The other day, Ted Lieu, a Democrat congressman from the Post-Golden State, tweeted at one of his Republican "colleagues":
Dear @RepScottPerry: Native-born Americans like you are no more American, and no less American, than an immigrant like me. And with every passing year, there will be more people who look like me in the US. You can't stop it. So take your racist replacement theory and shove it.
Mr Perry's Tweet is no longer "available", so I have no idea what he said. But Representative Lieu's response is the "Great Replacement" in a nutshell: It's a crazy conspiracy theory, and it's totally racist for you to mention it. But, if you do have to mention it, feel free to gloat. Mr Lieu does this brilliantly: it's nutso racey-racist conspiracy talk, but "you can't stop it", so "shove it", loser.
Like the congressman, I am an immigrant, but I am not sure I would say I was "no less American" than the native-born. I don't just mean legally, in that the constitution itself distinguishes between the privileges of the natural-born versus the naturalized: Mr Perry is eligible to be president, whereas Mr Lieu is not - although I would bet a canny petitioner could persuade the six-three "conservative" Supreme Court to toss that. But I mean the thought more generally: Most of my neighbors have deep roots in this soil, and I would regard it as very unseemly to go around bragging that my comparative blink of an instant in New Hampshire equates to those with ancient lopsided headstones in the town cemetery. I can't imagine standing up at Town Meeting and telling them that I'll be supplanting them and they've got no choice but to get used to it - so "shove it".
The Democrats announce upfront where they're headed - and the Republicans then profess to be blindsided when they act on it (as in HR1, court-packing, transgender sports, you name it). By contrast, he leaders of Conservative Inc, as I observed so many years ago now, are so good at folding they should be the White House valets: The so-called "America First" caucus has imploded at the first hostile news story, and Kevin McCarthy (not, alas, the heroic Kevin McCarthy of this masterpiece) has already decided his priority is to distance himself from "nativist dog whistles". "Dog whistle" is leftie lingo: Could Useless McArsepants at least get one of his six hundred staffers to find him a cliché of his own?
As usual, the Republican establishment is not advancing any arguments but simply waiting for the pendulum to swing so that they'll be back for another couple years until the pendulum swings again and they depart office having left no trace. Even for the stunted ambitions of the McCarthys and McConnells, that's not how politics work. Here is what I wrote, almost a decade ago, in the early days of Democrat argument about the "inevitability" of what was conscious public policy. From my syndicated column of November 16th 2012:
To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of Election Night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a "brown country." Her fellow Democrat Bob Beckel observed on several occasions that if the share of the "white vote" was held down below 73 percent, Mitt Romney would lose. In the end, it was 72 percent, and he did. Beckel's assertion – that if you knew the ethnic composition of the electorate you also knew the result – turned out to be correct.
This is what less-enlightened societies call tribalism: for example, in the 1980 election leading to Zimbabwe's independence, Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU-PF got the votes of the Ndebele people while Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF secured those of the Shona – and, as there were more Shona than Ndebele, Mugabe won. That same year America held an election, and Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. Nobody talked about tribal vote shares back then, but had the percentage of what Beckel calls the "white vote" been the same in 2012 as it was in 1980 (88 percent), Mitt Romney would have won in an even bigger landslide than Reagan. The "white vote" will be even lower in 2016, and so, on the Beckel model, Republicans are set to lose all over again.
Hence the urge to get on the right side of America's fastest-growing demographic. Only 27 percent of Hispanics voted for Romney. But all that could change if the GOP were to sign on to support some means of legalizing the presence of the 12-20 million fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community who are allegedly "social conservatives" and thus natural Republican voters. Once we pass amnesty, argues Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, "future immigrants will be more open to the Republican Party because, unlike many immigrants who are already here, they won't have been harmed or insulted by Republican politicians."
So, if I follow correctly, instead of getting 27 percent of the 10 percent Hispanic vote, Republicans will get, oh, 38 percent of the 25 percent Hispanic vote, and sweep to victory.
Everyone talks about this demographic transformation as if it's a natural phenomenon, like Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, I notice that many of those exulting in the inevitable eclipse of "white America" are the same people who assure me that demographic arguments about the Islamization of Europe are completely preposterous. But in neither the United States nor Europe is it a natural phenomenon. Rather, it's the fruit of conscious government policy.
According to the Census, in 1970 the "Non-Hispanic White" population of California was 78 percent. By the 2010 census, it was 40 percent. Over the same period, the 10 percent Hispanic population quadrupled and caught up with whites.
