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Joseph Sobran’s
Washington Watch

News We Didn’t Need

(Reprinted from the issue of August 31, 2006)

Capitol Bldg, Washington Watch logo for Buchanan on ImmigrationWith the world going mad, I keep my ear against the radio for clues to our fate — and all I hear are updates on the JonBenét Ramsey case. Horrible story, but how much do we really need to know about it? The poor child was pushed into the realm of meretricious “glamour” and, not very surprisingly, attracted the attentions of some unspeakable pervert, who may or may not have been the suspect now arrested for her murder. It all makes the head spin and the stomach queasy.

bookWhy is this essentially local story of consuming national interest? Does it tell us anything we didn’t already know? Not since the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby has a child received such grisly posthumous celebrity. Just when you think the news media can’t get any more revolting, they do.

Buchanan on Immigration

Rarely has a book rocked me as Pat Buchanan’s latest one has. State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, just published by Thomas Dunne Books, shattered my skepticism about the problem of immigration, which I’ve tended to think could be handled by gradual absorption and assimilation, as in the past.

bookBuchanan argues powerfully that the current wave is radically different from previous ones. In America both the volume of newcomers and, all too often, their attitudes resist the adaptation to our traditions we used to be able to assume.

bookAs Enoch Powell warned a generation ago, when Britain began to feel the impact of limitless immigration, the thing has the character of an invasion; the aliens, he noted, were arriving not as mere individuals, but as whole villages, transforming British culture, and not for the better. Now the same thing is happening here — but on a much larger scale.

bookMoreover, the Mexican government is deliberately fostering invasion across the southern border and encouraging the “Reconquista” of the southwestern states. President Bush has ignored this conscious and aggressive policy, for which Buchanan contends he deserves nothing less than impeachment.

book(Meanwhile, though this is a separate story, a parallel hostile Muslim invasion of Europe is creating “Eurabia.”)

bookIn addition to crime, often in the form of violent gangs, the invaders come with diseases, some unknown to us, some of which we thought had been almost wiped out — tuberculosis, for instance. Buchanan notes that the immigrants, mostly illegal of course, have put such a strain on California’s medical system that 48 hospitals in the Los Angeles area have been forced to close down. It’s illegal to turn even illegals away if they urgently need medical care.

bookWhich points up a fundamental problem. We are now paying, more dearly than even the pessimists dreamed, for the welfare state. Milton Friedman long ago put it simply: You can’t have open immigration and a welfare state. No system can afford infinite eligibility for finite benefits. Why didn’t we foresee this axiomatic truth? Did it take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to point out what is self-evident?

bookNot that very many people were listening. Liberal opinion generally thinks it’s mean-spirited to do the math.

bookBuchanan’s book relentlessly cites statistics to curl a reader’s hair. One in every 12 illegals has a criminal record, and in Los Angeles, for example, 95% of all homicide warrants target illegals. Read Joe Sobran's columns the day he writes them!Some libertarians reply insistently that the current immigration is a net plus for this country, but even on purely economic terms — setting aside such considerations as morality, culture, and national character — Buchanan makes that hard to believe. I can only wonder at anyone who can find a silver lining in this storm cloud.

bookOn the contrary, I wonder if Buchanan isn’t guilty of optimism in thinking the U.S. government, which has done so much to create and aggravate the problem, can still be capable of solving it. Some of his recommendations, such as a 2,000-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, may retard the invasion, but on his own showing, these measures already seem too late.

bookAnd that’s supposing this government could muster the will to enact them.

bookFor me, reading this book is like listening to a doctor as he gives you a brilliant diagnosis of your terminal illness. Only a few weeks ago, Bill Bonner’s Empire of Debt convinced me that this country is headed for economic disaster in the next few years. And of course Al Gore is certain that global warming is about to devastate the planet.

bookIf all three of these prophets are right, the 21st century isn’t going to be a whole lot of fun.

bookLike Powell, Buchanan has been widely abused for being right ahead of his time. Has any other American commentator, over the years, been proven so right about so many things?


bookLast week I mistakenly ascribed to the Koran a saying that apparently isn’t in it, to the effect that a Muslim who kills (or is killed by) a Jew is assured of Paradise. It was quoted by the scholar Srdja Trifkovic from another source, which I don’t have at hand and can’t check.

bookI regret the error; nevertheless, Islam’s attitude toward Jews, from the time of the Prophet to the present, has been, to put it mildly, even less ecumenical than its view of Christianity.

bookUnfortunately, the etiquette of pluralism requires us to refrain from noticing publicly the harsher teachings of great religions, except of course for Christianity. In the name of tolerance, we mustn’t observe that not all religions are, or bother pretending to be, tolerant. This is obviously going to have to change in the years ahead, when more than wounded feelings are at stake.

bookBefore the invasion of Iraq, President Bush predicted that regime change there would bring a new wave of democracy to the Mideast. He may have been right, in a way. Since the Iraq war began, popular Islamic parties and movements, violently anti-American and anti-Israeli, have grown explosively throughout the region. Not quite what he had in mind.

The Priest and the Professor

With all the dreadful heat, bad news, and alarming prognostications, I’m finding it hard to keep my mind on the pennant races this summer. Now comes another bit of disillusionment.

bookIn times of trouble, I often turn for escape and consolation to one of my favorite authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. I was aware that Conan Doyle was a baptized Catholic who left the Church and took up spiritualism.

bookNow a distant relative of his, who is also a friend of mine, informs me, to my sorrow, that when an Irish priest tried to bring him back to the Church, the great author spitefully named a villainous character after him: Holmes’s archenemy, the Napoleon of the London underworld. The priest’s name was, yes, Moriarty.

bookEnough bad news! How about some cheery epigrams? Regime Change Begins at Home — a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian — will brighten your odd moments. We’ll send you a free copy if you subscribe to SOBRANS for one year (at $44.95) or two ($85.00). Call 800-513-5053 to order by credit card or check, or send payment to P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter yet, give my office a call at 800-513-5053 and request a free sample. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.

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Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2006 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission

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