July 22, 2009
James Fulford writes: Peter Brimelow spoke to Pat Buchanan’s American Cause on June 20, 2009, on a panel that included Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Ward Connerly, and Lou Barletta, who are mentioned in the speech. The website ThinkProgress.org made fun of a banner with a spelling error printed on it, writing “One salient feature of the event was the banner hanging over the English-only advocates. The word conference was spelled “Conferenece.” View it here. The panelists pressed on with their anti-bilingualism diatribe without noting the irony of the obvious misspelling on the banner… “
Ahem! Can the ThinkProgress.org people be sure the banner wasn’t constructed with immigrant labor? If so, their complaints are automatically racist. And bilingual conferences would provide twice as many opportunities for spelling errors/faltas de ortografia.
Read the speech and ask yourself why the Republican Establishment can’t figure any of this stuff out.
I mean, it’s quite obvious what the solution to our problem is—we have to elect Pat president in the year 2000!
Instead, we got Dubya—George W Bush—who turned out to be the worst president in American history, even worse than Franklin D. Roosevelt. At least Roosevelt was a good party leader—he led the Democrats to a whole series of victories.
But as Pat just said, and as Phyllis Schlafly said earlier, we’ve been here before.
I’m old enough—though I still think I can read my notes here—I’m old enough to remember being here in the 1970s after the disaster of Watergate, after the fall of Vietnam. I was up in Canada then, and I went down as a Canadian journalist to interview Bill Rusher, then the publisher of National Review. (So you know he was a squish at heart!)
At that time, Rusher was trying to start a new party, a Third Party, because he thought it was impossible for conservatives to get control of the Republican Party after Ford had defeated Reagan in 1976. We exchanged cabalistic signs and established that we were on the same side of the debate. And he said to me, in confidence, “You know the problem we’ve got here is insoluble, we’ve left it too late, and the Red Flag will one day wave over the world—the Soviet Union will one day conquer the world.”
But, he said, “We persevere. Because, for one thing, you never know what is going to happen next. And for another thing, there are theological injunctions against despair!”
(This is an audience that understands theological injunctions!)
Well, of course, five years later, Reagan was elected president.
So I agree with what some people have said here already. American politics are very volatile. I’m not worried about a leader showing up—a leader will show up. Or leaders. Maybe there’s one here today. We can rebound much more quickly than people anticipate.
At a similar moment in British history in the 19th century, the Conservative Party was in complete disarray and despair. And its then-principal ideologist and eventual leader, Benjamin Disraeli, promulgated, came up with the idea that the way the Conservative Party, which was seen as an aristocratic and feudal party could win elections was to appeal to the working class—on the basis of nationalism, on the basis of patriotism.
A famous British historian whose name I forget, but Pat will remember, said that Disraeli discerned in the working class “the Conservative working man as the sculptor perceives the angel prisoned in a block of marble.” [This originally appeared in the Times of London, May 18th, 1883—the historian Peter was thinking of was Sir Robert Ensor, who quoted it in his history of the period.] And that is exactly what real political leadership is—to see the issues that you can build new coalitions around.
And in America today, these issues have already in fact emerged. Let me give you an example.
A good issue, a really strong issue, can leap sectional divisions between Americans. It can leap racial divisions, if it is strong enough. Up in northern Michigan, there is a man called Dr. John Tanton who has really single-handedly built the immigration reform movement in the U.S., because no political party would take it on. He’s founded a number of organizations including FAIR—Federation for Immigration Reform—and US English which was in favor of an official English policy. [Subsequently succeeded by ProEnglish].
Tanton is not a conservative. He’s sort of a Northern Progressive. He’s an environmentalist. The reason he got interested in immigration reform—this is actually true!—is that he really likes trees, he’s fascinated by trees. He prefers trees to people. And his view is the more people you have, the fewer trees. So, therefore, you don’t want mass immigration because that is what is driving American population growth.
Now, something else about Tanton: you’re all going to have to pray for him. He’s on the wrong side of the abortion issue. So much that he and his wife were leaders in an attempt to get abortion legal is Michigan, way back when, before the Supreme Court decided to do it for them.
Needless to say, this initiative lost. But nevertheless John Tanton and his wife voted for Pat in the 1992 Michigan primary—because of the immigration issue. That was more important to them than anything else, more important than social liberalism and abortion issue.
