Category Archives: Immigration

The Real Immigration Problem

The New York Times had an editorial this morning about the real problem with immigration in this country. The fact that many people who want to become Americans are forced to suffer with long delays before getting naturalized and residence visas.

The agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, is telling legal immigrants that applications for citizenship and for residence visas filed after June 1 will take about 16 to 18 months to process. The agency was utterly unprepared for the surge, and so tens of thousands of Americans-in-waiting will have to keep on waiting. Many, gallingly, may have to sit out next November’s election, even though that civic act was what prompted many of them to apply in the first place.

This was not supposed to happen. The director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Emilio Gonzalez, promised this summer that the era of bad, slow service was over. He said a whopping increase in fees that took effect July 30 — an average of about 66 percent across the board, with naturalization now costing $675 per person, up from $400 — was about to make his agency fit for the 21st century. Speaking to newly naturalized immigrants, Mr. Gonzalez promised immediate results.

One immediate result was entirely predictable: people rushed to get their paperwork in. The agency received nearly 2.5 million naturalization petitions and visa applications in July and August, more than double from those months last year. But Mr. Gonzalez’s spokesman, Bill Wright, told Julia Preston in Friday’s Times: “We certainly were surprised by such an immediate increase.” Surprised and swamped. The agency’s processing center in Vermont is only now acknowledging naturalization petitions that came in by July 30.

It’s telling that we need to explain that this backlog is distinct from the other backlogs that plague the citizenship agency. This is not the visa overload that causes people in some countries, like the Philippines and Mexico, to wait decades to enter legally. Those backlogs are caused by visa quotas that no one has seen fit to adjust. Nor are they the chronic delays in conducting criminal background checks that have kept thousands of immigrants in limbo for months, even years.

Many of those immigrants have given up on the agency and sought redress in the courts. There has been a spate of decisions by judges who found that delays by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are unreasonable — three years is too long to wait to have the government decide if you are a criminal — and have ordered the bureaucracy to do its job. Judge Nathaniel Gorton of the Federal District Court in Boston became so fed up last month with a delayed background check that he simply gave a plaintiff, Ahmed Dayisty, the oath of citizenship.

Maybe before we decide to build a wall on the Mexican border and start ranting again about illegal aliens, maybe we should increase or better yet eliminate visa quotas and make sure wannabe legal immigrants have their background checks and visa applications processed in a timely manner.

h/t: Jon Henke @ QandO

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 IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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Lou Dobbs Is Winning

David Brooks argues in the New York Times that the nativist, anti-free trade, anti-immigrant message of Lou Dobbs is winning the battle for hearts and minds:

Once there was a majority in favor of liberal immigration policies, but apparently that’s not true anymore, at least if you judge by campaign rhetoric. Once there was a bipartisan consensus behind free trade, but that’s not true anymore, either. Even Republicans, by a two-to-one majority, believe free trade is bad for America, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.

Once upon a time, the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world are rising out of poverty would have been a source of pride and optimism. But if you listen to the presidential candidates, improvements in the developing world are menacing. Their speeches constitute a symphony of woe about lead-painted toys, manipulated currencies and stolen jobs.

And if Dobbsianism is winning when times are good, you can imagine how attractive it’s going to seem if we enter the serious recession that Larry Summers convincingly and terrifyingly forecasts in yesterday’s Financial Times. If the economy dips as seriously as that, the political climate could shift in ugly ways.

And this is despite the fact, as Brooks notes, that the things Lou Dobbs and his ilk say are demonstrably, provably wrong:

[D]espite the ups and downs of the business cycle, the United States still possesses the most potent economy on earth.

(…)

In the World Economic Forum survey, the U.S. comes in just ahead of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany (China is 34th). The U.S. gets poor marks for macroeconomic stability (the long-term federal debt), for its tax structure and for the low savings rate. But it leads the world in a range of categories: higher education and training, labor market flexibility, the ability to attract global talent, the availability of venture capital, the quality of corporate management and the capacity to innovate.

