Feinstein says Bush plan would increase illegal immigration

While many liberals, including the Democratic presidential candidates, reject President Bush’s legalize-the-illegals plan because it doesn’t instantly give the illegals permanent residency status, Senator Diane Feinstein opposes the Bush plan because it would increase illegal immigration. “I think the program is unrealistic,” Feinstein said. “I will not support a plan that could be a magnet for more illegal immigration.” Among other things, this puts President Bush, David Horowitz, and other open-borders Republicans to the left of Sen. Feinstein.

I don’t mean to sound optimistic here or to suggest we let down our guard for one second, but I can’t help but get the feeling from Feinsteins’s remarks that Bush’s wacko anti-American scheme is kaput.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 09, 2004 11:21 PM | Send


It’s not good enough to win on this issue; but to use it like a club to wack the American public out of the stupor it’s been in regarding the immigration issue. The true underbelly of the elites contempt for the American Nation has been exposed here. Republican Senator Frist was not in Mexico on vacation this week……..he was there to hold Fox’s hand on this immigration policy.

Posted by: j.hagan on January 10, 2004 4:25 AM

The emotion on this issue at VFR is surprisingly intense. It is expressed in ad hominum attacks on President Bush, and threats not to support him, and thereby support the candidate of the other party who would not only be worse on this issue, but most others. Amidst the rancor, does anyone have a reasonable proposal to address the problem? By reasonable, I do not mean something that is clearly never going to happen, e.g., deportation or expulsion of 10 million men, women, and children (while the borders stay open so they all walk back). Neither do I mean massive mobilization of the military to seal borders - even though we ought to close the open border, I doubt we have the resources. Bush seems to have gone for a European style guest worker approach - those programs were a disaster in Europe, and there people didn’t have the easy cross border access they do here (immigrants couldn’t walk across the Mediterranen or through communist East Europe). This is a huge problem and won’t be solved through some simple formula. The essence of the problem is demand to come to the United States and ease of (illegal) access. Perhaps we ought to start by dealing with the California welfare magnet. In other border states that lack this magnet (Texas), there doesn’t seem to be so much excitement over the issue, which may be due to the fact that those coming in there obviously intend to work - otherwise they would have gone to California. Now that doesn’t make illegal immigration any less undesirable, but maybe we should be fighting this step by step, as the pro-life people have been successfully doing on their issue. The chief obstacle to any saleable effort to start addressing the program will be obstruction from the leftist judiciary, with their theory that the Constitution is a blank check for liberal ideologues. (Oppose Bush, and elect a president who will appoint a slew of these justices - and see them confirmed by republicans in the Senate?) To conclude, I would like to see some realistic proposals put forth for how to address this problem on VFR. Many posters here a very bright and knowledgeable, so why waste time with fuming and fussing and insistence on instant utopian solutions that we all know won’t fly? In other words, this is a political problem, and politics is the art of the possible, not just putting forth your ideal vision and resting content with the predictable lack of any effect in reality.

Posted by: thucydides on January 10, 2004 11:18 AM

I don’t remember seeing any ad hominem attacks on Bush in these discussions at VFR. I don’t think I’ve made any myself. Bush has done an extremely bad and objectionable thing, and we’re objecting to it in strong language suitable to the importance and urgency of the issue. Over these last couple of days, the immediate business has been understanding and responding to the Bush plan. It is not, pace Thudycides, our responsbility in the midst of this discussion to come up with a global answer to all immigration-related issues. It is enough to show the awfulness of the Bush plan.

I have no objection to discussing what needs to be done about immigration. But I do object to Thucydides’s suggestion that our “rancor” is somehow the problem that stands in the way of such a discussion.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 10, 2004 11:43 AM

Thucydides calls us out. Very well. Here is a concrete idea proposed by a commenter on my blog:

“One thing we can do is divide up California’s $4.6 billion dollars in payments to illegals among those most responsible: the employers of illegals. That is, we don’t necessarily need to pick up each illegal and boot them out manually. Instead, we conduct spot checks of every employer in California. Those found employing illegals are assessed a healthy fine meant to defray the taxpayer for the services provided to illegals. The beauty of this is that it addresses the fundamental economic issue here: employers are not shouldering the full cost of the worker , which includes all the assimilation and transfer payment costs (not to mention the crime).”

Said commenter’s own blog is:

Posted by: Paul Cella on January 10, 2004 11:49 AM

The “remedy” is quite simple, actually. First, enforce the employer sanctions portion of the 1986 amnesty. Second, make it as uncomfortable as possible for illegals already in this country: lobby state governments to require that people using public services and state/federal welfare services have the proper identification and residency permits. Third, return to the courts to deny illegals a public education and the right to apply for care at hospitals.

Bush and everyone else in the government refuses to do the first. State and local governments are actually moving in the opposite direction of the second. Legislation, mainly supported by Republicans, works in the opposite direction of the third.

