And Marry Our Fortunes Together

As most of you know, my culture of origin is an emigrant culture. For centuries now Portuguese have emigrated for all sorts of reasons: because of high birth rate (not extant now), because of lack of opportunity, because the country is barely big enough to swing a cat without getting a passport, because the North is hilly and rocky, because the south is flat, semi-arid and cultivated for centuries on the system of huge farms and absentee landlords, because like most Latin nations Portugal defaults to top-down control and crony capitalism, no matter what the system calls itself, and throttles economic innovation in its cradle.

Portuguese have emigrated legally and illegally, by all means from forming their own empire and colonizing it (an habit acquired from having been a colony for everyone from Arabs, to Greeks and Romans to Germanic tribes and Carthaginians) to  “jumping to France” which was the common form of emigration when I was a kid (Note it involved jumping not one but two borders illegally, much like central American immigrants coming to the US from Mexico.) If there’s something  like being more predisposed to emigration than your average human (who is by nature a colonist, else we’d all still be in Africa) or your average earth creature (ditto, or we’d all still be under the sea) then perhaps Portuguese have the genes.  Or perhaps just the history.

My own family tends to lose half its kids to emigration every generation, something my parents apparently thought they were immune from by having only two.  (I will note my aunts and uncles who had only one seem to have managed to keep that kid in Portugal.  Perhaps there’s something to that, or perhaps they got lucky.)  Two of my dad’s siblings, his next-oldest brother and his younger sister emigrated, he to Brazil and she to Venezuela.  In his case it was one of those “the village was too hot to hold him” (Aka girl trouble.)  In her case, she married young to a young man and it was a case of Venezuela at the time being a good market for unskilled laborers.

For various reasons I’m not sure how our relatives in Brazil do.  My uncle had an only son, and he was never close to the family in Portugal.  Our relatives in Venezuela, after a shaky beginning, seem to have become, in the second generation, much what my family tends to become: mostly doctors or engineers, with the occasional lawyer or … no, wait, I’m the only writer.

In my paternal grandfather’s generation, half the sons emigrated to Brazil.  My grandfather, himself, was an emigrant, of sorts.  He lived in Brazil, Venezuela and (I think longest) South Africa, working as a carpenter in all three places, and returning home as often as he could to see grandma who refused to go anywhere, being attached to her parents’ house and the plot of land in which she was born by some sort of atavistic feeling. Curiously, though he never learned to write in it, my Grandfather not only learned fluent English, but loved it.  He waited impatiently for the grandkids to learn English in school so he could talk to us in the language he loved.  (Maybe there is some atavistic preference there too.)

I am also an immigrant — into the US.  I am a legal immigrant.  I will confess right up front I do not know under what status my relatives emigrated to various countries.  I’m going to presume that due to the fact a lot of them involved sea voyages, at a time when airplane travel was not yet common, there was a visa of some sort.  Whether a work of visitor visa, I’m not informed.

Most of the emigration I heard about, in the village, most of the emigration practiced by men in the village (almost always men) was illegal.  France and Germany desperately needed help rebuilding after WWII and well into my childhood, but both being European nations formed on a blood-and-soil base (and why the heck would it be wrong for them to be so, just because we’re formed on different principles?  WHO declared that it was wrong? Even if the blood part is largely illusory?) they tried to guard their borders.  They weren’t particularly successful.

Most of the Portuguese emigrating in my childhood were the poorest of the poor and often illiterate.  Our neighbors who “jumped over” were probably the cream of the crop, since most people in the village were poor as job, but were at least literate. Knowing the areas and the class most Portuguese immigrants came from, I understand (if not excuse, since two generations later it’s kind of hard to sniff out) the low esteem in which most Frenchmen hold those of Portuguese ancestry. (While traveling long-distance, particularly at night, in public transport in those lands, as a student, I pretended to be French in Germany and German in France.  A sort of generic face, and a mutant accent helped.)

Having established I do have the bonafides to talk about immigration, or at least having established I’ve looked at it from both sides now, and probably from angles people here haven’t thought about much, let’s examine the beast.

People emigrate for all sorts of reasons.  In this case, we’re talking of leaving the place you were born, with no particular destination in sight.  The “I’ve got to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing that I’ll ever do.”

You could say every immigrant was first an emigrant.

In my case it was a form of restlessness, a feeling that I wasn’t at home and didn’t belong.  There could be several causes for this, but not being doctor Fraud, I’ll just say even before I could speak/read in English I read translations of stories set in England and America.  If America hadn’t existed, I’d probably have immigrated to Great Britain.

Why?

Who the heck knows.  The second part of it, immigration — how you pick a particular case — happens for all the same variety of reasons that people marry.

In my case, it was a double love-match, my having fallen in love with my husband and the country.  (And, unfortunately for my MIL’s fantasies of my having married for citizenship, when I chose to throw it all over and marry Dan, I had the paperwork completed and a job offer/grant to finish my doctorate at a prestigious Eastern University.  Yep, I did dodge a bullet. I just didn’t want to force Dan to move across the country, and it all worked out for the best.) I wanted to come here, I wanted to be an American, I wanted my kids to grow up Americans.

I’ve mentioned how, even with the best intentions in the world, acculturation is very painful.  It can be done, but I can’t imagine anyone doing it without sheer necessity either driven by their own internal love of the new country, or by social pressure.  It is harder when there’s a language barrier involved.  Even for people like me, who also fall mad-in-love with the language and are already more than passable in it when they immigrate.  (To want to make a living in your adopted language is completely insane.  I’m not alone in that, but it’s a small enough club we can conclusively say I’m broken.)

There are other, psychological costs to immigration that grow with acculturation and the rate thereof.  I’m running into one of those costs head on as my parents age.  I didn’t mind leaving.  I feel more at home here.  But there is a load of guilty and a load of worry that comes with having aging parents across the sea.  It’s similar to but not exactly the same as having them across the country (for a while there, January 16, Dan and I thought we’d be flying out at the same time in opposite directions for health crisis with our fathers.)  because you also leave the culture behind.  Going back is much like going to a foreign land, one that has disconcerting bits of things that you remember from childhood.  Fewer as time goes on and things change.  I can now get lost in the village, which is no longer a village but a stack-a-prol suburb of Porto.  And no one remembers me, including people I grew up with.  It’s very lowering to find out how forgettable one is, to be aware of how quickly one’s place in the world would disappear when one leaves or dies.

But “falling in love” purely as such must be as rare a form of choosing to immigrate as it is of marriage.  Hush now.  Yes, I know it’s a polite fiction that you marry for love.  And in our society at least it is frowned upon to marry for money or other considerations.  However, I remember my friends’ pairing off, and “love” only works if very broadly defined to “He’s kind of hot, and look, there are all these other reasons.”  Yeah, I married for love.  I immigrated for love, too.  We’ve already agreed I’m broken.

People get married for all sorts of reasons, mostly, honestly, it seemed to me “He asked, and I wanted to get married.”  Some of my friends thought no one would ask ever again.  And some of them analyzed what was on offer and decided they could do with it.

Thirty years later, looking at all those marriages (most of them in haste because we were in our early twenties and getting married was the THE MOST important thing in the world) the ones that survived are not necessarily the ones I’d expect to, but the ones in which each partner had something the other needed.  “Mutually beneficial.”They might not have been mad in love, but they were compatible, and one had the property, the other the management skills, for instance.  Or a profoundly introverted man married a woman who was outgoing enough to be his face to the world.  Or a woman who wanted only to be a home maker married a good provider.

The ones that were the result of mad-in-love with nothing compatible/useful about the alliance tend not to last.

Even though I married for love, what has kept us together, for instance, is that we’re pretty close to the same type of person — bookish, over-thinking, creative — and where we’re not we’re complementary.  I like the hands-on, often physical labor to run a household on shoe string, and Dan likes the fussy, record keeping, maddening (to me) part of keeping our finances and taxes in order.  He plans, I … well, I don’t usually execute his plans but run in where angels fear to tread, and escape only because he has a plan for that too. Without me he’d never have written (Yes, second book, yes, but you know, the last two years were h*ll for EVERYONE in this family) and without him I’d never have published or perhaps written much but poetry.

Immigration, to a particular country is like marriage.  People do it for all sorts of reasons.  But as with a marriage, there are two parts involved, not just one, and like a marriage, there must be something more to it than “mad in love.”

Here I’ll point out that other than being a halfway decent mother and wife, I’m not at all sure what I contribute to the US.  I know my teachers in Portugal were varying shades of annoyed/upset that I emigrated, as they expected me to be an ornament to Portuguese letters (I doubt it.  I loved SF/F too much) but Portugal is a small pond.  I’m not sure here I do much more than get lost in the noise.  However, I do at the very least support myself, which is the basis for deciding whether someone is “contributing” to society, since money is the sincerest form of appreciation.

Immigration is like a marriage, because in essence it is a marriage.  It is an individual throwing in his/her fate with a people.  It is a “and marry our fortunes together” it is a “Wherever thou goest I shall go.”  Your throwing your genetic inheritance in with those people.  You’re submerging yourself in a sea of them.

There is, at least in Portugal a tendency for emigrants to move to a new country and try to keep their kids from intermarrying/staying there.  One of the things we often heard from visiting relatives from other countries was “We have to return before he/she/they start dating.”  Nine times out of ten, it didn’t work.  In fact, I knew only one case in which it worked, which was a neighbor whose daughter seems to have been kept more or less under house arrest in South Africa, so that when they returned and she attended college with me, she was much older but completely drawers at socializing or dating.  She did eventually marry a Portuguese man and she lives in the village, but let me tell you, few parents would go to the extent of abusing their kids just to make sure they “return” to their place of origin.

So, immigration means melding your destiny and that of the people you join.

Now, as above, some immigrants don’t want that/aren’t aware of that.  These are mostly economic immigrants, and they’re often buoyed by the fond idea that they’ll return to their place of origin, with the kids, as soon as the kids hit puberty.  This is more likely/perhaps only likely for countries you can drive/walk to.  There’s something about crossing the ocean that makes that more difficult and Irish and Italians eventually stopped keeping track of whether their kids married in the community.

At any rate, some Mexican immigrants might intend to go back, and some might even do it.  And some of the kids of those might come back too after being dragged back to a “home” that was never theirs.  Keep that mind.

On the other hand many people getting married don’t intend to have it be forever.

Why do I keep bringing marriage up?  Because marriage is the best metaphor for immigration, and because, unlike in immigration, no one doubts that BOTH PARTS TO THE MARRIAGE have a say in it.  Or that when one part doesn’t have a say in it, it is wrong.

There was one of my professors who would dearly have loved to marry me (I got sick of proposals) but that didn’t give him the right to marry me, no matter how great he thought he was for me, or even how great his need for me as a wife.  Everyone agrees that had I been forced to marry him it would be very bad, right?  Okay, then.

America is an entity, constituted by our founding documents and joined by customs and a common genetic and economic destiny.  Legislative, too, but that’s something else.  Wherever we came from, our genes are likely to intermingle since we all live here.  Our economic contributions can make at least a small difference to the nation’s economy.  As self-governing citizens, we have also a small say in how this nation changes, one that makes absolutely no sense, unless we think our children and grandchildren, world without end, will be bound by it.

Which brings us to the Superbowl ad, with the mother and daughter trying to come to the US only to be stopped by a giant wall.  Let’s leave alone the fact that it’s a pernicious lie, that the mother and daughter would have been subjected to rape and worse and likely to die on the way here, and let’s go with the idea that the mother really wants to come here.  She wants a better future for her daughter.  Great.

