Immigration and its Discontents
“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home,,,.”
– Dorothy, as instructed by the Good Witch
First: What Is A Nation?
A typical dictionary definition of “nation” is: “a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory…” In other, more precise words, a nation’s most basic, commonly-recognized requirements are a combination of each and all of the following:
(1)multiple individuals, i.e. citizens/subjects, jointly identifiable (in some manner) by their distinctive sharing of certain cultural and/or linguistic and/or historical attributes,
(2) inhabiting a particular location constituting a single political entity possessing
(3) distinct borders separating itself and its population from the rest of the world and peoples outside.
But note the equally essential fourth element which that standard definition implies, but omits, to wit:
(4) laws and their enforcement by the country which both prescribe and secure the previous three elements — the country’s citizenship requirements, its location and its borders.
Quite simply, if any of these four, just-enumerated elements is/are missing, whatever one is observing, it is something other than a nation.
A nation’s population can vary enormously — anywhere from ethnically homogeneous (e.g. Sweden, prior to its recent influx of Middle Easterners) to, as the United States uniquely has been, virtually the opposite of that.
But, as observed by Abraham Lincoln, if its population is ”a house divided,” or internally-ghettoized, antagonistic, or even warring, groups — actual or virtual warring tribes whose mutual interests and views are inherently irreconcilable, with neither “side” completely vanquished by the other — it is doomed to self-destruction. Think of Israel if the Palestinians in Gaza and/or the West Bank became Israeli citizens without abandoning demanding the extermination or expulsion of all Jews.
What Is “Immigration?”
One ontological fact: at each and every moment of our lives, we each are physically present at one, specific, precise physical location on this planet. Every place has its own unique characteristics of all kinds including, e.g.,its particular people, rulers/government, geography, weather, relative proximity to other locations and other occupants of all varieties and species, and everything which follows from each of those, including the mental states of each and every one of those occupants.
Thus, we always are where we are, and nothing more profoundly affects the subjective nature and quality of each of our lives than that fact and everything attendant upon it. This is always a two-way street: everyone present at any one location affects the lives of everyone else there in some manner.
For most of us, no location on the entire planet is more important than “our home,” which actually consists of two different things — (1) our dwelling — that is, our particular house or apartment, and (2) the city, town, and other legal entity (state, county, country etc.) in which we reside. Each of these affect us profoundly — as we each affect each of them.
People travel away from both those homes for all kinds of reasons. When they intend to return home, at least at some point, on a more-or-less permanent basis, even if their trip lasts for multiple years, they generally do so for fun/pleasure and/or for some business reason. However, when they leave home to emigrate to some other country, that is a completely different matter, both with respect to their reasons for doing so and the affects they have on their new country and its people.
Emigration/immigration is, quite simply, our name for people abandoning their home nation and moving to another one. They leave behind all their previous surroundings and people. They go to a different country, often on a different continent, usually very far away. Because of all the considerations outlined above, their doing so necessarily has enormous consequences both to the immigrants/emigrants themselves and to those in the communities both which they abandon and where they move.
The potential enormity of those consequences to everyone involved in, or affected by, immigration has always made it an extremely contentious political issue everywhere, and for virtually everyone — resulting in huge differences of opinion about it — from thinking it disastrous to a godsend, and everything in between.
The factors affecting the huge variety of these opinions include, among many others, the laws and policies of the various countries involved, the motives and circumstances of the opinion holders and their views on all these matters, including concerning the particular immigrants in question. As but one example: rulers of monstrous tyrannies (e.g., Cuba, North Korea), whose “citizens” are, under their “laws,” nothing but slaves of the state, would rather kill would-be-emigrants from their hellholes than permit them exit. And what do their “citizens” think about that? They have no freedom of speech, but we know that huge numbers of them risk their lives to get out and would rather die trying to do so than remain; and those dying to immigrate to such places (other than “celebrity” Marxist criminals escaping American justice) are few indeed.
Emigration is nothing new: human beings, and probably our evolutionary ancestors, have been doing it for millions of years.
