Response to Immigration Debate

Posted on April 16, 2013 by

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This is my short “two cents” worth response to Dr. Wheeler’s post of April 15, 2013 on immigration.  I do agree that from a purely economic standpoint, there is no good reason to keep anyone out–that is, when all we consider is the market value-added of people.  I also agree there ought to be an easy path for all potential immigrants, not just Mexicans.  But there are some variables that get in the way, that must be addressed. 

First is a viable, effective method for screening out criminals and/or terrorists.  The Bible does in the Old Testament welcome the “alien” but on the legal terms of the Commonwealth of Israel, not the whims of the individual.  The “stranger” is required to obey the law of the land.

Second, millions of immigrants wish to come to America with little capital, little skill and, in some cases, little desire to work.  Our own welfare system(s) have created a perverse incentive and are doling out untold billions as a result.  If there were only a very limited welfare system, I would support unhesitatingly the admission of any law-abiding person.  But we stand to bankrupt ourselves and the immigrants too with our most generous (and often inefficient and immoral) programs for resdistribution.

Finally, I have to address the “elephant in the room,” the civilizational aspect.  I did NOT say “cultural.”  I welcome, as should all, any cultures, just as we saw in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  We are enhanced by our cultural diversity.  But civilization is different.  It is the basic foundation that holds a nation together.  It consists of a legal system, religion,  a basic, though unarticulated, philosophical orientation for self-reflection, a particular type of government, a particular kind of economic thinking and practice (“capitalism” here), etc.  These elements are non-negotiable or complete frgamention results.  And, yes, I am making an argument that the basic civilizational orientation of the United States is Western.  We cannot make the mistake of admitting individuals and then expecting no assimilation whatsoever.  Do I want to see, for example, Sharia Law enacted in America?  The answer is obvious.  Culture is variable, but civilization is crucial.  Let me make it clear that my concerns have nothing to do with ethnic or racial origins, as if Western Civilization must somehow be connected to those elements.  It was a providential “accident” of history that Western civilization gave to the world elements such as a rule of law, capitalism, the Christian religion, constitutionalism, etc.  But the fact is they did come from the West or were “perfected” in the West as ideas and practices.

To close, I desire open immigration, but open with conditions.  If I can’t get the conditions, I am at best hesitant.  But regardless, we will undoubtedly see legal change very soon.

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