Aspects of the Immigration Crisis

By Father James Thornton

In a portion of a very fine collection of essays by the Spanish
philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, published in English fifty years ago
under the title _Concord and Liberty_, we read of the distress of the
Roman statesman Cicero at the fact that his country, his beloved Rome,
was sunk deeply into crisis-a deadly crisis as it turned out-and that
the way of life which all Romans had for centuries taken for granted as
part of the established order of the universe was crumbling and would
soon be a mere accumulation of memories. Among these memories, of
course, were Roman liberty and the famed Roman republican system.
Cicero gave expression to the belief that something deeper was at the
root of Roman vexations, something that made the crisis through which
he was living different from that experienced in earlier upheavals. The
very foundations of Roman existence, as they had always been
understood, were threatened. As Ortega y Gasset put it, "What [Cicero]
beheld was not merely a struggle ... within the human setting that from
time immemorial had been the Roman commonwealth, but the total
destruction of that community."

Cicero noted that in the past Romans often disagreed, even disagreed
strongly. But these had been clashes among members of a large family,
so to speak, among friends. Adversaries in political disputes were not
deadly enemies, and friendship endured beneath the surface. "A contest
between friends, not a quarrel between enemies, is called a
disagreement," wrote Cicero. This was so because, though they disputed
with one another over transitory issues, at bottom all agreed on the
fundamentals: beliefs about life, about the universe, about religion,
about moral norms, about legal principles, and so forth. This agreement
about the fundamentals, even among adversaries, Cicero called
"_concordia_" or "concord." Under all non-despotic forms of government,
concord-agreement on the fundamentals- is obviously an essential. The
absence of concord among Romans of Cicero's time, says Ortega y Gasset,
meant that the inward structure of ancient Roman life had been
fractured beyond repair.

It is unmistakably evident that America faces a similar crisis today,
that the great reservoir of concord that formerly blessed this land is
rapidly being drained away, and that a major component in this
melancholy process is mass Third-World immigration.

 Unless we Americans wish to join history's legion of extinct
civilizations, I believe that on this subject of immigration we must be
absolutely honest. We must not permit our adversaries to choose our
weapons and battleground. We must boldly put aside the rose-colored
spectacles of the disingenuous sentimentalism and false humanitarianism
that are promoted in the mass media. We must dismiss all of the vacuous
platitudes of self-serving politicians, the gratuitous accusations of
"bigotry" and "racism," and the shrill cry of special interest groups.
As patriotic Americans, we must be truthful among ourselves. We must
seek to understand what immigration should be and what it should not

Prior to thirty years ago, immigrants who came to this country were for
the most part attracted by America's renown as a land of freedom and
opportunity. Laws and customs that then prevailed required immigrants
to seek their individual destinies by their own labor and
determination. What we call "safety nets" were non-existent for
immigrants before 1965, and so immigrating to America was seldom an
easy thing. Seen as a whole, old-style immigration was largely a plus
for this country.

The Immigration Act of 1965 was a dramatic break with the past. It
deliberately ignored the desirability of maintaining the existing,
predominantly European, makeup of the country, it ignored questions
about the ability of immigrants successfully to assimilate into the
American mainstream, and it ignored the enormous problems likely to
arise from an increase in crime, poverty, disease, and ethnic
conflicts. All of this was done amid many deceptive statistics and many
empty assurances from the liberal mass media and from politicians.
Whereas, previously, immigrants from the Third World were allowed to
enter the country only in very small numbers, the 1965 law
overwhelmingly favored the Third World.

Americans are paying dearly for the irresponsibility of the liberal
politicians who engineered the Immigration Act of 1965, which allows
roughly a million people, almost entirely from the Third World,
_legally_ to immigrate to the U.S. every year. Let us consider some of
the many ways Americans pay, both in dollars and in negative social
costs. According to Professor Donald Huddle of Rice University, after
calculating and deducting taxes paid by immigrants, immigration cost
this country $52 billion in 1994 alone, paid for by the American

Since the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, Americans,
particularly those in urban areas, have seen changes in their
neighborhoods and communities that would have defied the ability of the
mind to imagine 30 or 40 years ago. Crime, gang warfare, random
shootings, attacks on police, rioting, and ethnic conflict are
omnipresent. Communicable diseases that have never existed (or have not
existed for centuries) in Western Europe and North America have
suddenly appeared in our midst. Social strife and political tensions
abound. Laws, customs, and mores of centuries-long standing have been
successfully challenged and undermined. Taxpayers are subjected to
massive new burdens as welfare agencies and school systems are
overwhelmed. Third-World immigration has not enriched or improved the
American way of life. Rather, as we shall see, it is a deliberate
attack on our country and its way of life.

