Like Steve Sailer, I feel vaguely benevolent toward Jonah Goldberg, but for a somewhat different reason: he is so obviously a trivial smart aleck that I never have to bother reading him. (Of course, this shows I'm out of touch with popular culture. I never watch TV game shows either—and Jonah is manifestly the Weakest Link of establishment conservative journalism.)
So I'm grateful to the many disgusted VDARE.COM readers who pointed out his LA Times attack on us, recycled – as is his thrifty fashion – into a column in National Review Online.
Here I want to comment on just one point in Jonah's NRO article:
"[VDARE.COM writers] denounce all conservatives who don't toe their line as "neocons" who've 'caved' to the liberals on all the important issues. But, that's only true if you consider the important issues to revolve around this narrow and nasty emphasis on what Peter Brimelow calls America's 'specific ethnic core'."
In fact, my emphasis on America's "specific ethnic core" is so narrow and nasty that I've mentioned it only once: in Alien Nation (page 10). And I was making, not a moral claim, but a statement of historical fact.
Contrary to the melting pot myth, America has not always been a multicultural, multiracial kaleidoscope held together by some abstract principles. At the time of the Revolution, it was completely white, overwhelmingly Protestant (98%), heavily British (80%), significantly English (60%). (There were of course black slaves, but they were not part of the political nation.) Over time, immigration did gradually alter this, but less than immigration enthusiasts think – demographers estimate that the population of the U.S. would be about half of what it is now if there had been no immigration at all after 1790. When non-traditional groups arrived, there was always intense debate which, if the inflow did not abate spontaneously (the Irish after 1850), resulted in government cut-offs (the Chinese, the Japanese, the "new immigrants" 1880-1921). And blacks were painfully integrated. But the U.S. was 90% white as late as 1960.
Jonah lovingly quotes Ramesh Ponnuru disparaging immigration reform as "identity politics for white people." (Why can't whites have identity politics, incidentally, if blacks and Hispanics —or Hindus (or Indians)— can?) But, historically, "white identity politics" would have been called simply— "American identity politics."
You can approve of this historical fact or not. But you cannot deny it. And you must admit that the 1965 Immigration Act, which has resulted in a massive inflow almost entirely from non-traditional sources with the result that whites are projected to go into a minority after 2050, is something quite new in the American experience. Which inevitably raises the question: will it work?
Naturally, I don't expect Jonah to read my book – or any other book. He doesn't have the time, what with writing and all that television. But what he's done instead is to whip himself into an hysterical rage over a phrase, torn out of context and not at all understood.
You see this all the time in the immigration debate. Immigration enthusiasts spend a lot of time in hysterical rages, not infrequently because they are projecting onto immigration reformers their own insecurities and obsessions as members of one or other minority group.
But these immigration enthusiasts are political liberals. What's significant is that Jonah has smuggled this hysteria into what, inverting his LA Times swipe at me, I can only call "a once-conservative, now respected, magazine." [VDARE.COM NOTE: National Review was founded in order to "stand athwart history yelling stop". See the 1955 founding statement that used to appear on NRO's website, but seems to have vanished.] And he insists on imposing it on the conservative movement.
Paul Gottfried is right: NR has been captured by a strange mutant ideology (or emotional syndrome). Fundamentally, it is in agreement with the left—hence it's "respected." Contrary to Jonah, it's not really neoconservatism, which has specific Cold War connotations. It can only be called Goldbergism—and its mouthpiece the Goldberg Review.
March 1, 2002