John Derbyshire on Why We Should Harden Our Hearts

My old friend Peter Brimelow was kind enough to send me this link to an interesting article by John Derbyshire on

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

7 Responses

  1. Robert Geraci says:

    Derbyshire doesn’t see a third option besides “letting ’em all in” or hardening our hearts and stating oh well, they shouldn’t be breaking the law in the first place. But is there not a third option of stating compassion and positing the thought that none of these deaths would be occurring if the border was closed and regulated properly stating that all of these deaths and miseries have been caused by an open border policy that is inhumane in its approach? Democrats are incredibly good at messaging even though 100% of anything they are behind is fraudulent. Messaging the above at least has some truth behind it and while we might add that we will work with Mexico to insure that people don’t die, etc., our ultimate goal would be to seal the border. When deaths stop, attention will go elsewhere, regardless of the fact that the a good number of southern hemisphere folks want in to the U.S. When they stop appearing on the border, the issue disappears off the front page. But what is key is a border that is 100% clamped shut, period, because if that were to occur and there is no chance of entering, they will stop trying en masse. They are there now because they know they can get in.

  2. Vince Cornell says:

    Radio Derb is one of the few podcasts I still listen to faithfully. His content is typically very well organized and presented, and his sense of humor is just the right amount of under-stated.

  3. Raymond Olson says:

    My friend Robert is right, of course. The legitimate means of entering the U.S. are well-established, I think. Observing them while blocking illegitimate entry seems to me inarguably the best solution. Notice how impossible that is, however. Heck, it isn’t even possible to have an honest, uninterrupted debate between open-borders advocates and any of their many kinds of opponents. Something more than ideologies are behind the impasse. Did someone say, “Cheap labor”?

  4. Vince Cornell says:

    Mr. Geraci,
    Having been a long time listener to Derbyshire, I believe the context behind his “2 options” position is that the tsunami of immigration coming from the 3rd world (especially sub-Saharan Africa given the trajectory of births combined with the lack of resources/food) will result in large scale human catastrophes that cannot be prevented. From pictures of folks starving to death in their home country to boatloads of migrants drowning as they try to cross the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Gulf to get to Europe and the USA (and there have already been cases of immigration boats making it from Africa to South America), eventually a decision has to be made between giving up and letting everyone in or putting on a stone face and taking care of one’s own. It makes me think of the John Ford “Grapes of Wrath” movie (I never read Steinback’s book) with the mother trying to feed her family while having to endure the gaze of a gathered horde of other hungry, poor children.

  5. Michael Strenk says:

    I read recently that few actual Mexicans are coming to the U.S. anymore. Those streaming to our border are mostly from further south and from the far reaches of the globe, who come to Mexico to attempt crossing the border. The Mexicans, obviously, are facilitating this movement of peoples. It is an act of war. Why are the Mexican regime and its backers never held accountable for for the tragedies that occur on our border with Mexico. If Mexico cared at all for these people’s lives they would not let them cross into their country to be used against us by our enemies foreign and domestic (mostly domestic). Those that die coming here are canon fodder in a war against the rotting remnants of our civilization, the same as those shanghaied off the streets of Ukraine’s cities to be sent, untrained and not supplied or supported, to die on the Donbass front for nothing but great media visuals of carnage and a sob story to manipulate the eminently manipulable denizens of the west who always wear the hearts of others on their sleeves.

  6. Roger McGrath says:

    Under the “attractive nuisance doctrine” it might be argued we are partly responsible for the tragedies that have occurred by leaving our southern border open to those willing to take some risks. Reminds me of kids with skateboards sneaking onto someone’s unfenced property to surf the concrete walls of an empty swimming pool. The homeowner would typically be liable for injuries to the kids because he had created an attractive nuisance. A third option that Derbyshire seemingly ignores is a fully sealed and well guarded border that is virtually impenetrable, which would eliminate the attractive nuisance and the concomitant tragedies.

  7. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Roger, yes, you are right. I would add a question. Is the purpose of an immigration policy to be kind to aliens or to serve the interests of the nation? Historically, it is the latter. Hardening the border, of course, serves both purposes, but our primary concern is not the welfare of illegal aliens.