The lie of “immigration reform”

The lie is the assumption that, once current illegals get their legalization, pro-immigrant activists in both parties will continue to support the second half of the bargain, the increased security.

The chaos in Texas shows they won’t. Faced with a clear hole in the border – with a wave of tens of thousands of undocumented Central Americans crossing into the U.S. in order to get in line for hearings years from now, which they likely won’t attend while they continue to live here – pro-reform activists have scrambled, not to show their border security bona fides, but to generate arguments and outbursts designed to let the new wave stay. — Lie at Heart of “Immigration Reform” Exposed

Many reformers do not really want to stop illegal immigration. They want illegal immigrants, because their business plans rely on illegal immigrants. Legal residents would not do the work unless their employers paid what they would have to pay legal residents to do the same work.

And let me add, if your business plan is predicated on hiring illegals, that’s not good business; that’s organized crime, whether you’re a fruit grower, a restaurant owner, or a non-profit.

Free shots

Caution: this makes no sense

Why contraceptives? Why not require Walmart, Costco, and, what the heck, Home Depot, to provide a free flu shot not only for employees, but for anyone who wants one? In fact, why not make every hardware store provide free vaccines for everyone – regular childhood shots, tetanus boosters, shingles, the whole lot.

This part makes some sense

In fact, when people cross our border illegally, the first thing the border patrol should do – whether they afterwards send them back to Guatemala or send them on to Toronto (why not?) – the first thing the border patrol should do is shoot them full of vaccines.

UPDATE 11 July 2014: Charles Pergiel has related thoughts on the Supreme Court and mass media.

Socially conscious corporation

“One such company was hailed last year by the left-wing policy website Demos ‘for thumbing its nose at the conventional wisdom that success in the retail industry’ requires paying ‘bargain-basement wages.’ A retail chain with nearly 600 stores and 13,000 workers, this business sets its lowest full-time wage at $15 an hour, and raised wages steadily through the stagnant postrecession years. (Its do-gooder policies also include donating 10 percent of its profits to charity and giving all employees Sunday off.) And the chain is thriving commercially – offering, as Demos put it, a clear example of how ‘doing good for workers can also mean doing good for business.’” — A Company Liberals Could Love, by Ross Douthat

Crazy talk

The gods must be crazy

“Another savage trait of our time is the disposition to talk about material substances instead of about ideas. The old civilisation talked about the sin of gluttony or excess. We talk about the Problem of Drink – as if drink could be a problem. When people have come to call the problem of human intemperance the Problem of Drink, and to talk about curing it by attacking the drink traffic, they have reached quite a dim stage of barbarism. The thing is an inverted form of fetish worship; it is no sillier to say that a bottle is a god than to say that a bottle is a devil. The people who talk about the curse of drink will probably progress down that dark hill. In a little while we shall have them calling the practice of wife-beating the Problem of Pokers; the habit of housebreaking will be called the Problem of the Skeleton-Key Trade; and for all I know they may try to prevent forgery by shutting up all the stationers’ shops by Act of Parliament.” — G.K. Chesterton, Humanitarianism and Strength, in All Things Considered, 1909

Make paper illegal to stop forgery? Nah, that’d be crazy.

Imagined dialog on Iraq

Q: People who hate Americans are killing each other! What will the US do?

A: No idea. What will China, or Italy, or Turkey do?

Q: But there’s an enormous humanitarian crisis! Innocent people are being slaughtered!

A: Yes, they are. The Muslims should stop killing each other and everyone around them. But what are we supposed to do, kill them until the killing stops?

Q: It’s George Bush’s fault! We should never have invaded.

A: We gave them a chance, and they blew it. But okay, I’ll never again vote for any politician who supported the invasion.

Q: Um, well, back to the question, what will the US do?

A: Based on recent experience, something feckless and incompetent that makes America look stupid and does nothing to stop the killing. Worst case, something so blisteringly stupid that the Muslim fanatics take a temporary break from killing each other to kill Americans.

I know that sounds harsh and mean and unsympathetic, but really there is no action the US government can take to stop the killing in Iraq or any other Muslim nation. For a significant fraction of Muslims, killing is what they do. There’s nothing the US can do to stop any Muslim democracy from electing a tyrant first chance they get. It’s what they want. Maybe they understand themselves, and have learned that only a brutal repressive dictator can give them even marginal order and security.

