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With the conventional wisdom congealing around Ta-Nehisi Coates’ belief that “mass incarceration” in America was both racist and unnecessary — just look at how low imprisonment rates are in Europe! — it’s worth noticing something that almost nobody in America has noticed: the big property and assault crime wave in Britain in the last part of the 20th Century. That would also seem relevant to the current massive push by the President and the metropolitan media that something must be done about those well-armed rednecks out in the sticks.

You can get clues about the criminal history of Britain from books and movies. For example, when Anthony Burgess published his sci-fi novel A Clockwork Orange in 1962, in which Alex and his droogs motor out into the countryside to commit home invasion on an isolated cottage, the crime of home invasion barely existed in England. Burgess based the incident on something that happened to his wife’s family during WWII at the hands of U.S. GIs. (There’s a lot of social history that’s been swept under the rug about life in England before D-Day as the country filled up with young Americans waiting around to fight the Germans.)

Yet, by 1990 or so, home invasions in the rural countryside were a sizable problem, seemingly much bigger than in the U.S., where homeboys mostly terrorize their own communities.

And then there was the fecklessness of the British police.

There’s a scene in the fine little 2004 British movie Millions directed by Danny Boyle (his latest film is the new Steve Jobs biopic out this weekend). Unfortunately, I can’t find video of the scene online. A family moves into a new exurban housing development in the English countryside. At a gathering of the new homeowners, a policeman addresses them:

I’m your… Community Policeman. Obviously there is no community here as yet, not to speak of, but you know…

Anyway the first thing to say is, these new houses and Christmas coming up. Statistically, you’re going to get burgled. Now, not all of you, but some of you, soon. Probably this week, next.

When you are, call me.

My recollection is that a homeowner interjects at this point to ask if the policeman will arrest the thieves or merely use the information to prevent future crimes. The cop responds to the effect of: Neither:

I’ll give you a crime number and then you can make a claim on your insurance.

This scene apparently baffled American critics and audiences.

From an interview with Boyle in About Entertainment:

Q.: This is a weird question, but in “Millions” the police come and warn the community about the fact they will probably be burglarized during the holidays. Is that realistic?

Boyle: (Laughing) Yes. It’’s silly but there’’s an element of truth in it. Britain is plagued by burglaries at the moment. Everybody is paranoid about it. It’s kind of making fun about it, how it’’s inevitable you’re going to get burgled. And it is if you live in a city. It’’s inevitable you’’ll get burgled. In fact, I live on my own and while I’’m here in America, I’’m pretty convinced I’’ll be burgled by the time I get back.

Q. The scene plays a little strangely to American audiences. The police here don’’t usually come around and tell us to prepare to get burglarized.

Boyle: It’’s maybe very idiosyncratically British, a guy coming around saying that. That gets a big laugh in Britain. People really recognize that copper with that kind of fatalistic approach to crime.

Since the 1990s or so, the British government has been trying to fight back against crime. As Burgess predicted in 1962, they’ve taken a largely technocratic approach. For example, Britain now has a huge number of security cameras.

There is probably a lot we could learn about the British experience of crime. Being dependent as we are, though, in getting our views on crime from Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is, for all his virtues, not the world’s most worldly man, we’re probably not going to be hearing much about it. Maybe if Obama were to appoint Ta-Nehisi Coates as America’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Coates could find out about it and tell us.

• Tags: Britain, Crime 
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Immigration’s sacred cow status makes it a central stumbling block to intellectual progress. This was illustrated again last week with the implosion of the U.K. Labour Party’s ground-breaking Blue Labour policy group.

The new idea man of the Labour Party, Baron Glasman, was widely denounced for making some allegedly shocking (but actually sensible) remarks about Britain’s need to restrict immigration, such as “Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband’s chances of becoming Prime Minister have risen this month with his skillful whipping up of the Murdoch phone hacking brouhaha. So it’s useful to inquire into the thinking of those to whom he listens.

Last November, Miliband had the Queen elevate to the House of Lords Maurice Glasman, an obscure London academic and community organizer who had coined the term “Blue Labour” in 2009. Miliband’s hope was that Glasman could come up with a coherent ideology to replace the grand strategy of the old New Labour of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown: invite-the-world, invade-the-world, and in-hock-to-the-world. (Sound familiar?)

That Miliband respects Glasman, a strikingly heterodox thinker who advocates a sort of patriotic-family-values leftism, a conservative socialism that would have appealed to George Orwell, is encouraging.

Unfortunately, however, the outraged response by Britain’s keepers of the conventional wisdom to Glasman’s pointing out that “itinerant finance” (of which he’s deeply suspicious) profits more from “itinerant labor” than do British workers demonstrates once again that the old left-right paradigm is obsolescent.

