by Alex Kurtagic | For close to half a century now those at the Right end of political conservatism throughout the West have been protesting government immigration policy. [The immigration debate and border control are a waste of time.]
Much has changed during this period, only invariably for the worse: if twenty, thirty, forty years ago it was thought that the governments of the day were letting in too many ‘immigrants’, the governments of today are letting in far more; and if before it was difficult to speak honestly about why the number of ‘immigrants’ was a problem, now it is more difficult than ever.
The campaign against ‘immigration’ has failed.
What is more—and this should have become obvious long ago—it will never succeed.
The problems with the campaign are not cosmetic. They are fundamental—conceptual. They are apparent even in its most basic terminology, though changing it will make zero difference if the reasons for that terminology remain stable and grounded.
Why does the anti-‘immigration’ movement insist in using the word ‘immigration’, when what they are fighting against is something entirely different?
Immigration is not necessarily bad. Many people from Europe immigrated into the United States, and this accounts for much of what is good about this great country.
Admittedly, the type of immigrant may or may not be problematic, depending on whether he / she can be assimilated and make a positive contribution to his / her adopted country. But this does not invalidate immigration, only certain classes of immigrant.
Admittedly also, the number of immigrants may or may not be problematic, depending on whether their destination country has the requisite carrying capacity. This, again, does not invalidate immigration, only the quantity of immigrants.
What the anti-‘immigration’ movement is fighting against is not immigration per se.
What they are fighting against is the influx of a certain class of incomers that arrive ostensibly as immigrants but are, in reality, not so.
In the normal course of events, an immigrant, properly speaking, arrives at a polity as an appellant, and the expectation on both sides is that he will submit to that polity’s established authority. He may or may not assimilate, and he may or may not make the attempt to do so, but in all cases the exogenous incomer submits to the established authority of the indigene.
The class of incomer that has given rise to the anti-‘immigration’ movement we know today does not meet this criterion, even if type and quantity of immigration have been important factors.
This class of incomer does immigrate in the sense that he abandons his native polity in order to establish permanent residence in another. And he does initially behave like an immigrant, in that he arrives as an appellant to the established authority. This is, however, where the similarities end, because this incomer does not, in the long run, remain submissive to the established authority—his submission is only temporary and instrumental, because his prospects remain limited until he has achieved a stable, functional legal status. Once the latter is obtained, a mutation begins, which ends with the former ‘immigrant’, now a full citizen, not only demanding concessions from the established authority, but also pushing for its wholesale transformation and overthrow. The ultimate end is to replace the established authority of the indigene with a new one made in the image of the exogene.
Incomers in this class carry their sovereignty with them. They may arrive as individuals, they may be of diverse origin, and their decision to migrate may be driven by selfish economic motives, in the sense that they are out for themselves and neither loyal nor acting on behalf of a foreign metropole or mother colonizing country. But they are, as bearers of an exogenous sovereignty, colonizing settlers. They arrive as ‘immigrants’, but they in effect carry out a process of settlement, forming enclaves, communities, and, for all practical purposes, colonies, accumulating strength until they are in a position to flex political muscle, at which point begins an overt process of colonization.
The phenomenon that concerns the anti-‘immigration’ movement is not, therefore, immigration, but colonization by exogenous incomers—or, more precisely, given the absence of a mother colonizing country driving the effort, settler colonization.
This is not to say that the solution for debating effectively is to substitute ‘colonization’ for ‘immigration’. Say ‘we are being colonized’ to anyone who is not already active in or supportive of the anti-‘immigration’ movement and they will think you are delusional and paranoid. Few if any will have the patience to listen to the long exposition I have given above.
This is to say, simply, that the anti-‘immigration’ movement has reacted to a problem, but not even begun to understand theoretically the nature of the problem.
Some may have at times used the word ‘colonization’, but their usage has been polemical, for shock value, out of anger, nothing more.
Another problem of the anti-‘immigration’ movement is that it focuses on purely surface phenomena.
