Not Just Any Huddled Masses by Bill Reader



I’ve discussed already the liberal perspective on the immigrant horde. Now I’d like to talk about the other side of the equation, and help crystallize my own thoughts—and argue from at least one school of conservative thought—as to the flaws with the migrant horde, the philosophical and practical rationale for keeping them out, and the conservative perspective on immigration in general.

The Left plays up that these people come from desperate conditions, as it does in all scenarios like this. As I mentioned in my prior article, the Left tends to blame the United States first for these impoverished conditions and it does so in part because they’ve got end-stage Marxism. As I noted there, the United States is not responsible for the floundering of countries with a long history of socialism and the typically dysfunctional Latin American culture, which runs heavily to corruption of officialdom at every level and serial revolutions in virtually all places where it’s predominant. [Roman culture really.  Darn those Roman colonialists.  We took their form of Republic, but not their culture, which is why we do well enough. The Latin countries… sigh.- SAH]

More broadly, it helps to actually understand what we ask of our immigrants and why we ask it. And in order to examine that question, I’d like to start with something that should be very familiar to all naturalized immigrants—the Oath of Allegiance. What we ask of our immigrants is not only fairly clear, it’s repeated month after month, year after year, every year, by new Americans.

In the most general sense, immigration is how Americans who were born abroad come home. It is Not, with a capital “N”, how foreign nationals, still loyal to their home countries, acquire the nominal moniker of “American”. There is a reason that it is the very first thing every naturalized American must swear. “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;”. And this isn’t a symbolic gesture. In fact, it is doubly important that we mean it when we make people say it. The US gives its people unique leeway to redefine what the country is—which we will discuss in a moment—and thereby exists only by the grace of a kind of consensus philosophy. To accept the reward, and burden, of being American, is to explicitly turn your back on divided loyalties, and rededicate yourself to the maintenance and furtherance of that single philosophy and its subordinate guiding principles, to the exclusion of all others. Because we are not a nation of place, of race, of faith or of fealty. We are an idea made manifest, and ideas, while hard to kill, are fragile to maintain. Those principles and that philosophy need not be wondered at. They are explicitly notated in the constitution in the least ambiguous way the people writing knew how (they must have done an okay job, it took statists about 200 years to really pick the semantics apart and start interpreting things never intended in its text). And this is exactly why the Oath of citizenship goes on to say “That I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”.

Having noted that, I will digress for a moment to take apart a particular Leftist trope, as it is cogent. People properly acquainted with the history of the country’s founding will recognize that the US is not in fact, a “nation of immigrants”, or at least not as the term is understood on the Left. The US is a nation of well circumscribed and elaborated foundational principles, outlined in the constitution and meant to be embodied in its citizenry. By corollary, a person who subscribes to, and is willing to uphold those principles, may be admitted as a citizen at our discretion—and the fact that they are an immigrant is not counted against them if they do so. Put another way, we are a nation that is willing to take those from all around the world who understand and believe in our core philosophy, and promise to commit everything to becoming one of us. We are therefore only “a nation of immigrants” in an incidental sense, because nation of origin matters less than caring about American principles—but we have no philosophical obligation nor reason to simply take immigrants because they are immigrants. That’s a self-defeating idea on the face of it. To argue that being from another nation is a reason in and of itself for admitting a person and making them a citizen, not only implicitly contradicts the first line of the citizenship oath, but is effectively simply an argument against borders of any kind—a far stupider idea that I’ve already separately taken to task in the past. Indeed, it’s perhaps even something more radical if taken to its logical conclusion—an argument for forced emulsification of other nationalities with Americans. And yet strangely, once you peel back the risible accusations of racism, and the historically illiterate accusations that we caused the desolation in countries with an extensive history of Marxism, you’re left, essentially, with nothing more than this: that America has had significant contributions from immigrants, ergo immigrants must be an unsullied good in their own right.

Why must our oath be this way? Why do we have such a high bar? Well, as the US uniquely has as its nucleus only a set of ideas, it is uniquely invested in the ideas of its citizens. However, paradoxically, to embody the freedoms it represents and depends on, the US is expressly set up to minimize its ability to influence, change, and enforce the ideas of its citizenry. This includes ideas antithetical to, or even hostile to the US. Indeed, the US government cannot and should not arrogate to itself the ability to enforce a particular belief, even, unfortunately, the ones necessary for the US to survive— like free speech, freedom of association, and the right to bear arms— the last explicitly in case someone less cognizant of why the government must never stoop to enforcement of one viewpoint comes to power (On which point a sidebar is warranted— this is not the same thing as members of government expressing a viewpoint. Presidents are representatives of a party, parties are partisan affairs. Expressing their own beliefs, acting in accordance with them, is normal and expected. Indeed, it’s what we vote for. Trump is well within his rights to call things like he sees them, as often and as partisan as he likes. So was Obama. So was Bush. But when Obama’s IRS started targeting conservatives, that was enforcement of his viewpoint. That was highly unacceptable, and remains one of the worst marks of ignominy on a presidency marred by a long list of them.). This naturally raises the point that the United States is in constant peril from its own permissive philosophy.

There is, therefore, a countervailing force, and one that must be strenuously maintained. As by definition, the US cannot come to her own defense without ceasing to be what she stands for, her people must. The concepts upon which freedom rests are borne on the shoulders of her citizens. To permit the US to continue existing, it needs a vanguard of people who understand the core philosophy at its foundation, the principles on which it is based, and who will defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic—just as it says in the oath. The domestic enemies are more common than people realize, and they are neither mass shooters nor fake bombers. There is no policy decision that will legislate crazy people out of existence (Although on the other hand, Carter starting the de-institutionalization policies that eventually led to the closing of the insane asylums probably did not make the situation better. However, given the tone of the modern Left, it’s just as well that the bar for institutionalizing people against their will is a very high bar, as the Left has gone firmly crazy, insist nonetheless that they’re sane, and some people—I pray not enough to do real damage— are naive enough to take their word for it. Sooner or later the inmates may get the key to the madhouse.). Rather, domestic enemies are properly understood in this frame of reference to be champions of ideas that—if implemented—would result in the collapse of the American experiment. Our defense against these, within the strictures of our laws, is at the debate table and ballot box, but that it is conceived as non-violent does not make it non-important.

Indeed, one of the strengths of American democracy was that it was conceived in a way that allowed us to resist the proclivities of humans to centralize and plan-from-above, which have been destroying societies at least as far back as ancient Greece.

It is also remarkable in how undramatic it was in its conception, admitting the probability that people with some flawed ideas are not flawed in all ideas—that extreme measures to silence a person because of disagreement, even totally valid disagreement over things that are an existential threat to the nation, would throw many babies out with the bathwater and render the country draconian and uncomfortable in the meanwhile.

Ironically, even this idea, the underpinning of a civil society that is truly a civil society, turns out to be one that domestic enemies can ablate with enough ignorance, which is why Google and Facebook have turned to openly flirting with censorship (And, I note parenthetically for those who would “punch a Nazi”—and who strangely do not proceed to black their own eyes— that the non-violent intention behind this well-functioning system is no invitation to your continuing untrammeled in your antics. Nowhere is it required philosophically to continue non-violently in perpetuity even when violence and extra-legal intimidation and actions against our will are visited upon us. Indeed, that was rather the point of the rebellion. We are not a holy sect; we maintain a right to self-defense. I am very proud of conservatives as a whole for their character in the face of flagrant abuse of our system by the Left, most recently embodied by the smearing of Kavanaugh. I remain extremely hopeful that the Right can push back on the Left long enough for the Left to have some marginally sane, non-socialist leaders emerge, and that the Left does not push things to the point where the Right must either submit against their will or fight. It will not go well for anyone.)

