In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Airlines Coming and Gone | Main | Hot Ice »

August 14, 2006

More on Migrations

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Benjamin Hemric recommends two articles in the current City Journal about immigration. One is by Heather Mac Donald, the other is by Steven Malanga, and both are first-rate eye-openers. Here's a shorter version of Mac Donald's piece.

* Guess which ethnicity, er, population group's birth rate far outstrips all other groups' in the American Southeast. (Answer: Hispanics, and Mexicans especially.) And guess how this amazing birth rate is being paid for. (Answer: Your tax dollars.)

* Please please please, can we break ourselves of the habit of picturing the immigration issue as a conventional Dem/Repub one? Many prosperous Western countries are waking up to how disruptive the predicaments that they have created for themselves really are.

* Our managerial elites sure do know their stuff, don't they? In England, Tony Blair predicted that 13,000 immigrants from Eastern Europe would take advantage of his policies. In fact, more than 350,000 did. Which means, by my careful calculations, that he was off by a trillion percent. Attaway to run a country! Some of the consequences: British working-class people, schools, and health-care providers are feeling considerable strain. Attention Dems: Even Labour has begun to question the wisdom of importing scads of foreigners. As one econ prof says:

"Most people coming into the country have a good reason: they're either running from somewhere or they want a job. You can't but be sympathetic and it's a natural reaction to think 'let's let them all in'. The difficulty is that there is such a gigantic supply that it's not a practical policy. The government has, however, been in denial that there is any need for a debate."

Enough with denial! I'm rooting for a robust debate (and a minimum of name-calling) myself.



posted by Michael at August 14, 2006


I am rooting for that same debate myself. And I see signs that it is coming.

Posted by: Lea Luke on August 14, 2006 6:38 PM

re. name calling: I can understand the strong emotions of Americans who want a stop to immigration.

But I can't understand the psychological workings of white Americans, even conservatives like McCain, Bush, Kudlow, Kemp, and others, who get emotional about this as open-borderites.

I could understand their indifference to immigration. Or abstract arguments as to why it's supposedly good for the country. Or a kind of insouciant flaunting of ones high socioeconomic status that allowing one to insulate himself from the realities of diversity.

But I can't understand the psychological basis for pro-open-borders emotions. Where is it coming from?

Posted by: SJ on August 14, 2006 9:02 PM

SJ, I always figured it was about loving your fellow man, including those who happen to have been born outside our borders. And being angry at those who arbitrarily interfere with peaceful commerce and social intercourse.

Suppose you wanted to travel to a nearby town. Maybe you want to visit an old friend or live near a family member. Or you want to take a job at a different firm or move to be closer to the best work opportunities. Assume there are people in that town who want to see you, want to do business with you, want to get to know you. Now imagine that somebody else sets up a roadblock in order to keep you and people like you out of that town. A self-appointed protector of the town who acts without regard to your views or the views of those you would work for and work with and spend time with and provide services to.

Me, I'd be /pissed/.

I have no trouble transfering that hypothetical indignation to the actual situations of jews trying to escape eastern europe, haitians trying to escape haiti, and - what the heck - mexicans trying to escape mexico. Whether the motivation is life-and-death, mild economic improvement, or mere curiosity matters not. I can't see why free movement in goods is fine but free movement of people isn't.

I can't see why anybody has the right to stand in the way of those who would like to come to my community and strengthen it by applying their own unique skills, whatever they may be, to improving their own life situation.

The Official Protectors might have /your/ sanction, but they sure as heck don't have mine.

Or to put it another way: "Mister Bush, tear down that wall!"

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 14, 2006 10:55 PM

Glen -- Just curious: If you were to run across a poor street person, and you were touched and feeling generous, would you 1) give him a buck, wish him well, and get on with your life? Or 2) invite him to move into your house with you? How about if the other people you already share the house with don't want your pet street person moving in with them? And then -- especially if 2) -- how do you handle the next poor street person? And the next?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 14, 2006 11:17 PM

This isn't about street people, this is about those who are merely poor but trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. People who want to work, find a job, and pay for food and clothing and a roof over their heads out of their honest earnings.

Such people have my sympathy. And since I live in California, I am effectively "giving a buck" to such people every time I hire movers or pay for housecleaning or buy a burrito or get my car washed. And I'm glad to do it! I'd also be happy to rent a room to whoever has the ready cash and seems reasonably compatible with my living situation. When my place is full up, they can rent from the guy down the block. Just as when my car is clean they can still wash the car of the guy down the block and when I feel like sushi they can still make burritos for the guy down the block.

So long as there are jobs and apartments to be had, we have no right to stand between the people offering those jobs and apartments and the people wanting to obtain them.

Contrariwise, if at some point in the distant future there /weren't/ many jobs and apartments to be had, the excess demand for immigrants would dry up and they'd go somewhere else instead. This is a self-limiting problem.

