Thursday, October 28, 2004

John Tanton

I've focussed on Larry Pratt because he's a less well-known figure, so I wanted to build that case. Most of the press coverage of Kobach's ties to extremists has focussed on John Tanton, so I better at least round up the basic facts.

Who said anything about genocide?John Tanton is a guy from Michigan. In the 70's he got involved with environmental groups, with a particular interest in population growth, including population working groups in the Sierra Club. The Southern Poverty Law Center has done and extensive review of Tanton's works, and summarizes his transformation to a right-wing anti-immigration activist:

When the indigenous birth rate fell below replacement level in the United States, his preoccupation turned to immigration. And this soon led him to race.

Tanton had something akin to a conversion when he came across The Camp of the Saints, a lurid, racist novel written by Frenchman Jean Raspail that depicts an invasion of the white, Western world by a fleet of starving, dark-skinned refugees.

Tanton helped get the novel published in English and soon was promoting what he considered the book's prophetic argument.

“Their [Third World] 'huddled masses' cast longing eyes on the apparent riches of the industrial west,” Tanton wrote in 1975. “The developed countries lie directly in the path of a great storm.”

As his fear of an invasion of dark people, he began organizing. First he established the Federation for American Immigration reform. In his life, he has established at least thirteen anti-immigration groups, and inflates their membership to give the appearance of a groundswell of support.

Quoting the SPLC again:

Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund — an outfit once described by eugenics expert Barry Mehler as a “neo-Nazi organization, tied to the Nazi eugenics program in the 1930s, that has never wavered in its commitment to eugenics and ideas of human and racial inferiority and superiority.”

When the Pioneer link was disclosed in 1988, Tanton, who was then president of FAIR's board, said he knew nothing of Pioneer's unsavory history. Yet his group continued to accept Pioneer grants for another six years, until 1994.

We don't need to trust Barry Mehler. I have Michael Shermer's excellent book, Why People Believe Weird Things, and he has a chapter on the Pioneer Fund. The Fund was established in 1937, at the height of the eugenics movement in America. It's founder intended it to promote research on “race betterment,” and to endorse repatriation of African-Americans to Africa, and separate educational programs for children “descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states ... and/or from related stocks.” The Pioneer Fund has also given money to the Journal of Historical Review, the major journal on Holocaust denial. An article in the New York Times from 1977 cites funding for research by scientists who “believe that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites. One of the researchers has said ”Any species that adopts patterns of behavior that run counter to the forces that govern the universe is doomed to decline until it either undergoes a painful, harshly enforced and totally unvoluntary eugenic process of evolutionary reselection and readaptation, or is subjected to an even more sever penalty - extinction.“

To sum up, FAIR has taken over a million dollars from a group that advocates eugenics and Holocaust denial, and has passed that money on to Kris Kobach as salary and campaign contributions.

Kobach is currently employed by FAIR. According to the Lawrence Journal World, FAIR undertook a search for lawyers in any of the eight states that allow children of illegal aliens to get in-state tuition if they attended Kansas high schools. The only lawyer they could find was Kris Kobach.

Tanton and FAIR have a stated strategy of trying to

Infiltrate the Judiciary Committees. This is a long-range project. We should make every effort to get legislators sympathetic to our point of view appointed to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and their Immigration Sub-Committees. Think how much different our prospects would be if someone espousing our ideas had the chairmanship! If we secure the appointment of our people as freshmen members of the committee, we will eventually secure the chairmanship.

They hired Kobach to use him as a pawn in their power play in Congress.

Among the other prominent funders of FAIR is Richard Mellon Scaife, one of the most prolific contributors to right wing groups. Here is David Neiwert's run down on Scaife. His series on pseudo-fascism is also excellent in analyzing the way this network is developing.

Other choice quotes. This is from a memo from Tanton to members of a small retreat for his inner circle.

6. Is apartheid in Southern California’s future? The democraphic picture in South Africa now is startlingly similar to what we’ll see in California in 2030. In Southern Africa, a White minority owns the property, has the best jobs and education, has the political power, and speaks one language. A non-White majority has poor education, jobs and income, owns little property, is on its way to political power and speaks a different language. (The official language policy in South Africa is bilingualism -- the Blacks are taught in Zulu and related tongues.)


4. How will we make the transition from a dominant non-Hispanic society with a Spanish influence to a dominant Spanish society with non-Hispanic influence?

5. Do ethnic enclaves (Bouvier, p. 18) constitute resegregation? As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion? Why don’t non-Hispanic Whites have a group identity, as do Blacks, Jews, Hispanics?


2. Can homo contraceptivus compete with homo progenitiva if borders aren’t controlled? Or is advice to limit ones family simply advice to move over and let someone else with greater reproductive powers occupy the space?


6. On the demographic point: perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!


2. What happens when we develop a new underclass, or a two-tiered economic system? Especially if the two groups can’t speak the same language! (See Bouvier and Martin Chapter 5)

3. Is resegregation taking place, in the Southern part of the state in particular?

4. Phil Martin’s point: In agriculture, the Whites and Asiatics will own and manage, but will not be able to speak to the Hispanic field workers. They will need bilingual foremen. Does this sound like social peace? Or like South Africa? Keep in mind the poor educational level of the field hands.


1. What are the implications of the changes shown on Graphs 2 and 3 for the separation of church and state? The Catholic Church has never been reticent on this point. If they get a majority of the voters, will they pitch out this concept?

2. Same question for parochial schools versus public schools.

3. Same question for the topic of abortion/choice, birth control, population control.

4. Same question for the role of women.

5. Will Catholicism bought in from Mexico be in the American or the European model? The latter is much more casual.

6. Keep in mind that many of the Vietnamese coming in are also Catholic.

7. Is there anything to be said about the Eastern religions that will come along with the Asiatics?

None of this is, on its own, is exceptionally bad. In aggregate, it is racist and xenophobic. It puts non-Hispanic whites in a different species (”homo contraceptivus“) from Hispanics (”homo progenitiva“). It isn't the sort of group I want pulling my congressman's strings.

There's much much more, but I want to get this up will Kriswatchers are still coming, and to have it out there for my big radio debut.