Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

THE EMPIRICIST CASE AGAINST NATIVISM For Dacdah, S12, SOM, Beverly, et al

Collapse
X
  •  
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • THE EMPIRICIST CASE AGAINST NATIVISM For Dacdah, S12, SOM, Beverly, et al

    Few empiricists besides Locke have bothered to present explicit arguments against nativism, mostly taking its falsity for granted. In the present chapter I shall consider whether Locke's case is really powerful enough to justify such an attitude.



    Locke on Innate Knowledge

    Locke's main argument against the existence of innate knowledge in Book I of the Essay, is that the various supposed innate truths (for example, 'God exists' and 'Whatever is, is') are not in fact universally assented to. He cites the examples of children and madmen, many of whom will not assent to such propositions if they are put to them. Locke is therefore assuming that innate knowledge would, if it existed, necessarily have to be present in everyone, and also that it would have to be available to consciousness from birth. As we shall see, both of these assumptions are false.

    The argument from madmen is certainly a bad one. To say that something is innate for human beings, is to say that all normal members of the species will possess it, not that all without exception will do so. Consider, for example, the fact of possessing ten toes. This is surely an innate feature of human beings. But some humans will in fact have less, and some more. Some may have lost a toe in an accident; and occasionally babies are born with an extra toe, or with a toe missing. So the fact that madmen (who on any account of the matter are not normal human beings) lack some knowledge that the rest of us possess, does not show that such knowledge is not innate.

    The argument from children is also unsound, but needs to be handled somewhat differently. A natural first response to it, would be to claim that innate knowledge might be latent in children - that is to say: it is there, but not yet available to consciousness. Locke anticipates this reply, and responds by adopting what might be called 'The principle of mental transparency'. He claims that there cannot be anything in the mind which the subject is unaware of. But this principle is surely indefensible. Nor need we commit the anachronism of appealing to Freudian theories of the unconscious to show as much. For consider the every-day phenomenon of temporary memory loss. You may know that you know your mother's birthday, but be unable for the moment to recall it. Then an hour later you may be able to remember it again. If we accepted the principle of mental transparency, we should have to say that you started by having the knowledge of your mother's birthday, then you lost it, and then you acquired it again without any process of learning. This is surely absurd. Rather, we should say that the knowledge was in you throughout, but that for a short period it was not accessible to consciousness.

    While Locke's explicit argument against latent innate knowledge is inadequate, it may seem that he has a valid point nevertheless. For are we really prepared to accept that a new-born infant has its head already stocked with a range of actual (if as yet merely latent) knowledge? One way of developing this point is to notice that you cannot have knowledge of something unless you also believe it. (You cannot know that the Earth is getting warmer unless you at least believe that the Earth is getting warmer.) And what constitutes a mental state as a state of belief is that it is apt to interact with your other mental states (particularly desires and intentions) in such a way as to control behaviour. Thus what makes the difference between believing that the Earth is getting warmer, as opposed to hoping that it is, for example, is that you are prepared if necessary to act on it. You may consider moving to Iceland, or stop using aerosols (depending upon your other beliefs, and on what it is that you want). Then since an infant cannot manifest any of the appropriate behaviour, it would seem that it cannot have articulate beliefs either.

    This argument is perhaps overly swift, however. For even if an infant cannot be said to be born already possessing beliefs, it may be that it is born with a stored stock of propositions. These may start by being inert, but then become knowledge as soon as the child is old enough to be conscious of them. Yet even this may strike one as an extraordinary hypothesis. The idea that the head of an infant is already stocked with a range of articulate propositions may strike one (and does strike me) as just wild. At any rate, if this were the only form which nativism could take, then the burden of proof would surely fall squarely on the nativist to provide some convincing argument for their view. Locke would be quite right that there is a strong presumption against nativism, unless and until we are shown otherwise.

    In fact, however, there is quite a different sense in which innate knowledge may be latent from birth. For it may be innately determined that children develop such knowledge at a certain stage in the course of their normal growth, irrespective of details of education and experience. Compare, for example, the possession of pubic hair. This is surely an innate feature of adult human beings. But it is not present from birth, only making its appearance with the onset of puberty. Similarly, then, in the case of knowledge: it may be that it is not present at all at birth (there being no stored stock of propositions), but that it is innately determined that such knowledge will make its appearance at some particular stage in normal cognitive development.

