Political correctness has it that immigration is a perennial phenomenon in Western countries. This is preposterous. Immigration as we know it today is an extremely recent phenomenon.
The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, they say. This is just plain ridiculous. A small group of people leaving their country to found their old city anew on an almost uninhabited hill has nothing to do with immigration. Strictly speaking, they are emigrants, while immigration presupposes a previously organized society in which immigrants settle. Nobody would call the ancient Greeks founding Marseille immigrants, nor does one call the pioneers settling the Far West, nor the English populating Australia, immigrants.
In the course of European history, there have constantly been individuals who have left their home countries and become citizens of new ones. What country in old Europe can claim to have a population made up entirely of aborigines? But such immigration has nothing to do with what the West is facing today.
The sheer size of the phenomenon is an unprecedented fact. In the 17th century, Huguenots fled to Germany or Holland, and after 1917 many Russians chose to live elsewhere in Europe, notably in France. But their numbers cannot compare with the multitudes now crossing the borders of the West and still less with those waiting to do so. The 19th century saw more massive transplantation of populations within the West at large. But such shifts were again entirely different from the contemporary ones on at least two counts.
First, they involved Western populations moving to other Western countries: Poles or Spaniards to France, Irish or Italians to the United States, etc. Immigration was an internal circulation of more or less homogeneous populations. Thus, the melting pot was no issue; notwithstanding repetitive attacks on religion by devout laicists, on the whole the Western world had been a Christian one for too long not to have acquired some sort of consanguinity, some sort of brotherhood that permeated even through their rivalries and constant warring. Today, the West faces the immigration of populations entirely foreign to its history, its culture, and its social structure, and whose sheer numbers obviously hinder the smooth fading away of their cultural differences. (One may object that Mexicans are Christians, but that only means that their immigration does not raise an issue as acute as that of, say, Muslims, while it remains to be seen why they so often show violent aggressiveness toward the gringos.)
There was a time when immigrants, when in Rome, did as the Romans did. It wasn’t merely for convenience; they actually admired the society they were entering. The Goths or Visigoths invading the dying Roman Empire actually perpetuated, though often crudely, its main institutions, like Roman law (not to mention that they eventually became Christians), whereas it is difficult not to see that modern immigrants do not care about the traditional culture of their host country, but increasingly demand that room be made and rights granted for their communities to become a state within a state.
Second, it is argued that immigration is a blessing for countries that are getting sclerotic and which need to be rejuvenated by an injection of foreign blood. Again, this may have been true when France needed coal miners or metalworkers, when the United States needed coolies to build railroads or a workforce to sustain the development of industry. But today, in the midst of sluggish economies and rising unemployment in many Western countries, can it reasonably be argued that the unskilled wretches crossing the Mediterranean to Europe in decaying wrecks are going to save the day? Are they needed when the fashion is to outsource production, lowering costs by hiring slaves abroad?
The diagnosis is self-evident. The West is facing the ceaseless influx of two main categories of populations. Some are lured to the West simply because they see it as an El Dorado, complete with such unlimited wealth that they expect, and often demand, to grab at least some of it without much ado or particular effort. And then there are those who resent, without saying so, what they perceive as their incapacity to provide themselves at home with what they have to beg from the West, and therefore, far from being willing to assimilate, progressively become intent on destroying their hosts: They hate those whom they inwardly envy, and the cruelty of radical Muslims only demonstrates the depth of their resentment.
Whatever the dominant motive, there is hardly any doubt that today’s immigration is more like what happened with the Huns than with the Goths, and that behind the thin veil of peaceful joining of forces or humanitarian aid to hapless refugees, what is actually taking place is an undeclared war on the West.
Immigration is a clear and present danger to the survival of Christian civilization. But such evidence only raises the true question: Why is so little done about it?
The authorities of the West have demonstrated not so much an inability to confront the threat as a deliberate effort to become our civilization’s worst enemy. Certainly, the West has adversaries only too happy to unleash upon it armies of civilians on whom it is not charitable to open fire. But who are these enemies? Obviously, not the usual suspects: Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad or Iran, whatever they may be on other accounts, can hardly be accused of engineering immigration into the West, no more than Mubarak or Saddam Hussein—or communist China, which has become the latest profitable business partner of the West’s principal bankers. (I would consider more of an enemy of the West those Westerners who have dragged it into senseless wars, notably in the Middle East.)
The real supporters of immigration are insiders.
Among these insiders are the great bulk of the Western populations, or rather the current mentality that has taken the place of their former public spirit. This mentality is supported by two basic principles.
The first is the conviction that the only legitimate political regime is democracy, more and more understood as a society in which each individual is ultimately his one and only master, a creature whose nature is to belong only to himself, and therefore to the society he lives in only on a contractual basis, while remaining an obedient citizen only so long as the society delivers. A true, realized democracy is not much more than a joint stock company: There is no reason to prevent anyone from entering it, and all the more so since there are no stocks to be purchased. (Where, for instance, is a language test really mandatory?) Of course, members may be tempted to refuse entry on the grounds that the newcomer may be a liability—but since the sense of community (of a common history, common language, common culture) has been drowned by individualism, these same members cannot exclude anyone on the basis of democratic principles, but only on the grounds of their own selfishness and personal interests. This is bound to generate a feeling of guilt compounding the illegitimacy of any closed-door policy.
