Immigration realism arrives in the mainstream

In his blog at the Telegraph, Ed West, commenting on Christopher Caldwell’s new and ambitiously titled book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, says things about non-European immigration that I’ve never seen stated before in a mainstream British publication. The standard and only accepted view is, of course, that all people of all races and cultures are basically the same and can be assimilated into Europe. West, following Caldwell, says without shilly-shallying that this is not true. “[T]he more multi-racial” a society becomes, he writes, “the less well it functions.” Those are indeed revolutionary words, and up to this point only non-mainstream figures have said them. Caldwell, according to West, “argues that mass immigration and the formation of large ethnic bodies makes us unhappier as people, it damages rather than helps the economy, and threatens the basic principles of freedom.” Again, West (and I assume Caldwell) is not relying on the standard expedient of saying that the immigrants could all be assimilated if we just dropped multiculturalism and tried harder to assimilate them. He’s saying that the large scale immigration of racially and ethnically different people is harmful, period.

The immigration revolution: can Europe be the same with different people in it?
By Ed West Politics Last updated: July 8th, 2009

Something explosive is about to hit the British political arena, a book with ideas so shocking it will change the debate on the most important issue in European politics.

For years, the European political class have told their peoples that mass immigration was beneficial, inevitable and historically precedented. It enriched our lives, it boosted our economy, it made us better people morally and it was a continuation of our countries’ histories of immigration, and anyone who disagrees is a racist bigot. The ruling class kitted the emperor out in his fancy new clothes and if people could not see them then there was something wrong with their eyes.

Well, the emperor is butt-naked and Financial Times journalist Christopher Caldwell is the little boy. The publication of his book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe is a pivotal moment in the debate on immigration, and it heralds the start of a new era—an acceptance by the political mainstream that our system isn’t working, and that while a multi-racial society can work, the more multi-racial it is the less well it functions.

Caldwell is a reasonable, moderate man who has studied Europe and Islam for a decade, which makes his conclusions all the more astonishing. He argues that mass immigration and the formation of large ethnic bodies makes us unhappier as people, it damages rather than helps the economy, and threatens the basic principles of freedom. Most alarming of all, he shows just how deluded are those liberal thinkers who believe large Muslim immigrant communities can be assimilated into Europe, especially a hedonistic atheist Europe which has recently adopted values at odds with the rest of humanity.

Immigration of the sort we’ve had since the war is simply unprecedented. Part of the propaganda pumped out by the establishment is that Britain is a nation of immigrants. But, as Caldwell writes: “Aside from the invasions of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes that started in the fourth century AD—and which brought, at the very most, 250,000 new settlers over a period of several centuries—British ‘stock’ has changed little. Only about 10,000 people arrived with the Norman Conquest. Tens of thousands more Huguenots came after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. But, all told, three-quarters of the ancestors of contemporary Britons and Irish were already present in the British Isles 7,500 years ago. DNA from people who arrived after that makes up only 12 per cent of the Irish gene pool.”

In fact before 1945 there had only been one example of such immigration in Europe’s history and that was, ironically, produced by Nazi Germany.

“Europe’s path to mass immigration owes something to the intellectual habits of the statesmen and magnates who ran Europe’s economy in World War II—on both the Allied and Axis sides. In scale, today’s massive in-migration of ‘temporary’ labour has only one precedent, and it is a recent one.”

Nazi Germany is the key to all of this, the reason why we are unable to balance our Christian disdain for racism and our willingness to allow minority communities to live here with common sense. No society in history would ever have dreamed of doing what Europe did after 1945, inviting vastly different people over in such numbers, for the simple reason that no other society was so wracked with guilt and self-loathing for its “two historic misdeeds, colonialism and Nazism”.

This, combined with pressure from big business, which wanted cheap labour to run heavy industry (most of which was on its last legs anyway), and a welfare state that discouraged natives from taking menial jobs, caused Europe’s leaders to invite people in such large numbers as to make future ethnic conflict inevitable.

Caldwell continues: “If one abandons the idea that Western Europeans are rapacious and exploitative by nature, and that Africans, Asians, and other would-be immigrants are inevitably their victims, then the fundamental differences between colonisation and labour migration cease to be obvious.” And what we have in the suburbs of France and the inner cities of Holland and England is, whatever that word’s pejorative meaning, colonisation.

The reason Enoch Powell was wrong in predicting rivers of blood was that Powell, who loved the British Empire, did not understand the widespread feelings of liberal guilt among the middle class, nor that this would be transmitted to the nation as a whole (even though the poor had no reason to feel guilty about anything, and indeed would feel the worst effects of immigration).