That doesn't sound terribly "natural" does it? If one were informed that, say, the population of Nigeria had gone from 80 percent black in 1970 to 40 percent black today, one would suspect something rather odd and unnatural had been going on. Twenty years ago, Rwanda was about 14 percent Tutsi. Now it's just under 10 percent. So it takes a bunch of Hutu butchers getting out their machetes and engaging in seven-figure genocide to lower the Tutsi population by a third. But, when the white population of California falls by half, that's "natural," just the way it is, one of those things, could happen to anyone.
Every four years, the Republican Party pines for another Reagan. But Ronald Reagan, governor of California for eight years, couldn't get elected in today's not-so-Golden State. Jerry Brown, Governor Moonbeam back in the Seventies, now presides as Governor Twilight, lead vampire of a malign alliance of unionized bureaucrats and a swollen dependency class that maintains them in office at the expense of a remorselessly shrinking productive class. As the nation's demographic profile trends ever more Californian, perhaps Norquist's predictions of naturally conservative Hispanics pining for a new Reagan will come to fruition. Or perhaps Bob Beckel's more crudely determinative analysis will prove correct – that, in a multicultural society, jostling identity groups will stick with the party of ethnocultural spoils.
Once upon a time, the Democrats thought differently. It was their first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson, who imposed the concept of "self-determination" on post-Great War Europe, insisting that the multicultural empires of the Habsburgs and Romanovs be replaced by a patchwork of ethnic statelets from the Balkans to the Baltic. He would be surprised to find his own party presiding over a Habsburgian America of bilingual Balkanization as a matter of electoral strategy.
California is not a small state: Its population is that of Belgium, Greece, Sweden and Portugal combined. And the swift, dizzying, demographic eclipse of the population in two generations is, as I suggested, unprecedented in any society not on the losing end of a catastrophic war.
Maybe it will all work out, but it doesn't seem to be, not if you need to get anywhere in Los Angeles in under two hours or you object to San Francisco's world leadership in sidewalk fecal matter. But before that is a more basic point: This is not how normal societies function. It is deeply weird, and it ought to be possible to question it. Instead it is any objection to this suicidal trendline that is presented as weird and, increasingly, forbidden to be uttered.
From another Big Picture column of a decade ago:
On the Continent, the shifting rationale for mass immigration may not illuminate much about the immigrants but it certainly tells you something about the natives: Originally, European leaders said, we needed immigrants to work in the mills and factories. But the mills and factories closed. So the new rationale was that we needed young immigrants to keep the welfare state solvent. But in Germany the Turks retire even younger than the Krauts do, and in France 65 percent of imams are on the dole. So the surviving rationale is that a dependence on mass immigration is not a structural flaw but a sign of moral virtue. The evolving justification for post-war immigration policy — from manufacturing to welfare to moral narcissism — is itself a perfect shorthand for Western decay.
Most of the above doesn't sound terribly "fiscal," because it's not. The ruinous debt is a symptom of our decline, not the cause. As Angela Merkel well understands every time she switches on the TV and sees a news report from Greece, culture trumps economics. I had a faintly surreal conversation with two Hollywood liberal pals not so long ago: One moment they were bemoaning all those right-wing racists like Pat Buchanan who'd made such a big deal about the crowd cheering for the Mexican team and booing the Americans at a U.S.–Mexico soccer match in Pasadena, and deploring the way the U.S. goalie had complained that the post-match ceremony was conducted entirely in Spanish. Ten minutes later they were sighing that nothing in Los Angeles seemed to work quite as well as it did when they first came out west over 40 years ago.
And it never occurred to them that these two conversational topics might somehow be connected.
Meanwhile, at Redwood Heights Elementary in Oakland, Californian kindergartners are put through "Gender Spectrum Diversity Training" in order to teach them that there are "more than two genders."
The social capital of a nation is built up over centuries but squandered in a generation or two. With blithe self-confidence, the post-war West changed too much too fast. We changed everything, and yet we'll still wonder why everything's changed.
That's from my "Happy Warrior" column, July 18th 2011. A decade on, all conservative "leaders" like Kevin McCarthy can propose is that his team surrender even more language to people who have successfully painted him into a two-by-three corner where there is nothing he can say about anything other than tax cuts.
~It was a very busy weekend at SteynOnline, beginning with the Friday edition of The Mark Steyn Show, covering everything from California's New Racism and segregated funerals to northern guns and the unreal estate market, plus William McGonagall, D H Lawrence, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. On Saturday, as the Duke of Edinburgh was laid to rest, we continued our audio serialization of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade with a look back to a far more convulsive week of Royal obsequies. My weekend movie date was Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and our Sunday song selection was the most performed and recorded song ever written by a woman. Our marquee presentation was the launch of my latest Tale for Our Time - The Scarlet Plague by Jack London. Part Two airs tonight. Please do dial us up.
If you were too busy suppressing the vote all weekend long, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.