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By Philippe Legrain 26 COMMENTS

When some people lose an argument, they resort to defamation. Peter Brimelow, the author of anti-immigration polemic Alien Nation, claims in his "review" of Immigrants in the Washington Times that my grandparents left Estonia "with the Nazis". In fact, they fled from the Red Army to Sweden on a Red Cross refugee ship. Shame on scum of the earth like him.

Posted 07 Aug 2007 in Blog
  1. steve risher says:

    Yes, but it was Axis soldiers (including Estonian Waffen SS) who were holding back the Red Army and therefore allowed you to escape. And if that Red Cross ship had not been available you would have to have fled overland (like so many others) under the de facto protection of those same troops.

  2. steve risher says:

    Sorry, i meant “allowed your grandparents to escape” not “you”.

  3. TOC says:

    Brimelow means to sneakily insinuate that Legrain’s forebears were Nazis/Nazi collaborationists, which is altogether different from unaffiliated Estonian civilians fleeing murderous communism.
    I don’t know the situation about Legrain’s family, but obviously most Estonians wanted neither German nor communist occupiers. For this cheapshot Brimelow truly is a dirtbag.

  4. TOC says:

    I hasten to add that the communists were far more murderous than Germans with respect to Baltics. Nazis killed Jews, communists, and partisans mainly, whereas communist Russia wiped out the entire non–manual-laboring population. A typical Estonian going about his daily business had relatively little fear from the German in comparison.

  5. J Maxwell says:

    Will there ever be a “Mr. Kurtz” moment for the left when they see the dehumanised, borderless, raceless, cultureless, meaningless post-nations of violence and chaos their ideas have engendered? What colour is the sky in their world? Demonically destructive or hopelessly stupid? I have given up trying to decide….
    The British people have lived on these islands for 8,000 years. Legrain the ungrateful thinks they should celebrate the catastrophe of their replacement, and welcome their certain persecution as minorities.
    The same fate awaits Americans as did Rhodesians, because the same basic principle applies- a European people create a state, then foolishly lose demographic control over it. Bad things then happen to them. End of story.
    The wonder is that Westerners have had poison poured in their ears so easily.

  6. Mitchell Young says:

    The irony here is that Estonian nationalists — which is to say most Estonians — biggest complaint by far during communist rule was the innudation of their country with Russian and other immigrants during the Soviet times. And indeed, they have tried to reverse the process somewhat since gaining independence.

  7. Big Bill says:

    Good point, Michael. The Estonians are just like the Jews in that regard: “we reserve the righ to keep our homeland race pure, but demand the right to migrate wherever we want to live, because different peoples of any kind enrich their host nation …
    (… oh, and we still want to keep our motherland passport and preserve our ethnic hideyhole rights so when multiculturalism destroys our host country, we can always run back to mama’s arms).”
    I would suggest that Mr Legrain preach his immigration sermon to his fellow Estonians in Estonia, where they are still trying to expel the Russians. It shouldn’t be a problem, as an ethnic Estonian he has a free pass to return home anytime he wants — unlike the Russians immigrants in Estonia.

  8. Jason says:

    The point is that your grandparents wanted to get away from the Red Army. As you, a person on the far left, if Communism is so wonderful, why didn’t your grandparents stay in Estonia and celebrate when your Red brothers arrived?

  9. Michael Toshev says:

    Lost in all of this is the point that your country (your western country, at any rate) does NOT need more immigrants; it can easily do without any more. Easily. With all the evidence of immigration’s effects that today abounds, to persist in arguing for more immigration simply demonstrates the emotional grip the issue has on one. Immigration is a luxury, but a perilously risky one; so risky that, with everything now occurring in the world, we can ill afford more of it.

  10. Mr. Bean says:

    Since you were intellectually flattened by his piece, you resort to insulting his parentage. Your lack of any substantive factual counter-argument to Brimelow’s piece also shows the worth of your book.
    As the kiddies say: You = Own3d.