But voting for Bush or the Republicans will get none of these reforms initiated. Until they fear losing office and power, they’ll continue to vote for their one and only true god: the almighty dollar they put in their own pockets.

Posted by: paulccc on January 10, 2004 11:51 AM

I reject in its entirety the notion that it is impossible to deport illegals. John Derbyshire touched on this in “The Corner” yesterday. It’s undoubtedly a tall order to deport en masse the 8-15 million illegals within our borders but what is absolutely galling is that the political will does not exist to deport ANY illegals. Cannot we begin deporting SOME of them? One assumes there would be a chilling effect on other potential illegal immigrants. Imagine the effect on an illegal in the back of a pick up truck moving North when witnessing a prison bus packing a group of illegals back into Mexico. Would he be as determined to “start a new life in America” when he might suddenly be deported?

Posted by: Barry on January 10, 2004 12:00 PM

I think this is part of what big government thinks of as the global village project. It is a drive to eliminate the nation state.

By allowing large scale immigration, Mexican and American culture will blend. This blending will
give way to a new culture, and possible a new
super-country. CanaMexiMerica.

Posted by: Ron on January 10, 2004 12:14 PM

Thucydides writes, “The emotion on this issue at VFR is surprisingly intense.”

Should we view the dissolution of our nation and culture with equanimity? Should we not feel betrayed that an American president, a Republican “conservative,” intends to be its agent?

Posted by: Shrewsbury on January 10, 2004 12:14 PM

Expanding on Barry’s point, it is not a matter of deporting 10 million persons in one fell swoop. It is a matter of _reversing_ the current direction of things. Currently the existing laws are not being enforced, and illegals continue to pour into the country. Reversing this means that we start enforcing the laws, including the 1986 employer sanctions, and deporting more and more illegals (including those illegals who entered legally as tourists, which the new ID technologies instituted this past week make possible). Once we do that, the whole direction of this would change, from a steady net increase of illegals and loss of our control over our country to a steady net decrease of illegals and increase in our control over our country. Of course, this, like any other major change, would require most of all a change of attitude and leadership on the part of the American people.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 10, 2004 12:31 PM

My comment has brought forth some welcome responses - as paulccc points out, neither our politicians nor our bureaucrats have much interest in stanching the inflow of illegals, nor in limiting the opportunities for welfare services or employment that attract them. Believe me, I do not in any way minimize the disastrous effects of unconstrained illegal immigration, but I wonder whether there is any practical way to address it? The judges threw out Proposition 187 in California, which might have been a start. Deportation? The minute it starts the media will be filled with heart wrenching stories of illegals who came long ago and now have put down roots and made an enormous contribution, their straight A children pulled from school and sent to some third world hell-hole; Or try this: a desperately ill person turned away from the hospital door? Can’t you just see the media wing of the democrat party going to work on this? Mr. Auster’s idea that once a few are removed, everything will reverse seems most unlikely. This is like saying because a few drug shipments are intercepted and the couriers arrested, the enormous inflow will stop. I think we just like our cheap labor too much, the politicians like new constituencies to manipulate, and yes, we just have to much human sympathy for even illegals to undertake the harsh steps that would save us. But I do have the feeling that until borders are effectively closed, it is useless to talk about what to about the illegals now here. If the borders were closed, then we could deal with that problem in relatively humane way, which is the only way that will fly in our country. And more policing of the borders is probably the most do-able in the short run.

Posted by: thucydides on January 10, 2004 1:03 PM

I’m curious: what would VRF readers think of an compromise which includes (1) some kind of amnesty or guest worker program and (2) a serious effort to patrol and close the border. In other words, a proposal that says, those here already can stay and be welcomed, but no one else can come, period. (I know it’s unrealistic, but just as speculation, would we agree to a compromise long those lines?)

Posted by: Paul Cella on January 10, 2004 1:12 PM

Thucydides raises many fine points. I suggest there are a few things we can do as individuals to oppose illegal immigration.

-do not patronize restaurants or businesses you suspect employ illegals
-report suspected illegals to the INS
-again, write your “representatives”, be relentless
-join and contribute to FAIR, Project USA, Numbers USA, FILE or other immigration reform groups
-be persuasive and speak out within your “sphere of influence”. Family, friends, sympathetic coworkers and the like. Chances are they are already aware of the problem and simply feel overwhelmed.

I suspect Thucydides is right about the spin the media would put on deportation. It is worth noting, though that at least 2/3 of the public already regard immigration a serious problem. We must be firm.

Posted by: Barry on January 10, 2004 1:20 PM

Mr. Cella’s suggestion is a good one, but maybe we will be unable to effectively close the border. Patterico ( www.patterico.com ) makes the point that the real problem is the welfare state plus the minimum wage, guaranteeing that Americans won’t take the low end jobs, and thereby guaranteeing a huge demand for the illegals’ labor. He thinks tackling those issues offer the only hope, but that it is politically unrealistic to think it will happen.

