The Conservative Bestseller that National Review Won’t, Well, Review

By Marcus Epstein
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 17, Number 2 (Winter 2006-2007)
Issue theme: "Mass immigration and the 'National Question'"
http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_17_2/tsc_17_2_epstein.shtml




In the past year, illegal immigration has become one of, if not the, most hotly debated topics in American politics.  Millions are outraged over illegal immigration, and at least some prominent politicians and media figures have been listening. This is a more than welcome development for those who have been warning for years that the floodgates were overflowing.

Nonetheless, there have been some aspects of the debate that boded poorly for real reform: 

● The debate has been almost solely focused on illegal immigration. Even many of the proponents of strong border security have suggested easing restrictions on legal immigration as an alternative to amnesty.

● The debate has been largely limited to the rule of law, national security, and occasionally social services and crime. Rarely did anyone ask what immigration says about our national identity or culture.

●A lot of the long-time opponents of open borders, such as Pat Buchanan and Peter Brimelow, had been ignored by the mainstream media, while people who no one had heard of, or hadn’t said a word about immigration until recently, are been trumpeted as experts and leaders of immigration reform.

● Finally, Pat Buchanan himself, who has been the hero to those who want to limit immigration, seemed to be mysteriously silent. As the debate raged during the first half of 2006, he only wrote a couple columns on the subject.

It turns out that the reason for Buchanan’s silence was that he had been writing State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America and unlike a lot of journalists, he wanted the book to be made out of fresh material rather than a meshing together of old op-eds. This book has not only answered my final concern, it single-handedly reframed the debate over immigration and addressed all of them. Despite that, or maybe because of it, the political Establishment, liberal and “conservative,” has been notably reluctant to discuss it.

Buchanan’s book immediately rose to the top of the Amazon.com’s bestseller list and got to number three on the New York Times’ list and remained in the top 10 for weeks. Some 175,000 copies are in print. Unlike the virulent denunciations of Buchanan’s last book on immigration, Death of the West, virtually all conservatives who have discussed it, aside from a few loony libertarians, have rallied behind its thesis—or at the very least have admitted that it needs to be taken seriously. The book has received praise from many other top conservatives like Jim Pinkerton, Paul Craig Roberts, Cal Thomas, and Bill Lind.

Even most of the liberals who commented on the book were respectful. The Washington Post ran an article on the book entitled “Anti-Immigration Movement Finds an Articulate Voice” which acknowledged “One has to give Buchanan credit. He is a muscular writer, fully in command of the English language he feels is under siege. He is adept at linking history, statistics and the writings of philosophers and economists to proffer forceful arguments.” The article concluded by warning fellow liberals “We would dismiss him and the anger embodied in State of Emergency at our peril.” When Pat was on the HBO TV show “Real Time” the usually smug and sarcastic host Bill Maher admitted that many facts in the book shocked him, and concluded that “you got a lot of applause in our liberal audience”.

This is not to say the Establishment is thrilled with the book. The New York Times editorialized ( October 11,2006 ):

The doomsayer’s torch has lately been grabbed by cultural sentinels like Pat Buchanan, whose new book warns the United States is being reconquered by disease-carrying Latinos. Unless Americans of white European descent can Ziploc the borders and start churning out babies, he says, their age of civilizing domination is done for.

And, overall, the Mainstream Media has just tried to ignore State of Emergency . For such a timely and popular book, it has been very scantly reviewed. The Los Angeles Times, the New Republic , and the Nation have not reviewed it. Even the New York Times, which found the book worthy of an editorial denunciation, has yet to give more than a passing 50 words of review.

Given that this is one of the most popular conservative books of the year, one would think that at least the conservative press would review it. But that is not the case. The Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator have yet to review it.

I called to ask. The Weekly Standard says they have sent it out to be reviewed and have just not received it yet. (Oh yeah?) The American Spectator declined to comment on why they have not reviewed it.

When I talked to Michael Potemra, book review editor at National Review, he claimed that there are just so many books and so little space. (How may of them are conservative best-sellers?). Then he asked who the piece was for. When I said VDARE.COM, he told me he couldn’t help me anymore and promptly hung up.

Buchanan acknowledges that he gets a great deal of his arguments and facts from VDARE writers like Steve Sailer, Joe Guzzardi, Alan Wall, Peter Brimelow, James Fulford, and the late Sam Francis. And, in what could be the highest unintentional praise of the book, the Southern Poverty Law Center complained that “through his old friend Buchanan, [Sam] Francis continues to be heard from beyond the grave.”

