June 4, 2007

John Derbyshire on Immigration and self-congratulation

From NRO:


Status Striving. The exchanges about the Senate’s new immigration bill have made it plainer than ever that a big chunk of our political elites, including our president, seek to win arguments by assertions of moral status. That is, their killer argument is not: “I am right because A, B, and C. You are wrong because X, Y, and Z.” It is more like: “I am right because I am noble and have high motives. You are wrong because you are base and have low motives.”

Thus Linda Chavez telling us restrictionists that we are wrong not because we have wrongly costed the fiscal impact of mass unskilled immigration, or because assimilation of Hispanics is proceeding much better and faster than we think, or because the numbers we have researched on the dire social-statistical profiles of immigrant Hispanics are wrong, but because we hate Mexicans. Thus the president asserting that opponents of amnesty are “trying to frighten our citizens.” Thus the editors of the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages telling each other that National Review’s objections to the bill are “cultural … but they can’t say that.” (Translation: National Review hates Mexicans.)

What frightens me is the speed with which the bill’s supporters — including some of the cleverest, most accomplished, and most prominent among our journalistic and political elites — have retreated to this emotive reptilian-brain-stem stuff. It would be nice to think (as in fact a lot of my friends do think) that they have no choice, the bill being so barf-inducingly execrable that there are no rational arguments to be advanced in its favor. I don’t agree. There are arguments the bill’s supporters can bring forward. Apparently the temptation to strike moral poses and accuse the bill’s opponents of harboring sinister dark thoughts, is just irresistible.

What a sorry comment on the state of our intellectual culture. What low, shoddy stuff. Something poisonous and malodorous seems to come over people when they get infatuated with mass low-skilled immigration. Clever, bright, witty, and personable people turn to snarling and scratching. And always, always the insinuation that you are a bad person and I am your moral superior.

***


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's all about status, and threats.

Upwardly mobile working class and middle class white people are the largest threats to the elite. They threaten the position of say, Barbara Ehrenreich's kid at NPR. Or Dan Rather's in Democratic Party bureaucracy. Or the Bond Trader, I-Banker, and financier.

How can you create a hereditary sinecure when there's always someone coming up from the ranks and overturing the old way of doing things?

If you wonder WHY Latin America produced nothing of any technological note, it's because the elites want it that way. To preserve their sinecures. And Derbyshire is exactly right, the Latinization of American culture is EXACTLY what Bush and the other elites want (that includes Kerry, Kennedy, the rest).

Derbyshire missed the point though, the elites went straight to the moral status argument because it IS all about status. That's really all it is.

America has had a war against the middle class and working class white person since the late 60's. White elites find him threatening and he's a convenient scapegoat and demonized figure for ethnic politicos. [This demonization and scapegoating has IMHO ironically created a great deal of sympathy and identification with Jews as they are demonized and made scapegoats by the same ethnic and racial groups.]

Note: Brecher does touch upon why partly working/middle class people support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who give up fairly lucrative careers such as stock brokers and the like to go fight. War does bring opportunity just like the Reagan Defense spending gave an extended lease on life for the white engineering class. Getting it fast and secure beat getting it dirt cheap from China.

Anonymous said...

What a sorry comment on the state of our intellectual culture. What low, shoddy stuff.

We know that many men feel this way about the culture, but I'd like to know the % of female citizens who feel the same. Because I think females are OK with it. In fact, I think our Emotional Argument Culture is nothing less than ascendant matriarchy.

I watched the CSPAN senate immigration debate for an hour and it was a bunch of guys speaking, but they sounded like a bunch of ladies. Female concerns dominated the debate. It was all about feelings.

I picked up USA Today for the first time in many years. Astounding PC nanny state conditioning suffuses most articles and headlines. It is journalism as therapy.

George Carlin's "Pussification of the American Male" has been accomplished.

Anonymous said...

I am not much interested in following the restrictionists fight the open border maniacs anymore, although I continue to find Bush's pathologies darkly fascinating.

Party politics, including talk of third parties, is not the solution to the immigration crisis.

The ultimate solution is for whites to finally start thinking like an ethnic bloc in a rational, healthy way and act in their own political interests.

Even if the GOP moves hard right on immigration, Democrats will eventually regain power and wreck the previously enacted immigration restrictions if whites don’t act like an ethnic bloc.

If whites act like an ethnic bloc, both the Democrats and Republicans will have to pander to them to win their votes and make it far harder for either party to implement anti-white legislation.

We need Whites to turn against anti-white policies soon. The sooner the backlash, the easier it will be to repair the damage.

Passing the bill may ultimately be the best thing for white America over the long haul.

If the bill passes, there will be so much immediate chaos with the flood of workers displacing Americans, draining social services and overcrowding communities that Whites will finally wake up and force politicians to repeal the amnesty within a year of passage and massively cut back on legal non-white immigration.

