The Demographic Nightmare Is A Symptom, Not The Problem: A Response To Scott Sumner

Scott Sumner over at EconLog wrote a piece the other day about the “alt-right’s demographic nightmare.”

It’s not too long, so I won’t requote it, I’ll just recommend you read through it quickly and come back here. The gist is that Sumner senses a growing fear among conservatives that a primarily Hispanic growing non-white population in America will lead to more socialism and less prosperity, but that Sumner is unfazed by this fact because America’s projected racial/ethnic make-up in 2060 is going to be about the same as the racial/ethnic make-up of Texas in 2016 – and Texas, all things considered, is a pretty great place for whites, free enterprise, and small government.

So what’s the big deal?

Sumner seems to be making the argument that increasing non-white immigration causes free enterprise, small government and economic prosperity. Unfortunately, reality is a little more complicated.

America will certainly become like Texas by 2060, if all whites in America become Texan by 2060, too, and superstructure in Texas is projected throughout the rest of the country. I do not see evidence of that happening.

Whites in Texas are generally of a particular Anglo-Saxon or German descent. They value guns, God, and liberty. They despise socialism and big government. They are so distinct and vocal in this sense that most whites outside of Texas – and indeed outside of America – have a notable stereotype of Texans as gun-toting cowboys. When Scott Sumner notes that non-Hispanic whites make up 43.5% of the population of Texas, he is actually noting that these gun-toting, liberty-loving, socialism-hating Anglo-Saxon and German cowboys (or, at least, their descendants) make up 43.5% of the population.

When Sumner notes that America is projected to be 43.6% non-Hispanic white in 2060, however, he makes a totally unmerited leap. It is not likely that all non-Hispanic whites in America in 2060 are going to be gun-toting, liberty-loving cowboys from Texas. It is likely that those Texans will make up a minority of all whites in America, just like they do now, and that their total share of the population will be even smaller than it is today, due to growing non-white immigration and a smaller white proportion of the total population. That is the source of the conservative fear.

It is not esoteric knowledge that a large proportion of whites in America fall into a category of people normally described as “liberals,” who vote for socialism and big government at rates exactly the same as – or, if the success of Bernie Sanders in >90% white states is any indication – at rates even higher than non-whites and Hispanics.

Perhaps it would be silly to be worried about America becoming more like Texas, where a plurality of relatively right-wing whites consistently vote for small government, liberty, and free enterprise. America is not becoming more like Texas, though. America is becoming more like Brazil. Brazil, like Texas, is also a place where whites make up around 45% of the total population, yet while Sumner would be happy to live in Texas, I am sure he would not find Brazil so immediately appealing.

Perhaps that is because in Brazil, like in America as a whole, only around half of whites could be compared to Texans. The other half are “Bernie people.”

Which comes back to the title of this article: the demographic nightmare is just a symptom of a much deeper problem. That deeper problem is progressivism. It is bad government.

To elaborate, the problem per se is not solely that Hispanics, Asians, and Africans are immigrating to America and reproducing at a quicker rate than native-born whites. Such a situation certainly sounds like it could be a big problem, but historically there have been ways to manage such diversity without society imploding. Singapore, for example, offers some pointers.

The problem is that the government is allowing mass migration to occur without a plan for how to deal with it. The problem is that the government doesn’t have an incentive to develop a plan to deal with it because every individual part of the official (bureaucracies, politicians and agencies) and unofficial (media, academia, NGOs) government individually benefits from sloppily-handled mass migration and the countless problems that occur as a result. Many social workers, NGOs, bureaucrats, etc. would be out of a job if mass migration stopped, or if the migrants were model citizens who needed no aid or assistance from the government that brought them in.

There is nobody in charge at the top to take stock of the situation as a whole and make a reasoned judgment on what the best way to deal with mass migration is.

This point of view actually brings me to another problem with Sumner’s piece: the confusion of neoreaction with the alt-right. Sumner uses the terms interchangeably, but they could not be more distinct in their approaches to this problem, although both are unique and distinct for even recognizing that such a problem exists.