Lord Glasman has found himself on the less privileged side of the central ideological divide of the 21st Century—a gap that sprawls across the more familiar ideological chasms of the 20th Century. The crucial question is no longer capitalism vs. communism, but globalism v. localism, imperial centralization v. self-rule, cosmopolitanism v. patriotism, elitism v. populism, diversity v. particularism, homogeneity v. heterogeneity, and high-low v. middle.

Barack Obama, for example, epitomizes the first side of these dichotomies, especially the high-low coalition. By being half-black, he enjoys the totemic aura of the low, but has all the advantages of the high. He has never, as far as anyone can tell, had a thought cross his mind that would raise an eyebrow at a Davos Conference.

In contrast to the President, Glasman is certainly an original thinker. But anybody on his side of these new dichotomies faces a tactical disadvantage.

Because globalists want the whole world to be all the same, they share common talking points, strategies, conferences, media, and so forth.

In contrast, because the localists want the freedom to rule themselves, they often don’t even realize who else is on the same side of this divide.

For example, to most Americans, “socialism” is a very foreign-sounding word. To a lot of Brits, however, socialism is what their grandfathers looked forward to while they fought WWII and then came home to create the National Health Service.

So let me review for Americans the background to Glasman’s unsurprisingly brief run as the intellectual guru of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party was created in the early 20th Century to represent trade unions in Parliament. Its triumph in the 1945 General Election allowed it to nationalize the “commanding heights” of the British economy. But by the 1970s, a fundamental conflict of interest had become obvious: in wage negotiations at nationalized firms, Labour governments were supposed to represent both the unions and the management. This led to chaos and, ultimately, Conservative (“Tory”) rule from 1979-1997.

British conventional wisdom, unfortunately, absorbed the wrong lesson from the 1970s: not that double-dealing was bad—but that low wages were good.

In the mid-1990s, Tony Blair “rebranded” the party as New Labour. With his globalist grand strategy of invite-the-world, invade-the-world, and in-hock-to-the-world, the City of London prospered and New Labour won general elections in 1997, 2001, and 2005.

But in 2010, Blair’s successor Gordon Brown put the last nail in New Labour’s coffin when he was caught on tape denouncing to his aides his own working class Labour supporter Gillian Duffy as a “bigoted woman” for daring to question him about why New Labour had allowed in so many immigrants.

As Glasman pointed out in Progress Magazine, New Labour behaved in a

“‘very supercilious, high-handed way: there was no public discussion of immigration and its benefits. There was no election that was fought on that basis. In fact there was a very, very hard [enforcement] rhetoric combined with a very loose policy going on. Labour lied to people about the extent of immigration and the extent of illegal immigration and there’s been a massive rupture of trust.” [Labour isn’t working, April 19, 2011]

Following Labour’s 2010 defeat, the Tories and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government. When Brown resigned as Labour leader, young Ed Miliband narrowly defeated (oddly enough) his own older brother David to become Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Only 41, Ed Miliband cast about for a new brand for his Party, and a coherent new ideology.

Glassman’s term “Blue Labour” appealed to him, perhaps because by rhyming with “New Labour,” it made clearer the break with Blair and Brown. Moreover, the term plays off of Tory theologian Philip Blond’s Chestertonian Red Tory philosophy that Prime Minister David Cameron sponsored. Finally, Glasman, a former professional jazz musician, wants to emphasize that even if his ideas work, they aren’t going to cure everybody’s blues.

Colors have powerful political connotations in British that are difficult for Americans to grasp. In the U.S., both major parties use red, white, and blue lavishly. (The current custom of portraying Republican states as red and Democratic states as blue dates only from the 2000 Florida recount. Before 2000, the networks switched the party’s colors with each election.)

In contrast, in most of the world, red is the traditional color of international socialism. Since its founding, the Labour Party’s anthem has been The Red Flag, a song whose second verse praises the solidarity of workers in France, Germany, Moscow, and Chicago. Blue came to be seen in Britain, by way of contrast, as the color of conservatism and nationalism.

Yet, as George Orwell repeatedly pointed out, Labour’s base of voters, the actual laborers themselves, have never been terribly cosmopolitan. In fact, they’ve never thought that much of Johnny Foreigner.

It has always driven yuppie leftists mad with rage that they are expected to share their Labour Party with a bunch of working class laborers. For example, Lynsey Hanley denounced Glasman in The Guardian in a column entitled Labour must bury working-class conservatism, not praise it. [April 19, 2011]

That headline suggests exactly why Miliband hired Glasman to shake things up: because Glasman is that rare English intellectual who actually likes working class Englishmen and worries about how to promote their interests.

Glasman recently described Orwell as “a conservative patriot working in a socialist tradition,” and much the same could be said for Glasman himself.

