Friday, November 4, 2016

But What Could He Do?

     Among the most valuable non-fiction books of recent years, I would put Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. Before it was published, commentators hardly gave the changing shape of American demographics the time of day. Since then, demographic changes and trends have been regular features of many political analysts’ emissions.

     Demography having become a key factor in American elections, Steyn’s most recent column is back on the subject:

     I noted the other day that today's swing states - North Carolina, Arizona - were yesterday's red states. How'd that happen? Tim Alberta takes a crack at the question in a piece headlined "Can The GOP Overcome Demographic Change In Red States?"...

     From my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore):

     According to the Census, in 1970 the "Non-Hispanic White" population of California was 78 percent. By the 2010 census, it was 40 percent. Over the same period, the 10 percent Hispanic population quadrupled and caught up with whites.

     That doesn't sound terribly "natural" does it? If one were informed that, say, the population of Nigeria had gone from 80 percent black in 1970 to 40 percent black today, one would suspect something rather odd and unnatural had been going on. Twenty years ago, Rwanda was about 14 percent Tutsi. Now it's just under 10 percent. So it takes a bunch of Hutu butchers getting out their machetes and engaging in seven-figure genocide to lower the Tutsi population by a third. But, when the white population of California falls by half, that's "natural," just the way it is, one of those things, could happen to anyone.

     The "sweeping and unprecedented demographic transformation" is not natural, but rather the conscious result of government policy enthusiastically supported by one-and-a-half parties in America's two-party state, and accepted with weary fatalism by most of the rest, including Tim Alberta.

     As usual, Steyn hits the jugular. The “government policy” at issue is, of course, the more or less bipartisan decision, never explicitly announced, to cease to maintain control of immigration and the national borders.

     Really, given that change in federal policy, what but a swift flood of persons from poorer and less free countries – especially the ones closest to us – could we have reasonably expected? It’s certainly what we got, especially in the West and Southwest. Nor does the tide appear likely to reverse itself.

     Our immigration debacle has been a primary component of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency. His plan to wall off the southern border is one of his best known proposals. As popular as it’s been with his supporters, it’s roiled the stomachs of the GOP establishment. Alongside major Republican donors’ supposed affection for cheap labor, the luminaries of the Grand Old Party dislike to take a firm stand on anything these days. A firm stand on immigration law enforcement and border control is particularly frightening to them.

     Steyn continues thus:

     As to what "Trump cannot deliver", he certainly cannot reverse the last fifty years. But he can change government policy, and thereby slow down a "demographic transformation" Americans of Lee and Pam's generation never sought....[I]mmigration is not a tsunami: It is a public policy enabled by the political class and enforced by the bureaucracy. Demography is destiny, but the erasure of the national borders is not demography: it's a political choice.

     True as far as it goes, but – and I hate to say it about an observer of the political scene as astute as Steyn – he’s got hold of the wrong end of the issue.


     Pressure against a national border is a matter of the incentives that apply to it. The incentives pertinent to the pressure against our southern border are primarily economic: opportunities for economic advancement on the north side that are few and far between on the south side.

     A physical barrier against illegal land entry to the United States is a good idea, but it will not suffice to stem the tide. There are many ways into a country with an eight thousand mile perimeter. Not all of them can be physically obstructed. The genuinely determined will penetrate the land route even after a sturdy wall is put there, as the tunnels from Northern Mexico into the U.S. should make clear. To stanch the flow of illegal aliens, the federal and state governments must eliminate the incentives that propel them.

     The most important policy changes would be:

  • Elimination of the “anchor baby” possibility;
  • Elimination of all government benefits bestowed upon illegal aliens, including public education;
  • Exemption of hospitals and clinics from the laws that mandate treatment of illegal aliens;
  • Punishment of illegal entry by a prison term rather than mere deportation.
  • Punishment of businesses found to hire illegals by a heavy fine or outright dissolution;
  • Punishment of “sanctuary” organizations and municipalities in a similar fashion.

     Could a Trump Administration bring about those changes? Unclear. Trump would favor them, but the GOP caucuses in Congress would be largely opposed to them. At least one – the “anchor baby” matter – would raise Constitutional questions that would be fought all the way to the Supreme Court, where the outcome would be difficult to predict. Nevertheless, only such changes would lessen the pressure against our southern border to a manageable, endurable level. A wall alone won’t do the job.


