Summary: It becomes increasingly obvious that massive immigration is one of the great challenges to America in the next decades. We are completely unprepared for it.
Question: “What nation poses the greatest threat to the sovereignty of the US?”
— Briefing by Martin van Creveld to a US intelligence agency 20 years ago (private communication). They were incredulous then. Now they understand.
Severe crises seldom occur where everybody is looking. Instead they occur along faults that are unseen. Disasters occur along flaws in the a nation’s social, economic, and political systems. At unknown weaknesses in their processes, where values clash, about matters people do not consider threatening. That’s the immigration crisis, now in the early stages.
By Lionel Shriver in The Spectator.
“The image of that multitude on the move, full of women clutching screaming babies while vowing never to return to a homeland grown intolerable, isn’t just a snapshot of the present, but a vision of the future. More than the terrorism it may abet and the climate change that may spur it, mass migration, all in one direction, is this century’s biggest story. …
“The problem isn’t that they’re bad. The problem is that they’re people. Perfectly deserving people, who had the lousy luck to be born in a shitty place. In every single media interview I’ve encountered, a migrant’s story has been sympathetic. In this sense, the open-borders contingent wins hands down, every time. Last week, the Hondurans on Channel 4 News seemed very warm and very nice. …”
OK, that’s a nice emotional analysis of the situation. It is a child’s view of the world.
“The sole difference between them and us isn’t qualitative but geographical: they’re there and we’re here. We’re lucky; they’re not. Good or bad fortune isn’t meritocratic. Americans have no more of a moral right to dry homes and safe streets than those Hondurans do.”
A thought-experiment about the difference: swap the people in Latin America for those in America. How well would each nation run after the switch? She is guilty of reification, treating abstractions as if they were concrete things. “Nations” are not entities, just the collective actions of their peoples.
” The issue of immigration intersects with scores of moral issues, but it isn’t about morality. It’s about self-interest. That’s what makes it so uncomfortable. The pursuit of self-interest isn’t necessarily concomitant with the pursuit of virtue.”
That’s rare good sense. Philosophers and others have been telling us that for thousands of years. Perhaps we will learn, eventually.
“Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador all suffer from high crime, political instability and economic malaise. If poor prospects and a culture of violence justify asylum, every citizen of these countries qualifies. That’s 39 million people. Given the recent example of Venezuela, the prospect of whole nations simply emptying out isn’t preposterous.”
Bien pensant liberals seldom look at the consequences of their behaviors.
“Yet I don’t fancy my home city of New York, already inundated with Central Americans delivering pizzas on electric bicycles, being flooded with still more millions of their compatriots, even if they’re hard-working and ‘good people’.”
Got to love the ritual invocation of “they’re hard-working and good people.” Then why are their nations in such bad shape? Why will large numbers of them moving here make our nation more like their nations? Why do we believe America is magic?
“I expect the left-wing media to continue to trot out family after family, in immigration crisis after immigration crisis, to testify on camera that they’ve come a terribly long way, that they aspire only to thrive and that the circumstances they fled were horrid. The petition is unerringly affecting …If the test is whether immigrants are fellow humans just like us, and whether they come from a worse place than the country they want in to, we pretty much let them all in. …
“For the US, that surge of Hondurans is a wavelet in an incoming tide …Migrants trying to get into Ceuta and Melilla have had remarkable success with storming the fences simultaneously. …Millions if not billions of decent, ordinary people in need of food, clean water, shelter and medical care are bound to constitute a form of moral blackmail. They will all have heartbreaking stories. And if we continue to confront the issue as a question of sympathy rather than existential self-interest, they will nearly all get in.
“Thomas Friedman has astutely characterised the West vs the rest as order vs disorder. …If in the next few decades we’re looking at migration on the scale I think we are, we may be required to develop a hard heart, or simply surrender to forces larger than we can control. I’m not sure which is worse.
She cannot choose between a “hard heart” and national survival. That is the Left (broadly speaking) in a nutshell.
Rod Dreher at The American Conservative provides another perspective.
“The Bible tells Christians to love their neighbors as they love themselves. But who is their neighbor? The man next door? Yes. The people who live across town? Surely. Those who live in another part of their country? Okay. People from another country who want to settle in their country? If everybody is your neighbor, then nobody is.”
We are unprepared for the challenge of mass immigration. We not only have little ability to stop it, we have no consensus about the need to stop it. Migrants have the will to come here. We lack the will to use force to stop them. We cannot even build a wall (which has worked for Israel).
As usual with disasters, we will have the consensus to act only after bad results become too evidence to ignore.
Flash forward to today
CNN: “The US is sending more troops to the border. Here’s what they can and can’t do.” The deployment ” could eventually grow in size to 800 troops.” Spoiler: this is security theater. The US-Mexican border is ten thousand kilometers long. And under current interpretations of the laws, US troops cannot defend the border. Just help overwhelmed law enforcement agencies do so. Also, no mention if these troops will be armed. The two thousand national guard troops already at the border are not armed.
NYT: “Trump Considers Closing Southern Border to Migrants.” The NYT is horrified that US troops might defend the US border, instead of, as the Founders intended, interfering in other nations’ civil wars.