Thursday, February 13, 2014

Would right-liberals advocate leaving America?

A reader sent me a link to a post at Bearing Drift, a website representing the Republican Party in Virginia.

It's an interesting post because it highlights how profoundly different right-liberalism is to a traditionalist conservatism.

The post is about amnesty for illegal immigrants in the U.S. The writer of the post not only wants amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, but he wants those opposing amnesty driven out of the Republican Party.

That's not surprising when he describes the aims of the Republican Party in these terms:
Free markets, free speech, and a free society — that is the cornerstone of American conservatism.

If that is all you believe in then of course you can invite the world to live in your country. As I've pointed out before, right-liberals believe in the aim of being self-made in the market. That means that they look up to economic migrants who cross the seas to improve their material standard of living - after all that's a mark of a moral life for a right-liberal.

And so the author at Bearing Drift says of the illegal immigrants:
There are 12 million people in the United States today who want a better lives for themselves and their families, whose only crime was that they came to America to do it.

And this:
Conservatives embrace the idea of more Americans coming into this country to work hard and prosper.

There is a contradiction in this kind of "conservatism" (i.e. right-liberalism). The author writes:
The Republican Party is the party that is fighting against welfare, fighting against the entitlement system, fighting for individual freedom.

And it is true that right-liberals don't like welfare or entitlements. But in pushing for open borders they are effectively guaranteeing the victory of a left-liberal statism. Those 12 million Mexican illegals are going to be amongst the biggest users of state welfare and, therefore, reliable voters for the Democrats. Whereas only 6% of immigrants from the UK in the US rely on welfare payments, 57% of those from Mexico do:
Families headed by immigrants from specific countries or areas of the world range from just over 6 percent for those immigrants from Great Britain to more than 57 percent of those from Mexico using some type of welfare.

In that sense, right-liberalism is self-defeating. It promotes open borders, which then fuels the ascendancy of the left-liberal welfare state.

It is also shallow and materialistic. The logic of right-liberalism goes something like: we should be free to pursue our rational self-interest and our rational self-interest is a materialistic one of maximising our individual profit-seeking behaviour.

This is a vision of Economic Man, one which leaves out the less "scientific" but nonetheless real human qualities of identifying as part of a larger communal tradition, one that we feel a love and affection for and that is a good in its own right.

Finally, here is a thought for right-liberals to ponder. If the Mexican economy is not as prosperous as the American one; and if that means it is a virtue for Mexicans to seek to improve their standard of living by moving to America; then doesn't that also mean it would be a virtue, if the American economy were to decline, for Americans to pack their bags and head elsewhere?

What if China ends up with a better standard of living? Is the correct moral response of Americans then to seek entry to China? Would the best Americans, by definition, be the ones who departed America?


  1. Feel free to leave your doors unlocked at night too.

    I've said before that if there were open borders, you could say goodbye to the United States, goodbye to South Korea, goodbye to Israel, goodbye to Turkey, goodbye to New Zealand, goodbye to Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and so on... It would also mean goodbye to the last shred of hope that democracy could ever work, goodbye to public education, scrupulous police, contractual obligation, regulated banking and freedom of speech.

    Australia, should it be able to hold its nerve, might end up the home of thousands of white, Christian STEM graduates from America. Not too many though - they have done an awful job of protecting their own nation.

  2. I am what you would call a right-liberal, although I am against illegal immigration, pro-deportation of illegals, and pro-temporary halt to all immigration to the United States.

    I do believe 100% that if America is to decline economically and socially, that it is acceptable for Americans to leave the United States and go elsewhere, as long as they immigrate legally to other countries. My own family are immigrants; my parents immigrated from England because they are also what you call right-liberals: they are against the high tax welfare state in England.

    As for China, my neighbour's son moved there permanently after he got his bachelor's degree. He is a White American of German descent. Personally I see no problem with his actions. If many Chinese people have moved to the United States then any Americans, provided they are educated and well behaved, should have the right to legally apply for immigration to China.

    I don't think I would want to move to China, but I also don't see anything wrong with packing up my bags and moving to a country where my nationality is not the majority. After all, my parents moved from their homeland to the US so why can't I also move if I wish to do so?

    1. Anon, thanks for leaving the comment. I'm not surprised by the position you take, as it fits within a right-liberal understanding of the world. A traditionalist sees the world very differently. We have a view of the human person less as pursuing rational self-interest via profit-seeking in the market and more as having a deeply felt sense of connectedness to a longstanding ethnic tradition. Therefore, if the economy is doing poorly within a nation of our own, we would work to improve it, rather than moving elsewhere. Moving to China would not be an option as it would mean cutting ourselves apart from a significant aspect of who we are; losing a connection to past and future generations; and not contributing to a larger good (the tradition we love).

      It's somewhat different when it comes to moving to a place with a tradition that is related to our own. For instance, if an Anglo-Australian moves to the UK, or an Englishman to Australia, there is still an important sense of the connection to the tradition (though there would be some adjustment to the differences).