    Locke himself considers ideas related to this one. For he argues against the suggestion that truths may be innate in the sense that one has an innate capacity for knowing them. He also argues against the thesis that innate knowledge may make its appearance in the mind when the subject first attains the use of reason. But his only response to the first suggestion, is that one cannot then distinguish between truths which are learned and truths which are innate, if 'innate' just means that one has an innate capacity to know them. While this may be true, if 'capacity' is understood broadly, it is not an objection to the developmental thesis sketched above. For if the truths which make their appearance subsequent upon experience could not have been learned from that experience, then this will be sufficient reason to count them as innate, as we shall see in the next section. And as for the suggestion that innate knowledge may make its appearance with the onset of reason, Locke's response is mostly to chip away at this as a proposed time at which innate knowledge should appear, which in no way touches the general idea behind developmental nativism.



    Varieties of Innateness

    We have noted that while one form of nativism claims (somewhat implausibly) that knowledge is innate in the sense of being present as such (or at least present in propositional form) from birth, it might also be maintained that knowledge is innate in the sense of being innately determined to make its appearance at some stage in childhood. This latter thesis is surely the most plausible version of nativism. Indeed, there seems no particular reason why we should presume its falsehood. For given that much of the physical growth and development of human beings is innately determined, why should the same not be true of our cognitive development also? It is therefore not at all obvious that the burden of proof is on the defender of this form of nativism to make out their case, rather than on Locke to show that all knowledge is in fact acquired from experience. But we should now notice that this second hypothesis, in turn, admits of two alternative versions.

    First, a belief might be innate in the sense that it is acquired in any course of experience sufficient for forming beliefs at all. To adopt this hypothesis is to allow (as seems likely) that an infant sensorily deprived from birth would never have any knowledge or beliefs, innate or otherwise. We would be allowing that some initial experience is necessary for the mind to operate normally, and for innate knowledge to make its appearance. But we would claim that it does not matter what experiences the child has, provided that they are sufficiently rich and varied for it to acquire at least some beliefs. Let us call this 'The hypothesis of general triggering of innate knowledge' - 'general triggering' because almost any experience will serve, the content of the experiences needing to bear no relation whatever to the content of the innate beliefs which make their appearance as a result.

    The second sense in which an acquired belief might be innate, would be if its existence was inexplicable on any model of learning, its content being such that it could not have been learned from the experiences which give rise to it. To adopt this hypothesis would be to allow, as before, that a sensorily deprived infant would never come to have any beliefs. But it would also be to allow that quite specific types of experience may be necessary for a given innate belief to make its appearance. For example, it might be claimed (as we shall see in chapter 6) that our knowledge of grammatical structure is innate, but that some experience of language is necessary to trigger this knowledge into existence. Or it might be claimed (as we shall see in chapter 8) that our knowledge of the rudiments of human psychology is innate, but that some experience of other humans is necessary for it to make its appearance. (So Tarzan brought up by apes in the jungle would never acquire either of these sorts of belief, although his experience would be sufficiently rich for him to have many other beliefs.) But still the knowledge in question could reasonably be said to be innate, provided that it is impossible to see how it could have been learned on the basis of the experiences in question - for example, if no combination of memory, induction, and inference to the best explanation could have generated that knowledge from such a meagre basis.

    Let us call this second version of developmental nativism 'The hypothesis of local triggering of innate knowledge' - 'local' because specific (content-relevant) types of experience are necessary for the knowledge to make its appearance; but still 'triggering' because the content of the knowledge acquired is so related to the content of the experiences which give rise to it, that the former could not have been learned from the latter. Most of the arguments in support of nativism which we shall consider in later chapters are in fact arguments for local triggering. Notice that Locke himself provides no direct arguments against either of these forms of developmental nativism.



    Locke on Concept Acquisition

    The arguments considered above from Book I of the Essay are not the only ones which Locke uses against nativism. Indeed, they do not even constitute his main argument. Rather, he thinks that it will be sufficient to refute nativism if it can be shown that the hypothesis of innate knowledge is an unnecessary one - that is to say: if he can provide an alternative account of the genesis of all knowledge in experience. This is his strategy throughout the remaining three Books of the Essay.

    Now, although I denied above that there is a general presumption against the truth of nativism (at least in either of its more plausible developmental versions), it does seem to me that Locke is on strong ground here. For suppose that both Locke and the nativist could provide equally good explanations of the knowledge we actually possess. In the case of the nativist (but not of Locke) there would still be something left over that needed explaining - namely, how it is that some of our knowledge comes to be innate. We already know that some knowledge is derived from experience, and we know roughly how this takes place (through perception). So the hypothesis that all knowledge comes from experience leaves nothing further in need of explanation. In contrast, if some knowledge is innate, it still remains to be explained how it comes to be so. Therefore, other things being equal, Locke's hypothesis is the one to be prefered, since it leaves less in need of explanation.

