The nestling learns to fly, and lie

Tamar Jacoby, whom I used to think of as a bird-brain for open borders, has evolved into a stone-cold, Soviet-style liar for open borders. (I am not singling out Jacoby when I call her Soviet-like; I have described the editors of the Wall Street Journal in the same terms. And if “liar” seems excessive, see my further explanation below.) She has a big article in Foreign Affairs, entitled “Immigration Nation,” in which she writes:

[T]he nation is far less divided on immigration, legal or illegal, than the current debate suggests. In the last six months, virtually every major media outlet has surveyed public attitudes on the issue, and the results have been remarkably consistent…. [A]n overwhelming majority—between two-thirds and three-quarters in every major poll—would like to see Congress address the problem with a combination of tougher enforcement and earned citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already living and working here…. Washington’s challenge is to translate this consensus into sound legislation that will start to repair the nation’s broken immigration system.

Got that? This liar claims with a straight face that an “overwhelming majority” of Americans are for amnesty. It seems that the more conscienceless her lying becomes, the more prominence and influence she gains. In comparison with Jacoby, Ben Wattenberg, her predecessor as the most vocal spokesman for open borders, is an affable, honest, patriotic American. (Nine years ago I got Wattenberg to admit in a one-on-one conversation that America does not need immigrants.)

As an indication of Jacoby’s dishonest treatment of the issue, the Center for Immigration Studies recently commissioned a poll showing what citizens want, once the choices are given to them honestly. The CIS overview of the poll says:

Voters reject extremes of legalization or mass deportations. Some previous polls have shown support for legalizing illegal immigrants. But those polls have given the public only a choice between large-scale deportations or an earned legalization, and not the third choice of across-the-board enforcement, causing illegals to go home. [Italics added.] This third option, which is the basis of the bill passed by the U.S. House, is voters’ top choice.

So Jacoby blandly declares in a major publication that the “overwhelming majority” of Americans want legalization, without telling her readers that the kinds of polls that provide this result give respondents the false (and absurd) choice between the overnight deportation of 12 million illegals on one side and some nice, gradual, “earned” legalization on the other. (President Bush has also persisted in the Soviet-level lie that the only alternative to legalization is the instant deportation of all illegals.) In fact, the Senate bill Jacoby supported this past year would have allowed illegals to acquire legal permanent residency not by “earning” it but simply by going through a bureaucratic procedure, and the millions of “guest workers” it would have admitted to America would have a virtually automatic path to legal permanent residency.

Jacoby and her open-borders allies are leftists. Leftists are driven by spiritual greed—the greed to transform and control society. They hate the society that actually and historically exists and they lust for the day when it will have become something unrecognizable from what it now is and once was. They will say anything to advance their purposes.

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Tom S. comments:

The Jacoby article is almost amusing in its mendacity, and in that regard is certainly Soviet-like. (“Thanks to the leadership of our glorious Comrade Stalin, wheat production has increased 567.92%!”) The open borders crowd just refuses to admit that the public is not with them on this; hence the lies.

Howard Sutherland writes:

Spiritual greed. That sheds a light on things, illuminating understandable, tangible and selfish motives for the insanities and inanities leftists say and do. It can’t all be universalist altruism, after all. Seeing it as spiritual greed makes them more comprehensible, and more obviously contemptible. It also makes clearer their resentment and rejection of anything truly higher than themselves. Thanks for the phrase.

Stephen T. writes:

Tamara Jacoby enthuses over our bright future in which more than half of all jobs in the United States will not require a high school degree. Apparently, that’s something not only to look forward to but to make careful policies now to assure. Well, I know of a number of other countries which *already* follow Jacoby’s prescription to the letter, in which the majority of jobs require not even a high school education: They are called third world countries. The modern history of these nations demonstrates that immense populations of uneducated, illiterate populations tends to perpetuate and multiply only the kinds of jobs which require—and are filled by—still more of the illiterate and uneducated. It’s a circular thing. But most countries are trying to break OUT of that circle, not make plans to smooth the way for it.

