Saturday, April 29, 2006

illegal immigration again

I don't want to leave the impression that just because I'm angry at the open-borders Republicans, that means I don't like immigrants. Unlike a lot of pro-sovereignty Republicans, I tend to believe that (1) the illegal immigrants have been an economic benefit to the US, (2) it will cause some economic hardship if we manage to even just close the borders, much less start sending them back, and (3) it isn't entirely fair to bring up illegal-alien criminals; there are plenty of legal-alien criminals.

I've known some very nice people who were here illegally and I never seriously considered reporting them. I've thought about it, although I wouldn't knowingly hire an illegal, I also don't think I'd fire one if I found out some time after hiring him, especially if the person was just violating the terms of his visa rather than having crossed illegally. I feel for these people; I don't hate them for just trying to go somewhere that they could get a good job. It's a sad thing that they should have to suffer for being ambitious.

But they do have to suffer; they have to be sent back. And if that doesn't stop illegal immigration, then they have to be sent to prison. Illegal immigration has to be stopped. If this was a matter of a few thousand a year, I'd be willing to let it slide, but this is a matter of a few thousand a day. Our culture just cannot absorb that kind of ongoing invasion, year after year and retain the things that are valuable in the culture.

Large immigrant groups form ghettos. They all move in together into communities where everyone is from the same area and they all speak the same language. There are strong practical reasons for this, but it slows down assimilation. This is a problem for several reasons. First, it is a drain on the economy to have populations that can't speak to each other. When was the last time that you tried to tell your office janitor about some special cleaning that needed to be done? If your office is like ours, you eventually had to call the building manager, who had to find someone who spoke Spanish, turning a one-minute conversation into a twenty-minute project involving four people. Ghettos also lead to organized crime because these communities tend to be insular and untrusting of the police and other government workers (who often don't understand the community anyway). This often leads to people living in America under the same kind of oppressive and violent patronage system they came here to escape.

But most importantly, assimilation into American culture is important because these people come from failed cultures. After all, if their own culture had produced security and freedom and wealth like our culture has produced, why would they be flooding in here? So we have millions of people flooding into this country from failed cultures and bringing their failed culture with them. They bring tribal loyalties and feuds, they bring nepotism and cronyism, they bring bribery and other forms of official corruption, they bring racism and sexism (I mean real racism and sexism, not the minor complaints that pass for racism and sexism in the US), they bring oppressive and intolerant religions (again, the real thing, not what whiny leftists complain about), and they brig a lax regard for honesty in business dealings and a lax regard for law. I'm not saying that all immigrants bring all these things, but all immigrant groups from failed cultures bring several of these things.

Being from a failed culture shouldn't disqualify you from coming to America, joining our workforce and becoming a citizen, but it should disqualify you from bringing millions of your fellow countrymen with you. It's a numbers game; a group of millions will bring their culture with them while much smaller group would be absorbed into our culture and learn the cultural elements that have made America so successful.

I'm probably going to be called racist by people who can't distinguish culture from race so I'll just say (vainly, I suspect) that I do make that distinction. I don't believe that there is any causal connection from race to culture any more than there is a causal connection from race to favorite TV show. People of all races are able to adopt the cultural elements that have made America great, and when given proper motivation, people of all races do adapt those elements. But you have to give them the motivation and the exposure, and you cannot do that if they are living in cultural ghettos.

That's why we need strong immigration enforcement. That's why we need to slow down immigration, even though open-borders immigration is an economic benefit; because the benefit is short-term. Over the long term, open-borders immigration will turn America into … well, into what everyone comes to America to escape from.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bush betrays his base again

I used to scoff when Democrats said the Republican party is controlled by business interests. Yeah, because abortion is so bad for business. But this immigration issue is good evidence for that position. There are only two groups that want to encourage illegal immigration: Democrat partisans who expect that immigrants will vote Democrat, and businesses who can hire immigrants cheaper than they can hire Americans. It is implausible that Bush is in the first group; that leaves the second.

Of Bush's many betrayals of his base, this is the worst. Oh, sure, that Medicaid program was extremely harmful to the country economically as was the rest of Bush's huge increase in the Federal budget, but (1) We knew Bush was no fiscal conservative when we voted for him, (2) It was probably going to happen anyway, and (3) at least it probably helped the Republican party gain strength. Of course (3) is only good if the Republican party is actually good for America.

Then there was the "No Child Left Behind" measure, also known as the "Federal Takeover of Local Schools" bill, and the creation of the Homeland Security dept. also known as the Huge New Useless Federal Bureaucracy Created To Make People Think Something Was Being Done About Terrorism. But the harm of those was fairly minor.

And the McCain/Feingold Bill was another betrayal. Bush signed a blatantly unconstitutional bill, one that he himself agreed was unconstitutional, because he wanted the Supreme Court to take the heat for enforcing the Constitution against the combined will of the mainstream media, the Democratic political machine, and John McCain (I can't believe I actually voted for that man when I lived in Arizona). That capitulation was very harmful to the country, but I believe (or at least hope) that it was largely self-correcting. This law will eventually be tested again and found unconstitutional.

But this immigration thing... There is no going back once you give citizenship to ten million people. And there will be no stemming the increased tide of illegal entry once that amnesty is passed, because everyone will assume that another amnesty is in the works a few years hence. And Bush clearly has no interest in stemming this tide in the slightest degree.

America is suffering an invasion, and our elected leaders have no interest in stopping it, some because they expect votes from the invaders and others because they expect campaign contributions from the people who hire the invaders. Neither sort of politician deserves to be a leader of this country.

