These remarks were made during the immigration breakout session chaired by Ryan Williams. The panelists were Amy Wax, Scott McConnell, Mike Gonzalez, and Luma Simms. Here’s the full transcript of Wax’s remarks, which were quickly attacked by a Vox writer.
Well, thank you very much for having me here. My task in these few minutes is to address the question of how American immigration should be structured to support a constructive American national identity—American greatness, as I put it in the title. My argument is that mainstream conservatives should take much more seriously the case for reducing and slowing our current levels of immigration. I will not address the economic reasons for curtailing immigration, although I myself believe they are, on balance, fairly compelling. Rather my focus will be on what I term the cultural case for restriction, a much thornier topic.
My position here is that conservatives need a realistic approach to immigration that best serves and preserves our country’s status and identity as a relatively high-functioning, at least for now, Western and First World nation. That status will not automatically maintain itself. It is fragile. It is precarious and vulnerable to erosion. We ought to worry more about its fragility than we do.
In a recent paper in a Georgetown Journal, I distinguished two versions of a cultural nationalist position on immigration policy. The first I termed creedal nationalism based on the belief that American identity and culture are mainly propositional. They depend on fealty to abstract ideals, concepts, and principles such as human rights, property rights, the rule of law, honest government, capitalism, et cetera.
Some creedal nationalists maintain that because it is open to anyone, at least in principle, to believe and support these ideas, there is no reason to favor immigrants from one background or another. I don’t think that conclusion necessarily follows. Many, indeed most, inhabitants of the Third World, don’t necessarily share our ideas and beliefs; others pay lip service, but don’t really comprehend them. There are exceptions of course, but most people are not exceptional. Thus, creedal nationalism could support a low and slow approach to immigration.
But the second type of nationalism is what I want to concentrate on. I term it cultural distance nationalism, and it goes further. It is based on the insight and understanding that people’s background culture can affect their ability to fit into a modern advanced society and to perform the roles needed to support and maintain it – civic, occupational, economic, technical, and the like.
According to this view, we are better off if our country is dominated numerically, demographically, politically, at least in fact if not formally, by people from the First World, from the West, than by people from countries that had failed to advance. The obstacles to making the case for this cultural distance nationalism are formidable. No surprise.
This position requires forthrightly acknowledging the stark differences between the First and the Third Worlds, their deep roots, and being honest about the homegrown conditions and failures that hold countries back—kleptocracy, corruption, lawlessness, weak institutions, and the inability or unwillingness of leaders to provide for their citizens’ basic needs, and also asking the very hard questions about why these conditions continue to persist. But these are toxic topics that lie outside the Overton window in polite society, as evidenced by the outraged reaction to Trump’s profane and grating question, “Why are we having all these people from sh-thole countries come here?” That needs to be regarded as a serious question and not just a rhetorical one.
There is currently tremendous resistance to thinking rigorously about the causes of persistently chaotic conditions in the Third World and to addressing the implications for immigration policy. Despite much ink spilled, the non-cultural explanations for chronic underdevelopment, and here it’s everything from colonialism, the all-purpose favorite, to geography, to lack of salt are routinely trotted out despite their evident implausibility, and their obvious foundation in PC strictures rather than facts.
And when it comes to immigration, few dare to challenge a pie-in-the-sky version of what the dissident right has called “the dogma of magic dirt.” People who come to the U.S., no matter from what cultural background, will quickly come to think, live, and act just like us. They will celebrate, embrace, and support our ways. They will function effectively to maintain them. Everyone is strictly equal in the potential to contribute to American life.
I admit that questioning the transformative power of “magic dirt” is hobbled by a lack of rigorous data and systematic study. But, in large part, that is because social scientists today don’t want to really confront the significance of cultural differences between the West and the rest, their stickiness, and their implications for immigration, yet these issues have commanded the attention of the rare, brave politician and a number of scholars.