The United States must have the right, given the above, to moderate and decide who comes in. This must be the case because people who maintain ideas of statism, centralization, and other concepts that contradict the foundational principles on which the constitution is based, can pose a serious threat, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment. While the US must suffer these people who arise natively, and count on the aggregate wisdom of the voters to maintain American principles despite them, it is by no means required to suffer the same from those seeking to come in. Immigrants are, first and foremost, supplicants, and whether you like it or not, bear the weight of intrinsic suspicion because their first loyalty, almost by definition, was not to the United States. That they were always Americans, born in another place by misfortune, is an extraordinary claim—we ask they provide extraordinary evidence, and that means jumping through our hoops. Incidentally, compared to the rest of the first world—Hell, compared to Mexico, as many have pointed out—the evidence we ask for is not even that extraordinary. These new Americans, we do not hold to the lax standards of people born here. They are starting anew, so we ask that they demonstrate anew their understanding and commitment to the principles that are at our core, as if they were among the founders themselves, rebelling against their own home.

The threat posed by people who do not understand our principles exists because, to best serve its mission, the US government was also conceived with formalized, strictly constrained methods of changing its structure. The point was that it should not blow with the wind, riding every fad that ran through the country. It was meant to be ponderous, difficult to change, requiring massive consensus among the people’s representatives—a point firmly lost on the 111th congress, incidentally, which used what could at best be called a procedural loophole to pass ObamaCare, and at worst simply did so illegally. As they have sown, so far, so they have reaped. We will see what transpires next week.

At all events, the US is permitted to change, with the intent that it do so along lines that better serve the freedom of the individual and the ability to live with a minimum of governmental interference. That is what makes the decision to free slaves a good one, and what makes propositions like “Medicaid for all” such bad ones. This flexibility, in the hands of a populace overly ignorant of the principles they live under, or at the capricious whim of people who worship at the altar of collectivism, becomes vulnerability. And it is vulnerability, as noted above, the US is by no means obligated to bear. We are not here to be misused and abused as a mere resource for any old huddled masses. We are interested only in those that truly yearn to breathe free—with all the responsibilities that entails.

I will note in closing that the last three generations have increasingly made me wonder if it is not time to consider abandoning birthright citizenship for all people in the United States, not just people from foreign soil. Increasingly I notice that it seems as though key knowledge about why America exists, and what it represents, has either been lost or deliberately manipulated to fit a neo-Marxist, class-struggle worldview more neatly. The assumption of the 14th amendment was that American citizens could, in general, be trusted to raise good American citizens—and while probably there have been like-minded curmudgeons like me in all generations, I will note nonetheless— I see little to persuade me that that is actually happening as intended. The Left is already trying to scare their base by saying Trump is contemplating an executive order to end birthright citizenship for all. That, at least, we’re safely assured he won’t do. He said his legal council endorsed the executive order, and that would simply contradict the 14th.

But since they have come to mention it?—well, what a good idea.

146 thoughts on “Not Just Any Huddled Masses by Bill Reader

  1. People citing that poem are quick to say “huddled masses” but they forget that “yearning to breathe free” is not the same as “yearning to re-create the same hellhole they came from while expecting, somehow, to keep the economic advantage of the United States.”

    The thing is, that “breathe free” portion is pretty important.

    1. Exactly. Refugees flee. They really don’t want to bring what they are fleeing from with them. There may be refugee’s in the caravans. But not the ones who carry their home flag, without burning it, instead are burning the US flag? Nope, not a chance.

      1. Those leaving from California, however…tend to do so. Or so I have read. I recall reading of an Oregon bumper sticker from the ’60s or ’70s which said “Don’t Californicate Oregon”.

        1. “Don’t Californicate Oregon” & at the Oregon/California border “Welcome to Oregon. Come spend your money. Then Go Home.”

          Response to those from CA coming up & buying homestead farms & ranches because families couldn’t afford to keep them due to inheritance taxes. Not to mention driving up prices on homes because they sold theirs back home for lots of money. Still happening. Just not talked about anymore. Heck my sister did that … to be fair technically she was coming back home …

          What gets me is they flee CA because of high prices, sales tax at all levels, high taxes period, & they try to instigate what they fled here. WTH? So far the single item per initiative has stymied them.

          1. We left California to go “home” and I know that I was confounding the locals by paying too much for stuff but I really didn’t have a native feel anymore for what anything *ought* to cost.

            We weren’t “fleeing” and we were culturally in tune with the home we returned to, but the money part still happened.

            1. They really, honestly, cannot see the connection. All they see is the people “needing help” and all they know is government intervention. Never, you notice, them lending a hand personally. And if they observe a community coming together to support its members, they interpret that as a problem instead of the way it should be.

    2. “yearning to breathe free” is not the same as “yearning to re-create the same hellhole they came from ..

      Nicely said.

      1. It’s a rare person who can break free of the memes inculcated as a child, so many of the cultural problems follow, even with the best of intentions.

        That so many *have* managed to do so is astounding.

    3. And, as our esteemed hostess has pointed out, even the “yearning to breathe free” part isn’t enough. It’s a necessary but not sufficient condition for making an American. Even for someone like her, who wanted to be an American, it was difficult to push through the “nostalgia” phase where she would see all of the different way we do things and think, “Well, in MY country we do it this way…” How much harder is it going to be for people whose nostalgia phase appears to have started before they even get to the US border?

      1. And, having grown up in Cleveland during the 50’s-60’s, when immigration was rampant, and I attended school with MANY kids whose families spoke other languages, I have to say – not everybody in the family appreciated American culture.
        The women were LEAST likely to prefer the ‘new country’. The men, the MOST likely to support it.
        The old ladies, with their babushkas (kerchiefs tied tightly around their hair – proper women did NOT go about without it), and difficulty with English, yearned to return.
        But, return to what? Their old home, and its ways, were GONE. There was only the new governments, imposing new cultural norms, which they also hated. Really, they hated losing their old culture.
        So did the South, after the Civil War. Even years after they were defeated, the culture stagnated, the old folks talked about how much better it had been than the way it was now. It should have died out by the middle of the century, but the publication of Gone With the Wind, and the movie that followed, extended the time frame for many decades.
        Couple that with the centennial hoopla, the popular re-enactment extravaganzas, and the rise of country music (Sweet Home, Alabama and other odes to the Southern Way of Life).
        Hell, I live in Rock Hill, SC, and can attest to the lingering nostalgia for the old days and ways – not slavery, but a close-knit community, carefully delineated customs and manners, and recognition of the importance of family, country, and respect.
        [Funny fact about that ‘manners’ thing. When I taught high school in SC, I quickly learned that the quickest way to get parents to respond to their child’s behavior problems was to report that they had been “disrespectful”. Lord, they’d have been less concerned to hear that their child had been engaged in public sex, than to hear that they had not followed the rather rigid rules for interactions between children and adults, demonstrated by their use of “m’am” and “sir”, among other indicators.]
        I’ve long been an outsider; my father was from WV, and used the distinctive dialect of his people until his death. My mother worked HARD to keep that “West Virginia” out of our voice – she knew that people would judge us to be less intelligent when they heard that sound.
        I was a smart kid with a blue-collar background, in a city that generally restricted the higher academic track to the middle to upper classes. I had less money, fewer privileges, and a “funny” last name. As a result, I was generally not invited to the parties (other than Girl Scouts – at that time, a class-blind institution) or other social activities. I wouldn’t have had the money to participate in most of them.
        I socialized with others in my neighborhood, although, even there, I was an outsider. They weren’t my classmates – I wasn’t privy to the interactions that occurred in those classes.
        In some respects, a lonely life. I early learned to take as my companions the people that populated the books I read. I have always lived a life that drew upon my imagination, peopled with friends that didn’t exist.

