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Ayn Rand on Immigration
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The people at the Ayn Rand Institute urge us to “dismantle the entire bureaucracy of immigration restrictions. Open the doors. Let them in.”  They deduce this from Ayn Rand’s philosophy by claiming that any restriction on immigration violates individual rights.
Further, they say that Rand herself agreed with them: “she was a staunch defender of free speech and immigration ... .”  Staunch as in watertight, steadfast, immovable. Immigration as in unrestricted immigration. Rand, they imply, believed foreigners have as much right to migrate across our border as you have to speak freely within it.
The collected essays of Ayn Rand fill nine volumes: For the New Intellectual, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, The Romantic Manifesto, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Philosophy: Who Needs It, The Voice of Reason, and The Ayn Rand Column. In all this work here is what she wrote about immigration:[This space intentionally left blank.]
There is nothing. Ayn Rand wrote literally nothing on the subject of immigration. 
You might think a staunch defender of something would have devoted a paragraph or two defending it. Undaunted, ARI combed through Rand’s unprepared remarks following her lectures, when she answered questions from the audience whether about the lecture or not. Out of all these impromptu Q&A, ARI found one about immigration, from 1973. In it Rand defended open immigration. To an ARI writer this lonely off-the-cuff Q&A proves that she was a staunch defender of open immigration, which today, over forty years later, means mass Third World immigration.
ARI’s adjective staunch is inappropriate when all they can produce is this one instance, and from a Q&A period at that.  Before we look at it in detail first a general observation. Though confused is not an adjective one normally associates with Ayn Rand, sometimes what she said was less than clear, especially when spoken extemporaneously under time pressure or to a hostile audience. Indeed, sometimes what she said went beyond confused.
A few examples:(2) When asked what she thought of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer who had written exposés of the Soviet prison camp system and of the Soviet army in Germany during World War II – whatever his intellectual errors a brave man who helped bring down the Soviet Union though Rand didn’t live to see it – she excoriated him from beginning to end, nary a word of praise or gratitude for anything he had done. She said the rulers of the Soviet Union were better than he was. (3) When asked what she thought of the artwork of Maxfield Parrish, she replied with one word: “Trash.” 
(1) At a time when the USSR and the USA had ICBMs pointed at each other’s cities Rand was asked how, in a war that Russia had started, she would “resolve the dilemma” of “murdering” Russians who opposed the Soviet leadership. Most of her answer is unobjectionable. She said the question incorrectly assumes that “an individual inside a country can be made secure from the social system under which he lives” but unfortunately she continued: “and which he accepts, willingly or unwillingly, even if he’s fighting it he still accepts, he hasn’t left the country.” Apparently everyone has a choice and patriotism is out the window. Later, perhaps in response to some grumbling from the audience, she said: “... the Soviet citizens who are innocent, [here she becomes very intense] I hope someday will be destroyed in a proper war along with the guilty. There aren’t very many innocent ones; and they’re not in the big cities, they’re mainly in concentration camps.” ARI would have you believe Rand might as well have written this nonsense in an essay, and published it to the world and to posterity. 
What Ayn Rand said in an informal oral reply, without corroboration in writing that she published, should be excluded from her corpus. However interesting and thought provoking it might be, it should not be considered part of her philosophy or an example of its application. She was a brilliant woman but at times even a genius can say, or even write, something ill-considered. Rand was not infallible. 
This brings us to that lonely discovery of ARI’s: Rand advocating mass Third World immigration – so they claim, while casting a discrete shadow over “mass Third World.” Though what she said is not as bad as that, it is awful.
The place and time was the Ford Hall Forum, Boston 1973.  There is a gap in the published recording when the audience member asked his question. The moderator repeats the question in his own words:
At this point the original questioner interrupts to repeat the second part of his question: “Aren’t you asking a person to act against his own self-interest ... [inaudible].” The moderator repeats, not too coherently:
“What is your attitude towards open immigration and what is your attitude towards the effect it may have upon the standard of living in this country? And does not this require that the answer is that you are, uh, opposed to both—”
“Aren’t you asking a person to act in connection with his own self-interest in connection with his decision as to what to advocate?”As with her hopeful destruction of the innocent in Russia, we provide a faithful transcript of Rand’s answer (as we have for the question) rather than rely on ARI’s paraphrase in Ayn Rand Answers. For clarity and ease of reference we divide it into three paragraphs. The emphasis is hers, the bracketed account of her tone of voice ours.
“You don’t apparently know what my position on self interest is.