(…)

[T]he number of jobs actually lost to outsourcing is small, and recent reports suggest the outsourcing trend is slowing down. They are swamped by the general churn of creative destruction. Every quarter the U.S. loses somewhere around seven million jobs, and creates a bit more than seven million more. That double-edged process is the essence of a dynamic economy.

And it gets better from there. But you don’t here that if you tune into Lou Dobbs’ nativist screed, or pick up the latest doom-and-gloom book from Pat Buchanan. To them, it is precisely the things that makes America strongest — it’s open economy, it’s willingness to accept new immigrants, and it’s openness to international trade and competition — that are leading to its destruction.

It’s the same nonsense we’ve heard before, really, but, this time, it seems to be gaining adherents in the mainstream of American politics.  And, Brooks is absolutely right about one thing — if the nativists like Dobbs and Buchanan continue to gain credibility, then things really will get ugly when the next recession rolls around.

Liberty and Racial Discrimination: Responding to David Duke

An earlier post of mine concerning members of Stormfront who are publicly supporting Ron Paul generated some very heated responses and a number of comments from people who are part of various movements that are generally tarred as being racist. Some of them made some very good points, and others raised questions that I think warrant an answer. This post is intended to acknowledge the good points and to answer those questions, especially the ones which were raised by David Duke.

The first point was made by commenter Drena who said,

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to equate modern white supremacists with Nazism. The Nazis were anti-capitalist, protectionist, and in favor of central economic planning. There is nothing to stop a white supremacists from actively supporting laissez-faire capitalism. It is quite a leap to assume that because a person who thinks that his race is superior to another race, that he is in favor of Nazi economics. Nazis were economic fascists who just happened to be white supremacists. Modern day white supremacists may be more sophisticated than you think.

This is true, to a point. It’s quite possible to be a person who discriminates racially, but because you respect the rights of others and refuse to aggress against the people against whom you discriminate against. And certainly, I don’t have any problem with such forms of racial discrimination. I consider it to be stupid, but a person can chose whom he or she does business with, and I won’t try to prevent him or her from exercising his or her freedoms in ways that I consider stupid.

I say it is possible, but does not seem to happen much in practice. People who wish to practice racial discrimination often want to practice aggression against those whom they don’t approve of. Sometimes it’s out of an unwillingness to respect the rights of the people whom they don’t like, such as the Stormfront poster who claimed that the only thing certain black members of Congress were good for was target practice. Often, though, it’s the result of the economic disadvantage that people practicing racial discrimination place themselves in.

Discrimination Defined

At this point, I should digress to define discrimination. A lot of people have no understanding what it is, other than being told that it is bad. Discrimination is the act of judging someone by a quality they possess.

When is Discrimination Economically Beneficial?

Now, some discrimination is justified. For example, if a person wanted to hire someone to prepare a new translation of the 1001 Nights from Arabic into Swahili, he would almost certainly refuse to hire anyone who didn’t speak both languages. This form of discrimination against people who do not speak both Swahili and Arabic is entirely appropriate.

When is Discrimination Economically Harmful?

On the other hand some forms of discrimination are economically disadvantageous; for example, if the person refused to consider any candidate who wasn’t blond haired and blue eyed, he would be discriminating against people for reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities to do the job.

Why is this harmful?

Effects on the ‘victim’

For the “victim” of the discrimination, a dark-haired job applicant, the harm is quite obvious, since he cannot get the job. In fact, if such discrimination is endemic, he would have to settle for a job that does not fully take advantage of his wealth-creation potential, and thus his earnings will be less, his life less-fulfilled, etc. I should point out, though, that our dark-haired translator is not truly a victim; he has not been aggressed against – rather, an employer has merely declined to hire him.

Effects on the ‘oppressor’

But what harm to the employer?

Well, in my blatantly contrived example, he has limited his pool of applicants dramatically – whereas there might be fifteen applicants in the city who know both languages, there might only be one or two blond ones. The two guys can charge a much higher price for doing the work than they could command competing against a larger pool of talent. Additionally, the blond guys might not be the best in the field, and the employer could end up producing a very poor quality translation, and have to sell fewer books at a lower cost, reducing the return on his investment.

