Friday, March 31, 2006

CW on Immigration: Part IV

Another bit of nonsense peddled by Republican backers of “immigration reform” is that failing to open up the borders to all comers will cost the GOP at the ballot box. "Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren's song," says former GOP head honcho Ed Gillespie, "and Republicans must resist its lure . . . or our majority will crash on its shoals."

Another tall tale frequently proffered by immigration enthusiasts is that the national GOP is emulating California Republicans and will soon pay through the nose for "anti-immigrant" rhetoric. You may recall that in 1994, California governor Pete Wilson pushed Proposition 187, a ballot initiative denying various public services to ILLEGAL immigrants. The initiative won handily, though it was struck down by the federal courts, and Wilson cruised to victory.

Writing in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus summarizes the "argument" that the GOP is imperiled by supporting a tough line on illegal immigration:

Now, though, with thousands demonstrating against a House-passed immigration bill that is all crackdown and no mercy, Rove's project is imperiled. The GOP -- riven between an enforcement-only approach and Bush's kinder, gentler immigration reform -- is risking a national repeat of Wilson's experience as governor of California over a decade ago.

Wilson pushed for Proposition 187, the 1994 initiative to deny state services to illegal immigrants, and won -- with disastrous results for the California GOP.

Is any of this true? A hardheaded look at the true political terrain provides a slightly different picture. The biggest change that occurred in California politics during the 1990’s was the enormous outflow of conservative whites from the state, wrought in part by surging illegal immigration following the 1986 amnesty. This fact combined with the importation of Democratic voters via immigration is the explanation for the demise of the GOP and conservatism in the Golden State. Steve Sailer dissects the myth further.

Sailer has also demonstrated that the president did not garner the support of Hispanics frequently attributed to him, and has shown conclusively that the GOP future depends on winning a larger share of the white vote. Is amnesty for illegal aliens the best way to accomplish that goal?

I would also direct you to the analysis by Peter Brimelow and Ed Rubenstein (updated in 2001) making the case that unfettered immigration is rapidly changing the demographics of the nation in a manner likely to create a progressive cycle in American politics at the expense of the GOP and whatever remains of the "conservative movement."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

CW on Immigration: Part III

Immigration enthusiasts continue to peddle the lie that there is a nerd shortage in America. A variation of this argument was spewed forth by none other than that hero of nerds everywhere, George F. Will: "Conservatives should favor a policy of encouraging unlimited immigration by educated people with math, engineering, technology or science skills that America's education system is not sufficiently supplying."

Where to begin? Let’s start with the canard that the nation is producing technical incompetents, good for nothing better than a career as a pundit. The indispensable Ed Rubenstein reviewed the findings of sociologist Micheal Handel in the pages of VDARE debunking the myth of a high-tech labor shortage, or "skills gap." Handel "points to the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), a test administered to working-age adults in 14 advanced industrialized countries between 1994 and 1998. The U.S. ranked 10th place overall, but our poorest performers (5th percentile) were dead last and our best performers (95th percentile) were 3rd highest."

Here as elsewhere, immigration plays a pernicious role. When immigrants are excluded from the various samples, the difference between test score inequality in the United States and other countries disappears completely for women and shrinks by 55 percent for men.

Meanwhile, the number of American citizens pursuing degrees in engineering and science is actually on the rise. According to the National Science Foundation, U.S. citizen enrollment in science and engineering rose 5.8 percent, to 327,332 in 2003.

The NSF also found that 4.2 of science and engineering PhDs work outside their field. The primary reason is that wages are too low, a situation made all the worse by the H1-B visa program which brings "highly skilled" immigrants to the U.S. in the name of alleviating the mythical shortage of high-tech employees.

The corporate elite, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and ideologues at the Wall Street Journal, ceaselessly offer incense at the altar of the free market gods, and yet here they desire state intervention to keep wages low. According to conventional economic theory, if there is a shortage of workers in a field, wages should rise in order to attract people to that industry. Has that happened in the science and engineering sector? In 2004, the National Science Foundation published findings showing that wages had increased a relatively paltry 10% since 1995. As Rubenstein says, "For U.S. citizens, a doctorate in science or engineering causes a net lifetime LOSS in earnings" while an American science or engineering degree remains very attractive for foreigners relative to their options at home.

The solution, then, is to allow the magic of the marketplace to work. Mass immigration and special visa programs continue to exert downward pressure on wages for science and engineering graduates. As a result, many otherwise capable and talented natives are making the perfectly rational economic decision to bypass careers in math and science for other fields.

CW on Immigration: Part II

As I discussed in my previous post, the analysis of Ed Rubenstein demonstrates that deportation is a perfectly reasonable and cost effective way of managing the immigration debacle.

However, the whole point of James Sensenbrenner's legislation, which passed in the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, is that any discussion about the realistic needs supplied by immigrant labor is completely overwhelmed by our inability to control the border. In short, we cannot have a sensible, sane, moral, and national-interest-driven immigration policy until the border is controlled.

