Casaubon's Book

I’m just now finishing wading through the Earth Day e-waste/propaganda/inspiring educational bullshit in my in-box. After a certain point, I stopped reading. Which means I almost missed my new favorite use of Earth Day, which was sent to me by FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the largest of our anti-immigrant groups here in the US. It turns out that FAIR is deeply, deeply concerned with the ecological impact of Brown folk, and they really want us, on Earth Day, to think hard about the impact of people who are not white (and thus, of course, are not like us real environmentalists):

Now population is a real issue, but this is a compelling example of how the rhetoric of environmentalism is being co-opted for other purposes. Among FAIR’s claims to fame were its ties to the Pioneer Institute, a racist eugenicist organization, from which it accepted 1.2 million dollars over the years, before severing ties when they began to draw critical attention.. Wikipedia dryly observes that a number of its umbrella organizations don’t seem to have meaningful membership:

Choose Black America is an African American group created by FAIR.[17] According to the The Oroville Mercury Register, the group’s founders could not name any of its members.[18] One founder of Choose Black America, James Clingman, said “Choose Black America was just the banner under which we had a press conference”.[19] He also said that he hadn’t spoken to or contacted the other members before FAIR organized the press conference – with the exception of his friend and fellow economics writer Claud Anderson – and would not have attended if he’d known who else was involved.

Another group established by FAIR is You Don’t Speak for Me, which describes itself as “a group of concerned Americans of Hispanic/Latino heritage, some first or second generation, others recent legal immigrants, who believe illegal immigration harms America and a guest worker amnesty will do the same.”[20] One of the media contacts for this group is Ira Mehlman, who is also FAIR’s media director.

Whether the Southern Poverty Law Center’s accusation that FAIR is a racist hate group is accurate or not, FAIR clearly is ummm…cynical in its willingness to join up with any cause, regardless of whether there is a meaningful connection or not.

So here’s the Press Release I got in my mailbox:

On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, a new report issued by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) explores the connection between immigration, over-population, and its detrimental impact on the environment.

FAIR’s new report, The Environmentalist Guide to a Sensible Immigration Policy examines the relationship between America’s mass immigration policies and skyrocketing population growth. It details how both are severely limiting America’s ability to make meaningful progress toward important environmental goals.

“Some environmental groups like to pretend that this correlation does not exist,” said Dan Stein, President of FAIR. “Because of pressures brought to bear by politically charged special interests demanding open borders, groups sincerely interested in advancing sensible environmental policies remain muzzled on the issue. Overpopulation fueled by uncontrolled immigration – the root cause of most resource depletion – is unfortunately deemed too radioactive to discuss in some circles.”

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, U.S. population has grown by 50 percent, or about 100 million people. U.S. population now stands at approximately 308 million and is currently growing by nearly three million a year – the equivalent of adding a new Chicago each year. By 2050, an estimated 438 million people will live in this country with more than 80 percent of the increase coming from post-2005 immigrants and their children.

This enormous population growth has more than offset our per-capita reduction in resource consumption and greenhouse gas output. More importantly, America’s projected population growth over the next 40 years will make it all but impossible to meet any of the environmental goals that we have set forth for ourselves, or those recommended under the Kyoto Protocol.

“Massive levels of immigration and unsustainable population growth are neither necessary nor inevitable,” continued Stein. “The legitimate ‘green-movement’ can advance their cause by recognizing that another illegitimate ‘green-dollar movement’ is working against their worthy goals. Industry looking to pad their pockets with cheap labor and political parties wanting to grow their constituencies through unending chains of immigration are dashing any hopes of population stabilization and environmental preservation.”

I have to admit, it is extremely well constructed, and designed to appeal to environmentalists seriously concerned with population issues. And it is certainly a warmer, fuzzier quotation than Dan Stein’s previous comments on population like this one:

FAIR’s Director, Dan Stein, has said, “It’s almost like [Asians and Hispanics] are getting into competitive breeding.”

Yup, this was way more politic. Or than FAIR founder John Tanton’s claim that we’d better seal the borders because: In a 1997 interview, Tanton said that unless U.S. borders are sealed, America will be overrun by people “defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs.”

The problem is that we all know that when people rail against “immigrants” they don’t mean those nice Belgian folks who moved into the neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong – there are real strains placed on communities and cultures by immigration, and real issues of local carrying capacity to be dealt with. But not by the kind of people who fan hostility against Hispanic, Asian and Arab immigrants.

FAIR’s latest press release praises the Arizona governor for signing one of the most racist laws in history, allowing authorities to stop anyone who looks like they could be an illegal immigrant in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment. Now, I wonder what those people will look like? Saturday Night Live got it right:

This week Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country, which would allow the police to demand identification papers from anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. I know there are some people in Arizona worried that Obama is acting like Hitler, but can we all agree that there’s nothing more Nazi than saying, `Show me your papers?’

“There’s never been a WWII movie that didn’t include the line, `Show me your papers.’ It’s their catchphrase. Every time someone says `Show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up Arizona, that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.”

I have real doubts (ok, actually I have no doubts whatsoever that this connection to Earth Day is complete bullshit, but for journalistic purposes the other sounds better ;-)) that any real environmental concern underlies FAIR’s analysis. Global Warming is a global problem (see, that’s what the word “global” means), and only the most ridiculous kind of number manipulation allows us to blame our failure to meet Kyoto quotas on immigration, rather than lack of national commitment.

What I think is important about this is the way that our collective ecological crisis can so easily be converted to the argument for all sorts of terrible underlying assumptions. We’ve seen that in Britain, where the British National Party on the far right has already taken up peak oil as one of its driving causes, encouraging it to push for an all white Britain (with firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants to go home – even if they haven’t been “home” for four generations…ummm…yeah.)

As our collective predicament becomes more evident, it will be used by everyone, on every side of the issue. And it is the absolute obligation of everyone who cares about the kind of future we have to point out when those misusing events are wrong, and immoral.

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 darwinsdog
    April 26, 2010

    Nationalism is as bad as racism or sexism, people just haven’t realized it yet.

    It used to be possible to just crawl through the barbed wire fence along the Mexican border in southern New Mexico. I camped once near the border crossing at Pozos de los Antilopes, waiting on the crossing to open the next morning, and that evening observed pronghorns hopping back & forth across the delapidated fence. Today there’s a fence that a military tank probably couldn’t knock down and the free passage of wildlife across an artificial boundary is precluded. Populations are isolated & gene flow between them has ceased or been greatly reduced, thanks to human xenophobia.

    The entire US Southwest, from California to Texas, with the exception of AZ & NM south of the Gila, was stolen from Mexico, who stole it from Spain, who stole it from the people whose ancestors walked here.

    I don’t like borders, I don’t like the entire immigration industry, and I don’t like nations. We’re one species of African ape who has temporarily colonized an entire planet and appropriated unto ourselves the primary productivity, mineral & fossil resources of said planet, to the detriment of the planet’s other biotia & ecosystems. This situation can’t be sustained and won’t be sustained much longer. Fighting over arbitrary & artificial borders only distracts attention from the real issues we face.

  2. #2 Greenpa
    April 26, 2010

    This kind of scapegoating is ancient, of course- as is the word scapegoat.

    No easy answers for it.

    A wound I still carry is from my best friend in 6th grade. He was brown, I’m not. Neither one of us cared about it, at all; maybe didn’t even notice. Many years later- having lost contact- one of those astonishing coincidences happened- he wound up sitting directly in front of me in a movie theater; and I recognized him. I would have, wanted to, renew the full friendship immediately. It was not possible. Nothing personal, I’m sure; just too much injury in the intervening years.

    I hate that. It goes to show how intractable the problem is- based at the bottom on the fragile nature of personal trust. Easily destroyed, nearly impossible to rebuild.

    My main reaction to your piece is that it’s a perfect example of another, more basic threat- the widespread use of the “half-truth” for population manipulation.

    My own aphorism: A half-truth is the most durable of lies.

    Lots of them flying around these days; hard to say if more than usual. But horrendously difficult to combat.

  3. #3 Susan
    April 26, 2010

    OK, as an Arizona resident I can tell you that 70% of CITIZENS here — including Hispanic ones — agree with and support this bill that was just passed. The people who are crying about Nazis: waving Mexican flags.

    This bill doesn’t change any essential laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS, people!! It only gives law enforcement the state’s kiss of approval to do what they should have been able to do in the first place, which is to make sure people engaged in suspicious activity or law-breaking are here legally to begin with. In Arizona it is already illegal to NOT carry ID with you, or to show it to the police when asked. Since you have to show proof of citizenship (i.e., birth certificate) to GET an ID, there is no problem. I have to show proof of citizenship every time I open a bank account, recertify my professional certs and licenses, or license my car. What the he!! is the problem with people???

