Is VFR ignoring Hispanic immigration? A discussion
from California complains, quite rightly, about VFR’s overwhelming focus on Islam and on Muslim immigrants in the West. This has set off many comments that I have been continually adding to the post. The first reader writes:
I’ve been reading through your website for the past few weeks. I agree that unmitigated immigration is destroying both Europe and the U.S.
However you’ve been emphasizing the deportation of Muslims, and while they do pose a problem to Western society, I don’t see them changing the complexion of our society the way Mexicans do. Living in California, I see the problem exploding daily. Latinos are drastically changing the face of our culture and radically uprooting our traditional society.
How are Muslims such a problem in California, Texas and Florida? In each of these states, the white population will become the minority by the year 2020. There are huge sections in each of these states where no English is spoken at all. Due to my business, I spend quite a bit of time in Texas and I see first-hand the massive influx of Latinos into that state.
The province of Quebec has been on the verge of separation from Canada for the past few decades. Where in the 19th century the province of Quebec was 50% English and 50% French, as soon as the population of Quebec surpassed 60% French, the people of that province started jabbering for independence.
You don’t think that Latinos in those three states won’t ask for the same type of sovereignty once they reach majoritarian status within the next two generations? Already many businesses and schools in those states are run solely in the Spanish language. Government services are now offered in both English and Spanish in those three states.
In my mind Muslims aren’t even close to the damage Latinos have inflicted on the character and personality of our society. And yet I don’t hear anything from you about the deportation of Latinos from the U.S.
By the year 2020, American society will have become half-Latino—there isn’t any comparable danger from Muslims. Of course I’d like Muslims out of the U.S. But I have yet to meet a Muslim in the U.S. who does not speak English. I have met many (quite a lot, very many) Latinos who don’t speak a word of English (and are not obliged to). Who is the bigger threat to the complexion of American society? Who in fact is ALREADY changing the nature of our society? Arabs may attack us and tragically demolish a building or two. Then they are segregated in our minds. BUT Latinos are DAILY changing, minute by minute, what our society is and that threat is not recognized and isolated.
So while we focus on Muslims at our front door, Latinos easily walk in the back door, settle down and repaint the house…
This is a fair criticism. I’ve sometimes been uncomfortably aware of how VFR has become at least 80 percent “Islamo-centric.” My excuse is that my focus is on our civilization and the threats to it, especially liberalism. Islam has been the absolute opposite and nemesis of our civilization for the last 1,400 years. For the last 300 years the conflict went into abeyance because Islam was powerless. Now, thanks to liberalism and other factors, Islam is back, bigger than ever in some ways, because now they are inside our societies and we have no defenses. So this is a threat, particularly in Europe, of an extremely pressing nature. Also, since Islam is so obviously our nemesis, the fact that we are letting them in and have no will to resist them is the purest demonstration of the nature of liberalism, which also means that I find the Islam problem the most intellectually engaging. In a way, to think about the Islamic threat is to place ourselves back in the Middle Ages, experiencing similar challenges to those of our forebears in their centuries-long struggle to defend Europe from the Muslim yoke.
Nevertheless, it is of course true that immigration of other unassimilable groups, particularly Hispanics, is vastly larger both numerically and in its impact on our society, and I need to focus more on that. In my writings on immigration in the 1990s, I wrote mainly about Hispanic immigrants, or rather about Third-World immigration in general, but very little about Muslims, so I’ve sort of gone from one extreme to another and I need to restore some balance. Thanks for the reminder.
A reader adds:
I have to agree with the reader concerning the more tangible threat of not only Hispanic but mass Third-World immigration in general. My old neighborhood in Queens was overrun not by Hispanics but by Indo-Caribbeans from Guyana and Trinidad, yet the same descriptions of Mexican degradation apply here as well. I don’t need to describe in detail but my experience with these people has been nothing but negative. These people have demonstrated little interest in or understanding of the need for the rule of law. I can tell you from personal experience that as a group (of course there are exceptions, but fewer than you’d think) they have no interest in assimilation and have even shown a sort of arrogant hostility towards white people, as if we were a nuisance to be gotten rid of. Within a few short years of their arrival a neighborhood that was clean, quiet and safe since it was built suddenly had trash, noise, graffitti, knots of young men standing around doing nothing with themselves (and apparently proud of it), overcrowding, crime. An instant slum created by people who weren’t even poor, on the whole. Without question the Muslim threat must be taken seriously and dealt with, but I have to agree with your reader. Mass non-white (yes, I’ll be blunt) colonization is erasing our very identity.
Another reader adds:
In my opinion the Hispanics are a greater threat to the U.S. because of their numbers. They are swarming into the U.S. by the millions. The Muslim threat is greater in Europe. A good analogy is that they are like the Hispanics of Europe, except inherently more deadly and hostile. They swarm into Europe illegally just like the Hispanics do here. Their population is booming, and they are the biggest threat of all to Israel. But let’s be very clear about one thing: the biggest threat of all is our own liberal nihilism, which rots us from within.
