It never fails. If I write something about immigration or charity or anything related to helping someone else and dissent from the general leftists chorus of “We must have more government help”and “government must distribute the wealth” I’m held to be mean, evil, selfish, and just about the worst person in the world.
Part of this is because the same as calling anything that dissents from leftist belief “racist” (even if they have to believe they can read minds to justify it) they’ve been taught to think there’s only one way to care for your fellow man, and that’s to equalize everyone’s wealth, to divest those who have more and give to those who have less, preferably with the power of law behind it.
The problem is that this is not how the world works. You know the old saw, give a man a fish and he’ll have a meal, teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for the rest of his life.
It ignores the fact that if you give a man a fish everyday, not only will he never learn to fish, he’ll come to resent you for giving him a fish. He might even come to believe he’s incapable of learning to fish, and that you can only fish because of some invisible “privilege” that allows you to learn that stuff. At the same time you will believe that he’s inferior to you, unable to make his own decisions, and that you must decide and set everything for him or he’ll die. You might not admit it, ever, but you’ll come to believe that he’s a burden. Subconsciously you’ll hate being beholden to him. You’ll come up with all sorts of schemes, from aborting his children to enabling his drug addiction to facilitating his euthanasia just to be rid of the intolerable burden. And it’s no surprise because your “charity” is increasingly met with resentment, envy and outright anger.
Why? Well, because that’s the way humans work. The human being was born to strive. Being handed things just makes them both dependent and resentful of that dependence. This paradise that the very well fed and clothed imagine, where the government just magically dispenses everything everyone might want is no such thing. If it were possible to implement it without stealing this stuff from others (it’s not. The government produces nothing.) it would make humanity extinct in two generations. It would also create the crime wave to end all crime waves.
We clever monkeys don’t like stuff handed to us. We like to improve it, to work at it, to make it better. When it becomes impossible, we’re reduced to the level of pets, and humans don’t do well with being pets. No, it’s not even like the perfect childhood, in which you’re handed all you need. First of all no one had that perfect a childhood, and even the best parents don’t always know what you need (let alone want.) Second, childhood is a time of growing and learning, sometimes quite painful learning, as growing up is a painful process of leaving behind habits and cherished modes of life. Third, even children in happy families chomp at the bit to leave and be adults. It’s just the way we’re built.
Removing someone’s reason to strive is not a charity.
No, I don’t believe we should let people in occasional and terrible binds go unhelped. About 1/3 of our income has always gone out, often not to recognized charities, but just to a friend who was temporarily ill, going through a nasty divorce (in that case you need to be a very close friend indeed, as I try not to get in the middle of those) or has had some disaster befall them that would mean destruction should they have no help.
But note the “temporary help for unforeseen circumstances.” I’ve learned, and dearly too, that just helping every time and letting the person know the help will be there, not so much a safety net but a hammock, will ruin not just your friendship, but the person as well.
I don’t know and cannot speak to our welfare system, but recently a close friend explained to me how difficult the system is to leave once you’re in it, and that once you leave and are tentatively standing on your own they will bill you. I’m not sure what they bill you for as I had no time to ask, but what she had to go through to STOP receiving assistance was mind boggling. And while receiving assistance there’s all sorts of things you can’t do. Like work over a certain time, because they’ll cut your benefits by more than you’re making, etc. That’s not even a hammock. That’s a spider web that catches the unwary and will never let them fly free.
Which brings us to immigration. Do let’s talk about immigration.
First of all this is not a matter of “I got mine” as some idiot tried to say. I don’t precisely know what he thinks I got except the privilege to strive to be the best American I can, but that’s fine. Let’s discuss this.
I’m sick and tired of hearing the left whine that we can’t close our doors to the needy of the world.
Now, America has a well deserved reputation for extreme generosity, but does that generosity involve opening our doors to all the needy in the world?
Let’s imagine it does. Let’s imagine we put out a call that if you’re in any sort of distress or need you should come to America.
