Reply to Rod Dreher

(In my second and third comments below, I analyze more closely the real meaning of the Dallas Morning News essay.)

Rod Dreher has replied to my criticisms, in a blog entry entitled, “Larry Auster: Blog first, think later.” He claims that I have completely misunderstood him; that the essay he wrote is the expression of the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board, not of himself; that he is far to the right of the opinions he has written; and that in any case the essay is not calling for surrender to the illegal immigrant invasion but is critical of the effects of illegals on this country. I’ve sent the below comments to his site..

My first comment:

Rod Dreher doth protest too, too much.

1. Mr. Dreher writes: “My own views on immigration are far to the right of the newspaper’s consensus view.” But if the essay he wrote was merely a corporate expression of the paper’s editorial board, and not the expression of Rod Dreher’s own views, why was he personally named as its author? A newspaper editorial essay identified as the work of one individual ceases to be seen as merely a corporate opinion and is rightly seen as reflecting the opinions of the person who wrote it.

2. Further, if it is true that Rod Dreher doesn’t agree with the essay, why did he write it? How far must the positions of the Dallas Morning News depart from his own principles before he tells his colleagues, “Sorry, folks, I can’t go along with this”? If a majority of the editorial board voted to designate Muslims the “Texan of the Year” and to publish an editorial supporting the establishment of sharia in Texas, would Mr. Dreher obediently write the editorial, or would he say that this was going too far? And if he did write it, while inwardly and privately supposedly disagreeing with what he was writing, and if the editorial was publicly identified by the paper as Dreher’s work, would he have the right to disown the editorial after it was published and to say that it didn’t reflect his true views?

3. As for his essay’s supposed criticisms of illegal immigration, this is the standard tactic of liberals—and let’s be clear that whatever Rod may call himself, in this instance he is functioning as the liberal draftsman for a liberal editorial board. When advancing radical agendas, liberals throw in rhetoric to create the impression that what they are doing will not radicalize society, even as the actual substance of what they are proposing would lead society in a radical direction. For example, the Congress when it passed the 1965 Immigration Act made repeated assurances that it had no intent to transform the ethnic composition of America. But of course the bill did transform the ethnic composition of America. America was an 89 percent European country in 1965, it is a 67 percent European country today, and its traditional majority population has lost so much power and control over their own national destiny that now they are told by the Dallas Morning News they must allow their country to be Hispanicized culturally as well as demographically.

Liberals ALWAYS deny what they are about, because they know that what they are about would be rejected by the public if stated plainly.

Obfuscations aside, the real meaning of Mr. Dreher’s “Texan of the Year” essay is fully revealed in its last few paragraphs which I quoted and analyzed at my website: it is about Hispanicizing and Mexicanizing this country, while denying that it is doing so.

Further proof of Dreher’s liberal sensibility is his use of the word “medieval” to characterize me. For liberals, “medieval,” like “fascist,” is an all-purpose smear that simply means everything that is backward, prejudiced, reactionary and plain not liberal.

Finally, it is most ironic that Mr. Dreher would criticize me for “blogging without thinking,” since he openly admitted in a blog entry last July 24:

“Having been absolutely certain that the war was the right thing to have done, and that we would prevail easily, I am no longer confident that I can discern when emotion is affecting my judgment unduly.” [Emphasis added.]

In any case, readers can read what Mr. Dreher has written, and what I have written, and decide for themselves, which of us is thinking logically, and which of us drifting with the political and demographic tides.

You can find my article (which Mr. Dreher has not linked) at my website, View from the Right, under the title, “Treason at the Dallas Morning News.”

My second comment:

In order to address some of Rod Dreher’s points more directly, I need to speak about his essay as a whole. His article is in fact a standard mainstream liberal newspaper treatment of the illegal immigration issue. It doesn’t claim to take a stand. Rather it “objectively” reflects the different and opposing views on the subject. Some people say good things about the illegals; some people say bad things. Some people say illegal immigration is necessary for the economy; some say illegal immigration is law-breaking, period. Some say the illegals are enriching America with their family values and hard work; some say they are disrupting and destroying our culture. Because Dreher is including these critical statements about immigration in his formally balanced treatment, he can claim (and many will believe him), that his article is tough on illegal immigration. Thus he says in his reply to me:

“The essay plainly said that illegal immigration could destroy America, or, if the optimists are right (and I personally don’t think they are), it could merely change America, quite possibly for the better. Anyway, no essay that cites Samuel Huntington, or talks about the way illegals are overwhelming public schools and hospitals, could possibly be seen as an apologia for illegal immigration.”

