On January 7th, President Bush announced his new temporary worker program. Reaction from media conservatives was rapid, if a bit unfocused.
Jonah Goldberg, muddleheaded as always, starts his article with a pretty hard-core attack on the plan, only to backpedal, saying that the plan deals “with [the] reality [of the immigration mess] in a constructive way.” Pat Buchanan is certainly more forthright, noting that “…Bush’s amnesty will do nothing to halt the illegal invasion that continues to this hour. If you would know what America’s social, cultural, and fiscal future will look like, take a ride through Los Angeles, capital of Mexifornia.” He also recognizes that since conservatives have nowhere else to go, the president can now lean leftward in his reelection bid. Fair enough.
Unfortunately, immigration, like health care, resides at the nexus of many contemporary American issues, and cannot be intelligently discussed without bringing in these other factors.
Consider ethnicity and culture. If Buchanan is lamenting that the US is changing from a predominantly White, Anglo-Saxon, Christian country into an atheistic “multicultural” non-melting pot, few would disagree with him. To be sure, there is something to be said for a homogeneous country—take a look at Japan. Nonetheless, the US was never truly homogeneous, and has been heading toward increased diversity since the great wave of immigration that started in the 1890’s, and the liberalization of immigration laws in the 1960’s.
If you don’t like the changing face of America, tell me how you would reconcile the ultimately incompatible desires for cheap prices and high wages. Naturally, we can’t all win at this game, but as long as there is a docile lower class around to keep our food and clothing cheap, most of the middle class (and above) can be satisfied. That is, until we run out of a lower class.
Although this concept is scoffed at by so-called Libertarians, sheltered as they always seem to be from the real world, there simply are jobs that white kids won’t do. Moreover, given the generous social welfare system, and the false hopes implanted via an endless supply of pop culture flash and trash, there are also jobs that native born ethnics won’t do, either. If the Romans had to import a lower class, and the Euros have been doing it for years, what makes the Americans exempt?
Consider abortion. Whether you believe that 30 million or 50 million lives have been sacrificed on the unspeakable altar of “choice” since 1973, even the most ardent pro-abort would acknowledge that the figure is in the tens of millions, and ethnics and lower class types are disproportionately represented in the carnage. Replacements are needed, and not just to do the work—legally. There’s also the little matter of who’s going to pay into the Social Security trust fund, to support us aging baby boomers, when the time comes for us to leave the work force.
And, don’t forget plain old sentimentality and resistance to change. There is nothing more American than Wal-Mart coming into a community, and offering better prices and selection. Remember, we used to call that “the competitive marketplace.” Yet, there are those who cry about the small retailers that are driven out of business. But why? Should we also weep over the shuttered companies that made mechanical calculators, slide rules, vinyl recordings, typewriters, and pegboard accounting systems? Does anyone miss the rapacious graphics arts film houses, or the highway robbery of the typesetting services, replaced as they were with the digital revolution?
Perhaps, the pace of change is too fast for many of us, so we cling to useless values. A case can surely be made for knowing the multiplication tables, but if the answer to 12 x 4 is readily available from an inexpensive calculator, how important can it be to have it memorized? Similarly, even for the scientist or engineer, what, beyond a self-satisfying ego trip, is the advantage of manually working out the conversion from, say, knots to feet per second, if there are beautiful software programs that can perform this task accurate to 14 decimal places in the wink of an eye?
Finally, with the genie well out of the bottle, it would take a Gestapo, the likes of which Heinrich Himmler could only dream about, to round up, expel, and keep out the millions of illegals and potential illegals extant. Never mind the cost. How does that sit with our “limited government” conservatives? Think of how successful the war on drugs has been…
So, maybe George W. is on to something, after all. Let’s engage them, and make it easier for them to assimilate than it is to go underground and get all the welfare freebies. As for those die-hard paleos waxing nostalgic about the way it used to be, their version of America actually ended some time quite early in the 19th century. How many of us would want to go back?