Codevilla’s Mexican madness

(Note: a reader says that I go too far and cause myself “irreparable harm” by calling Codevilla a traitor, and I reply.)

Angelo Codevilla of the Claremont Institute and Boston University is a conservative whom I had respected, though superficially and from a distance, for his informed and intelligent book defending Switzerland’s self-interested conduct during World War II in preserving its independence from Nazi Germany, and for his tough minded realism on how to deal with dangerous Islamic countries, namely by destroying their regimes and then leaving without trying to democratize them. But now, in most hideous fashion, Codevilla has cast aside his realism and his belief in sovereign nationhood, and revealed himself as—I use these words deliberately—a demented traitor.

What madness, what alienation, what detachment from reality and from his own country, could bring a man to say the kinds of things Codevilla says in his long American Spectator article “Pro-Mexico,” where he urges—and indeed he declares it to be a historical inevitability—that the United States merge itself with Mexico? Allan Wall at Vdare has gone through Codevilla’s article and shown some of the worst of it. But there is so much that is bad in it, and the bad is so bad, that there is a lot more to say. We live in a world of negative superlatives, but I must say that at this moment the piece strikes me as one of the most evil, hateful articles I have ever read.

Below I have copied most of the article, with my commentary in brackets.

By Angelo M. Codevilla from the June 2009 issue

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, whether anybody likes it or not, the United States and Mexico are joined at the Rio Grande until the stars fall from the sky. What Geography hath joined together, let no man even think of putting asunder. [LA replies: First, notice the grim, authoritative voice of supposed realism: we are bound with Mexico, whether we like or not, forever. But what does this actually mean? What does he mean when he says that the two countries “cannot be put asunder”? He means that they cannot exist as separate countries. In reality, the U.S. has existed next to Mexico for two hundred years, and we have pursued our national interests and development and they have pursued theirs. The two societies have had very little to do with each other, which is as it is should be, because their respective populations, cultures, political systems, and everything else are very different. But Codevilla wants us to believe that mere geographic proximity means not just geographic proximity but UNION, MERGING, BLENDING, THE ELIMINATION OF OUR SEPARATE IDENTITY AS A COUNTRY.

[Next, consider Codevilla’s bizarre and bullying appropriation of the language of the marriage ceremony to describe our relations with Mexico: “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, whether anybody likes it or not, the United States and Mexico are joined at the Rio Grande until the stars fall from the sky. What Geography hath joined together, let no man even think of putting asunder.” In the manner of a materialist master of the universe, he deliberately replaces God with his own preferred materialist force, Geography, and prohibits any resistance to its determinism, which he, the spokesman of historical inevitability, has identified. But, again, back on this plain old planet earth, Mexico and the U.S. are simply two countries that share a common border, period. Lots of countries share common borders. That doesn’t make them married couples. A married couple live as one, in one house, in one bed. If two countries live in one house, in one bed, then they’re not two different counties but one country. By Codevilla’s reasoning, then, all countries that happen to share a common border are married and must merge into one country. Which means, further, that the super-countries thus formed by these unions would have to merge into the neighboring supercountries with which they shared a border, until the whole world was one country. Codevilla, like a fifth rate multiculturalist Marx, has turned the sharing of a common border into the ruling principle of history, to which everything must bend.]

There is no comparison between living alongside neighbors and relatives who are friendly and helpful, and by folks who are troubled or who wish us ill. Canada’s position is analogous. But whereas Canada’s aging 30 million are comfortable in their identity, the national identity of Mexico’s 110 million largely young and vigorous people is up for grabs. [LA replies: The identity of a foreign country is “up for grabs”? Codevilla is saying that we have the power to shape and determine the national identity of Mexico. This is the same Codevilla who attacked the neocon belief that we can and ought to take over Muslim countries to democratize them. Yet now he thinks that the nation of Mexico is some plastic entity that we can re-shape and re-form to our will. His progressivism sits uneasily with his geographic determinism. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that if we have such godlike powers to shape a foreign culture to our will, just by “grabbing” it, perhaps we might also have the ability to figure out a way to preserve our own nation’s sovereignty and independence. But of course, in Codevilla’s book, our godlike powers can only be used to join ourselves with Mexico, not to preserve our nation.]

No foreign event will so influence our peace, prosperity, and happiness as will the development of our relationship with the Mexican people. So, self-interest as well as the Golden Rule command us to love Mexicans as we love ourselves. [LA replies: We, a country of 300 million, are supposed to love a foreign country as we love ourselves? Codevilla reveals again the mad will to power of the gnostic ideologue, appropriating religious symbolisms to induce people to surrender to his materialistic/political god. First, he changed “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder” into “What Geography has joined together, let no man even think of putting asunder.” And now he turns the Golden Rule into a dictatorial edict that we must surrender our nation and national interest and love a foreign country as much as we love our own.]


