JOHN DERBYSHIRE: The Open Borders Crazies’ Real Motive—“We Are All Guilty!”
Print Friendly and PDF

I’ve been having some ongoing conversations with readers about our open southern border.

I started this two weeks ago with Defy The Open Borders Crazies—Whatever Their Motivation!  A speech by Biden Administration operative Katie Tobin had suggested to me that their motive really was what I have called ”Honest economic boosterism,” with just a dash of moralizing.

But my correspondents are pretty unanimous that I didn’t sufficiently stress the ideological aspect (see A Reader Has More Answers For John Derbyshire On ”What Is Driving The Open Borders Movement?” and my May Diary).

They have persuaded me: I didn’t.

Let me give an illustration.

It’s not uncommon for Social Justice Warriors to refer to me as ”anti-immigrant” [John Derbyshire Disgusts Me, by Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones, October 18, 2007].

That always strikes me as weird—even weirder than usual for Social Justice Warriors, and their ”usual” is already pretty weird.

I am an immigrant. My wife is an immigrant. Around one in three of our friends are immigrants. My boss is an immigrant. So according to these accusers I am anti-myself, anti-Mrs. Derbyshire, anti-one-third of our friends, and anti–Peter Brimelow. Say what?

After a while I figured out what’s going on here. The word ”immigrant” is not being used with its dictionary meaning—its meaning in law, in common usage, its prosaic meaning.

It’s being used as an ideological marker for victimhood.

The essence of an ideology is that it divides humanity into oppressors and victims. In the biggest and most lethal twentieth-century ideology, Marxist-Leninist communism, the oppressors were capitalists, the victims were the working classes.

In Critical Race Theory the oppressors are of course white people, the victims are blacks. I’m not sure where other races fit into the schema. Korean storekeepers I think are white-adjacent, and therefore oppressors [Trouble in Store,  by Jonathan Rieder, New Republic, July 2, 1990]. South Asians I’m not sure about at all.

Critical Race Theory is, however, a not-very-coherent attempt to make a rigid formal system out of a vague, cloudy cast of mind: the cast of mind that sees poor people in dysfunctional countries as victims—victims of less-poor people in better-governed countries.

So Venezuelans, Haitians, and Guatemalans are victims of middle-class Americans. ”Immigrant” in this usage is just a code word for ”victim”; ”anti-immigrant” is code for ”oppressor.”

Victims are of course morally superior to their oppressors. That sound you hear from up above is old Fred Nietzsche chuckling.

Sorry, I’m still under the influence of that wonderful magazine The New CriterionThe June issue just arrived yesterday. The influencer in this case is tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

You don’t expect to see Silicon Valley billionaires sounding off in highbrow journals of literature and the arts. But Thiel can do it with the best of ’em:

At the end of his life, when Nietzsche was going insane, he said something along the lines of, ”God of the Jews, you have won.” By this remark he meant that the modern West would be a world ruled by the victim.

In one sense Nietzsche’s intuition was correct. When modern man stares into the abyss, it’s the abyss of the unforgettable victim, now barely clinging to its Judeo-Christian heritage. But was the development Nietzsche foresaw inevitable? Or did it depend on the tacit acceptance, on some level, of certain distortions to the Judeo-Christian tradition, which Nietzsche and his successors fundamentally misunderstood?

[The diversity myth, June 2023]

Deep waters here. But you don’t have to dive into academic philosophy to see the destructive effects of this ideology as applied to immigration.

It’s now indisputably clear that the Biden Administration is determined to bring in as many border-jumpers as they can, without limit or restraint: currently somewhere north of two million a year, but next year perhaps five million, even ten million. They will all be given accommodation, work permits, healthcare, education for their kids… and, ultimately, the vote.

Some of them will then proceed to make themselves a lethal danger to their neighbors. Right here where I live, New York’s Suffolk County, an illegal alien from El Salvador, name of Anthony Gutierrez Meza, just pleaded guilty for his part in the beating, murder, and mutilation of another wetback [MS-13 member Anthony Gutierrez Meza pleads guilty to deadly bat beating that left teen ‘nearly unrecognizable,’ by Haley Brown, NY Post, May 31, 2023].

Some others will just be lethal dangers to themselves, like the two who died from drug overdoses outside one of the emergency shelters New York City has established to handle the influx of scofflaws:

”We were saddened to learn about the tragic death this week of two asylum seekers found outside of a facility in Brooklyn where the city is providing migrants shelter,” a City Hall spokesperson said.

[2 asylum seekers found dead in car outside NYC mega migrant shelter: cops, New York Post, June 2, 2023]

It’s sad, you see, so sad. They are victims, poor helpless victims, just seeking asylum.

We middle-class white Americans are their oppressors.

As the great Dr. Heinz Kiosk (right) was already telling us fifty years ago in Michael Wharton’s London Daily TelegraphPeter Simple” column: ”We are guilty, all guilty!”

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

Print Friendly and PDF