Back when I was giving birth to second son (when I gave birth to first son, it took too long and I don’t remember most of it) I went to that hyper rational, coolly detached place I go when I start getting drunk. And I realized with blinding clarity that birth pain was necessary. If we didn’t have that, what would it mean is that women might genuinely forget that they’d given birth. So evolutionarily, birth pain serves a purpose.
I remember twenty or thirty years back, some kid died during hazing to a fraternity. I didn’t fully get it and still don’t. There is no Greek system in Portugal and my husband never joined a fraternity. (What would a fraternity for mathematicians be? The infinite Pi?) But one of the guys being interviewed said that if there was no “price” for entry, nothing to go through to get in, how would people value it?
I’m not sure about that because I don’t know how much one should value a frat membership (this is not a put down. I just don’t “get” the whole system.)
In the same way I know a lot of what the military and other organizations does is to break you into their mold, but the rest is to make you value being a member.
What does all this have to do with immigration? Oh, quite a whole lot.
First let me say right here, that yes, I think we should control our borders. A country that can’t control its borders is not a country. It’s Tragedy of the Commons on a grand scale.
But where I disagree with people who run around saying “the most important thing to do is to stop illegal immigration” is that they make me think of when my husband went to the doctor coughing blood and the the doctor told him “the important thing is not this pneumonia. It’s that you gained 40lbs.”
Yes, that he’d gained 40 lbs was a serious problem and one that the doctor couldn’t deal with, because he didn’t realize there was an underlying problem and assumed we were eating butter fried in lard for every meal.
BUT the most immediate problem, and the one that would kill my husband faster, left untreated, was that he had walking pneumonia.
In the same way, we have a massive problem with illegal immigration, sure, but those huge numbers bandied about hide the fact they’re still a tiny percentage and that a lot left when the economy soured, so that now the statists are limited to the children’s crusade to try to have net positive immigration.
Our problem with LEGAL immigration is just as bad, both in what it does — mistake itself for a charity organization that brings in people from the poorest and most backward countries by preference, with no regard to the chasms between the cultures or their potential usefulness — and in what it fails to do — make it almost impossible to bring in educated people who will be a plus value, except via the subterfuge of workers’ visas that put these people forever at the mercy of their employers.
Both streams of immigrants present a danger to the republic, not because of their ethnicity or skin color — is it just me? I’ve run into more neo-nazis in the last month than the entire ten years online before that — but because they are not only being encouraged never to assimilate to American mainstream culture, but because they are encouraged to see in every act of awkwardness, ignorance or passing stupidity an insult to their ethnicity or a contributor to their victimhood.
They’re taught to come to our country and join the victim Olympics, and claim how mistreated they are, and hold out their hand and think they’re owed.
In fact, any immigrant who assimilates is treated as if he or she is doing it wrong. (Ask me how I know? Officialdom despises people like me.)
And there we come to the walking pneumonia that’s killing our country.
It’s taught in our schools. It’s the church our elites pray at. It’s what every immigrant imbibes from day one. He’s asked where he comes from and encouraged to say how his land is better than America.
It takes a stubborn and determined person to hold off against the temptation to let memory and homesickness gild the place they came from with all virtues. And it takes even more determination to acculturate despite the pressure NOT to.
I’m a stubborn cuss. I have will power to spare. Even so it was difficult and painful to adapt to a new way of living, of thinking, to a new language, to a new frame of cultural reference. In a way it was like dying a little.
No one will do it without incentive, and we give them no incentive.
Our problem is not immigration. It’s that most of these people never immigrate. They just come over and live here, and take advantage of our systems, but they remain loyal to “back home” and never think of themselves as Americans.
Most of our kids — at least if we don’t intervene at home — are taught to be ashamed to be Americans. Most of the children of immigrants are taught to think of a place they never lived in as their homeland and think it vastly superior to America. They’re only here for the benes, which you owe them, because America is responsible for every evil in the world.
