Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson pointed out, in an April 8, 2021 dialog with Mark Steyn (good luck finding the segment online) that, by promoting immigration from developing countries and pushing policies of multiculturalism over assimilation, the immigration policies of the Democratic Party favor that party’s electoral hegemony over against Republican fortunes. The Anti-Defamation League, among others, has demanded Carlson’s firing. David Brock’s Media Matters presents the commentators words as if they are self-condemning.
Carlson’s critics are claiming that his observation is motivated by racism because he used the word “replacement.” Carlson anticipated the accusation that he was advancing a “white supremacist theory” popularly known as the “Great Replacement,” originally developed as an analysis of state policies that, by recruiting Arab and Muslim populations from Africa and the Middle East, sought to change European societies culturally and demographically. White supremacists in the United States adapted the theory to explain America’s situation, which means, by way of the fallacious reasoning typical of New Left thinking, anybody who suggests the theory enjoys even face validity is also a white supremacist or, at the very least, white supremacist adjacent.
Suspend reflex for a moment and let’s think this through rationally. According to progressives, conservatives worry that changing the demographics of the United States in a direction indicated by past, present, and future patterns of immigration harms the electoral prospects of Republicans. Progressives put it like this: The nation will be less white and, since Republicans are the party of white people (black and brown Republicans notwithstanding), and since a white majority signals white supremacy (which is a good reason for getting rid of the white majority), the concern is by definition racist.
Putting aside progressive loathing of white majorities, except perhaps to ponder in the back of our minds whether such loathing is appropriate when applied to other majorities around the world, isn’t this an admission by progressives that patterns of immigration do in fact harm the electoral prospects of Republicans? Nobody would seriously argue that, as a factual matter, mass immigration didn’t change Europe. Or the United States, for that matter. Why are progressives always talking about the value of diversity and eagerly anticipating the time when whites are no longer the majority in America? This isn’t what they want? Turns out we cannot put white loathing aside. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room.
To deflect attention away from the fact of the matter, progressives smear conservatives as “racists” for expressing concern with open borders and multiculturalism. That’s really what’s going on. Progressives do the same thing in Europe (they go by social democrats over there). The organized response to the effects mass immigration has wrought, namely the populist and nationalist movements seeking national sovereignty and cultural integrity, have been so frequently paired with so many awful labels—“white supremacist,” “white nationalist,” “fascist,” “Islamophobe,” “nativist,” “xenophobe,” even “Nazi”—that now simply announcing “populist” and “nationalists” will do to make most audiences recoil in disgust and horror. Conservatives are finding that their label in increasingly producing the same inference.
We see a similar thing election integrity in the United States. Weakening election integrity benefits Democrats. This is, presumably, why Democrats oppose measures that protect and strengthen election integrity (their arguments about racist voter suppression in Georgi are bogus). Pointing this out risks drawing a charge of racism. We wait to see whether Europe, in the wake of the importation of Black Lives Matters politics there, will move to weaken their own electoral systems to avoid “voter suppression.”
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Okay. So it’s become the standard tactic of progressives to reframe as white supremacy opposition to attempts to secure one-party rule. We know that well enough. What is less well known is how the New Left has changed the meaning of words to increase the efficacy of the tactic. Those who promote mass immigration and multiculturalism make culture about race in order to marginalize and silence those who favor rational immigration policies, as well as assimilation and integration.
As I have written about on this blog, such concept creep on the left is not accidental. (See my essays Race, Ethnicity, Religion, and the Problem of Conceptual Conflation and Inflation; Criticism of Culture is Not Racism; Racisms: Terminological Inflation for Ideological Ends). The New Left has, for political purposes, expanded the definition of racism to incorporate culture and religion, and they have infused the definition with an essentialist ideology that reduces concrete individuals to reified categories based on phenotype. They label this ideology “antiracism.”
The irony of antiracist essentialism is that it’s racist in its logic (just as antifascism is what is claims to confront). Consider the recent fetish for “health equity” and advocacy for preferential care in medicine. Hospitals are now exploring policies to address “systemic racism” in the administration of health care. One Boston-area hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will actually administrate health care based on the ideology of critical race theory (follow that embedded URL to read my critique of such an application). The solution: blacks will get free health care. Even the rich ones? What about poor whites? Does the paucity of melanin in their skin exude money that pays for medical services? One should see how using race as a proxy for class cleverly allows class relations to be dissimulated. Economic inequality is translated as race inequality—which allows inequality to go unchecked. This is the trick of using the word “equity.”
On that last matter, I was pleased to see Bryan Dyne at World Socialist Web offer a full-throated condemnation of racial preferences in health care. “It must be stated from the outset that not only is such a racially-based program medically unethical, it is illegal,” he writes. Indeed, according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity,” including “education, health care, housing, social services.” Emphasizing a great accomplishing in the history of justice, one that I have written about extensively on Freedom and Reason, Dyne writes, “The [the Civil Rights Act] was passed during an upsurge of the working class in the US in the 1960s, which had as one of its principles the ending of official discrimination along racial lines, including in health care.”
