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The Immigration Mystique: America's False Conscience Hardcover – June 27, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (June 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465032869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465032860
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,931,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The original identity of America's founders, based on Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, was diluted by the "great wave" of immigration between 1880-1924. Chilton Williamson Jr. argues that today American identity is under an even more intense attack from new arrivals. While he touches on the consequences of immigration for working-class Americans and the environment, his real concern is the preservation of American culture. Right through that earlier wave of immigration, Williamson believes that a core identity based on the values of the constitution was preserved. He argues that immigration should now be curtailed to protect that culture, responsibility, and family. The disintegration of "values" is due more to the self-serving motivations of native elites--it would remain even if immigration were eradicated.

From Publishers Weekly

An "immigration mystique" purveyed since the pre-WWI era by politicians of both parties promotes high-sounding but flawed justifications for large-scale immigration to our shores, declares Williamson, senior editor of Chronicle (and formerly National Review's literary and senior editor). This mystique, he says, wrongly equates a generous immigration policy with displays of national moral worth and fosters an unrealistic dream of multicultural globalism based on the mistaken assumption that the U.S. has a special obligation to peoples of color in former European colonies of Asia and Africa. The conservative core of Williamson's argument is familiar: non-European and Third World immigrants bring with them "opposing values" from "proletarian and peasant cultures" that jeopardize the nation's dominant WASP culture, prevent us from consolidating a national identity and thus threaten "to condemn the United States to endless cultural adolescence." He further contends that mass, unskilled immigration displaces U.S. citizens from jobs, saps productivity and impedes technological advances. His polemic takes on liberals as well as conservatives who favor open borders.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
At last, a defense of the ANGLO-AMERICAN founding. The United States became a great land due to its Anglo-American founders- Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the rest. The current Third World torrent is destructive of the Old Republic as was the Eastern European and Southern European torrent of 1880-1914 because both have acted as democratic fuel for anti-Old Republic demagogues like our vile President. Remember this!- George Washington's nation is doomed if Third World hordes continue to be allowed the red carpet. Rome fell to the barbarians; so might America.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Chilton Williamson Jr. is a former editor for National Review, and the author of books such as The Conservative Bookshelf: Essential Works That Impact Today's Conservative Thinkers, After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy, Roughnecking It, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1996 book, immigration "has not succeeded in commanding the moral and intellectual rigor it demands... I make no claim with this book to say anything 'new' about immigration to America... My interest is to demonstrate with this book that the immigration problem... is better addressed by insights taken from moral and religious philosophy, from history and international relations, and, most recently, from the science of ecology than by those appropriated from political economy, econometrics, and the sentimentalities of the mass media, to say nothing of politicians."

He asks, "If establishing race as the basis for admission is racism, why is not the substitution of family connections for race nepotism?" (Pg. 105) He argues that the "immigration enthusiasts'" commitment to multiculturalism is fervid enough to "cause them to subordinate to it the welfare of America's 'first minority... as President Clinton (did with) a black youth on a visit to Los Angeles in the wake of the race riots in 1992..." (Pg.
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10 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
After reading a book such as this one, I start wondering whether the Julian Simons and the other intelligent conservatives of the world have truly replaced the racist, nativist section of that ideology. Mr. Williamson delivers nothing of substance in this short, fact-lacking book. A man who has obviously not examined the opinions of the new immigrants assigns certain views to them and then rejects these views at right - strawman argument at its best, in other words. While some immigration critics, like George Kennan, have used logic and statistics to make their case, Williamson relies upon anger, hatred and ethnocentrism. If you want to find a good case against immigration, read Kennan, not Williamson.
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