course, what that means is that at that point the US will cease to exist. It will not be the historic America that we know. It may be something else. But it’s not going to be America.
And this is going to happen very soon. Within the lifetimes of at least two people in this room!
I used to say, 2040—I won’t be here! But Lydia tells me we’ve got small children and I darn well better be here! [Laughter] Still, I will be 93.
Now the amazing thing about this transformation is that it isn’t inevitable at all. It’s the result of a public policy that isn’t popular at all—in fact, it is extremely unpopular. When you look at California, which conventional wisdom says is unwinnable by Republicans in their role of what I call the Generic American Party – they’re not really an American nationalist party, but they do currently benefit from being the default choice of white Americans—you will see that there were three occasions when the electorate in California walked up to the Republicans’ door and banged on it and said DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS—Proposition 187 in 1994 when they tried to cut off illegal immigration from tax-payer subsidies; Proposition 209 in 1996 when they did ban affirmative action; Proposition 227 in 1998 when they banned bilingual education.
All these carried in the teeth of Establishment opposition.
And yet the effect on the California Republican Party was exactly the opposite of what you would have thought. They ran away. The last time a normal Republican won a state-wide race in California—that is, apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger— was in 1994 when Pete Wilson hitched himself to 187. But the California GOP drew exactly the opposite moral. It’s really weird.
I have a more recent example, which is even more astonishing. In this last election, in 2012, there was an initiative on the ballot in Montana, very like Proposition 187. It cut off illegals from various government services. It carried overwhelmingly—80% of the vote. In contrast, Romney barely carried Montana, he got about 55% of the vote. The Republicans lost the gubernatorial race and they lost the senate race. Of course, none of these Republican candidates attached themselves to the initiative, as Wilson did in California. It was entirely supported by locals, who could spend no money. All it had was the voters.
So this Montana initiative proves (yet again) that immigration is an extremely powerful issue for a party that is willing to pick it up.
But Montana not been discussed at all in the Mainstream Media. How many of you have even heard of it? Right. You don’t read VDARE.com carefully enough! Our article was by Paul Nachman. [Astonishing Immigration Patriot Victory In Montana—No Thanks To GOP, Which Ran Away (And Lost), December 2, 2012]
So now, federally, we have the third major Amnesty drive in the last 10 years, the Gang of Eight’s bill that was put together after the last election—S744. It’s important to recognize that this bill is not simply an Amnesty bill: it also double or triples legal immigration, which was already at record highs. It’s a mind-boggling thing.
Obviously, this tremendous, well-funded campaign for the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill was not put together in 5 minutes after the 2012 election. It was ready to go regardless of who won. I believe that had Mitt Romney won the election, he would have supported Amnesty, just as George W. Bush did. Romney actually said that in the Hofstra debates (“I’ll get it [Comprehensive Immigration Reform] done. I’ll get it done. First year.”) But nobody paid any attention to him.
Even inside the Beltway, there is resistance to the current immigration disaster, living in a catacomb. The best-funded of these groups is FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform]. NumbersUSA is sort of a lobbying operation, I like it because it allows the grassroots to target their legislators. CIS [Center for Immigration Studies] does very worthwhile wonkish stuff that nobody reads.
There is a series of conferences that they are all involved in early October every year. I went down to them this year and I’m going to tell you the situation: they do think they will be able stop Amnesty again, for the third time in ten years. They don’t think that the Schumer-Rubio bill will get through in the end, despite all the hype and all the uproar.
On the other hand, they think there is a very serious danger that something will go through. There has been a general degradation of parliamentary procedure under Obama. What the anti-immigration groups are worrying about now is that any kind of bill passed by the House will have the whole thing attached to it in Conference and be smuggled through that way.
The main reason for their fear: it’s clear that the Republican leadership would be happy to see Amnesty pass. They’d be perfectly happy to take credit for it.
So the Beltway immigration patriots do think they’ll stop the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill passing, although they’re worried about accidents happening. But they’re very tired. It’s been a tremendous war.
The other side is tired, too. It can’t produce the numbers of marching illegals that it could do in 2006 in spite of George Soros’ money and bussing people in and the whole thing.
In fact, in my more optimistic moments, I sometimes think this whole Amnesty/ Immigration Surge is a charade—a fraud perpetrated by the political class on the business class. Washington operatives raise a great deal of money from the business class by offering to get through a cheap labor enabling bill, but they don't really care if it passes or not. They just want to have a big uproar and milk as much money as possible from their corporate contributors.