“I have never advocated that anyone has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force. If you close the border to forbid immigration on grounds that it lowers your standard of living – which certainly is not true, but even assuming it were true – you have no right to bar others. Therefore to claim it’s your self-interest is an irrational claim. You are not entitled to any self-interest which injures others, and the rights of others, and which you cannot prove in fact, in reality to be valid. You cannot claim that anything that others may do – not directly to you but simply through competition let us say – is against your self interest and therefore you want to stop competition dead. That is the kind of self-interest you are not entitled to. It is a contradiction in terms and cannot be defended.
“But above all, aren’t you dropping a more personal context? [At this point she begins to become intense.] How could I
ever advocate that immigration should be restricted [becomes very intense] when I wouldn’t be alive today if it were
About her last statement. Ayn Rand came to the U.S. legally in 1926, two years after passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 which restricted immigration even more severely than the Act of 1921 – and in those days immigration law was enforced. Her premise, that immigration was not restricted when she came here and later when she obtained citizenship, is simply not true.
Furthermore, she was wrong to insinuate that she would be a hypocrite to advocate restrictions on immigration. Prospective immigrants are not all equal, some are of higher quality than others. But even ignoring that fact consider an analogy. Suppose Rand were on a boat that is beginning to capsize from the weight of additional passengers. Even assuming that the new passengers are of the same quality as the ones already aboard, is she forbidden to point out that the boat is about to sink, and help pull up the ladder ? Immigration is not a subjective issue or a question of personal context, it is a question of fact and truth. 
About the second paragraph of Rand’s answer. The beginning is hard to follow: she says that one must not advocate laws that are in one’s self interest or use force in one’s self interest. She couldn’t have meant her concept of self-interest. All laws should be in one’s self-interest, correctly construed, and force is necessary at times to defend oneself. This is eminently rational. She goes on to explain. In so many words she says that restricting immigration is never in your authentic self-interest, that any restriction on immigration constitutes aggression against foreigners. Preventing a foreigner’s entry is not defensive force but the initiation of force.
To put it another way: The questioner and his sympathizers are the bad guys, not the invading migrants they would keep out. It is the same line sold by ARI and which we argue against elsewhere on this website. Contrary to both ARI and Ayn Rand, in unison for a change, illegal migrants are the ones initiating force. And today few of them are like us. Ayn Rand was wrong – very wrong – in this Q&A of yesteryear.
She doesn’t come right out and say that immigration law – and borders, and countries – ought to be abolished, which makes what she did say all the more confusing.
The effect of mass Third World immigration on standard of living, in the sense of income, is a side issue. Pleasant surroundings is more important than wealth. Regardless of economic considerations immigration should be severely restricted. 
The questioner must be faulted for asking about standard of living (which Ayn Rand apparently took to mean wages and salary) instead of quality of life. The economy is the least of our worries. Unrestricted immigration is a tool of the left, and the left’s goal is far more comprehensive than merely economic destruction. The questioner may have realized this, despite the form of his question. Many people find it difficult to come right out and say culture and demography so they resort to referring to it in a roundabout way, implicitly. They speak of illegal immigration when they mean all immigration, they speak of our economy when they mean our culture, they speak of anything, anything except race.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly: the left wants an open border not from any benevolent humanitarian motive. They want it in order to destroy our way of life, and they will use every moral sounding argument however specious to get you, the victim, to sanction it. 
In the first paragraph of her answer Rand accuses the questioner of ignorance, saying he doesn’t know her concept of self-interest. Even though Rand knew her own concept she failed to apply it correctly in the difficult case of immigration. To repeat, if she meant what she said, Ayn Rand was wrong.
America gave her succor, and she shows her gratitude by saying the hell with you. This, in effect, is what the Ayn Rand Institute would have you believe was her considered position.-oOo-
Ayn Rand had the benefit of the Immigration Act of 1924 all her life here, from her arrival in 1926, to 1968 when it was repealed, to a dozen or so years beyond that before the consequence of its end became evident. When, four and a half decades ago, Ayn Rand answered that question about immigration, her experience was with European immigration, which then meant white immigration – and at a slow and measured rate. 
The Immigration Act of 1965 (passed that year but going into effect in 1968, part of the bogus civil rights movement of the insane sixties), along with a breakdown in the enforcement of what immigration law there was, started the flow of the Third World into America. In 1973, the year of the Q&A, the flow was but a trickle. A few years later the trickle had become a flood, but the effect was not easy to see until the late 1970s – for someone living in an upscale Manhattan apartment even later. Rand died in early 1982 having never experienced the effect of the pernicious nonsense she once uttered.
In that isolated and today anachronistic statement Rand was of the same ilk as the leftists she had criticized. She conceded the major premise of the enemy, that Somalis, Pakistanis, Siamese and whatnot are just us outside the border, in and out interchangeable, so let them in. Were we to take Rand’s ad-lib and should-have-been ephemeral Q&A as definitive, as her considered and final word, we would have to regard her as an enemy of us and of our country. America, and indeed the entire Western world, finds itself in a disaster today because of such intellectuals of yesteryear. They had a good time living in a predominately white world pretending they were fighting on the side of virtue, and left us to deal with the consequences of their work.