Glasman is not the lucid prose stylist that Orwell was. (Who is?) As Cambridge don David Runciman writes in the July 28, 2011 issue of the London Review of Books:

“But Glasman is that increasingly rare thing in contemporary politics, an authentic, and authentically strange, voice. He is not a pretty writer, but he is an arresting one. He calls his goal ‘socialism in one county’, and you feel he is only half-joking. “

It’s not a joke. The survival of the Northern European welfare state is dependent upon a fair degree of national solidarity. Welfare states can’t afford to attract" href="mailto:">grifters and goldbrickers from all over the world.

Glasman’s Orwell-like small-c conservatism is apparent in his April 24, 2011 essay for The Guardian:

“Democratic politics, according to this view, is the way citizens come together to protect the people and places that they love from danger. … This always generates a rich and complex politics that is as much about cherishing what you know and love as about the pursuit of progressive ends.”

Glasman’s decade of working for a living wage for housecleaners and the like made him deeply skeptical of immigration’s impact on wages. Progress noted:

“Mass immigration under Labour, he believes, served to ‘act as an unofficial wages policy.’ The party’s position, Glasman contends, occupied a ‘weird space where we thought that a real assault on the wage levels of English workers was a positive good.’”

Glassman went on:

“Globalization, he argues, may be a fact, but it is not a fate. ‘There are different strategies of … mediation and the one that appeals to me most is the one pursued by Germany.’”

Glasman went into more detail in his Guardian essay:

“The German economy with its worker representation on the management board, works councils, pension co-determination, regional banks and vocational regulation, in other words with high levels of democratic interference in the economy, emerged with a more efficient workforce, greater growth and with a genuinely modern industrial sector.”

As I pointed out last year in a review of Thomas Geoghegan’s Were You Born on the Wrong Continent, the strength of the German economy suggests that, no matter what The Economist would have you believe, the Germans, with their union-friendly laws, aren’t complete idiots. Glasman echoes Geoghegan’s point that when comes to, say, building BMWs:

“What the laws manage to do in Germany is to keep people together and to hold onto their skills in groups … especially in engineering and quality control. … It’s the kind of group knowledge that our efficient ‘flexible’ labor markets so readily break up and disperse.”

That Glasman and his boss Miliband are ethnically Jewish would perhaps seem anomalous to many American Jews, who, with increasing frequency, mythologize mass immigration as central to America or to Jewishness or to both.

But in general, British Jews appear to be somewhat less leftist than American Jews, especially relative to the general culture. In particular, British Jews seem relatively less fixated than American Jews on enforcing the orthodoxy that mass immigration is an unquestionable good, perhaps because their ancestors trickled into Britain over many generations, rather than into America in one four decade-long mass surge.

Still, while Glasman’s moment in the spotlight was fun while it lasted, it couldn’t last long. His new interview in the leftwing Fabian Review was too frank on immigration:

“Labour, in his view, should not abolish the Tory immigration cap if it wins the next election. ‘There’s no sense of abolition,’ he says. … ‘We’ve got to re-interrogate our relationship with the EU on the movement of labour. So I think we’ve got to renegotiate with the EU.’ His call is to restrict immigration to a few necessary entrants, such as highly-skilled leaders, especially in vocational skills. ‘We might, for example, bring in German masters, as we did in the 15th and 16th centuries to renew guilds.’”

Glasman then didn’t shoot down the interviewer’s suggestion of an immigration moratorium:

“And if that means stopping immigration virtually completely for a period, then so be it? ’Yes. I would add that we should be more generous and friendly in receiving those [few]who are needed. To be more generous, we have to draw the line.’ “

That was too far.

Dan Hodges reported on July 20 in the New Statesman:

“Blue Labour, the informal Labour policy group established by Ed Miliband advisor Maurice Glasman, is to be effectively disbanded … following an interview given by the controversial peer in which he expressed a belief that immigration to the UK should be completely halted.”

(My emphasis).

Well, everybody knows, you can’t say that.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA’S “STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE”, is available here.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Britain 
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The best political book published recently in the English-speaking world has one of the worst titles: U.K. Tory MP David WillettsThe Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future—And Why They Should Give it Back.

By this point, American Baby Boomers have so endlessly (and insufferably) navel-gazed that it’s almost impossible to force yourself to read further once you reach the words “Baby Boomers” in a title. The smaller U.K. baby boom hasn’t been so relentlessly rehashed—but that’s not the reason to read this book by the Universities and Science minister in the new coalition British government.

Willetts, who is known to Fleet Street as “Two Brains” for his encyclopedic brilliance (and for his giant, Charles Murray-sized forehead), is an expert on the pressing actuarial questions of how the British will (or, perhaps, won’t) pay back the huge debts run up by the current generation of Baby Boomers. Americans, though, can skim those parts of the book because they are relatively unimportant compared to his true accomplishment.

