What is conservatism? 21

A heated altercation is proceeding between two groups of American conservatives. Each group is claiming to be the true conservatives.

The one group calls itself “Alt-Right ” and “America Firsters”. All its members are white and proudly white-supremacist, convinced that the white race is superior to all others. They are also called “groypers”. What they want to conserve, they say, are what they consider to be the traditional cultural norms of the white race, laying particular stress on the Christian religion and heterosexual marriage. Their motto is “Faith, Family, Community”. They are fiercely – and at the same time facetiously – aggressive in word and deed.

The other, much bigger group in America, are the conservatives who (generally, but not invariably and not uncritically) vote Republican; are Christian, but want a separation of church and state; are nationalists and patriots, but not racists; are tolerant of homosexual marriage; and who loyally uphold the Constitution of the United States.

These two rival versions of conservatism are to be found in an article and a speech from which we select the most telling passages:

Matthew Boose defends the “Alt-Right” and attacks what he calls “Conservatism, Inc.” in an article at American Greatness. He refers to the “civil war” between representative of the two sides, and sums up the arguments as he understands them:

In the wake of the Donald Trump moment, conservatism is up for grabs: white identitarians, “Catholic integralists,” paleocons, and American nationalists all sense an opportunity for greater representation. But the bigger story is that the globalist, anti-nationalist, progressive “conservatism” that came before Trump isn’t yet quite dead, and it’s fighting for survival.

The degree to which this is true has become apparent over the past few weeks as a civil war within campus conservatism has raged on between Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA and paleoconservative activists who follow the nationalist podcaster Nicholas Fuentes.

Nicholas Fuentes is a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite.

As Kirk and his allies see it, the Fuentes fans, who call themselves “groypers,” have been trying to “hijack” campus conservatism by injecting “white nationalism” into the debate. But this so-called sabotage has been accomplished with extraordinary simplicity. The groypers have been showing up to Kirk’s events to air their grievances about the failures of mainstream conservatism and its wholesale embrace of the LGBT+ agenda and mass migration.

Rather than talk to these activists in good faith, though, the gatekeepers have decided their ideas are not worth debating. They have instead pursued a campaign of denigration and suppression. Leaving aside personalities, they have dismissed candid, important questions about demographics and the liberalization of the conservative movement as “bigoted” and “racist.” …

Kirk acknowledges that the demographic shifts … are real and that leftists are celebrating those changes. But Kirk ends up backing the leftist premise that such demographic shifts are inevitable and that the Republican Party’s only hope is to embrace this growing and diverse reality.

Kirk rejects without explanation putting a moratorium on immigration. Rather than restrict immigration to reverse the trend, Kirk [says that] … Republicans must reject “anti-immigrant” stances and instead do more to reach minority demographics. Only then can the GOP remain viable in a majority-minority future.

The premise is based on an obvious double-standard, one which is becoming more and more difficult to simply ignore. … If we’re talking about the interests of “natural Republicans” from El Salvador and “MAGA drag queens,” then Kirk and Conservatism, Inc. have no issue with appealing to demographics. But when it comes to talking about the interests of white Christians it’s a different story altogether. That’s “racist”. …

The leaders of the conservative movement must be able to answer these questions: why are white Christians, and only white Christians, prohibited from acting in their rational self-interest? Why must Republicans, given the prospect of a dim future in which it can only survive by pandering to the Left, respond by pandering to the Left now, just to win over people who hate and want to persecute them anyway?

In the end, this “strategy” is nothing more than a capitulation to the Left, the same surrender that has laid the country, and the party, so low for decades. By all means, the Republican Party must never waver in its support of the traditional family, of life, and of the Constitution. But it’s also not clear how exactly, or why, appealing to minority groups, and only minority groups, is the best way to do that.

