How One Man’s Bad Ideas Can Affect A Nationby Doug Mataconis
Today’s Washington Post has a profile on the man credited with being the father of the modern anti-immigration movement, and a sad story of how one man can help create a movement that destroys freedom:
PETOSKEY, Mich. — Let’s just get this out of the way. John Tanton, mastermind of the modern-day movement to curb immigration, is a tree-hugger. Literally. He has a favorite pair of ash trees “this big around,” he says, spreading his arms wide. He likes to visit them every so often in the forest just north of here, see how they’re doing.
He worries about them, too, whether — or when — the invaders, the metallic green emerald ash borers, will overwhelm them, wipe one of the dominant native tree species off the North American continent. To think that this little bug could do such a thing, he says, “it’s just hard to take.”
But it’s not just environmentalism that impacts Mr. Tanton’s thoughts:
Three decades after he began agitating about it, immigration has become a hot-button issue — the House passed a $6 billion bill to build a fence along the Mexican border, and several local governments have passed measures to crack down on illegal immigrants already here. But the courts have struck down several of these.
Tanton worries — how will the United States survive the “invasion” of people from Central and Latin America, not to mention China and Korea? More than ever, he is convinced that as they continue to come — waves of legal and illegal “interlopers” — the environment, the culture and the economy of the country will irreparably erode.
“We have 19 cities now on the globe with more than 10 million people in them,” he says. “Only one of them [Tokyo] is in the First World. So all the rest of them have got poor water supplies, poor sewage, poor public services.”
Okay, but how many of these cities are actually located in the United States. None of them, of course.
Interestingly enough, Tanton’s anti-immigrant beliefs are not of recent vintage, but stretch back to the anti-capitalist 60’s:
In 1964, while he was interning in a Denver hospital, his young wife, Mary Lou, provided family planning information to low-income women who had wanted two children but were leaving the maternity ward with their fifth or sixth. In this, Tanton saw a looming apocalypse, living evidence of the theory postulated in Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, “The Population Bomb” — left unchecked, the world’s population would double every 35 years, occupying the remaining habitable open space and overrunning cities and towns.
This did not come to pass. But, Tanton says, the threat is still out there. “I’m anti-immigrant like a person on a diet is anti-food,” he insists. But the intake must be controlled. “You don’t wait till you’re at 390 million [people] and think you can deal with the problem.” His ideas became even more focused after he read the French novel “The Camp of the Saints,” a darkly prophetic allegory of a million destitute people fleeing Kolkata and landing in Europe, where they loot, rape and pillage.
Yes sir, but that was a novel. In reality, immigration, and the increased population of workers and contributors that comes with it, has been a net-plus for the United States.