I took the Front Porch Republic out of my news feed, not because what they had to say was bad, but because it was too good.  I was spending 'way too much time reading, and composing comments in my head—whether or not those comments ever made it into print.  But then they started sending me their weekly updates....

Here's a good article on immigration.  Normally I don't read about the topic, because it's so inflammatory; too many people, as they say, are enjoying the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.  This one is different, as are most FPR articles, whether I agree with them or not.  For one thing, he lambasts both the Republicans and the Democrats.  ("[A]s with nearly everything in establishment Republicanism, even when they are sincere they are still lying"; for the Democratic skewer, see below.)  For another, he acknowledges three points that I've long thought critical to the debate:

  1. Immigration in sufficient numbers inevitably and irrevocably transforms a culture; if we try to ignore or deny this and don't take steps to defend and preserve that which is good about our specific culture, it will be overrun just as surely as imperialism destroyed the native cultures of its colonies.
  2. We are repeatedly told that we need more immigrants because there are not enough Americans who are willing/qualified to do the jobs.  Whether it's a factory owner crying that he'd go out of business without illegal immigrants (shades of pre-Civil War Southern plantation owners' insistence on the necessity of slavery), or companies pushing for more H1-B visas because they can't find enough Americans to do their high-tech jobs (meaning, qualified Americans are asking for higher salaries than Indians and Moldovans)—the bottom line is not that Americans can't or won't do the jobs, but that we value low prices more than fair wages.
  3. We feel a need for large numbers of immigrants because our own birth rate is too low.  This reproductive minimalism is both an expression of our lack of appreciation for our own culture, and a great factor in its demise.*

I wonder if it is even possible to debate immigration honestly.  The Democratic party has bet big that the continued use of contraception among white Americans and the admission of peoples from the Latin south will, in the long term, tilt demography permanently in favor of its version of the welfare state, and, consequently, its sustained power.  Moreover, the turning away of Americans from marriage and the having of children suggests a lack of investment in, an apathy regarding, the future character of their country.  It is no more surprising that Americans should be resigned regarding the future of their culture than it is that Americans should desire immigrants to labor for the welfare state in lieu of the children who could have been. These trends are a tacit vote of assent to the Democratic strategy vastly more significant that any election-day tally. Further, neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be capable of giving voice to a genuine love of country: one that does not base itself on being a jingoistic bully abroad, but rather on a reverent care to preserve and cultivate what we have, here, now, at home.


*I commend our children for their valiant countercultural efforts, aka grandchildren. Switzerland also needs help in this regard.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Edit
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I'm not as convinced as you seem to be that there are enough qualified Americans to do the jobs requiring high levels of scientific/technical training. Most of the recent hires in math at SUNY Oswego have been foreigners not because we could pay them less (SUNY is unionized - that isn't an issue) but because they were just better qualified. If you look at the students gathered in the science buildings at Oswego, a large percentage are foreign. If you go to communications or el.ed., you'll find all Americans. Not because those subjects lead to jobs that pay more, but because they are much easier majors. Our Asian students on the whole work lot harder than the American students. And that's not just true at Oswego, it's nationwide.

Posted by Kathy Lewis on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Here's an article that agrees with you about a need for highly skilled foreign workers—but which also points out that that's not what most of the H1-B visas are being used for; instead, they are being used specifically to move American jobs overseas. And that certainly lines up with our experience in the IT industry.

When most people think of slave labor in relation to immigration, they think about the stranglehold employers have on illegal immigrants. But high tech employers also get away with treating their non-citizen employees very badly, even if they are here legally.

Posted by SursumCorda on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm
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