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Why the West Refuses to Control its Borders by David Azerrad

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Why the West Refuses to Control its Borders

The immigration policies pursued by most Western nations since the end of the last great war have not only been disastrous, but also without precedent in human history. Never before have sovereign states voluntarily imported untold millions of peoples of different creeds, colors, and cultures for decades on end. This is the kind of policy traditionally imposed by tyrants on conquered nations to break them once and for all. It is not something the natives willfully do to themselves.

There are only three types of people who are today foolish enough to believe that the West is fundamentally better off because of the recent wave of unceasing immigration. First are the libertarians who fetishize open borders because they continue to worship at the altar of unfettered markets (as if economic growth, to which immigrants have undeniably contributed, were the measure of national well-being). Second are the cosmopolitan apolitical last men and women who like the unthreatening exotic frisson of the multicultural, in particular better restaurants (as if we lived for our bellies). Last, of course, are the militant leftists who jubilate at the thought of eradicating white majority nations whom they view, to quote Susan Sontag, as “the cancer of humanity” (to their credit, they are at least under no silly illusions that this unending stream of immigration will not overwhelm the natives and forever transform their countries).

The rest of us, by now, clearly see that it is high time to curtail, if not indefinitely end, mass immigration. And yet we don’t. Immigrants keep streaming in, not because we cannot keep them out, but because we ultimately can’t muster the will to do so.

This may be obvious, but we should not discount the value of stating the obvious. Westerners must be reminded that we could completely overhaul our immigration system. We could end the policies of birthright citizenship and family repatriation. We could deport illegal immigrants back to their countries of origins. We could make it so costly for employers to hire illegal immigrants that they would leave on their own. We could also eradicate multiculturalism from our schools and our laws, thereby increasing the pressure and incentives for immigrants to fully assimilate to our way of life

We could do all this—and more—but we don’t. One of the greatest victories of the ruling class is to have broken our will by convincing so many of us that these policies cannot be changed. It’s the forward march of progress. There is no going back. So just resign yourselves to being disposed of your heritage in your own native lands.

There are primarily two overarching reasons—one economic, one psychological—why we don’t have the stomach to do what we must do. The economic reason, plainly stated, is that immigration is good for business, and that big immigration is particularly good for big business. It supplies businesses with more workers, who are often willing to work for cheaper wages than the natives. It also supplies them with more consumers, i.e. it grows the size of domestic markets. In sum, it’s profitable. And despite all the woke propaganda coming from big business these days, and all the talk of stakeholder capitalism coming from Klaus Schwab, businesses like nothing more than profits. 

It is, however, a comforting lie to tell ourselves that it’s all the fault of the evil capitalists in top hats smoking cigars. We the people are also to blame. Across the West, vast segments of the population have decided that many jobs are beneath them—and most definitely beneath their kids. We seem to have accepted the idea that everyone should go to college and that manual labor is undignified. And so, even many of us who complain about immigration are not willing to do the jobs that immigrants are currently doing. 

Perhaps we might do them for a higher wage, but then we’d have to accept a higher cost of living—that is, assuming, we even have the industriousness and the work ethic of the immigrants. This is an unpleasant truth that conservatives don’t much like to discuss.

One of my friends runs a large commercial bakery in which he almost exclusively employs Hispanic immigrants. He pays well and offers generous benefits, but the work is repetitive and somewhat physically demanding. Whenever he hires native born Americans, they disappear after a few days, never to be seen again. I once asked him whether he ever hires the children of his employees and his response stuck with me: “no, they become Americans and don’t want to work.”

In short, let’s not delude ourselves: there are considerable economic benefits to mass immigration. It’s not all downside. We in the West are going to have to decide what we value most: our countries or our comfort.

But even if we were willing to work harder and forego some material well-being, that would not be enough. There are deeper, psychological causes at play too. They are rather complex and have multiple dimensions, but the pernicious legacy of World War II is key to grasping the Western psychological malaise.

The elites in the West really only drew one moral lesson from the defeat of Nazism: Nationalism means Nazism—but only for white, Western nations. Nationalism is a good thing for the rest of mankind. That’s why the bien pensants cheer on nationalist movements in South Sudan and Timor-Leste. But if a Western country turns to nationalism—if it understands itself for what it is, that is, a particular nation rooted in a particular land with a particular way of life—then that can only mean that it is on its way to fascism and genocide.

It’s either universalist human rights liberalism, shorn of any particular attachments—except when it comes to the Olympics—or expansionary, genocidal, blood and soil nationalism. Political theory has been reduced to a Manichean choice between the open society and the closed society. 

In so doing, the elites have demonized the perfectly sensible idea of nationalism because it was perverted by the Nazis. But they have yet to demonstrate what exactly is inherently wrong with the idea of a single people living in their ancestral homeland. Was Sweden fascist before it opened itself up to immigration? Are Israel and Japan fascist today?

The elites didn’t just make openness to the rest of the world the benchmark of justice, they came to equate whiteness with evil. Because the Nazi’s genocidal ideology was anchored in the belief of Aryan racial superiority, the ruling class came to view the very existence of majority white nations as a threat to the world. Making Western nations less white thus became a moral imperative—hence the embrace of non-Western immigration.

Many in the West have come to believe that the only sure hedge against fascism is to reduce the native populations of their country to a minority. In America, where I live, the elites can barely restrain their jubilation when talking about 2045, the year when the USA is supposed to become a so-called “majority-minority nation.” Not everyone thinks this way, it is true, but almost all those who dissent live in the paralyzing fear of being called racists. Very few have the courage to resist this form of moral blackmail.

It will not be easy to dislodge these ideas from the Western mind. Any attempt to defend the integrity of Western nations will be met with hysterical accusations of fascism and run up against vested business interests. But we have no choice. Doing so is the prerequisite to beginning the arduous task of revitalizing our declining countries.

David Azerrad is an assistant professor at Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C.

This article is adapted from a speech delivered by the author at CPAC Hungary in May of 2022.