    This bill targets those who: drive erratically, don’t have insurance, don’t have a driver’s license or state issued ID, can’t speak English, and have no understanding of America laws. If you’re here legally, you have no issue. None. Nada. Show ID, proof you’re here legally, done.

    Personally, it isn’t the old generation of illegals, who ended up actually mostly being here legally and who worked their a$$es off to provide a better life for their children we have a problem with. It’s the drug gangs, the people who come across so they can get medical coverage for their problems and get on welfare, and have their anchor babies here. They don’t pay taxes — they mostly get paid cash under the table, they don’t buy things that require lots of sales taxes, and they don’t own property. They’re users of the system, not producers. We don’t need more of those. We’ve already seen one trauma center and an entire hospital closed down due to the financial drain illegals put on the system, we are trying to preserve what’s left for those who actually do belong here, whether they were born here or came here legally.

    Why is it that illegals should get ‘amnesty’ and a free ride when those who would like to come here have to jump through a million hoops and be on a waiting list for as long as ten years don’t?? That’s rewarding illegal behavior, and it’s wrong.

    BTW: the Nazi correlation is SO overdone. Every time someone doesn’t like something somebody has to liken it to Nazis. For pete’s sake. Give it a rest.

  4. #4 Susan
    April 26, 2010

    One more thing: every population on this planet, for the most part, stole their property from a previous population by conquest. Native American tribes weren’t peacefully co-existing for millenia before Europeans arrived. They were doing to each other, in many cases, what the Europeans did better, which is killing, raping, and stealing. So Europeans, and Mexicans who lived in the Southwest, stole it from Mexico. So what? They lost the war, it has belonged to America for 150 years now, deal with it and move on.

    My ancestors lost their land to the English 500 years ago. They still dream of freedom; maybe when the economy completely collapses it may be so but somehow I doubt it. Ireland is still too fertile and green for a country that will be losing a third of it’s cropland to sea encroachment to let go. Ireland adapted and survived; they moved on. They too lived through their years of deliberate genocide and came through a stronger (although much reduced in numbers) people. Those are my ancestors. My family came here in the 30′s. Legally. And worked their butts off to make a better life for themselves.

  5. #5 David Marjanović
    April 26, 2010

    Overpopulation fueled by uncontrolled immigration

    LOL! They’re really desperate. :-D

    Show ID, proof you’re here legally, done.

    What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

  6. #6 frog
    April 26, 2010

    Susan: This bill targets those who: drive erratically, don’t have insurance, don’t have a driver’s license or state issued ID, can’t speak English

    What the HELL (please, the he?? is just a sign of mental incompetence) is wrong with people?

    It’s only targeting “suspicious” people — you know, people who may have forgotten their wallet at home to get some milk and happen to have an accent, or the cops think are in the “wrong” neighborhood…

    “Those” un-American people…

    Disgusting. This comes from the same kind of people who then turnaround and complain about not being able to bring loaded rifles into grocery stores, or that the “gubmint needs to get out of my medicare”. The sense of entitlement is awe-inspiring.

  7. #7 Round Belly
    April 26, 2010

    What I don’t understand is why we simply don’t help make their lives better in every way we can? If they had access to food, health care and clean water at home would they want to move away from family and friends to be in America?

    And if they risked their lives to get here, shouldn’t they be welcome to the American Dream? If the American Dream is destroying the planet because a few more people want it.. then maybe we need to change the dream- don’t save it for us few select Americans.

    Basically equality is the answer- not division. If we all shared the Earth’s resources equally then immigration wouldn’t be an issue.

  8. #8 Susan
    April 26, 2010

    Again I say: come here LEGALLY. Do the right thing. My ancestors did, I assume yours did. My friends and coworkers did. Why not the illegal Mexicans, guatamalans, etc?

    Why not put employers in jail who encourange these people to come here to work illegally rather than pay taxes and proper wages to CITIZENS?

    Logical fallacy. No one goes to the grocery store to get milk and ‘forgets’ their wallet at home.

    Pull me over. I guarantee I have proof of insurance, a drivers license, and speak the language of the Nation. I might not follow the rules of the road, but I do know them.

  9. #9 Ewan R
    April 26, 2010

    “Logical fallacy. No one goes to the grocery store to get milk and ‘forgets’ their wallet at home.”

    The number of times my wife has told me pretty much exactly that after I’ve done pretty much exactly that.

    Having actually came here legally, rather than having ancestors who came here legally (and lets face it, the legal requirement for ancestors is somewhat different to what is required today, starting with ‘access to ship and means to subjugate natives’ down to ‘access to low melanin if wishing to live relatively free’ for quite some time) I sympathize completely with immigrants who come in illegally (and that is without any first hand knowledge of how abysmal life under grinding poverty is).

    I came from a first world country, where I had a job, the process of coming here legally was vastly complicated, vstly expensive, and an all round pain in the behind. If you live in absolute grinding poverty then ‘come here legally’ essentially translates to ‘stay where you are’ – it doesn’t matter one jot that your ancestors arrived legally – I think the assumption that their legal immigration was a thousand times easier then than it would be today is a fair one. Congratulations to you – you get to be here legally without the persecution because your ancestors had a vastly easy time of it.

  10. #10 Sharon Astyk
    April 26, 2010

    Susan, have you met the fourth amendment recently ;-)? And yes, people go out without identification and look Hispanic, or some other non-white skin color (remember the poor Sikh who got killed because someone thought he was a Muslim after 9-11 or Henry Louis Gates stopped for being black in a tony neighborhood (where he lived). Not all of us pack our birth certificate every time we go out.

    As for ancestors being legal immigrants – nope. Some of mine came on the Mayflower, and were illegal immigrants who took land from the Native Americans, and for that matter, I’m pretty sure that when my Algonquin and Cherokee ancestors came over, they didn’t go through immigration.

    The law is racist, and probably unconstitutional, and an embarassment to the country.

    Sharon

  11. #11 Sharon Astyk
    April 26, 2010

    May we also observe that one of the reasons we actually have a constitution, rather than putting every single thing to the vote is to prevent the lunatic excesses of democracy from doing the evil thing, just because it is convenient. A majority of Americans didn’t think that Black folk should get to go to schcool with White folk once, and quite sensibly, it was pointed out that that idea is a. stupid and b. unconstitutional. The same is called for here, and may it please be quick.

  12. #12 Michelle
    April 26, 2010

    It seems only fair that the country that uses the most resources of the world also has most of its population (clearly, we are far from having a population that matches our resource use) – so look on the bright side, immigration makes our ratios of population to resource use look better.

  13. #13 JenW
    April 26, 2010

    I forget my wallet at home more often than I’d like to admit. In fact, just two weeks ago. Embarrassingly, it’s not always just to “run for some milk”, but for a week’s-worth of food. Lucky for me, I blend in with my cultural surroundings.

  14. #14 darwinsdog
    April 26, 2010

    We don’t have to worry about the Arid Zone much longer, nor its fascist xenophobia. Its bloated metropolises exist only gratis stolen water from the Colorado watershed, piped thru the canals of the Central Arizona Project from which much of it evaporates under the relentless Sonoran Desert sun. People in the watershed to which that water belongs aren’t going to tolerate its theft much longer. When the water stops flowing civil society breaks down and the cartels take over. Probably La Raza deports the Irish at that point. Even if they don’t, the Mics will fry sans sunscreen.

  15. #15 Thomas
    April 26, 2010

    So if you decide to go jogging or just take a walk around the neighborhood in Arizona you need to bring an ID-card? How utterly inconvenient. Or is outdoor exercise considered un-American nowadays?

  16. #16 Jadehawk
    April 26, 2010

    This bill targets those who: drive erratically, don’t have insurance, don’t have a driver’s license or state issued ID, can’t speak English, and have no understanding of America laws.

    interesting. all this applies to tourists as well. are they gonna get kicked out, too?

    Also, not speaking English is not against the law. Last I checked, the U.S. didn’t have a national language, and for a good reason. America didn’t become a majority english speaking place until after the popularization of radio and TV.

    Again I say: come here LEGALLY. Do the right thing. My ancestors did, I assume yours did. My friends and coworkers did. Why not the illegal Mexicans, guatamalans, etc?

    becuase, in case you haven’t noticed, America has decided to limit immigration severely in the recent-ish past. Those ancestors who came here legally often did so in exactly the same way the illegal immigrants of right now do; it’s not the method that’s changed, it’s the law that did. America no longer wants anybody’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

    IOW, you’re a hypocrite.

