James Fulford: I’ve just retrieved VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow’s review of three immigration books of the 90s that was published in the pre-purge National Review shortly before the immigration book of the 90s, Alien Nation, was published by Random House. I’ve included some links, updates and a conclusion.
By Peter Brimelow
Published under the title “Aliens 3: Three Immigration Books Of The 90s,” National Review, October 24, 1994, but like a lot of old archives, not available on their website, possibly because they’re embarrassed by pre-cuckservative writing.
This time around, the immigration issue has just snuck up and mugged the American nation, as opposed to the protracted debate before the last immigration cut-off in the 1920s. Partly this is because of deeply deceptive advertising for the 1965 Immigration Act, which ended the forty-year immigration lull and began effective discrimination in favor of Third World immigrants. Mostly it is because Establishment conservatives and liberals are uniquely allied in their complacency and complaisance.
For example, Chinese immigrants no doubt deserve the "model minority" title pressed on them by the media and vote-hungry Republican politicians, at least in contrast to other recent arrivals. Nevertheless, they have also brought with them massive organized crime, rooted in history and fertilized by heroin. Chinese crime, like Chinese cuisine, varies according to regional origin. So Americans can now savor Cantonese (vice and extortion), Taiwanese (fraud, money laundering), and Fukienese (violence).
Which is a benefit of multicultural diversity that you will not read about in the New York Times—or on the Wall Street Journal editorial page for that matter. Demand creates supply, however, and you can now read about this and many other delights in Wayne Lutton and John Tanton's The Immigration Invasion, a treasure trove of facts on the most critical but worst-covered issue in American politics.
[JF: Dr. John Tanton was, of course, the great American immigration patriot who can be credited (or blamed and demonized by the Treason Lobby) for founding the modern immigration control movement. He died in 2019. Peter Brimelow remembers him here: “A Citizen Who Took Up Arms For His Country,” December 26, 2019.]
The Immigration Invasion symbolizes a lot about the present state of the immigration debate. Americans at the grassroots are organizing in opposition to immigration, around and increasingly across traditional political battle lines. A remarkable 200,000 copies of this book are reportedly already in circulation, thanks to various anti-immigration groups. It is frankly a handbook, almost a work in progress in its frantic pack-rat compilation of press clippings, the assimilation and accuracy of which left me sometimes uneasy. ("Between April 1, 1985, and December 31, 1992, the number of foreign-born inmates in New York [jails] rose 194 per cent." Hmmm. Original base? Proportion of total? State, city, or federal jails?)
But in the kingdom of the blind, or deliberately unseeing, the one-eyed pack rat is king—or at any rate can keep his snout pointed in the right direction.
John Tanton himself exemplifies both the ferment and the fluidity Out There, beyond the Beltway. He is simultaneously a practicing eye surgeon and a formidable political entrepreneur who helped organize both the Federation for Immigration Reform and U.S. English (and more recently English Language Advocates, its harder-line rival). In this capacity, he is editor and publisher of The Social Contract, the definitely unfrantic scholarly quarterly magazine that sponsored the book.
[JF: Originally this said “(Copies of the latter are available from the former)” with the phone number of US INC. Tanton’s organization. But, alas, The Social Contract Magazine is no longer published and while its archives are still online, all the physical copies of back issues were destroyed by the new management at US INC, including issues that we more or less wrote ourselves (Spring 2008—A VDARE Reader and Winter 2006-2007 “Mass immigration and the 'National Question'”). We would have been happy to buy them.]
Dr. Tanton came out of the environmental movement—there's a lot of environment around his home in Petoskey, up at the northern end of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. He had links with Planned Parenthood and with the campaign to legalize abortion in Michigan (before the Supreme Court deprived Americans of the right to decide the question, a development of which he creditably disapproves). Yet he reports that in the 1992 presidential primary he voted for Patrick J. Buchanan. The single issue that overcame all others: Mr. Buchanan's criticism of immigration.