Moreover, as Sensenbrenner argues, there really is no need to deport large numbers of illegals. By punishing employers, the well of jobs simply dries up, and eventually many, if not most, of the illegals will leave on their own.

Doesn't that make perfect sense?

Another issue that I have yet to hear discussed is how we should handle the future children of "temporary workers." Senate legislation will allow guest workers to bring their spouses and children. Inevitably, many will reproduce. The erroneous reading of the 14th perpetrated on the nation by the Supreme Court means that such children are automatically considered citizens. Then what? Well, I'm guessing that in such cases there would be nothing more permanent than temporary workers.

CW on Immigration: Part I

The conventional wisdom among editorialists, columnists, and serial immigration enthusiasts is that deportation is an impractical way to deal with the problem of illegal immigration.

In an editorial supporting Arlen Specter's as yet unwritten legislation, the NY Times rhapsodized: "The alternatives to the Specter bill are senseless. The enforcement-only approach — building a 700-mile wall and engaging in a campaign of mass deportation and harassment to rip 12 million people from the national fabric — would be an impossible waste of time and resources. It would destroy families and weaken the economy."

The liberal Center for American Progress published a report calculating that mass deportation would cost $206 billion over five years ($41.2 billion per year).

Commenting from his perch at VDARE, economist Ed Rubenstein writes that while the CAP estimated is "an absurdly large figure...mass deportation would pay for itself in about four years. Plus, of course, we’d get America back."

According to Rubenstein, natives pay $26 billion less in taxes due to displacement by illegal alien workers. Moreover, because of the social costs of importing poverty in the form of low-skilled workers, immigrants cost state, local, and federal governments some $25 billion dollars per annum.

A Brief Apology for Christian Education

Why must we give our children a Christian education? It is not because the state schools specialize in churning out mediocre students—though they do. Nor should Christian parents flee statist education merely because of the negative socialization inherent in public schools. Rather, it is out of love for our kids that we must educate them in a Christian environment.

Consider the closing verse of the Old Testament predicting the coming of the Messiah: “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." It would be tragic if people did not love their children. We take for granted that people have everywhere and always had a solicitous attitude toward their children. We want the very best for our kids—not just materially, but spiritually, too. We want our children to value what we deem important. Particularly, as believers, we desire them to come to faith in Christ, and consider the ramifications of Christianity for their world-and-life view.

God has made parents stewards of children, to mold and shape. Our children, says the Psalmist, “are a heritage from the Lord,” indeed, “the fruit of the womb is a reward.” We are called to elicit from our children those things that are pleasing to God. Ultimately, they belong to Him, and that is why Christian education is imperative.

In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked about paying taxes, “’Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’"

His response is interesting: “But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar's.’ Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.’"

If Caesar’s image is on the coin and he calls it back, says Jesus, then you pay your taxes. But, he continues, we should render to God the things that belong to God. By way of contrast, Jesus is saying that those items bearing God’s image, rather than the visage of Caesar, must be given to God. But where is God’s image found? In man, and that includes our children. They are not only an inheritance from God, but His image-bearers, too, and we should render them unto the Lord. We must turn them over to God. Our children ultimately do not belong to themselves or us, but only to God.

Teachers play a powerful role in shaping pupils. Jesus points to this truth in Luke 6:40: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” As a student matures and becomes “fully trained,” says Jesus, he will become like his teacher.

Likewise, Scripture warns against identifying too closely with the world and its philosophies. Paul says in Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If we give our children to those who hate or ignore God, mock His Law, and love the world, Jesus tells us that they will emulate their teachers. Christians believe they can turn their beloved children over to an avowed a(nti)theistic educational establishment for 30 hours a week and undo the damage by spending a handful of hours teaching Christian truths. We seem to believe that our kids can be just as worldly as your average pagan as long as we toss in a little Jesus here and there and maybe a slightly different view of creation. But in the end our children become rag dolls, “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

If our kids are taught to see the world as unbelievers see the world, they will ultimately be conformed to the world. We must not turn over our children to those who deny and mock our God.

Moreover, education is primarily an extension of the family, not the state. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The Word should be on our minds constantly. We should be enraptured by it. If we are in covenant with God, we will love him single-heartedly and single-mindedly. And yet, that is not enough to remain faithful to God. For God says that we must also teach these precepts diligently to our children. Parents have a duty to show their children the world as God’s world, to think His thoughts after him. If his Word is written on our doorposts and a sign on our hands then it must not be compartmentalized. God’s Word speaks not to merely “spiritual” matters, but also authoritatively speaks to how we should think about science, economics, politics, and art. Do we diligently teach our children to do such things by handing them to teachers who do not love God, or ignore God?