It is disingenuous, not to say illogical, to say that the Republican Party must, for some unexplained reason, not think in terms of demographics when it comes to its most reliable voters—and join the Left in attacking any of those voters who may feel besieged by our liberal monoculture—and instead seek to recruit and celebrate other, reliably liberal groups, such as gays and Latino immigrants. With the exception of evangelicals and Cubans, Latino voters as a group are reliably Democrat, and they have been for decades. They support gun control, the welfare state, and even gay marriage by some margins. Their mythic social conservatism is not as solid as some Republicans would like to think. What does Conservatism, Inc. imagine it can do to change that in short order?

While the TPUSA controversy has focused on demographics, another core grievance of the “groypers” is the conservative movement’s inability to conserve the morals and traditions that made America great, especially traditional marriage. The conscious embrace of leftist identity politics, particularly LGBT rights, by Kirk and other Conservatism, Inc. figures justifies the impression that this is by unconscious design, if not conscious choice.

They pander to every identity group under the sun while at the same time feeling very free to attack white Americans who are troubled by the prospect of becoming a minority in their own country. Such people are denounced as “racists” just for feeling that way. It’s hard to see what’s conservative about this, or how it will help Republicans win elections in a deeply uncertain future.

It is no accident that some liberals have encouraged their Republican adversaries to embrace the “diversify” strategy Kirk advocates, as it advances the Left’s own goals and commitments. The gatekeepers in Conservatism, Inc. embrace the same ideas, the same methods, and even the same rhetoric as the Left to advance a globalist, anti-nationalist agenda. Their smears of outspoken America Firsters are indistinguishable from the Left’s familiar drive-by attacks on even the most unobjectionable conservatives.

The “conservatism” of groups like TPUSA isn’t conserving anything—nothing, that is, but liberalism itself. It does not offer young people anything they cannot already find in the ethos of consumerism and vacuous personal “liberation” so pervasive in our liberal culture and advanced relentlessly by the globalist Left.

For conservatives to embrace gay marriage is not an intuitive position by any means, but Kirk and his boosters have done exactly that, denouncing those with questions about this development as “homophobes”. Especially at a time when leftists scheme in the open about taxing churches that don’t recognize gay marriage, it’s hardly a logical position for a conservative to take.

The “conservatism” of Conservatism, Inc. isn’t conservatism, but a species of libertarianism. Like many in the libertarian camp, Kirk takes the view that matters of marriage and morals should be left to private contracts between individuals and what they do in the so-called privacy of their own lives; never mind that the Left has already invaded the public square and has made persecuting Christians and conservatives a moral mission. To the libertarians of Conservatism, Inc., moral authority appears not to rest with a higher power, but is arrogated instead to individuals. All that matters is the “free market” and securing the freedom to legitimize a deeper and deeper backslide into barbarism.

I’m not going to question Kirk’s faith, but the morality he advocates has more in common with the Left than with Christian principles. In an interview … Kirk described himself as a “conservatarian” and expresses the view that there is no contradiction between the libertarian non-aggression principle and his religious views: “you should be able to make your choices as you see fit, as long as you’re not harming someone else.”

This is the classic formulation of liberalism: the idea that society should be arranged to make people as free as possible to pursue their own adventures. But there is nothing obviously conservative about this mentality. By following it, Kirk has embraced a very recent cultural shift that repudiates centuries upon centuries of tradition on marriage and the family.

This libertarian ethos of personal liberation justifies the damage done to the social fabric by leftism, while inviting further degeneration down the road. It has no cohesive social vision beyond securing the “blessings of liberty” to invite drag queens into libraries to read stories to schoolchildren. It has neither the desire nor the conviction to resist America’s free-fall into social anomie and moral decay, and it has no plan for repairing the destruction of the past decades of experimentation. America is imagined not even to be a concrete place at all, but rather a collation of hoary abstractions coined by the Founding Fathers, who surely fought and died so that future generations of Americans would embrace state-sanctioned gender reassignment surgery for 7-year-olds.

Coupled with this moral indifference is a worship of the “free market” and its miraculous power to distribute goods, resources, and labor as efficiently as possible. It’s not by mistake that conservatives of Kirk’s stripe talk more about markets than morals. If all that matters is the free market and “doing whatever you want,” then it’s hard to justify restricting immigration or opposing gay marriage to preserve American jobs, values, and traditions.