Take Enoch Powell, a prophet without honor in the last century. He argued that a large influx of non-Anglo and non-Western immigrants would sow division in Britain and undermine its core Anglo-Protestant culture. He knew that numbers matter and that the way to maintain stability and dominating demography for the original peoples in a democratic society was through cautious immigration policy—a low and slow approach. As many of you may know, his name is mud today. He is an outcast, unjustly I think. He has a lot to teach us. Scholars such as Lawrence Harris and David Landis and Sam Huntington have expressed similar warnings about our own country.
Most recently, Larry Mead in his new book “The Burdens of Freedom” has argued that individualism, a key source of Western and American order, dynamism, and strength, is a distinctly First World attribute that is difficult to impart to outsiders and that it is key to maintaining our freedoms and prosperity. These insights are supported by the European experience with Muslim immigration as Dan Pipes recently spoke about and by the multi-generational trajectory of Hispanics in the United States.
The culturalist approach, the issues of cultural compatibility, were very much on the mind of the drafters of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act as the debates in Congress revealed, and of course, that is the legislation that is with us today. Yet these culturalist ideas and the scholarship of these individuals is mostly ignored and marginalized in academia.
This marginalization is largely political, but let’s face it, it’s also methodological. We must acknowledge that there’s a lot of unknowns when it comes to culture and how it operates. Our convener, Yoram Hazony, tells us we should attend to the ways in which traditions and nations are formed and what it takes to strengthen them and maintain them. But it is striking how little we understand about where distinctive habits and traditions come from, how they are transmitted down the generations, and the conditions that are needed to preserve and protect them.
There are a lot of possible explanations. One I favor is that cultural transmission is importantly shaped by the small-bore interactions within families, or mother-child, and that flies under the radar screen of the big-think theorists who tell us about cultural significance. And if you doubt that, just go to the South of France where I was recently, and you watch three-year-olds sitting for two hours at the table, their mothers prodding them every step of the way. Somebody ought to study that.
Perhaps the most important reason that the cultural case for limited immigration remains underexplored has to do with that bête noire – race. Let us be candid. Europe and the First World, to which the United States belongs, remain mostly white for now; and the Third World, although mixed, contains a lot of non-white people. Embracing cultural distance, cultural distance nationalism, means, in effect, taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer non-whites. Well, that is the result anyway. So even if our immigration philosophy is grounded firmly in cultural concerns, doesn’t rely on race at all, and no matter how many times we repeat the mantra that correlation is not causation, these racial dimensions are enough to spook conservatives.
As a result, today we have an immigration policy driven by fear—the fear of being accused of racism, white supremacy, xenophobia—which has cowed and paralyzed opinion leaders, policymakers, politicians across the spectrum and impeded their ability to think clearly. That fear leads conservatives to avoid talking about cultural distance or questioning the happy fantasy of “magic dirt” or discussing forthrightly the practical difficulties of importing large numbers of people from backwards states into successful ones. And as long as these taboos exist and respectable mainstream conservatives defer to them, it will be hard, maybe impossible, to change course.
Our country’s future trajectory, however, will not be determined by political correctness, but by reality and facts on whether cultural differences really matter, whether they are stubborn, and whether they have consequences. And by the time that becomes clear and that dynamic plays out, it may be too late to turn the ship, and it may well be too late already.
Our legacy population is demoralized, beleaguered, and disorganized. They may no longer be able to serve as a model for anyone to emulate, which brings me to another important development which undergirds hostility to cultural distance thinking but also strengthens the case for taking it seriously. And this is, the rise of multicultural identity politics—topic for this conference, a hot topic for discussion among conservatives, and an ideology increasingly championed by minority and newcomer elites.
Multiculturalist elites resist the assimilation of immigrants to a uniform American way of life or to any Western prototype. But here’s the key point. This resistance is fueled by resentment of the First World’s primacy and hostility towards European dominance, traditions, and achievements. Reihan Salam of the Manhattan Institute calls this punitive multiculturalism. I prefer revenge or adversary multiculturalism. And for the definitive expression of this, look no further than the writings of Indian-American NYU journalism professor, Suketu Mehta. In his book, “This Land Is Our Land,” the author depicts the West success as entirely illicit, built on violence, on exploitation, built on theft from Third World peoples.
