Goldberg Recants On Nativism—Or Does He?

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From:  Jonah Goldberg  

Read the Goldberg / Gottfried Exchange

While I am amused and a bit flattered by VDARE's growing popularization of the terms "Goldbergism" and "Goldbergists" I have to tell you that I think Mr. Fulford doesn't know what he's talking about.

He writes: "But nativism in the U. S. is considered by Goldbergists to be an absolute evil, just a step above Nazism. In fact, they seem to have the two confused. Both words start with the same two letters, don't they? What more evidence do you need?"

If Mr. Fulford can offer a single sentence from me that suggests I equate Nativism with Nazism I would very much like to see it. If he can't find sucha sentence—and he can't—I will settle for one in which I suggest Nativism is an "absolute evil." He will have a hard time there as well. I do not think Nativism is evil, just for the most part wrong.  

Regardless, it seems to me that it is the Nativists who leap to the conclusion that the charge is a slur. When I referred to Mr. Gottfried's work as a "nativist screed"—an accurate description and not an insult by my lights and by Mr. Fulford's definition—Mr. Gottfried wrote me "While on the subject of gripes, I did not appreciate your reference to me ... as a "nativist." That's a crap accusation, like "anti-Semite," that your neocon friends keep throwing at everyone on their right."

While it seems clear that Mr. Fulford finds me wrong for calling Mr. Gottfried a nativist, and so does Mr. Gottfried. I cannot for the life of me figure out whether Mr. Fulford thinks being a nativist is good or bad.  For reasons unknown to me, his essay doesn't clarify the question.

So I will be clear. Nativists aren't Nazis—or anything close. And I never said they were. Perhaps your slips are showing more than mine when you leap to the conclusion that being called a nativist is the same thing as being called a Nazi. But that's your problem.

VDARE replies: Needless to say, we are delighted at Jonah Goldberg's pronouncement that "nativists" (i.e. immigration reform advocates) are not Nazis. This is a major development in the unveiling of Goldbergism's impressive ideological structure. Presumably, it will be followed by some attempt (at last) to grapple with reformers' actual arguments - such as immigration's failure to bring aggregate economic benefit to Americans, or its destabilizing of the American political balance.

Or will it? Look at Jonah's last three paragraphs. You skipped over them, they're hard to follow. Is he insinuating that the reason immigration reformers don't like being called nativists/ Nazis is because they have a guilty conscience - that in fact they are nativists/ Nazis after all?

Dear us, so he is.

Maybe he just can't help himself.

July 19, 2001