Sailer On Buchanan’s SUICIDE OF A SUPERPOWER: Bareknuckle Brawler and Wisest, Most Objective Man In American Public Affairs

[See also: Buchanan's Suicide of a Superpower: Opening The Eyes Of Uninformed Patriots, by Alexander Hart]

Suicide Of A SuperpowerSuicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? Patrick J. Buchanan’s eleventh book, documents with vivid details and acute quotes how, among other globalist mistakes, state-sponsored demographic-replacement via mass immigration is undermining the social cohesion and trust that is absolutely required if Americans are to govern themselves in a Republic.

Buchanan is not upbeat in his assessment of the perils self-inflicted by America's "welfare-warfare state"—"Globalization dissolves the bonds of economic dependency that held us together as a people, as the cacophony of multiculturalism drowns out the old culture". But Suicide of a Superpower's very existence, much less its position on the bestseller lists, raises the cheering question of however Pat's career has survived since William F. Buckley Jr. issued a fatwa against him in 1991.

The same can't be said for several other conservative intellectuals decreed verboten by Buckley, such as the late Joe Sobran. So how has Buchanan managed to stay afloat in an age of politics by character assassination?

One thing to keep in mind about Pat's career: he's a great guy. He's one of the kindest, most considerate people in public life. (Full disclosure: Pat quotes me several times, citing my VDARE.com articles on the “racial ratio”—Affirmative Action beneficiaries vs. benefactors i.e. losers—and the real meaning of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores among others).

Buchanan has made himself into exactly what you would want in a political intellectual: famously pugnacious in argument, but a gentleman who fights fair and feels the other side is entitled to its say. He wants to win arguments, but not suppress and personally destroy his opponents.

In his new book, Buchanan laments that in 21st Century America:

"The crudeness of our public debate is matched by its incivility. In politics it is insufficient to defeat an opponent. One must demonize, disgrace, and destroy him. The tradition of political foes being social friends when the sun goes down ... is passé. Today, we criminalize politics and go for the throat."[Links added]

Buchanan's genial honesty helps explain why relatively few liberal Bigfoot journalists have piled on to the two decade-long neocon jihad against him. They are ideologically closer to Buchanan’s neocon detractors, but they know from personal experience that Pat is the better man.

The subtitle of Buchanan's new book, Will America Survive to 2025?, pays tribute to Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik's 1970 essay Will the Soviet Union Survive to 1984? (Notice the 14-year span in both.)

Amalrik predicted that a dragged-out Soviet war with China would unleash centrifugal nationalist energies and ultimately dismantle the Soviet empire's "prison house of nations."

As it turned out, the Russians blundered into war in Afghanistan rather than with China, and it took until 1991, not 1984, for the Soviet Union to dissolve into 15 countries. Nevertheless, as in horseshoes and hand-grenades, close counts when forecasting—so Amalrik deserves his renown.

In contrast to Amalrik, Buchanan's book does not explicitly predict that the U.S. will crack up. He merely concludes:

“American is entering a time of troubles. The clash of culture and creed are intensifying and both parties are perceived to have failed the nation…And the crises that afflict us—culture wars, race division, record deficits, unpayable debt, waves of immigration, legal and illegal, of people never before assimilated, gridlock in the capital, and possible defeat in war—may prove too much for our democracy to cope with. They surely will, if we do not act now.”

Clearly, our country does suffer from overstretch. The unsustainability of the bipartisan conventional wisdom of Invite-The-World, Invade-The-World, In Hock-To-The-World is obvious.

But what comes next is not. Buchanan sums up the unpredictability of the situation nicely:

"On the news of Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga in 1777, which portended the loss of the North American colonies, John Sinclair wrote to Adam Smith in despair that Britain was headed for ruin.

"'There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,' replied Smith.

"We are severely testing Smith's proposition."

Buchanan is one of the few public figures to have taken our victory in the Cold War seriously. He'd dedicated his life to struggling against Communism and then, over a two-year stretch in 1989-1991, much of what he'd hoped for came true.

Most individuals in that situation would smugly keep on keeping on. But Buchanan quickly began advocating a new set of policies attuned to the post-Cold War world.