Ingenuity, honest effort, well-functioning institutions have nothing to do with it. Because the West is to blame for all the Third World ills, unlimited and unregulated mass Third World migration to the West is mete recompense for the victims and just comeuppance for Western crimes.
According to Mehta, immigrants should not join the mainstream or try and preserve and protect what makes America great, but should just take over from the “white power structure.” And of course he pays no attention, he is heedless to the task of keeping the goose alive that lays the golden eggs. It’s not hard to fathom the appeal of this philosophy. Insisting that the West’s advantages are ill-gotten is a convenient, face-saving device that explains Third World failure and avoids the burdens of assimilation. And although it’s hard to know how many average newcomers embrace Mehta’s narrative, the increasing dominance of revenge multiculturalism among immigrants rights leadership classes should be cause for concern.
I believe the conservatives need to push back against the ungrateful habit of blaming the West by pointing repeatedly to the self-inflicted wounds of the Third World. Admittedly, this is not considered nice. We have learned that from the response to Trump’s disparagements, but the alternative is to give free play to anti-Western moralizing that is unfair and grounded in falsehoods and dangerous to our country’s future.
Now, I want to make one additional point about immigration, which conservatives also do not emphasize enough and which frequently gets neglected in the immigration debate. We are told repeatedly it is our duty to rescue the inhabitants of poor, unstable places by allowing them to move to our well-functioning country. The United States must continue to play this rescue role. But as David Miller in his book “Strangers in Our Midst” has noted, and others as well, this imperative amounts to a vain and short-sighted rescue fantasy that hurts most Third World peoples. We cannot possibly help more than a tiny fraction of the world’s denizens.
Lately, there has been talk of reforming the law to favor skilled immigrants, as do countries like Canada and Australia. Although unskilled immigration should be reduced, I believe, replacing the less educated with higher-skilled foreigners is not the answer either. By draining talent and energy from places that desperately need them, and especially people who are educated at public expense abroad, an overly generous immigration policy will inevitably damage the countries left behind.
Once again, I would ask, what important conservative voices are emphasizing this point? Who is willing to fault the short-term thinking and moral preening behind our immigration regime, which however generous, cannot lift up the Third World, but only a fraction of the people from it? Who will emphasize that failed countries must, they have no choice but to, improve themselves by reforming cultural practices that impede progress, that instead of moving here, their citizens should concentrate on emulating what makes us great? This should become a central conservative theme. Thank you.
Transcript of Q&A Following Panelist Remarks
Alright. Well, thank you to the panelists. I just wanted to give you all an opportunity to talk amongst yourselves, if anyone felt so moved. Amy, did you want to add anything before we open it up to questions?
Amy Wax: I think this is the only conference in the continental United States where Enoch Powell gets two honorable mentions. That is a singularity.
Ryan Williams: Might make it the last.
Amy Wax: I hope not.
Ryan Williams: No, I’m joking. Scott.
Scott McConnell: I was going to also reference the NYU Indian professor, but that didn’t make the cut. But if I had gone over 17 minutes, he would have gotten in too—immigration as reparations, which I think is a very important idea. I mean, it’s confusing because I’m very sympathetic to a lot of what Luma said, but there’s also this political reality that immigration, even though they’re individuals and families and people with roots, as a group of people, they’ve become a political weight that is on balance, you know, on the far left, or on the moderate left, or somewhere on the left. And so I don’t really know how to square that circle, but I think it’s an interesting point.
Ryan Williams: Mike, If you might indulge me, just one question. You talk about defeating this identity politics regime. Where would you start? What’s the lowest hanging fruit politically or policy wise?
