05 December 2007

While evils are sufferable

Senator Clinton has a rather predictable opinion on why immigration has become such a hot issue. Overlooking the possible significance of the difference between the number of illegal immigrants in the 1990s versus the present number (i.e., 12 million, conservatively), Mrs. Clinton says, «¡It's the economy pendejo

During the 1990s, I cannot remember being asked about immigration ... Why? Because the economy was working ... And average Americans didn't have to go around looking for someone to blame. -- H/T: Rush Limbaugh


Different people likely have different reasons for caring about immigration reform. Some probably are "racist". Some, as Senator Clinton claims, probably are set off because they blame illegal immigrants for our economic woes. Sure: it's illegal immigration, not the whole sub-prime business -- among other things. Sure. That's what it is.

Some of us (perhaps especially Neo-Calvinists) are motivated by the simple fact (derived from the notion of sphere sovereignty ) that nations have rights, one of which is the right to exist. This right of nations to exist includes the right to say who comes in, who stays, who can become citizens and how they do so. And the standards which nations may use in formulating these laws can be whatever those nations desire them to be. Those standards can even be racist. (Now, I would object to racist standards for the U. S. But one wonders what to do about that. My objection is rooted in my faith. The Left-Liberal understanding of the separation of church and state would have it that my religious objection to racism would violate the separation if it became public policy.)

Some of us think it is improper for the leaders of our nation ignore this for apparently-political gain, or for any other reason. For one thing, the enforcement of laws against citizens and legal aliens does not comport well with non-enforcement of laws against illegal aliens. It's lawlessness.

Think of it. One set of our nation's laws stipulates conditions which must be met in order for foreigners to enter the country. Another set of our nation's laws stipulate, for example, that citizens pay taxes on their income. The first set is not enforced; it is violated with a great deal of impunity. The second set is enforced. The people against whom the laws are enforced are citizens. The people against whom the laws are not enforced are not citizens. Ah, the blessings of liberty!

Perhaps Senator Clinton could consider the possibility that while some people may be motivated solely by economics (assuming they understand economics), still others may be motivated by a certain sense of the unfairness of it all. The unfairness of citizens perhaps going to jail for, say, tax evasion, while illegal immigrants are to be issued drivers' licenses. And it isn't just the unfairness: there is a certain arbitrariness in enforcing one set of laws against one group of people, but not enforcing some other set of laws against some other group of people. And arbitrariness is one of the hallmarks of tyranny.

Accept the proposition that governments may pick and choose which laws to enforce, and against whom, and you already accepted tyranny. "Tyranny Lite", perhaps, but only at the beginning. When I started smoking, I smoked "lite" cigarettes. By the time I quit, I was smoking some pretty harsh stuff, sometimes even unfiltered. In fact, I can inhale when I smoke a cigar and not get sick. I also took up "smokeless" tobacco and, shall we say, didn't need a spitoon. I'll leave it at that. Once you get acclimated to "lite", getting acclimated to "heavy" is only a matter of time.

Perhaps Senator Clinton could consider the possibility that many of those who are now motivated by economic factors have always been concerned about illegal immigration, but were willing to suffer it in hopes that the problem would yet be resolved. Now, however, seeing that (a) the problem is still with us and is actually worse just in terms of numbers, (b) that illegal immigrants are to be treated as de facto legal residents, and (c) the problem is now (arguably) having economic costs, they have finally had enough. Twenty-one years ago it was three million illegals. Today is upwards of 12 million. What's it going to be in another twenty years? Forty-eight million?

There's a passage in the Declaration of Independence (the second paragraph, as a matter of fact) which acknowledges that people are "more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable" than to take drastic actions in treating these "evils" (the drastic action being, of course, in the Declaration, the abolition of a government). Even if people are now concerned about illegal immigration for economic reason, that is no reason for thinking that illegal immigration is otherwise inconsequential. If economic factors have made a formerly-sufferable evil now insufferable, it is irrelevant to the evil itself that economics has rendered it no longer sufferable. For whatever reason, it is now insufferable. Given the vissisitudes of economics it is wiser to treat the illegal immigration problem than to attempt to fix the economic problem. Economics is difficult for laymen (and law-makers are laymen when it comes to economics) to understand, much less "fix". Illigal immigration is a matter of border-enforcement. The wisest course of action must surely be to fix the simpler problem first.

But then, we are talking about lawmakers here. Not much future in looking for wisdom there, apparently.

Mrs. Clinton's attempt to blame the President and his party (by extension from the economy) indicates her belief that concern about millions of illegal immigrants will go away when people find their pocketbooks in better condition. She doesn't have to solve the immigration problem. All she has to do is treat the concern over illegal immigration by treating one of its supposed effects. Clearly, then, she intends to do nothing about illegal immigration. One can, I hope, be forgiven if it appears the immigrants can stay and do whatever they want as long as her constituents suffer no economic disadvantages.

The way she has framed the discussion it makes perfect sense. The flagrant overlooking of a set of our laws is not really the problem. The economy is the problem. Fix the economy and we'll resume ignoring illegal immigration because then no one will care since it doesn't affect them personally. We'll also no doubt resume ignoring the arbitrary enforcement or non-enforcement of the laws.

The way she has framed the discussion also assumes very little (if any) concern for national sovereignty. But then if liberals cared about national sovereignty their fellow-traveling judges wouldn't be inserting the laws of other nations into our constitutional jurisprudence, subjecting us to "jurisdiction[s] foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws" (see Declaration, para. 15).

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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