Tutto Esaurito*

*All Used Up

Things are happening in Italy. I`ve
just seen published a

longtime leftwing activist Ida Magli, published in the
Milanese daily Il Giornale, that seeks to address
a "phenomenon" that Italian intellectuals and
journalists have tried to ignore.

Magli begins:  

the real concrete fact
that every body occupies space. A territory possesses a
determined area. As with any space, the territory
belonging to a state must be understood as one that can
accommodate a given number of inhabitants. And as a
habitat this territory will have to provide air, light,
heat, water, vegetation, nourishment, resources, and the
possibility for interpersonal development for those who
live there. It is therefore necessary to calculate the
relation between all these elements and a bearable
demographic density.

According to Magli, Italy has
already reached this level of

human density,
and no attempt by Italian
intellectuals to raise the "the issue of compassion" can
circumvent the force of facts. Whereas the U.S. now
counts 27.3 inhabitants and Canada only 2.9 inhabitants
per square kilometer, Italy faces the situation of 190
inhabitants occupying an equal space.

The point that Magli makes is not
that Americans and Canadians should be encouraged to
open the sluice gates to Third World immigration.
Rather, she notes that in countries with twenty to
thirty times the landmass of Italy, space is not as
large an issue. Nor are the inhabitants of these more
spacious territories as "likely to go mad like the
guinea pigs that have been forced to live in
increasingly restricted areas." 

Magli holds the view that the
"Italian condition is terrifying and sends continuing
signals of death." In her considered opinion,

is only one thing to do, put out in public view the
poster `all used up,` as when a vessel is overloaded and
one has to warn that everything may capsize. What must
be done is to remove all the cement, put back the woods,
and to reclaim a territory that falls to pieces every
time the rivers flood; it is imperative to restore our
lands for agriculture and pasturage, to cleanse the air
of pollution, to reduce the number of automobiles and
the consumption of energy: in short, to reduce the human
presence and to make it possible to love one`s land,
one`s countryside, one`s seas, one`s trees, and one`s

There are questionable correlations
in Magli`s remarks, e.g. between the appallingly low
birth rate of Italians and the mental anxieties
attributed to overpopulation. But the thrust of her
argument deserves our attention. She is right to remind
us that, in spatially far more limited European
countries, the ecological, social and amenity costs of
the present Third World immigration may be greater than
in the

U.S. or Canada
. Magli also notes that her country`s
chattering class, like its

American counterpart
, is unwilling to discuss
immigration "except as an issue that divides those with
good hearts from bad people."

But what may distinguish her
situation from ours is that an Italian national
bourgeois newspaper, in many ways similar to the

Wall Street Journal
is willing to publish a
call for immigration reform. Such a gesture of tolerance
from the journalistic right-center would be
inconceivable in the U.S today.

Even more importantly, Magli
represents an ideological niche that in the U.S. is
filled entirely by multicultural haters of Western
national identities. Her warning against immigration
enthusiasm is combined with invocations of Italian
pastoral beauty, which the reader is urged to view as an
ancestral legacy. Indeed it would be hard to find
Magli`s concluding judgments being made by an

establishment American conservative
any more than by
somebody on the American Left.

Every immigrant should be
seen as an intruder who hastens the capsizing of the
vessel. Politicians must think well: They are not
elected to be good but to be just toward their own

(The appellation "good" in most
Western European countries has become synonymous with
being mawkishly humanitarian. Whence the German term, of
derision as well as praise: "Gutmensch.")

note: Readers who don`t know Italian can view an
automated translation of the piece

. Automated translation is in its infancy,
though, so the machinery leaves some words still in the
original, while others are translated that shouldn`t be,
which is why Magli`s name appears at the top of the
translation as "Ida Mallets."]

Paul Gottfried
did his own translation. He is
Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA and
the author of

After Liberalism

Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory

October 23, 2001