the easiest way for America to boost its birth rate and create more tight-knit families of deep religious faith would be to increase immigration. In 2014, Pew’s Religious Landscape Study found that forty per cent of immigrants attend religious services at least once a week, compared to thirty-six per cent of the general population. In a 2016 report, Pew noted a birth rate among immigrant mothers of 84.2 per thousand, compared to a native birth rate of 58.3 per thousand. They found, too, that only thirty-three per cent of children born to immigrant parents are born to single mothers, compared to forty-two per cent of children born to Americans. Ironically, these are precisely the aspects of immigrant culture that conservatives often find most threatening—Muslim immigrants, we are told, are too dedicated to their particular religion. Though raising more native-born children might be desirable, we’re warned that children born to immigrants from Latin America could overwhelm and destabilize the country. And, as tightly knit as families and local communities of Somali or Syrian refugees may be, conservatives don’t seem terribly eager to suggest the rest of us could learn from their example.
This is because the tension between desiring a strong common national identity and respecting the integrity and independence of particular communities and families is resolved, in national conservatism, by the belief that the American nation ought to be uniformly composed of the same kinds of people—the conservative nation desired by national conservatives will assist the parts so long as those parts are majority white, Christian, and, naturally, conservative. This will be a hard country to bring about, despite the best efforts of the Trump Administration. It’s now commonplace to say that his policies and rhetoric do not reflect who we are as a country. This is true not just in a creedal or spiritual sense but in a sheer demographic sense. The United States is irreversibly diverse. Nonwhite American citizens will not be spirited out of the country by tweet or by incantation. The right may lash out at them in rhetoric, or policy, or violence, but nothing will create for conservatives a country of people mostly like themselves. The best they can hope for is that they might continue to govern a country filled with people they despise. Only time will tell whether national conservatism is a politically viable vehicle for doing so.