How to learn to stop worrying and shrug off Amnesty.
Or Part I of This Is No Time To Go Wobbly
I’m baffled about the reactions to the amnesty bill around the web. One side thinks it will be a good thing and that it will erase, at the stroke of a legislative pen, thousands of years of history and learned culture and make the people living in our midst and not integrating as American as Apple Pie. They’re wrong, of course – and I’ll explain.
The other side thinks it’s the end of the US as we know it. They are also wrong (though the end of the US as we know it right now is sort of in the cards, anyway, but that’s not the end of the US as constituted) though for reasons that are not as immediately obvious and that will take a little while to explain because the misconceptions in this case are shared by both sides (and a little funny for someone who has been alive and aware the last few years, but I guess those centuries of culture and ingrained history are hard to shrug off too, even when they’re not working as expected.)
I will concede that the amnesty bill passing, (and our betters DO seem to be determined to shove it down our throats) will hasten a collapse but it says nothing on what will come after. And the collapse I’ve known is coming for at least two years, the only question being now or later, hard or soft landing. Passing the amnesty will prejudice it towards near term and hard landing. Is that worse than long term and soft? I don’t know. My friend Bill Reader thinks it would be best short term and hard – that the disruption will be shorter and what’s coming better – but I’m a wussy. On the other hand, his arguments have long sounded convincing to me. I just prefer long and soft because I’ve experienced it before and know coping strategies.
I’ll add that long term and soft might be impossible in any case, because the whole world is crashing and it all feeds on each other (and part of the reason is that the US has been propping up the tent a long time. Our president misunderstood the resentment abroad. He thought the prosperity of the US was holding other people down. This is Marxism, which is a mystical religion with zero contact points with the real world. In fact, the rest of the world resented us because we were enabling them to be semi-prosperous and not giving them the kick in the fundament they so sorely needed, and also because they knew they depended on us. They were in fact like forty year olds (still) living in their father’s basement, and resenting the father with every fiber of their being. Worse, I think the US is more of a mother, since we tend to be all soft and cooing and supporting. Part of the resentment he encountered in Europe on this tour is that people are starting to realize he’s removed the pole from the tent of world economy. They’re still not admitting to it, consciously, but subconsciously they know it.) The hard landing might hit us anyway.
Again, erase ideas of running around cooking neighbors au gratin. Even a hard landing is not that bad. And even during a hard landing, some people do very well indeed, both those with the hard skills to do things that need done (maintain infrastructure, build needed stuff, even cook and clean – skills we’ve almost forgotten in our hyper-prosperous times) and people who can provide escapism: musicians, story tellers, writers, even artists, if they can pull you away from the dreary circumstances for a moment. (I’ve mentioned before that at the hardest point of our economic life, a kid, an income that fell short a few hundred a month, no friends in town – Columbia SC – and 20k in debt, we spent what amounted to a week’s worth of grocery money to buy an illustrated book of DaVinci’s art. The reason we did that was that leafing through it didn’t quite give me hope, but it lifted me out of the awful circumstances we were living in and improved my mood for hours.)
A collapse is bad, but it’s not Mad Max. Envision a somewhat worse Great Depression where the government isn’t able to give you make work (which might be better in the long run.) We’ll still have the net. We’ll still have what infrastructure we have. Many regions will be perfectly functional, but some will go under spectacularly. Mostly the regions you expect: I wouldn’t give a groat for the chances of either Detroit or New Orleans and Chicago will get “interesting.” There you might get a sort of poor man’s Mad Max.
Yes, some people will starve. Unfortunately a lot of those will be those who have trouble treading water in the world as is right now. And I don’t mean just the homeless. You live in fandom, many of you. Look to your friends and less plugged-in-to-reality acquaintances. Help where you can. The water will get very choppy. Note I’m not saying we should let them starve – those of us who can afford to help, should. We’re trying to ensure we can survive AND help others – I think that’s everyone’s duty.
Because the crash is coming whether amnesty comes or not. To that it’s irrelevant, save for maybe hurrying it.