After the backlash and once whites vote like an ethnic bloc, votes and elections will lead to new leaders coming to power and enacting logical race realist policies.

It will be painful in the short term, but this probably the only long term solution.

Old Right

Anonymous said...

Oh, a major economic collapse would help fan an anti-immigration backlash as well.

Old Right

Mark said...

How can you create a hereditary sinecure when there's always someone coming up from the ranks and overturing the old way of doing things?

Indeed. The Founding Fathers outlawed hereditary titles, and the elites have been bitter ever since. What have been two of the primary policy initiatives of the Shrub Administration? Eliminate the border with Mexico and eliminate estate taxes and capital gains taxes on the rich.

Too many people just don't seem to grasp how the cap gains/inheritance tax cuts go hand in hand with his Open Borders policies to create a Neo-feudalist state.

If the bill passes, there will be so much immediate chaos with the flood of workers displacing Americans, draining social services and overcrowding communities that Whites will finally wake up and force politicians to repeal the amnesty within a year of passage

This I've said before: I think the only way we'll ever get a decent enforcement bill is after, and only after, the amnesty bill passes. Once it does, many Americans will be in open revolt, figuratively and, perhaps, literally as well. The anger over an amnesty will cause a political shift not seen since 1994.

There is simply no way - no way in hell - that this Congress will pass a serious enforcement and immigration reduction measure. The status quo is the best we can hope for, and the status quo = way too much immigration.

That's why I'm almost hoping the amnesty passes. Since it doesn't give automatic citizenship, the next Congress can reverse it.

Anonymous said...

Too right about the pussification of the American Male. Women love the feminization of the political culture. It also explains opposition to military action in general.

Of course, deeply feminized cultures don't last: they get conquered. Cause women and feminized men? Not good for fighting.

Anonymous said...

...— including some of the cleverest, most accomplished, and most prominent among our journalistic and political elites —...

OK, I understand the "most prominent" part. But who is he thinking about when the says "cleverest" and "most accomplished"? Many Americans don't vote or pay much attention to "political elites" because they don't find many of these people to be 'clever' or 'accomplished'.

There never was anything "intellectual" or logical argument-based about racially sensitive political correctness; it's always been about rhetorically intimidating people by impugning their morality and decency. And pointing this out before, which has been done, hasn't worked, in part because as a political tool it is still very effective. Ask Don Imus.

Oh, a major economic collapse would help fan an anti-immigration backlash as well.

Not sure about a "collapse", but mucho trouble may be on the horizon.

eh

Dog of Justice said...

Of course, deeply feminized cultures don't last: they get conquered. Cause women and feminized men? Not good for fighting.

The question is, in an age of MAD, does this partially break down?

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a masculinity/femininity issue. I've met plenty of heterosexual males who exhibit what you guys might call fem-brain. Evangelical preachers often don't have any logical arguments to back up their assertions so they take a moral authoritarian approach. Shame on you.

Then there are those who have bi-brain, like most of the dem candidates, who use facts and statistics to back up their pre-existing beliefs about who should be entitled to a bigger share of the rights and the money.

Does this mean a person who uses logic has man-brain? Think this over carefully.

Mark said...

The Derb this morning:

Now elite types like the WSJ editorial crowd are getting the terrible feeling they can no longer hold that line, and they're panicky.

That's the side that most of the vitriol is coming from; and it's coming because they feel they're losing control of the immigration debate. Peasants with pitchforks (I'm appealing to those mystic chords of memory here) are storming their gated communities, and they're upset about it. U.S. public debate on this topic is rank with class snobbery.

He's on a roll.

aceflyer said...

What frightens me is the speed with which the bill’s supporters — including some of the cleverest, most accomplished, and most prominent among our journalistic and political elites — have retreated to this emotive reptilian-brain-stem stuff.

It's rather funny to see a pro-war right-winger who writes for a feverishly pro-war publication pretend that this behavior is something new. Of course, Bush is behaving exactly the same way as he, the National Review, and the entire right-wing behaved before, during, and after our invasion of Iraq.

daveg said...

[Feminization] also explains opposition to military action in general.

I disagree with this. We have been involved in more wars since the "Feminization" begin, starting with women and the vote.

Women are easily scared. As we saw with Iraq, all you need to do is throw some scary words out there (Hitler!) and everyone runs to the government and seys "protect us from that mean evil Saddam Hussein."

Guys will fight, but they also know when a fight is necessary and when it is not. It is only dudes with something to prove that go out looking for fights.

Mark said...

It's rather funny to see a pro-war right-winger who writes for a feverishly pro-war publication pretend that this behavior is something new. Of course, Bush is behaving exactly the same way as he, the National Review, and the entire right-wing behaved before, during, and after our invasion of Iraq. - aceflyer

If your regularly read The Derb, you wouldn't write that. Derb's a vastly different sort of conservative than most of the folks over at NR. (Most of whom I still think are great, BTW.)

