Are Hispanics Westerners?
this day, people—including otherwise intelligent people—occasionally make the astounding statement to me that “Hispanics are really Westerners,” and therefore we should have no cultural problem with their entering America en masse. What drives people to believe this absurd idea is the kind of empty syllogistic thought process that is so common in the modern world, fallacious reasoning that follows the mere external form of words, rather than seeing the actual reality to which those words point. Thus: Latin Americans speak Spanish (a Western language), and they are Christians (a Western religion), and also Latin America is located in the Western hemisphere; therefore Hispanics are Westerners. Proponents of this position also typically assert that Hispanics are largely or predominantly white, which also puts them in the “Western,” “just like us” category.
People who advance such off-the-planet arguments are not likely to be swayed by rational counter-arguments. But it occurs to me that perhaps pictures can reach them where words only confuse them. So in the future when people say to me that “Hispanics are really Westerners, like us,” I will simply direct them to photos such as those of the recent Mexican demonstration in Chicago posted at the Free Republic site. Go to this page, scroll down to post number 167, and take a look, especially at the photo in the lower right, and then ask yourself if these are Westerners.
(Several readers have disagreed with me, and then some, over this this blog entry. See below.)
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Reader Jeff K., with whom in the past I’ve had a long but civil disagreement about the Iraq war, which he at every turn has insisted we were winning (until I finally gave up the exchange with him on that subject about a year ago), wrote to me:
Well, perhaps I’d be impressed by intelligent arguments on this subject; I’ve never heard any arguments at all.
The picture gambit fails completely. My wife—as WASPish as they come—looked at the pictures and said, “They look like Westerners to me; what’s not “Western” about them”?
I’m not sure that this attempt through pictures is distinguishable from or any more respectable than, “All those Jews have big noses and skinny necks; they’re obviously different from us.” To which the only intellectual retort necessary is, “Bollocks!”
I mean, really, there are pictures of Italians and Greeks that are as different from “us” as these folks—but perhaps they aren’t Westerners either by your definition. Maybe you’re using the Nordic type as your visual template… I think I’d fight shy of that if I were you.
If those third-world peasant types massed together in a racial/tribal/leftist campaign against this country look like Westerners to you, then, seriously, we have nothing to talk about. If you do not see those people as alien, unassimilable, and threatening to everything our civilization is, then I can’t imagine what you would oppose.
As I showed in this article, and as became manifest to the WHOLE COUNTRY as a result of the demonstration in Los Angeles, these people are embarked on an ethnic, racial, national, and class war against us, a war against our nation, laws, civilization; yet if I merely point out the obvious fact that these people are not of our nation and civilization, then you trot out the most low-level, hackneyed argument that “This is just what they said about Italians and Jews.” The Mexicans are in a national/racial war against us, but if we try to defend ourselves, we will get hushed up by people like you calling us racists. What’s the difference between you and Bush?
And by the way, your wife, whom you describe as WASP-ish, proves by her solidarity with the people in those photos that “conservative” Hispanics are a fifth column for the entire mass of the Hispanic invasion.
By the way, in that blog entry I didn’t say anything about the racial features of these people. I pointed readers to that photo, because the photo conveyed a gestalt, a TOTALITY of what those Mexicans represent. Yet you reduce what I said to an attack on the shape of people’s noses. Shame on you.
In the above I’m making generalizations, and generalizations always have exceptions, but unless one spells them out people assume that one means there are no exceptions. Of course it is not true that all Hispanics are non-Westerners. Many of the Cubans in Florida, for example, are basically Western, middle-class, and politically conservative. Yet when push comes to shove, they overwhelmingly end up expressing solidarity with Hispanics generally and a hostility to America’s historic Anglo culture. There are conservative Hispanics whose presence in conservative organizations is touted; yet when one discusses the immigration problem with these people, it turns out they want basically open borders for all Hispanics, including non-conservative Hispanics whose vast numbers in this country will spell the death of any conservative politics, and they will attack any serious immigration reform as racist. Much of the American conservative movement, by eagerly including and showcasing “conservative” Hispanics and wanting very much to keep their support, has in effect gone over to the open-borders side or at least has silenced itself. They simply won’t go near any issue that has any ethnic component. The Mexicans in the Los Angeles march were parading their ethnic/racialist slogan, “This isn’t your continent, it’s our continent,” yet the mainstream, Christian, conservatives are for the most part incapable of noticing this or responding to it.
