The Hoover Institution’s Southern California Conference

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Hoover Tower
Hoover Tower

Hoover’s Southern California Conference included talks by Hoover fellows Clint Bolick on immigration, David Davenport on the New Deal and modern conservatism, and Victor Davis Hanson on the state of the United States.

Bolick: Immigration Wars: A Report from the Front Lines (34:06)

Clint Bolick, a Hoover research fellow, begins by discussing Louisiana’s school choice program and the federal government’s efforts to halt that successful program before launching into US immigration policy. Bolick notes that problems with our immigration policy began in the 1960s, when we moved away from an economics-based immigration policy to a family-based immigration policy (chain migration), meaning that most immigrants are not be arriving with the job skills they need. Of the one million immigrants who arrive every year, only 13 percent arrive with jobs or special skills, meaning we do not have enough high-skilled workers. Bolick proposes the following solutions: reduce family preferences; increase high-skilled and entrepreneurial visas; strengthen border security and biometric identification; create a path to citizenship for Dreamers (people brought here as children); and institute tougher citizenship requirements.

Davenport: The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: Then and Now (37:18)

David Davenport, a counselor to the director and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses the genesis of modern conservatism. Modern American conservatism, Davenport avers, was born in the 1930s, when Herbert Hoover took on the excesses of the New Deal. The New Deal overturned the way in which the United States worked and was governed. Eighty years later the New Deal is still the paradigm for US domestic policy. Obama is adding to the New Deal ideology with many of his policies, which are undermining US liberty and its rugged individualism. In his recent book, The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry, Davenport goes back to the 1930s to illustrate how the twenty-first-century discourse between progressives and conservatives grew out of the Roosevelt-Hoover debate of the 1930s.

Hanson: America Is Not Rome–Yet (30:15)

Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses how Rome--stable and secure, with freedom for the individual and multiracial culture--collapsed and asks, “Can the lessons learned be applied to reverse the decline of the United States today?” Rome had a large, unproductive population that relied on entitlements; the United States, he says, is heading in the same direction. Hanson notes that the fragmentation (meaning that not enough people took their responsibilities seriously) of the common core led to its breakup, with the people instead focusing on their rights to handouts and entitlements. The United States has constitutional stability in its favor, but we need to remember that Rome worked when it respected the rule of law and its people were responsible citizens and collapsed when laws and responsibilities were abandoned. Hanson ends on a positive note, stating that the United States does have constitutional stability, property rights, rule of law and one of the freest economic systems in the world. Hanson also notes the United States is flexible and puts power in the hands of the individual. We produce our own food and may be energy independent in coal, gas, and oil in ten years. The United States has seventeen of the top twenty universities in the world; US ingenuity will continue to breed success.