Sunday, September 24, 2023

"Preventable Evils"?—Lawfare Crippling European (And U.S.?) Immigration Patriots, by John Derbyshire - The Unz Review


[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

There are currently three world-wide waves of illegal immigration roaring up the beach:

The three waves involve different governments with different approaches.

  • That first wave, the one crashing on the EU, is of course the concern of the EU government.

The EU government, however, is a flimsy and ineffectual thing, always being buffeted here and there by the politics of the member states; so this is politically the most complicated of the three waves.

  • Responsibility for dealing with the second, smaller wave—the one heading north across the English Channel—falls on the UK government.
  • And the third wave, the one right now drowning our southern border, is all ours!

So how are these governmental authorities—the EU and its member states, the UK, and the USA—how are they dealing with these three great waves of people from latrine-pit countries seeking security and prosperity for themselves in our advanced Liberal Democracies?

They’re doing badly—really badly.

Why? Is there a common factor? Is there some one thing in the public life of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and the USA that’s preventing them from coping with the great waves?

I think I can name at least two, maybe three common factors.

  • One: the dogma of rights, as in “Civil Rights” and “Human Rights.”

See below.

  • Two: guilt.

Most of the people riding these waves into our countries inspire guilt, one way or another, in white Europeans. Their ancestors were subjects of our colonial or imperial administrations; or in the case of blacks, people of their race were slaves of whites. We feel bad about all that and want to make amends.

This second factor leaves open the question: Why do white-European nations that were not players, or not big players, in colonialism or slavery seem to suffer from that same guilt as Americans, Brits, and Frenchmen?

Germany you can explain because of (a) some small colonial adventures in Africa, and (b) lingering guilt over the racial persecutions in the Third Reich. But what explains Sweden?

First, “Rights” lawfare—certainly a big player.

I’ve been reading Douglas Murray‘s excellent piece in the September 23rd issue of the London Spectator: “Politicians can’t win on illegal migration.”

Murray explains a point that’s been puzzling a lot of us. He states the point as a question:

Europeans will vote for politicians who want to stop the migration. Those politicians may even come into office, but the situation will not change. How can this be?

The prime example here: Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. She was elected just a year ago on a strongly conservative platform, in particular promising to curtail illegal immigration. She has proven unable to do so. As we’ve been reporting here, the Italian island of Lampedusa has in the last couple of weeks had so many illegals coming in from North Africa they now outnumber the island’s Italian population by more than three to one.

Why couldn’t Meloni do anything to prevent this? Why is she now shunting all these illegals to Sicily and mainland Italy instead of deporting them to Africa?

By way of an answer, Douglas Murray reminds us of Matteo Salvini, who was Italy’s Minister of the Interior—roughly equivalent to our Attorney General—2018-19; and is today a Deputy Prime Minister.

Salvini was strong on illegal immigration. When NGOs—Non-Governmental Organizations, which is to say do-gooder outfits funded by the likes of George Soros—rescued illegal aliens at sea in the Mediterranean and brought them to Italy, Salvini wouldn’t let them land.

That got Salvini prosecuted in the Italian courts—twice!—in February 2020 and again in July that year. The charges were of kidnapping the illegals. These charges came to nothing, but other lawsuits followed. And of course in political lawsuits the process is the punishment.

So probably, Douglas Murray surmises, Giorgia Meloni nurses a very reasonable fear that if she takes decisive action against the invaders she’ll quickly find herself giving over all her time and money to lawfare launched against her by plaintiffs bleating about “Human Rights.”

And it’s not just Italy. Murray tells us about Inger Stojberg, a Danish politician. She was immigration minister of Denmark during the crisis of 2015, when Germany’s Angela Merkel was waving in millions of illegals from the Middle East. Ms. Stojberg got laws passed in Denmark’s parliament to discourage the illegals from going to her country. The laws worked and Denmark is still today inhospitable to illegal aliens.

The NGOs fought back against her, nonetheless. In 2021 she was impeached and convicted by the Danish parliament for having pushed a policy separating children illegals from adults. Her sentence was sixty days in jail, although she ended up wearing an ankle bracelet instead.

So the Human Rights organizations are a major obstacle to EU governments doing anything to counter illegal entry into their countries.

It’s the same for the UK. British politicians haven’t shown as much steel as Mr. Salvini and Ms. Stojberg, but they have made some feeble efforts to defend their shores. A year and a half ago the then Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, enacted a program to send illegal aliens—well, some illegal aliens—to the African country of Rwanda for processing.

The “Human Rights” NGOs swung into action, the European Court of Human Rights got involved, and it’s been lawsuits and appeals ever since.

A year and a half on from the enactment, zero illegal aliens have been sent to Rwanda.

Is there some fundamental issue here with Human Rights? Let’s see.

Human Rights are, of course, worth defending. They are an essential element in the ethics of a civilized society. I can remember from all the way back in my 1950s childhood hearing ordinary uneducated English working people protesting that “I know my rights!”

Likewise with Civil Rights in the U.S.A. The indignities suffered by American blacks as recently as sixty years ago needed correcting. We corrected them.

Class-wise and race-wise, Britain and America are fairer places now than they were in my grandparents’ time.

That said, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid the conclusion that we over-shot the mark on rights.

Christopher Caldwell’s terrific 2021 book The Age of Entitlement showed us the sting in the tail of our mid-20th-century Civil Rights reforms.

Steve Sailer had related comments the other day when reviewing Richard Hanania’s new book The Origins of Woke:

Rather than announce “Mission accomplished” and go find other work, the triumphant forces of the Civil Rights bureaucracy became instead the scourge of ever more esoteric forms of discrimination, such as disparate impact, hostile environment due to mean speech, sexual harassment, and disability access. They increasingly intervened in the American workplace in favor of complaining members of protected groups, which cultivated a culture of complaint [The Business of Diversity, TakiMag, September 20, 2023].