Mr. Dreher thinks his critical comments about immigration clear him of the charge of being pro-illegal immigration. In fact, it has been standard operating procedure in liberal and neoconservative articles on the immigration issue over the last 20 years to say some critical and even deeply alarming things about immigration, and then turn around and conclude we have no choice but to accept the immigration and hope for the best.

It’s the same here. In the midst of Dreher’s allegedly neutral, non-judgmental treatment of the illegal immigration issue, it is the standard liberal view that emerges, which is that the illegals are here, there’s nothing we can do about it, and we just have to adjust to their presence. Nowhere in the article does Mr. Dreher even suggest the possibility of serious law enforcement resulting in a gradual voluntary attrition of the illegal presence. Nowhere in the article does he describe the vast Hispanic legal and illegal immigration into this country as what it really is: as an invasion, as a culturally expansive, race-conscious mass movement of Hispanic peoples into the historically Anglo-European but now officially race-blind and all-inclusive society of the United States.

This brings us to the article’s concluding section. Dreher lays out two scenarios. While the two scenarios are different, they have this key factor in common: we do nothing about the illegal presence, the illegal presence is simply accepted as a given.

Dreher’s first scenario:

“we could be seeing the advent of the kind of fractiousness that bedevils public life in Canada and other nations where peoples who speak different languages, and come from different cultural backgrounds, live together only with mutual suspicion and unease.”

In other words, we simply surrender to the fragmentation of America and the destruction of its common culture and national identity. There is no suggestion of doing anything to prevent this from happening.

Dreher’s second scenario:

“Maybe these ambitious, hard-working immigrants, whatever their documentation, will write the next great chapter of a story that’s still deeply American, though with a different accent. If the optimists are right, much work remains to be done to incorporate all immigrants fully into new cultural traditions.” [Italics added.]

In the second scenario, we somehow incorporate the Hispanics into our culture even as they are culturally Hispanicizing our country, with their “different accent” (i.e. their different language) and their “new cultural traditions” (i.e., not the historic culture of the United States). This is sheerest nonsense. To incorporate a different culture into our culture is to change our culture into that different culture. Underneath the soothing rhetoric about a “story that’s still deeply American” (which is the kind of deceptive fluff I’d expect to see in a Time magazine article about immigration), Dreher is simply describing the cultural surrender of America to the Hispanic invasion.

Thus, boiled down to their essentials, Dreher presents us with these two choices: (1) We do nothing about the illegal alien presence, and America becomes balkanized; or (2) We do nothing about the illegal alien presence, and America becomes Hispanicized. That’s it. Rod Dreher offers no scenario for the defense, survival, and recovery of the American nation, only for its destruction.

Update: Here is a third comment I’ve sent to Rod Dreher’s blog:

We can further clarify the real meaning of the Dallas Morning News essay by focusing on its closing passage:

What you think of the illegal immigrant says a lot about what you think of America, and what vision of her you are willing to defend. How we deal with the stranger among us says not only who we Americans are today but determines who we will become tomorrow.

Now some may think that this passage is suggesting two options: (1) we finally get tough with the stranger and try to end the illegal alien invasion, which means that “we Americans” want to preserve our national identity and sovereignty; or (2) we let the stranger stay among us, which means that “we Americans” will lose our culture. Thus the passage could be intepreted as calling for restrictions.

But in fact the passage cannot possibly have a restrictionist meaning. This is because the phrase, “how we deal with the stranger among us,” is an obvious reference to the famous verses in Exodus which are endlessly misinterpreted by open borders advocates:

“Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21)

Properly understood, this simply means you shall not mistreat someone dwelling temporally in your land. It does not mean that you should allow everyone in the world to enter your country against its laws and remain there. But in the context of U.S. immigration, that is the way the biblical text is interpreted.

Thus the DMN’s question of “how we deal with the stranger among us” is coming from the liberal point of view. It’s saying that if we don’t show compassion toward the stranger (meaning, in practical terms, if we don’t allow limitless millions of strangers to enter and remain in our country) then “who we Americans are today and who we will become tomorrow” is morally bad people.

Further proof that the restrictionist meaning is not implied by the essay is that, as I pointed out earlier, that option is never mentioned in the DMN/Dreher essay. The essay never even distantly alludes to the possibility of taking measures to stop and reverse the alien invasion.

Thus, in conclusion, the only options the essay leaves us with are either (1) refusing to be nice to the stranger, in which case America will culturally fragment between “Anglo” natives and Hispanic immigrants; or (2) being nice and welcoming to the stranger, in which case America will be Hispanicized as a result of our “incorporating” the Hispanic culture into our country.

