|American Renaissance magazine
|Vol 6, No. 9
The War with Mexico
The actual circumstances of the war were far different from today’s conventional wisdom.
by Erik Peterson
April 25, 1996 will mark the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Mexican War. Today, most Americans have been taught that it was an imperialistic war of aggression, and Mexicans cite the “illegal seizure” of their territories to justify the current colonization of the American Southwest. In fact, by contemporary and even by today’s standards, the war was far from unjustified.
The conflict began with Texas. When the colony of New Spain broke free from its European namesake in 1821 and christened itself Mexico, it inherited vast lands north of the Rio Grande that had been only nominally under Spanish control. Texas was a remote wilderness, constantly terrorized by Commanches, with a Mexican population of only 3,500.
Mexico could have concentrated on subduing the Indians and settling its northern territories. Instead, almost from the first days of independence, the country was wracked by a series of political upheavals. The small, predominantly white, Spanish-speaking elite consumed all of its energies in fratricidal power struggles, while the Mestizo and Indian majority remained mired in poverty.
In order to legitimize its claim on Texas, Mexico needed to occupy it. Since it was unable to do this itself, the Mexican government enlisted the help of immigration agents or empresarios to recruit settlers from the United States. The empresarios, chief among them Steven F. Austin, acted as representatives of the Mexican government. They were authorized to offer immigrants cheap land in return for accepting Mexican citizenship and converting to Roman Catholicism. The Americans appear to have made a good faith effort to fulfill the first requirement but often sidestepped the second.
The new settlers created a frontier version of the plantation-based, slave-owning society of the neighboring Southern states. By the early 1830s, however, Mexico began to fear that the empresarios had been too successful: American immigrants outnumbered Mexicans four to one, and seemed likely to identify with the land of their birth.
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became President of Mexico in 1833, and in 1835 abrogated the constitution and declared himself dictator. This act alone provoked rebellion in seven Mexican states, including Texas, but Texans had additional reasons for discontent. Determined to reverse the Americanization of the territory, Santa Anna had decreed an end to American immigration, abolished slavery, repealed the local political autonomy Texans had enjoyed, and announced he would forcibly settle the land with Mexican convicts.
It is hard to imagine policies better calculated to rouse the ire of free-spirited Texans. In 1836 they overthrew local Mexican garrisons and declared independence. Santa Anna promptly invaded Texas with an army of 3,000 men, but after several engagements was decisively beaten by Sam Houston’s men at the battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna was captured, and in order to gain freedom agreed to recognize Texan independence, with the Rio Grande as its border. He later disavowed this treaty, and Mexico waged a nine-year guerrilla war against its former territory.
The United States recognized Texas as an independent republic in 1837, and recognition soon followed from France, Great Britain, Holland, and Belgium. Despite strong Texan sentiment to join the Union, the American government demurred; Mexico threatened war if Texas were annexed, and the United States was unwilling to upset the delicate balance between slave and free states.
The presidential election of 1844 brought into office a firm believer in what soon became known as “manifest destiny.” James K. Polk was determined to complete the annexation of Texas, buy California from the Mexicans, and bluff the British into ceding the better part of Oregon. The Texans were impatient for a settlement, and Polk’s predecessor, John Tyler, had welcomed the Lone Star State into the Union three days before he left office. If the United States had continued to hesitate because of Mexican sentiments, Texas might have remained independent or even accepted protectorate status from Britain or France.
As for California, Mexico’s position was so weak it was bound to be supplanted soon, if not by the U.S. then by Britain, Russia, or perhaps even the Mormons. Polk had reason to believe that Mexico would be willing to sell. In the meantime, if Oregon joined the Union the careful balance of free and slave states could be maintained.
When Texas joined the United States in March 1845, Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic relations and threatened war. Polk sent General Zachary Taylor with 2,000 men to protect the new state from Mexican depredation while annexation was accomplished. Nevertheless, Polk had every reason to seek a diplomatic solution with Mexico, partly because he was afraid war might break out with Britain over the Oregon question. He decided to send a special emissary, John Slidell, to Mexico with instructions to resolve all outstanding issues.
On the question that had caused the rupture — annexation of Texas — Slidell was not to compromise. Mexico had been unable to reconquer her wayward territory, whose independence had been recognized by the major powers. By refusing to accept the loss of Texas and by persisting in border skirmishes, Mexico had perpetuated a crisis on the American border that could have led to European intervention. Texas was now part of the United States.
Several other matters were open to negotiation. One was the settlement of $3.25 million in claims by Americans on the Mexican government. Mexico had recognized these claims under international arbitration, but had later refused to pay. Another issue was final determination of the Texas-Mexico border. As a Mexican territory, the Texas border had been at the Nueces River, but after their revolution the Texans claimed the Rio Grande as the border — without, however, establishing full authority in the disputed territory. Slidell was authorized to release Mexico from the $3.25 million obligation in return for recognition of the Rio Grande border. This was a reasonable offer, especially since Mexico had already, in effect, declared war, and unpaid international obligations were then considered grounds for belligerency. By accepting this offer, Mexico could easily have avoided war.
Besides these immediate questions, Slidell was to offer $15 million but, if necessary, propose considerably more for the Mexican lands stretching from Texas to the Pacific. If the entire tract was not for sale, he was to offer $5 million for New Mexico.
The Mexican government, threatened by a militant opposition and wracked by internal dissension, refused even to receive Slidell. This was a fatal mistake. The rebuff left Polk with no means to negotiate a peaceful settlement. He ordered Zachary Taylor into the disputed region between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande, but he warned Taylor not to seek engagement with any Mexican troops he might encounter. In the meantime, he made preparations to ask Congress to declare war, but Mexico forced the issue.
On April 23, 1846, sixteen hundred Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande. Two days later they ambushed a U.S. Army patrol, inflicting sixteen casualties and taking prisoners. Mexico “shed American blood upon American soil,” and the war began.