There are genuine exceptions. There are Hispanics in the Southwest who have long roots in America and an American identity and who oppose at least the illegal immigration. They are our allies. But they are a small minority of the U.S. Hispanic population.
It’s like the moderate Muslim issue. Ultimately moderate Muslims have a solidarity with their fellow Muslims who are not moderate, and they will oppose any effort by the West to defend itself from Islam. Therefore we cannot look to “conservative” Hispanics or “moderate” Muslims to validate our cause; we must believe in our own legitimacy and depend on our ourselves for our defense.
The proper attitude for members of a minority is to place America’s interests first. Thus labor leader Samuel Gompers, a Jew, supported the restrictions on immigration including Jewish immigration in the 1920s because his main concern was for America and its well being.
I should add that a significant number of Hispanic voters have supported measures such as Arizona’s Proposition 200, which closed various state services to illegals. But if there were a serious attempt to stop illegal immigration itself, which side would they be on? Ironically, if we truly want Hispanics to be loyal to the U.S., the best way to achieve that would be to revive America’s historic majority culture and clamp down on immigration. If there were a confident majority culture that refused to take any nonsense from minorities, Hispanics would, perhaps grudgingly, concede to it. But every act of being solicitous of Hispanic feelings, of showing ourselves anxious to avoid the slightest hint of intolerance toward Hispanics, of yielding to Hispanics, only empowers them as Hispanics and makes them more aggressive against America.
As for Jeff K., I told him I thought it was futile to carry on a long e-mail discussion with someone with whom I had so little common ground. In response to my comment that he was just like Bush, he confirmed that he is very close to Bush politically. I asked him what he could have liked and admired so much about my website, which is radically opposed to almost everything Bush stands for. He didn’t answer directly.
Jeff K. was only the first dissenter to my statement that Hispanics (or at least most Hispanics) are not Westerners.
Agreed, it is clearly a very bad idea for a country to let in hordes of people who have no intention of transferring their political loyalties to that country. But for a traditionalist conservative to imply that “peasant types” are somehow excluded from membership in the West seems bizarre. (Not that many current Hispanic immigrants are likely to adopt a peasant way of life.) It is not just hippies who view a connection with the land as necessary to a healthy society. This was also the opinion of great Catholic conservatives such as Christopher Dawson and, I gather, Le Play, about whose monumental studies of European peasant life Robert Nisbet wrote at length. Dawson somewhere mentions, for example, that the loss of connection to nature in an industrialized economy is probably the main reason for the loss of sanity apparent among modern people. (Perhaps some of the pioneering Zionists had similar views.) The belief in a rural foundation of society was also widespread in the England and (for example) Canada until a few generations ago: here people regarded the farming communities as the source of national vitality, with the towns being in some way parasitic on the countryside. Indeed I think it is now thought that death rates exceeded birth rates in the early industrial cities, so that their population could be replenished only by an inflow from the countryside. It was a glory of English civilization until recently that the peasants often preserved a close, symbiotic relationship with the local gentry. In France it was the peasants of the Vendee, led by a comparable non-absentee gentry, who fought heroically against the French Revolution. Weren’t the United States founded largely by peasants? And when the oil runs out it seems conceivable that many of us will have to go back to a peasant existence, without, however, having to become non-Westerners…
Incidentally, I think Argentina has a European or whites-only immigration policy (Peter Brimelow). So by some point that country may well have become more “Western” than North America.
You are engaging in the same kind of fallacy or false syllogism that I have discussed from a variety of angles in the past as well as in this entry, namely, (1) You take a general or abstract idea which you say supports our civilization, in this case peasants, people connected with the land, and rural life generally, (2) then you say that these Mexicans are peasants and rural, from which you conclude (3) that Mexicans will strengthen our civilization.
