“I Am Become Death, The Shatterer Of Worlds”

Peter
Brimelow note to VDARE.COM readers
:
I was lured into this symposium on the somewhat



goo-gooish
British-based
debate site


openDemocracy.com
by
Anthony Browne, environment editor of the London Times
and occasional VDARE.COM


contributor
. He was
already embroiled there, opposing the “People Flow”
report, basically a proposal to institutionalize Third
World immigration into the Europe Union. Obviously, they
have client-seeking bureaucrats and nation-subverting
immigration enthusiasts across the Atlantic too. My
comment was posted on June 3 under the headline


“The migration time-bomb: American lessons for Europe.”

Note that the editors translated “miles” into
“kilometers” and “British” into “European.” Ugh.

[openDemocracy
editors` original note: Will mass immigration prove a
similar threat to the integrity of European society and
culture as it does to America`s? For the author of

Alien Nation
, the book which helped to catalyze
the modern anti-immigration argument in the US, the
current `great wave` from third to first world is
undesirable, economically unnecessary, and driven by a
misplaced sense of guilt over past racism and
colonialism.]

openDemocracy`s
People Flow debate is a poignant moment for me.
I`m the editor of an American webzine,


VDARE.COM
, focused
on immigration and the “national question”–well-defined
in

Anthony Browne`s

terms as whether a country has a “right to sustain
its own culture.”

Yet I am
also an English immigrant to the United States, with a
sojourn in Canada, who is sometimes credited with
restarting the modern immigration debate in my adopted
country with a

cover story
in
National Review
magazine and a subsequent,
much-denounced,

book
, Alien
Nation
.

(I tell
audiences in America, where public discourse is
frequently conducted in economistic terms, that in
criticizing immigration policy I am just an immigrant
doing a dirty job. They laugh, but it`s true–as will be
confirmed below).

As I
write this, I can see from my office window more than
fifteen miles (twenty-four kilometers) across northern
Connecticut`s

Litchfield Hills

(spelt, be it noted, with a “t”–this area still bears
the imprint of Puritan settlers from England`s East
Anglia and Midlands). Almost all of it is woodland. In
early summer, it`s a rolling sea of green foliage.
Ironically, this was not the case 150 years ago. The
area was stripped bare by intensive subsistence farming
and the quest for charcoal to fuel the early industrial
revolution here. But now the forests have returned.

I must
say that I have found myself grieving that the epicenter
of the industrial revolution, the north of England where
I grew up, will never get a similar respite. The classic
patchwork fieldscape of the Cheshire plain, which I have
carried in my mind`s eye since early childhood, is now
being eroded so quickly by sprawl that I find it painful
to go back.

To that
extent, Rosamund McDougall`s


riposte
to the
People Flow
concept is unanswerable. Population
growth means sprawl. But population growth in the first
world is now not inevitable–it is being imported by
immigration policy. This is true in the US too, and on a
gigantic scale. Americans of all races have brought
their family size down to the point where the Census
Bureau projects that the US population would stabilize
by 2050 at 280-300 million–but with the current mass
immigration, it is projected to soar to 400-500 million.

In
effect, first world governments are second-guessing
their peoples on population size. Perhaps unlike
McDougall, I don`t necessarily anticipate ecological
collapse because of this. I can envisage my woodland
vista being carved into malls, freeways and suburbs full
of moderately healthy people. (Birdlife is a different
matter).

But it
won`t be the same. I would regret it. This is a value
judgment, of course. But so what?

California, I tell American audiences, will cease to be
the Golden State and become the Golden Subdivision
(American for `housing estate`). They don`t laugh quite
as much at this. It`s already coming all too visibly
true here; and in a small space like Britain, there is
even less room for error.

Five
warnings from America

The
debate in the United States offers five main pointers to
Europeans.

  • First,
    immigration is economically unnecessary. It was a
    British economist, the great Peter Bauer, who first and
    most forcefully

    made this point
    to
    me. You can`t reason from more people to more
    production. The key factor, rather, is technical
    innovation–new ideas.

    Thus, the
    idea that third world immigration is necessary to
    support ageing first world `baby boomers` does not add
    up. (Of course, it is always possible that first world
    governments will make a mess of things and turn to
    immigration to stave off the problem).

    In the
    US, the validity of Bauer`s point has been born out by
    the National Research Council`s 1997 compendium,

    The New Americans

    reflecting the consensus among labor economists. It
    found the net aggregate economic benefit to native-born
    Americans from the enormous influx accidentally
    triggered by the 1965 immigration act is nugatory–less
    than $10 billion a year, in an economy of $10 trillion.

    Immigrants do increase gross domestic product (GDP), but
    they receive most of the benefit themselves. Moreover,
    this doesn`t count transfers like education, which
    amount to a significant net loss. The Economist
    has rightly

    characterized
    this
    as “chickenfeed”–without, typically, altering its
    generally romantic view of immigration. America is
    being transformed for nothing
    . I have no doubt the
    same is true for Europe.

  • Second,
    the welfare state has changed everything. The US
    has experienced mass immigration before, in 1890-1920.
    And it has experienced a welfare state (more accurately,
    a transfer state, because free education and free
    emergency-room health care are included) since President
    Roosevelt`s

    New Deal
    of the
    1930s. But it has never experienced both together.