The Mexicans, of course, saw the war as a just effort to retake what was rightfully theirs. Why, though, would they make war on the United States when they had been unable to subdue a breakaway territory? Astonishingly enough, Mexico fully expected to win. It had a standing army of 27,000 men versus an American army of only 7,200. French advisors to the Mexican army had an exaggerated estimate of its fighting prowess, which the Mexicans gladly believed. The generals intended not only to take back Texas but to annex parts of the United States. Indeed, the Mexican dictator of the moment, General Mariano Paredes, boasted that he would not negotiate until the Mexican flag flew over the capitol dome in Washington. The Mexicans were also counting on diplomatic and even military support from Britain, but the Oregon issue was resolved just before they attacked.
In his two-volume work, The War With Mexico, Pulitzer prize-winning historian Justin H. Smith described the war fever among the generals: “Mexico wanted [war]; Mexico threatened it, Mexico issued orders to wage it.” By no stretch of the imagination was Mexico thrust into an unwanted war by Yankee aggressors.
The military history of the Mexican War makes interesting reading and is a credit to the tradition of American arms.
Throughout the two-year campaign, small but superbly led and highly motivated American units consistently outfought the Mexicans. The Mexican army, impressive enough in numbers and parade-ground panache, was utterly unable to fight a determined adversary.
The American war effort was not all glorious. Although the Regular Army behaved with proper discipline, some of the volunteer militia units conducted themselves so badly they created guerrilla resistance among previously noncombatant Mexican civilians. Also, the war was all-too-effective training for America’s fratricidal tragedy just 13 years later. Among the junior officers sent to Mexico, 200 would go on to be generals in the Union and Confederate armies.
The Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo ended the war in 1848 on terms advantageous to the United States. Mexico agreed to cede California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and the western parts of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico — in all, 525,000 square miles of land that contained virtually no Mexicans.
All but overlooked today is the fact that the United States forgave the $3.25 million debt, and paid Mexico $15 million for the ceded territories. According to the rules of 19th century warfare, after routing Mexico’s armies and occupying its capital, the United States could have seized territory under whatever terms it liked. To have paid what it considered a reasonable amount before fighting an expensive war — estimated to have cost $100 million — was a magnanimous gesture.
The Mexican position today is that the United States stole Mexican territory. However, Mexico could have refused the money or promptly returned it. By accepting payment it ratified the transfer. Furthermore, only five years later, Mexico agreed to sell an additional parcel of land to the United States, which was to be used for the southern route of the transcontinental railway. The Gadsden Treaty of 1853 settled a number of disputes about the post-1848 U.S.-Mexico border and secured 19 million additional acres of territory for the United States. In return, the United States paid Mexico $10 million. There was no threat of war or coercion. This freely negotiated settlement of the new border and additional transfer of land were further ratification by Mexico of the consequences of war with the United States.
In conclusion, the United States had ample to reason to pursue, in 1846, the course that it did. As a practical matter, the real issue decided by the war was whether Britain, France, Russia, Mexico or the United States would acquire the vast territories of the American Southwest. President Polk resolved the question in favor of the United States in a refreshingly straightforward nineteenth century manner.
Eric Peterson lives in Oregon and writes about American history.
What They Are Saying Now
Voz Fronteriza is one of several irredentist, anti-white publications supported by California taxpayers. On its masthead, it calls itself “a quarterly Chicano Mexicano student publication founded in 1975 . . . recognized as an official campus print media [sic] by the Associated Student Media Board of U.C. San Diego.” This is the lead of a typical article:
In August of 1996, a large gathering of the most racist/fascist European settlers will take place in San Diego, Ca. The objective of this gathering is to consolidate and develop a program which will further erode the democratic rights of the majority of the people in occupied America (United States) and hold steady the present U.S. socio-political policy leading to the genocide and deportation of the Mexicano, African, and other oppressed people.
The anticipated “gathering” is the Republican National Convention. The article goes on to explain that “the right-wing plans of GOP pigs such as [Pete] Wilson, Gingrich, Helms, Buchannon [sic], etc. are genocidal, pure and simple.” [Voz Fronteriza, May 1995, p. 10.]
Articles routinely refer either to “the ‘so-called’ border between Aztlan and Mexico” or use the Spanish expression la Frontera Falsa. They call Mexicans la raza, “the race,” or our gente, “our people.” The Mex-American nation of Aztlan is to be won through “armed struggle.”
The centerfold of each issue is to something called “Definitions and Descriptions of Oppression,” a kind of catechism of anti-white nationalism, which includes definitions like this:
“Race is an arbitrary socio-biological category created by Europeans (white men) in the 15th century and used to assign human worth and social status with themselves as the model of humanity, with the purpose of establishing white skin access to sources of power.”
Likewise, “A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States . . .” Naturally, “people of color cannot be racists.”
On the back page is a Poesia section, in which young Chicanos vent righteous rage in blank verse. A recent issue offered two works, one called “Stupid American” and the other, “What the hell are you looking at, old white man?” both every bit as bad as they sound.
A Government of Wolves
The tyrannical rule of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judicial Dictatorship, William J. Quirk & R. Randall Bridwell, Transaction Publishers, 1995, 143 pp., $29.95.
reviewed by Thomas Jackson
The federal government is unquestionably in lower repute than at any time since General Beauregard gave the order to open fire on Fort Sumter. Judicial Dictatorship explains why, and does it so thoroughly it will shame even confirmed enemies of federal power into thinking they have been too indulgent with Washington. William Quirk and Randall Bridwell place the blame for increasing federal tyranny squarely on the U.S. Supreme Court — though at the same time they fault American citizens for submitting to fetters that a brave people could throw off at any time.
The heart of the authors’ argument is that by arrogating to itself the right to interpret the Constitution, the Supreme Court has seized decision-making power over every important national question. They point out that this is a form of minority rule that is deeply inimical not only to the original notions of the founders but to the idea of democracy itself.
A court’s inquiry into the constitutionality of a law is called judicial review. As the authors explain, it “assumes that the president and Congress, the branches responsible to the people, either cannot understand or will not respect the Constitution and the Supreme Court does understand it and will respect it.” Federal judges always know best.
The Constitution itself is silent on who is to be its final arbiter. Thomas Jefferson foresaw that any branch of government that had this right exclusively would soon rule the others: “Whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or spoken laws, it is He who is truly the Law-Giver to all intents and purposes, and not the person who first wrote or spoke them.” Jefferson has been proven right. The Supreme Court routinely invalidates laws passed by elected assemblies and interprets laws in ways never intended by law-makers.
