July 4, 2013

Leftists were anti-immigration back in the '80s

From Wikipedia's entry on the Sierra Club:

During the 1980s, some Sierra Club members, including Paul Ehrlich's wife Anne,[43] wanted to take the Club into the contentious field of immigration to the United States. The Club's position was that overpopulation was a significant factor in the degradation of the environment. Accordingly, the Club supported stabilizing and reducing U.S. and world population. Some members argued that, as a practical matter, U.S. population could not be stabilized, let alone reduced, at the then-current levels of immigration. They urged the Club to support immigration reduction. The Club had previously addressed the issue of "mass immigration,"[46] and in 1988, the organization's Population Committee and Conservation Coordinating Committee stated that immigration to the U.S. should be limited, so as to achieve population stabilization.[47]

From all the other things that have gone wrong with this country, you'd bet that they flip-flopped during the early or mid-1990s.

Other Sierrans thought that the immigration issue was too far from the Club's core environmentalist mission, and were also concerned that involvement would impair the organization's political ability to pursue its other objectives. In 1996, the Board of Directors accepted this latter view, and voted that the Sierra Club would be neutral on issues of immigration.

As recently as 1994, according to the General Social Survey, whites who said their political views were liberal or extremely liberal overwhelmingly believed that illegal immigrants should not be able to get work permits (79% against). Although a majority approved of our anchor baby policy, a solid 41% were against. Forget illegals -- what about immigration in general? By a narrow majority (53%), liberals favored decreasing immigration -- without any qualifiers about "illegal," "undocumented," etc. Decrease it overall. Furthermore, most of the rest thought it should only stay the same, with a pathetic 5% saying it should be increased.

We know where they stand now, but it's important to emphasize how recent their shift has been. Otherwise we'll feel doomed, like it's part of some ancient liberal push for more immigration, ever growing in strength, and it's only a matter of when to abandon ship. If liberals were anti-immigration in the first half of the '90s, and the friggin' Sierra Club took a restrictionist position in the '80s, then we're not up against some kind of primeval unstoppable juggernaut.

And remember to keep the middle and long term in perspective. Even if the government acts to ramp up immigration, that doesn't mean it'll keep on that way. It reached a breaking point around 1920, and was abruptly cut off. We seem to be heading for another breaking point around 2020, so there's no reason to expect things to keep heading the way they have been for the rest of our lives.

GSS variables: undockid, undocwrk, letin, race, polviews, year


  1. Anonymous7:24 PM

    2020 seems to early i don't think it will be cut off until after the crime rate spikes and it's immigrants committing a lot of the crime.

  2. Leftism always moves leftwards, although what constitutes leftwards tends to change from time to time.

    Looking at the long term trend that started late eighteenth, early nineteenth century, in due course, in the not very distant future, the progressive policy will be "kill all white males". That is about one or two elections away in South Africa.

    This started with Cromwell allowing the Jews into England.

    I don't see this going up and down in waves, but as a pretty steady trend lefter and lefter.

  3. Anonymous9:08 PM

    I think your initial instincts were right, immigration is unstoppable. I don't mean to be a flippant Millenial, but Turchin is wrong about this point. A good book is "Forecast for the next 100 years" by George Friedman.

    Immigrants will be necessary for our aging population; and we can't really stop them from crossing the border anyway.


  4. Anonymous9:14 PM

    Friedman reiterates turchin's ideas of 50-year cycles, occuring at roughly the same periods(though, for instance, he places one at 1930-1980 as opposed to turchin's 1920-1970); but thinks that immigration will reach epic levels into the U.S. Mostly because of our aging population.


  5. "Our aging population" is bogus in a 100-year "forecast".

    Just imagine in 1900 or 1910, someone says -- look, it's not the old days where women had lots of kids, and started young. During the last 100-150 years, we've moved off into another world of fewer and fewer children. (True -- the demographic transition.) Hence, all this immigration during the 19th C and into the 20th C is unstoppable, and necessary to make up for our aging population into the next millennium.

    Well they'd be dead wrong. Immigration more or less ground to a halt in the 1920s. And our aging population saw the most dramatic, sustained youthquake in living memory. Not since circa 1800 had the age structure become so heavily shifted toward younger age groups, as a result of skyrocketing fertility.

