Former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald (1979-1986).
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For several weeks now, a “caravan” of Hondurans – plus
others who are hitching a ride, as it were – has been
trudging through Guatemala and Mexico toward the
United States. Donald Trump has vowed to stop it by
military means if, as is likely to happen, it manages to
reach his country’s southern border. Though some
humanitarian souls in the US and elsewhere think he should
simply wave them all in and give them whatever they need because
they are fleeing poverty and the extraordinarily bloodthirsty
gangs that infest their native land, most Democrat politicians
prefer to remain silent or limit themselves to hand-wringing about
how dreadful things are.
They behave this way because they know that
most “Hispanics,” let alone blacks, Asians and, for
what they are worth, whites, are against illegal
immigration and fear that the arrival of the wellpublicised
caravan could help Trump’s supporters
in the forthcoming mid-term elections by “energising”
Republican voters who otherwise would stay
In an abstract way, defenders of open borders
who say nobody should be penalised because they
were unlucky enough to be born in a country Trump
would describe in scatological terms may have a
point, but it would be helpful if they took into account
the inevitable consequences of putting into
practice what they propose. Do they really want
North America or Europe to become more like
Syria, Algeria, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Congo, Guatemala,
or Honduras? Perhaps not, but letting in
tens of millions of individuals from such countries
would be bound to have that effect.
Multicultural societies may be far more “vibrant” than the stodgily
homogeneous ones advanced thinkers are fond of despising,
but if history is any guide, they also tend to get torn apart by
communal violence. In Europe, this is already happening. Gérard
Collomb – who a few weeks ago greatly annoyed president Emmanuel
Macron by unexpectedly quitting his job as France’s interior
minister – reported that in parts of Marseilles, Toulouse and
Paris “the situation is very difficult and the phrase ‘reconquering
the Republic’ is apt because in these districts it’s the law of the
strongest that reigns, that of the drug dealers and radical Islamists,
which has supplanted the Republic.” He also warned that, much
as he disliked the term, “civil war” is no longer a mere fantasy.
France may be worse off in this respect than other European
countries, but many others face the same problems.
Until very recently, the fears expressed by Collomb would have
been derided by members of the entrenched establishment as
typically right-wing scare-mongering, but of late the political climate
has changed in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in North
America, making it permissible to talk more honestly about the
likely impact of mass immigration from what are euphemistically
called “underdeveloped” countries.
Seeing all newcomers as victims who should be protected and
given a hand may be all very well and do credit to those who think
that way, but if too many of them flock in, more will retain the
habits that made their home countries what they are, dreadful
places which most of their inhabitants yearn to leave behind.
There is also the unfortunate fact that, while most migrants are
presumably as peace-loving as the people who want to embrace
them, tagging along with them are criminals looking for places to
loot and holy warriors determined to enter paradise by killing as
many infidels as possible.
Like Angela Merkel, who opened the doors of Germany and the
rest of Europe to a million migrants – a large proportion of whom
had been brought up to be anti-Semites – in order to make amends
for Auschwitz, the people who in Western democracies
dominate academe, the media, cultural activities,
finance and the main political parties, insist
that as colonialism was bad, very bad, it is up to
them to repair the damage done to previous generations
of non-Westerners by giving a warm welcome
to their descendants.
Such views are wholeheartedly shared by the
individuals ruling countries that, in the decades
after World War II saw their former colonial masters
depart, and since then have rarely missed an opportunity
to shower insults on them. Despite the valiant
efforts of North Americans to make out that since
the late 18th century their country has been leading
the fight against imperialism, not only in Latin
America but also in much of the rest of the planet
they too get tarred with the same brush.
Does this mean that hardly anyone living outside
the West would dream of going to live in the places
to which the pith-helmeted or kepi-wearing martinets
retreated after being kicked out of the lands they had plundered
for a hundred years or more? Embarrassing as the thought
should be to the many who assumed that getting rid of the Europeans
would make life better for their former colonial subjects, it
looks as though the majority of these now wish that they too had
joined the retreat. Most of Franz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”
have no doubts on the matter.
Before the Berlin Wall was demolished, it was fashionable among
conservatives to say that the thousands of East Europeans who
risked their lives to flee west were “voting with their feet.” Much
the same can be said about the far larger numbers of Africans,
Asians and Latin Americans who are prepared to go to any length
to get into Europe or North America. They know that life there is
far better than it is in their own country.
This is something the many Western progressives who go on
about how terrible their own societies are and how much better
they would be if they became more “diverse” by importing the
customs and habits of mind that can be found in places tens of
millions of people are trying to escape from, do not want to hear.
This is why they discourage attempts to put pressure on immigrants
to make them adopt the ways of the countries in which they
have chosen to make their home, apparently without realising that
unless they do, the nativist movements they fear so much will
continue to get stronger.