    4. …but they forget that “yearning to breathe free” is not the same as “yearning to re-create the same hellhole they came from while expecting, somehow, to keep the economic advantage of the United States.”

      Except that is EXACTLY what many of them demand–not the hell hole part, but the notion that you can have a re-distributive economic system with protectionist polices for the stuff they value and NOT have all the other symptoms of the socialist disease.

    1. I always figured that there was an unacceptable conflict of interest involved in a government agency teaching civics.

    2. Of course, I think that there’s an unacceptable conflict of interest in the government teaching children anything, so…

      1. There are some passages in the AP government textbook that I just shake my head over. I suspect it is a case of “fish in water.” The writers tried very hard to be neutral and to stick with “this is how government functions and why” but couldn’t see their own politics creep in because, well, fish – water.

  2. Recently, I tried a new approach with a liberal friend who is all for open borders. I said, “There are 330M people in the US. What would you like the population to grow to due to unlimited immigration? Would you like it to be 500M or 1B? Imagine trying to drive around town then !” I thought that by explaining that the current national and world situation is very different that 100-200 years ago, that I might get through to him. Silly me. The result was the same as when you ask how much the “Fair Share” should be from the rich. You never get a straight answer. It’s always “more”.

    1. The simple fact is that if you swapped the populations of the US and several countries in South America (with enough population to approximately match the US population), then within fifteen or so years, the US would be in poor shape, and those South American countries would all be quite well off. They might not be at the level of prosperity that the US is at right now, since the US has had decades of infrastructure growth to build upon. But they’d be in a hurry to reach that state.

      1. And I see that Sarah just made this same point over at Instapundit (though she said ten years instead of fifteen).


    2. There have been statements that even if all of the world immigrated it would be good and fine. These are not a sane people and probably make up the majority of those living in what was formerly the United States before it committed suicide.

        1. You have the grouping that wants it thinking it will help politically, the grouping that wants family, the crazy cat lady type of ‘i wanna save everything’ and the ones that were referred to in the article on the first.

          And I know they haven’t met many immigrants, or know just the ones that came thru white collar jobs and similar. They don’t go into the barrios, have never had to know Spanish to use the bank, and so on. And until it is much too late they will not because they are isolated.

            1. Nah. I think a good chunk was ‘he could never win’, anger at the machinations, and good old racism keeping the dem turnout low, below theirs for 2008 and 2012 while reps were consistent.

              Plus there is a large squishy segment of the “cat lady’ group that is more situational and not as pulled by theoretical. They say they want laws, that there should be rules, but give them a sob story and they crack. Think in sound bytes (spelling intentional) and bumper stickers. This is the group that was all whiney with kids in cages.

              Grew up in family of them. Incurious and credulous they lap up the bs soup fed to them. Never exited suburbia except for little controlled expeditions. Absolutely shocked when they get out of their bubble. As an example, my mother was actually concerned and surprised that GT has sworn, armed PD. Never mind that I bet URI has one as well, but it is in midtown atlanta. I lived 2 miles from school in a gated community there, my car was broken into twice and my neighbor was taken hostage during a home invasion, never mind the three page Cleary letter every few mornings. I’d be concerned if they were unarmed security guards. But these type of people don’t wrap head around the bad and treat everything as if there was no such thing as bad intentions.

              This is the segment that shoud swing, indeed did in 2004 and was part of the group that angel parents reached in 2016 but many believe the ‘he’s a racist meanie’ postulated by the loud media. Question falls to how motivated they are by it all. Keep a photogenic vanguard, hide the deaths because of it, and keep it all kids and teddy bears and they’ll invite everyone.

              Oh. And popular vote.

  3. Anyone else find it mildly ironic that we ask all our federal elected officials to take the back half of that citizenship oath when they are sworn in to office?
    When so many quickly do their level best to violate the spirit of that oath with their first actions in office.
    Takes a certain kind of person to be able to cross their fingers while placing their hand on a bible I guess.

    1. We really need a citizen’s court for impeachment and removal of those officials who violate their oath.

    2. I’m reminded of the recent defenses of Obama’s stance on gay marriage during the election. They basically boil down to “No, don’t worry, Obama never really believed marriage was between a man and a woman. He just thought it would be to his advantage to go into a church and lie to a priest about how he felt.”

  4. The question of birthright citizenship is an awkward one. In general, I think I’m in favor, probably even for the children of illegal immigrants, but there are a lot of situations where I would say it shouldn’t count. If your parents were on vacation for a couple of weeks, and you happened to be born in a US hospital, then taken back to Japan or England or Turkey or wherever to grow up, you’re clearly not an American, and I see no reason why your citizenship papers should pretend that you are.

    Ran across a comment on Twitter this morning that was something to the effect of “Please notify me if your someone who’s been harmed by babies being given citizenship.” Trying to unpack the level of wrong assumptions in that would take a while, but the two big ones are (a) It’s not the “babies” being granted citizenship but the adults that they may grow into who are a potential issue, and (b) Just because no one person can point to a specific harm that they personally have directly suffered doesn’t mean that the entire system hasn’t been damaged, indirectly hurting everyone.

      1. Yep. There are 20,000 harms done to me yearly by increasing dependency. Social services and schooling for one. Plus must get rid of the military. All they have to do is claim citizenship. No reason for those billions if only gonna be used to protect other actual nations.

    1. Looking at it heinously, there is a core flaw with ‘giving it to babies’ and DACA. That being that in most cases, growing up in the public schools, they aren’t adults willing to execute their own parents for the crime of illegally crossing a border. If the loyalties to parents are stronger, deport them with the parents. If the loyalties to country are stronger, deport the parents and separate the families.

    2. Have they never heard the term anchor baby?
      I believe I heard one case where a single child born here was, by the miracle of chain migration, to enable 27 relatives to enter the country.
      There are three reasons for an immigrant to want to enter the US:
      1. To become an American citizen and start a new life here.
      2. To make a pile of money to send home so that at some future time they can return and live a comparatively rich retirement.
      3. To take advantage of our free education and all those very generous social services.
      1 is immigration as it was intended to be.
      2 is understandable, but needs to be controlled so that it does not cost citizens jobs.
      3 is scamming our system to take advantage of our good natures. Charity enforced by government fiat isn’t charity, it’s theft by force of arms.

        1. I’d say closer to shipworms. Doesn’t just slow down the ship but undermines and destroys. Maybe if the wall ever comes it’ll be copper.

    3. Not a problem either way. Send the baby to a state orphange, send mommy back to wherever she came from, and send her government a bill for the cost of apprending and deporting her.