The alt-right is a racialist populist movement that views mass immigration as a problem to be solved with right-wing populist politics. Neoreaction is an intellectual school of thought that views mass immigration as a phenomenon resulting from an insecure government with artificially-imposed, contradictory limits on it that needs to import masses of foreigners in order to maintain its own power. That the government is comprised of and influenced by progressive actors–and other groups–also serves to accelerate migration.

The neoreactionary solution to this problem is not right-wing populism, but a reboot of the government: retire the millions of public workers and put one CEO/King in absolute power with the authority to steer the country along the best path he can see.

The people who occupy most of the influential positions in our headless and ever-expanding government are the whites who vote for socialism and big government. It is they who are the problem. The changing demographics that result are just a symptom of the insecure power system that they participate in and propagate.

Today, there are still not enough white Bernie voters in Texas to make Texas a bad place to live – even with the huge numbers of non-whites that are supposed to represent America’s future population. It’s funny that Sumner brings up that “white folks are moving to Texas in droves” since it is usually understood that these white newcomers are from blue states and do not share Texan values. Not only is America unlikely to be like Texas in 2060, Texas is extremely unlikely to be like Texas in 2060.

The problem is not mass non-white immigration. The problem is that huge numbers of whites, and especially whites who work in the public or semi-public sectors, have strong incentives to support and aid mass non-white immigration in the short-term at the expense of turning their country into a northern twin to Brazil in the long-term.

If a 43% white America of 2060 were run like Singapore, or like Texas today, or like an absolute monarchy, it is unlikely that there would be many problems, or that there would be as much fear as there is. Alt-righters and worried conservatives – although they don’t understand why exactly – intuit that a 43% white America is not going to be run like Singapore, Texas or an absolute monarchy, but like a country where a portion of progressive whites use a majority of socialist-inclined non-whites to permanently control the government for their mutual benefit and to the detriment of the whites who vote for small government and free enterprise.

Such an America is not going to look like Texas, and it is not going to be a very nice place to live.

Mark Yuray is verified on Gab. Follow him there and on Twitter.

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  1. Texas has a distinct and healthy culture. When a place has a distinct and healthy culture, it civilizes and assimilates aliens who come to live in that culture. In the US, only certain areas of the South have this remaining distinct and healthy culture. The chauvinism, arrogance, and provincialism that is associated with Texas and Texans, is precisely why they are successful at civilizing and assimilating Hispanic aliens, while most other places are not.

    1. All Obama has to do is give some big Section 8 vouchers to Dallas’ inner city population and get them out to the formerly white suburbs, and that culture becomes a memory, the spirit of a Texas one sees less and less of on the ground. Also, simultaneous hits to Texas’ major industries of oil and technology will weaken a lot of cultural resistance. You’ll still have cowboys, literally, but they were always economically low people scraping a living. Before long at this rate, the nonwhites will demand that “practical” changes be made in the culture, and they’ll be listened to. Culture can be changed fairly quickly when the government executes the “right” move.

      The thing with staying power is demographics.

  2. I don’t know percentages, but some portion of Texas “Hispanics” are descendants of white Mexicans who fought Santa Ana. They are Hispanic the same way that UCLA tries to classify Spanish exchange students as Hispanic.

    1. This is a good point that I left out. Colleagues of mine have also privately pointed out that Texas’ gun culture, cheap land and de facto segregation also all work to reduce tensions.

      I’ve met more than a few lily-white kids who claim Hispanic heritage (they don’t even speak Spanish) because a grandfather or grandmother (or great-grandfather or great-grandmother) had the surname Garcia.

      I have read before that Mexico has a North/South divide much like the US has a North/South divide, although the details of Mexican divide are a little bit different. IIRC, the Mexican North (the cultural region of which extends past the Rio Grande into Texas and New Mexico) is full of “Nortenos,” who are generally of European Spanish ancestry, are ranchers, and have otherwise assimilated into frontier/cowboy culture.

      The Mexican South extends culturally into Central America (Guatemala etc.) and is where the Mestizos and full-blooded Indians live. They are jungle peasants, not ranchers.