    Why not put employers in jail who encourange these people to come here to work illegally rather than pay taxes and proper wages to CITIZENS?

    they pay taxes just fine. so do the illegal immigrants, even though they will never receive the services that they pay for. don’t be so clueless.

    Logical fallacy. No one goes to the grocery store to get milk and ‘forgets’ their wallet at home.

    bullshit. people do that all the time.

    Pull me over. I guarantee I have proof of insurance, a drivers license, and speak the language of the Nation. I might not follow the rules of the road, but I do know them.

    ah yes, of course. “only the guilty have to fear the police state”

  17. #17 Joseph
    April 26, 2010

    In the press release it reads, ” Overpopulation fueled by uncontrolled immigration – the root cause of most resource depletion – ….” That is a specious argument if ever there was one, if it even makes any sense at all.

    A more accurate analysis might read something like, “resource depletion and climate change fueled by uncontrolled over-consumption in First World nations is the root cause of immigration, overpopulation, war, war, (did I mention war?) and a whole lot of other problems which are all globally interlinked, as in global: adjective; pertaining to the whole world; worldwide, etc.

  18. #18 jadehawk
    April 26, 2010

    if they really worried about overpopulation, they’d try to get as many people into the US (and europe) as possible, since industrialized nations have the lowest birthrates :-p

  19. #19 Joseph
    April 26, 2010

    To clarify, it does make some sense on a local level, but the point is, all of our converging problems demand a global understanding if we are going to be at all successful in mitigating their impact.

  20. #20 AmoebaMike
    April 26, 2010

    Why do you assume because I prefer my immigrants come here legally that I only have a problem with the “brown” ones, as you put it?

    Coming here legally isn’t easy and I don’t necessarily think our immigration laws are good (or bad–I’m not well versed in them). But resource depletion is an awfully crappy “spin” to put on immigration.

    The whole world is facing resource depletion and since 3rd world countries tend to not have great resources anyway, it only makes sense they’d want to go where they could get resources. The only reason they’re not going to Canada, Japan, or Western Europe is because of geography.

  21. #21 Ewan R
    April 26, 2010

    “The only reason they’re not going to Canada, Japan, or Western Europe is because of geography.”

    Can’t speak for Canada or Japan but Western Europe is innundated with immigrants, legal and otherwise (not that this is a bad or good thing, but the general picture I get from the media in the US is that immigration only occurs into the US and nowhere else – which is just a silly notion)

    I would also concur with Jadehawk – we should be promoting immigration from the 3rd to the 1st world to decrease birth rates…. although one has to then of course weigh the footprint of an immigrant and their reduced family as opposed to the same immigrant’s footprint had they stayed and multiplied in the 3rd world.

  22. #22 mad the swine
    April 26, 2010

    “In Arizona it is already illegal to NOT carry ID with you, or to show it to the police when asked. Since you have to show proof of citizenship (i.e., birth certificate) to GET an ID, there is no problem. I have to show proof of citizenship every time I open a bank account, recertify my professional certs and licenses, or license my car. What the he!! is the problem with people??? [...] If you’re here legally, you have no issue. None. Nada. Show ID, proof you’re here legally, done.”

    IN other words, Susan, you seem to be saying that everyone in Arizona, citizen, legal immigrant, or other, should carry papers showing proof of citizenship (of which a driver’s license is not one), and that the police should check those papers routinely when they interact with the public (just as they routinely check car insurance when they pull people over).

    .. actually, when put like that, it doesn’t sound so bad. It would certainly make it easier for the police to catch people with outstanding warrants, keep track of child molesters and potential domestic terrorists, and otherwise keep the public safe. Carrying your papers with you is simply the duty of a responsible citizen. If you have nothing to hide, if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. Am I right, Comrade Susan?

  23. #23 Eric Lund
    April 26, 2010

    The only reason they’re not going to Canada, Japan, or Western Europe is because of geography.

    I conclude that you have not been to Montreal or Vancouver recently. Both cities have large immigrant populations, and both cities have been attracting immigrants from all over the world for decades. (I understand the same is true of Toronto, but having never been there I cannot verify this personally.)

    Ditto Western Europe, where in many places right-wing locals are developing similar attitudes towards Middle Eastern/North African immigrants as USAian right-wingers exhibit towards Latinos. Their situation is arguably worse since many European countries do not recognize birthright citizenship as the USA and Canada do. (Japan, similarly, does not recognize birthright citizenship.)

    Ewan is right about the provincialism of American news sources. We seldom hear about what’s happening in other countries, unless it either potentially affects lots of Americans or involves lots of dead bodies. One major reason I read the BBC web site is that they actually do cover the whole world, not just the UK.

  24. #24 Ed Straker
    April 26, 2010

    I don’t like it when Sharon plays the political correctness riff because it’s not that far off from the riffs used to paint a misanthropic brush on _anybody_ who dares claim the world is overpopulated and that something should be done about it. (Kind of like when Fox News goes off on Holdren.)

    If you really do believe the world is in population overshoot, and the people living within the US border are in population overshoot, staying alive only by virtue of “phantom carrying capacity” then why should so much emphasis be placed on demonizing those who try to restrict illegal immigration?

    Here’s a news flash. The doomer community’s got its share of bad seeds too. Derrick Jensen is a hair-breadths away from the Unabomber, for instance, with his open calls for blowing up dams and cell-phone towers.

    So let’s wrestle with the underlying problems and not be distracted by hunting for racists.

    The messy resolution to uncontrolled population overshoot will far outweigh the sins of bigotry.

  25. #25 razib
    April 26, 2010

    but this is a compelling example of how the rhetoric of environmentalism is being co-opted for other purposes.

    conservationism and environmentalism movements have always had this strain. it’s not new, or opportunistic co-option. charles lindbergh was both a conservationist, and well, you know what he was before world war 2. madison grant, author of *passing of the great race*, was behind a major push to get national parks created. garrett hardin, pioneer of the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ was also anti-immigration. that was a major strain of the zero population growth movement.

    i think that this is surprising to most people has to do with the rise of the south in the conservative movement, and the decline of the northern WASP. because of the southern environment kind of sucks southerners have never been into conservation (who wants to conserve a smelly swamp?).

  26. #26 razib
    April 26, 2010

    john tanton btw, who is the nexus of a lot of these groups, is in the madison grant mould. he cares about his race and the environment.

  27. #27 Mu
    April 26, 2010

    I still don’t see what the law is trying to achieve. The local AZ politicians complain about the federal “catch and release” program on illegal aliens. You get caught, you sign voluntary leave papers, you get a bus trip to Nogales, you come back next Tuesday. All this means is more business for the bus operators since it doesn’t give the state any new legal standing to hold anyone for immigration violation alone from what I read.

  28. #28 Diane
    April 26, 2010

    The last wave of illegal immigrants from Mexico followed NAFTA which allowed the US to dump cheap corn there and undermined the rural economy. Whole villages are populated by grandparents and children while the working age residents try to earn enough in the US to send back. Until the ravages of “free trade” are reversed we will deal with illegal immigrants who, conveniently, are exploitable as vulnerable cheap labor. Funny how big ag benefited both ways.

  29. #29 Stephen B.
    April 26, 2010

    I agree that the FAIR email is a pretty slick and vile use of environmentalism to further their cause.

    I also want to believe in open borders and personal freedom for a person to live where she wants to.

    Sharon, as long as I’ve known you, we’ve pretty much agreed on nearly everything of substance, but on this immigration law, I think we part ways.

    From my vantage point, serving under-served communities of color, I know full well the disadvantages such communities face. Nobody wants more to see every possible advantage given to such families and kids.

    But over the past few years I’ve also seen more people than I could ever previously have believed, gaming the system for everything they can get, from housing to food assistance, to general cash welfare, to education. I’ve come across such attitudes of entitlement that it leaves me breathless. Of course this extends across nearly every category of ethnicity. It is a major reason I see communities and individuals so unwilling to take the initiative to improve themselves. “I’ll just sue” or “the State will pay” is something I hear with amazing frequency, even out of the mouths of eleven year olds. I watched one kid of 15, earlier this month, give me a hard time because I wouldn’t let him buy a pair of $150 sneakers with his MA DCF clothing money. He is an illegal/undocumented immigrant from Jamaica. Out of the generosity of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he is getting residential treatment, special education to the tune of over $130K per year, paid for by the City of Boston, where his family ended up. His DCF clothing allowance is over $1200 per year. I won’t even go into all the costs the rest of his family has passed on to the taxpayers – taxpayers that themselves are facing unemployment, eviction, or foreclosure all while our state just raised the state sales tax 25% earlier this year and is poised to at least partially cancel out our property tax limitation law as well, all done in no small part, to pay for our absolutely exploding entitlement benefits of all categories.

