T h e P a t h
t o N a t i o n a l S u i c i d e

 An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism

  by Lawrence Auster

Breaking the Silence

I do not wish that any man should acquire the privilege of citizenship, but such as would be a real addition to the wealth or strength of the United States.
  James Madison
There shall be open borders.
  Constitutional amendment
proposed by The Wall Street
July 3,1989
The march of Latin Americans to the United States shouldn’t be understood as a wave of anger or revolutionary passion, but more as a peaceful conquest.
  Father Florencio M. Rigoni
Mexican Bishops’ Conference, 1986

The passage, after an epic five-year battle, of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 demonstrated a national consensus that uncontrolled immigration is a threat to America’s future; yet the government’s continuing failure to take effective action against illegal immigration, and the ongoing movement to undercut what laws we do have, suggest that our will to meet that threat is close to paralysis. At the same time, it cannot be reasonably said that the issue is confined to illegal immigration, as vitally urgent as that problem is. Even if all illegal entries were stopped tomorrow, the United States would still be receiving an historically unprecedented and ever-growing influx of legal immigrants from the Third World. Up to 1965, 85 percent of the U.S. population was of European origin; as a result of the 1965 immigration reforms, the U.S. is now receiving a stream of legal immigrants that is 90 percent non-European—twice as many immigrants as are received by all the other countries of the world combined. There are some who ecstatically welcome this multiracial and multicultural influx, seeing it as the beginning of a brave new global society in America, the first “world-nation.”(1) There are others who worry that if the present mass immigration continues, it “would lead not only to a gradual but to a radical mutation in the composition of the American people, and the transformation of the very essence of the present civilization of the United States.”(2) Nor are such fears limited to white Americans. In A Turn in the South, V.S. Naipaul shows that ordinary southern blacks are just as uneasy about the new immigration, and the resulting change in the lineaments of society, as white people are. Whatever opinion we may have about it, the fact of the change itself is undeniable. “We are becoming a different people,” as the New York State Commissioner of Education has put it. Indeed, by the year 2089 America will be in large part a Hispanic and Asian society in which whites will be a minority—a revolution in the nation’s character that will dwarf the changes brought by earlier waves of European immigrants. This ethnic transformation is already being reflected in a multiculturalist ideology aimed at totally recasting our conception of ourselves as a nation.

Surely it behooves all American citizens to consider carefully the profound consequences to our society of such a radical change in population and culture. But current immigration debate is to be noted mainly for its astonishing triviality. The major news media treat the issue as a simple matter of humane generosity and “progress,” devoid of any larger meaning. Attempts in Congress to change widely recognized abuses in the law are limited to incremental tinkering; the 1989 Kennedy-Simpson bill, designed to place a cap on extended-family immigration, was amended—under unprecedented pressure by immigrant groups—to increase it substantially instead. Free-market conservatives, exhibiting a peculiar kind of tunnel vision, endorse open borders as a source of cheap labor and an endless boon to the economy. Sociologists focus on America’s effect on the immigrants, while disregarding the immigrants’ effect on America. Even a thoughtful observer like James Fallows of the Atlantic ignores his own warnings about the devastating impact of multiculturalism in other countries and blithely assures us that unlimited diversity will be just wonderful for this country.(3) Few bother to ask: How many immigrants are good for this country? What kinds of immigrants? What about the effects of this perpetual influx on our social cohesiveness, our political institutions, our way of life? On these fateful questions, the opinion-makers are mute.

How can we account for this remarkable silence? The answer, as I will try to show, is that when the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 was being considered in Congress, the demographic impact of the bill was misunderstood and downplayed by its sponsors. As a result, the subject of population change was never seriously examined. The lawmakers’ stated intention was that the Act should not radically transform America’s ethnic character; indeed, it was taken for granted by liberals such as Robert Kennedy that it was in the nation’s interest to avoid such a change. But the dramatic ethnic transformation that has actually occurred as a result of the 1965 Act has insensibly led to acceptance of that transformation in the form of a new, multicultural vision of American society. Dominating the media and the schools, ritualistically echoed by every politician, enforced in every public institution, this orthodoxy now forbids public criticism of the new path the country has taken. “We are a nation of immigrants,” we tell ourselves—and the subject is closed. The consequences of this code of silence are bizarre. One can listen to statesmen and philosophers agonize over the multitudinous causes of our decline, and not hear a single word about the massive immigration from the Third World and the resulting social divisions. Opponents of population growth, whose crusade began in the 1960s out of a concern about the growth rate among resident Americans and its effects on the environment and the quality of life, now studiously ignore the question of immigration, which accounts for fully half of our population growth.

This curious inhibition stems, of course, from a paralyzing fear of the charge of “racism.” The very manner in which the issue is framed—as a matter of equal rights and the blessings of diversity on one side, versus “racism” on the other—tends to cut off all rational discourse on the subject. One can only wonder what would happen if the proponents of open immigration allowed the issue to be discussed, not as a moralistic dichotomy, but in terms of its real consequences. Instead of saying: “We believe in the equal and unlimited right of all people to immigrate to the U.S. and enrich our land with their diversity,” what if they said: “We believe in an immigration policy which must result in a staggering increase in our population, a revolution in our culture and way of life, and the gradual submergence of our current population by Hispanic and Caribbean and Asian peoples.” Such frankness would open up an honest debate between those who favor a radical change in America’s ethnic and cultural identity and those who think this nation should preserve its way of life and its predominant, European-American character. That is the actual choice—as distinct from the theoretical choice between “equality” and “racism”—that our nation faces. But the tyranny of silence has prevented the American people from freely making that choice.

The United States is in a situation without precedent in the history of the world. A free and great people have embarked on a course which must result in their own total and permanent transformation, without ever having had a serious public debate on whether or not they want to be so transformed. The purpose of this essay is to help open up such a debate. There is a need for the information, ideas and arguments that will make it intellectually and morally respectable to question our current policy and the orthodoxy that upholds it. We need to break free from the paralyzing notion that because “we are all descended from immigrants,” we therefore have no right to make such a fateful choice about our nation’s future. Let us prove our faith in democracy: If the American people truly want to change their historic European-rooted civilization into a Latin-Caribbean-Asian “multi-culture,” then let them debate and approve that proposition through an informed political process, as befits a free people. And if Americans do not want their society to change in such a revolutionary manner, then let them revise their immigration laws accordingly. But let the debate occur.

Go to top.

Chapter I:  The 1965 Act: Its Intent, Its Consequences