    2. Judging by your last name, I am going to assume that at least one of your ancestors was also English. But it seems from reading your blog that you are an Australian, born and raised. I was born in England and spent the more than half my childhood there. Trust me, it is not just the economy. It's also not the immigrants and minorities (although most of the immigrants and minorities certainly aren't helping the situation either). It's the English people themselves. When my grandparents and parents were growing up, most English people believed in working hard, pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, and education. There was a time when the English people were some of the most educated people in the world. English people also believed in the traditional family unit back then (I am a right-liberal but I support the traditional family structure 100% because most children from traditional families have better life outcomes than children who have single parents). Nowadays, most English people are destroying themselves and their families. The obesity rate is the highest in Europe. The illegitimacy rate is 50%. English boys now do worse in school than Black immigrant girls, not because they are dumb, but because they and their mothers (the fathers are not often around) just don't care. Most of the English boys and girls who do care enough about school to go to uni end up doing crappy degrees in media studies. This is especially true of English girls.

      So when my parents saw with their own eyes the unravelling of their country, at the hands of their countrymen, they decided that it was not possible to save it. I also wish that England could somehow be saved, but it isn't happening. I get how you might view this as selfish behaviour, but I personally think that people only have an obligation to themselves and their immediate family and friends.

    3. "but I personally think that people only have an obligation to themselves and their immediate family and friends."

      This is the ultimate departure in morals. I've seen the evil of that attitude up close too many times.

  3. A thought-provoking piece, and an interesting question. Would be interesting if right-liberals themselves could give an answer to it...

  4. To anonymous at 4:48, I already gave you an answer. I am 100% in favour of anybody who wants to leave the United States to do so, as long as they immigrate to another country legally.

  5. He might have made this comment just to attract votes of mexicans and improve the image or the Republican Party among immigrants.

    1. I'm a sometime reader of the linked blog. Their main interest is in appeasing upper middle class South Asians in the Northern Virginia (DC) area. This area is the "swing vote" of Virginia. Much of the newcomers are anti-white and anti-Christian, the GOP can't do a thing short of suicide that will get those votes.

    2. Tim, that's interesting. It's similar here in Australia. Our right-liberal party, the Liberal Party, has bent over backwards in pushing Australia toward an Asian future, and yet Asian Australians vote strongly for our left-liberal party, the Labor Party.

    3. One thing that escapes me is how the Republican Party here (and the Liberal Party down under) can't seem to grasp that these people they are trying to win over cannot be won over by anything short of a governing philosophy that is totally leftist.

      A thought just came to me. Perhaps these right-liberals view the world purely through their own eyes, meaning that they think that everyone wants the exact same things that they do. Therefore the right-liberals, seeing they pursue self-expression in the free market, assume everyone else does too.

    4. The Occam's Razor assumption is that it is personally beneficial to these people to promote immigration. Either through monetary or status rewards. Or simply because the truth is depressing to think about. So they come up with a narrative that allows them to do what they already want to do for their own interests and the long run truth doesn't concern them because the long run cost to them is lower then the benefits.

  6. I think you have the wrong impression about the politics of immigration in the US. While the Republican establishment and their corporate donors want "comprehensive immigration reform" (the current euphemism for amnesty), the large majority of Republican voters - even probably most Democratic voters - do not want it. National Review, the leading mainstream conservative magazine, and Bill Kristol, the founder and co-editor of the leading neoconservative weekly, the Weekly Standard, are against amnesty. You should not be misled by propaganda published by official Republican Party organs, which respond to the desires of the party's top donors and the careerist ambitions of the party's politicians and functionaries, most of whom hope eventually to work as well-paid corporate lobbyists.

    1. Daniel, thanks. I didn't mean to give the impression that everyone in the Republican Party favoured amnesty. The right-wing parties in Anglosphere countries aren't monolithic. First, they do include some socially conservative elements, particularly amongst the rank and file. And, second, there are differences too even within the dominant right-liberal element in these parties.

      I think it's possible, for instance, to be a "conservative liberal" within these parties, by which I don't mean someone with conservative principles, but rather someone who supports liberalism but who is inclined to think about how the liberal system can be conserved - kept stable - over time. Such people are more inclined to talk about law and order; they are more concerned about how to transition the rank and file into the new liberal order; and they are more willing for pragmatic reasons to make "unprincipled exceptions" to liberal principles for the benefit of the stability of the system.

      Our Australian PM, Tony Abbott, for instance is very keen both on border protection, whilst at the same time calling economic migrants from Asia "the best Australians". He has the right-liberal view that making oneself in the market is the measure of man, which then makes those who migrate to Australia to better their material position the people to be admired, but at the same time he insists on a legal system of entry and (I suspect) he prefers to limit migration from populations most likely to cause trouble within a liberal system.

