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October 09, 2003

Immigration & California

Mark Krikorian talks about the role immigration played in California's recent election. It being National Review, he asserts that the fact that Dan Lungren & Bill Simon ran away from this issue is why they lost to Gray Davis, rather than the fact that they were social conservatives in a state that is socially liberal.

One thing about California and its electorate-I am sure that many of the white liberals are saving up money to join the New Eco-topia demographic. This group is 1% of the national population, but 20% of Vermont's population, according to Michael Weiss' Clustered World. They are concerned about immigration as it relates to quality-of-life & environmentalism (internal and external immigrants!), but political correctness compels them to simply flee the sinking boat rather than righting the ship (of course they have the means). I live in a small town 10 miles north of the California border that is in Imbler, but not of Oregon. Many of the residents are liberal refugees-oops-retirees, from California. They are the types that hate G.W. Bush, but would benefit from his tax cuts, and they are the types that praise diversity and bemoan the lack of it in their environs (what makes me wonder is that so many are from San Francisco and Los Angeles!)[1]. The United States is a big country, big enough that we can put off addressing issues of nation-hood and quality-of-life because we can run away from them, but for how long?[2]

On a different note-I wonder if it is a coincidence that the last name of the person who is the public face for The Center for Immigration Studies, which acts as the intellectual focus for the movement toward restrictionism, is "Krikorian." Kevin MacDonald et al. are fond of pointing out that Jewish movements have gentile figureheads, I wonder if most of the people on the board for the CIS have names as "ethnic" as Mark's.

fn1. I do not doubt that many people enjoy diversity, the problem is that the issue is de-coupled from other determinants of quality-of-life when used rhetorically, but such variables are always considered when making pragmatic decisions about residence, schooling, etc. Also, if you followed the above link that illustrated the lack of diversity of my home town, you will note that 91.6% of the residents are non-Hispanic whites. This papers over the divisions between "townies," retirees, hippies, etc. that do make the town diverse in its own way. Additionally, there is a large local Buddhist community (various sects) and I would not be surprised if 10% of the population was Jewish (3 temples).

fn2. To read about why conservative intellectuals tend to live in liberal metropolii read John Derbyshire's Confessions of a Metropolitan Conservative. Metrocons are the inverse of New Eco-topians, racing toward the amoral cities that they decry to enjoy the good life.

Posted by razib at 12:57 PM




I'm not optimistic. Basically, the exponential increase in the prison population is a demonstration that when released from financial constraints, the law knows no restraints from reason or benevolence. Lock-em all up is the logical consequence of authoritarian morality.

Posted by: michael vassar at October 9, 2003 01:05 PM


"The United States is a big country, big enough that we can put off addressing issues of nation-hood and quality-of-life because we can run away from them, but for how long?"

Modern technology, not immigrants, makes cities dangerous places

No-one is ever going to nuke Vermont. Now, Los Angeles...

Posted by: ToOmUcHWoRk at October 9, 2003 03:08 PM


actually, i wasn't talking about the "danger" of cities, but the quality-of-life issues having to do with sprawl, density, traffic, etc.

Posted by: razib at October 9, 2003 03:20 PM


Modern technology and not immigrants make cities dangerous? I suppose its how you look at it. Wonder how this guy feels?

http://pub.tv2.no/nettavisen/en

Posted by: Steve at October 9, 2003 08:15 PM


A good post. I wonder how many recognize that America is lacking a national identity, and that people are instead identifying as members of broader communities that transcend national borders.

As I said in a previous post, I feel a greater sense of identification with London than I do with San Antonio or Oklahoma City because I know that in London, there are a greater number of people who are like me: Educated secularists with cosmopolitan tastes. I think my primary loyalty lies with an extended community of secular cosmopolitans, extending from here to Europe to Russia to Japan to Australia, and that I value the U.S. as a nation only insofar as it makes our lifestyle possible.

The same can be said for Christian evangelicals, goths, punks, computer geeks, libertarians, environmentalists, and so forth. However, there do remain groups whose identity doesn't span multiple nations, such as the white and black underclass which hasn't succeeded in developing a set of values based upon abstractions in the same way that supernational communities have.

I think there might still be conservative middle-class core whose values and way of life everybody immediately thinks of when they hear the term "ordinary American". However, I'm not sure that such "ordinary Americans" constitute a majority at at this point.

Posted by: Chris W at October 10, 2003 04:38 AM


"...The United States is a big country, big enough that we can put off addressing issues of nation-hood and quality-of-life because we can run away from them, but for how long?"

My sense is this can continue for some time yet, say another two or three generations. Most of the major cities are already practically drained of their middle-class nuclear family population. What we're seeing now is the start of flight from suburban locations in over-pressed states like California to rural locations, or to small towns in other states.

The possibility and relative ease of the flight option provides a safety valve in the US that does not exist in Western Europe. This must be a key reason for the growth of new political factions there but not here. If your only viable option is to stand and fight it soon becomes pretty clear that the current machinery is defunct.

Posted by: Phil T at October 10, 2003 07:59 AM


"...On a different note-..Kevin MacDonald et al. are fond of pointing out that Jewish movements have gentile figureheads, I wonder if most of the people on the board for the CIS have names as "ethnic" as Mark's."

No, but the Executive Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform is Daniel Stein. Most of FAIR's board (except a Ms. Epstein) appear to have gentile last names. The exception that proves the rule?

Posted by: Phil T at October 10, 2003 08:18 AM


What kind of name is Krikorian?

Posted by: Sue at October 11, 2003 11:33 AM


the link has details, but it is armenian, as are most "arian" or "orian" names in the united states (tarkanian, or Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre)

Posted by: razib at October 11, 2003 11:54 AM


You forgot the most famous '-ian' of them all - Yossarian.

Does anybody know if Joseph Heller truly intended him to be an Armenian? I read about it being an Assyrian name somewhere.

Posted by: Melnorme at October 11, 2003 03:42 PM