    Now IF people were to come across the border, not expecting or availing themselves of every possible freebie at the earliest possible time, then I might feel differently, and of course, undoubtedly many DO come here to work and contribute far more than do indigenous people. But I’ve also come across more than quite a few lately, that fully expect people such as myself to pay as much as I can possibly be taxed, to pay for they and their families.

    Heck, my own grandfather arrived from Italy via Canada, when he was but a teenager. He quickly found work first with the railroads, then as an auto mechanic. It was a different time then and he didn’t expect anybody to buy his son’s (my father’s) sneakers (high priced or otherwise), or pay to school him (my father went to Catholic school.) I knew my grandfather, I knew my father, and I know the immigrant population now of which I work with and speak of. The attitude differences are as stark as the Sun versus Pluto.

    I do not say this lightly, but after working in human services for a decade now, I have come to the new conclusion that we are doing nobody any favors by setting up and maintaining this vast entitlement system that we have created at nearly every level of government over the past generation or so now. There must be ways of better enticing people to end their government dependency, for their own good and so far, we’ve moved in completely the opposite direction.

    I do regret that this new law will mean that some people of certain appearances will be asked, repeatedly, to prove identity and residence. But I also know that this country, no matter how undeserving we feel the majority white, privileged class is, will not be served by continuing to welcome millions of people and then giving them quick, easy access to all manner of entitlements. It all too often creates more and more of a dependency class of which my business is now in a losing battle to assist.

    LEGAL immigration, with limits as to how fast all the various assistance programs can be engaged by and for newcomers, are the best solution for a very difficult problem, in my opinion.

    Anything less will add insurmountable problems onto a society already about to become deeply impoverished.

  30. #30 Stephen B.
    April 26, 2010

    Having said all that I just posted above, I will reiterate that this particular AZ law, smacks of a police state mentality, which of course, is because it IS of a police state mentality – the very stuff we came to expect under the last president.

    Having mulled over my previous post for a few minutes now, I still think one of the main problems is our vast, entitlement system, administered on a state and national level, paid for by increasingly burdensome, compulsory taxes on other people.

    More locally organized and funded assistance programs organized and funded more via church and other local, civic groups, where both the benefactor and recipient can better forge relationships, seem better destined to build and rebuild communities and welcome new people into those communities while better assisting people to lessen their dependency on such programs at the earliest possible time.

    This current model of national and state taxes, funding increasingly huge, but mainly anonymous assistance programs, designed, it seems, to hold people at some level of chronic, dependent poverty, is simply destined to be a total failure for everybody, from the taxpayer supporting it, to the long-time, indigenous dependent, to the newly arrived, immigrant dependent as well.

  31. #31 Tsu Dho Nimh
    April 26, 2010

    @3 – Susan said, “In Arizona it is already illegal to NOT carry ID with you, or to show it to the police when asked.” I’m also an Arizonan, and I cannot find any law that says we must carry IDS with us if we are legal residents of the USA.

    Unless I am driving a car, or applying for a job, I can wander around the state ID-free. And that is the problem … it’s really hard to tell who is legal and who is illegal by looking at them.

    If someone, perhaps a passenger in a car stopped for some trivial reason, can’t produce an ID on demand it is 100% up to the police whether to detain them until acceptable proof can be shown. I’m Anglo and have no accent. My neighbor is very Hispanic with a thick accent. We are both citizens. Who is going to be detained? Me or him?

  32. #32 Tsu Dho Nimh
    April 26, 2010

    @3 – Susan said, “In Arizona it is already illegal to NOT carry ID with you, or to show it to the police when asked.” I’m also an Arizonan, and I cannot find any law that says we must carry IDS with us if we are legal residents of the USA.

    Unless I am driving a car, or applying for a job, I can wander around the state ID-free. And that is the problem … it’s really hard to tell who is legal and who is illegal by looking at them.

    If someone, perhaps a passenger in a car stopped for some trivial reason, can’t produce an ID on demand it is 100% up to the police whether to detain them until acceptable proof can be shown. I’m Anglo and have no accent. My neighbor is very Hispanic with a thick accent. We are both citizens. Who is going to be detained? Me or him?

  33. #33 Susan
    April 26, 2010

    Stephen B, thank you. You understand COMPLETELY where I’m coming from. The sense of entitlement defies description unless you work in the social services or health care field. Then you see why the system is failing.

    I would have absolutely NO PROBLEM with people crossing the border if there were no social services to access, if there were not laws regarding payroll taxes vs. under the table jobs, or other such things that citizens are responsible for/enjoy. My grandparents came here, legally, and expected nothing. They brought their children up to be givers, not takers.

    Actually , Tsu Dho Nimh, in Arizona BOTH of you will be detained. It’s illegal not to produce ID, and it’s illegal to give a fake name in Arizona. Ask my oldest son about that. He spent time in jail for just those two offenses. And yes, he’s definitely not Hispanic looking.

    I find it funny that I’m labelled racist for demanding that people comply with the law. I find it amazing and sad that even people who recognize that our society is failing, that our economy is failing, still think that we should just hand over everything to illegals who ARE NOT HERE LEGALLY. WHO HAVE NO DESIRE TO GIVE BACK. WHO HAVE NO INHERENT COMMITMENT TO OUR COUNTRY.

  34. #34 Vince Whirlwind
    April 26, 2010

    Then your neighbour could either learn english or, if the pain of the harassment outweighs the pleasure of the taxpayer-funded freebies, go home.

  35. #35 Stephen B.
    April 27, 2010

    I should say, that I do think a great many immigrants, even the illegal ones, want to contribute and do the right thing, rather than simply collect entitlements, but it’s just that we’re at the point, where almost ANY new entitlement beneficiaries are too much at this point. That’s why I think we have to control how many more potential ones get onto the system via immigration.

    This system of entitlement government won’t work much longer, whether the entitlement $$ are going to immigrants or indigenous people. Of course, we still want to help those in need, now more than ever given that we have so many struggling with a poor economy, declining wealth due to Peak Oil etc. It’s just that the centralized government model of collecting so much in compulsory taxes from one segment of the population and then processing it through a bureaucracy, then sending a check to a beneficiary, just fails at so many levels, and will much more so in the very near future.

    Taking my earlier example of the kid who demanded to spend his state-supplied clothing money on way-expensive sneakers – suppose instead that he got clothing donations from a local charity or assistance group, perhaps through a church. Maybe he even would get to meet, at least in general terms, some of the congregation that donated the funds or items. Might he be a bit more respectful and thankful for the assistance than as it is in the present system, where some faceless DCF computer spits out a check and mails it to his guardian, who in turn cashes it before heading to the store? Then, revisiting the comparison of my grandfather, a teen aged immigrant circa 1915, raising a family, including my father, who was schooled in the local Catholic parish’s grammar school – tuition even then probably didn’t pay all the bills. The rest came from the parishioners’ support of the school, but doubtless that my grandfather, and maybe later my father himself, knew who helped support him in school – namely the rest of his community, so that my grandfather and father were more modest in their expectations of what others could do for them. They placed no excessive expectations and “DEMANDS” on their fellow citizens and parishioner’s because everything was local, rather than cloaked as it is now with faceless, anonymity on account of all social service financial support being centralized.

    Long time readers of either Sharon’s blog(s) and the Running On Empty (2) list_serve hopefully know how much I care for these kids I work with at my treatment school and these kinds of social causes. Believe me when I say that something is really broken now where I meet SO many kids and parents of kids that just EXPECT and DEMAND that this government check or that check come their way and now, and that the rest of us HAVE to help them, or we’ll get sued, or otherwise taken to court, or the Commonwealth will get taken to court, etc. It’s just not going to last much longer. Then too, we’d still be facing major entitlement insolvency even *if* Peak Oil and Peak CDO Credit unrest hadn’t bumped the economy into Low a few years back now. I give it all a few additional years, TOPS, before major social unrest comes out of this (though maybe the upcoming elections might undo it all sooner), and THEN where will the social service support come from?

    This AZ law, requiring police to check immigration/residency status, is a fairly ugly way to begin to answer for the fact that our system can no longer account for, and pay all these entitlement bills, but something has to begin to change, SOMEHOW, and those on the left side of the spectrum, possibly including my friends and coworkers, that immediately start calling the rest of us racists, simply because we see that the good ship, USS Entitlement, is about to hit an iceberg, simply aren’t helping the cause.