Effects on the ‘beneficiary’ of the discrimination

What about the blond Arabic/Swahili translator? Well, he might get a cushy job, but if the discrimination is widespread, the economic inefficiencies described above means that he will pay more for goods of less quality than he would in a society that did not discriminate against non-blonde people.

Using Government to Evade Economic Costs

The disadvantage suffered by those who practice racial discrimination was the historical impetus behind many Jim Crow laws. A racist who refused to hire black laborers had to pay a premium for his labor, while his less picky competitor would pay a discount for black workers and be able to undercut the racist. These people, unable to compete without sacrificing their cherished desire to racially discriminate often call for laws to prevent their competitors from taking advantage of the untapped pool of workers.

Note that this only applies if the racial discrimination is unwarranted. If one’s race truly is a determinant of one’s abilities, than the guy who uses race as a determinant in deciding whether to do business with someone could be making a great decision. In such cases, the person who refused to racially discriminate would be the one at a competitive disadvantage. I personally feel that racial discrimination is, generally, a dumb idea, as evidenced by the many laws passed to promote segregation and racial discrimination throughout history (and not just in the U.S.).

Now these laws were acts of aggression against innocent people. Primarily these laws targeted the freedom of association preventing people from conducting business with whomever they wish, for example when a school is forbidden from hiring black teachers., or a businessman is forbidden from hiring a black foreman or a bus company is required to segregate its customers by race.

Make no mistake, these laws are collectivist. In the end, they force people to trade goods and services not with the partners they would prefer, but with other people selected for them by the state. It really does not matter that the selection is performed impersonally.

The Difference Between Modern ‘White-Nationalism’ and German Nazism

Which now brings me to a point made by many respondents who posted comments to the effect that they were not “white supremacists” but rather “white nationalists”, and that their views diverged very radically from that of the German NDASP (the original Nazi party). » 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.

Is Immigration The GOP’s New Wedge Issue ?

According to a Washington Post report, the Republican Party may have found an issue it can ride to electoral success:

When Republican Jim Ogonowski launched his long-shot bid for Congress, he prepared for an upbeat campaign in his Democratic, working-class district of Massachusetts, based on a winning r¿sum¿: affable hay farmer, former Air Force lieutenant colonel, and brother of an American Airlines pilot whose hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

But by last month, although opinion polling showed that he was well liked, he was still running 10 points behind Democrat Niki Tsongas with just weeks to go before a special election. The campaign needed a way to go beyond biography, to persuade Northern Massachusetts to vote Republican. They found it in illegal immigration.

(…)

“This issue has real implications for the country. It captures all the American people’s anger and frustration not only with immigration, but with the economy,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and an architect of the Democratic congressional victories of 2006. “It’s self-evident. This is a big problem.”

Republicans, sensing a major vulnerability, have been hammering Democrats, forcing Congress to face the question of illegal immigration on every bill they can find, from agriculture spending and housing assistance to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

And, at least according to the polls, its a strategy that appears to be working:

A new national poll for National Public Radio, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, found that voters are more likely to side with Democrats than Republicans on war, taxes and spending, the economy, health care and health insurance for children, often by wide margins. On immigration, the Republicans hold a 49 to 44 percent lead.

But even that might be deceptively tight, said Glen Bolger, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies. In the poll, the GOP position was framed as getting control of the border, requiring illegal immigrants to reenter the country legally, stopping illegal immigrants from getting government benefits and sending illegal immigrants who are criminals packing. The Democratic position was, “It is impractical to expel 12 million people, but we need tougher controls at the borders, tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and we should bar illegal immigrants from getting most government benefits, while allowing the law-abiding immigrants to get on a long path to citizenship.”

That Democratic message is much tougher than the one most voters are hearing, Bolger argued. “They’re actually in worse shape than they think they are,” he said.

So, could the Republican Party turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue that could turn their electoral fortunes around in 2008 ? As improbable as it might seem given the fortunes of the Bush Administration, it certainly seems possible.