Why are Christians so socially impotent? Why are we not light scattering the darkness? Why has the salt lost its savor? Why are we faithless in heeding Jesus’ command to occupy until He returns? I would argue that the Church has ceased to look at life in terms of the fullness of God’s Word. We have not made his Word central to our lives. Likewise, we have turned our children over to Molech. We give our children to covenant breakers and then are surprised when they don’t grow up to be covenant keepers. We’re shocked that our evangelism seems so lacking and our influence is so minute when we don’t even reach our own children with the Truth.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blessed Are the Warmongers

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9)

Prior to the Iraq imbroglio, Richard Land compared war in Iraq to a summertime skirmish against mosquitoes: "If you're going to deal with terrorists you can't just swat them or use insect repellent. You have to drain the swamp. Saddam Hussein is one of the major swamps. The U.S. would be doing the world a favor and acting in the best interest of future citizens of the U.S. by removing Saddam from power."

Leaving aside the fact that there was no working or collaborative relationship between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda, when a leading Christian ethicist can compare warfare with pest extermination, one wonders if all moral sense is lost.

Dr. Land is no backwater preacher. Educated at Princeton and Oxford, Land was called "God's Lobbyist" by Time magazine and has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. In that role, Land is perhaps America's most prominent Southern Baptist among movers-and-shakers in the New York-Washington corridor. He also played a prominent role among Evangelical Christians defending the Iraq war on Just War Theory grounds.

Well, it turns out that draining swamps is pretty dangerous work. So far the tally in Iraq is 2300+ dead American servicemen and more than 17,000 wounded. Unlike prior conflicts, the Pentagon has been unwilling to discuss Iraqi casualties, leaving it to independent researchers and journalists to come up with numbers. The website Iraq Bobycount puts the number of dead Iraqis between 33,000-37,000. In 2004, the medical journal Lancet put the number at 100,000, and recently, Andrew Cockburn used more sophisticated statistical analysis to arrive at a whopping 180,000. Throw in the $350 billion that has been spent so far and we've really got ourselves a good ole' swamp-drainin'.

With leaders like Dr. Land blazing away, Evangelicals have been the political foot soldiers and enablers of preemptive war in Iraq. In October 2002, nearly 7 in 10 "conservative Christians" favored military action against Iraq and despite some slippage, there remains strong support for administration policy in the Middle East. According to a recent Gallup poll, just 16 percent or Republican churchgoers who attend services once a week thought the war was a mistake.

My own denomination, the SBC, passed a resolution last June expressing "deepest gratitude and respect for our president," who "has been forced to make difficult decisions that place our servicemen and servicewomen in harm's way." Southern Baptists are also encouraged "to pray regularly for our president and to stand with him in opposing global terrorism." Presumably the admonition excludes imprecatory Psalms, though the resolution was unclear on that matter.

Clearly, Christians do have certain obligations to civil authorities. We should indeed pray for our leaders (I Tim. 2:1-2), honor their God-ordained office (I Peter 2:17, Rom. 13:7), pay taxes (Rom. 13:6-7, Matt. 22:15-21), and obey their lawful commands (Rom. 13:5, Titus 3:1).

However, I think these texts are frequently misunderstood in such a way as to leave the State free to rampage about in an unbiblical way. Paul says, "there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God" (Rom. 13:1). So even the State is established and ordained by God for the purpose of being God’s servant (deacon) "to do you good" (v. 4). In other words, the State is also under the authority of God, accountable to Him, and must rule in accordance with His divine rule as revealed in Scripture. But Scripture accords the State a very limited role, as I have argued elsewhere. "Swamp-draining" in the name of nation-building cannot be defended from Scripture.

Likewise, the duty to pray for civil leaders is indeed an affirmative command. But Paul’s point writing in the first century is that we are to pray FOR rather than TO such men. His admonition to Christians living in an age where the State frequently became God was to worship Christ rather Caesar. In short, Romans 13 must not devolve into Revelation 13.

Christians also don't read on to figure out why we are supposed to pray for our leaders. The purpose, says Paul, is that "we may lead a peaceful and quiet life." Surely living in the grip of perpetual war doesn't qualify as a peaceful and quiet life. Furthermore, it is undeniable that Christian missionaries will have a far more difficult time evangelizing in Islamic nations because of the actions of the American government and native Christians will face increasing hostility in their Islamic homelands.

There is another theological problem driving Evangelical war fever. Christians, particularly my Calvinist brethren, will argue until they are blue in the face that man is totally depraved, incapable of responding to God without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Even in Christ, the Apostle Paul speaks in Romans 7 of our continual struggle with sin.

Throughout Scripture, civil leaders behave in ungodly ways. Exodus 1:18-21 records the account of Pharaoh commanding the Israelite midwives to kill every Jewish boy. Daniel 3 tells the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Aded-Nego and their defiance of the king when commanded to worship a false God. In Acts the disciples are arrested for preaching the Gospel. In Revelation, it is clear that "The Beast" becomes incarnate in a State.