Americans are sentimental about this.  Most of us, personally or second generation, were either saved or enriched (not just materially) by the opportunity to come here.  So when we see something like that, particularly the little girl with the flag, we go “aw” and react with “bring them in.”  Which is the reaction the ad wanted.

But our land is very rich in relation to the world.  Even our poor are rich.  We are a city on the hill, a brilliant magnet for the suffering and poor in the world.  Given a choice people will want to come here for all sorts of reasons, some of them stupid and “sold” by movies and TV and some sane and sound.

Do I need to tell you we can’t take the world in?  Nor would it make any sense to?

Oh, sure, in sheer land area, we probably could.  Someone estimated at the density of say NYC, we could all live in one state, and leave the rest as a natural park.  Yes, the entire population of the world.

But humans are not eggs, except in the fevered imaginations of statists.  We’re not featureless objects of a certain shape, that can be stacked in convenient crates.  We could make a “supercity of the world” but the war would probably destroy it.  What war?  Really?  You think all those cultures could live together, side by side, within easy driving distance with no friction?  Wow.

I can tell you me and my female friends would be arming up and heading over the sharia neighborhoods to free us some women, or at least the girls who weren’t fully indoctrinated yet.

Which means that the idea that the US could open its doors to everyone, and host everyone, unassimilated, is nonsense.  It doesn’t work that way.  Not unless you guys really want your kids to grow up in the Balkans, with continuous ethnic war.  In which case, please move there and leave us alone.  Oh, sure , you might think it makes a super-state necessary, and you might love that idea, but it never works long term, and also, no, we don’t want our every action regulated, thank you so much.

So immigration is a marriage.  And each immigrant should be evaluated for what he can contribute to the nation, as much as for what the nation can do for him.  Believe it or not (having held work visas to Germany, in a futile effort to get good at the language, I’ve seen my share of these forms, as did my friends who were au-pairs in various countries and whom I often had to help fill those forms) every other country does this.  At a very minimum, you have to fill forms indicating you won’t be a burden to people here, that you won’t be on public assistance, that you have no criminal record.  And your statements are then evaluated.  For countries with a tighter immigration policy, or if you’re an European seeking to immigrate to the US, you have to prove you’re exceptional in some way: grades, IQ, work experience, or whatever.

Yes, sure, refugees in IMMEDIATE FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES are given entry, at least if the fear is justified however tenuously.  But not vast hordes of them, not all of them.  Certainly not all of them are ENTITLED to get in.

The way Jewish refugees were treated in the US was a crying shame, the fact they were sent back to Germany to die was a disgrace.  That was a case of immediate danger.  But most of them, while destitute, were not without skills, as the ones who made it in have proven, and could probably have made it in anyway, without ethnic discrimination, because at the time what America needed was unskilled and semi-skilled labor.

Now?  Now it isn’t.  And arguably now, given the cheaper and easier travel, it is easier for us to setup refugee areas near the places they’re fleeing from, and do what we need to so they can go back home safely.

Does this mean we shouldn’t take any of them?  Oh, h*ll no.  For some it is impossible to go back, ever, and if we think they can be brought in and assimilate and be productive citizens, we should take them in.

The problem is if we DON’T think they can assimilate or be productive, ever.  Do we still HAVE to bring them in?  Why?  Do you want your children to have to support these people’s descendants forever, or to be bound by their children’s block-vote?  Why?  (And please, yeah, sure, Americans will discriminate unfairly sometimes, but in these cases we’re more like to discriminate against Europeans, because generations of Americans have been taught to be REALLY aware of their biases towards everyone else.  Speaking of, what do you do with European refugees as the continent is riven by war and strife, as it bids fair to be?  I’m passionately interested in the answer. And no, mine isn’t “let them all in” even there.  Do you want to be bound by Europeans’ block-vote for the stuff that ruined their lands?  Why?  As we’ve all learned from Californian emigration, some people aren’t good at putting legislative cause and lived effect together.  Make that most people and keep that in mind.)

I fully agree we shouldn’t discriminate on the basis or race, religion or country of origin.  That means, btw, it should be no harder for an European than for a Saudi-Arabian to make it in.  Or a Mexican. Or vice-versa. And if you think that’s true, you haven’t looked at our immigration policies.

But after that, there should be some discrimination.  Or some bargaining if you prefer.  It’s where the marriage contract comes into being.  Even if the person has no intention of having kids or having his/her kids stay here, there is a good chance of that.  And we must make sure that this person brings in at least enough to support his/her kids, be it money or skills or ability, or determination.  And enough to raise his/her kids to be Americans.

Right now the US is really full-up on low-specialization low-skill people.  We have our own home-grown batch, and to keep them on welfare so foreigners can work is ridiculous.  (Except it’s an economic distortion created by high minimum wages and the fact illegals evade that law too.  But we won’t go into that.)  It’s also pernicious as it’s been shown that generations grown on welfare never develop the sills needed to thrive in a free society.

So each immigrant, regardless of color, appearance or origin should be examined by the light of “what do you bring us.”  And absolutely, “high IQ” should count, even if the person is illiterate, provided they want to integrate and learn.  As should people who want to learn or improve, and can prove this.  But “Can support self and is willing to undertake the painful process of assimilation and acculturation” is a basic choice item.  Why would we marry someone who doesn’t want us? Why would we marry someone who just wants to have us support them their whole lives?

Yes, some accommodation should be made for husbands and wives and minor children, or dependent elders, but that’s it.  To extend it further than that is insane, particularly with an effectively open-border policy in a world where the barriers to entry that used to be insurmountably expensive/difficult have fallen due to fast and relatively cheap travel?

I know I’m speaking heresy to many, because the US has viewed itself as the ultimate place of refuge for everyone.  And there’s a reason for that.  But seriously, the world is about to head into a great turmoil, partly seeded by the wishful-thinking reality-ignoring policies of the previous administration.  And we’re not in the late nineteenth century world of having to cross the ocean in a steam boat at extreme cost.  We are in a world where everywhere is a few hours away.  Do you want all the trouble in the world here? right next to you?  In your neighborhood?

Some control needs to exerted.  The US is not the virgin in a mountain fastness, whom only the men who really love will attempt to conquer.  Planes and the democratization of plane travel means she’s the woman in a big city whom every guy can “marry” on purpose, by accident or because it seemed a good idea at the time, and even if they don’t really like her and mean to destroy her.

What are we going to do about that?  I don’t propose closing the door/declaring a policy of eternal celibacy.  But I do propose to ask “What do they bring to the marriage?”

It is the right of everyone who is already an American and whose futures will essentially be “married” to those of the new immigrants to ask “how will your contribution or lack thereof affect my descendants/the descendants of the people I care about?”

This is neither racism, nor discrimination, but self-preservation.  Anyone who says otherwise is trying to push you into a forced marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

340 responses to “And Marry Our Fortunes Together

  1. People get married for all sorts of reasons, mostly, honestly, it seemed to me “He asked, and I wanted to get married.”

    My wife accepted me because “He has this big empty house with five empty closets!” No kidding.

    • Hey — closets are important!

    • Hey, I’m tall. My lovely bride isn’t so tall. And I can fix computers, and she needed her computer fixed.

      Plus she’s beautiful with a kind heart.

      Win-win! 😉

    • My father claims he married my mother because she had a job, a car, and a TV. To a young guy in the 70s, those three things made it look like she had it made.

      The TV lasted the longest; we got rid of it when I was in high school. However, the marriage is at 42 years and counting…

      • My parents married because they were in their mid-30’s and hadn’t found anyone else yet, there were not that many prospects anymore for either at that age, and both wanted to marry. And they found each other at least tolerable if not likable.

        It did last until death, when my mother died. Father married a second time because he didn’t like being alone, and that lasted to his death even if he wasn’t always all that happy with his second wife. So yes, seems that marrying for practical reasons can be a pretty good deal. Both go in with their eyes open, no big expectations of everlasting bliss or perfect partner. 🙂

        • An old girlfriend of mine said that everyone has a hidden internal marrying time switch. Some time, for no apparent reason, the switch would flip and you got married to whoever was in your life at the time. The marrying switch might have a connection to the egg timer in the female of the species.

      • I was a member of the National Space Society and they sponsored tours to watch shuttle launches. After 18 months of working 7/12 shift from 7PM to 7AM at Comanche Peak, I signed up for one to see STS-7 in June 1983. There was a meet and greet party at the motel pool sponsored by NSS, and there I made eye contact with a beautiful woman across the pool. Walking over I introduced myself and we began talking, much to the concern of her older sister, and we stayed together the rest of the trip. Before I left Florida after the launch, we made arrangements to see each other again and I proposed to her a month or so later. She accepted and we were married on Oct 1st and are still married after 34 years and 4 kids.

        Her sister finally did accept me after she got to know me………

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I’m hoping that my book collection might help win some young lady’s heart.

      It could happen!

    • I married a beautiful girl-nerd whom I met two weeks after her 16th birthday. Ask her how I won her (many have) and she’ll say, “He talked science to me!”

    • We got married because I asked her out on a third date after she “casually mentioned” on the second date she wanted 14 children. We ended up with 5. Pretty good screening method to weed out the non-serious.

    • My dad would joke he that married my mom because her family was rich (and they did own their own farm), but I like to say it’s because my mother looked like Ava Gardner (& did she tell Howard Hughes she’d rather go back to the tobacco field that marry him?)

  2. I like this a lot. It’s not about race or country of origin, it’s about “What do you bring to the table?” It should be like a job interview (to further mix the metaphor). “Why should I hire you? What problem of mine do you solve?” “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “Why do you want to work for THIS company?” “What can you tell me about the company?” Would you hire someone who is going to sit around and do nothing? Or worse, try and run the company into the ground?

    I hadn’t thought about it in terms of genetic inheritance but that makes a lot of sense. “What are you going to do to make this a better country for my descendants?”

    • We also need to look at “Are you going to attempt a hostile take-over which will destroy the company and everyone working for it/dependent on those working for it,” if you use the analogy of a business relationship.

      Or, going back to marriage, is this new spouse going to be abusive and controlling? Are they going to eventually forbid us to practice the values we hold dear?

  3. (While traveling long-distance, particularly at night, in public transport in those lands, as a student, I pretended to be French in Germany and German in France. A sort of generic face, and a mutant accent helped.)

    Is that anything like claiming to be Canadian where people hate Americans? “Me? No, not American. Go ‘leafs, eh!”

    • More or less. It’s helped by the fact that my accent in French is vaguely Germanic, I’m freakishly tall for a Portuguese my generation, and if I haven’t been in the sun much, “vaguely pale” though still olive skinned. Oh, and in German my accent is vaguely French. No, not on purpose. Mid range hearing loss has weird effects.

      • I’m pale enough that I once got cast to play a Snow White cameo. I also have olive skin. People don’t believe me until I put my arm next to theirs and they can see that my skin is green.

        I work in color-correction. Every time I get photos done through my studio, I put in a specific note that if they color-correct to my skin tone, they need to go at least three points further green than they think they need to, lest everything else end up magenta.

        • P.S. I also have trouble convincing folks that coral is the worst color in the world for me. It’s as though they don’t believe that I know what I’m talking about.

          • I had a half Japanese girlfriend back in prehistory. We were at a party and the conversation turned to racial colors. You know, red, brown, black, white and yellow. It was a quite diverse group actually so she said we should compare forearms. The Cherokee’s arm had a reddish skin tone. Her’s was obviously yellow. The Mexican’s was brown. The black’s wasn’t Black but obviously darker than anyone elses. Myself and the other generic Euro descended were various tones of what Crayola used to call flesh.