    In fact Locke does not focus very directly on explaining the acquisition of knowledge from experience. Rather, most of his efforts are directed towards showing how all our concepts (ideas) may be derived from experience. He here assumes, I think, that no knowledge can be innate if no concepts are.1 So if he can show that the hypothesis of innate concepts is an unnecessary one, he believes that he will thereby have shown that the hypothesis of innate knowledge is also unnecessary.

    The idea that innate knowledge requires innate concepts is certainly a very plausible one. For it is clearly the case that knowledge itself requires concepts. Knowledge (at least in the sense which concerns us) is essentially propositional - it is always knowledge that such-and-such is the case. So you cannot possess such knowledge unless you also possess the concepts involved in the proposition that such-and-such. You cannot know that grass is green unless you possess the concepts grass and green. But in fact, whether this dependence of knowledge upon concepts extends also to the dependence of innate knowledge upon innate concepts, turns on what exact concept of the innate is in question.

    Clearly there can be no innate knowledge in the sense of stored propositions unless there are also innate concepts. For the constituent concepts of those propositions will also have to be present in the mind from birth if the propositions themselves are. Nor can there be general triggering of innate knowledge by experience unless there is also general triggering of innate concepts. For remember that the experiences which give rise to such knowledge need bear no relation to it in content, and so would not be the sort of experience from which one could derive (that is, learn) the concepts in question either. Matters are quite different, however, when it comes to the thesis of local triggering. For on this account, it may be that concepts are learned from appropriate and relevant experience, but are then triggered into items of knowledge which go far beyond the content of the experiences which gave rise to the constituent concepts. It may thus be that while no concepts are innate, some knowledge is. For it may be that while the data which gives rise to our knowledge of some subject-matter is not sufficient to sustain the view that we learned that knowledge, it may still be sufficient to support the view that we learned the constituent concepts.

    Thus Locke's assumption that there can be no innate knowledge without innate concepts is false. In which case his arguments against concept-nativism will not necessarily undermine knowledge-nativism. Nevertheless, it is worth considering his theory of concept-acquisition in its own right. For after all, most nativists have in fact held, not only that some knowledge is innate, but also that some concepts are. Moreover, the most plausible case of innate knowledge, to be defended in chapter 8 (namely, knowledge of the general principles governing our own and other people's psychology), will in fact be such as to involve the claim that there are innate concepts also.

    Locke believes that we derive simple concepts from experience by abstraction (complex concepts can then be formed from simple ones by definition). The idea is that from a sequence of experiences we are to isolate the various features they have in common. We are to do this by ignoring differences of time, context and so on, and by noticing and isolating recurring aspects. Consider this analogy. Suppose that you are taking part in one of those psychological experiments where you are handed a sequence of cards on which geometrical shapes of varying colours have been printed. Some are red triangles, some green triangles; some are blue circles, some red circles; and so on. As you are handed each card the experimenter says either 'This is a grink' or 'This is not a grink'; your task being to acquire the concept grink. What you would do, of course, would be to attempt to spot resemblances between those cards which contain a grink, using those which do not to disconfirm your hypotheses. This will be how Locke thinks of concept-acquisition in general. For what you would in effect be doing in this experiment, is abstracting from the sequence of your experiences the common feature of all grinks.

    As it stands, however, Locke's account of concept-acquisition appears viciously circular. For noticing or attending to a common feature of various things presupposes that you already possess the concept of the feature in question. Thus in order to notice that Peter, Paul and Mary have something in common - namely, that they are all freckled - you must already possess the concept of being freckled. (This is not to say that you must already have a word for 'freckled'; but you must know in general how to distinguish people who are freckled from people who are not.) Even more obviously, if one thinks of concept-acquisition as being a matter of formulating and testing hypotheses (for example, 'Is a grink any four-sided figure which is either red or green?'), then some concepts must already be possessed in advance (namely, the concepts which figure in the hypotheses).