During World War II the U.S. government invited millions of Mexican braceros to replace GIs on farms and in factories. Some stayed to feed the growing American economy. But the traffic across the border remained almost evenly balanced in both directions. Mexicans would come and go to work in the U.S., typically returning home. That is why, by 1990, only some 2 percent of the U.S. population was Mexican-born. This changed rapidly. By 2008 12 million native Mexicans lived in the U.S. Together with 13 million persons of Mexican origin, Mexicans made up 9 percent of the U.S. population. By 2050, about one in five Americans will be Mexican or of Mexican ancestry.

In sum, our Mexican neighbors are also part of us. They are unique among America’s constituent ethnic groups in being numerous neighbors as well as relatives. There is nothing optional about this. The only question is whether our familial relationship will be functional or dysfunctional. [LA replies: Again, the brutal, deterministic language. Codevilla tells us us that we have no choice but to follow what HE informs us is the course of history, and to accept HIS view that the Mexicans, the whole Mexican people, are our family. The fact that we as a result of liberal illusions allowed millions of Mexicans to enter this country means that we must surrender to the consequences of that error and just keep moving in the same direction, instead of acting like thinking human beings and a self-governing country and try to change directions.]

The relationship’s economic fundamentals are sound. Mexico’s status as our third-largest trade partner (after Canada and China, ahead of Japan and Germany) is the least of the story. Mainly, Mexicans are adding to the U.S. economy in quantity and quality some of the essential elements that changes in the native population (for better or worse) are subtracting from it. In a nutshell: the native U.S. population is getting older, and smaller numbers of young people are inclined to work with their hands.[LA replies: There’s more determinism—the old, “jobs Americans aren’t willing to do” game. The little problem with this argument is that if we accept it, that is, if we decline to do whatever we need to do to become a self-sufficient country and instead continue to depend on immigrants for our labor, those immigrants will replace us and we will go out of existence. Codevilla would have us believe—perhaps he believes himself—that a Mexicanized United States will still be the United States. Not true. It will be a Mexicanized United States, the end of America as a distinct country, the end of us.]

Whereas in 2008 41 percent of Americans were of working age, only 28 percent will be by 2050. But three-quarters of Mexican arrivals are of working age. They come physically and mentally ready for manual labor on farms, in construction, tire shops, hotels, and nursing homes, in the meat industry or in maintenance—the 42.7 percent of job openings that the U.S. Labor Department classifies as requiring only “short-term on-the-job training,” the ones for which native-born Americans show less and less interest or aptitude. By the same token, American young people’s avoidance of serious science and math means that if we are to have scientists and doctors, they will have to come from India or China. It should go without saying that whatever hope Americans so aging and so inclined have of sustaining any Social Security or Medicare system rests on an abundant supply of eager, industrious, friendly immigrants. Some economists have predicted that 10 years from now the U.S. government will have to open labor-recruiting offices in Mexico. [LA replies: Instead of saying that a country that is not training its own people and not reproducing cannot last, and therefore that we must start training our own people and do the things necessary to restore family and a sustainable birthrate, Codevilla buys into a quick fix, continued mass immigration, that means the disappearance of our country. (I deal at length with these false and suicidal arguments in my booklet Huddled Cliches, which is online in html form here.) ]

Mexico is no less dependent on the American people as friendly neighbors. At any given moment in 2009 one of every seven Mexicans who is performing useful labor is doing so in the USA, being paid better than he would be in Mexico. The money he sends home builds the country’s human capital. While the availability of emigration has taken some pressure off Mexico’s government to provide opportunities for its people at home, millions of Mexicans’ experience of a better, fairer life in the U.S. has set a standard that Mexican governments have never been able to evade. For millions of ordinary Mexicans, a certain idealized image of America is the measure of things as they should be. This is as excellent for America as it is for Mexico.

This is most visible in Mexico’s northern regions, which have taken to calling themselves el norte, “the north,” the popular name for the U.S. This is in part because life around places like Monterrey does approximate what one finds just north of the border. Indeed, anyone traveling within 200 miles or so of that line is likely to see less and less difference between life on the two sides. A plebiscite on the southern side of this band would likely indicate a preference for joining the U.S., while on the northern side the increasing proportion of Mexicans might tip the balance in favor of accepting accession. J. Q. Adams and William Seward would smile. [LA replies: Codevilla is not just saying it’s inevitable and we have to accept it. He is actively pushing the merging of at least parts of Mexico with the U.S.]

