PERSPECTIVEnA Not So Wonderful Lifenby Thomas Flemingn’To us your good Samaritan was a fool to risk the security of his family to help a stranger.”n— Joey Tai in Michael Cimino’s Year of the DragonnIt has been more than a year since we put out the Marchn1989 number oi Chronicles, “A Nation of Immigrants,”nin which it was suggested that the United States had anpolitical and cultural interest in regaining control over itsnborders. By now everyone must be tired of reading about thencontroversy that ensued, but I shall make one last effort tonexplain our intentions, then and now. The best way tonaccomplish this will be to answer a number of questions thatnhave been raised by our critics.nIf you read only the mercenary press, by which I meanneditorial columns and “opinion magazines,” our discussionnof immigration exiled us forever from the delightful companynof really important people. Actually, the response wasnvaried, ranging from enthusiasm: “I’m glad someone hadnthe guts to tackle this subject honestly and without hysteria,”nto polite disagreement: “I think you are wrong, but I don’tnsee what all the fuss is about — most people are wrong mostnof the time,” to a gleeful Aha!: “I always knew you were anbigot, and at last 1 have the evidence.” Most of our readers,nif I can judge from letters and telephone calls, sympathizedneither with our position or with our plight.nSome of our detractors have been just clever enough tondetect a pattern in our editorial themes. They are right. Wendo take an especial interest in political and social issues thatnare connected with what we sometimes call the “Americannidentity” and at other times the “national interest.” Innrecent numbers of the magazine we have talked about: thendegradation experienced by the many of our citizens whonare bound to that system of voluntary non-labor we callnwelfare, the collapse of standards in all the institutions of ourncultural life — education, literature, and the arts, our crumblingninfrastructure and lagging performance in the wodd’sneconomy, the gradual erosion of sovereignty as the UnitednStates cedes its power and interest to international bodiesnand to the ideology of human rights, the extinction of thenold republican ideals of responsible citizenship, and thenmoral decay that we measure daily in rates of divorce,nabortion, child molestation, illegitimacy, AIDS cases, drugnuse, and business fraud.nFaced with this transformation of a decent republicannnation into an empire of consumerism and self-gratification,nsome “conservatives” cry out “Hurray for capitalism and fornthe triumph of individualism.” I attend their conferencesnand read their newsletters proclaiming the triumph ofnconservative principles and urging their fellow conservativesnto bear the burden of government, and I wonder what worldnthey are living in. Are Washington, D.C., and New YorknCity really so distant from America that they do not knownwhat is going on out here? Or are they so deafened by thenrattle of their begging bowls that they cannot hear thencomplaints of the men on the street?nThere are a few simple things that most Americans,nliberal as well as conservative, used to take for granted. Wenused to believe that there was such a thing as the UnitednStates, a nation with its own history, traditions, and culture;nthat we as American citizens had the obligation to maintainnour national integrity and identity against any nation,nmovement, or population that by accident or design posed annnJULY 1990/11n