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Immigration: Did the American People Just Clear Their Throat?
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A hundred years and some ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote a poem titled “The Secret People.” The poem is a very brief (60 lines) history of England from a Chestertonianromantic, traditionalist—point of view.

“The Secret People” is hyperbolic and not very logical, but it contains some memorable phrases.

It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest

God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.

But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.

Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

Whether God does indeed nurse “scorn for all men governing,” I couldn’t say. But plainly Chesterton thought the common people of England did:

We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;

And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

The poet had hold of an important point. Politics doesn’t occupy much space in people’s minds. Sport, celebrities, entertainment, gadgetry, gossip, and, yes, ale, are all much more popular topics of conversation among ordinary citizens.

George Will remarked some years ago that he had published a shelf of books about politics and one about baseball, and his royalty statements told him where America’s heart was. (My own statements suggest that even analytic number theory is more interesting than politics to the book-buying public.)

In Anglosphere nations it’s hard to get great masses of people concentrating on political topics. This is even the case with a topic like immigration, vital to the futures of their children and grandchildren.

From time to time, however, the Chestertonian paradigm breaks down. Some event comes up to concentrate people’s minds on a key issue, and they do speak. Twenty-one thousand of them spoke in the parliamentary constituency of Clacton, in Chesterton’s England, last month, electing the first ever Member of Parliament from the anti-globalist, immigration-patriot United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

The voters of a different constituency, Rochester and Strood, look set fair to do the same tomorrow (November 20):

The BBC’s assistant political editor, Norman Smith, who spoke to candidates in Rochester and Strood for the BBC News Channel on Tuesday, said immigration was the main issue in the constituency.

He added that the topic “has become something of a catch-all issue for a wider discontent towards Westminster and the political establishment.”

[Rochester and Strood by-election: Campaign in final stages, BBC News, November 18,2014]

A “scorn for all men governing,” as it were.

American voters have no UKIP equivalent (USIP?) to vote for. For one thing, there is no such clear, in-plain-sight embodiment of globalization as the European Union for Americans to fix their attention on. It was antagonism towards the EU that propelled UKIP into the British political arena.

For another, the U.S.A. is nothing like as crowded as the U.K.: 84 persons per square mile, versus the U.K.’s 680. Demographic issues are much more…pressing in a country that crowded. (So logic would suggest, at any rate. It remains to be explained why Australia, with a mere eight people to the square mile, is putting up the Anglosphere’s firmest resistance to mass illegal immigration.)

There are signs, none the less, that while Americans may not have spoken yet, they were clearing their collective throat in the November 4th midterm elections.

We’ve all seen the map of House results: a few splashes of blue in a sea of red. As Michael Barone observed in a more-than-usually perceptive column, the map is somewhat misleading, in that the blue splotches have higher population density than the broad red swathes. But as Barone also points out, though:

It does tell us something about the geographic and cultural isolation of the core groups of the Democratic Party: gentry liberals and blacks.

[Is this the political map of the future? by Michael Barone;Washington Examiner, November 13, 2014]

He proceeds with a surprisingly frank analysis of the results, concluding with a VDARE.com-ish prediction:

History shows that self-conscious minorities tend to vote cohesively, as blacks have for 150 years and Southern whites did for 90. [And still do—J.D.] It’s an understandable response to feeling outnumbered and faced with an unappealing agenda.

In that case, Romney’s 59 percent or House Republicans’ 60 percent among whites [i.e. in the November 4th election] may turn out to be more a floor than a ceiling. And that map may become increasingly familiar.

If any one factor has been key to getting white voters to the throat-clearing stage, it has been the flood of illegals from Guatemala,Honduras, and El Salvador this summer. So at least thinks Pat Caddell, former pollster for President Jimmy Carter.

We’ve had a sea change in attitudes on immigration that is stunning in the last three or four months,” [Caddell] said.

The wave “became the reality of ‘Let’s be nice to everyone,’” which has been the public’s traditional attitude toward immigrants, he said. But the wave ensured that Americans “talked to each other and said ‘Oh my God, this is insane,’” Caddell said.

[Polls Show Hostility Toward Obama’s Work Permits For Illegals, by Neil Munro, Daily Caller, November 13th.]

Another professional pollster, Kellyanne Conway, concurs. From that same Daily Caller piece:

After the wave of migrants, Americans aren’t focused on what’s fair to immigrants, said Conway. “Now people are asking ‘What’s fair to the rest of us? What’s fair to the high school or college student who is looking for a job? What is fair to the guy who can’t find unemployment? [Sic]What’s fair to the business owners?” she said. Many business owners are disadvantaged when their rivals hire low-wage illegals.

The shift has been missed by most pollsters because they won’t push past respondents’ polite comments about immigrants to discover their real strongly held attitudes, Conway and Caddell said.