Jefferson thought that each branch should interpret the Constitution for itself. Congress would legislate in accordance with its interpretation but the President could refuse to carry out any law that violated his interpretation. The Supreme Court could also express its views on constitutionality. Jefferson realized that this would cause friction and could hobble government, but that was exactly what he wanted. In his view, every new law eroded the freedom of the people, so it was just as well that legislation should require approval by all three branches of government rather than just one. Of the three, the judiciary was least qualified to be the sole interpreter of the Constitution because it was not answerable to the people.
Equal, contending branches of government were the essence of “checks and balances,” but today there is nothing short of the very cumbersome process of constitutional amendment to check or balance the power of the judiciary. The men who fought England to escape the burdens of monarchy would be astonished to find their descendants now ruled by modern-day equivalents of the Judges of Israel.
The judicial system is supposed to mete out justice to individuals. Its decisions are supposed to affect only the parties to a case. However, by assuming the right to strike down laws and interpret those it does not strike down, the federal judiciary now passes new laws and amends the Constitution at will. As the authors put it, “the opinions of the Supreme Court are the government of the United States.”
Protecting the Minority
Courts that flout majority views claim that their role is to protect the minority. However, the theory that the majority’s rapaciousness must always be checked by wise guardians is openly anti-democratic. If the majority cannot be trusted to deal fairly with the minority, why should it be trusted with anything at all? Moreover, majority rapaciousness has always been more theoretical than real. In Britain, for example, final authority rests with whatever majority Parliament can muster, but where is the tyranny a Supreme Court should suppress?
In democracies there are rarely permanent majorities. Sooner or later everyone finds himself on the wrong side of a vote. Democracy therefore has built-in restraints on the ruthlessness of winners, since they may well be losers when the next question comes up for a vote. Even if they have the power to do so, courts should not lightly set aside a decision that has made its way through a legislature. As Learned Hand put it, “a law which can get itself enacted is almost sure to have behind it a support which is not wholly unreasonable.”
Some of the most obvious judicial tyrannies have had to do with race — courts force Americans to live with, employ, and go to school with people not of their choosing. But as the authors point out, federal judges have struck down majority decisions about everything from abortion and treatment of criminals, to standards for obscenity and education.
In one case, a judge wrote a 169-page opinion that completely overhauled the South Carolina prison system — and he did it singlehandedly. In North Carolina, another judge specified exactly what recreations should be made available to prisoners, including “horseshoes, croquet, badminton [and] paddleball.” He even required annual state tournaments in chess, checkers and backgammon for inmates. One federal judge saw fit to specify the temperature of the hot water in a mental institution, and in another famous case, a Missouri judge ordered an increase in property taxes to pay for a gold-plated school system that was supposed to tempt whites back into public schools.
Questions like this come before the courts because some busybody decides that he does not like the way the elected majority has arranged things. The busybody does not have to do the difficult work of persuading the majority to change its mind. He need only change the minds of a few judges. Once judges have worked their will on something, it is lifted completely out of the normal political process and is beyond the reach of anything short of a reversal on appeal or a Constitutional amendment. A federal judge’s decision to thwart Proposition 187 in California — which would deny welfare and social benefits to illegal aliens — is just another example of the high-handed way judges flout the will of the people.
Sadly, even those who cannot point to any other legitimate suppression of majorities by courts usually defend the decisions that overturned racial segregation. Blacks, we are told, are the one worthy example of a minority legally tyrannized by a democratic majority. Of course, it is now clear not only that the desegregation decisions were catastrophes, but that they paved the way for dozens of other fanciful rulings on sex, disability, citizenship, legal status, and sexual orientation. A terrible error about race spawned other terrible errors.
Messrs. Quirk and Bridwell point out that judicial tyranny makes policy-making a ruthless game of winner-take-all. Because a judge does not have to compromise like a legislator seeking a majority, because he need please no one but himself (or, eventually, five Supreme Court justices), a judge can enact laws that virtually no one wants. As the authors explain, no legislature in the country would have passed an equivalent of the Miranda law, which requires police to tell crooks they need not confess. No legislature would have approved of forced busing. Probably not a single state legislature would have granted a blanket right to an abortion, nor would Congress have permitted practicing homosexuals in the military. The authors explain that by assuming dictatorial power, judges destroy democracy: “Our basic reliance on a system for throwing our representatives out does not work if the ones we can throw out do not have the real power,” they write.
Some Supreme Court justices openly revel in the awesome power they were never intended to have. William Brennan was not exaggerating when he once told his law clerks, “With five votes around here you can do anything.” It was also Justice Brennan who justified racial preferences by saying that “in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.” Justice Brennan has even announced his intention of undermining the death penalty in any way that he can, even though execution is clearly anticipated in the 5th amendment’s reference to “capital” crimes, and is supported by the vast majority of Americans.
How did the majority lose its power? The authors explain that by the 19th century judicial review already had tyrannical potential, but that judges were much more respectful of majorities. Also, in what the authors call “an unholy alliance,” the other branches of the federal government accepted the loss of certain powers to the courts because the courts were vastly increasing the powers of all the branches. Congress could tolerate judicial review if the Supreme Court obligingly ignored the Tenth Amendment and ruled that every act of every American was actually interstate commerce.
Of course, it is the states that have been most mercilessly bound and gagged, as Jefferson and others feared they would be. In the 1830s, Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri was just one of many who warned that if the courts could interpret the Constitution, they would exert “despotic power” that would lead inexorably to “the annihilation of the States.”
The 14th amendment, passed over a prostrate former Confederacy, officially extended federal power over the states for the first time, but annihilation came later. As late as 1873, in the famous Slaughter-House Cases, the court refused to declare a state law unconstitutional, since it did not think it had the power to act as censor of every state act. By 1937, a bolder court began to interfere directly with local legislation, and the states began a descent into irrelevance that was only briefly checked by Southern resistance to forced integration.