            • and the quickest way to match my skin tone for makeup purposes (like, prosthetic makeup) is to take ‘white’ and mix in a little ‘asian’ and a little ‘native american’

            • This reminds me of a t-shirt I’d like to make. It shows a circular window with the Earth outside, and a green hand reaching for a floating crayon labeled “skin color”…

            • Odd I found Crayola’s “flesh” to be too orange. Apricot was better as a base, and then you mixed in brown or white to get the shade you wanted.

              (Time was when you put me inside all winter and my skin would be dead-fish-belly white. Still pretty pasty.)

          • Coral? On an olive skin tone? Uh, yeah, no.Anything with much red in it isn’t going to look good with that skin tone, is it? Doesn’t it make you look vaguely sick?

            • I look good in red, and so does younger son who is darker olive. OTOH he looks sickly in green, which he loves.

              • Perhaps it’s just the wrong shade of green?

              • Youve dredged up old memories with that, m’dear. The head of the theatre department at my high school was wont to drag out his banjo and play this ditty at talent shows, parties, and the drop of a hat:


                Oh, she looks like Helen Brown,
                She’s the hottest gal in town;
                When she’s dressed in green or grey
                Scotsmen throw their dough away

                Oh, she looks like Helen Brown,
                She’s the hottest gal in town;
                Oh, she looks alright
                When she’s dressed in white
                But she looks like Helen Brown

                Oh, she looks like Helen Brown,
                She’s the hottest gal in town;
                When that baby starts to strut
                Everybody loves her but

                She looks like Helen Brown,
                She’s the hottest gal in town;
                Oh, she knocks ’em dead
                When she dresses in red,
                But she looks like Helen Brown

      • You’ve got me wondering about my cousin’s daughter-in-law from Glouster, Mass. She’s short and olive skinned. According to the town website, there was some Portugese immigration there.

        • There’s A LOT of Portuguese in Mass.

        • As our hostess notes there are a LOT of Portugese in New England especially in the fishing towns like Gloucester, New Bedford, etc. I grew up in Connecticut on the shoreline and one of my junior high buddies grandparents were first generation immigrants from Portugal. Grandad spoke fairly good english, Grandma none at all. I was always welcome to dinner with their grandson as if I was part of the family. Food was always good although from time to time something I wouldn’t thought to eat (e.g. Fresh caught Conch, tasted kind of like spicy garlicky tire to me). Also lots of a sausage (linguca, I think it needs a accent under the c) that to my English/Irish trained tastebuds was spicy/hot (of course darn near anything is spicy/hot to taste buds trained on cook until gray…).

    • I “pass” as British or Bavarian/Austrian, DadRed can pass as English at first glance. Only once have I denied being American, but only once was I asked by a hostile party, either.

      • I’ve passed for German/Swiss without trying 🙂 Even after I started talking, which amazed me, so I apparently don’t have much of an American accent when I speak German. Or the strong Germanic features “overrode” any discrepancies.

        Strangely, I was mistaken for German in America, by an American. (Who was former military and had served in Germany, but still!) Vielen Dank, Vorfarhen….

        • I was at a bookstore in Reykjavik buying Terry Pratchett’s “Men in Arms” (in English). When I went to check out the lady at the counter spoke Icelandic to me and I smile and nodded, handed her the card at the right time and said “Tak” when she handed me the bag. I guess I just looked local.

        • My mom has gotten mistaken for an Odessan Jew in Odessa (okay, we do have ancestors who came from the same part of France that some of them came from), for an Indian from India by English people (because she was hanging out with an Indian kid), and for several other ethnicities.

          Americans. We are mutts.

      • But when I was traveling through Europe I was not American 😉

        • I’m guessing that since Europe has this belief that you can’t really be a citizen of a country unless you’re the last in a long line of descendants who were citizens of that country (sure, you can be *naturalized*, but that’s not the same thing; you still can’t be one of them), they would naturally assume that since you’re from Europe, you’re European, even if you are now an American citizen…

      • I’ve been called anything that’s browish or tannish. Mexican, Spanish, half-breed of whoknowswhat, Indian, East Indian… Until I speak. I *can* speak English, and with no accent other than American, but my voice tends towards Southern mishmash especially under stress. My Spanish sounds more Mexican than Spain, what little of it I speak (you work construction, Spanish you learn *fast,* but very limited vocabulary). For dead languages, who knows? I might speak Latin with a Carthaginian accent for all I can tell.

      • My parents, my sister, and I went Florida during spring break in the eighties during which we went to Epcot. At the Scottish pavilion I bought a copy of Scottish Clans and Tartans. The young lass at the cash register said I sounded Scottish. (Maybe she was pulling my leg.) I burst out laughing, told her where I was from, and told her to call her grandmother!

    • Heh. At least twice while living in Romania I lied and claimed to be from Norway. I could never pass for Romanian–or really anywhere else in that region–at almost-six-feet and with flaming red hair, but my accent was just a vague indefinable ‘foreign’ rather than strongly American (and they never defaulted to assuming an American could speak Romanian, anyway. They usually assumed I was either British or German.). If I admitted I was American, in some areas that would get me harassed (in the obnoxious-males-who-think-it’s-somehow-sexy variety, not because they hated Americans). But no one wanted to emigrate to Norway, or flirt with a Norwegian, so… 😀

      • I have been mistaken for an American several times in Europe and Morocco (when I used to travel more, interrails and vacations, in the 80’s and some in the 90’s), even though my accent when speaking English is rather noticeable, and not American. After the one summer I spend in Canada it might be sort of understandable since I seem to be able to pick up accents to some extent when I hear them long enough and they can keep for a while although I lose them after out of that environment, and while the Canadian version may not sound right to Americans us foreigners can’t really tell them apart, so something vaguely not an English accent or English spoken with some noticeably European accent could presumably be mistaken for the American one. But it used to happen before that too.

    • Speak Dutch in Europe and everybody will ask if you understand English–in English. Breaks the ol’ “no Anglais” gambits of the French before they can even get it off the ground. Pleasantly, Parisians aren’t rude to non-Francophones as they were in the 1980s. It’s the English in Paris who give me the most heat for speaking English there–one especially laughable instance of this occurred at a McDonalds in Paris.

      • “As we’ve all learned from Californian emigration…”–Sarah Hoyt

        Yes, the influx of Joads from 49 other states ruined the once Golden State. Then there’s the Okies, Arkies, and Texans who moved into California post-WWII who think San Pedro is pronounced Saan Peedro. (shiver) They added to the chaos. When these freeloaders and their spawn return to their state of origin, don’t blame California. We didn’t ruin ’em, they arrived here looking for handouts. It’s just your nature, you all in the 49 other states.

  4. My “THIS” referred to what Sarah wrote not closets :). (I always said I wanted a bathroom with every bedroom. Then when I got that, it came as a shock to realize that I had to clean them all. Comes under the heading of beware what you wish for…) I wish everyone in the US could read this article. Maybe post to Instapundit.

    • That is the precise reason why I never want a large house. Because I would have to clean it. (And hiring a maid service is right out. I’ve BEEN the maid service. No, thank you.)

      • Feather Blade

        Seonded (thirded?).

        I can almost manage to keep house in 800 sq ft with just me and a cat.
        Add anyone else and I’d have to stop being on campus for 14 hours a day. (“and that would just be tragic” she said wistfully)

  5. I lack your background in the area of emigration and immigration; my background is almost the opposite. My mother’s family has lived in the same area, mostly, for eleven generations (down one line of descent at least; and I’m 1/32 Cherokee on her side). My father’s family isn’t quite as concentrated (not even counting my great-uncle’s efforts).

    I wound up marrying (later than most; I’m a poor hunter) a lady who wasn’t kin to me and lived eleven miles away. Ours is a madly in love with marriage. (I told her not too long ago that it’s because men in my family can talk ‘possums out of trees; I should have said persimmon trees, but being a town girl she might not have noticed anyway.)

    I’m sorry I’ve lost my train of thought; I have to go send a flirtatious text message now.

  6. Opposites attract; like stays together. The optimum seems to be people who are just different enough on the surface to remain interesting for each other, but who share enough deep values to have a stable bond, and to stick it out with each other when the going gets tough.

    • You know what makes a marriage thrive & survive? Having a common destination. “Wherever we go, whatever we do, We’re gonna go through it together” as the song says.


      Life in a marriage, in a nation, is challenging enough when you share those core values. When some do not, when some actively strive to advance their personal interests above those of family … well, go thou now and meditate upon the tale of Absalom.

  7. To extend the metaphor slightly…

    People on the right want the “marriage” to be one of equals, monogamous and til death do you part.

    People on the left want a harem full of concubines.

    • Honestly, “concubine” seems too faithful an arrangement for what the Left seems to be proposing. The concubines, after all, were expected to be loyal. And while it wasn’t universal, many concubines could reach relatively high status, and their children even higher status.

      No, I think the better metaphor here really is john and streetwalker. The john’s not looking for a wife when he goes down to the red light district, just someone who’ll give him what he wants, then get out of his life. And the streetwalker might mouth the right words while she’s getting paid, but everyone knows she’s going to spit on his name as soon as he drives away.

  8. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks had an interesting take in a talk a few weeks back, shortly before Trump’s inauguration:

    People have claimed that the U.S.A. is a “proposition nation”, but Rabbi Sacks suggests instead that we are a nation bound & created by a covenant. It’s not merely agreeing with American ideals that makes one an American: there’s a fair amount of buy-in to the culture—and more importantly, to the national destiny—that’s needed as well. And now that you point this out, yeah, it’s very much like a marriage.

    • I’m not sure I understand the difference between a propositional nation and a convenantal one. I would think that the covenant would be the acceptance of the proposition (or creed, as I’ve seen it said elsewhere).

      • Acceptance of and dedication to, the proposition/creed/covenant. Deep emotional investment, not just intellectual agreement. And (as Sarah Hoyt points out in this essay) consent from both parties.

        • I see what you mean, acceptance in the heart, not just mouthing the words because it’s the socially-correct thing to do. It didn’t occur to me because the people I know all have that emotional investment.

          • As the theologian Scott Hahn explains at length in his Big Fat Academic Book, a Middle Eastern covenant is not a contract. It is an agreement to merge clans and create family, albeit enforced by curses you can incur for breaking it. So even a treaty covenant is either an adoption or a marriage.

  9. > What are we going to do about that?

    The plan of one political party seems to be “Make the USA into a worse shithole than where they came from, so they won’t come here.”

    • The only reason one party wants to throw open the borders is because they think the new arrivals will vote Democrat. No other reason. The same ones up in arms now said not one word when Obama ended Wet Foot Dry Foot, or Clinton ended granting Cubans who made it into our territorial waters asylum. And Jerry Brown, who wants to turn California into a sanctuary state, opposed Vietnamese refugees, who likely would have went Republican.

    • Which, I think, is why they lost once there was someone who ran who contradicted the assumed narrative, and was unapologetic about it.

      The same thing happened in the USSR – people who dissented from the ‘obvious good’ that was Communism felt disconnected and powerless. Once they realized they WEREN’T alone, it was just a matter of time until the system tottered… and collapsed.

      • Oppressive governments only stay in power so long as the people believe they’ll be punished for disobedience. When the enforcers stop enforcing, the government quickly collapses. This is a known fact.

        Not commented on so often is that the people generally outnumber the enforcers by a very wide margin. The enforcers are usually aware of that, and tailor their actions accordingly. In particular, they want to make sure that the people don’t become aware of it.

        • The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.
          Casey Stengel

          It is also the key to being a successful despot.

        • This isn’t completely true. I remember the story of a rebellion in China where, when a group of soldiers being called to war were delayed because of a river flood, gathered people and overthrew the government instead.