The problem with this abstract syllogism is that you have made a word, “rural,” the basis for your argument, while not looking at reality, in which the word rural may mean very different things. The question is, are these particular rural/agricultural people similar to American rural/agricultural people, and are they assimilable with the American way of rural life? And to answer that question you would have to look at the totality of their culture—their political habits, their views of authority, their degree of individual initiative and creativity, even their intelligence. You would also have to look at their cultural identity: do they even prospectively identify with American/Western/European civilization (and American Western people), or do they see it as alien from themselves? A thinking person must look at this whole picture. But typically modern people do not do that, as Michael Oakeshott discussed in his famous essay on rationalism. Instead, they mistake a mere word or phrase for the totality of reality. Thus people define democracy as an election, they see an election take place in Iraq, and they conclude that Iraq is a democracy.
Second, where in the world did you get the absurd notion that “the United States was founded largely by peasants”? The backbone of the farming economy and politics of the early United States was the hardy yeoman farmers of the north and the highly cultivated slave-holders of the South. There were slaves and indentured workers, but they played no role in the political society. I have an appreciation of the medieval world; it speaks to me more deeply than any aspect of our culture. But the European-style feudalism you speak of is not part of the American background, though it seems to be coming back in the highly regulated economies of today’s Europe, where, as in France, employers cannot fire their workers when they want to. That is not the Anglo-American tradition of property rights and freedom of association.
I seem to detect in your letter a Catholic program which does not look to the restoration of a traditional American, Anglo-centric culture, but the takeover of America by the Catholic Church, a program the Church advances via the open immigration of Hispanics.
Alan L., a long-time VFR reader, is even more displeased with me:
Frankly, I was unimpressed, to put it mildly, by your argument that Hispanics, or at least most Hispanics, are not Westerners. I even had a sense that your thinking was, well, muddled, which, I should say, I have never had before while reading VFR. Apart from your obsession with skin color, which you have seem to have confused with issues of culture, you seem to confuse the issue of hostility and cultural incompatibly with “Westernizes.” If being Spanish-speakers and Christians does not make Hispanics Western, what could? But their being Western doesn’t make them our friends or desirable fellow countrymen. Sure, Mexico and the rest of Latin America is part of Western civilization. It is also a crummy, lousy part of Western civilization, and the Hispanization of our country would be a first-class catastrophe! But what is happening is a Latin American, primarily Mexican invasion of another—and to be blunt, superior—part of Western civilization. That is perhaps not as bad as being overcome by completely alien Muslims, but it is quite bad enough. Our country is being invaded, and the Mexicans are our enemies until they stop invading us. We can be content with that.
By the way, as to the implied genetic argument you make, I fail to see such a great difference between the Mexicans and the “white” Latin Americans. Look at the mess the Argentineans have made of their country in the last century—and they are whiter than North Americans. The Cubans in Miami may come from socially higher strata than the Mexicans, but they have behaved with arrogance as great as the Mexicans. The problem with Latin Americans isn’t that some of them are Indios, the problem is the heritage of Spain itself.
What’s in the water today? I said nothing about the racial physiognomy of the people in the photo, and, as I’ve already explained, I was speaking of the total gestalt they represented. Yet the first commenter in this entry accused me of doing the equivalent of talking about Jewish noses, and now Alan L. accuses me of having an “obsession with skin color,” when I have not uttered a syllable on that subject. I think these exaggerated and off-base criticisms of me are symptomatic of the psychic eruptions that occur whenever the issue of race is raised, even by implication. (By the way, I am not evading the race issue, and will discuss it directly later.)
