Sir — A nation has a history, a culture, an identity. Britain is not France, Spain is not Germany, and none of these are Bangladesh or Morocco. Nor do their citizens want them to become so. People do not want to be overrun by foreigners of a strange religion, a different race, or exotic (and sometimes repulsive) customs, even if it means a 1% rise in economic growth. No amount of lecturing will change these attitudes.
This letter appeared in a recent issue of The Economist, in response to an article run by that publication advocating relaxed immigration policies. I join John Derbyshire in marveling at the undiluted candor and old fashioned simplicity of those sentiments. You rarely find such straight-forward commonsense in the mainstream media these days, despite the fact that many Americans are still sharp enough to realize that preserving national identity is part and parcel of preserving our republic as we know it.
If I have an objection to make, it's with the letter writer's decision to use the word "race" instead of ethnicity, though I supposed the ethnicity was implied in the customs bit.
It's remarkable -- also, remarkably scary -- that the notion of "particular community" is receding from American public discourse. In public, in polite company, it's increasingly difficult to articulate a desire for a "familiar" nation without immediately being labeled a bigot, xenophobe, racist, or know-nothing. Really a pity.