If you don't want to pay them welfare, then don't. I'd be thrilled with a legal regime in which immigration were entirely open but immigrants received no state-provided charity whatsoever. It's silly to regard the welfare regime as politically immutable ("Oh, no! We couldn't possibly change that!") while simultaneously assuming the immigration laws can easily be changed at will. In practice, I suspect both we and the new immigrants would benefit from reducing the welfare benefits they receive.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 15, 2006 12:33 AM

The thing that bugs me about the current wave of illegal aliens is the fact that the proponents get the profits of the wave (money for the employers who hire them, vote banks for the Dems), but the costs (crime, welfare, health care, rising housing costs etc.) are borne by the tax payer. I wish there was a way for the proponents to bear these costs without them being passed to me.

I would favor a garnishment of 3x-10x wages paid to each illegal alien from the employer's bottom line.

Posted by: JM on August 15, 2006 1:19 AM

Glen, its also about the citizens of a country having the right to set the policies of this country. According to you and all the other open borders cheerleaders, the illegal aliens should be incharge of our immigration policies, not the citizens. We are a nation of citizens, not immigrants. Too bad for bleeding heart libs like yourself that 80-90% of the people in what is supposed to be a democratic country want to close the door. Your propagada spiel above is so silly it almost doesn't deserve a comment.

But its nice to know how the other 10% half lives. It shows perfectly your inability to draw any kind of ditinctions, to compare and contrast among different peoples in terms of quality and motive, and your complete disregard for the law and fellow citizens, all so you can think of yourself as a white knight and feel good about yourself. Ugh! How pathetic! Its a good thing the housing bubble is popping and the illegal aliens will be out of jobs soon. More people will see them loitering around trying to find work, committing petty theft (or worse) and see them having their 7th or 8th kid on the taxpayer dole. It should help turn the tide even faster.

Posted by: s on August 15, 2006 11:36 AM


One hardly knows where to start in replying to your series of false analogies and abstract concepts that have nothing to do with the pragmatic reality of a mass migration of people from a different, Third World culture with a different language and values.

It appears that the very idea of nationhood is irrelevant to you; the United States is just a place on the map, with no unique character, no history, no traditions, no majority ethnic makeup, no shared understandings about the meaning of self-government. People are just economic units, who shift wherever the winds of commerce carry them.

Population density is clearly also irrelevant to you. Wall-to-wall people, bumper-to-bumper traffic, urban sprawl or people crowed into high rises -- hey, it's all just a human market! Quality of life? What's that?

Posted by: Rick Darby on August 15, 2006 11:44 AM

A few comments and related articles on immigration issues:

In Orange County California, Korean small business owners are learning Spanish, to better deal with employees and customers.

Also, in general, Orange County leans toward being Republican and conservative, with a sprinkling of libertarians. They have been mixed over immigration policies, even as big and small business owners increasingly employ illegal immigrants, obviously attracting more immigrants to the region. Not surprisingly, a small city like Whittier (where Richard Nixon attended high school and college) is now majority Latino. According to a recent news story, “At the same time, the city is better educated than it was five years ago, and its residents are a bit older.”

Illegal immigration is an international issue. In Europe, Spain has recently seen the largest jump in immigration. In 2000, there were about 900,000 immigrants registered as living in Spain. Now there are 3.5 million, an increase of almost 400%
Also, in 2001, Spain made a deal to grant Colombians priority when applying for jobs open to foreigners in a bid to reduce illegal immigration to Spain and improve social integration. Spain has similar deals with Ecuador, Morocco and Poland.

An unintended consequence: Spain is trying to deal with street gangs like the Latin Kings, largely composed of Ecuadorian teenagers who have had trouble assimilating.,,13509-2308885,00.html

Japan resists importing foreign labor, which makes up only .2% of the population, even though the Japanese are living longer, yet having fewer children. The result is a shrinking workforce which threatens economic growth. As a sidebar, note that foreign labor makes up 55.1% of the population of Luxembourg.

Scotland has had to import Polish dentists to deal with a collapse of the dental part of the National Health Service:

And so it goes.

Posted by: Alec on August 16, 2006 4:06 AM

All that would have to be done (and should have been done) in order to curb the baby "shortage" to continue "economic growth" is a return to the taxing policies which existed in the 1950's. Child tax credits ran at $500 per child, but the average wage was then about $3000-3500 per year. You can see that people who had larger families paid little in taxes. The equivalent now would be 10 to 15 times that (nice job Federal Reserve!), or $5000 to 7500 tax credit per child. We are nowhere near that.

Real estate prices are also too high. Steve Sailer has a nice article on affordable family formation, and how it affects both politics and demographic dispersion.

In sum, we really shouldn't have needed to import anybody in the west if we had pro-family policies in place. Unfortunately, we bought into the feminist/abortion/excessive taxation route, i.e. socialism, and now we are seeing the decline and death of the west, in slo mo.

Socialism is a death cult. It is also a religion. If you don't think so, read Glen Raphael's continued sermons, which are as impervious to logic and experience as any creationists' views on evolution. Except that for the death cultists, there is no other world, only the doomed crusade to "perfect" this one, with the predictable horrid results. I'll take a society arranged by practical experience than the religionists' failed ideal one any day of the week.

Posted by: s on August 16, 2006 2:12 PM

To s: If real estate prices are too high, isn’t that a function of the free market, supply and demand? And when there are declining wages and declining job markets in an area, even lower real estate prices will be unaffordable for some people. I’ll check out Sailer’s article, but in the past I have found him to be largely useless on economic issues.