Alan writes: “If being Spanish-speakers and Christians does not make Hispanics Western, what could?” Well, one could ask the same question of the Tutsis: They are Catholic and French speaking; does that make them Westerners? Obviously not, they are Africans still living a largely African and tribal way of life. Remember when the Ecumenist Pope, John Paul II, smilingly received gifts from a bare-breasted maiden in an African ceremony? Alan, like the other commenters, is thinking by fragments, instead of looking at the whole picture. How much intelligence does it take to understand that one entity could have important features in common with another entity, yet still be incompatibly different from that other entity in other respects? Why do people have such difficulty grasping this concept? What has happened to ordinary logic and common sense? If we must spend all our time responding to the most basic logical fallacies, how can we make progress in the discussion on which our civilizational survival depends? I ask my correspondents to think about this subject in its totality and not just in terms of one or two aspects of the subject.
Consider the way Samuel Huntington discusses whether Latin America is part of the West or a separate civilization. He points out that Latin American civilization was formed by Western civilization, but then adds that it departs from it in many key respects. It has a corporatist, authoritarian culture, which Europe did not historically have (thought it’s getting there now) and America has never had. Its religion has been solely Catholic, whereas both Europe and America had both Protestantism and Catholicism. It has a very large indigenous population, which was pushed aside in America and never existed in Europe, and this is a major factor in how Western even the Latin Americans regard themselves as being. Huntington points out that the Latin Americans are divided on the point of whether they are part of the West. Some say they are, others say they are not. He concludes that Latin America is a separate civilization, closely related to the West but divided within itself on whether it is a part of the West are not.
I will post more e-mails on this later.
Howard Sutherland has made a read-worthy, article-length contribution to this discussion, which I am placing in its own entry.
I agree with you that Hispanics are not Westerners in any real sense of the word. This is one of the arguments I am constantly waging with mainstream (pro-Bush, pro-amnesty) “conservatives.” One constantly hears “well, at least they are Christian and Western, and at least they aren’t trying to behead us or blow us up.” This is one of the unfortunate effects of the Moslem threat: they provide a standard of comparison by which the Mexican invasion seems harmless or even beneficial.
As Sutherland says, Mexicans are nominally Christian, but I know from first-hand experience that their Christianity is heavily adulterated with pagan influences, occult practices, and so on.
Many people don’t want to hear anything that disturbs their comforting illusions about Mexican culture; it seems to me that even “conservatives” have been infected with this liberal need to believe in politically correct, saccharine myths, despite real-life evidence to the contrary. Many Republicans seem hypersensitive to the frequent accusations of “racism” and “xenophobia” so they overcorrect by rushing to show their inclusiveness. I don’t know what will awaken such people. Their need to feel “good about themselves” and prove themselves non-racist trumps their love for America and even their survival instinct, so it appears.
I’m an American descended from Jamestown colonists and Massachusetts colonists as well as American Indians. I am particularly disgusted by the latest spin from the Mexican invaders that they are “the indigenous people” of America, and that the rest of us are invaders. This to me is an outrage, and it’s a blatant lie. Yet no matter how outrageous their rhetoric or how arrogant their behavior, few people are willing to answer the lies. If Americans don’t get over the PC paralysis, and the self-delusion, this country will be lost.
Here are a couple more e-mails on this topic from a few days ago that I’m just getting around to posting.
Mark D. writes:
Good post on Hispanics as Westerners.
There are no doubt some Western Hispanics in Mexico; they rule the country. They have no problem in getting rid of their underclass and exporting it to the United States.
However, illegal Mexican immigrants are not Westerners in the usual sense of the term. They are typically uneducated, have grown up in an incompetent oligarchical political system, and have had no exposure or attachment to what are usually considered Western categories like citizenship, participatory democracy, limited government, common law property rights, national sovereignty and consent of the governed, and the rule of law. Hence, their willingness to ignore citizenship and the law and reside here openly as illegals, and their utter unconsciousness of the meaning of illegality and the right of the national majority to eject them from our borders.
It is because they lack a Western consciousness that they will break the law en masse, and resort to pre-Western notions of squatter’s rights to assert their legitimacy and to support their claim of “reconquista.” They have a non-legal, “wild west” mentality that is contemptuous of what we usually call “civilization.”