    In fact, the youthfulness of most Western populations has been inching upward during the 21st century, after the baby bust of the '80s. Not like the mid-century baby boom, but still upward.

    The thing about baby booms is that no one ever sees them coming.

  6. They were pro-immigration in 1965. When did that change?

  7. I'm not sure but I'm thinking of looking into it. I mean, leftists specifically, not just mainstream liberals. Going through old issues of The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, etc.

    From the cover images I've seen from the '70s and '80s, they were more populist -- against big government and big business trampling over the little guy. Back when West Virginia was a lock for the Democrats.

    The population growth argument was also from the later part of the '70s. So I'm guessing that even the leftists took part in the Right Turn around that time.

    I'm sure they wanted decent treatment and conditions for immigrants already here, but were not actively cheering on an even greater influx. I'll have to hang out in the library stacks for awhile and see, though.

  8. Anonymous12:51 AM

    the 1965 bill was to make it easier for Europeans to immigrate the democrats were still a northern working class party at the time. no one expected the amount of third world immigration that resulted.

    were there any polls taken when amnesty was passed in 1986?

  9. > I'm sure they wanted decent treatment and conditions for immigrants already here, but were not actively cheering on an even greater influx.

    The relevant variable is not immigration as such, but the race of immigrants. Lots of people are in favor of more Germans and high caste Indian software engineers moving here who are not in favor of us being flooded with the Mexican Indio underclass who come here to live on welfare, hunting cats, gathering from dumpsters, and crime.

    Looks to me that propaganda in favor of native Americans has been high and steadily escalating since the late eighteenth century. The logical implication of the latest lone ranger movie is: bring in a flood of underclass Mexican indios to live on welfare, crime, cat hunting and dumpster gathering.

  10. About the Sierra Club - this is an evidence that the link environmentalism/leftism/pro-imigration was weaker before; but it was a question of leftists don't being pro-immigration or is more a question of environmentalists not being so leftists then?

    About the GSS - the liberals in those years were more anti-immigration than conservatives? If yes, that really means that was indeed a shift of positions; but if conservatives were even more anti-immigration, this is simply a case of the political center moving to left, with both liberals and conservatives becoming more pro-immigration, but maintaining their relative positions.

  11. Anonymous1:51 AM

    I favor a more 80s/ early 2000s social milieu, which is why I'm pro-immigration, I guess.


  12. Anonymous2:13 AM

    Percentage wise, migrants increase, after dropping off sharply in 00-20s, over time through the 30s-50s and the 60s-80s rising crime period, levelling off at todays 3% of the population in the 80s.

    Probably less Mexicans then though.

  13. Anonymous3:26 AM

    Can you tie the crime rate to certain political policies? What should we fight for to insure that society does not become cocooning again?


  14. Several years ago Steve Sailer discovered the real reason why the Sierra Club dropped its stance on reforming immigration. They received a huge chunk of money from a donor on the condition they never link environmental issues to immigration reform.

  15. Anonymous, there were previous immigration regimes which skewed the numbers toward Europe (particularly north & west Europe where the bulk of the U.S population was from). In 1965 that sort of quota system was rejected.

  16. sleepmon7:09 PM

    unrelated : how acceptable would this song be today? http://mydadwasinaband.com/my-dad-was-in-oingo-boingo/

  17. Anonymous3:53 PM


  18. "how acceptable would this song be today?"

    "Little Girls" by Oingo Boingo -- I used to hear that every now and again at '80s night, but only when I first started going in 2008 and maybe '09. Haven't heard it in forever... not the least because I stopped going regularly.

    There's no way a song like that could make it today, even on the college / indie "scene." Girls today are creeped out by everything, so they'd really get turned off by it. And in order not to appear creepy by association, the dudes in the "scene" would have to denounce it too.

    Not like, put down guys who chase around girls who are too young for them to get -- that's what the song itself is doing, after all. They'd turn it into some serious denunciation kind of thing. "I mean, like, seriously? In 2013, really?"

    Kids today are too lame to even enjoy a good joke song.


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