Tax policy ain’t easy. If you give too big a break to big families, you not only hurt singles and marrieds without children, you make it harder for people to get to the point where they can have a family. Also, I don’t know that it is the role of government to be particularly pro- or anti-family. The nanny state comes in many guises, most of them intrusive and unpleasant in the long run.

Also, although he can speak for himself, it seems to me that Glen’s position is hard core libertarian, not socialism. Still, to me a religion, but I think it is important to name the sect correctly.

Posted by: Alec on August 16, 2006 3:28 PM


Too high for what end, you mean? I think they are too high for many who live in urban areas to have larger families. Whether the market determines the price or not is really irrelevant in this case. I wasn't making a statement about the market, rather the effects of the market. As far as people and families moving to areas with lower housing costs, I think that's a no-brainer in most cases. Many minorities live in areas which are low cost, and thus have an edge in family affordability. The professional types who live in large metro areas are the ones chasing the good schools, and they pay a big price for it. Others move to the ex-urbs, and many now are migrating to lower cost housing states.

You're assuming that the tax burden not paid by families would be shifted to singles. Maybe yes, maybe no. Today we pay far more in taxes than we did then, so I'm not so sure what the situation is. I'd rather subsidize middle class families than single welfare mothers, that's for sure. I have no problem with government policies encouraging certain types of behavior, especially when the alternative is to turn the US into a third world country because people here aren't having enough kids. If it gives middle class people a break, especially middle class families, I'm all for it.

Glen hasn't just posted here once. I've read many of his posts, and he's not a libertarian, that's for sure.

Posted by: s on August 16, 2006 5:34 PM

Alec is correct that my core views are anarchocapitalist libertarian, not socialist. Anyone trying to get inside my head more deeply should read these: Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, and The Economic Consequences of Immigration by Julian Simon.

I'm not sure it's worth continuing the argument too far here given how few common points of reference there are between the sides in the debate. But I hate to hit and run, so I'll try to at least answer a couple points briefly.

JM: so when I - as an individual - paid two (probably undocumented) workers $100 each to help me move, you think I should have to pay the government another $600-$2000, eh? But hold on a second - in paying these guys, I reduced their need for welfare or subsidized health care. The most direct effect of my hiring them is a positive externality: being well-employed by people like me, these men can afford to live in a decent house, don't have to resort to crime, can support their family, support others in their neighborhood, and serve as a positive role model. I'm curious to see your math whereby the indirect negative effect so overwhelms this positive effect as to produce a net cost of 3x-10x wages.

s: As a citizen of a democracy, I am stating my view, as is my right: I want to let them in. That opinion doesn't constitute "the illegal aliens being in charge", it constitutes me, a citizen of a democracy, advocating a specific public position.

Rick: As I see it, one of the greatest traditions of our country is its history of welcoming and assimilating new immigrants, serving as a refuge to those who seek opportunity and are willing to work hard and apply their native talents and skills to make this a better nation.

But yes: Population density is irrelevant to me. Most of the country is empty. If you don't want to live near people, don't! But if you do decide to live on one of the coasts near a major population center, it's probably because at some level you value the net benefit of population density. I know I do - that's why I moved to San Francisco from the suburbs.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 16, 2006 6:33 PM

Glen, Thanks for your latest autopilot liberal wisdom. Sometime, just for novelty value, why don't you allow a few real-world perceptions to trickle down through all those geological layers of ideology? Uncontrolled immigration is creating a Balkanized, Latin Americanized, high-population-density United States, a country that obviously means nothing to you.

If you had a temporary itch to look at the way things are instead of lounging on your conceptual cumulo-nimbus, you might realize that about 98 percent of people -- I know you're really special, Glen, but try to take this on board -- can't just move out to the wilderness in search of a little space and tranquility. They are forced by economic necessity to live where people are concentrated; where, if you could have your way, people would be concentrated seventy times seven.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you have migrated to San Francisco, where I lived for several years and know pretty well. It is a magnet for legions of the rootless who have no identity other than the belief that they are superior to the dreaded conventional people back where they came from. Well do I remember them herding together to share how elevated they were, among the elect sent by evolution to show up the bourgeois Cro-Magnons as primitives.

Ah, yes, I can see them now, those avatars of hipness, standing in queues for an hour and a half on the sidewalk, breathing car exhaust fumes, so they could be admitted to some trendy dump for a "relaxing" Sunday brunch.

You're welcome to enjoy your sardine-tin elegance, Glen. But when your open-borders sympathies try to force it on the rest of us, I am going to be in your way for as long as I draw breath.

Posted by: Rick Darby on August 16, 2006 8:15 PM

s: (1) The availability of cheap immigrant labor should makes it cheaper to build a house, which is a downward influence on home prices. (2) New immigrants supply goods and services to the economy that make us better off and thus better able to afford houses even as their price (and quality! and size!) increases. (3) Even if the net effect of more immigrants were to raise housing prices - which isn't clear - the US homeownership rate is over 69% and for those who already own houses, higher prices are a net win. Thus if you favor policies that are expected to help "most american citizens" it's not clear why you'd oppose immigration on that basis. (Nor why you could reasonably oppose immigration but still be in favor of americans having babies of their own, which has a much larger impact on housing prices due to the relative numbers involved.)

