By the end of 1998, it was no longer possible for any informed and honest person to claim that the massive immigration experienced by the United States since the 1970’s was not significantly altering the culture, economy, and politics of the nation. Last summer, the Washington Post, long a zealous opponent of immigration restriction, published a series of articles that effectively conceded the point. “Lives Transplanted, a Region Transformed. Steady Immigration Changes Face of the Region; Schools Add Up Immigrant Costs,” one headline informed its readers. The series, as well as other accumulating facts about immigrants not included in it, was not simply a confirmation of what supporters of immigration control have always suspected, indeed knew—that it is not humanly possible for millions of people from one culture to transplant themselves into another culture without exerting some deleterious effect— but actually pointed to an even more important truth: Mass immigration is not merely destroying one nation but also is giving birth to a new one, and the new nation will not be a place where most Americans would feel comfortable or even be welcome.
“I think I’m still a Mexican,” Maria Jacinto, a working-class woman from Mexico who left her native land for ours some years ago, told the Post’s reporter. “When my skin turns white and my hair turns blond, then I’ll be an American.” Mrs. Jacinto surely knows that most Americans are not blond and that many of them are not white, but her identification of our nation and hers in terms of these biological traits tells us a good deal about the nation that is emerging in our midst, about the nation we are ceasing to be, and about the very nature of nationality itself.
Mrs. Jacinto thinks of nationality in racial terms. Not for her the soft abstractions of the “first universal nation” or the “proposition country” beloved of neoconservative apologists for open borders, nor the happy evasions of race that other nationalisms like to invoke—language, culture, history, religion, etc. For Mrs. Jacinto, as for many of her co-nationals, the nation is simply what they have always told us it was—La Raza—and there is no quibbling about the dangers of Darwinism and “scientific racialism.” Spokesmen for La Raza make it very clear that the nation, the political expression of their race that they plan to organize, will have no place for folks who are not part of the Raza. “California is going to be a Hispanic state,” announces Mario Obledo, one of the major leaders of the Hispanic “community” in California and a nominee for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “We are going to control all the institutions. If people don’t like it, they should leave.” Richard Alatorre of the Los Angeles City Council told an Hispanic audience in September 1996,
Because our numbers are growing, they’re afraid of what this great mass of minorities that now live in our communities, they’re afraid that we’re going to take over the governmental institutions and other institutions. They’re right, we will take them over, and we are not going to go away, we are here to stay, and we are saying ya basta [enough]. . . .
Jose Angel Gutierrez of the University of Texas at Arlington, a founder of “Chicano nationalism,” said in January 1995,
Group ascendancy. Why in order for us to have a homeland we must give up our Mexican-ness and become white-like? Why? Hostages in our land. Prisoners of war. We are millions. We just have to survive. We have an aging White America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It’s a matter of time. The explosion is in our population.
It is not just Mrs. Jacinto, but fairly representative leaders and spokesmen for Hispanics generally who glimpse the future nation La Raza is creating. Their vision of Hispanic identity is one of us (La Raza) against them (whites, gringos, Anglos, blondes, what Mrs. Jacinto in the Post interview called gueros, Americans), and what in their minds distinguishes us from them is not for the most part (and perhaps not at all) language, culture, history, or religion, but race, pure and simple.
Of course, race by itself is not really what distinguishes and identifies the Hispanic demographic nucleus inside the United States. Mexicans, by far the largest part of the Hispanic immigrant population, are racially indistinguishable from many other Central Americans and even many Caribbean immigrants, but they do not always have much in common with other Hispanics, and in the grand new nation that sparkles in the eyes of Mr. Obledo and his racial companeros, it would not be too surprising if the Mexicans, the Salvadorans, the Nicaraguans, the Cubans, the Puerto Ricans, and all the rest of La Raza started cutting one another’s throats. They will discover that race by itself is not sufficient to constitute a nation. If it were otherwise, there would not be two different words, “nation” and “race,” to represent two different, though related, concepts.