You could say we did that at various times, the latest one being under president Obama, when leaflets detailing the welfare benefits to be received in the US (for the asking) were distributed in Mexico and probably countries South of that.
Whenever we did that, our follow through was — at best — spotty.
Someone on Facebook was nattering on about how 12 million came through Ellis Island and were Americans the next day.
Part of this is something I’m used to. Most Americans who never dealt with immigration have clue zero how this works. I suspect most leftists agitating for voting rights for non-citizens don’t understand they’re NOT citizens or that there is a difference.
Except for those who walked into the country and got recruited into the Union armies during the civil war, or perhaps other irregular/brief periods, no one has ever walked onto American soil and become American.
What you become instead is a permanent resident, entitled to live here and PERHAPS to work. In my day I got permission to live here a year before I had permission to work, (my case being different, since I married a citizen. I had to apply separately for permission to work.)
And I no longer remember how long I had to wait to even apply for citizenship. I think it was three years, but I waited five, because I wanted to be sure.
You see, citizenship, belonging in a country is not merely a matter of being in the country. Every country has arrangements for “foreigners living among us.” And some which are very blood-based can give you only second-class citizenship the equivalent of “guy who wants to be of us and is the closest he can be.”
In the US citizenship is becoming an American. It is subscribing to the founding principles and taking on the project of living ever closer to them. It is a matter of “Your people shall be my people. Wherever thou goest, I shall go.” So I took as long as I needed to be sure. I took as long as I needed to acculturate.
Acculturation isn’t an easy process. I’ve mentioned to you guys that it hurts and feels like going insane. It unmoors the pinnings of your personality, some of which you weren’t aware of, before you had to pull them off by the roots. No one who has not transitioned between cultures knows how powerful and ingrained culture is. Race means nothing. Culture means everything. And changing cultures is really difficult, even for an isolated individual. We know it’s possible — ish — for a family, but it takes longer. If you immigrate as a family, it’s like traveling as a group. You’re insulated from what’s really going on around you. You interpret everything through the filter of your culture of origin. Even if you’re trying to fit-in, it’s hard and you’ll pass weird things on to your kids and grandkids. The grandkids, usually, are integrated in the receiving culture. Bigger groups than that? Forget about it. Escaping that insular culture will be as hard as immigrating all over again.
Two other things: I found this out when I was an exchange student: HUMANS ARE TRIBAL. Humans are tribal to an extent we like to disguise and forget. But you can see it if you take a group of high school students and drop them into a NYC university campus with hundreds of people from all over the world.
First, people cling together with the group they came in with. That’s a given. But even if you have two groups from the same country, that never met/are from different areas of the country, they’ll cling together. And if forced to extend they’ll go — bizarrely and fascinatingly — by “historical relationship” or “cultural connection” sometimes going back centuries. So Portuguese will agglutinate to Brazilians first, and people from the former colonies in Africa next. After that, Spaniards or Spanish speakers. Failing those, Italians and Greeks. In desperation, Arabs. And each of these groups, as it forms, creates a “barrier” to the outside. I found to my shock that among exchange students who had undergone a strenuous process to get here at all, there was a sudden group imperative to look down on Americans and refuse to do things “the American way.” (BTW this disgusted me so much my best friends were English and Japanese.)
Now, let’s go to that imaginary world where we not only invite the dispossessed of the world in, but actually open our doors to them (more on that later.) Let’s forget the “overpopulation” idiocy. There’s plenty of room. Anyone who’s driven through Wyoming, as we have recently, will tell you that. Let them all in. As in the early twentieth century when entire Italian villages immigrated, what do you think will happen?
Well… mostly they’ll cling together. And maybe deal with close-ish cultures. Certainly not with Americans, against whom a barrier must be formed, because a) they’re strangers. b) we’re in their land and they might resent it. (Even if they don’t.)