  11. V N says:

    I salute you, J Maxwell.
    Your prognosis is dead on accurate. I myself study the psychological motivations behind OneWorld thinkers. I wonder if you have any operating theory? Over the years, I have worked up a notion that Shame and Greed are at the bottom of it all. (though these are primarily theological concepts, esp. the second-making straight on analysis difficult)
    In short, if one painfully feels ones own inadequacy existing within ones own order and lacks the motivation to improve, one simply weaves a cloak of Moral Splendour and covers ones head hoping not to be seen as a failure.
    Advocation of (the world you describe) seems to them Glorious, and simply by saying perfumed phrases, they can feel legitimate in their (usually stunning) hauteur and condescension of their fellow man, not as enlightened as they.
    The justifications they attempt to intoxicate others on are all based on Greed (in the full Theological sense)
    You are made to feel “poor” and wretched for being who you are, then are directed to believe that you MUST desire more and more-culture of course.
    Though I have not read this book, Im sure it is the standard issue catechism detailing how we shall all benefit from the wholesale mutation of our eons old civilizations. We will be told that commerce will increase, “creativity” will increase,(ala Hegel)-fellow feeling will increase, etc etc.
    Everything predicated on our supposed desire for INCREASE-which is Greed incarnate.
    The blind craving for more and more is what Greed, irreducibly, is.
    More may indeed be better sometimes
    But to those of us who wish to remain within the bounds of Morality

  12. Bill says:

    First two sentences: “Peter Brimelow is the scum of the earth.” “When some people lose an argument, they resort to defamation.”
    You’ve wasted no time in admitting defeat. That bullet in the foot–does it smart?

  13. Ben Cameron says:

    Is this what now passes for scholarly debate? Don’t like what somebody says and they are “scum of the earth? Not very professional, but what do you expect from a left-wing globalist.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That post on Brimelow is ironic, right? You condemn ad hominem by using it?

  15. Konstantin says:

    A lot of Estonians did collaborate with the Nazis, how can we be sure your grandfather wasn’t one of them?

  16. BC says:

    “I can say with confidence that when my late father volunteered to join the British Army after Munich, he did not expect that the capital of his native country would one day be full of foreigners…Legrain would probably dismiss this as racism. I might cruelly respond that his own maternal forbears fled Estonia with the Nazis”
    Brimelow was arguing that Legrain’s inevitable charge of “racism” directed against his grandfather would be as baseless as Brimelow making the corresponding charge based on Legrain’s ancestry.
    Legrain probably knows this and is trying to see if he can get some mileage out of misrepresenting Brimelow’s comments.

  17. Matthew Dunnyveg says:

    “I briefly descended into paranoia…It is understandable that people overreact when facing the possibility that a stranger might want to kill them.”
    Paranoia is an unreasonable fear of persecution. And I don’t see anything at all unreasonable in your fears.
    It seems to me that the failure to acknowledge, and respond to, reasonable fears is every bit as bad as paranoia. And there are no more reasonable fears than those posed by open borders.
    Maybe we can call unresponsiveness to a reasonable fear of persecution Legrain’s Syndrome.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think for many people, one way, the only way perhaps they can prove they are not racists ie not evil is to cheer on unlimited immigration. There is nothing nuanced about it they dont need to alter their own behaviour, they dont need to give out any detailed policy prescriptions. Its purely an emotional act for many.
    And like Mr Legrain they are sadly deluded.

  19. R C says:

    Like most open borders enthusiasts, Legrain resorts to calling anyone who disagrees with him a racist. Of course we all now know that the true definition of a racist is, “One who is winning an argument against a liberal”. It is worth noting, however, that it was in fact the liberal open borders lot who first brought race into the debate. Originally our biggest concern with immigration was over population. Some of the first concerns drew comparisons to Chinese laws regarding birthrates. It had nothing to with race, or nationality. Peter Brimelow was one of the first I heard speak publicly of these concerns.
    Now that the realities of assimilation, or lack there of, are so blatantly obvious, one can’t help but be concerned about the upheaval and replacement of our culture. One of the leading theories as to the fall of the Roman Empire is, after all, cultural upheavel due to mass immigration of alien values and interests. I rather think it is obvious that there is a great deal of reason to be concerned about open borders, and more people realize it every day. That is unless they suffer from Legraine’s Syndrome.