Posted by: thucydides on January 10, 2004 1:24 PM

The reason we have most likely 15 million illegals here is we don’t deport them. I know it’s not the 50’s, but we once did use mass deportations. Operation wetback, over one million Mexicans sent backby Ike. Work sanctions are the “Key” to at least starting this deportation effort. If we don’t start deportation what, 25, 35, 50 million in the next 10 years ?

Posted by: j.hagan on January 10, 2004 1:43 PM

I would oppose Mr. Cella’s suggestion for the following reason: if the law is to mean anything, it must be obeyed and enforced. To suggest, by granting such blatant lawbreakers amnesty (and that includes any “guest worker program” for current lawbreakers), that the law is malleable and weak, we contribute to the further erosion of our constitutional system of government.

The only rational and constitutionally consistent way to approach this problem, assuming that we Americans have a moral right to enact immigration laws in the first place (which we do), is to say to His Royal Highness that if he wishes to have open borders he chould change our immigration laws. Of course, this would then point up the blatantly obvious fact that His Highness hath not the POWER to unilaterally change the law, and furthermore that those who DO have the power and who represent THE PEOPLE OF THESE UNITED STATES would not have it changed, but rather ENFORCED.

Posted by: Bubba on January 10, 2004 1:52 PM

Some steps to start taking are:

1.) End any form of welfare for non-citizens who’ve been here less than ten years. No food stamps, no free public schools, no section 8 housing, no free medical care. Either they pay their own way or those desiring to import them should pay their way.

2) States and municipalities that have been saddled with enormous welfare, education, and medical costs due to illegals should persue civil action against those businesses employing them to recover the costs. Ditto for all of the immigrant advocacy groups. If they are so gung ho about these people being here, they should personally foot the bill. If a class-action, multi-state suit against the tobacco industry was possible, why not persue one against the slave-labor lobby? This is one of the key things driving this mess. Corporate types who want dirt-cheap labor which is made possible by having the taxpayer foot the bills for housing, education, medical care, etc.

3) All governement business should be conducted in English only.

4) Deport at once any illegal caught breaking the law, even traffic laws - except in the case of violent offenders (who are routinely harbored by Mexico).

5) Authorize either the FBI or US military special forces to enter Mexico to apprehend the violent criminals being harbored there if the Mexican government continues to refuse extradition.

Deportation is useless unless one has secured the border in the first place, of course.

Posted by: Carl on January 10, 2004 2:34 PM

Thucydides writes:

“Mr. Auster’s idea that once a few are removed, everything will reverse seems most unlikely.”

That’s not what I said. I said that while it may be unrealistic to think of deporting all illegals at once, it would not be unrealistic to reverse the _direction_ of our immigration policy, and that part of this reversal would be to start deporting “more and more” illegals on an ongoing basis; I did not recommend deporting “a few” of them on a one-time basis. I’m surprised Thucydides would so misconstrue my plain meaning.

As for Thucydides’ repeated point that public opinion will not allow for the kind of changes that we in this discussion advocate, well, the same obstructionist point could be made against ANY conservative or traditionalist policy. Obviously the sorts of changes we believe in are contingent on changes in public opinion. If the rule is that we should not discuss possible policy changes for which sufficient public support does not now exist, then there’s no point in our discussing conservative politics. We should all just look for ways to surrender to the current drift of things, i.e., we should all become mainstream “conservatives.” I assume that’s not what Thucydides wants.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 10, 2004 2:46 PM

Mr. Cella’s suggestion has been tried before — in 1986. The supposed one time amnesty led to more illegal and legal (family reunion) immigration.

We also must remember that Bush’s ‘vision’ amounts to a permanent, rolling amnesty. It goes far beyond legalizing those illegals here — it intentionally invites the whole world to come to America. During the Reagan administration, it was still perceived that immigration needed to be controled, that mass immigration harmed American workers. Now Bush and his cheerleaders sell mass immigration as a positive good. During the Reagan administration, the INS did its job (I remember the Western District director, Harold Ezell, conducting sweeps for illegals in hundred of businesses). Now, business can hire illegals with impunity, even recruit down in Mexico.

Second, border control is necessary but not sufficient. Euroope, particularly Germany, has had remarkable success with internal enforcement at train stations, truck stops, and the like. We need to concentrate resources at transportation nodes and at businesses suspected of hiring illegals. This mains jail time for business owners/managers who hire illegals. If its good enough for those who might or might not have violated SEC regulations (e.g. Martha Stewart) its good enough for those who are subverting our society by supporting illegals.