    I WANT to help people, but if the entire system short-circuits on extreme entitlement overload, where will we be then? Our local support systems have more or less already died of atrophy and disuse. We have to get things in place once again and real soon I think. At the very least, we need to at least give potential entitlement beneficiaries the motivation and idea that maybe, just maybe, they are going to have to try harder at developing or redeveloping a bit of self-sufficiency themselves, because the benefactors that would otherwise help them with their tax payments, are hitting the rocks these days too.

  36. #36 Jadehawk
    April 27, 2010

    Then your neighbour could either learn english or, if the pain of the harassment outweighs the pleasure of the taxpayer-funded freebies, go home.

    the neighbor is home, you racist ass; did you miss the part where he was a US citizen?

    English is not America’s national language. get over yourself.

  37. #37 Pen
    April 27, 2010

    Wow, I was looking forward to spending two months in Arizona as a tourist. What papers do I have to carry??? Mind you, it’s my American husband who looks more like an illegal immigrant. Go figure…

  38. #38 ex_arizonan
    April 27, 2010

    I used to live in Arizona, back in the seventies, when I was still in high school. My family moved from a primarily black/hispanic neighborhood in east Phoenix, to a 99 percent white neighborhood in north-central Phoenix.

    In the space of two months, I was stopped, questioned, stalked, and harassed by police numerous times. Why? Apparently, for the crime of being black in a white neighborhood. You see, the color of my skin automatically made me look “suspicious.”

    Anyone who thinks this immigration anti-civil rights law won’t result in egregious examples of racial profiling and harassment-by-cop, is lying to themselves.

    One more thing, when Prince William County in Virginia passed a similar law, hispanic people, both legal and illegal fled the county. Many of these people were paying taxes and putting money into the community. The result of their exodus was that many homes fell into forclosure, making Prince William County, VA one of the hardest hit counties of the economic downturn.

  39. #39 red pepper
    April 27, 2010

    Anyone who thinks this immigration anti-civil rights law won’t result in egregious examples of racial profiling and harassment-by-cop, is lying to themselves.

  40. #40 Sharon Astyk
    April 27, 2010

    Susan, I’ve seen no one say that you are a racist. This law, however, is racist, and it allows far too much power to be held by the police. The odds are very good it will be overturned.

    Stephen, my sympathies are torn – I do know what you mean, I do agree that there are deep problems of excessive entitlement. My problem with FAIR is the blinding hypocrisy of pretending to give a shit about the planet so that you can advance a fundamentally racist agenda. I don’t see that rendering more immigrants into illegal immigrants will actually make any major shift in the entitlement problem. People will cross borders if they perceive greater degrees of safety and security or opportunity somewhere else.

    Ed, I don’t think of this as about PCism, but, of course you can call it that. But the US and other industrialized nations have been the major factor in dramatically reducing carrying capacity in other countries through environmental rape and the exporting of globalization. I do think that we should be expected to accept some immigrants – because we’re not talking about comparing two places, one under carrying capacity, one over it – the reality is that we have a planet over carrying capacity, with few areas under it. There are going to be necessary migrations (because the alternative is for everyone there to lay down and die) from less inhabitable, more overstretched areas to others. I think it is completely ridiculous to create emissions that reduce carrying capacity for others and then claim we have no responsibility to them.

    That said, like Stephen, for everyone we’re going to have to deal with the entitlement mentality – but I don’t want to see people who “look like they might be illegal” singled out.

    Sharon

  41. #41 Rob Monkey
    April 27, 2010

    Wow, I’m sure this new law will really let us see that “new professionalism” that Scalia was talking about. Okay, I can understand the entitlement argument, but I guess there’s one thing I don’t understand: why are people blaming the people who receive these benefits? They don’t choose the levels of benefits they get, it’s set by whatever govt. agency is providing said benefits. If you have a problem with the level of benefits, argue with them, don’t get pissed off at people with no money who have a chance to get some cash for school clothes. If the example above is accurate, yeah, I can see how giving a kid $100 every single month for clothes might be excessive. On the other hand, if I were in his situation, would I feel guilty about getting what I could? Not at all. If you’re living in crushing poverty and there’s a way to get something out of the system, then why fault those who take advantage of it? Again, I fail to see how complaining about the people who take advantage of legally obtained services and assistance makes sense, vs. complaining to the people who determine and give out the benefits.

    Ed @24 said: “If you really do believe the world is in population overshoot . . . then why should so much emphasis be placed on demonizing those who try to restrict illegal immigration?”

    Probably because the WORLD is in population overshoot, not the US. Keeping them out of this particular piece of the world does nothing to help overpopulation, or the attendant destructive agriculture that goes with it.

  42. #42 Sharon Astyk
    April 27, 2010

    Rob, I think your points about placing the burden to adjust entitlements correctly are precisely taken. Moreover, I think the mentality that Stephen correctly diagnoses is *the mainstream cultural mentality* – the same mentality that has middle class people standing in line for water 48 hours after an earthquake, even though they live in an earthquake zone, the same mentality that affects people who expect the stock market always to go up and never down, and don’t see why they should care about the poor.

    I think singling out the poor for an attitude that is fundamentally unsustainable – and a part of the mainstream culture – is pretty much the same (and I don’t think Stephen is doing this, btw) as criticizing the poor for eating the same stuff everyone else eats, only with food stamps. Want to change the poor? Change the mainstream culture, change it for everyone.

    Sharon

  43. #43 Julien Peter Benney
    April 27, 2010

    I am well aware of the debate over immigration, and fully understand the perspectives.

    The issue of whether immigration is “bad for the planet”, however, is complicated in a way known only to specialised ecologists. In fact, the only regions of the world where overpopulation is a real issue are Australia and sub-Zambezian Africa, where the extreme age of soils limits both land productivity and (because of the high rooting densities required of native flora) water supply.

    I was pleased to see Australia’s government try to tackle the immigration question, but I have long believed that Australia is already grossly overpopulated. Tim Flannery argued that Australia can support no more than nine million people under hydrological conditions much more favourable than those of today. I would estimate that, wiht the runoff into southern Australia river having declined by around 80 percent since 1997, Australia can sustainably support only a tenth its present population of 21 million.

    To reduce Australia’s population to a level its environment can support, however, would require not only eliminating, but reversing the factor that continues to drive its population up and up even as those of countries ecologically able to support far more people (e.g. New Zealand or Norway) stagnate – namely Australia’s very low living costs (especially of energy and fuel). That in turn would require greatly more effort at land conservation – both locally and from international conservation bodies – to reduce the surfeit of land and energy in Australia.

  44. #44 Billie
    April 27, 2010

    I think it is somewhat interesting that people are up in arms about ID and showing ID especially when it comes to Hispanics.

    My husband comes from Peru. In Peru, you MUST carry ID and can be asked for your ID at any time. You don’t want to be without it so don’t forget it at home when you head out for milk. That ID is used for everything when it comes to identity. You get a little card like a driver’s license that has your picture on it, biographical information and your fingerprint. I am not exactly sure what makes this ID basically identity theft free but my husband finds our Social Security to be quite laughable in its lack of security and says that these issues simply don’t exist in Peru. I know of other Latin American countries who operate in similar ways.

    It is not Hispanics that are likely to be outraged at getting asked for ID. They are already used to that coming from countries where this is normal. It is Americans that are going to be outraged at being asked for their identity because that has not been common practice in the US.

    I have little sympathy for those that come here illegally. I don’t agree with an amnesty. I believe that amnesty is basically rewarding them for managing to survive here illegally while they waited for some mechanism that would allow them to stay. I know any number of illegals here and all of them are basically nice people who are hoping to improve their lives. They are mostly law abiding folks but unfortunately it does not absolve them from the crimes they have committed. I commit a crime, I go to jail. They commit the crime of overstaying visas or working without authorization or even ‘borrowing’ someone’s social security number and we for that – we give them amnesty? I am just not in agreement.

  45. #45 Don
    April 27, 2010

    Anyone who thinks the Nazi correlation with the Arizona law is overdone should watch this video. It will send chills up your spine. Remember, the Nazis started out with speeches; they didn’t begin by rounding people up and putting them in concentration camps. That came later.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG78fpj0P4M

  46. #46 Rob Monkey
    April 27, 2010

    Billie, no offense to your husband’s country of origin, but I really don’t want to take civil liberties lessons from South America. The reason it’s not “common practice” here is because of the fourth amendment to the Constitution. I have the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and if I’m stopped by an agent of the government, it better be because of a warrant or because he witnessed me committing a crime, not because my hair’s too dark or because I’m dating his neighbor’s daughter.

    I know any number of illegals here and all of them are basically nice people who are hoping to improve their lives. They are mostly law abiding folks but unfortunately it does not absolve them from the crimes they have committed.

