One of the few salutory effects of unfettered immigration to the West from developing and third world nations is the growing awareness among previously skeptical observers-even among certain parts of the left wing intelligentsia-that open borders might not be such an unqualified good.
A perfect illustration of this phenomenon can be found in the form of Salman Rushdie. World-renowned novelist, much-vilified apostate, liberal icon, and Muslim bete noire, Rushdie gave a fascinating interview to the U.K. Independent several years ago, the highlight of which was his surprising declaration about his own ambivalent feelings regarding Great Britain’s post-Thatcher immigration policies. Having been burned in effigy and the target of openly murderous rallies held in his adopted nation by people who also came from the Indian subcontinent, it’s not surprising that Mr. Rushdie has had second thoughts about the impact of mass Islamic immigration to countries that had heretofore been wholly Judeo-Christian in nature. This skepticism has of course been expressed by conservative writers before, most eloquently by Christopher Caldwell in his book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe and Mark Steyn in his groundbreaking work, America Alone.
But the fact that Rushdie, an outspoken liberal, is expressing similar thoughts is worth examining. The idea that foreigners are completely reshaping the face of European civilization is no longer merely a frightful specter raised by right wing followers of Enoch Powell, but a reality on the ground, vividly illustrated by the routine demonstrations staged by Islamic supremacists in the heart of London, and reflected in the new literature of Great Britain, such as the novels Brick Lane and White Teeth. Even the former (Socialist) chancellor of Germany, Helmut Schmidt, has declared that the post-war gastarbeiter (guest-worker) program implemented in his country was a colossal mistake.
It seems that nearly every sector of society has become aware, however reluctantly, of the costs of mass immigration. The problem is that the people who benefit from the current system, namely, the political interests that reap the benefit of internal discord and marginalized citizens of previously cohesive nation-states, don’t want to change it. That’s where citizen-activism comes in. The fight to derail amnesty in this country, and to turn back the tide of Islamic immigration in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, began as a people’s movement and needs to expand its reach if we are ever to hope of returning to a normal state of affairs.
Although public expressions by intellectuals who’ve realized the folly of open borders is a welcome addition to this debate, this is at its core a debate that’s driven by the public. We need to divest the powers that be of the authority to usher in millions of immigrants that will fundamentlly alter our constitutional republic. British children shouldn’t have to grow up in a nation where Koran-wielding fanatics from Pakistan can forbid them from expressing their thoughts, and American teenagers shouldn’t be forced to hide their country’s flag out of fear that they will be assaulted by people who shouldn’t be in the first place.
So I say, “three cheers for Salman Rushdie!”