The Culture of Xenophilia And Its Origins–Part 2


By Tim Murray,

B.C. Environmentalist

In the last century and a half, another bold challenge was mounted to re-order our natural affinities. Christian universalism and the rootless cosmopolitanism that was world Jewry found a rival in Marxism. In 1848, Karl Marx told the workers of the world to unite. Incredibly, that call is still heard today, although among sometimes obscure factions. The Socialist Party of Tampa Bay declared in its 2007 platform, working people have no country, but rather an international bond based on class. A canvass of similar groups across Anglo-America would not necessarily reveal such blatant indifference to national interests, but nevertheless take up open immigration and refugee positions and support blanket amnesty for illegal aliens.

Socialist writer Tom Lewis explains Socialists are internationalists. Whereas nationalists believe that the world is divided primarily into different nationalities, socialists consider class to be the primary divide. For socialists, class struggle—not national identityis the motor of history. And capitalism creates an international working class that must fight back against an international capitalist class.

What is critical to the understanding of the Marxist attitude to nationalism is that it takes an entirely pragmatic approach. Marx drew a distinction between good and bad nationalism. The nationalism of the workers belonging to an oppressor nation binds them to their rulers and only does harm to themselves, while the nationalism of an oppressed nation can lead them to fight back against these rulers. Thus Marx favoured Irish nationalism, but not English. He opposed the national movements of the Southern Slavs, but supported the Indian rebellion against the British. Lenin warned that workers who place political unity with their own bourgeoisie above the complete unity of the proletariat of all the nations, are acting against their own interests. To do so, to fall victim to nationalist affections, was to evidence false consciousness, an inability to recognize those interests, interpreted–of course–by party cadres.

Australian political scientist Frank Salter had this to say about the socialist attitude to nationalism. The Left, as it has evolved over the course of the previous century, looks down on the ordinary people with their inarticulate parochialisms as if they were members of another speciessince they care nothing for the preservation of national communities. ‘Ethnies’ are considered irrelevant to the welfare of people in general. It would be understandable for Martians to be so detached from particular loyalties. But it is disturbing to humans doing so, especially humans who identify with the Left.

Such is the European Lefts identification with the Other at the expense of the resident national that, in the name of anti-racism, it was possible for left-wing novelist Umberto Eco to declare his hope that Europe would be swamped by Africans and third world emigrants just to demoralize racists. And such is the identification of the AFL-CIO with 13 million illegal immigrants as potential recruits that it supports amnesty and essentially a corporate welfare program that reduces wages for the lowest of American workers. This is a scheme which advocates call liberalism but American workers call an invasion. The Canadian Labour Congress and its social-democratic parliamentary arm, the NDP, sing the same tune. Crocodile tears are shed for undocumented workers who allegedly make great contributions to the economy. But Statistics Canadas conclusions are just as negative for Canadian workers as those of Harvard’s Dr. George Borjas for American workers. The British Trade Union Congress tried to put one over on the public with a September 2007 report cooked up by the left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research that maintained that amnesty for illegal immigrants would net the Treasury 1 billion pounds annually. More careful analysis revealed that amnesty would cost British taxpayers up to 1.8 billion pounds a year.

This Marxist legacy of international solidarity to the disavowal of national loyalties persists to the present—sometimes in unalloyed form, but more often as one strand in a synthesis of muddled xenophilia with Christian and environmental thought. The latter mutation is expressed in the Canadian argument that since global warming is a global problem requiring global cooperation, that to obtain this cooperation, we must not send out unfriendly messages of fear by closing our borders, but drop them instead. Presumably, a radically downward adjustment in consumption habits and greener technology will compensate for all the extra millions who would swarm in. Instead of workers of the world unite, the Greens offer us a new rallying cry: More and more people, consuming less and less.