MANY MEXICANS WOULD NOT. Mexico is a big, diverse country whose attitude toward the U.S. is always up for grabs. [LA replies: The notion that a county of 110 million people, a country utterly distinct from ours, and largely hostile to ours, is simply “up for grabs,” so that we can just reach out and pick it up and it’s ours, expresses a vulgar mentality alienated from normal thinking processes. It’s the voice of the mad scientific controller, the voice of Bush and the neocons, who think they can recreate humanity by speaking a few phrases and pressing a few buttons.] While millions of humble folk risk life and limb and undergo privation to go north, the country’s official high culture, set by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that ruled the country from 1932 to 1998, is deeply anti-gringo. Any number of Mexican politicians try to generate a wave of hate against the USA on which they would ride to power. Attitudes toward Americans are also divided along political and regional lines. [LA replies: But these deep seated attitudes are nevertheless “up for grabs.”

In our time, the country is divided geographically and politically into roughly three parts. The south is predominantly Indian, and its politics are dominated by the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD)—a far-left, Third World, would-be totalitarian outfit that split from the PRI. The central area around Mexico City is still under the old PRI ruling class’s sway. Its leaders are “dinosaurs” deeply entrenched in the state bureaucracy and state-connected business, paragons of corruption. Anti-Americanism is part of their DNA. Under PRI rule, the Soviet Union’s embassy in Mexico City was its largest anywhere, and the USSR was negotiating the establishment of Soviet consulates in the 10 gateway cities to the U.S. This ominous trend stopped only when the PRI started being challenged by the conservative National Action Party (PAN), especially in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. The pro-U.S. PAN has won the last two presidential elections (the first free ones ever, the last by a squeaker). But its vision of the country is only one among many.

Which vision prevails among Mexicans in the future, what kinds of neighbors we will have south of the border, as well as the character of our Mexican-American relatives on the north side, must depend to some extent on how we Americans handle some of our thorny problems. The beginning of wisdom about this is that they are ours. So far, the U.S. body politic has handled them in a way that seems calculated to turn Mexicans into enemies. [LA replies: But those problems became “ours” via our acceptance of large scale immigration from Mexico. The way to solve those problems is not by continuing the same insane policy but by ending and reversing it.]


U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY has the same disastrous effects on relations among ourselves and our Mexican neighbors and relatives and the same criminal beneficiaries. In the 1970s the U.S. labor movement demanded “border enforcement” in support of its drive to organize farm workers. The Democratic Party backed this, and semi-serious border controls began. Ending the longstanding, informal, easy two-way traffic across the border turned workers into immigrants and created a problem which the right made worse by ignorantly characterizing them as welfare freeloaders.

Men coming north to work started bringing their families along when the 1970s, wave of enforcement made clear that they could no longer go home once the picking season was over, or just to see their families for Christmas and Easter, and easily return. Crossing a guarded border with families required the services of “coyotes,” who charged a fee. Thus occasional laborers became migrants, a few of whom, unable to go home when the job ran out and having to support families in high-cost America, when offered public assistance, took it. VoilĂ , a problem created. In the 1990s the problem got worse when border security increased as part of the “war on drugs,” and again after 9/11, just as the burgeoning U.S. economy demanded more labor. As illegal northward crossings became ever more difficult, they required more bribes, more intelligence, more equipment. This put small-time “coyotes” out of business and put crossborder human traffic into the hands of professional border breachers—the same people who do it daily with tons of drugs. They charge some $2,500 per person, make a handsome profit, and have no qualms about leaving human cargos to die in the desert or about holding their passengers for ransom.

All too often, Mexican newspapers and TV carry stories about the tragic fate of young people—often the best in their communities—who had left to find work in el norte and end up dead or in some dehumanized situation. Americans’ talk of the need to fence out Mexicans also gets big play in the media. Mexicans cannot help but wonder why we despise them so, and resent it. [LA replies: To sum up his point, the immigration problem is created by the fact that we do not have open borders with Mexico. Open the borders, and the immigration problem ends. Yes, but the United States of America also ends.]


NOTE WELL, HOWEVER, that current U.S. policies on trade, immigration, and drugs cannot possibly stop or even slow appreciably the integration of the U.S. and Mexico. [LA replies: Of course, our CURRENT immigration policy cannot stop the steady Mexican takeover of the U.S., that’s why we need a radically DIFFERENT policy.]. Much less can they separate the United States’ well-being from Mexico’s. All they can do is continue to make the two peoples’ growing interdependence into a source of trouble for both. These three sets of policies have in common that they cannot achieve their stated ends, and that they tend to make Americans and Mexicans each others’ enemies. [LA replies: Codevilla doesn’t want to face the reality that Mexico and the U.S. are two different countries.]

Our policy of permitting drug users to pay criminal drug suppliers is literally a supply-side drug policy. It cannot, imaginably, stop or even slow the drug traffic. It can only create, finance, and arm an attack upon our neighbors and set up a war on our border region, a war most certain to produce Mexican-American antagonism. Similarly, our policy of criminalizing the entry of Mexican labor cannot, imaginably, fill the economic needs that Mexican labor fills, or even slow the growth of our Mexican American population. [LA replies: His whole argument is based on the deterministic premise that the future can only consist of the continuation of present trends, He cannot imagine the American people taking the problem into their own hands and adopting policies designed to promote the long term health, wealth, and self-sustainability of the U.S. He has signed onto national suicide at the start, by his very premises.] All it can do is embitter the latter. Monkeying with NAFTA on pretend grounds of worry about inferior Mexican standards does the same thing. If any state deserves the label “failed,” it is one that recognizes the destructiveness of what it’s doing and keeps on doing it.

