“I Believe I Will Be at Least Exempted from ‘The Curses of Those Who Come After'”—Foreword to the 2013 Kindle Edition of Alien Nation
Peter Brimelow, VDARE, August 4, 2013
James Fulford writes: VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow has (finally) updated the Kindle edition of his much-denounced 1995 best seller Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster with this Foreword, and improved formatting. We hope to provide a print version soon–the original publisher allowed it to slip out of print, as you will read below. The Foreword provides a new perspective, but the underlying facts remain the same, and remain relevant.
During this August recess, it’s going to be important for people to communicate with their Congressmen, who will be spending the month visiting their constituents. As Mickey Kaus wrote in the Daily Caller, in August, “Silence=Amnesty.”
If you don’t want Amnesty, tell your Congressman! That way you too can avoid the “curses of those who come after.”
By a curious coincidence, I began writing the Foreword to this Kindle edition of Alien Nation exactly seventeen years to the day since I wrote the Afterword to the original paperback edition—just before Christmas 1995.
(For the Kindle edition, we have moved the Afterword so that it follows directly after these remarks, and is in turn followed by what now seems like an amazing series of laudatory quotations from reviews by people who would now probably like to deny it.
(I never liked the title, by the way. I wanted to call the book Electing A New People after the now-famous Brecht poem. And I still think that would have been better. But imposing titles on authors seems to give commercial publishers their moment of creative thrill.)
The Alien Nation Afterword remains my most productive spasm in forty years in professional journalism: about 7,000 words in thirty straight hours.
I remember that, most of that day and into the night, I was looking out through my office window into an intense Connecticut Berkshire snowstorm, with a row of birds perched unmoving on a power line, fluffed up against the intense cold. I felt sorry for them and wondered how they could survive—not realizing, of course, that they would prove a pretty good symbol of the ordeal of immigration patriots in the coming years.
The Afterword was so easy to write because I’d been composing answers to Alien Nation’s critics in my head throughout that intense year of book promotion. The Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said that he wrote an entire book in his head while a prisoner in the Gulag. I now believe that this can be done.
Plus the writing was easy because, incredible though it may now seem, at the end of 1995 the cause of patriotic immigration reform seemed so obviously on the verge of victory. (We now call it “patriotic immigration reform” to distinguish immigration reduction and rationalization from the . . . other kind of reform, Amnesty plus a massive cheap-labor pig-out, whose advocates have hijacked the perfectly innocent term “immigration reform” in their typically disingenuous way).
Intellectually, the immigration enthusiasts were utterly routed, unable to respond to the sudden refutation of clichés upon which they had relied for years—except with personal abuse, which I viewed with contempt.
Nearly two decades later, this is still the case—but, alas, I have learned in the interim that mud really does stick.
Politically, everything had fallen into place. As I described in the Afterword, the Jordan Commission reported mid-year, recommending serious cutbacks in legal immigration—and President Bill Clinton endorsed its recommendations. The Republicans controlled both the U.S. House and the Senate, so the passage of the Smith-Simpson bill, which embodied the Jordan recommendations, seemed inevitable. Even Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, more recently Sheldon Adelson’s catspaw in the 2012 presidential primaries, had sponsored a bipartisan task force on illegal immigration that, among other things, recommended ending birthright citizenship.
In addition, the 1996 Presidential Election was less than a year away. President Clinton was widely assumed to be mortally wounded after his party had lost control of Congress in 1994. And among the GOP contenders was Patrick J. Buchanan, in my opinion the outstanding political thinker of the era, who actually understood the immigration issue and had the courage and the ability to use it.
Well . . . it didn’t work out that way. To cut a distressing story short:
- In early 1996, Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary—but, assailed with a concatenated barrage of abuse unprecedented since the 1964 Goldwater campaign, was subsequently isolated and snuffed out.
As the columnist Lars-Erik Nelson, one of the small but honorable group of liberals who have recognized the reality of current immigration policy’s immiseration of the working class, said to me after we both appeared on the CSPAN morning show: “All the money in the world would have come down on [Buchanan]” had he won the subsequent Arizona primary (which he initially appeared to have done). Nelson’s premature death in 2000, like that of Barbara Jordan in 1996, was one of a long series of unpredictable misfortunes that have befallen the cause of patriotic immigration reform.
I must say, however, that I regard Buchanan’s insistence on prioritizing the undeniable but less significant downside of free trade, the subject of his 1998 book The Great Betrayal, as not the least of these misfortunes.