These “conservatives” understand that the common good is most helped by inviting millions of foreign laborers to boost the GDP, that the Gospel preaches acceptance of whatever sexually permissive fashions the Left dreamed up yesterday, that America is just an idea in which all lifestyles, peoples, and cultures except those which define the historic American nation must be celebrated. …

Conservatism, Inc. can offer no assurances that Americans may expect to raise their children in a decent, moral society that cares about family, community, and faith. It does not seek to build a world where Americans may live free and prosperous lives without bearing false witness to the same idols that the Left, and the controlled opposition of Conservatism, Inc., worship. Americans are provided not the least guarantees of job security, or that America will even speak their native language in thirty years time. Neither are they provided the reprieve of knowing that they will be able to worship and raise their families in the faith of their upbringing and their ancestors without incurring ruinous financial and social consequences.

Kirk acknowledges that conservatives are besieged by a “far-left mainstream culture leading an assault on American values,” but whether he realizes it or not, Kirk and his defenders are part of enabling that mainstream. The entirety of Conservatism, Inc. is working towards the same ends as the progressive, globalist left. The irony is that they do this while styling themselves the “real conservatives” and attacking anyone with serious questions about the movement’s priorities.

Rather than answer challenging questions about the future of conservatism, the Beltway conservatives have responded with emotive attacks, threats of censorship and doxxing, and outright smears. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) has warned that questioners who venture outside the gentle sandbox of Heritage Foundation good-think will regret showing their faces on camera. Ben Shapiro dedicated a 45-minute speech to obliquely attacking the groypers, but refused to engage with them directly. Coming from the guy who coined “facts don’t care about your feelings,” that’s just rich.

Conservatism, Inc. isn’t a movement but a corporate enterprise. Its self-styled “dissent” is all part of a shallow brand of rebellion that begins and ends with “triggering” blue-haired gender studies majors. Beyond these shallow displays of edginess, Conservatism, Inc. promotes the same agenda of social liberalism and open borders as the Left. They wear a mask of intellectualism and “free thought,” but the moment anyone questions the dogma, the gatekeepers fall back on exactly the kind of emotive attacks that they project onto the “triggered” Left.

Kirk says that the Right must resist “excommunicating” those with different opinions on important issues, but that is exactly what Kirk and his allies are trying to do to the America Firsters. He complains of being subjected to an ideological “purity test” by the America First crowd while simultaneously, and arbitrarily labeling them “fake conservatives,” “white nationalists” and “anti-Semites.” This is nonsense.

What Kirk calls a fake purity test is conservatives who are concerned about the direction of the Trump movement making sure that it actually remains committed to its priorities. Their concerns are legitimate. It doesn’t matter when and whether Kirk became a Trump supporter if his ideas don’t align with the agenda that propelled Trump to office.

The truth is that the groypers, however weird the “groyper” brand might be, are closer to the mainstream of how the American Right actually feels than the Beltway types who wear the conservative label while behaving exactly like leftists. They should be applauded for challenging Conservatism, Inc. and its bankrupt ideology. Their “trolling” is more effective activism than the totality of the establishment’s pathetic kowtowing to the gods of Diversity and Progress. …

Why don’t establishment conservatives like Kirk, who have also been smeared by the Left, ally with the conservative “trolls” who actually want to conserve something instead of pandering to the people who hate them? That they do not raises  two possibilities: that they are not sincere, or that they are sincere liberals.

Whatever they are, it isn’t “conservative”.

Ours is a conservative establishment that does nothing, and has done nothing, to conserve the traditions that made America great. This fact cries out for an accounting, and it is becoming impossible to ignore. If Conservatism, Inc. refuses to engage candidly with serious, legitimate questions about its priorities, then it deserves to be called out for its hypocrisy and emptiness.

It is an intensely emotional argument. It shows real fear that America is undergoing a demographic transformation that will make the whites a minority.