As if this were not enough, new worries and horrors are descending on
Americans because of tremendous waves of illegal immigration (1 1/2 to
2 million people per annum, by some estimates-approximately 5,000 every
24 hours) -- also the result of the singular foolishness and
selfishness of big-government politicians in Washington.

Four hundred illegal aliens are added each month to the California
prison system. Illegal aliens account for 90 percent of narcotics
traffic in Santa Ana, California. They are involved in one-third of the
rapes and one-quarter of the burglaries in San Diego County. They
commit more than half of the homicides in Orange County. Overall
health-care for illegals costs more than $200 million each year in Los
Angeles County alone, which is not surprising since in that county 80%
of the total births in publicly funded hospitals are to illegal
residents. Another $100 million in added costs within the criminal
justice system come from the immigration invasion. Statewide, the cost
to taxpayers of illegals is in excess of $3 billion dollars. No wonder
our poor "Golden State" is in such trouble.

It is clear to people with eyes to see and ears to hear, people who
think with their minds and not with their glands, that the human race
is blessed with astonishing variety. Earlier generations of Americans
knew that in most cases, what are now called Third World populations,
by their very nature, are temperamentally different from the European
Christians who settled North America, fashioned the United States,
devised its system of laws, and fathered its free institutions.

In its ethnic and cultural composition, America has always been
predominantly European, and it has always been European in its
religious makeup. The sources of such fundamentally American notions as
individualism, the rule of law, private property, political liberty,
and limited government, to mention only a few, are derived from systems
of philosophical and political thought that are uniquely European-that
are indeed the crowning glory of European man. These systems of thought
spring forth from an astonishing synthesis of ideas that has no
parallel in the world or in all of history outside of Europe and that
hearken back to the experiments in self-government by the ancient
Greeks. Without its European foundation, America would not have had a
Constitution or a Bill of Rights, political liberty or individualism,
the rule of law or the concept of limited government. Thus, our
European heritage is not cause for shame, as the multiculturalists
would have it,but for pride. Moreover, it is to our European ancestors
- and most particularly those from the British Isles - that Americans
owe a debt of eternal gratitude for the freedoms that have blessed
their lives for over 200 years. Elsewhere, of course, outside of Europe
and North America, despotism has been the immutable law throughout all
of the ages and has been deeply ingrained in many of the world's
cultures for millennia-and culture is one of the most powerful forces
in the world.

Now, if our nation's way of life and form of government are derived
from a European cultural legacy belonging to a majority of Americans,
their preservation is dependent on the continued existence of that same
majority, a majority which shares a set of basic beliefs and values,
and a common language, culture, and historical experience-you will
remember that Cicero called that _concord_.

America has always had small numbers of non-Europeans living here and
this has rarely caused problems because the majority culture remained
strong and intact, and remained the criterion for everybody. What may
be possible on a very small scale, however, is not possible on a huge
scale. Speaking culturally and historically, representatives of
different cultures are not interchangeable and non-Europeans in huge
numbers simply cannot be assimilated into a Western environment and,
even in the best of circumstances, cannot absorb the subtleties and
nuances of our heritage.

What are some of these subtleties and nuances? Lawrence Auster, the
brilliant author of _The Path to National Suicide_, cites several. They
include, among others, that people should be free from external
control; that individuals should be self-reliant and that local
government should have a large measure of independence; that those
accused in court be considered innocent until proven guilty and that
they be protected against self-incrimination; that the tradition of
loyal opposition govern the relationship between various political
factions; and that freedom of speech remain a bedrock principle. This
list is by no means exhaustive and many other things might also be
mentioned. The crucial point is that most of these concepts are either
utterly unknown or poorly understood throughout the Third World, even
in more prosperous countries. Some are found exclusively in
English-speaking nations. It is clear, then, that the enormous tidal
wave of Third World immigrants will soon overwhelm the most basic
framework on which the United States was created. Those rights that are
enjoyed by peoples of all races and ethnic backgrounds in America will
be gone. The linguistic, legal, religious, moral, cultural, and
political aspects of our heritage and of our daily existence will be
transformed and altered totally and permanently.

That is why treatments of present immigration policies in the context
of the policies of the last century are fundamentally dishonest.
Immigrants of the nineteenth century, mostly from the various nations
of Europe, indeed successfully adapted to life in the United States,
assimilated our British-derived culture, and made largely positive
contributions to our country because they were Europeans and thus
shared, largely speaking, in the Greco-Roman-Christian heritage that
underpins the culture of all European nations.

Non-Europeans, coming to the U.S. for economic reasons and finding
American society and culture very different from the society and
culture of the lands of their birth, not only fail to assimilate but
tend naturally to try to alter their adopted land so that it resembles
more closely the country they abandoned, which is why they attack
historical monuments such as the Alamo, and scorn the Founders and
heroes of this country as "racists," "greedy landgrabbers," and so
forth. That proclivity is a function of human nature, one understood,
interestingly enough, by our Forefathers. Referring to this tendency,
Thomas Jefferson, wrote this in 1782: "They [foreign immigrants] will
bring with them the principles of the government they leave, imbibed in
their early youth.... ... Their principles with their language, they
will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they
will share with us in the legislation. They will infuse into it their
spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous,
incoherent, distracted mass."