      Most of the illegal aliens, low-functioning migrants, criminals and rapists that are coming to America are not even Mexican, but Central American. And, I would guess, most of the Mexican ones entering America are not Nortenos but Mexican Mestizo Southerners.

  3. When I read his piece, I thought he wasn’t really taking it seriously. If he was, he could have used Detroit as an example.

    More generally, the libertarian-academic sort has been very depressing lately. They are signaling against the white nationalists, but the principles are simple: freedom of association & private property.

  4. Current Texas resident here, but I’m a transplant so I know Texas is a “strange” place. Many of our democrats here are pro gun rights, which is something of a two headed calf elsewhere in the country. Plus, as Orthodox said, many of our “Hispanics” have essentially been here forever and are a bit like the French in Louisiana, a naturally occurring local culture that is very well integrated into the whole.

    However unrestricted immigration here is still creating a myriad of problems. Houston has a massive human trafficking and slavery problem (I talked to a Pasadena detective a while back and he said it wasn’t unusual to occasionally find a house with people chained up in the back).

    It’s more like we have a lot of cultural capital that we are blowing through fast.

  5. The economic mess of today isn’t caused by mass immigration, but indiscriminate mass immigration. The fallacy of NRx is thinking that the elite in an autocracy would overwhelmingly choose strictly limited immigration on the basis of economic rationalism. The fact is, if you own things, there’s enormous profit to be made in mass immigration – ie growing the domestic market – even as it taxes the social cohesion and quality of life of the average citizen. Rich country and rich people aren’t the same thing: if you’re a CEO-king, who profits from gross GDP, is it better to rule over Norway or China?

    It’s relevant that you mentioned Singapore, as Singapore is the most emblematic example of this. It’s a crypto-authoritarian democracy that chose mass immigration from above: with the absolute certainty of rule that neoreactionaries think is necessary for good governance, and indeed in spite of the popular will. Singapore is now experiencing a lot of social turbulence due to its strongly pro-immigration policy, and one could imagine a “right-wing populism” arising in Singapore, too. Just as we see now in the democratic West, the resistance against globalism in authoritarian Singapore has come not from the halls of power, but from the immoral, ineducable, probably smelly peasant.

    Neoreaction purports to side with whatever Just Werks (when not disingenuously not siding with anything), and on a situational basis; but in effect they’re very keen to use their magic formula that what is good for the king is good, period. Yeah, nah. “Formalistically”, what matters more than any political structure is a culture where people believe in each other. A corrupt society is corrupt from top to bottom. And as for the “good” to be measured: I’ll take rich people over rich country… just so long as we have the bombs to keep the rich-country neighbour at bay.

    1. “The fallacy of NRx is thinking that the elite in an autocracy would overwhelmingly choose strictly limited immigration on the basis of economic rationalism.”

      I don’t think this is necessarily a fallacy, so much as an innocent prediction.

      I would be fine with mass immigration if my King was inviting 50,000 German settlers to my country (like in Russia or Romania). I would be a little concerned if my King invited 50,000 Somalians, but in a properly ordered state, if the King did that, he would segregate and order them harshly and send them back once they finished building his new palace — that is, if 50,000 Somalians would even be necessary. It’s highly unlikely. But it wouldn’t be my place to make a judgment on that, it would be the King’s. If the King’s interests are aligned with the state’s and the country’s interests — which is the goal and point of NRx — then the King would be no more excited about inviting Somalians than anybody else.

      In an organic state, what is good for the King is also what is good for the country. We cite Singapore not as an example of NRx-derived perfection, but a counter-example to egalitarian diversity propaganda, and, sometimes, racialist populist homogeneity propaganda.

  6. Sumner’s technique is routine. In Europe if you object to the importation of Muslims and blacks you are branded a Nazi. Over in the USA, it’s hillbillies. As Aldous Huxley once wrote, People would rather be taken in adultery than provincialism. Ambitous whites are terrified of any association whatsoever with poor whites and their manipulators instinctively know this. See the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (A very shrewd and entertaining development of this theme, based on the book by Truman Capote.) Sumner’s Texas crap is window dressing. It distracts from the real message, the subliminal one, which focuses on deepseated middle class insecurities.