          The reason being was that the punishment for being late was the same as the punishment for rebellion — death — and they decided that since they were doomed anyway, they might as well make the most of it.

          And it turned out that there were a *lot* of people they encountered along the way who were willing to join them…

          • Unusual set of circumstances in that instance.

            And also, it could be argued that it proves my first point as a group of enforcers suddenly decided to stop enforcing.

            • I think it may be unusual, but I don’t think it’s a good example of a group of enforcers deciding to stop enforcing. It’s more that a group of citizens deciding that the enforcement of the law was meaningless: if you’re going to die for a small thing, might as well die for a big thing.

              I think it’s more a lesson that your reign of terror can only go so far before the people realize that there’s nothing to lose.

              • Again, I disagree. The military is one more form of enforcement by the government. It’s not always trusted (for good reason), but it ostensibly exists to carry out the government’s will. Regardless of the reason why, in this instance one group of watchers – i.e. the army in question – decided to stop watching and revolt instead.

          • Part of that was pure dumb luck. They didn’t know — they couldn’t know — how much support they would get.

            It’s the absolute lack of possible loss that made it possible.

        • The enforcers only are outnumbered in the absolute sense. If they manage to prevent coordination among the people, they can outnumber any plausible number of people who can be brought to rise up at one time.

          Until they can’t. Being outnumbered prevents truly effective surveillance, which is the first step in preventing coordination.

      • Well, disaffection is all well and good, and the Soviet economy was falling apart, but you have to somehow deal with the Red Army – remember that the end game of the USSR was an attempted coup by Stalinist elements of the Red Army against Gorby. If that had succeeded, the 1990s would have been very different.

  10. “Everyone agrees that had I been forced to marry him it would be very bad, right?”

    For him. Briefly.

  11. Everyone agrees that had I been forced to marry him it would be very bad, right?

    Not enough data. He might have provided a very comfortable life, rich in material and immaterial benefits. Sometimes when a person marries out of adoration they exert themselves greatly to “prove” their worth … and sometimes they become bored with their “prize” and neglect it.

    It would, however, have been* very wrong.

    *Based on standard rules of behaviour prevalent in most of the contemporary “civilized” world; does not apply to all cultures or time periods. Values in mirror may be less than they appear. Your Morality May Vary.

    • YES, they would have been bad. She’d likely never have become a writer like she is, and unlikely to have been published outside Portugal.

      And how many people has she encouraged to start writing, to put their dreams out there for the public?

      I, for one, think it would have been VERY, VERY bad!

      😉

      • I have lived long enough* to discern that “Bad for me” and “Bad for the world” are not equivalent statements.

        *long enough: more than six months, might have been quicker — I wasn’t keeping notes.

  12. when we see something like that, particularly the little girl with the flag, we go ‘aw’ and react with ‘bring them in.’

    Whatchoo mean, “we”? I sees it and I says, “Dadgum manipulative ad makers, see if ever I set one foot inside their store!”

    Eventually, even the dimmest guys figure out that when a gal bats her lashes and thrusts her chest at him it don’t necessarily mean she thinks he’s the strongest, cleverest man what ever strode the Earth, just as most gals la’rn that when a guy says you’re the purtiest thing what he ever laid eyes on an’ he cain’t live without your love he ain’t necessarily talkin’ ’bout forever.

    When I see an advertisement I realize they folk behind it didn’t shell out those kinda big bucks jus’ ter make me go “Awwww.” I likes to look at what buttons they’re pushin’ and what strings they’re tryin’ ter pull, and jus’ whar is the man behind the curtain an’ what’s he doin’? I’m long past my days of buyin’ boys’ bands and have learnt those mean nothin’ but trouble, trouble with a capital T.

    • Nearest 84 Lumber’s about 25 miles away. It’ll be easy to avoid.

      I’ll go with Home Depot first, then Lowes. (Got 2 HD’s within 5 miles.)

      They don’t insult me with glurge-filled crap like this.

      • I can’t think of a 84 Lumber still in business in this area, so easy enough for me to avoid. Menard’s claims I can save big money by shopping at their stores, but the nearest one is three times farther away than the nearest Home Depot or Lowes.

      • One of Home Depot’s co-founders, Ken Lagone, is a frequent guest on Fox Business and John Stossell’s programs.


        Gee, can’t imagine why HD doesn’t run ads such as that 84 Lumber* one.

        *ROTFL over the use of “lumber” in the business’ name. From Dictionary[DOT]com:
        noun
        2. miscellaneous useless articles that are stored away.

        verb (used without object)
        4. to become useless or to be stored away as useless.

        verb (used with object)
        6. to heap together in disorder.
        7. to fill up or obstruct with miscellaneous useless articles; encumber.

        British Dictionary definitions for lumbered

        noun
        2. (Brit) useless household articles that are stored away

        verb
        3. (transitive) to pile together in a disorderly manner
        4. (transitive) to fill up or encumber with useless household articles

        6. (transitive) (Brit, informal) to burden with something unpleasant, tedious, etc
        7. transitive) (Austral) to arrest; imprison

      • I got Maynard’ses a mite closer than Home Despot, and they tend a bit less expensive, but I’ve been a dedicated HD shopper ever since I heard a bit on NPR where they were Outraged! Outraged! that HD had had a gubmint carrot dangled in front of their nose and they said, “No, thanks. Our business model is to provide goods and services to the American consumer. Besides, once we get entangled with gubmint, we end up having to track all kinds of Titles and setch which we really don’t want to get tied up in. We have better things to do with our time and resources.”

        Of course, this was a while ago so things may have changed.

      • I’d not even heard of 84 Lumber until this thread (haven’t bothered seeking out the commercials this year, not even Budweiser’s just for the clydesdales) but it looks like for many, 84 86-ed themselves.

        • Where are they located? Certainly not out West where I live.

          • I believe they are based out of Western PA, but if they were spending the money for a lengthy SB ad they almost surely had national expansion in mind.

            If so … oops.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84_Lumber
            84 Lumber is an American building materials supply company. Founded in 1956 by Joseph Hardy, it derives its name from the town of Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, 20 miles (32 km) south of Pittsburgh, where its headquarters are based.

            84 Lumber owns and operates over 250 stores, and the company operates components plants, door shops, installation centers and wood products shops in 30 states. As of 2012, they reportedly employ 4,900 employees.

          • There were a couple in my part of Arkansas, but they both shut down a few years back.

            They apparently saw their primary customer base as the limited number of local contractors, and ranged from surly to hostile to ordinary walk-in customers. Coupled with high (and tiered) prices, limited inventory, and other issues, obviously their failure was the result of the housing bubble | GWB | the internet | anyone but them.

            • Ages ago in VA, my mom basically p[aid a 10% premium to go to Hechinger instead just because the employees seemed ok with dealing with non-professionals.

            • A piece in Forbes from 2015 says that they had a near-death experience in 2008-9.

              –SNIP–
              …but he’d gotten sloppy in the twilight of his career. While reclining on his private jet, he would demand to see a map of the country and tell everyone, in his characteristically loud voice, that he wanted to pick 84’s next store location. “He’d have a couple of martinis and go like this,” says Maggie, 49, closing her eyes and twirling her index finger over an imaginary map, before planting it down in Who- Knows-Where, USA. “That’s how strategic we were. I swear to God.” Worse than poor site selection, both father and daughter spent indiscriminately, opening stores too quickly, pouring profits into a high-end resort and eventually burying the lumber company in massive debt that they could pay off in good times but nearly doomed them when things turned for the worse.

              —SNIP—

              but he’d gotten sloppy in the twilight of his career. While reclining on his private jet, he would demand to see a map of the country and tell everyone, in his characteristically loud voice, that he wanted to pick 84’s next store location. “He’d have a couple of martinis and go like this,” says Maggie, 49, closing her eyes and twirling her index finger over an imaginary map, before planting it down in Who- Knows-Where, USA. “That’s how strategic we were. I swear to God.” Worse than poor site selection, both father and daughter spent indiscriminately, opening stores too quickly, pouring profits into a high-end resort and eventually burying the lumber company in massive debt that they could pay off in good times but nearly doomed them when things turned for the worse.

              –SNIP–

              If 84 Lumber’s revenue had teetered the wrong way by $500,000 during the worst of it, a six-month stretch from late 2008 through May 2009, she would have been forced into not just corporate but personal bankruptcy. On paper she was basically broke. Six years later she’s back, with a smarter, leaner 84 Lumber and a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion.

              –SNIP–

              http://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2015/01/21/daughter-knows-best-inside-the-84-lumber-saga/#20d28bd4181b

            • This reminds me of a certain chain building supply that had an store within an hour’s drive back when I worked summer jobs in construction. We were building a house for a couple and were in the finishing stage. She was to pick up lumber from the store, and she came back in an inferior grade. My old boss wasn’t pleased. He had specified what was needed and had already contacted the store. They weren’t his first choice, but he had enough dealings with them that if he or any of us had went to pick it up, we would have come back with the right grade. He goes to where there was a phone, calls, and they give him a song and dance that she asked for that grade.

              That pretty much did it. He realized they thought they could slip an inferior grade past someone who didn’t recognized it and charge higher grade price. He set it aside until he talked to the man, and then he hit the roof. He took it back and had major words with them.

              Don’t know if the client had a contract with them or not, but they continued to deliver material for that job. That said, it was the last job I worked where they furnished the material.

          • There used to be a few here in Illinoisy, but all went bust after the 2008 housing fiasco…….Menards, HD, and the local lumberyards survived, but they did not.

    • Yep, unfortunately for me they do not have any stores in my state so I can’t actively avoid doing business with them.

      As to one of the other points made, I recall reading years ago about how many people we could actually fit and they used the Grand Canyon as an example. I can’t remember the author but I just did a quick calculation on it, the Grand Canyon is roughly 386E12 cubic feet and in 2016 the average US apartment was 934 square feet, so, assuming an average 10 foot ceilings the Grand Canyon could hold a bit over 41 billion apartments.

      • I’ve lost the exact figures in a move, but a couple of years ago I worked out that the entire population of the world at that time could fit into the state of Texas and the population density would be approximately 100 people per square mile fewer than in New York City.

    • This is a skill that needs to be taught to our children and our grandchildren. (The skill of discerning when someone is trying to manipulate us and our opinions for their own benefit.)

    • Having bought from Penzey’s, I got onto their e-mail list for sending out progressive propaganda—and, worse, the sort that assumed that no one could possibly disagree with them. I sent them a response explaining that some of their customers were not progressives and would rather not hear it, and I would like to be taken off their mailing list. When, predictably, it had no effect, I classified their next message as junk. Now I buy from Spice House, who are in the business of selling spices, not propaganda.

      • I once, somehow, got on the Sierra Club’s smug mailing list. Several polite tries to get them to cease pestering me failed, so I sent them a letter saying that I, personally, thought that two thirds of the ‘environmental problems’ in America would mysteriously clear up if the executive board of their organization was strung up on lampposts.

        Don’t believe I’ve gotten a mailing from them since.

      • Our household subscribes to a wide variety of magazines/catalogs. The stuff we receive that comes from the Christian mailing lists and the material prompted by the vegetarian mailing lists show remarkable similarities in approach and concern, albeit from opposite ends. Back when Jesse Helms and Teddy Kennedy both walked the Earth it was almost as if they used the same form letters and merely swapped out the who was threatening to do what to whom — unless we acted IMMEDIATELY!

      • Heifer International not only floods you but sells you to lots of other Lefty causes.

        When my niece and nephew were small and had just seen their first llama. They wanted one, and my brother lived in a place rural enough that they could have kept one. My wife and I kept threatening to buy them one. (Peak of the tech bubble, on paper we were theoretically rich.) So we decided to combine the joke with doing good, and bought a llama in the kids’ names.

