Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Charles Murray on Immigration

Some succinct thoughts from a scholar who is not afraid to call a spade a spade

Regarding illegal immigration:

1. Making laws about who gets to become a citizen, under what circumstances, is a legitimate function of the state.

2. Protecting borders is a legitimate function of the state.

3. Enforcing the law is a central function of the state.

4. Immigration reform must begin first with enforcement of existing immigration law. If it takes a wall, so be it.

5. And while I'm at it, I'll mention that English should be the only language in which public school classes are taught (except for teaching English as a foreign language) and in which the public's business is conducted.

Regarding legal immigration:

1. Immigration is one of the main reasons-I'm guessing the main reason apart from our constitution-that we have remained a vital, dynamic culture, but immigration of a particular sort: Self-selection whereby people come here for opportunity. That self-selection process used to apply to everyone. It still applies to the engineers and computer programmers and entrepreneurs who come here from abroad, but it is diluted for low-job-skill workers by the many economic benefits of just being in the United States. Most low-job-skill immigrants work very hard. But Milton Friedman was right: You can't have both open immigration and a welfare state. The tension between the two is inescapable.

2. Massive immigration of legal low-skill workers is problematic for many reasons, and some of them have to do with human capital. Yes, mean IQ does vary by ethnic group, and IQ tends to be below average in low-job-skill populations. One can grant all the ways in which smart people coming from Latin American or African countries are low-job-skill because they have been deprived of opportunity, and still be forced to accept the statistical tendencies. The empirical record established by scholars such as George Borjas at Harvard cannot be wished away.

3. I am not impressed by worries about losing America's Anglo-European identity. Some of the most American people I know are immigrants from other parts of the world. And I'd a hell of a lot rather live in a Little Vietnam or a Little Guatemala neighborhood, even if I couldn't read the store signs, than in many white-bread communities I can think of.

4. When it comes to the nitty-gritty, I would get rid of reuniting-families provisions, get rid of the you're-a-citizen-if-you're-born-here rule, and make immigrants ineligible for all benefits and social services except public education for their children. Everybody who immigrates has to be on a citizenship track (no guest workers). And I would endorse a literacy requirement. Having those measures in place, my other criteria for getting permission to immigrate would be fairly loose. Just having to get through the bureaucratic hoops will go a long way toward reinstalling a useful self-selection process. But, to go back to basics: None of this works unless illegal immigration is effectively ended.


Although I am extremely glad of my Anglo-Celtic heritage, I am inclined to agree with point 3 immediately above. I certainly feel safer in a roomful of Chinese or Indians than I do in a roomful of my fellow Anglo-Australians. Most Asians just seem more civilized



Pentecostals flourishing in Britain: "Pentecostals are the fastest-growing group of Christians. Attendance at their services has moved into third place behind Anglicans and Roman Catholics in England, according to research published today. Once regarded as a fringe sector, they outnumber Methodists, although it is not strictly fair to compare the two. Methodists belong to one church while Pentecostals tend to gather in independent churches or groups of churches.... Figures show that worshippers in half of the Pentecostal churches in England are predominantly black. In addition, half of all Pentecostal churches in Britain are in London. But many evangelical, predominantly white churches also have Pentecostal elements to their worship, in particular prophecy and speaking in tongues. The Methodist Church closed 264 churches between 1998 and 2005, more than any other denomination, as attendance declined by a quarter. By contrast, Pentecostal numbers grew by a third and many new churches have opened"

Chavez and the fascist left in Latin America: "To many the bumptious Chavez, who ceaselessly spouts phrases from Fidel, Mao Zedong and Simon Bolivar, seems something special, but mostly he is just a typical big-mouthed caudillo of the sort that has for centuries enthused and betrayed Latins who want solutions to perennial problems. He is different from most caudillos in his international orientation and the fact that his arrogance is funded by multi-billions of dollars pouring in from oil sales to energy addicts worldwide, much of which he passes out to supporters at home and abroad."

India rising: "As its relationships with the United States, Japan, and China show, India has reemerged as a geopolitical swing state after decades of marginalization as a consequence of the Cold War, its own crippling underdevelopment, and regional conflict in South Asia. Although its status as a heavyweight in the globalized world of the 21st century is new, India's identity as a great power is not: It was for centuries one of the world's largest economies and, under British rule, a preeminent power in Asia. Today, a rising India flush with self-confidence from its growing prosperity is determined not to be left behind by China's economic and military ascent. 'The [Indian] elephant,' says an admiring Japanese official, 'is about to gallop.'"

When do Democrats cut tax? When it affects them: "Already called into question is the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which was designed 35 years ago to make sure wealthy people could not use loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Since then, the AMT, which was not indexed to keep up with inflation, has bumped up against the incomes of about 20 million American taxpayers and the number affected by the tax is growing each year. "AMT is certainly a priority," said Beck. "If we don't do anything next year it will hit 23 million families." While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the AMT is unfair to middle income wage earners, the big price tag -- an estimated $1.3 trillion in lost revenues over the next 10 years -- has made the issue of tossing the tax more complicated. So far, Congress has responded by doing annual fixes -- extending exemption levels to reduce the number of people who have to pay AMT. The latest exemptions are set to expire at the end of the current tax year... "Politically, the Democrats cannot let [AMT] get out of control," said Mike Franc, congressional expert with the Heritage Foundation. "It is mostly an exclusively blue state tax. Like it or not, this has the potential to crowd out the rest of the agenda." One Democratic aide who did not want to be named, said Democrats are determined to reform the AMT as an early priority.



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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