Ben Shapiro (who was not at first a supporter of President Trump, but seems to be now) defended the more common views of American conservatives and attacked the ‘”Alt-Right” in a speech he made at Stanford University (November 7, 2019):

I want to talk about the dangerous game being played by two particular nasty groups who feed off one another: I am speaking about the radical Left and the Alt-Right. …

The radical Left and the Alt-Right need each other. And they’re playing a game, in which the radical Left seeks to delegitimize anyone who isn’t radically Left by lumping them in with the despicable Alt-Right — and in which the Alt-Right seeks to make common cause with anyone “cancelled” by the radical Left, specifically with the supporters of President Trump who have been maligned falsely as evil by the radical Left, in order to artificially boost their numbers.

These two goals are mutually reinforcing. Here’s how this garbage works… Let’s say, for example, that you believe that ‘white civilization’ — a nonsensical term, since civilization is not defined by color but by history, culture, and philosophy — is under attack from multiracial hordes. Let’s say that you’re antipathetic toward Jews and enraged by the liberties guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States. Let’s say you spend your days ranting about how American conservatives and traditional classical liberals — the sole protective force against the radical Left — haven’t “conserved” anything. You say America is not a propositional or creedal nation, even though the nation’s founding literally begins with the words, ‘We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights… Let’s say you cite Christianity as the basis of your values, but you’re more likely to quote Nietzsche than Christ. …

First, you declare your allegiance to President Trump, and declare that you aren’t really Alt-Right, even though you obviously are. You show up to lectures wearing a MAGA hat in order to get the media to cover it – and in order to demonstrate that you’re truly a representative of the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump. You call yourself “America First”, hijacking Trump’s slogan, but twisting it to mean “white Americans first”.  The media will eat it up, because the media love nothing better than suggesting that Trump is a white supremacist, despite the fact that he has repeatedly condemned white supremacism. …

You do so by simply lying about mainstream conservatives. You suggest that mainstream conservatives are insufficiently committed to social conservatism. You do this by asking questions like, “How does anal sex help us win the culture war?” [a reference to an Alt-Right heckler’s question at a TPUSA event]. “The purpose is to simultaneously pose as edgy and also preserve your ability to say you were just joking. …

What helps America win the culture war is freedom: freedom against a government encroaching on your activities that don’t harm anyone else. … As Edmund Burke put it, “Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself.” You know what else helps win the culture war? Engaging with your community, involving yourself in the social fabric. Not creating Pepe memes online and then jabbering about anal sex.

In fact, there’s great irony in watching alt-righters claim that they should use the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoints on others – while complaining that the Left uses the commanding heights of government to cram down their viewpoint on others. You can’t really whine about other people shutting down your viewpoint and activity that harms no one else while planning to shut down everybody else’s viewpoints.

The Left everywhere in the Western world likes to condemn all conservatives as “far-Right white-supremacists, Nazis, fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes”. Shapiro stressed how the Left does this in America:

[The Left] will label anyone on the right Alt-Right, even if we say vocally and in no uncertain terms that the Alt-Right is pure, unbridled, vile garbage — even if members of the Alt-Right target those on the mainstream right. Even if Donald Trump condemns the worldview. …

So the Boston Globe will call my website, The Daily Wire, an “Alt-Right outpost” (we forced them to recant); the Economist will call me “the Alt-Right sage without the rage” (we’ll force them to recant). Students at Boston University are festooning my posters with a Hitler mustache. Students at this university will mob those trying to put up posters for this lecture …

The media will suggest that Trump is in league with the Alt-Right, even at this late date – they’ll neglect all Trump has done to purge his administration to those who were remotely friendly with the Alt-Right  and his forcible disavowal of white supremacism. They’ll simply overlook that Trump isn’t a white supremacist, and declare that the MAGA hat is equivalent to a Nazi swastika – and they’ll say that, by extension, anyone who wears a MAGA hat or votes for Trump is a secret Brownshirt.

[But] if someone believes that all men are created equal, … that every American should have equality before the law, in free market capitalism, in small government, in equal opportunity for all people of all races, that person is not on the Alt-Right. In fact, they despise the Alt-Right, and the Alt-Right despises them. But people on the Left know this, they just prefer the lie. Why? Because their goal is to delegitimize the entire Right.

