In his weekly reactionary radio program, John Derbyshire makes some excellent points about media coverage of race and immigration lately (see items 06 and 07):
06 — Reuters says immigrants steal jobs. This item and the following one both illustrate a shifting of the boundaries of American conservatism. . . .
OK, here’s the first of my two stories illustrating the shifting of those boundaries. Reuters, which is a respectable news agency, commissioned a study by the Center for Labor Market Studies, a respectable economics research institute, at Northeastern University, a respectable institute of higher education, in Boston, the original and purest hearth-place of American respectability. The results of the study were published by Reuters this week. They show some facts so deeply un-respectable, even among conservatives, that if you uttered them out loud at an American Enterprise Institute or Heritage Foundation luncheon, you would be hustled from the room by armed guards.
. . .
In any case, the main thrust of the report is that continuing mass immigration, much of it illegal, is taking jobs from American citizens, especially the poorest and least-educated of us. Quote: "Sum [that is, Andrew Sum, director of the Center] said the whole situation was creating a deeper domestic labor glut at the bottom of the workforce ladder, depressing wages and sharpening already widening income disparities." End quote.
Nothing very surprising to anyone acquainted with immigration issues. What is surprising is the respectability quotient of the context — the researchers, their university, and the reporting agency. Five years ago none of them would have touched this. American Enterprise and Heritage — let alone Cato! — wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot pole. National Review might have touched it, but very warily. It just wasn’t respectable to say anything negative about immigration.
. . .
07 — Wonks discover whiteness. Here’s topic number two illustrating boundary creep in the respectable conservative movement.
This is from National Journal, which is a sort of trade magazine for policy wonks. National Journal isn’t strong on opinion articles and doesn’t have much of a political "line," but if you want to know who got out-maneuvered for a seat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, these are your guys. If you’re not the kind of person who wants to know stuff like that, National Journal is an insomnia cure. You will be unable to stay awake through the average National Journal article.
We are of course deep in the respectability zone once again here. It was therefore doubly striking to see National Journal talking about ethnic disaggregation in the voting booth. This was not the average National Journal article. It’s worth reading all the way through. Go to nationaljournal.com and search on the phrase "white flight."
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What do they have to say? Quote:
By any standard, white voters’ rejection of Democrats in November’s elections was daunting and even historic. Fully 60 percent of whites nationwide backed Republican candidates for the House of Representatives; only 37 percent supported Democrats …
End quote. They are analyzing exit polls here from the 2010 midterms. What the exit polls are showing is white flight from the Democratic Party — that’s actually the name of the article, "White Flight."
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Again, as interesting as the results themselves is the fact that they are being discussed so frankly in a periodical so respectable, if it were able to drink tea it would lift its pinkie. If I wanted that kind of analysis five years ago I had to sneak into my office, turn the light off, lock the door, and read Steve Sailer.