  20. David Webb says:

    Read the review by Brimelow linked to in Legrain’s post at the top. Of course Brimelow could not know the exact circumstances of the flight of Legrain’s ancestors and may have got it wrong, but what Legrain is really exercised about is an editorial that exposes Legrain for the shallow thinker that he is. Note: no refutation of any of the points… because he can’t.

  21. J Maxwell, Mexifornia says:

    I think the anonymous poster using all-caps and vulgarity is unacceptable, of course. Were I hosting the blog, I would have deleted it- except it serves Mr. Legrain’s purposes rather well, so here it stays.
    In most circumstances, attacking someone for their photo is wrong -and detracts from the battle of ideas. In a few cases, the image and the substance do match, however….
    If I WERE to draw any conclusions from the photo, I would say this…
    I see the empty soul, never of but always “based” somewhere, cherishing the most meaningless of cultural forms, lost in a worship of the “other.”
    I see behind the eyes a white guilt self-loathing that comes from a lifetime of upside-down Western media and education, combined with the smugness that come from having found a way out, a way to shed this bizarre guilt. “I can redeem myself, and look down on these other white peasants, by a glorious act of self-abnegation!” And with this way out, the twinges of guilt from seeing African poverty on TV, from being driven by Egyptian cabbies, or from having Bangladeshi waiters bringing him food, all melt away into a frisson of goodness, at the idea of their imagined gratitude to him.
    The idea that Legrain is destroying something doesn’t cross his mind because what he is destroying has no value to him, and has never had his loyalty. (His is a loyalty to a thing that never was, and never will be, for neo-liberalism will crash into the unchanging rocks of human biodiversity, Islam, and the need for transcendence.) But what he spurns has value to the rest of us non-post-humans, because home, culture, country, tradition, art, music, and a community of our descendents are the only things that can outlive us.
    So his vanity rubs away all trace of our existence, all that we have been bequeathed, the sum of all we will build or care about or cherish.
    That is the reason, Mr. Legrain- if you wish to understand both the polite reasonings, or the profanity-laced vengeance you see here. They stem from a human need for transcendence that no leftist fantasy can ever fulfill.

  22. ben tillman says:

    I am not interested in Brimelow. I am interested in you because of your advocacy of the genocide of my people. For you, “scum” would be a laughably mild epithet.

  23. a Finn says:

    But Legrain, Soviet Union was universally egalitarian nation of many nationalities living together in friendly happiness. Why did your grandparents flee? Soviet Union’s ideology resembles yours.

  24. stuart says:

    What exactly is the point of making the Nazi claim? What relevance does it have to the content of the book?
    Those commenters who do think it relevant must be positively horrified by the election of the new pope. Every word he writes and speaks can surely be traced back to his time in the Hitler youth.

  25. Albert Tatlock says:

    I agree with the previous posts that seem to be a psychological diagnosis of a sick (Western) society and the way it’s connected to modern Liberalism’s neuroses.
    I’d even place the time of the Liberal paradigm to the end of the Second World War and Hitler’s defeat – and call what the West is afflicted with a Hitler complex.
    Even in death Hitler gives us the world we live in by being the cataylst and cross to bare from where all guilt comes – it’s his legacy to bring about a political consensus between both Left and Right so that they never diverge on certain key areas of policy and always move in a direction opposite to Hitler.
    The progressive nature of Liberalism over the last 60 years then, has led to everything from mass immigration, to feminism, to an obsession with minority rights and political correctness – it’s become a secular religion there can be no disagreement with because certain areas of debate are closed down and placed off limits.
    Seeing the decay of my once great nation as the traitors flush thousands of years of history, culture, and tradition down the toilet in an unsolicited social experiment , I can’t help but thinking it might have been a better Europe under Hitler – and perhaps Europe’s last chance before it goes under is to rehabilitate his ideas, for the sake of survival.

  26. JohnnyZG1979 says:

    What exactly does slandering Legrain’s grandparents as Nazi collaborators do to supposedly expose his so-called “shallow thinking” ? It’s just an attempt by Brimelow to take a swipe at Legrain because of Legrain’s point that some of the victims of the London bombings happened to be immigrants or the children of immigrants , just like the bombers. It just shows that when Brimelow cannot come up with an opposing argument, he resorts to defamation.

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