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Seriously? They’re nice people who are mostly law abiding except for the crimes they’ve committed? Try proofreading sometime.

    ‘Amnesty’ in terms of immigration is merely recognizing the fact that there are people here illegally, and allowing them to integrate with society is better than making a separate class of society that’s mostly underground. Want them to pay taxes? That’ll be part of amnesty. Want them to get work authorization? Part of amnesty.

    Oh, and ‘borrowing’ (I’m sure you mean stealing) someone else’s SS card is identity theft, i.e., already a fucking crime. We don’t give people amnesty for identity theft, we put them in jail or deport them.

  47. #47 darwinsdog
    April 27, 2010

    I find it funny that I’m labelled (sic) racist for demanding that people comply with the law.

    You defend a racist law you can expect to be labeled racist, Susan.

    I find it amazing and sad that even people who recognize that our society is failing, that our economy is failing, still think that we should just hand over everything to illegals who ARE NOT HERE LEGALLY.

    Society is failing, the economy is failing, Arizona is broke, every other home in Phoenix is in foreclosure, so… LET’S SCAPEGOAT ILLEGAL ALIENS!!! That’s intelligent. Like it never occurred to anyone that megalopolises springing up where there isn’t enough water to support them are bound to fail.

    Laws are arbitrary. Those Mexicans are only “illegal” because laws passed by English speaking legislatures say they are, after having stolen the entire US Southwest (save for the strip south of the Gila which was paid for) from Mexico. That’s really fair. ‘Here’s this arbitrary line in the sand. Do not cross it, Spic. Us folks of Northwestern European heritage rule this turf now. Stay out.’ That’s what the law is saying, loud & clear. I can’t wait to see the canals run dry.

    WHO HAVE NO DESIRE TO GIVE BACK. WHO HAVE NO INHERENT COMMITMENT TO OUR COUNTRY.

    Bullshit. I’d like to see your lily white ass out there in the heat doing all the landscaping, fruit & vegetable harvesting, etc., that these so-called “illegals” do. I bet you never get out of your air-conditioning in summer. You’d keel over with heat stroke, and first degree sunburn, if you attempted to “give back” what these people you hate so much contribute every day.

  48. #48 Billie
    April 27, 2010

    Rob Monkey,

    I wish it were true that ‘borrowing’ someone’s SSN was a crime and you would be jailed or deported. I know personally of one person who was given permanent residency after doing exactly that and am positive that it has happened to others.

    As long as everyone is asked for ID (eg. which we are for instance when pulled over by a cop for traffic violations) I would have no issues with showing ID. And truly… it should be everyone because I have just as many issues with non-hispanic illegal immigrants as I do with hispanic. My issue isn’t with the race but their immigration status. It is unfortunate that the US doesn’t follow other countries in which every citizen is issued an ID that shows citizenship as opposed to an ID that just allows you to drive.

    Pay taxes? I know plenty of illegals that pay taxes. You get a tax ID and file your taxes.

    The crimes I was referring to was the crime of arriving/staying in the country and working. Obviously forgivable according to our government if we are willing to give amnesty to them. Outside of those ‘crimes’ they are law-abiding citizens.

  49. #49 Jadehawk
    April 27, 2010

    The crimes I was referring to was the crime of arriving/staying in the country and working.

    pff, that’s a minor misdemeanor; most people have committed at least a couple of those, but no one is screaming “ZOMG criminal!!!!” at the kid who had a beer before their 21st birthday.

  50. #50 Stephen B.
    April 27, 2010

    RE Sharon, post #42.

    Exactly and thank you. This entitlement culture is becoming a crippling liability for everybody, not just the immigrants, illegal or not, not just the poor, not just the dark people – everybody. It blocks people from working with each other. It creates inefficiencies in social work.

    Rob, simply lowering the benefit levels isn’t the answer either. Even if we reduced my student’s quarterly clothing check to say, $240 from $300, he and society still lose something because he’ll still approach the store with an unrealistic entitlement attitude that the Commonwealth and everybody in it, owes him those sneakers and that he doesn’t have any burden to be gracious or thankful or more moderate in his demands and expectations. I disagree with your statement that he should not feel guilty for getting what he could. $150 sneakers are an abomination when you are using other people’s money, whether it be the Commonwealth’s or your parents’. Under the old charity system, where charity was organized more on the local level, rather than running everything through the state DCF’s computer system as I said earlier, he might have felt some obligation to work with everybody and be thankful, while under this system, he – even according to you – should grab whatever he can, and that’s just plain wrong. It will also prove quite unworkable going forward into these tough times.

    By the way, this student does not live in “crushing poverty.” Far from it. All my students that have homes to go back to on weekends, have decent apartments or homes. (The ones that don’t have a home to return to are in custody of DCF.) All are well fed by my eye. All have Mass Health insurance. Most have some kind of Apple iXXX toy or phone too. Not that they shouldn’t get something, but please, they are well provided for in terms of $$$ support. (On the other hand, *emotional* support is another matter.)

    Though I used this blog topic of an immigration law as the springboard for discussion, out of 20+ student/kids that I presently work with, all the other kids are legal immigrants or, more likely, native residents and citizens. Over half are plain, old, white kids, though most are poor in that they exist mainly on public assistance of some kind.

    But the attitude that many of them have, that their parents or relatives have, that they’re owed something, that they act as if they have no real clue as to where the assistance they get comes from, or that it might behoove them to be a bit more gracious and workable when it comes to receiving that assistance – that is an attitude that will not serve them well. As Sharon says, it is a common thread throughout our society now, and that is something to change. I absolutely DO NOT expect them to continually worship the provider taxpayers as gods or masters, so please don’t get that idea, but I do have a reasonable expectation that they let go of the worst of their all too contemporary take, take, TAKE attitude. It’s not a healthy outlook to have and a good many other citizens are going to greatly resent it.

  51. #51 Brad K.
    April 27, 2010

    @ Susan,

    I think you overlooked one possible reason for President Obama’s anger about the new Arizona law. I noticed this on Billll’s Idle Mind:
    http://billllsidlemind.blogspot.com/2010/04/hidden-agenda.html

    (Obama might have to produce a birth certificate, if he goes to Arizona.)

    Snark aside, though, Arizona is defying several agencies of the US Government that are attempting to subsume all Americans under Presidential control. That is, by asserting (legal!) states rights, Arizona joins other states in defiance of the socialism Obama/Reid/Pelosi have been so busy putting into place.

    The anger and aggression from Washington, D.C. has nothing to do with security of the nation, with the shambles of the border, or even with enforcement of law – they are waging a hissy fit over Arizona taking care of its own problems, without “benefit” of the federal government. That might cost SEIU jobs, if it goes on long enough.

    @Sharon,

    I saw a report/article a while back, describing the risk to the non-Muslim world of dwindling fertility rates. The article cited caucasian American rates at about 1.6, I believe, per couple, and European at 1.8. They pointed out something that makes perfect sense to me – that no culture can maintain itself over a 25 year period, with less than a 2.1 children per couple average. Hispanic Americans (and those other Hispanics that happen to be in America for now, wink, wink) average about 2.3 or 2.4 children per couple. That is, America may *need* those “illegal immigrants” integrated into American society *now* – to avert a forfeit to Muslims in a couple of decades. Germany now acknowledges that soon it will be a Muslim nation as the Muslims, with a fertility rate of 8.1, rapidly out-populate the rest of the nation in the next couple of decades.

    The United Kingdom is experiencing a similar population shift due to unbridled Muslim fertility.

    That part is back ground. My point is that we dare not, as a nation, as a culture, as residents of this politically troubled Earth, consider unilaterally restricting our population. While world population reduction would benefit the ecosystems of the world, relieve stressed production streams, relieve immense investments in long-distance, inter-continental transportation networks – recall what the historical use is for excess population. The extras, and many of the young, form armies. They go a-viking, or conquering, or rebelling.

    If the US population were to stabilize, or decline, without a similar reduction in most nations of the world, we would be depriving ourselves of the “extra” people, the assets needed to form the armies of our national defense, at the same time that our neighbors and enemies will be building armies to manage their surplus bodies. We would be inviting armed aggression against us.

    Our economic instability has already increased our nation’s vulnerability to attack, and this President doesn’t seem really adept at maintaining national security with respect to the rest of the world. In fact, they seem to be ready to cut back on national defense.

    I read today that the “closing” of borders, making it more difficult for Mexicans to penetrate our southern border, is one factor for the increase in illegal people staying on this side – the would be living in Mexico if it were simpler to get back and forth!

    I still think we need to invite the northern tier of Mexican states to join the Union. That would legitimize a lot of the illegals, let us address a much shortened border, and stabilize the economy and justice system of our nearest neighbors, so they would be less inclined to venture north.