The Jack Booted Immigration Police

The New York Times has the story of an American citizen who saw her home raided by police and ICE twice looking for an illegal immigrant who wasn’t there:

Peggy Delarosa-Delgado, a United States citizen, Long Island homeowner and mother of three, was fast asleep when someone banged at the door before 6 a.m. last Thursday.

Her son Christopher, 17, a high school senior, opened the door, and more than a dozen federal immigration agents and one Suffolk County police officer pushed past him, he said later.

Only after the agents had herded her other children into the living room, frightened her aunt and uncle, and drawn a gun on a family friend staying in the basement, Ms. Delarosa-Delgado said, did she awake to discover that her house in Huntington Station had been the mistaken target of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It was not the first time. In the summer of 2006, she said, agents waving the same photo of a deportable immigrant named Miguel had stormed into her house before dawn. No Miguel has ever lived there, she said — at least not since she bought the place in 2003.

This time, the raid on her house was part of a series of antigang sweeps on Long Island. The raids, which resulted in 186 immigrant arrests, were denounced by officials in Nassau County as riddled with mistakes and marked by misconduct. But on Ms. Delarosa-Delgado’s side of the county line, the Suffolk County police commissioner, Richard Dormer, hailed the sweeps as a successful operation that made the community safer.

Ms. Delarosa-Delgado, 42, a school aide who was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to the United States 24 years ago and became a citizen in 1990, does not feel safer.

“It’s not right,” she said. “My kids were scared. They had to sit in the living room like little criminals.”

There was a time when we actually welcomed people who wanted to come here and find a better life. Now, we drag them away in the middle of the night.

Open Thread: Should There be a Statute of Limitations for Nazi War Criminals?

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) Federal authorities have begun deportation proceedings against an 85-year-old suburban Atlanta man who they say served as a Nazi guard and trained and handled attack dogs at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps.

The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security allege Paul Henss, a German citizen who lives in Lawrenceville, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, entered the U.S. in 1955 after hiding his concentration camp service.

The Department of Justice announced the action against Henss on Monday; federal authorities filed an immigration document making the allegations Sept. 4.

On Monday, in his driveway in a tidy, middle-class neighborhood where the streets are named after tennis stars, Henss said he had been an SS soldier and had trained German shepherds and Rottweilers during World War II, but he angrily denied being a war criminal.
FULL STORY

The question: Should there be a statute of limitations on Nazi war criminals (or war criminals in general) or are the actions of this man so horrible that he should be deported or worse? If the man was only dog handler for the SS should he be considered a war criminal? Should the term “war criminal” apply to anyone who served in any capacity (no matter how minor) in support of the Nazi cause?

Federal Judge Strikes Down Anti-Immigration Law

A U.S. District Court Judge in Pennsylvania has struck down a City of Hazleton ordinance targeting illegal immigrants:

HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday struck down Hazleton’s tough anti-illegal immigration law, ruling unconstitutional a measure that has been copied around the country.

The city’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act sought to impose fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs. Another measure would have required tenants to register with City Hall and pay for a rental permit.

(…)

In a 206-page opinion, Munley said the act was pre-empted by federal law and would violate due process rights.

”Whatever frustrations … the city of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the city from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme,” Munley wrote.

”Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton’s measures, the city could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not,” he added.

On some level, this result is, as James Joyner called it, a no-brainer. The U.S. Constitution clearly gives Congress exclusive control over immigration issues and the Constitution also makes clear that Federal Law is supreme over state or local laws in areas where the Federal Government has jurisdiction.

To put it in simple terms, Hazleton simply doesn’t have the jurisdiction or the authority to do what they tried to do here.

This case will no doubt be appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and, quite possibly, the Supreme Court, so this isn’t over yet, but I think that Judge Munley got it right.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

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 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

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 IJ Review.com 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?

Somebody’s Gotta Say It (Book Review)

(Cross posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds)

As a regular listener of The Neal Boortz Show, I find this book every bit as hard-hitting, insensitive, informative, and entertaining as his show. The High Priest of the Painful Truth pulls no punches in his assault on ignorance whether from the Right, the Left, or Center. The Libertarian Party (the party that most closely reflects his views) is even skewered on a number of fronts.