So, it would be the colonization of America by some of the most dysfunctional elements of the most dysfunctional cultures in the world. We’ve done that experiment before. To do it now en masse and indiscriminately would achieve nothing, except the dissolution of America into a bunch of tiny, warring enclaves, incapable of self government and no better off than they were in their own countries.
But Sarah, you’ll say, we did that before. In the beginning of the 20th century, we took in masses of people — as you said — entire villages from Italy and Ireland. And those people are now Americans.
Yes, those people are now Americans. MOST of them. But please note, even that was not mass immigration from ALL THE WORLD by all the dispossessed.
First travel was more expensive, more arduous and tended to be one way. Second, there was a selection at the border, and many were turned back. Third… It was the beginning of the 20th century and our tech was different. There was work — a lot of it — for people who knew neither the language nor any particular trade. The push on the mass-production phase of the industrial revolution required a lot of warm bodies and willingness to work. That was it.
So all those multitudes that came in could find work. And though they initially formed profoundly segregated enclaves that adhered to the rules of the “home country” and despised or suspected everything American, eventually the ranks broke. They were right here, in the middle of the US, at a time when the place was hopping with opportunities for the unschooled. It was almost impossible to prevent the young ones from moving away to find a job elsewhere. And when they did well it filtered back home. Even then it took probably three to four generations. And to find out how bad it was initially read police reports of the time. It wasn’t all prejudice. (Though a lot of it was.) People really brought in their most dysfunctional habits. And had to acculturate before they became Americans. Which was difficult at that rate of immigration.
Imagine how much more difficult it would be if we now brought in double our population, and form the most wretched places of the Earth.
On top of which, consider two things:
First, we live in a high tech age. The left, who worries obsessively that some Americans might be too stupid to integrate in the new age (they’re wrong. We’re all clever monkeys. let them have a chance) and therefore foresees welfare and make work for them, at the same time wants to import people from cultures barely above the stone age, on the basis that “they need it.”
Look, yes, we have a lot of illiterate third world illegal immigrants working construction and other trades. But most of them work under the table, and only because they’re very cheap. I’m sure there’s skilled workers coming here, but let’s face it, skilled workers do pretty well in their own countries. There is a reason we joke about “Manuel labor.” It adds up to “You get what you pay for.”
I’m not saying they’re not willing. I’m not saying a lot of them aren’t hard workers. I do happen to know, because of where my friends work, that we’re getting any number of entitled “racist America despoiled my people and owes me” instant welfare cases. However, yes, we’re also getting people who want to work.
The question is: can they work? Most of the trades they might be trained for are unionized, and probably won’t recognize foreign credentials. Stuff like making and selling food is regulated till your head hurts. Anything else?
Well, I was trained in languages, but the US has a lot less call for translation. I had a teaching certificate, but the teacher’s union doesn’t want competition from foreigners, so I wasn’t even allowed to take the certification test, unless I went back to college (and no, I didn’t want it that badly.) I did some scientific translation, but there wasn’t enough of it. S I was standing outside the parking lot of a home depot, and editors drove by saying “I need someone to write novels”. I jumped in the back of the truck, and…
Seriously. Can we be serious for a moment? Yes, we import skilled workers. Whether we should it’s something else again, and some companies are singularly evil in the management of such work-visa workers.
That’s a separate argument from giving asylum to everyone who is poor and dispossessed and struggling. Most of those people, like 99% of them are not trained for anything. A vast majority of them knows no English and might be illiterate even in their native language.
Do you see big public works, big factories requiring line work, any other type of work that requires only willingness and a pair of hands? No? Neither do I. So we’re letting them in, for what? To become instant charity cases in our own land?
Go up to that metaphor of the man and the fish. We import vast numbers of foreigners, which, being humans are tribal and will cling together, reflexively protect the culture of origin, and run us down. On top of that we make them recipients of our charity, unable to fend for themselves. Yeah, I don’t see HOW they could be anything but resentful.