Another reader writes:
As a long-time resident of the Southwest, I have often pondered the differences between Mexicans and Americans. I think your reader/writer on the subject hits it very close when he says they have little respect for laws. The corruption within Mexican Government and Law enforcement is the defining cultural factor. I, as a good American have learned from childhood to obey the rules and that there was punishment for those who did not obey the laws.
Imagine growing up in a Mexican society where the only rewards are for those who can manipulate others from their positions of authority. Unfortunately this is a lesson passed on to others within any Mexican-immigrant population, whether legal or not. That is why crime is higher in the “Barrios” of the Border cities, or any city with a Hispanic population. This cultural “lawlessness” is why it is so difficult to accept these people. If the border were secure today it might still take several generations to assimilate into our nation of laws, but it will and is eroding our long held values in an even shorter period of time if we do not stop the influx.
I might add, there are many facets of Mexican culture I enjoy, but nothing at all about Islamic “culture.” Mexicans can understand law and order, but Muslims deny any law and order that is not Islamic, and therefore they are a far more dangerous threat, I also know many Mexicans who have recognized and overcome these problems within their communities.
Another reason to find Islam and the Islam/West confrontation uniquely interesting: If we think of Western culture as having begun during the Dark Ages, with the Christianization of the Northern barbarians (all those Patrick Buchanan types: “There’s a castle—let’s burn it!”), then Western culture in its earliest beginnings is only slightly older, at most 200 years older, than Islam, with most of the main developments of Dark Age culture taking place after the beginnings of Islam. So the two civilizations are contemporaries of each other. Virtually from the beginning of the West, it has had to deal with its nemesis. It became conscious of itself as Christendom largely in contradistinction to Islam, its Other.
At the same time, can one say that there is anything very interesting about Mexican immigrants? There are long-time Mexican Americans who are fine people, completely American, but we look at the mass of the Mexicans coming in today and they are people on a very basic level. We have to deal with them, but you can’t claim that there is anything particularly interesting about them. With Islam, you’re dealing with this vast history and religious conflict that’s been going on for a thousand years.
Another reader writes (and I ask his indulgence as I am interspersing my own comments):
There is a great deal that could be written on this topic. Let me start with the strategic issues: Latin Americans in general, and Mexicans in particular, are Christians, mainly Roman Catholic (although that is changing). IF, and I agree it is a big “if”, the tidal wave of arrivals could be controlled [LA notes: isn’t it too late to say “if” the tidal wave of arrivals could be controlled? The tide is already here.], then the Latin American immigrants would be assimilated in time, as Italians were. [LA notes again: the parallel between Mexicans and Italians is off base. The Italians are white Europeans. The Mexicans are mainly non-white non-Europeans. See my below excerpt from Huddled Clichés.] The same cannot be said of Moslems unless they abandon Islam for secularism or for Christianity. Therefore, it is my opinion that poor Indians from the mountains of Mexico are less of a threat to the United States than poor Moslems from the Maghreb are to Europe. [LA: to say they are less of a threat does not mean that they are not a threat, so what’s the point of such comparisons?] However thin the connection, a Spanish-speaking, Mass-attending illegal dishwasher from Chiapas is in some way part of the West. [The connection is too thin, if your concern is to preserve our culture and not see it change into something else.]
Because of the war between Mexico and the United States circa 1844, there is a history of Spanish-speaking citizens who are loyal to the United States. Thus there is the foundation already laid for assimilation of immigrants, especially from Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as to a lesser extent Cuba, the Philippines and the countries of Central and South America. [The tiny number of Hispanic Americans prior to 1965 bears no relationship to the situation and the politics and the cultural dynamics we have today.] While there have been Moslems loyal to the French government in history, I do not think there is quite the same relationship.
The dangers that inhere within these immigrants should not be ignored, of course; coming from rural areas that often are quasi-feudal in their “hacienda-culture”, they are not ready to participate in the Protestant-English system of representative government. [The problem is not that they’re rural, the problem is that they are non-Western, non-European, non-white people from a foreign culture who have no historical cultural commonalities with us. Does the reader suppose that Mexicans from cities are more pro-American than rural Mexicans?] There are some similarities between these immigrants and those that came from Sicily to the west about 100 years ago. There are echoes of older cultures, both American Indian and European, in their ways. Please note that the Spanish culture of the 15th century contained elements of Arabic culture within it, as would be expected.