In a famous passage of the Federalist, John Jay enumerated the qualities that Americans shared in common that constituted their nationality: “one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs,” and sharing through their common victory “their general liberty and independence.” The very first element Jay mentioned was descent from the same ancestors, which is a definition of ethnicity or race. However, nationality for him and for most Americans was certainly not confined to common descent but included other bonds as well. Though not the whole of Jay’s idea of nationality, ethnic inheritance was clearly an important part of it, and the mental and behavioral characteristics that are part of that inheritance, as well as the by-no-means negligible physical appearance of those descended from the same ancestors, help form the bonds without which nationality cannot exist. But by itself, common descent does not ordinarily constitute a sufficient social, political, or cultural bond to unite all those who share it in a common national unity. The Hispanics who get to cross the borders into the new nation of La Raza, or Aztlan, or whatever they plan to call it, will in fact share a good deal in addition to race —a common history and a common memory of that history, a more or less common religion, a common language, and a common way of doing things and evaluating things that constitutes a common culture—even though they and their leaders, to judge from their own rhetoric, seem to be oblivious to such bonds. Yet without those commonalities they would not even be inclined to form a nation, new or old.
In Alien Nation, Peter Brimelow defines a nation as “an ethno-cultural community—an interlacing of ethnicity and culture,” a definition that manages to synthesize race and nation. ‘”The word ‘nation,'” he tells us,
is derived from the Latin nescare, to be born [actually, the Latin word is nasci; so much for the vaunted classical education of British schools, but the point remains the same]. It intrinsically implies a link by blood. A nation in a real sense is an extended family. The merging process by which all nations are created is not merely cultural, but to a considerable extent biological, through intermarriage.
Nor is it only Mr. Brimelow who thinks so. He quotes the definition of “nation” offered by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, senator from New York and once a respected intellectual, in his book. Pandemonium: “a group of people who believe that they are ancestrally related. It is the largest grouping that shares that belief” Moynihan’s emphasis on “believe” might seem to deflect from the reality of biological descent toward the intellectual reality of what a population thinks as the fundamental bond of nationality, but the fact is that no population that is not to a large extent really “ancestrally related” can believe that it is. It is difficult to name a modem nation-state whose historic population thinks it shares a common ancestry but in reality does not. No matter how hard you try to pitch them out, race and ethnicity-biological descent and the traits carried by descent—come back, and the harder you try, the harder they return, as they return today, among Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and just about every other racial category except among Americans who trace their ancestry to Britain and Europe.
But whether the emerging nationalities and their nationalisms are defined by race or by other features, their appearance within the territory of the old nation that Jay described suggests that the political future of that territory is going to be shaped by forces quite different from those that have shaped the old nation. With the exception of the Indian wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, the political conflicts of American history have been conflicts within Jay’s “one united people,” even when they imagined themselves to be two or more peoples. The political struggles of the future, and indeed many of those being waged now, are conflicts among the different races, nations, and cultures—the different peoples—that have begun to emerge. Their emergence does not necessarily imply that the old nation will fragment into separate national units through a process of “Balkanization”; it is quite possible that national unity will persist and that the (literally) inter-national conflicts between the internal nations will be conducted by fairly conventional political means—elections, lobbying, propaganda, and appointments—rather than by the more typical means of international conflict, namely, war.
The intensity of black self-consciousness today, not only in terms of race but just as strongly in terms of history, culture, religion, and even language, is sufficient to justify speaking of a distinct black nation within the United States. But the black nation appears to be content (so far) to pursue its national identity within the political-territorial framework of the old nation without claiming a particular territory within the larger nation as its own.
Hispanic nationalists, however, may take a different path. Their talk about Aztlan or reconquista of the Southwest suggests that they aim at actual independence or bringing that part of the United States back to Mexico. My bet, however, is that they will do neither, no matter how much power they acquire in the Southwestern states. If the remainder of the United States stayed intact, a separate and independent Hispanic nation-state would simply be one more Central American appendage of El Norte. Merging with Mexico is equally unlikely. What would be the point of rejoining Mexico, especially since being part of a First World country like the United States rather than a Third World one like Mexico offers far more advantages?
In the managerial state, national and ethnic subgroups actually have material incentives to keep the macro-national state intact while their own micro-national groups contend with each other and pursue their own interests within the conventional political framework of the larger state. The national and ethnic subgroups, even though they may evolve into full-fledged national consciousness, lack the military power to establish their own territorial autonomy and could expect to gain little or nothing even if they had the power. As long as the dominant or majority national group (namely, European-Americans) remains unable to articulate its own national identity and consciousness and unwilling to assert its exclusive right to its national territory and explicitly reject the legitimacy of other nations to form within its territory, then the sub-nations will encounter no significant political obstacle to exploiting the larger nation-state for their own purposes. Those purposes for the most part would not reach beyond the usual fruits of political conflict in the soft managerial states of the Western world: more political appointments for members of the particular group, more subsidies and privileges for the group, more acknowledgment of their status as “victims” of the supine majority group, etc. But the essential premise of this kind of intra-nationalist politics is that the supine majority not become militant.
