State of Emergency
In his new book, State of Emergency, Buchanan exhibits a sense of foreboding that has animated much of his work in recent years. "As Rome passed away, so the West is passing away, from the same causes and in much the same way. What the Danube and Rhine were to Rome, the Rio Grande and Mediterranean are to America and Europe, the frontiers of a civilization no longer defended."
The primary theme Buchanan hammers home is that the demographic wave of immigration unleashed since 1965 is dramatically different from prior immigration flows. Moreover, American elites have failed to reckon with the fact that today's stream of immigrants is significantly different from its predecessors in size and scope. In ignoring these facts, the chattering classes have enabled the transformation of America from the last best hope of mankind into the polyglot boarding house of TR's imagination.
Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington pointed to the same trend in his book, Who Are We? "Mexican immigration," wrote Huntington, "differs from past immigration and most other contemporary immigration due to a combination of six factors: contiguity, scale, illegality, regional concentration [in the American Southwest], persistence, and historical presence... Demographically, socially, and culturally, the reconquista (re-conquest) of the Southwest United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway."
Before 1965, immigration was shaped by the national origins quota system, which granted visas primarily based on an immigrant’s country of birth. As a result, 70% of visas went to three countries--Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. However, modifications to the 1965 law established family reunification, and to a lesser extent employment preferences, as the new criteria for admission. The resulting demographic, economic and cultural tsunami is described by Buchanan, who peppers readers with a myriad of statistics marinated in deep historical perspective, all written in his inimitable style.
"In 1960," says Buchanan, "America was a nation of 180 million, 89 percent of whom were of European ancestry, 10 percent black, with a few million Hispanics and Asians sprinkled among us. Ninety-seven percent of us spoke English."
But "by 2050, they [Hispanics] will be 24 percent of a nation of 420 million. By nation of origin of our people, America will be a Third World country. Our great cities will all look like Los Angeles today. Los Angeles and the cities of the Southwest will look like Juarez and Tijuana. Though we were never consulted about this transformation, never voted for it, and have protested against it in every poll and referendum, this is the future the elites have prepared for our children."
If public opinion stands in opposition to the demographic changes destroying the American project, why does it continue? In a chapter entitled "Roots of Paralysis," Buchanan spreads the blame widely. Corporations push for amnesty and collude in mass criminality to see their illegal workers pardoned as a means of driving down wages. Economists who believe in the myth of economic man provide ideological cover by putting forth the notion that sovereignty, independence and country itself should be sacrificed to the gods of globalism. Race-hustling politicos on the Left like LULAC, MALDEF, and the ACLU--supported by big foundations like Carnegie and Ford--see open-borders as a way to augment their power through the manipulation of ethnic voting blocs. And finally, churches, both Catholic and Protestant, are effectively championing amnesty in the name of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. The reality is that churches, too, have succumbed to the politics of guilt.
Buchanan also examines a fundamental and underlying question that lies at the root of the conflict over immigration: What is a nation, and what holds it together? Such issues are seldom raised in polite company, and Buchanan deserves credit for taking on proponents of the "creedal nation" mythology. By definition, a nation consists of a largely homogeneous population with a common identity; occupies a contiguous territory; speaks the same language; enjoys the blessings of a common religion, literature, manners, customs, and mythology; is governed by the same principles and traditions; and is conscious of common destiny and solidarity. In short, it is an ethno-cultural entity, not merely a market or set of vague universal propositions.
So what is to be done? Buchanan suggests turning off the magnets that attract immigrants. The first step is terminating birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens who become anchor babies. Next, Buchanan argues that subsidies for illegals in the form of welfare, health care, and education must be denied. Likewise, employers should face stern punishment for law-breaking, and Buchanan advocates the imposition of fines and possible jail terms to penalize firms that hire illegals. Finally, the borders must be secured via the construction of a fence across our southern border.
Buchanan’s advocacy of stern measures and his presentation of the facts has spurred the same tired charges of xenophobia and racism. But Buchanan is largely making a nationalist (or what Steve Sailer would call citizenist) case that as Americans, from whatever ethnicity or nation we have descended, have shaped a common culture worth preserving and share a common destiny worth saving.