August 06, 2009
The London Economist, a globalist, anti-national rag that still seems to hold sway with self-styled "conservatives" of the Church of Economic Man, recently (July11-17 dead tree edition) opined on the comparative fates of my native Texas and California, the once-Golden State.
In its confused editorial summarizing its "Special Report" [Lone Star Rising: A Special Report on Texas, by Christopher Lockwood, (Send him mail) July 9, 2009], the magazine didn't seem fully conscious of what it was telling a discerning reader. Here's the first paragraph:
"AMERICA'S recent history has been a relentless tilt to the West—of people, ideas, commerce and even political power. California and Texas, the nation's two biggest states, are the twin poles of the West, but very different ones. For most of the 20th century the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood has been the brainier, sexier, trendier of the two: its suburbs and freeways, its fads and foibles, its marvellous miscegenation have spread around the world. Texas, once a part of the Confederacy, has trailed behind: its cliché has been a conservative Christian in cowboy boots, much like a certain recent president. But twins can change places. Is that happening now?"
So The Economist tells us where it stands on tradition, national culture, and American history at the get-go: It loves California—not the Golden State that was part of the expansion of the American nation from sea to shining sea (that "tilt to the West" has been going on a for a long time), but the template for globalization, one that is "brainier, sexier, and trendier" than hapless and backward places inhabited by conservative Christians "in cowboy boots"
(Can you imagine? Cowboy boots? Or what was once referred to in these parts as "manly footwear", though I suppose the androgynous drones of the The Economist would disdain such characterizations as "sexist," not "sexy").
If that isn't enough to signal the reader where The Economist is coming from, then the part about Texas being "once a part of the Confederacy" should—we all know what we are supposed to think about that, don't we? (As in "Confederate" = "Nazi").
California has embraced "marvelous miscegenation," which is spreading "around the world." National and cultural boundaries are disappearing! Imagine the smiles of delight in The Economist editorial office over this Tower of Babel fantasy!
Here's the take-away from the first paragraph and from every section of the "Special Report" on Texas: The Economist loves globalization and the destruction of national cultures and traditions in the name of the trendy and allegedly brainy (As Steve Sailer has told us many times, let's not forget that many of the same people who will not admit the importance—or even existence—of IQ think they are smarter than everyone else).
The symbols for global transformation are Silicon Valley (out with the "old economy" and "sunset industries"!) and Hollywood (once a "dream factory," now the Propaganda Ministry for a regime of cultural suicide).
The Economist does, however, recognize that "California is in a funk"—i.e. the state is going (ahem) bankrupt.
The next bit of the summary editorial was pretty confused:
"Plenty of American states have budget crises; but California's illustrate two more structural worries about the state. Back in its golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, it offered middle-class people, not just techy high-fliers, a shot at the American dream—complete with superb schools and universities, and an enviable physical infrastructure. These days California's unemployment rate is running at 11.5%, two points ahead of the national average. In such Californian cities as Fresno, Merced and El Centro, jobless rates are higher than in Detroit. Its roads and schools are crumbling. Every year, over 100,000 more Americans leave the state than enter it.
"The second worry has to do with dysfunctional government. No state has quite so many overlapping systems of accountability or such a gerrymandered legislature. Ballot initiatives, the crack cocaine of democracy, have left only around a quarter of its budget within the power of its representative politicians. (One reason budget cuts are inevitable is that voters rejected tax increases in a package of ballot measures in May.) Not that Californian government comes cheap: it has the second-highest top level of state income tax in America (after Hawaii, of all places). Indeed, high taxes, coupled with intrusive regulation of business and greenery taken to silly extremes, have gradually strangled what was once America's most dynamic state economy. Chief Executive magazine, to take just one example, has ranked California the very worst state to do business in for each of the past four years."
This boils down to The Economist not liking taxes, especially taxes on business, which is generally regarded as a conservative point of view, though I would venture a guess that the kind of business The Economist is most concerned with is of the global, trans-national variety (It certainly seems that way in its bit on economic "diversification" in the report on Texas: Beyond oil, July 9, 2009). The article gives a nod in the direction of small government/anti-bureaucracy conservatism, but it is notably disturbed by the citizenry having any say in what happens to it.
Regulation by the state is bad—if that means regulation of business. Note the stress on the "American dream". I have the feeling that when Americans spoke of this in the past, they meant that the "American dream" was meant for, well, Americans. For some reason, people are leaving California—ah, but it's all because of a budget crisis and unemployment, things that aren't related to you know what, which is not even mentioned.
Hmm—the voters are partly to blame because they, high on "the crack cocaine of democracy," have rejected what The Economist claims not to like—tax increases—forcing the state to go bankrupt or making budget cuts!