Their arguments against ‘immigration’ are concerned solely with material costs. Economic arguments against immigration are endlessly reiterated, as are various social and political arguments, all of which are in turn reducible to economic arguments. The sum total of the movement’s message is this:
‘immigration’ is economically and socially harmful; the conservative political parties are ridden with lying cowards, opportunists, and traitors who are giving the country away; Whites will become dispossessed minorities in their own countries; the future is a Third World dystopia.
These assertions may all be reasonable and true, but they are insufficiently persuasive beyond a temperamentally congenial core.
The mission of the anti-‘immigration’ movement is to prove pro-‘immigration’ supporters wrong, rather than evil and beyond the pale.
There is an excess of rationality in the anti-‘immigration’ movement.
Its supporters believe that if presented with hard facts and water-tight arguments, any reasonable person will pause, reflect, and modify his views accordingly.
This may happen in some cases, but only when the matter under discussion is in accord with the dominant morality, which in this case is liberal morality.
When it is in contradiction to the dominant morality, evidence and reason are no longer used to ascertain the truth or find a practical solution. Rather, it is twisted to prove that the dominant morality is correct and anything that challenges it is wrong, evil, and beyond discussion.
This is why we so often see otherwise highly intelligent individuals undergo all manner of intellectual and rhetorical contortions, not to mention emotional and psychological agitation, when their beliefs are challenged by evidence.
This is also how, in a society that prides itself on tackling problems through reasoned debate, a ‘no platform’ policy is justified as a method of dealing with political enemies, and why the exclusion on principle of an anti-‘immigration’ politician from a televised discussion programme is considered a legitimate choice in a democratic system.
This is why no matter what arguments and evidence are thrown in the direction of supporters of immigration, they will always come back with counter-arguments and counter-evidence. The aim is not to find the truth, but to avoid being convinced.
These beliefs are prior to, not the result of, empirical evidence processed by reason. Empirical evidence is subordinate to these beliefs because all evidence is always evaluated in relation to prior beliefs.
The anti-‘immigration’ movement stands in opposition to liberalism, since open immigration is justified by a belief in the goodness of human equality, a fundamental tenet of the liberal worldview.
What seems astonishing is that, although the movement recognizes that the political establishment across the board (irrespective of party) is at bottom liberal or Left liberal, it still assumes this establishment not to be symptomatic of the dominance of a liberal worldview. In other words, the movement assumes that once it is proven to the electorate that the politicians are all liberals, or cowards and traitors surrendering to the liberals, the electorate will withdraw their support and make better choices.
In reality, politicians in the West are liberal because the dominant worldview in the West is liberal. And conservative politicians survive despite their liberal policies because what they are conserving is liberalism, albeit a form slightly antiquated in relation to the parties on their left—a slight tendency towards classical liberalism. These conservatives are just like the supporters of those left-leaning parties, only they want to go a little slower, stand still, or take a step back.
Thus, the anti-‘immigration’ movement has geared itself to defeat a political faction, when what they need to defeat is a political philosophy or worldview.
The liberal worldview is founded on the supremacy of the individual, so a position that places collective entities (such as race, peoplehood, or nationhood) above the individual, particularly the Western individual, is at an immediate disadvantage.
The idea behind liberalism is to ‘liberate’ the individual from anything external or transcendent to him. Conceptually this produces a purely material and mechanistic world, governed my laws and processes the individual can know entirely through the use of empirical evidence and reason. Revealed knowledge is dismissed as unreal and irrational.
This idea of liberation also tends, ultimately, towards an egalitarian social order, since anything that makes one individual essentially different from another—‘chosen’ or not ‘chosen’ by God, for example; mortal or sacred—is no longer deemed ‘real’ or irremediable. Any differences that exist are reduced to problems that have rational solutions.
A necessary consequence is universalism, since equality implies that certain principles that apply to an individual can apply to all individuals. Hence, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which speaks of the ‘equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family’.
When these liberal a prioris form the foundations of the dominant morality in the West, it becomes impossible to argue against an immigration policy based on, for example, the race of the immigrant—which is what the anti-‘immigration’ movement has been trying to do—without putting one’s own humanity into question. For if a capacity for morality distinguishes us from animals, and belief in the goodness of human equality is moral, then disbelieving in that goodness is necessarily indicative of immorality and therefore of a lesser humanity.
