The Arizona controversy has made clear just how embarrassingly the conventional wisdom-mongers have fallen for their own propaganda and really believe that Hispanics constitute an unstoppable electoral force.
For example, the Wall Street Journal headlined its story on its own poll on May 12:
Well, who wouldn't be against the Arizona law after all the bad things we've heard—over and over—about it?
The WSJ story begins:
"By a two-to-one margin Hispanics are more strongly opposed than Americans overall to the recent immigration measure signed in to law in Arizona that would make it a state crime to reside there illegally.
"Seven in 10, 70%, of Hispanic respondents said they are somewhat or strongly opposed to the law, compared with 34% of all respondents in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll set for release later today.
"Among Hispanics, 27% are somewhat or strongly supportive of Arizona's law; that compares with 64% of respondents overall."
Read that again, carefully. The actual main news in the WSJ/NBC poll of 1,000 adults is buried: it's that the overall American public supports the Arizona law by a 64-34 landslide. (Among those who hold a strong opinion on the subject, the ratio is a comparable 46-24.)
Similarly, a May 13 AP article by Alan Fram on AP-Univision polling began:
"Illegal immigrants are a boon, not a burden to the country, a resounding majority of Hispanics say, according to an Associated Press-Univision Poll that underscores sharp contrasts between the views of Hispanics and others. Most non-Hispanics say illegal immigrants are a drain on society.
"In addition, most Hispanics condemn Arizona's strict new law targeting undocumented immigrants, while only 20 percent of non-Hispanics oppose it."[AP-Univision Poll: Views on Arizona law divided along ethnic lines, May 13, 2010]
Huh? "Only 20% of non-Latinos oppose" the Arizona law? Isn't that the real story?
In journalistic parlance, the MSM is burying the lead.
These kind of articles make sense only if, like many in the Main Stream Media, you assume that Hispanics' votes are somehow more important than everybody' else's.
In reality, each vote (at least for now) counts the same.
And, on average Hispanics vote less often per capita. After all, many are in the country illegally (which doesn't seem to be that esoteric an observation). And many who have legal residency don't become citizens. And a large fraction of those who are citizens just don't bother to vote.
Nor has there been overwhelming evidence that those Hispanics who do vote care all that much about illegal immigrants. A whopping 47% of them voted for Arizona's Proposition 200 in 2004, for example, in the teeth of an earlier elite hysteria that included the then unborn-again John McCain.
But that hasn't stopped the media, the Latino elites they interview, the Democrats, and a sizable fraction of GOP top dogs, from trying to reduce the controversy over illegal immigration into an ethnic struggle.
Simple arithmetic would seem to suggest that's not a winning strategy. In the 2008 Presidential Election, according to the Census Bureau survey non-Hispanics cast 92.6 percent of the vote.
How did the conventional wisdom get so out of touch that these Arizona absurdities were uniformly believed by the press?
In modern America, Latinos often function as a sort of "stage army" for our elites. They want Hispanics to intimidate—by sheer bulk of numbers—the citizenry and make resistance to elite projects appear historically hopeless. The vast and seemingly always increasing quantities of Hispanics can be cited as justification for whatever a person in a position of influence wants to do.
Say you are the President of the United States and you are worried that what you consider your demographic bases—"young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women"—won't remember to show up to vote in 2010. So pick a fight over a state law and try to turn it into a racial conflict. Anybody who opposes you must be a racist, so you can't lose, right?
Or say you want a make-work sinecure as an ethnic studies instructor or diversity coordinator. Harp on the existence of nearly 50,000,000 Latinos in the U.S... Claim to be one of their natural leaders. Assert that Real Soon Now they are all going to get around to voting—and that, when they do, they will all agree with you that you should have an easy job.
Say you are a high school administrator who doesn't like the kind of students who wear American flag T-shirts to school. Well, punish them and blame it on the Latinos. Claim the Mexicans would riot if an American flag were seen on Cinco de Mayo—which is what has just happened at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California.
Having followed this issue closely for decades, I've come to the conclusion that there isn't much chance of Mexican elites in the U.S. organizing a powerful Quebec-style separatist movement.
There are two reasons: First, as Barack Obama decided in the 1980s after his lengthy consideration of Louis Farrakhan's black economic nationalism, there's no money in separatism. If Mexicans wanted to live in a separate country run by Mexicans, they would live in Mexico.
Second, Mexicans in the U.S. don't organize much of anything beyond the extended family or neighborhood level (such as a gang). LA Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez noted: "For example, in Los Angeles, home to more Mexicans than any other city in the U.S., there is not one ethnic Mexican hospital, college, cemetery or broad-based charity."[Mexican Americans Are Building No Walls, February 29, 2004]
On the other hand, the vast numbers of Mexicans in the U.S. due to legal and illegal immigration, the 1986 amnesty, and their high fertility serve the American left as a sort of mock mob, allowing American leftist elites to intimidate their rivals in all sorts of turf wars.