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 16, 2006 8:20 PM

Rick: Are you claiming that no matter how high the highest-population density gets, "economic necessity" will force 98 percent of people to live there? Without limit?

I don't understand your mental model for how this "economic necessity" thing works. Why, in your view, don't 98% of Americans live in New York City?

My model is that you do need a certain critical concentration of people to support specific kinds of industry and jobs. Concentration of people allows for specialization of labor which allows for the industrial revolution, technological progress, etcetera. Which are all good things. And it scales, so more concentration allows for more economic progress, at least up to some point we haven't found yet. BUT...the benefits of progress are diffuse. It raises the standard of living in a much wider area than just the highest-density parts. In fact, the existence of places like NYC and Hong Kong makes living out in the boonies more viable too. You don't have to be on the cutting edge, you can live somewhere further away, on the dull end of the blade, and still get most of the benefit. Live in a vacation or retirement community. Or telecommute.

If you're happy with the sort of jobs and lifestyle available at density A, you'll still have that option available to you somewhere. It might not be exactly where you were living or working before, but change is inevitable. You can always move to the suburbs, or the suburbs of suburbs, rather than staying in the densest spot available.

On the other hand, if right now you like living near the densest spot available in your area, if you find the benefits - economic or otherwise - outweigh the costs, then you should think about that - maybe you haven't reached the optimum yet.

Regarding SF, my move was only about 40 miles and was motivated primarily by the belief that Mountain View is boring. Plus I like the aesthetics of tall buildings and busy streets. (I lived in Hong Kong on business for a while some years ago - now that is what I call a city!)

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 16, 2006 9:46 PM

Ha, Glen, you just stumbled upon one of the propaganda lies in favor of illegal alien labor--that it keeps prices low! All during the housing boom, house price were driven higher and higher, all with lots of low-paid criminal labor. All of the cost savings were never passed on to the consumer--they were just put into the house builders pocket! For, Glen, if all the savings were passed on to the consumer, there would be no advantage to the employer to hire criminal laborers over law-biding citizen labor! Just think of the Nike chinese sweatshops! Now you got the picture!

Oh, and those criminals you hired to help you out, well, don't be so sure they aren't getting welfare. They probably go to the emergency rooms and get medical treatment and don't pay for it, same with schooling for the criminal's kids, etc. Another propaganda lie. And thanks for paying them cash. I'm sure they reported it, and didn't just put it in their pockets, makiing no contributions to our government operations, only taking money out.

There are plenty of american citizens to build and buy existing housing. But mass immigration simply drives demand up, and prices up with it (along with low interest rates, which are much higher now and the housing bubble is poppiing--thank God). Sixty-nine percent of americans don't own their home, the banks do. Another bit of propaganda. You don't own your home unless you pay off your mortgage. Stop making mortgage payments and you'll find out real quick who owns your home.

And yes, I prefer to live in a country with lots of whites because I am white. America used to be a country which was bound together by a common language, a common religion (with different sects though, but still Christian), with a common race (90% white), with a common set of values (you don't work, you don't get), with a common respect for the law, etc. In the last 40 years, we have seen that break down rapidly, and now with the mass influx of criminals, its accelerating. Sorry, but I know the farther we get away from the above, the worse off this country will be. I couldn't care less if you like that viewpoint or not, but what is going on now will just balkanize and impoverish us to the point of third-worldization.

Some like spice. Well you should get out a spoon, fill it up with salt or pepper, and drop that in your mouth to see how it tastes. That's what I think of "spice". A very little is good, and too much is horrid.

And by the way, I mistook you for a liberal. I would have thought a libertarian would have been an open-borders advocate because they have an abhorrence of the intervention of the state in all affairs. But for the life of me, being an anarchist, why do you call yourself a citizen? You shoulldn't really care if the spanish speaking criminals assimilate or learn english--they are stateless like you! But I guess it sounds good while you break our laws by hiring criminals, then claiming you are entitled to the priveledges of the state you undermine. Hoo boy, you're a piece of work, that's for sure!

Posted by: s on August 16, 2006 10:10 PM

Glen - I may take a look at the books you cited. Although I don't think much of most libertarian thinking, I have great respect for Julian Simon, and would be interested to read his take on immigration. Thanks.

Posted by: Alec on August 16, 2006 11:35 PM

Glen, I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over 16 years now, and I agree, it's one hell of a city.

But two things:

1) Trade in Hong Kong is free, but immigration most certainly isn’t. Hong Kong’s a part of China, but you won’t find a border more tightly controlled than the one separating Hong Kong from the 1.3 billion mainlanders who would desperately love to come live here. And it’s hard for people from other poor Asian countries to immigrate here, too. For example, Filipino and Indonesian women come here in droves to work as domestic helpers, but they gain no rights to permanent residency no matter how many years they work and reside here. Illegal immigrants from anywhere and everywhere are deported ruthlessly.

2) Hong Kong works very well socially despite its incredible population density, but it’s also a highly homogenous society, with 95%+ of its population ethnically Chinese.