- In mid-1996, an unholy alliance of Leftists, ethnic lobbyists, libertarian loonies, Chamber of Commerce cheap labor whores and neoconservative ideologues succeeded in derailing the Smith-Simpson bill.
As it turned out, this was the last moment when patriotic immigration reform was on the offensive. Every single battle in the long years since then has been defensive.
The cause of patriotic immigration reform has always faced formidable odds. But I will state here my view that even its pitifully small stock of assets has been significantly mishandled by its putative leaders.
The GOP’s presidential nominee Bob Dole threw away the immigration issue in the 1996 Presidential election, even selecting the notoriously bone-headed immigration enthusiast Jack Kemp for vice-president. They lost.
- In mid-1997, effective early 1998, William F. Buckley abruptly and secretly fired John O’Sullivan as Editor of National Review.
This ended the brief period, beginning with my 1992 cover story, when National Review dared to challenge the uncritical pro-immigration consensus among neoconservatives/ libertarians/ business lobbies/ congressional Republicans and their donors (where distinguishable) etc. . . . what we now call “Conservatism Inc.” As Wall Street Journal Editor Robert L. Bartley later gloated (July 3, 2000), the magazine promptly “stopped stridently claiming opposition to immigration as a conservative cause.”
Of course, this was irritating to me personally. I was instantly “constructively dismissed,” as labor lawyers call it, in the effeminate Buckley style—via a snailmail letter from O’Sullivan’s protégé and parricidal successor Rich Lowry extruding me from the magic circle of Senior Editors, although I remained as camouflage on NR’s masthead for several further years. And I knew by then that immigration was a Third Rail issue not just for the Left but in the nominally conservative and/or business-oriented parts of the Main Stream Media where I earned a humble living. (As indeed it has proved to be).
But I do think Buckley’s betrayal had wider significance. As Neal Freeman later observed in an American Spectator article (NR Goes To War, June 2006) on the end of his 38-year membership of the NR Board because of the magazine’s slavish support of the catastrophic Iraq invasion:
I thought then and I think today that if NR had opposed the invasion it could have made a decisive difference within the conservative movement and, radiating its influence outward, across the larger political community.
Similarly, I believe that, had National Review maintained over the subsequent fifteen years the immigration line that O’Sullivan and I pioneered, the Republican Party—and America—might not now be facing demographic disaster.
Buckley is incessantly credited with the “making” of the post-World War II American conservative movement. But he must also be held complicit in its breaking—and, perhaps, the breaking of the American nation.
The whole experience was a microcosm of the immigration “debate”: critical arguments are never met, they are simply repressed—along with, if possible, the heretics who make them. After 1998, there was once again literally nowhere in the MSM where facts and analyses critical of Establishment immigration enthusiasm could appear.
- 2001-2013: The Amnesty Wars
The fifteen years since the nobbling of National Review have been a brutal demonstration of the brilliant insight of RealClearPolitics.com’s Sean Trende: The Democratic Party is a coalition of interest groups dominated by an ideological faction; the Republican Party is a coalition of ideological factions dominated by an interest group.
Repeatedly, beginning directly after George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2000, the GOP elite has tried to impose, not just a repeat of the 1986 Amnesty for illegal aliens but also a repeat of the 1965 Immigration Act’s massive increase in legal immigration, upon its base of ordinary patriotic Americans.
Only the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and unprecedented grass-roots revolt in 2006 and 2007, have stalled these lavishly-funded drives. And, at this writing, the fate of the 2013 Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill is still unclear.
I must admit that I did not anticipate this extraordinary GOP elite stubbornness—nor its suicidal stupidity. In the last cover story I did for National Review (The Emerging Democratic Majority| Electing A New People, June 16, 1997), co-author Edwin S. Rubenstein and I laid out the devastating incremental impact of prevailing non-traditional immigration on the GOP (or what we more recently have called GAP—the Generic American Party, the political expression of America’s historic white majority). Subsequently, on VDARE.com, we have exhaustively documented this effect and what can be done about it. (Basically, end immigration and mobilize the white vote—the latter an option we call “the Sailer Strategy,” after Steve Sailer, who first developed it on VDARE.com in 2001).
Again, our arguments were never challenged—they were simply ignored. Only in the spring of 2013 have I begun to see even minimal Main Stream Media discussion of the decisive importance of the white vote—which, of course, until the disastrous 1965 Immigration Act, would have been described as the “American” vote.
