I’m fond of pointing out that the main reason Progressives win every fight is that their opponents make the mistake of thinking it is a debate over facts and reasons. The people calling themselves conservative right now are sure that all they have to do is round up the facts and present them to the other side and the Left will throw down their weapons and embrace them as brothers.
Reality is completely different. Progressives are religious fanatics and no amount of reality will shake them from their beliefs. Their religion does not have a superior being anymore, but it has lots of supernatural components. Most important, it has a moral component. The adherent is there to receive grace and that comes through social activism. They act locally because they think eternally.
We’re seeing a similar thing with open borders. It’s common to blame the greedy cheap labor lobbies for buying off pols in both parties, but there’s not a ton of evidence for it. The guys doing most of the hiring of illegals are small businesses with no lobbying power. Amnesty actually harms the cheap labor lobbies because it would end the under the table hiring. Yeah, there are cheap labor lobbies, but they are not the bogeymen many imagine.
Steve Sailer has different theories. In this post about Paul Ryan, he blames lazy black people.
In the early 1990s I visited the Milwaukee fairgrounds on the lakefront a couple of times for various festivals. I recall being struck by how African Americans made up a large percentage of the partiers at the festivals, but a small percentage of the workers. Most of the work seemed to be getting done by Mexicans.
A continuing theme here at iSteve is that Milwaukee and Madison have, on average, close to the worst blacks in the country. Most Northern cities’ blacks are the descendants of people who left the South in the 1940s and 1950s for jobs in the North. But Wisconsin’s blacks tend to be the descendants of people who left Mississippi in the 1960s and 1970s for welfare in social democratic Wisconsin.
It’s only natural for Wisconsin whites like Paul Ryan to see Mexicans as better than blacks and thus want more of them in order to demographically swamp the African-Americans who have made life miserable for Wisconsin whites. But it’s also natural for Republicans further from the Canadian Border to be less naive about the poorly thought-through social engineering emotions of Wisconsin politicians.
Steve is fond of this sort of reductionist argument. It sounds good at first, but when you think about how it must work, it starts to sound implausible when you scale up from one guy at the state fair. Imagine Ryan meeting with his team and saying, “We have to do something about our bad blacks and I think we should import a bunch of Mexicans!”
I don’t know. Maybe that’s happening at secret meetings of The Deep State™ and I’m terribly naive, but my sense is exactly no one in Wisconsin thinks like this. I get around a lot and what you always hear from amnesty advocates is one of two talking points. One is that Hispanics are wonderful hardworking additions to the country. The other is they are a necessary part of the labor market.
Frankly, I don’t know if anyone that says these things thinks much about it. They just say these things because that’s what you do. If you are a Democrat, you are for amnesty so you pick from one of the Democrat talking points. The same is true for most Republicans. Libertarians, of course, have their fantasies about the free flow of good and people in a world without government.
My hunch is what lies at the core of the Religion of Open Borders is morality. It’s a manifestation of Public Protestantism. In a prior age, the Yankee religious impulse was focused on the salvation of society, not of the individual. You had men in black clothes making sure you were observant of the Sabbath and not having too much fun. Once God faded from the picture and the world got smaller, this impulse folded into what we call social activism. The moonbat woman next door with the Prius really does think she is saving the planet.
The Religion of Open Borders is the next great cause or perhaps the globalization of Yankee Public Protestantism. Take a look at this article by Tyler Cowen’s flunky, Alex Tabarrok.
Not every place in the world is equally well-suited to mass economic activity. Nature’s bounty is divided unevenly. Variations in wealth and income created by these differences are magnified by governments that suppress entrepreneurship and promote religious intolerance, gender discrimination, or other bigotry. Closed borders compound these injustices, cementing inequality into place and sentencing their victims to a life of penury.
The overwhelming majority of would-be immigrants want little more than to make a better life for themselves and their families by moving to economic opportunity and participating in peaceful, voluntary trade. But lawmakers and heads of state quash these dreams with state-sanctioned violence—forced repatriation, involuntary detention, or worse—often while paying lip service to “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
That is a purely moral argument. He couches it a little in economic terms, but he is not shying away from the moral claims he is making in favor of mass immigration.
What moral theory justifies using wire, wall, and weapon to prevent people from moving to opportunity? What moral theory justifies using tools of exclusion to prevent people from exercising their right to vote with their feet?
No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time. Nationalism, of course, discounts the rights, interests, and moral value of “the Other, but this disposition is inconsistent with our fundamental moral teachings and beliefs.
The language used here is right out of the Abolitionist Movement. It is right from the Civil Rights Movement. It’s right out of John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity. God does not make an appearance, but clearly Alex believes that the path to grace is through creating a world where “every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.”