        We paid for our joke with reams and reams of mailings and e-mails from what seemed like the entire Left, including politicians.

  13. “The problem is if we DON’T think they can assimilate or be productive, ever. Do we still HAVE to bring them in?”

    Personally, I look at it this way. If you’re willing to follow the rules and jump through the hoops, and once you’re here want to assimilate and be productive, then welcome to the country.

    If you don’t want to follow the rules?
    If you don’t want to jump through the immigration hoops?
    If you don’t want to assimilate, but want to force THIS country to emulate the hellhole you wanted to get away from?
    If you DON’T want to be productive, but figure you’re entitled to benefits and don’t need to do anything for them?

    Nope, don’t need you. Go back where you came from.

    Europe’s already having a lot of problems with ‘refugees’ who don’t want to assimilate and don’t want to work and don’t want to obey the laws.

    We don’t need that sort of mindset here. We need folks who’ll help grow the pie, not demand a share of it without contributing to it.

  14. Not unless you guys really want your kids to grow up in the Balkans, with continuous ethnic war.

    What, like the Crips, the Bloods, and the Aryan Nation? Just a few of the more well-known neighborhood associations common to Big, Liberal-run cities, and the kind of enlightened management they want to bring to your town (see: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing).

    • Even our small towns in two counties that are mostly agricultural (Klamath in Southern Oregon, and Modoc just south of us over the California border) have Mexican and Central American gangs. The kids join the gangs as young as eleven years old.

      • I’ve heard of MS-13 tagging in K-Falls about 10 years ago, but they’ve managed to stay out of the news. Our local ruffians might have made it uncomfortable for the gangs to do much outside of the city. We’re in an area that used to be reservation land and many folks haven’t forgotten it. At all.

        Still, K-Falls seems to be doing better than Medford and the other cities over the Cascades.

      • I have read that the gangs are franchising into the small towns. The environments are less hospitable in many ways but the law enforcement is also rather less able to counter them. Still, their cores are in the big cities — the franchising may be a way of handling ambitious junior members who would otherwise challenge for leadership.

  15. [S]he’s the woman in a big city whom every guy can “marry” on purpose, by accident or because it seemed a good idea at the time

    I think of her as being treated more like one of those women in Iran or other “Sharia” cultures, whom men marry (and divorce) by the hour.

    With comparable levels of self-respect.

  16. I do have a problem in those cases where religion becomes ideology. You want to eat kosher or halal, worship Saturday, Sunday, or second Tuesday every week, that’s your bidness friend. Bring Sharia into this country and insist that it’s your right to live under those rules and this I have a real issue over.
    And comes the day you decide to stage that raid to rescue women and girls I will gladly provide arms instruction, ammunition, and support from a fixed position. I suspect Peter Grant will offer the same.
    Also, historically speaking we have already refused entry into our country to an entire group of people based on their religious practices. Go read the history of what it took to get Utah admitted to the Union for example.

    • Bring Sharia into this country and insist that it’s your right to live under those rules …

      What “laws” you choose to abide by under your own roof are of little concern to me, so long as they do not affect my property values. Insisting I abide by them because not doing so — by transporting liquor in your cab, by buying bacon at the deli, by drawing a cartoon about your prophet — is a different game all together and one we will not play.

      • Yes, you captured the point much better than I did.
        Though I still have some concern about the “under your own roof” when it comes to treating female family as chattel up to and including honor killings.

        • Simply trying a rephrasing to get at what I think you intended — often one doesn’t quite know what one is trying to convey (or how it appears) until after hitting “post.”

          Quite in agreement on the exceptions you cite, and likely one or two other things as well. I thought of inserting qualifier regarding general law of the land but there are limits to that: some things the Law requires I find objectionable for moral reason. Chattel … well, if they are happy in the BDSM relationship and I don’t have to listen to it … as for Honor Killing, murder is not ever sanctioned; you may believe you have ample justification, but principles of Civil Disobedience mandate you afterward abide by the Law’s judgement. (Yeah — I know: one of the moral impairments of our cousins on the Left is they imagine Civil Disobedience [<I<their civil disobedience, at any rate] ought carry no cost.)

          • Extending Jefferson’s argument:

            “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God” so long as my neighbor cannot compel me to agree or to support his claim.

          • Yes. “It’s civil disobedience.” “Enjoy your stay in Birmingham jail.”

            And this goes for I’d cards and DLs too. Must be identifiable.

          • Yup. I have a memory of a protester somewhere who had chained himself to something as part of a protest. The location and cause have long faded from memory. What remains is his shocked, tear-stained face on TV, completely unable to comprehend the fact that he is under arrest, saying “But it was CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE!”

            • The one time I sat on a jury, the defendant had chained himself to a concrete filled barrel to protest against a legal eviction. The jury hung because one of the jurors had read bad things about the property owner, and thought the Rule of Law shouldn’t apply to a Big Mean Corporation.

              I held to the view you do. So did the nice old gentleman next to me. He had done jail time in Alabama, and didn’t see why this generation should do any less…

        • If they want to follow Sharia Law (or whatever idiocy of the moment their preacher-man has told them) AND the law of the land, fine. Don’t come sniveling to me about the shame of the family if you ‘honor kill’ your daughter because she wouldn’t do what you told her; I still want you dead.

          This goes for The various flavors of Islam, Christian sects (both mainstream and off the wall), and Nature Woshipers (nasty, NASTY goddess). Don’t care. Play by the rules, or take the consequences. Which may end up changing the rules, mind.

          • From Eric S Raymond’s blog (“Napier’s Lesson”):

            In the 1840s, Hindu priests complained to Charles James Napier (then Commander-in-Chief of British forces in India) about the prohibition of suttee by British authorities. Suttee was the custom of burning widows alive on the funeral pyre of their husbands. According to Napier’s brother William, this is how he replied:

            “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

      • I honestly had no issue with refusing alcohol or pork at a business if it is a constant (or honestly similar to having to have another cashier to ring out booze for underage cashier). So say I need a cab, I know that crescent taxi won’t take me with a dog or alcohol. It’s when it’s sprung on someone last minute. Same as I am with any property rights. The demands that airports or schools or corporations how to their will and support I do disagree with vehemently.

        • My solution to airport taxi stand shenanigans – passenger comes out door & taxi rolls up. If driver wants to reject potential pax *for any reason*, that’s driver’s privilege BUT, if he rejects pax he drives off and goes around to the back of the line until it’s his turn again. He does *not* get to hang out until an ‘acceptable’ passenger happens to show up.

        • I want to see a national chain have a “It’s Pork for Lunch Month!!!” specials during Ramada. The progtard and Moslem outrage would be spectacular. They would also make tons of money.

          Win Win Win!

          • Rmadan! Grrr

            • Ramadan R yes, a yes, m ok, a um hum, d yup, a yes, n A hah!
              I can spell if I am careful.

            • Reminds me of the Internet Law that says “If you correct someone’s grammar, chances are, your correction will have a grammatical problem too.”

              I have noticed that even individuals correcting their own grammar aren’t fully immune to the law…

              • Both of my grammars died before I was born, so I ever corrected either of them. Neither of my grampas was inclined to take correction from a snot-nosed kid.

          • Never stopped to consider before, but strikes me that the Deep South is by our nature an affront to Islam. Down here pig is its own food group what with bacon, country ham, pulled pork BBQ, and lots of other tasty bits.

          • In my current hometown of Somalia Heights, uh, Columbia Heights, MN, several of the Middle Eastern restaurants have big tents set up to handle the after-sunset overflow crowds of folk breaking their daily Ramadan fasts. Not to mention the pigging out, uh, overindulging that occurs on Eid al Fitr. This concerns me because if enough islamist-inspired incidents take place during the month, someone could take horrific decisive retaliatory action. Panel vans can be driven by most anyone.

            • You don’t even need a panel van– heck, Seattle has people hospitalized for hit-and-runs by bicycles.

              (As in “at least a dozen a year.” Yes, Seattle is Seattle, and a lot of the folks hospitalized are elderly walkers, but even a really fast bicycle isn’t going residential area speed, and doesn’t have more than a fraction of a small car’s momentum.)

                • How often have we heard that Islam honors Jesus? Not a lot of details on HOW…. (IIRC, their version has the “honor” of slaughtering non-believers. That would include Christians. Seriously, this stuff starts to read like fanfic written by someone who hated the show.)

              • For really big gatherings, however, there’s nothing so Nice as a really big truck.

                • Given the events of last December i don’t think this is a good thing to be discussing. We’re supposed to be better than them.

                  • We are, and that’s why we need to be on the lookout for this sort of thing– a lot of the “anti-fa” or whatever they call themselves are just freaking cowards and bullies…but some of them are just wrong. What happens when they, as the old saying goes, get mugged?

                    Or if someone who just wants to watch the world burn decides to be on “our” side, because they believe we’re into it?

                    The Bundys did good in expelling the Walmart shooters as trouble– maybe if anybody had listened to them, that armed citizen would still be alive.

                    We’ve got to at least try to be better….

                    • Scrolling my local PBS programming I discovered the American Experience program is apparently on a theme, with a show this Tuesday titled “Ruby Ridge”

                      A riveting account of the event that helped give rise to the modern American militia movement.

                      I am confident it will live up to the PBS reputation for honest and unbiased journalism. Or something.

                      Other episodes include “Oklahoma City : A cautionary tale of hate in America.”

                      In fairness, the series does make an effort to balance their presentations; their Walt Disney bio was relatively free of snark while recognizing the differing viewpoints about his contributions to American life.

                    • In the Science-Mythology thing…. Science channel had a big hoorah for their new show with Sting narrating the Dark Side of the Sun.

                      I was interested enough to actually be sitting there to watch it…. and lost interest about ten minutes in.

                      They didn’t freaking research. I think I heard them talk about Galileo inventing telescopes (had a diaper to change) and it was quickly followed by talk of him being the FIRST to ever look at the sun and notice the sunspots, and inventing a way to trace them… and that he made the first flip book with the pictures…..
                      http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown-great.html

                      Kind of wandered off after that, although the pictures were really pretty.

            • Honestly, Muslims do that to themselves, as well as take advantage of other religious groups’ gathering to attack them. Take a look at how often terrorist attacks happen during Ramadan in Muslim countries. the religionofpeace website has a lot, lot more collected bits of news from other parts of the world that the mainstream media -and mainstream consciousness – doesn’t really see.

              In the main part of the website, if you scroll down, they have a little box that puts the ‘numbers in perspective.’ It’s rather interesting.

      • Funny how they can refuse me service for carrying liquor because of religion but the baker down teh street can’t refuse to make someone a cake…

      • There was a big thing here about that; where meat was being subtly made all halal-compliant, and food companies were getting halal certification; Aussies didn’t like it that they were being fed halal meat because of minorities wanting it that way.

        So now there are sections where the halal meat is separated and clearly marked.

        I’ll still see hijab-wearing women selecting beef and lamb from the ones that aren’t marked halal.

    • Your right to halal ends at my right to bacon.

  17. “We could make a “supercity of the world” but the war would probably destroy it. What war? Really? You think all those cultures could live together, side by side, within easy driving distance with no friction? Wow.”

    Looking at European history, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Alps and the Pyraneese and all the other mountains dotting the continent were God’s way of saying to all the various cultures, “Now go to your separate rooms and stay there until you can play nice!” The EU seems to be betting they can play nice now. I’m a bit more skeptical.

    • Given who is standing up on their hind legs at the moment as compared to who is whining about “give peace and rapefugees a chance!” I’m inclined to agree. The frontiers are where people are saying “no more.” Sweden . . . well, if the next mysterious fire guts the offices of several government ministers, I won’t be the least bit surprised.