      It's more difficult for me to judge why someone like Bill Kristol would be against Amnesty. I read one piece he wrote on the issue and the only reason he gave was that it would unnecessarily cause infighting amongst Republicans at a time when they had an opportunity to act in unison against Obamacare.

    2. Someone like Kristol (who works for Rupert Murdoch, after all) has to be extremely careful in opposing amnesty. I think, though, that he has finally accepted that the Gang of Eight amnesty proposal - which would not only legalize existing illegals but would increase legal immigration - would, if enacted, lead to the extinction of any kind of politically viable conservatism in the United States. Most of the Republican and neocon establishment are living in a dream world on this issue - to the extent they're not just cynically doing what the big donors want them to do. If you want to see an example of real idiocy from a professional political "analyst," read what Kristol's co-editor at the Standard, Fred Barnes, writes about immigration.

    3. In my opinion, most opposition is either rooted in rule of law or economic effects. Culture and ethnicity aren't the big ideas. The line of "we don't oppose immigration, just illegal immigration" doesn't work either. The illegals can just be made legal.

      Much of the trend is self-serving tribalism, but white support is notably up as well.

      Quite strange since public opinion in many European countries is in favor of reduction, and we already admit 1 million annually.

    4. Tim, I think the economic argument against amnesty and high immigration implicitly contains within it the cultural argument. The economic anti-immigration argument is that the benefits of amnesty and higher immigration go to the top 10% or so of the existing citizenry and to the immigrants themselves, while the interests of the vast majority of the existing citizenry (and probably existing legal permanent resident aliens) will be hurt. Implicit in this argument is the premise that it is morally legitimate for the society to make laws for the benefit of the majority of its existing members, and to give lesser weight to the interests of outsiders. If you read the pro-amnesty screeds of libertarian and free market ideologues, you will see that they attack restrictionists on precisely this ground - they believe that, in policy making, the interests of the ruling class's fellow citizens are not entitled to any more weight than the interests of, say, Guatemalan peasants who could raise their standard of living (somewhat) by moving to the US.

      Given the current P.C. strictures accepted by almost the entire political spectrum, it is more or less suicidal for any public figure to spell out the cultural argument explicitly.

  7. Mark Richardson wrote: "This is a vision of Economic Man, one which leaves out the less "scientific" but nonetheless real human qualities of identifying as part of a larger communal tradition, one that we feel a love and affection for and that is a good in its own right."

    This reminds me of something the late Lawrence Auster wrote about immigration:

    That immigration is only to be considered from the standpoint of its economic effects has become such an accepted notion over the past 25 years that it has not occurred to many people what a bizarre idea it really is...

    Solely on the basis of measurable, quantifiable, pragmatic facts it is impossible to preserve any society or institution, even so basic an institution as the nuclear family.

    Suppose there were two families, the Smiths and the Joneses, living next door to each other. The two families get along, the children play together, the parents occasionally socialize with each other. Then one day the Joneses announce that they want to move in permanently with the Smiths. When the Smiths seem less than enthusiastic about this proposal, the Joneses say: “What’s your problem? You have enough room, your house is bigger than ours, and we get along together. Besides, the nuclear family is only a modern invention. A dual family will enrich all of us.” To back up these claims, the Joneses bring in an economist who says that two-family households have larger aggregate wealth than one-family households. They bring in a sociologist who cites studies showing that the children raised in two-family households have superior abilities in adjusting to different types of people in a diverse society. Faced with this aggressive challenge to their existence as a family, what can the Smiths say? Their family, as a unique, autonomous association, is an intrinsic, irreplaceable value to its members. It cannot be defended on the basis of quantifiable facts. In the same way, the nation is a family whose distinct character and values cannot be defended on a purely rationalistic basis. To say that it must do so in order to have the right to exist, is to deny its right to exist.

    Auster, Huddled Clichés

  8. "Australia, should it be able to hold its nerve, might end up the home of thousands of white, Christian STEM graduates from America."

    Australia is also being rapidly transformed by mass non-European immigration. In fact, the country is probably being transformed demographically at a faster rate than the United States due to its higher per capita immigration rate.

    Australia's founding Anglo-Celtic majority is being pushed aside. As academic Frank Salter has noted:

    Anglo Australians are a subaltern ethnicity. They are second-class citizens, the only ethnic group subjected to gratuitous defamation and hostile interrogation in the quality media, academia and race-relations bureaucracy. The national question is obscured in political culture by fallout from a continuing culture war against the historical Australian nation. Many of the premises on which ethnic policy have been based since the 1970s are simply false, from the beneficence of diversity to the white monopoly of racism and the irrelevance of race. The elite media and strong elements of the professoriate assert that racial hatred in Australia is the product of Anglo-Celtic society. But in the same media and even in the Commission for Race Discrimination most ethnic disparagement is aimed at “homogenised white” people.

    Full article

    In truth, there isn't a single Anglosphere country that isn't in the process of committing national suicide through mass diverse immigration.