If I could convince you to read only one book this year, it would be Patrick Buchanan’s State of Emergency. To call a work “important” is deservedly its kiss of death in many minds. After all, we are told by our media lecturers that movies about cannibalistic pagan lesbians struggling against menopause are important. But I can find no better word for State of Emergency than “important.”
Coming in the midst of the greatest debate over illegal immigration in our nation’s history and authored by Buchanan, a key voice in the debate who took note of the issue more than a decade ago and properly forecast its growth into a political crisis, State of Emergency is quite simply the best book yet written on the subject.
Providing Debater’s Armory
As one might expect from Buchanan, a former Nixon speechwriter and communications director for Ronald Reagan, the book is well-written and filled with the passion that he has long brought to his conservative beliefs. The work is also notable for several other merits as well.
One is the encyclopedic collection of facts, quotes and statistics that Buchanan has assembled into his debater’s armory over years of closely studying the building immigration crisis. A small sample:
- One out of every 10 births in the United States is an “anchor baby” born to illegal aliens.
- Immigrant children account for 100% of the increase in public school enrollment over the last 20 years.
- “American” students’ poor scores on international math and reading tests disappear entirely if the scores of millions of uneducated immigrants are removed.
- California has become so burdened by immigration criminals and their children that Standard and Poor’s has cut the nearly bankrupt state’s bond rating to near junk status, while 100,000 native-born white Americans are leaving California every year in search of a better life for their children.
Another strong merit is the political analysis Buchanan provides using facts coupled with his years of experience inside the top echelons of national politics. This analysis is abundant throughout the book but reaches its zenith in the chapter “Suicide of the GOP,” which should be required reading for every Republican elected official in the country.
Among many highlights, Buchanan presents an analysis of current electoral demographics on the illegal immigration issue, in which he points out that Republicans can gain more national votes by increasing their percentage of the white vote by two percentage points than by increasing their share of the Hispanic votes from 35% to 60%. He asks, both pragmatically and sardonically, “Now, which is easier for the GOP to accomplish?”
This contemporary situation is contrasted with what electoral politics will soon be if unrestricted illegal migration is allowed to continue: California recapitulated on a national scale. Once a bulwark of Republican strength and the state that propelled Reagan into the national spotlight by electing him governor, “Mexifornia” is now overwhelmingly Democrat after just two decades of unrestricted illegal immigration. This leads Buchanan to conclude, “If the GOP does not do something about immigration, immigration will do something about the GOP.”
And last, but most important among its merits, is the sweeping historical overview that permeates the book. This is not a “me-too” knockoff on a faddish topic at the height of its popularity. Nor is it a technocratic analysis of short-term options and details. It is the work of someone who has thought very deeply about the topic for years and is much more concerned with what America will be like for our children than with the chatter and drivel of those who can see no further than the next election or news cycle.
Looking backward to explain the origin and peculiar dangers of the immigration crisis, Buchanan covers the histories of the Southwest United States, the politics of immigration and settlement in America, and the state of Mexican relations with the United States (and how Mexico sees the migration of its people into the “stolen lands” of the Southwest U.S.). He then examines in detail the recent history that led most directly to the current crisis, especially the lunatic Immigration Act of 1965 and the failure of enforcement that began in the 1960s and reached a tipping point with the Reagan Amnesty of 1986—an act Buchanan supported while on Reagan’s staff and now sees as a tragic error.
Demographic Tidal Wave
The book even examines a fundamental and underlying question that seems at the root of the conflict over immigration: What is a nation, and what holds it together? Buchanan then looks forward to the impending history that looms if we do nothing, offering a number of feasible solutions that could be enacted now to stop the demographic tidal wave that threatens to drown our culture, language and political birthright.
State of Emergency is not a feel-good political self-help book loaded with Pollyannaish positivism and confidence. It must be admitted that there is a sadness to the book—the triumph of experience over optimism. The political and cultural hole our leaders have dug for our nation grows deeper by the day, and there are now many powerful vested interests that desire nothing more than that hole be made a grave for America’s traditional culture and institutions.
Perhaps that is why the author titled the final chapter “Last Chance.” Buchanan’s State of Emergency is intended primarily as a guide to seizing this last chance before it is gone. It is an important book, and I encourage everyone to read it immediately.
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