Defending Bill O'Reilly

Hey, somebody has to do it. Everyone's all riled up about these comments, which O'Reilly made during an interview with John McCain:

But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.


Now, is O'Reilly really saying that we need to defend the precious white, Christian, male power structure against a foreign onslaught, as his critics are suggesting? Or is he just saying, rather clumsily, that the "far-left" sees open immigration as a way to socially engineer America as we know it - which they perceive as dominated by a pernicious, patriarchal, Anglo-Saxon power structure - out of existence, as part of their "hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go" agenda? I think it's ambiguous, and it seems at least as likely that he's caricaturing lefty views as that he's expressing his deep, dark Christofascist fantasties. (The "which you're a part, and so am I" line, in particular, sounds like an attempt at a joke to me - akin to my self-identifying with "the patriarchy," for instance, in a discussion of feminist interpretations of American politics, even though I don't actually think of myself as part of any such beast.) So when O'Reilly says that "in that regard, Pat Buchanan is right," it seems to me that he's saying that Buchanan is right on the narrow point that lefty multiculturalists see open borders as a weapon in their struggle to Rigoberta Menchu-ize Western Civilization, and that conservatives should be opposed to anything that lefty multiculturalists favor.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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