That English bloke of my childhood indignantly telling some authority figure that “I know my rights!” would have been protesting about having wrongly accused of something he didn’t do, or being excluded from some public place he could lawfully enter, or something of similar magnitude.

His equivalent today might be outraged that someone addressed him by the wrong pronoun.

Yes, we should be attentive to Human Rights, including the rights of people in other countries. That’s a properly humane and Christian approach.

And practical matters aside, there are some deep matters of philosophy involved. Paul Gottfried and Michael Anton have been arm-wrestling over the nature and origin of rights in the pages of Chronicles magazine recently, if you want some instruction about that from two exceptionally smart people[Inherited Traditions Are More Credible Than Natural Rights, by Paul Gottfried, September 15, 2023].

Unfortunately, our concept of rights is time-, place-, and people-dependent.

  • Time-dependent: Fifty years ago no-one thought that same-sex marriage was a right. Nowadays you can lose your job for saying it isn’t. Protesting that “I know my rights!” won’t get you your job back.
  • Place-dependent. Here was ChiCom Vice President Han Zheng addressing the United Nations General Assembly yesterday:

As countries have different histories, traditions, and conditions, we must and can only explore a path of Human Rights development suited to our national conditions in response to the needs of our people. [China Threatens Taiwan, Insists Human Rights Are Relative in U.N. Addressby Frances Martel, Breitbart, September 21, 2023]

  • People-dependent: The late Senator Edward Kennedy, moving the 1965 Immigration Act through Congress , promised us that, “the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset.”

Plainly Senator Kennedy thought that the citizens of an established nation like ours have a right to demographic stability. I agree: but obviously a lot of other people dis-agree with me and the late Senator.

So yes: the whole business of rights has ambiguities and anfractuosities to be sorted out. I think it would be useful if we could have a clear list of rights, agreed by majority vote, on each contentious issue that presents itself to us as forcefully as the issue of illegal migration is presenting itself right now.

Sot the dogma of Human Rights was the first factor. The second, which may also embrace the third, was white Europeans’ guilt about colonialism and slavery.

If that is indeed a factor, it may very soon become an even bigger one. Why? Because the migrant flow may be becoming blacker.

The great cross-Mediterranean flood of 2015 was mainly white. It was European and swarthy-Middle-Eastern white, but very little black African. On Wikipedia’s “Countries of Origin” list the first black-African country was Eritrea at number six. The top five countries were white, or at any rate not black-African: Syria, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Albania, and Iraq.

The thousands flooding into Lampedusa last week were, by contrast, almost entirely black African, from south of the Sahara Desert [Italy’s Meloni campaigned on stopping immigration. It’s not working., by Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, September 14, 2023].

This is not yet true of Mediterranean boat people in general. Those coming to Lampedusa are from Tunisia, where a crashing economy has led to pogroms against black Africans settled there, as I described last week.

More and more stories about the Mediterranean boat people seem to have blacks in the accompanying pictures, though.

This is even true in the Eastern Mediterranean: Greece, for example, has illegals coming in from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. [Greece: Rights experts condemn ‘racist violence’ against asylum-seekers,, August 23, 2023]

The English Channel tsunami is still mainly white, with Eritrea again at number six and Sudan at number seven. Numbers one through five are Iran, Albania, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria [People crossing the English Channel in small boats, The Migration Observatory, July 21 2023].

However, a lot of those crossing the Mediterranean are heading ultimately for the UK, especially those from anglophone black African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. If the Mediterranean mix really is getting blacker, the English Channel mix will follow suit after a year or two.

Thence to guilt further numbing the ability of politicians to act. There is no stronger ethnic guilt than that which European whites feel towards blacks, not even the generalized ethnic guilt of post-WW2 Germans.

The main implication is of course that if politicians don’t summon up some courage, Europe itself will get blacker.

Given the very different numbers for population and fertility in (a) white Europe and (b) black Africa, the whole continent of Europe might, by the 2060s or 2070s, be the way Lampedusa is right now: three-quarters black, one-quarter white.

Even if things don’t go that far, Europe might end up with all the black-white tensions and rancor that the USA suffers from today. I don’t suppose we shall ever come to general agreement about the cause of those troubles or the solution for them, but no-one can deny the existence of them, or that we would be a happier, more harmonious country without them.

It follows that in an alternative universe where the USA never had many blacks, this would be a better country to live in.

That’s not to imply anything negative about either race. In his humane and sympathetic 1862 address to freemen at the White House Abraham Lincoln said:

You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races [Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes August 14, 1862}

That’s still true today, 161 years later: check out the statistics on crime, educational attainment, broken families, etc. We are different races. That was a problem in 1862; it’s a problem today.

Whatever you think about reasons and causes of the trouble, a nation would be wise to avoid that trouble if it can. The nations of Europe can, by not permitting mass settlement of blacks.

This country, the U.S., started off with a big sub-population of blacks. We could never persuade any large number of them to leave, although Abraham Lincoln tried. We must therefore cope with the problems that arise as best we can, in a spirit of patriotism and common humanity.

Other countries look at us, though, with pity and horror. The great British statesman Enoch Powell, for example, in his famous 1968 speech against mass Third World immigration

That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect.

The opening words of that speech were, just to remind you:

The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.

The Brits went ahead with mass immigration of blacks regardless. Today blacks are four percent of the population of England and Wales, but 13½ percent of prison inmates.

It’s too late now for the Brits. But for other European countries, the race problems that plague the UK and the USA today are “preventable evils.”

Will the Europeans be wise enough to prevent them? We’ll find out.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other booksHe has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.