It was the first meeting of The John Randolph Club, held somewhere in the wilds of Texas. I was there at the urging of Murray Rothbard, who was enthusiastic about this gathering of libertarians and paleoconservatives in the wake of the Cold War’s end. With the commies out of the Kremlin, said Murray, the Old Right is back—no more warmongering on the right, except for the neocons, who would soon find themselves isolated and impotent. The paleos, he said, want to roll back the state and take back the conservative movement from the Buckleyites and the cult of Scoop Jackson.
I was skeptical, however, and my wariness only waxed hotter as I listened to the arguments against unrestricted immigration. Not being one to stay silent for very long, I leapt to my feet and demanded to know on what basis immigrants were to be excluded—did it by chance have anything to do with their skin color?
Tom Fleming, who founded the JRC along with Murray, hit back at me with a polemical fusillade—and, for once, I was actually thinking about the subject at hand. As I spluttered and tried to evade the question, it kept ringing in my ears: “What if the entire nation of Pakistan decided to emigrate to this country?”
I had no answer—at least not a coherent one. For the rest of the conference, I was strangely quiet. What would happen if millions of...