It is the disappearance of any but the national majority that has emasculated the states, just as it has all other smaller jurisdictions. As originally planned, the United States was to be composed of concentric majorities; townships, counties, and states made the decisions that mattered most to most people, and the federal government had little day-to-day business. However, in a democracy, defining the quorum often defines the results. Now that the quorum is national rather than local, people who know nothing about trees tell the people of Oregon how to manage forests, just as people who knew nothing about blacks told Southerners how to manage race relations. Nothing is beyond the reach of federal judges.
How can judicial power be curbed? There have been many proposals. Jefferson thought states had the power to ignore federal laws their legislatures found unconstitutional. The federal government could then repeal the law or call a constitutional convention.
Others have suggested that Congress should use the impeachment power much more freely, not just to throw out criminal judges but to remove those who overstep their bounds. Theodore Roosevelt, who despised judicial review, thought that every time the Supreme Court struck down a law or discovered a new “right” the question should be put on the next national ballot for the people to decide. Others have proposed that Congress — or a state — should be able to reestablish any “unconstitutional” law if it can muster a three-fourths majority.
Today, conservatives long for “strict constructionist” judges, who can read the Constitution as a layman would, but Messrs. Quirk and Bridwell point out that the political thinking of individual judges is a small problem compared to the unintended power judges now have, a power “so great that it might corrupt an angel.”
Ultimately, though, tinkering with judicial review will not help a people that has permitted itself to be ruled by the unanswerable will of a few old men and women. In 1944, Learned Hand wrote that “liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”
Jefferson wrote that a government based on force and not on consent is “a government of wolves over sheep.” By routinely overthrowing the traditions of the majority, by ignoring its will and thwarting the results of its deliberations, the judiciary has shown that it does not care about the consent of the governed. But far more amazing than the power lust of our black-robed wolves is how little force it takes to drive the sheep.
Would federal troops invade a state that decided not to enforce a ban on high-capacity handgun magazines, or that told state prisoners they would have to get through the day without croquet? Jefferson wrote that a people’s chains are always self-imposed.
The authors of this book feel strongly about these questions, and their passions sometimes show through their otherwise careful prose. One can almost imagine them leading a corrective operation against the Supreme Court. And what about Thomas Jefferson who, in his first inaugural address, spoke of “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned”? It is hard to believe that the old revolutionary would not lead a rebellion if he were alive today.
My Father, the Civil Rights Activist
by Russell Eisenman
The article in the May issue of American Renaissance about the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march reminds me of some of my father’s experiences as a civil rights advocate. My father, Abram Eisenman, worked during the 1950s and 1960s for the rights of black people in our home town of Savannah, Georgia. He was particularly effective in getting better housing for blacks.
My father ran several times for city council as a civil rights advocate. On one occasion, his overwhelming support among black citizens seemed to give him a good chance of winning. His opponent was a segregationist, whose supporters seemed cocky and who did not make a good effort to get out the vote. However, an amazing thing happened.
As my father told me after the election, “Hosea Williams [the famous civil rights leader and associate of Martin Luther King] came to me and demanded $300 if they were going to support me. I felt it was wrong to be extorted this way and I turned him down. He then got local blacks and some outside blacks to come in and campaign for my opponent, the ardent segregationist. So, I lost the election.”
My father died in 1982, and I learned only later about some of the other problems he had with black leaders. Recently my mother told me that although blacks were grateful for his help and invited him to their social and political functions, they also tried to frighten him into giving them money. They constantly demanded large contributions from him and from the black-oriented radio station for which he worked.
The radio station refused to pay, and my father was unable to give very much. He did not make a great deal of money and spent his savings publishing a newspaper to present his views and advance the cause of blacks. My father had been a popular disk jockey on the radio station, but some blacks complained that a white person should not be on the air for a black station, and he was removed from his job. He then made a living selling ads for the station.
When my father would not give them money, black leaders threatened violence. Some made death threats. The very group he was trying to help was making his life miserable. It was one thing to get death threats from the Ku Klux Klan, who once burned a cross on our lawn, but to be threatened by blacks might seem to be the last straw. Not for my father. He continued his civil rights work. The only real change in his life, besides elevated blood pressure, was to get an unlisted telephone number — not to protect himself from the Klan but from blacks. The worst of the threats came during the 1960s, when my brother and I were away at college, but our parents kept this from us.
Part of the problem was that blacks were starting to emphasize black power, and were less accepting of whites who helped them. Also, according to the black power movement, blacks were god-like and whites were devils. Thus, someone like my father, who was clearly on their side, would be confusing. He did not fit their stereotype of the evil white man, but they sometimes treated him the way they had decided all whites should be treated.
It is easy to imagine the loneliness of a white man, working in the South during the 1950s and 1960s for the rights of blacks. Who would have thought that the people for whom he sacrificed so much would treat him so heartlessly? My father certainly had the courage of his convictions, and I admire his dedication to a cause. However, when I think of him I cannot help but think of Amy Biehl, the young Stanford graduate who went to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship to “fight oppression.” In August, 1993, as she drove through a black Cape Town neighborhood, she was dragged from her car by thugs who killed her because she was white.
Dr. Russell Eisenman is a professor of psychology at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.
|IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
An Important Victory
The current assault on racial preferences is the first time in decades that whites have acted in their own racial interests. Ever since the 1950s, whites have lost every battle over race. Although it should never have been necessary to fight against systematic discrimination against the majority, whites are winning victories that no one would have predicted only two or three years ago.
On July 20th, the Board of Regents, which is the governing body of all California state universities, voted to forbid race and sex preferences in admissions, hiring, and contracting. California has the largest state university system in the country, and the decision is likely to be copied by other states. This important vote was taken under the leadership of California governor, Pete Wilson, who has made the elimination of racial preferences a central theme in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
The chancellors of all nine of the university’s campuses have said they want to stick with the old system of discrimination. Jesse Jackson, who is not a resident of California but who led protests anyway, called the vote “a blatant act of racism.” “I do not wish to be colorblind,” he said, adding that society should be “race-caring” rather than “race-neutral.” Leaders of non-white student groups have promised protests and campus disruption when they return to school in the fall. [Amy Wallace & Dae Lesher, UC Regents, in historic vote, wipe out affirmative action, LA Times, 7/21/95, p. 1.]
The White House chief of staff, Leon Panetta, promptly announced that federal funds might be withheld from California — he thinks eliminating discrimination against whites is a punishable offense — but the Department of Education admitted unhappily that this could not be done.