Mike Gonzales: Well, I would … Can you hear me? I don’t know if I’d say low-hanging fruit seeing how the census issue on citizenship went so badly. And by the way, that gives you some idea of how the left really understands the importance of the census. They were really prepared for this; conservatives were not. They threw the mother of all tantrums, and they kept it up for two years, and they were able to get rid of a very…I mean, this should have been the most boring, commonsensical addition to a census—”Hey, are you a citizen or not?”—talk about returning to the identity that matters—”Are you an American or not an American?”—which is obviously… citizenship and Americaness is a race-blind, colorblind issue.
But I will say that we do need to stop the census from A, creating categories. That’s not fair to the census either. It was OMB that created these categories, but the census is very involved in these categories. These categories are fictitious; they are synthetic; they are only… If you look at… Representative Roybal wrote a law in 1977, that is the only in the United States that describes an ethnicity. It says what Hispanics are, and if you look at it, and if you read it, the only thing they have in common is victimization. There’s no culture; there’s no DNA; there’s no language; there’s nothing else.
So I think that would be the lowest hanging fruit. I think taking away the economic incentives, the group adherence, is very important. But if you do these two things, believe me, I believe that they would go away as fast as they were created, and that was…but that took 40 years, 30-40 years, so I think it would be even faster, but these are the two things that I would target personally. Sorry for the long answer.
Amy Wax: Can I just comment on the future of ethnic identity politics? I think one of the biggest obstacles is what’s going on in the universities, and the entrenchment of diversity as the end-all be-all in academia, and of course, a fertile source of favoritism. Unless the Supreme Court decides to just backpedal totally on affirmative action, that diversity “compelling interest” is there now in the law, and nobody’s going to let go of it.
Mike Gonzales: I think that is the one that ripest to fall. The Hidden Tribes project did a very good study last year. Only 15% of Americans, one five, support racial preferences. So when you started, you were saying academia, I was wondering if you were talking about the use of identity politics in academia, which is pervasive. I see this as a problem of a factory polluting a river. And the first thing you do is you shut off the pipes polluting the rivers, and then after that, you go in, and you clean out the algae, you clean out the water, and all that. I would stop the census, and I would stop affirmative action, racial preferences, and all these… That is very important. The affirmative action part is completely important. Sorry, go ahead.
Ryan Williams: Luma?
Luma Simms: Yes?
Ryan Williams: Anything to add?
Luma Simms: About what you said, Scott, about the immigrants being a pol… What did you say? They’re causing political upheaval, or can you remind me?
Scott McConnell: Maybe they get molded by pre-existing forces, i.e., the activist who made the census Mike talked about, or other things, but objectively, they have become a force on the left, which is not necessarily the nature of most immigrants and immigrant individuals and families, but are somehow molded by the cultural left into a, you know, kind of anti-traditional American political force.
Luma Simms: Right.
Scott McConnell: As…the shock troops of diversity. And diversity has a…it’s kind of…I mean, it’s no longer revolutionary socialism; it’s revolutionary diversity.
Luma Simms: Well, I think the political left certainly uses immigrants. I don’t think they’re drawn to the political left from a social and cultural position, but more from an economic position, because the left is more willing, say, to give them handouts. So I think the economics is what drives a lot of it, and I’ve written before on what makes immigrants who are socially conservative vote Democratic, and it’s the economics that drives most of it. I mean, I know it, I live within a… And also, not every immigrant is the same, even within, say, the Iraqi community. You have the ones that lean more Republican, and the ones that lean more Democratic. So yeah.
Ryan Williams: Just quickly follow that up…
Amy Wax: Can I just comment? I do sort of question the notion that conservatives should try and turn America into a place where people can come from traditional societies and continue to be fully traditional in every sense. You know Norman Podhoretz spoke of the “brutal bargain.” The brutal bargain is this place between retaining some of your traditional commitments and fealties and becoming modern, becoming American, giving them up, accommodating to our culture which can be described in many different ways. I think conservatives should promote the brutal bargain, not say, you come from Iraqi to be Iraqi. Well, that just begs the question—why are you here? Why didn’t you stay?