How Russians or Chinese or Indonesians feel about Americans, or how we feel about them, makes little difference simply because such peoples are neither neighbors nor relatives. But because Mexicans are at once close neighbors and relatives, our sentiments toward them and theirs toward us are of the greatest importance. When we make enemies of Mexicans, we foul our own nest. [LA replies: So whatever they want, we must give, or else we are being hostile to them. Which of course is what the open borders and pro-amnesty people are saying all the time. And this doctrine of surrender to and blending with a Third-World country that is culturally incompatible with ours, that has an average IQ ten points lower than ours, and that has deep historical and racial resentments against ours, has been published in a “conservative” magazine.]

- end of initial entry -

Roland D. writes:

You write:

“Codevilla has cast aside his realism and his belief in sovereign nationhood, and revealed himself as—I use these words deliberately—a demented traitor.”

It’s possible to be wrong without being a traitor. Angelo Codevilla has a long, distinguished record as a conservative public intellectual, and neither you nor I have any business calling him a ‘traitor’ based upon a single article, the provenance of which is currently unknown.

Even if he really did write the article as published, being wrong about Mexico doesn’t make him a witting traitor, nor even possibly an unwitting one.

Just as the feminists have debased the meaning of the word ‘rape’ by employing it in a hyperbolic matter, conservatives risk leaching all meaning and passion from the word ‘traitor’ by bandying it about in a cavalier manner.

I share your dismay, and hope that there’s some sort of fraud, mistake or misunderstanding at the bottom of this issue, but you stand to do yourself irreparable harm by calling out Angelo Codevilla as a traitor at this juncture. I strongly urge you to moderate your language until the facts are known.

LA replies:

As I showed in my article, “The Second Mexican War,” and has been shown by other informed writers on this subject such as Allan Wall and Heather Mac Donald, the Mexican nation is through legal and illegal immigration and through political manipulation waging a non-military war of national and racial expansion aimed at gaining power in and over the United States. Its government and intellectual elite and much of its population are openly hostile to our country. Its presidents have given speeches boasting of how they are taking over America. Even those Mexican immigrants and illegal aliens who are not consciously hostile to the U.S. are foot soldiers in the Mexicanization of the U.S.

And what does Codevilla say about this? He tells us that we, the entire United States of America, are commanded to LOVE MEXICO AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. He tells us that we are married to Mexico, that the Mexicans are our “family,” and that we have no choice but to eliminate our border and merge ourselves with Mexico.

If that is not giving aid and comfort to a foreign country that is seeking our harm, i.e., if that is not treason, then nothing is.

I will remind you that I made exactly the same charge against GW Bush and John McCain, political leaders who openly sided with Mexico and against the United States.

Roland replies:

You wrote:

“I will remind you that I made exactly the same charge against GW Bush and John McCain, political leaders who openly sided with Mexico and against the United States.”

And you were right in doing so, given their unquestioned and well- documented propensities in this regard.

I will remind you that neither of them have the standing in the public sphere of intellectual discourse of Angelo Codevilla, which is why I urge restraint (something along the lines of ‘Has Angelo Codevilla Lost His Mind?’) rather than calling him a traitor, at this juncture.

For all we know, the article was written in satire, or to illustrate the futility and hypocrisy of our current immigration policies. Until we know the facts of the matter (I’m making enquiries amongst folks I know who’re acquainted with Mr. Codevilla), a bit of restraint seems to be in order, in my opinion.

LA replies:

First, if you support my having said that Bush and McCain are traitors, then I’m at a loss to understand why you think my saying the same about Codevilla is so wrong. If it’s ok to make such a condemnation of a sitting President of the United States and a sitting U.S. senator and certified war hero, then why is it so objectionable to make the same condemnation against a college professor?

Second, there can be no misunderstanding Codevilla’s intent. This is not some passing, casual, unthought-out remark, this is a 4,000 word article in a major “conservative” magazine telling us in the most explicit, indeed dictatorial terms, that we have no choice but to marry our nation to Mexico, with everything that that entails.

So there is nothing left here to “figure out” as far as his intentions are concerned. His intentions couldn’t be more plain. The notion that his article might be a satire or something of that nature cannot be credited.

Roland replies:

You write:

“If it’s ok to make such a condemnation of a sitting President of the United States and a sitting U.S. senator and certified war hero, then why is it so objectionable to make the same condemnation against a college professor?”