This is a book by a politician with almost no topical politics or ideology in it, yet it may be the most profound conservative book of recent years. Willetts has started over by reconsidering Anglo-American culture from the fundamentals of family structure and life stages.

His simple moral is that the essence of statesmanship is stewarding a partnership between generations. He takes as a given Edmund Burke’s description of the state as “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

Willetts’s battle cry is “intergenerational fairness”. But mass immigration raises questions about whose offspring we are talking about—questions that Willetts leaves tactfully vague.

(Isn’t it bizarre that it has become politically dangerous for an Anglosphere statesman to make clear that his concern about future generations is primarily focused on the descendants of his own constituents—as opposed to those of people who are currently foreigners but might choose at some point to move to England?)

Willetts concludes, however:

“There are two places above all where these obligations across the generations are discharged: the family and the nation state. … Both family and nation-state are by and large hereditary.”

In other words, “intergenerational fairness” is a more politically fraught and interesting concept than he, an active politician, is ready to come out and express bluntly. So I’ll endeavor to tease out some of the implications of this way of thinking below.

The Pinch provides an intellectual framework for thinking about far more than just the debt-related issues raised in Willetts’s lengthy subtitle—timely as those are in this era when the debts piled up during the Bush-Blair “in hock to the world” era are rapidly coming come due. For example, without Willetts spelling it out much, his analysis of the foundations of Anglo-Saxon culture helps explain why the same tendencies that make our societiessuccessful also make them peculiarly vulnerable toimmigration.

What made possible the Anglo-American heritage of self-governing liberty under law?

Although The Pinch is about England, it’s eminently relevant to American readers. As Willetts says: “England and America share a similar civil society because we share the same (rather unusual) family structure.”

To Willetts, the key to Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism is the nuclear family structure. “When it comes to families, England was the first nuclear power”, Willetts quips.

In his important first chapter, to which he gives the unapologetic title “Who We Are”, Willetts explains the “deep features” that have distinguished England, and its overseas offshoots, from the rest of the world.

England has been “not just different from Papua New Guinea or Pakistan; it is also quite different from France and Italy and most of Continental Europe”, except for Holland and Denmark.

And this difference dates to at least 1250—and perhaps back to (or beyond) the Dark Age days of King Canute.

Following Cambridge anthropologist Alan Macfarlane,Willetts attributes this northwestern European model to the folkways of the ancient Germanic tribes. As Ben Franklin noted, “Britain was formerly the America of the Germans”.

The Anglo-Saxons managed to hit the sweet spot between the kind of cut-throat individualism seen in a handful of cultures (most notoriously the Pushtuns of Afghanistan, who subscribe to the extraordinary proverb “When the floodwaters reach your chin, put your son beneath your feet”) and the more workable extended family cultures seen in, say, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

These broad and loyal extended families do make for cultures of good restaurants. But they aren’t so good at paying their honest share of taxes, as the Greek government’s tax evasion-driven financial crisis is pointing out once again.

In his engaging non-academic style, Willetts outlines thedeep structure of Englishness:

“Instead, think of England as being like this for at least 750 years. We live in smallfamilies. We buy and sell houses. … Our parents expect us to leave home for paid work …You try to save up some money from yourwages so that you can afford to get married. … You can choose your spouse … It takes a long time to build up some savings from your work and find the right person with whom to settle down, so marriage comes quite lately, possibly in your late twenties. “

The long-standing English aversion to arranged marriagesreflects this distinction. It’s noteworthy that Shakespeareand his English audience sided with Romeo and Juliet against their kinfolk. Willetts theorizes:

“A small, simple family structure not driven by the need to pass on an inheritance or to sustain ties with brothers and cousins in a clan can be more personal, intense, and emotional—a clue to England’s Romantic tradition.”

Willetts points out that most other languages have “specific words for particular types of uncles, grandparents, and cousins”, but the English apparently never needed to develop these terms. As far back as 1014, he says, Bishop Wulfstan of London “expressed regretthat vendettas were not what they used to be as familymembers just would not join in”. (In contrast, the more clannish Scots kept alive kin-spirit, transmitting it down to their Scots-Irish descendants, such as the Hatfields and McCoy s who waged a famous feud in Appalachia.)

This distinction between extended and nuclear family structures has profound political implications according to Willetts. In the lands of extended families , “Helping relatives with contracts and jobs is not seen ascorruption but as a moral obligation”. Moreover, “Itmeans that voting is by clans: it is hard to have neutral contracts enforced by an independent judiciary when family obligations are so wide-ranging and so strong”.

England’s roots as a unified nation state are more than 1000 years old. The common law emerged as a national institution more than 800 years ago:

“But the Common Law is crucially not local law. You are bound by precedent, a body of case law that is consistent across the country. This what “common” means. … This makes it much harder to do special favors for kith and kin and so helps to ensure protection for the small nuclear family without extended networks of relatives.”