Likewise, in today’s world, Christians have no trouble affirming that there is evil that cannot be reasoned with. Savage butchery in Rwanda or Sudan; the murderous rampages of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot; such savagery singes our consciences and Christians know that such evil lurks in the heart of man because of sin.

Yet we are completely unwilling to look in the mirror. We can’t consider the possibility that our own elites have become so thoroughly corrupted and sinful that they could engage in similar behavior. Instead, Christians are perfectly willing to centralize authority in the executive branch at the expense of the legislature, in contravention of the vision laid out by the founders, and quite frankly standing in opposition to a Christian understanding of original sin.

To take one example, Leon Podles, writing for the editors of Touchstone Magazine, wrote that Christians "can decide their government is in error and that a given war is unjust" but "the presumption is that a democratically elected government is well-intentioned." According to Podles, we should forget the Maine, the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin, Wilson's promise to stay out of WWI, or Roosevelt's solemn pledge to stay out of bloody European wars. All of this and much, much more must be scuttled down the memory hole, post-haste.

Likewise, most Christians seem willing to ignore allegations of torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, and a war built on a façade of false pretenses in order to prop up a Christ-professing president and his political party. Because they have bought the GOP's empty rhetoric on abortion and other social issues, Evangelical voters have become the primary political instrument wielded by the Republican establishment, a rent-a-mob that ultimately becomes a vehicle to foster globalism and meddlesome interventionism—the very ingredients producing the Islamist backlash.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Little Open Dialogue

John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kenney School have authored a paper (for a full version, click here) arguing that the Israeli Lobby distorts American policy, operates against American interests, and played a decisive role in fomenting the war in Iraq.

While a controversial thesis, to be sure, one might expect that as Americans, deeply valuing principles of free speech and academic inquiry, there would be a grand debate over such a thesis. After all, as Justice Holmes wrote, "the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out." Surely, an issue so vital to the national interest can be discussed with candor and openness, right? Oh yeah, we're Americans, so we get a headline in the NY Sun screaming, "David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean," which is then recycled by Wall Street Journal scribbler James Taranto. Taranto says, "it seems fair to say that their views dovetail disturbingly with those of unquestioned anti-Semites." Moreover, says Taranto, their argument is "anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent."

Yes, nothing like a little character assassination.

Ironically, Mr. Bush warned Iran just yesterday that American military would be used if necessary to defend Israel. "I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," said Bush, referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel. As luck would have it, Mr. Bush made his proclamation on the same day that the Supreme Court rejected on an appeal by Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

Friday, March 17, 2006

More OutLANDish Stuff

Richard Land unveiled the 2006 legislative agenda for Southern Baptists this week. Land demands passage of the ADVANCE Democracy Act. "This bill," writes Land, "will make peaceful promotion of democracy around the world a major focus of U.S. foreign policy. The bill has the potential to help rid the world of its last dictatorships in the next 20 years through peaceful means." Super, bring on Hamas and their democratically elected brethren. That'll make things better. It never seems to occur to our democratist friends that the imposition of democratic procedures onto illiberal cultures might produce something freakish.

As I've been thinking about a theology of the state recently, it has occurred to me that democracy really encourages the divinization of the state. Because man is a religious creature by nature, he will necessarily worship something. If he isn’t serving the triune God of the Christian faith, he will create a false one. The highest point of power in a system frequently becomes the god of that system. Thus it is natural that the state frequently becomes the expression or object of divinity. As Hegel said, "The State is as God walking on Earth." Therefore it is also obvious that as unbelief increases, so does statism. In a democratic system, the voice of the people becomes the voice of God, made immanent in the omnipotent state. Democracy fosters the totalizing state by leveling all checks on institutional power.

In pagan, polytheistic cultures like our own, the state tends to become humanistic and predominant, taking on a salvific component. Polytheism has no universal scope and makes no universal claims. Rather, it limits its jurisdiction to a small corner of life. Thus, there is no idological or theological check on the power of the state.

Rushdoony comments on the connection between democracy, divinization of the State, and statism in ancient Rome: "As the years passed, the emphasis on democratization kept pace with the growth of the divinization of the emperor. The emperor became, in the most extravagant terms, god and savior on earth, and the people gained on the one hand the empty honor of virtually universal citizenship, and, on the other, the growing religious faith in the divinity of the individual soul. Technical democratization, the actual divinization of the emperor and the deification of man’s soul, went hand in hand with totalitarian statism."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Xenophobes, Anti-Semites, and Conspiracy Nuts?

In his recent review of Rod Dreher's new book, "Crunchy Cons," Russ Moore writes that "unlike so much of what passes for 'paleoconservative' these days, Dreher actually sounds like Kirk, Weaver, or Nisbet rather than like a (sic) anti-Semitic, xenophobic, or McGovernite conspiracy theorist."

