Goldberg Recants On Nativism—Or Does He?
July 19, 2001, 05:00 AM
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From:  Jonah Goldberg  

Read the Goldberg / Gottfried Exchange

While I am amused and a bit flattered by VDARE`s growing popularization of the terms "Goldbergism" and "Goldbergists" I have to tell you that I think Mr. Fulford doesn`t know what he`s talking about.

He writes: "But nativism in the U. S. is considered by Goldbergists to be an absolute evil, just a step above Nazism. In fact, they seem to have the two confused. Both words start with the same two letters, don`t they? What more evidence do you need?"

If Mr. Fulford can offer a single sentence from me that suggests I equate Nativism with Nazism I would very much like to see it. If he can`t find sucha sentence—and he can`t—I will settle for one in which I suggest Nativism is an "absolute evil." He will have a hard time there as well. I do not think Nativism is evil, just for the most part wrong.  

Regardless, it seems to me that it is the Nativists who leap to the conclusion that the charge is a slur. When I referred to Mr. Gottfried`s work as a "nativist screed"—an accurate description and not an insult by my lights and by Mr. Fulford`s definition—Mr. Gottfried wrote me "While on the subject of gripes, I did not appreciate your reference to me ... as a "nativist." That`s a crap accusation, like "anti-Semite," that your neocon friends keep throwing at everyone on their right."

While it seems clear that Mr. Fulford finds me wrong for calling Mr. Gottfried a nativist, and so does Mr. Gottfried. I cannot for the life of me figure out whether Mr. Fulford thinks being a nativist is good or bad.  For reasons unknown to me, his essay doesn`t clarify the question.

So I will be clear. Nativists aren`t Nazis—or anything close. And I never said they were. Perhaps your slips are showing more than mine when you leap to the conclusion that being called a nativist is the same thing as being called a Nazi. But that`s your problem.

VDARE replies: Needless to say, we are delighted at Jonah Goldberg`s pronouncement that "nativists" (i.e. immigration reform advocates) are not Nazis. This is a major development in the unveiling of Goldbergism`s impressive ideological structure. Presumably, it will be followed by some attempt (at last) to grapple with reformers` actual arguments - such as immigration`s failure to bring aggregate economic benefit to Americans, or its destabilizing of the American political balance.

Or will it? Look at Jonah`s last three paragraphs. You skipped over them, they`re hard to follow. Is he insinuating that the reason immigration reformers don`t like being called nativists/ Nazis is because they have a guilty conscience - that in fact they are nativists/ Nazis after all?

Dear us, so he is.

Maybe he just can`t help himself.

July 19, 2001