But just as Christian thought is not monolithic, neither is social democratic thought. Arguably the most famous and independent socialist intellectual of the English speaking world, George Orwell, once remarked that in all countries, the poor are more national than the rich. For the working class, national identity was just as important as class identity. And now finally, after their constituents have been battered by one of the greatest migratory waves in history, that saw the United States, for example, import the equivalent of three New Jerseys in the 1990s alone (25 million people), maverick social-democratic and socialist leaders—in the tradition of Victor Berger, or Jack London or Canadas J. S. Woodsworth—are staking out a claim for national, as opposed to international, solidarity.

The Democratic Socialist Senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has begun to make some noise about the disaster that is the illegal immigration invasion in the United States. His voting record in reducing chain migration, fighting amnesty and unnecessary visas rates B-, B- and A+ respectively—according to the organization Americans for Better Immigration. Former Social Democratic Chancellor Helmut Schmidt now admits that immigration under his administration was excessive and damaging to Germany. In a book published in 1982, he confessed that with idealistic intentions, born out of our experiences with the Third Reich, we brought in far too many foreigners. Dutch Socialist leader Jan Marijnissen is strongly opposed to the practice of importing East European workers to undermine the position of Dutch workers. East Europeans are hired as independent contractors to circumvent labour law. Marijnissen wrote: It is unacceptable that employers pay foreign workers 3 euros per hour and have them live in chicken coops as if they were in competition in the 19th century of Dickens. The unfair competition and displacement of Dutch workers and small business is intolerable. Therefore, we shouldnt open the borders further, but set limits instead.

Former Labor Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, also argued for the acknowledgement of limits. Along with fellow Labor MP Barry Cohen, he has joined Australias leading environmentalists Dr. Tim Flannery and Dr. Ian Lowe in exposing the myth of Australia as being a big empty land begging to filled up with people. Our rivers, our soils, our vegetation, wont allow that to happen without enormous cost to us and those who follow us. He calls for severe immigration cut-backs and a population policy.

As impending economic and environmental upheavals threaten to multiply the reported 30 million global migrants currently in transit, immigration and the ecological, economic and cultural stress it will place on the countries of destination re-iterate the questions raised earlier. To whom are we morally obligated? Whom can we be reasonably expected to love? To be brutally candid and blunt, the answer is this : those who are similar to ourselves.

Biologist Richard Dawkins has maintained that humans were predisposed to make clear demarcations between in-group and out-group from the beginning, and social psychologists concur that this discriminating perception is inherent. The need to associate with others like ourselves is an immutable feature of human nature and so ethnic identity refuses to die. It is interesting that despite so much multicultural propaganda, a British poll found that 31% of the population still confessed to being racially prejudiced, while another study showed that most Britons harboured feelings of suspicion toward outsiders. Frank Salter in his On Genetic Interests has made a strong case for a genetic basis for this kind of ethnic, national and racial favouritism.

Irenaus Eibi-Eibesfeldt and Pierre van den Berghe have shown that the more ethnically diverse populations are, the more resistant they are to redistributive policies. A Harvard Institute study in 2000 confirmed this conclusion when it found that the U. S. states that were more ethnically fragmented than average spent less on social services. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam explained why. The more people are brought into contact with those of another race or ethnicity, the more they stick to their own, and the less they trust others. Across local areas in the United States, Australia, Sweden, Canada and Britain, greater ethnic diversity is associated with lower social trust and, at least in some areas, lower investment in public goods.

It must be concluded that if this indeed is our nature, then two thousand years of Christianity and seventy years of communism with its attempt to create the new man should have taught us that it is futile to construct policy that runs counter to it. We are what we are. We are not made to love all of humanity, at least not in equal measure. We are made to love family and those we recognize as an extension of family. Those who share common history, values, genes or locality. For most of us, the choice to defend our own citizens rather than the outsiders who would undercut them is determined by our natural predispositions.

It is a wonder to us that our leaders, politicians and human rights advocates are apparently not made of the same stuff. For them, immigration policy is purely a foreign aid project. Their love is trained outward, on distant shores, while the love from the nations that nurtured them goes unrequited and betrayed.