Skip to comments.transcript: Hitchens on the Hugh Hewitt radio program ... on immigration
Posted on 04/09/2006 9:19:15 PM PDT by Lorianne
Christopher Hitchens' view of immigration, his disagreement and dislike of Republicans, and his contempt for Democrats ___
HH: Joined now by Christopher Hitchens, just returned to the country. Christopher Hitchens, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. Good to have you again.
CH: Nice to be back.
HH: When you came back into the country, obviously you passed legally through its portals, back into its safety. And today, the United States Senate, and over the weekend, we'll be debating this endlessly, has cobbled together a bill extending the embrace to millions, literally, who entered illegally. What do you make of that bill, this debate, and generally, the issue that the country's all wrapped up in?
CH: Well, you're talking to someone's who been standing in line to become a citizen for a very long time, and has been treated...I shouldn't complain, but I mean, you try dealing with the Homeland Security Department. And I'm English, and I've lived here for a quarter of a century, and I have an American wife and three American children, and I own a house and a business, and have a lot of friends. And I only want to be a citizen out of solidarity. I don't have to be. I have a green card that doesn't run out. And I can't get my letters responded to. I can't get any action out of these people, and so what the hell it's like for someone who is legit, and from Guatamala, and doesn't have any contacts, I do not know. I'm sorry for such a personal reply, Hugh, but I mean...if I can say Hugh?
CH: But I mean, that's how I keep on having to think about it.
HH: That's how Mark Steyn replied to it, too, is that you have no idea the agony it is to deal with our immigration bureaucracy. He's also...you know, he's a citizen now, but he's naturalized, and...
CH: Yeah, well, and he's a Canadian, and he has friends he can call on as well if he needs to, and I just can't imagine what it's like for someone from the Philippines or from Hungary or someone who is trying to do the right thing and just can't get any response. There used to be...there was a famous saying, I think it's by Roman poet Terence. Nihil humanem alienurm puto - Nothing human is alien to me. The slogan of the Department of Homeland Security is nothing alien is human to them.
HH: (laughing) Now let me ask you. Do you think it's a good idea for the country to make it easy for those people who have been, in many cases up to twenty years in ths shadows, and some just recently arrived, to become permanent residents, and perhaps even citizens? Is it good for the culture? Is it necessary for the country?
CH: Well again, perhaps to phrase it personally, for those of us who have stood in line and done all the right things, and obeyed the rules and so on, it is actually a bit galling to see people leapfrogging. And what interests me, I spent quite a lot of my time in California, it was very often the people most opposed to this, are people who are themselves fairly recent immigrants, and they don't particularly want to have the same treatment accorded to those who didn't, as it were, make it legit.
HH: Do you think that the problem that Europe has, which is of an aging population and no one to do the labor as it gets older, is what's driving this? Or is this simply a lack of political will on the part of American electeds to put up a fence?
CH: Well, the European problem is a different one. It's certainly a much more rapidly aging population, and tremendously low birth rate as well. And coupled with the fact that a large number of immigrants come from Muslim countries, and are viewed increasingly by some, and sometimes spoken for by their organizations as if they had an agenda of Islamization. That's what makes people chilled. In this case, I'm rather surprised. I mean, the largest number of immigrants come in, the ones that I think people are most alarmed about in point of numbers, cross the border from Texas and California. And there's been no objection to them being Catholic. A few decades ago, that's what the line would have been, a sort of Prostetant nativism. There may be an element of that in some of what's been talked about now, but I don't think it's very salient. I think, though, Samuel Huntington, if I'm not wrong, in his book, does basically come out and say look, all right, if you want, you can have a Hispanized, and more Roman Catholicized country, but be aware that that's what you're going to get. And don't pretend that this wasn't originally, as puts it, a Protestant revolution and a Protestant republic. And these are things people are embarrassed, I think, to mention.
HH: And what are the long-term implications of a Romanized, at least Southwestern and Western United States, culture?
CH: Well, I hear from those on the right who favor continued immigration, people like, say, Grover Norquist and others, that this is hugely exaggerated, that in fact, what we get are the brightest and the most secular and the most educated people, the ones who want to move. And when they come here, they intermarry a lot, they don't become especially religious. And this is a false alarm. But I think that Archbishop of Los Angeles, is his name...
HH: Cardinal Roger Mahoney, yes.
CH: Yes, Mahoney. I would have...in Ireland, it would have been pronounced Mauny, I think. But anyway, well, that shows how far from home he is, from his original roots. But I think there's something to me objectionable about that. I mean, I don't think it's up to a religious leader to tell his flock to disobey the law.
HH: I agree with you on that.
CH: I just...no matter what it is, even if I agree with the principle, I just do not think that there should be a special exemption for clergymen in this respect.
HH: Now I want to switch on that. That having been said, you've got a very personal response. But I still haven't heard from you whether or not you think politically, Republican majorities ought to reject this, or whether they're simply obliged to by virtue of majority/minority states in which they have to compete.
CH: I hate to do this. I don't feel it's my problem.
HH: All right. Interesting.
CH: I mean, I'm not a Republican, among other things.
HH: I know.
CH: I don't feel their pain in that way. I saw Lindsey Graham, who I admire, saying this, in a way. But I mean, I thought well, that's a very odd kind of creation. I mean, if you remember, there were a lot of illegal immigrants who were baptised not long ago so they could be got on the voter rolls by the Democratic Party, in what I thought was a pretty shabby operation.
HH: But you've just given me the pivot...
CH: I mean, I don't see...the Tammany Hall aspect of this is the least attractive.
HH: Oh, you bet.
