America`s Egalitarian Temptation—Stalinism`s Unquiet Ghost
November 21, 2008
at the inaugural meeting of the
H.L. Mencken Club,
part of the fascinating reformulation now proceeding on
the Right in the wake of the
collapse of the
established conservative movement. The $outhern
which had a spy in the audience, posed an amazingly
summary (they have
more money than we do).
Now a kind reader has provided a complete transcript. I
was introduced by an old friend of
Thank you, Paul [Gottfried]. Thank
you, ladies and gentlemen.
I know that this organization went
through a number of fires to get this conference
started. All I can say is it`s clearly been purified!
There`s nobody here for the money!
There are no foundation executives or other careerists!
We don`t have that problem!
You are all here out of pure
principle. And the fact is that the late, great
American Conservative Movement used to be like this.
I`m old enough to remember. I
to it in 1970. This is how it used to be.
At one point at
Forbes, I used
to interview every year
Milton Friedman, the great free market economist,
was actually also a great man. (Although I realize
that he has critics here, Tom! [Piatak—see
here]) And he once said to me, in the
mid-nineties, that it was to his great surprise late in
his long life—and he was 94 when he died—that he had
suddenly started to meet stupid
libertarians—stupid free market economists.
He said that, when he was a young
man on the campuses, starting a career, he just didn`t
meet stupid libertarians, because they were winkled out
by evolutionary pressure. So those remaining were, all
of them, very smart. Of course, they were frequently
mad, but that`s a different matter. They were smart.
And I think that—putting aside the
madness!—we can see that in this conference. This is a
conference where the audience really matters. Looking
around the room, I`m struck with the high quality of the
individuals here. There are a lot of you making real
contributions. That`s not what you`d find nowadays in
what`s left of the conservative movement, a conference
held by the conservative establishment.
"This is the most extraordinary collection of human knowledge that`s
ever been gathered at the White House with the possible
exception of when
Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
So I was thinking what American
statesman dining alone should we all be compared with.
from Southern caucus] I`ll give you the answer
the conference is
Temptation”. And I`m here to talk about equality and
English, I don`t have Paul`s Germanic bent for
philosophy. In fact, abstractions give me the
creeps. I`ll leave this to
Lydia, the philosophy graduate. It`s facts, rather
than philosophy, that motivate me.
And I`m going to prove that by
promptly fleeing from the title and digressing to
briefly discuss the presidential election, because that
does relate to immigration. Quite obviously American
politics are being substantially driven by immigration
and the resulting demographic change.
One of the things that American
apparently learn in journalism school`s Equality 101
never to mention race. I watched the CNN election
night coverage, and I found that they never reported
quite what the racial breakdown of the presidential vote
was, although it was very clear from
their own exit polls.
Of course, this is completely
foolish—because race is destiny in American politics.
Americans vote systematically differently according to
what race they are. They sway back and to. There are
some years when the Republicans get more and some years
when they get less, but the differences between those
different racial groups never goes away. The gaps always
remain roughly the same.
Now, the fact is that white
voters—who 50 years ago would have been called
because 50 years ago this country was 90 percent
white—went for McCain 55%-45%. It wasn`t overwhelming,
but it was a solid victory.
In other words, it`s not clear to
me that the
“American people” really supported Obama.
You know, there`s a moment in the
movie The Good Shepherd
where the WASP hero, who is a
agent, is asked by a
boss whom he is trying to recruit,
Italians have food, the Jews have got family, what
do you WASPs have?” And the hero replied
"We have the
The rest of you are just visiting."
And that`s what this election shows
us. The whites vote one way and everybody else votes
another way. And white Protestants voted much more for
McCain than white Catholics (although a majority of
white Catholics did vote for McCain).
Obama has been very widely credited
with winning the youth vote. And the only part of the
white vote he won was
18-30 year olds. But it wasn`t by a huge
margin—about 55%-45%, rather similar to McCain`s overall
margin among whites. It wasn`t that great.
If you take the racial breakdown of
the presidential vote this year and project it back,
adjusting for the demographic shift that has been caused
by immigration, you find that, with the proportion of
the white vote he got,
McCain would have actually won the election in 1976
when Carter beat Ford. In other words he ran
better than Ford. Absent immigration, he would now
Looking at it the other way—we did
this calculation because
asked me too!—if the GOP could just
get back to the
share of the white vote it had in
which was about 58 percent, it will win again in 2012.
It will be close, but it certainly can win.
The GOP under Bush never did
particularly well with the white vote. Back in 1984,
Reagan got 65 percent of the white vote, which would be
easily enough to win an election right now, particularly
considering that white turnout was very low this year
black and other minority turnout.
What we should be looking at is the
in general, whites
are only 65 percent of the electorate, whereas in
cast about 77% of the vote. So the GOP is in much worse
generally. But still the GOP won overwhelmingly in
white vote in this last election.
