In his article, “The Ethnic Remaking of America,” Scott McConnell claims that America is a “fairly [?] successful and prosperous nation” because of the “ethnic commonality” of its “predominately European” citizenship, and that therefore, we should limit the immigration of non-European ethnic groups. In essence, he claims that America is prosperous because it consists of more white people than brown people, and we should keep it that way. The word for the principle underlying these ideas, which Mr. McConnell judiciously avoids, is: racism.
Contrary to Mr. McConnell’s views, America is something quite different than the “fairly successful” land of “ethnic commonality.” The fact is that America is the most prosperous nation in history, because it is the only nation to politically implement the moral principle which is the opposite of that which celebrates “ethnic commonality”: individualism.
As demonstrated in the writings of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, it is the protection of individual rights, including property rights, institutionalized by America’s political system of Capitalism, which has allowed individuals from various cultures to prosper in the American “melting pot.” Conversely, it is the violation of property rights, in the form of the taxes which support welfare expenditures, which underlies the current debate over immigration. In logic and in justice, to stop certain individual immigrants, as well as certain individual “native-born” Americans, from draining the economy, it is abolition of welfare that is needed, not the establishment of racist, collectivist, anti-American anti-immigration laws.
To restate the same view positively: by eliminating welfare and opening up our borders, we would attract the best, most ambitious people of all nationalities to the freest country in the world for the right reason: to pursue their own success, while in the process helping to enrich us all.
Reader Michael B. Bobrow (Letters, May 8, 1995) asserts that the desire to limit the immigration of non-European ethnic groups is not an expression of racism, because restricting immigration on ethnic grounds not an issue “of color, but of culture.” He claims that the motive of such restrictions would be to preserve “Western and European civilization,” which he defines as “our own heritage, identity and values,” and which, he says, will not survive “unending Third-world immigration.”
Western civilization, which in most respects has reached its highest development in the United States, upholds such values as reason, individualism, the protection of individual rights and the rule of law. It’s one thing to recognize that these cultural values are superior to the varying degrees of unreason, collectivism, and statism embraced by the non-Western world; they are. It’s quite another to assume that individuals from non-European countries are incapable of embracing these values. In fact, it is precisely the link that people such as Mr. Bobrow attempt to establish between color and culture—the premise that one’s identity and values are determined by one’s racial membership and represent one’s ethnic “heritage”—that defines racism.
The battle for the preservation of Western culture is an intellectual battle, not an ethnic battle, which needs to be waged by pro-reason intellectuals in the humanities departments of our universities, not by armed guards at our borders. To choose to leave the country and culture in which one was raised in order to move to a different land and embrace a better culture is a heroic act of individualism, and more than sufficient evidence that such a person agrees with the ideology of the country he has chosen. In fact, if we could exchange our native-born, collectivist intellectuals one-for-one for these new Americans, the future of the United States and the Western values it stands for would be immeasurably brighter.
It is neither “bizarre” nor “ironic” that Jesse Jackson and George McGovern, who once argued for the use of economic sanctions to topple the government in South Africa, oppose the use of economic sanctions to topple the government of Cuba. For what troubles such advocates of statism is not political oppression (which is necessitated by statism), but group inequality.
As a result, such collectivist mentalities did not object to apartheid on the basis of its vicious political oppression of individuals (as would an advocate of individual rights), but because of the fact that apartheid divided South Africa into collective groups of “haves” and “have-nots.” Thus, while these mentalities might consider Castro’s dictatorship impractical in terms of production, since a Marxist slave-state leads to poverty, by their premises they must hold that it is moral in terms of distribution, since Marxism eliminates the “haves,” and thus inequality, by means of forcibly redistributing wealth “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
The alternative to Marxist egalitarianism is the justice that results from the constitutional protection of individual rights, which allows individuals of any race to rise as high as possible according to their effort and ability. In other words, the alternative to the philosophy of the Left is the philosophy of the Founding Fathers and its ideological result: laissez-faire capitalism.