Moore can't bring himself to define anti-Semitism or "xenophobia," let alone point to even one such example, however, which is troubling. Who are the anti-Semites and xenophobes trolling the dark underbelly of American politics under the paleocon moniker? Is it Pat Buchanan? Maybe Mike Jones, or Paul Craig Roberts? Or is it Justin Raimondo? Perhaps Thomas Fleming? Maybe it’s my friend and fellow recovering neocon, Dave Black? Who knows? Without some further elaboration and definition from Moore, we are left with little more than a nebulous abstraction. I am reminded of Hugh Kenner's observation about anti-Semitism: "'Anti-Semitism'...has no stable meaning; it can run all the way from gas ovens to a mere wish that (former NY Times columnist) Abe Rosenthal would moderate his frenzies. And a term that has no stable meaning is simply not a profitable head for rational discussions."

Likewise, xenophobia remains undefined. But is it unreasonable to conclude, as most paleos argue, that some degree of ethnic and cultural coherence, undergirded by a common set of theological presuppositions, may in fact be a necessary ingredient of cultural survival? As Thomas Sowell says, "The most obvious fact about the history of racial and ethnic groups is how different they have been--and still are." Likewise, Jimmy Cantrell has written, "Contrary to the leftist inspired delusions of the neoconservatives, it is xenophobia, not multi-racial and multi-religious whoring and resultant cultural syncretism, that will save Western Civilization."

Moore implies that paleocons are not the legitimate heirs of Kirk, Weaver, and Nisbet. Really?

It is true that some paleos are critical of American foreign policy in the Middle East, including undiluted support for Israel. If that makes one “anti-Semitic,” than what are we to make of Russell Kirk? At a Heritage Foundation lecture in 1988, Kirk through down the gauntlet to the neoconservatives: "Not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent neo-conservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States -- a position they will have difficulty in maintaining as matters drift." Kirk’s heretical jibe was too much for the wife of Pod, Midge Decter, who called Kirk’s off-hand remark "a bloody piece of anti-Semitism."

It is also fair to argue that many paleos, like our Old Right ancestors, are isolationists—by which we mean that the federal government should have a limited role in foreign affairs. This is not a hatred of foreigners. Rather, paleos have constitutional scruples about sending armies into foreign lands. The purpose of the state is to protect the United States from invasion or against something that affects our national interests in some palpable way. In other words, crusading for democracy isn’t on our agenda.

I would argue that Pat Buchanan is a legitimate heir to the tradition of Weaver and Nisbet while the girly men at National Review, Joe Farah, and Ann Coulter are cut from the same cloth as Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Cal Thomas, Coulter and NR editor Rich Lowry have all called in some form for the use of nuclear weapons. Farah argued that we need to stop worrying about “collateral damage” and get down to the business of administering pain. Washington Times bigwig Tony Blankley, former aide to Newt Gingrich, offered up the suggestion that the time had come to imprison journalists for reporting the truth. How would such ravings from contemporary "conservatives" set with Weaver and Nisbet?

Calling Woodrow Wilson the "patriarch of American foreign policy moralism and interventionism" and commenting on Wilson’s domestic repression during WWI, Nisbet writes: "Not Britain, not France, not the hated Germany had the kind of dictatorial power vested in any one figure or office that the United States did shortly after American participation in the war began." More: "The blunt fact is that when under Woodrow Wilson America was introduced to the War State in 1917, it was introduced also to what would later be known as the total, or totalitarian state."

Nisbet obviously hated America! Heck, if he had been around in 1918, we’d all be speaking German and eating sauerkraut! Just ask Sean Hannity.

Likewise, Richard Weaver was revolted by the notion of total war that is central to so many neocon visions of grandeur. Writing in the aftermath of WWII, Weaver goes after the saintly Churchill and FDR, too:

These obliteration bombings carried on by both sides in the Second World War put an end to all discrimination. Neither status nor location offered any immunity from destruction, and that often of a horrible kind. Mass killing did in fact rob the cradle and the grave. Our nation was treated to the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust which is said to have taken tens of thousands of lives, pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These are items of the evidence that the war of unlimited objectives has swallowed up all discrimination, comparison, humanity, and, we would have to add, enlightened self-interest. Such things are so inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built that they cast into doubt the very possibility of recovery. It is more than disturbing to think that the restraints which had been formed through religion and humanitarian liberalism proved too weak to stay the tide anywhere. We are compelled to recall Winston Churchill, a descendant of the Duke of Marlborough and in many ways a fit spokesman for Britain's nobility, saying that no extreme of violence would be considered too great for victory. Then there is the equally dismaying spectacle of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the reputedly great liberal and humanitarian, smiling blandly and waving the cigarette holder while his agents showered unimaginable destruction upon European and Japanese civilians.