Posted by: Mitchell Young on January 10, 2004 2:47 PM

You know, one of the novels I published when I had my pitiful little small press had a rather dreadful theme. (“The Cold Land,” by Wesley Fultz.) It was set in 1850s New England and concerned a boy raised by his crazy mother to be the anti-Christ, but who revolts against his “destiny” (he thinks) and decides to be “good.” He will now be a saint, more than a saint, he will remake the world. And in deciding to be this towering shining figure he becomes in fact finally rather demonic, railing about “setting all the negroes free” and forcing people to do the right things. Of course, in our liberalized and politicized times, not one reader in 100 caught the dreadful irony of the ending. Most thought it was positive and uplifting! Aieee!

And I mention this because in trying to understand what the heck George W. Bush is doing I find myself thinking about this novel. And I’m wondering and worrying whether George W. Bush is falling victim to a towering spiritual pride (mixing insensibly with an awareness of the economic interests of his clan and cronies), which is leading him to embark on all sorts of apparently beneficient crusades….


Posted by: Shrewsbury on January 10, 2004 2:50 PM

Carl has the right idea. I would suggest using (RICO). This wide-ranging lawsuit against business, and the Mexican government to start recovering costs related to the invasion would be a good first step. What I’m afraid will happen though is much more simple and direct. Several 911’s, some traced to entry through the Mexican border will force the Government to not only close the border; but change the very nature of immigration that we now experience.

Posted by: j.hagan on January 10, 2004 2:53 PM

Shewsbury brings up spiritual pride, and this strikes a cord with me regarding GWB. Bush was, from what I can see, something of a drunk, and frequent cocaine user; who at 40, had a come to Jesus moment. Like his worthless brother Neil, he was something of a joke to his Dad, and the star of the family younger brother, Jeb. The GWB we see now is the strutting, cocksure, fallen; but now saved, inflexible gentleman who is going to save the rest of us from his fate.

Posted by: j.hagan on January 10, 2004 3:09 PM

thucydides wrote: “Patterico ( www.patterico.com ) makes the point that the real problem is the welfare state plus the minimum wage, guaranteeing that Americans won’t take the low end jobs, and thereby guaranteeing a huge demand for the illegals’ labor.”

I’m afraid I can’t follow his argument. On the one hand, he says that Americans are spoiled namby-pambies who won’t take low-wage jobs, and then on the other argues that eliminating the minimum wage will encourage these same namby-pambies to take now-lower wage jobs? That makes no sense.

(I’m not in favor of the minimum wage law. I’m simply questioning this guy’s line of reasoning.)

Posted by: Bubba on January 10, 2004 3:19 PM

Can it be?

Add to Senator Feinstein’s remarks this article in today’s New York Times, presenting anti-immigration views:


and an even better one in tomorrow’s Week in Review section that was online some hours ago but which I cannot now find, and one begins to wonder…is the seething hatred of President Bush that is so evident in the Opinion Elite leading them to question the wisdom of mass emigration, now that the president has thrown open the borders to the whole world?

Meanwhile, however, the flagitious David Brooks is certainly busy “positioning” himself for a long stint on the Op-Ed page:


“Imagine a person 10 times as determined as you are. Picture a guy who will wade across rivers, brave 120-degree boxcars and face vicious smugglers and murderous vigilantes — all to get a job picking fruit for 10 hours a day. That person is the illegal immigrant. Let’s call him Sam. This whole immigration debate is about him, the choices he faces and the way he responds.”

Yecch. It doesn’t get much more maudlin, disingenuous, and just plain creepy than this. Would it be too terribly xenophobic to attempt to point out to Mr. Brooks that the immigration debate is, in fact, not about “Sam,” it’s about America? Brooks obviously, by the way, has no conception of what most Americans must do to get by. “Ten times as determined,” quotha. In what posh university club does this guy spend his afternoons? He is doing what so many of the elites do, creating a false dichotomy between very affluent whites and Mexican peasants, as if there were no other sorts of people in America.

(Famous writer and certified gold-plated fake T. C. Boyle wrote a whole novel about the society of Southern California in which these were the only kinds of people - on the one hand, distasteful wealthy whites like him living in fancy houses in the hills (except he is better than the other whites because he is writing a novel showing how distasteful they are), and on the other hand, the noble, earthy Mexicans clearing the whites’ property of eucalyptus leaves with their noble, earthy leaf blowers. White people with jobs or businesses? What? What are those? Never heard of ‘em.)

Posted by: Shrewsbury on January 10, 2004 3:27 PM

I never saw the word “flagitious” before. It means “shockingly brutal and cruel.” I’m not sure how that applies to the soft-spoken sneaky surrender monkey David Brooks.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 10, 2004 3:41 PM

Brook’s technique, his appeal to emotion, is exactly like the sob stories we get from leftish reporters. Except they at least base their stories in reality. Brooks conflates various horror stories into a situation which no illegal has ever faced.

