10 thoughts on “Immigration and income polarities”

  1. Actually, that’s what I have
    Actually, that’s what I have always liked about immigrants: their inequalities, and their relative contentment with a non-egalitarian social order. As Julian Simon has noted, immigrant populations tend to share with traditionalist conservatives a greater representation among both the elite and the working poor: their sensibilities are decidedly non-whiggish.

    These are just observations, not arguments for or against immigration. But I would hope that generic arguments against factors contributing to social “inequality” don’t wash around here.

    My compliments on your lively weblog.

  2. The generic demand for
    The generic demand for equality is a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean growing economic inequality is good, especially in a country in which everyone has the vote. The private attitude of immigrants toward an inegalitarian social order is I think less important politically than their status as outsiders, which makes them easy prey for liberal Democrats, and the cultural discontinuities they bring that make it harder for any particular cultural standards to maintain public authority.

  3. I don’t know about that.
    I don’t know about that. Traditionalist conservatives are outsiders too, and that’s a good place to be at the moment. Ultimately, of course, the restorationist goal should include turning traditionalist conservatives (including like-minded immigrants) into American “insiders”.

    Today immigration needs to be drastically reduced for practical reasons, but immigrants per se are not the enemy. Modernists and terrorists are the enemy, whether immigrant or native. And some immigrants are our friends and natural allies.

    At the very least, I’d like to see a greater traditionalist effort to reach new immigrants *before* they are assimilated into American culture—complete with a nose-ring and a job at Starbucks.

    In a better world, I would advocate restricting immigration to orthodox Catholics (though perhaps not without exceptions)—and that would pretty much eliminate Western Europe.

  4. Mr. Culbreath wrote: “the
    Mr. Culbreath wrote: “the restorationist goal should include turning … like-minded immigrants … into American ‘insiders’…. [S]ome immigrants are our friends and natural allies.”

    I’m sorry to disagree so forcefully, but this is one of the great illusions on the right. “Conservative” immigrants—whether Hispanics, Asian, or Muslim—are constantly upheld as the, excuse me, Great Brown Hope for American conservatism. Experience shows this to be largely a fantasy. In most cases, the self-described “conservative” Hispanic will show that his primary loyalty is to his ethnic compatriots, whether “conservative” or not, and the continued increase of their numbers in America; and he will attack as “bigotry” any effort to control immigration or even discuss it in a serious way. The presence of “conservative” non-European immigrants in American conservative organizations paralyzes those organizations as far as immigration reform is concerned.

  5. There are honorable
    There are honorable exceptions to what I said, such as Yeh Ling-Ling, an immigration reformer in California, who has openly expressed her concern about the cultural unassimilability of most Chinese and the effects of the massive increase in the numbers of Chinese in America. But the exception proves my point. It is folly for conservatives, particularly immigration reformers, to speak generically of “conservative” immigrants and seek to embrace them collectively. Rather, those very few immigrants who are on our side will step forward ON THEIR OWN and become our allies. We don’t have to go searching for them in a kind of affirmative action effort. For any organization or movement to do so only brings in people on a false basis, and thus undermines the organization’s meaning and purpose.

  6. 1. We have immigrants here
    1. We have immigrants here already. And if all immigration were to stop tomorrow, they will still be with us. What does Mr. Auster suggest be done with them? If his answer is deportation, then I suppose there is no point in trying to win their sympathies.

    2. I must assume for the sake of charity that Mr. Auster simply lacks experience with Asian or Hispanic immigrants (Muslims are another story) and does not purposely misrepresent them. In Califiornia there are many thousands of well-assimilated (sometimes too-well assimilated) second and third generation Asians and and Hispanics whose first loyalties are to the land of their birth. A very large percentage of these intermarry with whites. A very large percentage of these don’t even speak the language of their parents. A very *small* percentage of these become radical ethnic activists and rabble-rousers, thanks to the indoctrination they receive at American universities.

    3. When it comes to immigration, consider who is most likely to be a socialist? Who is most likely to be an atheist? Who is most likely to be a divorcee? Who is most likely to be a feminist? Sad to say, it is the Western European.

    4. From a Catholic perspective, even Asian immigrants have a higher percentage of practicing Catholics than native whites (28% Catholic, 22% Protestant)—and they are more likely to be traditionalist and orthodox.

    5. For most of Amerian history Catholics have been on the wrong side of nativist hostility. A resurgence of nativism is very likely going to bite us in the arse.

    6. From the perspective of a California native, our culture was Anglo-Hispanic from the beginning. It generally remains so, and I like it that way.