However our point is that this isolated snap remark of Rand’s does not represent her considered and final thought. It is not staunch, it is not immovable. It – and her misplaced anger – should be buried along with her other mistakes. It does not belong in the Ayn Rand corpus.  
You can be saddled with every single utterance of Ayn Rand, or you can think for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Few Objectivists romanticize tobacco, think a woman president out of bounds, or that the work of Maxfield Parrish is trash.
We have emphasized the shabby provenance and isolated nature of the Q&A that the Ayn Rand Institute waves around to get you to support your own destruction. But that is only frosting on our main point. If Ayn Rand had written five books of essays advocating open borders, her position would still be wrong. Whatever she might have claimed and argued, her core philosophy does not entail unrestricted immigration. Europe and America are drowning in the altruism of open borders, and in conjunction with historical and cultural facts it is precisely her philosophy which proves the evil of it.-oOo-
So much for the essays (nothing) and the Q&A (one problematic outlier). What of the novels and other fictional works? Sometimes Rand’s characters make speeches that are equivalent to essays. (She collected the longer ones in For the New Intellectual.) In all the novels no one gives an immigration speech.  Praise for flooding the U.S. with Asians, Africans and Amerindians is noticeably absent.
Were any of her characters themselves immigrants? Setting aside the Soviet agent in the play Think Twice, only two major characters are described as foreign born, both in Atlas Shrugged: Ragnar Danneskjold, from Norway (his description would do justice to a Norse god), and Francisco d’Anconia, from Argentina.
Ah ha ! A Third World immigrant – at least a resident visa holder – and a hispanic to boot, maybe even a mestizo! Well no, not a mestizo. The trouble for cultural leftists is that Rand goes out of her way to make Francisco white: “Nobody described his appearance as Latin, yet the word applied to him, not in its present, but in its original sense, not pertaining to Spain, but to ancient Rome. ... [She begins to describe an ancient Roman’s appearance, using such words as “gauntness.”] His features had the fine precision of sculpture. His hair was black and straight, swept back. The suntan of his skin intensified the startling color of his eyes: they were a pure, clear blue.” Not exactly your typical hispanic. Not even Telemundo could pull it off. 
Speaking of appearances, the eyes of Rand’s heroes and heroines run to blue, cobalt, green, and gray; the hair to blond, gold, red and chestnut. Doubtless this was a clever ruse by a master propagandist to get the reader to accept the browning of the West. Hey, it’s just a suntan. I’m being sarcastic.
Rand took for granted the European sense of human physical beauty. The setting of Atlas Shrugged is an idealized version of America as it had been when Rand composed the novel in the 1940s and 50s, projected into a dystopian future of indefinite date. Cultural leftists sneer at the story for its anglo-saxon atmosphere, which they disparage by an acronym spelling an obnoxious insect and whose adjectival form means petulant. The initial W originally stood for wealthy, now it’s redundant. The final P stood for Protestant, now it’s a vestigial tail. When a cultural leftist says WASP what he hates is whites, rich or poor, Protestant or whatever, just so they aren’t Jews. 
So much for the novels: no immigration speeches, and a background that immigration enthusiasts such as Tim Wise hopes will disappear completely and forever. -oOo-
We mentioned the Immigration Act of 1965, written by Norbert Schlei, introduced into Congress by Emanuel Celler and Philip Hart, championed by Edward Kennedy, and signed into law by Lyndon Johnson – committed, extreme leftists every one. Ayn Rand was publishing The Objectivist Newsletter during congressional debate over the bill. What did she or the other newsletter writers have to say about it?
Again nothing. Rand was silent during this epochal moment in American history.
The restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 had been a “bottom up” affair, created by popular demand. The Act of 1965 that rescinded it (in 1968) was “top down” – created by a leftist elite and foisted on the public by a bought and paid for Congress. During the debate the leftists outdid themselves lying about the nature and consequences of the bill. Kennedy assured us that:
“… our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same … Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset … Contrary to the charges in some quarters, S. 500 will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and economically deprived nations of Africa and Asia.”As the youngsters say: Yeah, right. For more promises of the bill’s promoters – a must read for anyone interested in the history of our immigration disaster – see footnote .
Rand might have been taken in by the lies and so thought the bill unimportant. Another possible reason for her silence, a more likely one, is that, because she had surrounded and insulated herself with people no better than Leonard Peikoff, she was intentionally un- or mis-informed about the bill. Or she may have liked the bill – at last the gates of Vienna shall be opened – but was unwilling to defend it publicly.
