Krikorian gets it: “conservatives” are really liberals

Wade C. writes:

I thought that Mark Krikorian’s Corner post, pasted below, might be of interest to you because of its final sentence. He points out that pro-immigration Republicans “are objectively pro-redistribution, regardless of their stated views.” The statement dovetails nicely with your oft-repeated point—which everyone seems to miss—about addressing the objective tendency of a political figure or writer’s words, rather than his subjective intent.

Spreading the Wealth Around [Mark Krikorian]

The Economist reports on a Harvard study that confirms what common sense would suggest: Immigrants bring with them the cultural attitudes of their home countries, and those attitudes persist in their children. Two professors from the Kennedy School at Harvard studied a survey of more than 6,000 immigrants in Europe and found (pdf here) that “Immigrants from countries with a higher preference for redistribution are more likely to vote for a more pro-redistribution political party. These cultural effects persist strongly into the second generation.” And, yes, they controlled for income and education and age and all that.

It makes sense, then, that the “pro-redistribution political party” on this side of the ocean is always pushing for amnesty, loose enforcement, and increased legal immigration. But why are Republicans helping them? The Cato Institute and Grover Norquist (not to mention Bush and McCain) are objectively pro-redistribution, regardless of their stated views, because they are instrumental in solidifying a pro-statist electoral majority.

06/15 12:39 PM

LA replies:

Thanks for sending this. I agree with your and Krikorian’s point, and I would also add this.

Libertarians and “economic conservatives” are not allied with conservatism, but with leftism. I have made this argument from several angles, most recently saying that because libertarians seek to break down every existing form of social authority, they would ultimately deliver us into the power of the only remaining authority, whether it be a centralized national state or some kind of global government.

But here, brought up Krikorian’s post, is another way in which libertarians and economic conservatives are effectively on the left. Their individualist, universalist, open borders ideology overrides and ignores all other considerations, including the actual qualities, characteristics, and beliefs of the individuals whom the individualist, free-market ideology requires be admitted into our country. And so, in the same of freedom, libertarians and Republicans eagerly allow America to be taken over by collectivists, statists, and sharia promoters.

At bottom, it all comes down to liberalism. If you believe in equal freedom as the highest good, then, no matter how conservative or anti-liberal you may imagine yourself being, you are a liberal and you will help liberals gain power. In a liberal age, only people who consciously hold to non-liberal principles can successfully oppose liberalism.

- end of initial entry -

June 21

James N. writes:

I was a libertarian well into my 30s, I even voted for Ed Clark in 1980, swimming against the Reagan landslide! At one point I paid LP dues for a few years.

I never understood, in the words of the Dylan song, “you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” The libertarian fantasy is that authority is merely notional—that is, if you don’t authorize authority over yourself, and if all illegitimate authority is dissolved, that that’s when you can finally be free.

What they miss is that, although you can exercise choices to a degree over what sort of authority you subject yourself to, you can’t expect a “no authority” society to exist, even for a few minutes.

June 22

Ron L. writes:

I posted the original Economist story at Free Republic and linked to your post and Mr. Krikorian’s. I thought you might be interested in any responses. Here is my own comment at FR:

The only thing surprising about this article is that it ran in a transnationalist publication like The Economist. Although it goes against some flimsy, though cherished, mythology the idea that people bring their cultural and socio-economic mores with them should be common sense. From the beginning of this country, our Founding Fathers warned us of this phenomenon. Benjamin Franklin’s warning is too often ignored.

The counter-argument, that those who immigrate are a self-selecting group who wish to become Americans and Americanized and who want to benefit from the free market sounds good on paper. It is, of course, partially true. But they lack a historical foundation for understanding our liberty, traditions, or how a free market operates. And we see this all the time; high immigrant areas are liberal and immigration re-enforces this. This was true even in the 19th century. But one does not even have to look at immigration to understand this phenomenon. Interstate migrants within the U.S. bring the culture of their home state. Hence refugees from liberal Massachusetts have helped make New Hampshire into a liberal state, and Northern Virginia is becoming politically indistinguishable from New Jersey.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 21, 2009 03:13 PM | Send

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