“The only difference between the radical Left and the Alt-Right,” he pointed out, “is they reverse the victim hierarchy.”

Despite Boose’s protests, it is obvious that the “groypers”, the “America Firsters”, are homophobic, anti-Semitic, white-supremacist racists.

We are none of those things.

We have a lot in common with the conservatives who are defended by Shapiro – and who are not “globalist”, “anti-nationalist”, or “progressive”. But we do not share all their principles, values and views. We quote neither Nietzsche nor Christ to support our opinion.

So why do we call ourselves conservatives? What is it that we think needs to be conserved?

Christopher Roach, writing in the same issue of American Greatness Conservatism to defend Nicholas Fientes and Matthew Boose’s notion of conservatism, says, “Conservatism is not a checklist of particular positions, an ‘established dogma’ or set of ‘doctrine’. It is a disposition, a love of what already is, and is in danger of being lost.”

Certainly it is not a set of doctrines. But it is a set of values.

Our motto, inscribed on our Facebook page, declares those values to be “Freedom, Justice, Reason”We were endowed with them by the Enlightenment. They are interdependent, and essential to our civilization. They need to be conserved if our civilization is to survive.

Freedom is our highest value. We want personal freedom. All our other wants flow from that one; wants of systems, policies and institutions. (This, as Matthew Boose observes, is libertarian – but we share little else with Libertarians.)

Freedom needs the protection of the rule of law, a system of impartial justice which treats all sane adults equally, and which the nation state – and only the nation state – can administer. (Something which libertarians we have read and listened to seem not to be convinced of.)

As we are so fortunate as to live in such a nation state, we are patriotic nationalists. We are uninterested in the race, color, ethnic background of our fellow patriotic nationalists.

We want a strong military to defend us from foreign invasion (but not to force outcomes in other countries).

We want our government to be no more powerful than it needs to be to do its essential job of protecting freedom; never to become so big and strong as to be our master. (It is here that we are furthest from the Left.)

Capitalism is essential to prosperity, and prosperity sustains freedom. The free market is inseparable from a free society. The Alt-Right’s contempt for business, trade and profit is as stupid as it is hypocritical, arising from the absurd value placed on poverty by Christianity (and endorsed by socialism).

We part company with the majority of American conservatives over the issue of “faith”. We accept no “truths” that cannot survive critical examination in the bright light of reason.

Nothing else is essential to our conservatism.

We do, however, have preferences which we do not expect all atheist conservatives to share.

We are against the killing of people except as condign punishment for those who kill, so we are against the killing of unborn living children unless for compelling reasons. We are unconcerned about individual adults’ sexual choices as long as they do not involve the exploitation or corruption of children, although we continue to understand the meaning of “marriage” to be a solemn (not “sacred”) contract between a man and a woman primarily (not imperatively) for the begetting of children.

Where do we stand on immigration, the future demographic composition of the United States? That seems to be the biggest issue in the argument between the Alt-Right and the mainstream conservatives.

Matthew Boose writes:

The elephant in the room is demographics. Not even progressives any longer pretend that mass migration won’t, at the rate we’re going, transform America into a majority-minority nation within our lifetimes. The implications for the nation and the Republican Party because of this shift are profound, and any conservative movement that is not willing to engage with it seriously cannot be taken seriously.

The Alt-Right wants America to be a nation of European-descended, heterosexual, English-speaking, Christian whites.

Do we agree with them?

To the only official language being English, yes. To the bearing and raising of children by husband and wife as a general custom, yes.

To worshiping Jesus Christ, no.

And we are not against immigration. While we see the influx of large numbers of people from less civilized countries, bringing customs and systems of law which we abominate, to be bad for the economy and the quality of life, we do want immigrants bringing inventiveness, expertise, wealth, ability, talent to enrich the nation.

Keeping the country white? Why? European culture, above all Anglophone culture, owes its greatness partly to being eclectic, taking what it likes from other cultures.