    While Locke discusses abstraction in terms which suggest that the processes involved will be conscious ones, it would be open to him to respond to the above objection by denying this. He could say that his theory is really that prior to acquiring any concepts there are processes which are somewhat like those of noticing resemblances, ignoring differences of context and so on, only that they are nonconscious ones. This saves the account from circularity. But notice that it is now apparently to concede that there are innate concepts after all, since nonconscious noticing of a resemblance presumably requires a nonconscious concept of the feature in question. So it is doubtful whether Locke would find this defence of his position satisfying. But then how else is he to defend it? Whilst he remains wedded to the language of abstraction, it appears that he must be committed to the mind's possession of conscious or nonconscious concepts prior to the process of abstracting a concept from experience.



    Complex Concepts

    If we set aside the worry about circularity outlined above, then Locke's theory can seem quite powerful. In particular, it has the resources to rebut many of the arguments presented by rationalists in favour of the thesis that there are innate concepts. For example, in the Phaedo Plato argues that the concept straight must be innate because, first, judgements of 'almost straight' presuppose prior grasp of the concept straight, and secondly, because no object in the world of our experience can be better than almost straight. Locke can reply by denying the implicit assumption that straight is a simple idea, which would have to be learned directly from experience if it is learned at all. Rather, he can say that what we derive from experience is the comparative concept straighter than, by observing pairs of unequally straight things. We can then introduce the concept straight by definition, as a thing straighter than anything else could be.

    Locke can reply similarly to Descartes' argument in his third Meditation, that our concepts of God's perfections must be innate, since they plainly could not have been acquired on the basis of experience. Locke can maintain that what we acquire from experience are the various comparative concepts better than, more powerful than, more knowledgeable than, and so on. The idea of God may then be introduced by definition, as the one and only person who is better, more powerful, and more knowledgeable than anything else could possibly be.

    However, Locke's account of concept-acquisition does face a number of further difficulties. The most notorious is that there are many concepts which cannot be abstracted directly from experience, and yet which appear not to be definable in terms which can be so abstracted either. Consider, for example, the concept of causation, which was treated at length by Hume.2 All that is immediately observable in a case of A causing B is that the one precedes the other. Hume suggests that the remainder of our concept is made up from observing regular concurrences of such events. Then to say that A caused B will be to say that it preceded it, and that all events of the same type as A precede events of the same type as B. Yet clearly this falls short of our intuitive concept of a cause, which includes the idea that causes somehow necessitate their effects. Hume has to conclude that this idea is an illusion, brought about by our own habits of mind in expecting an event of type B when we see one of type A. Since our psychology is such that we cannot avoid expecting B whenever we see A occur, Hume suggests that we mistakenly assume that it is B itself which is unavoidable, given that A has occurred. He claims that what we do is to project a feeling of psychological necessity on to the world.

    There are many reasons for rejecting Hume's account of the matter. One is that it tacitly assumes that we do have a concept of causal necessitation, if only as holding between psychological events. For what, otherwise, is the feeling of necessity a feeling of? Another point is that one may come to believe in a causal relationship between events after observing just a single instance, when there has been no opportunity for a habit of expectation to be formed. For example, I may see someone fall down stairs and come to believe that this caused their broken leg, although this is the first occasion on which I have observed anything of the sort to occur. Another argument is that we may wonder whether A caused B, where this is clearly more than a matter of wondering whether all events of type A precede events of type B. Yet in such cases we are obviously not wondering whether our minds are necessitated to expect B given an observation of A.

    In fact what is really involved in our idea of causation are, at least, counterfactual and subjunctive conditionals, as we have already noted in chapter 3. To say that A caused B is to imply that if A had not happened, then B would not have.3 It is also to imply that if in other sufficiently similar circumstances an event of type A were to happen, then an event of type B would happen also. Yet it is impossible to see how the concepts of such conditionals may either be abstracted from experience, or defined purely in terms which may be so abstracted.

    Indeed, it is arguable that there is more to the concept of cause even than this. For example, David Armstrong maintains that causation is best understood as a relation of necessitation between immanent universals.4 This relation is held to imply, and hence explain, the truth of the counterfactual and subjunctive conditionals mentioned above, rather than being constituted by them. Then it is because A is made up of properties which necessitate the properties making up B, that it is true that if A had not happened B would not have, and also true that if an event similar to A were to happen, so would an event similar to B. Moreover, Armstrong argues that the notion of causal necessitation has to be taken as primitive (that is, as indefinable). He also concedes that it cannot be acquired from experience, without I think noticing that he is therefore committed - very plausibly, in my view - to the claim that the concept of cause is innate.