So if anything, HK's continuing economic success is an argument for tighter immigration control.

Posted by: mr tall on August 17, 2006 5:09 AM

Three points:
1- A lot of land in the US that is "empty" is highly inhospitable, or it's farmland and forests which allow the heavily populated areas to exist. We are losing a lot of this land to sprawl every year and recent immigrants and their immediate descendants are what is driving most of the population increase now. Forget oil; we're running out of water in some western states. I can't think of a single problem that we have today that will be made easier to solve as a result of adding 100+ million people to the US in the next 40 years, most of them unskilled and uneducated.

2 - Even when legislatures or citizens through ballot initiatives, reduce "welfare" to legal or illegal immigrants, they can find themselves sued by "rights" groups like the ACLU, or the immigrants manage to get this welfare via their US citizen children. To its credit, the US Congress passed a law in 1996 to prevent the aged parents newly brought to the US by naturalized citizens from receiving SSI benefits. The children of these parents were supposed to be assuming responsibility for them; indeed they had signed papers affirming this. In 1997, the ACLU sued on their behalf and Congress caved in. Now, sick aged parents, who haven't paid a dime into our system, can be brought to the US from all over the world and to all intents and purposes be made wards of the state at taxpayers' expense. Think about this the next time you hear about social security and government pensions being in trouble, as well as when you hear about a path to citizenship for our 12 million illegal immigrants, most of whom have about very little education and so are highly unlikly to pay significant taxes.

3 - The reason that most legal immigrants are in the US is not talent or hard work. It's being kin to somebody already here. The above example of the homeless man needs to be taken a few steps further. Don't just give him your spare bedroom. Allow him to immediately bring in his wife and 3 kids and to add as many other kids as he chooses. After you get used to 5 people in your spare bedroom and to paying their school and health care costs (rights under the federal court system), make him a citizen so that he can also bring in his parents and siblings regardless of their abilities. Then allow the siblings to bring in their immediate families, and so on and so on. This has to be the most expensive way to hire cheap unskilled labor in the world.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 17, 2006 2:20 PM

We have all the immigration laws we ever need already on the books, save one: a person born in the US should have whatever status his/her parents have. If the parents are citizens, then that baby is a citizen. If the parents are here on a visa, then so is the baby. If one parent is a citizen and one isn't, then then the baby would be a citizen, although if the parents are married, that won't be as much of an issue. And so on.

As for existing immigration law, it needs to be more aggressively enforced, and not by vigilante groups like the Minutemen. I think we'd still have a healthy influx of immigrants, but at numbers more sustainable than we have currently.

Posted by: the patriarch on August 17, 2006 2:58 PM

s wrote: "And yes, I prefer to live in a country with lots of whites because I am white. America used to be...bound together by a common language, a common religion (with different sects though, but still Christian), with a common race (90% white) ...the farther we get away from the above, the worse off this country will be."

That is a really interesting sentiment. Do the rest of you agree with it?

Maybe that's the fundamental distinction underlying this debate - who you identify with, who you aspire to be like, who you like being around. To me, there's nothing particularly special about generically christian white people that makes them more inherently worthy of my sympathy or support than new immigrants.

Back in high school I was president of the chess team; one couldn't help but notice that all the best chess players in school - and at other schools we competed against - tended to be jewish, asian, or recent immigrants. Ditto for the best computer programmers and for the smartest kids in the honors math and science classes. My peer group, the people I aspired to be like, weren't christian white people. I didn't particularly dislike christian white people, but they didn't seem like me the way jews and asians were. Yet jews and asians were a minority of the population at large. So I guess I'm used to and comfortable with the idea of "my group" being in the minority. So I don't feel threatened by one more group joining the mix.

Alec: Julian Simon has a nice study on the economics of immigration posted over at Cato here.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 17, 2006 8:40 PM


At the high school I went to, the reverse was true. Except nobody played chess. Most of the excellent students were also excellent athletes. Most of the crowd I hung out with are now all PhD's, engineers, doctors, lawyers-well educated professionals.

Its too bad you've always been an outsider and a minority. I guess you'll never know how good it feels to be a member of a majority. I do, and many others do as well. We'd like to keep it that way. I am also glad the majority rules. At least I thought it did.

Its also too bad that you can't understand what is so special about the white chiristian american and the environment they've set up for jews here. I'm sure you'll only point out the bad spots, but there must be some reason why most jews live either here or in Israel. You should ask yourself what will happen to that once the demographics change. My guess is that you and other jews will remain in white american majority enclaves, like you do now, which simply underscores my point. Reality trumps theory again, huh?

In the end, I find it fascinating that a statement such as a white man wanting to live in a white community or country is somehow controversial. You would say nothing if I were a different race and made that statement. Or if I said that as an englishman, I want to live among the english. If I were to say that as a mexican, I want to live in a majority mexican country with other mexicans, and all that implies (including race exclusivity and religion), no one would make a peep. Somehow, organizing a society around having only members of the white race is demonized. I'm not out to hurt anybody. I don't see what the problem is. Its not my job to provide anybody with an opportunity. I and others like me are not obligated to keep the borders open either. And since we believe in democracy, and not anarchy like you do, I don't see why we can't do just that. As an anarchist, I would think you would agree that the state has no responsibility in "improving" other's lives either? That is, if you really are an anarchist, and not a socialist in disguise.

