Ken Masugi Writes On Straussians And Immigration

[Previous Letter:A Texas Reader Reports That Mitt Romney’s Immigration Adviser Michael Chertoff Doesn’t Bode Well For Immigration Patriots]

Re: Paul Gottfried’s article Leo Strauss, Immigration, And Israel

From: Ken Masugi [Email him]

Regarding Paul Gottfried's claim that neither Leo Strauss nor "his better known disciples" have written on immigration, he might have noted that the Claremont Institute and Rowman & Littlefield published (2007) a "Straussian" set of essays on immigration by Thomas G. West, John Marini, and Edward J. Erler. [The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration: Principles and Challenges in Americaimage ]

In arguing for the Declaration of Independence's standards of citizenship,

  • Erler opposes birthright citizenship, as interpreted by prevailing views of the 14th Amendment.
  • West (whose book  Gottfried mentions but misunderstands) maintains that basing immigration policy on nationality was far from racist and reflected a prudential means of enacting the principles of the Declaration.
  • Marini observes that the Immigration Act of 1924 incorporated modern racial theories and in fact clashed with the principles of the Declaration.

All three students of Harry Jaffa and Leo Strauss apply their teachers' study of natural right to this uniquely American political challenge.

I would also note attorney-scholar John Eastman's legal arguments against birthright citizenship. Contrary to Professor Gottfried, the Declaration of Independence makes us tougher Americans, not propositional pansies.

Ken Masugi teaches at Johns Hopkins. His writings can be seen  online at  both Ashbrook and Claremont.