America Isn’t The First Empire To Be Doomed By Open Borders

Like empires before us, we have lost our cultural confidence and moorings, increasing the risk of being overrun by newcomers...

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o subject is as central to America’s future and no subject gets to the heart of the failure of our current regime more than immigration policy. As a result, few subjects are as riddled with taboos in their public discussion. What will happen when the ethnic composition of large parts of America is transformed in ways America’s European founders never could have foreseen? And in the interim, what will happen to whites as they continue to lose political power amid their shrinking proportion of the population, as anti-white rhetoric and actions accelerate?

Whether or not you believe that “demography is destiny,” these fundamental demographic questions cannot simply be ignored or glibly papered over with happy talk. The reality is that the white population, and thus the white voting share of the population, is rapidly diminishing. The fact that whites and “whiteness” are so frequently publicly demonized in a country with a current white voting supermajority does not inspire confidence in how society is likely to treat whites when they are a much-diminished minority.

There is a graphic T-shirt that’s popular in “Indian country” and on some left-wing college campuses. It comes in several versions, but the most popular has several Native Americans in traditional dress hoisting rifles while looking sternly at the camera. “Homeland Security: Fighting Illegal Immigration Since 1492,” it reads. Another version with the same picture says, “We should have built a wall.”

I chuckled the first time I saw one of these shirts. It’s a clever slogan on its own terms that makes the point that Native Americans, of course, were here when the first white settlers arrived. But upon further thought, I realized the statement it made was more profound — it just cut in the opposite direction of the way it was intended.

While Native Americans have arguably benefitted from joining the most globe-spanning power that has ever existed, they also paid a heavy price. Today, there are almost 10 million self-identified Native Americans in the United States, as well as millions of other white-identified Americans with at least some Native American ancestry. But Native Americans learned, much to their regret, the consequences of the failure to protect their border, their language, and their culture. Their failure to do so should cause whites to redouble their efforts not to make the same mistake.

America’s Wide Open Gates

For as long as there have been political communities, immigration — ultimately who is allowed to join a political community — has been a central concern. It was certainly a lively debate in the days of ancient Rome, which many scholars have argued fell in large part thanks to poorly controlled immigration.

Distinguished English historian Peter Heather of King’s College in London is one of those scholars who has argued for the centrality of immigration in causing the fall of the Roman Empire. This interpretation was echoed by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “When the Roman Empire fell,” Johnson remarked on a 2021 trip to Rome, “it was largely as a result of uncontrolled immigration. The empire could no longer control its borders, people came in from the east, all over the place, and we went into a Dark Ages.”

Romans had not always been so lax about immigration. At the peak of Roman power, immigration was only offered to conquered peoples. And even then, most were barred from settling in the Italian heartland. As another writer, Annalisa Merelli pointed out, it was the Roman Empire’s saving of thousands and thousands (some say upward of 200,000) of Goth tribal refugees fleeing from the Huns in 376 that led to Rome’s sack less than a century later. After a variety of mutually broken promises between the two sides, the Goths turned on their Roman rescuers at the Battle of Adrianople in 378, a massacre of Romans that saw the deaths of more than 30,000 and would eventually lead to the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

While few would suggest that today’s immigrants have plans to militarily besiege America, it does not take a leap of the imagination to extend the analogy to our own times. Like Rome, we have lost our cultural confidence and moorings, which dramatically increases our risk of being overrun both literally and metaphorically by newcomers.

As the Christian conservative writer Rod Dreher wrote pointedly of the essential question facing the West:

The massive migration of barbarians into the Roman Empire, in the 4th through 6th centuries, changed European civilization permanently. They caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and centuries later, the rise of a new civilization there, based on the descendants of old Roman stock and Christianized Germanic tribes. Will the latter-day descendants of those Europeans be able to hold back the “barbarian invasions” from Africa [by far the largest source of coming global population growth] in the 21st century? Or will they have to do as the Romans did and absorb the strangers, and, over centuries, create a new civilization?

One can argue that the latter strategy is the correct one, both practically and morally. But either way, one cannot deny it is a choice. Today, white people in America and throughout the West are facing the prospect of permanent minority status in countries founded by their ancestors. American (and increasingly European) immigration policies are not copied anywhere else in the world. China tightly controls its borders, letting in only a few thousand legal immigrants per year. In Japan, despite having the world’s most rapidly aging population and a shrinking workforce, just 2 percent of its population are immigrants, mostly from ethnically and culturally similar Asian countries. Immigrants make up less than 1 percent of Mexico’s population.

Yet increasingly whites find themselves self-ghettoized in America and Europe, with the new leaders of the “coalition of the ascendant” increasing daily in number using the institutions and sociopolitical mechanisms developed from European traditions in the West to seize political power at the expense of Americans of European origin.

In 1938, future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill published While England Slept, a collection of his speeches delivered over a decade that warned of the country’s dangerous passivity in the wake of German rearmament. By the time the British public and political class took his warnings seriously, it was almost too late. 

Many contemporary immigration writers on the right, this one included, have sounded similar warnings for many years about the dangers of America’s wide-open border and about the risks we face as a society as we rapidly transform the demographics of the American people.  To this point, while our writings have been received enthusiastically on the grassroots right, most “conservative” politicians continue to sleep peacefully.

It remains to be seen whether they can be awakened from their slumber in time to save the country for their posterity. ✪  

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