Editor’s note: In 2004, Richard D. Lamm, former governor of Colorado, addressed a conference sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform in Washington. The following remarks are reprinted with his permission.
Richard. D. Lamm
I have a secret plan to destroy America. If you believe, as many do, that America is too smug, too white bread, too self-satisfied, too rich, let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. History shows that nations are more fragile than their citizens think. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and they all fall, and that “an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.” Here is my plan:
- We must first make America a bilingual-bicultural country. History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. One scholar, Seymour Martin Lipset, put it this way: “The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon – all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with its Basques, Bretons and Corsicans.”
- I would then invent “multiculturalism” and encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal: that there are no cultural differences that are important. I would declare it an article of faith that the black and Hispanic dropout rate is only due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out-of-bounds.
- We can make the United States a “Hispanic Quebec” without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently, “The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved, not by tolerance, but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically, and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.” I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with a salad bowl metaphor. It is important to insure that we have various cultural sub-groups living in America reinforcing their differences, rather than Americans emphasizing their similarities.
- Having done all this, I would make our fastest-growing demographic group the least educated – I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50 percent dropout rate from school.
- I would then get the big foundations and big business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of victimology. I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was all the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.
- I would establish dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would “celebrate diversity.” “Diversity” is a wonderfully seductive word. It stresses differences rather than commonalities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other – that is, when they are not killing each other. A “diverse,” peaceful or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together, and we can take advantage of this myopia.
Look at the ancient Greeks. Dorf’s “World History” tells us: “The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus, and all Greeks venerated the shrine of Apollo at Delphi. A common enemy, Persia, threatened their liberty. Yet, all of these bonds together were not strong enough to overcome two factors … (local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions …)” If we can put the emphasis on the “pluribus,” instead of the “unum,” we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.
- Then I would place all these subjects off-limits – make it taboo to talk about. I would find a word similar to “heretic” in the 16th century – that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like “racist”, “xenophobe” halt argument and conversation. Having made America a bilingual-bicultural country, having established multiculturalism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of “victimology,” I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra – “because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good.” I would make every individual immigrant sympatric and ignore the cumulative impact.
- Lastly, I would censor Victor Davis Hanson’s book “Mexifornia” – this book is dangerous; it exposes my plan to destroy America. So please, please – if you feel that America deserves to be destroyed – please, please – don’t buy this book! This guy is on to my plan.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky, American linguist and U.S. media and foreign policy critic.
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Richard D. Lamm, a democrat, served as governor of Colorado for 12 years from 1975 to 1987.