Alexander Hamilton emphasized his conviction that a common cultural
foundation is vital. He stated: "The safety of a republic depends on
the energy of a common national sentiment; on uniformity of principles
and habits; [and] on the exemption of the citizens from foreign

Hamilton goes on to instruct Americans to beware the hazards inherent
in massive immigration. The best course, he notes, would be "to render
the people of this country as homogeneous as possible" for such "must
tend as much as any other circumstance to the permanency of their union
and prosperity." Let us note again the theme of concord. Hamilton
probably drew his idea here from his reading of Cicero. Their
respective understandings are virtually ientical. Hamilton speaks of
homogeneity and of common national sentiment, Cicero speaks of concord,
of a unanimity of opinion in certain ultimate matters. This concord,
wrote Cicero, is "the best bond of permanent union in any
commonwealth." And, concord, my friends, cannot possibly exist in
multicultural states.

In other words, the more culturally alike a populace, the more
propitious the long-term prospects for any society or nation. George
Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Fisher Ames,
and many other of the Founders and Constitutional Framers spoke
similarly. None were afflicted with that strange malady, so prevalent
today, in which any culture on Earth-especially the most primitive-is
valued more highly than our own. None were inclined to truckle before
special interests or to cringe in the face of subversive ideologues
brandishing inane, verbal bludgeons-such as the word "racist"-a word
utterly devoid of objective meaning, a word created specifically to
silence debate.

On the contrary, the Founders proclaimed what must be seen as a solid
consensus on the subject: immigration is a grave matter, requiring
enormous vigilance, and possessing a genuine potential for calamity.
Moreover, the assertion that limits on immigration are somehow
unAmerican is proven false by the very words of the Founders of this

One of the most important characteristics that divides the true
conservative from the modern liberal is that conservatives are able to
learn from the past and to apply what they learn to the working-out of
the future. Liberals, by way of contrast, are altogether deaf and blind
to both the past and the future, which explains, in part, their
eagerness to embrace, without the least anxiety, the failed panaceas
and pathetic blunders of old.

This modern liberal mindset is the direct philosophical creation of
that body of beliefs that rose up two centuries ago, during the
so-called Age of Enlightenment. At that time, secular philosophers
developed a notion of human beings that was singularly shallow.

Furthermore, these radical theorists postulated, man is fundamentally
good and is so malleable a creature that through social engineering a
"New Man" might be fabricated. The French Revolution, the Bolshevik
Revolution, socialist movements, and the modern welfare state all find
their source in those theories, and the colossal mounds of corpses
produced by many of these experiments bear stark witness to the error,
and ruthlessness, of that school of thought. No wonder the great Edmund
Burke called the instigators of these conceits the "Philosophers of the
Shambles"! That dissimilar peoples are interchangeable and may be
forced together with impunity is also related to the same fanciful
ideas, and generates the same tragic consequences.

The traditional Christian view recognizes that people are naturally
inclined to live in communities of their own people-what we now call
nations. The president of the American Immigration Control Foundation,
John Vinson, notes in a recent article that "God abhors the blending of
all peoples into a single world state. He defeated such a plan at
Babel." Vinson goes on to say that God Himself "divided the nations and
set boundaries among them," and he adds, "Nationhood is not an
arbitrary human arrangement, but a principle of divine order. The
separation of vastly different peoples helps reduce conflict and
promote fruitful diversity. Massive uncontrolled immigration defeats
God's order. Love and compassion fare poorly in Chaos-and also in the
tyranny that ... follows chaos." So, just as opposition to unrestricted
immigration is not unAmerican, as we demonstrated by quotations from
the Founding Fathers, we have now shown that it is also clearly not

When I am told that it is unChristian I usually respond that I know of
no passages from Holy Scripture, or any teachings in the Christian
tradition, that require a nation to commit suicide. The unadulterated
balderdash that passes for Christianity among leftists does not come
from any Christian tradition but rather is the feeble-minded progeny of
liberalism, with its heretical dogma of the innate goodness of mankind
(the "noble savage" and similar humbug) and its faith in man's earthly
perfectibility. It is the bogus religion of secular humanism decked out
in the outward vestments of a disintegrated, politicized, counterfeit
Christianity, a fitting creed only for people who no longer believe in
a spiritual reality, who no longer possess any capacity for critical
thinking, and who lack any historical memory or sense whatsoever. So
let us hear no more about some requirement on the part of Christians to
remain passive while they, and their families, and their homelands, and
their religion, and their culture disappear from the face of the earth.
_There is no such requirement_.