And yet Powell’s population forecasts were spot on. He shocked his Rotary Club audience in 1968 by suggesting Britain’s non-white population would be 4.5 million in 2002 (in 2001 it was 4,635,296). Then in 1970 he told voters in Wolverhampton that between a fifth and a quarter of their city, as well as that of Birmingham and Inner London, would be non-white one day. According to the 2001 census the figures were 22.2 per cent, 29.6 per cent and 34.4 per cent respectively, and rising.

The subtitle asks: “Can Europe be the same with different people in it?” The answer, quite clearly, is no.

[end of Ed West article]

That Caldwell would write a book that, apparently, totally opposes the open-borders orthodoxy of the center-right establishment in which he has had his entire career is remarkable. For decades he has been a journeyman writer for such mainstream conservative (and devotedly open-borders) magazines as The American Spectator and The Weekly Standard. I could never figure out Caldwell. Most political journalists have a personality and point of view that comes through their writings. But with Caldwell, I could never get a sense of who he was or what he believed. Sometimes he sounded like a conservative, sometimes like a liberal, and most of the time, frankly, like nothing at all.

Consider what Paul Cella wrote about him in 2003:

Christopher Caldwell contributed a remarkable piece of journalism to the Financial Times the other day (unfortunately, it is no longer available online without registration). In it he attempts to assuage European fears of American “unilateralism” by assuring his readers that American hawks are, in fact, “joining the European quest for a post-national global order, but on their own terms.” I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that line. Now Christopher Caldwell is supposed by most to be a conservative; his argument is either advanced disingenuously, or reveals something quite sinister. And since I feel that I must regard Mr. Caldwell as sincere in its contentions, I must point out that what he is endorsing here a species consolidation so comprehensive as to boggle the mind.

It is a commonplace that, in an era of globalisation, nation states lack the reach to solve important economic, ecological and military problems. Europeans view themselves as proven leaders in designing multilateral governing bodies to replace the nation state.

So that’s it, huh? A “commonplace.” Replacing the nation-state is now the project of some of the most influential members of the American Right as well as a goodly portion of the international Left. Just like that, we jettison the nation-state; and with it a lot of other stuff most of us always thought of as admirable. The principle of decentralized government, of diverse sources of authority with compass only over those with whom they are familiar; the principle variety, in economy, in political arrangement, in social state, in religious establishment, in vision and ideal; the principle of resistance to uniformity, of defense of eccentricity, of multiplicity of cultural attachments; these are all good, solid, rousing conservative principles. They endure because they approach and reflect the truth of human affairs. Mr. Caldwell would throw them out like depleted old vessels, the remnants of strange fashions and crazes. “As America sees it,” he writes, “there are two obvious problems with the UN as a world government. First, it is incomplete.” Incomplete? No: first, it is monstrous. Mr. Caldwell must know that leveling force of the State will not be reduced by broadening its jurisdiction and its authority; he must know that in this country the slow obliteration of the principle of federalism (sometimes by self-inflicted wounds such as the association with grave iniquity) has effected a steady diminution of individual freedom.

Cella’s article continued with more deserved denunciations of Caldwell.

In reply I wrote at VFR:

I agree that Paul Cella’s critique of Christopher Caldwell is excellent, and I’m horrified by Caldwell’s casual endorsement of a “post-national” order. This is the first time to my knowledge that a putative conservative (I’ve never been sure of Caldwell’s overall point of view, though he now writes at the Weekly Standard) has explicitly advocated a post-national order. But it has been implied for a while. I’ve pointed out before that the only disagreement between the neoconservatives and the liberals regarding globalism is that the liberals want the UN to dominate the New World Order, while the neoconservatives want America to dominate it. That’s why the neocons never criticize the UN’s global governance agenda per se. They only criticize it when it goes against America or Israel.

However, just a year earlier, in 2002, Caldwell has written a stunningly strong piece on the growth of the power of Islam in France and France’s ideological inability—since, as Caldwell put it, the French believe only in “tolerance”—) to counter it. That article would seem to mark the beginning of his journey toward his present book.

But then in 2003, as we’ve seen, he endorsed a post-national order. How does he imagine a post-national order—a West without sovereign and distinct nations—will be able to fend off the advances of Islam and the Third World? That is why I have had the impression of Caldwell as an amorphous figure. I will be very interested to read his book.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 09, 2009 12:07 PM | Send

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