The reality is that most illegals make it through the border relatively painlessly. Some pick fruit, others do odd jobs, others work at Burger King. None of these jobs are particularly egregious. I have done things akin to them in my time.

It is amazing that a token ‘conservative’ would resort to such rhetoric. Then again, given the decline in the movement, maybe its not surprising.

Which brings me back to Feinstein. She has always been decent on immigration, as have a number of other liberals and even leftists. Meanwhile some establishment conservatives have been awful — think of Orin Hatch or Sam Brownback. As I mentioned in an earlier post, in LA it is the politically eclectic ‘John and Ken’ that are leading the talk radio charge against this idiocy, whereas the Rush’s and Hannity’s of the dial ignore it or make idiotic ‘Clinton was worse’ non-arguments.

This is an issue where right will have to united with left against the plutocrats and the ethnic activists

Posted by: Mitchell Young on January 10, 2004 4:01 PM

Nay, my Oxford says “flagitious,” from the Latin word for “shameful act,” has among its proper meanings “villainous,” and can be used (albeit loosely) to mean merely “infamous.”

But somewhere I had picked up the notion that it also carried the meaning “deserving of being flogged,” which is the sense in which I thought I was using it in respect of Mr. Brooks, only I can’t find that precise definition now.

Okay, so I won’t use it anymore. Darn. It OUGHT to mean “deserving of being flogged.”

Posted by: Shrewsbury on January 10, 2004 5:22 PM

Interesting. Webster’s New Collegiate also defines flagitious as “marked by outrageous or scandalous crime or vice, villainous.” The earlier definition I gave came from a computer program called WordWeb. I’ll be less trusting of it in the future.

However, I certainly agree that Brooks is flogworthy.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 10, 2004 5:34 PM

Bubba writes that he does not follow Patterico’s argument. I think what Patterico is saying is that once illegals become amnestied, they will in many cases turn to welfare before taking any job at minimum wage or less. The jobs they do not take will be taken by a new crop of illegals. I don’t know if this is true, I just passed it along as an interesting comment. Surely many illegals have flocked to cities like New York where welfare benefits of all types far exceed in value the pay for entry level jobs. I believe this is intentional, to create a client class for the democrat bureacrat/social service provider patronage machine.

Posted by: thucydides on January 10, 2004 5:43 PM

Mr. Auster writes that I have misinterpreted him to suggest that he advocated deportation of only a few illegals. I only meant to say that I did not think any program of deportations would likely stop the flow, in that the desire to come is so great. Mr. Auster also raises the question of my alleged defeatism in saying that some of the proposals aired here are most unlikely to take place. I on the other hand think it is only realistic to attack a huge and intractable problem where the forces arrayed against you are formidable by trying one small thing at a time. While it doesn’t hurt to discuss global solutions, it doesn’t accomplish much. Look at the pro-life movement: when they talked only of outright bans on abortion, they got nowhere. Instead, they have concentrated on pieces of the issue where they had strong public support: parental notification, partial birth abortion, etc. I suppose there were some who would say they were defeatists and just gave in, but to me they are both smart and effective in advancing their issue.

Posted by: thucydides on January 10, 2004 5:53 PM


Tonite I must sip a snifter of brandy and smoke a Cuban cigar in celebration of the discovery of a new favourite word.

Posted by: Matt on January 10, 2004 6:07 PM

I hope Matt will accept a partner in this evening’s toast! ;-) (Passing a Cohiba to Matt.)

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on January 10, 2004 11:44 PM

As far as the flagitous Mr. Brooks is concerned, perhaps he should spend more time considering the actual illegals Antonio and Eliseo here, instead of creating a mythical, heroic “Sam” out of thin air. http://www.vdare.com/letters/tl_010904.htm

Brooks is just another facile, shallow mouthpiece for the oligarchy, nothing more - the type of “conservative” that the Sulzburgers wouldn’t mind being present at one of their cocktail parties.

Posted by: Carl on January 11, 2004 12:46 AM

Flagitous Mr. Brooks can jump on the surrender train with Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg is “not offended by Bush’s proposal”.. “this is a realistic approach to the problem”.. “our fearless leader Bush is going to fix it..”

I think these guys spend too much time schmoozing at AEI functions and are not willing to rock the boat. Sellouts all. Someday I’ll figure out how to post a link on here.

Posted by: Barry on January 11, 2004 1:13 AM

If there is anyone to write or remember history in a few decades, history is not going to look kindly on these people. Somewhere in their minds I think they know that. Which would increase their motive to speed up the destruction, so that there won’t be anyone left who would remember or care what has happened.

As for posting a link, right-click the link and then click Copy Shortcut. Or place the cursor in the address bar and copy it. Then paste into the comment.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 11, 2004 1:27 AM

WFB says Bush’s proposal is “complicated and political.” Typical words from The Great Conservative Intellectual.

