The Return of the Path to National Suicide
On May 22 Patrick Buchanan wrote an article on immigration entitled “Path to National Suicide,” using (without credit) the title of my 1990 booklet, The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism. And on June 5 WorldNetDaily had a piece called: “National Suicide: How the government’s immigration policies are destroying America.” WND’s Whistleblower magazine had a special issue named “National Suicide,” which featured Buchanan’s “Path to National Suicide” article. A reader, sending me the WND pieces, commented that the phrase “national suicide” is becoming a part of our vocabulary 17 years after the publication of my booklet.
I first came upon the expression “national suicide” in the bound volume of the Senate’s hearings and debates on the 1965 Immigration Act, which I read in the New York Public Library in the mid 1980s. One of the opposition witnesses before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, chaired by Edward Kennedy, had told the senators that to pass the Act would be to commit national suicide. The way he put it was poignant and it made a strong impression on me, and I later used it as the basis for my title. (I’ll have to dig through my notebooks to find the witness’s exact quote.)
Later, when PNS was in manuscript form for over a year before it was published and I was soliciting editorial suggestions, people kept telling me that “path to national suicide” was too extreme and grim a title, that it would put people off and I shouldn’t use it. I took these criticisms seriously (I had the same worries myself) and periodically kept experimenting with other titles. But no matter how many alternative titles I tried, none of them worked and I always ended up coming back to “the path to national suicide.” After a while I concluded that, regardless of the uneasy feelings it caused in others, and even in myself, “the path to national suicide” was meant to be the title of this book. It was destiny.
And here is why I am telling this story. The idea of “national suicide,” considered unacceptably extreme 17 years ago, is now entering the conservative mainstream. On one side, the immigration issue is no longer confined to how immigration affects population or economics or environment, but is also being seen in the light of how it affects our culture. On the other side, the attack on America’s national identity and unity is no longer being blamed solely on the left and the multiculturalists (which has been the standard mainstream conservative view since the early 1990s), but is also being attributed to immigration. Now, for the first time, conservatives, including even National Review-type conservatives, are saying that mass non-European immigration threatens the survival of our nation and our culture, the implication being that the cultures and characteristics of the immigrants themselves (not just the numbers of the immigrants and not just our own leftist multiculturalism) endanger our national existence. This way of looking at the problem—this adoption by parts of the conservative mainstream of the core thesis of The Path to National Suicide—represents a radical change in consciousness, a change not only in what conservatives regard as permissible to think and say, but in what they actually think and say.
The reader who sent the WND article writes:
That was interesting that you got it from a 1965 quote—so you sort of “brought it back.” Still, it wasn’t doing much good hidden in the Congressional Record for 25 years. (But it does give the phrase an “anchor.”) The fact that PNS was written 17 years ago gives it a lot more power now. It’s one thing to have read a warning about a consequence that may have seemed remote at the time; it’s quite another to read fulfilled prophecy—being fulfilled as it were right before our eyes. So the word “destiny” is aptly chosen. The one section that really packs a wallop now is just that first sentence in the last paragraph: “In any case, something must be done, and soon.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 04, 2007 11:14 AM | Send