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.