They don`t do it by sending out a
fiery cross or anything like that. It`s not clear to me
how they do it. Maybe [audience member], who is an
Alabaman, can explain it. It seems to be like an
implicit thing. Everybody in the South understands the
way things are and they all vote Republican. I don`t
know that the Republicans deserve this, but that`s how
So my conclusion here is that, for
the Republican Party—or any party of the American
majority—the way to win is with what we at
Sailer Strategy, after
Sailer, one of our writers who has written a great
deal on it: Mobilize the white base; get them to turn
out. Penetrate—get deeper into your base than you are
The Democrats carry their base
votes by a factor of 70, 80, 90 percent. More than 90
percent in the case of the blacks. But for the GOP,
whites have been below 60 percent for many years.
If the GOP did mobilize its white
base, than even without actually
cutting off immigration, it could continue to win
national elections for quite a long time. Although of
making immigration an issue would certainly help.
It`s astonishing how hard it is to
get Republican operatives to see this. In the case of
Bush and Rove,
Occam`s Razor would indicate that they personally
want to be like Mexican oligarchs—patricians in a
sea of peons. I can`t think of any other reason for
the strategy they followed.
But, you know, some time ago I was
talking to a friend in
Jesse Helms. I made this argument—that the
Republicans need not outreach but
“inreach”, to mobilize their white base. And he
said: "Peter, in
this city, if you said that, you would be excluded from
any further conversation. It`s just not possible to say
This is a man
who worked for Jesse Helms!
Elite journalists and political
operatives literally can`t think about race—about the
role that race plays in American politics. And,
therefore, about the role that immigration plays.
Richard [Spencer] mentioned a few
moments ago the danger of being shut down by
laws. I take that very seriously. I think one of the
first things that Obama will do is push through this
federal hate speech law that Teddy Kennedy has been
get through for so long. We`re running a
column tonight by one of our columnists,
Guzzardi, making the point that the big problem we
have is not hate speech but what he calls
"hate facts." These
are things that everybody knows are true, but that can`t
be said. The
arithmetical need for the Republicans to mobilize
their white base is a
“hate fact” and can`t be said, apparently. But it still remains
Well, let`s go back to philosophy.
What`s happened here, of course, is that this equality
gotten out of its cage. It`s broken loose of any
connection to equality before the law, which is a
legitimate and traditional use of the concept, and it`s
been wandering around the countryside killing sheep and
generally terrifying people for the last thirty of forty
major rationale for the
1965 Immigration Act, which of course opened up the
country to mass immigration after a long lull of 40 odd
years in which there was almost no immigration at all.
The argument was that all countries had to be treated
equally as sources for immigration to the
discussion at the time of the possibility that
immigration was actually going to increase. In fact,
people who predicted it would were roundly denounced, in
the most indignant terms.
Now, I suspect, as a matter of
fact, that the insiders, the people who drafted the
legislation, were always lying through their teeth. They
always knew perfectly well that it would increase
immigration and destabilize the American ethnic balance.
A little while ago, we ran on
VDARE.COM (and this is one of the wonderful things about
the internet) a
clip of a film
Norbert Schlei. the Justice Department operative who
actually drafted the 1965 legislation.
There are things that you can say
in print and things you can catch on film. Schlei was
discussing his role and whether he anticipated what was
going to happen, and he sort of giggled in a sinister
way. The person who showed me this compared it to
Lisa`s ambiguous smile.
What did Schlei really think? Did
he really know what was going to happen? You can`t
see that video without believing that he did. He knew
they were pulling a fast one.
I became aware of this problem with
the marauding equality meme when I was talking at the
University of Cincinnati Law School some years ago. You
know, polemical writers need to anticipate arguments,
and one of the reasons I like speaking, and on college
campuses in particular (that reminds me, K——, weren`t
you going to arrange some speaking engagements for me?
Thank you!) is you
can never anticipate the stupid arguments that people
come up with.
I was discussing the idea of
immigration reduction—what we call
immigration reform”, to distinguish it from
President Bush`s so-called
“comprehensive immigration reform”.
He thought that foreigners were
somehow covered by American civil rights laws!
from audience] Obviously a future Obama Supreme
Court nominee? Yes ! You know, I hadn`t thought of that!
Now, obviously, what we`re talking
about here is not equality. It`s an
activist agenda designed to destroy the American
social order. It`s
antinomianism. It`s nihilism. But it`s not equality
before the law as it`s been traditionally understood.
In terms of this new definition of
equality, some people are more equal than others. Right
now, founding stock Americans and in fact Americans
whites in general are more equal than others, because
they`re discriminated against by
Okay, that`s my theoretical
comment. I`m now going to move on briefly to discuss the
practical impact of immigration on equality.
What happened in the
had the option of being
Switzerland—a relatively smaller population, because
all races in the
lowering their birth rates, so the population was
stabilizing; heavily white; very homogenous, highly
educated, very productive. Or, the
decide to be
larger, very diverse, chaotic, rampant poverty,
tremendous income inequality.
Look at immigration`s impact on
income. It happens, and it`s a disgrace that the Bush
Administration didn`t do something about it, that most
Americans have experienced stagnating incomes for 30
years. One of the reasons for that is immigration. For a
immigration`s impact on American wages was denied.
