Hitchens on immigration: so self-important, so empty

(Note: be sure to see Philip M.’s excellent explanation of how and why mass diverse immigration inevitably changes and destroys the culture of the host society.)

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Nick Griffin has been invited onto the political talk show “Question Time.” Peter Hitchens, naturally, is rather interested and has some ideas about what questions they should ask Griffin, mainly on the party’s “bigoted constitution,” of course, which is Hitchens’ main obsession with them. He mentions in passing the problem of “mass immigration.” I posted this comment to Hitchens’s blog:

Well, since even the rock-ribbed conservative Peter Hitchens has offered no concrete proposal for what to do about what he vaguely calls “mass immigration,” I’d say he should just sit back and share the blame for what he regards as the BNP menace. He incessantly exhorts the establishment, “Listen to me, or you’ll get more of them.” But what would he say to them if they listened? Only that “multiculturalism” is the problem, and that what is needed is more efforts to “assimilate” people who manifestly will not be assimilated to British society (no Pakistani Muslim will EVER get weepy when hearing or seeing a piece of peculiarly English art, and your historical heroes will never be their historical heroes). In short, his opposition to the one-note non-discrimination regime that has made Britain’s current woes possible is entirely rhetorical, vague, and lacking in substance on exactly those points where it matters most. Where it is not, it is hopelessly naive.

I’ve noticed that limp-wristed critics of Third World immigration have begun resorting to almost exclusive use of the term mass immigration. It fits, really, because their position is that we have too many immigrants coming too fast, more in fact than can be assimilated, and that the real problem is just the “assimilation” issue. They deny that in principle any population of people might be more difficult to assimilate than another, or that the ethnic composition of the immigrants is of any real relevance. So they can continue to look like brave immigration critics, speaking truth to power, taking up for the people, and so on, while never actually saying anything very useful and not running much afoul of PC either. Hitchens is hardly alone in this, but he’s such a reliably imperious offender that I keep watching and waiting for some change.

More of the same from Hitchens here.

- end of initial entry -

Philip M. in England has posted this comment to the Peter Hitchens column:

Rebel Conservative—you have politely disagreed with me over the importance of race to culture, and I will respond in kind. This is the kind of debate I had hoped possible at the start of this thread. This will be long, but I hope you will stick with it because I would like to know your thoughts.

You say-“It is not blacks, Jews and asians that are steadily destroying British culture, it is white, middle-class libeals and they share the same phenotypes as you and I … ”

The fact that culture is kept alive by members of an ethnic group does not mean that all cultures WILL be kept alive by their ethnic group, merely that I believe this is a necessary precondition for this to happen. Nor do I believe that most immigrants come here wanting to damage our culture—but I believe the left understands that it does [that immigration does damage it], and uses this for its own ends.

Over the last few years I have tried to look at things through the eyes of the newly-arrived immigrant and their children, to try and feel what they must feel. They are surrounded by history books and statues of people who do not look like them. They must be painfully aware that whilst the events being described in these history books were taking place, their ancestors were elsewhere. They may learn the names and dates, but will there ever be the same romantic pull on their hearts, the same feeling of continuity, of being a living link with that past that those within the ethnic group feel? If they participate in long-standing traditions will they feel the same connectedness and continuity with a “living” tradition” that those within the group feel? If you moved to, say, an Indian reservation in America, would taking part in the rituals not have a slightly empty feel for you, compared to the others? Would you not feel as if you were always standing slightly “outside”? It is wrong to believe you can take off and put on a new culture like a new set of clothes, or “experience” a culture like it is a fairground ride which only requires an entrance fee, or a passport, to enter into. A culture is an enveloping world-view, it is something that is received unconsciously, it is not chosen, and it cannot be unconsciously received if one is aware from the outset of conflicted loyalties, of other places that have a claim on your heart and history. For racial minorities, skin colour is an obvious physical clue that this is the case. The origins of European migrants to England will become lost in the mists of time after a few generations, but for other races,or those with strong religious/cultural non-European roots, this is not so easy. They must often feel that they are betraying their heritage and denying their obvious difference by not acknowledging these deeper roots—and so we have the birth of the hyphonated Briton; black-British, Asian-British and so-on.

Think of the term “Asian British.” What do these two halves denote, what are they describing? The first half is a racial, ethnic tie, based on blood and history. The second refers to the place they were born, and a civic identity. Clearly, their racial and ethnic history is important enough to their sense of identity that they felt the need to retain its use. But if it is important enough for them to retain this concept in their sense of identity, why not in mine? It is also an identity which by necessity is exclusive—it excludes me, yet I do not resent them for it.

