Immigration is not just another issue. It cuts to the very soul of a people. A polity’s approach to outsiders reflects its entire self-conception, social structure, and way of life.
Remarkably, one of the most powerful recent portrayals of the soul-rotting effects of mass immigration comes in the form of a political fable from Paul Lake, an Professor of English in Arkansas: Cry Wolf: A Political Fable . It was published in 2008 by a small Dallas house, BenBella Books, and as far as I can see got almost no reviews e.g. nothing in National Review. I was sent a review copy, but to my shame only just read it (n.b. at one sitting). It is nothing less than an Animal Farm for the central question facing Western civilization in the 21st century.
The setting is Green Pastures Farm, a peaceful community where the farm animals have learned to “walk in the ways of man” after the deaths of their human masters. By working together, the animals have escaped the horrors of nature red in tooth and claw and are able to lead a peaceful, albeit simple, life where everyone—“hoof, web, paw, claw” lives “on level ground, under one law.”
Their little society is organic, with a smoothly operating natural hierarchy. Each animal knows its place, performs its assigned tasks, and helps out where it can with no ostentatious displays of wealth or laziness. The dogs patrol the farm and guard against intruders, the rooster crows the dawn and keeps track of the stars to determine the planting schedule, the lambs milk the cows and so on.
Some animals are dissatisfied with their lot, such as a cowardly duck named “Pierre” who doesn`t think he is given proper recognition for his own importance. But the society is basically unified and happy.
Underlying the farm is a moral structure and mythology that unites the entire community. The animals celebrate the great victory that saved their farm, when they all joined together to chase off a wild bear that threatened to break in. They even have a kind of religion, where the purpose of the farm animals is to “walk to the path towards personhood” and learn civilization.
Lake, who is the poetry editor of the conservative religion journal First Things, makes an obvious nod towards the civilizing power of Christianity: the animals dream of a holy infant child, a “spirit-shepherd” who will teach the world gentleness and peace.
The farm is regulated by four commandments, “Walk by day, not by night,” “Do not kill or eat living flesh,” “walk in the ways of man,” and the first and most important, “NO TRESPASSING.” The whole point of the community is to defend the tiny corner of safety for “tame” farm animals from the wild world outside, and to “defend their sacred borders.”
Trouble arrives when a pitiable creature, a wounded doe, breaks into the farm in search of relief. The deer is obviously harmless and it seems cruel to expel it, but the law is the law—no wild animals in the farm, especially one that doesn`t even have a name.
The farm animals are ready to deport the doe when an owl, “The Professor,” proclaims that a name is just a social construct after all and gives the deer one: “Xena.” Out of pity and compassion, the farm animals allow the newly (for lack of a better word) “humanized” wild animal to stay until she is healed. She eventually leaves in the dark of night, and the farm community congratulates itself on how enlightened they are.
But it doesn`t stop there. A raccoon appears (one with a name, Rags) pleading poverty and offering to pick fruit for the farm. Many are uncomfortable, but the Professor scolds them for their “xenophobia,” a word they have never heard before. “It means `fear of strangers,” he instructs, “A disabling illness affecting little minds.”
Not wanting to be thought “xenophobic,” and greedy for fruit, the farm animals let the raccoon stay, as long as he learns the ways of tameness and the farm. The raccoon flatters the animals` pride and brings in fruit, and once again, all seems well.
Of course, it doesn`t stop there either. Step by step, inch by seemingly insignificant inch, the farm is transformed.
The raccoon, of course, has to bring in his family. Then possums arrive and though some farm animals are concerned they will eat the eggs, no-one wants to be thought “xenophobic.” A break in the fence is repaired by a wild beaver, who of course then must receive (or steal) aid forevermore.
Gradually, the population of the farm is transformed, and the “wild” animals are given positions of power—for reasons of fairness. Some of the “tame” farm animals see no reason to oppose the process, as they have grown dependent on the labor of the wild animals.
Meanwhile, to educate the newly-arrived young, a school is set up where the classes are taught—by The Professor, naturally. He carefully deconstructs the founding ideas of the farm, building up the new ideas of “biodiversity” and “Many-Animalism.”
Having been thus instructed, the younger wild animals despise their “tame” fellow citizens. Some of whom, corrupted by “cheap labor,” no longer do any work. The younger farm animals are filled with shame and self-loathing. The new citizens are eventually given preferential treatment in order to overcome the farm animals’ past “privilege”. Eventually, even the triumph over the bear has become a disgusting relic of a bigoted past, with “Xena” the deer the greatest hero of the farm`s history.
The book ends with apocalypse, as the younger farm animals, the wild animals, and of course, The Professor welcome “Grandfather Bear” back to the farm for good and all—and the wild finally triumphs over Green Pastures. The wild animals turn on the civilized animals and rip them apart. Society regresses back to a savage state.
This simple tale reflects powerful themes.
- While there are various flowery justifications, the society ultimately collapses because of the refusal of members to do their own work and the denial of the value of labor.
The result is a class of lazy animals (pigs in Lake`s telling, fruit farm owners and other “rope sellers” in our world) who are indifferent towards their country but despised by their own workers. The wealth transfer caused by mass immigration (dishonestly celebrated by Wall Street Journal-style immigration boosters) becomes a source of a weakness for a society that grows ever more corrupt and class-conscious.
- Behind the economic relationships, Cry Wolf . shows the immutability of identity.
Whatever the proud principles of the farm (a “creedal” farm?), and however clear they may seem, they are easily reinterpreted to become the exact opposite. Ultimately, the animals know in their bones the distinction between “tame” and “wild”, us and them. But the Professor deconstructs the concepts to the point of meaninglessness and the well-meaning farm animals want to believe everyone is just like them “under the skin.”
- As soon as their position is secure, the new immigrants see the society as weak, exploitative, and degenerate. The more they assimilate into the economy and the political system, the more they de-assimilate culturally.
Rather than becoming civilized, the immigrants “re-wild” society. Abuse of females, crude displays of hysterical force, and crime become facts of life on the farm—just as in the Muslim neighborhoods of Europe.
- Finally, there is the use of equality as a political weapon. Even the owl is secretly supremacist—he despises “crows”—but he uses the rhetoric of egalitarianism as a weapon.
As “Many-Animalism” develops, the farm`s government becomes a supremacist tool for the new masters— the “forest-born”. Working during the day is outlawed. Herding is outlawed. Both are a “tame” farm animal thing. Criticizing the “forest-born” is outlawed. Diversity doesn`t lead to freedom, but to a police state. Ever-milder dissents are greeted with a never-ending tide of hysteria.
It`s a little tale about animals, but it could be ripped from the headlines (or the blogs) today.
Christmas is over. But Cry Wolf is a great gift for anyone who needs to understand the centrality of the immigration issue to every problem our country faces.
We know you can`t have mass immigration and a living wage.
But Cry Wolf gives us the biggest lesson—you can`t have mass immigration and a society at all.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] travels around the United States looking for a waiter who can speak English.