Now, amnesty proper – what those (yes, even Libertarians) pushing the bill forget is double edged: first, culture is persistent. You cannot decide to change the culture on a whim. (That’s a progressive experiment and look how their experiments always end, because the human isn’t that plastic.) Unlike a lot of people both on the left and right I vehemently oppose the idea that culture is genetic, but I KNOW how they got the idea. Culture is persistent. You absorbed it from your parents, and you pass some of it on to your kids whether you mean to or not. Culture is also community. This means that Second, to acculturate is to die a little. I’ve mentioned before my regrets, my soul-ache at the idea that I had to leave behind my family in Portugal and everything I shared with them. You might not understand that this means more than just “I can’t spend much time with them.” In a way I had to die a little. I had to disconnect myself from the person I was, back there. It’s now visible to me only through a veil. I can sort of remember why I did things, but I can’t always understand them. When I go back, the body language, the interactions, everything is strange to me, and it hurts with the duality of knowing I was once of them – I once belonged there.
When you renounce all allegiances foreign and domestic and really undertake to become American, it’s more than a legal thing. You’re renouncing part of yourself.
I’m not lamenting. I wanted it that badly, and always felt a little foreign in Portugal.
But there are two requirements – you have to want it badly. You have to want to be American, and be willing to lop off parts of you that don’t fit. This is my some number of immigrants either go back, or they come to resent the host country. They want to do this and can’t, and blame the host country for “requiring” it. This is a fallacy. America doesn’t require it. It requires it less than any other country.
And that’s problem one of the idea that legalizing illegal aliens will make them American.
Let’s start with who they are and why they’re here. Most them are here through dire economic need (which is why I don’t hold breaking the law against them.) And most of them came here by land, and can go home in less than a day. Most of them have been living at the edges, viewing the US as an alien body on which they feed.
They bring their culture with them. They come here in big groups, speak their language, behave in the ways that were appropriate back in the home country. Have to. Attempts at integrating and “acting American” will be punished by their community (trust me on this, this was true even among exchange students.)
“Oh, you are just saying that. You realize that Italians, Irish, Germans, Jews, all of those also came here in big groups; many came in illegally; they lived at the margins and held the old line, but they all have integrated.”
Yes, of course. I also realize high crime in those communities remained high for a generation or two, as the integration was taking place. Because those people had come here not for a great love of our laws but to find streets paved with gold, it took two to three generations to integrate.
The difference is this: back then we expected immigrants to integrate. There was no “Push one for Spanish, push two for Serb-Croat, push fifty for Cantonese.” Because it was assumed culture was not genetic (look, it isn’t. Truly. If it were, you’d all be living like people in the fertile crescent. Okay, even accounting for evolution and genetic drift, not very far off) it was not cruel to require people to learn English to transact official business. Nor was it considered evil to say you should leave your public/political culture behind, or that frankly we don’t much care what race you think you are, you should become American now.
Also, most of those immigrants couldn’t live here and keep in complete contact with the people back home. I have to tell you even with the best will to acculturate, I might not be able to do it now – it required a distance, an inability to keep in touch with the people at home for no cost every day. The internet would have made that very difficult. As I said, you have to die a little.
With people from north, central and south America, people on the same continent it’s harder. What you get is what I saw when I was a kid in Portugal: people would go off and work in France, or Germany, or England, but they’d come “home” for every holiday, their kids would be baptized at “home”, they’d get married at “home” (and if you could at all arrange it to someone of Portuguese stock, if not someone in the mother country.) And then the kids would either settle in Portugal or resume their back and forth ways. Because these weren’t permanent migrants. They worked until they could build a house back home. Then if they found they ran into financial trouble, they went back. In the host countries, they never integrated (though a lot became citizens, for the benefits.) They just lived in their communities, and went back home when needed.
Getting French or German citizenship was an aim, not because they wanted to become part of those countries, whom they always viewed as alien, but because they wanted to collect pensions (being able to claim disability was a big coup) and retirement, which allowed them to live like kings at home, where life was cheaper.
