Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is also worsening our already dangerous immigration crisis. Tens of thousands Afghans are being brought into the country, with little serious vetting to discriminate between those who served loyally with our troops and intelligence agencies; and those who just want a better life or have more sinister motives. This new influx comes on top of the one million migrants who have crossed our southern border just since Biden’s inauguration. All these new migrants are being dispersed throughout the country at taxpayer expense.
This process of transforming American identity and its defining political principles and virtues has been going on since the feckless 1965 immigration bill, which provided entrance to family members of immigrants, multiplying their numbers by as much as a factor of 8. The political and economic motives for this weakening of our border have likewise long been obvious––voters for progressives, cheap labor for free marketeers.
But another dubious idea has developed to justify our and Europe’s porous borders: Replacement Migrations. Pursuing this short-sighted idea will accelerate the dilution of national identity, an outcome progressives fervently desire as a mechanism for transforming our Constitutional order of divided government, federalism, and unalienable rights into technocratic rule by a “managerial elite.” Those technocrats’ utopian ideals like “equity” an “social justice” will further compromise the rights and freedoms of others.
The pretextual rationale for Replacement Migration is pragmatic: Europe and, in recent years, the U.S. are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to maintain populations through internal growth. The U.S. rate, for example, has declined to 1.64 child per woman from the 2.1 child needed to maintain the population. Combined with medical treatments that extend longevity, this decline in reproduction means fewer younger workers contributing payroll taxes to support greater numbers of those receiving public subsidies. These trends have put programs like Medicare and Social Security on track to run out of money. The UN’s solution is Replacement Migration––importing more-fecund young immigrants, legal or otherwise, to make up the worker deficit.
Hence the erosion of our immigration laws, despite the dangers of lax immigration policies that take in peoples from less advanced regions with cultural, social, and religious customs hostile to the host countries’. In Europe, for example, generous welfare subsidies to migrants combined with restrictions on employment have created a sullen generation of Muslim immigrants exploited by jihadist recruiters working out of some of the many mosques that have arisen across Europe. In addition to the terrorist attacks that follow, migrant participation in crime, especially rape, is much greater than their share of the total population.
Moreover, in many countries, significant numbers of Muslim immigrants are segregated into “no go” neighborhoods or towns where they indulge their cultural and religious practices, such as honor-killing and polygamy, inimical to the liberal democratic principles of their host governments. These developments are the wages of failing to demand assimilation to the host country and its social and political culture.
This tendency towards Balkanization by unfettered immigration was remarked on in 1968 by British PM Enoch Powell in his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech decrying England’s feckless immigration policies and failure to require assimilation: “Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. . . Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organize to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest.”
These dysfunctions, moreover, are abetted by progressive elites of the host countries, including the U.S., who have endorsed the illiberal assumptions of multiculturalism and grievance politics, particularly the right of non-Western peoples to some sort of reparations for the West’s alleged imperial and colonial sins. A fashionable guilt has developed among progressive cognitive elites that inhibits requiring immigrants, particularly “people of color,” to assimilate to the host country. Such a demand is deemed “racist” and “xenophobic.”
This guilty deference communicates national weakness and a civilizational failure of nerve, a trend that also was noticed years ago in French travel-writer Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, which is featured in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s index librorum prohibitorum. The story follows a spontaneous mass migration of millions of Third World poor to the south of France, whence they spread across Europe and eventually occupy it. When the French consul in India hears a Catholic bishop say he approves of the migration and is proud to be “bearing witness” to it, the consul retorts, “Bearing witness to what? To your faith? Your religion? To your Christian civilization? Oh no, none of that! Bearing witness against yourselves, like the anti-Western cynics you’ve become. Do you think the poor devils that flock to your side aren’t any the wiser? Nonsense! They see right through you. For them, white skin means weak convictions. They know how weak yours are, they know you’ve given in.”
So too today, when the decades-long denigration of our national identity has over the last several years been intensified by specious ideas like “Critical Race Theory” and the “1619 Project.” Destroying our history is a means to discredit it and its political principles, clearing the space for their replacement by more collectivist and technocratic ones. Third World immigrants are weapons in this war against our heritage, and so progressives cities create suicidal policies like “sanctuary cities” where federal immigration law is nullified, and criminal illegal aliens prey on their fellow migrants and American citizens alike.
Whether by design or not, Replacement Migration is a way to transform the character of a nation. The globalist, supranational cognitive elite has for a century been denigrating national identity in favor of an imagined “global community” comprising “citizens of the world,” something that exists only for those same elites whose jobs regularly take them abroad where they socialize with other elites. For the rest of the world, identity is created by a distinct national identity comprising language, customs, mores, and traditions different from those of other nations.
But national identity based on a political system that guarantees citizen participation and unalienable individual rights for all is not the same thing as the “blood and soil” diseased nationalism of Nazi Germany. Without the affection of people for their country and their shared identity, a nation becomes defined by mere geographic proximity and shared consumption of products and popular culture. As historian Michael Burleigh rhetorically asks,
Can any nation survive without a consensus on values that transcend special interests, and which are non-negotiable in the sense of “Here we stand”? Can a nation state survive that is only a legal and political shell, or a “market state” for discrete ethnic or religious communities that share little by way of common values other than use of the same currency? Can a society survive that is not the object of commitments to its core values or a focus for the fundamental identity of all its members?
In a country like ours where multicultural identity politics divides citizens into victims and oppressors based on accidents of superficial appearance, the answer is no. “It is inhuman,” French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut writes, “to define man by blood and soil but no less inhuman to leave him stumbling through life with the terrestrial foundations of his existence taken out from under him.” And it is dangerous when the world is full of aggressors who have no doubt about the worth of their own national identities.
Apart from its doubtful efficacy, Replacement Migration without strict protocols for vetting immigrants and encouraging them to assimilate to our political principles further erodes the foundations of our political order in unalienable rights that transcend exclusive ethnic identities. And that ultimately leads to national suicide.