A Neocon Gatecrashes VDARE

[Peter
Brimelow
writes:

I have repeatedly

said
that

VDARE.COM is a single-issue website, focused
on immigration and the



National Question
—whether
the U.S. can survive
as the political expression of a particular
people. In particular, we do not take a position
on the Iraq War. But we do post all the work of
our syndicated columnists—hey, we pay for it
anyway—and


Paul Craig Roberts

and


Sam Francis
have
emerged as leading critics of the war. In the
interests of balance, we`ve finally felt obliged
to ask John Derbyshire to explain the pro-war,
anti-immigration case. It would be unsporting to
argue with Derbyshire here, but I twitched at
his contention that VDARE.COM is a
paleoconservative site, although we certainly
publish paleocons. Specifically, some of our
writers support both


Israel
and

immigration reform
.
However, that`s
another story. Please address all complaints,
fiery crosses etc. to Derbyshire


directly
—not to
us!]

[Also by John
Derbyshire on Vdare.com:

Nice Guys Get Illegal Immigrants]

VDARE.COM is an

immigration-restrictionist
web site. I am an
immigration restrictionist, as my

National Review Online
 articles
occasionally

illustrate
. I am therefore an enthusiastic

reader of VDARE.COM
, and am on friendly personal
terms with several of the contributors. I admire others
from a distance. In short, I find VDARE.COM highly
simpatico
.

Except for just this one
thing: I also support the Iraq war. The VDARE.COM
editors, who are tolerant and broad-minded types,
suggested that I explain my heresy on this point, and
that is what I am going to try to do. I had better make
it plain that I am speaking for myself in what follows,
not for National Review.

Supporting the war puts
me at odds with most (I think) of the regular VDARE.COM
contributors, and probably many

readers
. It is not obvious, at first glance, why
this should be so. What does the desire for a stricter
immigration policy have to do with opposing the war in
Iraq?

Why do disparate ideas
"travel together" like this? Why is a

Second Amendment supporter
much more likely than not
to favor restrictions on

abortion
, when guns and fetuses are completely
different things? The answer, of course, is that both
opinions have a common source in the psyche. They are
both particular expressions of a general cast of mind.

If I may presume to peer
into the psyches of VDARE.COM editors and readers, I
think the cast of mind most of you have is of the kind
we now call

"paleoconservative."
 Your image of the United
States is, in the words of one of the most accomplished
writers in this zone, of

"a republic, not an empire."
 You see the U.S.
as a commercial nation, minding her own business, her
citizens exercising a high level of liberty under
limited government, with that government devolved as
much as possible to the states and localities. You wish
the U.S. to avoid foreign entanglements and war—which
is, notoriously,

 "the health of the state."
You especially
resent our government`s strong support for Israel;

not necessarily
because you are anti-Semitic (though
I

suppose
some of you are vulnerable to the charge),
as because it is an unnecessary, a disproportionate,
entanglement with a commercially insignificant country.
It has no advantage for us, and is an irritant in our
relations with much bigger and more important countries.
This latter point of view was


memorably expressed
by the French
ambassador to London recently.

Paleoconservatives are,
of course, conservatives. The thing you wish to conserve
is this America, aloof from the Old World and all its
tiresome millennial squabbles. No big fans of the

"proposition nation"
concept, you are inclined
to think that the U.S. is what she is, with all her
freedom, stability and prosperity, mainly because of her
Anglo-Saxon heritage in

law
,

customs
,

language
and

religion
; and that the further removed from that
cultural sphere a nation is, the more difficult it will
be for immigrants from that nation to assimilate happily
into American culture, and the more likely it is, if
their numbers be very large, that they might actually

change American society
in unwelcome ways. Hence the
immigration-restrictionist viewpoint.

I concur with most of
this, but part company with you at the adjective
"aloof."
The idea that the U.S. can stay out of the
world`s troubles is,

I believe,
a fantasy. It is an appealing fantasy—I
personally find it extremely appealing—but a fantasy
none the less.