In retrospect, the plain fact is that, even more than in most political conflicts, immigration enthusiasts are simply not arguing in good faith. They have hidden agendas that they will not—in fact cannot—acknowledge.
The most obvious example: the business lobby. In Alien Nation, I had reported the consensus analysis of the economics of immigration, which was subsequently confirmed in 1997 by the National Research Council’s The New Americans, the economic appendix to the Jordan Commission: the aggregate benefit to native-born Americans from the post-1965 immigration influx is vanishingly small, maybe one-tenth of one percent of GDP. And that’s wiped out by the additional taxes Americans pay to subsidize immigrants’ use of schools and other government services.
But, although immigration doesn’t benefit Americans in aggregate, it does benefit some Americans—at the expense of others. It does this by increasing competition for jobs and thereby depressing wages. The accepted estimate is that immigration redistributes some 2 to 3 percent of GDP from labor to the owners of capital. In 2013, that’s about $300 billion-$450 billion, a very large number.
This explains the extraordinary parade of plutocrats—for example, Sheldon Adelson, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, Paul Singer, the Koch brothers—currently pushing the 2013 Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill and the enormous amount of money they are spending on it. ($1.5 billion since late 2007 by one account, and that doesn’t include their 2013 splurge.)
Basically, these plutocrats are demanding that the U.S. government divert more of Americans’ income to them. When Americans hear that immigration will “spur economic growth,” they should read: Permit more plutocrat plundering of America’s middle and working class.
There’s a huge amount of money at stake. By depressing wages, current immigration policy shifts some 2-3 percent of Gross Domestic Product from labor to capital. That’s a windfall profit to the plutocrats of $300-$450 billion a year.
And remember, the 2013 Amnesty/Immigration Surge bill could triple legal immigration. So we could be looking at a diversion of income to the plutocrats amounting to more than a trillion dollars.
This is a looting of the U.S. economy that can only be compared to the Russian oligarchs’ theft of assets as the Soviet Union collapsed. But at least those assets were impersonally owned by the State. The income that America’s oligarchs are redistributing to themselves were previously supporting the lifestyle of the broad mass of Americans.
In effect, American politics have entered a new Gilded Age, with politicians all too eager to do the bidding of high-tech Robber Barons. The New York Times token conservative columnist Ross Douthat has accurately described this as The Republican Party’s “Donorism” Problem [March 6, 2013]. Whether this is because the politicians themselves hope to benefit financially, through campaign contributions, sweetheart speech deals, apotheosis into lobbying etc. etc., or whether they are merely the prisoners of the parasitical campaign consultants who have emerged as an infestation right across the political spectrum, the net effect is the same: an extraordinary focus on short-term rent-seeking on behalf of donors and an indifference to long-term or even short-term consequences.
This is deeply shocking to those of us who remember the selfless and principled anti-Communism that motivated so much of the American Conservative movement during the Cold War.
Additionally, it became clear that a large part of the American political class absolutely, positively does not want to HEAR about the white vote. This aversion may be irrational, but it is deeply felt—or, perhaps, expensively bought.
For example, in 2001 VDARE.com articles were banned from being posted to the Republican booster site FreeRepublic.com merely for pointing out the undeniable fact of George W. Bush’s relative underperformance among whites. Proprietor Jim Robinson claimed this was “divisive” and “promoting racism.” As of 2013, I personally am apparently still banned, even when writing on unrelated topics in other publications.
I suspect that some part of this inefficient intellectual market reflects the overflow of campaign contributions into journalism. I am told this is a problem for the Left as well as the Right.
But in other cases, the aversion may be genuine: the instinctive fear of a possible “Nazi-Aryan party” to which Brandeis University’s Earl Raab frankly attributed Jewish support for mass immigration, disregarding the interests of the nation at large. (See Alien Nation pages 119-120). And, more generally, it may demonstrate the extraordinary continued power of the emotional reflex I identified in the first paragraph of Alien Nation, to the consternation of some critics, as Hitler’s Revenge:
There is a sense in which current immigration policy is Adolf Hitler’s posthumous revenge on America. The U.S. political elite emerged from the war passionately concerned to cleanse itself from all taints of racism or xenophobia. Eventually, it enacted the epochal Immigration Act (technically, the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments) of 1965. And this, quite accidentally, triggered a renewed mass immigration, so huge and so systematically different from anything that had gone before as to transform—and ultimately, perhaps, even to destroy—the one unquestioned victor of World War II: the American nation, as it had evolved by the middle of the twentieth century.