    Short of that, though, what I see is that thousands of communities and millions of American citizens have chosen to hire, to rent to, to sell to these undocumented visitors. Many have chosen to take advantage of them, including the mercenary scum that do much of the human smuggling. I would prefer to integrate all into mainstream America as soon as possible. That many people have got to include ideas, and workmanship, and heritage that would benefit America, as soon as they are available. Their work should be paid fairly, and taxed responsibly. I would mandate they meet all traditional American citizenship requirements, especially regarding and eighth grade command of US history, spoken and written English, and math. The reason for the English is to empower individuals to find justice for themselves and their families directly. Currently, non-English speakers find themselves at the mercy of “translators” and self-appointed “community leaders”. The offset in language leaves a *lot* of territory for manipulation and deception. That isn’t good for anyone living in America.

    The drug dealers, the gangs, the vicious incidents – they almost have to be simpler to defuse, once the at-risk population of undocumented folk are brought out into the open, registered and sworn as citizens, so they no longer fear to contact authorities and become confident in seeking justice.

    What is so wrong, about the acknowledging the ten and twenty years some families have endured a life in the shadows?

  52. #52 Christina
    April 28, 2010

    Brad K @51: George W Bush had plenty of anti-states, centralized national government actions on his book as well, for example out of the EPA and working Congress to make it illegal for states to pass environmental laws stricter than the national government had in place. i.e., states cannot have stricter pollution standards, organic agriculture standards, etc. Hasn’t it been clear for a while that the national government (all three branches) are merely a whip for whatever party is in power (and all devolving from corporations no matter what party is in power), and not a somewhat-rational level of human organization as envisioned in idealistic documents?

  53. #53 Jadehawk
    April 28, 2010

    That is, by asserting (legal!) states rights, Arizona joins other states in defiance of the socialism Obama/Reid/Pelosi have been so busy putting into place.

    you wouldn’t know Socialism if it jumped in your face and bit your nose. Absolutely nothing the current government is doing can be described as such, by any stretch of the imagination.

  54. #54 Sorcha
    April 28, 2010

    @Brad K: The report/article you read was wrong. No population on earth has a birth rate of 8.1 children per woman.

    In Germany, Turkish immigrants had a birth rate of 2.4 per woman in 1996 (don’t have more recent figures unfortunately). This was 1 child more than the German average. The immigrant birth rate was decreasing up to this point and has likely decreased further since. Muslims make up an estimated 4% of the German population so it seems strange that Germany would acknowledge that it is going to become a Muslim nation. Certainly last time I was in Frankfurt, it seemed pretty Teutonic.

    Overall, Muslims make up an estimated 6-8% of the population of Europe (this includes areas of eastern Europe where they have long been established). The average number of children ever born to the Muslim women 18-44 in Europe is slightly higher (1.6) than for non-Muslim women (1.3). Barring exceptional immigration or conversion rates, Europe is not about to become majority-Muslim anytime soon.

    For further information, see “Fertility and Religiousness Among European Muslims” Charles F. Westoff and Tomas Frejka
    http://paa2007.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submissionId=70869

  55. #55 Don
    April 28, 2010

    I posted some thoughts about the Arizona law and the immigrant situation here. It’s my first ever blog post. :-)

    http://thetrilliumpatch.blogspot.com/

  56. #56 Sharon Astyk
    April 28, 2010

    Don, you ought to write a lot more blog posts – that was wonderful. In fact, I liked it so much I pointed it out to the folks at Energy Bulletin – they’d love to republish it, with your permission. If you want to, email Kristin at kristinsponsler@postcarbon.org.

    Sharon

  57. #57 Ewan R
    April 28, 2010

    “no culture can maintain itself over a 25 year period, with less than a 2.1 children per couple average”

    Isn’t that what we should be shooting for then? ie less than 2.1 per couple average – if immigrant birth rates drop comparitively on introduction into a western country we should start shipping them in.

    Preferably to Arizona. If overpopulation of the area is a problem we can set up an exchange program with those who support the bill in question.

  58. #58 Don
    April 28, 2010

    Thanks, Sharon. I will write more as time permits, though my guess is that my topics will vary all over the place.

    Thanks, too, for referring me to Kristen and Energy Bulletin. I’ll contact her right away.

  59. #59 MadScientist
    April 28, 2010

    Well, it’s obvious: whities reflect more light back to space and help keep the planet cooler. Brownies and blackies absorb more light and exacerbate Global Warming. Since Obama’s been in the White House, the heating bill has gone down 50%. :P

  60. #60 Howard Hershey
    April 28, 2010

    I have heard that Arizona regularly gets an invasion of snow-backs from across the U.S. Northern border. These immigrants can be identified by their use of the interjection “eh”, pasty white skin, and tee shirts with hockey teams instead of a real sport like football. Amazingly, some of them have the audacity to actually drive cars with non-U.S. plates! Arizona needs to publish ads in Canadian newpapers in whatever foreign language those people speak warning potentially illegal immigrants that, if they come to Arizona, they must carry papers on them at all times or risk jail and deportation. They should also leave sufficient drive time because the police *must* stop any car with non-U.S plates and interrogate the occupants (after all, what better evidence of non-American status could there be). Arizona citizens unite. Whenever you suspect that someone is a snow-back, you should inform the local police who *must* interrogate them. That way all of Arizona’s tourist facilities will be properly reserved for “real” Americans.

  61. #61 darwinsdog
    April 29, 2010

    I haven’t traveled extensively in the West, so I have no first-hand knowledge of what Greer is describing…

    But then you go ahead and write an essay about settlement patterns in the American West. You should stick to writing about topics you know something about, Don.

  62. #62 Don
    April 29, 2010

    Wow, Darwin, you really surprised me with the tone of your comment.

    While I’m not going to try and defend my alleged ignorance, I would like to point out a few things. First, the fact that I don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge here is the very reason I quoted from Kathleen Norris. Since she lived for many years in Deadwood, South Dakota, I think she’s a qualified observer of the depopulation of the high plains. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Further, and unknown to you, I ran a draft of my essay by several people before I posted it. One of them lives in Texas and has traveled extensively in the high plains area, from the Dakotas through western Nebraska and Kansas, to Oklahoma and his home state. And he fully supported what I wrote. Another who received my draft lives in rural Alabama–can’t get more deep South than that–and he confirmed the Mexican settlements in rural areas there. He did say that John Michael Greer might be overstating things a bit, though give it about ten more years and things will look closer to the way Greer described them. (Interestingly, he said that the Spanish signs don’t yet appear very often in store windows because merchants might lose business if they posted signs in Spanish; in a few years, after a critical mass is reached, that will change.)

    Finally, Darwin, the overall theme of my essay is that the US/Mexican border may become unworkable in the very near future. Since I was essentially agreeing with you about borders and nation-states (I’m referring to your first post above), I wonder why you want to nitpick?

  63. #63 darwinsdog
    April 29, 2010

    I’m sorry, Don, if my post #61 came across as curt. I live in New Mexico and have lived in Arizona, have grown kids living there, have worked in Texas, hiked & climbed throughout the Rockies & Sierra Nevada, and traveled fairly extensively in Mexico. I just don’t think that you understand the population dynamics of the North American Southwest. It isn’t that you’re wrong-headed about things, it’s just that you don’t happen to personally possess the familiarity with the region and its peoples you would need to do your subject matter justice. Once again, I apologize for being abrupt in my assessment.

  64. #64 Don
    April 29, 2010

    Not a problem, Darwinsdog, though I probably would have responded better to constructive feedback. If I misstated something, or if anything I wrote needs clarification or further information, I’d appreciate knowing about it. Maybe you could post it as a comment on the blog.

  65. #65 darwinsdog
    April 30, 2010

    I’m sorry, Don, if my post #61 came across as curt. I live in New Mexico and have lived in Arizona, have grown kids living there, have worked in Texas, hiked & climbed throughout the Rockies & Sierra Nevada, and traveled fairly extensively in Mexico. I just don’t think that you understand the population dynamics of the North American Southwest. It isn’t that you’re wrong-headed about things, it’s just that you don’t happen to personally possess the familiarity with the region and its peoples you would need to do your subject matter justice. Once again, I apologize for being abrupt in my assessment.

  66. #66 darwinsdog
    April 30, 2010

    Please excuse the redundant post #65 above. I was apparently experiencing server problems yesterday. One of my posts on another blog site only partially went through and my post here was repeated.

