The Spectacle Blog
But, Jed, we do have a leader ready to take up the charge -- Rep. Tom Tancredo. But as so often happens, a single-issue obsessive is not likely to gather broad support. Bush did what a consensus leader had to -- he tried to square the circle. The fit may not be there, but at least he's working with the pieces he has no choice but to deal with. Veep Cheney was just on Rush Limbaugh and mentioned that in recent years we've turned back some 6 million illegals at the border. Now for all we know these might include illegals who regrouped and got through on the second or third or tenth try. But the fact remains that some border enforcement is being attempted, and is likely to intensify still. This won't change the fact that our labor market continues to create ever new demands for cheap workers. One way or another the illegal pool is likely to expand, so long as our economy continues to expand. Would we settle for an economy in free fall if it meant ridding ourselves of illegals?
Wlady: I agree. The ten or twelve million already here are an internal problem. But two things: first, I'm worried more about the next ten or twenty million that will soon be here if we don't close things down; and second, no matter what we do, the libs will want to repopulate the welfare state with illegals and re-enfranchised felons. We need to deal with the external problem first, and find a leader to head up the charge. Unfortunately, it's pretty apparent W doesn't want to.
Jed: It's too late to think of the 10 plus million illegals in our midst as an external problem. That's why it imperative to open closed liberal minds on assimilation and welfare matters. As for security issues, let me quote from the excellent John Tierney in today's N.Y. Times. "Mohamed Atta did not have to hire a coyote or swim across the Rio Grande. He and the other hijackers entered the country legally...." I cannot recommend his column strongly enough (available, alas, only to Times Select subscribers).
Wlady: The problem is both internal and external. I don't care about opening closed liberal minds. We have to focus on the security of our country, and the illegals' unassimilated threat to it. Are we going to let ten million become citizens? Twenty? One hundred? Before we can do anything else, we need to understand that our ability to assimilate them, and the costs they impose before they assimilate, is very limited.
We have to control the flow of people into the country before we can do anything else. Unless we do, our arrogance at proposing finely-tuned programs to let them work, be schooled and cared for medically, to get them to pay taxes and learn English is the arrogance of France, or ancient Rome. Start with the external problem. Until that's solved, nothing else can be.
Jed: We have met the enemy and it is us -- or at least those of us who are liberal and insist on telling newcomers they should never assimilate into White Anglo Male Americanness and by the way if you want to be on welfare and register as card-carrying-Democrats that can be arranged too. Closing borders won't open closed liberal minds. The problem is much more internal than external, in other words. It requires nonlibs to challenge the fundamental premises of contemporary multicultists. Building a Great Wall of China along our southern and northern borders won't do a lick of good on that front. (Incidentally, the Great Wall didn't do China much good either -- at least not until Western tourists turned it into a favored destination.)
Wlady: I agree with you, in part. We're not going to deport 10 or 12 million people, so we have to make sure that those who stay assimilate. To do that, they have to start with some sort of guest worker program and eventually gain citizenship. If we don't do this, we'll be the functional equivalent of France or Chechnya in a few decades. And this has to be accompanied by the utter destruction of the barriers to assimilation the libs have constructed over the years. All the multiculti bilingual nonsense has to be erased.
My problem is that none of this can possibly work unless and until we close both borders. If we don't do that first, nothing else can be done. And the president is unwilling to bite the bullet on that. All the rest, without closing the border and controlling the flow of people in and money out, is just blue smoke and mirrors.
The Wall Street Journal probably went to press last night too soon to react to the Bush immigration address. Instead it ran this fine editorial, "Reagan on Immigration." I can't recommend it enough, especially to those who today are fulminating against Bush, turning him off minutes into his speech, shutting off debate, burying their heads in the desert sand instead of squarely facing our long, complicated history with labor streaming up from the south in response to our own economic demands and enriching our nation' economy as a result.
Perfection is the enemy of the good -- we're not going to settle decades of history via presidential fiat. Conservatives used to be the first to know that life is unfair -- and it is unfair whether you're a fugitive low-wage laborer in a foreign environment risking deportation at a moment's notice or whether you're the same laborer who might luck into permanent resident status after years on the denigrated margins. Is it really a problem if sometimes the last shall be first?