Also, thanks for perfectly exemplifying what I stated above, that the farther we move away from being a white christian nation, what we all know and love about America will be lost as well. Good luck with that anarchy thing. That's a real crowd-pleaser!

Posted by: s on August 18, 2006 12:54 AM

Glen (and s ) – RE: The availability of cheap immigrant labor should make it cheaper to build a house, which is a downward influence on home prices.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This is my gripe with some libertarians and others: they don’t bother to look at facts that complicate or contradict their pet theories.

Markets set prices, not costs (at least not directly). Quick example: for about the past 10 years every fast food chain has had a value menu of items costing around a buck, and rarely more than $1.29, no matter what has been happening to the cost of supplies, fuel, labor, etc., because competition, consumer preference and other factors make this a necessary strategy. The cost to make a burger is one thing. What you can sell it for is another thing altogether.

In California, from San Diego to Santa Barbara, there are constant reports of the middle class being squeezed out of houses and apartments as prices continue to rise even though the number of workers required to build housing has declined dramatically over the past 20 years and even as construction companies employ more illegal immigrants. But local governments are chasing after the upscale market, and approved new housing almost always skews toward upper income groups. Landlords, in turn, where they can, increase rents even if it displaces reliable long-term tenants.

The cost savings, if any, from construction costs comes back to the owners as higher capital gains when the properties are sold. In fact, recent changes in the tax law, which tax capital gains at much lower rates than ordinary income, create an incentive for builders and landlords to do everything they can to maximize their capital gains over rents and mortgage receipts.

Real world example: in the San Gabriel Valley, a developer bought three rental properties (total of 36 units), evicted all the tenants, and held the properties vacant for 18 months while she gained approvals to build a 60 unit condo complex, which still has not yet begun construction. She believes that she will still make a hefty profit even though she has sacrificed current rental income.

In parts of Orange County, stagnating wages have made it harder for people to buy new homes. One under-reported result: banks, seeking to maintain prices in the local housing markets, are letting multiple families, mainly Latinos, buy single family homes. Some of these new buyers, in turn, are renting out rooms, garages, and room additions to newly arrived immigrant males. Unintended consequences: more idle males loitering around between jobs, sometimes getting into fights and requiring more police visits, and – oddly enough -- water and sewage services, designed for single family neighborhoods, are over-extended, and all taxpayers have to pick up the slack and cover the costs. The decline in the quality of life in some neighborhoods, in turn, is pushing out the older middle class owners, and failing to attract replacement owners of the same class (including assimilated middle class Latinos).

So if the numbers of people willing – or able – to pay the higher prices declines significantly, there won’t be enough cheap labor in Mexico and California combined to prop up the market, at least in the short run.

Posted by: Alec on August 18, 2006 3:41 AM

The Simon study at Cato, I discovered, is dated 1995. I didn't bother to look further. I suspect that it contains a lot of data showing that MODERATE amounts of immigrants with HIGH levels of education and skill are OK. A lot has happened since 1995 in the area of immigration, most of it bad. Highly educated, highly skilled, well paid people - immigrants and natives - tend to be net contibutors to public resources via taxes etc. Low skilled, uneducated, poorly paid people - immigrants and natives - tend to be net users of public resources, not contributors.

I will believe that we need millions more unskilled uneducated people the day that politicians from the President on down go on TV and encourage people to drop out of school and take up unskilled work.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 18, 2006 7:23 PM

s: I would be equally appalled at another race making that statement. There is a difference between race and nationality. I can sort of understand the sentiment of wishing to live in a neighborhood of people like yourself and exercising your own market power to go live there. But claiming the entire nation for your own race and religion? Wanting men with guns to forcibly stop people of other cultures from moving here in order to spoil your monocultural paradise? That's just ugly. "An Englishman wanting to live in England" is not remotely comparable.

D Flinchum: Yes, the study is from 1995, but people were making the exact same arguments against immigration then as they are now. Neither the facts on the ground nor the relevant economic arguments have changed all that much in the last ten years. Besides, Alec said he liked Simon, and Simon died in 1998, so we're not going to find something much more recent from him. (The book I referred to earlier was written in 1989.) The nature of immigration hasn't changed in decades or even centuries. It has always been the case that the average immigrant is less educated and less well-paid than the average native. Almost anything you say about mexicans now could have been said just as easily about the chinese who came here to build the railroads in 1850.

Alec: Markets set prices based on the intersection of supply and demand. When supply increases, all else being equal, prices tend to drop. Your "value meal" example doesn't really work because there are too many variables one can tweak. If you want to provide a $1 meal and costs rise, the simplest thing to do is reduce portion sizes. Or use cheaper packaging or cheaper ingredients or cheaper accessories. The "prize" in a box of cracker jacks or a "happy meal" was once of significant value but price-conscious executives whittled them down to tiny stickers or bits of plastic junk.