The growth of Spanish-language Protestant churches, and not just in the United States but all over Latin America, is significant. Many of these churches are evangelical in approach, encouraging participation by the laity AND demanding of the laity that they read Christian scripture on their own. Literacy has not been encouraged among the poor in Latin culture, but that is changing. The Mexican government is rumored to be unhappy with the growth of non-Catholic churches, because these Protestant institutions are controlled by their elders, not by Bishops. [So, once again, we’re supposed to place the hopes for the very survival of our culture on various changes that we see or imagine that we see in some other people’s culture. To me this sounds like the search for moderate Islam, with all its illusions. I want our destiny to depend on ourselves and our own actions, not on something that may or may not happen in some other culture.]
If one of the keys to the Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture is literacy, and another is control of institutions from below, rather than control of people from above, then these churches are bringing an alien culture into the Latin American region at the grassroots level. When and if large numbers of illegals are sent back south of the Rio Grande, it will be interesting to see what effect they have upon the countries they are returning to.
To sum up: America may be considered fortunate that its illegal aliens are at least culturally Christian, as even though they are a threat to the culture in large numbers, they can be assimilated in smaller ones.
The same cannot, unhappily, be said of the European situation with Moslem illegals.
On the idea that “Hispanics will assimilate just as Italians did,” here is a section responding to this idea in my 1997 pamphlet, Huddled Clichés
. Please note that the strong tone in this passage is not directed at the reader, whose points are made in a moderate and cautious way, but at the neoconservatives who were saying, “Mexicans will assimilate just like Italians,” with much more assurance and many fewer qualifications than the reader has done, or, rather, they said it with no qualifications at all, just as they said, with no qualifications at all, that Muslims are ready, willing, and able to adopt democracy.)
Of all the pro-immigration arguments, the parallel between Italians and Hispanics is perhaps the most stupid and offensive. It is true that southern Italian immigrants to the United States were for the most part of lower-class and traditional Catholic background, and that their descendants have taken longer than some other European-origin groups to move into the mainstream of American life. But Italians never formed an aggressive ethnic lobby as Hispanics have done. They never demanded quota representation in every area of American life. They never formed huge “bilingual” establishments. They never promoted a distinct sub-national identity openly hostile to the American nationality. They never formed a huge welfare class. There were never Italian-American academics and elected officials who declared that the United States is a guilty country that has no right to protect its borders. Italian-Americans never booed the American national anthem and rioted against the American team at American-Italian soccer matches. Most importantly, Italians never dominated entire cities and regions, swamping American institutions and customs and setting off a mass exodus of Americans from those areas. Indeed, how could they? People of Italian origin have never comprised more than four percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics already comprise over ten percent of the U.S. population and (if immigration is not stopped) will comprise 25 percent in a few decades. Their growing presence in California, where they now make up 25 percent of the population, is probably leading to the Quebecization of that state in the near future.
The equating of Italians with Hispanics is typical of the false parallels that are so frequently employed by immigration advocates. On the basis of a single characteristic held in common by two otherwise very different groups, the immigration advocates conclude that the two groups are essentially alike. In the present instance this argument takes the form of a syllogism:
(a) Most Italian immigrants were of peasant or laboring background. On the basis of such fallacious reasoning the immigrationists construct a fantasy world, obstructing the real world in which we live.
(b) Most Hispanic immigrants are of peasant or laboring background.
(c) Therefore, the Hispanics will not change America any more than the Italians did!
Derek Copold writes:
While I’m in favor of most border and immigration restrictions, I have to say I generally disagree with most of your readers about Hispanic, or more specifically, Mexican immigration. I think it’s more a short-term problem than a long-term issue.
Let me first point out that I grew up in a border town in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley 1/2 mile from the border. My town was 90-95% Mexican-American. My family still lives there and my brother-in-law is Mexican American, and I’m proud to have him in my family. Looking back at the old place, I still find it a great place to have grown up. Save for a few white exceptions, all my friends were Mexicans. While most elected officials where Mexicans, whites could also win office. The mayor of my town was white. (In fact, if you go through a list of Mexico’s political elite, you’ll be shocked by the number of Anglo, Irish and German names you come across. Vicente FOX is no exception.) I doubt anyone can say the same thing of any place that 90-95% Muslim. So on that point alone, I think we should be grateful that we’re bordering Mexico and not Algeria. Even if the worst case scenario were to happen, life would be bearable.