Specifically, according to various academics (particularly paleontologists and archaeologists) who study old bones, artifacts and the places where they are found, and who claim to have “expert” insights into the human race’s distant past, since the time modern humans first appeared in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago they/we have frequently moved about the planet. Has there ever been any reason to do so other than gaining something by the move — hoping for the new places to be “better” (whatever that means) than those left behind?
And we all know that moving is, well, hard. In general, sticking with the known, status quo, particularly about one’s home, is almost always the path of least resistance: it’s easier to stay put. Unless it’s not.
How bad must things be in the place left behind to so abandon it? And what makes one place bad and another good? And what must be the promised improvement at least hoped for in advance to select from all other possibilities in the world the particular destination place? Obviously, at least for the past 200 years, the earth has functionally shrunk, so that much more can be known by the emigrants about foreign locales.
Existing US Citizens’ Rational Concerns Regarding Immigrants
The following are the questions which inevitably arise among the existing US citizens with respect to each new immigrant in their midst:
1. Is his immigration legal in the US, or in direct violation of its laws? If, for any particular “immigrant” it is illegal, what are his plans and desires when entering? If, for multiple such entrants it is illegal, how does their entering differ from a hostile invasion — or colonization, even?
2. How different are the laws and culture of the nation any immigrant is leaving from those of the US? Is he interested in, and/or capable of, assimilating here — or not?
3. Does the new country, as the US effectively used to do, require immigrants to assimilate culturally (i.e., learn the new country’s language and customs) and ideologically? What does the US do now, as both a matter of policy and of enforcement, with would-be immigrants who even admit they are ideologically opposed to such assimilation (it used to forbid them entry altogether)?
4. Why is the immigrant leaving his previous country? For example, is he a genuine refugee effectively forced out by particular, threatened persecution which he is using his emigration to flee? Is he destitute and hoping for handouts in the US? Does he want better, or at least some, employment in the US, previously unavailable to him? Is he part of a mass immigration effort intended by his old rulers, political and/or religious/ideological, as a stealth invasion of the US?
5. Does the immigrant come from a country which, like virtually all the non-English-speaking world has been since the Stone Age, is tyrannical, with such tyranny having effectively promoted what could be called an attitude/habit/mindset among its populace of servitude, inculcated over generations of political oppression — that is, a mental state for which individual liberty for anyone is virtually incomprehensible? Does the immigrant expect/want the laws of the new country to be similar to those he escaped from — i.e., laws requiring state permission and precluding individual liberty? Is the immigrant simply seeking a higher level of government-provided subsistence in the new country, with no expectation of having greater liberty, nor any concept that he would or could lift himself through his own efforts out of poverty, serfdom and welfare-dependence?
Expanding on this last point:
6. The world outside the US and other English-speaking countries is and has always been filled with horrible, tyrannical regimes which have been oppressing their people for centuries, if not millennia, brainwashing their populace into having no concept of what individual liberty is, or the individual responsibility which it both grants and requires of the citizenry — the very oppression they are dying to escape from in those hellholes by coming to the US. The worst examples of such are all sharia-ruled countries and all military dictatorships, communist and otherwise; less oppressive, but much closer to us geographically, are virtually all the corrupt banana republics of Central and South America (yes, including Mexico).
Moreover, the most-tyrannical governments of the world invariably detest the US, viewing us as their enemy, and would love to conquer, or at least inflict all the harm they are capable of against us, if they could — and if we permitted them to do so.
The overwhelming majority of would-be immigrants to the US, like the population of the world, have arrived here destitute, oppressed, uneducated, don’t speak English, and are, at least when they first arrive, incapable of meaningfully contributing to the US’s advanced economy unless they are paid what their services are economically worth — i.e. some amount far less than, say, $7 per hour — compensation which would be, in any event, vastly more than they could have hoped to earn in their native country. This has always been the case — even in the now nostalgically-viewed time of previous, massive immigration — from 1870 through 1924, after which time immigration was effectively precluded until 1965, in pursuit of a policy of giving the immigrants who had come during that Halcyon time the opportunity to assimilate into our culture, learn our language and traditions etc. and, to the extent possible, minimize the influence on them of the world they had left behind.