In the 1950’s, on the threshold of a great American era of technological and economic progress, both Washington and the private sector embarked upon large-scale campaigns to bolster educational and scientific achievement among young Americans. Policies were crafted, programs were launched in schools, JFK made inspirational speeches urging academic excellence. It was an indication of what was seen on the horizon for the second half of the 20th century: the space race, the computer era, the huge expansion of the middle class. Today, people like Jacoby welcome (and even hasten) a golden era of 28 million jobs that require not even functional literacy in language or math and which pay only a third world underclass wage; meanwhile, President Bush makes speeches crying out that “this country cannot survive” without millions more illegal aliens from backwater Mexico. What does that tell us about what the ruling elite envision for America in the 21st century?

One more question: if indeed America cannot survive without tens of millions of immigrants in the immediate future as Jacoby and Bush caution, is it really necessary that they ALL be Mestizo Mexicans? If so, why? Friends of mine wished to hire an au pair for a temporary period of time. Because of their positive experience living in Germany a few years ago, they decided to run an ad in the local paper back in Germany. They were deluged with responses. It seems that many young Europeans would love the chance to work for a while in our United States. I wonder: would Tamara Jacoby and George Bush enthusiastically welcome these fair-skinned Europeans, with their secondary degrees and their middle class aspirations, as part of that “guest worker” program so crucial to our national survival?

LA replies:

Whatever immigration advocates may say is their reason for wanting mass immigration, in reality their chief motivation is to end America as a white country. Once you understand this, their irrational and inconsistent positions start to fall into place.

N. writes:

Your use of the term “Soviet-style” is very appropriate, however I’m not sure we can really call Jacoby a liar. Let me explain in two parts.

Lenin was able to gain control of the Social Democrat party in part because he labeled his faction “Bolshevik” or “Majority” and the faction that opposed him “Menshevik” or “Minority”. The fact that Lenin’s faction was much smaller than those that opposed him, and thus was in no way a majority, was irrelevant. He labeled his group the majority, they acted as though they were the majority, and in time, thanks to various acts (some violent), they became the majority. This is a classic Soviet approach. Tamar Jacoby is following it when she claims “The Majority demands amnesty!” when the facts may not show that at all. We can’t point this out too often.

However, she probably believes what she’s saying. A liar is someone who holds forth as true, things that he or she knows to be false. Someone who really believes the falsehoods he or she is claiming to be true isn’t lying. Mary Mapes apparently still believes the TANG documents are real; if so, she’s not lying when she claims they are true. Of course, she’s peddling forgeries and lies. But she herself isn’t a liar.

Similarly, Tamar Jacoby almost certainly believes that what she’s peddling is true. Therefore she’s not a liar. This actually makes her more dangerous; Lenin’s followers surely believed they were the real majority, and in time they became the majority. The stuff that Jacoby is peddling is false, dangerously false, but she believes it to be true, and she WANTS it to be true…therein lies the real danger.

LA replies:

Calling a writer and public policy spokesman a liar is admittedly strong stuff. Obviously, one cannot know for a fact what is in another person’s mind. Yet one can make reasonable, and, at times, even conclusive, inferences. Here’s why I said what I said. Given the obvious, widespread opposition to amnesty for illegals that there is, Jacoby’s bland, assured assertion (with no details, just asserting it) that the overwhelming majority of Americans support amnesty, hit me in the face with the force of a deliberate lie. There is no way, I repeat, there is no way, that she cannot know about the deep popular opposition in this country to amnesty, especially as it was that very opposition that shot dead the “comprehensive” immigration package this year that she and her allies fanatically supported and had believed was assured of passage. When we further realize the gross dishonesty of the polls on which she bases the assertion, and when we further think of the damage to America of the mass immigration she is trying to foist on us through that assertion, I think the harshest language, including calling her a liar, is justified.

A correspondent writes:

Are you sure there isn’t some way Jacoby could combine one statistic and another and feasibly come up with that conclusion?

