Talk:John Derbyshire

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I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one.


They [libertarians] should acknowledge that the USA is, of all nations, the one whose political traditions offer the most hospitable soil for libertarianism. Foreigners, including foreigners possessed of the urge to come and settle in modern, welfare-state America, are much less well-disposed towards libertarianism.If less than one in seven American voters is inclined to libertarianism, then there is much missionary work to be done among present-day American citizens. To think that this missionary effort will be made any easier by a steady stream of arrivals from foreign parts, most of which have never known rational, consensual government, is highly unrealistic, to the point of delusion.That is why I say that libertarians who favor mass immigration are nuts.


A confident assertion of national identity is hard to bring off unless you believe, as most British people probably did believe until 40 years ago, that your nation is better than other nations, that your people are better than their people. Lingering traces of this belief in national superiority remain, both in Britain and here, or did until recently. You can catch a glimpse of it in artifacts like the first Indiana Jones movie, where the mental, physical, and moral superiority of Americans is taken for granted. Clear verbal expression of such a sentiment is, though, now completely prohibited. Our people are better than their people — Who on earth would dare say such a thing out loud now? How long would a person last in public life, having uttered such a thing?


The two curses of recent Irish history have been poverty and violence, with poverty most acute in the South, violence in the North. It is a great relief, and a cause for rejoicing, to anyone who loves Ireland, that these two demons are no longer walking about in the land. Have they been decisively vanquished, though? Or only imprisoned, like genies in fairy-tale lamps? We must hope for the best, but perhaps Ireland is the last place one should go looking for the End of History.


The striking characteristics of Americans, to the rest of the world, are our niceness, and our desire that our country be admired as much as we ourselves admire it. Bertrand Russell, traveling in America for the first time in 1896, noted with amusement how Americans would ask: "How do you like our country?" To his old-world ears, Russell said, it was as if someone were to ask: "How do you like my wife?" No English (or French, or Chinese) person cares whether or not foreigners like England (or France, or China); but there is something in the national character of the U.S.A. hungry for approval, for acceptance, for admiration, for love. Immigration plays right into this. What greater compliment can you pay to a nation than to uproot yourself in order to go live there? Some Americans, watching those demonstrations, saw a hundred thousand insults to our sovereignty and laws. Some other Americans saw a hundred thousand compliments. "You like me, you really like me!"


Thankless as my political drudge work was, though, I was glad to do it. British politics at that time was a matter of sharp contrasts. The Labour Party was frankly socialist, its constitution calling for "common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange." It drew much of its energy from characters like the openly Marxist, pro-Soviet union organizer Arthur Scargill (hard "g"), and Tony Benn, formerly Lord Stansgate, a typical guilt-crazed upper-class lefty whose principal contributions to the national life, during a spell of office in the 1960s, were the late not-much-lamented Concorde and the incomprehensible, un-writeable and un-memorizable British postcode system. (The latter since imported by Canada, I notice. Serves them right for not rising up against the Crown when they had the chance.)Margaret Thatcher stood in comparison to these ideology-addled nation-wreckers as day to night, as steam to ice, as hammer to anvil. Forthrightly plain-spoken, instinctively patriotic, an unashamed partisan of liberty, responsibility, enterprise, and the United States, she had arrived in British political life like Joan of Arc coming to the relief of Orleans. I adored her, and was glad to suffer the doorstep insults of welfare mothers, androgynes, and unemployed actors—not to mention the watch-checking inattention of junior ministers and the ravings of grass roots activist lunatics—in the hope of getting Maggie a few votes. (The sex workers were mostly very polite, and surprisingly often declared themselves to be ardent Tories.)How long ago that now seems! Margaret Thatcher did what needed to be done. The British people, at any rate enough of them to keep her in office for a decade, were glad to see it done. We had been naughty boys, we knew it, and were in need of a strict governess to discipline us. Then, the chastisement having been administered, the British electorate lapsed back into its normal state of political lethargy, and resumed voting for whichever party seemed less likely to make itself a nuisance to them.


I am bound to report that I see little difference in attitude between the native-born Americans of today and those of thirty years ago. Nations, like individuals, have their own ineradicable quirks of personality. It is a peculiarity of Americans that they cannot be brought to think seriously about immigration. The two best immigration-restrictionist books of recent years have been by Peter Brimelow, who is an immigrant from England, and Michelle Malkin, daughter of recent Filipino immigrants. If you have been through, or sufficiently close to, the immigration experience, you think about it a lot. Otherwise, you don't think about it at all, and can't be made to. Take it from me, a sometime illegal immigrant: getting this nation to concentrate on immigration reform is going to be hard work all the way.


U.S. culture is, and for a couple of centuries has been, far more vigorous than most others—certainly than Central America's, let alone other possible mass-immigration sources like Indonesia. Our music, our movies, our literature, our entrepreneurship and inventiveness—we have been a Renaissance all by ourselves. Importing masses of foreigners, especially unskilled and unschooled foreigners, from deeply un-creative places like Mexico may end all that. Name one Mexican invention and one fine Mexican movie, tell me the outline plot of one Mexican novel or play, and hum me a Mexican pop song.


The U.S.A. was born with two race problems: the African Americans and the Native Americans. We struggle with those problems still, and must continue to struggle. Would it be wise to import a new one? Mass immigration from (say) Indonesia or (say) Bangladesh would add a huge visibly identifiable minority to our nation. Given our past experience with huge visibly identifiable minorities, is that smart? Note that this question is simply one of prudence, and is independent of any opinions you might have about race. (Unless you think that the U.S. currently does not have a race problem, in which case you should ignore this paragraph. If you believe the U.S. does currently have a race problem to any extent, then I am inviting you to honestly ask yourself the question: Would it be smart to add another one? Note also that this applies to Central American immigration. A high proportion of immigrants from Central America are of aboriginal descent in whole or part. If you want to dispute this, go dispute it with their most prominent lobbying organization, whose name is La Raza—-"the race"!)