Mark said...

I disagree with this. We have been involved in more wars since the "Feminization" begin, starting with women and the vote.

I'm no big fan of the "one man, one vote" rule. I don't think there's anything particularly democratic about it.

If I had my way, I'd start out with one vote for each person - just for being you. Then add a vote for current military service. Add another vote for anyone who's ever served. Add another vote if you aren't first generation American.

Then subtract votes for felony convictions, use of government welfare, belonging to a public employee union, being a current college student, etc.

We are not all equal contributors to the nation, nor should we be considered as such.

jedster said...

What I don't understand is why Derbyshire says he thinks anyone who overstays a visa should be permanently barred from the U.S. when he admits that he was an illegal immigrant who overstayed his visa for quite some time.

Regardless, I do agree that our immigration system is hopelessly irrational. We should decide what we want our policy to be, and then establish a reasonable and effective enforcement mechanism.

Too many people on both sides are "emotive reptillian."

It's not necessarily racist to want to limit immigration, nor is it anti-American to want to expand immigration.

It's not bigoted to want a country in which everybody speaks English, but it's not realistic to think that other non-English speaking immigrants haven't assimilated in the past. (1st generation Asian immigrants have similar language problems, at least according to the census, as 1st generation Hispanic immigrants.)

It's not realistic to think that we will deport people who are already here, but it's not unfair to couple the establishment of a legal mechanism to stay with a realistic approach towards handling illegal employers.

The real tragedy in the immigration debate is that I think that a real consensus that almost everybody would be happy with could be developed, but so much of the immigration debate ends up becoming a proxy for other societal cleavages, that the debate ends up being filled with hatred.

As a liberal, I tend to see more vitriol on the right most of the time, especially on issues of race. However on immigration, I think there's plenty of irrational vitriol and name-calling to go around.

At the end of the day, it's neither acceptable to have a hermetically sealed border, nor is it acceptable to embrace a haphazard way of inviting immigrants into the country.

I think the only people really happy with our current immigration system are the minority of employers who depend on immigrant workers. It's too bad that the fact that the left and right and everybody in between can't get along on this issue plays so neatly into their hands.

Anonymous said...

As a 42 year old female, I could almost agree that it is a "pussification" of the American/N. European male that is destroying our culture by politically correct suicide.

However, since there are a lot of men who swallow emotion-based rhetoric with zero consideration, I think it more due to a dumbing down of our education system over many decades. People aren't taught to think critically. They don't have the background in history, philosophy/logic, and mathematics to analyze arguments effectively.

The internet and access to lots of information sources/points of views will help counteract the crap that so-called "elites" have been brainwashing people with for the past half century.

Svigor said...

What I don't understand is why Derbyshire says he thinks anyone who overstays a visa should be permanently barred from the U.S. when he admits that he was an illegal immigrant who overstayed his visa for quite some time.

Look up argumentum ad hominem for a clue.

It's not bigoted to want a country in which everybody speaks English, but it's not realistic to think that other non-English speaking immigrants haven't assimilated in the past.

Learning the language != assimilation. Precedent != rule (especially when they're apples and oranges).

It's not realistic to think that we will deport people who are already here, but it's not unfair to couple the establishment of a legal mechanism to stay with a realistic approach towards handling illegal employers.

Take away their incentives (employment, welfare) and they'll self-deport.

Anonymous said...

Derbyshire is onto something with this "emotive reptilian" description of the arguments used in the immigration debate. I wondered if it could be charted on a scale based on some other trait (other than masculinity/femininity). I'd like to think only those on the left resort to such tactics but obviously the republicans are using "emotive reptilian" arguments to justify the amnesty as well as the war in Iraq.

I completed the political compass questionaire that can be accessed from the Borjas blog this week. It was interesting but didn't help me discover whether some groups are more prone to using the appeal to emotion than others.

For now, I'm caught between my fear of hordes of Mexicans poring over the border and my fear of being labelled as a racist for acknowledging my fear. What I'd really like is for the politicians to live in fear of losing their jobs.

Rohan Swee said...

daveg: Women are easily scared. As we saw with Iraq, all you need to do is throw some scary words out there (Hitler!) and everyone runs to the government and seys "protect us from that mean evil Saddam Hussein."

Guys will fight, but they also know when a fight is necessary and when it is not. It is only dudes with something to prove that go out looking for fights.


So if I dug up all the polls concerning the Iraq war I would find a significantly higher number of women than men supporting it (at whatever stage)?

What about such polling data divvied up by race, age, class, whatever? Wonder who'd qualify as "most easily scared" or "most likely to have something to prove" in those categories...

Semi-honest question, actually. Can't say I have a sharp recall of the numbers of exactly who supported what - though I think I would have noted it if I came across data claiming women were more rah-rah on Iraq.