The expediential argument for total war is usually expressed very simply: "It saves lives." I have seen Sherman's campaign in Georgia and the Carolinas defended on the ground that it brought the war to an end sooner consequently saving lives; the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been excused in the same way. This argument, however, has a fatal internal contradiction. Under the rationale of war, the main object of a nation going to war cannot be the saving of lives. If the saving of lives were the primary consideration, there need never be any war in the first place. A nation threatened by war could surrender to the enemy at once, preventing the loss of even a single life. The enemy would in all probability allow the people of that nation to go on living, even if it demanded "unconditional surrender" and proposed to make the people of that nation slaves. The truth is that any nation going to war tells itself that there are things dearer than life and that it proposes to defend these even at the expense of lives. The people are reminded of this in numberless ways, and every young man is instilled with the thought that he must be willing, if called upon, to make the supreme sacrifice. In war the saving of lives is a consideration secondary to the aims of war.

This is not to say that there is no economy of means in war. It does, however, say that in war the economizing of lives is not the first aim, since in embarking upon war that nation declares that the war aims are the supreme goal for which lives will be spent if necessary. The self-contradiction of total war is that it destroys the very things for which one is supposed to be sacrificing. The "total" belligerent finds at the end that he has the formal triumph, but that he has lost not only the lives necessary to win it but also the objectives for which it was waged. In other words he has lost the thing that the lives were being expended to preserve.

That paleocons are conspiracy theorists is also a particularly humorous allegation given the tenacity with which neocons grasp tightly to the myth of Iraqi WMDs. Trotting into a local Christian bookstore the other day, I moseyed past the "Purpose Driven" mugs and the latest Veggie Tales flix only to be confronted by a huge display of books by former Iraqi general Georges Sada entitled "Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied And Survived Saddam Hussein."

Various neocon and Christian media outlets have hyped the Sada story that Hussein used 747's to jettison WMDs out of Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, the Washington Times is hawking this story that audiotapes and boodles of documents show that Hussein was eager to get his dirty mitts on WMDs.

Even George Bush has given up on the fiction that Iraq possessed WMDs. So who are the "conspiracy theorists?"

More From Phillip Longman

Last week, I discussed an essay in Foreign Policy magazine by Phillip Longman predicting the rebirth of patriarchy. Well, Longman is back. This time in the ever so august and prestigious editorial pages of USA Today. Here's a taste:

What's the difference between Seattle and Salt Lake City? There are many differences, of course, but here's one you might not know. In Seattle, there are nearly 45% more dogs than children. In Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19% more kids than dogs.

This curious fact might at first seem trivial, but it reflects a much broader and little-noticed demographic trend that has deep implications for the future of global culture and politics. It's not that people in a progressive city such as Seattle are so much fonder of dogs than are people in a conservative city such as Salt Lake City. It's that progressives are so much less likely to have children.

Conservatives rightly fear that because we live in an open cultural sewer, there will likely be many kids who reject the values of more conservative parents. But, Longman says, "unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation," today's kids "will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents' values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born."

Is Rick Warren a Fundamentalist?

Is Rick Warren a fundamentalist? Here is Warren speaking to an ecumenical religious group:

"Now the word 'fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones--I am an evangelical. I'm not a member of the religious right and I'm not a fundamentalist ...Today there really aren't that many Fundamentalists left; I don't know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren't that many Fundamentalists left in America."

But then on his website for pastors, Warren, or one of his staffers, writes:

"Within Christianity, there's a large group of believers who affirm that there are certain facts about our faith that must be embraced, even if it isn't popular to proclaim these facts as true. These are facts such as -

1) Jesus was God in the flesh,

2) God raised Jesus from the dead, and

3)The Resurrection opened the singular path available for men and women to intimately and eternally connect with God.

These are among the fundamental truths of our Christian faith (or, to use another phrase, they are foundational truths to our faith).

Now, if you believe that these fundamental truths are essential to the Christian faith, then you are a "fundamentalist" in the very basic sense of the word, and within that definition and context Saddleback Church is unapologetically fundamentalist."

So which is it? Paul Proctor knows: "So, before a very diverse, secular and ecumenical audience, Warren says he IS NOT a fundamentalist. Then, in a later damage-control article, written for the benefit of Christian pastors who subscribe to his website and buy his Purpose Driven products, 'Saddleback Church is unapologetically fundamentalist.' Handy, huh?"

Later, Slobo

Raimondo points out that it has been interesting to watch the entire political establishment come together in defense of American military operations in the Balkans. The War Street Journal editorializes, "No one now disputes that stopping Slobodan Milosevic was the right thing to do." Raimondo says that Milosevic may have been a first-class thug, but that doesn't justify our invasion, which turned out to be a dry run for the Iraq war:

Kosovo may have belonged to Serbia for generations, it may have been the historical seat of the national mythos, its churches may have housed the soul of the Serbian people – but none of that mattered to the Americans, not a single bit. Nor does it matter to them that, today, those churches are charred ruins, while Kosovo has fallen into the hands of terrorists and drug lords of the Albanian mafioso, and become an international center of the white slavery circuit and the arms-smuggling trade.