      • https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9888/persecuted-christians

        Finally, after years of apathy and inaction, Washington is extending a much-needed helping hand to Middle Eastern Christians. U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced that persecuted Christians will be given priority when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States.

        Christians and Yazidis are being exposed to genocide at the hands of ISIS and other Islamist groups, who have engaged in a massive campaign to enslave the remnant non-Muslim minorities and to destroy their cultural heritage.

        Real refugees! Not those taqqiyya-spewing entitled wastes of oxygen.

    • Nah, those were the barriers set up by the aliens mentioned in What Can You Say About Chocolate-Covered Manhole Covers, to foster hybrid vigor.

  18. Biggest problem with immigration debate in this country is the utter and complete lack of accurate terminology everyone is using in thinking about the issue. Vox Day uses that very useful term “magic dirt” to define a lot of the wishful thinking performed by a bunch of people, who seem to think that the only thing necessary for someone to become American is to get them onto American soil. Which is why nobody has really objected as many of these same people have steadily gone about dismantling the assimilation mechanisms that we had in place in earlier times.

    We also don’t think about how these things work, never having really formalized them in the first place. Without a formal framework for how this should work, a paradigm, if you will, we have no way of really determining whether a set of given changes or modifications to current policy are working well.

    The conditions that obtained for the last big wave of immigration do not obtain today; communication and ease of travel make it too easy for the immigrants to “go home”, both physically and mentally. Where “coming to America” was once a life-changing event, one that you often couldn’t effectively undo, now it’s a very casual thing. I would submit that this is not necessarily a good thing for a country like ours, where you have to basically abandon the values and mores of your home society in order to become American. The failure to either consider this issue or enforce it is what leads to problems most notable in many recent Islamic immigrants.

    As well, we don’t do a good job in spelling a lot of this stuff out in clear, certain terms. There should be, in my opinion, a covenant signed by anyone seeking to reside on US soil, which spells out the details of the social contract these new arrivals are essentially assenting to. I’d go further, and suggest that even the native-born should be formally agreeing to and signing off on a dotted line what the terms are for their citizenship. To be native-born here in the US is to basically be thrust into a situation where the rules of the game aren’t specifically laid out, and which you haven’t necessarily agreed to. I think that ought to change, and that every citizen should be required to take an “oath of fealty” to the Constitution, so that we all have the same set of obligations and understandings about the covenant under which we all agree to live. Don’t want to sign? No problem–Just don’t expect to be a participant in government or decision-making, outside of paying some taxes. Maybe make things go on a sliding scale–If you’re willing to pay taxes for benefits, fine, you get the benefits. Don’t want to pay? You’re a resident, and paying only for things like service fees for things you actually use. Voting should require an affirmation to play by the rules, and a commitment to the whole of the polity. Don’t have those? No vote. Residency should be handled about the way we’re handling citizenship, these days–You get it by being born here, or by legally immigrating. Don’t immigrate legally? Fine; you can stay as a guest, so long as you don’t cause any of the other residents any problems. The minute you become a problem to either residents or citizens, bang, zoom… You’re going home. Commit a crime here, a significant one? Like killing either a legal resident or a citizen? You’re going to get a fair trial, and a swift execution.

    • scott2harrison

      Good idea about the contract except do you really want the Democrats writing or rewriting it the next time they are in power?

      • The covenant signed by citizens would have to be agreed on by all… Changing the damn thing should require something similar to the process for amending the Constitution itself.

        In other words, not something that could easily be re-written whenever the dominant party felt like it.

        My idea is basically twofold: One, in that we have a bunch of people who don’t understand the way our government works, this would enforce them learning it before they signed on to it, and two, that having an agreed-on set of rules everyone acknowledges would do a lot to cut down on the whole “I’m in power now, I get to do what I want…” thing.

        All elements of society ought to be interested in laying these things out, and then sticking to them; I’m going to hope that the lesson of Trump, which is that you only get to him via someone like Obama from the other side, will sink in with the sensible adults on that side of things. If there are any, that is…

    • The biggest problem with your idea is that the current education establishment thinks it is their duty to undermine the attitudes that the Huns and Hoydens would mostly agree are the basis of the covenant.

    • “coming to America” was once a life-changing event, one that you often couldn’t effectively undo…

      Actually, a considerable proportion of 1875-1925 immigrants went back – on the order of 30% (maybe more) from Italy and Greece. During WW II, U.S. troops in rural Europe encountered lots of people (mostly men) who had lived in the Europe.

      • “in the U.S.“, dammit.

      • That wasn’t undoing, that was “I went to America, made my fortune, and went home rich.”

        My family actually came over with a buddy who did it– he went back to visit, the girl he was sweet on turned out to have waited for him, but would NOT leave the country. So he stayed back in the old country.

  19. Interesting timing on this post. Ace has a post up about a woman who just got busted as an illegal and for identity theft. Ace notes that the article he linked mentions that protestors seemed to have gathered even before she was brought to the ICE offices. His conclusion from that bit of information is that this was a “test case” by people in the government opposed to Trump’s policies, and they both tipped off the protestors beforehand and made sure that the person being picked up would be sympathetic.

  20. scott2harrison

    Mrs Hoyt, While I greatly enjoy your novels, I truly think that your greatest contribution to this country is this blog. As an educated immigrant, you provide a “Man from Mars” view of this country that is incredibly valuable to me and I think to others. Thank you.

    • I was thinking this, too, as I was reading the blog. I have gotten a great deal out of reading Sarah’s viewpoint on various issues, and sometimes feel like, even though we have very different backgrounds, we might be ‘sisters of a different mother’, LOL!

      I also discovered a year or two ago, to my surprise, that this blog is actually fairly well-known to other conservatives. Not huge numbers, perhaps, but I found readers and people who were familiar with it on another forum I frequent when I shared a couple of her posts there. I think Sarah has a wider influence than she may realize.

    • I wish it paid as much as my novels 😉

      • Dorothy Grant

        You’ve also helped several authors get a hand up in this whole publishing work. I know it doesn’t pay you, but the amount of superversive SF & F, and Human Wave fiction that you’ve had a hand in encouraging… You have more influence than you know!

      • I wish you made it payable by putting together a best-of collected columns.

        I’d buy multiple copies in a heart-beat..

        • I NEED someone to go through the past and suggest assemblages, of say 30 columns at a time. Preferably on themes. I really don’t have time.

          • Is there an easily accessible archive? Do you have any particular themes in mind for initial efforts? While some of the most interesting discussions have occurred in the comments I presume those are not suitable for anthologizing?

            I am not (yet) volunteering, merely seeking to derive the parameters of the task.

      • Sarah, there’s a reason I subscribe, and it doesn’t involve having an oil well in my backyard…..

    • I know the people over at File666 think Sarah is a man (white, racist and homophobic). I prefer to think of her as a ‘Woman from Venus’ point of view. (Lots of heat and sulfuric acid ).

  21. What do you bring to the United States? Ms. Hoyt, do you want a list? Lessee: Brains, guts, imagination, boggling energy, and a blessedly diabolical stubbornness about being your own woman. (And looks; Dan isn’t the only purty one.) Any two of these would compel me to let you in the door were it my decision, and I’m a bit of a nativist.

  22. I don’t think immigration as such is entirely comparable to marriage. Marriage involves either spousal support or community property. In the days when immigrants were expected to come in and work for a living (and faced punishment for crimes, and there was very little in the way of government income redistribution), they weren’t getting anything you could compare to either. In fact they were assets to the economy by providing more sets of hands.

    The trouble with immigration now is that it takes place under a legal regime that gives immigrants the ability to take assets away from citizens, through receiving government aid funded by taxes and through voting for such aid; and in some cases they gain the ability to commit crimes and go unpunished, as in the Rotherham situation. Now under those arrangements immigration may be comparable to forced marriage, or worse.

  23. Lafcadio Hearn became Japanese, and a great Japanese writer too. But that is one of the few I can think of.

    • Anyway, Hearn not only became a Japanese Buddhist with a Japanese name, but did the American thing and simultaneously collected stories and customs from commoners and craftspeople, while supporting Japanese artists with encouragement and sales. More Japanese than the Japanese, but charming about it.

  24. The be all end all for assistance and citizenship has to be acceptance of the rule of law. Without this any foundation will shift if it is beneficial. Hence why illegal immigration is so harmful. Even the nice family just trying to make it has decided that numerous laws are just inconvenient for them to follow. So what can be expected in future from them.

    The US does need to keep a culture. Immigration of those that wish to support and prolong it should be encouraged as assimilation speed progresses. But taking in every person that the UN declares a refugee, regardless of their provenance, the opinion that religious minority status wrt refugees is compared to the host country vs the region they are running from and the fact that the US has become the pressure valve all make assimilation much more difficult because it adds volatility to situation. And same goes to the H1b fraud (one of 2 reasons Washington fought immigration ban was that their rulers in Seattle feared loss of cheap, indentured programmers). We must take in those that will better us. Not those that simply will use us.

  25. I can tell you me and my female friends would be arming up and heading over the sharia neighborhoods to free us some women, or at least the girls who weren’t fully indoctrinated yet.

    Yeah, I’ve come to realize I’m a Bad Scifi Fan…because if I ended up thrown back in time, I wouldn’t do the “kill Hitler as a child” stuff, but I WOULD apply standard ethics, and I can’t unknow what happened/will happen… yeah, I’d be Changing Things. I do not accept the “it’s the way it is, it’s immoral to change it” thing with time any more than I would with “everyone is in the same neighborhood” things.

    We would so get flippin’ killed, but it’d be worth it.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I wouldn’t kill Hitler as a child. I’d remove him from Germany, transplant him in some remote, out of the way place and let him live a life of mediocrity.

      • That’s still doing harm to a kid who never did anything wrong. It’s like thought-crimes, but without there even being a crime involved, just the belief that there will be a crime.

        • scott2harrison

          Not if you make sure that he is better off than he was before the move by whatever criteria matter to you and/or him.

          • Helping him is explicitly not what was suggested, though.

            • scott2harrison

              It wasn’t ruled out though. The object was just to change his environment enough that he never became the ogre that he did.

              • *wry* The original object was to point out that “kill Hitler as a child” is rather a strawman that only works if you have dehumanized everybody involved– an echo of Sarah’s point that in reality, if we were just down the block from freaking slavers, there’d be some raids going on.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          True. But this is purely a thought-experiment. Since we can’t time-travel, and changing history is theoretical, this is hypothetical.

        • Just slip the schoolmaster at the art academy a few marks to let young Adolf take the art class he wanted, and that’d probably be a large-enough timeline change…

          • Thing is, while it’s fun to try to figure out a way to Control It All, it’s also backwards… a lot of the problem is because of treating people like chess pieces, rather than as people.

            I wouldn’t be able to do that, and it’s practically a staple of scifi. I’d end up being surrounded by people, and responding accordingly, and I’d think I knew what was going on– and just like if I “know” that someone will be hit by a car if they go out that door, I’ll DO SOMETHING about it.

            Not so much the broad strokes of history.

            • Go read John Wright’s City Beyond Time. You get all the philosophical bits worked out wrapped in the sweet chewy goodness of classic pulp SF.

              Best time travel novel since Hexwood.

          • Probably easier to get him to actually meet the stage manager he once got a letter of introduction to, but lost his nerve about. A long and profitable life painting dramatic scenery.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Hitler was a child in Austria.

      • Dorothy Grant

        Heck, how about a full-ride scholarship to art school, and mentorship from some of the good painters of Europe at the time?