     Permit me a few unusually contentious words about the nature of this country.

     America was originally settled by white Europeans, mostly from England, France, and the Netherlands. Those persons brought their religious, moral, and civic values with them. Those values are embedded in America’s political structure as expressed in the Constitution of the United States and the various state charters. Had the populace been of another stock, it’s unlikely our political order would be what it is.

     The wave of immigrants from middle, southern, and eastern Europe that took place in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries respected what it found here and adapted to it. That was due to several factors:

  • The orderly nature of the immigration, which was well managed by the port authorities;
  • The insistence of existing Americans upon the assimilation of the immigrants to American norms;
  • The sharp limits upon American government in that era;
  • The racial makeup of the new immigrants;
  • The dominant Christianity of those immigrants.

     Race and religion were critical to the assimilation. There were almost no Negroes or Muslims in the immigrant wave. While there were thousands of Jewish families in the tide, they respected the Christian framework of the society they found and accepted that it was not theirs to change.

     It wasn’t only the political structure of America that those immigrants assimilated to; they also accepted its culture. Though ethnic communities such as “little Italys” and “German towns” did form, their residents didn’t regard those communities as legally or politically separate from what surrounded them, nor did they expect to replace the surrounding culture with their own.


     Not long ago, I released an unusual (for me) novelette titled “A Place Of Our Own.” Though it was written as part of a “challenge” posed by another writer and concerns a sub-population distinguished neither by race nor by ethnicity nor by creed, I found it to be a jumping-off point for thoughts about the powerful tendency of the races, creeds, and ethnicities to self-segregate.

     Everyone wants a place of his own. The most obvious expression of that desire is the acquisition of private property: home ownership. Yet we also see it among the races and ethnicities – remember those “little Italys,” et cetera? – at an almost equal intensity. Also, there are nations built on the premise of a “homeland” for a particular religion, Israel and Saudi Arabia being the most prominent examples.

     The most effective antidote for the frictions that exist among the races, ethnicities, and religions has always been separation, with interactions governed by formal structures such as markets. It remains so today. Yet this clashes with the common notion that America is a “propositional nation,” which “should” be open to all who are willing to abide by its Constitutional principles. By that premise, anyone willing to say “Yeah, sure” when asked if he regards the Constitution to be acceptable as the Supreme Law of the Land gets a ticket to the show.

     But that hasn’t worked.

     I rather doubt that a Trump Administration could make most of the sweeping changes I noted above. However, in the absence of those changes, we will see continued intense pressure against our borders and a steady increase of the tensions and fears that have beset American life.

     Those tensions and fears will cause ever more of us, desperate for “A Place Of Our Own,” to self-segregate. The racial, ethnic, and creedal enclaves that result will enforce unofficial borders that will horrify the bien-pensants. They’ll amp up their proclamations about “racism” and pieties about how “we’re really all alike.” Note, however that that’s a proposition to which their well-guarded redoubts give lip service and nothing more.

7 comments:

  1. "Could a Trump Administration bring about those changes? Unclear. Trump would favor them, but the GOP caucuses in Congress would be largely opposed to them."

    All too often, Presidential candidates over-promise and under-deliver. Most of that seems driven by their (and the electorate's) lack of understanding of the limitations on Executive Branch powers. As you have stated (through the words of Stephen Sumner), the President shouldn't -- and can't -- have a legislative agenda. Regarding new law, all he can do is either approve or veto laws sent to him by Congress. Thus, there is very little a President can do to reverse the trends put in place by "our" congress-critters. And he certainly can't direct changes to the budget that would be needed to build a wall.

    What most Presidents seem to ignore, however, is that the Executive branch is supposed to be concerned with upholding and enforcing the law. A President Trump may not be able to build a wall, or change any laws that would do much to stem the tide of illegal immigration, but he CAN remove much of the motivations of these invaders.