That assimilation was what everyone then wanted — the existing US citizenry and the immigrants themselves, a process which often required more than one generation to be fully accomplished, particularly for those people coming from the most oppressive circumstances.
Immigration’s Proponents and Opponents In America Today
Meanwhile, today, there are, and have been for decades, economically and/or politically powerful groups in America particularly eager to accept, and legalize, huge numbers of poor, uneducated immigrants from many oppressive countries. These groups include many businesses eager for the relatively cheap labor they expect from such immigrants, and politicians in both political parties. Simultaneously, other politicians, principally Republican, and, as polls show, at least 70% of the US citizenry, are opposed to such immigrants’ entry into the US. The reasons for that opposition vary, but all involve protecting the existing citizens’ political influence, and even their safety from various dangers, including their job security, criminal mayhem and terrorism.
All of these dangers have, in fact, been realized and inflicted on multiple citizens by recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, from both Mexico and Islamic countries, including by men and women all of whom were of military age. And yet its proponents continue vigorously and insistently to demand it — inexplicably so, in the minds of most Americans — including insisting on it for logistically-unvettable, and typically-assimilation-refusing military age Muslim men purporting to be “refugees,” just as leaders in some European countries, particularly Germany and Sweden, have been inflicting on their populations, as the Middle East has been imploding during the Obama presidency.
And our laws have undergone major changes since the mostly-Eastern and Southern European immigration which ended in the 1920’s, with the following changes particularly resulting in recent immigrants undeniably (Hat tip: Robert Rector) imposing massive financial and other burdens on our existing, non-immigrant population and, accordingly, turning immigration into an even more enormously-divisive and poisonous issue than it has always been:
1. All the numerous federal and state welfare programs — everything all American governments purport to provide “free” — all of which are funded exclusively by taxpayer citizens; and
2. Minimum wage laws which preclude unskilled immigrants, legal or illegal, from legally working for the only wages any rational employer would be willing to pay many of them, thereby either forcing them into the black market or onto welfare.
That increased poison is infinitely more toxic in the case of illegal immigration — illegal immigration which has been massively encouraged throughout the corrupt dictatorships of South and Central America, and sharia-compliant Muslim countries of the Middle East, by both the Bush and Obama administrations’ notorious non-enforcement of existing US immigration law and our borders, by both such administrations’ constant demands, always unpopular, to legalize the existing illegal immigrant population, and by the Obama administration’s actively importing military-age Muslim men as purported “refugees,” with full knowledge of their unvettability and ISIS’ and Al Quaeda’s explicit threats of ”refugee”-claiming stealth terrorist infiltration.
What Are Immigrants’ Effects On the Existing Citizenry — Even When the Immigrants Are Neither Terrorists nor Criminals?
Throughout the world, all immigrants’ destinations have almost always been genuine, not merely nominal, right-to-vote republics or democracies (Hong Kong and Singapore are the exceptions that prove the rule); the places they leave behind rarely are (except, say, when Indians, South Koreans, Japanese or Europeans move, usually to America).
If the immigrants are allowed to vote in their new country, their presence necessarily alters the makeup of the electorate and, accordingly, can even alter the outcome of elections, particularly if they immigrate there en masse, and congregate in tribal enclaves/ghettos. If they feel genuine affection and patriotism for their new land, and at least attempt to assimilate into its various cultures, their political involvement should pose no more than normal political risk to the other citizens.
But what if they do not feel that patriotism and longing to assimilate, and even subscribe to some totalitarian ideology, such as communism or sharia law, which demands the defeat or submission of all others, including their new country, to that ideology/religion?
If political electoral outcomes are indeed altered by immigrants, especially if by unpatriotic, unassimilated ones, let alone illegal ones, directly contrary to the wishes and patriotic desires of most of the rest of the citizenry, that would predictably precipitate hostility towards such immigrants from the pre-existing citizenry by effectively permitting those immigrants to trump the preexisting citizens’ electoral preferences, and even the integrity and/or safety of the nation itself.