One would think that a "conservative" magazine would welcome forcing spendthrift politicians to contemplate budget cuts (later on, the article does mention that forced budget cuts might "starve the beast" of the state bureaucracy)…But the magazine doesn't seem to like taking budget control out of the hands of the legislature. As noted above, there is no mention of California being inundated with immigrants, the role of mass immigration in destroying the environment (we can dismiss concerns about the environment as madcap "greenery"!), immigrant crime, or the transformation of American cities into overcrowded, alien places reminiscent of apocalyptic sci-fi novels.
Should we remind The Economist that back in that "golden age in the 1950s and 1960s," California (and America) was not overwhelmed by mass immigration? Could that have anything to with the state's problems?
Yet this most striking fact isn't even part of the discussion.
The allegedly conservative magazine likes my Texas. Or it sort of likes Texas—which, we are reminded, is still a bit backward—backward partly because it doesn't spend enough:
"By contrast, Texas was the best state in that [Chief Executive] poll. It has coped well with the recession, with an unemployment rate two points below the national average and one of the lowest rates of housing repossession. In part this is because Texan banks, hard hit in the last property bust, did not overexpand this time. But as our special report this week explains, Texas also clearly offers a different model, based on small government. It has no state capital-gains or income tax, and a business-friendly and immigrant-tolerant attitude. It is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state—64 compared with California's 51 and New York's 56. And as happens to fashionable places, some erstwhile weaknesses now seem strengths (flat, ugly countryside makes it easier for Dallas-Fort Worth to expand than mountain-and-sea-locked LA), while old conservative stereotypes are being questioned: two leading contenders to be Houston's next mayor are a black man and a white lesbian. Texas also gets on better with Mexico than California does.
"American conservatives have seized on this reversal of fortune: Arthur Laffer, a Reaganite economist, hails the Texan model over the Gipper's now hopelessly leftish home. Despite all this, it still seems too early to cede America's future to the Lone Star state. To begin with, that lean Texan model has its own problems. It has not invested enough in education, and many experts rightly worry about a 'lost generation' of mostly Hispanic Texans with insufficient skills for the demands of the knowledge economy. Now immigration is likely to reconvert Texas from Republican red to Democratic blue; Latinos may justly demand a bigger, more 'Californian' state to educate them and provide them with decent health care. But Texas could then end up with the same over-empowered public-sector unions who have helped wreck government in California."
The economic reductionism of The Economist places it firmly in the right wing of the Treason Lobby and the magazine doesn't even seem aware that, even by its own standards, its arguments just don't make any sense.
For starters, patriots can't say this often enough: Our country and its people are not commodities for sale or trade, any more than one's family is. The nation is an extended family, the land its home, the shape and texture of the landscape, its weather, soil, plants and animal life are the environment that helps form the critical bonds that make community possible. This is understandable to people who do not subscribe to the fantasy of complete individual autonomy.
Perhaps the prairies of North Texas are "ugly" to the munchkins glorifying the global whorehouse that The Economist wishes to create (And, sadly, many otherwise decent Americans have absorbed economism to such a degree that they don't quite get this either, including turncoat Texas native Michael Lind, quoted in the Special Report on how ugly his home state is: Tex-mix|The state's best and worst sides).
But their destruction is no cause for cheering. And the notion of endless "progress" and expansion is anti-conservative in that it recognizes no limits, no restraints, and no boundaries for those who are high on the crack cocaine of globalism.
But we can all take heart—The Economist is happy that retrograde Texans are at least considering a black man and a lesbian (albeit a white one) for public office! I suppose the editors hadn't heard of Lee Brown, the black Mayor of Houston from 1997 to 2004.
But what has happened to Houston over the last several decades is another story. In the special section's lead piece by Christopher Lockwood (Lone Star rising ), we read an "urbanologist's" glowing report on how Houston is the city "where the future has already arrived". That may be true if the future you have in mind is something like that in Blade Runner—with the crowded freeways more Mad Max.
The Economist can't decide whether it likes the "lean Texan model" or not, since its "small government", which we have been led to believe the magazine likes, "hasn't invested enough" in "education"—"investment" that would require what The Economist pretends not to like, that is, bigger government and more taxes.
So—more taxes, more "investment," more education, and more racial minorities and lesbians in charge equal progress for Texas in The Economist's estimation.
Otherwise, the aliens will, ("justly," mind you) make demands and wham, the state sector unions will take over!
Who are the Economist's editors kidding? Do they really think that the hordes of low-skilled Mexicans and Central Americans, already predisposed to support statism, are here to participate in boosting "the knowledge economy?"
Do they really think that, after an appropriate dose of "education", these same folks and their children will, against the available evidence, be programming super computers?
Did the same Big Business fat cats who love The Wall Street Journal and The Economist really have "the knowledge economy" in mind when they cheered on the immigration of millions of cooks, bus boys, roofers, and lawn mowers to take part in the bubble economy that is now deflating before our eyes?
Do they expect a country that is dominated by unskilled immigrants to be innovative?
What about all those Americans who used to do those jobs?
