I sent this letter to The Editor of Claremont Review of Books:
I read William Voegeli’s essay on Gov. Jerry Brown and his father with eager interest. As usual, it is thoughtful and well-organized, like its several predecessors on the decline of California.
These articles have been useful and engaging. I learned a great deal from them.
But I do find it really quite extraordinary that a writer could dedicate such time and effort (his research has obviously been extensive) to examining the signs and sources of Californian decay, and almost never mention immigration. I count one total reference to immigration in all three very long essays that Mr. Voegeli has contributed to CRB.
A similar blackout of the subject was accomplished by The Economist: 11,000 words on “where California went wrong” with essentially no engagement, and indeed barely a mention, of the immigration crisis.
For a comparable scale of studious negligence of a difficult problem, imagine a whole series of essays on blue-state budget troubles that never mentioned public sector unions. Or imagine a series of articles on the collapse of the black family that never mentioned Aid to Families with Dependent Children or Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Frankly, among recent myopias, this resembles nothing so much as the haze of willful ignorance that descended over American minds soon after September 11th on the question of the Islamic religion. For several years it was simply forbidden, on the Right and the Left, to point out that our enemies were all inspired to treacherous war by the dogmas of the Mohammadan faith. Fortunately, that haze has lifted to a considerable degree; while discussion of such matters still elicits emotional overreactions, there is no longer such an instinct to self-censor.
But it would seem that the implicit gag order remains in place on immigration. It is plain to me that a writer of Mr. Voegeli’s caliber is really not capable of failing to notice that enormous influence of mass immigration on California’s woes. It can only be a deliberate choice to ignore. This is a puzzle to me.