As you read through a book, as the pages clock by, hints of the author’s underlying attitudes accumulate until, by halfway through the thing, you have a clear picture of those attitudes. In the case of a certain type of author — a person with not much power of imagination or self-examination — you may have a clearer picture of his attitudes than he has himself.
So with Immigration Wars, the new book by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick. Given that Jeb Bush is an ambitious politician, and that now is about the right time for ambitious politicians to lay down markers for the 2016 election, I doubt there is a single sentence that Jeb Bush didn’t sign off on — whether he actually wrote the book or not. So I am blaming him for it.
So what insights into this possible 2016 presidential candidate do we get from Immigration Wars?
The main one I got: Jeb Bush just doesn’t like Americans very much.
Immigration boosterism always has a whiff of this about it. “Jobs Americans won’t do” — because they are too spoiled and lazy! “Skill shortages” — resulting from Americans being too dumb!
Bush packs both of those into a single sentence:
It is essential that we have an ample supply of workers both for labor-intensive jobs that few Americans want and for highly skilled jobs for which there are inadequate numbers of Americans with the skills to fit them.Business-wise we’re not up to much, either: “Like most immigrants, Hispanics are tremendously entrepreneurial.” As opposed to those dull, risk-averse non-Hispanic and non-immigrant Americans!
This last assertion is demonstrably untrue. Indeed, Bush’s book abounds in long-debunked falsehoods — so much so that, by fifty or so pages in, the well-informed commentator can’t resist doing a search on “44 percent.” Yep, there it is! — “Whereas Republicans had won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote …”
When not telling outright porkies Jeb Bush offers assertions superficially friendly to his case, while omitting taboo-related explanatory factors:
El Paso, Texas, is one of the nation’s three largest safe cities.Yes, because the black population is unusually low: 2.8 percent, only a tad higher than Salt Lake City’s 2.5 percent.
The deficiencies of us actual citizens of the U.S.A. are even spiritual.
Immigrants are unlikely to be complacent about the freedom and opportunity that for them previously was only a dream and was gained only through great effort and sacrifice. Our nation constantly needs the replenishment of our spirit that immigrants bring.The accumulating impression left by Jeb Bush: Americans are not much good for anything. Only immigrants, with “their energy, vitality, talent, and enterprise” can overcome the lassitude, torpor, mediocrity, and complacency of the native-born.
We get a revealing metaphor here, one that puts me in mind of old Soviet propaganda movies:
When immigration policy is working right, it is like a hydroelectric dam: a sturdy wall whose valves allow torrents of water to pour through, creating massive amounts of dynamic energy.Presumably that is energy that we dull natives could not possibly generate on our own.
How on earth did the nation cope under the low-immigration regime of the 1950s?
How did New England survive two centuries of essentially zero immigration (1640s to 1840s)?
Our failures extend even into the reproductive zone:
America’s birthrate has fallen below the level needed to replace the current population.To keep our welfare programs going, says Jeb Bush, we need a steady flow of immigrants.
The counters to that are well-known to anyone decently well-read in immigration topics. The best-known counter includes the phrase “Ponzi scheme.”
And then there is Mark Krikorian in his 2008 book The New Case Against Immigration observing that American birthrates might increase if immigration were to be curtailed.Economist Richard Easterlin has long argued that one of the causes of the postwar Baby Boom was the higher wages young people were able to earn at the time because of the tight labor market caused by restricted immigration. As Mark notes, Steve Sailer’s “affordable family formation” theory is also relevant here.
So Jeb Bush’s view of the American people has us always trending towards a condition of listless, ignorant, complacent, un-entrepreneurial, non-reproducing sloth — unless continuously energized by floods of immigrants. As I began by saying, he just doesn’t much like us very much.
Isn’t it unwise of an ambitious politician to reveal that much about himself to the public?
Why would any American vote for a man who holds us in such contempt?
It can’t be that Jeb is actually stupid. He is too accomplished to be seriously stupid. Probably he is in the top decile of smarts. But he comes off as lazy-minded and unimaginative, satisfied that he has mastered a topic once he’s memorized a collection of clichés about it.
Certainly the clichés come thick and fast in Immigration Wars:
I can’t believe, either, that Jeb Bush is driven by conscious guile. With the Bushes, what you see is what you get. These are no Clintons or Nixons. Whereas Hilary Clinton always brings to my mind Dr. Johnson’s remark about Alexander Pope (“He could not drink tea without a stratagem”), I can’t imagine having such a thought about any Bush. They are transparently, sociopathically, self-interested.
A few years ago Steve Sailer came up with a sort of Kevin MacDonald-ish theory of the Bush clan: they were practicing a “group evolutionary strategy,” optimizing their collective fitness at the expense of everyone around them — including, of course, the historic American nation.
Given that the Bush clan embraces a network of kith, kin, and business associations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border (Jeb’s wife is Mexican-born and the family has many odd connections with the Mexican oligarchs), I’ll allow that the theory has potential explanatory power. But I don’t think we need to make recourse to biology here.
Most likely Jeb Bush is writing in a natural, effortless way for his fellow Tutsis, his fellow members of the Overclass. That he despises us Hutus is of no importance: so do the other Tutsis. Funneling candidates through the presidential primary process is now an entirely Tutsi operation, with Hutus allowed to participate only as light relief. This is a book for the funnelers.