Because Angelo Codevilla is much more intelligent, has far greater gravitas, and has a longer track record of distinguished public service than either George W. Bush or John McCain. My respect is for the man himself, not the position or title he holds; I’ve very little respect for Messrs. Bush or McCain (slightly more for McCain, perhaps), and a great deal of respect for Codevilla.

“Second, there can be no misunderstanding Codevilla’s intent. This is not some passing, casual, unthought-out remark, this is a 4,000 word article in a major “conservative” magazine telling us in the most explicit, indeed dictatorial terms, that we have no choice but to marry our nation to Mexico, with everything that that entails.”

I don’t know yet that he wrote it, or whether what relation if any what he wrote bears to what the American Spectator have published. [LA replies: I’m at a loss to understand why you think that a major article written by Angelo Codevilla and expressing his thoughts is something other than a major article written by Angelo Codevilla and expressing his thoughts.]

“So there is nothing left here to ‘figure out’ as far as his intentions are concerned. His intentions couldn’t be more plain.”

Neither of us has enough information to divine his intent, assuming he did in fact author this article in the tone and substance which appears in the American Spectator. I’m boggled that he could and would write an article which seriously advocates such nonsense, which is why I’m trying to determine the facts of the matter.

If/when I learn more, I’ll report back.

July 3

Aaron S. writes:

Reading your dissection of Codevilla’s piece, I was wondering if you’d ever seen the John Sayles film “Lone Star,” which makes Codevilla’s “geographic inevitability” case with diabolical force. The two main characters, Mexican and American, are in love and discover at the end of the film that they are half-siblings. Thankfully, despite its various accolades received, this film seems to have been consigned largely to the “indie” ghetto without having made any impact on popular consciousness.

Here is one (favorable) analysis turned up by a cursory Google search—reading the opening paragraphs, I’m finding myself longing for Welles and Heston, whom Sayles cannot hope to touch!

LA replies:

Haven’t seen it, but it sure sounds like John Kneejerk Liberal Sayles.

Joe Catechissimo writes:

Judging by his picture, Angelo Codevilla is a Caucasian Hispanic. (I am assuming he is not Italian). Mr. Codevilla then ought to know (being a historian) that it has been virtually impossible incorporating Mestizo and Indian populations into ruling white classes of Latin America. It is all about IQ and its second and third order effects on a population.

As a Catholic who believes in the universal church, I struggle with the fact that the first and Third Worlds simply don’t mix—even in Mexico and the results will be even more disastrous here. When Indians and Mexicans come to dominate our voting booths, America will exist no more. I also search my Catholic conscious about my refusal to fork over thousands of my tax dollars to support the growing horde of illegitimate Mestizo and Indian children being born and bred into the welfare plantation. Surely, Catholic social thought must have something to say about the injustice of being forced to pay for children fathered by other men, many of whom don’t even belong in this country.

Stephen T. writes:

I only had to read as far as the point where he sweepingly endorsed “Mexico’s VIGOROUS people” to know who a great deal about who Codvevilla is and where he’s coming from. More often from that ilk, we are assured that the 115 million residents of that debauched and failed wasteland are, each and every one, “vibrant,” “lively,” or, if it’s an L.A. Times editorial, “bubbly and zestful.” Whatever: It’s all the same and a dead giveaway. How come we never hear about “contemplative, dentally-hygenic Peruvians” or “show tune-loving, badminton-playing Finns?” No, we only get these wondrous, glowing, code-word generalizations about Mexicans—and Mexicans alone.

if you’re looking for an apartment in L.A. and the ad describes it as “a vibrant neighborhood, with young, vigorous residents creating a lively street atmosphere,” you can assume a number of things about who and what you will be living in the midst of, and what your quality of life will be (likewise, the 60% dropout rate at the local high school.) And you won’t be wrong.

And, you can also assume a certain number of things about the person who’s telling you that—and whose interests he’s looking out for.

If, in the 21st century, having 115 million vigorous peasant manual-laborers (and that is just the purpose Codevilla is recommending them for), with the lowest level of educational attainment in the Western hemisphere and a culture which has for centuries persisted in lawlessness, chaos, and a total lack of technological or scientific progress, were the Rx for national success, then Mexico itself ought to be ALREADY a garden of Eden. We should be begging to get in there (and if we were, would Mr. Codevilla demand that Mexico must admit U.S. and surrender its language and culture for its own good? Hmm, I wonder.) How, I also wonder, does he explain the reality of Mexicans, supposedly so vigorous and beneficial and such a tonic for any country blessed enough to be their neighbor, yet Mexico itself, the very land that their culture, gene pool, and mentality has created—it wasn’t an invisible force field emanating from the ether that did it, after all—is a perennial disaster?

(And BTW, what happens when all these millions of young and vigorous Mexicans … get OLD? Or, in Codevilla’s view, are they somehow elevated above that natural law as well?)