The American Left claims to have the vast Mexican masses on its side. They will (someday) vote in large numbers—so you'd better surrender now to them (or, to be precise, to their self-appointed leaders and allies).
Much of modern American leftism boils down to encouraging tribalistic attitudes among nonwhites. Clearly, some Mexican students in Morgan Hill's Live Oak high school interpreted their school's endorsement of multiculturalism through their own usual gang turf lens. Nor is it surprising that some American students, when exposed to these kind of school-sponsored Mexican assertions of cultural dominance, resist with subversive gestures, such as displaying American flags.
I have long argued that these racially fraught situations are used by upper middle class white liberals as class markers in order to put down their rivals of lower rank.
So if your kid goes to a school where Mexicans are dominant in numbers, and is therefore made uncomfortable by Mexican declarations of ascendancy, then that just shows to the white liberal mind that you and your kid are losers. Obviously, you can't afford private school or to live in an expensive school district, or you aren't smart enough to figure out how to manipulate the magnet and charter school rackets in order to get in with the right people.
It's a Perpetual Motion machine: if the elite-subsidized minority tribalism provokes the slightest sign of tribalistic reactions among the people who aren't allowed to express group pride—that is to say, Americans, citizens, whites, etc.—then that can be used to cram more expressions of elite-sponsored minority tribalism down the throats of the people who don't have their own approved tribe.
Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Let's review the common denominators between Morgan Hill's Live Oak H.S., a very average school, and the recent brouhaha over race and IQ at Harvard Law School, a very exclusive school, where a student was denounced by Harvard LS dean Martha Minow, [Email her] because she had expressed open-mindedness about racial difference in IQ in a private email that was leaked by a romantic rival.
Note that the mere existence of diversity in a school encourages thought crimes about the causes of different average levels of achievement, which can then be denounced in the name of diversity, Martha Minow-style.
For example, in highly diverse public high schools in California, it usually becomes quickly apparent to students that average school performance typically follows a remarkably common hierarchy: Asians, then whites, then English-speaking Latinos, then blacks, and finally non-English speaking Latinos. At Live Oak, whites average 799 on California's API scale, while Hispanics average 622.
It's very hard to remain oblivious to patterns this powerful.
Notice the elegance of the trap, however. If somebody without a privileged identity objects that the main reason non-Asian Minorities aren't performing up to the white average isn't "white racism", it's their own fault—well, that's just proof of their "white racism". And this shocking revelation of "white racism" therefore justifies even more quotas, disparate impact lawsuits, and elite-sponsored multiculti.
And if that encourages white Americans to start wondering whether they need to organize to protect their own rights in these ethnic conflicts, well, that's just more evidence that we need more quotas, etc.
Consequences inevitably flow from this structure of incentives. For example, Mexican and black students tend to develop an ethic of ethnic solidarity that says that the reason they don't do well on average is because they don't try hard to do well. And the reason they don't try hard, they believe, is because they know—as they've been told over and over—that the system is rigged against them by "white racism".
Elites in the education system encourage this self-destructive mindset with their constant hypersensitivity about the slightest manifestation of white ethnocentrism, such as wearing American flag shirts.
Even mentioning the fact of the obvious achievement gaps is considered treading very close to the line of racism. Since the gaps are so pervasive and persistent, a simple Occam's Razor explanation is always looming in everybody's minds. So there is much tension and hysteria as everybody tries to avoid letting slip that they have doubts that "white racism" is the only explanation.
Thus, the over-the-top denunciation of the Harvard law student who expressed in a private email the open-mindedness that so many Americans worry that they might accidentally let themselves reveal. By denouncing the crimethinker, they can demonstrate their loyalty to the reigning dogmas.
The other socially acceptable explanation for these gaps in average ethnic achievement is poverty and deprivation. Implication: it can be rectified by massive expenditures of (white) taxpayer dollars.
The game is rigged for the Left, so the Left always wins.
At least when crimethinkers back down and apologize. This is the real significance of Morgan Hill. The American students and their parents in behaved in a tactically superior fashion to, say, Larry Summers or James D. Watson—or the Harvard law school student, who immediately crumpled when denounced by Minow.
Instead, The Morgan Hill Five followed the game plan devised by police officer James Crowley and the Cambridge PD last summer when insulted by President Obama: Never apologize. When the diversicrats like Minow and Obama schedule you for a Two Minutes Hate, do not back down. These incidents are a test of power and courage. Stand tall and make them give in.
When crimethinkers stand their ground, well, then the ground begins to shift under everybody's feet.
[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]