But the real question: why has the patriotic immigration reform movement—as we call it to distinguish it from the other type of “immigration reform,” so-called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” which is simply treason—been unable to get off the defensive? It hasn’t been on the offensive since the Smith/ Simpson bill, which embodied the Jordan Commission’s recommendations, was sabotaged by Republicans like Spencer Abraham in 1995.
That’s a big question. And there are a number of answers to it.
One of them is money. The money that there is to support patriotic immigration reform is generally environmentalist money. It tends to be donors who are interested in population control, on the grounds that fewer people mean more trees. And they are basically liberals.
There’s nothing wrong with that. All political movements are coalitions. The other side actually boasts of their coalition of priests and perverts supporting mass immigration. But it does mean that the immigration patriot money is extremely timid, extremely PC, and they’re frightened of making a nationalist appeal, although it is actually their cause’s only hope.
Well, I’ve been writing on immigration for more than 20 years. I wrote a cover story for National Review in 1992 and there followed a brief period when National Review was on the right side of the issue, between 1992 and 1997, after which Bill Buckley fired John O’Sullivan.
Thinking about it, I ask myself: what is the problem here? Why can’t we get this debate going?
I think there are two essential reasons.
One is ideas. Everyone here is interested in the power of ideas and ideas rule the world and we all agree on that. The difficulty in the immigration debate is what I called in Alien Nation back in 1995 “Hitler’s Revenge.” The elites of the West emerged from WWII utterly traumatized by the experience of confronting Nazism. It was so traumatic that they went overboard on the opposite side. They became convinced that any discussion of ethnicity or cultural heritage at all, let alone race, was unthinkable. You couldn’t address these things without being a Nazi.
There is an extraordinary power of this accusation of racism, even among people you think would know better, namely conservatives, as Paul [Gottfried, a dinner guest] was saying. They’ve all been swayed by this charge, they’re all terrified.
Until this charge is refuted, we’re not going to get anywhere in the immigration debate.
My personal view is that the counter to the charge of racism is the charge of treason. What these people are doing is treason: they intend to destroy the historic American nation as it had evolved to 1965.
However, I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago saying this which was rejected as too extreme by WND—a considerable feat!
So I posted it on VDARE.com!
The other reason for our inability to get the immigration debate going is much more mundane. It goes to the economics of immigration. For more than 20 years, the consensus among labor economists has been that there is no significant aggregate economic benefit to native-born Americans from this tremendous immigrant influx since the 1965 act. Basically, the gains are all captured by the immigrants themselves.
I was astonished to find this consensus when I started researching the issue in the early 90s, because what you hear in journalism is the exact opposite. Everyone says what a wonderful thing immigration is and how much people benefit from it. But it’s not in the data. And that’s the settled conclusion among labor economists.
But there’s a secondary finding that hasn’t has gotten even as much publicity as the general finding: Although immigration doesn’t benefit in aggregate to the native born, it does cause a redistribution of income from labor to capital. It’s running somewhere at 2-3% of GDP, it’s a very large number.
So what you’d get if you double immigration, which is what S447 proposes to do, is another windfall gain to the owners of capital in excess of – what did we estimate, Ed [Rubenstein, another guest], $100 billion a year or something? – Yes.
So this is why immigration enthusiasts are prepared to spend a billion and half dollars since 2007 to increase immigration and get Amnesty through. That’s nothing compared to the $100 billion annual windfall gain per year that they would get.
Of course, the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge proposal would be devastating to the income levels of American workers and the American middle class, which have been stagnant anyway for the last 30 years—not coincidentally, since the surge of immigration after the 1965 Immigration Act. But the owners of capital in this country simply don’t care about that.
It is all susceptible to a distressingly crude Marxist analysis.
It’s very similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union: some people were able to loot the Soviet Union, able to grab the assets. In the U.S. what is happening is that people like Mark Zuckerberg are trying to get the government to divert large amounts of income – not assets but income – to them.
And the curious thing is that the American Left is going along with this. They’re positively enthusiastic—because they see it as a way to get themselves elected, which it is.
You hear a lot about how the Republican Party is a captive of an extremist faction—that is, the Tea Party. But I actually think that the real extremist faction is not the voters, but the donors.