Posted by: David on January 11, 2004 1:43 AM

That’s the same Great Conservative Intellectual who nine years ago took the pro side in a Firing Line debate on the resolution, “Immigration should be drastically reduced”—and then hardly ever mentioned the subject again.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 11, 2004 2:06 AM

Can anyone explain William F. Buckley’s behavior?
As for David Brooks, he is so weak he barely qualifies as a neocon.

Posted by: Alan Levine on January 11, 2004 10:00 AM

It appears Bill Buckley has entered the latter stages of “conservatism”. Peter Brimelow describes “vintage late Buckley” as “incomprehensible”. Apparently Buckley (National Review) threw in the towel on immigration in 2000.


Posted by: Barry on January 11, 2004 11:58 AM

The Church of Morris Dees (the SPLC) has just declared VDare a hate group, in part because it posts occasional columns by Jared Taylor, to whom Buckley announced, sort of, his surrender on immigration in Barry’s link. It’s kind of exciting to be branded a member of a hate group. Funny, though, I don’t feel any more evil than I did before.

The responses Thucydides provoked have been interesting. I’m surprised that T found VFRer’s emotions against Bush’s amnesty “surprisingly intense.” VFR is a traditionalists’ soapbox; what should our reaction be to something that bids fair to destroy whatever remains of our national traditions?

The solution requires internal enforcement against illegal aliens and their employers, external enforcement at the frontiers and drastic reductions in immigration quotas. We have to talk in terms of the whole package because there is not much time left to win this fight. We are holding our own numbers down through contraception and abortion. Our uninvited guests (and many legal immigrants, whom we shouldn’t have allowed in in the first place) are outbreeding us, and - thanks to the federal government’s willing misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment - breeding U.S. citizens. We are in a demographic struggle that we, along with every other European-stock nation, are losing.

Thucydides talks of the successes of the pro-life movement. I am opposed to all abortion, but how great have the pro-life movement’s successes been? It seems to me that our efforts have not greatly reduced the numbers of abortions inflicted. If I am wrong, somebody tell me. I would love to be wrong about that. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on January 11, 2004 1:05 PM

Also re Buckley’s motivations and off-hand approach to things (as someone remarked years ago, his columns read as though he had jotted them down in ten minutes on his word processor while transferring between flights in an airport), I hope VFR’s readers will excuse my bringing astrology into this traditionalist forum for once. Buckley is a Sagittarian, which is known is the most detached of all the signs, and Buckley seems to take such detachment to an extreme. Aquarians, of course, are also thought of as being detached. But, as someone once shrewdly said to me, Aquarians are attached to being detached, Sagittarians are truly detached.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 12, 2004 2:13 AM

Well I’ll be hawg-tied! People have been calling me “weird”’ for-ever and a day. As it turns out, I am merely.. Sagittarian! Detached, as it were..

I don’t suppose Mr. Auster *really* buys into astrology?

Posted by: Barry on January 12, 2004 3:08 AM

Decades ago, I was very much interested in astrology and studied it deeply. Then I dropped it. My view of the matter was and is as follows: The symbols of astrology represent a certain dimension of the universe, they are a window into certain constitutive principles of human personality and character, often showing us profound truths about people and personality types. At the same time, the insights that one gets from astrology are so subjective (and its terminology so specialized and so different from normal language) that it is not really useful for general purposes of understanding and discussing human character. It tends to become a silly distraction from true understanding, an intellectual game of classification and labeling that in the final analysis doesn’t go anywhere. So I dropped it entirely, over 20 years ago. However, Buckley is such a pure example of a certain personality type (and even of a physical type) that I felt the astrological connection was worth mentioning for anyone who might appreciate what I was talking about.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 12, 2004 4:24 AM

Mr. Auster,

I am a professor of philosophy, and what is more, my teaching and practice of philosophy are both conducted from within the broadly analytic perspective. In other words, I share with Michael Levin a logically rigorous and largely ahistorical approach to the posing and (attempted) answering of philosophical questions, although I have ended up with an epistemology and metaphysics quite different from his.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Auster, I agree with you in your assessment of astrology. It seems to me that astrological lore, predictions, and typology are generally not worth serious and sustained intellectual attention. However, the view shared by so many of my colleagues that astrology is only rank superstition strikes me as being nothing more than wishful thinking. The universe is not nearly so simple as many thinkers wish it to be.

Posted by: Volund on January 12, 2004 8:04 AM

Thanks to Volund for the support. There aren’t many people who understand that something could both contain truth, and also contain so much potential for untruth that it is not worth pursuing seriously.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 12, 2004 10:44 AM

Mr. Auster,

It is an honor for me to offer you my humble support. Your writings and those of so many others at VFR (the names Sutherland, Shrewsbury, Murgos, Unadorned, and Levine, at once come to mind) have helped to preserve my sanity in the midst of the wretched bedlams that are the pathetic remnants of the academy and Republican conservatism.

