Et Tu Mother Jones?
I knew FAIR was pushing their anti-immigration views through ads both in print and on television, but I never expected to find one in Mother Jones.
What you notice first is the large image of a bulldozer scrapping through a forest above the caption "One of America's Best Selling Vehicles." For an environmentally conscious person who reads Mother Jones this ad would seem to be right up their ally. Who doesn't want to stop the destruction of forests? However, for those of us with a conscious it'd serve us well to understand who's selling this message and what they're really asking us to do.
The groups pushing this ad are all groups founded by John Tanton better known as The Puppeteer to those familiar with the Southern Poverty Law Center. We know the SPLC considers FAIR a hate group, so why would Mother Jones allow them to spread their hateful message within the pages of this supposedly caring publication? While I don't know how they would answer I do know that FAIR's pro-environmentalist message helps them squeeze into places they normally wouldn't be welcome. Freetrade.org takes on this notion that immigrants are responsible for urban sprawl in FAIR Ads Unfairly Blame Immigrants for Urban Sprawl
The sad irony is that we're not only destroying forests here in the U.S., but the richest countries in the world are wiping out forests around the world. Illegal logging is rampant in Russia and supplies the wood to make many of the goods we buy. America is responsible for McDonald's which has been destroying rain forests both for packaging and for raising cattle. Where is Tanton? Why doesn't he go after these companies?
Our actions not only encourage but force the Darwinian movement of peoples to places where prosperity may be difficult to achieve, but is more possible than their place of birth. Just a few pages away from this article, in the same Mother Jones, is another on attempts to calculate how many Iraqi's we've killed in the war. Behind a picture of Les Roberts, the man who calculated we killed upwards of one-hundred thousand Iraqis, is a sign with an arrow and the caption "forced migration." Our war in Iraq has caused the forced migration of millions of people. Again, where is Tanton?
The solution is not spending thousands of dollars to force liberal-minded readers to make a connection between immigration and the destruction of our most serene vistas. The solution is to ensure everyone has a chance and to take responsibility for our actions both in the U.S. and around the world.
So as I see it this ad is not about saving the forests; rather, it's about reducing immigration. And who signed on to this ad? The groups listed are:
American Immigration Control Foundation, Californians for Population Stabilization, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Numbers USA and Social Contract Press.
For many of us these names should not surprise you as being coupled with this sort of propaganda. (Information on the Social Contract Press from Imagine 2050.)
For a sample of items printed by Social Contract Press other than the rather unsavory book titled The Camp of the Saints:
Typical of the type of opinions found in Social Contract journal was an essay written in 1996 by John Vinson, who directed Americans for Immigration Control, which is another organization in the Tanton network of restrictionist groups. In an issue titled "Europhobia: The Hostility Toward European-Descended Americans," Vinson wrote that "multiculturalism" was replacing "successful Euro-American culture" with "dysfunctional Third World cultures." (link)
"And with every new U.S. resident, whether from births or immigration, comes further degradation of America's natural treasures."
It's interesting to read this knowing that so many on the right are chanting "drill baby drill" and there's currently a possible auction which will place a drilling station near the Delicate Arch natural bridge in Utah. And if our new favorite governor has any say in it we'll be drilling all over ANWAR. Do we blame immigrants for this?
Daniel Griswold, from the Center for Trade Policy Studies, sheds some light on Tanton's claims:
To begin, it mangles the truth to claim that the United States is experiencing "runaway population growth." America's population growth has actually been trending downward for decades. According to the Census Bureau, the population of the United States is growing at just under 1 percent a year. That is slower than the average rate of 1.3 percent during the last century, and far below the peak rate of 1.7 percent in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Our population growth rate is not running away but running down.
Where does Tanton get his ideas on the dangers of population? One source, Paul Ehrlich, wrote a book titled The Population Bomb which got the attention of Tanton. He also predicted in 1969 "I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." While it's understood that we have to address environmental concerns it's also true that one cannot fairly blame it on migrants. There are many other strange predictions from Ehrlich in his Wikipedia entry. Is his a voice of reason?
There are three factors that will determine the future population growth of the United States: life expectancy, fertility, and net immigration. It is both moral and desirable to maximize the first factor, life expectancy. The remaining two factors are much more a function of personal and societal choices that we are free to make (or not to make).
When Tanton speaks about population growth and points to immigrants as a cause it leads me to wonder what the real issue is for so many who support him.
On his own personal website we find the following questions:
Increasingly, citizens of this nation (and citizens of most states and regions) are asking the following questions: "Why do we want additional population growth?" "Who benefits?" "What public policy reasons are there to double the population of Michigan or Colorado?" "Why would America want to leave its grandchildren a nation of one billion people?"
While I'm unsure how many children Tanton has I'd imagine that his asking what "we want for our grandchildren" implies that he not only has children, but also grandchildren. If he's so concerned about population growth it seems he'd have abstained from having children of his own. This is where the waters get thick and clouded. This is where we start to understand that it's not white Anglos John wants to see reduced.
In this memo, he expressed concerns about the potential political, cultural, environmental, and demographic impacts of continued high levels of Hispanic immigration into the U.S., especially if the Hispanic fertility rate remains higher than that of other ethnic groups. (link)
[Eristic Ragemail has spent a great deal of time investigating Tanton and FAIR.]
And what of the Duggar family who has been featured on television for having 18 children. Is it fair to ask if we'd be celebrating this family if they were Hispanic or African American?
I'm also aware of one family who is very active in an anti-migrant group in PA that have seven children with another on the way. While I'm sure they find Tanton to be a hero it seems he'd have some issue with their rather large family (or would he since they're white?). While we all have the freedom to have as many children as we want this does throw a ratchet into Tanton's claims that it's immigrants causing a population boom.
Another issue with his claims is the idea of a Demographic Winter. This group, and accompanying documentary, claim that the population of the Earth is actually decreasing and that if we don't procreate we'll have a upside down world where there are many more elderly people than young. In this version of tomorrow's scary world the young will be so burdened by the chore of caring for the elderly they'll not possibly be able to handle it. Of course if you look more closely even this documentary seems mired in racism and the idea that it's the white Anglo population which will be lost.
So who's right here? Is it Tanton and his one solution view to keep the population of the United States low or is it those who believe the population is decreasing and we need to make sure we're having more children?
My opinion on this matter is that while Tanton may be concerned about the loss of forests in the U.S. his main concern is the loss of the white majority. This is, in my mind, the overwhelming reason why anyone gets involved in the anti-migrant movement. Aside from a few minority groups which participate in this angry feast the vast majority are whites who can't stand the idea of their neighborhoods and their country looking different than it has since the white Europeans conquered the American Indian and laid claim to this land. Sadly these people believe that things can only be good if they're controlled by the same white Europeans who've brought destruction to many here and around the world.
For a view of the world Tanton and others believe they're saving us from watch the movie Idiocracy which can quite easilly be seen as a racist look at our future. This film implies not only the dumb people will out procreate the intelligent, but that being uneducated is somehow sought after.
If war is peace then our European ancestors have been the most peaceful lot in the history of mankind. And if you ask me this picture is merely a metaphor. The bulldozer is the anti-migrant, or Tanton, and the trees are immigrants struggling to grow in a world that constantly favors the most powerful.
Please contact Mother Jones and let them know you're not happy with their allowing FAIR to place anti-immigrant ads in their magazine.