    4. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States…

      The way I read that, children of legal permanent resident aliens are citizens, as their parents have willingly subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the U.S.
      Children of people who sneak across the border and take pains to avoid the jurisdiction of the U.S. should be deported with their parents back to the place where they are citizens. Alien parents on tourist visas have declared that they will return whence they came before the visa expires and any children they have while here should go back as well.

      1. None of that matters. The fact that you have to take action to avoid the consequences of your actions is an admission that you’re subject to the jurisdiction of the US, diplomats don’t bother to hide their crimes (at least those crimes that won’t cause home to strip them of their diplomatic immunity). We as don’t consider it surprising that a foreign tourist was arrested and convicted for committing a crime.

        Birthright citizenship may be a bad idea, but it’s the law until changed.

        1. Subject to laws is not subject to juriadiction. If I go to Turkey or Pakistan and burn the Koran as an act of protest, I am subject to their laws regarding blasphemy. It does not mean I am subject to their jurisdiction, and can not expect that, for instance anyone there should speak for me or provide me means for my defense or upkeep while awaiting trial. If I ran into trouble with their lack of free speech laws, I’d expect my own government’s assistance with beating the rap.

          1. Actually, it does. Go to Turkey and violate their laws and you’ll be arrested by Turkish police, tried in a Turkish court, and serve your sentence in a Turkish prison. You might see someone from the American embassy, but they’ll just tell you that you’re a moron and that you’re SOL.

  5. Yeah, I personally believe that citizenship is a more serious commitment than having been born in America to American parents. I was confused in my teens, and not sure whether I wanted to make that commitment. In my twenties, my convictions strengthened, and I became fully converted and made certain oaths. These oaths not being a requirement for any employment or other source of funding. Following that, I had a period in my life where I was generally depressed and disenchanted with those political convictions. But the oaths (or affirmations) still bound me. Now that I am clear of the depression, I am very glad that they did.

    1. Every member of the U.S military has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution; even if they don’t know what specifically is in the Constitution. Kind of stupid to be making that promise, but then most of them doing so, at least for the first time, are young adults fresh out of high school and therefore pretty much oblivious to everything, even the smart ones. Frankly, I’d like to hand every recruit a copy of the Constitution, tell them to go home and read it before they take the oath.

      1. And that oath is specifically what the Oathkeepers organization is based upon. It burns me a bit to see them called an extreme-right militia when they are just veteran and active-duty military and LEOs who think taking an oath actually means something.

      2. I had a liberal friend (who I have since unfriended on Facebook) challenge me to “fulfill my military oath of office” over some issue with the President that the media was making mountains out of molehills over. I almost walled my phone. After [mumble] years in the military, I probably have a far better idea than she ever will who those “enemies foreign and domestic” are.

        1. They wouldn’t like it if they got what they wanted, would they. :/

          And yeah, my biggest thing lately is what I perceive to be an *extreme* lack of perspective. Mountains of molehills. Sometimes the disconnect is so strong that I just stare and wonder wtf.

          (“But Bill Clinton…” isn’t an attempt at an excuse, it’s a hopeless cry for perspective. “But Hillary…” isn’t an attempt at an excuse, it’s a hopeless cry for perspective. On the best day, the *best*, it’s possible to get someone to say “But our ideas about this have changed and now we know it’s wrong…” Which is as close as it’s possible to get to an admission that no one ever cared about some piddling idiocy until 2016. On the *best* day.)

          I’ve been looking at “Victorian” style house plans lately. Seems culturally apt for the foreseeable future and we may as well take some of the pretty stuff from that era.

  6. Oddly enough, I too have been pondering the concept of birthright citizenship for people born here. I’ve heard it said, seen it in others, and experienced it myself, that we value more what we have to work for, than those things which we are just given. And that the value increases with the increase in the amount we have to work for it. (Isn’t that a nice foundation for capitalism and private ownership?)

    It’s pretty evident to me that a large number of our younger countrymen and women, perhaps even a majority, do not understand what it means to be a citizen, or this country or any other for that matter. In almost every case, you can stop a person on the street, or even on a college campus, ask them the questions on a naturalization exam, and the person will not be able to correctly answer most of them. A greater indictment of the utter failure of our public schools to properly educate our children, at least in the duties and responsibilities of citizens, I have not found.

    Doesn’t mean they haven’t told them about all their rights. But they seem to have missed the fact that the rest of us have the same rights, and they have a duty to respect them, on pain of forfeiting their own. Antifa, BLM, and others of similar ilk, need to have that drummed into their thick skulls every time they decide to come out swinging.

    Thing is, naturalized citizens have to EARN their citizenship. And if they cheat on the citizenship process, or commit felonies afterwards, they can have their citizenship revoked, and be banished from our country. But a birthright citizen doesn’t have to earn anything. They aren’t required to promise to perform any of their duties or responsibilities as a citizen. They aren’t held accountable for anything, short of breaking the law, and only if they get caught. They get to vote in complete ignorance on how the world works, or how the laws they vote for affect their communities. They vote for free stuff, with zero concept of how to pay for it, or with pure larceny in their hearts because they can make people pay for it via government force, using the government to violate other’s liberties and pursuit of happiness for their own.

    But what if we passed a law saying that every child born in this country, had to pass the same requirements for citizenship as everyone naturalizing here. Make it a test or exam on their 18th birthday or something. You don’t pass, you can take it again later. Oh, and change the test so it’s not multiple guess or matching. Given my druthers, I’d make it a short answer or essay question test.

    You choose not to take the test, or you don’t pass it, then you can’t vote, you can’t hold public office, you can’t be a government employee, can’t receive government benefits, can’t serve in the military (foreign nationals, and our own country people who haven’t taken and passed the exam, who choose to join our military first get sent to citizenship classes and have to pass the exam before being sent to basic training, at the end of their first term of service, with honorable service, they become full fledged citizens.)

    I have no doubts that all members of my family, and most of my friends and neighbors have the capability of meeting those requirements; even though most might have a tough time passing the exam. But wouldn’t that put a bee in the bonnets of the Left if we did that?

    1. Problem is a) the Democrats hideously abused such things in the past b) we probably can’t trust the Democrats with the ability to abuse such things in the future c) We might not be able to trust Democrats with administration of anything Trump might replace birthright for children of illegals with.

      So, obviously, we have no choice other than mass murder of illegal aliens, and however many of the inhabitants of Mexico are required to secure our border. 🙂

    2. You’re not the only one to note that. Heck, it’s in “Starship Troopers.” But every time anyone hints at some sort of requirement for voting, the liberals panic and screech “Jim Crow! Jim Crow!”

      No, it’s not “discrimination” when *everyone* has to do it…

      1. But it is Jim Crow when everyone has to do it, and the doing of it is enforced disparately.

        1. That’s the same excuse they use for trying to prohibit requirements for ID to vote; “some people are too poor to have ID cards.”

          1. That one is just silly. I don’t think that there ought to be “tests” because it would be too easy for whoever was in power to make a test that (for example) required civics knowledge from a certain point of view. People who aren’t functionally literate enough to follow instructions or read a ballot aren’t a worry to me at all. They’re as likely to randomly fill in the bubbles as any bored 5th grader. It just doesn’t seem like a problem. ID’s though… there isn’t anyone so remote, so poor, or so illiterate, that they don’t NEED an ID card in our society and just because someone’s grandfather never had one doesn’t mean it’s a problem *today*. Moreover, it’s shockingly racist to act like racial minorities are too inept to manage to get an ID.