Dr. Tanton's choice may seem astounding viewed from the perspective of Washington's ritualized Left-Right trench warfare. But in fact it was intensely rational. Population growth puts far and away the greatest pressure on the environment, particularly from the perspective of those, like Dr. Tanton, who value wilderness for its own sake, as an amenity, rather than wailing on about imminent economic or ecological collapse.
And in the U.S., population growth is increasingly driven by immigrants and their descendants. In How Many Americans? Leon F. Bouvier and Lindsey Grant project that the U.S. population will rise to 396 million by 2050 and 492 million by 2100—that is, nearly double today's total of 250 million. But if immigration is stopped—even as late as the year 2000, by which time another 10 to 15 million immigrants will have arrived—Americans seem likely to stabilize their numbers voluntarily in the 300-million range.
[JF: Obviously, immigration wasn’t stopped: the current population of the United States is 329.5 million—it passed 300 million in 2006. But of course, that didn’t mean 300 million Americans—immigrants account for about 13.7% of the US population, and about a quarter of those are illegal (Key findings about U.S. immigrants, Pew Research Foundation, August 26, 2020).]
Population growth has its blind boosters, on whom it has not yet dawned that quality is infinitely more important that quantity. Logically, however, environmentalists cannot be among them. The fact that the highly professional environmental lobby in Washington has been so silent as immigration has soared is a measure of the extent to which it has been seduced by its liberal allies.
Which means that How Many Americans?, like Lutton and Tanton's book, has a significance beyond its content. The publication by the Sierra Club of this explicit account of the inexorable relationship between immigration, population growth, and environmental stress certainly suggests that the other hiking boot is about to drop, and that this most powerful of liberal lobbies is about to act on the immigration issue. At last.
[JF: Which emphatically turned out not to be the case. That’s because the Sierra Club was bribed by a globalist billionaire named David Gelbaum who gave $100 million dollars to the organization, and used that leverage to stop them backing patriotic and ecologically beneficial immigration policies. According to Gelbaum himself: "I did tell [Sierra Club Executive Director] Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me" [The Man Behind the Land by Kenneth R. Weiss, LA Times, October 17, 2004].
Many National Review readers will find How Many Americans? annoying. The blurb describes it as an "unflinching, progressive voice," and it is. Despite the title, its demographic section, while strong, is quite short—a surprise because Leon Bouvier has written several excellent detailed pamphlets on the impact of immigration on the population of key states. Much of the book does indeed wail on about imminent economic and ecological collapse, complete with admiring quotations from Vice President Al Gore. (Anyone asked him about immigration?) And this wailing betrays the fatal tendency of non-economists: to view resources as absolutes and ignore the market's ingenuity in rationing by price and finding substitutes.
Yet no environmentalist hoping to influence non-progressives can afford to ignore this economic point. Especially after the famous victory that Julian Simon, the celebrated economist and immigration enthusiast, scored over Paul Ehrlich, the equally celebrated scientist and ecological doomster, by winning a bet that the prices of allegedly scarce commodities would fall over the next decade.
Assuming, that is, that environmentalists want to influence non-progressives.
However, getting annoyed at the language in which Bouvier and Grant's message is couched is not the same as establishing that it has no content at all. There are indeed cases of societies that have suffered disastrous die-offs because population growth outstripped their technical and institutional capacities—notably Ireland during the potato famine. There are indeed cases of societies that have destroyed themselves by triggering ecological catastrophe—notably the Mayans, who exhausted their jungle soil. We may have faith that human inventiveness will prevail in the long run. But what about the short run? And wouldn't it be (secretly) reassuring if, as John Tanton likes to ask mordantly, the theorists of innovation had ever actually invented anything themselves?
In this sense, listening to the wails of Mr. Bouvier and Mr. Grant may be a sort of spiritual and intellectual discipline. Thus it may be untrue that some super AIDS virus is even now incubating in the vast human Petri dishes that the Third World's sprawling cities constitute, and will be brought here by immigration. But it is not a logical impossibility.
[JF: I wrote in March 2020 that “A number of immigrant-borne diseases have struck American since then, and it's always considered racist to mention it.” Of course, what we’re still living with is a disease “brought here by immigration”—and we’re still being called racist for saying so.]