Richard S. writes:

It seems so self-evident to me that radically different peoples do not mix well—and in fact can only exist in a constant state of infuriated friction when they live in the same place—that I have never been able to understand and still do not understand the blindness to this elementary fact on the part of those who govern us.

Where has this piece of common sense gone? Do those who govern us not feel a love of their own and an instinctive aversion to “the other?”

Which is not bigotry but sanity. Simple sanity. Why have they not defended the border? Sealed the border against the invasion? Is it a lack of will? Mere cowardice? Or am I terribly wrong? Is the thing that I feel at an absolutely gut level something that does not exist in those that rule? This is what goes round and round in my head and I confess to being at a loss as to why we are where we are.

Leonard D. writes:

I do agree with you that many of Codevilla’s arguments are not only wrong, but ludicrously so. It is a very weak piece which deserves harsh criticism and not a little mockery.

But I also thought you were being both incorrect and shrill with the epithet “traitor”, although with different reasons than Roland D. However, upon looking it up and some reflection, I think your use of the word is defensible. I still think your usage of it is shrill because it is in my opinion overbroad. As a language snob, I like my superlatives to remain superlative. I think that a highly-charged term like “traitor” ought to be limited to truly far-out acts of betrayal, not the casual, popular betrayals implicit in a widely popular ideology like progressivism.

If Codevilla is a traitor, and Bush and McCain, then certainly the liberal American center and progressive left are too. In other words, the majority of the US political establishment are traitors. The Senate and House are majority traitor; the NYTimes are traitors; the universities are almost uniformly traitors; etc. Can there be an entire state apparat of traitors? A “traitor country”? (According to la Wik, yes: “the term “traitor” is used in heated political discussion… against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act in the best interest of their constituents.”)

LA replies:

Well, there can indeed be a traitor country, and even a traitor civilization, since America and the West are devoted to liberal beliefs that make the West guilty for existing and require people to side with aliens seeking to destroy it. However, I don’t use the word treason in that generic sense of calling all liberal traitors. I reserve the word treason for behavior or speech that is so outstandingly shocking and egregious that there seems no other adequate word to describe it. For example, when GW Bush stood next to the Mexican President, who had given speeches in the U.S. boasting of the Mexican people’s expansive move to Mexicanize the U.S., and said that the Minutemen were vigilantes, that was the act of a traitor. I can’t think of any other word that is adequate. And that’s the way Codevilla’s article struck me, as being so egregious in its anti-Americanism that it deserved to be called treason.

At the same time, I understand that my use of the word is controversial and people can reasonably disagree with me on this.

Peter G. writes:

Considering Codevilla’s former work he’s obviously gone bonkers or this is a fraud. The sentimentalist, anti-intellectual style makes you wonder. I can hardly believe such a crazy idealized conception of Mexican society could come from a mind like his. His characterization of Mexico as Tonto to an aging Clayton Moore elicits nothing but “unserious” thoughts in any intelligent reader.

The inference that Mexico suffers from a crisis in identity to be solved by being allowed to change his adult diaper is beyond delusional. Mexicans want to find themselves wiping some geriatric’s behind? Exposure to Mexican society often leaves one with an uncomfortable sense of a sinister contempt for white North Americans, how can anyone believe they’ve cast themselves as Gibeonites in perpetuity. Consider, how will their current male macho culture remain suppressed in the U.S. as its men grovel in roles performing plantation level labour?

Mexicans as a group in America show no indication of cultural self correction. What would he predict to the future of civic life in America with fifty million illiterate and culturally disfunctional people. The chaos he ignores seems eclipsed by his concern on getting serviced at his nursing home.

Howard Sutherland writes:

You have covered most of the salient points about this revolting article from what passes for a “conservative” in American academia. What a prize example of just how rotten the academic establishment in America now is. (I won’t say American academic establishment, for there is hardly anything truly American about it.)

I was struck by how little Codevilla sees America and Mexico as real countries, with distinct peoples and authentic traditions and culture. Both countries have them, and—beyond an increasingly superficial attachment to (very different strains of) Christianity—those traditions have precious little to do with each other.

It isn’t surprising that Codevilla has no sense of America as a real country. That’s the liberal/neocon (forgive the redundancy) mental default position. But—as one who has lived and worked in Mexico and speaks Spanish—I have to ask if Codevilla has ever actually been in Mexico. Nobody who visits Mexico with his eyes open can fail to notice that Mexico is very, well, Mexican. And that the Mexican thing is very different from the American thing.

In his facile—and contradictory—presumption that Americans have it in ourselves somehow to change Mexico into something quasi-American, Codevilla also fails to notice how Mexicans behave when they come to America.

Everywhere in America where Mexicans settle in any numbers, America becomes mexicanized. The Mexicans do not get americanized. Mexicans aren’t coming to America to be Americans—they are very happy to be Mexican—no matter where they live.

