Peaceful Invasions: Immigrationnand Changing Americanby Leon F. BouviernWashington, D.C.: Center for ImmigrationnStudies; 234 pp., $45.00n•••nThe Bourgeois Age is finished, but anprincipal feature of Victorianism—nthe fullest and most developed expressionnof that era—still flourishes. Postmodernsnconsider themselves a hardheaded andn. realistic people, yet the average Americanntoday is probably as much a sentimentalistnas the typical Dickens reader of a centurynago. Sentimentality—not racism, greed,nor sensuality—is the definitive vice of thenAmerican people at the end of the 20thncentury as it was at the close of the 19th,nbut it has undergone a change in emphasisnover the past hundred years. InnDickens’ time, the object of sentimentalnfeeling was still the individual—Little Nellnand Tiny Tim—while in our own day itnis the group—^The Poor, The Homeless,nMinorities, Gays, The Differently Abled,nThe TTiird World. The evening news programsnare the brief emotional equivalentnof Little Dorrit and Oliver Twist, whosenproducers engage in every tear-jerking devicenknown to their horrible trade shortnChilton Williamson, ]r. is senior editornfor books at Chronicles.n32/CHRONICLESnThe Sentimentalist Conspiracynby Chilton Williamson, Jr.n”Actum est de republica.”n—Latin sayingnof actually holding up cue cards that saynCRY. Of course, the individual case isnmeant to personalize the plight of thengroup, just as Dickens’ novels intentionallynpointed at social conditions lyingnbeyond personal experience. Still, thenChristian Victorians recognized in sufferingna personal meaning that has becomenattenuated for the secular postmoderns,nfor whom pain and misery arenmore or less abstract manifestations of socialndislocation. Add to the sociologicalntemptation the susceptibility to sentimentalitynand fantasy encouraged and exploitednby the creators of popular culturenand the inability of the American publicnschool system to graduate people able tonthink and to reason, and the result isnpublic debate waged overwhelmingly byncrass and unapologetic sentimentalists.nRationalist liberals and New York andnWashington “conservatives” enjoy a goodntime with sentimentally pious rightistsnwho preferred their country when itnwas a republic to what it has becomenas an empire, yet at no time does theirnown brand of sentimentality betray, itselfnso obviously as when they insist thatnthe United States, being “a nation ofnimmigrants,” must continue to hold itsndoors open to newcomers from abroad.nLeon F. Bouvier, a demographer associatednwith Tulane University and formeriynvice-president at the Population ReferencennnBureau, as well as a member of the SelectnCommission on Immigration andnRefugee Policy in 1980, is a self-proclaimednliberal who believes in whatnhe calls a “liberal-limitationist” approachnto a subject that could be called inflammablenif it were not so unpopular asnto be scarcely visible at all.nProfessor Bouvier has four discrete argumentsnto make on behalf of setting anlimit of 450,000 legal immigrants annuallynto the United States (the currentnnumber is 950,000) and of reducing illegalnimmigration to a trickle. The first is thatnthe American underclass, which is proportionatelynlarger than that of any othernindustrialized nation, is expanding innspite of the reduced national fertility ratenand as a direct result of increased immigrationnquotas that add great numbersnof predominantly young and unskillednaliens to the work force, thus aggravatingna situation caused by the gap betweennemployers’ need for educatednworkers and the relatively small numbernof skilled workers available. The secondnis that high levels of immigration arenretarding the modernization, and thereforenthe competitiveness, of American industrynby creating a large pool of unskillednlabor from which businesses canndraw low-paid workers in preference to investingnin technological development thatnwould reduce the need for cheap laborn