No similar edification can be derived from Who We Are: A Portrait of America Based on the Latest U.S. Census, by Sam Roberts, an urban-affairs reporter at the New York Times. About as dull and conventional as you would expect, this is a more or less digestible mass of Census data washed down with drafts of pious hogwash. My favorite: Mr. Roberts's throw-away line that housework ("or homemaking, as it is now known") is "as demanding a job as any outside the home." Of course, trying to corral a recalcitrant two-year-old at bedtime is certainly harrowing. But it is absurd to claim that housework is as difficult and dangerous as fighting a fire or walking a beat, unless things are ordered very differently in the Roberts household. If the New York Times intends to reverse a generation of brainwashing women to despise their traditional roles, that would be nice. But it will probably just claim that housewives ("homemakers") are an oppressed minority deserving a federal program to protect their rights.
It's hard for this book to go completely wrong, given the rich data provided by the Census. For example, by reading carefully you can pick up enough signs of social pathology among Hispanics to refute the hopeful neoconservative contention that their "family values" are worth importing. Thus, while the word "illegitimacy" is now apparently banned, nearly 30 per cent of Hispanic households are headed by a single parent, compared to less than 19 per cent among whites. (The black rate tops 58 per cent.)
But the book does go wrong, of course, because it never thinks to question what a "Hispanic" is anyway. This Census category was created by political pressure and reflects neither race, nor culture, nor even language, since many Hispanics can't speak Spanish. Yet this strange anti-nation seems fated, if immigration continues, to be by early next decade the largest minority in the United States.
A careful reader of Who We Are can also trace the national demographic tipping resulting from immigration. Here Mr. Roberts's reproduction of the conventional wisdom is useful, if unsettling: "The sheer volume of newcomers," he says, "may demand that if assimilation remains a goal [emphasis added] it will require more give and less take by the nation's non-immigrants than has been customary."
[JF: Roberts updated this in 2004 with Who We Are Now—The Changing Face Of America In The 21st Century, and chapter 11 was titled “Our Changing Complexion.” Sample quote: “No single group changed the face of America more in the 1990s than immigrants. And during no other decade in the nation's history have foreigners so profoundly altered the country's complexion in so many ways.” The 2004 book also contains a favorable reference to the “browning” of America, which is totally not a racist thing to say if you’re in favor of it.]
Like the entire political class, and unlike the other authors under review, he seems serenely unaware that this is entirely the result of public policy—and undebated policy at that.
[JF: Well, this, combined with Peter’s 1992 National Review cover story Time To Rethink Immigration, and the book Alien Nation, which was at this this time just about to come out, represents the start of the (repressed) immigration debate of the 90s.
The last line of this NR piece was “Mr. Brimelow's book Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster will be published by Random House in February.”
A lot of subsequent unpleasantness could have been avoided if people had listened—or if Republicans had listened to their constituents—see Ed Rubenstein’s How A 1992 Moratorium Could Have Helped Preserve the Historic American Majority.
This always reminds me of something I read in Patrick O’Brian’s book Desolation Island, set at the time of the War of 1812, where the British spymaster compares an American woman spy to Aphra Behn, who had lived several generations before. Stephen Maturin, a key character, had only heard of Behn as a playwright, but the spymaster corrects him.
“I had some of her Antwerp reports in my hands not a week since, when we were looking through the Privy Council files, and they were brilliant, Maturin, brilliant. For intelligence, there is nothing like a keen-witted, handsome woman. She told us that De Ruyter was coming to burn our ships. It is true that we did nothing about it, and that the ships were burnt; but the report itself was a masterpiece of precision. Yes, yes.’”
It’s also true that mass immigration, which was out of control already in the 90s, is more out of control today, because the American governments of the last 25 years did nothing about it. (It’s also true that Alien Nation was “a masterpiece of precision,” but that’s by the way.)
The fight, however, continues. In 2016, American voters elected a President who ran on a platform of patriotic immigration reform.
That can happen again.
James Fulford [Email him] is writer and editor for VDARE.com.