Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frightened Turtles

I would like to remind readers that we live in a country that is barely free. If we lived in ideal political conditions in which the only flaw might be a border closed to some or all immigration, the "open borders" argument might hold water. But we live in a growing authoritarian or police state.

This is an issue which many intellectuals – including some I should logically regard as moral and intellectual allies – shy away from like frightened turtles.

This country for too long has been the plaything of statists and “social engineers” of every stripe – Republicans, Democrats, environmentalists, welfare statists, special interests or lobbyists, and so on. President Barack Obama is the apex and end heir of every statist law and notion ever proposed or legislated, ever since ratification of the Constitution, even as the ink on it was barely dry – and Obama is the logical end of all those unopposed laws and policies. He loots without care or thought of whatever might replace the looted wealth and nullified rights – except for stage-managed anarchy and beating into submission the American spirit. 

Obama practices Islamic taqiyya, which is saying one thing in his woozy, folksy style English, but meaning something else. Most readers here, instead of conceding that Obama is a nihilist, buy the official line that he is merely a rudderless, arrogantly insouciant pragmatist. Actually, his predecessor, George W. Bush, was a card-carrying pragmatist, formulating his policies on the premise that he could preserve that status quo – whatever that might have been – by denying the deadly peril of Islam. However, Obama, who administration has been top-heavy with Muslims from his first term, is a rotten-to-the-bone nihilist steeped in “community organizing” and a subscriber to the agenda of the “socialist transformation” of the country into a super-size European Union. Some intellectuals of my acquaintance deny that he is a nihilist, and instead call him a rudderless pragmatist or assign him some other non-condemnatory appellation.

This is not observing his behavior and actions with any kind of objectivity. It is an evasion of the evidence of one’s senses. Waiting for Obamacare to collapse? Waiting for Obama to okay the Keystone Pipeline? Waiting for him to put together a “Coalition of the Reluctant” to combat ISIS? Waiting for him to rein in our lawless Attorney General, Eric Holder, or to order any number of federal agencies to stop spying and threatening private citizens and organizations that question federal power? Take a number.

There are certain statements in Andrew Bernstein’s “Immigration and the Welfare State” column that I take grave issue with.  The first is:

Open immigration is both morally right and economically beneficial.

I certainly do not disagree with that statement, but I would add this qualifier: In a free country.

Which it has become less and less of for well over a century.

Yes, immigrants in the past and in recent times have come to this country for the freedom to work and enjoy the fruits of their productivity. That was when the INS had semi-rational criteria on entrance to the country.  But waves of Muslims with their own colonizing and settlement  agenda and hordes of illegals from Mexico and points south have been streaming in almost unopposed. Mixed in with these numbers are also Muslims and jihadists of every terrorist stripe, especially now from ISIS. Not to mention criminals with records in their native countries.

Many illegals are not coming to America to reinvent the wheel. Many of them are coming and have come to game the welfare state, and are not truly “yearning to be free,” except on the dole.

Many readers here deny that is the case. But all they can do is talk, talk, talk the fine points of a philosophy of reason to prove their ideological purity, even in the face of their and America’s slow demise.  “We stand for open borders, never mind that we’re being swamped with illiterate aliens whose room and board and education we are expected to pay for; never mind many of them are diseased – many of them children now being seated in public school classrooms with native born American children; never mind the malevolent designs of a president who is seeking to bolster the Democrats’ death grip on this country, and who has demonstrated repeatedly his hostility to this country, to Western culture, and to Western civilization. None of that is important.”

They think and say this while they’re being eaten alive by the drooling beast of Obama’s policies. They refuse to contemplate the horrible notion that they and every other American have been “played.”

Well, what’s wrong, one might ask, with enrolling illegal immigrant children in school? Does any reader here seriously believe that they will be imbued with the American spirit of independence and self-reliance? If native born American children are being brainwashed by Common Core and anti-American curricula in their studies, and the leftwing teachers’ unions to regard themselves as unexceptional and that “they didn’t build that,” what are the chances of illiterate illegals having flashes of insight that our educational establishment is a scam and has been for decades.

I think one of the most off-base remarks made in “Immigration and the Welfare State” is:

In addition to the economic gain, there is an important security benefit to an open immigration policy. Since it is a great boon to an immigrant to be in the country legally rather than illegally, the overwhelming majority, given the choice, will walk in through the front door, thereby initiating the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. The flood of migrant workers seeking to illegally sneak across the Mexican border will reduce to a trickle. The money and manpower currently deployed to keep Mexican workers out of the country can then be used to keep Middle Eastern Islamic terrorists out of the country.

 Has the author ever heard of Obama’s blueprint for across the board “amnesty,” the Dream Act, of legislation sanctioning the instant, automatic citizenship, with full welfare state benefits, for numberless illegals? Isn’t this legislation grossly unfair to those who spent years working for their citizenship, and who might have had to wait years to gain admittance to the country per the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s now politically governed – and, frankly, racist –  rules?