This has not, however, been a terribly respectable notion. He writes:

"From 1941 to 1989, America played a great role as the defender of freedom, sacrificing and serving mankind, a role of which we can be proud. But having won that epochal struggle, we found ourselves in a world for which we were unprepared. Like an aging athlete, we keep trying to relive the glory days ... As our rivals look to tomorrow, we live in yesterday."

As if trying to illustrate Buchanan's point about the pointlessness of contemporary games of empire, on Friday, October 14, President Obama announced to Congress that he was sending 100 armed U.S. troops to South Sudan, Uganda, the Central African Republic, and/or the Democratic Republic of the Congo to chase around the Lord's Resistance Army. America's newest and most random enemy ever is a gang of a few hundred juvenile delinquents who rape and pillage in the hinterlands. (Evidently, it takes a child to raze a village.)

An important element in Buchanan's good nature: he is one of the few pundits who will admit freely that his biases are tribal as well as ideological. Sportsmanship is one of Buchanan's defining traits. He's like a wise old Notre Dame fan who has no illusions that the Fighting Irish are more cosmically deserving of victory than the other football teams. But they're his team. Thus, he can discuss with perfect objectivity the prospects of other teams because he isn't the puerile kind of fan who furiously argues that his team should win. He just wants them to win.

Buchanan, advisor to three Presidents and winner of a New Hampshire presidential primary, has been "in the arena" (to use Teddy Roosevelt's phrase) since the 1960s. Active engagement for decades with the political process typically narrows the imagination and constricts the soul. (To see what I mean, just read skeptically Matt Bai's long, sympathetic article Does Anyone Have a Grip on the G.O.P.? on Republican Establishment operatives like William Kristol and Vin Weber in last week's New York Times Magazine.)

Buchanan's career in politics goes back to Richard Nixon's comeback in the mid-1960s. Unlike so many others, however, Buchanan has emerged from all those years and all those conflicts wiser, more judicious, more empathetic, more broadly informed, and more principled.

In contrast, neoconservatism, which strikes neutral observers as equally tribal in motivation, has unleashed so much violence over the last decade precisely because of its pretenses to universal benevolence. If you root for some other team than the neocons root for, well, that's not just an accident of birth, as Buchanan understands. Instead, to a neocon, rooting for the wrong team is proof that you are, as Richard Perle and David Frum used to say, evil.

Worse, you aren't supposed to get the joke when it comes to neoconservatism. If you realize why neocon claims to be repairing humanity are funny, you are worse than evil.

As Buchanan mentions in a brief aside:

"Neonconservatism, which shares attributes with the Trotskyism that is one of its roots, is one of the new ideologies to have seized the imagination of those seeking a cause ...

But, in Suicide of a Superpower, Buchanan isn't out to kick the neocons while they are deservedly down. He merely concludes, dryly:

"The conversion of George W. Bush to neoconservatism was not without consequence."

Buchanan's sportsmanship helps make him a strikingly unsentimental observer of American history. For example,

"No one would suggest the Indian wars were about equality. There were about conquest and subjugation."

He's glad his team won, but that doesn't justify spinning how it was done.

Similarly, Buchanan sees no reason to be furtive about the fact that House Republicans triumphed in 2010 "because white America came out to vote and minorities and the young stayed home." In Chapter 9, "The White Party," he explains in detail how the GOP (or, more properly, what Peter Brimelow calls “GAP”, Generic American Party) can win again in 2012 with the same dynamic.

As Buchanan argues, strategies aimed at turning out the Republican Party's white base are the best bet for winning in the short run. In the (very) long run, however, as Buchanan notes in his lapidary prose:

"Either the Republican Party puts an end to mass immigration, or mass immigration will put an end to the Republican Party."

To see how much the Establishment Republicans and Establishment Media don't want to talk about immigration, consider once again Bai's New York Times article about Washington G.O.P. insiders' views on Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and other candidates. Although there are 7,179 words in the article, not a single word is "immigration." And Bai published this after Rick Perry blew his lead in the race largely over immigration.