Presumably, this vote renders moot a creative consumer-fraud suit that a lawyer filed recently against the University of California. Allan Favish pointed out that U.C. law and medical school applications were lying to applicants when they claimed that the schools did not discriminate on the basis of sex or race. He did not propose that race and sex preferences be eliminated; only that the schools correct their false advertising by including in their applications tables of race, grades, and test scores of people previously admitted. [William Honan, Preference in admission is attacked in fraud suit, NYT, 6/7/95, p. B8.]
Back in Washington, DC, the very day before the vote by the University of California regents, President Bill Clinton gave a long-awaited speech on affirmative action, which he pronounced “good for America.” The speech was filled with the usual blather:
The purpose of affirmative action is to give our nation a way to finally address the systemic exclusion of individuals of talent, on the basis of their gender or race, from opportunities to develop, perform, achieve and contribute. Affirmative action is an effort to develop a systematic approach to open the doors of education, employment, and business development opportunities to qualified individuals who happen to be members of groups that have experienced longstanding and persistent discrimination. [Paul richter, Clinton declares affirmative action is ‘good for America,’ LA Times, 7/20/95, p. 1.]
Politics in Paradise
On August 4th, the self-styled head of state of the “Nation of Hawaii” was arrested on federal charges of harboring a felon. Dennis Kanahele, who claims that both the federal and state governments are illegal and have no jurisdiction over native Hawaiians, is the leader of a movement to take back Hawaii from United States jurisdiction. Mr. Kanahele was accused of sheltering, and preventing the arrest of a man who, as a member of something called the Royal Kingdom of Hawaii, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years on jail for filing false tax statements. The head of state and his followers ignore traffic summonses and often drive cars with home-made license plates that say “Hawaiian Sovereign.” [Mark Matsunaga, Nation leader Kanahele jailed, Honolulu Advertiser, 8/3/95, p. 1.] They also like to send notices to state and federal officials, accusing them of “crimes against humanity” and promising “final judgment.” [Mark Matusnaga, Kanahele bail denied while he awaits trial, Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 5, 1995, p. 1.]
Meanwhile, a U.S. government evaluation team has found that corruption and white collar crime are rampant in American Samoa, and have recommended that the authority of federal courts be extended to the territory. At present Samoa is the only American territory over which federal courts do not have jurisdiction. The territory does, however, have a congressional delegate, Eni Faleomavaega. He strongly opposes federal jurisdiction which, he says, will interfere with local customs. Each year, Washington hands over about $100 million to the territory, and one local custom appears to be the diversion of millions of these dollars into private pockets. [Kirk Spitzer, U.S. probers charge corruption rampant in American Samoa, Honolulu advertiser, 8/3/95, p. 1.]
Flocking to Europe
British nationalists who oppose further non-white immigration to Europe have found a surprising new ally: sheep. Britons are sentimental about animals, and there is growing concern about the hundreds of thousands of British sheep that are exported to France to have their throats slit by Muslims. France’s 5,000,000 Muslims have been carrying out so much ritual slaughter in apartments, houses, and on street corners that French authorities have set aside public lands as killing fields, especially during Islamic festivals. On the holiest days, as many as 100 British sheep an hour may be bled to death. For many Britons, this gruesome practice has come to be seen as an unmistakable sign that Arab immigrants are hopelessly alien and should have no place in Europe. [Sylvia Noble, ritual slaughter: an alien practice that disgraces Europe, Spearhead (England), July, 1995, p. 16.]
Making the Grade
Since 1984, Florida has required college students to pass something called the College Level Academic Skills Test in order to get a junior college degree or to become a junior at a four-year college. Sixty-four percent of whites pass the test on the first try but only 40 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of blacks do, so the test has the usual critics. The Florida state legislature has now devised a complicated set of grading and testing criteria that will let many students bypass the test. Officials at the Florida Department of Education say that the examination is designed to test 10th-grade abilities. [Kit Lively, Florida eases rule that students pass test to become juniors, The Chronicle of higher education, 6/2/95, p. A26.]
The state of Georgia has decided to deport criminal aliens rather than keep them on as guests of the state. By kicking out hundreds of foreign crooks, the state will either save $6 million a year or make the jail space available to American crooks. [Georgia to rid itself of alien convicts, SF Chron, 6/7/85, p. A10.]
Anticipating Amy Biehl
A new book called Thy Will Be Done blames Nelson Rockefeller for exploiting the third world and explains how Mr. Rockefeller’s son, Michael, was killed and eaten by third worlders when he went off to save them from his father. In 1961, while Nelson Rockefeller was governor of New York, Michael was in New Guinea sheltering natives from the ravages of Western materialism. During an expedition to collect tribal art, he had a boating accident and was forced ashore. As he emerged from the water, one of the locals speared him in the chest. To quote from the book: “He was still alive when taken up the river, killed with an ax, and in the religious manner of cannibals seeking the strength of their victims, cooked with sago palm and eaten.” [Richard Johnson, Gory saga of a Rockefeller death, NY Post, May 27, 1995, p. 6.]
Battle is Drawn
The New York State Senate has passed a bill that would close state universities to illegal aliens. An estimated 4,400 illegals cost the state about $35 million a year. The bill must still pass the state’s lower house, where one assemblyman predicted that it had “no chance.” “Where was this taken from — Nazi Germany?” asks Assemblyman Edward Sullivan, who is chairman of the Higher Education Committee. [Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/2/95,p. A25.]
Cracking Down on Police Racism
In 1986, Congress passed laws setting long minimum sentences for crack cocaine users. Liberal judges and lawyers have noticed that 96 percent of the people convicted under these laws are either black or Hispanic and have concluded that this can only reflect police racism. In July, a federal appeals court actually overturned the crack-dealing conviction of a black gang member, arguing that federal prosecutors had not proven that racial patterns in convictions were not the result of racial bias. No one doubts that Nolan Reese, a member of the Crips street gang in San Diego, was a crack dealer but his 14-year prison sentence has now been struck down and he is a free man. Prosecutors have argued, vainly, that they arrest non-whites under the crack laws because non-whites break them. [Dan Weikel, Gang member’s crack conviction reversed, LA Times, 7/28/95, p. A3.]