            These days I’m more worried about “helpful” nursing home staff than most other voting issues. If you need “help” to vote because you’ve got some level of dementia or memory loss, are you really competent enough to vote? If my mom looses more of her memory should someone just say, well, she always voted Republican (Did she? I’m certain she never said to me who she voted for.) should I just fill out her ballots from now on because that’s what she’d have wanted?

          2. And when you point out that there are free non-driver’s ID options, or funds available from some charities, they scream that it is too hard for poor/elderly/young/minority people to get to the DMV to get the ID.

            1. A person honestly can’t get *any* assistance from the government without an ID. You’d think that those who figure that the government should take care of everyone would be Super Concerned about the people falling through the social welfare cracks and make sure they get ID’s, but nooooo…

          3. Even though the same people who decry ID requirements for voting have no problem with imposing them to buy cold medicine, walk into a government rally, attend a Democratic Party event, or the multitude of so many other things that are too long to list. The only thing that bothers them is needing ID to vote. Why? Because that helps not only reduce but deter fraud, and fraud is essential to Democrats efforts to get and keep power.

      2. The answer to the Democrats screaming “Jim Crow!” is to say to them “Well, your party created and administered Jim Crow laws, so explain how that worked.”


    3. A written examination is a good start, but I firmly believe that the vote should be a hard-earned privilege. If you run the numbers, the Federal Government takes in around $6,000 per adult per year in Federal income-income tax (as opposed to Social Security).

      My idea: To vote, you have to earn 100 points of Equity in the two years preceding the election. 1 day of paid active military service = $100 of Federal income tax = 4 hours of unpaid voluntary Federal labor service = 1 Point of Equity.

      Those Who Pay Should Have The Say.

      1. I’ve thought this about property tax they lay on farmers… everyone in town votes for the tax to build a new gymnasium but the number of people the tax actually applies to is a very small percentage even in a rural community.

        Vote for representatives, sure. Everyone should get to do that. Vote for someone elses money? No. The people who will *pay* ought to get to do that.

        1. They’ve been trying that here for 55 years that I know of. Area north of Eugene is Santa Clara, sometime after we moved into the house my folks built there was a referendum to incorporate the area, as it’s own town distinct from Eugene, which passed. Eugene said “no” & shut it down (don’t know how, I was < 10).

          Since then Eugene has tried to force the Santa Clara county homes into the actual city. The area is considered to be within the urban growth boundary, but isn't city yet.

          City has tried a couple of referendums, voted only by city residents, not the county residents to be affected, to incorporate this area, which passed (why not?); but got shot down by the courts.

          Last attempt was the sewer expansion & hookups mandated by Feds due to ground water issues & septic tanks. Few objected to the sewer hookup or charges. HUGE objections to the requirement, & charge for the privilege, to join the city to be able to hookup; switching over from septic to sewer was not an option. They did get a number of blocks south (what is termed the River Road area, south of where Beltline crosses River Road) before a class action stopped that requirement.

          Now the city incorporates any business or school, & new development within the urban growth boundary as city, whether fill in break up of larger rural, non-farm, lots; or full developments out of former strawberry/bean/filbert fields. Modifications to your house don't count, even if increasing square footage.

          Slowly but surely the city is working to encircle us then force us to join the city. Result, we can count on at least doubling our property taxes, or darn near, & we'll be entitled to a free city library card …. which costs $100 if you are not a resident in the City.

          My answer to the those already in the city, who think we are being foolish, is "once you get us, you will be sorry. 1) biggest county "no block" section & 2) WAY more conservative than Eugene downtown proper. Essentially when it happens "You wanted us, you got us. Now live with the hand you dealt. No, to anything you want. AND you can't fool us with 'No' = 'Yes', wording."

          1. My SiL lives north of Beltline. I agree, Eugene is really not much like the surrounding areas, though the demarcation is nowhere so clear as Springfield. (Everybody in the area knew for a fact that the Simpsons Springfield was the one in Oregon. It even feels like it, even before you find out that Matt Groening is a PNW native.)

            1. “though the demarcation is nowhere so clear as Springfield.”

              True NOW. Not so in 1963. Then the demarcation was very clear. Then there were still strawberry/bean fields, and Filbert Groves, on River Road, between Santa Clara & 1st Street/RR Ave. Heck Santa Clara wasn’t even trying to claim much further south than Maxwell or Hope Avenue or east of the River. Beltline didn’t go past Coburg Rd in 1963* (don’t remember when it finally went to River Road, hey I wasn’t driving it, not like I paid attention). Didn’t have an over pass until early 70’s through to W. 11th. (It was there when I was in HS in ’71, had to walk under it).

              * To get to I-5 either went north through Junction City, or South on 99 to Franklin.

              The powers that be even made sure the Santa Clara grade school got abandoned, burned, then torn down.

              Differences in property taxes for equivalent properties:

              lot sizes same ** = school districts
              Mom (County, 1400 sq ft, ’63, 4J**) $2100
              Us (County, 1300 sq ft, ’73, Bethel**) $1800
              Sister’s (City, 2300 sq ft, ’93, 4J**) $4500

              The base valuations locked at the same time, which were based on sq ft at that time.

      2. I’ve thought you ought to have to bring in your previous year’s tax forms to show that you are financially responsible for yourself and not depending on others for support (married filing jointly? Wife works in the home? Feds send one copy per person so both can vote.) Its the old idea about having a “competence” so your vote is not beholden to someone.

  7. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the society depicted in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers came about precisely due to a lack of respect for national loyalty. Some series of events not fully described in the book caused current and former military to seize control of the government and set up a system where anyone was welcome to live there, but to become a citizen you had to give some service to demonstrate commitment to the nation. Of course Heinlein also envisioned a national government, but at the time it was written he was still an optimist.

  8. The thought that people born in this country are automatically citizens was based on the fact they grew up in this culture and, presumably, learned its history, government, and ideals from being raised and taught in this culture.

    Alas, we seem to have forgotten what our founding fathers tried to accomplish with our experiment. They intended a system with a limited federal government, where problems could be solved at the local level. I remember, even into the 1970’s, cries of “Don’t make a Federal issue of it” from my peers, children.

    We also had a great melting pot. A place where people could LEARN to become an American and share in the bounty and freedom we had. A place where, if they worked hard and fair, they could be accepted. A place where their children could thrive. A place where by the third or fourth generation there would be no question of their birthright as Americans.

    Now, it seems, nobody can be great. Our heroes are torn down. Our motives are questioned. Where many of us are presumed guilty. That Americans must atone for every sin our government ever made. And it is an atonement without end.

    Obviously that cannot last forever. We are responsible only for what we have done, and maybe for correcting the sins of our mothers and fathers. And what can not last will end, but I truly fear the form that ending will take.

    1. “The thought that people born in this country are automatically citizens was based on the fact they grew up in this culture and, presumably, learned its history, government, and ideals from being raised and taught in this culture.”

      Yepper. A large percentage of the last 2 or 3 generations have been raised to distain and disparage American culture. The history has been revised from how and why we did what we did to dump Great Britian, fight a bunch of wars, and spent 50 years in a cold war race against communism; and promote background minorities over the leaders in many fields. The Left has infiltrated and taken over much of government, most of the entertainment and news industries, and almost all of academia; and have been pushing their anti-Constitutional ideals ever since.

