Immigration and conservatives

The high profile of the immigration issue among American conservatives attracts little attention in Australia, perhaps because liberals find it easier to complain about evangelical Christians. McCain’s rise shows that immigration matters less among even conservative voters than many thought. But we need to distinguish between conservatives and ‘the conservative movement’. As a neo-conservative defender of McCain notes:

McCain would, there is no question, be a lousy leader of an ideological movement. But the Republican party is not an ideological movement. It is a political vehicle for the American right-of-center. Those who confuse the Republican party with the conservative movement are indulging in a fantasy — that there is purity in politics and that there is something immoral about ideological impurity.

Yet the entire rhetoric of the ‘conservative movement’ (which has its would-be Australian emulators such as Jason Briant) is that they are the true pragmatists in touch we what the population really wants. To the members of the ‘conservative movement’  Hispanic immigration (of whatever sort, the complaint about illegals is a diversion) is a a fundamental threat. In their eyes it will make America a new Europe corrupted by multiculturalism and socialism. Says John O’Sullivan on NRO’s The Corner:

I have written and spoken on this topic interminably in recent years, always making the point that legalized illegal immigrants would be overwhelmingly natural Democrat voters because they are overwhelmingly poor working people — and such people tend to vote Democrat. “Racial or cultural” phenomena have almost nothing to do with this. Sure, such voters might gradually convert to voting Republican over time—it took Italians about sixty years to do so — but their movement in that direction is retarded by mass immigration that makes it easier for them not to assimilate to the common American culture.

Thus it becomes possible for the country-club business conservatives of National Review to line up with the fringe of Vdare. Australia has attracted attention from the American anti-immigration right see here an article by Australian paleoconservative R.J.Stove.

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