      • If you did that, there’s be a whole lot of people missing from the world today, with different people taking their place. One of those missing people might be you.

        • Subtract Hitler and maybe eugenics is not discredited; subtract hitler and maybe Stalin gets time to truly develop his military. As bad as the Holocaust and war were, that alternate might be worse.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            There is also that.

          • “Back from 19…whatever it was? How’d it go?”

            “A bit touch and go at first, but I got Adolf on a different track, I think. Tell me, was there a big war in the early 1940’s?”

            “Adolf? Adolf who? And oh yes, millions killed, and the Holocaust..12 million right there. Europe is… well somehow Britain managed to hang. The rest.. took several generations to get back almost normal.”

            “Wait. 12 million? ALL of Europe?”

            “Yes.”

            “&^%$!!! I gotta go back and undo it all.”

            • This is exactly why time travel should never be invented.

            • You know, if you look at the course of Adolph’s life, and his conviction that Destiny Had Things For Him To Do, it almost reads like someone who kept finding himself heading straight for the wall at high speed, and then somehow the wall got moved for him. Just look at the things that went wrong in all the pre-war assassination attempts. Kinda like someone that the Temporal Police had to keep working madly in background to get out of temporal-meddler-created jams so as to not derail their preferred timeline.

              • In WWI Adolph was a courier, a role that typically greatly reduced the soldier’s life expectancy. His survival in that is, in its way, as remarkable as George Washington”s surviving the “French & Indian War” unscathed.

                • And the Revolution. Washington was never wounded in battle.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  He picked up a lot of survival skills during the war, and those helped mitigate the dangers of all the assassinations. That he read too much into that, and got even more squirrely might be a separate things.

                  • My recollection is he also picked up a lot of bullet holes in his clothing but not in his person — which also fostered squirrely beliefs.

                    Not inclined to argue; research material too long ago read and too inconveniently accessible … as well as the matter s too trivial.

          • Orson Scott Card has fun with this in his Pastwatch novel. One of the great events that has horrified real world fans of “primitive” cultures is Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. Card reveals in the novel that Columbus’s discovery of the Americas was due to manipulation by a group of time travelers. Otherwise the man’s efforts likely would have gone toward creating another Crusade to free Jerusalem.

            Oh, and also, a civilization in the Americas that was even more vicious and bloodthirsty than the Aztecs would have arisen, closed the technological gap with Europe, discovered that there was land on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and successfully invaded (in part due to American disease vectors that ravaged the European population, instead of the other way around as they did historically).

          • To my read, it was basically 50/50 as to whether the Nationalist Socialist takeover which ended up conducting antisemitic pogroms killing millions and kicking off “WWI-The Next Generation” was going to happen in Germany or in France.

            • The eugenics movement was headed in a pretty horrible direction throughout the West. Another ten years of Western Disarmament, of the governance of Neville Chamberlin & Édouard Daladier, of “proof” the Kellogg–Briand Pact was working …

              Of course, Imperial Japan’s efforts might have made the issue moot, presuming they would have had more time to effect their pacification of Asia.

          • Eugenics was never discredited; farmers and animal breeders practice it all the time.

            What happened was, most societies decided the price was higher than they wanted to pay.

            • Humans are more complex. You’re not breeding for a single trait. In humans, as a factor to social engineering, they are/were discredited.

            • I’m inclined to think that eugenics has merely hidden itself in the rhetoric abortion rights.

              One thing that greatly disturbs me is just how much justification for abortion aligns with the eugenisist’s desires to get rid of undesirables…

              • Planned Parenthood changed its name during WWII. That was the same time they dropped the word “eugenic” from their charter.

                How many of you suspect a superficial change, rather than one of philosophy?

                ” We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Margaret Sanger

          • It’s as if you read (and filled in the blanks) The Cat Who Walks Through Walls*.

            * And, for the viewing audience: In which the MC has it explained to him that they tried going back and preventing Hitler’s rise to power, not by killing him, but merely by supplying his mother with a condom (or perhaps a pack of them), and the result was a worldwide radioactive wasteland in the timeline thus created.

    • If I got thrown back in time, I’d just end up dead. Going forward would be interesting though.

    • Professor Badness

      I’m pretty sure the Nazi Party would have just found another charismatic leader. As anyone here conversant with history will agree, many more factors existed than the rise of one man.
      Still, it makes for good stories to go back in time and slaughter Nazis.

      • I was thinking more along the lines of tackling the Archduke before they got to where the Serbian SOB shot them….

        • Or maybe more like “inform him that his wife is pregnant, and that if he leaves the house that day he’s going to die…and so will she.”

          It might not stop WWI, but it would prevent the slaughter of three good people.

          • From what I’ve heard, stopping the guy who shot them would be enough. IIRC, he was the last of an entire string of would-be assassins (all part of the same group), and the only one who didn’t have some strange coincidence occur that kept him from carrying out the assassination.

        • If you look at the sequence of events that day, it seems like somebody tried. There’s was a bomb thrown at the car…but it turned out to be a dud…which caused the security people to reroute the Archduke’s motorcade…but his driver forgot and started to take the original route anyway…but then remembered again and paused to get back to the new route..giving the assassin, who had been a long way from the action most of the day, a chance to shoot.

          Really, the idea that the entire thing was orchestrated by multiple sets of time travelers, each going for a different outcome, doesn’t seem that far fetched.

          • There are several places where one might suspect Historical Engineering having happened.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Several years ago, I read a short SF work (not sure if it was novelette or short story) where some aliens were meddling (with the best intentions) in human politics.

              Not only did their meddling make things worse, the meddlers “missed” things like one of the meddlers not realizing that a man on a train with him was Lenin heading for Russia (thanks to Germany). 😉

              • It was written by Poul Anderson.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Do you happen to remember the title?

                  • Nope.

                    But they did know he was Lenin, they were deliberately shipping him there, they just underestimated the impact.

                    It opened with an “Irishman” going into a posh place and showing the guard he had permission, leading to thoughts it was amazing that they would suffer an Irishman to do so.

        • I have this notion, perhaps even a seed for a short story, where time travelers review all the horrible things that have happened over the last couple of centuries, and trace it all to the Archduke getting silly notions of liberty in his head….and so they go back in time to assassinate him…

          And they succeed, and the resulting wars are *much* worse than what they were before…

    • Speaking of Adolph and time travel, a friend recommended “Look Who’s Back” the other day.

    • No need to kill him as a child. Wait until his 50th birthday and use the plan rejected by the British government. Take your rifle to the landing of the British Military Attache’s apartment, 30 feet from the bathroom window. That will hide the muzzle flash. The roar of the crowd will cover the noise. The distance is about 100 yards. One shot. The Wehrmacht will do the rest. Or not. Either way, Hitler is gone.

      • No need to kill him at all. Simply bestow some testicles on the French generals and make them respond to Germany’s first tentative toe across the line (I forget the name — some bridge they crossed in 1938, IIRC, expecting to get their butts handed to them and thus have justification for deposing Adolph) in force.

        • I do enjoy, however, the story that mainly consists of veteran time travelers having to go back and prevent newly-minted time travelers from killing Hitler.

          • I was reading that the Mongols spread the black death to Europe. It seems that Mongolian marmots are the prime incubators of plague. The Mongol version of pony express spread it everywhere.

            So why not kill Genghis and see what happens.

            Probably need to go back and fix it. But with time travel everything transforms into mere shadows of Amber.

            • I’m still shooting the groundhogs in my yard. They may not be Asian red marmots, but they’re still marmots. You never can be too sure.

        • Actually, that was the re-occupation of the Rhineland in 1936.

          • Thanks. For whatever reason that is a fact which refuses to remain lodged in my mind.

            Lord knows, hardly a year goes by that I don’t refer to it, and so very many other useless facts remain available …

  26. Being an only child, especially the only child of elderly parents, can be a rather big obstacle for moving to another country. If I had had a sibling willing to stay here I probably would have at least tried, and tried hard, but I never could quite handle the idea of leaving them behind, especially since my mother’s health started to fail already when I was just in my late teens, and after her death there was father.

    I suppose the idea was even harder for me because I have had abandonment issues my whole life. I was abandoned, sort of, at an age too young to consciously remember it, but I guess it did leave some scars. I got severely sick and ended up spending over three months in a hospital, and in the early 60’s here that meant that I was completely cut off from my parents because then it was thought that this would be easier to a child too young to understand why they always would leave than repeatedly seeing them and then them leaving you again was. But it meant I had to go through something like that twice, first when I was left in the hospital, and then when the hospital had become the familiar place when I was taken back home. My mother told me that she had to wear all white, like the nurses, for several weeks after that because I’d get hysterical if she dressed normally.

    But my dreams my whole life have had one continuing element: being trapped in some way. Usually not being in a cage, but I keep having these dreams where I go for a walk outside or something, and it turns out that the outside is in some ways severely limited. I fly, but the sky turns out to be a ceiling, go for a swim but can’t find water deep enough for anything but wading, the forest is just a small patch of trees instead of a real forest and so on. As if there was no outside, but it’s all just a bit bigger hall, like maybe some sound stage made to look like outside. And I can never find the door that leads to the real outside.

    Yes. I would have wanted to emigrate.

  27. This is the time of year I think about the difference between eros and agape (in the pre-Christian sense) in a marriage. Eros is what’s thought of as romantic love, and romantic love is now regarded as the reason for marriage. But how long has this been the case?

  28. What a great perspective – thanks for writing this.

  29. I’m an American who’d love to offer his citizenship to a foreigner in exchange for his.

    • Meaning, your only experience of being abroad is the best hotels and people at your level.
      TRUST me you wouldn’t LIKE it.

      • FWIW:

        I have a cousin who hasn’t renounced his citizenship, but has left the country. He did so long before the election and is apparently happy in his nation of choice. He’s worked abroad before, so he had a rough idea of what to expect (and his opinions of certain parts of the world are quite pithy). Basically he went there, liked it, and moved there.

        I don’t judge. That’s his choice. It wasn’t random – there’s some places where he wouldn’t move – but he’s happier there than here. I wouldn’t be, but he is. So be it.

      • I just wish there were a mechanism in place to let us take him up on that offer.

      • Sir, I am happy to inform you that i am in receipt of correspondents from several Arab nationals offering to accept your offer of exchange of your American citizenship for hers.

        I can also arrange an exchange from the Nigerian brother of a certain ex-president of the United States, one which also offers several opportunities for potentially profitable investments in banking shares in that country.

    • However, may I suggest you not let the door hit you on the ass on your way out? You don’t need to exchange. Just apply to move. I’m sure such a valuable person as you will have offers rained down on him. After all, we all love a person with such weak attachment to the society in which he grew up that he’d be willing to immigrate ANYWHERE indiscriminately. The UAI? Brazil? Venezuela. Go for it, sir. Make great haste.

    • I’m all for it.

      And your little dog, too.

    • Bu-bye. There’s nothing keeping you here if you hate it so much. Oh, and in case you haven’t realized it, that’s yet another difference between our country and others. You can freely leave whenever you want. No one is keeping you here.

      Inquiring minds want to know if you are open to trading with any nationality or if you want to be able to pick and choose?

    • What are the terms and conditions to this offer? Cause I’m sure you wouldn’t offer to just *anyone*.