Heaps of opprobrium on Rand for letting this moment pass without warning or comment. This guardian of our culture was asleep on the job.-oOo-
Suppose in 1926 circumstances had been different. Suppose in this alternate universe Rand is not allowed into the U.S, or is forced to return to England and then to Russia. Harry Binswanger and others at ARI make the following argument: We must accommodate the combined masses of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, Central and South America in order to save Ayn Rand. With that cockamamie argument our country would perish and we along with it, including any Ayn Rands.
In this alternate universe, what of Rand’s (then) probably nonexistent contribution to philosophy? Though she was the most eloquent, thorough and consistent, others had pointed out the moral superiority of capitalism and the virtue of selfishness properly construed. Philosophy is not invention, it is discovery. The cult of personality so evident at the Ayn Rand Institute – look at their website – would have you believe that truth is wedded to her person rather than to the objective world.
If Objectivism meant cultural leftist propaganda, which is what the Ayn Rand Institute wants you to believe, better for us if Ayn Rand had been kept out of the country. We can recover from “the New Deal,” “the Great Society,” “the War on Poverty,” “the War on Terrorism,” we will never recover from being overwhelmed and replaced.
The leftists are finally winning by a War on Historic America waged by occupation. The loudest of the cheerleaders for this conquest by immigration are at the self-styled “Ayn Rand Institute.” From the cataract of ideas and eloquence produced by Ayn Rand over her career these hucksters grub a few poisonous words and push them for all they’re worth.
0 In The Art of Non-fiction.
1 The Undercurrent, December 17, 2013. For more in the same line see ARI on Immigration on this website.
2 From the ARI Op-Ed “A Liberal Ayn Rand?” by Onkar Ghate, November 2, 2012.
3 Including the work by the other authors she published in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist.
This is part of a larger gap in Objectivist theory. Rand published hardly anything about practical politics – political science – as opposed to political philosophy. What is a nation? Who should be able to vote? What is the purpose of a country’s border? Concerning migrants: who, when, how many, how long, under what conditions, citizenship? She never addressed questions like these.
There is a hint about nationhood in her essay “Collectivized ‘Rights,’ ” (The Objectivist Newsletter 1963, reprinted in The Virtue of Selfishness). She wrote (emphasis hers):
“A free nation – a nation that recognizes, respects and protects the individual rights of its citizens – has a right to its territorial integrity, its social system and its form of government. The government of such a nation ... has no rights other than the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific, delimited task (the task of protecting them from physical force, derived from their right of self-defense).”And that
“Such a nation has a right to its sovereignty (derived from the rights of its citizens) and a right to demand that its sovereignty be respected by all other nations.”It is reasonable to conclude that a free nation has the right to demand that its sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected by foreign individuals as well as foreign nations. Unfortunately she didn’t elaborate.
4 This must be the Q&A that Mary Ann Sures refers to in Facets of Ayn Rand.
5 From the Ford Hall Forum 1976 Q&A, transcribed directly from a recording. The various paraphrases of this Q&A – claimed to be transcriptions – that ARI has placed on the Internet at various times cannot be trusted. The version in ARI’s book Ayn Rand Answers is pretty much correct, though Robert Mayhew edits some of what she said to read “I hope the ‘innocent’ are destroyed along with the guilty” when in fact there was no mocking inflexion in her voice when she said “innocent.”
Here is some of the valid part of her answer. The question was, paraphrasing: Suppose Russia attacked the U.S. and the U.S. attacked in turn, “murdering” a Russian who opposed the regime. How would you “resolve the dilemma?”
“My guess is that the trick here is context dropping. ... The idea that others should respect that man’s right and collapse to aggression themselves, in other words not be [sic, be a] God damned pacifist who will not fight, even when attacked, because [mocking tone of voice] ‘they might kill innocent people’ ... . But right or wrong, nobody must put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self-defense, for [mocking tone of voice] “fear of hurting somebody else’ guilty or innocent. ... If you have one ounce of self-esteem, you will answer him by force, never mind who he is or who’s behind him.”
All of which is relevant to illegal immigrants and the question “What if so and so is kept out?”
6 Again from the Ford Hall Forum 1976 Q&A.
All I know first hand about Solzhenitsyn is from photos of his depressing physiognomy, a transcript of his Harvard address “The Exhausted West,” and his essay “Stop the Presses.” Other than that I have read only biographical articles and reviews of his work. For example: His New York Times obituary
www.nytimes.com/2008/08/04/books/04solzhenitsyn.html The Wikipedia article about his major non-fiction work The Gulag Archipelago
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gulag_Archipelago “Solzhenitsyn Wasn’t Western”
by Lee Congdon, a critical review of The Other Solzhenitsyn by Daniel Mahoney
Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, a history and analysis of the Bolshevik / Soviet labor camp system, was published in the West in 1973, so Rand might have known about it when asked her opinion of him. Though she did not mention the book she concluded her answer by pointing out that the enemy of one’s enemy is not necessarily one’s friend.