We took the zero from brown-skinned India. We took our numerals from India too (though they are wrongly called Arabic).

Did not your Christian god come from the Jews? More beneficially in our view, mobile phones did too.

The vast migration of the 21st century 19

In the dark ages before the Internet, what did the masses of the hellish Third World know about the First World?

Not much, unless the First World came colonizing, which turned parts of the hellholes into pockets of civilization.

The Internet changed everything. The dwellers in darkness saw the light. From their huts, their slums, their shanty towns, their hovels, they viewed the great cities of the West, the goods in the stores, the size of the houses, the millions of cars on smooth roads; they saw the plenty, the ease, the pleasantness, the manifest wealth. And they wanted to go and live there.

So they did, by the thousands and tens of thousands. And so they continue to do.

Tides of people are flowing from the lands of poverty into the lands of plenty. They flow from south to north, into the lands of “the West”. (And into its branch, Australia.) They will not ebb away again.

What fools they would be not to go where the grass really is greener.

I, the migrant, know that the journey will not be easy. I have a perilous sea to cross. Or a desert.

I may have to work and save for years to pay for a passage over the sea or a guide over the desert.

I know that I risk drowning. Of dying of heat and exhaustion. Of being robbed. If I, the migrant, am a woman I will almost certainly be sexually assaulted.

But it is worth taking the risks to get there.

If I can just get there, it will not be hard to get in. There are no barriers to speak of.

There, I will be given a house, and money without working for it. There, my children will go to school free of charge. There, if I get sick, I will be cured free of charge.

Clearly, from the point of view of the immigrant, coming from hell to western Europe or Canada or the United States is a highly rational decision.

But why is the First World letting them in, the millions of them? Is the decision of First World governments to do so also rational? What benefits do they reckon accrue to them, to their countries through this demographic tsunami?

Here’s someone with an explanation –

Sean Byrne wrote in February 2018 on the RTÉ (Ireland’s National Television and Radio) website:

Over the past three years, Europe has experienced the worst refugee and migration crisis since World War II.  While the flow of refugees from Syria has diminished as some eastern European countries have closed their borders and the EU has given €6 billion to Turkey to persuade it to keep Syrian refugees within its borders, the flow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa across the Mediterranean continues unabated.

The number of refugees entering Europe peaked in 2015 at just over one million. Half were Syrian, 20 percent from Afghanistan and seven percent from Iraq, with most of the remaining 33 per cent coming from Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, 3,771 people drowned while crossing the Mediterraneancrammed into unseaworthy and overcrowded boats by traffickers. Most of the migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are trying to reach Europe through Libya. The lack of an effective government in Libya has enabled people traffickers to operate almost unhindered out of Libyan ports and there are reports that some migrants are being sold as slaves in Libya. …

The hopeless poverty of sub-Saharan Africa, where populations are growing faster than output, causes many people from the region to risk their lives to reach Europe. …

The writer believes that the massive immigration into Europe is a Good Thing:

As Europe’s population declines and ages, it must accept significant immigration or face economic and social decline.

We should all appreciate that. Economic and social decline! That (does he mean? or hasn’t the question crossed his mind?)  would be far worse than losing our countries to an alien population. Yet some of us are – he thinks – hard-heartedly and stupidly against it.

Even when the immigration was “limited” we were already fussing about it:

Yet the limited immigration that has taken place over the past 30 years has already led to the rise of anti-immigration political movements and some of these, including Germany’s Alternativ fur Deutschland are achieving electoral success. The new Austrian government includes the vehemently anti-immigration Freedom Party, while Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are all refusing to take their share of the refugees that the EU has agreed to accept from Syria. …

But what of the …?

He knew what we were about to protest and answers us:

Because of the inexorable decline of birth rates, Europe will need large numbers of migrants over the next 50 years. Some of these migrants will want the economic benefits of living in Europe while maintaining their own cultures, including such practices as forced marriages, honour killings, female genital mutilation and the persecution of gay people. Many immigrants to Europe will reject the rights and freedoms painfully achieved by western democracies over the past 200 years. Resolving this conflict of cultures will be the greatest challenge facing Europe over the next 50 years.