    Other concepts besides causation have led to problems for classical empiricists. Thus both Berkeley and Hume drew the conclusion that our concept of mind-independent continuously-existing physical objects is illusory, because they were (rightly) unable to see how such a concept could be derived from experience, or defined in terms of concepts which can be so derived. Since one cannot have experience of an unexperienced object, it is hard to see how one could derive the concept of such an object from experience. But then neither can that concept be defined in other terms derivable from experience. The closest we could get would be to say that an unexperienced object is the continuously existing cause of our episodic experiences. But this is plainly too broad (quite apart from the problem of how we are supposed to have acquired the concept of cause). It cannot distinguish between the chair, as cause of my experience of it, and Descartes' all-powerful demon.

    It is worth remarking here just how powerfully these empiricists must have been convinced of the thesis that there are no innate concepts. For rather than give up this thesis, they were prepared to deny that it is possible for us to conceive of a mind-independent physical reality. But in the absence of any convincing argument in its support, the proper conclusion to draw is surely that it was their anti-nativism itself which is false.



    Simple Concepts

    In fact problems arise for empiricists even in connection with the very simplest concepts, such as those of colour. For it is false that all instances of a given colour share some common feature. In which case we cannot acquire the concept of that colour by abstracting the common feature of our experience. Thus consider the concept red. Do all shades of red have something in common? If so what? It is surely false that individual shades of red consist, as it were, of two distinguishable elements: a general redness together with a particular shade. Rather, redness consists in a continuous range of shades, each of which is only just distinguishable from its neighbours. Acquiring the concept red is a matter of learning the extent of the range.

    Nor will it help to say, as Berkeley does,5 that the concept of red is not an idea of a common feature abstracted from differing red things, but is rather an idea of a particular shade of red which is then used as a representative of the whole range. For there is nothing in the particular shade itself which can give you the extent of the range. Nor can this be learned from experience. There is nothing in experience which can tell you where in the spectrum red begins and ends. It would seem that the boundaries between the various colours must somehow be specified innately, unless they can be explained as taught social constructs of some kind.

    This last remark suggests an alternative strategy which is available to empiricists for explaining our possession of concepts, and it is worth considering why they have not, in general, been inclined to pursue it. The strategy would be to appeal, not to abstraction, but to some sort of linguistic training. Why should empiricists not say, consistently with their anti-nativism, that we are taught to classify things in the way that we do? On this view, possession of concepts would still arise out of experience by a process of learning. But the experience in question would not be (or not primarily) of the things to which the concepts apply, so much as of the norms which are prevalent in the person's language community. A child's first fumbling use of words would gradually be refined and perfected through a process of reward and correction. It would be, for example, by mistakenly describing an unripe tomato as 'red' and being put right by its parents, that a child would acquire its grasp of the boundaries between the colours.

    However, the obvious question arising for such an account would be this: from where did our teachers, in their turn, acquire their concepts? The answer, in terms of the theory, is equally obvious: from their teachers. But now we have a problem. Plainly the sequence of past teachers cannot be infinite, since the human race has not always been in existence. So it appears that there must have been some person, or group of people, who were the first to use simple concepts, without having been taught to do so. But then we shall be landed back with some version of abstractionism again, if we are to avoid commitment to nativism. For those first users of concepts will somehow have to have acquired their concepts directly on the basis of their experience. Certainly the problem of concept-acquisition cannot be solved merely by pushing it back into the past. It is for this reason (among others)6 that most empiricists have not taken very seriously the idea that we acquire concepts through linguistic training.

    However, we should beware of the suggestion that there must have been a first concept-user, if present concept-users get their concepts from others. For compare the following. What makes someone a member of the human species? One obvious answer is: being born of human parents. This looks equally vulnerable to the charge of merely putting a problem off, on the grounds that there must have been at least two first humans who were not human by virtue of having human parents. But in fact, as we now know, creatures that were recognisably human evolved gradually, in small steps, from creatures which were not. So it is possible that something similar may hold in the case of concept-acquisition as well. It may be that what was recognisably a use of concepts evolved gradually, from the use of grunts and growls which were plainly non-conceptual. In which case an empiricist could explain concept-acquisition in terms of linguistic training, without having to be committed to some form of abstractionism in explaining how the first concepts were acquired. But this is, so far, merely a promise. It remains for an empiricist to show how concepts could arise gradually out of something non-conceptual. We shall return to the issue in chapter 7. For the moment, it is enough to have noted the weaknesses in the classical empiricist accounts of concept-acquisition.



    Why be Anti-Nativist?