What matters is that the preening moralists of the interventionist "Left" feel good about themselves and can pat themselves on the back for having stopped "genocide." That was the word Rep. Nancy Pelosi used to describe what was going on in Bosnia and Kosovo, as I questioned her support for Clinton's war at a public meeting. Her bugged-out eyes bulged and seemed almost to pop out of their sockets as she exclaimed in horror that of course U.S. military intervention was a moral necessity. Hitler-Nazis-"ethnic cleansing" – all the by-now-familiar buzzwords used by the neocons to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq were trotted out and tested first by the Nancy Pelosis of this world, as they defended a war against a country that had never attacked us and posed no threat, either to our territory or our legitimate interests...

I hold no brief for Milosevic, as I have made very clear in the past on more than one occasion, but his trial was a legal abomination and a dangerous affront to the concept of national sovereignty. By asserting the alleged "right" of some supranational authority to intervene in the internal affairs of the former Yugoslavia, the UN's International Criminal Tribunal was anticipating the Bush Doctrine, which invokes a similar "right" in the name of spreading "democracy." You'll note that no attempt has been made by the Tribunal to assert its authority over the trial of Saddam Hussein, which is being left strictly to the Americans and their Iraqi henchmen. In Iraq, the "multilateralist" façade of American imperialism has been shed, and it is this brazenness, not the policy of interventionism, that offends the delicate sensibilities of the Democrats in Congress. We have to be "smart" about dominating and colonizing other peoples: that is, in essence, the Democratic critique of George W. Bush's foreign policy of untrammeled aggression.

Steve Sailer says that beating up on Milosevic was more fun than getting to the heart of the real problem in the Balkans--multiculturalism synthesized with democracy:

Folks, democracy is what caused the mess. Multiculturalism works fine ... under a real dictator, like Tito. He had multiethnic Yugoslavia locked down tight, nice and peaceful. But when the inhabitants got more say in their lives, they started killing each other. They wanted democracy. But they knew that to have it, they needed mono-ethnic states.

When the old multiethnic Yugoslavia cracked up, the rest of the world recognized the phony borders that Tito had concocted to minimize the size of the Serbian administrative unit within his empire. This left large numbers of Serbs living outside Serbia, where they were exposed to their historic enemies.

Finally, here is a little piece of heresey from the late, great Jude Wanniski, comparing Slobo and St. Abraham.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Will Conservatives Inherit the Earth?

Foreign Policy magazine published an interesting essay by Phillip Longman predicting the return of patriarchy. Longman writes:

"Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. It’s more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next generation will be born into families who believe that father knows best."

Longman quotes Oswald Spengler's observation, "When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard ‘having children’ as a question of pro’s and con, the great turning point has come."

I wrote recently about the raft of statistics that indicate the tipping point has indeed arrived. Yet, as Longman writes, "that turning point does not necessarily mean the death of a civilization, only its transformation."

Longman uses Rome as an example. As secular families began dying off, they were replaced by "highly patriarchal family units, hostile to the secular world and enjoined by faith either to go forth and multiply or join a monastery."

Longman sees a similar trend occurring today. For example, the most liberal state in the union, Vermont, has a birthrate of only 1.57 babies per woman. In contrast, the socially conservative, Mormon-dominated state of Utah, had the highest fertility at 2.71. Longman writes:

In Europe today, for example, how many children different people have, and under what circumstances, correlates strongly with their beliefs on a wide range of political and cultural attitudes. For instance, do you distrust the army? Then, according to polling data assembled by demographers Ronny Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn, you are less likely to be married and have kids—or ever to get married and have kids—than those who say they have no objection to the military. Or again, do you find soft drugs, homosexuality, and euthanasia acceptable? Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? For whatever reason, people answering affirmatively to such questions are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively.

The great difference in fertility rates between secular individualists and religious or cultural conservatives augurs a vast, demographically driven change in modern societies. Consider the demographics of France, for example. Among French women born in the early 1960s, less than a third have three or more children. But this distinct minority of French women (most of them presumably practicing Catholics and Muslims) produced more than 50 percent of all children born to their generation, in large measure because so many of their contemporaries had one child or none at all...

Advanced societies are growing more patriarchal, whether they like it or not. In addition to the greater fertility of conservative segments of society, the rollback of the welfare state forced by population aging and decline will give these elements an additional survival advantage, and therefore spur even higher fertility. As governments hand back functions they once appropriated from the family, notably support in old age, people will find that they need more children to insure their golden years, and they will seek to bind their children to them through inculcating traditional religious values akin to the Bible’s injunction to honor thy mother and father.

Societies that are today the most secular and the most generous with their underfunded welfare states will be the most prone to religious revivals and a rebirth of the patriarchal family. The absolute population of Europe and Japan may fall dramatically, but the remaining population will, by a process similar to survival of the fittest, be adapted to a new environment in which no one can rely on government to replace the family, and in which a patriarchal God commands family members to suppress their individualism and submit to father.