I’m not sure there’s a specific word for the combination of cluelessness and betrayal. If there is one, it fits Angelo Codevilla (as it did GW Bush). HRS

Joe Catechissimo continues:

There is unfortunately a huge credibility gap among white Hispanics who seem to have no problem with their darker skinned companeros languishing for hundreds of years in poverty back in Old Mexico, but who lobby endlessly against so-called discrimination here when the very same people settle into the lower rungs here.

Gintas writes:

Where is this guy from? Biographical info is very sketchy—like Melchizedek, he’s a man without a genealogy—but he did get a degree from Notre Dame (alert! Possible Roman Catholic in Love With His Warm, Vibrant, Brown Compadres!)

Demented traitor? If he were demented at least he’d have an excuse.

Leonard D. writes:

You write:

“I reserve the word treason for behavior or speech that is so outstandingly shocking and egregious that there seems no other adequate word to describe it … that’s the way Codevilla’s article struck me, as being so egregious in its anti-Americanism that it deserved being called treason.”

Hmm. It strikes me egregious in its embarrassingly feeble apologia for progressive dogma—the Sermon on the Mount was true because we share a border and trade a lot!—but not in being anti-American. In that it strikes me as quite unexceptional, even normal for these times. Is this sort of anti-Americanism not the default position of academia and the press, and most of the business and political elite?

Perhaps it is the source himself that you expect better of, thus leading to your sense of shock and betrayal. I must admit that prior to yesterday I had not heard of the man.

LA replies:

“Embarrassingly feeble apologia” is NOT the way I would describe the shockingly brutal, dictatorial tone of this article. “What Geography has brought together, let no man EVEN THINK of putting asunder,” i.e., DON’T EVEN THINK OF preserving the sovereignty, laws, national identity of the United States as anything distinct from Mexico.

There are many critical things that could be said about such a dictat. “Embarrassingly feeble” is not one that comes to my mind. He is telling us to SHUT UP AND SUBMIT.

Hannon writes:

Howard Sutherland writes:

“Nobody who visits Mexico with his eyes open can fail to notice that Mexico is very, well, Mexican. And that the Mexican thing is very different from the American thing.”

This sums it up nicely. I have visited all but a few states in Mexico and also speak Spanish. If anything these facts have made it clear to me how different our two countries and our two diverse (sorry) cultures really are. Although my experiences in Mexico have been overwhelmingly positive, my political views in this area might be labeled “xenophobic” by some, in the same way a visitor to the UAE might have a wonderful trip yet maintain fearful doubts about Islam.

I agree with others that the essence of their culture remains with Mexicans who immigrate to the U.S., legally or illegally. Making (a lot) more money changes very little in their lives except the material standard. Social attitudes, social values and a sense of Mexican heritage—officially conveyed and encouraged by the government of Mexico—remain relatively fixed, even after multiple generations here.

Reading Codevilla’s nonsense I would be at best confused if I were of Mexican stock and more likely insulted. In so many ways both Americans and Mexicans can take great pride in their own nations, and most do I think. This is something to build on and accentuate, not to destroy. The only reason to pursue the course of transnational destruction is to argue that a merger of two sovereign nations provides greater advantage than a destiny of independence and honor.

Carl Simpson writes:

Perhaps instead of “traitor” (which I have no problem with, since the thrust of his argument is actually treasonous), you could have simply applied Takuan Seiyo’s terminology and referred to his having morphed into a Legume Pod.

July 4

Vincent Chiarello writes:


It simply is beyond my—and I gather, others, too—comprehension why Codevilla, whose previous writings in The Claremont Review of Books, where he is an editor, have been remarkably consistent in their “conservative” perspective, would have written this claptrap. To suggest, further, that he may not have authored the piece, or that it was satirical, is to evince a profound misunderstanding of this man: from what I’ve read about him, he bears his name and reputation with utmost pride, and satire is not his form of writing.

As to Joe Catechissimo, and his opining that Codevilla is not Italian but Hispanic, he is very incorrect:

Codevilla is more Italian than Joe or me: he was born in Italy! (He was also a Foreign Service Officer, but I shan’t hold that against him.)

One final thought: Codevilla shared teaching responsibilities with Prof. Andrew Bacevich at Boston University. Perhaps Bacevich, whose transformation from a military graduate of West Point to a harping academic critic of U.S. foreign policy, had some influence here. Still, to fathom Codevilla’s motive and purpose in writing this hokum, to quote the King of Siam, “T’is a puzzlement.”

a presto

A. Zarkov writes:

The article by Codevilla stands as the most outrageous example of crude pro-Mexican propaganda I have ever seen. Moreover I find it especially repulsive because it insults the intelligence of the reader with almost every sentence. As such it forces me ask myself, why did Codevilla even bother to write such insulting diatribe? Is he simply trying to get conservatives to waste their time and energy picking it apart piece by piece, or is something even more sinister going on? Perhaps he thinks Obama is about to launch a major effort to form a North American Union similar to the European Union, and he wants to get on the right side of history. I don’t want to waste my keystrokes rebutting Codevilla’s article line by line because I think we need to understand it as part of a mass phenomenon. Or more accurately, mass insanity.