But those attitudes—which can be summarized as, “We mostly like immigration, but we really, really want fewer immigrants,” said Conway—emerged in the voting booth.

It may be that beer is best, as usual.

Or it may be that White Americans had something else on their minds, and have not spoken yet.

Or it may be that they were making a statement about mass illegal immigration on November 4th—and President Obama somehow just didn’t notice.

ORDER IT NOW

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimismand several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Illegal Immigration 
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  1. Matra says:

    It remains to be explained why Australia, with a mere eight people to the square mile, is putting up the Anglosphere’s firmest resistance to mass illegal immigration

    Geography? It could be because around 90% of Australia is uninhabitable with some of the habitable parts falling far short of ideal. That, presumably, means the immigrants and natives (and I don’t mean Abos) are more packed in together and we all know about diversity + proximity. Also, living in a part of the world where you know you are a small minority far removed from the rest of the West might concentrate one’s mind a bit more on the importance of demography.

    Class may also play a role. Aussies aren’t as far removed from their working class roots as most North Americans.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  2. Yeah, we political-minded, are all brothers under the skin. (Whatever hue that might be.) We’re beyond the ale: the few, the LOUD. Hoping to catch their attention…

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  3. @Fran Macadam

    Yeah, we political-minded, are all brothers under the skin. (Whatever hue that might be.)

    What you mean “we” kemosabe?

    • Replies: @Fran Macadam
  4. The old story about boiling a frog seems relevant here.

  5. @The Anti-Gnostic

    “Kemosabe” was Clayton Moore, the heroic masked Anglo.

    Get ’em up, Scout.

  6. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Matra

    Class may also play a role. Aussies aren’t as far removed from their working class roots as most North Americans.

    Come again? Most Americans live in wage-earning households and a large minority have a net worth of less than zero. The problem is that much of the political class has attitudes derived from the legal profession and academe — they do not care much about working people unless they are exotic or can be turned into clientele. I suspect the political class in Australia is more plebian in origins. You can look over the list of Australian PMs since 1965 and you see no one whose background resembles the Bushes (much less the Kennedys). Someone who was as a youngster as agreeably prosperous as Barack Obama or Gerald Ford as youngsters is atypical in that set. There has not been anyone from a wage-earning background in the Oval Office since Andrew Johnson.

  7. Svigor says:

    Geography? It could be because around 90% of Australia is uninhabitable with some of the habitable parts falling far short of ideal.

    Right. People per mile of territory tells us little when much of that territory is uninhabitable. Western China ranges from barely-habitable to uninhabitable, so it’s much more instructive to look at the population densities of their suitably-habitable provinces, where they’re sky-high. A rough rule of thumb of doubling China’s population density wouldn’t be accurate, but it would be much more accurate than taking the figure at face value.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    John: Regarding Australia, my guess would be because it is the most urbanized nation on the planet. They have lots of land no one lives on.

  9. Jason says:

    The “American” people aren’t quite there yet. I’m really talking about Whites. The Dems will win again in 2016 when the Brown vote comes out. But, THAT may be the catalyst that gets Whites to finally stand up as Whites. They will realize that under the old politics, they will never have another president, which is where more and more power will reside.

    I know everyone thinks it is impossible. But trust me, as the Old Order breaks down, the times, they are a-changin’.

    • Replies: @SFG
  10. SFG says:
    @Jason

    Huh? They’re going to run Hillary, who, whatever else her multitude of faults, is white, last time I checked.

    • Replies: @Jason
  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Surely “riot and unrest”.

  12. Jason says:
    @SFG

    The Dems leaders may want to run Hillary but I don’ think the non-White base of the party will go for an old White woman. This is the irony: the growing Brown population will actually hurt White liberals in the long run.

    Brown and Blacks will demand their own leaders who look like them, not White liberals who look after them.

    Who will be the nominee? Who knows, but few knew Obama’s name in 2006. I’d bet heavy on a non-White throwing the almost 70 year old White Hillary over board.

  13. David says:

    I have an idea for a cartoon. A caricature combining Obama and the Democratic Donkey reaming a personification of the Constitution in Tijuana while half a dozen caricatures of Republican Elephants on a ring of benches eagerly look on.

    • Replies: @Gregorios
  14. Gregorios says:
    @David

    Just because pot is legal in some states you are not forced to smoke it.

  15. eah says:

    If they did, they must be shitting their pants by now.

  16. Mark says:

    OBAMA’S AMNESTY IS ILLEGAL.

    He does not have any authority to grant amnesty to the illegals.

    A federal Judge just agreed with this common-sense point.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/16/judge-finds-obama-amnesty-unconstitutional/

    Obama and his cronies who seek to implement this illegal amnesty should be sued and even arrested and tried for their illegal acts; Obama should be impeached.

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