Friday, May 20, 2022

The Sinister Symmetry of CRT and GRT

From Andrew Sullivan today, on Substack, "The extremes of right and left on immigration are fueling each other":

The MSM rushed last weekend to explain the previously obscure conspiracy theory that motivated a mass-murderer on a shooting spree in a black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. We didn’t get to read the warped “manifesto” of the mass shooter, but we were told about its account of “Great Replacement Theory.” It posits that a shadowy, global elite (in this case — surprise! — Jewish) is deliberately fostering mass non-white immigration to dilute the voting power of white Americans. The goal is a minority-majority country in which the Republican Party is doomed by inexorable racial demographics, and a whole new multiracial society can be built on the smoldering ruins of “white supremacy.”

“Wait a minute!” as Homer Simpson might say. Haven’t I heard some of that kind of talk before? It’s coming back to me now. Here’s one devotee: “Folks like me who are Caucasian of European descent — for the first time in 2017 we’ll be an absolute minority in the United States of America. Absolutely minority … That’s not a bad thing. That’s a source of our strength.” Here’s another: “There’s nothing really [the Republicans] can do against this incredible demographic revolution.” And another: “The Republican majority has always been based upon whites and, in particular, white males … The bulwark of Republican electoral strength is disappearing.”

These quotes are from then-VP Joe Biden, Univision founder Jorge Ramos, and sassy Dem Party hack James Carville celebrating the implosion of white America. This was also the theory that drove the 2016 Clinton campaign to ignore white swing voters and focus instead on the non-white: “What I found fascinating about the primary was how we got into our different demographic lanes, and demographics were to some extent destiny,” was how the genius Robby Mook put it, before he helped elect Trump.

No, these people do not represent a secret conspiracy — let alone a Jewish one — to dilute the “whiteness” of America. There is nothing secret about it at all. The majority-minority enthusiasts represent instead a transparent movement to see Americans primarily in racial/generational terms, to view a multi-racial society as a zero-sum endeavor in which a gain for whites always means a loss for non-whites, and who therefore cheer the declining percentage of Americans who are deemed “white.”

Whole libraries could be constructed by the books outlining this thesis. It really got started with John Judis’ and Ruy Teixeira’s “The Emerging Democratic Majority” (2002), Sid Blumenthal’s “The Strange Death of Republican America” (2008), Carville’s “40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation” (2009), Ron Brownstein’s Next America project (2012), Paul Taylor’s “The Next America” (2014), and William Frey’s “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America” (2014), to cite a few. All of them argue that mass immigration is a critical factor in making America majority non-white and therefore Democratic. And all of them are pretty much psyched.

When I say “psyched,” there is a spectrum. Here’s Michelle Goldberg not so long ago: “Right now America is tearing itself apart as an embittered white conservative minority clings to power, terrified at being swamped by a new multiracial polyglot majority” — and she “felt good” about that non-white future. Here’s Jen Rubin, reacting to the news last year that the Census found numbers of white people falling: “This is fabulous news. Now we need to prevent minority White rule.” And who can forget Michael Moore’s reaction to the same news “Best day ever in U.S. history.”

None of them seemed concerned that the thesis could boomerang on them. By “boomerang,” I mean racializing politics so aggressively that you actually help create and legitimize a racially white party — because of negative partisanship. In the words of Michael Barone: “When you keep telling white Americans that they will soon become a minority — a message that sometimes sounds like ‘hurry up and die’ — then many non-college graduate ‘deplorables’ may start acting like members of a self-conscious minority, and vote more cohesively.” Exactly.

And when this demographic prediction is combined with constant denigration of “white people,” and when a simple white majority is suddenly redefined as “white supremacy” — indistinguishable from the era of Jim Crow — then feelings might get, shall we say, “triggered.” If you demonize an entire race, you may at some point get the compliment returned. The more you raise racial consciousness among non-whites, the more you risk the same among whites. As Thomas Chatterton Williams warned: “so long as we fetishize race, we ensure that we will never be rid of the hierarchies it imposes.”

As for the GRT notion that demographic transformation was somehow imposed on America by cunning elites, there’s no real evidence for that. The key moment — the Immigration Act of 1965, which made non-white immigration a priority — was not deemed demographically revolutionary at the time. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach testified: “This bill is not designed to increase or accelerate the numbers of newcomers permitted to come to America.” Senator Edward Kennedy pledged:

The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.

His brother, Bobby, told the House subcommittee his prediction of Asian immigration under the bill: “I would say for the Asia-Pacific Triangle, it would be approximately 5,000, Mr. Chairman, after which immigration from that source would virtually disappear … we do not expect that there would be any great influx after that.” Emanuel Celler, House sponsor of the bill, insisted: “Quota immigration under the bill is likely to be more than 80 percent European.”

And yet by 1998, Patrick Reddy, a Democratic consultant, boasted that the act had “resulted in a wave of immigration from the Third World that should shift the nation in a more liberal direction within a generation. It will go down as the Kennedy family’s greatest gift to the Democratic Party.” And by 2018, 78 percent of immigrants were non-European, and Europeans made up a mere 9.8 percent of new green-card holders in 2020. As for Bobby Kennedy’s prediction of 5,000 immigrants from Asia, the number now is 14 million. Not a plot. Just a massive predictive error.

Mass illegal immigration has also lent legitimacy to gripes about rapid demographic change against the majority will. You could argue that the 1965 Act was a democratic process; but you can’t really say that about subsequent illegal immigration. The GOP liked the cheap labor; the Democrats believed that it would eventually help them win elections. That wasn’t a conspiracy, but it was a kind of anti-democratic mutual understanding — and you can’t blame someone for thinking it felt like one. Voters repeatedly voted for border control, but even Trump failed...

If we are to get past the kind of ugly violence and race essentialism in Great Replacement Theory, then we also need an antidote to the toxins of Critical Race Theory. The two illiberalisms are profoundly connected. They need each other. And, in their racialized heart, they are morally exactly the same.