Both Reihan and Daniel Larison seem to think I’m cheaply accusing Ross of some kind of nasty Mexiphobia. No. What I said is that I think Ross is “appealing to populist class sentiments to help achieve a goal he wants anyway: a less Mexican America.”
I had thought that Ross does want a less Mexican America. For instance, I read Ross’s review of Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity as buying in to the main thesis that America’s national identity is Anglo-Protestant, that it underpins much of what is good about America, and that Mexican migration threatens it. Ross’s sensible attitude is both less alarmed and more resigned than Huntington’s; he thinks erosion of national identity is too bad, but not that bad, and that there’s not a lot we can do about it. But, yes, a less Mexican America would be good for American national identity, which would be good for America. Things aren’t as bad as Huntington thinks, but, Ross writes, “What decay there is lies within, in ‘the challenges to America’s national identity’ that Huntington so ably describes.” The challenges Huntington so ably describe have a lot to do with an imagined invasion of Mexicans.
When I googled The American Scene, seeking confirmation of my sense of Ross’s views, I did turn this up, which seems a clearer endorsement of Huntington’s thesis than the review itself:
If we’re concerned about the collapse of a common culture, and the eclipse of our national identity, we need to recognize that this eclipse is as much as result of free trade (and our present free-market approach to immigration) as of declining patriotism and left-wing identity politics.
Now, Ross’s conditional formulation is characteristically circumspect, so if he really doesn’t think Mexican immigration — independent of its effects on patterns of income — is a problem for American national identity, he can say so, and I’ll try to believe him. But I don’t think I’m being unfair.