As a University of Chicago alumnus (PhD, Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1978) I groaned mentally when the May-June issue of the alumni magazine arrived in the mail, with its cover article Dream deferred about the destructive doings of one Joshua Hoyt, [Email him]who (we learn) graduated from the UofC in 1985 with a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. [See heroic picture, left.]
The article, by Richard Mertens, is subtitled Joshua Hoyt, AM’95, leads the fight for immigrants’ rights in Illinois, an excellent tip-off to the blithely pernicious ideas contained in its seemingly endless 4,400 words. And, as one can guess from its main title, the struggles over the federal DREAM Act are a theme throughout.
In part, my unvoiced groan was about the daunting challenge of submitting a letter to the magazine that would, within their nominal 300-word limit, adequately torpedo the array of outrages and other targets served up in the article. To my shame, I wound up submitting nothing, fecklessly blowing off the challenge.
Then the July-August issue arrived, and I was beyond delighted to discover that seven other alumni, with graduation dates between 1964 and 1998 and with majors from biology (MS and PhD) to business (MBA and bachelor’s) to public policy (master’s), had barraged the magazine with six letters that handed the editors their heads over the Hoyt/Mertens piece. (There was also one letter—the lead-off—that was complimentary about the article, but it was very brief and inconsequential. So we can conclude that the feedback from readers was overwhelmingly negative, and perhaps there were even more critical letters that they didn’t use. It’s only fair to acknowledge, though, that the editors gamely published a fusillade that’s so pungently critical of their product.)
To give VDARE.com readers the flavor of the initial offense and the counterattacks, here are a few lowlights from the article itself, to be followed by samples from the irate alumni’s letters.
Regarding the effort to pass the DREAM Act that foundered in the U.S. Senate last December 18:
“At a coalition phone bank, workers spent their days asking Illinois supporters to call their representatives. Hoyt worked his own phone, urging prominent state officials to declare publicly their support for the DREAM Act. Many did, including former Republican governor James Edgar and a dozen university presidents. … Although a majority of senators voted to end debate and move the bill to the Senate floor, only three Republicans did—not enough to prevent a filibuster. `Oh, shit,` Hoyt thought as he watched the vote unfold. Then he got in his car and drove west, to the office of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council.[Email them] About three dozen people, many of them young undocumented Latinos, had gathered in a conference room to watch the voting. When Hoyt arrived some were still sobbing. `They were practically moaning with despair,` he recalls. “
Despair in those ranks is a good thing for the American nation.
The state-level organization for which Hoyt currently works has an obscene amount of money:
“Under his leadership the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has thrived. Since Hoyt joined in 2002, the organization has grown in size and influence. It has expanded its reach in downstate Illinois and in the Chicago suburbs, increasing from about 75 to 138 member organizations. Its budget has grown from $1.8 million to $7.9 million, its staff from nine to 25 employees. In nine years he has transformed the group into a powerful advocate for immigrants and a leader among similar organizations around the country. “
So the financial resources of this nation-breaking coalition that operates in just a single state has to be the same order of magnitude as (I’ll estimate) the budgets of NumbersUSA, FAIR, and the Center for Immigration Studies, combined. Luckily we have the American citizenry on our side.
People in such organizations have a peculiar notion of democracy:
“Hoyt, 55, has worked as an organizer almost continuously since graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, only once or twice veering toward politics or lapsing into what he calls `straight` employment. He’s spent almost all of that time in Chicago and in Latin America, where he was briefly a lay volunteer for the Catholic Church. His commitment to community organizing reflects both talent and temperament—`I’ve always been good in a fight.` But it also springs from a powerful belief in democracy and an equally powerful indignation toward anyone who would deny it to `the most vulnerable in our community.` … `We can’t have a democracy where 11 million people are frozen in third-class status and with their families vulnerable to being deported any moment,` he says. `We benefit from their work. They clean our floors, serve our tables, and yet we won’t invite them to the table of our democracy. The only way immigrants have become full members of our democracy is to fight to get to the table.`”
Hoyt’s “democracy” has zero overlap with the idea of self-determination for the American polity. And “immigrants” in the quotes above means, of course, “illegal aliens.”
Although Hoyt and the article’s author apparently sensed no irony, the flaw in their unspoken world view is revealed in the following paragraph (note the sentence I’ve italicized):
“In 1997 Hoyt helped start United Power for Action and Justice, [Email them]an ambitious coalition of community groups and religious organizations from across the Chicago region. The aim of United Power was to take the city’s organizing to a new level of coordination and influence by reaching across racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic lines. But Chicago was too diverse, too tribal, for such an organization to work at the level its founders envisioned. Hoyt says, `It didn’t become what we hoped it would become.` “
The alumni’s published letters in response exhibited admirably robust intellectual diversity, attacking Mertens’s hagiography of Hoyt at many vulnerable points, while also pummelling the editors. Some highlights follow.
