[Peter Brimelow writes: Is the Pope Catholic? Not much longer, if The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page has its way. Cardinal Biffi's humble suggestion that Italy ought to limit Muslim immigration ("we have to be concerned about saving the nation") drew an hysterical response this morning (September 25, 2000) - even before we had time to post Steve Sailer's analysis below. "Dark Temptation ... nativism and intolerance ... discrimination against Muslims ... an anti-Muslim crusade" - all this because someone suggests Italy has the right to control its own immigration policy? Note that Biffi did not mention racial balance (which VDARE thinks is a legitimate issue). He stuck entirely to culture - something the immigration enthusiasts usually claim will trump the risks of importing ethnic diversity. But now it turns out that even cultural identity is not acceptable. Combined with the absurdity of the factoids dredged up in a frantic effort to allay Christian concerns ("the Sultan of Oman recently allowed Catholics to start four new parishes" ...!!), the conclusion is unmistakable: what motivates the WSJ edit page writers is a pathological, very peculiar hatred of nationhood. "I think the nation-state is finished," Editor Bob Bartley told me in an unguarded moment some time ago. (Alien Nation, Round 2.) What he didn't add is that it is the WSJ Edit Page itself that intends to finish it.]
Italy is shaping up as an interesting test of whether anyone can advance the "National Question" without being lynched by the international "tolerance" jihad. Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition, campaigning primarily against illegal immigration, swept local elections several months ago. Now, with Vatican backing, a cardinal has called for a "Catholics-only" immigration policy for Italy. Cardinal Giacomo Biffi based his argument on a trenchant analysis of the cultural (not racial) roots of the Italian nation. The London Daily Telegraph (September 16, 2000) quotes him:
"The criteria for admitting immigrants can never be just economic. It is necessary to concern oneself seriously with saving the identity of the nation." Italy was not an "uninhabited region" lacking in history and traditions, which was fit to be "indiscriminately populated." While it could admit anyone it wanted, no one had a "right of invasion." He urged politicians to heed his words, since "not all of the cultures of those newly arrived are in favor of living together." ...
He said he had recently aired the same views with a government minister. "I said, 'If you really have the good of Italy at heart, and want to spare a lot of suffering, then you can't allow all the immigrants in.'" He said he had warned the minister that civil unrest would be one of the consequences if immigration was not religious-selective. He told the minister: "I'm surprised you still haven't thought things through." He added: "I don't know how you're going to cope with Friday as a holiday, polygamy, discrimination against women, and the fundamentalism of Muslims, for whom politics and religion are the same thing. Do your sums properly."
From a global PR perspective, Italy is a particularly favorable place for immigration reformers to advance the "National Question." It's so much harder to use the "Nazi!" slur there. Italy's handful of gestures toward racial expansionism under Mussolini are now viewed as more farcical than threatening. The spectacular talents of the Italians in the arts of joyful living are combined with an unthreatening and even endearing lack of efficiency in the military and economic realms.
All over the world, Italians are much better liked than the French, much less envied than the Anglo-Saxons, much less feared than the Germans. That may be why Berlusconi's recent victory elicited almost none of the hysterical reactions that Haider's advances in Austria did. Italians in other countries get along fairly well with other races. For example, Little Italy and Chinatown in NYC peacefully rubbed shoulders for a century. There are many articulate people around the world who very much want to see German culture overwhelmed and ultimately eradicated by masses of immigrants. But there is little sentiment in favor of destroying Italian culture, which has probably given more beauty to the world than any other.
Of course, if the Italians don't get their extremely low birthrates up, Italy eventually will be an "uninhabited region," fit only to be "indiscriminately populated." So immigration restriction may have to be combined with encouraging more babies.
September 25, 2000