If the presence of immigrant labor makes it possible to build a house for less, more houses will get built and the average price of houses will decline relative to what it would have been without that labor available. Some of the initial benefit of the lower prices will go to the builders, some to the laborers, and some to those who buy the final product, in proportion to their bargaining positions. The benefits rapidly percolate throughout the entire economy, regardless.

It doesn't matter whether the newest houses are cheap in some absolute sense -- even expensive megamansions increase the supply of housing and thereby reduce the average cost of it. But here in Northern California a lot of the new housing is in condo/townhouse developments that make for actually cheap (by the standards of the area) housing. I bought and lived in one such. (and no, it didn't seem to be "a white american majority enclave")

Posted by: Glen Raphael on August 19, 2006 2:16 PM


I don't believe you for one second. What about Japan? How about China? Why don't you go over there and tell those people how ugly they are and how they don't run their countries the way you'd like. Then after they are done laughing in your face, they'll kick you out. Its natural to want to live around people like yourself, all the way to the point of nationhood. Forty years ago Euroope was exactly that. Nobody complained at all. The same with England, Scotland, Iceland, and a whole host of other countries. Mass immigration is ruining the west, and its only been recently that its been rationalized as being something positive instead of something negative, which it is. You've just conditioned yourself to pursue the unnatural because, according to you, you were always a minoirity and outsider. You've become accustomed to it, and like a tinpan tyrant, want to impose your views on everybody else to the point of breaking the law. Not much different than a common criminal. Diversity is waekness. Unity is strength. And the more things you have in common, the greater the unilty, the greater the strength.

Oh no, the nature of immigration hasn't changed at all in decades or centuries--hahahahahahahahahahahaha! That's pretty funny.

Your economic arguments are ridiculous. Again, I suggest you spend ome time in the real world seeing how things are actually done. You would find out that the more expensive labor becomes, the more likely an industry is to innovate and automate. Cheap labor undercuts that.

Posted by: s on August 19, 2006 5:38 PM

First of all, the US has changed dramatically since 1850 as I'm sure we all agree, and what is said about immigration then or now is less important than how it affects the country. As recently as 1970, we had about 200 million people in the US. In October 2006, we'll have 300 million. At the rate we're going now and especially if the Senate amnesty bill gets passed, we'll hit close to half a billion in 2050. This alone says "Stop" to me.

Until mid-20th century, education wasn't as critical as it is now. Many US citizens lived productive lives without a high school diploma. There were a lot more jobs in agriculture and manufacturing than there are now (relative to population). Fifty years ago, we heard that if you want a good job, "get your high school diploma" which is now "get a college degree" or better yet, get several.

Throughout most of the post-1965 Immigration Law era, most LEGAL immigrants had more education than US citizens. That's how they got in. And they often got even more education in the US. {I'm married to an immigrant who came to the US to pick up a PhD (1962), liked it here, and became a citizen (1972).} That's also how what is now a canard about how "immigrants" pay more into public funds than they take from public funds got started. Well educated, skilled people - whether immigrants or natives - tend to pay more into public resources than they take from them. Poorly educated, unskilled people - whether immigrants or natives - tend to do the opposite.

When you consider the low education and skill level of most of the illegal immigrants that we are considering legalizing, add their similarly educated/skilled immediate families, then add their similarly educated/skilled extended families in a giant chain migration onslaught, you have a recipe for disaster.

Take a hard look at California, especially its public schools. It is definitely true that California is attracting immigrants, legal and illegal; but it has been losing more US population than it gains for some time. From 1990 on, virtually all of its growth has been as a result of immigration. According to William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, from 1990-1999, 2.2 million more California residents moved to other states than people from other states moved to California. California lost nearly 350,000 residents from July 2001 to July 2004 alone in this manner.

The loss of largely middle class population combined with massive, often low skilled, immigration is changing California drastically. Its public schools used to be among the top two or three in the nation. Now they are among the worst – down in the pits with Mississippi and Alabama. Costs of educating ESL students have increased dramatically, and more students are living in poverty. And these costs won't go down so long as we keep adding new ESL students annually at a ripping pace. Is this what we want for the whole country?

And BTW as to the Chinese, I'm not aware of any Chinese organizations, or any Chinese people for that matter, that claim that substantial parts of the US southwest belong to China.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 21, 2006 8:16 AM

Regarding California public schools; California is 46th in per capita spending on public schools. Not saying that money solves everything, but I don't think you can discount a state's per capita spending when discussing the quality of its schools.

Posted by: the patriarch on August 21, 2006 4:57 PM

As I read these posts I don't see many names like Hokolesqua ("cornstalk" in Shawnee, the name of an 18th-century Shawnee chief) or Nizhoni ("beautiful in Navajo). No, most of the names have European roots, so I'm assuming somewhere back in everyone's family tree there was an immigrant or two.

Now some of our immigrant forebears were "legal", some not so legal. A scant few were welcomed, many were not. During the potato famine diaspora classifieds often ended with the phrase "No Irish need apply." Immigrant Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing various pogroms clustered in city ghettos and spoke Yiddish. In many cities Italians created Little Italys, densely populated areas where they spoke, yes, Italian, worshiped as Catholics not Protestants (a big deal once upon a time), had way too many kids; some engaged in organized (and not so organized) criminal activities.