And so it is clear that the utopians contradict the truth of religion
and the truth of history, for human beings are not naturally good and
noble and, thus, human societies and cultures do not interact with one
another in the ways the utopians maintain they do. In fact, most of the
world's societies are not tolerant, not charitable, not magnanimous,
and not evenhanded towards the representatives of other cultures who
happen to live within their boundaries. Events in history as well as in
our own time serve to prove the point. Even at this very moment, as we
sit comfortably in our chairs in this beautiful room, human beings are
ripping to pieces societies in which culturally disparate populations
have been thrown together. The litany of human catastrophe is seemingly
endless: the murderous conflicts that bedevil Rwanda, Nigeria, South
Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Russia, and the Balkans are only the
most recent illustrations of that phenomenon of hostile cultural groups
giving vent to an impulse so trenchantly described by Samuel Francis as
"secret compulsions to spill each other's blood." It is that horror
that the immigration enthusiasts and multiculturalists are bringing to

History clearly shows that nations, both ancient and modern, in which a
majority of citizens share little except diversity, suffer ongoing
social tensions, upheavals, and chaos that can be mitigated only by
recourse to tyranny.

Utopian philosophers hold that human nature is infinitely changeable
and that one may put together society in any shape or form one wishes.
It is not true! There can be no true national community and, more to
the point, there can be no freedom in countries where the majority of
people holds little in common. Freedom is the product of social,
political, and religious concord.

In connection with the views of the Founding Fathers, we have already
mentioned the propensity of immigrants to try to change their new
homeland so that it more closely simulates the lands from which they
came. When America was still inwardly robust and when our belief in the
superiority of our American way of life was still undiluted, immigrants
were not given the chance to do this. "Adapt or leave" was the
operative attitude in those days. In these closing years of the
twentieth century we are not so fortunate. For example, certain public
expressions of religious piety and the public display of traditional
religious symbols have been banned by some courts as "offensive" to new
citizens of other backgrounds. Affirmative action laws are being used
on behalf of freshly-arrived immigrants to enforce "racial balance" in
places of employment and to extend special privileges that are not
enjoyed by the American majority. Many aliens have organized themselves
into pressure groups and radical organizations to agitate for
additional handouts and more so-called rights.

Now, none of this would even be possible were it not for the repugnant
and baneful movement known as multiculturalism? Lawrence Auster relates
that multiculturalists see Americans, and American society in general,
as inherently "racist." For this reason, according to their view,
America can only redeem itself when it ceases to exist--that is, when
its civilization, and the European majority that created and fostered
that civilization, have disappeared forever.

That is their aim-true of Leftist politicians and doubly true of those
Establishment "conservatives," who supported NAFTA and GATT and who
betray us whenever the opportunity presents itself. These are the men
who, as Samuel Francis put it, " have forgotten what civilization means
and have come to regard their own nation as a barrier to be broken down
and discarded."

In his most recent book, entitled _The Russian Question at the End of
the Twentieth Century_, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Christian
philosopher, and the historian of that Golgotha of the Russian People
known as Bolshevism, warns his readers of a new peril to all the
peoples of this world: He says, "The vulgar and insipid wave which
seeks to level distinctions between cultures, traditions,
nationalities, and characters has engulfed the whole planet." This evil
aims at the replacement of God's Wisdom with that of man, and,
according to Solzhenitsyn, those who survive will be those people who
"withstand this onslaught, unwavering and even with their heads held
high." He pleads with his own people to be among those who resist, for
if they do not, he writes, then "in another century the time may come
to cross the word "Russian" out of the dictionary."

Our task, here in America, is no different and is no less arduous.
Should we fail-God forbid-then in less than a century the time will
arrive when the word "American" may be crossed from the dictionary, or
if the word survives at all then the definition will have become so
fundamentally transmuted that it will have disappeared in spirit, if
not in actual fact.

To our wondrous forebears who created this glorious land, to our
children and their children, to all of those of the past and the future
we must pledge ourselves to follow Solzhenitsyn's admonition, we must
withstand this onslaught against our tradition, our culture, our
Christian European civilization, and our unique way of life. We must be
absolutely unwavering, as were our Forefathers 200 years ago. We must
never, never, never shrink back in craven fear of the imbecilic words
that our adversaries hurl at us-"racist," "bigot," "fascist," and such
rubbish. As our ancestors were contemptuous of the bullets and bombs of
their enemies-a much more serious matter than mere words-so we must be
contemptuous of the puerile nonsense that our present adversaries
launch against us. With God's Grace, with your determination and help,
with heads held high, by the taking on of the armor of the courage of
Washington, Jackson, Lee, Grant, MacArthur, Lindbergh, and a thousand
other heroes-the courage that is epitomized in the very word
"American"-we cannot possibly lose, but must win the ultimate triumph.