LA replies:

The amnesty bill she supported, which the entire establishment was driving for and expected to pass, did not pass but was stopped cold. What stopped it? Very large public sentiment in the country against amnesty. So for her to ignore this recent history, for her to come out and just say that an overwhelming majority of the country supports amnesty, is the mark of a Soviet-type liar. Without conscience.

If she had said, “Well, we lost, the sentiment against amnesty is bigger than we thought, so we’ve got to do more work on this,” that would be one thing. Or if she had said, “The country is evenly divided on this issue,” that would have been one thing. But that’s not what she said. She said the country was “overwhelmingly” in favor of amnesty. Reality had made no impression on her.


N. writes:

In “The nestling” you cite the CIS poll which explodes Jacoby’s claim. Re-reading it I’m struck by the classic false dichotomy the open-borders types offer: either amnesty OR mass roundup & deportation. This really is a classic example of the false dichotomy, since virtually no American wants to see mass roundups of poor people, the “choice” is no choice at all & is solely intended to push one into supporting amnesty.

A similar false dichotomy exists with regard to Islam: “either we learn to live with Moslems, or we’ll just have to nuke the entire Islamic part of the world”. This is clearly a false dichotomy; virtually no one wants to see nuclear genocide, so it’s intended to push one in the direction of “learning to live with Islam”. A while back I wondered in an email to you just how serious some people are, when they make such claims as this. I still wonder, because it looks like a false dichotomy to me.

We can expect to see more of these from our “elites”, as they get more & more desperate to retain control of the national debates. “Well, either you are for gay marriage, or you want all the gays rounded up and put in camps!” is one I have heard recently…

LA replies:

According to a review of Mark Steyn’s book at FrontPage Magazine, Steyn offers three possible solutions: 1) capitulate to Islam, 2) destroy Islam, or 3) reform Islam. The option of drawing borders between ourselves and Islam doesn’t appear.

Charlton G writes:

You said: “Jacoby and her open-borders allies are leftists. Leftists are driven by spiritual greed-the greed to transform and control society. They hate the society that actually and historically exists and they lust for the day when it will have become something unrecognizable from what it now is and once was. They will say anything to advance their purposes.”

I once asked you what was motivating Steyn to celebrate almost gleefully the erasure of Europe. Are you approaching Tamar Jacoby in the same vein? Did you ever come to a conclusion about what is motivating their collective “greed to transform and control society”?

LA replies:

The desire to erase the dominant particularity, namely whiteness.

Think of what McCain said a few months ago, that a country without a culture is superior to a country with one. Think of what Noonan once said (though she’s changed slightly since then, but is still confused), that believing in one’s national identity is like believing in “mud.” Those are examples of the thoughts that drive these people. They are liberals. They are striving, based on a genuine desire to be good liberals, to carry the liberal program through to its conclusion. But this “good” liberal program requires a jihad against our historic civilization and the race that created it.

Liberalism is extremely radical. That is what needs to be understood.

Julian C. writes:

There is something else about Jacoby. She is often on TV panels as an “expert” on immigration. Whenever she is on, I see an ugly yenta spouting fatuous garbage softly delivered in a demeanor of a reconciled dhimmi. The overall effect is so depressing and repulsive that I have to switch channels.

I read quite a bit of what The Manhattan Institute publishes, and I am uniformly impressed. You have voiced critical opinions of some of these, but anything from the mouth or pen of Theodore Darlymple, Heather Mac Donald, Abigail Thernstrom, John McWhorter, Vic Hanson, Myron Magnet, etc. elicits, at the least, respectful consideration and, in my case, often admiring consent. How did a genuine fool end up in such smart company?

LA replies:

By her being such an absolute, unyielding devotee of open immigration. It was her her staunch insensibility in support of an indefensible cause, her lack of intellectual conscience, that has made her what she is.

Conservative Swede writes

You wrote: “Leftists are driven by spiritual greed—the greed to transform and control society. They hate the society that actually and historically exists and they lust for the day when it will have become something unrecognizable from what it now is and once was. They will say anything to advance their purposes.”

