i^fA NEWrnAGENDA!rnWm :W.rnx^iTj^f. ^- /%rnShoot the LosersrnImmigration and the End of Constitutional Governmentrnby Samuel FrancisrnT lie noNclist Â¥. Rcicl Biicklc’ once told a ston’ about a Mexicanrnwoman w ho w orkecl for his femiK- as a maid or nanm’ dnringrnthe 19^()’s. The woman knew that Bnckle’s fatlier, William F.rnBuekle, Sr., w as a strong opponent of bVanklin D. Rooscelt in thern9M presidential campaign. Wlien she lieard that Roosevelt liadrnaetnalh’ won the election, she burst into tears: She assnmed that thernFDR ieton meant that Ir. Bnekle would now be shot.rnC^,ien the resemblances beh’een Rooseelt and the I’.uropeanrndictators of the same era, the woman may hae been closerrnto the truth than most people realize, and if on one lecl thernstor illustrates how eonshtntional go ernment ma- not be ablernto sur ie mass immigrahon from countries where coushtuhonalismrnand its ]5resuppositions are irtualK unknown, it also suggestsrnthat Americans were perfecth’ capable of dcstroing theirrnown constitutional tradition without the help of an’ immigrantsrn—from the Third World, anwa’.rnConstitutional goxernment depends upon shared, unwritten,rnand largel- unconscious assumptions drawn from the eivili/ationalrnocean on w hich a paper eon.stitution floats. An- given constituHonrn—the British, die American, or c’en what those in I’.uropernlike to call their “constitutions” —derives from a largerrnpolitical culture, a bod of norms that goem the pursuit and usesrnof power far more inhmateh’ than any set of w ritten laws, courtrndecisions, and constitutional texts can. This is especialh true ofrnthe U.S. Constitution, which, obiously enough to all but thosernwho imagine it to be the product of uniersal “natural rights,” refleetsrnthe long histor- of British polihcal experience.rnB’ the 18th centurw it was an assumption of both British andrncolonial polihcal prachce that those who lost elechons were notrnSannicl Francis is Chronicles’ Washington editor.rnto be executed. The concept of a “loval opposition,” central tornconstitutional go’ernment, is not easiK’ explained to those tornwhom it is alien, and it is even more difficult to inshtuhonalizernas an unspoken part of a polihcal culture. It is a concept thatrnwas cnHrelv foreign to the Mexican maid of Hie Buckley famiK’,rnand it is becoming more and more elusi’e in American politiesrntoda; anvone who dissents from the hegemonic ideolog’of thernregime is denounced and exposed as an “extremist,” someonernwho “has been linked to” a “hate group” (and similar labels thatrnplace ‘ou outside die boundaries of political discussion and parheipahon).rnThat constriehon of polihcal expression and actionrnis not due so much to immigrahon as it is to the dominance ofrnthose who, despite dieir nah’e origins as Americans, are iieverriielessrnmore alien to the norms of our historic political culturernthan most Third Worlders — and who, for that erv reason, seernnothing unsetHing about the mass immigration the}’ have allowedrnand e’en encouraged.rnThe assumption that political losers and other dissidentsrnshould not be shot is onl- one of the preeondihons of con,stitutionalrngovernment that mass inunigrahon from non-Westernrnsocieties mav help to erode, hi Alien Nation, Peter Brimelowrnwrites about the concept of die “mctamarket” in economicsdiernidea that “the free market necessarih’ exists within a societalrnframework. And it can funehon onlv if the inshtuhons in thatrnframework are appropriate. For example, a defined svstem ofrnprivate properh’ rights is now widcK agreed to be one of die essentialrnpreconditions.” In other words, because “some degreernof ethnic and eidhiral coherence may be among these preconditions,”rnmass immigration diat introduces cdinic and cidturalrnineoherence nia make market economies unworkable.rnAn analogous framework of preconditions pertains to diernNOVEMBER 2001/1 7rnrnrn