The second pillar, which reinforces the first, is the conviction that every human being from the moment he is born may be in need of developing his forces, but is in no way under any obligation as he grows older to be other than what he feels like being, no more than any animal can be asked to do anything other than what instinct or impulse induces it to do. The dominant conception of the classics, pagan and Christian, the one that permeated daily life, was that each man, like any other being, was assigned his station in a universe where nothing existed in vain, and therefore it was the duty of each man to hold his station and fulfill his role to the best of his ability. That mentality has been eradicated and replaced by a new one whose core is the notion not of the duties, but of the rights of man. But then as far as immigration is concerned that represents a second contradiction. The average individual loves the dogma, because he sees in the rights of man at large his own rights first of all: Contrary to the popular conception, the rights of man is an essentially self-centered and selfish dogma. But to defend his own rights, the average individual must defend the others’. Thus, parallel to the hailing of the Holy Grail, one more and more often hears people, even the Pope, preaching openness to others. How would supporters of the rights of man not applaud the right of anyone to choose to be an American with the snap of his fingers?
Such a mentality could remain a mere proclivity. But unfortunately, there are in our countries vested interests to stimulate so that it manifests in common behavior.
However it may be viewed in other respects, what is usually referred to as Big Business—meaning primarily high finance (because there is no big business unless there is big money behind it)—can demonstrably be considered as having a direct interest in uncontrolled immigration. Big money is after big profits, and big profits mean big investing where it is cheap to produce, and selling to whoever has the ability to buy. Again, this means that large banking interests must be spontaneously favorable to the lowering of all barriers that prevent the easy flow of investments and dividends. The larger the capital the bankers command, the more naturally inclined they are to hate national borders, national governments, national interests, national identities, and also populations proud of their particular customs and traditions, tastes and creeds, demanding all of these be respected. This means finance capital at large must spontaneously view immigration as a God-sent tool to mix the greatest possible number of people into an homogeneous, undifferentiated mass of producer-consumers, moved by standardized appetites—all in the name of the equal and unalienable right of all men to better their material lives. Why shouldn’t the masses be enthusiastic about cheap goods?
The political class is the second accomplice of mass immigration. Some of its members are simply puppets of the moneyed interest favorable to immigration, which provides them with the means to win their election. But I see at least two more reasons for most of them to side with immigrants. First, politicians are after not only current, but also prospective, votes. They know the minute the immigrants are given a chance to vote they will vote for whoever supports immigration: Immigrants represent an enormous reservoir of potential votes. And second, there is something that is, or at least is presented as, the main lesson of World War II: There should never be any disregard for the universal rights of man, but instead a strict ban on whatever discriminates among men, like intolerance, racism, nationalism. Western civilization cannot have enough openness to others, compassion for fellow men, and can never welcome enough the oppressed and the wretched. Then what might hostility to unfettered immigration mean, what might a reluctance to feed, shelter, and care for the health of whoever was born in underdeveloped countries imply, if not nostalgia for “the darkest hours of Western history”? In a nutshell, to criticize immigration is to be a Nazi—and is there, apart from the suicidal, any politician prepared to confront such a heinous accusation or offer his rivals an opportunity to disqualify him? And why should the masses not appreciate such defense of the rights that they themselves adore?
The third accomplice is our media—particularly the national ones. There are a number of reasons for this, some of them valid for politicians as well, like the dependence on immigration-loving financiers (because the mainstream media are just another species of big business) or the terror of being branded insensitive to all the possible rights of all possible men. But there is another reason, a sort of built-in one. It should be obvious that the more the main objective is to sell, the more the media are bound to look for what I would call the least common denominator among their potential customers, which, equally obviously, is to aim not at their intellect but at their gut. Not everyone is equally prone to intellectual inquiry, but the greatest number can take an immediate interest in what does not require reflection but is emotionally apprehended, even shocking. Thus, in a society where individuals are taught to be self-centered, and therefore where pity is a major emotion, how could the media ignore the providential and seemingly limitless bounty that for them is the plight of wretched underlings drowning in unseaworthy wrecks, or the suffering and anxiety of hungry, destitute kids trying to cross borders defended by inhuman gun-toters? The larger the media want their audience to be, the more they will extol immigration. And why should the masses disapprove of such devotion to mankind?
At this point, I must at last answer the crucial question. Granted that immigration is a danger, what can be done to dam the flood? If I have left little space to reply, it is because my answer is just two words: not much.
Not much, because sending immigrants back home is bound to conjure up the ghost of other deportations (though Stalin’s are usually forgotten). Not much, because assimilation (the blending of a foreigner into a native) in a consumer society means making him not a member of a nonexistent community, but a mere consumer at a Walmart, which is precisely the rub. Not much, because who would support a policy of helping the needy to help themselves—the only reasonable, but not the most profitable, policy? Not much, because the realists are so few in comparison with the indifferent or the beneficiaries of immigration, and there is so much reluctance to debunk the latter.
Assuredly, we need an aristocracy to show the way, as Chilton Williamson recently argued in these pages. But the standard democratic politician is only after voters to get power, and power to make money. Assuredly, the crowds need to be educated. But nobody can make a horse drink if he is not thirsty, nor force a democratic people to be properly educated, since, as they are sovereign, they are the only ones entitled to educate themselves.
Barring a miracle, what can we do? Keep speaking the truth and extolling the laws of nature and of God: This is an obvious duty, though one be a voice crying in the wilderness. And regroup in small communities to fight the democratic centralization that empowers the worst princes. Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done, and the average Gulliver is usually entangled in a net of tiny threads. Sadly, the more lucid people are merely granted the privilege of being seated on the bridge of the Titanic so that they can watch themselves rush full speed at the clearly visible iceberg dead ahead. Civilizations do commit suicide—and even worship those who lead them to it.