Brimelow On That Buchanan Book

(Peter Brimelow
this review ran in the

Washington Times
Sunday, February 3, 2002

“The supreme function
of statesmanship,” British Tory rebel Enoch Powell began
his famous 1968
on immigration, “is to provide against
preventable evils.” (It`s one of the great political
speeches in the language, by the way, and one which
contrary to

popular wisdom
did not end Powell`s career but made
it, bringing him within an ace of taking over the party
leadership in 1974.)

Whatever you think
about Patrick J. Buchanan, who for one similarly
hilarious moment gave the GOP Establishment collective
cardiac arrest by winning the 1996 New Hampshire
primary, it is undeniable that has he been trying to
anticipate future evils. In his 1998 book

The Great Betrayal
, he worried about the
redistributional and deindustrializing effects of

free trade.
In his 1999 book

A Republic Not an Empire
he worried about imperial overstretch. Now, in his
new book

Death of the West
, he is worrying about the
impact of massive,

non-traditional immigration
on a demoralized,



Buchanan would have been well
advised (not that he ever takes advice) to have written
this book first. It is not a narrow monograph on an
arcane, minestrewn topic, but a well-rounded and
internally-consistent theory of politics, economics and
society. And it is simply right on the facts –
surprising though these apparently are inside the
Beltway. The West`s proportion of the world population
is indeed collapsing. The U.S. is indeed undergoing a
racial transformation, because of the

unexpected consequences
of the

1965 Immigration Act
, that is unprecedented in the
history of the world. And the consensus among

academic economists
, scandalously unreported because
of political correctness in the

business press
, is indeed that native-born Americans
receive no net aggregate benefit from this influx.
America, in short, is being transformed for nothing.

Anticipating future evils
brings its own problems, as Powell noted back in 1968.
Because the future evil has, by definition, not happened
yet, there are always people who will

it. Others will hope that, if only we

don`t talk about it,
the future evil may just go
away. Professional politicians tend to be particularly
irritated at being asked to consider anything not
immediately under their exquisitely sensitive snouts,
which they use to snuffle along like blind
shrews–clearly an evolutionary adaptation enabling them
to make 180-degree turns without rupturing their

The semi-skilled
intellectuals who will make up the bulk of this book`s
reviewers are especially unfitted to handle the new and
unfamiliar. For example, Brian Doherty of the

Reason Magazine, writing in the
Washington Post (January
6, 2002
) was obviously quite genuinely baffled by
what he described as Buchanan`s “obsessions with
nationality and ethnicity”–”obsessions” which have, of
course, constituted the stuff of politics, and of human
experience, for all recorded history. But they aren`t in
the Ayn Rand playbook, you see. Similarly, Doherty was
perplexed that Buchanan regards

as a threat because Mexicans are
predominantly Christian – distressing to Randists –
although Buchanan patiently explains that assimilation
is a function of ethnicity and culture and
numbers and time, all of which combine to make
the current historically disproportionate Mexican influx

“All of our worlds die with
us,” Doherty concluded in incomprehension. Buchanan, by
contrast, concludes by echoing Lincoln`s

of the

“mystic chords of memory”
that bind a nation to its
past. It is not too much to say that the one view is
alien atomism; the other American. But no longer,
apparently, Republican.

Of course, a whole generation
of intellectuals, liberal and “conservative,” has been
indoctrinated that any frank discussion of ethnicity
must mean “racism.” Buchanan actually says very
specifically that immigrants of every race can become
Americans. His concern is with their numbers, combined
with the collapse of the assimilating institutions. But
this will not save him from the inevitable accusations.
And, ironically, it will further alienate those white
nationalists who

to his choosing a black woman,

Ezola Foster,
as his vice-presidential nominee in
2000 – an act for which he has received remarkably
little credit.

Buchanan`s discussion of
demographics could be qualified. While the West`s share
of the world`s population is falling, this is only after
a tremendous growth surge that dramatically expanded its
share beginning in the eighteenth century. No-one really
knows why fertility rates fluctuate – no-one expected
the Baby Boom of the 1950s – but it would be unwise to
assume that the West will not eventually stabilize.
Moreover, as Buchanan himself says, population quality,
technical skill, is far more important than quantity.
Ask the Taliban. Still, Buchanan is unquestionably right
that the West needs careful management during this
transition. A

White House
in thrall to


cheap labor
lobbies cannot provide it.

Cynics may object that
statesmen are merely dead (or compulsorily retired)
politicians. But Buchanan in this book has transcended
both categories. He has become, once again, a


Death Of The West: How Dying Populations and Immigration
Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization
by Patrick J. Buchanan. St. Martin`s Press, 308 pp.,

Peter Brimelow is the
author of

Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration

February 03, 2002