Given that the liberal elites have ignored the 70% black out-of-wedlock birth rate for decades in discussing the causes of black poverty, I am confident that open borders conservatives will prove just as capable of ignoring the 48% Hispanic out-of-wedlock birth rate as they perpetuate the myth of redemptive Hispanic family values. ~Heather Mac Donald

For all of the very critical things I have had to say about her remarks about conservatism, religion and the religious, Ms. Mac Donald really shines when she speaks about empirical evidence.  She knows what she’s talking about here, and I don’t say this simply because I fully agree with her rejection of the pro-immigration “family values” rhetoric.

Mr. Bush used to have an old stand-by line that has, thankfully, been retired from service for the time being.  “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.”  This was supposed to be a clever way to cajole social conservatives into embracing amnesty.  It didn’t work.  It did manage to convince many of us that “compassionate conservatism” was a bad joke.  But Mr. Bush was right in a sense–these values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.  To look at Ms. Mac Donald’s numbers, if 48% of Hispanics are outside of wedlock “family values” don’t even reach the Rio Grande in some parts of the country.  If they had their way, the open borders crowd would help make sure that this family values-free zone increased in size at a steady rate. 

The reason for the open borders crowd’s indifference to such empirical evidence is pretty clearly ideological.  It doesn’t matter that there actually are so many out-of-wedlock births among Hispanics–the ideologue knows that all Hispanics are Catholics (which is increasingly untrue) and that such Catholics must have families probably just like 19th and early 20th century eastern European families (definitely untrue) and that, somehow, social and political revolution has not affected Catholics from Latin America (absolutely untrue).  In this fantasy, to which even some conservative Catholics in this country may be very susceptible (Sam Brownback, this means you), the moral and social changes that have obviously swept over the Catholic world everywhere else to significant effect must have never reached Mexico and points south.  While accusing other conservatives of nostalgia for olden times, the open borders crowd still seems to imagine Latin America as it was maybe fifty years ago or more, or perhaps simply as some ideal type of traditional society that can be used as a way to refuel the drained moral batteries of modern America.  

Ideology is usually the cause for most examples of people ignoring evidence.  In this case, the ideology involves holding at least these three ideas: America is a nation of immigrants, therefore it is inevitably good for American society to have more immigrants, it is even better to have hardy, Catholic immigrants who possess good “values” and because they are hardy, Catholic immigrants it would be hypocritical for Christians to want to keep them from coming here and it would also be anti-Catholic bigotry.  It is a potent little cocktail of cant, ignorance and political blackmail all rolled into one.  It will take a lot of work presenting the evidence to the public to break the spell this ideology has on policymakers.