Posted by: Volund on January 12, 2004 7:10 PM

I want to affirm Mr. Auster’s belief that there is some basis of truth in astrology, but not necessarily as any specific group or individual is practicing it today.

Mr. Auster’s criticism of astrology is valid. Nowadays, Western astrology has splintered so much that the American Federation of Astrologers has adopted a nihilistic attitude that says “any path is the right one” and “do your own thing” and “whatever”. So you have a choice of solar or geocentric systems, sidereal or temporal, lots of house systems to choose from, lots of aspects, some to even lifeless asteroids, midpoints between aspects, Arabic parts, critical degrees, Dragon’s Heads/Tails, progressions, transits, eclipses, not to mention Uranian astrology, Chinese astrology, and so on. Add to that the subjective, symbolic nature of the study itself and you can find any side of any issue you want to. This is hardly a study of Truth.

However, ancient civilizations were almost all based on astrology, with mythology, agriculture, social structure, and religion superimposed. It is only in relatively recent times that human societies have abandoned astrology.

Even in the Christian religion, one finds references to astrology. For example, it is hard to read the 4th chapter of Revelation without picturing our solar system. There were seven Spirits before the throne of God: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus (Neptune and Pluto did not originate in this system, according to 4th century Eastern saint, Basil the Great–—yes, he knew about Neptune and Pluto). From the solar throne issued “lightnings, and thunderings, and voices.” Reminds one of solar flares. Since there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, each with a positive and negative side, there sat “four and twenty elders” around the throne. There were four beasts: the lion (Leo), the calf (Taurus), the man (Aquarius), and the flying eagle (Scorpio), sometimes pictured as an eagle with a serpent in its beak. These are known to astrologers as the “fixed” signs of the Zodiac. Early Byzantine churches had a dome supported by the four pillars of the Church: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Among esoteric sources, they were representatives of the same fixed signs of the Zodiac. At the top of the dome was an image of Christ Pantocrator, who, as a Solar Being, surrounded Himself by a circle of 12, although some domes in Byzantine churches show 24. From the dome hangs an elaborate chandelier, which represents all of the stars and heavenly bodies.

Presbyterian pastor Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge, FL, had a sermon series entitled “Christian Astrology”, in which he presented the notion that the life of Christ was reflected in the constellations. (Or maybe it was the other way around.)

I attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH, a Lutheran university. On the ceiling of the foyer to the chapel were all the signs of the Zodiac in proper order. It seems somebody knew something.

The Amplified Bible substitutes for the term “Wise Men” the word “Astrologers”.

From a secular point of view, Maurice Cotterell, a living British scientist and engineer, studied solar sunspot cycles and came to believe in some astrological fundamentals from the effects on human beings of different particles emitted from the Sun during phases of solar magnetic reversals.

I suppose the list could go on–I have not even mentioned the science of astrobiology, which uses statistics to determine effects of the Sun, Moon, and heavenly bodies on living things on Earth. But I know enough to say, with Mr. Auster that, yes, there is some basis of truth in astrology.

Posted by: Arie Raymond on January 13, 2004 11:07 AM

It seems to me that the decisive arguments against astrology were mustered many centuries ago: namely, that in disasters like the destruction of Pompeii, people of all astrological signs met the same fate, while people born under the same sign live vastly different lives. I am surprised that anyone here would take it seriously.

Posted by: Alan Levine on January 13, 2004 5:33 PM

I didn’t intend to get into a discussion of astrology, I just made a passing reference to it, but then I was challenged on it, so I felt I ought to explain. Let me say this to Mr. Levine. If astrology were so simple that it meant that everyone of the same sun sign (and there are only twelve sun signs) should live and die the same way, then obviously it would be idiotically simple and couldn’t possibly be true.

The truth or falsity of astrology cannot be determined by abstract arguments over whether it is plausible that the positions of the planets could affect earthly events. The truth or falsity of astrology can only be determined by people who learn its principles and study the birth charts of people they know well or of famous people. Why the correspondence exists between the configuration of the solar system in relation to the earth at the time of a person’s birth and that person’s traits is not known; but the correspondence does exist, often to an incredibly detailed degree. The planets and signs, in a manner we cannot understand, represent structural principles of the universe and vital principles of the human psyche, and to learn about these principles and see them in operation in human personality is a legitimate area of knowledge.

