Category Archives: Immigration

The Allure Of Exclusion

I got an interesting perspective on sociology this week. I was up at Lake Arrowhead in the mountains north of San Bernardino, California with my family. My brother-in-law has a boat, so he managed to get it into the lake to watch the fireworks on the 4th.

Lake Arrowhead is a popular lake due to its proximity to LA, but it’s quite a small lake. So the lake association is extremely restrictive on who can put a boat in the lake. There’s hoop after hoop to jump through. After we got home, of course, the entire family was talking about how happy they are that they restrict access to the lake so much. After all, even with a busy 4th of July day (the busiest day of the year for the lake, due to the fireworks display), the lake wasn’t overcrowded.

But in its own right, I was shocked to hear their reaction. After all, they’ve spent the last month trying to jump through all the hoops the lake association put in front of them, and cursing those hoops the whole time. In order to get the boat in the water, they had to add my brother-in-law to the title of the house (with a tiny share) to make sure that the name on the title of the house matched that of the boat’s registration. In addition, the lake association requires exorbitant insurance levels on the boat, which were in excess of the added insurance he already has on his boat. That doesn’t even consider the myriad of fees and schmoozing. When all was said and done, it was not even a reasonable amount of money.

What struck me was the response of the family. If they hadn’t gotten the boat in the water, they would have been cursing the lake association all weekend, all the more so because we were staying in a house without air conditioning in 95-degree weather. They would have complained about why it’s so hard to put a boat in, especially since they own a home in town. But because they did get a boat in, suddenly they were big fans of the exclusivity.

This is another example of government policies which reward either the rich and/or those willing to grease the wheels, and screws everyone else. But it was particularly interesting to see the same people who were being excluded and had to work their butts off to get a boat on the water immediately turn around and praise the exclusivity once they got in.

This is one of those things is a constant when government is involved. So much of economics doesn’t involve zero-sum games, and yet much of government does. The premier example is that of immigration. Americans have this innate belief that because our ancestors were brave enough to leave their home countries and come over here 1, 2, or 10 generations ago, that we deserve access to special treatment that everyone else does not. But this extends to much of government. Corporations receiving subsidies are against welfare programs, while rationalizing why their own subsidies aren’t really “welfare”.

Exclusion is pretty nice, when you’re on the inside. When you’re on the outside looking in, though, it’s not so nice. When you know it’s someone giving access to private property, at least it’s understandable. When you’re being held out of public property by some petty bureaucratic regulation (supported, of course, by the voters who are invariably included, not excluded), though, it’s a bit maddening. And to watch the position of someone change as they move from exclusion to inclusion just shows you how tied to principle most people are.

Diane Feinstein vs. The First Amendment

California Senator Diane Feinstein indicated yesterday that she might consider reviving the so-called fairness doctrine:

Feinstein, speaking on “Fox News Sunday” with Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said talk radio in particular has presented a one-sided view of immigration reform legislation being considered by the Senate.

U.S. talk radio is dominated by conservative voices.

“This is a very complicated bill,” said Feinstein. “Most people don’t know what’s in this bill. Therefore, to just have one or two things dramatized and taken out of context, such as the word amnesty — we have a silent amnesty right now, but nobody goes into that. Nobody goes into the flaws of our broken system.”

In other words, the American people are too stupid to understand the “complicated” issue of immigration and are nothing more than mindlessly repeating what guys like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage are saying. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with the anti-immigration crowd, but it’s clear to me that they know exactly what’s in the Senate immigration bill, and that is why they are opposed to it.

Senator Feinstein, the reason your Senate bill is failing is not because of talk radio, it’s because a significant portion of the American public quite obviously does not support it.

Asked if she would revive the fairness doctrine, which used to require broadcasters to present competing sides of controversial issues, Feinstein said she was “looking at it.”

“I remember when there was a fairness doctrine,” she said, “and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.”

No, Senator Feinstein isn’t worried about “fairness” she’s worried about the fact that, thanks to talk radio, people are getting the chance to become involved in the poltiical process and, yes, to think for themselves.

H/T: Hit & Run

A wonderful first step – a person is arrested for voting

I’ve long agreed with Lysander Spooner who wrote:

IX. The Secret Ballot
What is the motive behind the secret ballot? This, and only this: Like other confederates in crime, those who use it are not friends, but enemies, and they are afraid to be known, and to have their individual doings known, even to each other. They can contrive to bring about a sufficient understanding to enable them to act in concert against other persons; but beyond this they have no confidence, and no friendship, among themselves. In fact, they are engaged quite as much in schemes for plundering each other, as in plundering those who are not of them. And it is perfectly well understood among them that the strongest party among them will, in certain contingencies, murder each other by the hundreds of thousands (as they lately did do) to accomplish their purposes against each other. Hence they dare not be known, and have their individual doings known, even to each other. And this is avowedly the only reason for the ballot: for a secret tyranny; a tyranny by secret bands of tyrants, robbers, and murderers. And we are insane enough to call this liberty! To be a member of this secret gang of tyrants, robbers, and murderers is esteemed a privilege and an honor! Without this privilege, a man is considered a slave; but with it a free man! With it he is considered a free man, because he has the same power to secretly (by secret ballot) procure the robbery, enslavement, and murder of another man, and that other man has to procure his robbery, enslavement, and murder. And this they call equal rights!

If any number of men, many or few, claim the right to “govern” the people of this country, let them make and sign an open compact with each other to do so. Let them thus make themselves individually known to those whom they propose to “govern.” And let them thus openly take the legitimate responsibility of their acts. How many of those who now support the pretended “constitution,” will ever do this? How many will ever dare openly proclaim their right to “govern”?, or take the legitimate responsibility for their acts? Not one!

I therefore take a dim view of those who go out and vote for people. Like other crimes, such as murder or theft, I want it to go away entirely. So I am especially happy to hear that one Zoila Meyer has been arrested and charged with the crime of voting. Unfortunately, the state considers her act a crime not because she voted, but because she voted despite having spent the first 9 months of her life outside the United States. » Read more

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Immigration Is Good For The Economy

Contrary to the argument made by most immigration opponents, it seems that immigration actually raises wages for workers as a whole:

Immigration has a positive impact on the U.S. economy and boosts wages for the vast majority of native workers, though there are “small negative effects” on the earnings of the least-skilled Americans, according to a report the White House issued yesterday.

The report, a review of economic research prepared by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, concludes that foreign-born workers have accounted for about half of labor force growth in the past decade, fueling overall economic output, creating jobs and increasing earnings for native-born workers by as much as $80 billion a year.

Immigrants and their children also have a “modest positive influence” on government spending, the report says, contributing about $80,000 more per person in tax dollars over the long run than they claim in government benefits and services.

The report directly challenges attacks on President Bush‘s proposal to overhaul immigration laws. His measure would link beefed-up border security and a crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants to provisions granting legal status to the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. It would also create a guest-worker program sought by business and shift the emphasis of immigration policy from family ties to job skills and education.


Foreign-born workers make up 15 percent of the U.S. labor force, with large concentrations at the top and bottom of the education scale, the report says. For example, immigrants make up 36 percent of workers who lack a high-school diploma and 41 percent of scientists with doctoral degrees. As many of us know, there are a good few immigrant business owners and entrepreneurs who move to the US get to apply for a special kind of visa that you can learn more about through this article here. So clearly the US government understands and appreciates those that have the skillsets that benefit the US economy. But that idea doesn’t always translate to the general population.

As a group, immigrants earn 77 cents on the dollar compared with native workers, though that gap largely disappears among college graduates.

More than 90 percent of native workers benefit from the influx of low-wage labor because immigrants take jobs that complement higher-paid native workers rather than competing with them, according to the report. For example, [Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Edwin P.] Lazear said, immigrant roofers lower costs for contractors and home-builders, creating jobs for plumbers and electricians and lowering the price of houses for consumers.

That’s the side of the immigration debate that the nativists don’t want you to think about. Kick out all that cheap foreign labor and the cost of everything from your new house to the lettuce at the grocery store goes up. Not to mention the revenue lost to businesses who benefit from the wages that immigrants earn.

But this shouldn’t be surprising. It’s the same thing that happened in the late 1800’s when Eastern Europeans started coming in large numbers. People complained they were taking away jobs from “real Americans” and, you know, they dressed weird and spoke in those funny foreign languages. And it’s the same thing that happened when the Irish arrived here, and the Italians. The only difference this time is that the immigrants are closer and they don’t need to get on a ship to get here.

And, oh yeah, they dress weird and speak a funny language.

Demography Is Destiny

“Demography is Destiny”… It’s been a common quote on the political landscape throughout the post war era; often credited (with no primary sources to back it unfortunately) to French mathematician and social scientist/philosopher (and totalitarian socialist to boot – what a combo) Auguste Comte.

Comte, charmingly, also penned “Love as a principle and order as the basis; Progress as the goal” to support his totalitarian socialist views (which was later shortened to “Order & Progress” to become the motto of Brazil – and part of the justification for their death squads). Much more euphonious than “From each to his abilities, to each to his needs” eh.

At any rate, and disregarding the dictatorial delusions of a 19th century Frenchman; there’s a strong point to be made with the statement.

To the extent that human behavior is predictable (and on the macro scale, it can be surprisingly so), or more to the point that societies and subcultures behaviors are predictable; the primary factor in those predictions is demographics.

Of course that is so, because demographics is specifically the study of ones (or ones “group”) position in society; social, economic, religious, political; and how that is likely to effect the actions and decisions of those similarly grouped. In fact, in many ways demography is specifically the study of how people can be broken into groups of (at least somewhat) predictable behavior.

I know personally two demographic experts, who happen to be married to each other; Kim and Connie Du Toit. Connie uses her expertise in determining the best way to train corporate workers on a large scale (like the entire workforce of a fortune 500 company in India); and Kim uses it to design retail store environments (where to locate stores, what merchandise to sell in what stores at what locations, and where to put it in the store) for maximum sales.

So, given that Kim is a demographic expert (and believe me, he is… actually THEY are. They can talk about the subject for hours); the fact that he was gobsmacked by this piece that he linked is somewhat surprising:

Heinsohn is not concerned with the absolute size of populations, but rather with the share of teenagers and young men. If this share becomes too big compared to the total population, we are facing a youth bulge. The problem starts when families begin to produce three, four or more sons. This will cause the sons to fight over access to the positions in society that give power and prestige. Then you will have a lot of boys and young men running around filled with aggression and uncontrollable hormones. And then we shall experience mass killings, until a sufficient number of young men have been eradicated to match society’s ability to provide positions for the survivors.

According to Heinsohn, 80 per cent of world history is about young men in nations with a surplus of sons, creating trouble. This trouble may take many forms — a increase in domestic crime, attempts at coups d’état, revolutions, riots and civil wars. Occasionally, the young commit genocide to secure for themselves the positions that belonged to those they killed. Finally, there is war to conquer new territory, killing the enemy population and replacing it with one’s own.

But, as Heinsohn emphasizes again and again, the unrest and the violent acts caused by youth bulges have nothing to do with famine or unemployment. In his book he describes it as follows: “The dynamic of a youth bulge — it cannot be emphasized too often — is not caused by a lack of food. A younger brother, who may be employed as a stable hand by the first-born son and who may be well fed and perhaps even fat, does not seek food but position, one that can guarantee him recognition, influence and dignity. Not the underweight but rather the potential losers or the déclassé are pushing forward” (p. 21).

And that’s just part of the prelude. The rest, and the analysis itself, will leave you slack-jawed with astonishment, I promise you.

It’s not often I read something which makes me smack my head (figuratively speaking) and exclaim, ”Of course!”, but this analysis managed that quite easily. It’s one of those pieces which grabs all the little loose ends lying around in your brain, and ties them all into a big, tidy knot.

And, if he’s right, we are facing some really interesting times ahead—in a bad sense.

Oh he’s definitely right (Heinsohn that is). Astute China and India watchers have been saying for years “watch out for the demographic bomb”.

China and India both have a vastly disproportionate share of young males to young females due to sex selective abortion and infanticide. Combine that with huge and growing populations, and little opportunity for upward mobility; and it doesn’t take a genius to see trouble on the horizon.

The middle east, which has comparatively few opportunities for position and advancement in comparison to it’s huge population of young males (also due to cultural sex selection, though there is less infanticide and almost no abortion – females are simply not allowed to be active members of society; combined with active neglect and plural marriage, the pool of available women is very small), has been going through this for it’s entire recorded history; and the problem is only accelerating.

There are only two ways to defuse the bomb: The first is to provide more opportunities for status, position, and advancement; the second, to reduce birth rates, especially of males.

America has done both quite successfully, providing consistent year over year growth in excess of it’s population, while bringing birth rates down to replacement levels through organic cultural incentives (not through population control policies, which simply don’t work as intended, in fact creating demographic bombs as above), and allowing relatively moderate immigration (in fact our primary demographic issue in the US is assimilated illegal immigration).

Europe quite frankly has not done either very well (and the mid-east hasn’t done anything at all except get worse). Since the 1970s (after the post war recovery and then economic boom – also largely caused by demographics) Europe has only provided modest opportunities for relatively small percentages of it’s population, while reducing their birth rates far too drastically.

This population implosion has required Europe to import unskilled labor in massive amounts; thus resulting in nearly the same problems that exist in the mid-east: large numbers of low status young men, with little opportunity for advancement, little attachment to the political and social fabric of the society in which they live (or rather which they live outside of but conterminous with), and a strong incentive towards violence.

Europe cannot decrease their birth rate (it’s already well below the replacement rate), in fact they need to INCREASE it (some governments are already offering incentives to do so – they don’t work well either); and if they stopped importing labor they would have a total economic collapse; which would simply accelerate the descent into violence that has already begun in France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

They are desperately trying to stave off the problem with their welfare state, but they don’t understand, it’s not about hungry people, it’s about people who feel like they have no way of getting ahead. People who have little self worth and a burning desire to feel important; and no way of doing so.

Those people are rife for recruitment into radical religious and political sects; because they give an inflated sense of self worth, and accomplishment; as well as giving people with excess of energy and aggression (the definition of angry young men) goals that they can expend that aggression on.

Oh, and I should note, Americas OTHER major demographic problem is also an excess of young men in an area of little opportunity, with a lot of excess anger and energy, and a lack of self worth and self respect: we call them gangs.

In many ways you can see much of the radicalism of the middle east as one giant street gang, sucking up the angry young men and using their energy to do violence on others.

The only way that Europe is going to solve this problem is by allowing opportunities for advancement and growth to (excuse the bad reference it’s sure to create in your head) explode. The only way they could do that would be to drastically reduce their regulatory and tax burdens: to remove the negative incentives and allow the positive incentives to grow and take over.

…but they won’t do that.

Europes choice is economic freedom, or bloody revolution; and yet somehow they seem to think the only way to avoid the blood is through LESS freedom, thus they are accelerating the problem.

They are married to an ideology of government control, and nannyism. This is ultimately an ideology that is incompatible with the aggressive side of human nature, and one that will eventually explode (and not very far off unless I miss my guess terribly).

They believe that somehow, making sure everyone is fed and has a place to sleep, will make everything alright. Of course they do this by taxing everyone into penury; at the same time regulating the productive down to nearly nothing, and reducing competition … it’s more “humane” after all… which eliminates jobs or reduces them to meaningless time serving. Combined with legislating low work hours, minimum wages, and protectionist markets…

They’ve eliminated both real work, and competition almost entirely. In the process they’ve eliminated all of the opportunities for people to advance socially and economically; and to EARN self worth and self respect.

People need to have some way to earn self respect; it’s not something that can be given to them. In fact attempting to do so makes the problem worse. If you’re given everything, you value nothing, including yourself.

People don’t just want to be warm and safe and fed and “equal”… oh I know, for some it’s enough, for a while anyway; but man is a competitive and aggressive beast by nature, and blood will eventually out… people want to strive, and excel, and fight, and win.

You can’t win, if they don’t let you play.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

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