In other words, the Law Of Supply And Demand had
apparently been repealed. But over time the evidence
comes in and in 2003
George Borjas, who is a Cuban himself, (you know,
generally speaking, immigrants are prepared to criticize
immigration—we`re doing a dirty job that you won`t do),
in his Quarterly
Journal of Economics article of 2003 demonstrated
beyond argument that there really is an impact on wages.
[The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping:
Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor
Market, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, November
And it spreads right through every
level of income by the way. It
affects even college graduates. But it is
particularly harsh on the lesser skilled.
Another way of looking at the
impact of immigration is
poverty. If you look at the government poverty
numbers, they`re really quite extraordinary. They fall
like a stone from the 1930s through about 1972. In 1972
the proportion of Americans in poverty was 11.3 percent.
And it`s been around there ever since. It`s oscillating
up and down, but essentially we`ve been moving sideways
for 30 years.
Now, immigration exacerbates
poverty in two ways:
Directly—many of those people in
the poverty population are themselves immigrants or the
children of immigrants. We
calculated somewhere around about a third of them
are either post-1965 immigrants or their
Indirect—immigrants compete with
displace native-born Americans in the workforce, and
that in turn drives them into poverty. So it`s a major
reason the poverty level has been irreducible.
We have had three tremendously long
booms here: the 1980s and the 90s and 2000s. Yet we
still haven`t been able to get poverty below the level
where it was in 1972. One of the reasons is immigration.
It`s no accident that both of these problems—income
stagnation and irreducible poverty—developed 30 years
ago exactly when the effect of the 1965 Immigration Act
I`m not saying immigration is
the cause of widening income inequality in the
saying that it is
a cause—and that it should be discussed.
But, in fact, conventional economic
debate invariably leaves it out. And I`ve had a terrible
time, as a financial journalist, in getting editors to
let me write about it.
I`m going to leave you with two
closing thoughts which arise out of my long experience
in the conservative wars.
The first one is that I`ve concluded that
actually knows what`s politically possible.
Least of all professional
politicians—they don`t go around thinking about what`s
going to happen five years or even five weeks from now.
They just react from day to day.
In 1975, I came down to New York
from Canada, where I then lived, and interviewed
Rusher, the publisher of
attempt to start a third party. (A very good idea by
the way and it`s a shame it didn`t work.) We exchanged a
number of signals, in the way that you do—I told him I
John Ashbrook (Ashbrook and not
Ashcroft) against Nixon in
1972—he, of course, had been a great supporter of
Ashbrook. So when the interview was finished, he said to
me, confidentially, off the record:
“You know, I think that it`s all over” (remember, this was 1975)
“and the Red Flag
will one day fly over the world. The last chance we had
to turn things around was 1968 when Reagan [some of
you may not remember this, but Ronald Reagan actually
ran against Nixon in that year and came quite
surprisingly close to winning]
was stopped by Strom
Thurmond.” Thurmond was the one who
held the South for Nixon. But, Rusher said to me,
"We keep on going. One reason is you never know what is going to turn
up. And the second reason is that there are theological
Well, just five years later, Reagan
was in the White House. Things had changed around with
Similarly, you know, and again, the
people in this room perhaps don`t remember this, but the
power of the
was once omnipresent. We went around thinking about it
every day—the possibility of nuclear war, what they were
up to all over the world, and so on. It`s hard to
remember now, but it was a central fact of political
life for a long time. And
nobody predicted that the
Seweryn Bialer, who was supposed to
great Kremlinologist, in 1986 for
was just four years before the
it was going to collapse. He had spent his entire career
studying it—and yet he had absolutely no idea.
So, because of that, I conclude
ghost of the Soviet Union—because that`s what this
equality stuff really is, it`s the unquiet ghost of
Stalinism—can be exorcised. It appears to be
all-powerful now. But it can be exorcised. And it will
The second conclusion I`ve come to about politics is
actually not really drawn from politics. It`s from
my day job as a financial journalist. It`s an axiom
in the stock market that
can`t go on forever, don`t.
For example, for six or seven years
now, it`s been obvious that the stock market has been
massively overvalued by traditional measures. But the
people who were saying this, almost all of them,
eventually gave up—because it kept on going up anyway.
But it turned out that it couldn`t
go on forever. And it didn`t.
And that`s how I feel about
American politics right now.
I think that
whites, that is to say Americans, will organize. They
will ultimately throw off the leadership they currently
have. I think immigration will become an issue, and the
issue will become an important part of that
self-organization process, with your help.
And this brings me to who I think
the single statesman I think you all resemble. It has to
be George Washington.
Not just because of his
intelligence, but because of his character and
courage—the heroic rethinking that they all did between
about 1750 and 1775, to reformulate the American idea
and what the future of the American nation was going to
But that`s what we need. We need a
rebellion. And I want to thank our hosts here for
(email him) is editor of
VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster,
(Random House –
The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins – 2003)