Though there is much to criticize about Solzhenitsyn, for example his anti-industrial agrarianism and the worst of his religiosity, still I think Rand exaggerated his iniquity. The quotes below are transcribed directly from a recording of her answer.
She begins: “... [Becomes intense:] lower than the rulers of Russia stands Mr Solzhenitsyn. [Becomes extraordinarily intense:] He is the worst public caricature of a monster that has emerged in this age ... .”
She asked people to read “the letter which he sent to the Soviet authorities shortly before he was deported. They were right to get rid of him.” She went on to say, apparently thinking of such a creature on the loose outside Russia: But “It’s the world’s loss to be saddled with that sort of thing.”
Earlier, because his fame overseas had made it difficult to execute him publicly, the Soviet authorities tried to assassinate Solzhenitsyn but he survived the attempt.
Solzhenitsyn had sent the letter Rand mentioned to a number of top Soviet officials. She makes the mistake of taking it at face value. What you say to your jailers is not always what you think. It would be fruitless to ask such men to commit suicide directly. Solzhenitsyn had written the Soviets that “it is not authoritarianism itself that is intolerable, but the ideological lies that are daily foisted upon us.” Rand turned this into: he “wants Russia to remain a dictatorship but a dictatorship run by the Russian Orthodox church.” What he did do is urge the Soviet leaders to permit freedom of speech to writers, which (unstated) would be the end of the Soviet leaders eventually. Ayn Rand implied that, being a writer himself, he said this because he wanted to set himself up as the member of an elite. She lamented that “That horrible, pretentious person is hailed as some kind of hero.”
In 1925 when Rand was still living in the Soviet Union she wrote the booklet Pola Negi, a biography of the American actress (Rand’s first published work by the way). In spots she used Marxist terminology and expressed anti-capitalist views. It is doubtful this booklet was entirely sincere; she may have been angling for a visa to visit America, ostensibly to study the film industry. The point is that writing published under the eye of a dictatorship cannot be taken at face value, and certainly not writing addressed to that leadership. She of all people should have known this.
Much of what Rand claimed was in Solzhenitsyn’s letter flies in the face of what he wrote elsewhere. She denounced him as a communist and a slavophile (a term from the 19th century meaning someone who wanted the Russian Empire to adhere to the values of its early history and who opposed Western Europen influence). In fact he was not a communist. He did criticize various aspects of the West today, some of which criticism it deserves (horror and violence in movies for example). Despite his errors I don’t think his work ought to be completely dismissed. The Soviet leadership was not better than the author of The Gulag Archipelago which exposed that leadership’s history more thoroughly than anyone had before and which proved an important factor in its undoing.
If Rand knew the dissident work of the Russian mathematician Igor Shafarevich it would be interesting to compare her opinion of him with what Solzhenitsyn said in his Harvard address of 1978 “The Exhausted West”:
Shafarevich “has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism [or The Socialist Phenomenon]; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind unto death.”
And from his book The Gulag Archipelago :
“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
7 Ford Hall Forum 1977 Q&A. Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), an American painter, was very popular at the turn of the century. He developed a unique layered glazing technique. Besides painting for standalone reproductions he illustrated books and magazine stories, where he didn’t always get to choose the subject. A sample of his work: 1.bp.blogspot.com/-RWrksY4tM9g/Ts_dWg6NgZI/AAAAAAAAp_k/U3cupezJDrM/s1600 www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqU3iO2REN8
8 In her talk “Of Living Death” given at the Ford Hall Forum 1968, which analyzed the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, Rand claimed that a woman who is capable of having children yet chooses not to is acting (per Objectivist philosophy) selfishly. She neglected to make any qualification to this, by itself, outrageous statement.
She begins with what might be called a slanted frame: “A large number of militant mystics disapprove of childless couples.” This insinuates that some couples rightly decide not to have children – which is true, some of them are right. She knows the listener will think “bad people disapprove of good things” even though it is a fallacious argument. (She could have started by simply saying: I am going to consider childless couples.) She continues: “People who do not want to have children, they [the mystics] say, are selfish.” Before, a charitable interpretation was some childless couples, now it seems like all of them. She continues: “This is true. [Laughter from the audience, who are in on the joke.] Here the word selfish is used with the proper Objectivist meaning. It does not mean the conventional rule that sacrifices others to himself. It means the man of self-esteem who refuses to be a sacrificial animal.” What comes next stands by itself:
“When you bring children into the world, you sacrifice your own sovereignty and become a means to an end. The end, the primary concern, are the children.”