Luma Simms: Yeah, well, first of all, we know why the Iraqis are here.
Audience Member 1: No, we don’t.
Amy Wax: Any nation, any other country.
Luma Simms: Okay. Let’s go to a different thing. You talked about that we shouldn’t expect for immigrants to come here and still want to live traditional lives.
Amy Wax: Fully, not fully.
Luma Simms: Okay, but let’s ask what does it mean to live traditionally? What I’m talking about is the value of family, the value of religion. Those things are what we…was talking about yesterday, right? That national conservatism wants to create an America that values family and values religion. Those used to be, for immigrants of yesteryears, those used to be two great points of contact between them coming over and the America that existed back then—an America that valued family, an America that valued religion. And so they had some points of contact where they can kind of come into the community and not feel ostracized and not feel like they’re going to lose their children to whatever, pornography and all these things in today’s society.
So I think we need to talk about what tradition means, what immigrants that come from traditional societies mean, and how America can be the kind of place that can give them roots. I’m not saying they don’t need to try. I’m not saying they shouldn’t learn the English language – absolutely. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have friends that are Americans, that they should keep exclusively to themselves. I do not believe that. I’m saying that’s the reality on the ground, and we have to understand, and we have to figure out how to come together, how to create a, for lack of a better phrase, the melting pot, I guess.
Ryan Williams: Okay. Let’s open it up to the audience. Yes, sir, right here in the middle.
Audience Member 2 [tapping mic]: It’s not on.
Ryan Williams: Yeah, it’s on.
Audience Member 2: Okay. Thank you. Yes, thank you very much. Very good panel. Question, and it’s fairly fundamental, and maybe I’m the only one in the room that doesn’t know the answer. But we have at the border for, I don’t know, for a long time, but certainly this year, drug cartels, human trafficking, renting of children, overwhelming not only ports of entry, but a thousand people just crossing into El Paso in one day. What do we have? 400,000 illegals. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. We have emergency powers.
We have…why doesn’t the President of the United States have the power the say, you know, we are overwhelmed. We can’t care for these people. There are limits in everything in life, as opposed to just congressional delegations flying down to say, “Isn’t it terrible? And we won’t change the law, we won’t do anything.” Where is the political will in this country to defend the country?
Amy Wax: There isn’t any. Short answer. But this is…you know, the dominance of…I’m going to go back to the universities. I mean, I am a professor at, you know, an Ivy League university, and I see the ideology—the moralized, the highly moralized, globalist ideology that just pervades the place.
The president of my university, Amy Gutmann, I counted them, has issued over 25 ukases in the forms of emails to the entire university opposing every single aspect of Trump’s attempts to curtail and discipline the situation at the border. So the notion of neutrality, it’s just completely gone. And we’re influencing young minds. We’re propagating these ideas.
And many of the students at Penn and places like it, they are so far removed from the border. They are, they are protected from the wages of untrammeled diversity. In the summers, they go off to Stockbridge or the North Fork of Long Island or wherever the watering holes of the elites, and they write papers about the virtues of diversity. I mean that’s really what’s going on.
Mike Gonzales: Michael, in your long exhaustive list of why they come, you forgot the most important part, climate change. You’re not listening to NPR enough.
Ryan Williams: Yeah, here in the front. Michael, we’re almost out of time, so…
Audience Member 3: Hi, I’m from the great State of Michigan and a second-generation American, and I was really looking forward to the citizenship question on the census. Can you think of any other mechanism for determining the mix in the House of Representatives? Because I’d like to get some of the coastal representatives here in the Midwest.
Mike Gonzales: It’s open. It’s legal to do it anyway you want to. You don’t have to do total population. You can do citizenship population; you can do registered voters; you can do… The constitution is silent on that. All the court cases, the most recent being Evenwel, was silent. So the citizenship question would have given the state legislatures the data to create electoral maps any way they wanted to. So yeah, it doesn’t have to be total population. That’s the way it’s done now. It can be any number of things. I mean, it has to be, you know, reality, but I think registered voters, or eligible voters, or citizens, is something that would occur to many people.
