CRB: Border wars

This is the third of three planned previews of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Having reviewed the issue in galley, I selected essays and reviews I thought some Power Line readers would find of interest. With the indulgence of the editors of the CRB, we are extending the preview with a bonus edition tomorrow. Please stay tuned.

Today I have two books reviews that I found inherently interesting. In the first, Mary Eberstadt reviews the new Kindle book The Lost History of Western Civilization, by Stanley Kurtz. Eberstadt’s review is “Canon fodder.” With respect to what she calls “the long march of multiculturalism” through our institutions, Eberstadt writes: “What has gone largely unexamined is another question: whether “multiculturalism” ever made sense on its own terms—i.e., whether the creation story it came to tell of itself even holds up. With The Lost History of Western Civilization, published by the National Association of Scholars, Stanley Kurtz has now delivered that crucial missing piece.”

In the second review, we have the Federalist’s John Daniel Davidson reviewing the new book on immigration by New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear, Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration. The review is “They’re not sending their best.” In the New York Times, Joe Klein declared the book “[e]ssential reading for those searching for the ‘beating heart’ of the Trump administration.” Klein further declared that “Davis and Shear are scrupulously fair reporters…[They] are right: Immigration demagogy is at the ‘heart’ of the Trump show — and the Trump show is at the heart of our tragic decline as a civil and humane society.”

By contrast, Davidson observes: “[O]ne can read an entire book that purports to be about immigration—a book written by two veteran New York Times correspondents, advertised as an insider’s look at three tumultuous years of Trump Administration infighting and congressional intrigue—only to realize the whole thing is really just an extended argument that Trump is racist.” The contrast is telling. What it tells is an old story with which Power Line readers are familiar, but there is more:

On one level, Border Wars is simply an extended ad hominem attack on the president and his advisors. But on another level—one that seems to escape Davis and Shear—this is really a book about how the Trump Administration has tried to wrest back control of U.S. immigration policy from an administrative state that commandeered it decades ago at the behest of a quiescent Congress. The “border wars” referred to in the title are not, as the authors suppose, conflicts between Trump and the Democrats, or Trump and Mexico, or even Trump and the migrants he’s trying to screen. The real fight is between Trump and the professional bureaucrats in the executive branch who have resisted executive interference in their administrative fiefdoms for decades. These entrenched pols are not about to obey a president and administration whose preferred immigration policies they loathe.

Highly recommended.

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