Michael Taylor (MBA 1986) of Stamford, CT roasted both the editors and the article:
“I have to take you to task over your story `Dream Deferred` by Richard Mertens, which was billed as `Bound & Determined` on the cover. … I found it to be grossly one-sided and overly suggestive. Frankly, the failure to edit this piece properly is appalling. … Eleven million people are not `frozen in third-class status` in the United States. Most illegal immigrants can simply return to the countries where they are already citizens and start the legal process. They are not bound to the United States as is suggested by the barbed wire on the cover.”
Jeffrey Singer (MPP 1998) of Chicago wrote, in part:
“I was extremely disappointed in Richard Mertens’s article on Joshua Hoyt, AM’95, and `immigrant rights.` The article … at no point takes seriously the arguments of those of us who are sick and tired of the way this state and successive presidential administrations have treated the issue of illegal immigration. In fact, after starting the article promisingly by using the proper terminology of illegal immigrant to refer to immigrants who enter this country by breaking our immigration laws, Mr. Mertens soon falls into the Orwellian word usage of `undocumented`—as in `undocumented student` for `Diana,` who is shamefully allowed by the University to attend classes instead of being turned in to federal authorities for deportation.
The simple facts of the matter, which you won’t get from Mr. Hoyt, is that we do have a democracy in this country, and the voters in this democracy get to decide who deserves citizenship and who does not. … Not all the citizens of Illinois, nor all graduates of the University of Chicago, support illegal immigration and the shameful work of Joshua Hoyt. “
“Shameful work.” No minced words there!
Doug Wood (MBA 1975) succinctly touched on both obfuscatory language and economic basics:
“Your article on Joshua Hoyt uses the term `immigration reform` seven times but not once uses the more accurate term `amnesty.` … What other content is there to `comprehensive immigration reform`? … It is a significant error to presume that those such as Hoyt who argue for amnesty are on a higher moral plane than their opponents. Even the most elementary application of economics would conclude that the 11 million illegal immigrants compete for wages with the lower-income segments of American society and, in doing so, drive down their wages. If liberals really did have the slightest concern for the poor of this country, the first thing they would do would be to shut down illegal immigration.”
Immigration-wars stalwart Peter Schaeffer (BS 1974) of Sugarland, TX hit on, among a range of succinctly-made points, the essential dishonesty of the DREAM Act:
“The proposed Dream Act needs to be considered realistically. This is massive amnesty for all illegal aliens who can claim, even fraudulently, that they entered before the age of 16 and have lived in the United States for at least five years. The proponents assert that illegal immigrants must serve in the military or attend college. This is not true.
The key reason is that any `qualifying` alien gets ten years of legal status simply by applying. Of course, in theory applications can be denied. However, past experience shows that blatantly fraudulent applications will be received in massive numbers and readily accepted.”
Biologists Jane Shoup (PhD 1965) and Stefan Shoup (MA 1964) of Big Falls, WI concentrated on the ecological concerns that initially got many of us (e.g. the founders of FAIR and of NumbersUSA) embroiled in this struggle to rescue the nation’s future:
“The article `Dream Deferred` featuring Joshua Hoyt exemplifies a very narrow and misguided focus, excluding recognition of calamitous ecological and resource problems. It is ever more apparent that this nation cannot now support the needs of our current population, much less millions more due largely to immigration, legal and illegal.”
Finally, Louis Dudas (MBA 1973) of Oro Valley, AZ excoriated the editors’ agenda (quite apparent if one reads the magazine regularly):
“I am writing on a subject that has disturbed me for some time, namely the University of Chicago Magazine’s content and tone. For quite some time it has struck me how blatant and biased some of the major articles have focused on a distinct irreverence for those of us who are still dedicated to the notions of honor, duty, truthfulness, and love of freedom and justice….The latest issue featuring the radical notions of Joshua Hoyt in his support for civil disorder, gutter tactics, and a destruction of America is beyond contempt. Moreover, his invoking of Saul Alinsky, PhB’30, is utterly despicable. … I will confess that I am not proud that I attended the University and indeed will urge my extended family members to avoid the school as their potential choice. At least my wife and I will do our part and disavow our legacy support, which we had planned in our estate trust.”
And it seems to me that there’s a lesson here: The ranks of us well-informed dissidents are now large enough—if we all do our parts—that even monster articles such as this disgraceful one about Joshua Hoyt can be combated: Instead of being daunted, as I inexcusably was, just pick out a piece to refute and be confident that others will be hammering away on other pieces.
Note that there’s an important venue for this besides formal letters-to-editors: More than four years ago, VDARE’s Patrick Cleburne remarked on “the articulate ferocity of the hostile comments posted on the discussion threads following” op-eds on immigration by Ruben Navarrette.
Nowadays, of course, such threads are commonplace, and knowledgeable VDARE readers can usefully contribute to them, at the many op-eds and news articles where they’re enabled, by supplying facts, arguments based upon those facts, and links to the facts. For example, I often see such remarks at the websites of newspapers from all across the country by Lance Sjogren and by “Delaware Bob,” two individuals whom I know.
And don’t be afraid to plagiarize, I. E. use VDARE.com facts without attribution if that`ll help—all’s fair in our struggle to preserve Western civilization.