    Okay, constructive criticism. I don’t like the idea of any particular ethnic or linguistic group’s “success” or “failure” at colonizing a region, being based on demographic representation. If a group invades and demographically swamps another group that has lived in a region for a long time without seriously damaging the ecology of the region and undermining its resource base, and the invader’s population swells leading to deforestation, desertification, and extreme measures to support it such as building a massive canal network for importing water stolen from outside the region’s watershed, can this be viewed as “success”? And another thing is that Mexican immigrants living in the US have a different, often worse, standard of living than they had in Mexico. These immigrants eat differently, make a living differently, have differing (often worse) access to health care, face discrimination, etc. It isn’t as if they import Mexican lifestyles whole cloth into the US. And immigrant groups, from Mexico or elsewhere, aren’t a monolithic entity, in terms of values, skills, socio-economic status or goals & aspirations, or even language. For instance, my son-in-law in Phoenix is from Beijing and my son’s girlfriend is from Guangzhou. You failed to even consider Asian immigration to the American Southwest. Both of these people are “Chinese” but my daughter’s husband is the educated son of aerospace engineers and speaks Putonghua (Mandarin) whereas my son’s girlfriend is the daughter of rural farmers and speaks Yue (Cantonese). They communicate with one another in English. And what does your simplified analysis have to say about the many people I know who are half Navajo and half Bilagaanaa’, or the woman I know who is half Hispanic, one quarter Irish and one quarter Chiricahua Apache? Which one of these ethnic groups have “succeeded” at invading this part of the world, and which has “failed”? There are cultures that have “failed” but the genes of the people persist. Here in New Mexico it’s true that some eastern counties on the High Plains have lost population in recent decades but other counties have gained population. It isn’t as if the Great Plains are being uniformly depopulated, as your essay implies. The Coloradan corridor along the Front Range is growing rapidly in population. Is this region not located on the High Plains? Net population on the Plains is increasing, not decreasing.

    These are just some of my thoughts on your essay, Don, written in a hurry. Sorry I don’t have time for a more point by point critique.

  67. #67 Pierce R. Butler
    April 30, 2010

    … our per-capita reduction in resource consumption and greenhouse gas output.

    All of us Honko-Americans have been devouring and outgassing less? Who knew?

  68. #68 David Marjanović
    May 1, 2010

    Comment 39 was left by a Turkish spambot.

    There must be ways of better enticing people to end their government dependency

    “Enticing”? Create jobs. It’s not a motivation problem, it’s a problem of demand being greater than supply.

    Oh, and, increase the minimum wage. It’s about half of those found in the EU; as a consequence, there are working poor in the USA, who have three jobs and still can’t get above the poverty line.

    WHO HAVE NO INHERENT COMMITMENT TO OUR COUNTRY.

    This embarrassing 19th-century concept of “commitment to a country”… <headshake>

    Over here, taxes are seen as a kind of insurance: everyone pays into a big pot, and things that everyone needs but can’t be provided to everyone for profit (roads, railways, education, health insurance…) are paid out of that pot. If you want to get poetic, it’s the membership fee for the democracy. It’s not a tribute to a piece of real estate.

    I mean, isn’t this what the American Revolution was about, for crying out loud? Wasn’t it about paying taxes for your own good instead of as a tribute to a monarch?

    Taking my earlier example of the kid who demanded to spend his state-supplied clothing money on way-expensive sneakers – suppose instead that he got clothing donations from a local charity or assistance group, perhaps through a church. Maybe he even would get to meet, at least in general terms, some of the congregation that donated the funds or items. Might he be a bit more respectful and thankful for the assistance than as it is in the present system, where some faceless DCF computer spits out a check and mails it to his guardian, who in turn cashes it before heading to the store?

    This sounds all logical and convincing – but it still can’t be true. If it were, why hasn’t charity ever lifted a country out of poverty?

    the socialism Obama/Reid/Pelosi have been so busy putting into place.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Dude, in every other First-World country, all three of these (and both Clintons) count as mainstream conservatives. You haven’t seen socialism; you can’t even imagine socialism.

    I saw a report/article a while back, describing the risk to the non-Muslim world of dwindling fertility rates. The article cited caucasian American rates at about 1.6, I believe, per couple, and European at 1.8.

    France got its fertility rate back up to 2.1 children per woman. Do you know how?

    No, not by immigration. It contributes, but far too little.

    By far the biggest factor is socialism: free crèches and kindergarten for everyone, and things like that. Many people want children, so, if you make it economically possible for them, they will have children – in fact, they do.

    Germany now acknowledges that soon it will be a Muslim nation as the Muslims, with a fertility rate of 8.1, rapidly out-populate the rest of the nation in the next couple of decades.

    Wrong from start to finish. Laughable, in fact.

    We would be inviting armed aggression against us.

    ROTFLMAO!!!

    You’ve got the nukes! Fucking nobody even dreams of waging war against the USA! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    <headshake>

    I can’t stop laughing! I haven’t seen such an unjustified case of paranoia for a long time.

    In fact, they seem to be ready to cut back on national defense.

    Fuck yes, because a military budget that is almost as big as those of all other countries together is not just literally overkill (the nukes are that all on their own), it’s a massive waste of money.

    You seem to have no idea of the proportions that are involved here.

    I still think we need to invite the northern tier of Mexican states to join the Union. That would legitimize a lot of the illegals

    As I already mentioned, most of them come from southern Mexico and beyond.

    half Navajo and half Bilagaanaa’

    Heh.

  69. #69 Tommykey
    May 1, 2010

    To the people who want to halt immigration to protect our environment, are they going to stop foreign tourists from coming here too? After all, tourists use lots of our resources when they are here (e.g. they drink our water, use gasoline driving in rented cars, their poop and pee goes into our sewage systems, etc.) so maybe we should keep them out too. THINK OF THE ENVIRONMENT! :-)

  70. #70 DRK
    May 1, 2010

    According to this February LA Times story, the number of illegal immigrants, as of 2008, actually has dropped, Arizona’s by 17.8%. That’s according to that well-known bunch of socialists know as the Department of Homeland Security. In all the rhetoric about the eeeevils of immigration, I see very little acknowledgment of this population decrease.

  71. #71 Monado
    May 2, 2010

    The “competitive breeding” comment is ironic, considering that all the “quiverful” baby-making families I’ve ever heard of are melanin-deficient.

  72. #72 Monado, FCD
    May 2, 2010

    As for Toronto, it has something like 8% of Canada’s population and 20% of its immigrants. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, which makes it a most vibrant and interesting place.

  73. #73 Don
    May 3, 2010

    Darwinsdog, before I begin, I suggest that, should you want to continue the conversation, we should do it on my blog (http://thetrilliumpatch.blogspot.com/), not Sharon’s.

    Briefly, I thought your comments were very interesting, but I’m not sure how directly relevant all of them are to the point I was trying to make. Moreover, they seem to reveal that your real complaint is with John Michael Greer, not me, since he is the one suggesting that the Anglo-American settlement of the West is a “failure.”

    Peace,
    Don

  74. #74 Ewan R
    May 3, 2010

    #68 – shame that France got its rate back up to 2.1- imo the target for any developed nation should be population decline rather than population stabilization

  75. #75 whatever
    May 4, 2010

    poor little brown skinnned people!

  76. #76 peter HOWwe
    November 8, 2010

    NATIVE AMERICANS ARE BROWN AND DID NOTHING BUT RESPECT AND GIVE BACK TO THE EARTH….THEN PASTY folk RAPED AND KILLED THEIR WOMEN AND CHILDREN WIPING THEM OUT. BANNING THEM TO TINY RESERVES. THEN PASTEY WHITE FOLK COMPLAIN ABOUT BROWN FOLK (oh but not Canadians)WIPING THEM OUT POPULATION WISE, HEY AT LEAST ITS POPULATION WISE. AT LEAST THESE ILLEAGALS ARENT PERFORMING MASS RAPE,murder AND ETHNIC CLEANSING LIKE hipocritical, no conscience PASTIES. they just want to fill the positions that pasty folk are to proud to take (what kind of awesome job are they really taking from you?). AND YES EVERYONE (WHITE BLACK BROWN AND YELLOW), has TO PAY extra TAXES because of illegals. Stop complaining it happens in all countries and will always happen as long as the grass is greener in some other place close by.

  77. #77 ankara nakliyat
    November 9, 2010

    ght your comments were very interesting, but I’m not sure how directly relevant all of them are to the point I was trying to make. Moreover, they seem to reveal that your real complaint is with John Michael Greer, not me, since he is the one suggesting that the Anglo-American settlement of the W

  78. #78 Houston Injury Attorneys
    March 22, 2011

    My point is that we dare not, as a nation, as a culture, as residents of this politically troubled Earth, consider unilaterally restricting our population.

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