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I have often pointed out that the Dissident Right, fervently disliking Latinos, criticizes Hispanics for all sins real or imagined but never says what policies it favor toward the tens of millions American citizens of Latin-American descent. I have to retract. Recently John Derbyshire, the star writer at the anti-immigrant site Vdare.com, has stated clearly and even eloquently that he favors assimilation. Thus:

This country can only work—can only be a country worth the name—under an ethic of relentless assimilation. You settle here, you Americanize yourself, for which the very first step is to master English, so you can join in the national political conversation. John Quincy Adams understood that. My immigrant wife understood it.

This is not just a wise position. It is the only wise position. If the United States is to have a chance of coalescing into a workably amicable polity, it needs to absorb the newcomers. They are not going to go away. Endlessly attacking them, often nonsensically, sometimes dishonestly, always with a grinding undercurrent of racial hatred, is not a recipe for domestic tranquility. Yet this is exactly what the Dissident Right does.

The immigrant wife John speaks of is Chinese, which is at least reasonable and in my view desirable, the Chinese being an impressive people. Also very pretty in their female variety, which doesn’t hurt. Apparently Derbyshire has remained married to her for thirty-three years, which is un-American and grounds for revoking his citizenship. I suspect without knowing that he gets vulgar comments from ill-bred weblouts as a race traitor. Me too. Pueden chingarse.

But back to business. Suppose the Dissident Right, instead of snuffling around after defects of Latinos like truffle pigs on the hunt, asked how to make the best of a situation that, good, bad, or undecided, can’t be changed? Suppose it asked what might be said good of them. Or even, “What things have we been told about them that aren’t quite true, or at all?” Or–I’m going off the deep end here–what are the prospects of successful assimilation?

Of the Latinos, it is as easy to find pros as cons. The Latino birth rate in the US is way down. (In Mexico itself, 2.19 births per woman. Source: CIA WorldFactbook). In the second generation on, they speak English. I don’t know Mexican literacy in the US, but in Mexico it is at 95 percent (Source: CIA WorldFactbook). They do not burn cities, loot stores in flash mobs, or engage in gang attacks on whites. There is no Brown Lives Matter. They intermarry. They serve in the military. They don’t do race riots. They start businesses. They work.

There are good reasons for wishing that the Latinos had not come. America doesn’t need the population, assimilation is expensive, and any immigrants inevitably provoke hostility. Conservative businessmen make things worse by deliberately giving American jobs to illegals to make more money. (Which, by the way, is illegal.) The objections of the Dissident Right are not always frivolous or merely loutish.

Yet there is a certain automatic, predetermined quality to the antipathy. Judging by the comments that I get, men tend to be far more hostile than women, conservatives than liberals, Republicans than Democrats, the old than the young, the unschooled than the educated, those who have traveled little than those who have traveled much. This supports the common observation that conservatives tend to be robotically tribal, and liberals, robotically universalist. I suspect that that if God sent his angels flying to earth, the Right would try to shoot them down. If he sent a plague of cobras, liberals would bid them welcome and try to include them.

My impression, though it is no more than an impression, is that people of North European origin tend to be more hostile to Latinos than those of southern European, plausible since Mexican culture is more Ibero-Italian than Nordic.

Trump has said that America is not getting Mexico’s best. This is true. Cardiac surgeons and software engineers do not swim the Rio Bravo to pick oranges. If they did, assimilation would take a few hours. The Mexican middle and professional classes behave as everybody else’s–mow the lawn, go to work, buy a house, send the kids to university. If the immigrants fit this description, they would have no reason to come to America and considerable reason not to given the chaos into which the country sinks.

But they are not educated. They tend at very best to be high-school grads and usually well below. This makes assimilation more difficult but no less necessary. The choice is to ghettoize a fifth of the country. How bright is this? Does the country need more Detroits and Baltimores?

Yet it is exactly what the Dissident Right seems to want. When someone suggested a program to help immigrants go to college, I found one of the anti-immigrant leaders saying approximately, and angrily, “They sneak into our country illegally and then want to go to school on our dime. Assimilation? Keep them as far from Americans as possible.”

But the great majority are legal or, usually, citizens and increasingly born and raised in America. For how many years should we regard them as internal enemies? Encouraging their entrance into the middle class, what is left of it, is not charity but self-preservation, much in the national interest whether the Dissident Right likes it or not. Left to themselves, Latinos will do rise on their own, and are doing it, but anything that speeds the process is good for America. Better that Eduardo have a landscaping business or restaurant and be taxed than that he live on welfare for lack of an alternative.

Encouragement should not include affirmative action, which engenders racial hostility. It is one thing to help qualified students, quite another to pump out inadequates of whatever kind

Illegal aliens are a special case that requires nationally self-interested examination. The crucial question of course is whether they can be gotten rid of. If tomorrow morning all illegals could be deported to somewhere, that would be that. Since they are unlawfully present, there could be no legal objection.

But if they cannot be gotten rid of? This seems to be the case. Depending on your politics there are between ten and thirty million illegals, or more if you forgot to take your medication. Does anyone see the slightest chance of their eviction? Trump threatened to deport “millions,” and then forgot about it a week later. We can fantasize about massive military sweeps, or death camps, or what Reagan would have done, yes. But…the realistic chance of ten to thirty million deportations?

If the illegals are in the country to stay (they mostly are) what then? The Dissident Right rages furiously against amnesty, but does not rage furiously in favor of a better idea. Without amnesty, illegals will remain an underclass until they die of old age. On the other hand an amnesty might encourage further illegal entry. What now? Growling and fizzing are not a program.

Dissident Righters can grind their hair and pull their teeth as desired, complain endlessly of the very real difficulties of assimilation, but it is the only practical real, even patriotic, solution.

Other Stuff

Regarding the attacks on the Saudi oil business: it is a miracle that it hasn’t happened long before. A couple of decades ago, in my guise as a tech writer, I wrote about Aerosonde, a European company that made small unmanned airplanes, guided remotely or by GPS, for scientific purposes: tracking whales, flying into volcanic calderas, that sort of thing.

The planes had, I think, a fifty cc motor and carried something like a five-pound payload of cameras and whatnot. As a demonstration they launched one from somewhere in Europe and it arrived within fifteen feet of its destination somewhere in North America.

Big model airplanes are cheap, as are GPS receivers. Everybody’s cellphone has one. Even five-pound charges going off on targets like the US Capitol, control towers at airports, or other easily imagined targets would raise hell. Terrorism for the masses. Well, someone seems to have thought of this.

How do you defend against swarms of thirty-pound plastic airplanes that cost a thousand dollars each? How many million-dollar (or whatever) Patriot missiles do you expend against cheap targets before you run out of million dollar Patriot missiles? Note that a country typically has many, many more high-value targets than can be defended.

Write Fred at

[email protected]

Put “pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. All email read, replies not guaranteed because of volume.

Essential Books

Buy them, dammit. We know where your children go to school.

A Grand Adventure: Wisdom’s Price

Amazon review: “More outrage and sedition from the internet’s leading curmudgeon. Sardonic, funny, savagely irreverent, Fred trounces everything and everybody except children, drunks, and bar girls, for whom he has a soft spot. He also likes dogs. This is the man who described Oprah Winfrey as looking like “five hundred pounds of bear liver in a plastic bag.” A former Marine and war correspondent, he loathes war, the Pentagon, and the military budget, and thinks the Marines can do the world a favor by staying home.”

 
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