And is Obama really interested in keeping Islamic terrorists out of the country? To judge by his actions and his policies – one of which is for the U.S.  to train “moderate” terrorists to combat “extreme” terrorists – I think not.

There is another statement by Bernstein that I take exception to. One of them is:

Some argue that because of America’s current welfare state, the country cannot afford an open immigration policy. This is false for two reasons. One is that a welfare state is pernicious to both those funding it and those parasitical off of it; the former, because they’re robbed—the latter because its perverse financial incentives support men’s most indolent premises, and seduce onto the dole many who could otherwise gain minimum wage employment. From purely humanitarian considerations, the welfare state must be irrevocably dismantled, regardless of America’s immigration policy.

Yes, the welfare state must be dismantled and abolished. But, when will that happen? Those who come here either game the welfare state or wind up depending on it. They are supposed to replace the “simpering Americans” who regard the country as a paradise of entitlement. How? Our economy is moribund and few new jobs – middle or low-paying – are being created, except in the “public sector.” We have an expanding public sector and an ever-shrinking private sector. Where are the new jobs going to materialize? In a command economy such as ours, which sector will see the greater growth?

My main point here, however, is that because we are living in a virtual state of siege – the “homeland” is now “Fortress America” that refuses to identify a hostile, murderous foreign enemy, Islam, hampered by a plethora of controls and prohibitions on virtually every aspect of American life – we are in a no-win conundrum that will only resolve itself with a political and concomitant philosophical collapse of the altruist morality that sustains an ever-omnivorous state – or a revolution.  These are scenarios which “official” Objectivists are reluctant to contemplate or discuss.

The Founders weren’t.


Burke said...

I asked one prominent Objectivist supporter of open immigration if his policy should be implemented by Israel. He stated that it should not because Israel is at war. I believe that the open immigration argument begins to fall apart as soon as one analyzes this view and begins to assess the nature and extent of threats that justify any war, including the threat of attacks at the ballot box by social democrats here. Their refusal to reconsider their views on this have reached the point of dogmatism that threatens not only the country but the credibility of Objectivism itself.

Edward Cline said...

Burke: I couldn't agree with you more. We are at war, with Islam, even though the government and Obama deny that we're at war with Islam. It seems that Obama also wants to repeat the grave error that Reagan made during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: arm the jihadists to fight jihadists (Reagan armed jihadists to fight the Soviets). One can only scratch one's head over the "official" Objectivist position on immigration.

Burke said...

I got the impression somewhere that Leonard Peikoff does not subscribe to the "official" Objectivist open immigration view, but I don't recall where.

Edward Cline said...

Grant Jones, unable to log into RoR, asked me to leave these comments which he left on Capitalism Magazine, as well:
The fundamental issue is by what standard should the United States base its immigration policy. It's either going to be the national self-interest as determined by the American people. Or, it's going to be the alleged right of foreign nationals to cross the border. There is no middle ground on this. The open immigration advocates think they can support national self-interest as the basic foreign policy while telling the American people they must sacrifice their interests and security in order to accommodate foreigners. The other question is whether the United States is a sovereign nation that has the legitimate authority to control who and what crosses its borders. Or, is the United States some post-modern entity that no longer possesses the fundamental attributes of the nation-state. The left, and their jihadists allies, want to destroy the nation-state. Erasing America's borders is a large step in that direction. Then nobody will have any rights to worry about, including the American people who have been sold out by their "open immigration" elites.

"People who work prefer lower taxes." !!! Tell that to the Californians inundating Colorado and other states. All they can think to do is recreate the bankrupt mess they fled. People from cultures saturated in mysticism, altruism and collectivism will support the logically concluding politics. The idea that immigrants are better than Americans and are really Jeffersonian-Republicans yearning to vote libertarian and write checks to the CATO Institute is nonsense.

Edward Cline said...

Burke: Your impression is correct. Go here for two Peikoff podcasts.

Leonard Peikoff on non-violent, “average” Muslims and their complicity in terrorism:

Peikoff on immigration:

What is the proper government attitude toward immigration? « Featured Podcast « Peikoff

Unknown said...

Burke: This shows the often outright hypocrisy of the open borders supporters.

Yes, Israel is at war but only with it's immediate neighbours. It is not at war with Islam per se. According to open borders types themselves, you must not tar all Muslims with the same brush, penalize someone for their ideology, so simply being being a Muslim is no reason to bar someone from entry.

Based on this, Israel MUST allow (and according to open borders fans, actually promote!)Islamic immigration, even on a mass scale, from countries like Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria etc., countries with which they are not at war.

This of course, would lead to the end of the Jewish state in Israel and quite probably their actual extermination but if the open borders types are being philosophically consistent (which is all that seems to matter to them), then this is the inevitable consequences of what they are promoting.

