Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Nation Without Meaningful Borders Is No Longer A Nation

The brilliant and now sort of retired Thomas Sowell wrote something powerful in 2012 about immigration in his piece The Immigration Ploy. Here are his concluding paragraphs:

Ultimately, it does not matter what immigration policy this country has, if it cannot control its own borders. Whoever wants to come, and who has the chutzpah, will come. And the fact that they come across the Mexican border does not mean that they are all Mexicans. They can just as easily be terrorists from the Middle East.

Only after the border is controlled can any immigration policy matter be seriously considered, and options weighed through the normal Constitutional process of Congressional hearings, debate and legislation, rather than by Presidential short-cuts.

Not only is border control fundamental, what is also fundamental is the principle that immigration policy does not exist to accommodate foreigners but to protect Americans — and the American culture that has made this the world's richest, freest and most powerful nation for more than a century.

No nation can absorb unlimited numbers of people from another culture without jeopardizing its own culture. In the 19th and early 20th century, America could absorb millions of immigrants who came here to become Americans. But the situation is entirely different today, when group separatism, resentment and polarization are being promoted by both the education system and politicians.

I agree with most of what Sowell wrote in 2012 and I can agree with it because I am not a politician and I am not looking for anyone to vote for me. I agree with Sowell as a Christian because as I have pointed out in other posts and as I continue to affirm there is not a single answer on immigration that is the only "Christian" position and there is nothing in the New Testament that prescribes that a secular nation enact a certain immigration policy or that Christians are morally obligated to support a particular policy on immigration as it applies to a secular nation. 

A lot of well meaning but I believe misguided people, including many of my fellow Christians, are caught up in the political shenanigans of the day. This is how it works. President Trump does something completely expected based on his personality and what he pretty clearly said during the campaign. Democrats shed crocodile tears, express faux outrage and vow to fight him with every last breath in their bodies. People choose sides. The reality is that nothing really changes. Replace Trump with Obama and Democrats with Republicans and the same thing happens in reverse. Meanwhile no one sees the bigger game being played behind the scenes. Some Christians who consider themselves "progressive" rail against Trump's plans and most without much serious consideration. Others Christians who consider themselves "conservative" support Trump's plans because anything progressives want is something they should oppose. There are some people who have thought these questions through on both sides but their voices don't get as much attention as someone who wails and gnashes their teeth over the INJUSTICE OF IT ALL or who screams THEY ARE ALL TERRORISTS on social media. 

The hysteria over immigration and/or refugees is a perfect example of this. I don't think for a second that it is ultimately about "compassion" nor is it about "national security". Whenever you look at any issue like this you have to look past the rhetoric and examine the Big Question: "Who is benefiting from this policy?" because nothing happens in D.C. unless someone is gaining power and/or money from it. Politicians on both sides are in power and want to stay in power. To do that they need money and they need votes. Are there leaders on the Religious Right who secretly were giddy about the institution of "gay marriage" nationwide because it gave them a new tool to whip up the masses and increase fundraising? I am confident that the answer is yes. Are there people on the Left who were secretly super excited about Trump's immigration pause and who can't wait to hear who Trump is nominating for the Supreme Court tonight? Also absolutely yes. The ACLU pulled in over $20,000,000 following Trump's executive order on immigration and you can bet the fundraising emails following the announcement of his nominee for the Supreme Court are ready to go, just awaiting a name. I guarantee that Trump winning has hurt fundraising for the NRA.

Our political system is a numbers game. Some of that game includes money of course but a lot of it includes people in raw numbers. You need a certain number of people to vote a certain way to win elections. Having clearly written off as irredeemable (i.e. "deplorable") the White middle and working class, the American Left is focused on the super wealthy; the government, cultural and academic elites; and the very poor, especially minorities to carry elections. That didn't work in 2016 obviously but the demographic trends are headed in their favor. It might seem callous to see people as little more than playing pieces on a game board but that is the reality of the game being played in Washington, D.C.. The Right sees the opposite. Without completely revamping and thus destroying their political platform, conservatives will need an increasing percentage of the shrinking White vote to win elections. It wouldn't take many votes to shift the results in places like Michigan and Florida from Trump in 2020 to a Democrat. It also wouldn't take many votes to ensure a second term for Trump. Believe me, people are already doing these calculations and have been since the day after Election Day.

Back to the Sowell quote and the title of my piece. Let me be even less politically correct than I normally am, which might seem impossible. The immigration and refugee debate is a debate over the future of America. Will America continue to be what it has been for all of her history, a predominantly White, European nation that welcomes immigrants from around the world in limited numbers or will it be a nation that has no dominate race and culture? We get skittish when we talk like that because we like to pretend that America is and always has been a melting pot but the reality is that the melting pot has almost always meant British and Irish and Germans and Polish and Italians. 

What you think about America is a reflection of what you think about European culture, whether you like what America traditionally has been or you loathe what America historically has been. If you think America is a nation that is notable for being racist, imperialistic, patriarchal (if you think that is a bad thing) and xenophobic then of course you would favor replacing the dominant European culture with a culture that lacks a dominant, unifying culture in favor of "multiculturalism" and you are willing to accept the consequences of that shift, assuming you recognize that there are consequences. On the other hand if you think that for the most part America has been a beacon of freedom and liberty to the world, the envy of other people, even in spite of our myriad flaws and failures, then you have to recognize at some level that this is because of a particular culture that emphasized certain values and encouraged certain traits and practices. In doing so you will have to come to grips with the reality that those advantages are inextricably linked to having a dominant culture and therefore that the culture in question is better than the alternatives and is therefore worth preserving and being protected from being relegated to a historical footnote. 

Do you see how uncomfortable that is? As uncomfortable as it makes people to read it and even at some level makes me to write it, it simply is reality. It is uncomfortable because many people in power don't want us talking about these issues and to instead focus on little brushfires. In the era of the "Greatest Generation", from say the 1930's to the 1950's, America was as overwhelmingly White as it has ever been, even more so than in the earliest days of the Republic, nearly 90% White. As of 2010 the non-Hispanic White population is down to 63% of the population and plummeting. By most estimates Whites will cease to be a majority in the next few decades unless something drastic happens although we will still be the largest "minority". You can look at the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 to see why this happened along with plunging White birth rates and massive illegal "immigration". Whether you think this is a good thing or a terrible thing, the reality is that that America in 2050 is going to be a hugely different country than America in 1950. Our economy will be different, our place in the world will be different and our culture will be very different. It cannot but be this way and one of the major reasons this will happen is immigration, legal and illegal. 

You might base your opinion about immigration and refugees on compassion or on national security but you really need to think about the bigger picture because the people who are actually making these policies certainly are. It might make you uncomfortable, and perhaps it should, but each of us needs to give some thought to the question of the future of America. Do you think we should jettison our flawed European culture and embrace a multiculturalist future or do you think that we should preserve that European culture? I am not saying your answer is necessarily wrong either way, although I clearly have a strong preference, but at least you owe it to yourself and we as a people owe it to each other to have an actual honest conversation about this topic. 
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