A Thousand Points of Light
These days, good sense on forbidden subjects can crop up nearly anywhere. Donald Vroon is editor of American Record Guide, which is devoted to classical music. In the MayJune issue, in an excellent article on American cultural decline entitled “Cultural Suicide,” he writes:
We have been taught to label certain ideas as passé and old-fashioned, but on what logical basis have we rejected them? They have never been proved wrong; instead, our own messy time proves all the old fogies right. In the 1950s we were shocked when the old fogies said that the integration of a race that was culturally advanced with one that was backward could only hurt the overall cultural level of our society. It is very clear now that they were right . . .” [Donald Vroon, Cultural Suicide II, American Record Guide, May/June, 1995, p. 57.]
Meanwhile, the American correspondent for the Australian paper, the Sydney Morning Herald, has written a series of articles about taboos in the United States. One is a grimly factual piece called “The Race War of Black Against White,” in which he writes that “for the past 30 years a large segment of black America has waged a war of violent retribution against white America.” Correspondent Paul Sheehan points out that the average black is about 50 times more likely to commit violent crime against a white than vice versa, and that in the past 30 years blacks have killed over 40,000 whites — more than the number of soldiers who died in the Korean War. “Black Americans have committed at least 170 million crimes against white Americans in the past 30 years,” he concludes; “It is the great, defining disaster of American life and American ideals since World War II.” [Paul Sheehan, The race war of black against white, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 20, 1995.]
The Irish Times, like most other newspapers, noticed that many South African blacks cheered for the all-white South African rugby team as it went on to win the world championship. Unlike most other papers, it also noted that the country is so wracked with crime and racial divisions that it is tottering on the brink of collapse. Its conclusion: “By the time of the next world cup, South Africa will not be recognisable; this is the last hurrah for European South Africa with its rugby and its homes and gardens.” [Kevin Myers, European South Africa’s Last Hurrah, The Irish Times, June 3, 1995]
It Must Have Been the License Plates
On July 13th, two blacks were driving along Interstate 285 near Atlanta in a stolen jeep. Two accomplices were driving in another car. The accomplices pulled ahead of a motor home and slowed down, forcing the motor home to slow. The jeep pulled up alongside the motor home and a passenger blasted away at the white driver and his son, sending both to the hospital. The perpetrators were caught and the attack has been big news in Atlanta, but police have not determined a motive for the shootings. Nor has the driver, James Hess. “I don’t have any enemies,” he said, “unless they just don’t like people with Florida tags, I don’t know why [they did it].” [Don Plummer & Doug Payne, Motive in I-285 case may remain mystery, police say, Atlanta Constitution, July 20, 1995.]
Not Athens After All
The Carter Center, founded by former President, Jimmy Carter, has been forced to conclude that the June elections in Haiti were essentially a sham. Ordinarily Mr. Carter and his center are squarely behind President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and everything he does, but even they could not stomach the government’s behavior (see previous month’s “O Tempora”). Mr. Carter was no doubt grieved when some of Mr. Aristide’s supporters said that the center’s attempts to ensure fair elections were intolerable interference.
Robert Pastor of the Carter Center does not recommend rerunning the entire election; only most of it. He notes that many opposition parties were so disgusted by government high-handedness that they will boycott runoff elections to be held later this year, and warns President Clinton that if he endorses the runoffs as planned, the United States will have aligned itself squarely with a fraudulent government. [Steven Greenhouse, Election monitor criticizes Haitian vote for widespread fraud, NYT, July 21, 1995, p. A5.]
America’s most famous drunk driver, Rodney King, has racked up his fifth arrest since that famous 1991 encounter with the Los Angeles Police Department. The first collar was just two months after the videotaped beating, when he was feeling chipper enough to solicit a transvestite prostitute and tried to run over two vice squad men who stopped the fun. Since then, he has been caught for drunk driving twice, once after crashing into a wall. He has also been arrested twice for assaulting his wife, most recently by driving off before she was completely out of the car. “She did a cartwheel,” explained a police spokesman.
The officers who subdued him in 1991 are still behind bars, but Mr. King has yet to serve a day in prison. Any other American would long ago have lost his license and been locked up. As the New York Post pointed out in a May 27 editorial, “Rodney King is going to get into a car and kill some innocent person one of these days,” and it will be entirely due to the cowardice of whites. [The Unstoppable Rodney King, New York Post, 5/27/95. The Rodney King Chronicles (Cont.), NYP, 7/17/95.]
Let the Employer Beware
There are five “historically black” universities in North Carolina, and all have problems getting students to graduate. They have decided that it is discouraging for them to have failing grades on their transcripts, so the schools have made it as easy as possible to avoid them; students can retake a course as often as they like, and if they pass it only the passing grade is recorded. [AP, Paper: black universities lenient on grading, Detroit Free Press, July 10, 1995, p. A1.]
The Self-Esteem Defense
Lemrick Nelson is the young black who is likely to have killed Yankel Rosenbaum in 1991 during anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights, New York. He was acquitted on state murder charges, despite overwhelming evidence against him. The federal government, only after much prodding by Jews, agreed to try him again on civil rights charges. Mr. Nelson’s lawyers are preparing a tear-jerker defense, pointing out that he was an “unplanned child” who was “ignored by his mother during his infancy.” They go on to explain his crime: “[Mr. Nelson] never felt secure, but also never learned the sense of boundaries normally taught by caring, responsible parents. Not surprisingly, Lemrick suffered from low self-esteem and has acted out his frustrations in ways which, albeit certainly inappropriate, enabled him to finally gain attention from adults.” [‘Low self-esteem’ defense, NY Post, 7/22/95.]
The Shrunken Brain Defense
A Mr. Banda, ex-president of Malawi, has been charged with the 1983 murder of four political opponents. His defenders claim that he is unfit to stand trial because he has a shrunken brain and is so deaf he will not understand court proceedings. [Malawi’s ex-president is unfit, WSJ, 5/30/95, p. 1.]