CH: The nice thing is that smart people everywhere want to move to the United States, and I think we're very well served by that fact, and it's one of the things we should be proud of. And I tend to agree with David Brooks that it's probably not possible to stop them coming, because smart people will find a way in. And it's fascinating to discover all these biographies of public figures who have family memory of this great striving.
HH: Yeah, I've got to take the throw away line you just said. I'm not a Republican. It's not my problem. Having read your review of Peter Beinart's book in the Atlantic Monthly, I got it online. It's magnificent. But you are a fellow traveler, if I can use that phrase, with Republicans in the war, whether or not you think they're rather clumsy and recent...
CH: No, no, I'm a single issue voter for now. I wouldn't consider voting for anyone who wasn't determined to press home the struggle in Iraq. I mean, I think...and elsewhere. I think the realization that we are at war, and that it was forced upon is, that they started it and we'll finish it, is the essential thing. I wouldn't consider voting for anyone who didn't take that view. The next time, it's possible that there might be someone in the Democratic side who's more pro-war than the Republican nominee. I doubt it on the present term.
HH: Oh, on the basis of your Beinart interview, you could find no evidence that you hold out any hope whatsoever that the Democratic Party, at least in a generation, can rekindle its...
CH: I don't think so, no. I mean, I have lots of disagreements with the Republican Party, and lots of dislikes of it, but I really have contempt for the Democratic Party. That's quite a different thing. And I think it has, on this crucial question, completely sold itself and the country out. But remember, I mean in the year 2000, Governor Bush and Mr. Cheney were running against Gore and Lieberman on the basis of isolationism. They said we're against nation building. We don't want the U.S. Armed Forces used for humanitarian or politicized purposes. We want to lift the sanctions on Iraq and Libya, all of that. They were the stay at home and let's try and dodge it party at that point, and Gore had voted for the Iran liberation act.
HH: And so, when reality hit, the realists changed, and the Democrats did not.
CH: Well, my definition about reality is, the realists, as you know, are often the people who don't want to look at reality.
HH: Scowcroft, Kissinger, right.
CH: Yeah, they still wish none of this had ever come up. But for me, the realist is someone who says all right, well that really is a change, and I'll live up to it.
CH: That's the critical question, is to realize a choice when it hits you.
HH: So my question is, Peter Beinart's a friend of ours, and a friend of the show. I haven't read his book yet. Do you think he really believes what he has written here about the Democratic Party's ability to renew its commitment to an aggressive forward defense of this country?
CH: Well, towards the end of the book, which I read very carefully and reviewed at some length, I felt he was becoming a little exhausted. I mean, he started off well, saying look, there was a time when there was a strong, left, liberal force in the country, and in the culture, and in the intellectual world, and in the academy, and everywhere else, and in the trade unions, that really wanted to create in the United States, that was an enemy to fascism and to Stalinism, but that believed in civil rights and was anti-imperialist, and for democracy, and something like a New Deal. You know, a pretty wonderful group of people in many ways, and we all know some of their names. The idea that that can recur is, it's good to remind the liberals that there was such a time, but they turn away in disgust at that thought now, because they think the main enemy is Bush.
HH: Not only disgust, but if you read the blogs...do you read the blogs, Christopher Hitchens?
CH: I don't, you know. I mean, people send me some of the garbage that's on them. I don't surf them myself, but I mean, I'm sometimes attacked on them, so people send me the gunk that is circulating.
HH: It's not merely disgust, it's venom, and it's deep. Christopher Hitchens, welcome back. We look forward to talking to you again soon. From Vanity Fair, his most recent book, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Christopher Hitchens.
End of interview.
First time I ever heard that it helps to have friends in high places. Geeze. Get a grip.
From a still practicing socialist, an utter truth.
Irrespective of how odious some of his view may be, I still consider him a national treasure.
In the case of immigration, as in getting resolutions and action on individual cases, yes it does help to have people to talk to. Sad but true.
However, dealing with government entities it helps in all situations. The point I was making is this is nothing new. I really don't think anyone will be enlightened by his statements.
That's for sure! LOL!
I don't know...perhaps it's because I feel very secure in my own walk with God...but I actually find it funny when people rail on against God.
Especially clever people like him.
I know...I know...in the end, it's not really funny at all.
But the things really smart people that don't have a clue say about God sometimes crack me up.
It just shows you how absolutelydeceived otherwise lucid people can be.
That's why I believe, in order to TRULY know Jesus, you have to have a REVELATION.
It transcends cognition and, if one has faith in him, only because it 'makes sense' they may not even know him at all.
Plus, given the choice of letting someone like Hitchens just let 'er rip from their heart and say what they truly think vs the absolute galling BS I hear spouted about Christianity from our 'friends' like Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean...
...I'll take the former any day of the week.
Yet it doesn't have to be faith in "him"...whatever "him" is - is represented by various myths in differing cultures.
Enlightenment takes many shapes; "the way" is singular yet the paths are numerous.
You are welcome to your opinion, but your take on the matter, as egalitarian as it may sound, is at odds with the Bible.
My own personal experience also confirms the necessity of knowing Jesus...really knowing him. Not a force, a 'spirit' or a 'path'... but a person.
All of us have free will, and in America freedom of religion is a cherished value. But, so that you are not mistaken, the Scriptures clearly teach, and I affirm, that JESUS is the only possible way to truly know God.
I wish you the best,
"CH: Well again, perhaps to phrase it personally, for those of us who have stood in line and done all the right things, and obeyed the rules and so on, it is actually a bit galling to see people leapfrogging. And what interests me, I spent quite a lot of my time in California, it was very often the people most opposed to this, are people who are themselves fairly recent immigrants, and they don't particularly want to have the same treatment accorded to those who didn't, as it were, make it legit."
CH makes some great points including those above. BUMP!