Exposing unseemly anti-immigration reform motives, ctd

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Last week, TheDC’s Mickey Kaus urged his readers to “make a video campaign ad” attacking immigration reform, and, as I pointed out, the very first “ad” demonstrated the unseemly motives that animate many of the most committed anti-reform activists.

Over the weekend, the person claiming responsibility for the video emerged from the shadows to attack me for having the audacity to point this out. And in so doing, he reaffirmed his misguided motives. I have, according to the video’s purported creator, fallen for a “cultural Marxist claptrap” which says that culture “is something that magically springs into existence amongst a people, rather than being an emergent property of intellectual and behavioral capacities and proclivities that are largely genetically determined…” (Emphasis mine.)

In other words, the person who created this video admits to opposing immigration reform based on the premise that some people just aren’t genetically capable of handling freedom, democracy, or prosperity. This is not only a telling assertion, but also a false one.

In Why Nations Fail, economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson point out that North and South Koreans are genetically identical, and yet, South Korea is one of the richest counties in world, while the north “grapples with periodic famine and abject poverty.” What explains this phenomenon?

Maybe you think that the dichotomy between North Korea and South Korea is unimportant, but that European blood is somehow superior? In that case, the authors point out that “A greater proportion of the population of Argentina and Uruguay, compared with the population of Canada and the United States, is of European descent…”

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The video’s creator is also wrong to assume that I don’t think culture matters. As I wrote years ago “the rise and success of Western society was not merely a lucky accident or the result of a couple Enlightenment period thunderbolts, but rather the product of diligent work, trial and error, and human experience — and in may ways the result of Christian civilization.”

Our political institutions took years to evolve, beginning with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. This is an argument for preserving our political institutions, and for assimilation, but it is not an argument that some people are “genetically determined” to be free and prosperous, while others are destined for serfdom.

Normally, I wouldn’t write such a long post about someone who is anonymous. But I have received enough emails to know that this is not an anomaly. And it is telling, of course, that the very first video submitted would set up the loss of white majority status as a relevant topic of discussion pertaining to immigration reform.

This is not to say that everyone who opposes immigration reform, let alone this particular bill, harbors such motives. For example, Mickey Kaus has legitimate concerns about how legalizing 11 million immigrants would impact working-class Americans who are already struggling economically.

That is a perfectly reasonable position.

But the truth is that many of the most angry opponents of immigration reform are motivated by deep-seated fears having to do with race.  As Yeats wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

Matt K. Lewis