Again: If we’re unloving and selfish, our selfishness will cause America to be balkanized. But if we’re loving and good, our goodness will lead us to let the Hispanics take us over.

That’s the real message of Rod Dreher’s supposedly neutral essay.

- end of initial entry -

Paul Cella writes:

I haven’t had the opportunity to sort through the whole “Texan of the Year” mess, but it’s worth noting that Dreher’s “going medieval” remark is probably more a cultural reference than the standard Liberal disparagement of the Middle Ages. In the highly popular film Pulp Fiction, a character declares at a crucial moment, “I’m gonna get medieval on your ass.” It’s a threat of terrible violence and torment. This phrase entered popular imagination in the mid-1990s. I heard it all the time back then. As Dreher was once a film critic, I would guess that he where he took the phrase from.

LA replies:

I saw that movie when it came out but did not exactly make it a part of my cultural references. I’ve walked out of a fair number of movies in my life. “Pulp Fiction” was the only movie I’ve walked out of twice. That is, I walked out in disgust part way into the film (thinking, “I’m not going to let this movie maker subject me to this”), leaving my companions in the theater, and went to a coffee shop and hung out for a while, then I came back to watch the last part of the movie, then was repelled even more than before and walked out a second time. It was a real fun afternoon.

Which points to an interesting difference between Dreher’s conservatism and mine. He allowed Pulp Fiction to become a part of his mental furniture, and expects all his readers to recognize a line of dialog from it; I rejected the movie completely and closed it out of my consciousness.

By the way, another commenter wrote to me today about the “medieval” reference and added that “Pulp Fiction” was “an excellent movie with a strong Christian, specifically Catholic, theme.” I wrote back to him:

I’m appalled by your praise for Pulp Fiction, one of the ugliest and most repellent movies ever made. For you to call it Christian is obscene. It would be like calling the Marquis de Sade a Christian author.

Paul Cella replies:

He cannot be serious about the Christian theme of that film, can he? Pulp Fiction, though cleverly directed and well-acted, was a despicable movie, a descent into derangement and depravity with nice dialogue.

Ken Hechtman writes:

My two cents: On the surface, “Texan of the Year” and similar journalistic designations are based on Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” which goes back to 1927. Time’s “Man of the Year” is and always was value-neutral, so much so that “Newsmaker of the Year” would be more accurate. Hitler was Man of the Year in 1938, Stalin in 1939. It doesn’t mean Time approved of either of them, never mind both. The Time editors famously did not make Osama Bin Laden Man of the Year for 2001—but they knew that by their own logic they should have and admitted it in interviews of their own.

As you say, Dreher tips his hand at the end of his op-ed piece. He’s not being value-neutral and loses the right to claim it for his paper.

But in general and by tradition, these “Newsmaker of the Year” designations are supposed to be value-neutral.

LA replies:

I agree that Times’ “Man of the Year” award was historically value neutral. But the Dallas Morning News’ award is not just “Man of the Year,” but “Texan of the Year.”

Also, there are limits to value neutrality. Osama bin Laden had attacked the United States, he was an enemy of the United States. Value neutrality did not go so far as to call a mass murderer of Americans the “Man of the Year” (even if Time’s editors, in their anti-American hearts, wanted to do so). In 1938 Hitler, while threatening to Europe and Jews, was not at war with anyone and was not killing anyone. In fact, after the Munich agreement in September 1938, everyone except Churchill thought that the danger of war had receded. So when Time named Hitler “Man of the Year” at the end of 1938 he was not seen as a threat. I doubt that Time would have called Hitler “Man of the Year” after he declared war on the United States.

By contrast, the illegal aliens are engaged in an ongoing invasion of this country which the Mexicans themselves see as a Reconquista of the United States. So the TOY designation is profoundly inappropriate and offensive both because the illegals are not Texans, and because they are law breakers and ground soldiers (whether wittingly or not) in a hostile cultural-revanchist movement against our country.

Paul C. writes:

I just read your comment about “the stranger” on Rod Dreher’s Crunchycon blog. Thank you so much for saying in such an elegant, concise, and erudite way what I have been stumbling towards in multiple posts to the Dallas Morning News and Dreher. Brilliant writing.

By the way, I also find revealing the people on Rod’s blog taking you to task for, essentially, not selling out or compromising the truth for the sake of money or continued access to a particular forum. In effect, they are praising Rod (and themselves) for being journalistic whores.

Spencer Warren writes:

I fully agree with your criticisms of Dreher and that the essay basically is dishonest. It may have been written as a consensus view, but substantively it is pro-illegal.

Further, if his newspaper endorsed Huckabee, that suggests the editorial board is not very bright.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 31, 2007 09:15 AM | Send

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