“Above all,” Dyne concludes, “calls for race-based health care are aimed at blocking the emergence of a unified movement of the working class against corporate profits and the capitalist system that is the source of inequality, poverty and racial discrimination. Genuine progressive movements have always fought for unity across racial lines, not the stratification and division of the working class.” Dyne’s terminological error excused (he means populist, not progressive), his critique is spot on: antiracism is a corporate strategy that carries over racism to the progressive left, reinventing a highly successful divide-and-conquer strategy appropriate to the era of woke capitalism.
I spent time on what may feel like a digression to make a larger point. Political populism and economic nationalism are not rooted in racism. Tucker Carlson, one of the leading voices in today’s populist-nationalist movement, isn’t arguing from a position of white supremacy. He is crossing the intersection of culture and politics. That’s very different from racial politics. It’s his critics who are playing racial politics. As I have explained on this blog (check out the links provided throughout this essay), culture is not a product of race unless one believes either or both that (1) there is some metaphysical essence that qualitatively differentiates people of different skin colors and possesses them with differential and automatic collective agency or (2) cultural tendencies are encoded on racial genotypes, which presupposes distinct genotypes, that are passed down to their offspring.
Antiracists are not likely to agree with the latter, since biological race is (for now, at least) a reactionary concept. Yet, in practice, progressives work from both. This is how it’s possible to absurdly claim that a white child born in American today is responsible for something a white man did four hundred years ago. New Left identitarians have actually managed the feat of synthesizing such ancient religious concepts as collective and intergenerational transmission of guilt and trauma with pseudoscientific notions of race-born culture. It’s literally (and soon I expect explicitly) a blood guilt ideology. Nothing is more racist than that.
This delusional and irrational way of thinking is a feature of the postmodernist conflation of epistemology and ontology, and a fetish for abstract power, wherein the “truth” of the world is determined not by actuality, which informs us that, among other things, all members of humanity comprise a single species (albeit sexually dimorphic, another fact increasingly denied by New Left elites) and culture is the product of historical and social relations, but by moral entrepreneurs who claim authority on the basis of and to speak for those who share their skin color (or some other superficial phenotypic trait).
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If opposition to mass immigration is not racist, then what is it? Human beings are culture bearers, by which I mean that they are socialized to think and feel in certain ways and they take the cognitive and emotional patterns with them wherever they go. Not all cultures are conducive to preserving republican values of democracy, humanism, individualism, liberalism, and secularism, values superior to those of other cultures, as demonstrated by the comparatively greater freedom and progress they enable and foster. American culture, and Western culture more broadly, are in proven fact conducive to those values (the West largely founded them), whereas many immigrants are coming from places with cultures that do not value those things. Not only they, they come with harmful norms and values already defeated in the West. Therefore, immigration should be gradual, limited, and rational, with resources in place and time enough to assimilate foreigners into the national culture, that is, to integrate immigrants into our communities. Moreover, if people have a right to protect the integrity of their culture and nation, which is why there are borders, then Americans has just as much right to protect theirs as any other nation. That’s not racist. For those who conflate race and culture, the desire to see white culture with its norms and values disappear is a racist desire.
What is racist is the conflation of American and Western culture with whiteness (see above). And that racist move is performed by the New Left identitarians and their corporate backers. They equate humanism, individualism, liberalism, and rationalism with white supremacy. They equate the modern nation-state that protects and reproduces in law and government those values—free and democratic nations depend on them—with racism. They then use these equations as cover for the denationalizing project that’s undermining democracy, humanism, individualism, liberalism, and secularism to strengthen state corporate and global financial power (see Antiracism and Transnationalism: Convergent Developments Shaping the Present Moment; see also Smearing Amy Wax and The Fallacy of Cultural Racism).
The conflation of race and culture is also racist in another way. It is possible, and there are historical and contemporary examples, for subcultures to develop in the context of a racialized population, subcultures that hinder the development of these historically-marginalized populations, even after their marginalization has been abolished. Of course, this is a problem to overcome, not a situation to embrace. Conflating race and culture has led to a reluctance to criticize subcultures that are injurious to the people who hold the associated dysfunctional values and norms. As if that isn’t bad enough, leftwing identitarians celebrate dysfunctional subcultures, which are often profoundly homophobic and sexist, while condemning those who do not applaud along with them. This is a feature of New Left ideology known as the bigotry of low expectations. It is at the same time a form of infantilization. Black Americans are not personally responsible for their situation. Any problems they experience must be theorized by progressive academics and experts and addressed by progressive politicians and policymakers.
