In the late 1990s, Michael Moore previewed an upcoming episode of The Awful Truth by announcing he would be helping aliens illegally enter the United States. This teaser included a video of him ushering people across the border under cover of darkness. During the episode, the full truth was revealed, as viewers came to learn Moore was assisting with an invasion of Canadians.
Moore was pointing out the hypocrisy of persons having far less of a problem with that than with helping aliens cross the southern border. However, there is a difference between racial bigotry and xenophobia. While they often go together, and many persons exhibit both, there are subtleties that distinguish them.
I saw an interview with a racist who admitted he would have no trouble with immigrants, legal or otherwise, coming from Sweden. It was the Latinos he had an issue with, and he freely admitted it was the amount of melanin in their skin that he took issue with.
By contrast, let’s consider the Birthers. Certainly, it is no coincidence that the movement arose once a man with dark skin ascended to the presidency. When someone sees their world being upended in ways they find discomforting, they look to reassert control and seek revenge on those responsible. But even in the wacky Birther world, there was a difference between the hard-core adherents and the less strident. For the latter, the theory was primarily a way of coping with election results they were unable to handle. Rather than asking, “Where did we go wrong, why did we fail,” it was more reassuring to insist, “The other side cheated.”
But the hardcore Birthers, while just as wrong and also spurred in part by racial bigotry, were driven more by xenophobia. These types also objected to John McCain’s presidential bid because he was born in the Canal Zone. Eight years later, they created memes in which Ted Cruz was a puppet of either Canada or Cuba. Even birth in the United States was insufficient, as venom was also flung at Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and even the lilywhite Rick Santorum, all for daring to have foreign parents.
For these folks, a Caucasian Christian Conservative candidate would be opposed if he moved the United States from London when he was three days old. Again, I’m not denying racial animus on the part of these people. They would likely not be OK with their daughter showing up with a black man (or a woman of any color, for that matter). Still, their overriding bigotry is xenophobia, and they are the types who endorse the idea that U.S. sovereignty is about to be sacrificed to a North American Union.
Jerome Corsi, who championed the idea before giving his considerable conspiracy energies to the Birther movement, described the NAU as a globalist attempt by to surreptitiously dismantle the borders between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. The three federal governments will then be dissolved and in their place will be communist policies, barbed wire, and Kafkaesque courts.
Some say this takeover is already underway, while others think it’s in the planning stages. Either way, the goal is for unspecified elites to oversee a new government that allows allows them almost unlimited power and profit. This will all be buoyed by 500,000,000 involuntary laborers toiling in a totalitarian dystopia.
There is no evidence this is taking place, but believers point to disparate catastrophes as being part of the plot. The Sept. 11 attacks, for instance, were perpetuated to give the government a chance to increase control of the populace and smooth the way to stand up the Union. While the Patriot Act includes many chilling provisions that potentially makes the U.S. more authoritarian, this actually runs counter to the NAU theory, which presupposes the U.S. will sacrifice its sovereignty.
Believers also assert that Hurricane Katrina was created and controlled by HAARP weapons. The reason was to provide a guise under which the usual suspects could be rounded up and ushered into FEMA camps.
For being central to the theory, these camps are conspicuously missing, as is an extra wide highway that will run the run the length of the three countries. This construction project would be exceedingly difficult to pull off clandestinely, yet NAU believers continually insist it is being built or planned.
The most frequently-cited evidence for the coming NAU is the supposed existence of the amero, a currency that will replace the U.S. and Canadian dollars and the peso. There are examples of such bills and coins, but they were created as novelties by individuals and private companies, not government mints.
The coins were the brainchild of Daniel Carr, who designed the New York and Rhode Island statehood quarters. Unauthorized postings of images taken from his website were touted in conspiracy circles as proof the NAU is imminent.
Before being sentenced to prison for encouraging the assassination of federal judges, white nationalist Hal Turner was the primary promoter of the coin/collective roundup connection. After Carr explained the truth on his website, Turner played the classic conspiracy theory card of claiming evidence that disproved the theory was instead part of it. Turner claimed Carr’s coin website had been created overnight for the express purpose of discrediting him. In truth, the website had been up for years.
From there, Turner moved onto highlighting paper money. His blog ran photos of amero bills in different denominations. He deflected inquiries as to where they came from, citing only “my sources.” Sources other than his own revealed the images had been pilfered from a Flickr user who had created them for purposes of artistic and political commentary.
In what passes for one of their arguments, supporters of the theory point out that many European countries adopted the euro. Besides being irrelevant, this glosses over significant differences between European and North American countries and economies. Also, the euro was publicly announced and planned, whereas the amero is supposedly shrouded in sinister secrecy.
Plus, the euro was created to solve problems specific to Europe, which featured dozens of small countries doing business among each another. This became an issue because each nation had separately fluctuating currencies, exchange was inefficient and costly, interest rates spiked and dipped wildly, and there were varied, continually changing inflation rates. All this turned almost every transaction between European nations into guesswork.
The euro cleared up these problems, so much so that U.S. soldiers who had received four Deutschemarks for every dollar were, 10 years later, getting just 75 Euro cents for that buck.
North American countries, meanwhile, do not experience the myriad economic issues that plagued Europe before it adopted a common currency. There are only three economies and exchange rates in play, and NAFTA has solved many of the economic issues the North American countries had faced.
Likewise, there’s little comparison between the EU and the nefarious NAU. EU members retain sovereignty, hold elections, issue passports, raise armed forces, collect customs, and have the option of maintaining a border presence. More tellingly, the EU is not imprisoning citizens without trial or shipping them to slave labor camps.
Two groups are cited by theorists as evidence for the planned Union: the Independent Task Force on North America, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. The former is a group of business owners and academics, while the latter consisted primarily of government officials, whose stated goals were information sharing, improved productivity, reducing trade costs, environmental protection, disease reduction, and ensuring access to clean food and water.
It mattered little to the theorists that neither of these groups entered into any treaties or agreements. Lou Dobbs, probably the most conspiratorial-minded mainstream media personality, called the SPP as an agreement which would establish the North American Union without Congressional consent. In fact, it was not an agreement, it formed no Union, and attempted no end run around Congress, and indeed had nothing to try and sneak past it.
Pointedly, neither Dobbs nor any other theory subscriber considered the 2009 dissolution of the SPP to be evidence the NAU proposal had been abandoned.
Another supposed piece of evidence is a Council on Foreign Relations report that calls for more economic cooperation and intelligence-sharing among the three countries. However, the CFR is a non-governmental organization that has no relevance to policy making in any of the countries.
Besides, the paper calls for little more than streamlined customs procedures that would eliminate tariffs between the countries and employ a common tariff for goods imported from outside the three nations. The paper also calls for greater border security, which would be antithetical to the NAU’s supposed goal, and which would stifle Moore’s Canadian interlopers.