Miller Watch (And Wait…and Wait):

What`s Going on with Him and the Boys?

is rapidly becoming what Hilaire Belloc, after Edward
Gibbon, once

“the World`s Debate.” It`s even bringing
subtle changes to the entrenched immigration
enthusiasts who constitute America`s Establishment
Conservatives. We at VDARE.COM naturally welcome all
changes – while hoping they`re not simply superficial.

Some months have passed since my

to National Review`s John J. Miller
expired at the conclusion of Lent.
[VDARE.COM note:

Miller was judged by Peter Brimelow – in the
Afterword to

Alien Nation
, of which we publish only a

web version
– to be “the most unscrupulous of
immigration enthusiasts.”  His hiring by
Review was the first public sign that William F.
Buckley, despite denials, was

on the
immigration issue after his secret firing (“resigning to
write a book”) of Editor John O`Sullivan. Williamson`s

Miller Watch
was set
up to monitor this phenomenon.

Then, distressingly, Miller went

Miller first crawled out of the
perambulator as a brash proponent of the quintessential
neoconservative “Immigration`s Great, We Just Have To
Work On


, specializing in vicious attacks on
conservatives who doubted it. In his

of Peter Brimelow`s Alien Nation for
Reason Magazine he wrote: 

Complete assimilation might take a couple of
generations, it might seem to stall from time to time,
and it will surely come with plenty of rough spots. But
it will happen, just as it always has. By the time 2050
rolls around, today`s furor over immigration will seem
like nothing more than another episode in the long
series of fusses Americans have had over every group of
strangers at our gate. If we`re still using terms like
"majority-minority," they will probably mean something
entirely different and unexpected.

(N.B. no mention of the

role of immigration pauses in
assimilation–let alone, of course, the 1921-65 cut-off.)

This position was always absurd.
But it has become embarrassing after 9/11. I suspected
that, as in

Robert`s Rules Of Order
, silence meant consent–that
Miller knew in his heart that assimilationist theory was
succumbing to

reality. So I invited Miller to come on
over to the winning side in the Great Immigration

The response to my magnanimous
gesture was, needless to say, nothing.

Not that I was holding my breath,
you understand. It isn`t exactly an everyday occurrence
when a journalist who has made a reputation, however
slight, on an issue, takes a hundred-and-eighty-degree
turn on that issue, in public view. More surprising by
far is Miller`s continued–in fact, his deepening–silence
on immigration generally.

The only exception I can find in
the magazine was his article “Border Blues” (March 11,

Miller describes his visit to the
U.S.-Mexico border around Douglas, Arizona, where
thousands of illegal immigrants make their way into the
United States monthly, trashing ranches and robbing and
terrorizing their American owners. His lurid account of
the horrific border situation could almost have appeared
in VDARE.COM…with a little polishing. But it contained
an incongruous but characteristic swipe at “the
anti-immigration crowd” for failing to see that the
solution is–the temporary guest-worker President Fox
wants President Bush to establish!

(N.B. no mention of the hole in the
bottom of any guest worker proposal–the fact that their
U.S.-born children would be American citizens under the
current interpretation of the

14th amendment

Immediately after John O`Sullivan`s
removal from the editorial chair, the word from 215
Lexington Avenue was that National Review would
not jettison his immigration reform line, but
simply “talk about it less.” For some time, “less”
seemed to mean not at all. This sudden silence was noted
by observers as diverse as arch-immigration enthusiast
Bob Bartley at the Wall Street Journal ("[NR
has] stopped stridently claiming opposition to
immigration as a conservative cause," July 3, 2000) and
the more

Fr. Richard Neuhaus in his magazine
First Things (
March 2002).

The only talking about immigration
appeared under the lingering by-line of John O`Sullivan
(now “Editor-at-Large”). But the severance agreement
that has permitted him for almost five years to speak
truth to youth on immigration and the National Question
is approaching its term limit.

“Less” verged on absolute zero in
the middle of last year. NR Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru
pronounced immigration reform officially dead in an
April 2 article subtitled

“Towards A Restrictionism That Can Succeed,”
which he apparently meant “Towards A Restrictionism That
Does Not Restrict.” Ponnuru devoted most of his space to
attacking immigration reformers like Brimelow for racism
and extremism. Shortly afterward, Ponnuru and Miller
reached a sort of neocon nadir: they

George W. Bush to pander even further to
Hispanics by proposing a Constitutional Amendment to
permit an immigrant to become President.

Then came 9/11.

For some months afterward,
immigration was still a non-issue in NR. Maybe

Rich Lowry
was waiting for instructions.

But we would be churlish not to
note that, since early this year, the issue of
immigration reform has been permitted to creep back into
National Review. Indeed, Franklin Foer has

in the The New Republic (July
22) that Pat Buchanan`s new magazine

The American Conservative
will fail precisely
because “pro-immigration [!!] magazines like The
Weekly Standard
and National Review
have turned racial profiling and a tougher visa system
into crusades.”

In the past months NR,
declaring that immigration policy is “on the verge
of breaking down,” has defied the

Wall Street Journal
to oppose

which it rightly called a “quasi-amnesty
bill,” and printed articles by the Center For
Immigration Studies` Mark Krikorian and John O`Sullivan
that drew a pained

from Daniel T. Griswold, the Cato
Institute`s new immigration propagandist. (“After a
season of remission, I see National Review has
succumbed to another bout of anti-immigration fever.”)
There have been NR appearances by names familiar
to VDARE.COM readers, such as

George J. Borjas
and Steven Camarota. In the July 1
issue, Joel Mowbray (“Catching the Visa Express”)
exposed the scandal by which Saudis have been able to
purchase visas priced at $10,000. The July 15 issue
offered a cover story meditation by Rod Dreher on
Holland`s problems with Muslim immigration. Apparently,
strangers at the gate are not behaving as John
Miller blithely predicted.