A kind of madness about Mexico and Mexican immigration seems to have gripped Americans, and I experience it frequently. So much so that I’m beginning to feel like Dr. Miles Bennell in the 1956 horror movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Just a few weeks ago the wife of an old friend, who was born and raised in the Midwest, and has lived just outside Boston for the last 35 years, told me, “I prefer to live with warm Mexicans, than cold New Englanders.” Here in California, which is well on its way to being Mexifornia, I see the same disconnect from reality. People I know who are ordinarily sensible slip off the track when Mexico and immigration come up. When I rebut their sophistries, I get a cold stare followed by, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Of course they don’t want to talk about it; they know they can’t defend their position. One friend, a mechanical engineer, actually told me that it would cost many times the U.S. gross national product to build a border fence. When I show him that his figure is about 10,000 times too high, I get that cold silent stare. His mind seems to stop functioning the way your computer hangs up from a software error. Pod people. With this kind of insanity so widespread at the individual level, we should not be surprised to see it at the institutional level as well.

As an example of institutional insanity look at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)—a Jewish organization with a mission to oppose anti-Semitism. ADL has set up a partnership with the strident, influential brown supremacy group La Raza (the race). La Raza seeks an open borders policy for Mexico which would flood the U.S. with millions of Mexican nationals. One would think that ADL would oppose such an organization because according to ADL’s own press release, 44 percent of foreign-born Hispanics are strongly anti-Semitic. Are they simply crazy? Yes. That’s the problem, and Codevilla the article is simply another instance of a widespread disconnect from reality running through American society. Bringing up Mexico and immigration is like flashing the Queen of Diamonds at Raymond Shaw in the movie, The Manchurian Candidate. Shaw got that way from brain washing and so have Americans. For at least the last 30 years American school children have been subjected to a relentless propaganda campaign against the white race. They have been humiliated and scorned at a tender age in the classroom. Some children even go home crying. Even adults get subjected to “diversity training,” which follows a similar line of attack against white people, especially white men. I got exempted from diversity training because everyone knew I would push back and push back hard.

If conservatives want to fight this madness, they need to approach it on a fundamental level. They need to fight institutional brain washing by lawsuits, in-the-street activism and political pressure. Otherwise they will wear out fighting it one article at a time.

LA replies:

Very good, especially the advice about avoiding wearing ourselves out fighting it one article at a time. Imagine the energy that would have to be exerted responding to all the whacko assertions in Codevilla’s piece.

You say the articcle is insane, and I agree. The question is, why the insanity, even from a conservative-seeming thinker like Codevilla? Here I think is the answer. As the immigration issue clarifies, people realize that either they must oppose our current immigration policy, which would make them “racists,” or they must go along with it. Since having any position smacking of “racism” is the very worst thing in this world, they go all out for the open borders side, as Codevilla has done. What this means is that people support the immigration because it’s nonwhite. Because it’s nonwhite, to oppose it is racist. This is why I say that it is impossible to oppose the immigration effectively without confronting the race and racism issue .

Even the most conservative-seeming person in the world, if he has no race consciousness and no feeling for the white race, will eventually end up on the pro-open borders, pro-national suicide side.

LA writes:

Just picked this up via Google:

Briefly noted … (What’s Wrong with the World)

3 Jul 2009 by Steve Burton
Lawrence Auster has posted a characteristically cruel, but, in this case, I think, reasonably fair critique of Angelo Codevilla’s truly strange “Pro-Mexico” article at The American Spectator. Well worth a glance …
What’s Wrong with the World—

How can something be “cruel” yet “reasonably fair”? I am really, really tired of people who have lost their minds because of me. I feel like the Sarah Palin of the right-wing blogosphere.

Joe Catechissimo writes:

After reading Mr. Zarkov’s excellent take on how Codevilla and otherwise principled white conservatives assume the deer-in-the-headlight look when confronted with non-white immigration, I am convinced we need some sort of catchy phrase taken from the common culture for the purpose of shaming and stigmatizing these “Pod people.” I am old enough to remember how the phrase “Uncle Tom” was used by black power advocates to silence the more moderate and accommodating elements of the black community in the mid 1960s and early 1970s. We need something comparable to shame our fellow white conseratives back into reality.

You have exceptionally articulate and clever readers and commentators. Perhaps you ought to solicit their opinions.

LA replies:

That’s a good idea.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 02, 2009 05:17 PM | Send

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