Transnationalists proceed by confusing the public in these (and many other) ways. They take what make America and the West the freest and most advanced civilization in world history and make it appear as reactionary and regressive. What is reactionary and regressive is progressively transgressive and celebratory. This is how Western feminists can wear hijabs while mocking Christians. Those who defend America and the West are portrayed as the defenders of white supremacy. That which is not American or Western is probably good or at least not as bad. Cultural relativism, which at first falsely claims all cultures are equal (Biden rationalizes concentration camps for the Uighur people in China this way—and they’re Muslim, so go figure) is really about supposing a cultural hierarchy that’s not relative or equal at all, but in which the advanced West is inferior (and originally sinful) to the backward cultures that lie beyond its scope, a scope paradoxically depicted as comprehensive. (It’s a religion. It doesn’t have to make sense.) The propaganda trick to constructing words like “antifascism” and “antiracism” is that it makes those who oppose these fascist and racist politics appear as if they’re defending fascism and racism. It is a self-inoculating formula.
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I have written extensively about why corporatists, progressives, and religious groups wants open borders. Corporations seek cheap labor that will not only yield greater profits, but also undermine proletarian consciousness and politics. Progressives work for globalist agenda to undermine the nation-states of the West. To do this they need voters who will elect and reelect their candidates. Churches need congregants, which are increasingly short supply domestically. All these interests are advanced by portraying the United States and the West as intrinsically white supremacist.
Conservatives provide a concrete target for their propaganda (progressives must portray themselves as allies and saviors). You can see this in the way the January 6 Capitol riot is built up into an “insurrection” with American conservatives en masse in back of it. The very idea that a commission in the style of the 9-11 or Pearl Harbor commissions should be stood up to examine the problem of conservative politics is a clear signal as to what’s going on—citizens comprising half the electorate are to be equated with Islamic terrorists and Japanese imperialists who fly plans into buildings and navel vessels.
But I am trying to understand why people of color would risk their lives to get into such a profoundly white supremacist country where they will experience systemic racism at the hands of a privileged class of white oppressors. The race hustlers are telling me that people of color get up every day not knowing whether they will be the victim of racist violence at the hands of white police officers or white citizens. Sounds like no place to live. Thank goodness these are utterly false characterizations of America. (Shame on those who traumatize children with such falsehoods.) I get why people would climb over walls to escape racist oppression. Why they would escape to racist oppression is puzzling. Also puzzling is why people of color aren’t fleeing the oppressive conditions of the United States for less racist countries around the world. It’s as if the United States isn’t the shithole country that antiracists say it is. It’s as if the people of American enjoy a life that others around the world envy.
It’s not a life that has in back of it a cornucopia, we must emphasize. We are a country of more than 330 million people. We’re the third largest country in the world. Humans are more frequently encountering wild animals in everyday life as the need for resources and space encroaches upon the resources and space of other species (they don’t wish to be colonized, either). We don’t have enough jobs for our own citizens, million of whom are idled in ghettos which extraordinarily high rates of crime and violence. Our public infrastructure and services are overburdened. And we are losing our commitment to values necessary to sustain our republic and to keep making progress.
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Past, present, and (if, we don’t act, very likely) future patterns of immigration, especially at a rate that precludes assimilation to the values and norms of the national culture, favor the party that has signaled, at home and abroad, its eagerness to relax its borders for immigrants, provide for them with the jobs of its native workers, as well as give them access public infrastructure and resources financed by the taxpayers. Carson is right: the party sees immigration as the path to electoral success, success they need to continue the vicious cycle lying at the heart of the denationalization project, the managed decline of the American republic. The natives are to suffer for this, as they always do when their territory is opened to a flood of foreigners (see my Observations from Sweden, just one of numerous articles on the problem of immigration). Democrats don’t care. It doesn’t even matter if importing foreign labor hurts native black workers. Democrats believe they control the majority of those votes, too,
To be sure, there are racial politics in play. But it’s the Democrats who are the players. Through the lens of New Left identity politics, which conflate race, culture, and politics, progressives see immigration in racial terms (just as they see much of everything else in racial terms). Race essentialism sees the world not as concrete individuals and material classes rooted in economic structures (after all, identitarians of any persuasion can be neither liberal nor democratic socialist), but in terms of essentialized identity groups based on ethnicity, race, and religion. This is how a religious affiliation, namely Muslim, can become a racial category and those who criticize Islam racist. Same with Arab and Mexican. This is how rich blacks are oppressed, while poor whites are privileged. It’s obvious that mass immigration and cultural pluralism, by increasing ethnic diversity, as well as weakening election integrity by allowing people to vote without verifying their identity and allowing activists to harvest ballots, favors Democrats. Why is it racist to acknowledge the obvious? It’s not. Reject their smears.