Thus having a child is like going into slavery. If you have children you are evil.
This excerpt from her talk is from start to finish absurd. I’m glad to say that she left it out in the printed version she published in The Objectivist journal (posthumously reprinted in The Voice of Reason).
Rand said something foolish, then corrected it – by deleting it – later.
Another blunder of Rand’s was her publishing Edith Efron’s largely favorable review of one of the most malevolent books ever written, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, a repulsive piece of trash (her book too). Efron’s review appeared in The Objectivist Newsletter July 1963 soon after Friedan’s book was published. Rand never printed a retraction, but some years later she wrote an article part of which, though not mentioning the book directly, criticized its ideas, which by that time had metastasized.
9 Coincidentally 1973 was the year that Jean Raspail’s novel The Camp of the Saints came out in France (Le Camp des Saints). At that time in the U.S. the immigration disaster was but a cloud on the horizon no bigger than a man’s hand – to add another biblical phrase to that of the title – and in Europe the cloud wasn’t much larger.
The novel tells of migrants flooding out of Asia, Africa and other Third World areas and welcomed into an altruistic France, then the rest of Europe and the U.K., then the U.S., and the resulting end of Western civilization.
It was translated into English in 1977. In 2011 – forty years later when everyone but the brain dead could see what was happening – it became a bestseller.
ARI repeated Rand’s answer (or rather Robert Mayhew’s paraphrase of it) in a blog entry dated February 7, 2017, and included a black and white stock photo of a shipboard group waving at Ellis Island. All of them are European at a time when that meant white. (The island closed as an immigrant gateway in 1954.) Carl Svanberg introduces the quote: “With the ongoing debate about Trump’s [Muslim] immigration ban in mind, it’s worth revisiting Ayn Rand’s thoughts on immigration.”
10 Peter Brimelow, of VDare.com, makes this point in his talk:
“Is Immigration a Problem? Are the Minutemen the Answer?”
The Miller Center, June 16, 2005.
His talk begins at 6:30 into the recording.
Audio only (mp3): web1.millercenter.org/forums/audio/for_2005_0616_brimelow.mp3
Video (RealPlayer): web1.millercenter.org/forums/video/rm/for_2005_0616_brimelow.rm
(Speaking of the Minutemen Project, which opposes illegal immigration, Yaron Brook, who supports illegal immigration and amnesty, debated the executive director of the California Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, Carl Braun, at UCLA on May 1, 2007, after a rescheduling and beefed up security due to threats of violence from the SDS over hosting Braun. This was a year after Mexican drug cartels had offered a $50,000 bounty for the murder of Minutemen leaders [“Mr. Smith Goes to Sacramento: Tim Donnelly vs. California’s Treason Elite” www.vdare.com/articles/mr-smith-goes-to-sacramento-tim-donnelly-vs-californias-treason-elite ].)
The following, from Larry Auster’s The Path to National Suicide, applies not only to the descendents of immigrants but to immigrants themselves. An immigrant isn’t required to have more allegiance to future prospective immigrants than to America. When America let him in he didn’t agree in return to subvert America’s national existence.
“As a descendant of Eastern Europe Jews, I never would have imagined that to be descended from immigrants requires a person to have more allegiance to future prospective immigrants than to America; nor would most European-Americans who are descended from 19th and early 20th century immigrants imagine such a thing. But many Jews, as well as many Catholics, think otherwise. They think that because they come from immigrants, their sacred mission in the universe is to crusade for open borders and deny any ability on America’s part to have any say about who comes into this country.
“I say that this is a legitimate point to make to the open-borders Jews and Catholics. ‘Was this part of the deal when your grandparents were admitted into America? That the fact that America let your grandparents into this country requires you to subvert America’s national existence? In that case, your grandparents shouldn`t have been admitted in the first place.’ ”
To argue “Rand was an immigrant therefore we must have open borders” is an instance of “the Beethoven Fallacy.” The name of the fallacy comes from the following archetypal example arguing that abortion should be illegal. Imagine two doctors discussing a past pregnancy case. The first points out that the expectant mother’s previous four children were born with debilitating diseases (blind, tubercular, etc.) and asks the second doctor what he would have done. The second doctor says that he would have terminated the pregnancy. The first doctor replies “Then you would have murdered Beethoven.”
11 If we do consider mass Third World immigration’s effect on the economy it only bolsters the case against it.
Unrestricted immigration enriches immigration profiteers such as government granted immigration organizations masquerading as charities, immigration lawyers, the rich safe in their gated communities (living on investment income that increases with the percentage of helot labor), the immigrants themselves.