  9. I often wonder, when I hear people on the left go on about how we need to let all the immigrants in who want to come, how they (those on the left) would react if it was suggested that instead of having them all come here, we just annex/invade the country in question and bring America to them. Something like make Honduras the 51st state. I expect they would decry tyranny and imperialism and so on, but I’ve yet to work up enough nerve and/or irritation to try it.

    I should hasten to add that I think it’s a bad idea, but I don’t really see much difference between Honduras coming to the US through migration or the US coming to Honduras through annexation. It’d be a mess either way.

    1. Of the options of open borders, national handouts, and outright takeover the takeover is probably the best outcome for both sides if the gloves are off. Open borders just crashes both nations while national aid merely incentivizes the top to make problems to solve. Invasion, forcibly breaking and recreating the culture over decades and eventually leaving result in potentially more viable structure than the current ones where the primary export good of a country is its citizens.

      Best is just to leave be and protect ourselves but that is evil nationalism.

      1. Killing people until the survivors are acceptable neighbors, or everyone is dead, whichever happens first.

    2. Mess either way, and exactly as just. Annexing Mexico would require killing a bunch of people. As would the proposal I’ve made here of depopulating the north of Mexico, destroying plants, animals and roads, and using sensor to locate anyone in the exclusion zone. Then you investigate sensor ghosts by helicopter.

      1. I note that while depopulating neighboring sovereign states would be act-of-war problematic, depopulating US sovereign territory would simply be difficult and expensive. Appropriating via eminent domain, with appropriate and generous recompense, the contiguous stretch of land making up a five-mile band adjacent to the southern US border, and subsequently implementing a permanent artillery free-fire area, drone and air free-fire training grounds, and minefield testing facility would be well within the rights of the US government.

        And given all the endless nattering by the left about doing the coup-de-tat thing, while casting no aspersion on our military, but I could see basing the majority of eth combat units out along the Southern U.S. border as a reasonable precaution against the chances that they might turn up one nutty General (I’m looking at you Wesley Clarke) .

          1. No. The peasants and significant parts of the governments of Mexico and central America are attacking the US which is not defending itself, indeed it welcomes the invaders. Conquest doesn’t require war.

    3. One of my beloved cousins suggested we have a responsibility to do just that in regards to South and Central America about a year ago.

      I ran, not walked, to a sane left-central friend nd got words in lefty to tell him that was a bad idea. (Not sure friend is really lefty, she’s fiscally conservative, but she thinks she is.

    4. I’ve joked about that re: Mexico. If it’s really so awful there, then it would be doing a favor, no?

      That’s when I’m not half-way arguing a libertarian perspective of open borders or arguing a sci-fi perspective of non-geographically based polities and citizenship.

    5. Ah, but that would make us the evil Imperialists that they call us. Well, if we have the name, perhaps we should go all in anyway. Got nothing to lose, eh? Except America, and Americans generally suck at the Game of Empires.

      1. Americans generally suck at the Game of Empires.

        I dunno. We can do pretty well at “eradicating your, backward cultures and if you’re lucky we’ll give you a reservation to live on and if you’re not the world will forget you ever existed.”

        1. Easy to create an empire, hard to properly administer and maintain one. Heck, we’ve managed to screw up a Republic in just under 200 years.

        2. Thing is, we’re only good at that when the locals are in the way of our settling somewhere.
          I’m not really seeing a bunch of Americans getting up and saying, “Yes, we want to settle Honduras.”

          1. Actually, I could probably get several thousand retired military to take over Belize with the stipulation that they can own homes and property there, provided the get rid of all the drugs lords and run the government.

    6. Annexing Honduras would fix nothing. Just look at how little Puerto Rico has changed in the time it’s been attached to the US. Even if Honduras became a state, they would still elect their own state government (which wouldn’t differ much from what the already have). The only thing Honduras as a state would give us is millions more Democrat votes.

      1. The argument that would function isn’t to make it a state but more akin to the historical India of the British empire. But the US doesn’t have the stomach to even prevent Honduras from invading so would fail

  10. A nation of immigrants who survived when the immigrants who would not fit in and behave were murdered.

    Foreign language instruction in schools, government doing business in foreign languages, the lack of isolation, and the suppression of murders of disruptive immigrants could all be a sufficient difference from the situation with a bunch of immigrant populations.

    What the Zinnian modern historians paint as toxic whiteness was a common denominator consensus culture of a wide variety of individuals from wildly different and incompatible cultures. Individuals, because they had to function as individuals to function at all, and as groups, in that chaotic mess. The real deal breaker with the modern immigrant tribal migrations is the entitlement system that was imposed on our culture under the fiction that now we had a cultural consensus with a common understanding of group property rights. Even with the conversions to the new socialist religion, we do not.

  11. Citizenship because of being born here is only a problem because of how we have decided that we can’t send anyone born here home with their parents. If we sent them home with their parents and said that they, and they only, could choose US citizenship and move here as an adult, it wouldn’t be a problem. Nor would “chain” immigration be a problem if social services weren’t involved and the “sponsors” had to show financial ability to support. (Many of the “good” countries require a minimum constant bank balance for immigrants or they kick your butt right out again.)

    The absolutist “birther” type idiots make me nuts because they WILL eventually start to claim that you have to have US citizen parents AND be born on our territory and will exclude children born to our active duty military overseas, because they’re so enamored of their ability to “reason”.

    1. Many of the “good” countries require a minimum constant bank balance for immigrants or they kick your butt right out again.

      Funny how all of the people who say that the US needs to get in step with the rest of the world never seem to think we should do so on that point.

      1. “Funny how all of the people who say that the US needs to get in step with the rest of the world never seem to think we should do so on that point.”

        They are also disinclined to emulate France’s impressive use of nuclear power–something like 70% of all French electricity generation–despite their almost worshipful attitude toward that country in most other ways.

    2. If we’re going to have birthright citizenship, I have no problem with children born outside the U.S. being granted citizenship as long as at least one parent was an American citizen at the time..

      1. These dumb nuts don’t figure the kids shouldn’t have citizenship, just not *real* citizenship like, get to run for President citizenship… even if you were born outside the US because both of your parents were serving in our military or your folks were diplomats.

        And it seems like it always ends up there, eventually.

    3. They already do. They also say you have to have US citizen ancestors going back to the nationality. By this principle, husband ALMOST qualifies on both sides, except maternal great grandfather on dad’s side was Irish. Also, who the hell is going to run the genealogies?

      1. Me too. I have both maternal (Jewet) & paternal (Applegate) documented back to the revolution (requirement for Daughters of the Revolution scholarships), plus family history for the rest; came early & continued west until hit the Pacific. But there is one great-grandfather that came in from Scotland, across Canada, & south to Oregon. Hubby family is similar. Missed the Mayflower, but not long after, & stayed.

  12. Man, this is a hard one to comment without writing way too long a comment.

    My first wife was a resident alien when we married. She wasn’t a full citizen, but she was here in the states legally. Her family jumped through all the hoops and did it right to get their legal status (and before you ask, no she didn’t marry me to gain citizenship. She wouldn’t have needed to, her resident alien status allowed her to work and own property and wasn’t something that would expire).