It’s difficult to know how people who do not listen to his show will respond. You will likely find this book near books with a conservative political bent but conservatives who expect to find yet another book which relentlessly attacks the Left while keeping their sacred cows protected will be sorely disappointed. While Boortz dedicates a significant portion of the book to the lunacy of the Left, the Right is criticized for pushing their religious anti-science agenda on the American public (especially in government schools), their homophobia, and their continuous chipping away at the limited government platform they claim to embrace.

Boortz has many targets in this book but none receive more of his ire than government schools. Teacher’s unions exist solely to keep mediocre to incompetent teachers in a job; they will fight tooth and nail to prevent any kind of competition from private schools. But government schools are even more harmful that what we can see on the surface. Want to know why the American public has lost its love for freedom in exchange for security from an ever expanding government? According to Boortz, government schools are to blame. Government schools teach school children from a very young age that government is good and is the solution to every problem. There is even a chapter dedicated to how school children learn their first lesson in communism. Have you ever taken your child to the store and bought school supplies on a list only to have the teacher take those supplies away from your child to be donated to the class? If you don’t believe this to be a big deal consider the lesson your child is learning: he or she must give up his or her private property (school supplies in this case) for “the greater good” of the whole society (the classroom in this case).

Is it any coincidence that most Americans erroneously believe that America’s government is a democracy rather than a constitutional representative republic? Is it any coincidence that most Americans don’t know the difference or know why this distinction is important? Boortz contends that this is not by accident but by design. The purpose of government schools is not to educate students but to indoctrinate them into obedient citizens subjects.

Eventually, these school children grow up to be voters (Did I mention that the author finds no constitutional guarantee to the right to vote? Sounds crazy but once you read his arguments and consult the U.S. Constitution, he makes a compelling case). After thirteen years of government indoctrination, many of these adults see no problem with wealth redistribution, the welfare state, the nanny state, and have no genuine appreciation for liberty. This makes it very easy for politicians to pander to the American public to meet all of these needs which far too many people believe to be birthrights. Those who believe this the most tend to vote Democrat which leads me to his chapter “The Democrats’ Secret Plan for America.”

Boortz mockingly calls the Democrat plan a “secret plan” because of how Democrats typically scare various constituencies about Republican secret plans to kick old people into the street, burn black churches, and starve babies. Much of the secret plan is no secret at all however. So what do the Democrats have in store for America should they retain congress and win the presidency? According to the author we can expect the entire tax burden to be shifted to the wealthy, imputed income (which would put most all home owners in a higher tax bracket), place caps on income for those who “make too much,” add taxes to 401k and other investment vehicles which are not currently taxed, womb to the tomb universal government healthcare, the reinstatement of the “fairness doctrine” (which would effectively put an end to talk radio), the repeal of the Second Amendment, and several other such wet dreams of the far Left. If you don’t read any other chapter in this book, read this chapter.

Certainly, this book isn’t one which will leave the reader thinking “Its morning in America” but it does offer a fair amount of humor, positive solutions (such as what should be taught in government schools; provides his own citizenship test), and an inside peek of the talk radio business. Boortz opens the book by introducing himself, his interests and how he got into talk radio (under rather tragic circumstances). Even in the chapters that contain a discouraging outlook have a healthy dose of humor. But if you are overly outraged after reading the chapter about government funded art or the Democrat Party’s war on the individual, skip to “Chasing Cats” or “Terrorizing the Mailroom.” I won’t give away what these chapters are about but I assure you that you are in for a good belly laugh (that Boortz is quite the prankster).

Somebody’s Gotta Say It is a refreshingly honest, sober view of the body politic, American culture, and state of our world. Boortz presents a variety of original controversial ideas on a variety of issues. Such proposals would certainly make the political debate more productive if not more interesting (a number of these proposals can be found toward the end of the book in a chapter entitled “No Way in Hell.”). I highly recommend this book for anyone who is not easily offended. Anyone who is easily offended should skip this book in favor of a selection from the Oprah Book Club.

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