The pattern tended to be that adult immigrants chose (or were forced) to live in enclaves of immigrants like themselves, worked the lowest paid jobs, learned little English and did not assimilate well; their children were bilingual, better educated, had more skilled jobs, moved to better, more diverse, neighborhoods and became reasonably well assimilated; their grandchildren were English speakers who considered themselves Americans (even if they were proud of their ethnic heritage) and ran the normal statistical gamut in terms of education, jobs, and place of residence.

The current debate is complicated because, while the British were immigrating and slaughtering the Iroquois and Cherokee, the Spanish were immigrating and overrunning the Aztec and Navajo peoples. The history of the Southwest includes periods of Spanish, then Mexican, rule as well as independent nation status with Latin as well as Anglo alliances and influences. It is further complicated because the vestiges of Native American culture and tradition, combined with the practical reality of herding cattle and harvesting crops, means there is a strong migratory or nomadic element among the people of that region that must be recognized.

To be honest, I'm not sure exactly where I fall in the immigration debate. I do think that we need to have FAR tougher penalties for employers who routinely hire illegal workers. As it stands, say in the meat packing industry, even when there are successful prosecutions for the practice the relatively modest fines levied mean the owners are still ahead. If there weren't such a strong incentive for businesses to hire undocumented workers, there would be less incentive for workers to cross the border to work.

That said, I am still troubled by the way we more passively accept "free trade" agreements that encourage businesses to move jobs to developing nations where they can, in some places, use virtual slave labor to produce goods to be sold around the world at prices that drive out domestic producers while we demonize individuals looking to move to where life is better.

In short, perhaps the real topic is about how globalization benefits whom and whether illegal immigration is a discrete problem or merely an obvious symptom of the problems inherent in unchecked corporate capitalism.

Posted by: Chris White on August 22, 2006 10:46 AM

Mike Blowhard lets ardent white nationalists post on his site, yet bans me for a saying a few politically incorrect words. Amazing.

Posted by: shawn on August 22, 2006 9:16 PM

CA's being 46th in funding IS critical; but the big question is how did that happen. I suspect that back when CA was the gold standard for education it also was near or at the top in money spent per student and the middle class was happy enough to pay all those taxes because of the quality it bought - quality for their children's (and later their grandchildren's) education. More and more middle class people starting families in CA are finding that (1) housing is expensive, especially where the best schools are and (2) the schools are getting worse in the other areas. A lot of them are voting with their feet. The remaining population becomes increasingly (1) poorer people who can't pay the taxes and (2) rich people, childless (or child-free if you prefer) people, and people whose grown children can't afford to live there, especially near good schools. These last folks, right or wrong, don't necessarily see more tax money for schools as a good thing.

Fairfax County VA is starting to see the same thing. Years ago FC was filling up with well-educated people who came to work in DC but couldn't afford to live where the best DC schools were and saw suburban VA as a good alternative. It also had a lot of apartments, etc where one or two people lived before they had children. As a result of immigration, a lot of these apartments are now largely filled with big immigrant families or multiple unrelated adults

FC had some of the best schools in the US in spite of the fact that VA's schools in general were about in the middle overall. In recent years, they've seen ESL and Special ED costs explode along with housing costs. The counties just a bit farther out are growing exponentially with new schools being built constantly.

I read recently that suburban FC's 3rd grade reading scores trailed Richmond VA, which is largely inner city. FC is still willing to spend lots of money on education; but that, I suspect, will change for the reasons I mentioned above.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 23, 2006 10:47 AM

That CA is 46th in per capita spending on education is no surprise. I would have expected as much. The big issue is how did CA go from top of the heap to the cellar in a relatively short amount of time. To me, it's obvious.

We are seeing the same trend in Fairfax County VA (FC). As the major "industry" in the Washington, DC area - government - expanded, it attracted a large number of middle class workers, many of them well educated. Most of these folks couldn't afford to live in the better areas of DC so FC VA (and Montgomery County MD) became their destination.

When I moved to Northern VA in the mid-60's, FC was known for its good schools. People flocked to it and friends who moved there in the 80's told me that the same house in FC could vary up to $50,000 - big bucks back then - depending on the school district. We're not talking mansions here - just middle class housing, usually with 2 income professionals. Of course, there were also a lot of apartments where young singles or newly marrieds lived until they saved up some money and decided it was time for kids.

Housing in the inner suburbs has now gone through the roof in cost and the apartments are often filled with large immigrant families and numerous unrelated individuals. The schools are spending big bucks on ESL and Special ED. Young middle class families can't afford to live in the best schools districts and don't want to live in the others. The counties farther out are growing exponentially. The schools in FC are having problems. I heard recently that FC third graders score lower on standard tests than Richmond City. I suspect much of it is ESL.

Right now FC still seems willing to pay big bucks (taxes) for schools. How long will it be until the rich who can either send their kids to private schools or live in the best school districts, the older residents whose grown kids can't afford to live in FC, and the single or 2-income professionals with no kids at all continue to be willing to support increasingly failing schools? My guess is not that long.....

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 23, 2006 4:39 PM

Soory for the double post - I had PC problems and assumed the first one got clobbered.

Posted by: D Flinchum on August 24, 2006 8:57 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?