Those who stayed and integrated did it because places like France have an unapologetic integrationist policy (or did. If they still have it, it’s not working for the Muslims.) You went to kindergarten at three, you were taught to be FRENCH. No other languages allowed in the school (I know this because one of my little cousins grew up in France) and no nonsense about wherever you came from. You got the history of glorious France, you were taught to sing the Marseillese, and you got told that you should WANT to be French. Some of those kids still returned to Portugal, but about half, I’d judge, became French.
Now add to that the poisonous mix of our education– our universities and the culture-in-the-genes, race and grievance theorists in those. Heck, even in our high schools. Oh, forget that, even elementary, where they tried to shame me into “passing on your children’s culture” as though, you know, it were their culture when they’d spent a total of maybe a month in touch with it. Also, of course, it was their “culture” even though his father’s family has been in the US since the first English immigrants arrived in New England. Because foreign cultures are magic, and one drop and all that.
The second generation of these legalized illegals will not be taught that they are to be AMERICAN. Instead, they’ll be given every incentive to identify with a mother country they don’t even know that well, to romanticize it, and, in the west, to think they have a “racial” right to these lands.
This will not end well. There is no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. The only way those people assimilate is if they get put through the grinder and go through h*ll with the rest of us and have to pick sides.
Fortunately the gods of the copybook headings look about ready to administer that correction, amnesty or not.
The people who support the amnesty are either starry eyed idealists or – the majority – crooks who think they can import a new electorate.
This might have worked fine twenty years ago. Now it won’t. The problem is that they’re drinking their own ink. And so is the right, for different reasons.
First – 46 million? … does anyone believe that number? I don’t. It might very well have been that, at the beginning of this mess, but look here, La Gran Salida is REAL. You might not see it in your area, but I see it in mine. Look, our local neighborhood grocery store, so small I have trouble finding anything not routine, was starting to stock magazines in Spanish in 2007. In fact, the majority of magazines were in Spanish. And the Walmart in the not so good part of town (yes, I shop there, deal) might as well be in Mexico. Products, signs, magazines, people shopping. It was easier to find stuff for quincenera parties than for prom.
Now? Well, first the Spanish magazines receded from the local grocery, then from the larger grocery, and now Walmart is… not Spanish. I mean, the big signs are bilingual, I think that’s company policy, but not the products or the stuff that’s pushed, and certainly not the magazines, the music or the movies. As for the people shopping, you see the occasional Hispanic family, but more often than not the kids and I are the only ones who look it. (The kids more than I, frankly.)
More importantly, even in the craiglist for Denver you rarely see an ad in Spanish anymore.
Yes, there was a massive tide into the US, but the tide has receded. Look, these people come here for opportunities they don’t have in their own lands. If the opportunities aren’t there, they go away.
The same applies to our government’s insane idea (and yes, they’re doing this. No, I can no longer find the link) of courting people in Mexico to come here for the benefits. Yes, this is treasonous. Yes, this is crazy. No, this doesn’t mean they’re winning. When they’re courting immigrants because “we’ll give you cash and you won’t have to work” they’re admitting we’re no longer attracting immigrants for the usual reasons.
The amnesty bill and its idea they can just get a new electorate hinges on the idea the US is infinitely attractive. Marxists believe this, because they believe that the wealth inheres on the locale and “natural resources” which is why they ruin places like Venezuela because they THINK it can’t be ruined. And they think the US will remain “rich” no matter how they redistribute. So they think it will always be attractive. The rest of us think of the US as infinitely attractive because we’re mad in love with the IDEA of the US. But it’s time to wake up. A poor place is NOT going to attract immigrants in droves, particularly immigrants from a warmer climate, where the living is easier in pure food/residence terms.
So, the pushers of amnesty can’t get what they want, and those on the right shouldn’t think all is lost. The wave that comes in won’t be very big. Now, the financial drain WILL be massive. Why? Everyone who can afford to will come back, claim citizenship (on paper it will be a horde) then take benefits back to Mexico.
