Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Whither Immigration?

I've been hearing comments like this from our brethern on the right:

Normally, I am the first in line to support my party and the President. The Immigration fiasco/sellout that President Bush and others are pushing has caused me to rethink things. I declined to donate anymore until immigration is fixed. By fixed I mean border control first-funded, built and staffed, then legalization/visas as separate law next. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted By W. Brucker, MD, Eau Claire, Wisconsin : June 18, 2007 5:16 pm
This was over on CNN.com.

For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand immigration outside of a frankly racist context.

I do not understand what Dr. Brucker, of Eau Claire for heavens' sake, is so excited about. We have any number of flagrant law violations in our society, but the "failure to control our border" seems to be especially irksome. Don't know why this is so. It wasn't, say, 18 months ago, nor for the previous 400 years that Europeans have been here. So I'm not sure why this is so urgent. (But then again, I was never clear on the urgency to confront Saddam Hussein's failure to adhere to the UN's instructions either. It must be me.)

Nor can I see why English is so damn important. Folks on the right are happy with the market shaping our society, at least when it comes to who can afford health care or higher education or have job security, etc. (Some of the most extreme want the government to stop regulating the purity of foods or the safety of consumer products on the grounds that the markets provide more effective and more efficient protection than the hated government regulation.) But when it comes to speaking a language, or regulating who can have sex with whom, etc., all of a sudden the market is irrelevant and there is a moral imperative.

People have been not speaking English on this continent since humans first came here. Since the founding of our little Republic, there has been constant and in many cases uninterrupted non-English speaking. And we have all survived. Why is it now all of a sudden critical to somehow or other find a way to inflict some kind of painful consequence on those who do not speak this particular language?

I fear that too large a proportion of our population has gone round the bend for good, much as happened in the 1830s-1860, when nearly half of us were 110% certain that any tinkering with slavery would assuredly cause the loss of everything of value, so much so that nearly half of us were ready to fight and die for it. Whatever one's views of the causes of the Civil War, it is certainly undeniable that bloodshed was unavoidable or desirable. It was stupid then, and the same insistence on sticking our heads in the sand now is just as stupid now.

Vive la Revolution!

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