Saturday, May 10, 2008

Drew Carey on immigration

Another episode of ReasonTV, devoted to the topic of immigration.

(See also: Drew Carey on medical marijuana, government provision of roads, eminent domain, the middle class, inner-city education, and vital organs.

He opens with a nice reference to our selective distaste for immigrants. This selectivity reminds me of Spike Lee's point in the first half of this scene from "Do the Right Thing"-- where one of the Italian characters doesn't like blacks, but his favorite basketball player and entertainer are both African-American. (Warning: very rough language!)

From there, he covers the tension in America's view of immigration: we see ourselves as a melting pot and we're immigrants ourselves, but throughout our country's history, we've had concerns about immigrants taking jobs and affecting our culture.


At May 10, 2008 at 3:54 PM , Blogger said...

apples vs oranges

Drew gets it wrong.

He confuses immigrants with illegal aliens.

The objection is not immigrants. It's illegal aliens who come to introduce a crime element to an extent not previously seen; who enduldge themselves at the welfare trough at taxpayers extent.

At May 10, 2008 at 4:49 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Illegal immigration is a bigger issue, but many people are opposed to legal immigration (and international trade) on grounds he addresses.

At May 11, 2008 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Darrell said...

I’m sorry, Eric, but this Carey is wrong on lots of levels. And contra the argument put forward by some that the problem is merely illegal immigration, the problem is mass immigration which has been ongoing for four decades.

I’ll address just two problems here that I think should be of interest to libertarians.

First, it was the engine of immigration, and the perceived need to assimilate immigrants, that drove the creation of the Nanny State. The public schools and the “helping professions” as we know them are absolutely inconceivable without the mass immigration of the middle 19th century and then the massive wave in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.

Fearful of surging Catholic immigration northern cities like Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia developed publicly-sponsored education for children. Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school attendance laws in 1850’s and New York followed closely behind. A tidal wave soon followed and compulsory education soon became the norm in American life. Again a large part of this was driven by the need to Americanize immigrants.

Likewise, the rise of family therapists, social workers, and experts in “marriage and family life” arose in the 19th and 20th centuries to bring “salvation” to the family with the undergirding presupposition that families could not provide for their needs without assistance from the helping professions and beneficent state.

Libertarians should also understand that the free market isn’t some magic abstraction or idea written on the very heart of every man, divorced of ethnic or cultural considerations in any way. It seems an element of faith among libertarians that one group of people can embrace it as readily as another. All we need to do is give them a copy of "The Wealth of Nations" and watch everything fall into place. History proves otherwise, but no one will accuse Drew Carey of being a historian.

Fundamental to a functioning market is trust—which is undermined as Robert Putnam has shown recently by diversity. Some libertarians get this, and I would point your readers to Hans Hoppe, Peter Brimelow, Tom Sowell and even Milton Friedman

At May 11, 2008 at 4:22 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Darrell, I agree with the connection between immigration and the embrace of public education. Of course, whether that was a good policy choice-- in general or to deal with immigration in particular-- is highly doubtful.

Perhaps you're using that example to say that Americans are prone to embrace the State when confronted with mass immigration. If so, I would concur that immigration restrictions are preferable-- as a second-best solution-- to avoid those Statist impulses.

Oddly, immigrants often embrace the free market aspects of our culture and economy far more than the natives! So, I don't have any concern about damage to social fabric in that category.

That said, I agree with the possibility of immigration harming our social fabric in other areas-- and the gains from restricting immigration to preserve that fabric. But whatever damage it causes would seem to pale in comparison to the damage caused by family dissolution, rank immorality, poor work ethic, a "rights" mentality, etc.-- all of which are more prevalent among natives.


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