Bizarrely, this Hitler’s Revenge reflex appears to be getting more intense as World War II recedes into history.
I often get emails asking me if I have considered updating Alien Nation. The answer: of course! I would have loved to have done so—or, even better, expanded it to cover the whole Anglosphere.
But when, at the height of the 2006 Amnesty/ Immigration Surge battle, Ann Coulter wrote a characteristically generous column (Read My Lips: No New Amnesty, May 24, 2006) causing the paperback to spike on Amazon and sell out, the publishers refused to reprint it. And when I pressed my celebrated literary agent, Andrew Wylie, [Email him] to represent a sequel, he responded by severing our relationship, on the ground that my views had become too extreme.
Of course, my views had not changed at all. And, ironically, it was Wylie himself who had originally urged me to write Alien Nation, brushing aside my (very well-founded) hesitations. But the curious post-Cold War 1990s interglacial, after the discrediting of Marxism proper but before the onset of Cultural Marxism, that permitted the publication not just of Alien Nation but of several other Politically Incorrect books such as Paved With Good Intentions, The Bell Curve and The g Factor, was decisively over.
Of course, I am far from the only, and certainly not the most prominent, professional journalist to feel the chill of this renewed Ice Age. Indeed, over the last two decades essentially every MSM writer who has gotten interested in the immigration issue has suffered professionally—a phenomenon we at VDARE.com call “The Curse Of Stein” after Federation for American Immigration Reform President Dan Stein, who (perhaps surprisingly) pointed this risk out to me when I first began interviewing him about immigration in the early 1990s. Besides myself and John O’Sullivan, the Roll of Honor includes Scott McConnell, Michael Graham, Lou Dobbs, John Derbyshire, David Frum and of course Pat Buchanan himself, besides others of local significance.
In early 2012, MSNBC President Phil Griffin, trying to justify his decision to eliminate Buchanan as a commentator after ten years, actually told reporters: “I don’t think the ideas that [Buchanan] put forth [in his book Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?) are appropriate for the national dialogue, much less on MSNBC.”
One of these “ideas” was actually a fact, which I had also noted in my 1992 National Review cover story and in Alien Nation (p.62-64): current immigration policy will ultimately drive American whites—known until 1965 as “Americans”—into a minority. This is a demographic transformation without precedent in the history of the world. The notion that it is not “appropriate for the national dialogue” can only be viewed as evidence of the new Dark Age that Cultural Marxism has brought to the West.
Exactly as I foretold—it wasn’t rocket science although it might just as well have been for all the notice that was taken—in 2011 the majority of births in the U.S. were indeed non-white. The Census Bureau now projects that whites will be in a minority in the country (although not, campaign consultants should note, in the electorate) around 2043.
This will occur—barring a miracle or a revolution, neither of which I rule out—regardless of the fate of the 2013 Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill. That would merely fast-forward the process, albeit drastically.
Among these recent births, however, my personal life having gone through changes even more dramatic, and also alas in key respects more tragic, than my professional life: my daughters Felicity Deonne (2010) and Karia Sybil Nancy (2012). In 2043, they will still be young women.
It is not possible to argue that the America in which they, and my two older children Alexander and Hannah Claire will live, is other than radically different than the America to which I immigrated in 1970—nor other than that this is an America that neither I nor the Americans themselves at that time expected.
The historic American nation, as it had evolved by 1965, will still exist—but it may well be forced to seek new expression.
None of this was necessary.
Reflecting on my experience since Alien Nation was published, I would still say that playing even a small role in the destiny of a great nation is a privilege, regardless of profitability. And (more evidence that diversity is strength) I remember the words of a great man in my country of origin:
The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.
In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature. One is that by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: At each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future. Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: “if only”, they love to think, “if only people wouldn’t talk about it, it probably wouldn’t happen”. Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical.
At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it, deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after.
[Enoch Powell’s speech to the Annual General Meeting of the West Midlands Area Conservative Political Centre, Birmingham, England, April 20, 1968.]
Whatever the outcome, I do believe that all my children will at least exempt me, while their country suffers what certainly seems to be on the current course an inevitable doom, from what Enoch Powell described as “the curses of those who come after.”
May God help them—and America.