I must second Howard Sutherland in applauding your phrase “spiritual greed.” It makes it very clear. It’s brilliant. I have made similar attempts myself to summarize the essence of a mind-set, e.g. when describing Islam as Arabic Nazism or neoconservatism as macro-Communism. Works as mnemonics.

This phenomenon of spiritual greed applies equally much to liberals and neoconservatives. However, your paragraph above, for the leftists, does not apply in its whole for liberals/neocons. First of all, the liberals/neocons do not hate the actually existing society as the leftists do, they are rather ashamed of it. But it results in the same will to make it go away. While the hate is the focus for the leftists, the utopian belief is the focus for the liberals/neocons. But they share the same urge to change our society to something unrecognizable, and the readiness to say anythingto advance their purposes.

In fact, while the leftists are more obnoxious, the liberals/neocons are more dangerous, since they fully believe in their universal altruism. The leftists are instead driven by group interests, and only superficially pledge to universal altruism. So while the man driven by hate is a nasty adversary, the true believer is the toughest adversary in the long run. It has always been the right wing that has opened the flood gates of mass immigration into the West. The left has only forwarded their positions on the matter, for the sake of the theater, post factum. This is the pattern in America, Sweden, and other European country where I have looked into the history of mass immigration. But people persistently fail to see such patterns, that are just before their eyes to see, since they lack proper terms to analyze the world around them, such as “spiritual greed.” However, the Bush Administration has helped more people to start seeing this pattern.

Always a pleasure to read your blog.

LA replies:

Thanks to Conservative Swede and to Mr. Sutherland for the compliments. I didn’t think “spiritual greed” was a particularly new phrase or concept, I thought I had used it for years. A Google search turns up 1,500 instances of it. But it turns out that I have only used it once before in print, in a VFR entry where I spoke of the “spiritual greed” of Andrew Sullivan in his unrelenting push to institute homosexual “marriage.” But maybe the phrase works especially well in describing the open borders people.

Also, I should add that I might have been helped in understanding the idea of spiritual greed by my reading of Irving Babbitt’s indispensable Democracy and Leadership (1928). Babbitt had the original insight that liberalism is not just an innocent and virtuous desire to do good, but an expansive appetite, indistinguisable in its basic structure from any other expansive appetite, including all manner of sins. He distinguished this romantic, expansive type of liberalism, which he associated with such figures as Rousseau, and perhaps Jefferson, with the restrained type of liberalism, represented by Washington and Lincoln, in which one’s impulses (whether political or personal), are governed from a center.

I seem to have used the expression “spiritual greed” only one other time, in an unpublished draft version of a passage that was later used in my article, “The political religion of modernity.” My use of the phrase in that passage is directly relevant to our current theme of open-borders liberals and their desire to get rid of the white West:

In the American experience, the fountainhead of this secularized word-magic was the Declaration of Independence—or rather it was Abraham Lincoln’s cult of the Declaration of Independence, in which he re-interpreted that political document as a mandate for world redemption. In the Declaration (at least as those who came after Lincoln saw it), a nation dedicated to human equality had brought itself into existence by words alone, words that two centuries later still have the power to thrill the soul of any sensitive person, even one who is alert to their harmful implications. The Declaration has thus exercised a kind of religious power over the American mind, redirecting all of Western man’s capacity for piety and devotion—developed through 1,500 years of Christian faith—onto Jefferson’s fiery phrases. Jefferson’s teaching makes such a deep impression on some people that they feel compelled, like disciples of a transformative faith, to spread it to the entire world. Jack Kemp, a neoconservative politician who personifies this restless fervor, has said that “Jefferson did not write ‘all men are created equal’ just for white people but for all people, not just for America but for all countries, not just for one time but for all times.” I wonder if the reader detects, as I detect, something unwholesome and excessive in this universalist ideal that stirs Kemp’s soul—a kind of spiritual greed, which results from the fact that the ideal has been entirely abstracted from the limits of real life and of ordinary rationality.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 01, 2006 10:30 AM | Send

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