Strange Bedfellows

The television ads are designed to scare. Grainy videotape shows people running furtively through border checkpoints. A narrator asks: "Did you know there are over five million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and that you spend five… billion dollars a year to support them?" Politicians run ads like these whenever the subject of immigration reform comes up. One group that helps politicians prepare these ads is the Federation for American Immigration Reform. FAIR supports tighter border controls and lower levels of immigration—a stand that has attracted support all the way from Pat Buchanan on the right to Richard Lamm and Eugene McCarthy on the left, and even from respected journals like National Review. But I wonder if these politicians—or those who watch these ads—are aware of the worldview that motivates FAIR. FAIR was founded by Garrett Hardin, a University of California biologist. Hardin is a disciple of Thomas Malthus, the eighteenth-century English cleric who believed that population growth would outstrip food production and bring about mass starvation.


Since the 1960s, Hardin has decried what he calls Americans' "freedom to breed." In a 1992 interview, Hardin outlined how far he was willing to go to slow population growth. Not surprisingly, Hardin enthusiastically backs abortion. He told the interviewer—who happened to be pregnant—that "a fetus is of so little value, there's no point in worrying about it." Incredibly, Hardin says China's population-control program, which includes forced abortions, is "not strict enough" and that infanticide—the murder of newborn babies—is "an effective population control [method]." In America, forced abortions and infanticide are still considered beyond the pale—at least for now. So Hardin had to come up with another scheme for slowing population growth—despite the fact that the birth rate among native-born Americans has been dropping for years. What he came up with was FAIR. Hardin is not the only FAIR member who holds repugnant views. In a Wall Street Journal interview, FAIR President Dan Stein openly embraced eugenics, the use of selective breeding to "improve" the human stock. He told the Journal that "it would be better to encourage the breeding of more intelligent people than the less intelligent." Of course, Hitler's death camps showed the world where eugenics leads. There's a cautionary tale here for all of us: to watch out whom we join forces with. Hardin represents the school of thought that has enjoyed surprising support in America over the years. It's been backed by cultural elites since in the twenties and thirties. This group genuinely favors eugenics and abortion to keep the poor from reproducing. They want to produce a superior race. That's why, even if we agree with the stand a particular group takes, it's important to find out what’s behind their public image. Those grainy anti-immigration ads we see on television may be scary. But the ugly worldview behind them is even scarier.


Chuck Colson


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