Immigration and race: facing the issue head-on

Heidi Beirich, chief researcher/smearer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, suddenly seems to be everywhere. She’s quoted today in the Denver Post attacking Tom Tancredo for—how can I put this?—insufficiently separating himself from people who oppose immigration for reasons of race.

Beirich’s indictment of Tancredo raises a point I’ve made over and over. Race and race differences are a part of the total fabric of human reality. Further, racial and ethnic differences overlap to a great degree with cultural differences. While race and culture are not identical, there is no human way to separate out race entirely from culture. The result is that if the majority population of a country opposes the mass immigration of foreigners because they are culturally unassimilable to themselves, the foreigners’ racial difference from the natives is going, ineluctably, to be part of the total package of traits describing the foreigners. Similarly, a restrictionist policy aimed at keeping out people from backward countries because they will drag down our economy to Third-world conditions is going to affect non-whites disproportionately. The point is that even if you sincerely do not care about race at all, but only care about preserving certain cultural or political or economic qualities of your country, your position is still going to have racial implications.

As long as restrictionists keep running away from the racial side of the issue and frantically denying that they’re racist, they are trapped in the left’s own definitions and moral terms. In the eyes of the left, they will always seem at best hypocritical, claiming that they’re not racist while pursuing a policy that would disproportionately slow the immigration of non-whites. There is therefore no alternative but for us to take the initiative and deal with the racial issue head on. We need to acknowledge the simple, commonsense fact that race is an integral part of human and social reality, one of several factors that significantly differentiate human groups from one another. Race and culture are to a certain degree linked, though of course, as I said, they are not identical. Individuals of any racial background can, potentially, assimilate into a culture different from their own. But the greater the racial and cultural differences between the newcomers and the host population, and the greater their numbers, the more difficult and unlikely such assimilation becomes. The upshot is that if it is legitimate to want to preserve our own culture, it is legitimate to want to preserve a country in which people like ourselves continue to be the majority, culture-defining population.

Of course, the frank and honest argument I’ve just proposed will seem out of the question—automatically career-destroying and suicidal—to the great majority of immigration restrictionists today. But if more and more people spoke the way I am suggesting, and, moreover, if they reasonably demonstrated that there is nothing immoral in their speaking this way, then the current notions of what is morally acceptable would change.

In the final analysis, we will never save ourselves from extinction by subscribing to the moral code of our destroyers.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 09, 2005 02:48 PM | Send

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