      • Oh, it’s a driveby to tell us how much this snowflake despises Amerikkkka. Though he wouldn’t survive anywhere else…

        • I have long maintained that in reparation for any harm done immigrant ancestors our gubmint offer this deal: full DNA sequence to determine where your people likely came from, free air fare to that place with whatever the airline will allow you to carry or check, and the equivalent of one years mean income for that location in local currency. In exchange you just surrender and denounce permanently your US citizenship and give up any other possessions you may have accrued under our ever so distasteful and oppressive regime.
          Or as Sarah so eloquently said, you’re free to go, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

  30. The US always had a wise (i.e. discriminatory) immigration policy. Only people with high IQ, high skills, or rich people (who brought over capital from their old countries) were accepted. (25% of doctors in the US are foreign born, as are, probably 50% of nurses).
    It’s not the legal immigrants that pose a problem – it’s the illegal ones.

    Even asylum seekers from war torn countries like Syria are screened based on above criteria.

    And, Trump’s ban on legal visa holders is totally useless.

    • It’s not a ban. It’s a moratorium on SEVEN COUNTRIES (all of them are Muslim countries, but more importantly all of them are war torn countries) The UAE aren’t banned, nor is Saudi Arabia. Or Egypt.
      The reason for the moratorium is establishing screening where IT’S NOT HAPPENED. (No, they have NOT been carefully screened.) And where, btw, the country of origin cannot help.
      Did you also holler when Obama enacted the same suspension? His was for six months while Trumps is half that time? Were you also distressed?
      As for your notions of how to immigrate to America, you’re far and abroad. No — take it from someone who has gone through the process, whose friends have gone through the process, and who has an interest in it — We DO NOT require that people be high IQ — because high IQ is discriminatory — we do import a lot of “doctors” and “nurses” from “oppressed” countries (Mostly Muslim) where the training is completely different, and they often can’t pass the tests here. HOWEVER from Europe, regardless of your qualifications or preparedness to support yourself, you can’t get in except by lottery. I knew a Professor and her husband, the engineer, who couldn’t make it in, because their luck never came in.
      You are describing our immigration policy circa the 50s. Carter and Clinton changed the numbers allowed from which areas.
      And btw, yes, illegal immigration is ALSO a problem. Never said it wasn’t.

      • “It’s not a ban. It’s a moratorium on SEVEN COUNTRIES”
        It is a ban on legal visa holders, denying them legal entry to the US. It is a revoke of legally awarded visas, for no specific reason. It is harassment and injury to innocent human beings, who have done no wrong.
        And, it’s for no good, or specific reason. It’s political theater.
        It would be ok to correct and enhance the vetting process in awarding new visas. The claim that there was a security urgency in revoking suddenly legal visas is simply false. There was no urgent security reason, other than Trump’s wish to stage a show.
        That the ban is temporary (moratorium) doesn’t make it (much) less injurious. You should not inflict injury arbitrarily, foreigners are also human beings.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Foreigners necessarily do not have all the protections of citizens or residents, unless the US is obligated to conquer and subjugate the world. In your opinion, is the US obligated to conquer and subjugate the world? Otherwise the ‘human’ criteria is simply not definitive.

        • Sure, there is no urgent security reason. Do you read German papers? In German?

        • More bullshit. (1) Actually, the hangup with permanent residents and long-term visas was not in the EO, which was admittedly not well-drafted, but was clarified within hours and formalized within a day or so. (2) The good specific reason was established by statute in 2015/2016 under the Obama administration. That reason was that those seven countries were in such a state of chaos that visa issuance couldn’t be vetted effectively. It’s notable that the Obama Administration instituted detention for Cuban refugees in January, to no particular outcry. (3) You’re mistaken about the status of foreigners with normal visas: in fact, by law, people with visas can be prevented from entering the country any time there’s any reason, and the power to determine those reasons was established by statute in 1952.

          Knowing what your talking about can be amazingly useful. You should give it a try.

        • [I]t’s for no good, or specific reason. It’s political theater.

          Good and specific reasons have already been cited by others — impossibilities of reliable screening for countries without stable, reliable central government, i.e. — but you miss a critical point: political theatre can be a good, specific reason for certain actions.

          I am not going to take time expounding on that as, if you haven’t already grasped that point persuading you of its validity would require too much explanation of elementary politics. Politics is theatre.

        • “Legal visa holders” who were not investigated as the law requires. Therefore, they aren’t actually legal.

      • FWIW, if someone relies only on the networks, they aren’t going to have much of a clue what the executive order does, as 90% of what’s “reported” is spin. Even Fox fell into the spin cycle. The only way I could get an accurate account of the executive order was to read it for myself. Judging from the reporting, that’s more than journalists and editors bothered to do. Even Petraeus didn’t know that General Talib al Kenani could come to the US thanks to two provisions in the executive order (giving him the benefit of the doubt: Surely a former head of the CIA during the Obama Administration and former commander of the Coalition Forces wouldn’t play politics and deliberately lie to congress; surely not).

        One thing is clear: We’re going to have to go to original sources now, because what passes for news won’t, or think that we won’t.

        • #fashionablelies is it, yes.

        • There is also the possibility of sabotage of the implementation by the “deep government” — the permanent bureaucracy that (in England) is personified in Sir Humphrey Appleby.

          [There is a government building with a reinforced concrete basement in case of a nuclear war.]
          Sir Humphrey: There has to be somewhere to carry on government, even if everything else stops.
          Hacker: Why?
          Sir Humphrey: Well, government doesn’t stop just because the country’s been destroyed! I mean, annihilation’s bad enough without anarchy to make things even worse!
          Hacker: You mean you’d have a lot of rebellious cinders.

    • And, Trump’s ban on legal visa holders is totally useless

      Also nonexistent.

      • No thanks to Trump.
        Trump ordered to keep legal visa holders out (temporarily), his ban was lifted by the courts, which he promptly denounced.

        • #fashionablelies are very popular this year.

        • As I mentioned above, knowing what you’re talking about is incredibly helpful in arguments if you expect not to have people point at you and laugh.

          Which we are.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/01/29/priebus-lawful-permanent-residents-arent-affected-by-trumps-latest-executive-order-going-forward/?utm_term=.7b68c55df45c

        • his ban was lifted by the courts, which he promptly properly denounced.

          FTFY.

          The TRO imposed by the Judge Robart was devoid of legal reasoning but laden with handwavium. The Ninth Circuit decision was an unwarranted abrogation of executive authority by the nation’s most activist appellate assemblage, a body with no knowledge of the intelligence briefings underlying the executive order.

          That the Trump Administration decided this was an opportunity for amateur hour simply compounded the botched implementation, giving his enemies a knife with which to stab him.

          None of which makes the ban useless — it has certainly been well-used by his opponents.

          • For those who like to dismiss facts by attacking the source, the conservative tilt of the litigators blogging at Power Line will invalidate the otherwise cogent analysis. For those inclined to read actual facts that won’t matter. This post links to several excellent analyses as well as offering the bloggers’ own read of the matter:

            A NINTH CIRCUIT FOOTNOTE [WITH COMMENT BY JOHN] [UPDATED]
            [SNIP]
            It all happened so fast, starting with the executive order itself. Judge Robart appeared to deliberate over the order for about as long as it takes to brew a cup of coffee. The Ninth Circuit didn’t take much longer. The panel jumps over the jurisdictional issue raised by the government’s appeal in a little over one page and seems to me to get it wrong, but here the error was invited by the Trump administration itself. The panel jumps over the jurisdictional issue to address the legal issues bearing on the merits of the case. They can’t wait.

            The jurisdictional issue is not frivolous. No appeal lies from a temporary restraining order. The administration should have taken a deep breath and put its case together for a hearing on the preliminary injunction that the States of Washington and Minnesota seek in the district court. The Ninth Circuit holds that the temporary restraining order is equivalent to an appealable preliminary injunction in this case. The Ninth Circuit eagerly wades into the legal issues raised by the States’ claims.

            I pause over footnote 7 at page 27. It captures the animus at the heart of the Court’s opinion, or so it seems to me. The animus results in something like willful stupidity. Here is footnote 7:

            Although the Government points to the fact that Congress and the Executive identified the seven countries named in the Executive Order as countries of concern in 2015 and 2016, the Government has not offered any evidence or even an explanation of how the national security concerns that justified those designations, which triggered visa requirements, can be extrapolated to justify an urgent need for the Executive Order to be immediately reinstated.

            The Ninth Circuit emphasizes that its ruling only denies a stay of the pending appeal. It pretends not to have decided the case on the merits and reserves its ruling on the religious discrimination claim after making noises supporting it. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
            [END EXCERPT]

    • Trump’s ban on legal visa holders is totally useless.

      Assertion based on facts not in evidence.

  31. And I, too, like the conceit of immigration being like marriage; almost like a line marriage in “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” in that the rest of us have to agree that you get to stay if you want to move here.

    And as far as the innocent children who suffer because their parents broke the law when they broke our country’s borders, I think it’s a shame. The innocent always suffer when people commit crimes. In this case, it does not make it our fault that the children are suffering.

    • “Us”, collectively, though not unanimously. But definitely not “only the right-thinking people”, all critics of mass immigration being excluded as “wrong-thinking”.

      And you’re dead right about the responsibility for children of illegals.

  32. I’m an ex-leftist myself (https://digitalheretic.org/2017/02/06/dave-rubin-pretty-much-nails-why-the-regressiveleft-pushed-me-to-quit-left-wing-politics/), much like Dave Rubin at the Rubin Report.

    This is an issue I struggle with, but I certainly appreciate your thoughts on this. Definitely worthwhile to ponder.

    Cheers!

  33. Wow! Well done, and although long, not as long as it appears – most of the length is the comments that follow it.

    If you can’t wait, skip to the end, but you’ll miss some excellent prose.

  34. I have to start by saying that I agree that to the extent we have rights “as a country”, we should have the right to control our borders and not invite in people who are going to make us worse off. I also agree that ability and achievement should play a larger role in who we invite in than they have for the last few decades.

    The place that I want to add some detail is that the economists (at least those who don’t start off assuming integration will cause us trouble) who have studied the consequences of immigration find that each immigrant who works at a menial or low-wage job increases the demand for higher paid workers to work in the community. They don’t end up costing us in standard of living, and for everyone but those they compete directly with (poor english skills, probably not even a high school diploma) they improve wages and opportunity. Those without a diploma are on the bubble; the data doesn’t show they are clearly harmed or clearly helped.

    And the statistics show that to-date at least, nearly all immigrants come here to work. We shouldn’t be afraid that they’re coming here because of the great welfare benefits we have.

    Of course, we should monitor the situation. We shouldn’t promise to keep the doors open come hell or high water. We should invite in some number of immigrants that our society can clearly support and integrate, and revisit the topic every few years to ensure that their behavior and success has changed recently.

    I’m a libertarian. I’ve posted here before.

    I’ve spent the past week in Athens joining a (mostly liberal) group of volunteers looking for ways to help the refugees integrate. I’m here because I was worried that the crisis would give immigration and humane treatment of refugees a black idea in world opinion. I’m less worried than I was when I came. The fact that the EU effectively closed the borders (even though it leaves a lot of refugees in really desparate situations) looks like it will mean that the number of refugees still in Greece will be something that Greece can come to terms with peacefully. Even though Greece’s economy is basically broken. The US can peacefully and productively integrate a huge number of people every year.

    • Problem right off the bat:
      Conflating immigrants with illegal aliens.

      It makes sense, since immigrants are going to be relatively easy to track, while illegals are (natch!) not, but it doesn’t make it good reasoning.

      I’m perfectly good will bringing in more people who will play by the rules, but it’s sheer madness to assume that just because you can have a lot of fun in street-soccer by adding more and more people to each team, having a parade march through the middle will be even more fun. It’s not “more people” that makes it better, it’s “more players.

    • Not while we have a mandated minimum wage, we cannot. It means that while immigrants MIGHT bring in value, the people born here are not working, and put on welfare.
      I’ve read the same studies, and I have strong doubts about methodology.