Although royal authority helped make the Common Law nationally consistent, it was not imposed from above by an autocrat, like the Code Napoleon: “The standardization … is achieved by lawyers meeting at their London Inns to compare notes and establish through these self-governing institutions a shared understanding of the law …”

Perhaps echoing my 2003 article on why the high incidence of arranged cousin marriages in Iraq made neoconservative goals of “nation-building” inherently implausible, Willetts writes:

“Their family structure may help explain why Western-style democratic government is so hard to establish in parts of the Muslim world. In Pakistan 50 per cent of marriages are to first cousins. … It weakens nationalgovernments and makes it hard for the neutral contractual arrangements of a modern market economy to be created.”

(Willetts judiciously omits mentioning that cousin marriage is also common among Pakistanis in England—they use arranged marriages to cheat immigration restrictions and bring in more members of their clans.)

There are clear advantages to extended families: “Big clan-stylefamilies are better than nuclear ones at spreading advantageand pooling risk …” Extended families serve as miniature welfare states. If one kinsman strikes it rich, he’ll employ his relatives whoneed jobs.

Without all this, the English had to dream up self-regulating institutions because “Small families need civil society more”:

“But it was not just voluntary societies which provided mutual support. … Instead of the mutual exchange of the extended family, small families must buy services. For example, insurance schemes, annuities, and savings help protect you when there is no wider family with such obligations.”

Thus, the English were among the pioneers of complexcapitalist contracts.

In turn, this early “capitalism without factories” prepared the British to make perhaps the greatest contribution to humanity or recent centuries: the Industrial Revolution, which freed humanity from theMalthusian Trap in which population grows as fast as the food supply, leaving the lower half of society hungry:

“That the Industrial Revolution began in England is a crucial piece of evidence in support of the argument that we have a distinctive economic and social structure.”

In Willetts’s depiction, the English resemble my 2006 description of white Americans:

“They believe on the whole in individualism rather than tribalism, national patriotism rather than ethnic loyalty, meritocracy rather than nepotism, nuclear families rather than extended clans, law and fair play rather thanprivilege, corporations of strangers rather than mafias of relatives, and true love rather than the arranged marriages necessary to keep ethnic categories clear-cut.”

The Anglo-Saxon nuclear family has greatly benefitedhumanity. Still, it has its disadvantages.

The nuclear family is expensive. Each small family wants its own place to live—ideally, a house with a garden. Notsurprisingly, the crowded British Isles were long theemigration capital of the world, as people headed out forthe emptier lands of America, Canada, Australia, and NewZealand.

Why don’t Anglo-Saxons like to live in large, noisy My Big Fat Greek Wedding-style homes? Unfortunately, Willetts doesn’t address this. Personally, I don’t see much evidence that people from other cultures get along better with their relatives. They just don’t seem to mindscreaming at their cousin-in-laws as much as Anglos would mind.

Perhaps the kind of civil personality cultivated by civilsociety (and the English became famously polite) is morepained by domestic discord. Civil society seems to breedmore polite personalities who can get along with strangers. You can shout abuse at your loved ones because they are stuck with you, but non-relatives have to want to deal with you.

(Or maybe civil personalities enable civil societies? What’s chicken and what’s egg is seldom clear in these virtuous circles of feedback.)

This relative lack of nepotism and ethnocentrism makes Anglossimultaneously both successful and at risk of being out-maneuvered by less idealistic groups.

The need for a separate home for each nuclear family can put Anglo-derived cultures at a disadvantage in newly cosmopolitan cities. For example, Los Angeles, strange as it may seem now, was largely built in the 20th Century by civil people from rather bland, trusting places such as Iowa, Illinois (where my father is from) and Minnesota (where mylate mother grew up).

This causes them and their descendents problems today, in a very expensive city increasingly dominated by newcomers from the more vibrant cultures of the ex-Soviet Union and the Middle East who don’t as much mind crowding in with their in-laws and cutting corners on their taxes.

My April 20, 2008 article on my experience as a juror in a trial over how two Iranian brothers-in-law in the used car business haddefrauded the state of California of $2 million in sales tax can provide you with a taste of the new LA.

One increasing problem with civil Anglo personalities isthat they tend to value fair play and neutrality so muchthat they can blind themselves to the interests of their own descendants.

They worry: I mean, are the words in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution about how “We the People of the United States” are creating the government to “secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” really sporting? How do we ethically justify not letting immigrate, say, a clan of Iranian used car dealers?

This is the kind of moral reasoning that Anglos worry about—but few others in this world outside Northwestern Europe, That’s a major reason why, despite a not unreasonably low birth rate among the English, 23% of primary school students in England and Wales are now non-English, and the English are forecast to become a minority in their own country in 2073.

