Lopez‘s is the lowest kind of propagandizing: that which, having assigned villainy to a certain group, hate-mongers it for every ill. Some call this sort of thing fascism. I’d term it egomaniacal journalistic stupidity. Probably, the truth lies between those extremes.
James Ricci‘s July 9 immigrant-bash was even grubbier. Ricci found himself an anti-immigrant guru, one Ben Zuckerman, a UCLA astronomer who captains a rogue Sierra Club faction that’s dedicated to slashing legal and eliminating illegal immigration. And Ricci worshipped Zuckerman‘s every word. Like the late Dr. William Schockley, the Nobel Prize winner who preached white racial superiority, Zuckerman brandishes a high-profile obsession that is far from his realm of scientific competence. Thus he (or maybe it’s Ricci) distorts -- or even reverses -- the actual data on which he supposedly bases his predictions. Which include a billion U.S. residents by 2100, most of them, presumably, immigrant. (Hey, we survived Mr. R‘s anticipated 450 million population bust-out in 1980, right?)
RicciZuckerman have an extraordinarily flexible attitude toward statistics: They start by saying that, over what they consider the pre-immigration decade ending in 1970, the U.S. population increase was so low that it was “reaching replacement levels.” But that “from 1990 to 2000,” due to those vile immigrants, “the U.S. population swelled by 13 percent, its highest 10-year increase ever,” according to Ricci. Not so, according to the Census. From 1960 to 1970, during that decade of purported low immigration, the population soared from 179 million to 203 million -- rising 13.4 percent. And for that matter, the population rose 18.5 percent from 1950 to 1960. But even this rate pales compared to other spans. From 1900 to 1910, the U.S. population rose more than 20 percent. From 1880 to 1890 (a decade of enormous immigration), it climbed nearly 26 percent. You get the idea. Someone must have drugged the Times’ fact checkers that week.
Of Zuckerman, Ricci and Lopez -- whose last names strongly suggest their own families‘ recent immigrant origins -- the kindest thing you can say is that, when it comes to population analysis, they’re cranks. Funny thing, though. These cranks are now getting the run of the state‘s major paper -- just as Latinos, with their snowballing voter-registration and citizenship rates, are entering the political mainstream.