    The
    transfer state has completely altered the incentives
    facing immigrants. In the US, whereas up to 40% of the
    1890-1920 `great wave` went back home (something not
    much noted in this country`s pervasive pro-immigration
    mythology), now around 90% of the post-1965 great wave
    remain. In effect, they are paid to stay, even if they
    don`t like it here–which is clearly a factor in the
    current

    non-assimilation
    of
    Hispanics. Again, mass immigration`s incompatibility
    with the welfare state has been publicly


    recognized
    by
    economists like Nobel laureates Milton Friedman and Gary
    Becker. But it has not penetrated popular debate. Again,
    I have no doubt the same is true of Europe.

  • Third,
    “refugees” are a false issue. It is amazing to
    me, growing up in Britain during the great retreat from
    empire, to read arguments like


    Gil Loescher`s
    that
    take for granted that Britain and Europe still have
    responsibility for the displaced of the third world. Of
    course, this sense of responsibility is, in considerable
    part, what motivated imperialism, especially the late
    19th century partition of Africa, urged on by
    missionaries who wanted to protect their flocks from the
    slave trade. Rudyard Kipling


    called
    it “the
    White Man`s Burden.” (Presumably it`s now the White
    Person`s Burden). But there can be no responsibility
    without power–and Europeans have eschewed power along
    with their empires. End of story, as we say here.

    Moreover,
    our experience in the US is that “refugees” invariably
    turn out to be nothing more noble than expedited,
    subsidized, politically-connected immigrants. Thus,
    America`s refugee program was effectively


    hijacked
    in the
    1980s on behalf of Soviet Jews. The refugee lobby itself
    needs to be viewed in the context of “public choice
    economics”–the perception, for which


    James Buchanan
    won
    an economics

    Nobel prize
    , that
    policy makers as a class have their own economic
    interests, which (amazingly) tend to influence their
    policies. Refugee lobbyists become


    interest groups
    –funded,
    of course, by the taxpayer.

    One
    current

    scandal
    produced by
    this corrupt system is the importation into small towns
    across America of large numbers of illiterate, primitive
    “Somali Bantu”–a group with which the US has no
    historical relationship whatever–because refugee
    lobbyists rejected the much cheaper expedient of
    resettlement in Africa…which would, of course, have
    deprived them of clients. Again, I sense the same in
    Europe.

  • Fourth,
    the real issue is white guilt. At the beginning
    of

    Alien Nation
    ,
    I
    wrote:


    “There is a sense in which
    current immigration policy is Adolf Hitler`s posthumous
    revenge on America. The U.S. political elite emerged
    from the war passionately concerned to cleanse itself
    from all taints of racism and xenophobia. Eventually, it
    enacted the Immigration Act…of 1965. And this, quite
    accidentally, triggered a renewed mass immigration, so
    huge and so systematically different from anything that
    had gone before as to transform–and ultimately, perhaps,
    to destroy–the one unquestioned victor of World War II:
    the American nation, as it had evolved by the middle of
    the twentieth century.”

    I stand
    by these words. It is because Americans are still
    paralyzed by the accusation of racism, further
    exacerbated by the struggle over civil rights, that
    uninhibited immigrants like myself (or the Cuban-born
    Harvard economist

    George Borjas
    ) can
    play a role in the American immigration debate.

    Obviously, the same trick is being imported into
    Britain, judging by Ali Rattansi`s emotional attempt to
    smear Anthony Browne. The one virtue of


    Rattansi`s
    piece is
    that he (no doubt inadvertently) answers the national
    question–whether the nation-state, the political
    expression of a particular people, can and should
    continue to exist. Rattansi`s answer: no. (“Even a
    democratic decision to opt for supposed racial purity is
    not one that is ethically defensible or acceptable
    within contemporary global norms of human rights,
    themselves an outcome of the fight against Nazism.”
    )

    At least,
    that`s Rattansi`s answer in the case of the British.
    Historically, they have indeed had the bad taste to be a
    white nation. But the third world is a different matter.
    In researching Alien Nation, I contacted every
    major immigrant-sending third world country and asked
    how I could, as an American citizen, emigrate to them.
    All of them said, with varying degrees of politeness,
    that it was effectively impossible. The Indians said it
    was “very difficult”–unless I was “of Indian origin.”
    For them, apparently, “racial purity” is defensible
    and
    acceptable.

  • Fifth,
    immigration is vitally important. Denial is the
    first stage of the immigration debate, as it is supposed
    to be with terminal disease. Obviously, some
    openDemocracy
    contributors are still in this stage.

In the
US, we can point to the bottom line: in 1960, whites
were 88.6% of the American population. Then came the
1965 immigration act. By 2000, whites were down to
75.1%. Some time after 2050, the Census Bureau projects,
whites will become a minority.

This is a
demographic transformation without precedent in the
history of the world–all brought about by public policy.
And Europe is starting down the same path.

I reject
the notion that those of us who question this policy
have to show what`s wrong with it. Instead, I believe it
is incumbent upon those who favor this extraordinary
transformation to explain what`s right with it–and what
makes them think it will work.

Otherwise, it must be said of the West`s late 20th
century immigration disaster, in the words that J.
Robert Oppenheimer

quoted
from the
Bhagavad Gita
on witnessing the first atomic bomb:
“I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.”