If the majority (which the Euro-American population will cease to be in the middle of the next century) should show signs of repossessing its own nation and reviving its own national consciousness, then the subgroups could no longer expect to gain political advantages by playing politics within the large national framework. They would then have an incentive to embark on a “Balkanization” or separatist or secessionist strategy, even though they might lack the power to enforce it. The likely result would then be internal war between the racial-national groups, or at least a tense compromise by which some groups could continue to get some rewards from the political system but not all that they would like.
To a large extent, this future is already upon us, and it is hardly surprising given the brutal reality of ethnic, racial, and national conflicts in world history. The last 30 years in the United States and Western Europe have largely been an era of illusions, in which the liberal, egalitarian, integrationist ideal articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr.—to judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character—has prevailed in public rhetoric, if not in actual law and practice, hi fact, it is doubtful that very many people ever really believed King’s words, and certainly those who collaborated with King have consistently supported the most blatant racial privileges for their own group even as they deny the legitimacy of such privileges to other groups. Race, in other words, has returned (if, indeed, it ever departed at all) and now claims to be the very foundation of nationality and group identity.
The return of race and the consequent emergence of incipient racial nations within the old nation is only one indication that the political framework of the nation may itself be changing. Whereas the old framework, at least in ideological terms, contained a contest between a right committed to a small, low cost state and a left committed to a large, active, and high-cost state, the contest in the future is more likely to determine whether there is a larger national unity at all or whether national unity should yield to a transnational framework. The political and ideological lines of division over transnational issues are already considerably blurred, with Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton allying to support NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, increased global free trade, foreign aid, continuous military intervention for ostensibly altruistic causes, IMF funding, etc., while Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, and a fragile but growing coalition of Republicans and Democrats in Congress collaborate to oppose them. While globalists agree on ethnic and cultural issues (they are pro-immigration and pro-affirmative action, egalitarian and universalist in principle but supportive of anti-white racial privilege in practice), the nationalists have yet to come to a consensus on such issues.
Nevertheless, the lines of politics are increasingly clear. In place of a politics that debates over the size, cost, scope, and scale of the state, there will be a politics concerned with whether there will be a nation. This is in fact what former National Review editors John O’Sullivan and Peter Brimelow have called the “national question,” and conflict over it is likely to be the main political issue of the next half-century. It can easily subsume many of the religious-moral issues that now animate the religious right, and it obviously aligns with the racial-national identities now emerging. Whites may end up largely opposing transnationalism, and non-whites, who have hitherto opposed high rates of immigration, may come to support the transnationalist agenda, at least as a means of weakening the national vigor of the dominant state.
The future of American politics, then, is likely to be one in which the lines of division and conflict are between those who want the nation to persist as John Jay characterized it in 1787 and those who want it to vanish, either into the transnational haze of the New World Order or into the racial-national fragments that can manipulate and exploit its shell. Since the main obstacle to both parts of the anti-national side is the dominance of the core ethnic group of the old nation, both the transnationalists and the racial-nationalists share an interest in ensuring that the core ceases to be the core (i.e., is demographically marginalized by immigration), ceases to possess a consciousness that can distinguish its identity and interests (i.e., is punished, ostracized, and demonized for its “racism”), and ceases to exercise group power (i.e., is dislodged from control of the cultural and political institutions it created and has historically controlled). The national question, then, almost necessarily implies the racial question, and however limited race may be as a basis for social and political unity, it cannot be escaped or avoided as an element in national-political conflicts.
What that means, however, is that white Americans will increasingly find themselves trapped between a transnationalism driven from above, by the economic interests and cultural preferences of elites, and a racial nationalism (or several different racial nationalisms) driven from below, by the group interests and identities of adversarial ethnicities. While the alliance between the transnationalists and the anti-white racial nationalists may be fragile, its very existence could encourage an intensification of Euro-American unity. If such an intensification occurs before European-Americans become a minority in the United States in the middle of the next century, the resultant nationalist movement could emerge as the most important and powerful political force of the next hundred years.
The American future, then, is likely to be rather more complicated than one of simple fragmentation, internal military conflict, or mere chaos, let alone the triumph of the fast-food, shopping mall, more-growth-forever utopia slobbered over by neoconservatives and libertarian cultists. The modernization that such utopianism presupposes has already damaged the national and cultural homogeneity of the United States enough to render questionable the survival of the nation that John Jay described. Yet even if the historic American nation expires, other nations will survive it, and one of those survivors may even be descended from the same ancestors as the old nation that now faces extinction.