Crime and Drugs are More Fun
A July 18th New York Times article about public schools in Japan notes that unlike schools in the United States, “they offer discipline, orderly classes, safe corridors, rigorous training in basics like reading and mathematics, and practical lessons in physics . . .” It goes on to note that they “provide a crime-free and drug-free environment,” and that discipline is strict. Straining to find something to criticize — after all, multiculturalism must have some advantages — the Times pounced on something to play up in the story’s headline: “Japan’s Schools: Safe, Clean, Not Much Fun.” [Nicholas Kristof, Japan’s schools: safe, clean, not much fun, NYT, July 18, 1995, p. 1.]
Feds Do Something Useful
In the August “O Tempora” section we reported on an INS campaign to arrest and deport illegal aliens in the southeastern United States. The one-month project is now over, and 2,078 illegals from 26 different countries have been deported from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida. Before the INS sweep was even finished, more than 300 suddenly vacant jobs had been handed back to Americans. [AP INS says four-week roundup netted more than 2,000 illegal workers, Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, Ala), July 4, 1995.] Next INS stops: Texas and California?
It’s a Black Thing . . .
The O.J. Simpson murder trial grinds along, producing a steady stream of absurdities. One of the latest was an exchange between Christopher Darden of the prosecution and John Cochran of the defense, both black. Mr. Darden asked a witness whether a voice he had overheard sounded like that of a black man. Mr. Cochran objected to the suggestion that it is possible to tell a person’s race from the way he speaks.
“I resent that statement,” he said. “You can’t tell by somebody’s voice whether they [sic] sound black. That’s a racist statement.” [Attorneys in Simpson case, Cochran and Darden get in heated argument of ‘racist question,’ Jet, July 31, 1995.]
National Front Victories
Candidates from Jean-Marie Le Pen’s anti-immigrant party, the National Front, took control of three French cities in recent municipal elections. The most significant victory was in Toulon, which is France’s 13th largest city, with a population of 170,000 people. There would have been more victories for the front if other political parties had not joined forces in some cities to defeat the “racists.” The former socialist prime minister, Laurent Fabius called on French singers and other artists to refuse to perform in Toulon.
Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, the new mayor, says that his city will grant systematic preferences to French citizens. North Africans and blacks, of whom there are now about 20,000, will not be made to leave, but he hopes that if no more new subsidized housing is not built for them and if French citizens get priority for current benefits, immigrants will go elsewhere. One of the mayor’s first acts was to clear out the open-air market where Africans sell trinkets. The city will set up permanent stalls for French artisans. [Ray Moseley, Far rightists call shots in French city, Chicago Tribune, July 2, 1995, p. 13.]
Meanwhile, the national government has tried not to let the National Front steal clean away with one of the best issues in the country. It is calling attention to its tough, new deportation policies. In July, it ejected several plane-loads of illegals and promised many similar operations. Newspapers and “human rights” groups yelled, but polls indicate that a large majority of the French are happy to see illegals deported, especially those from the third world. [Marlise Simons, France moves on deporting illegal aliens, NYT, July 29, 95, p. 4.] [Ashe statue to be put on historic boulevard, Clarion-Ledger, July 19, 1995.]
London Faces the Facts
The London police commissioner has reported young blacks commit 80 percent of the city’s muggings. He noted that in just five years street robbery had increased from 13,000 a year to 23,000 a year, and is now much more common in fancy residential areas. The commissioner, Paul Condon, is known to be a liberal, and couched his report in terms of “young black people, who have been excluded from school and/or are unemployed,” but this did not stop the usual crowd from telling him he should have kept his mouth shut. [William Touhy, London cop blames blacks for muggings, Chicago Sun-Times, July 9, 1995, p. 32.]
It is one of the truisms of modern times that the fact that blacks are rejected for home mortgages more often than whites is proof that bankers are racists. Of course, if bankers were holding blacks to unfairly high credit standards it would mean that the blacks who do manage to get loans should have lower default rates than whites. The Federal Reserve Bank has finally investigated 220,000 mortgages to see how black default rates compare to white. They found that blacks, whether they live in cities or in suburbs, default on their loans at twice the rate whites do. This suggests that there has been so much pressure on bankers to make loans to blacks that they are taking risks with depositors’ money and making unsafe loans. [Paul Craig Roberts, No signs of discrimination by lenders, Houston Chronicle, Feb. 16, 1995, p. 36A.]
The Chitlins Test
The head of campus security at Kentucky State University in Frankfort is a black man who wants his white employees to be “sensitive” to black culture. He therefore gave them an examination that has come to be known as the chitlins test. It asked test-takers to explain what blacks mean when they talk about “fronting,” “chitlins,” or a “crib.” A white security guard filed suit against the university, claiming that the test was a form of racial harassment. [Ken Hamblin, Chitlins — multiculturalism run amok, Denver Post, July 23, 1995.] For those of our readers who are white, chitlins — more properly, chitterlings — are hog intestines cooked for food.
Out on His Ear
A circuit judge in Cook County, Illinois, has been relieved of trial duties and will take counseling because of “inappropriate and troubling” remarks about Hispanics. James Smith was listening to lawyers claiming that a young Hispanic’s environment had contributed to his poor school record; his grandfather, for example, once fired shots at his father. Judge Smith then made the following impermissible remarks:
Of course, this is a common practice among Hispanics. I’m speaking as a criminal judge now. Every New Year’s I had to dismiss cases because it was common for them to step out and shoot at anything that was out there. You’re not telling me anything. I mean, I’m saying I understand what you’re saying. I guess what I’m saying is I’m not so sure that is not unusual. [Philip O’Connor, Remarks about hispanics lead to judge’s transfer, Chi Sun-times, July 15, 1995, p. 41.]
In the last years of apartheid, blacks thought that refusing to pay utility bills was a noble act of political protest. Now that the country has a black president, the noble acts continue. The government claims to be astonished by this, and has mounted a campaign to convince people to pay. “Who can be proud of not paying for housing and services now that we have a democratic government?” asks a television ad, which argues that paying rent and electric bills helps build South Africa. The utilities have even mounted traveling road shows to take the lets-pay message to people with no television, but with little success.