It is reflective of the national anemia that a mature Western society like the United States would consider these illegals to be “Westerners,” while at the same time condoning (and on the verge of approving) their mass illegality within our borders.
Michael K. writes:
Immigration restrictionists who are race realists should always put “Hispanic” in quotation marks and emphasize the Amerindian identity and anti-white racial consciousness of immigrants from Mexico and Central America. A demographic category that includes mestizos, pure Amerindians, blacks, mulattos, and actresses with blonde hair and blue eyes on Mexican television, and implies that Cesar Chavez, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez, Rita Hayworth, Fernando Lamas, Charo, and Salma Hayak (who is half lebanese) are all of the same race or ethnicity, is absurd, bogus, misleading, and pernicious. It suggests that immigrants from Mexico are more Spanish than Amerindian, racially and culturally, and obscures the catastrophic results of massive nonwhite immigration from Latin America: a “reconquista” of the Southwest and mass invasion of all 50 states by a nonwhite and anti-Western population that will number a 100 million by mid-century and grow dramatically thereafter. Immigrants from Central America, South America, and Spanish-Speaking countries in the Caribbean should be defined in racial terms.
What infuriates me even more is the term “non-Hispanic whites,” used even by Vdare writers such as Steve Sailer.
First, “non-Hispanic whites” implies that most “Hispanics” are “white.” Thus, in portraying restrictionists concerned with “Balkanization” and white dispossession as ignorant and apocalyptic fear mongers, fanatical immigrationists like Linda Chavez and Ben Wattenberg argue that whites won’t be reduced to minority status by mid-century and thereafter because most “Hispanics” are “white.”
In fact, only a small minority of “Hispanics” (largely the Cubans in Miami who fled Castro) are white, i.e., of pure (or almost pure) Spanish descent. The overwhelming proportion of “Hispanics” and “Latinos” are Mestizos and pure Indians from Mexico and Central America and, secondly, blacks and mulattos from the Caribbean. Since over 95% (?) of “Hispanics” are clearly nonwhite (how many Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, look like Richard Montalban?) why the need to use “non-Hispanic whites” to distinguish between a small minority of “Hispanics” of pure Spanish descent and the over 99% of European-Americans who are not of Spanish descent?
Secondly, using “non-Hispanic whites” rather than “whites” or “white Americans” suggests that we already live a “Hispanic-majority” country; it implies minority status and second-class citizenship for America’s historic European population. In fact, even when whites are reduced to minority status in 40 years or earlier, the United States will be a nonwhite-majority country, not a “Hispanic”-majority country. And it will be a nonwhite-majority country because virtually all “Hispanics” are nonwhite.
On one hand, I don’t agree that the term “non-Hispanic white” is necessarily a problem. “Non-Hispanic white” simply acknowledges that some Hispanics are white, and therefore it’s necessary to distinguish between whites who are non-Hispanic and those who are Hispanic. On the other hand, it is true, as I said in my response to Howard Sutherland, that the term “Hispanic” does tend to create the illusion in some minds that all Hispanics are white.
Alan L. writes:
I was very impressed by Howard Sutherland’s views on Mexico, though I can’t quite agree with him. I might suggest, however, that Howard may overestimate the “Western-ness” of Spain and the unfortunate consequences of the Muslim rule there. It was not for nothing that the French used to say that Africa started at the Pyrenees. They did not mean this as a compliment!
Let me say that despite my critical comments last weekend, I thoroughly agreed with most of what you said. Although I have long been convinced that the immigration advocates were psychopathic, their response or non-response to the demonstrations has been even worse than I would have expected. The same has been true of the inertia of the Europeans since the French riots. Will ANYTHING rouse these people? My only reservation would be about your comments about the neocons, which might be slightly too broad. After all, apart from those like William Kristol, about whom there is nothing more to say, some of them show signs of semi-consciousness, e.g. David Horowitz. As I have noted before, it is more than a little difficult for me to like or trust the man who wrote “Free World Colossus,” but on the immigration issue and Islam he has shown more sense than some paleocons.