    As the head of the Executive branch, he can direct the chief law enforcement official of the US (the head of the DoJ) to strictly, vigorously, and with extreme prejudice, ENFORCE the laws regarding the employment of those not eligible to work in this country. With one stroke of the pen, he could direct DoJ to impose maximum penalties on EMPLOYERS of illegal aliens for each infraction; with audits and inspections that would exceed those that the IRS use against conservatives. He could also direct all other departments that redistribute our tax dollars or other assistance to audit that distribution and cease all payments to anyone who does not have legal status in the US.

    In line with this would be a direction for the Social Security Administration to audit their records to ensure all registered SSNs are held by people who are: A) Alive and B) US citizens. More generally, he could direct that ALL government services be allocated only to those with legal standing.

    Finally, he could (and should) stop all federal dollars going to any state or municipality that does not likewise enforce immigration law. He must end, once and for all, the practice of "sanctuary cities."

    By removing the motivation for illegal immigration, and the ability for these law-breakers to continue to be supported, I believe we would see a great reduction in the flow into our borders, as well as a helpful amount of self-deportation as the law-breakers as they realize their undeserved gov't largess has been cut off.

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  2. I second Mr. Clausen and I dearly hope Trump gets the advice and has the guts to do so.

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  3. I agree that removal of incentives and enforcement of disincentives are vital. The wall and/or vigorous patrolling may not form a hermetic seal but they will also drastically reduce the invasion leaving entry only to the most motivated of foreigners. The mantra of comprehensive immigration reform is sickening on most any day. What that means is amnesty and a "pathway to citizenship" (like I care) but comprehensive to me means removing incentives, as you argue, and physical barriers.

    The problem isn't, of course, a lack of methods to solve the "immigration crisis" but the existence of traitors who work night and day to flood the founding peoples of this nation with foreigners who desire nothing more than to displace and subjugate them.

    Internal segregation may be all that we can come up with given the presence of those traitors but such half measures just are not our unavoidable destiny.

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  4. "Elimination of all government benefits bestowed upon illegal aliens, including public education;
    "Exemption of hospitals and clinics from the laws that mandate treatment of illegal aliens"
    Correct, and my version of the above would read "Elimination of all government benefits ... including all parents, grandparents and older siblings of legal citizens who can not be shown to have entered the U.S. legally"
    The "instant legalization" of illegal aliens by judicial fiat (when WAS that decision, and by whom, anyway?) has got to stop.

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  5. We need a candidate who will campaign on these promises by saying "I will vigorously and righteously enforce all immigration laws to the maximum extent possible!" And then (correctly) present the opponent's objections as campaigning against following the law of the land.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of politicians are only interested in developing new laws. As with firearms, they refuse to enforce and make use of existing laws that would solve most (if not all) of the current problems.

    Which clearly demonstrates that they are not interested in solving any problems, but only wish to gain more power for themselves. I fear Mr. Trump will be no better, but will certainly not be as disastrous for the US as Ms. Clinton.

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  6. I agree with most of your proposals but fining localities that serve as safe sanctuaries is worse than useless because it doesn't punish the lawbreakers rather than whipping the inhabitants who'd probably oppose sanctuary status in the first place. The leaders down to the fourth trier should be fined as a RICO organization.

    Remove their property and jail them. After one case watch such sanctuaries disappear.

    All future legislation must be passed removing such restrictions against citizenship and immigration from the jurisdiction of the federal court system. To ignore this is to invite a degenerate result, it was the courts that forced illegals to be educated and cared for.

    Birthright citizenship needs to be changed-hell why should Jane Fonda or the Clintons be citizens? Citizenship should be earned rather than given out like Halloween candy.

    I suggest:
    No felonies.
    21 years of age.
    Must pay inccome taxes.
    Must have served in the military, police, fire fighting, or medical fields for three years, five years for medical.
    Must have been born in the USA and if not legally resided in the USA for five years and demonstrated the ability to speak English and read it at least a 6th grade level.
    Demonstrate that you are drug and alcohol addiction free.
    Demonstrate you have been gainfully employed for three years and are currently employed.

    Failure to maintain these criteria would remove citizenship status.

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  7. The headline of Mr. Alberta's article presupposes the GOP does not see themselves benefiting from the demographic shift. Given their behaviour they must think they are/are going to benefit.

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