The only way they can argue for exempting Israel from mass immigration by Muslims is to suggest that somehow the lives of Jewish people are more important than other people and while it's okay for Europe to have mass immigration of Muslims, and thus have their countries become Islamic, with all the death and destruction that that would entail, it's not okay for it to happen to Jews because Israel must remain a Jewish state and lives of Israelis must be protected at all costs.

This is, of course, not only outrageously hypocritical, it's downright racist.

Edward Cline said...

In answer to a correspondent's comment that "open borders" means letting in the "diseased, the criminal, the terrorists, and the moochers,” I responded with: "Steve: I don't think Yaron Brook and Bernstein and all the supporters of "open borders" have sat back and thought through all the implications and consequences of an "open border" for this country They just want to be "consistent" with Objectivism, but have introduced a dangerous element of rationalism to the philosophy. They don't think "inside the box" of the philosophy, and are advocating breaking out of that box. This is liberatrainism, not Objectivism. A nation that has no will or ability to govern its borders, no longer has borders and is prey to any and all invaders, whether they're "immigrants" or armies, and is no longer an identifiable nation.

Case in point: When European settlers began colonizing North America, there were dozens of Indian tribes or so-called "nations" that had no government and no borders. As European civilization grew in North America, the "nations" retreated West, going to war with whatever other Indian tribes they encountered along the way and which had vegetated and remained stagnant for as many centuries as the East Coast Indians had. The thing to remember is that these were tribes, not political entities. The Apaches and Arapahos and Cheyenne were descendants of East Coast tribes. Out West, they made war on the more indigenous and sedentary Indian tribes and wiped them out. But in no instance, not even with the wiped out tribes, were the new-coming Indians a political entity. They were nomads, going where they pleased and warring with other tribes.

Environmentalists they weren't; they were slash and burn people when they decided to settle in one spot for a while and grow things, and ran thousands of buffalo off of cliffs to collect just a few hides and chunks of meat. But they did not represent political entities or systems.

It's a libertarian notion that freedom is a "spontaneous" phenomenon constrained by government. "Rights" are just there, to be picked out of the air. It's no wonder that they despised Rand, and that Rand despised them. They eschewed any philosophical system on which any political system had to be based, whether it was Anarchy or Nazism or Communism or laissez-faire capitalism. I fail to see how the advocates of open borders can reconcile Objectivism with open borders, but they seem to think they are doing it while denying it's libertarianism and denying any pernicious consequences to this country.

I might add, parenthetically, that Muslims are governed by as primitive and anti-intellectual a code of morality as were the American Indians, with the difference being that Islam is from toe to head totalitarian with its Koran-governed plethora of arbitrary diktats, while the Indians lacked even a "holy book" that told them what to do and think.

Burke said...

The open borders advocates focus on the rights of immigrants and ignore-or blank out-the fact that few of them have any regard for our rights (as evidenced by how they nearly all vote for statists when they can). The question has elements in common with the dubious claim that we are not at war with Islamic terrorists and must confront them as ordinary criminals to be tried in the criminal justice system rather than killed in war. But the fact is that we are faced with an invasion that the criminal justice system is impotent to protect us from, as we can plainly see today-one that will destroy us if not stopped. The only solution is closed borders and an orderly immigration system with objective immigration laws.

Michael Neibel said...

Good incisive article. It's not easy to challenge some ideas held by those one admires and respects. But it must be done if cognitive clarity is to be achieved.

I will only add that for decades if not generations, immigration policy has been treated almost exclusively as a domestic policy problem. It isn't. It's also a foreign policy problem. The question must be asked why don't the nations south of us create in their nations the conditions i.e. the political conditions that exist here in our country so that their people don't have to come here in droves? This and related questions must be asked. Once the answers are written down on paper they can then be addressed.

I do agree though that in a nutshell, in order to have an open door policy we must have a house with a door that can be opened. We don't have that now. That is what needs to be discussed in our halls of Congress both in terms of domestic and foreign policy,

Edward Cline said...

Michael Nebel et al.: I might have added to the column some remarks on how our domestic and foreign policies via the INS (and now the DHS) have incorporated a demonstrably racist practice of favoring "dark skinned" immigrants over white. It takes years for Europeans, once they apply for entrance, to wait in line and actually arrive here to begin their climb to citizenship. Coming here with a green or residence card helps, and also marrying an American citizen, but those routes are also subject to censure by the INS. In the meantime, the flow inward of Muslims is unabated. Some enter with two or more wives, or acquire up to four who are put on welfare, as well as the "husbands." Then there's the racket practiced by Mexicans and other Latinos, as well as Muslims, of "anchor babies." The Supreme Court ruling that illegals and foreigners can't be denied American welfare benefits really doesn't help, either. But all these tactics and subterfuges are grossly unfair to foreigners and others, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity, who have invested years trying to obtain American citizenship. The Social Security Administration has been handing illegals from the south American passports and SS numbers, according to some non-MSN news outlets. Topping it all off, of course, is Obama's literal invitation to an invasion over the southern border.

lilarose4truth said...

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