While going through recent census estimates, Barone discovered a pattern until now overlooked: the old coastal cities, or "Coastal Megalopolises" are steadily becoming dominated by immigrants, while at the same time native Americans are repopulating the thriving heartland cities.
Since 2000, Barone tells us, New York City has seen "a domestic outflow of 8% and an immigrant inflow of 6%". Boston, LA, Washington, and San Diego show similar turnovers. The total outflow of native-born Americans from these cities amounts to 650,000 a year.
At the same time, cities such as Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Tampa have had dramatic leaps in native-born population, in all cases exceeding 10%, and in that of Las Vegas approaching 20%. So while the coastal cities remain static in population numbers despite the turnover, interior cities are booming.''
[...]But there are implications that may affect us all. Many of these people will have emigrated from failed polities of one type or another. Too many of the countries of Africa and Asia and Latin America, are operating in something resembling free fall, to put it kindly. Government is whoever has the most guns; civil society goes its own way with little reference to governmental activity; whatever political entanglements that can't be avoided are dealt with in the most primitive manner conceivable, through processes characterized by kinship and tribal relations, bribery, and paternalism. It's those conditions many people were fleeing when they came to the United States.
But it's those same conditions that, even with the best will in the world, they are going to bring with them. People cannot shed elements of their culture the same way they may change the dishdash for slacks and shirt. They are going to look for the Big Man. They are going to wonder whom to bribe, and how much. They are going to gravitate toward whoever operates in the manner closest to their country, region, or tribe. They will, without the least intending to, recreate in the U.S. the same situation they were fleeing from back home. With the added complication that dozens of other ethnicities will also be trying to grab the political levers to ensure that things are done their way, all at once.
It's difficult to see how this is particularly congruent with American democracy as we understand it today.''
[...]We can dismiss any thoughts of civil war. Conflicts in advanced societies aren't settled that way, and a situation in which isolated urban areas are opposed to the country at large doesn't lend itself to such an outcome. But there are plenty of other ugly possibilities. (And some benefits as well - the coastal cities, which wield far too much influence today, will find their sway over the rest of the country dwindling, no doubt a good thing.)''
Dunn is mostly on target with his skepticism about Barone's conclusions, although he appears to be much more sanguine about the future, if present trends cited by Barone continue, than I am.
However, his reaction is not that of the typical Republican loyalist, such as this piece, which takes the 'don't-worry-be-happy, America is trending GOP' approach. This is the attitude I usually encounter among the real party faithful. It's a wishful thinking attitude, and despite the apparent soundness of Barone's statistics and the interpretations he puts on them, I think he may be seeing what he wants to see: the new immigrants will vote GOP eventually, and the liberal 'blue zones' in those coastal urban areas are shrinking, so all is well with the world.
The old Rust Belt, that includes cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh, is losing population, too. "They continue to vote Democratic, but their 54% for John Kerry was much lower than the Coastal Megalopolis's 61%."
He challenges us to think about a world in which there is a:
"shifting of political weight from a small Rust Belt which leans Democratic and from the much larger Coastal Megalopolises, where both secular top earners and immigrant low earners vote heavily Democratic, toward the Interior Megalopolises, where most voters are private-sector religious Republicans but where significant immigrant populations lean to the Democrats."
So, if the liberals win in 2008, it could be a very short lived victory based on basic demographics.''
Now, much of Barone's argument is based on the premise that the liberal urban centers are losing population. That may be true on paper, and it's demonstrably true in Detroit and the Rust Belt cities in general, for example, but is it true of New York and L.A.? My impression is that these cities and their environs are hardly drying up and blowing away. L.A. specifically seems to have an ever-growing immigrant population. Both illegal and legal immigrants seem to be increasing in numbers in the biggest coastal cities. And do Barone's figures take illegal immigrants into account, or are many of them under the radar? I suspect the latter; by definition, these people, being here in violation of our supposed laws, are not officially counted, although guesstimates are made. And if the statistics Barone employs are anywhere near as unrealistic as the oft-quoted '12 million illegals' who supposedly constitute the total number of illegals nationwide, then they are likely lowball figures, perhaps a wildly inaccurate estimate.