But, you’ll say, their kids could integrate.
Sure. Theoretically. Just like a girl from Portugal could come over in her twenties and so thoroughly immerse herself in English she could write fiction for Native speakers.
Do you think — as the idiot who periodically tries to break into comments thinks — that’s so common as to be a “stereotype”? Or do you think one needs to be fairly broken to begin with to undergo that cultural change? Because from the inside here, I can tell you it’s not normal.
So let’s talk generational integration: the bigger the enclave, and the more resentful, the more the children will be raised to HYPER identify with the country of origin. Look, any linguist can back me up on this: you find three cities from an unknown culture. How do you know which is the mother and which the colonies? The colonies are MORE conservative as to language and tradition than the mother land. It’s that defensive “clinging to” that tribal humans do. And large migration groups are FUNCTIONALLY colonies, whether their aim is to get citizenship in the new land or not.
So each successive generation, raised in the enclave, will have a harder time leaving to join the main culture.
And then there is the main culture. Americans aren’t prejudiced. That’s great. It’s also recent. Americans were always prejudiced in various degrees of anyone who stuck out. Even relatively recent immigrants, once they acculturated would look with suspicion on immigrants and people who “talked funny.” That’s human.
However, we’ve had that beat out of us. The left has extended racism to anything that sticks out. And because the US culture, truly, disapproves of racism, it has gone by degrees to hyper approving of the strange and the foreign.
Me, with my accent I’m 99% more likely — even in semi-rural environments — to be told that the place I came from must be wonderful, and what can we teach the US than to be told to go back where I came from. And that’s a problem.
Why is it a problem?
Oh, not for me personally. But it’s a problem for integration.
One of the great mechanisms of cultural integration and the reason those little Italys eventually opened to the world is public schooling. People were told they would speak English, they were taught American history unapologetically, ad they were left with the decided impression that if they didn’t fit in they should fuck off.
As the mother of half-Portuguese kids going through public schooling, here’s what I got: My kids were told that they should learn more about THEIR culture, i.e. Latin culture. Even though, btw, their father is Anglo-Irish-German-whatever fell into the pot, from Connecticut. The strange and exotic must rule, and they should be brought up to think of PORTUGAL as the “homeland.” (In which they have been maybe a commulative total of 3 months in their lifetime.) I was guilted and shamed for not teaching them Portuguese FIRST. They were repeatedly put in SPANISH classes to “learn about their culture.” They were also repeatedly put in ESL classes, until I went in and visited righteous fury on the schools. The youngest son’s PHYSICAL speech issues went untreated because they assumed it was an accent. (In fact, they refused to treat them, so we had to pay (and it was tough at the time) for speech pathologist and other treatment out of our own pockets.)
Now imagine this done to the children of the enclave where they are banding together to preserve their culture. Integrate? Oh, hell no.
I’m not surprised we have Jihadists going to Middle East to fight against America who were born and raised in America. I’m surprised not all second or third generations go.
Now, do I advocate for draconian prejudice against the newly arrived? For official English as our language, for making people give up ancestral foods and clothing, and naming conventions?
As always, the choice is NOT cake or death. Of the two, unyielding prejudice against the newly arrived MIGHT be the more merciful choice. Yes, I can explain that, but first, that’s not what ANYONE is talking about for acculturation. Acculturation is being “American first.” If you want to wear your native outfit on your days off, I don’t think anyone cares. People at the office might look at you funny, though, so in deference to not distracting others, you probably should not wear a Viking helmet (yes, I know they’re not authentic. It’s a joke) to Casual Friday. And certainly not outside Casual Friday. If you want to name your kid Ballallu or whatever, I don’t think anyone cares. They’ll probably think it’s a “creative”name. The things hippies and maleducated hipsters name their kids is weirder than any foreign culture. Food? Americans will eat anything once. You’re more likely to be asked for the recipe for the dish you brought to the potluck than to be required to give it up. And provided it doesn’t contain either insects or offal (and even then, depends) you’ll find your co-workers enthusiastically working up variations of it. Trust me, I KNOW. Also, food is the hardest and the last thing immigrants give up. And the most likely to permeate the larger culture. Which is good, because the English cuisine the US started out with is a byword for boring.