Ryan Williams: Yes, Mr. [inaudible]. Wait for the mic, please.
Audience Member 4: So in France they’ve already banned the collection of racial statistics, and yet, it doesn’t seem like a model of racial harmony. Comment.
Mike Gonzales: Well, I mean France has also stepped away from assimilation, which is one of the reasons why we’re in the pickle that we are. And it’s got…France is the closest one to us in terms of assimilation as ethos, but it doesn’t quite have the history that we used to have with Scots-Irish, and Germans and Irish, and Armenians and Greeks.
So no, I disagree with you. And it’s not just the groups; it’s the fact that we have endowed them with real salience. But I would take…if I were to take…would I rather…which is the country that’s going to solve the problem first or more easily, Germany or France? I would say France. Or Italy or France? I would say France. France is the one that’s closest to it, and that’s one of the reasons why. I could go on, but I want to respect the audience…
Amy Wax: Can I just say? I think it’s going to be really hard to backpedal from these categorizations for all sorts of reasons, but I think the key is not to dole out goodies based on your group membership. Just to dial that back, right…is…that’s going to be enough of a challenge.
Mike Gonzales: I agree wholeheartedly with half of what she said, not with the first half.
Ryan Williams: In the middle there, you’ve been waiting patiently, sir.
Audience Member 5: Is this on? Hi, a number of you have spoken about the need for assimilation to get back to that, to get back to the melting pot, the evils of multiculturalism and identity politics. So, quick thought experiment.
Let’s say we’d had the Hart–Celler Act in 1965, and we’d had the same level of legal, and even of illegal, immigration since then, but somehow liberalism hadn’t gone nuts, and liberals still talked like Manny Celler and maybe even Phil Hart did, like Hubert Humphrey did. They still talked about the melting pot. They still talked about and pushed assimilation. We’d never heard about multiculturalism. How much of a problem would those levels of immigration be then?
Scott McConnell: Yeah, I think if you had levels like 500,000 a year, there’d be a lot of assimilation—what happened kind of naturally by kids going to school together or going out together and stuff like that. When you get to, what are we now? A million and a half a year? Two million a year? And with potentially…I mean, you now have a major political party essentially saying there should be no border enforcement at all. So you’re going to get above that. Then, any kind of natural assimilation thing isn’t going to work.
Luma Simms: I do want to add one thing, and that is, assimilation really works better when the people are coming here by choice. Those are the real immigrants, right? Rather than a lot of…we call them immigrants, but they’re really refugees these days, right? They’re here because they don’t want to die. They’re not here necessarily because they really want to be Americans, or they want to come to America. It’s just that they didn’t want to die. So there’s this really dire situation that is going on that sort of complicates the issue of assimilation. I just wanted to point that out because we tend to lump everybody in a group and call them all immigrants, but many, many of the newcomers are actually refugees.
Amy Wax: Can I just comment on this? I would go back to this concept in my talk that numbers matter. The Hart–Celler drafters, you know, the legislative record is just full of assurances that the numbers would not be great, that the demographic profile of the United States would barely change, that the legacy groups that are here would still be demographically dominant, would still be numerically dominant, and I think you could attribute all sorts of dire motives to them saying that, but I think there is a core insight there, which is, in order to have assimilation, you need to have demographic dominance, numerical dominance of the group that forms the culture, and that to which you are going to assimilate.
Sam Huntington said as soon as you start getting these large influxes from particular places, particular societies and cultures, they will form these enclaves. They will start to associate with each other. They will not have any incentive or imperative to integrate, to make the brutal bargain, to change their ways towards a common identity that’s just, once again, a matter of the numbers. So the numbers that we have are a problem.
