This past weekend, The Washington Times featured a column filled with apocalyptic visions of a white America overrun by a “massive invasion” of immigrants. This is certainly not the first racially insensitive column printed by The Times, but it is the first since the organization went through a thorough housecleaning in 2008 that involved the removal of high-level staffers who published white nationalists.
The column was penned by Jeffrey T. Kuhner, who heads the Edmund Burke Institute, which is described by the paper as a “Washington-based think tank.” Taking a page out of the white nationalist playbook, Kuhner frets that the Obama administration plans a massive amnesty that will allow the “army of illegal immigrants” to wipe out America’s European “roots.”
Kuhner sees an America suffering from an immigrant “invasion,” a “bleeding sore” of a Southern border, “overwhelmed” hospitals and Mexican cartels running amok. He sees America’s jails filling up with these foreigners — “one-third of the federal prison population is composed of illegal immigrants”— a falsehood common among anti-immigrant propagandists (for how wrong Kuhner is, read here). He worries that our “uncontrolled immigration” is causing the “bonds of national union” to be “torn apart.”
What brought all this end times worrying on? Kuhner’s attendance at a radio talk show event put on last week in Washington by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which was listed as an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2007. FAIR has long peddled anti-immigrant conspiracies, including the idea that Mexicans cross the border not to work but to reconquer the Southwest.
Kuhner’s column also pushes the argument that America is not a “creedal nation,” meaning a nation based on the democratic ideas in our founding documents. Instead, it exists because it was peopled by European whites. This argument was best expressed by Sam Francis, the longtime editor for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, who wrote that American and European civilizations could never have been created without the “genetic endowments” of whites (ironically, the now deceased Francis was once an editorial page editor at The Washington Times, but he was fired in 1995 for comments he made at a white supremacist conference).
Kuhner’s on board with Francis’s thesis: “America is an outgrowth of Christianity and English civilization.” For Kuhner, it is a historical fraud that America was founded on abstract ideas such as a “commitment to universal principles such as democracy and equality.” In fact, he points out that the Founding Fathers were blatantly anti-democratic and many were slaveholders. Kuhner cites John Adams: “Democracy…wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” Instead, our founders were really “nationalists who believed they had established a distinct and unique nation based on a common language, faith, heritage and culture.”
Besides his democracy and immigrant-bashing, Kuhner engages in a particularly nasty attack on the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), a venerable Hispanic civil rights organization. Kuhner falsely claims NCLR calls for “the annexation of the Southwest back into Mexico” and wants to reacquire former Mexican territories.
Had Kuhner bothered to check, he would have found that NCLR clearly condemns ethnic separatist organizations. The group even has repeatedly disavowed certain founding documents of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan (MEChA), a fellow Latino rights organization that is not a racist separatist group but did, more than 40 years ago, publish what NCLR characterizes as “inappropriate rhetoric.” In addition, NCLR publicly condemns Voz de Aztlan, a virulently anti-Semitic and separatist outfit that has long been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Kuhner also slurs Obama, calling him an “international socialist” intent on “sounding the death knell of traditional America.” Perhaps in the future, Kuhner could set aside his tirades in favor of the facts.