Willetts, a classic civil English good sport, is extremelyreticent about explaining bluntly exactly whose offspring he thinks English Baby Boomers should act more responsibly toward.

But, if you can read between the lines to figure out theanswer, his book serves as a very polite, suitablyunderstated warning to Anglo Baby Boomers to look out better for the welfare of their descendants.

For example, from an individualistic point of view, highhome prices might seem like a personal ATM. But, in the long view, we are hurting our descendants:

“We have not behaved with such wise self-control. Instead we have borrowed against the house or not saved as much as we would otherwise have done. … And where does this money that we thought we had come from? From our children. … So they have to pay more for their house out of their lifetime earnings. The flow of resources is from children to parents, not the other way around.”

High home prices make family formation less affordable:

“It is now much, much harder for the young generation to get started on the housing ladder … Twenty-somethings become trapped in a kind of semi-adulthood. For them modern life is not fast but actually very slow. The transitions into stable employment and a stable relationship take longer than at anytime since the War.”

Willetts labels his book a call for “intergenerational fairness”, but he could also make it appeal to the self-interest of Baby Boomers by pointing out that policies encouraging affordable family formation would make it more likely that they will someday have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and soon enough that they will live to see them.

In his chapter “Houses and Jobs: Generation Crunch”, Willetts explains one reason why massive immigration works

“…better for the older baby boomers than it does for the younger generation coming on behind. Baby boomers had tight immigration controls when they were entering the jobs market but then relaxed them when they wanted more workers coming along behind. … [Immigration] increases returns to capital and holds wages down so it rewards property-owners. It is younger people who have lost out.”

Willetts nicely lays out one reason why the Blair-Brown Bubble in London did so little to alleviate unemployment among young Englishmen in blue collar cities like Liverpool (just as the Bush Bubble in Las Vegas didn’t help American workers in Cleveland, as I pointed out in on July 7, 2006). He writes: “Quite simply, high house prices were one factor sucking in immigrants.”

Willetts observes, “The young man from Liverpool does not see why he should live in more cramped conditions than his family back in Liverpool occupy”. In contrast, the immigrant crams into a house with many others from his country. “His willingness to be under-housed gives him a labour market advantage and it is greater if house prices are higher”. In turn, sucking in immigrants creates a vicious cycle, driving up housing prices, which drives out more natives.

Moreover, remittances sent home from London to Liverpool buy a lot less in Liverpool than remittances sent home to a poor country:

“So it is not that our Liverpudlian is somehow a bad person compared to our Pole. It is that he or she cannot capture similar benefits for their family by under-housing themselves in London.”

Willetts sums up:

“The crucial proposition therefore underlying the economics ofimmigration in Britain is as follows. The larger the proportion of earnings consumed by housing costs, the greater the benefits of under-housing and the greater the price advantage of immigrant labour. It was not despite the high cost of housing that immigrants came to the house price hotspots in Britain to make a living—it was because of them.”

He goes on to add:

“People are not willing to accept under-housing for ever. It may be bearable if you are single and in your twenties or early thirties. …But it is much harder having a baby in circumstances like that.”

Well, that depends greatly on your culture. Anglos don’t like to have babies under those conditions—hence, the falling white birthrate in, say, crowded Los Angeles. But people from many foreign countries don’t seem to mind as much. Thus immigrant Latinas in California were averaging 3.7 babies apiece in 2005, versus only 1.6 for American-born women.

Moreover, the boom and bust in the housing market seems to discourage prudent people from having children, but not the imprudent.

We can operationally define the prudent as those who have children when they are married and the imprudent as those who have children when they are unmarried.

The federal birth statistics show that the roller coaster economy of the Bush years played out like the opening scene in Idiocracy, in which the yuppie husband and wife fret, “We just can’t have a child in this market”, [Video]while Clevon is heedlessly impregnating every woman in his trailer park. [VDARE.COM note: Clevon is a white guy. We are only mentioning this as a favor to the SPLC, who would otherwise put "Clevon is heedlessly impregnating" on their list of “racist” VDARE.COM quotes.]

For example, from 2005 to 2007 during the Bush Bubble of rising home prices, the number of babies born in the United States to married women declined 0.3 percent. In contrast, the number born to unmarried women grew an astounding 12.3 percent.

Then, during the Bush Bust of 2008, the number of babies born to unmarried women still grew 0.7 percent—while the number born to married ladies dropped 3.0 percent.

Quite a world we’ll be leaving to our posterity.

The Pinch can help us understand it better.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative.

His website features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Britain 
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Why have the morals of the white working class in the U.S. proven more resilient than those of their white counterparts in Great Britain?

Last week, I discussed the high crime rate in the United Kingdom—by one estimate about 40 percent worse than in the U.S.