As far as the interior cities which are supposed to be favored destinations for many native-born Americans who are fleeing the immigrant tsunami, cities like Denver and Las Vegas -- by all accounts, these cities have large and ever-growing numbers of illegals. Denver is one of the supposed 'sanctuary' cities, which takes a welcoming attitude to illegals. And Las Vegas' population is growing by leaps and bounds; is the increase due to fleeing Americans, or to illegals and legal immigrants? Supposedly, many native-born Americans are moving there, but by all accounts so are many illegal -- and legal -- immigrants, many of whom are not counted in the census figures Barone uses.
The often-overlooked fact is that the immigration tidal wave is inundating America so quickly as not to be reflected in the last census figures; the numbers are changing that fast. And I wonder if it is not in the government's interests to keep us in the dark, and to continue to lowball the numbers, just as with their laughable '12 million undocumented immigrants', who are more likely at least three times that figure.
Dunn, in his American Thinker piece linked above, mostly takes Barone's predictions as accurate, although he differs on the question of future consequences. Both Dunn and Barone seem to think that immigrants are gravitating mostly to the big cities, areas like New York and Boston which have long received large numbers of immigrants, and thus driving the 'white flight' from those cities.
But the current unprecedented wave of immigrants is not limited to the old immigrant havens on the coasts; it is reaching many small towns, which have for long been homogeneous and heartland American.
This piece discusses the influx of immigrants to the smaller towns. The article has some useful information but the last paragraph makes clear the multiculturalist, proposition-nation dogma which is clearly the author's chosen belief system.
Immigrants by nature are pioneers—as American as Huck Finn, who reckoned he had “to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest.” That’s what immigrants do. A sense of purpose and adventure pushes them to seek their futures in unfamiliar and distant places, while others back home, perhaps more timid, choose to stay put. It is in getting to such faraway places, often in tiny rural towns, and staking their claim, that these new pioneers are forever changing the rules of America—and of becoming American.''
The academic who wrote this article exhibits the same narrow attitudes which predominate in academia and the media.
I think the author's evident biases may be a result of the 'immigrant grandparent' syndrome. The descendants of more recent arrivals so often have some deep, unacknowledged need to discredit old-stock Americans and to claim equal legitimacy for those who arrived later, hence the grandiose claims about how 'immigrants built America' or as this academic says, immigrants are 'pioneers' by nature, and as American as Huck Finn.
This is arrant nonsense; first, I suggest he pick up a dictionary and look up 'immigrant' and then look up 'pioneer.' There is little common ground between the self-sufficient people who came here in the 1600s and built things from the ground up, with no lifeline to the 'old country', which was weeks away by sailing ship. Compare and contrast those hardy, capable people, who had to withstand a long, difficult sea voyage, Indian attacks, the harsh elements, and material hardships with today's 'immigrants' who may sneak in in the dead of night, or who may be social services-dependent as soon as they arrive here, and who may remain so from one generation to the next, depending completely on an already-existing culture and nation.
And what, I wonder, makes immigrants as American as Huck Finn? Merely the 'sense of purpose and adventure'? What adventure is there in buying a cheap airline ticket and applying for welfare upon arrival? I suppose sneaking across the border is 'adventurous' in the same way that committing burglaries is 'adventurous.' There is just no comparing that kind of 'adventure' with the real kind, which involved coming to a mostly uncharted wilderness, and facing unknown dangers, with minimal material resources and no easy help to call on from 'back home.'
But with every open-borders academic who peddles this line of thought, about how immigrants are merely the modern incarnation of the pioneers of old, our heritage becomes cheapened and devalued. If we believe this nonsense, we can hardly feel pride in what our ancestors accomplished; we are told that they are no different and no more admirable than last night's arrivals from south of the erstwhile border.
And the proposition nation believer has no problem with these immigrants 'changing the rules of America and of becoming American.'' Apparently the writer does not consider the consequences if those immigrants proceed to define us, the old-stock Americans, out of their definition of America, nor does he consider the injustice of these 'new pioneers' who have arrived illegally taking what they perceive to be theirs, in contravention to the will of the existing Americans -- and at the expense of our posterity.
And for people like Michael Barone and the other 'proposition nation' fans at the WSJ, people likely are interchangeable; economic units, future Republican voters. Ethnicity, national allegiance, culture, custom, none of it matters, according to the open borders ideologues.
If you live in that kind of dream world, I suppose all the illegals and the terror-plotting refugees might really be just Huck Finns in disguise.