While I was thrilled to see the success of this book, I did not expect it to have a great effect on me. I spend 9 hours a day reading and writing about immigration for a living. To be immodest, I know more about the issue than your average reader. I expected that Buchanan would say what I already knew in much better prose. But Pat graciously gave me an audio CD version of the book, and I listened to it on a drive from Washington , DC to Columbia , SC. The facts that he laid out in the book, made me so impassioned, upset, and often angry, that on more than one occasion, I literally had to pull over to a rest stop to compose myself for fear that I would get in a road rage incident.

While a good deal of the information and arguments were not new to me, there were still a great number of facts that I had not heard before, and gave me a great sense of urgency.

So what makes State of Emergency so effective?

Buchanan’s book seamlessly blends together a number of basic points that are probably self evident to most ordinary readers. By asking obvious questions that no one else has the courage or brains to ask, it makes you completely reevaluate every aspect of our immigration policy. Some people may think “he can’t say that,” but with such strong statistical and anecdotal evidence, it’s difficult to say he’s wrong.

Buchanan dramatically lays out the problems that mass immigration is causing. He discusses how it will destroy the GOP, the English language, the gangs, the disease, the schools, health care, crime. But while all this is moving, true, and well laid out, it is hardly new ground that has been laid out in books like Invasion,   Mexifornia, and  In Mortal Danger. Even a lot of open borders advocates will say, “I agree with you that there is a problem, but…” and that is where Buchanan goes beyond these other books. He demolishes virtually every single myth that the open borders lobby is based on before they can object. America is a nation of immigrants. America is a “creedal nation” based on ideas. Race doesn’t matter. Immigrants do the jobs Americans don’t. We can’t deport 12 million people. These assertions have been repeated ad nauseum by the establishment so many times, that even many opponents of illegal immigration seem to concede them.

In refuting the shibboleths of multicultural left and right, Buchanan goes into controversial areas where few mainstream writers dare to tread. He defends Sam Francis’ claim that Western Civilization could only be made by Europeans, and seems to accept the great taboo truth that there are immutable genetic differences between the races that must be taken into consideration. He argues that the 1924 Immigration Act, and Dwight Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback were successes. He praises universally denounced men like the French author Jean Raspail and the British statesman Enoch Powell as prophets.

This does not make Pat Buchanan a white nationalist, as many of his critics (and perhaps some of his supporters) will claim. He speaks with compassion about the negative effect that immigration has on African Americans. He does not see America as just a white nation, but approves of the French writer Hector St. John De Crevecoeur’s assessment that “[In America ,] individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men.” Neither Buchanan, nor Crevecoeur meant this in universalistic terms of a “new Soviet man” or “new global democratic man,” but rather as a people who have a unique and distinctive culture rooted in, but distinct from Europe and more specifically Great Britain . As Buchanan puts it bluntly: “Language, faith, culture, and history—and, yes, birth, blood, and soil—produce a people, not an ideology.”

Thus Buchanan writes that all immigrants of all races can and should assimilate—but he knows that this requires more than speaking English and voting Republican (two things, he points out, that are not happening). Instead, he argues that to assimilate, immigrants must adopt “our language, customs, and habits, as well as our principles.” Furthermore, he asserts the obvious and unmentionable fact that

it is not true that all creeds and cultures are equally assimilable in a First World nation born of England , Christianity, and Western Civilization. Race, faith, ethnicity, and history leave genetic fingerprints that no “proposition nation” can erase.”

While Jean Raspail has said of France ’s colonization by the Third World , “The deed is done,” Buchanan is not quite as pessimistic. Buchanan argues that we have one “last chance” to save our country and civilization, before the rising political clout of Latinos will make any positive legislative changes impossible.

With such a bleak picture, what is Buchanan’s solution? His policy prescriptions are simple: reject amnesty, have a moratorium on legal immigration, build a fence, end birthright and dual citizenship, and enforce our laws against illegal immigration. These are not radical and new policies, but common sense that virtually everybody outside the political elite agrees on. Everyone knows what must be done to stop the invasion. But the question Buchanan concludes by asking is: do our political leaders have the will to do anything about it?

Buchanan does not answer that question or give any concrete suggestions on how patriotic Americans can take back their country. At the age of 68, and after three failed presidential runs and countless smears by the political Establishment—again, liberal and “conservative”—he presumably is not the one to lead a movement. Nonetheless, this book will awaken thousands of Americans to the threat of mass immigration, and inspire them to take action. When the history of the coming immigration cut-off is written, State of Emergency will be seen as a milestone.

About the author

Marcus Epstein  is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America   PAC.  

Copyright 2007 The Social Contract Press, 445 E Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770; ISSN 1055-145X
(Article copyrights extend to the first date the article was published in The Social Contract)