In his review of Longman's essay, Steve Sailer writes that while Longman should be praised for writing about the religious and cultural presuppositions that drive birth rates, he neglects the arrow of causality that "also runs in the opposite direction—people who get married and have several children tend to become more socially and politically conservative for the sake of their children."

Sailer argues that government could do much more to create a climate of affordable family formation that keeps housing prices relatively low, encourages high wages and provides good schools.

In any case, the fact that such discussion has invaded the pages of an establishment organ like Foreign Policy magazine is an encouraging cultural development.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Too Many Men

Due to coercive demographic policies and modern technology, a number of Asian states have dramatic imbalances between the number of boys and girls. According to Martin Walker, in China there are 120 male births for every 100 female births. "The imbalance is even higher in some locales," says Walker. "136 males to 100 females on the island of Hainan, an increasingly prosperous tourist resort, and 135 males to 100 females in central China’s Hubei Province. Similar patterns can be found in Taiwan, with 119 boys to 100 girls; Singapore, 118 boys to 100 girls; South Korea, 112 boys to 100 girls; and parts of India, 120 boys to 100 girls."

Why does this matter? Well, civilization requires on some very basic level the domestication of men, which is brought about institutionally via marriage, but more importantly through the influence of women. Rootless young men without wives will frequently devolve into thugs, criminals, and a revolutionary force that breeds instability.

Walker says, "The long-term implications of the gender imbalance are largely guesswork because there is no real precedent for imbalances on such a scale." In other words, we're entering uncharted territory, and no one really knows what's on the other side.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

So How is it Going?

How goes the War on Terror? Well, apparently, not that well.

Back in 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld penned a memo questioning whether our actions in the war on terror were producing positive results. Rumsfeld wrote, "We lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"

Well, the Saudis and Isrealis both concluded that the vast majority of foreign fighters in Iraq were radicalized by the war itself. Likewise, the CIA offered a report which said, "Iraq...could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are 'professionalized' and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself." The report also states that foreign jihadists "enjoy a growing sense of support from Muslims who are not necessarily supporters of terrorism."

Now, Brigadier General Robert L. Caslen, the Pentagon's deputy director for the war on terrorism says, "We are not killing them faster than they are being created," and warns that the war could take decades to resolve.

According to Caslen, thirty new terrorist organizations have emerged since September 11th, outpacing U.S. efforts to crush the threat.

Friday, March 03, 2006


William F. Buckley joins the pack of "unpatriotic conservatives"--"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."

My father told me recently that every time he sees a soldier on the tube, they indicate staunch support for the Iraq mission. I told dad it might be wise to turn off Fox News. According to a Zogby poll of troops, "72 percent of American troops in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year" and "more than one in four (29 percent) thought the U.S. should pull its troops immediately."

From the Wall Street Journal:

The latest Census Bureau data indicate that, in 2005, 239,416 more native-born Americans left the state than moved in. California is also on pace to lose domestic population (not counting immigrants) this year. The outmigration is such that the cost to rent a U-Haul trailer to move from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho, is $2,090--or some eight times more than the cost of moving in the opposite direction.

What's gone wrong? A big part of the story is a tax and regulatory culture that treats the most productive businesses and workers as if they were ATMs.

As purveyors of the myth of homo economicus, economic man, the WSJ couldn't possibly countenance the notion that native-born Americans, by which they mean whites, are leaving California because the state has been turned into the equivalent of Third-World banana republic by the very immigration policies endorsed by the Journal.

Bill Kristol says "Islamists are on the offensive." Kristol quotes Democratic Leadership bigwig, and former McCainiac, Marshall Wittman: "We are in the midst of a jihadist offensive. The bombing of [Iraq's] Askariya Shiite Shrine is another indication of the world-wide jihadist offensive against the West." Can you follow the logic? Sunni's in Iraq attack a Shiite mosque and that is an indication of a "world-wide jihadist offensive against the West." Hmmm.

Will conservative evangelicals support a more porous border? SBC honcho Richard Land says "there's no consensus about what to do about the [illegal immigrants] who are already here or about how we would allow legal immigration." The only thing Land seems to know is that mass deportation "isn't realistic," i.e., lawlessness rages.

The Boston Globe says we need more workers. Restaurant and tourism industry representatives, too, are among the interests looking for more cheap labor:

The American birthrate has reached historic lows and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that it will soon drop below replacement level. The travel and tourism industry is one that relies on personal service and therefore cannot be automated. It is clear that based on our projected growth rates, our industries will require much more labor than that which will be available among those born domestically. Coupled with an aging domestic workforce, the current labor shortage will clearly become much more acute unless additional labor is found...after decades of engaging in efforts to encourage native-born Americans to consider careers in the hospitality industry, we are faced with the reality that foreign-born workers are necessary to help fill the jobs where no Americans are available.

Illegals make up 13% of hotel industry workers and 11% of restaurant and food service workers. The problem is that as these industries are increasingly penetrated by immigrants, wages decline, making it less likely that native-born Americans will sign up.