Op-ed: Demographic Conservatism

By Mark Krikorian on May 26, 2024

Sunday is the 100th anniversary of Calvin Coolidge signing the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, which brought the Ellis Island immigration wave to an end. In my New York Post op-ed, I argue that the official narrative that the law was execrable needs to be retired: “It was precisely the two-generation-long pause in immigration brought about by the bill that made the earlier Great Wave a success.”

. . .

Wanting to change more slowly is the core of the conservative temperament — in the immigration context you could call it demographic conservatism. As Burke wrote about the inevitability of change, “All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees.”

The 1924 immigration law sought to do just that, and succeeded for decades. Given that we now have the highest foreign-born share of the population ever recorded, it’s time for a return to demographic conservatism.

[Read the whole thing at National Review.]