And what about my children?—whom I don't want to be undercut by foreigners, "Hispanic" or otherwise?
But we are back to The Economist thinking of the country like one giant Sam's Club. The globalist mind cannot register the notion that the culture that produced the American colossus is inseparable from the historic American nation itself—which is being displaced by mass immigration.
The Economist thinks Texans are responsible for educating and giving health care to illegal aliens who violated our laws by coming here in the first place—these "Hispanics"/ "Latinos" are now entitled to "justly" demand "decent health care" (Funny, but I thought of lot of them were getting this for free already—maybe the Economist's editors should visit an emergency room in the southwestern US sometime). But there's a hint that their presence here might be a threat after all, since they are gradually making Texas more like California.
The last one is what is known as a "no brainer". But it likely has less to do with the growth of "public sector unions" than the size of a state's alien population, the implications of which The Economist cannot bring itself to consider head on. As Steve Sailer pointed out in his reaction blog post on The Economist article, California has significantly more aliens (26% of California's residents were foreign-born versus 14% of Texas's in the 2000 census). These folks are overloading the state's health, education, and law enforcement sectors, as well as its transportation infrastructure ("crumbling roads").
The Economist's Lockwood mentions the growing "Hispanic" population as an engine of change, and even brings up their less-than-stellar academic performance. But he doesn't seem to quite understand what the implications are:
"The other, even more important, reason to expect change is internal. In 2004 Texas became one of only four states in America where whites are no longer in the majority. On recent trends, Hispanics will be the largest ethnic group in the state by 2015. Since they tend to vote Democratic, this has big implications for Texas's political make-up and for national politics. And an increasingly assertive Hispanic caucus, in an increasingly Democratic state, also seems sure to demand better schools and health care for the people it represents, who currently lag far behind the Anglos on any social indicator you care to name. Close to half of Latinos in Houston, for instance, fail to graduate from high school."
Nevertheless, Lockwood seems to think that if Texas will "get it right," then somehow all will be well. Bad things will happen only if Texas manages to "get it wrong" in dealing with the massive demographic change facing the state—"forces" he seems to think are beyond anyone's control and not the result of immigration policies (See the section of the special report on demographic change: The new face of America).
Still, Texas is lauded by The Economist as being more "immigrant friendly" than California (more on that below).
Huh? California got as "friendly" as it could, handing out goodies to immigrants right and left, creating a magnet to attract them in greater numbers. And look what happened!
What is going on in the confused globalist mind? Texas is supposed to learn from California and spend more, giving more goodies to aliens, while inevitably expanding its state bureaucracy, not quite what any sensible person might think Texas should learn. (While California is supposed to back up on these items, I think—just not so far as to undermine California's "diversity" and sexy, trendy qualities.).
But that's not all—don't count California out:
"[I]t has never paid to bet against a state with as many inventive people as California. Even if Hollywood is in the dumps, it still boasts an unequalled array of sunrise industries and the most agile venture-capital industry on the planet; there is no prospect of the likes of Google decamping from Mountain View for Austin, though many start-ups have. The state also has an awesome ability to reinvent itself—as it did when its defense industry collapsed at the end of the cold war…The truth is that both states could learn from each other.
You bet. And we can learn a lot about what passes for thinking by our enemies from the clueless rambling of The Economist.
As a Texan, I'm not sure what The Economist is getting at about Texas being friendlier, or more "welcoming," supposedly, to Mexicans. If the editors had bothered to look into it, they would find that border control is a popular issue with Texas voters, who by and large do not want to merge with Mexico. For instance, a 2007 Rice University poll of Houston residents had 55.8% supporting fines and criminal charges against employers of illegal aliens; 51% wanted all immigration reduced; 56% wanted the US government to halt the flow of illegal immigrants; and 52% thought immigration hurt Americans by driving down wages. Another Rice survey noted increasing opposition to immigration in Houston over the last few years. This in the city The Economist claims is the most "cosmopolitan" in Texas!
The Economist seems oblivious to the fact that even the Bushite Governor, Rick Perry, has read the political tea leaves and has called for troops on the border—a point that didn't come up in the magazine's discussion of Perry's bid for re-election and his recent emphasis on conservative themes.
There is certainly a danger that many Texans will be—and have been—more complacent than they should be about mass immigration from Mexico. The lack of a California-sized state bureaucracy, along with the indifference of Mexicans to voting, and less "activism" stirred up by the left, has left the "Anglos" (a term I hate—it really means "white Americans") mostly in charge, even as they have become a minority.
But even The Economist recognizes that won't last: The red and the blue | Whisper it softly, but Texas looks set to become a Democratic state.
Oh yeah? The Texan culture of the "Anglos" is responsible for the "small government" and conservative leanings of our state.
Unless we act to control our borders now, we will be displaced—along with the culture that helped make our state attractive to outsiders to begin with.
Wayne Allensworth (email him) is Corresponding Editor for Chronicles Magazine and the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas.