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The South American Invasion: In GLOBAL CROSSINGS, Alvaro Vargas Llosa Turns Schoolboy Resentment Into Policy
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October 15, 2013, 03:22 AM
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[Previously by Martin Witkerk: The “Myth” Of The Muslim Tide—Is Eurabia Inevitable? ]

Alvaro Vargas Llosa is the eldest son of Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. When his father made a surprise bid for the Presidency of Peru in 1990 on a platform of economic liberalization, twenty-four year old Alvaro served as campaign press spokesman. Since then he has become a prolific author in his own right. Global Crossings is his sixth book in English; he has also authored or coauthored ten titles in Spanish. His subjects have included free market economics, Latin American politics and the myth of Che Guevara. Senor Vargas currently lives in Washington, DC.

Like most authors of a classical liberal bent, Senor Vargas’s orientation is fundamentally economic. He is capable of equating culture with economic activity: “by and large, the Hispanic community can be seen as part and parcel of the American cultural body. The sheer economic power of Hispanic consumers and producers speaks precisely to that fact.” Apparently, if people buy, sell, produce and consume within the borders of America, they are ipso facto American.

Senor Vargas continually contrasts what he takes to be the natural realities of the market with the supposedly artificial and even unreal character of nationhood and politics. “Nativism stems from a collectivist myth,” he writes; “a superstitious notion of nationhood is almost everywhere the basis for the fear and rejection of immigrants.”

International migration, on the other hand, is as natural as the earth and sky: “the levees of anti-immigration policy and enforcement are fighting to contain, along the border between the US and Mexico, a tide as natural as the flow of the sea and the rivers.” (If Senor Vargas thinks there are no boundaries in nature, he should read up on territoriality in animals.)

The preference of business interests for cheap labor is a “need”—sometimes even an “acute” or “desperate need.” Yet there is no corresponding talk about any “need” for American workers to earn enough to marry or raise families. Indeed, higher wages would harm workers:

If fewer foreigners were employed in production, natives would have to be paid higher wages, which in turn would force prices for those goods and services to rise. People would then consume less of them, leading to a loss of jobs for natives.

One wonders how America survived before wages flatlined in the 1970s!

Immigration is said to promote ethnic understanding and peace: “The more flexible, porous and open a society, the better chance it has of creating a peaceful environment in which different groups can co-operate.” Tell it to the Sri Lankans, who let in Tamils until they had a civil war on their hands.

But in any case, “different groups” hardly exist, because people are all pretty much the same:

Race is an almost meaningless concept in today’s world, of course. [Tell it to Eric Holder.] Time has reduced to absurdity the pseudo-scientists who invented racial demography.... A race would be a genetically homogeneous group of individuals... [but] what “race” fits that description in any modern society?

And yet, somehow, it is also imperative to eliminate these meaningless differences:

“Tensions will be defused as people from different backgrounds mingle, intermarry, and coexist, a social mélange that modern life and globalized cities make almost inevitable.... Pro-immigration advocates...should not shy away from confronting the remnants of tribalism.”

Remnants? Senor Vargas is innocent of a vast literature indicating the innateness and largely unchanging character of tribal consciousness. Space precludes a summary here, but a good one can be found in chapter four of Jared Taylor’s White Identity. Of course, Senor Vargas is free, for his part, to prefer a blended, homogeneous world without loyalties, wholly devoted to production and consumption; as Lincoln is supposed to have said, “for those who like that sort of thing, that’s the sort of thing they like.”

Lowlights of the author’s argument include a patently ridiculous survey result claiming to show that between 55 and 65 percent of Americans believe “the economy would collapse without [foreigners’] contribution,” as well as an assertion that young illegals demanding in-state college tuition (the “DREAMers”) are “keen to contribute to America’s greatness.”

Much of the burden of argument in the book is assumed by the mere emotional coloring of words. Anti-immigration activism, for example, is “hysteria”—while, as noted above, business’s preference for paying lower wages is a “desperate need.” Is it not obvious that an author with different policy preferences could just as easily write of industry’s “hysterical” demand for cheap labor and the “desperate need” to protect native labor from competition? Adjectives are not arguments!

Although Global Crossings sometimes makes reference to other parts of the world, it is abundantly clear that what really interests Senor Vargas (in common with all other open-borders advocates) is breaking down barriers to entry in just two places: North America and Europe. These are, of course, the world’s two main concentrations of white Europeans. Such priorities may seem irrational in an author of apparently all-Spanish ancestry, but one of the book’s few personal asides may help explain them:

I had been looked down on, during my stay at a British boarding school in my youthful years, by British kids for whom I was a dark-haired dago because of my looks and my tongue-twisting Spanish name. Because some Pakistani and, to a lesser extent, Chinese, kids were also treated with the same contempt, I found myself making common cause with these other non-natives from time to time.

In books like that of Senor Vargas, we are up against forces far more powerful than the rather weak arguments they explicitly marshal.

Martin Witkerk [Email him] is an independent philosopher. This article is excerpted from a forthcoming review essay in the Summer2013 issue of The Social Contract.