It tends to impoverish those who pay higher taxes and lose savings at a higher rate of inflation in order to finance increased welfare payouts, those who must shoulder higher rent and real estate prices in order to live safely or live at all, those whose wages drop to match the wages of helot labor, those who pay the cost of “cocooning” their household inorder to protect themselves and their loved ones from a Third World culture.
12 We have in mind what Ayn Rand called “the sanction of the victim.” From Galt’s speech:
“... Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence ... – the endurance that carries their burdens – the generosity that responds to their cries of despair – the innocence that is unable to conceive of their evil ... . ... don’t exhaust the greatness of your soul on achieving the triumph of the evil of theirs.”
13 We simplified the history a bit for brevity. In a little more detail, before the Act of 1924 there was the Naturalization Act of 1790 which restricted citizenship to whites of good character, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and then the Act of 1921 which allowed only very limited immigration per National-Origins quotas based on the census of 1910. But Americans wanted to roll back the clock even further. The Act of 1924 based the quotas on the census of 1890. Later the Act of 1929 made it the census of 1920. All the quotas referred to Europeans. Africans, Asians and Latin Americans were excluded.
Things began to unravel during and after World War II. The Bracero program in 1942 brought in Mexican contract labor, probably anticipating a loss of men sent off to war. The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, another unfortunate consequence of the U.S. entering the war. The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 brought in half a million war refugees, mostly from Europe. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 ended most of the remaining racial restrictions. Still, the overall rate was kept low. Then came the infamous Act of 1965 (effective 1968) which abolished National-Origins quotas. It also doubled the limit, which became a scofflaw. The Act of 1986 gave citizenship to illegals who had entered before 1982.
14 Since ARI sank to the Q&A to get Rand to defend open immigration, they might have used the journals too if it had suited their purpose. Yet most Objectivists would be appalled at the self-righteousness of an axe-murderer.
The reference is to a sensational murder in the late 1920s. “Axe murder” is a generic description. The killer used a knife. A synopsis of the revolting affair, and Rand’s contemporaneous reaction to it, follows.
The story concerns William Hickman, born 1908. In high school he competed in oratorical contests, which gave him exercise glibly speaking before an audience. In 1925 he began working as a messenger boy for Los Angeles First National Trust and Savings. At some point he began stealing checks, forging the signatures and cashing them. When the larceny was discovered in mid 1927 the bank had him arrested. A bank official, Perry M. Parker, testified against him at trial. Because of his youth Hickman served only a brief time in prison.
After his release he turned to armed robbery, in the course of which he murdered a 24 year old drugstore clerk. Unidentified and at large, on December 15, 1927 – wearing a new suit and driving a stolen car – he kidnapped one of Parker’s two daughters from school, twelve year old Marion, and demanded a ransom for her return.
After an aborted attempt at collecting the ransom Marion became uncontrollable in his apartment. I omit the rest of the sickening details.
Parker offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of his daughter’s killer. If it is possible for a career criminal to be intelligent, Hickman was an extraordinarily stupid one. The police soon identified him as the probable killer and four days later had tracked him down.
Hickman confessed to everything. At trial he was self-assured and self-righteous, even contemptuous of his accusers. Commentators described his defiant manner with the disgust it deserved. The trial was “big news” not only because of the bizarre nature of Hickman’s crime but because California had just instituted the insanity defense and Hickman was the first to use it.
Edgar Rice Burroughs commented on the two week trial for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in 13 semi-weekly syndicated editorials dated January 27 to February 10, 1928. He spent many of them arguing against the defense council’s insanity plea, and the availability of the plea itself. (Burroughs was famous for writing adventure novels. In 1912 he had created one of the most popular characters of all time in Tarzan of the Apes. He wrote Princess of Mars, featuring John Carter, the same year.)
Rand was living in Los Angeles in 1928 working at odd jobs, and apparently attended at least part of the trial. In her private journal (which she knew one day would be typeset, mass printed and published to the world – I’m being sarcastic) she commented on the trial and the public’s reaction to Hickman – see the section headed “The Hickman Case” in The Journals of Ayn Rand.
She used the case as the springboard for a possible novel, to be called The Little Street, and made preliminary notes for it in her journal. She considered only the superficial aspect of the trial: a lone self-confident young man versus a crowd who hated him, then she projected fictitious thoughts into the man and retained what she thought was the crowd’s motivation. She called the man Danny Renahan: “The model for the boy is Hickman. Very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. ... A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. ... not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me.” That’s what novelists do: analyze experience and synthesize a fiction.
However, we quoted practically the only agreeable part of Rand’s journal entry – the part that her detractors leave out. Unfortunately she also wrote, eloquently and at length, that the trial commentators hated Hickman for being self-confident, period. That is, they hated the idea of a self-confident individual. She seemed to be deaf and blind to what ought to have been obvious: at least some people hated Hickman for his criminal act and for the contrast between that act and his attitude. They thought him repugnant not because he was self-confident but because of what he was self-confident about. Self-righteousness is one thing, a self-righteous axe-murderer another.