It’s easy and not unreasonable to call out the feckless incompetence of the Obama administration on foreign policy. But in the case of Iraq, it seems to me that it’s mostly the fault of the Iraqis.

Q: So yet again, what should the US do?

A: Drill, baby, drill. More fracking. Let’s start mining and burning coal again, and ease regulation of nuclear power to make it easier to open and operate a nuclear power plant. Let’s modernize the power grid to accommodate more wind power. Solar energy should be used where it makes sense, and geothermal, and ocean wave power.

Q: That isn’t very satisfying.

A: No, it isn’t.

Links, with bourbon

  • It seems that Euroman still does not have an electorate worthy of his greatness.

    Don’t be too thrilled by that UKIP landslide. Now that UKIP has achieved unprecedented power in the EU, their demand that that institution be dissolved will grow quieter and eventually be abandoned.”

    Well, people who despise me and my clan of bitter gun-toting Bible-thumpers are annoyed about the result. Maybe that’s something.

  • “Though both are crucial to the future of Christianity, neither Roman Catholicism nor Orthodoxy is the Church of the future.”

    Really? Is that a promise?

  • “The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don’t go there they shoot you.” — attributed to P.J. O’Rourke

  • I don’t much care for Wendell Berry, but Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front is a poem to re-read.
  • This ginger bourbon is good. I let it sit for three or four months. You can drink this straight or mix it. One good drink is two ounces of ginger bourbon, four ounces of chilled club soda, and a slice of orange. Don’t overindulge in bourbon (of course), or ginger, which is powerful stuff.

Someone else gets it

“If elected, we promise to do nothing. There will be no new initiative in any area of government. Should some foreign power threaten us, we will smoosh them promptly; should some other unforeseen event positively demand our attention, we will respond in that spirit to make it go away. But such contingencies aside, we will avoid enterprise of any sort.” — Manifesto, by David Warren

Having it all

So the government is getting banks to suspend the accounts of pornographers, and that might be okay with me, though probably it would be simpler for the government to just make pornography illegal, or at least stop subsidizing its production with tax breaks for Hollywood. But anyway, today the Department of Justice is going after some pornographers. Who will these laws and precedents be used against in twenty years? Or after the next election?

If the government is given power to do good, it will first use that power to get more power, then use it to do some good, and then use it to do a lot of evil. What it will not do, ever, is willingly give up any power. So power given to the government to stop discrimination – to keep people from refusing to rent hotel rooms or sell food to African-Americans – That power is now being used so sustain a system of racial preferences, to punish thoughtcrime, and to force people to decorate cakes for “gay marriage ceremonies.” Because this is America! The debate is over. Cake is a public accommodation, and bigotry equals hate, you hateful bigot!

One might think, “on the other hand, if the government can’t act against vice, or terrorism, or payday lenders, what’s the point of having a government?” But this is America in the twenty-first century! We can injure ourselves with both too much and too little government. We can have a government that is both repressive and unable to solve any significant problems.

Chesterton wrote in the early twentieth century that the ruling class had looked at socialism and capitalism, and then given the people of England the worst of both: all the intrusive state control of every aspect of life, with all the insecurity of dog-eat-dog economics.

“In short, people decided that it was impossible to achieve any of the good of Socialism, but they comforted themselves by achieving all the bad. All that official discipline, about which the Socialists themselves were in doubt or at least on the defensive, was taken over bodily by the Capitalists. They have now added all the bureaucratic tyrannies of a Socialist state to the old plutocratic tyrannies of a Capitalist State. For the vital point is that it did not in the smallest degree diminish the inequalities of a Capitalist State. It simply destroyed such individual liberties as remained among its victims. It did not enable any man to build a better house; it only limited the houses he might live in – or how he might manage to live there; forbidding him to keep pigs or poultry or to sell beer or cider. It did not even add anything to a man’s wages; it only took away something from a man’s wages and locked it up, whether he liked it or not, in a sort of money-box which was regarded as a medicine-chest. It does not send food into the house to feed the children; it only sends an inspector into the house to punish the parents for having no food to feed them. It does not see that they have got a fire; it only punishes them for not having a fireguard. It does not even occur to it to provide the fireguard.” Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton, 1917

But somehow, it doesn’t bother me that much. Look at the Jumblies. They went to sea in a seive:

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.

And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, ‘How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!’

from The Jumblies, by Edward Lear

And you know, it worked out okay for the Jumblies in the end.