Second, I don’t find Mexicans completely irredeemable or inassimilable, either as individuals or as a group. For one thing most are very patriotic. [LA note: this statement is flat-out incorrect, as shown by numerous polls as well as the many flagrant expression of Mexcian patriotism among Mexican-Americans, including the idea that Mexicans are simply extending the Mexican nation into America, including the wide-psread belief that the southwest morally belongs to Mexico, and so on. Patrioism may be true of long-time Mexican-Americans, but the majority of Mexicans now in the U.S. came here in the last 15 years.] They enlist in very high numbers. Even in the anti-military atmosphere of the 1970s, families in my town were proud when their son joined the Army, and Mexican-Americans have won more Medals of Honor per capita than any other ethnic group. The Fourth of July has been and still is a much bigger deal in my hometown than Cinco de Mayo or the 16th of September. I can’t really speak about California, but there won’t be any separatist movement in Texas. [LA note: It’s true that Mexican-Americans in Texas, with its longer-established Mexican-American communities, are more patriotic and conservative than those in California. But that just means that Mr. Copolds generationalizations are drawn from an atypical situation. George W. Bush, also from Texas, also has an unrealistic view of how patriotic and conservative Mexican Americans are. ]
Third, I think Mexico itself is worth a look. Yes, for most of the past century it’s been run by a gang of corrupt bureaucrats, and it still has massive problems with corruption and crime. However, the first people to note this these days are the Mexicans themselves. I think this, more than anything, is the biggest difference between Hispanic and Muslim immigration. Mexicans and other Hispanics might come from flawed cultures, but they are able to recognize this and criticize themselves. The 1980s and 1990s saw a continuing effort in Mexico to completely change their political system. Entire towns went on marches of hundreds of miles to protest stolen elections. Officials suffered weeks-long hunger strikes. Anyone interested in this should read Sam Dillon & Julia Preston’s “Opening Mexico.” The entire arc of Mexican movement has been conscious effort to clean themselves up, and that’s something that should give us hope for the future.
Now none of this means we should maintain our insane policy. After all, when your community is part of the “short-term” damage, it’s certainly no fun. I’m all for the “wall”, and restricting birthright citizenship and serious internal enforcement. But on the other hand, I don’t think we should be trying to deport or get rid of legal Hispanic immigrants as is advocated for Muslims. That would wind up being a cure worse than the disease.
Mr. Copold replies to my disagreements with him about Mexicans:
Let me push back here.
First, off, could you point me to the polls you’re thinking of? I’ve never heard of these polls. The one poll I know of from the New York Times/CBS indicates quite the opposite as shown in this reprint of the relevant NYT article:
“The New York Times/CBS News poll found that nearly 70 percent of foreign-born Hispanics say they identify more with the United States than with their country of origin. Still, many continue to send money to family members even though they rarely visit their home countries.
Sixty-four percent of Hispanics said there was no specific instance when they felt discriminated against because of their ethnicity. Those who said they had had such an experience said it involved employment or a general sense of exclusion.
The finding was in sharp contrast to that of the poll’s non-Hispanic blacks. Seventy-three percent of them said they had experienced discrimination, while 25 percent said they had not.”
As far as the contention that Texas is the exception, I have to wonder if that’s really correct. I’ve seen it before, most notably on Steve Sailer’s site, but from what I’ve heard of New Mexico and Arizona, Hispanics aren’t much different there than they are in Texas. Prop 207 in Arizona came within an ace of winning a majority of Hispanic votes, and this despite being (falsely) labeled “anti-Hispanic” by every Hispanic grievance group out there. I think it’s really California, and Los Angeles in particular, that’s the exception.
Let me also address the idea of secession once more. As part of my effort to learn Spanish, I spend time reading Spanish and Mexican periodicals on-line. I also watch Mexican news programs. In over six months of watching these programs and reading these journals, I’ve never come across a story seriously discussing, let alone advocating, Mexican revanchism in the Southwest. What you have are a few cranks, some of whom unfortunately are professors, who aren’t taken very seriously by anyone. Every map and logo I see in Mexico features the map you see on your globe. The closest I ever came into any contact with such a sentiment from an average person was a Mexican who cracked the old joke about the U.S. “stealing the half of Mexico with all the paved roads.” I told him we could probably arrange to return LA, and he laughed and said, “No, thanks. One Mexico City is enough for any country.”
I don’t recognize anything I know about Mexicans in Mr. Copold’s rosy picture, but I can’t to the research at the moment to reply to him. I invite responses to his post.
I was glad to see you address the issue of the relative emphasis placed by VFR on Muslim versus Lateeeeno immigration. Although I agreed with everything you wrote about the menace of the Mahometans, I felt it was more specific to Europe than to our own beleaguered homeland. After all, here in Southern California where I dwell in exile, the rapid obliteration of American civilization, visible almost month by month, is effected not by the Saracen, but by the hordes from Mexico Lindo.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 03, 2006 09:24 PM | Send
I started to write you about this a couple of months ago but was sidetracked. I was trying for some Tolkienian metaphor in which Islam was Sauron and Lateeeno immigration was Saruman, and wanted to make the point that we had to reduce Orthanc before we tackled the Dark Tower. But this seemed rather labored; and then just this morning it occurred to me that Saruman could instead be assimilated to Liberalism itself in many ways…and that indeed before Mordor can be faced, the treasonous wizard must be stripped of all his power….
Well, I don’t have the time to work it out, but thanks for letting me waste yours….