But then there’s the catch, which I mentioned earlier. The study of these principles and correspondences, while very interesting and revealing on one level, ultimately leads nowhere. You can identify a person’s typical personality traits according to astrological symbolism, but it becomes something of a labeling game, it does not take you into a deeper understanding of him as an individual. Also, even though the principles have an objective meaning, there is too much subjectivity in their interpretation. Worse, astrology falsifies things by laying its own specialized terminology over them. In short, while astrology contains much truth, it remains a static system of classification upon which it is not possible to pursue further knowledge. These were the reasons why, by my late twenties, I gave astrology up. I never think about it, except occasionally to note the sun signs of famous people. Mrs. Clinton, for example, has typical Scorpio traits. George W. Bush has typical Cancer traits. But these traits and correspondences, while worth noting, do not take you into what is most individual about that person.

Nevertheless, despite its limits, a general knowledge of astrology, especially of the sun signs, which is accessible to anyone, reveals a dimension of reality that is part of what makes us what we are. But for most people, especially in this Age of the Self, it’s probably better not to know about it because it becomes, as I said, a silly, egotistical game.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 13, 2004 6:48 PM

By the way, there are a variety of systems of personality types and physical types in addition to astrology, and all of them reveal something. The best known is the endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph typology. There is Jung’s introvert/extrovert, intuitive/rational typology. Then there is a little known system of planetary types (not the same as astrology), which divides people into seven body types corresponding to the seven traditional planets. These and other systems are deeply interesting and reveal much about human personality.

At the same time, Christianity is correct to look askance at such systems, because they don’t deal with the most essential part of what we are, and can become trivializing distractions.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 13, 2004 7:06 PM

One more comment about the place of astrology in the total scheme of things. There are higher dimensions or planes than the material, as taught by various occult or spiritual teachings, which are variously called astral, causal, subtle, mental, and so on, and various paranormal phenomena associated with them. This leads to two contradictory sounding results. On one hand, there are real phenomena that cannot be explained by materialist science. On the other hand, simply because these phenomena transcend material existence does not mean that they are spiritually _true_. There can be just as much illusion and sin in these “higher” planes as on the ordinary material plane. That is why all true religions recommend that people stay away from occult phenomena.

Now, among the classes of occult phenomena or occult systems of knowledge, astrology is the most garden variety, the least dark or dangerous. Nevertheless, its ambiguous character, of being “higher” and yet not ultimately _true_, needs to be remembered.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on January 14, 2004 5:48 PM

Many Bible commentators, (including Jewish scholars,) understand the reference to “Mazzaroth” in Job 38:32 to be the Hebrew word denoting the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The OT strictly forbade the use of the stars for purposes of divination of course, but one theory is that God had used the signs of Mazzaroth in the earliest times as symbolizing specific truths, before there was a written Revelation, (a ‘reminder’ mechanism that would have survived the Deluge). Support for this comes from the commonality of the signs in nearly all cultures going back to antiquity.

I don’t know enough to comment either way, but just pass it along.

I think Mr. Auster makes a good point in the rest 05:48 PM statement. There may be good reason to believe that mankind had much greater strength, both physical and psychic which were delimited following the Fall. And the soul of man may still possess extraordinary latent power. But attempts to tap that power, after a certain point, can lead one into dangerous territory, perhaps not realizing that that power is ending where an external one begins.

I liken it to those accounts where humans have, in exegetical circumstances, suddenly tapped into a phenomenal physical strength that could not be achieved in common hours, like lifting a wrecked car when an offspring is pinned underneath. An inhibiting mechanism in the brain prevents us from exceeding what could otherwise be a dangerous overuse of our latent physical ability. Were that inhibitor to be overriden — as in the case of people who foolishly indulge in PCP — a person can exhibit almost superhuman strength, but at risk of great personal injury. I think this is a good parallel to the dangers of intruding too far into the soulual/psychic realm.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on January 14, 2004 7:21 PM

Mr. LeFevre,

I am a skeptic. I don’t believe that people have any psychic talents, or dormant abilities. I don’t believe that the future can be divined by reading the stars, tea leaves, or the bumps on your head. I do think that attempting to convince someone that you can is charlatanism - which is almost universally agreed upon as vice behavior.

However, I do believe that your body is designed to maintain itself under adverse conditions, and the wear and tear from the regular application of such “super strength” would destroy you pretty quickly. People get hernias displaying super strength. I myself have torn hamstrings jumping out of my car hurriedly.

(Tongue firmly in cheek: regarding the foolish use of PCP, is there a wise use?)

I think of the brain is a processing unit. Minor chemical alterations can change the data feed into it, resulting in less accurate results. Alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and a host of others. Even so, in it’s natural state, your processing unit is not 100% reliable. Optical illusions, 3d movies, behavioral parlor tricks. I think I am nor more than a intricate machine who’s job it is to procreate in a fashion that offers my offspring the best possible chance of accomplishing their mission-which happens to be my mission.

Subsequently, I’m skeptical of claims of spiritualism/psychic realms.

Posted by: An outside caller on February 10, 2004 9:46 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):