Published September 17, 2006
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America
(Patrick J. Buchanan , Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95, 308 pages)
In his passionate call for America to remain America by staunching uncontrolled immigration, Pat Buchanan may be seen as an unlikely offspring of Thomas Paine and Henny-Penny. In 1776, Paine wrote: “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” And Henny-Penny warned everyone within earshot that “the sky was falling.”
In his new book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, Mr. Buchanan is less crusading than Paine and less apocalyptic than Henny-Penny. But he is determined to keep America and its unique culture from being corrupted or subverted by uncontrolled immigration, especially from Mexico.
His campaign against unrestricted immigration faults George W. Bush and everyone else who will not face the reality of “at least 12 million aliens in our midst, with 100,000 more being caught every month” and “hundreds of millions of Third World poor waiting and watching to see if the Americans will seal their border, or if the land bridge will remain open.” He acknowledges that the million-plus illegals arriving each year are largely law-abiding, desperate to find good-paying jobs.
Though written in the imperative mood, Mr. Buchanan’s lively prose is studded with key facts and documented by quotations from respected past leaders who supported controlled and legal immigration — from Teddy Roosevelt and FDR to JFK and Ronald Reagan, each of whom asserted that a nation that loses control of its borders loses its sovereignty.
In this lively testament, Mr. Buchanan emphatically takes sides in the raging cultural war between traditional Americans and their beliefs and liberals and “postmodernists” who in his view have strayed from America’s moral consensus. If immigration is not controlled, says Mr. Buchanan in a Time interview about his book:
“America will no longer be one nation, but more like the Roman Empire — a conglomerate of races and cultures held together by a regime. The country I grew up in was culturally united, even if it was racially divided. We spoke the same language, had the same faith, laughed at the same comedians. We were one nationality.
“We’re ceasing to be that when you have hundreds of thousands of people who want to retain their own culture, their own language, their own loyalty. What do we have in common that makes us fellow Americans? Is it simply citizenship? Or is it blood, soil, history, and heroes?”
Mr. Buchanan’s most controversial assertion is that the Mexican government has a deliberate plan to send its poor to America to relieve social pressure at home and, in effect, to reannex the American Southwest that Mexico lost in the Texas War.
In 270 pages of text and 25 pages of notes, Mr. Buchanan faults the press, the two major parties, organized labor, corporate America and “the churches” for failing to face up to the immigration crisis.
Most Americans, he says, want to stop illegal immigration by deploying troops on the Rio Grand and erecting a fence from Brownsville to San Diego. He calls George Bush a “ninety-seven-pound weakling” for failing to confront the border crisis, and chides Al Gore for his famous faux pas: “E Pluribus Unum does not mean ‘Out of one, many,’ but ‘Out of many, one.'”
Corporate America, he says, wants an endless supply of cheap labor and the major media, the unions and the churches favor amnesty for illegals. America’s estimated population by 2050 will be 420 million, including 102 million Hispanics concentrated in the Southwest. Our country will resemble Latin America with its yawning chasm between rich and poor.
To address this crisis, says Mr. Buchanan, the first imperative is an immediate moratorium on all immigration, such as the United States imposed from 1924 to 1965. That 40-year pause allowed the melting pot to work its magic and create “the one people and one nation.” A new breathing space “is desperately needed again.”
The “36 million immigrants here now are not only the highest number in any country in history, but, unlike the Great Wave of 1890-1920, almost all come from continents and countries whose peoples have never been assimilated into a First World nation.” Noting that in Tucson, Ariz., one in twelve aliens caught at the border had a criminal record, Mr. Buchanan opposes the Bush amnesty plan for “illegals and the businesses that hired them.”
He also opposes giving automatic U.S. citizenship to children of alien mothers. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 22 percent of all births in California are to illegals, many to Mexican women “who sneak in or overstay their visas” so their children will enjoy “a lifetime of benefits at the expense of U.S. taxpayers, including twelve years of free schooling.”
To correct this, he urges states to enact a version of California’s Proposition 187 “that denies welfare benefits to illegal aliens” or Arizona’s Proposition 200, that to be eligible for welfare benefits, residents must provide proof of citizenship or proof that they are in the country legally.
Mr. Buchanan also opposes dual citizenship for immigrants. Since “no man can serve two masters,” he deplores the words of Mexican pop singer, Thalia, after she was sworn in as a U. S. citizen in New York in January 2006:
“This morning I acquired United States citizenship . . . Under the laws of my country, I can also have Mexican citizenship . . . This step will give me the opportunity to contribute to and support even more the Latin community in the United States. I am of Mexican nationality and I will always be a proud Mexican in heart and soul.”
Mr. Buchanan does not recommend mass deportation of illegals, but calls for the prompt expulsion of anyone “convicted of a felony, all gang members, any arrested for drunk driving,” adding that “the safety of the people is the highest law.”
One may disagree with Mr. Buchanan’s occasional strident tone or oversimplified analysis, but one cannot fault his basic message. He speaks with the crisp urgency of Apollo 13’s call to Mission Control: “Houston, we have a problem!”
Pat Buchanan is on the mark when he asserts that ideas, culture and faith matter. And that America is involved in a great culture war — a war between Western values and institutions on the one side and destructive ideologies and pretensions on the other.
Like Oswald Spengler whose seminal work, Decline of the West (1918), ignited the debate, Mr. Buchanan is worried about an America under siege by alien forces often backed by terror. He asserts that “Race matters. Ethnicity matters. History matters. Faith matters. Nationality matters . . . Multiculturalists ideology be dammed, this is what history teaches.”
Policymaker, politician and pamphleteer, Mr. Buchanan invokes Arnold Toynbee who said great “civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” They die when internal forces, such as the Judeo-Christian ethic and the rule of law, give way to false gods, expediency and the blandishments of the “new barbarians,” as Daniel Boorstin called them.
Pat writes: “And so, as Rome had conquered the barbarians, the barbarians conquered Rome. Beginning with Alaric and the Visigoths in 410, the northern tribes, one after another, invaded and sacked the Eternal City. And the Dark Ages descended.”
A bit dramatic, but on the mark. What prophet, ancient or modern, has not exaggerated forebodings? State of Emergency is eminently worth reading and pondering.
–Ernest W. Lefever is founding president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of America’s Imperial Burden and more recently Liberating the Limerick. He can be reached at [email protected].