Unlike in the U.S., where minorities commit the majority of crimes (the best estimate is that blacks are imprisoned 9.1 times as often as non-Hispanic whites, and Latinos 3.7 times more often), whites areresponsible for most crime in the U.K.

There’s no question that immigration into the U.K. has exacerbated the crime problem—West Indians make up a large fraction of London muggers, and the U.K. suffers far more than the U.S. from Gypsies(and from “Travelers”—whites who have apparently occupied a similarly parasitical niche). Yet minorities are only about one-fourth as numerous in the U.K. So whites must shoulder most of the blame.

Crime’s sister, illegitimacy, is also high in Britain. In England and Wales 41 percent of new babies are born to unmarried women. And it’s evenworse —46 percent, see p. 84 of this PDF—among women born in the U.K. (The high illegitimacy rate for Caribbean immigrant women is more than balanced by the very low figures for South Asians.)

In a much-discussed 1993 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Charles Murray, author of the influential 1984 book on welfare programs Losing Ground, predicted that the rise in illegitimacy among Americanwhites would lead to a “coming white underclass.”

That may indeed be happening. Illegitimacy among American whites has continued to grow, reaching 23 percent of all babies born to non-Hispanic white women in 2002 (compared to 68 percent amongAfrican-Americans and 43 percent among Hispanics). That’s worse than the 22 percent figure for blacks that so alarmed Johnson Administration adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan that he wrote a famously controversial 1965 report called The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.

But that 23 percent is still about half the white rate in England and Wales.

So, despite obvious problems, such as the crystal methamphetamine epidemic, the American white working class has shown more impressive moral hardiness than the English.

How come?

Religion. Perhaps the most striking and important difference: thestrength of Christianity here—whereas the main religious emotion in Britain is apathy. Phil Zuckerman has noted

“84 percent of Americans believe that Jesus is God or theson of God, compared to 46 percent of the British… Andover 70 percent of Americans believe in hell, compared to only 28 percent of the British… Nearly 45 percent ofAmericans attend church … once a week, compared to … 13 percent of the British… Between 39 and 46 percent ofAmericans describe themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians.”

At least some American Christians are building alternative institutions to shield their families from decadent popular culture. But the Britishworking class appear wholly addicted to the prolefeed on the telly.

Why is the U.S. more religious? Father Andrew Greeley has suggested that it’s because America has a dynamic competitive marketplace for churches, while the Church of England is a typically inefficient and unmotivated government monopoly.

Another (unspoken) reason: with the partial exception of the Roman Catholic Church, church services give Americans a rare opportunity to indulge in ethnic solidarity.

Liberals like to quote Martin Luther King’s complaint that “Eleven o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour” of the week. But this opportunity to associate with one’s own kind seems to be viewed favorably by many Americans. Even the Rev. King, for example, found his political base in the black churches.

Culture. The ongoing collapse of Britain’s white males into neo-Hogarthian laddishness points out the importance of country music in persuading white working class American males to stay on the straight and narrow. A remarkable fraction of country lyrics are devoted to making guys with fairly crummy jobs, like truckdrivers, feel proud that they work hard to bring home the bacon to their wife and kids.Likewise, many country love songs are about being married, which helps make that crucial institution seem cool to young country fans.

Or compare favorite spectator sports. Stock car racing is wholly lacking in soccer’s affiliated subculture of hooliganism (see Bill Buford’s memoir of running with English soccer fans, aptly titled Among the Thugs). NASCAR markets itself with vast success as wholesome entertainment for the entire family.

After the mass slaughters of the 1980s (such as the 95 fans crushed to death at the Sheffield stadium in 1989), UK soccer has managed to contain its more animalistic aspects and appeal to a broader social base than just skinheads. For example, the new American romanticcomedy movie Fever Pitch, with Jimmy Fallon as a fanatical Boston Red Sox baseball fan, is based on the soccer fan memoir of English novelist Nick Hornby, the highly bourgeois author of High Fidelity and About a Boy.

Yet this widespread filtering of yobbo norms up the social scale in Britain–soccer replacing cricket and rugby or the spread of the downscale Estuary English accent into the upper middle classes—merely reflects how the educated classes in Britain have lost control of the culture. Similarly, middle-class African-Americans have lost control to the gangsta rappers.

The U.S. Republican Party, for all its sins, at least pays lip service to social conservatism. Many white working class families ask for self-sacrificingly little from their elected leaders. But they do want them to provide good role models for their children. And, in contrast to Clinton’s embarrassing philandering, Bush’s apparently faultless marriage accounts for more than a little of his otherwise inexplicable popularity.

In Britain, however, the Conservative Party has been riddled by sex scandals.

Guns (not what you think). While the rate of assault has been higher in England than America, angry Americans are more lethal because of our hundreds of millions of guns.