So that’s how a strong issue can jump over the conventional wisdom on what motivates people to vote one way or the other.
Now, it happens that we already know what these strong issues are—because they’ve walked up the door of the stupid California Republican Party and banged on it. Three of them!—Affirmative Action (thanks to Ward’s 1996 Proposition 209), Official English (1998 bilingual education Proposition 227) and illegal immigration (Proposition 187).
They all carried overwhelmingly, despite being in California, which we’re not supposed to be able to win any more, and despite being opposed by overwhelming weight of the California Establishment and even substantial parts of the California Republican Party. But they still carried.
The response of the Californian Republican Party has been to dive under the bed and hide. Which is why it’s not won any statewide elections since Proposition 187 carried California in 1994.
But the issues are still there. And they can be developed.
They’ve all been gone into today, so I won’t say very much more about them, except to add this about Affirmative Action: People ask, how do we appeal to younger people? The only section of the white vote that Obama carried was people below 30—he narrowly carried them. But the fact is that it was suicidal for any white male to vote for Obama because affirmative action quotas are a zero sum game. The more quotas there are, the more white males will be squeezed out of everything—as also will be the families that depend on them. That’s the issue that should have been used to appeal to the young.
And this ties right into the immigration issue. Because the amazing thing about Affirmative Action it that immigrants are immediately eligible for it, even though they weren’t slaves in this country. They’ve never been discriminated against. But they’re still eligible for Affirmative Action.
By the way, on the immigration issue, I think it’s important that we start thinking about legal immigration too. Legal immigration is as much out of control as illegal immigration, because of the “family unification” policy, which basically means that foreigners who have relatives in America have a sort of civil right to come here, and ultimately it has the same effect. The tremendous cross-subsidization from the American taxpayer to illegal and legal immigrants in this country just makes no sense from an economic point of view.
I really do recommend the language issue, because that polls even better than immigration and Affirmative Action. Eighty-odd percent [actually 84%] of Americans say they are in favor of an official English policy. The wonderful thing about this is that, if you look at what is actually going to happen here, you find that the Obama administration is going to gradually institute institutional bilingualism in the country—is going to require people to speak Spanish in key positions in the police force and so on. This is a direct attack on the American working class because they are not going to be bilingual.
Language policy has tremendous public-choice consequences. We’ve seen that in Canada, where language policy has been effectively used to simply displace English Canadians from the federal civil service, so the permanent government of the country is in the hands of the Quebecois. That was done, not by directly banning English Canadians, but just by insisting that civil servants speak both languages, which as a practical manner English Canadians just don’t do.
Then there’s the trade question. It has always irritates me as a financial journalist when Pat talks about trade. For one thing, I think that he ought to be talking about immigration. That’s a far more important issue. I mean, no one throws bricks at you when you talk about tariffs. It’s immigration that provokes the riots—it’s much more exciting. Fundamentally, economics is a boring issue, you know. I have to write about it for a living, but it is fundamentally boring.
But Pat is unquestionably right—regardless of minor technical disagreements we might have—that there is a tremendous redistribution effect from free trade. It costs some people income and it directs income towards other people, and they’re not the same people. I might also say by the way that econometrics show that the aggregate gains from free trade are quite small. I think they’re there, but they are quite small, so I don’t think it’s worth arguing about.
What I do recommend to Pat, again, not for that first time, is that he talk about exchange rates. You know, people go around saying that Pat is a terrible fellow because he wants tariffs. But in fact what we’ve had in this country, really since the Clinton years, is a policy of effective negative tariffs—inverse protectionism. Because Washington for some reason has allowed the Chinese to peg their yuan, their currency, to the dollar. The Chinese currency is massively undervalued. Nobody has raised a peep about this, really, for nearly twenty years.
The Chinese are doing this because it makes their exports cheaper to the US and it makes American imports dearer in China. And they want to do that, although it is not necessarily in the aggregate economic interest of China, because they believe in concentrating manufacturing capacity in their hands. They’re exchange-rate mercantilists.
But what’s the Americans’ excuse? What’s the excuse of the Clinton administration and the Bush administration for this?
I don’t think there is a very nice explanation. I think what we see here is a conspiracy by Peking, Washington and Wall Street against Main Street. (Applause).
(My word, Pat—I guess people are interested in economics.)