    Seeing so many people enter illegally bothers me. Sure, illegal entry is about the level of a misdemeanor as a crime. So not really a big deal… until you start thinking about the Identity Theft, Tax Evasion and/or Tax Fraud, and myriad of other crimes people immigrating to the US illegally have to commit just to live here. Trust me, having known people who have had their SSN used by an illegal in order to work, it’s a mess, and a pain in the asterisk to fix.

    1. George W. had some sort of working visitor plan he was supporting that sounded like a good idea, making it easier for people to work here and go home again and giving them legal status that would solve a lot of the crime problems including the victimization of people who don’t dare go to the police. It wasn’t popular “on the right” but I thought it seemed like a good idea at least.

      And then 9-11 happened and any political-capital he had couldn’t be spent on that anymore and it just disappeared.

      1. An updated version of the older bracero program. Which is what would work, a bit like the German “Gastarbeiter” system when it started. You come here legally for a limited period of time to work. No work, you go home. You decide you want to stay? Start the paperwork and keep working. You can’t bring family while you are on a work permit. Break the laws in any way and back you go with a flag that locks you out of the program for X years.

        1. The best part is that people could then come to work and not be subject to cartels and coyotes. It would be safe for regular folks to come in at border crossings and anyone found out in the desert could be assumed to be a drug runner or terrorist and dear doggies… stop hauling your babies with you, or your barely pubescent daughters, contraceptive shots taken for the trip of not. omg.

          1. The last thing the Democrats want is an effective and rational system of legal immigration. Masses of people who will be dependent on government and will do anything to help the givers of gifts are what they are looking for. They have no interest in any of the people seeking to enter the country, legally or illegally, except as stepping stones to political power, which they hope will become perpetual and absolute. Are the Democrats delusional? Yes. But just because a minority of people are batshit crazy and want to wreck the USA through Marxist revolution doesn’t mean they can’t be successful Ghe Bolsheviks were also a minority and Russia and many other places are still paying the price for their creation of the Soviet Union.

            1. Delusional only in that they (the swpl democrats that run things) believe they will not be eventually ousted by the more racial components of their group. They will be able to manage absolute power, indeed slready have a decent stranglehold since they are immune from law, define who is allowed to speak, do business, even live. National medical rationing will further entrench the latter. All the leadership has to think of is the junta lasting ten or twenty years. Then their next generation has to deal with it.

              The Soviets lasted 3 or 4 generations depending on definition (g-grandfather to me although I was only a few years). They also had opposition that helped damage them internally simply by existing. Could easily get some socialist skinsuit for 50-100 years here although it will require defusing the debt bomb, mainly via reneging on the promises to subjects (medicare becomes kevorkicare, 401k get confiscated for pennies on dollar) and employees (pensions get slashed for certain orgs) be my guess.

              Won’t have the global power that is currently held, probably convert to China and maybe Middle East, Russia, or India as lesser powers, but the continent is self sufficient if you give only what was available in 1950.

              1. Scarily enough, Democrats during Obama’s time in office actually floated as a “fix” to social security was nationalizng (i.e. stealing) everyone’s 401k plan savings and adding that to social security and ending 401k’s and “enhancing” social security; because “all with the state, nothing without the state”.

                1. Well if they wait too long, no pensions to steal from. A lot of companies, that haven’t raided the pensions in the the last 30 years, are dropping them for 401(k), with company contributions to individual accounts, exclusively. When you leave you take your 401(k) with you. If you are smart, you roll it into your IRA. Where government can’t get their hands on it, until you start retrieving the money … well okay, won’t say “never”.

                  They need to keep their greedy paws off pensions & 401(k)’s. Next it will be IRA’s & Roth’s. Not without some blood shed, but they’ll try.

          2. I would support this. One of the most angry-making things about the discussion around immigration is this idea that people promoting border security or actual immigration reform are racists who hate immigrants. The fact we could be concerned for people and not want them to be exploited by coyotes, sex traffickers, and people wanting to underpay and overwork them doesn’t enter their mind. Hey, if people could just walk in and flash their guest worker card, they wouldn’t have to live twenty people to a one-bedroom apartment, or flee from even the mention of the police. They could *go to the police* when they are victimized.

            And then you get the people talking about how if you stop illegal immigration, then we wouldn’t have people to clean toilets and pick crops. While at the same time arguing for “worker’s rights” and decrying “Sweat shops”.

        1. No. What he WANTED was an updated version of the bracero program. It existed from the 1920s – 1970s, then got dropped for other things, then ignored completely. GWB had some ideas that greatly resembled what I described, but as Synova said, he had to spend his political capital elsewhere.

          Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough.

    2. You forgot bringing in, and back, communicable diseases that we’ve previously managed to eradicate.

      Any illegal, or other criminal for that matter, who tries to use my SSN had better hope to God that I never catch him. See, I could kill myself, and not have committed suicide then. Problem solved!

      1. That’s just it Mike. You can’t catch them. They live in a foreign (to them) country that they have zero ties to. All they have to do is drop all the ID they have that says “Mike Houst” and walk away, and there is NOTHING that ties them to that identity.

        Add to that they live in communities of people just like them who are acclimated to distrusting outsiders, for fear of being caught and deported. And these people might as well be ghosts.

  13. Sometimes I wonder to what extent American history is a beautiful but transient aberration driven by having essentially infinite territory to expand into.

    If we had effectively infinite territory, none of the world chaos we see today would be a problem. Displaced people could be displaced right along into some unsettled land. Tribes that don’t get along could avoid each other. We could keep moving west to stay ahead of the neo-puritan political fanatics. Unfortunately all of that ended over the course of the 20th century.

    I fear what we are seeing now is the manifestation of some sort of zero-sum game due to a world that is out of room. I don’t disbelieve that the people who are fleeing their hellish countries are doing so in an attempt to better their life. I also think that just about the only form of voting that is actually effective for your personal circumstances is voting with your feet. Seriously, even in our oh-so-democractic west, you have epsilon say in how a nation of hundreds of millions of people is run, and your ruling class knows it. If your country is a socialist/fuedal/dysfunctional hell, you only have two choices: Escape or die fighting. The outcome of the fighting option depends on a lot of collective circumstances that are out of your control.

    These people are leaving their countries because they have no place in their countries. Their countries are already locked up and owned by corrupt aristocrats/commies. (Speaking of which, if you do a little research, our own country is being locked up and owned by a bunch of aristocrats and mandarins.) The zero sum game in terms of wages is a reflection of this. If we were to swap out 30 million Mexican immigrants with 30 million of any other sudden arrival, the native working class would be just as screwed, because they depend for their livelihoods on wages from people who “don’t need them anymore”. (They are increasingly gleeful to tell us this.)

    If, by *whatever* mechanism, the non-owner population continues to increase without bound: The price of property is driven beyond the reach of workers to obtain, the price of non-landowning labor is driven below the level needed to sustain life, and people start to starve as a new feudal order crystallizes. (No, I don’t believe socialism is a fix for this. Quite the opposite! Avoiding one set of feudal masters by imposing another by government fiat is lunacy. I don’t know if there *IS* a fix for this other than technological miracles and a very broad distribution of ownership, and elbow room – all at the same time.)

    1. See what I was sayin’. Hard to make a short comment. 🙂

      The answer is, or more like hopefully will eventually be, space. BUT… I wonder if those “in control” would let us go?