No. The acculturation needed and the more difficult one is to adapt to BEING an American. To thinking of America — not the other country — as home. To learn to adapt and conform to American laws and American ways of being in the world, particularly that thing of “equal before the law” and “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” The devil of those in the details, but they deny a lot of the most cherished home traditions of dysfunctional cultures. (Oh, women as chattel, to name one.)
So, being incredibly kind and refusing to enforce this, in fact, making people feel their home country MUST be honored, must be better, and their culture must be clung to, leads to what?
Well, it leads to the generations of dispossessed that the left wants to bring in REMAINING dispossessed charity cases. People who must be cared for, who cannot strive outward and upward like true Americans. Who cannot integrate. And who, generationally, start resenting us and hating us for our “privilege” which amounts to our ability to move in the society and improve ourselves and our children’s chances.
The crazy idiocy of providing services in whatever native language, including and up to Citizenship tests is not a CHARITABLE or well intentioned thing. It’s a shackles, burdening generations of incomers with second class status.
Oh and “open borders” particularly “open borders if you bring a child” is NOT charitable or kind, either. It encourages people to steal, buy or otherwise acquire children to drag on a horrible trek and risk death. And don’t tell me “they must be very desperate…”
Sure, maybe. Doesn’t mean they’re under clear and present danger. Humans are a striving animal. If they’re promised cake everyday for no effort in another land, they’ll go there. Only suffer and get trapped there because the cake is always a lie.
Those children who die and/or are mistreated on the trek are the fault of the open-borders crowd who enticed people to drag them here. These people should look up the concept of “attractive nuisance.”
Anyway, if all you’re dragging them here for is to live in enclaves that are more cohesive than the culture in the homeland, refuse to integrate, can’t do anything useful in the main culture, and are here SIMPLY to be recipients of charity, it’s cheaper and kinder to keep them in their homeland and support them there.
Economic hardship is no reason to immigrate, if you have NO skills that are looked for in the land you’re coming into, and do not wish to/will be prevented from acquiring those skills. We are no longer a land with unending demand for manual labor. All most incomers can do is get stuck and resent us.
Mind you there are problems with helping them in their own countries too, and charity should be carefully done. I prefer charities that educate children or give women money to start small businesses. They probably cause distortions, but not as bad as the charity of handouts.
And anyone who wants to molly coddle and cater to the most wretched of the most wretched cultures on Earth is an evil, despotic bastard who refuses to admit to himself/herself/xyr/xer/mouseself. They are people who think they’re better than the rest of humanity and that some number of humanity NEEDS them to survive. Forever.
Down that path lies the kind of upheaval in which the dispossessed kill everyone else. Unlike the Marxist fairytale our friends think they’re living, this doesn’t mean perfect communism, or even that leftist intellectuals end up on top.
Usually it means it provides the cataclysm that jolts the dysfunctional culture into another shape. Sometimes, rarely, a more functional one. And in which people have to learn to survive again.
I just don’t want this to happen here and now, not to me or my immediate descendants, or my friends. Honestly, no one sane would.
Is my view harsh? Perhaps. But it’s neither as harsh or as genocidal as that of the “would be do gooders” who create unending misery for everyone who comes under their purview. And who would destroy the last, best hope of mankind given a chance.
Is “Fit in or f*ck off” a nasty thing to tell immigrants? Sure it is. But it’s not as deceitful as “You can keep all your dysfunctional culture and America will magically transform you.” And it’s not as EVIL as that. Because THAT will keep you trapped in forever.
Life is pain, princess. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something. In this case the something is eternal dependence and impotence.
I wouldn’t buy that at any price.