Mike Gonzales: The numbers matter. By the way, I think the complete quote about Podhoretz was, “The brutal, but necessary, bargain,” right? So look, Scott, it didn’t happen naturally. It was a policy. It was a policy pursued by New York, by the government at all levels. It was a policy pursued by corporate America.
The Irish were told to assimilate. The Germans, all the Ellis Islanders and the pre-Ellis Islanders, were told to assimilate. And people who were very pro-immigration, like Lincoln, believed in assimilation. It was bipartisan. We walked away for political and ideological reasons in the ’60s, but it used to be a policy that was pursued, and it’s a brutal, but necessary, bargain, as Podhoretz said.
Scott McConnell: Yes, sir. Wait for the mic, if you would.
Audience Member 6: So one of the more fun, kind of syndromes of our strange clown world that we live in is this combination of these concepts of equal protection under the law and the protected class, which seem to kind of coexist in our jurisprudence in an interesting way. And this question is for Dr. Gonzalez, which is, if you’re actually proposing going all the way to eliminating protected classes—I don’t know that you’re proposing actually going that far, that’s quite radical—and restoring equal protection under the law and having only one class of citizen you’ve got to bear in mind that there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, people whose job is enforcing that regime. What happens to those people?
Mike Gonzales: I know. I know. Look, when I…I know what I’m up against. Please don’t remind me. I still think that this is a mission worth undertaking, and that we need to do it if we’re going to save America, but I understand how many people’s jobs are at stake here.
Ryan Williams: In the back here. This will be our last.
Audience Member 7: Good evening. Most of you, all of you, have been speaking of what you think should happen. I wonder if any of you would speak to what you think is likely to happen, and if that amounts to conservatives losing the immigration question, what is your plan B?
Amy Wax: I think we are going to sink back significantly into Third Worldism. We are going to go Venezuela, and you can just see it happening. I mean one of my pet peeves, one of my obsessions, is litter, and I… If you go up to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, or Yankee territory, right? Or versus other places that are “more diverse,” you are going to see an enormous difference. I’m sorry to report. You know, generalizations are not very pleasant, but little things like that, which aren’t little, they really affect our environment, attitudes towards public space.
I think Adam Garfinkle did a piece in The American Interest, where he talks about this—about noise levels, about the public space, about people’s deportment in public spaces, about respect for other people’s privacy, about things like heckling and, you know, sexual harassment. I mean all of this stuff sounds really silly, but when you add it up, these cultural habits, you know, make a difference to our environment.
And I think the celebration of diversity means that we lose some of these norms, these mores, that you know, make our life what it is. And I’m very concerned about it. Of course, it goes a lot deeper than that. Of course, it’s not just these superficial things, but I’m just mentioning that as emblematic of the way that I think we really are going, and nobody is willing to say anything about it, let alone try and stop it. I mean I guess I am, but…
Scott McConnell: I mean, there are a lot of obvious dystopian scenarios. Amy’s is similar to George Kennan’s, like the Third Worldization of America. There’s…Reihan Salam talks about whites and Asians in increasingly gated communities, and a sort of re-segregation of the society. And obviously, there’s various civil war type versions. There’s a novel by an Egyptian-American called “The American Civil War,” which takes place in, like, 2070, and I think culminates in use of biological, genocidal biological weapons. So you know, probably Amy’s Venezuela is the best case, if nothing…
Mike Gonzales: I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a plan B. My uncle in New York, in Queens, in the ’70s told me we were given this opportunity to come here from Cuba, and there is no plan B. I’m going to try to make it work until I drop, and I’m optimistic, at least more optimistic than Amy. But I think…I don’t have a plan B.
Luma Simms: I have a suggestion. I think if we do reduce the numbers, which I am in favor of for the right reasons, I think that…and at the same time, reinvigorate the family and religion within American culture, then what you can see…what may happen is a better assimilation of those that are already here, and more cohesion, and then we would have…drop the numbers, and therefore, not continue to bring in those that don’t believe in American way of life.
Ryan Williams: Thank you all very much. Please join me in thanking the panelists.