      I think this is part of the reason why scifi seems to be on an uptick lately. I think people are starting to dream of getting away, and at this point, the only way to go is up.

      This is why scifi is such an important art form. We… Well some of you, and me if I ever get off my keister and finish anything… Dream the dreams and write them down to show the world what can be. To inspire the inventors to invent, and the builders to build!

      Pant pant… Whew… (Puts away soap box)

      1. Also, population is falling like a rock in many parts of the world. Americans might eventually have Europe. IF ours doesn’t fall like a rock.
        (And yes, it’s falling in third world countries, too. They just lie more, because they’re per-capita aid recipients.)

        1. Sarah and friends recolonize Portugal and she becomes 1st governor of the 56th state in the United States. USAians Unite!

            1. 60
              the Quote was “Visited 57 states so far, with one to go. We’re skipping Alaska and Hawaii.” 57+1+2 = 60
              (~_^) {/pedant}
              He was A; damned tired, B: on the 57th or so stop of a 58 city in a lower 48 state campaign blitz and did a bit of speaking dyslexia, but as we were told how effing brilliant he was, it was fun and is still such, to hammer him over it.

    2. “Sometimes I wonder to what extent American history is a beautiful but transient aberration driven by having essentially infinite territory to expand into.”

      The availability of “essentially infinite territory” certainly had a huge impact on the country and its economy and culture. For one thing, as long a free or almost-free land was available, people had the option of leaving their unsatisfactory job and setting up as farmers in their own right. This tended to keep wages relatively high, by European and global standards, and hence encouraged mechanization and other forms of productivity improvement.

      Last year, I was thinking for some reason of the old Cole Porter song “Don’t Fence Me In.” It’s not all that good of a song, IMO–but it does express a chafing at restriction that most people would once have agreed was a core aspect of the American character.

      Now, however, I’m not so sure. Seems to me a lot of people–especially but not only on college campuses–are *asking* to be fenced in, and are looking at hobbles not negatively but with admiration.

    3. “ended over the course of the 20th century.”

      I would argue, ended over the coarse of the 18th century. In a lot of ways the areas empty in the 20th are still empty in the 21st, because of reasons. Not like the federal government can tell the incoming caravans to settle on empty lands in the west, without expecting them to stave to death … It’s not like people haven’t or aren’t trying to set up homesteads on them, they have; failure rate is high.

      1. Before the Latter-Day Saints settled there, those who had been to the Salt Lake Valley were convinced that it would be impossible for a community to be established there. Jim Bridger supposedly said that he’d pay a ridiculous amount of money (at the time) for the first ear of corn that was harvested from that place.

        Places that haven’t been settled yet are likely even more inhospitable than the Salt Lake Valley used to be.

        Or government land. Take your pick.

        1. Hello I just had an idea, (Picture the Grinch in the old Chuck Jones Grinch who stole Xmas special when he gets an idea 🙂 ). Junior said government land. We can take these 10,000 people and settle them somewhere, in fact there’s a nice place in Nevada (, 1300+ square miles, a little empty, some largish sink holes, little bit of green glass (best not to eat), few leftover buildings. If they can homestead that for 17 years, its theirs and they can have citizenship in with it to boot 🙂

      2. Well, part is because the methods we have of pseudoterraforming are not able to be done. If we could ship water as we can oil and were aggressive with tech like desalination you could probably built towns and cities in the vast stretches of nothing in the west (possibly after wresting it from govt). The same methods we use to supply cities can be used to supply these. And with the existing tech that allows for telecommuting it would remove a good chunk of need for white collar work to be in cities.

        Would need a huge investment and reason but it’s not inability but prevention that hurts.

  14. On the Protestant work ethic v. Latin cultural work ethic, John Ringo (clutch pearls here), in The Hot Gate noted that an initial show of setting up was the driving element on so many jobs.

    The actual work? “Manana”…

  15. I haven’t read everyone else’s comments so this might have been said. John Adams sais our country is fit only for a moral and religious people. I would add that is educated in Civics or US Government (as originally intended.) We need to home-school (or after school re-school) our kids in our aspirational document – The Declaration of Independence ; and our document on Government structure and limits of that government – The Constitution, with its amendments. The public school system doesn’t do this. SAH and Dan did this – well done.
    We’ve lost our required moral core and internal enemies are working to remove the freedoms guaranteed by our founding documents.

  16. It took way less than 200 years for statists to decide that the constitution meant what they wanted it to mean. This idea was basic to Oliver Wendell Holmes’s doctrine of “legal realism,” according to which a law was simply a prediction of how judges would decide a case, not a constraint on their powers. And it shaped both Holmes’s ruling that forced sterilization was constitutional (“Three generations of imbeciles is enough”) and his “fire in a crowded theater” argument, which he gave as a justification for sending people to prison during World War I for publishing pamphlets opposing the draft—about as basic a constitutional right as you could imagine. This became the dominant theory way back then, and shaped the jurisprudence of the New Deal and the Great Society. It’s so influential that I have talked with people who simply cannot understand the concept that there are any rights other than those which a legislature chooses to enact into law; which means, of course, that they cannot make sense of the constitution.

    1. Woodrow Wilson played a malevolent role in all this. He was opposed to Separation of Powers, arguing by analogy that a living being would not have organs acting in opposition to each other.

      Although the concept of *feedback*, which often involves just such opposition, was not yet formally/mathematically developed, the idea of Homeostasis did exist in biology. And in businesses, and I would presume even in government, the need for the separation of functions for check-and-balance reasons had long been apparent–the separation of authorizing payments from issuing payments, for example.

    2. Three generations of imbeciles are enough – great reason to neuter public schools and burn the education schools at colleges. On bad days I don’t want to bother letting them out first.

  17. “It is also remarkable in how undramatic it (American democracy) was in its conception, admitting the probability that people with some flawed ideas are not flawed in all ideas—that extreme measures to silence a person because of disagreement, even totally valid disagreement over things that are an existential threat to the nation, would throw many babies out with the bathwater and render the country draconian and uncomfortable in the meanwhile.”

    Very well-said, even profound, as a defense of free speech.

  18. Reblogged this on The Writer in Black and commented:
    People citing that poem are quick to say “huddled masses” but they forget that “yearning to breathe free” is not the same as “yearning to re-create the same hellhole they came from while expecting, somehow, to keep the economic advantage of the United States.”

    The thing is, that “breathe free” portion is pretty important.

  19. That last bit about getting rid of birthright citizenship for everyone… No, sorry. I’d fight you on that one. My kids, even the one who is half Mexican, have the right to their US citizenship as much as anyone else does.

    1. I don’t think you understand what Bill means, or if you do I don’t understand what being half Mexican (or half Martian for that matter) has to do with it.
      Bill thinks EVERYONE at around eighteen should have to pass a basic citizenship test. Not the kind like an essay that can be interpreted or fudged either, just factual stuff. He says a lot of incoming freshmen don’t know we have a bicameral legislature, don’t understand the tripart government system, don’t know the president is not an absolute king. People like that are citizens and can vote… for nothing. And in that voting put the republic in danger.
      Add to that that we now have three generations taught according to Howard Zinn. A fair number of the worst infected would REFUSE to take the oath of citizenship, thereby taking out the trash.
      Yes, I do realize that would need an ammendment and will never happen. However ….

  20. I find it interesting that the people proposing ‘medicaid for all’ have never been under MediCaid and never will be….

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