Stopping the influx of immigrants won’t fix this. Not only do the children and grandchildren of immigrants, to the seventh generation and more, not think of themselves as of us, BUT our own children don’t think America is so great or anything to protect.
To fix this we must first fix our education. Yes, I did say we should not only abolish the department of education, we should whip it through the streets, barefoot and tied to the tail of a donkey. But that’s not enough. Even people homeschooling will come across Zinn’s historical lies. Every school book is based on the People’s History of the United States and the man was a CPUSA party member and Soviet mole. (As Sam Anderson said, the problem is that we lost the cold war. Objectively he is right.)
The way to counter this nonsense is to stop being ashamed of being Americans. Yeah, our nation has sidestepped, but a lot less than other nations. Teach world history. REAL world history none of this “cute clothes and interesting food” bullshit. Make kids understand what nations are and what they aren’t, and why they should be damn proud to come from the freest, wealthiest, most innovative nation on G-d’s green Earth.
Teach the kids well. The ones who are ours and the ones who come from abroad.
And immigrants? Require assimilation. They want to be here? They can be here. I actually believe in
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It’s not in the constitution, as a lot of idiots believe, and it’s not even very good poetry, but it resonates. Humans are a migratory/colonizing species. And our ancestors, or us, ourselves, were once homeless and tempest-tost, looking for a home.
But there is another step to that. SEND ME YOUR STRIVERS.
Look, immigration to America used to be a grueling process. Even in the early twentieth century, when my grandfather went to Brazil, it involved a long an costly trip. It limited trips back home. If he could have convinced my grandmother to move, he’d have moved and never come back to Portugal.
In the same way the multitudes that came here weren’t just hours away; they couldn’t call home every week as I do. They couldn’t go back whenever. They came here, and here they were and they were required to learn the language and learn to get along and in those less sensitive times, no one made it easy for them. There was real prejudice. (Eh, thirty years ago, in NC I still got called — when they thought I couldn’t hear — sand n****r. You know what, it didn’t kill me, though I found it a bit weird for their knowledge of geography. At least the people who thought I was Mexican or South American made A LITTLE more sense.)
If you stuck it out, if you made yourself at home despite all that, if you didn’t run home, crying, to mama, you had EARNED your citizenship. You had earned the right to call yourself American. And likely you were d*mn proud of it.
The distances, the lack of communication, all of it conspired to form a system where the cowards never left, the weaklings died along the way (or went back home) and those who stayed where ready to start anew and be part of the American experiment with the other crossgrained cusses already here.
So — how do we fix the immigration system? Make it difficult. Make it very difficult. If it had been easier, if we could have run, if I had the internet as we have now, even I might never have acculturated. Even though I wanted to. Let alone a system that frowns on acculturation.
None of that. To fix immigration it will take more than fences. More than border patrols. Immigrants don’t become Americans because they step on American soil. And we already have plenty of people running around, born here, who aren’t American inside their heads, who don’t buy into our fundamental principles. We don’t need more.
To fix immigration we need to believe and propagate the beliefs that make us Americans. We need to demand new arrivals buy into them or leave.
And then we need to make the years before you can apply for citizenship difficult. We need to demand they do things our way. We can tolerate, yes, exotic food or cute dress, but where it counts? Where it counts, they’ll have to act American. No bribes, no shadowy pacts, no tardiness, no funny business with private property, no hatreds of other groups from back home, no killing of all infidels. “We don’t care how they did did it in your homeland, bub.”
We need to require they support themselves and keep their nose clean. Cleaner than any natural-born citizen. We need them to prove they can work and strive and not be sad sacks and victims.
When they’ve gone through the wringer, then we can question them about the founding principles, about our history, about what makes us. And if they pass, they’ll have earned the right to call themselves Americans.
All of which is far more material and important than a wall which, if we don’t do this other stuff, will mean nothing in the end, but an empty barrier around a land ruled by ideological occupiers, tearing our most fundamental beliefs apart and shredding our constitution.
We are a nation of determined cusses. One that any other determined cuss striver the world over would be proud to be a part of. Let’s start acting like it.