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Unzism Refuted

My buddy Matthew Roberts & I have co-authored a piece for Chronicles which, I hope, will lay to rest, once & for all, Ron Unz's silly contention, in his recent cover story for The American Conservative, that white & Hispanic crime-rates in the U.S. differ trivially, if at all.

Matthew did the heavy thinking, while I ran the stats.

Read it here.

Comments (11)

Even though you were more than fair to Unz, and granted him every possible benefit of the doubt, your critique is withering and conclusive. Well done.

No, Steve's the one who did all the difficult work!

Steve Burton,

As a nice companion piece to your "withering and conclusive" critique, check out this Steve Sailer piece on L.A.'s homicide rates:


You and Sailer should get together and start blogging as the "two Steves". The crazy thing about Unz is that he put a lot of his own money into the effort to get rid of bilingual education in California, which is doing some good in helping to assimilate Hispanic kids. You know what would also do some good? Send back the illegals and stop letting more immigrants come into the country!


Now I feel kind of silly as I read the second half of your article dealing with the phenomenon of Unzism, and you directly addressed Ron's support for ending bilingual education.

What I don't get about Unz and my fellow immigration loving neocons, is why can't we all agree to the necessity of limits?! I do believe America is a propositional nation (with all due respect to cranky old Fleming) as well as a nation of borders, language and culture. Sometimes our generosity and charity will inspire us to welcome immigrants. But we shouldn't be afraid to say enough and close the door when times are tough. Sometimes our ideals inspire others around the world and we should be proud of that fact. Sometimes our interests can even align with our ideals and we can be proud of the fact that we have fought tyranny and oppression around the world (of course, as Kirkpatrick taught as long ago, sometimes we also have to make bargains with tyranny for the sake of our interests -- but even crazy freedom loving neocons like me recognize the wisdom in this old fashioned realpolitik statecraft).

O.K., that's enough neo-neocon ranting for now. Again, really good piece.


I'm pleased you think the US is a nation of borders, and I'm pleased that some neoconservatives have come around on immigration.

Regarding the propositional business, though, I have a question. At least philosophically, if the US is a proposition nation, only a set of ideas, why should there be borders? Do ideas need borders? The argument for borders stems more from the old fashioned view that a nation is not a set of ideas, but something constituted by an actual flesh-and-blood people. Everyone used to understand this. The very word 'nation', from the Latin nasci, implies link by blood. But today, a form of propositionalism seems dominant, which implies that the US can and should absorb all those who want to come here and could possibly contribute to the economy.

An interesting starting point for an older alternative is Aristotle's politics, wherein he reasons there's no best form of government, although he lists full forms (monarchy, aristocracy and politeia) and defected forms (tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy) of governments. Different people, he reasons, are better suited for different forms of government. There is no superior "set of ideas" under which people can or should be subsumed. Some are better suited for monarchy, others oligarchy, etc.

Understanding these limits, Aristotle says: “A state cannot be constituted from any chance body of persons, or in any chance period of time Most of the states which have admitted persons of another stock, either at the time of their foundation or later, have been troubled by sedition.” In other words, a healthy nation should be very wary of whom it admits to live in its borders, and even more so it should be wary of who can be a citizen. Many city-states required that a citizen be able to prove for multiple generations, both maternally and paternally, that his ancestors were citizens as well.

I'm not saying we should mimic Aristotle, but his writings are a sober counterpoint to many of the propositional ideas that circulate today.

Regarding the teaching of English, as I said in the article, I have no problem with teaching small groups of people. The problem arises when you try to assimilate millions - even tens of millions - of people. It's bound to have a debasing effect on English and the host civilization, and it costs a fortune. (ESL program costs in Texas add up to more than $1 billion a year.)

Anyway, thanks for your encouraging remarks. And I'm pleased to see that there are more neoconservatives with sensible views on immigration.

Regarding the cranky comment, I've always found Fleming to be easy going, especially on a personal level. Even when you disagree with him, you can email him about something and he'll provide a thoughtful response. How many editors of magazines do you know who will even take the time to do that?

Ron Unz responds.

So will we ;^)

An excellent rebuttal gentlemen.

Unfortunately, the Unz essay is just the latest in a series of troubling pieces to appear in TAC during the last couple of years. Consider the editorial in the January issue which took up the Fort Hood massacre.

It’s more what they omitted than included in their commentary that I found to be disturbing (although they were pretty clear in casting doubt on the theory that just because Hasan yelled “Allahu Akbar“ he was omitting an act of terrorism.) They had no criticism of the political correctness that prevented action from being taken against Hasan after he began making all of the well documented, blatantly anti-American, Jihadist comments. There was no mention of the danger posed to the country by Islamic immigration or letting Muslims into the armed forces - apparently Mr. Unz’s and the editors’ enthusiasm for open borders even extends to Muslims. General Casey’s idiotic and offensive statement worrying about diversity being a casualty was ignored.

All they could find to complain about was the danger posed by Republicans overreacting and further curtailing civil liberties. This would seem to be an important, but certainly secondary concern at the moment, especially given how the government and media have downplayed or denied the rather obvious fact that Hasan's religion was a motivating factor for his crime.

As this was the sole article dealing with the incident, I think what they chose to emphasize and what they left out are pretty revealing.

I think it has to be conceded that the Hispanic crime rate is higher. I do not, however, think that this means very much in terms of policy. I work (for now) in a California farm town that is 80% Hispanic (Hamilton City, California). It has some minor gang issues, but compared to the L.A. barrios it is a veritable paradise. The yards aren't fenced, children walk freely for many blocks to and from school without any threat of violence, homeowners keep up their yards and plant gardens, and the high school is even attracting transfers from surrounding non-Hispanic communities.

On the other hand, I've walked through crime-devastated Hispanic neighborhoods in SoCal where I could feel the anti-gringo hostility in the air. So there are different kinds of Hispanic populations, just as there are in any other racial/ethnic category, varying from place to place and age to age.

There are good reasons for restricting immigration from Mexico and virtually everywhere else for a time. But whatever the policy in terms of numbers, a functional system will allow the good guys in and keep the bad guys out.

I agree with that, Jeff. What's so unspeakably sad is how American liberals, having recklessly thrown out the principles which undergirded the engine of American assimilation to a healthy culture, thereby brought about the condition of so many immigrants now assimilating to the profoundly dysfunctional culture of our urban underclasses. From a nominal Catholicism they turn to gangsterism and compounded generations of fatherlessness and lawlessness.

Quite right, Paul. The price of ditching our cultural roots has been that all kinds of rot rushes in to fill the void. California and the Southwest are a special case, in that the Hispanic presence and influence has been here from the beginning. So our cultural reasons for immigration restriction don't exactly mirror the concerns of, say, the Sam Francis (RIP) wing of paleo-conservatism, but they do exist and are in desperate need of public articulation. I don't think we've found the right voice, however.

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