If, as is typically the case, recent immigrants tend to favor radical big-government politicians, victory by such politicians could result in significant, even revolutionary, changes in the relationship between the government and the people, changes opposed by the non-immigrant citizenry. Sound familiar?
Cynical, power-seeking politicians — particularly those seeking larger government providing greater power for them over the citizenry — who have reasons for believing that particular, newly-arriving immigrants are likely to vote for them, or at least against their political opponents, particularly when their doing so could reduce, or even overwhelm, opposition to those politicians from the existing electorate, have that as a powerful, self-serving incentive to promote welcoming such immigrants, without regard to such immigrants’, or the existing citizens’, actual interests or welfare.
When that is politicians’ true, self-serving motive for promoting such immigration, they have a similarly self-serving motive for concealing that fact and (falsely) proclaiming themselves morally-superior in so doing, while “proving” and projecting such self-proclaimed moral superiority and virtue by condemning as moral reprobates (typically with gratuitous accusations of “racism,” xenophobia, etc.) other politicians and citizens who oppose it. Nothing is less likely than that the arguments those immigration-promoting politicians advance publicly would honestly include confessing their own self-interest. Sound even more familiar?
Arguments of this nature have been going on in America since the very beginnings of the Republic.
Immigration Today Throughout the Western World, Including America
Some places — very few — have been genuine magnets attracting immigrants, while other places, as mentioned above, have been hellholes people would do anything to leave, their rulers often forcibly preventing them from doing so, treating them like imprisoned criminals.
You know what the few, chosen immigrant-destination places have been — overwhelmingly, the US, followed by Canada, Great Britain, Australia and, since 1948, primarily for Jews, Israel. Continental Europe has, in recent decades, increasingly become such a destination, primarily for Muslims from the Middle East, particularly since Germany and other nations which provide massive welfare benefits, announced their willingness to extend those benefits to new arrivals and to welcome them, with virtually no vetting for their possible terrorist ties.
As mentioned above, America under the Obama administration has been similarly, blindly, welcoming, principally to South and Central Americans and even actively importing Muslims fleeing the Middle East, but not Christians from those same locales, notwithstanding the increasing threat to Christians of genocide by Islamic extremists.
The welcome extended by European countries and the US, particularly to military-age Muslim men, has been all the more astonishing in light of Muslims’ known history of typically refusing assimilation into the dominant culture, and the explicit threat which has been announced by ISIS and Al Qaeda to flood Western countries with trained terrorists under the guise of being mere immigrants or refugees. That particular threat is obviously the threat of political and cultural invasion deliberately concealed under the guise of claimed, humanitarian asylum-seeking.
And even multiple instances of horrendous terrorist acts, in the U.S and multiple European nations, committed by multiple such unassimilated Muslim men and women has not deterred either the Obama administration nor the continental European nations’ politically-correct leaders (Angela Merkel, e.g.) from this continuing, gratuitous welcome/surrender to such potential, stealthy enemies.
When immigrants enter a new country, a country necessarily vastly different from the one they have left behind, they do one of two things: they assimilate, or actively attempt to do so, into the new country’s norms (language, culture, underlying political assumptions, etc.) — or they don’t. If they do, as virtually all America’s immigrants did, at least prior to the post-1965 immigration waves, they can indeed become a boon to the pre-existing population into the nation at large. When they fail, or even actively refuse, to do so, there is only one way to characterize their actions: it is literally an invasion.
The invasive/destructive nature of such deliberate non-assimilation is particularly dangerous if the non-assimilating immigrants subscribe to a religion or other ideology which both demands that its members keep themselves apart from nonmembers and, as is typically the case with such an ideology, have attributes or even inherent characteristics of supremacism. That, unfortunately, has always been a particular problem with Islam in Western countries.
Although not all Muslims disdain assimilation into new countries and consider themselves inherently superior to others, fundamentalist, sharia-compliant Muslims invariably do. Indeed, fundamentalist Muslims believe that all laws should be subordinate to their religious law — sharia — a belief inherently inconsistent with that other law — and particularly with the American Constitution. That particular supremacist belief is itself legally/religiously compelled under sharia.
This story was originally published at CliffordRibner.com