In some ways, you can interpret the GOP’s history in the last 20 years as a kind of donor riot. The donors just simply refuse tolerate any kind of restriction on immigration at all. They go straight to the candidates, and above all to the consultant class, and tell them they won’t spend money on elections.
Remember, Mitt Romney spent over a billion dollars on this last election. His campaign was very clearly run to maximize donations, not to get votes.
That’s how the consultants typically run these campaigns. They’re parasites.
I was saying that we haven’t been on the offensive for 20 years, but actually there were scattered offensives at the state level, most notably in 2010 in Arizona. All kinds of states tried to put in measures to try to drive away illegal immigrants—because they’re desperate, because of the fiscal impact it has on them. This movement achieved a real momentum, and it was a major factor in the Tea Party election in 2010 when the Republicans succeeded in getting 60% of the white vote, regained the House and only very narrowly failed to regain the Senate.
But the amazing thing was that, immediately after those elections, when various state level people won saying that they would do this, that, and the other, was that they came in and undid it!
In every state, these major pieces of legislation were not put through and in some places they were actually dismantled, with the active enthusiasm of the major donors in each state.
The GOP politicians weren't even capable of looking at the election results and saying: we need to do this again. Their only interest was the short term, keeping their donors happy.
I can’t think that the Republican Party can survive this way. It can’t have its donors and its voters. It has to choose one or the other.
So the question is: what now?
Or, to put it another way, the South African scenario. It is possible that the historic American nation, that is to say whites, will simply never rally to defend itself. It will just continue to be consumed, like some kind of a worm being eaten by a parasite, until it ceases to exist.
There’s more than a little evidence that is what’s going to happen. Every time there has been a patriotic reaction, like these state-level initiatives from Proposition 187 on, it never goes anywhere. It’s always undermined and subverted. And above all, it never gets into national political debate.
I blame this on Bill Buckley, for cutting us off at National Review. But that’s a minor point.
I actually think this is quite likely, although John [Derbyshire] doesn’t agree. There are lots of different cases in states right now of people trying to secede. These states are too big anyway, they no longer represent the several communities. There are cases in northern California, Northern Colorado, Western Maryland. There’s also an examples in southern Arizona, where liberals are trying to secede from Northern Arizona.
We’re going to see it at a local level with towns, we’ll see it with states. And I think ultimately we’ll see it on the federal level.
Sectionalism has always been a problem for US politics. It’s been vastly intensified by immigration policy. Different parts of the country are going to have nothing in common with each other at all—not race, not religion, not even language because all efforts to make English our official language have been stymied. We may very well see alliances with Canadian provinces, that kind of thing. The U.S. is going to break up, I don’t think that’s impossible at all—but I certainly think it is going to happen at a state level.
Herb Stein had this famous law known to all economists: “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.”
And this situation really can’t go on forever. Americans can’t go on being dispossessed and immiserated, with a very visible reason why it’s happening, without some kind of reaction.
I don’t think that politicians who want to win elections can ultimately avoid this issue. Maybe they won’t address it directly—but I find it hard to believe they won’t address it in some way at all.
Illegal immigration in particular is not a difficult problem to solve. It was solved by President Eisenhower back in 1953 in 18 months through Operation Wetback. He deported a couple hundred thousand people and a million and a half people left. (That’s the interesting thing about deportation—once you get it going, illegals just leave.)
The more interesting case recently is Israel. After Mubarak fell, the Israelis had a wave of illegal immigration very similar in size with what the Americans face year to year. Apparently there had been some kind of deal with Mubarak, stopping sub-Saharan Africans crossing the desert and entering Israel. The Egyptians simply killed them. This was very discouraging to the Africans.
Well, after Mubarak fell, one of the advantages of democracy turned out to be that Africans began to find their way through and the black illegal population in Israel mushroomed. The Israelis reacted with intense force: they built a fence, they took a whole series of evictive measures such as not allowing people to employ illegals and not allowing anybody in the country illegally to remit money home; and they deport people at a great rate, apparently dumping them in the center of the African continent. And they’ve solved the problem.
Netanyahu went to the Chamber of Commerce and said in effect, You’re not going to like this, but it is more important that the country survive than that you get cheap labor.
Can you imagine an American politician saying that?
I don’t know which one of those three scenarios is going to eventuate.
But I do know that I’m not going to change sides.
Peter Brimelow [Email him]is the editor of VDARE.com. His best-selling book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, is now available in kindle format.