I have never considered David Horowitz a neocon per se, though of course he has significant points of overlap with them. He’s just too heterodox. He’s been completely on board with Muslim democratization as the only answer; for example, yet there are other neocon positions, such as the propositional nation, that he has not taken.
On the Western-ness of the Spanish, it occurs to me that what is true of Spain’s relation to Europe, that it is closely related to it yet also too distinct to be considered simply a part of it, is true a fortiori of Latin America’s relation to the West.
Also, one would not have gotten the impression from your earlier remarks that you thoroughly agreed with most of what I had said. You wrote: “Frankly, I was unimpressed, to put it mildly, by your argument that Hispanics, or at least most Hispanics, are not Westerners.”
A reader with whom I had a private e-mail exchange writes:
Gee, so now Spain is “not European” and “not Western,” with the “evidence” being cracks made by the French against the Spaniards. How enlightening! The English would say “the niggers begin at Calais,” so I guess that means France is not really European or Western as well. Germans were called “Huns” so they’re not Western, and Ben Franklin thought that anyone not British or Saxon German were “tawny non-whites”—and that included, in his mind, Swedes. Thus, Swedes are colored. Sly comments, opinions, and ethnic insults do not constitute evidence.
Spain, unfortunately, suffered centuries of Muslim occupation, and has the scars from that. But the struggle against the Moors—spectacularly successful and now being, sadly, reversed—reconfirmed Spain’s place in the West. The great Spanish and Portuguese explorers and adventurers were men of the West, as was the writer Cervantes and other Iberians of note.
Europe and the West is broader than the “non-tawny,” “non-African” and “non-niggers” British. The West, as you are fond of saying, is a complex, multi-layered construction, and it contains within it nations that may be mocked by their neighbors (English vs. French, French vs. Spanish, English and French vs. Germans) but are part of the same tapestry nonetheless.
We shouldn’t let our experiences with New World Mestizos and mulattos, as well as discomfort with Old World bullfighting and siestas, lead us to subtract an entire section of Europe from “the West.”
You mis-read me, and you’re getting ridiculously carried away with yourself. The tawny people I was describing were the dark-blond, tall, attractive Germanic types scattered in the crowd of the darker, shorter majority that I saw in Barcelona many years ago; I was in my early twenties at the time and had never thought much about race or ethnicity before, but I noticed this; I consciously thought to myself that two different races were co-habiting this country. Yet you not only misread me, you turn my admiring description of the tawny tall types into the equivalent of an attack on the tawny types as “niggers.” I admit that the misunderstanding may be partly my fault, as I think of tawny as meaning a tinge of tan shading, dark blond as distinct from light blond; whereas it may be more commonly taken to mean brown. But even if I misused the word tawny, I was plainly describing the tawny types as attractive and noble-looking descendants of the Germanic Vandals and as different from the darker majority.
Similarly, my nuanced comment, that Spain is “closely related to [Europe] yet also too distinct to be considered simply a part of it,” is interpreted by you as reading Spain completely out of the West.
Similarly, the French slogan quoted by a reader which you attack would seem to reflect a consciousness that Spain is in important respects different from, and more backward than, the rest of Europe. This is not a new or outrageous thought; it has been the conventional view for centuries. Should we just ignore or dismiss it as reflecting nothing but wicked prejudice?
Your out-sized indignation is the typical liberal indignation at any assertion of differences between different peoples, nations, cultures, ethnicities. That is, you assume that any assertion that there are differences amounts to reading people into some irredeemably inferior category, when in fact nothing of the kind is taking place. What is taking place is that actually existing differences are being noted. No one has asserted or implied here that the great work of the Spanish explorers and missionaries was not a great work of the West. I add in passing that while I have never liked either the cosmic-brutal Aztec culture nor the grim Mexican culture that succeeded it, I have seen early Spanish American Christian art from South America that I related to completely and which I see is as much of a part of the West as anything could be. But whatever Spain’s similarities with the broader West, the Western Christianity that Spain brought to the New World was in key respects significantly different from the Christianity of the rest of Europe, both Catholic and Protestant, and these differences have had important effects on Latin America to this day. Why is it wrong to say that Spain is both related to Europe and somehow distinctively different from it—most likely as a result of the 700 year Moslem occupation?
