May 11, 2016


Why do pro-life conservatives support anti-immigrant groups pushing population control? (Shikha Dalmia, May 11, 2016, The Week)

America's anti-immigration restrictionist movement has historically had one foot in the labor protectionist camp and another in the population control camp. Many pro-life conservatives count themselves among immigration restrictionists -- which makes the anti-immigration movement's population control argument downright bizarre, given that population control and abortion politics have been a key flashpoint in conservatives' broader culture war with the left.

But even as the environmental left has been shunning the restrictionist movement, conservatives have been embracing it. Indeed, the right is the sole link to mainstream respectability for three of America's most influential restrictionist groups -- FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), CIS (Center for Immigration Studies), and NumbersUSA -- all founded by John Tanton, an ophthalmologist who laments that Hitler gave eugenics a bad name.

Let's back up for a moment. In the 1970s, all the leading environmentalists -- such as economist Garrett Hardin, Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson, biologist Paul Ehrlich (whose Population Bomb became an overnight sensation) -- were also restrictionists. They feared that "mass migration," especially from third world countries with higher fertility rates, would lead to overpopulation and environmental catastrophe in America and the West. [...]

It's not like these outfits are subtle about their true intentions. Tanton, their founder, is clear in saying his restrictionism is part of a broader population control program that also involves abortion, family planning, and other efforts to decrease fertility. He served on the board of his local Planned Parenthood chapter and as president of Zero Population Growth. His anti-Catholic sentiments are well known, given Catholicism's religious objections to population control. He has warned incessantly about the "Latin onslaught" -- the threat that the multiplying Latino population poses to the existing Anglo-Saxon power structure -- once musing whether this was the first time in history when "those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down."

Tanton isn't worried simply about the number of humans, but also their quality. Under his leadership, FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a white nationalist organization that favors eugenics for "race betterment." While social conservatives worry that modern medicine will trigger an unnatural quest for perfect, designer babies, Tanton's concern is that it will lead to the "eroding of the gene pool" by letting less intelligent people procreate faster than more intelligent ones. [...]

[T]he conservative National Review, a perennial immigration opponent, gave CIS executive director Mark Krikorian (whom I have debated) along with many of his colleagues and researchers -- including Jason Richwine, whose dissertation recommending IQ tests for immigrants and musings at white nationalist websites forced him to resign from the Heritage Foundation -- a regular blogging platform.

Krikorian, like Beck, cut his restrictionist teeth at FAIR when he wrote for its newsletter in the 1980s. Subsequently, he attended FAIR's writers workshops while heading CIS. Although he has been careful to primarily stick to making an economic and cultural case against immigration in National Review, Mario Lopez pointed out in Human Life Review that "the same [FAIR] environmentalist, abortion, and population-control ideology permeates CIS, its funders, and founders." Human Life Review is not some progressive, lefty, PC outfit looking to demonize conservatives. It is a conservative Catholic publication founded by a former associate publisher of National Review.

National Review fiercely disputes Lopez's argument, claiming that CIS and NumbersUSA "very deliberately take no position on abortion and population control," although its members might. But that's not quite right. CIS openly espouses population control -- including "curtailing needless restrictions on abortion" -- and has posted papers (authored by Roy Beck) lambasting environmentalists for "forsaking" their previous commitment to it.

Let's be clear about what is happening here: National Review, perhaps the country's leading journal for intellectual conservatives, and a magazine with strong pro-life leanings, has lent its name and platform to the leader of an organization that clearly favors population control.

The Right is not conservative.

Posted by at May 11, 2016 5:37 PM