    7. Americans who have never spent time with non-assimilated immigrant communities really have no idea what a traditional social order might look like. And they have no idea how such communities might enhance an American restorationist vision beyond the latest internet screed.

  7. No one is suggesting
    No one is suggesting “affirmative action” or an undiscerning “collective embrace” of immigrants because they are immigrants.

    What I am suggesting is that traditionalists are already small and marginalized should seek their allies where they may be found.

    Jim Kalb has said elsewhere that the first thing traditionalist conservatives must do is move from abstract ideas to tangible communities. I agree. And in doing so, it is probable that immigrants will be in those same communities.

    That doesn’t mean that immigration should continue in unmanageable numbers, to a land that does not ask for assimilation, and to a culture that is presently unworthy of assimilation. But it does mean that nativist rhetoric and attitudes, besides being unjust and uncharitable, become impractical and injurious to our cause.

  8. Jeff Culbreath wrote earlier
    Jeff Culbreath wrote earlier that “Today immigration needs to be reduced for practical reasons.”

    I believe that traditionalists need to oppose large-scale “foreign” immigration for more than practical reasons.

    Such immigration has the effect of demoralising the “native” population, who no longer have the sense of forming a distinct people with their own culture, and who are therefore likely to be less motivated to act for the common good, for instance, by making sacrifices for the good of their family life, or by preserving the finer aspects of their own culture for future generations.

    Current immigration policies have helped to break important forms of “connectedness” within individuals, which can only help create the unanchored, rootless, denatured, modern individual favoured by liberals.

    It’s true that traditionalists need to come to terms with the presence of immigrant communities, and that we can learn from some aspects of the culture of these communities, and hopefully form some alliances.

    However, accepting this reality is different from applauding the policy leading to it. This policy is a liberal one, and has been highly corrosive of the established traditional order.

  9. I think we have to admit
    I think we have to admit there are two possible traditionalist perspectives here.

    It must be acknowledged that large-scale immigration can be disruptive to a stable society and contribute to social dissolution. I essentially agree with this and think that language, culture, and religion should influence immigration policy along with practical concerns of security and economics. In the best of times, immigration should be a mere trickle.

    Yet I cannot ignore the present reality. The latest wave of immigration came at a time of tremendous cultural upheaval in the United States. Put simply, our nation began to self-destruct in the 1960s. My parents and their peers rebelled against their own parents, abandoned their churches, partied at Woodstock and Altamont, divorced their spouses, turned their kids over to television and the state, and disappeared into a rock-n-roll nirvana never to emerge again.

    Enter third world immigrants. A culture of faith, marriage, and family re-appeared on our land. Divorce, abortion, and homosexuality were taboo among them. Their men were masculine, their women were feminine, and their children had not lost their innocence. Most were filled with a charming and naieve immigrant patriotism. Many worked unbelievably long hours to provide for their families. Their foreign faces dominated the university libraries only because the “natives” disdained the labor of studying.

    In college, it was the SE Asian refugees who rebuked me for my habitually foul language, who corrected my distorted view of communism, who introduced me to classical music, and who insisted that I obey the most petty traffic ordinances out of respect for American laws. Their fathers and mothers were honored and feared; they were naturally attentive when a teacher entered the room; they said “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me”. In short, they introduced me to the best of my own culture which had been stolen from me by my own people. Not all immigrants were as exemplary as my college friends—but the odds were better among them.

    They have gone on to become engineers, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and pharmacists—these children of parents with a fifth grade education in their native lands.

    While the immigration policies begun in the 1960s may have been “liberal” (keeping in mind that many of the Vietnamese came in under Reagan and are staunch Republicans), in fact they ended up serving as an antidote to liberalism in some degree.

    Obviously, the same level of immigration cannot go on forever, and it is possible that the negatives of immigration will outweigh the positives at any given time. I do think it is time for a moratorium on immigration, not because third-world immigrants are unassimilable (that is demonstrably false), but because we need the stability to begin rebuilding our civilization.

  10. hi. I just hap-hazardly
    hi. I just hap-hazardly stumbled into your inteligently debatable conversation over immigration, and as I read the reply’s, a unimmaginable question bubbled to the surface of my foolish mind. Now, this being the first time ever to write on this page (or any page), and only being on this page for around fifteen minutes before writing this, this question could unbearably be outside of point and concept, but I beg you to bear with me, and answer me yet.

    Is immigration the real issue, or is the immigrational issue the result of a deeper, more damaging problem?

    With this done, and since I have humbly asked for your patience fore-statedly, I must also ask forgiveness if this is completely and whole-heartly wrong, for I am young and full of mistakes to be.


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