Slowly, the government is turning back to the bad old ways of the white man: shutting off dead-beats. Oddly, this seems to work. Not even a New York Times reporter could find much talk of building South Africa among people lined up in Soweto to pay their bills. “If they are making my lights off, then I pay,” was a typical sentiment. [Suzanne Daley, In South Africa a culture of resistance dies hard, NYT, July sometime, 1995.]
Meanwhile, white businessmen are so desperate to get blacks on the payroll that they pay them 20 to 50 percent more than they would similarly educated whites. Many help-wanted ads are quite straightforward about seeking blacks. All this is in anticipation of affirmative action laws that have not yet been enacted, but which everyone expects to be passed soon. [Suzanne Daley, In South Africa; new jobs, little respect, NYT, Aug 3, 1995, p. A1.]
Ivy League Confederates
With one important excepted category, Harvard University has erected memorials to all alumni who died on the battlefield, including one who fought for Nazi Germany. The university does not, however, honor Confederates, even though one third of the Harvard men who died in the War Between the States fought for the South. Yale and Princeton, on the other hand, pay equal tribute to their Confederate and Union dead. [Confederate memorial splits Harvard, Commercial Appeal (Memphis), July 5, 1995.]
Integrating Memorial Avenue
Richmond, Virginia now has a black majority, which is reflected in the makeup of its city council. In July, the council voted to erect a statue of Arthur Ashe, the black tennis player, on Memorial Ave., a street heretofore reserved for statues of Confederate heroes. For some time the city government has been threatening to cock a snook at the Confederacy by integrating Memorial Ave., but this time it is likely to happen.
You Can Help Samuel Francis
Sam Francis is just about the only syndicated columnist in America who writes honestly about race, immigration, and the challenges facing our country — and he has been punished for it. His column has been infuriating liberals for years, but one that was taken — mistakenly — to be a defense of slavery was too much for his employer, the Washington Times. Dr. Francis has been fired as staff columnist at the paper and was given a significant cut in pay. His column continues to be syndicated, but the Washington Times will run it only when it chooses to.
Please write a letter to the paper objecting to this treatment of one of the most important voices in America today. It is very unusual for a newspaper executive to get as many as 20 or 30 letters on any subject, so your letter will have an effect. A show of support is the least we can offer a man who has written several times for American Renaissance.
Please write to:
Wesley Pruden, Editor in Chief
|LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — I have read with interest your continuing commentary on the impending demise of affirmative action, but am still waiting for you to point out that the Supreme Court justice who writes least stupidly about race is the only black, Clarence Thomas. He is the first justice since 1954 to write that separate may not be unequal:
“Mere de facto segregation (unaccompanied by discriminatory inequalities in educational resources) does not constitute a continuing harm after the end of de jure segregation. ‘Racial isolation’ itself is not a harm; only state-enforced segregation is. After all, if separation itself is a harm, and if integration therefore is the only way that blacks can receive a proper education, then there must be something inferior about blacks.”
In the same decision, Justice Thomas wrote, “there is no reason to think that black students cannot learn as well when surrounded by members of their own race as when they are in an integrated environment.” He has also shown sympathy with the view that if separate is inherently unequal, it was wrong of the 1954 court in Brown v. Board of Education to rely on sociological data that was supposed to prove that segregated schools were bad for black egos. If separate is inherently unequal and wrong, no data should be necessary to prove it so.
It is very useful to have a black man making these arguments, limited though they may be. Supreme Court justices are just as susceptible to racial intimidation as anyone else, and it is good for them to face a black who argues the “conservative” position.
Roger Carlton, Kansas City, Mo.
Sir — In your June issue you are mistaken to write that Jean Raspail was a “little-known author” when he wrote The Camp of the Saints. His 1960 novel, known in English as Welcome, Honorable Visitors, was translated into nine languages and in 1970 — three years before publication of The Camp of the Saints — he was awarded the “Jean Walthes Prize” by the French Academy, for “the whole of his work.”
S.E. Parker, London, England
Sir — I thought Michael Masters’ two-part essay was, well, masterful. In a sane world, it would have appeared in The Atlantic, although if The Atlantic were willing to publish racialist treatises they would probably not even need to be written. My one reservation about Mr. Masters is that he does not seem to have a vision of race and culture that goes beyond the material. I wonder what some of your more religious writers, like Father Tacelli or Rabbi Schiller, might add to (or subtract from) Mr. Masters’ view.
Name Withheld, Vancouver, Canada
Sir — You usually write as though the Hispanic conquest of the United States is limited to the Southwest. Your readers may be surprised to know that the third most-listened-to radio station in the New York City area broadcasts in Spanish. Whereas there used to be only one or two Spanish radio stations they now number in the double digits. Moreover, on our cable system, there are three Spanish television networks with a total of about 65 stations. The flags of Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc. fly from car antennae and rear view mirrors. The commonwealth status of Puerto Rico only fuels the Hispanic invasion.
Ken Reynolds, Bronx, N.Y.
Sir — An article in the July 9th San Francisco Chronicle reports, as if it were big news, the well-known fact that men are more likely than women to be both geniuses and mental retards. More specifically, seven of eight people in the highest one percent of 10 scores are men, and the same disproportions are found at the low end of the curve. What was the headline chosen for the article? “More Men Are Dumber Than Was Believed.” Of course, the article said nothing about blacks, who probably make up a large proportion of those who are “dumber than was believed.”
William Pepperell, Hayward, Calif.
Sir — In the August issue, you noted a correction that had appeared in the Sacramento Bee. Apparently, someone had written about putting the state budget “back in the African-American” rather than “back in the black,” and the paper published a correction. I would love to know if this was an idiotic but well-meaning error, or whether some rogue typesetter decided to have a joke on the paper. I recall years ago that a typesetter at, I believe, the Boston Globe gave the headline “More Mush From the Wimp” to a story about a speech by President Jimmy Carter. On the other hand, during Nelson Mandela’s tour of the United States, one gushing young reporter referred to him as an “African-American,” so there is certainly ample stupidity in the press corps.
M. Cortineaux, Lake Charles, Lou.
Sir — In the August issue you seem surprised that American blacks do not howl about present-day slavery in Africa the way they howled about white rule in South Africa. For them to do so would require that they care about other blacks. I suspect they care only about extracting advantages from guilt-ridden whites.
Stanley Dean, Boise, Ida.