What happened was that the Federal government in Washington decided it wanted to fund these enormous budget deficits, it wanted to borrow the money from the Chinese. Wall Street wanted to sell the paper, the bonds, to the Federal government, to be the middle man between the Federal government and the Chinese. And the Chinese wanted, as I said, manufacturing capacity.
But Americans— the American working class across the board—got it in the ear.
I also think that we’ve not looked enough at what caused this huge financial crash last year. As a financial journalist, I really do think that it’s the excesses on Wall Street in the financial industry that caused this crash. They’ve not only succeed in deindustrializing major parts of the US, but they have also now brought down the economy park for the world.
So, talking of popular issues, I think someone should stick a pitchfork in Wall Street. Pat? When you’ve got the time?
I call these questions —Affirmative Action, immigration, language, America versus trade and finance—I call them “The National Question”. They all go to the issue of whether or not America is a nation, a political community that looks after its own people, or whether it has become a sort of global supermarket. And I think that people who are interested in these questions are what I call Nationalists—National Conservatives.
The National Question is the common thread that runs through all of these issues. And there will be more coming.
One that is coming right now, and that I am urging Pat to write about, is that the Obama administration is pushing this Hate Crimes legislation. Now, as you know, it is already illegal to shoot museum guards in the US. This Holocaust Museum shooter faces the death penalty—how many times can they hang him? Then answer is that they are not interested in this man, in these crimes. What they are interested in is proscribing and banning political opposition. They are simply going to blame these things on everybody that is interested in immigration and so on.
One of the things that we do are VDARE.COM, which I edit, is monitor the number of illegal aliens that kill people in drunk driving accidents. There are hundreds of these cases. They never make it to the national news. You have to watch the local news to find out about it, and even there it is very hard because the police don’t ask their immigration status.
Another thing we monitor is what we call “Immigrant Mass Murder Syndrome”. For some reason immigrants, quite often Asian males, have a habit of going amuck and killing lots of people. The most famous case, of course, is the Virginia Tech killings in 2007. But just recently a Vietnamese immigrant killed about thirty people in a Binghamton, New York immigration center. There have been at least 20 cases of these things in the last seven or eight years, and more than 200 deaths. Nobody in the Main Stream Media seems to want to put this together and ask why is this happening? If this were anything else in the world, the MSM would be saying this is a Trend, with a capital T, and we have to look at it. But as it is, you can’t find even the facts unless you go to our site.
If this man who shot up those people in Binghamton had been a white male, I’m sure that people in this room would be under arrest—because that’s what Obama wants to see happen. So we only have a short time to get a grip on this situation. And that Hate Crimes Bill is something that the Republican Party should really be focusing on.
But then what’s unemployment going to get to eleven—twelve percent? Why isn’t the Republican Party calling for an immigration moratorium? It makes no sense.
Sometime I think Bill Rusher was right, Bay, we have to go to a new party. Bay’s flinching she doesn’t like to hear that after experiencing 2000! But I still think it’s going to happen.
I will end on an optimistic note. I’ve concluded that nobody knows what’s politically possible, least of all professional politicians. (I’m sorry Lou [Barletta!]. They’re like shrews, they have very sensitive noses, they can sense exactly what is in front of them, but they’re blind—they don’t need to see more than a week out as long as they can do a 360 degree turn and come out facing the right way.
Do you remember price and wage controls? They were seen as “inevitable” by all the right people at the time. They’ve happened and collapsed and everybody has forgotten about them, and even Obama hasn’t proposed them (yet).
Do you remember inflation? That was thought of in the 1970s as irreversible. One amazing thing Reagan did was he stopped inflation—again, for the time being.
Above all, think about the Soviet Union. Nobody expected the Soviet Union to collapse. I was talking to Phyllis about it this morning. Not only those of us who were anticommunists didn’t expect it to collapse—because we were constantly being told how powerful it was and we actually began to believe it—but the other side, the Sovietologists, didn’t expect it. I interviewed one of the leading Sovietologists in 1987 for Forbes magazine, and he categorically said that the Soviet Union was going to go on from strength to strength.
And yet, where is it now?
Well, actually, we know where it is now—it’s in the White House! But we can get it out of there too.
Thanks very much!
Peter Brimelow (email him) is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, (Random House – 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins – 2003)