(By an amazing coincidence, the
Weekly Standard
also just published a July 15 cover
story by Christopher Caldwell

Muslim immigration in

. We must be about to invade Iraq.) 

However, NR chose to
print the letter from Cato`s

without rebuttal. And Jonah Goldberg at
had to go outside the editorial clique to draft
John Fonte of the Hudson Institute to refute Mr.
Griswold. (Speak for yourself, Jonah! – or Rich, or
Rick, or Jay. But only John Miller is familiar with the
issue. And he won`t admit error.) Also, Rod Dreher`s
article defending the late

Pim Fortuyn
as a Dutch version of Mayor Giuliani
struck a

strange note
in a “conservative” website: 

“Rudolph Giuliani was a social liberal but a reformist,
law-and-order Republican for whom many New York
Democrats voted because they were sick and tired of the
urban, welfare liberalism that had turned their city
into a dirty, crime-ridden, ungovernable mess.”

In other words, the NR
editors found it necessary to defend a European
immigration reformer by invoking his otherwise liberal

What is going on at National
? Some individual editors speak with a tongue
that is not so much forked as it is simply shredded. For
instance, during Election 2000, long-time Senior Editor
Richard Brookhiser `fessed up to a fear that Our Lady of
Guadalupe might become the first female president of the
United States and admitted that Pat Buchanan wasn`t all
wet on immigration.. But more recently Brookhiser wrote
a poisonous and incoherent review of Buchanan`s

Death of the West,

in which he effectively took back every nice thing he
had ever said about Buchanan and added a few fresh
insults to boot.

Quite probably, NR has been taking
the heat from a readership base disgruntled by the
editors` failure to declare themselves unequivocally for
immigration reform. Judging from Jonah Goldberg`s
comments in the

Los Angeles Times
and on

, the boys blame us at VDARE.COM for that.

Too bad.

And Sam Francis, writing in
(“Immigration Reform`s New `Palatable
Face,`” May 2002), described what he perceives to be a
more or less organized “onslaught” by such people as
Tamar Jacoby,

Stephen Steinlight

David Horowitz

Paul Greenberg

Jonah Goldberg
against the grassroots movement for
effective immigration reform produced by the terrorist
attacks last September. The aim, Francis speculated, is
to hijack real reform and replace
it with a program for pseudo-reform (recently dubbed “Reform
“) that will leave the institutions of

mass immigration
intact. His argument raises the
question of whether National Review is
just another party cooperating in this onslaught.

The answer (I speak as one who was
on the magazine`s masthead for 27 years) is that
National Review
has become a thoroughly
establishment organ, now edited by ambitious young
people who are establishmentarians, politicians, and
journalists in that order. And the Establishments of
both the Right and the Left–to the extent that they are
any longer distinguishable from one another–still
support (publicly, anyway) mass immigration.

For the boys at NR,
elitist products of a generation brought up to regard
“racism” and “discrimination” as being of the devil and
“equality” the Holy Grail, it goes against the grain to
oppose the Establishment consensus. They have
internalized liberal values, a conservative heresy we
have christened

after its most insistent voice.

Embracing National Greatness
Conservatism strikes NR editors as a means to
play up to the power brokers of the GOP in Washington
(who insist on mass immigration as a function of

), while ingratiating themselves further
with the Manhattan godfathers (who have an interest in
“regime replacement” in the Middle East). NR now
dissents from the Bush administration on two counts: its
insufficiently brutal support for Sharon`s government,
and its pandering to

Vicente Fox

the illegal immigrant
population. I sense dissent in
the first instance is sincere as well as self-serving.
But in the second instance, it`s basically an attempt at
covering an exposed flank and holding the troops in

One obvious means of bringing the
two agenda together: urge the restriction of Muslim
immigrants to America . National Review`s
newfound concern with immigration could well be intended
to help make straight the way for that. You read it here

The problem for National Review,
as for all enthusiasts of National Greatness abroad
and mass immigration at home, is that deepening danger
overseas and the preoccupation with Home Defense is
rapidly placing them in the situation of St. Peter, when
the Lord

promised him
a time would come when others would put
a belt round him and lead him where he would rather not
go. NR, already feeling that belt tightening at
the waist, is anxious not to proceed any sooner than
absolutely necessary where it really, really
doesn`t want to go. Hence its continued hankering
for a “restrictionism that does not restrict.”  

A test to ascertain National
real view of immigration would include such
questions as:

  1. Do the editors commit themselves to a reduction
    in absolute

    of legal immigration? If so, to what level?

  1. Do they favor the

    of all illegal immigrants presently
    residing within the country`s borders?

  1. Do they support a reform of the citizen-child
    interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Further questions should and could
be added to the test. We invite readers to consider this
important matter.

And let us know if you sight John

Williamson Jr.

is the author of The
Immigration Mystique: America`s False Conscience

and an editor and columnist for Chronicles
Magazine, where he writes the The Hundredth Meridian
column about life in the Rocky Mountain West.

July 24, 2002