I actually wrote an email to the Whitehouse about this --the first I've ever written, even though I've been a political blogger for over two years now. I encourage everyone to do the same, especially if you live in a Republican state like Arizona (my California address marks me as less important to Republican pols).

This betrayal cannot be allowed to occur.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

mob violence against straw men

Background: Michael Hiltzig is an LA Times writer who was recently caught using sock puppets by blogger Patterico. A sock puppet is an alias that you use to interact with your real identity and/or other sock puppets to create the illusion of multiple people all agreeing with each other. Hiltzig used his sock puppets to praise himself and attack his enemies, and he also praised his sock puppets and directed attention to their posts. One time he even implied (in his real name) that that his sock puppet was a conservative so as to give greater credibility to the sock puppet's attack on a conservative.

Michael Hiltzig responded to these revelations in a post with the disingenuous title "On Anonymity in Blogland". In this post, he pretends that Patterico is accusing Hiltzig of posting anonymously and Hiltzig presents a long and pointless argument about why it is OK to post anonymously. But of course, that was never the complaint against him. Polemics of this type are called "straw-man arguments" because they aren't responses to any real complaint, they are responses to a fake complaint that was made up just to knock down. The fake complaint is superficially similar to the real complaint just like a straw man is superficially similar to a real man, but the straw man complaint is also designed to be fragile and easy to destroy, just like a straw man. When someone makes a straw man argument, we say that he has constructed a straw man just to knock it down.

Now, Patterico points out that Hiltzig's newspaper, the LA Times, has latched on to this straw man argument and so have several other commentators. Oh, sure, they are all very concerned about Hiltzig using fake names on the Internet. Very un-reporterly behavior that, seeing as how reporters are held to such an outrageously high ethical standard (unlike those impudent bloggers, I might note) so let's discipline him for using an alias and all get on with winning the next election. They ignore Hiltzig's real offense, sock puppetry, and focus on something superficially similar, anonymity. This is polemical mob violence, a group attack on a straw man. They are raising the straw man, not merely to knock it down, but to lynch it.

All of this is starting to look very familiar. I think the fist time I ever noticed this phenomenon of a mass attack on a straw man was during the Clinton impeachment scandal. Bill Clinton was accused of being a serial sexual harasser. He was accused of molesting women and of pressuring them to have sex with him, and even accused of rape. He used his office, President of the United States, and the resources of that office to defend himself against his accusers, even going so far as to claim himself as a member of the military and so immune to being sued during his term in office. Then to top it all off, he committed perjury.

But every time, every single time I ever talked about the issue with a Democrat, they said that Clinton was being persecuted for having sex. They said that he was being attacked by a bunch of prudes for nothing more than being a bit frisky. Talk about a straw man lynching. They just ignored the obstruction of justice and the perjury, the serial sexual mistreatment of women under his authority and the wives of men under his authority; all they saw was an impish Bill Clinton who just couldn't keep it in his pants, God bless the randy dear.

What was especially galling about the incident was that it so closely followed the crucifixion of Republican Clarence Thomas for allegedly engaging in crude sexual jokes that made a female subordinate uncomfortable (and if he had admitted to it, he never would have been confirmed). Clarence Thomas was accused by one woman of crude talk and he was vilified. Bill Clinton was accused by many women of much more than crude talk and he was idolized. The hypocrisy was astonishing to me (in those naive younger days).

But it is not hard to find more examples; straw man lynching is a staple of the Left:

* The Right complains about activist judges who subvert the democratic process by ignoring the Constitution. The Left pretends that they are complaining about judges that don't feel strongly bound by judicial precedent. The Left knocks down this imposing straw man by pointing out that a lot of conservative judges fit this description. But of course, few on the Right have any great respect for judicial precedent (unlike many on the Left who like to pretend that precedents are the Constitution).

* The Right wants our immigration laws enforced because we want this to be a nation of laws where you don't have the executive branch conspiring with employers and foreigners to subvert the democratic process that put those laws in place. The Left pretends that the Right is opposing all immigration and that there is no difference between legal and illegal immigrants.

* The Right wants the government to stop subsidizing (and thereby encouraging) harmful lifestyles such as sloth, unwed pregnancy, and drug use. The Left pretends that the Right wants to punish people for being undereducated or addicted.

* On labor laws, the Left pretends that a potential employee has only two choices: accept the terms of a particular employer or starve to death. They don't acknowledge that the employee has something valuable to bargain with: his labor.

* On housing laws, the Left pretends that a renter has only two choices: accept the dismal conditions and rent of the landowner or live on the street. They don't acknowledge that the landowner needs renters.

* On abortion, the Left pretends that the only issue is the mother's freedom of choice. The baby's right to life is ignored.

These are straw-man arguments engaged in by many people over an extended period. Do the authors of these straw-man polemics know what they are doing? I sometimes wonder. Surely the Left has a large arsenal of dishonest tactics, not only straw man lynching, but also Mass Projection, the Big Lie, controlling the sources of information in order to hide what they don't want people to know, and others. But you can't assume that everyone who partakes in these lies is doing it deliberately. After all, someone must believe the lies or what would be the point of telling them?

So surely some of the people telling the lies believe them too. I often wonder which ones. Does Michael Hiltzig really not understand the difference between using an alias to express his opinion anonymously and using an alias in order to interact with himself and create an illusion of supporters? I think he does. But it may well be that the Times editors don't. They may just be jumping on Hiltzig's straw man because it is there, it is convenient, and it helps their position as long as it isn't examined too closely.