Even the fact that the public hated the man at all caused Rand to complain that they, all of them, were hypocrites. One standout line: “If society is horrified at his crime, it should be horrified at the crime’s ultimate cause: itself.” To admirers of her mature work these private reflections, jotted down in a journal, make painful reading. Most of the entry is indefensible. It’s not just incorrect, it’s sick, malignant. As if written by another person.
How to explain this, Rand’s failure to see Hickman for what he was: a monster, not a man but a thing (as Burroughs put it), and see the decency of at least some of the public? Why did she take them all to be haters of the good? She herself, in this entry, hates everyone in the courtroom except Hickman.
Perhaps she was still steeped in the mental world of Soviet Russia – she had left only two years before – and consequently was on hair-trigger to see evil in anyone hating an assertive individual, no matter what about. One gets the impression that she wanted to see this evil. At the end of the journal entry there is a passage that sounds like it was written later. In so many words she tells herself to calm down.
The published journal – which ARI’s editing may have sanitized (that is, the original might have been worse than what they published, if that is possible) contains no further entries about the trial or the novel. Hickman, by the way, was convicted and hanged.
If at some point an ARI writer wishes to claim that Rand staunchly supported the self-righteousness of axe-murderers, he has plenty of material to make his case.
15 Among other such errors is Rand’s claim, unpublished but in Q&A, that Beethoven’s music projects a malevolent universe. It probably represented her considered thought because she was asked about it several times over the years and her answer never changed.
In judging her claim pro or con there is the insurmountable difficulty of deducing a sense of life from a rhythmic sequence of tones and chords. One must go by what one hears, as she did.
Beethoven’s most famous work is his Fifth Symphony (the one in which the entire first movement develops from four notes, the first three identical in pitch and time value). Sturm und Drang for sure but malevolent universe? My answer is no. Another famous work, his Fifth Piano Concerto, must be described as — well you be the judge: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4cxeLwT478
Musicologists divide Beethoven’s work into three periods: early, middle and late. In the late works there is at times a sort of cosmic sadness. This occurs in parts of a couple of the middle works too. I personally don’t care for that aspect of those works. Some of the late works might be termed “malevolent universe” – a rather broad and crude rubric – but it is not typical of Beethoven in general. What I hear, typically, is virility, will power, striving, drama.
16 There is an intriguing part of Galt’s speech that might be applicable. It begins:
Rand then lists examples of the form “it was selfish to live for the group X, but moral to live for the larger group Y” – using “selfish” in the common negative sense. In each example you have a legitimate interest in Y, but as the list progresses X becomes larger and your interest in Y less, until the interest disappears into total self-immolation:
“You have reached the blind alley of the treason you committed when you agreed that you had no right to exist. Once, you believed it was ‘only a compromise’:”
This was published in 1957 when our immigration rate was almost zero, so despite the “from” in the phrase “from any corner of the earth” she may have been thinking of foreign aid.
, you are letting this greatest of countries be devoured by any scum from any corner of the earth, while you concede that it is selfish to live for your country and that your moral duty is to live for the globe.”
And giving residency to scum from any corner of the earth is foreign aid taken to the last degree.
17 A word about the appeal of foreigners to women. Ayn Rand’s novels are, whatever else they are, romance novels, romantic in the sense of Harlequin books. You’ve seen them in book stores, on the covers a prettily dressed young woman over whom bends a strong swarthy young man. (Remainder of paragraph redacted.)... AUGH ! !What is it, Froggy?... I just read the redacted part of the paragraph.
Apparently women want roasted ice, or have their cake and eat it, or something. This romance novel aspect of Rand’s novels is a source of misunderstanding to their male readers. It turns them off even if it turns the ladies on.
18 Speaking of epithets in general, eventually reality bends a word to itself, not the other way around. By whatever term you call an object, in time it acquires the meaning appropriate to that object. The process is unconscious and automatic. In the case of an insult, the unjustly insulted can speed up the process, “own the insult” and consciously use it in a positive sense despite the original intent.
19 Essential reading for anyone interested in how we got to where we are today: “So Much for Promises – Quotes Re 1965 Immigration Act”
Assembled by Joseph Fallon. www.vdare.com/articles/so-much-for-promises-quotes-re-1965-immigration-actThis article lists statements made by Senators Edward Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Philip Hart, Hiram Fong (all democrats), and other politicians, including some republicans, when the bill was in debate.
And then a concluding statement by President Lyndon Johnson when he signed the act into law on October 3, 1965 (which became effective in 1968). He assured the public that:
“… this is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives …”