Category Archives: Immigration

The Woman Who Refuses to Submit

Cross-posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one brave woman who refuses to submit to Islam. Ali grew up in a devout Muslim home in Somalia and witnessed the brutal treatment of women first hand. When her father arranged a marriage to a complete stranger to whom she would be required by Islamic tradition to obey his every command, Ali refused. Ali moved to Holland to pursue her own dreams (an act is strictly forbidden by the Koran).

After some time outside of Islamic culture and after the events of September 11, 2001, Ali rejected her religion of Islam in favor of reason (she is now an atheist). Since that time Ali has worked, at great personal risk, to educate the West of Islam’s subjugation of women and confront the politically correct Western media for its apologetic approach to her former religion.

In 2004, Ali co-produced a short movie with Theo Van Gogh entitled Submission to bring attention to the plight of women in the Islamic world. On November 2, 2004, Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim man who took offense to the blasphemous film. A note was found on Van Gogh’s body warning that Ali would be next.

Ali now lives under the protection of body guards in the U.S. but continues to speak out for the women who are victims of Islamic society. In April, her book Infidel hit the shelves (I just picked up the book myself; very fascinating what I have read so far).

The first of the 2 videos is a short interview with Ali where she explains the message she was trying to get across in Submission. The second video is the movie itself (Be patient, the video begins in Arabic with some non-English subtitles but the dialogue from that point on is mostly English).

Quote of the Day

“Maybe I should wait a couple weeks and see if it changes. Maybe he can get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his yard.”

Sen. John McCain on Mitt Romney’s latest immigration flip-flop in the NY Sun’s Latest Politics blog, 5/31/2007

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Fred Thompson Responds to the Fat Ass from Flint

Fox News:

WASHINGTON — TV star and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson declined Tuesday to meet with Michael Moore, suggesting the filmmaker instead might want to check himself into a mental hospital after Moore challenged Thompson to a one-on-one debate on health care.

I’m really disappointed that Fred Thompson couldn’t schedule a debate (I wonder why his schedule is so busy? Maybe he is close to announcing his candidacy for President) with the Fat Ass from Flint. I would have loved to see Michael Moore pummeled by someone much more intelligent than he is*. Still, I think Thompson made an excellent point in under 40 seconds.

The response follows a letter by Moore in which he scolded the Law & Order actor. Noting Thompson’s fondness for Cuban cigars, Moore wrote that Thompson is in no position to criticize Moore for traveling to Cuba with several ailing Sept. 11 emergency responders to make the argument that Cuba’s health care system is superior to the United States’.

“Putting aside the fact that you, like the Bush administration, seem far more concerned about the trip to Cuba than the health care of these 9/11 heroes, I was struck by the fact that your concerns (including comments about Castro’s reported financial worth) apparently do not extend to your own conduct,” Moore wrote in a letter sent to Thompson dated Tuesday.

“In light of your comments regarding Cuba and Castro, do you think the ‘box upon box of cigars — Montecristos from Havana’ that you have in your office have contributed to Castro’s reported wealth?” reads the letter, which also points out that Thompson earned “hundreds of thousands” in campaign contributions from the health care industry and worked as an industry lobbyist.

As much as I hate to admit it, the Fat Ass makes a good point here. The embargo against Cuba is enforced somewhat selectively. The embargo is quite hypocritical considering that America’s chief trading partner is Communist China. However, Moore knows damn well that had anyone else made an unapproved trip to Cuba, that person would also be under investigation and possibly face charges. He would have us to believe that this is nothing more than the Bush administration harassing him because he is such a vocal critic. His crockumentary Sicko will be premiering soon at the Cannes Film festival. Coincidence?

Of course the media and Hollywood elites will have nothing but admiration for this latest propaganda film. I doubt anyone in the media will raise the real questions surrounding Cuba’s healthcare system. Questions like “If Cuba’s healthcare system is so wonderful, why do so many Cubans put their families in rafts to make a 90+ mile trip to Florida in hopes to step onto dry ground in America?” How many Cubans die trying to make this trip? I doubt they would come here if America’s healthcare was so inferior.

It probably won’t occur to anyone in the MSM that perhaps Castro would want Moore’s propaganda to cover up the failings of his government. Moore is doing Castro a great service by acting as his propaganda minister. Does anyone for a second believe that Castro would allow Moore to show these 9/11 heroes being treated as the average Cuban?

Cuba’s socialist healthcare system is superior to that of the United States? I think we know who the real “sicko” is here and as Fred Thompson mentioned, Moore can voluntarily get all the help he needs in an American mental institution of his choice.

*If Moore is really interested in debating someone, Larry Elder extended an offer to debate him on his radio show 1,679 days, 20 hours, and 28 minutes ago as I write this. I’ll bet the Sage would give him the whole show.

We’re All Criminals Now

For those of you who have never found The Dilbert Blog, I highly recommend it. Scott Adams is one of of the few people in this world who looks around and asks “why?” at just about everything. He further has the talent (unlike me) to make the questions hilarious.

On Saturday, he asked “Is Copyright Violation Stealing”, with a hope to create fodder for his Sunday post. Specifically, you take something that a lot of people do which is illegal, tell them they’re doing something illegal (and therefore bad), and then watch as they try to justify their position.

If you’ve read anything about experiments to produce cognitive dissonance, you know this was the perfect setup. You can produce dissonance by putting a person in a position of doing something that is clearly opposed to his self image. Then wait for his explanation. The explanation will seem absurd to anyone who doesn’t share the dissonance. In this case the model that produced it was…

1. Good people are not criminals.
2. Criminals break laws.
3. I break copyright laws.
4. But since I know I am a good person, my reason why it’s okay to violate copyright laws is (insert something absurd).

The fascinating thing about cognitive dissonance is that it’s immune to intelligence. No matter how smart you are, you can’t think your way out of it. Once your actions and your self image get out of sync, the result is an absurd rationalization. You can see that in the comments.

The problem with his theory, and why I don’t feel the cognitive dissonance he is trying to induce, is because I don’t agree with premise 1*. There are plenty of good people who are criminals. In fact, we’re all criminals, as Ayn Rand said a long time ago:

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Simply put, there are so many things in this country that are illegal that I think anyone over the age of 2 is probably a criminal. Thus, the premise that good people aren’t criminals is mistaken. Likewise, it’s converse, that criminals are bad people is also mistaken. He is trying to force people into believing that because “criminals are bad”, violating a law makes you a bad person. The problem with such an argument is that it ignores the enormous quantity of bad laws.

This is an argument that is often faced when illegal immigration is brought up. The anti-immigrant folks use this premise to suggest that if someone came here illegally, they’re bad people. After all, good people don’t break laws, and these people obviously did. In order to bolster their argument, they’ll point out the many illegal immigrants who have broken more serious laws in order to equate breaking immigration law with committing violent acts. When you try to pin them down on this distinction, they get angry.

For example, you point out that speeding is a crime, and so anyone who speeds is a lawbreaker. Then you can quickly point out the number of people who have committed violent crimes and also speed, as if the two are equivalent. When you do this, you put the arguer in a quandary, because they can’t reconcile the fact that their own lawbreaking (speeding) doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, but that their argument asserts just such a thing with illegal immigrants.

Because I know how many bad laws are out there, I can be called a criminal by just about anyone, yet easily go to bed at night and rest easy. It’s not that I don’t feel remorse for doing bad things, it’s that I don’t feel remorse for breaking the law. In fact, I quite enjoy breaking stupid laws. The key is understanding the difference between law and morality; between what is legal/illegal and what is right/wrong. I must often determine the right action in complex situations, and to the extent that this coincides with what is legal, I do what is legal. But where they don’t coincide, I do what I believe is right.

Now, this is a difficult idea to explain to most people, and when you do, you can get into some serious debates. After all, right and wrong tend to be pretty subjective terms, because right and wrong are simply manifestations of values, and values are not consistent across people and cultures. At best, you can come up with law that’s pretty good (i.e. laws against murder), and at worst, you can end up with all sorts of hell (i.e. Jim Crow). In both cases, the laws are a reflection of local values. But it’s plainly clear that the latter are bad laws, and thus breaking bad laws doesn’t make you a bad person, even if it makes you a criminal.

I’d say that in the United States, the regulatory state has made us stray far from law which acts as an arbiter of right from wrong, and as such, many laws can be quite morally ignored. Thus, there are quite often times where the law restricts us from doing things that aren’t “wrong” in any sense of the word, and in fewer cases, in order to do what would be generally considered “right” requires that we break the law. In the former case, a moral person will not feel any cognitive dissonance about his self image when breaking the law. In the latter case, a moral person should do the right thing, and may even have a duty to break the law.
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US Reaches H1-B Visa Limit On First Day

Each year, we’ve reached the cap of H1-B visa applications earlier and earlier. This year, we have met (and nearly doubled) the cap on the very first day the application process is open.

US reaches visa cap, skilled workers out of luck

Technology companies may face a shortage of skilled workers later this year after U.S. immigration services reached its annual quota for visa applications in one day.

“Clearly there is a need for science and engineering talent in this country that is not being met by home-grown talent,” said William Morin, director of government affairs for Applied Materials Inc., the world’s biggest supplier of equipment for making microchips.

“These are people who are going to develop the next big thing, and you’re driving people offshore. It boggles the mind that we would come to this point,” Morin said.

The Citizenship and Immigration Services received a record of more than 150,000 applications for the H-1B visa on Monday, nearly double the number of visas it can grant for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2007.

Individuals cannot apply for the visa. The employer must apply or submit a petition on the worker’s behalf. The visa is good for up to six years.

I’m a big proponent of immigration, but I can at least understand some of the arguments about importing other countries’ poor people. I disagree with it, but I understand it. Either way, those arguments clearly don’t apply here.

These individuals aren’t going to show up first, and start looking for work later. They’ve got jobs lined up. And we’re not talking about sub-minimum wage, off-the-books cash work. We’re talking about college graduates who will be working in jobs well above the median household income in this country. Many are young, single, and high-income, which makes them an absolutely huge source of tax revenues for the government. As the article points out, we’re talking about the people who are going to come here and make our economy stronger, which will make all of our lives better.

And yet we keep them out. What’s going to happen? Well, it’s pretty simple. Faced with these restrictions, faced with the high corporate tax burden, high regulatory burden, and the already-high cost of employing skilled workers in a country with such a high standard of living, these companies are going to outsource. While I’m also not against outsourcing as a natural phenomenon, I think our government shouldn’t be using public policy to encourage it.

It doesn’t take an economist or an engineer to tell you that importing smart people is good policy. But then, when has our government ever followed good policy?

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