In contrast, in a subsection entitled "A Moratorium on Immigration," Buchanan offers a seven-point plan:

  • "A moratorium on new immigration until unemployment falls to 6 percent. To bring in foreign workers when 23 million Americans are still underemployed or out of work is to put corporate profits ahead of country."
  • Reform legal immigration in the long run to bring in those most easily assimilated.
  • Finish the fence.
  • Declare that there will never be an amnesty and begin deportations, starting with drunk drivers.
  • Congress should pass a law denying citizenship to anchor babies, and add an attachment that "the law is not subject to review by any federal court, including the U.S. Supreme Court."
  • Begin high profile immigration raids on egregious scofflaw employers.
  • Pass a constitutional amendment "making English the official language of the United States."

If not now, when?

One of Buchanan's important tactical points: in 2008, John McCain won only 45 percent of the Catholic vote, which comprised 27 percent of the electorate. He writes:

"If Republicans can raise their 2012 nominee's share of the Catholic vote from 45 to 52 percent—what Bush won against Kerry and the party won again in 2010—that seven-point gain would add more votes than going from 20 percent of the Jewish vote to 100 percent. Which one of these feats is easier for the party to accomplish?"

Buchanan, who is German Catholic on his mother's side and Scots-Irish on his father's, helped Reagan win over Reagan Democrats—typically, northern metropolitan Catholics.

But the plain fact is that the current generation of Republican strategists don't have much of a plan for benefiting this demographic (other than, apparently, putting them on the Supreme Court). Yet Obama's collapse in the polls with white Americans in mid-2009 coincided with his tangling with—and losing to—two stereotypical Reagan Democrats. As Buchanan says:

"If the GOP is not the party of New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and Cambridge cop James Crowley, it has no future."

Notice that Obama's decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor, who had voted to cheat Ricci out of his promotion because he's white, and Obama's imputation of racism to Crowley, weren't part of some brilliant Republican master plan. They were just gifts that fell into the G.O.P.'s lap. And they then paid off remarkably in Massachusetts later than year, when Republican Scott Brown won the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

However, reviving the Reagan Democrat strategy—in essence, what VDARE.com calls “The Sailer Strategy”—does raises a tricky issue for Republicans that Buchanan doesn't dwell upon. Let me delve further into it.

The typical Republican voter's reaction to the election of a President with a black activist past to the White House has been to emphasize libertarian small-government ideology to ward off charges of “racism”, while trying to prevent the Obama-led Democratic Party from redistributing their wealth to its client constituencies. Thus, for example, Herman Cain has risen to near the top of the 2012 Republican pack at present by being a black Tea Party candidate.

The ire of Republicans has thus been directed toward schoolteachers and, to a lesser but growing extent, public safety employees. Big City workers like teachers and firemen, in the sort of jobs that require degrees or passing tests, both 1) use up a lot of tax dollars and 2) tend to be whiter than the cities they serve—making them a relatively safe target for Republicans terrified of accusations of racism.

But if the Republicans really are the "white party," as Democratic chairman Howard Dean gaffed, these white v. white conflicts are counter-productive. What’s needed, from a GOP/ GAP standpoint, is white solidarity. 

Let's consider from a Buchananian perspective the latest article by the outstanding journalist Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Blind Side, and The Big Short), is called "California and Bust" in the November issue of Vanity Fair.

Lewis is emerging as the voice of the "frequent flyer" class of Republican-leaning corporate middle managers. He tries to explain California's dire finances by focusing on the fire department in Vallejo, the San Francisco Bay Area municipality that famously managed to go legally bankrupt in May 2008.

Lewis has an entirely legitimate complaint about the fire department's pay. But it's also worth noting a fascinating fact about Vallejo that Lewis leaves out of his story: it's a perfect emblem of California not just because it's broke, but because it's so extraordinarily diverse.

Buchanan laughingly quotes Dan Quayle telling the Japanese that "diversity is our strength." Vallejo, therefore, ought to be the strongest city in America because it may have the most uniformly diverse population: 25 percent Asian (mostly Filipino), 23 percent Hispanic, 22 percent black, and eight percent multiracial. [VDARE.com note: Also 32.8 percent white, but that doesn't count towards diversity.]

So in the Quayle-echoed conventional wisdom, which Lewis doesn't dare challenge directly, Vallejo should be paradise. After all, as one resident told Lewis, Vallejo is “a boat ride to San Francisco. You throw a stone and you hit Napa.”

And Vallejo has already arrived at that long-awaited nirvana of a Benetton commercial come to life, an entire city out from under the iron fist of White Majority Rule.