    If you’ll recall at first the alienated elites obsessed over the supposed working class demographics of Trump supporters. That didn’t work so now they escalate to the Nazi/fascist label.

    I pointed all this out at Sumner’s article but I doubt he’ll publish it. He may or may not be consciously aware.

  7. Speaking of the image of the Hillbilly in American culture most people nowadays wouldn’t remember the time when feelings toward the hillbilly were rather of a fond nature, or at least not as freighted with such negative conotations. There was probably some anxiety or else there wouldn’t have been so many TV shows in the 60s about yokels. But still, the overall approach by Hollywood was amused fondness from a slightly superior status. The actor who played Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies also had an important part in Capote’s Breakfast as a sort of noble hillbilly.

    But our friend Sumner seems to view hillbillies as aliens. More alien than people of different races and customs who don’t speak English and who call Trump supporters of European descent, i.e., hillbillies, racist and therefore evil.

  8. Kaiser Dishelm May 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I agree that Texas does a better job than average at assimilating foreigners. I don’t know how long that lasts when SJWs from others states train the Mexicans to be pawns in the social justice war. I’m a Native Texan, I love Texas and Texans, but I don’t think we’re immune from the Progress that’s taken hold elsewhere.

  9. Debating Sumner seems like a waste of effort. There could be some good arguments for high-IQ immigration…or maybe a guest labor programs as the UAE has, but the US already has too many people, likely making the need for additional laborers unnecessary. We’ll probably continue to see the ‘hollowing out’ of the middle, with more low-paying jobs and the decline of the ‘middle’.

    The alt-right is a racialist populist movement that views mass immigration as a problem to be solved with right-wing populist politics…

    ….The neoreactionary solution to this problem is not right-wing populism, but a reboot of the government: retire the millions of public workers and put one CEO/King in absolute power with the authority to steer the country along the best path he can see.

    Agree. NRX acknowledges that politicians are merely cogs of a broken or malfunctioning machine.

    1. I’m not debating Sumner so much as using him as a foil to illustrate a point for our readers.

      Do you really think the USA has too many people? Most of the country is empty and uninhabited. A lot of the inhabited parts are very low-density due to suburbia-craziness. I could imagine a white USA of 600 million people living in traditional European towns.

      1. Yeah, despite the hype of over overpopulation, the world is mostly empty. I guess what we’re seeing are too many of the ‘wrong people’. The more people , the more interconnected the world will become, and then this will lead to the problems expressed in this article and others. It may be impossible to have large populations and at the same time absence of bureaucracy and globalization.

        1. That’s my intuition too. Traditional pre-industrial civilization led to some of the most densely populated areas in the world such as South-Central China or the Po Valley in Northern Italy. I suppose that was mostly due to irrigation and healthy agriculture, but if we’ve had a Green Revolution, why couldn’t we have those nice little safe, compact towns and cities all over the place?

          A good government that protected them and fed them would be necessary, but that is hardly out of reach!

          A topic for a future article perhaps.

  10. I like to hope that mass immigration is going to cause a collapse of democracy. One big difference between us and Brazil is that Brazil is somewhat culturally and linguistically homogenous. The white elite have been living with their non-white proles for a long time. In our case, it’s a massive invasion of an alien culture. There will either be a civil war or an autocracy.

  11. Texas also has a part time legislature. They’re in session for 3 1/2 months and their office of govenor is one if the weakest in the US. The state is less responsive to popular demand and has less power relative to federal government. A non white majority nationwide will be regularly electing a House (a partisan Senate will likely align with the House) and President. This is where the real powere lies. I can leave a state if the Hispanic majority ran it into the ground. Leaving the U.S. would be a little more difficult.

    1. Those white cowboys aren’t fond of electing a powerful government. A bunch of white Bernie people from California and Massachusetts plus their black-brown multicultural salmagundi army not so much.

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