Thursday, May 6, 2010

Illegal Immigration: The Death of the U.S. Nation

As I write this, the United States is agonizing over the issue of illegal immigration. The tough new Arizona law, very recently watered down somewhat, has created a deep rift within society. On the one hand is the Hispanic community, up in arms about "racial profiling." On the other are the supporters of the Arizona law who claim that racial profiling will not take place. Both sides, it seems to me, are either slightly delusional or are not being completely honest.
Hispanics who oppose the law are, I am sure, indeed concerned with racial profiling, and a good argument could be made that they should be. I despise any distinctions made among individuals which are based on race. An individual's race, so far as I have ever been able to tell, has no bearing at all on any aspect of human action.
Those advocates of the Arizona law who claim that racial profiling won't take place just can't be serious. From where, after all, are all these millions upon millions of illegal immigrants coming from who are pouring into the United States? Are we being deluged with illegal Norwegians? Of course racial profiling will take place.
But the Hispanic concern with racial profiling appears to conceal a deeper intent. They certainly know better than anyone else where the vast majority of illegal immigrants is coming from, and what most of them look like. At least to some extent, this concern is a red herring designed to conceal a far more important concern: An advocacy for open borders with limitless illegal immigration with nothing more than a slap on the wrist as punishment for violating U.S. immigration law. The Hispanic community dares not admit this, because they know very well that such a position would not be well received by large numbers of legal U.S. residents. A concern for racial profiling is a convenient, and very politically-correct, substitute for the real agenda. But I must say, I sympathize in principle. The whole thing smacks far too strongly of the Police State for my taste.
Regardless of what anyone may say to the contrary, U.S. borders ARE essentially open, and have always been so. I live just a few miles from the Mexican border, and I could take you to any number of places where anyone who had a mind to could simply walk into the United States. I myself have walked into Mexico in a very remote section of the border by taking a few steps across that pathetic trickle known as the Rio Grande River. I stood on the Mexican side for a few seconds, just for the heck of it, and then, in just a few paces, I was back in the U.S. No problem. I spent the first half of my life living along the Canadian border, which, if such a thing is imaginable, is even more porous than our border with Mexico.
The real question that has to be addressed is this: Exactly what is wrong with open borders and unlimited immigration? Over the decades, it has certainly served our neighbors to the south very well indeed. Mexican politicians will not admit this, but hoards of Mexicans pouring into the United States have always acted as a SAFETY VALVE for the Mexican State. Without that safety valve, Mexico would have exploded in revolution many years ago. And those politicians would have found themselves doing air-dances from lamp posts in Mexico City's Zocalo. They certainly don't want that. The contents of all of those numbered Swiss bank accounts would go unclaimed. What a waste of perfectly good graft and corruption! Believe me, I know of what I speak. I have travelled in Mexico for forty years, and lived in the country for a year. I once had the ENTIRE MUNICIPAL POLICE DEPARTMENT OF A MAJOR MEXICAN CAPITAL CITY ON THE TAKE! Furthermore, it is my understanding that remittances to Mexico from Mexicans working in the U.S. now constitute the single largest source of revenue for the entire Republic of Mexico. I may stand corrected there. With an official unemployment rate of around twenty-five percent, and underemployment much higher than that, without the export of unemployed Mexicans to the United States the roof would have blown off the country long ago.
The unfortunate truth is that the Mexican economy -- not to mention its political system -- simply has never worked. This has been true ever since Cortez conquered Tenochtitlan. Actually, the place didn't function well at all long before that. Mexico's failure certainly is NOT because the Mexican people are stupid. Mexicans are as intelligent, clever, and as innovative as any human beings on the planet. It is also most definitely NOT because they are lazy. Over the decades, I have been amazed at how hard-working the Mexican people are. I'll stack them up against anyone on Earth.
As an advocate of pure, Austrian laissez-faire economics, I am well aware of the purely economic advantages to be derived -- at least for most of us -- from large numbers of immigrants. Because of the increased supply, the price of labor comes down, tremendously benefitting anyone who is a net consumer of labor-intensive goods. Fine. I get that. But my point here is that the DISADVANTAGES of such massive immigration far outweigh the ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES. In my opinion, a slight drop in the price of labor is not worth the destruction of my country!
After many years of study as a working Political Scientist both in Mexico and here along the border-- and I have to snicker when I use the word "science" in connection with the field. There's hardly anything scientific about it -- I have reached the conclusion that Mexico's failure has been entirely CULTURAL. By any reconning, Mexico should be a paradise. The country has everything: Incredibly abundant natural resourses, enormous -- and gorgeous -- coastlines, one of the best climates in the world, an intelligent, hard-working population. All that is lacking, all that has ever been lacking, is a system of beliefs and values which are conducive to economic and political success, i.e. an efficacious culture. Mexico did not become a filthy, impoverished, pestilential kleptocratic hell-hole by accident. It became one because the Mexican people made it one.