But, on the other hand, burglary is a far safer career choice in Britain because the chance of being blown away by a homeowner is low—and the government unmercifully persecutes householders who killintruders. (Farmer Tony Martin was originally sentenced to life in prison for killing a burglar.)

That’s why an atrocious percentage of burglaries in the U.K. are “home invasions”psychologically traumatizing break-ins while the householders are at home.

The perversity of the British criminal justice system likewise seems strange to contemporary Americans. The once-proud police of Britain are now pathetic. The fine new English movie Millions, for example, portrays a neighborhood meeting where an ineffectual-looking copper with an intellectual’s beard announces (dialogue roughlyremembered):

Bobbie: Christmas is coming so it’s a statistical certainty your house will get burgled. But that’s what we’re here for.

Subject of the Queen: To prevent crime or to catch the criminals?

Bobbie: Neither, of course. But after you do get robbed, we will make sure you get your official victimization number so you can file a claim with your insurance company.

Lack of federalism. Parliament reigns supreme, so localities don’t compete to see who has the most hard-nosed police departments like they do in America.

In 1993, for instance, white liberal voters in New York City and Los Angeles replaced black Democratic mayors with white Republican mayors—Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan, respectively—while still reassuring themselves of their moral superiority by voting Democratic at the national level.

And in the U.S., it’s possible to move away from high crime areas. For example, Ventura County, only an hour’s drive from South Central LA, is one of the lowest crime areas in the country, perhaps because racial profiling is quite effective in America, at least when the politicians and judges allow it. A car full of black youths cruising the back streets ofaffluent Thousand Oaks in the middle of the night would likely receive unwanted attention from the local police department.

In England, however, there is no escape. Criminals from Manchester and Birmingham frequently drive a couple of hours into the countrysideto prey on isolated farmhouses. Racial profiling isn’t as effective when so many career criminal are white.

Speed. Remember the tale of how to boil a frog? Just keep raising the temperature imperceptibly so the frog never notices it’s being boiled alive. (Don’t try this at home, kids.) Something similar happened inEngland, where society fell apart so slowly that elite opinion had time to get used to each new outrage.

In contrast, the U.S. murder rate doubled in just ten years—from 1964 to 1974. African-Americans served not as the frog in the pot but as the canary in the coalmine.

The welfare state took decades after its introduction in 1945 to corrupt the English. But the American liberal innovations of the 1960s, such as generous welfare for single mothers and shorter prison sentences, had such an immediately catastrophic on black morals that within a decade and a half, “liberal” had permanently become a term of abuse in American politics.

Way back in 1968, Richard Nixon ran on a law and order platform, somewhat like Michael Howard’s in 2005. Granted, Nixon didn’t do much about crime, but eventually the outraged public got its way. The quadrupling over the last third of a century of the prison population helped bring about the fall in crime in the later 1990s. The welfare reform of 1996 also has had a good effect on morals.

Class vs. Race. The central divide in Britain is class—in America, it’s race. And that has had a little understood salutary effect on white working class Americans.

In England, the sons of maharajas were often more welcome at Eton and Oxford than the sons of fishmongers. Similarly, in the last couple of decades, blacks have been more welcomed into the working class in Britain than in America—because British working class identity centers on not acting like a toff. The entrance requirements to the working class are amiably relaxed—no need for “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” elocution lessons. If you like ‘aving a pint with your mates at the pub while watching Arsenal on the telly,’ well, you’re halfway home.

Likewise, English youth see the gangsta rap lifestyle as a bit of a lark (as brilliantly parodied by Sacha Baron Cohen’s brainless wigger Ali G). In contrast, white working class Americans view it, based on the abundant evidence provided by American blacks, as a one-way ticket to prison and the grave.

America upper middle class white liberals constantly sneer at working class whites as racists. And, indeed, most respectable working classwhites do work hard to prevent their children from absorbing black underclass values. Affluent liberals are so well insulated from poor blacks that they don’t have to worry that their college-bound kids will take gangsta rap’s ethos seriously. But poorer whites don’t have thatluxury.

These anti-black feelings among the white working class have helped keep their young from turning to crime.

For example, Chicago was the crime capital of the world 75 years ago during Al Capone’s day—before the Great Migration of blacks to Chicago from the Mississippi Delta. Unlike most Northern cities, Chicago has hung on to a sizable white working class.

But the descendents of the minor mobsters of Al Capone’s era today disdain crime, viewing it as a “black thing,” because, although blacksand whites are about equal in number in Chicago, blacks are almost an order of magnitude more common behind bars in the Windy City.

A General Election has now been called in Britain. Until this year, the Tory Party has been almost as worthless on crime as Labour. But Toryleader Michael Howard is now campaigning hard against “yob culture,” lawless Gypsies and Travelers…and immigration abuses.

Still, there’s a long way to go. Adam Smith famously observed that there is “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” The British, however, have been ruining themselves for a long time.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Britain 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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