If you are going to get
rich by trading with the world, you are going to get
stuck with a lot of the world`s problems. A lot of the
world`s

envy and resentment
, too. Also, of course, if you
don`t control your borders, a lot of the world`s

huddled masses
—too many to properly assimilate,
especially if your intellectual elites have decided that
"assimilate" is a dirty word!

It is not a matter of
imperialism. The imperialist principle is

"trade follows the flag."
The case I am stating
is more like: "The flag will get pulled along in
trade`s wake, whether you like it or not."

The idea of a pristine
republic, busily minding her own business, is, I say
again, a fantasy. Trotsky is supposed to have said:
"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested
in you."
Americans are famously uninterested in the
rest of the world. A

foreign-born
editor of this very website once
remarked to me that: "Americans don`t really, in
their hearts, believe that foreigners exist."
That
is putting it a little strongly, but it catches a
thought that occurs to every foreigner who comes to live
here. The world, unfortunately, is very interested in
America, as events occasionally remind us. (The name

"Pearl Harbor"
mean anything?)

I therefore believe that
America needs to be active in the world, merely in
defense of her own interests. As a

crypto-paleo-con,
I should of course much prefer
that this activity be peaceful, carried out in convivial
meetings between portly diplomats. The 2001 attacks on
our territory convinced me, however, that in dealing
with tribal gangster-satrapies like Afghanistan, Iraq,
Syria, Saudi Arabia and Libya, the peaceful
approach—what in traditional Chinese statecraft was
called

"soothing the barbarians"
is no longer tenable.

I support the Iraq war
because I don`t believe we can just go on letting these
failed states fester undisturbed. They have been
getting, and will continue to get, more and more
dangerous, more and more dysfunctional, more and more of
a threat to us—very directly, as we saw on

9/11
—and to our interests.

And I do see this as a
matter of civilization versus

barbarism
. I rather like


civilization
, and long to see it robustly
defended, both physically and intellectually; not with a
cowering-behind-walls defense, but with an aggressive
forward strategy when appropriate. Chinese generals must
sally out to chase Huns across the steppe, Britain must
send a gunboat up the

Irawaddy
,

U.S. Marines
must storm the

shores of Tripoli
(under the closest thing to a

paleo-con President
the republic ever had), and


Don John of Austria
is riding to the sea.
 

I favor strong U.S.
support of Israel on the same grounds. That nation is
one of civilization`s front lines, and I do not want
civilization to

yield any ground
to the barbarians, not even an
inch. I believe, in fact, that to do so would be
indirectly disastrous for us, for this nation, the
U.S.A.

I guess my attitude is
really just punitive, and Iraq was a target of
opportunity. I am not a Wilsonian nation-builder. I
don`t want to

"bring democracy to Iraq."
I don`t, in fact,
give a fig about the Iraqis. I am happy to leave
barbarians alone to practice their unspeakable folkways,
so long as they do not bother civilized peoples.

To charges that, as an
outlier here — neither pro-open borders and pro-war,
like a true redblooded neocon, nor immigration-restrictionist
and anti-war, like a decent paleocon — I am being
illogical, or am suffering from cognitive dissonance, or
am desperately trying to stay friends with everybody, I
can only say that I see no contradiction myself, and
that if I were the type who writes in order to curry
favor with powerful people, I would be driving a

much nicer car
by now. 

I make up my own mind. 
I love my

new nation
, this United States of America, and want
her to preserve her character as little changed as the
ordinary processes of time will allow.  I also want her
to be an assertive and unapologetic defender of the
civilization she belongs to.  Let`s face it, the job
must be done, and no-one else much is volunteering.

When barbarians do
bother us, I want them smacked down with

great ferocity.
Saddam Hussein had been

scoffing
for years at the very concept of
international order, in the belief that we would never
pass from words to deeds. I wanted to see that belief
confounded, and I am pleased that it has been. If the
civilized world is never willing to back up its
agreements,

resolutions
, and communiqués with force, then those
fine documents are all worthless and civilization is
impotent against its enemies.

I am very glad to know
that we have not yet reached that sorry pass.


John
Derbyshire [
email
him] writes an


incredible amount
on all
sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. His most
recent book,


Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest
Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
, (see!) comes out
in paperback in May.