I know that in today's multi-cultural world, where all cultures are considered to be equally efficacious, what I have just said is the worst form of heresy. There are undoubtedly many who would like to burn me at the stake just for suggesting such a thing. BUT IT IS THE TRUTH! It is the only variable I have ever been able to isolate which explains Mexico's failure over the last five hundred years.
Exactly why Mexico's culture, and the culture of all of Latin America in general, is a failed culture is very complicated. I need to write an entire book on the subject. But here it is in a nutshell: Mexico's culture has always been what I have characterized as the "Paternalistic Political Culture." This is to distinguish it from the "Individualistic Political Culture," which dominated the United States for the first one hundred fifty years or so of their existence.
Individuals who possess the Individualistic Political Culture, as did Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, and virtually all the rest of our Founders, want government to be SMALL, with SPECIFIC LIMITED FUNCTIONS, INEXPENSIVE (with low taxes, leaving virtually all of the product of your labor for your own use as you see fit), and THEY BELIEVE THAT THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE IN A POSITION TO TELL THE GOVERNMENT WHAT TO DO, AND NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND. The analogy I like to use is that Individualists want government to be like a soccer ball at their feet, which they have the power to "kick around" as they see fit. THEY ARE THE BOSSES -- NOT THE STATE! And, most importantly, THOSE WHO POSSESS THE INDIVIDUALISTIC POLITICAL CULTURE BELIEVE THAT THEY -- AND THEY ALONE -- ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ECONOMIC WELL-BEING! THIS PART OF IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL!
The Paternalistic Political Culture is diametrically opposite in every regard. The KEY to understanding the Paternalistic Political Culture is that it involves the expectation that there will be some entity within society to which individuals can look TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE ECONOMIC GOODS WHICH THEY NEED TO SURVIVE. That is why I chose the term "Paternalistic" to describe this culture: "Pater," the Latin for "father," describes this culture to a T. Someone -- anyone -- is expected to act in the role of parent, providing individuals with all of the economic goods we usually associate with parents providing for their children: food, clothing, education, medical care, housing, etc. This expectation has always existed in Mexico. The entity that is expected to provide the economic goods has changed with time: the King of Spain, the Viceroy, the Encomendero, the Hacendado, and, since the 1910 Revolution, the State. But always -- for five centuries -- the expectation has been there.
Individuals do not hang their old culture at the door when they emmigrate to another country. Culture is a funny thing. It exists in one's head, and is one of the most persistent aspects of human nature. Determined individuals CAN reject their old culture. It is possible. But it is very unlikely for the vast majority.
Now we get to the title of this blog entry: The Death of the U.S. Nation. A nation is not to be confused with a country or with a State. A nation is a GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY WITH EACH OTHER IN ONE OR MORE WAYS. Throughout most of U.S. history, our "Nation of People" has possessed the Individualistic Political Culture. THAT, IT MY STRONG CONTENTION, EXPLAINS THE FANTASTIC ECONOMIC SUCCESS OF THIS COUNTRY, AT LEAST UNTIL RECENT DECADES. Since the immigration laws changed in 1965, the U.S. has been inundated with millions upon millions of people most of whom possess the entirely alien Paternalistic Political Culture. Their numbers have reached critical mass. They are in the process of overwhelming our ill-conceived and thoroughly reprehensible Welfare State. They expect, as have their ancestors for five centuries, SOMEONE, ANYONE, to take care of them, to provide them with economic goods. If you have a job or run a business, if you are a net producer, THAT MEANS YOU!
What remains of the original U.S. Nation, a Nation of Individualists, may already constitute a minority in this country. All of the evidence points to the fact that it does. The United States is on the verge of a fiscal Apocalypse which will be so horrendous so as to surpass our wildest nightmares. And the reason is obvious. The Paternalistic Political Culture has become dominant -- and it just doesn't work. It's as simple as that. It has never worked in Mexico, and it will not work here.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way of going back, of turning back the clock. The die is cast. We have crossed the Rubicon. Our Magnificent Jeffersonian Statesmen in Washington-- our Parliament of Whores -- realize full well on which side their bread is buttered. If they want to be re-elected -- which is really all politicians care about -- they will cater to the now-dominant Paternalism. These Statist turds, floating around in the Beltway Cesspool, can be expected to do no less.
I really hate to be so pessimistic. But I see no option, at least none that I care to discuss in this blog entry. Stay tuned. There are options. I'm sure some of you are already well aware of them. I'll address them in future.
     And now for the clincher. Given all that has been written above, you may consider what follows to be very bizarre indeed -- unbelievable really. But here it is. Should my worst fears come to pass regarding the economic, social, and even civilizational future of the United States, and in all probability that of all of Western Civilization, the entire issue of illegal immigration will fade away into irrelevancy. In just a few years, we may all be laughing at ourselves for having taken the issue as seriously as we are taking it now. Individuals will have far, far more important things to worry about, first and foremost among them the brutal, daily struggle for basic physical survival. They will be scouring the alleys of the United States desperately searching for the next putrid rat corpse which will keep them from starving to death for another day.
     I certainly hope I'm wrong. But I'm afraid I'm right. Prepare well for what's coming. Best of luck to you.