Dissing Sam Huntington

On March 14, 2004, the L.A. Times ran an editorial that tried its best to counter Samuel Huntington's Foreign Policy essay 'The Hispanic Challenge'. The editorial was entitled:

Wrongheaded Assault on a 'Brown Peril'

Just so there's no mistake, that was the exact title, punctuated as shown. The editorial starts with the following, once again retaining the original punctuation:

"The best Injun is a dead Injun." "The Yellow Peril." "The Red Menace." To this colorful array of prejudices and many others past and present, Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington now adds the latest object of hate and suspicion: "the Brown Menace."

Based on the fact that "Brown Menace" is put in quotes, as is "Brown Peril," wouldn't you think those two phrases would appear in Huntington's essay? Well, if you did, you'd be wrong. The only place the word "brown" appears is in a discussion of massive immigration perhaps leading to the development of white nationalists:

These new white nationalists do not advocate white racial supremacy but believe in racial self-preservation and affirm that culture is a product of race. They contend that the shifting U.S. demographics foretell the replacement of white culture by black or brown cultures that are intellectually and morally inferior.

Haven't you already lost when the only argument you can present is one obtained by misquoting or misrepresenting the other's argument? I have to tell you, I'm shocked the L.A. Times would sink this low. Oh, wait, no, actually I'm not shocked.

I haven't been following the anti-Huntington screeds spewing forth on the "non-liberal" newspapers throughout the land, but I'd imagine that a good number of them employ the same device, safe in the knowledge that most people are not Foreign Policy subscribers nor are they compulsive googlers for said magazine's articles.

Now, a new anti-Huntington editorial has arrived that also makes similar mistakes. It's in a much smaller market, namely readers of the University of Miami's rag: 'Lost in translation Perdido en la traduccion'.

Of the many problems, one is that the supposed Huntington quote "lack initiative and accept poverty" is a) taken out of context, and b) is actually a quote from someone else. Another problem is that the second supposed Huntington quote - "low work ethic" - does not appear in Huntington's essay.

One thing that does appear is an unflattering portrayal of Miami.

At least former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda's attempt to counter Huntington's argument (also printed in the L.A. Dog Trainer) didn't distort his message, even if it ended up showing just how right Huntington is.