David H. writes:
I’ve traveled all over the Americas, from Peru northward, including an expedition into unexplored Amazon. There are literally hundreds of different tribes of differing racial make-up. Some of the Amazonas are like no other racial identity on Earth. Having seen all these peoples, the one question I would NEVER think of asking is whether Amerindians are Westerners. They are not. It’s tantamount to asking if Eskimos are Westerners. Most Mexicans are a mix of at nearly a dozen tribal races, now so mixed up with Europeans and even Africans that mostly only the Mayans and some Aztlans (who are more or less isolated) remain racially distinct.
Mexican Mestizos are now a mongrel race of people who live on the outskirts of Western civilization, such as it is in Mexico, which is a racist caste society that is ruled by the sorry remnants of the long-dead Spanish Empire. Though they have lived on the outskirts of an ostensibly “Western” society, and are semi Christianized, they are not like us and have no background in self-governance. What does the current state of Latin America say about those peoples? Many of the “democracies” are slipping back into dictatorships.
A Minnesota conservative writes:
Regarding the above topic, I have a little “inside knowledge”—I’m part Irish, part Spanish-Cuban. Most people look at me and see someone who looks like Robin Williams—so a pretty typical looking white guy. When people have tried to guess my ancestry I get guesses like German, Irish, Polish, etc., in other words I do not look “Hispanic.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 01, 2006 08:58 AM | Send
In one of your prior posts, you talked about how even “conservative” Hispanics are basically idiots about immigration due to linguistic and cultural sympathy with the illegal invaders. At first I was a little taken aback—“What the hell is Auster talking about?” I started to take your commentary personally. Then I stepped back and thought about my Hispanic relatives and realized that by and large, they are idiots regarding immigration.
Even when I’ve clearly laid out to my relations why further immigration is bad for the country and why a bunch of grade school dropouts from Oaxaca will not be good for the country, they still can’t get over the emotional feeling—they can’t separate themselves (all now solidly middle class, people who brought solidly middle class ideas with them from Cuba and even before that from Spain) from the fact that they washed up on the beach with nothing in their terrible “year zero” of 1960.
So what is to be done? Close the border without apology. There is no reason that this country needs to be dragged down to Mexico’s level. Mexico is an Indian country with a thin veneer of the West laid on top and it shows in the fact that it is a completely dysfunctional mess of a place. After all if Mexico and Mexicans are so damn great, as the messiah from W. Texas keeps telling us, why the hell do they all want to come here?
Regarding Spain’s relationship to the West/Europe, your statements are pretty close to right on, though I wouldn’t listen to what the French have to say about the Spanish, more interesting is what the Spanish have to say about the Spanish.
Spain is a European country, but not an altogether Western country. Russia has always had its internal divisions between “Westerners” and “Slavophiles.” Spain has similar cleavages, just not as dramatic.
Salvador de Madariaga’s book Spain, basically a very good survey of Spanish history, talks about this division and explores its sources in Spain’s history.
I seem to recall that Miguel de Unamuno once wrote about the solitary and fanatical tendency in the Spanish character, characteristics that he admired not denigrated. He associated these characteristics with similar attitudes of the Berbers of northern Africa, people that he believed were one of the “source” peoples of Spain. When I say “source” I mean prehistorical populations, i.e. not characteristics originating in the Muslim conquest, but characteristics that antedated the Muslim conquest by millenia.
On the other hand, Jose Ortega y Gasset wrote in The Revolt of the Masses (don’t hold me to it since I’m typing from memory):
We can’t know what eventuality will bring about Europe’s recognition of its unity and identity. I can give some “for instances,” perhaps a Chinaman with his pigtail peering in at Europe over the Ural Mountains or a large and loud explosion emanating from the Islamic magma to the South, perhaps that will make Europeans realize that they are one.Keep up the good work!