Is it a wonder, then, that anti-‘immigration’ campaigners are not accorded the same rights and privileges as pro-immigrationists?
Or that for some it seems righteous and sufficient simply to subject anti-‘immigration’ campaigners to abuse and even violence?
Discredit Rather Than Disprove
It becomes clear, then, that a fundamental change in immigration policy cannot be achieved with arguments that aim to prove the anti-‘immigration’ case objectively.
Of those who are not already temperamentally congenial to the anti-‘immigration’ position, many will, if presented with the evidence, recognize in their minds, or in private, that this position is rational and based on facts.
However, they will not want to be identified with this position out of fear of being thought ‘bad people’, and in public they will therefore go along—by omission or by commission—with the liberal establishment mantras of ‘diversity is our strength’ and ‘immigration is good for economic growth’, against the evidence of their senses, against the evidence of researchers, and without, in fact, the need for any evidence.
Moral systems cannot be disproven, because they are founded on absolute values. This makes them impervious to logical argument or objective proof. This imperviousness is an absolute necessity, since otherwise moral systems would not be resilient enough effectively to delimit the border between right and wrong.
Because the pro-immigration position is justified by core tenets of liberal morality, defeating this position will, therefore, necessitate not disproving it objectively, but discrediting it subjectively—that is, morally; the anti-‘immigration’ movement will not succeed until pro-immigrationists are considered morally defective and their ideas unmentionable.
Ironically, this will not be done by framing arguments in terms of ‘immigration’, because this thing falsely called ‘immigration’ is merely a consequence, not the cause, of the problem. This can be seen clearly in the fact that the so-called ‘immigrants’ very quickly learn to use the language of liberal morality—equality, rights, and so forth—to demand concessions, gain entry into the structures of power, obtain influential positions, and begin displacing the indigenous from within.
Reversing trends begins with discrediting the notion that the individual is ‘liberated’ when severed from the transcendent or from his lineal context; discrediting the notion that equality is a moral good; discrediting the notion that moral principles can be applied universally; and so on. Concepts like ‘human rights’ must be destabilized, doubted, and ridiculed.
The sad fact is that we have witnessed in our own lifetimes how these things work, which means that those who think that pro-immigrationists will be defeated by objective reality have not learnt the lessons of the past century, much less those of the past fifty years.
It has been argued here that the success of certain 20th-century Jewish intellectual movements, which have since long come to inform Western academic curricula and one of which was precisely an immigration ‘reform’ movement, owed not to their having relied on empirical evidence—in fact, it seems they were largely pseudo-scientific—but to their having couched their arguments in moral language, language that accepted the core tenets of liberalism and used reason simply to push their application to their logical extremes.
Any ‘science’ that was presented in corroboration was in all cases subordinated to the morality of an a priori moral position. The overwhelming thrust of its proponents aimed always at discrediting rather than disproving the opposition. They were not to be reasoned with and their opponents were, through argumentation, and through the irresistible logic of shared liberal values, put in unreasonable positions in order to make them seem unreasoning and force out of them irrational concessions.
For conservatives, the last half century has been, accordingly, a litany of concessions. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many eventually decided that this was simply the march of ‘progress’ and that their survival depended on adapting as best they could to ‘the inevitable’.
Thus, it is fair to say that the ‘immigration’ debate as it is conducted today is a complete waste of time, for it seeks to conduct a rational debate on an issue that is entirely beyond reason.
Being silent on the issue is obviously not an option, but being consciously irrational and unreasonable perhaps is. My essay in Radix 1, recently published, sets out the differences between colonization and settler colonization from a theoretical standpoint. [Web Editor: Not only is the immigration debate a waste of time, so is border control. It reminds me of the continual talks for peace in the Middle East. There will never be border control nor illegal immigration control in the same way there will never be peace in the Middle East. We will just have more and more non-productive “talks” and “debates.”]
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