Hanson on "Mexifornia": Good – But Not Good Enough
June 19, 2003, 05:00 AM
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With California now being digested by the mass immigration the Treason Lobby has imported, even academics are beginning to see—up to a point—what`s going on. Interviewed recently on National Review Online, historian Victor Davis Hanson tried to explain.

His explanation is not quite complete, though it shows progress, but what he had to say about the wonderful world of diversity mass immigration has created in his state could not have made too many of the pro-immigration pseudo-conservatives who run the magazine very happy.

Asked by his interviewer "what has multiculturalism and mass immigration wrought in Selma, California, your hometown?" Mr. Hanson, a classics professor at California State University at Fresno and author of several important works in ancient history (and a new one, Mexifornia, about what immigration is doing to his own native state), had a mouthful to say:

"Immigration from Mexico was once as measured and legal as it is now uncontrolled and unlawful. And instead of meeting the challenge of turning illegal immigrants into Americans, our teachers, politicians, and government officials for some time have taken the easier route of allowing a separatist culture, from bilingualism and historical revisionism in the schools, to non-enforcement of legal statutes and a general self-imposed censorship about honest discussion of the problem.

"The result is that we are seeing in the area the emergence of truly apartheid communities … plagued by dismal schools, scant capital, many of the same social problems as Mexico, and a general neglect by the larger culture, including prosperous and successful second- and third-generation Mexican Americans who would never live there."

Well, so much for diversity, which Mr. Hanson rightly sees as a dismal failure, a vision rather different from the chirpy delusions of the Open Borders crowd that poses as conservative. 

But even Mr. Hanson doesn`t quite grasp what`s happening.

In the first place, the problems created by mass immigration in California and the rest of the country are not mainly the result of illegal immigration but of the legal variety.  The state`s foreign-born population is about 9 million, but only some 2.3 million illegals (25 percent).  If we want to curb the "diversity" Mr. Hanson is justly denouncing, we mainly have to cut legal immigration—as well as enforce the laws already on the books against the illegal kind.

Secondly, why is the "challenge" to turn "illegal immigrants into Americans"?  

Why isn`t the challenge to stop illegals from coming at all and to send back those already here? 

One suspects Mr. Hanson is being careful not to be too anti-immigration (in which case he wouldn`t be in National Review at all), so he dwells on illegal immigrants and the problem of assimilating them.

But he also betrays other misconceptions about subjects he should have thought through a little more carefully. In his new book, Mr. Hanson writes that the problem "has nothing to do with race," and he expands on that in his interview.

"Here in the Central Valley we have literally thousands of new immigrants of all races from southeast Asia, the Punjab, Armenia, and Mexico who arrived under lawful auspices, in numbers that do not overwhelm local facilities, and with the assumption that assimilation and acculturation alone promise success in their new country.

"A multiracial society works. But a multicultural one—whose separatist identity transcends the enriching and diverse elements of food, fashion, entertainment, music, etc.—whether in Rwanda or the Balkans—does not."

Well, now, in the first place (again), the legal status of immigrants has nothing to do with whether they assimilate or not.

In the second place, what Mr. Hanson is trying to claim here is – well—nonsense.

The "society" he is criticizing is a "multicultural" one precisely because it is "multiracial."  Where else does he imagine the "many cultures" the immigrants import come from?

The scientific jury may still be out on how much race determines or causes culture, but there`s no doubt that race carries culture—that you learn cultural traits mainly from the same people your ancestors and parents married. When you have millions (not thousands) of people of the same race living together, the result is that they plant their culture there. When you have several other races doing the same thing, the result is the multicultural (and simultaneously the multiracial) mess Mr. Hanson rightly dislikes.

Much of what the professor has to say is worth saying and reading, and it ought to jog a few brain cells even in what passes for the conservative mind at National Review these days.

But when Mr. Hanson [email him] roots out of his own mind a few more of his unexamined preconceptions about race, culture and immigration, you probably won`t be reading about it in National Review at all.

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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control.]