It’s a challenge. That’s all. A little courage, some planning, lots of tolerance and humility are all we need to … what?

Byrne’s defense is no defense at all.

Is there another? Can someone else tell us why we must adapt ourselves cheerfully to a huge change in our culture and tolerate (among other appalling practices of the Third World) forced marriages, honor killings, female genital mutilation and the murder of homosexuals?

Yes. Here’s one.

Matthew Boose writes at American Greatness:

The New York Times recently published an op-ed advancing a rather peculiar argument. Author Suketu Mehta builds on the familiar, hackneyed debate over reparations for slavery to make an even bolder, but more politically contemporary proposal: as penance for colonialism, the West should open its borders to the Third World.

Mehta suggests immigration quotas for Western countries that correspond with their respective historical sins. Mehta categorizes the nations of the world into “creditors” and “debtors,” according to their legacy as oppressors or oppressed within roughly the past 500 years.

By this token, “Britain should have quotas for Indians and Nigerians; France for Malians and Tunisians; Belgium for very large numbers of Congolese”. The West should accept 12 million African laborers, one for every African enslaved by the colonialists of the past.

While audacious, this argument expresses what many on the Left believe, but are often careful to avoid stating frankly: that mass migration should be seen as a form of just punishment for the West’s history.

We interrupt to state firmly that the era of Western colonialism on the whole brought more good than harm to the “underdeveloped” world. That is certainly true of the British Empire (though in the case of the American Revolution right was on the side of the rebels). The British took the rule of law, impartial justice, a free press, and higher standards of living to their colonies. On the other hand, we grant, German colonial rule in South West Africa (now Namibia) was oppressive and murderous. And Belgian rule of the Congo in the time of evil King Leopold was a horror story, told memorably by Joseph Conrad in his story The Heart of Darkness. Later the Belgians did better. Now the Congo has reverted to what it was in Conrad’s story. The plight of the African peoples in general is, in all but a few cases, worse now than under colonial rule.

As for the slave trade, it is important to remember that the victims were first enslaved by Africans and Arabs before Christians bought them.

In general, immigration activists try to disguise their malice as sympathy for “refugees”, many of whom are in fact economic migrants seeking a better life. Of course, one need not be so cynical as to imagine that their concern for the well-being of would-be immigrants is entirely fake. But once in a while, the mask will slip, and it becomes apparent that they are motivated at least as much by resentment towards the destination countries as they are by compassion for migrants.

From the “walls are immoral, but we don’t really want open borders” denialism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to those openly calling for immigration as a form of reparations, there is a growing consensus on the Left that all restrictions on migration are motivated by xenophobia, borders are immoral because they are exclusionary, and Western countries are morally obligated to accept an unlimited number of migrants because of past wrongs.

How would these immigration quotas be drawn up? As with slavery reparations, the price is levied indiscriminately and with great prejudice. People who had nothing to do with the negative effects of colonialism are saddled with collective, generational guilt for the sins of distant, forgotten ancestors.

Mehta mentions more recent ravages as well, such as the Iraq War. National sovereignty doesn’t absolve America’s leaders from the responsibility of making smart, and ethical, foreign policy decisions. The United States should not invade the world and then expect the world to stay behind in the blast crater. But why should American workers pay for Iraq, when it is America’s irresponsible leaders who deserve the blame?

An exact accounting of who the “debtors” are, and what they owe, is beside the point. How would one go about determining who deserves to pay for King Leopold II’s brutal exploitation of the Congo? The enterprise is no more workable than figuring out which Americans living today should pay for slavery. Never mind the specifics; all Westerners are assumed guilty for the wrongs of all Western history.

The classes that comprise America’s elite are pushing this narrative. Journalists, academics, educators, entertainers, and activists are all popularizing academic, anti-American histories that invert the story of America’s founding and legitimize unlimited migration as a form of just deserts.

This new radicalism marks a shift from traditional American heritage, history, and identity. No one can deny that immigrants have had a profound impact on American history and society. But until recently, immigration has been understood as adding to, not defining, American identity; as something that should occur within legal and reasonable boundaries, not endlessly and without consideration for the economic welfare and social fabric of the existing nation.

Put simply, immigration always has been regarded as a privilege. Immigrants would come to America through a legal process. They would be vetted and accepted as American citizens, with certain expectations. They would assimilate to American society and pledge loyalty to their new home. They would contribute more than they would take. The would learn English, and be good neighbors and citizens.

In sum, immigration worked best when it had benefits for America and the migrants it accepted alike. There was no malice or malevolence toward the United States or its existing people involved.

This is a path that countless migrants have followed and continue to follow. But for numberless thousands of migrants coming more with the mindset of invaders than immigrants, a set of powerful interests exists to justify their illegal entry as an entitlement. …

Lawful process has been replaced with lawlessness, gratitude and respect with brazen entitlement.

For the Left today, immigration is a universal human right that can brook no restrictions, whether by national sovereignty or mere economic realism. …

To justify this universal right of entry, the Left employs a foundational myth. In this myth, America, and the West broadly, is the villain and debtor to the suffering masses around the globe. Citizenship is not a privilege but a right owed by Westerners to every “citizen of the world”. 

In this founding myth, the settlers of America were illegitimate brutes who despoiled the verdant plains and stole the birthright of today’s rightful heirs to the continent. American history begins not with 1492, but with the beginning of the struggle for social justice and the rise of modern progressivism in the 20th century, particularly the mid-century. The American “history” that has been written is illegitimate and needs to be written anew, by the erstwhile, rightful occupants of the land. In fact, the real Americans need not have any historical ties to the American continent at all, other than having been on the receiving end of America’s might.

This academic narrative typically writes off the Founders as irredeemable racists, discrediting their nobility, wisdom, and efforts to build a lasting constitutional republic. Once relegated to humanities departments in America’s universities, this “de-colonialist” ideology has seeped into the wider public consciousness through various left-wing channels. Today’s students learn more in K-12 education about what is wrong with America and its past than what made it great.

At its core, this anti-founding myth denies that America has a core identity at all. There is nothing greater about American life than the sum of the countless job seekers searching for a better life from abroad. America has no history, since that history is illegitimate; it has no culture that rises above what can be bought on the market, including the various commodified “cuisines” brought from afar and sized down to American palates; it has no border, since borders are restrictive. America is simply a giant  casino in which all and sundry may seek their fortune, with special preference given to those shut out by the prejudices of the past.

In this narrative, migration, being a right rather than a privilege, comes with no obligation for the migrant.

What nation would there be to render any obligation to, anyway, when America is merely a “nation of immigrants”? …

In an excerpt of his book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, Mehta argues the West is being “destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants” and describes fears of mass migration as “irrational”. Millions of Westerners somehow have been duped into working against their own interests by populist strong men playing off atavistic hatred.

But if immigration is a form of punishment, payment of the “debt” for the West’s wrongs, is this not an admission that those “irrational fears” are simply clear perceptions of the costs of mass migration?

When they’re not forwarding shallow, disingenuous arguments for mass immigration as a boost to the GDP, today’s most ardent proponents of open borders—however much they might deny it—agree in their most honest moments that mass immigration, rather than being a net boon, brings burdens that Americans may be loath to accommodate—but must bear, as payback. How, then, are the fears of immigration restrictionists irrational?

In their haste, the open borders proponents are giving the game away. Does their confidence stem from a belief that they have already won? That through their combined institutional powers, the media, activist judges, the administrative state, academia, an education system thoroughly co-opted by anti-American ideology, and corporate interests seeking cheap labor, dissenters are powerless to resist their agenda?

Can anything stop the vast migration from the impoverished and wretched south into the prosperous north? Will walls do it? Will laws do it?

Perhaps only the economic ruin of the north will put a stop to it. So will the migration itself cause economic ruin? Or keep the welfare states going, as the Merkels and Macrons and Trudeaus and Newsoms who hold the gates open insist that it will?