This will speed the financial crash, but it was coming anyway. I think Obamacare will do to the economy what pouring cement into an engine will do. It could stop a healthy economy and no matter how much they lie, this one isn’t even half healthy. To be blunt, it’s already on life support.
That means at some point there will be no mo’ benefits, not for half-baked citizens and not for others either. As I said, prepare your landing pad, and prepare to help others whom you care for.
The other assumptions baked into this amnesty bill are that:
Things will go on as they are, more or less forever, boom or bust, the US will come through and remain the house that FDR built, giving benefits to everyone who comes in. Built into this amnesty is the expectation of another and another and another – none of them creating citizens, but bringing in a people who are used to having an “overclass” over them. These people who want this fancy themselves that “overclass.”
Third world immigration is infinite because their population is exploding. Again, I can’t prove this, but I’ve been in some of these countries (I grew up in one at the edge of it) and more, I have friends who have worked in others. Yes, on paper third world population is exploding. In reality this doesn’t seem to be true. Most third world countries have built in assumptions of both racial virility “look how many children we produce” and of getting money per-capita from international charities and other civic bodies. Yes, we see a lot of immigration from Arab countries, but it’s not that their population is exploding, so much, as that they’re so extremely bad at providing for the population they have. Look, Russians are immigrating to Portugal, and no one can claim Russians have an exploding population. Usually buried in all of this is the statistical fact that immigrant populations behave like the native population in terms of births from the second generation on. (Latins? The US? Well, Mexicans DO come over the border to give birth. Why not? Double the benefits. And our law keeps accreting people to the category – takes a bow – yours truly, for instance. And there’s benefit in claiming the exotic side of your ancestry, so children of mixed marriage are “Hispanic.” I’m not surprised the majority of births in the US are Hispanic. I’m surprised, given incentives to the contrary, anyone is still officially “white.”)
One third to one half of the world population is now forever unemployable and will have to be cared for by a governmental apparatus that must make sure they survive, as a sort of forever-underclass.
This is nonsense. They came up with the same under Carter. It’s bokum. Until 07 our unemployment rate was miniscule. Europe’s was massive. Are Europeans that much dumber? No. Just regulated out the hair roots. You pay for security in lack of opportunity.
They also assume tech will remain about the same. Or at least that it won’t affect things much. They’re insane. They’re still in denial about what computers are doing. It is possible there would be a big crash coming even without political shenanigans, which don’t help. Why? Because the changes in the way at least half (more like two thirds) of the people work that are already in the process of happening, would in the end have hit national economies hard. I’ll explain this in other parts, but honestly, our government apparatus belongs to the early twentieth century and it works well enough for big industry, big media, big cities. It can’t survive in a time of individual operators. It can make everything crash. But then the rebuilding will come. Perhaps it’s ironical that the stripped-down principles of government laid down at our founding would work best as far as I can see. They might force ourselves on the new world – which would prove our founders were truly ahead of their time.
What you have to think about is that in a world where you can work remote practically anywhere, the place you live in matters less; there will be movement from expensive to cheap places; we’ll also lose a lot of commercial real estate value (it’s already happening.) You can change some of those to residential, but note that that is also not blooming. The 2008 crash is nothing to it. Then think of food, transportation, schooling. All of that will change radically in ten years.
Will there be a crash? Of course there will. Though whether it looks like a crash or frantic rebuilding, it’s up to you to guess.
In the middle of all this trying to get a lot of third world peasants to come live in a country that is often inhospitable climate wise, for the sake of benefits soon to go away is forlorn. You can for a while import a virtual army of citizens, who don’t really live here, pay no taxes, but collect benefits and vote the way you want them to. It might see you through one or two election cycles.
But then things crash, as they become more and more divorced from reality and the gods of the copy book headings descend.
ALL amnesty can do is speed the crash. Well… it’s not my favorite way to deal with the inevitable, and I’d like more time to prepare. But we’ll have to prepare faster.
Don’t jump off the ledge, guys. There’s work to be done.