When ethnic Brits call themselves British, do you think they wish to mean in the sense of the “Asian” or the “British” part of the hyphonated phrase? The answer is, because we are not allowed to exclude minorities from our sense of Britishness, we are only allowed to mean “British” in the latter way—as a civic description. Can you not see that it is patently unfair that minorities define themselves ethnically and racially in exclusive ways that reference their blood, whilst we are only allowed to define ourselves in a civic way that must include other ethnicities and races? This effectively means that there can no longer be any “blood” English, just a mish-mash of ethnicities and races who just happen to share the same passport—and this is precisely why Nick Griffin called multiculturalism a “bloodless genocide.” I am effectively being robbed of my ethnicity for the sake of inclusiveness, whilst being told to “celebrate” the diversity created by the exclusivity of the groups that have come here and maintain cultures I am not considered a part of by virtue of … my race and ethnicity! The left understand all this, and are using this to destroy us.

Because non-Euro immigrants feel such outsiders, it is natural that they will start demanding a history that looks like them, a culture which makes them feel included. And the left will goad them with these demands, realising that the more their people are included, the less room there will be for us to be included. The left will use race as a key ingredient in their cultural revolution, the arrival of immigrants will become a year-zero beyond which date everything will be branded as lacking “relevance” to the new arrivals, or of being “racist” because it excludes the new arrivals. And in all honesty, they will be right. But that is not our fault.

All this is why I believe you cannot be a conservative whilst supporting a wholesale programme of non-white mass immigration. It took me a long while to think through these issues (and there are many more issues) and I find it deeply frustrating when these insights and concerns are merely dismissed as “bigotry” by so many people.

LA replies:

You understand it very well: at its core it’s a matter of identification. Most nonwhites will never identify with our culture, history, and peoplehood. The physical, racial differences are too great. And whites also feel the difference, that’s why they feel compelled to re-define the nation as an abstract idea or as multicultural, so that there is an identity in which the nonwhites can be included. But in the process our identity is destroyed.

You should check out my “Path to National Suicide,” especially the chapter on The Meaning of Multiculturalism.

September 27

Hannon writes:

You wrote this in response to Philip M. in England and it really struck me:

“And whites also feel the difference, that’s why they feel compelled to re-define the nation as an abstract idea or as multicultural … “

I never thought of this idea before, that liberals have created for themselves—and the rest of us—the need for a reductive re-definition of nationhood to a concept that is all-inclusive. What other choice do they have while they are promoting insensible diversity and multiculturalism? A very useful insight. And does this not form an ideological bridge or parallel with neoconservatism?

LA replies:

It’s not just a bridge to neoconservatism, it is neoconservatism. Just as liberals redefined America as a multicultural country in order to include in America the non-Western immigrants who could not assimilate into our historic, Anglo-European cultural identity, the neoconservatives redefined America as an “idea” and a “Proposition Country” for the same reason: to include the non-Western immigrants who could not assimilate into our historic identity.

These ideas have been central to my writings about immigration since the start. For example, in my April 1992 article at NR, “The Forbidden Topic: Some conservatives don’t want to know about the link between multiculturalism and immigration,” I wrote:

Another consequence of this profound population shift is an intensification of white guilt. Since in our emerging multiracial society any all-white grouping is increasingly seen as non-representative (and presumptively “racist”), the same assumption gets insensibly projected onto the past. The resulting loss of sympathetic interest in Western historical figures, lore, and achievements creates a ready audience for the multiculturalist rewriting of history. When we can no longer employ traditional reference points such as “our Western heritage” because a critical number of us are no longer from the West; when we cannot speak of “our Founding Fathers” because the expression is considered racially exclusive; when more and more minorities complain that they can’t identify with American history because they “don’t see people who look like themselves” in that history, then the only practical way to preserve a simulacrum of common identity is to redefine America as a centerless, multicultural society.

Multiculturalism, in sum, is far more than a radical ideology or misconceived educational reform; it is a mainstream phenomenon, a systematic dismantling of America’s unitary national identity in response to unprecedented ethnic and racial transformation. Admittedly, immigration reform aimed at stabilizing the country’s ethnic composition is no panacea; the debunking of multiculturalism must also continue. But if immigration is not cut back, the multiculturalist thrust will be simply unstoppable.

Paul K. writes:

Great comment from Philip M.

Among the leftists who clearly understand the phenomenon he refers to is Bill Clinton. Asked this morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if the vast right-wing conspiracy is still there, Clinton answered, “You bet. Sure it is. It’s not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically. But it’s as virulent as it was.”

During his presidency, Clinton said that he looked forward to the day when whites would no longer be the majority in this country. Clearly, to Bill Clinton, the benefit of changing the demographics in this country is to weaken the vast right-wing conspiracy by overwhelming it with an influx of non-white immigrants. It also suggests that when Clinton uses the term “vast right-wing conspiracy,” he is referring to all white people who do not seek the destruction of their own race and traditional culture.

LA replies:

Yes, I noted that comment too and meant to write about it. He’s saying that the evil of America is the evil of white people, or rather of non-liberal white people. Turning America nonwhite is about getting rid of that evil. It’s an extraordinary comment that belongs in any work on immigration.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):