But instead, as Buchanan's framework would predict, Vallejo epitomizes dysfunctionality. Suicide of a Superpower devotes several pages to liberal Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam's landmark survey of 40 American communities:

"After thirty thousand interviews, Putnam concluded that ethnic and racial diversity devastates communities. In diverse communities, people not only do not trust strangers, they do not trust their own kind. They withdraw into themselves, they support community activity less, they vote less."

There are several obvious reasons why diversity diminishes community effectiveness.

First, as Buchanan notes, "Anyone who has been in a debate on a racially charged issue like the false allegations of the rape of a black woman by members of the Duke lacrosse team knows how fast the room temperature can rise." Few people combine Buchanan's good manners with his ability to not take matters personally, so they'd rather stay home than debate in a diverse setting.

Second, immigrants from corrupt countries like Mexico and the Philippines expect public affairs to be crooked and ineffectual, so they organize their lives around their clans and don't try hard to be good citizens.

Third, and most fundamentally, diverse people, by definition, want diverse results—so they are more likely to wind up at loggerheads than a homogenous people.

Diversity thus makes public affairs ripe for exploitation by highly unified groups, such as, in Lewis' article on California, the prison guard's union and local firemen. Lewis's reporting on how Vallejo's fire department is an island of cohesion in a sea of anomie is excellent. Vallejo's fire chief Paige Meyer recalls that when he was a young lifeguard: "He started talking to firefighters and found that 'they all absolutely loved what they did. You get to go and live and create a second family.[VDARE.com note: I. E. A Band of Brothers.] How can you not like that?'”

Moreover, because the vibrant residents of Vallejo tend to set their houses on fire more frequently than the duller residents of less diverse Northern Californian communities, the Vallejo FD attracted some of the most gung-ho firefighters from all over the region.

Not surprisingly, the Vallejo fire department—a rare institution in Vallejo with a high degree of what Putnam calls "social capital," or espirit de corps among its employees—managed to outmaneuver the divided and listless citizenry in grabbing a slice of the pie bigger than could be afforded by the populace's mediocre ability to generate wealth.

Of course, one of the most important services to the Republic the aroused citizens of the Tea Party can perform is to do what wasn't done in Vallejo: to subject government employee contracts to the gimlet eye.

But on the other hand, white firemen and cops are the archetypal Reagan Democrats. So, it doesn't make sense for the GOP to declare total war on a crucial segment of swing voters.

Republicans need to offer Reagan Democrats something in exchange.

Fortunately, there's an obvious, principled solution that would be a political winner for Republicans: in return for not letting public employee unions loot the public purse, protect white government employees from racial discrimination by Democrats.

If you want a cost-effective government, don't pay the employees too much and don't make them hire deadwood just because of the color of their skin.

That's a winning electoral proposition.

Buchanan also observes that polls show that young people, a demographic that Republicans lost badly in 2008, are more highly averse to affirmative action than are older voters.

To an old cynic like me, racial preferences for African-Americans seem to be unavoidable. But we can't afford to continue to lavish it on the ever-growing number of immigrants. So it's easy for me to forget that young idealists tend to find the very existence of quotas unjust. It is, after all, contrary to all that content-of-their character rhetoric.  

There’s a perfect opportunity for Republicans to make these points: protest the current discrimination ruling against the Fire Department of New York—which, you might remember, sacrificed 343 men on 9/11. A Clinton-appointed judge threw out the hiring of hundreds of new firemen because whites had studied how to put out fires too hard.

That's racist!

With Obama in the White House, the public is getting sick of accusations of “racism”. The FDNY is a place to make a stand.

But is even one Republican talking about the FDNY? They're still too worried about being called “racist” to dare raise it.

In fact, it was a Bushbot Republican Affirmative Action-appointment, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who filed this ludicrous case back in the carefree days of 2007.

It's time for the Republican Party to wake up the fact that it's 2011 now.

In summary, Buchanan, who has always pictured himself as a bare-knuckled brawler, is now perhaps the wisest, most objective-minded man in American public affairs. That's a tremendous personal accomplishment.

It's also, as Pat would be the first to admit, a little scary in what it says about our civic life.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His book, AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA’S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]