Since 1972, the Eagle Forum (EF) has been putting the “paleo” in paleo-conservative. Founded by anti-women’s rights movement activist Phyllis Schlafly, EF has long pushed back on nearly any non-white Christian social group seeking to claim civil and/or human rights here in the United States. And with the recent release of its anti-immigration (not just anti-immigrant) report, “How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party,” EF has redrawn a line under the “native” in nativism.
The “(Legal)” in parentheses is telling—like Schlafly whispers the word in your ear as you first read the title. Meaning, all immigrants threaten our way of life, and a return to the racist immigration quotas of the past must occur if western-European traditions are to be preserved in this country, a cornerstone belief of the leaders of the anti-immigrant movement.
Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, was quoted in 1994 as having said, “I blame ninety-eight percent of responsibility for this country’s immigration crisis on Ted Kennedy and his political allies, who decided some time back in 1958, earlier perhaps, that immigration was a great way to retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance and hubris, and the immigration laws from the 1920s were just this symbol of that, and it’s a form of revengism [sic], or revenge, that these forces continue to push the immigration policy that they know full well are creating chaos and will continue to create chaos down the line.” Stein’s long-time boss and founder of the anti-immigrant movement, John Tanton, and their cohorts at the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA have championed a moratorium on all immigration to our country, which they have misleading dubbed, “a pause.”
EF is distributing this report to a broad audience of Conservatives, and so couches its argument in the thesis that immigrants are obsessed with “big government,” and therefore their mere existences are tantamount to a comprehensive threat to individual freedoms and barriers to limited government. To prove this thesis, though, EF repackages a confluence of anxiety-ridden talking points that are rusty staples of leadership that overlaps the nativist and contemporary white nationalist movements.
Drawing directly from the EF report’s table of contents, these synergistic anxieties include the “Balkanizing [of] Society,” how the “Pause in Immigration was Key,” how “Multiculturalism Makes Assimilation in More Difficult,” the dangers of “Adding to the Poor and Uninsured,” and concerns about “Muslim Immigrants.”
Brent Nelson, a former leader of the overlapping white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements expounds upon such anxieties in his 1994 book, America Balkanized: Immigration’s Challenge to Government. The term itself, “Balkanized,” is of a calloused and cruel cultural etymology, purporting that atrocities and wars in the Balkan region of Eastern Europe are undeniable proof that multiculturalism implicitly leads to the destruction of free societies the world over. Nelson – who himself was a leading member within the Council of Conservative Citizens, a board member of the anti-immigrant American Immigration Control Foundation, and an advisory board member of The Occidental Quarterly, a journal of white nationalist and anti-Semitic academics and thinkers – writes in the book’s introduction that his work focuses on “the problems of governance that will arise in a multi-ethnic state which will arise in the United States if immigration is not curtailed.” Going further, he writes, “the annals of history and the new science of sociobiology [read: eugenics] both indicate that nationhood is sustained by a continuity of ethnic descent….”
John Tanton felt same, writing in a 1993 letter that “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Sam Francis, who is often regarded as the father of contemporary white nationalism, based his theory of “anarcho-tyranny” on the same principle: that the breakdown of a white ethnic majority will lead to chaos in the United States.
These same feelings play out in Dan Stein’s quote above, as they play out in the Eagle Forum’s new report. Its authors go as far as to claim, “The current level of immigration, even without S.744 [i.e. a pathway to citizenship], will add nearly 15 million new potential voters by 2036, a large share of whom will favor the Left. To allow this to happen will make Republicans a permanent minority party.”
The revealing choice in that quote, much like the choice to include “(Legal)” in the report’s title, is the word “minority”: Eagle Forum truly fears the “revengism” that Stein believes has already played. Many in our country have evolved beyond such lame bigotries, as evidenced by those seeing the humane sense behind comprehensive immigration reform. And this is exactly why it’s time for the “paleo,” and the Eagle Forum, to become a thing of the past.