    While the empiricist case against platonism is powerful, as we saw in chapter 3, its case against nativism is very weak by comparison. Not only are the direct arguments against nativism unsound, but the attempt to explain how all concepts may arise out of experience itself faces severe difficulties. This is not to say, of course, that nativism is then shown to be true. It is simply that the case against it is unproven. We may then remain puzzled as to why empiricists such as Locke and Hume should have been so convinced, nevertheless, that nativism must be false.

    It might be replied that there is no special problem about this: they were simply misled by bad arguments. But I find this response unsatisfying. For after all, Locke and Hume were both of them extremely intelligent men. So it remains possible, at least, that they may have had other, more powerful, reasons for rejecting nativism. Perhaps these may have gone unmentioned as a result of some sort of political expediency. For example, it may have been that their real reasons would have placed them in direct opposition to the Church.

    Thus, one hypothesis might be that the early empiricists' rejection of nativism was part of their more general Enlightenment belief in the perfectability of man, and should be seen in contrast with the traditional Christian doctrine of original sin. But this proposal is hardly very satisfactory either, since there is no intrinsic connection between perfectability and anti-nativism. Enlightenment thinkers could equally well have maintained that while we have innately-given knowledge, and innate faculties which are structured in such a way as to embody information about the world, our knowledge and attitudes nevertheless admit of indefinite extension and improvement.

    It is true that if the mind were literally a 'blank slate', as early empiricists seemed to maintain, then human nature would be almost unlimitedly malleable, for good or ill. The only constraints would be those of capacity (there may be limits to how much knowledge a human mind could contain, for example), and those imposed by the properties of the mental medium itself (some sorts of knowledge might be more difficult to acquire on the basis of general learning principles, for example). So the denial of nativism, if correct, would provide some sort of guarantee of human perfectability.

    Endorsements of nativism, in contrast, would admit of at least two possible versions, implying either perfectability on the one hand, or inherent imperfection on the other. But even given a prior commitment to perfectability, this would be a very poor reason for rejecting nativism altogether. For it is just as plausible that the explanation of perfectability might be an innately given but indefinitely improvable nature. Moreover, the current proposal would require us to attribute to empiricists a belief in human perfectability which is apparently lacking in independent support, but which stands in need of it. For they cannot simply take for granted the falsity of Christian versions of nativism, unless they have some independent reason for rejecting nativism as such.

    A rather different sort of proposal would be that the early empiricists' reasons for rejecting nativism might have formed such a fundamental part of their outlook as never to have been consciously articulated. Certainly it is common enough in philosophy for thinkers to allow themselves to overlook the weaknesses in their explicit arguments for a thesis, precisely because they have already become convinced of the truth of that thesis on other, and less readily articulable, grounds. Charity requires us to hope that something of this sort may be true in connection with the classical empiricist rejection of nativism. I shall return to the issue in the next chapter, and again in chapter 9.

    Source
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

  • #2
    Nativism in U.S. History

    "Nativism," or the idea that only U.S. "natives" really belong here, is not new to this country. Nativism is a thinly disguised form of racism, in which "natives" are tacitly understood to be people of European descent "” a category that has expanded since the end of World War II to include southern and eastern Europeans, Catholics, and Jews, although it originally applied exclusively to northern and western European Protestants.

    For the past 150 years, attitudes towards immigrants have changed cyclically, often undergoing rapid shifts in response to economic or political conditions. In periods of social and economic turmoil, such as the years following World War I or the post–World War II McCarthy Era, anti-immigrant sentiments tend to flare up as people look for someone to blame. During times of economic growth and social stability, nativism tends to die down. As always, it is difficult to tell to what extent media and political figures reflect public attitudes, and to what extent they create them.

    Politicians have often turned waves of nativist feeling to political advantage, voting in policies that penalize immigrants. Two particularly clear examples are the Chinese Exclusion Act of the late 1800s, which banned Chinese-born laborers from entering the country, and "Operation Wetback," in which more than 500,000 people of Mexican descent (including numerous U.S. citizens) were rounded up and deported during the Depression of the 1930s.

    Nativism Today

    Anti-immigrant feeling ran high in the early 1990s "” partly because the country faced a prolonged recession, and partly because of the marked growth of immigration, particularly to California. Some observers believe that the growth of anti-immigrant sentiment in that period was also a reflection of racial anxieties among the white population, as it became increasingly obvious that white Americans would eventually cease to be the majority "” a shift that has already occurred in California and is projected to occur by 2050 for the country as a whole.

    In addition, a series of economic changes related to globalization were becoming increasingly apparent to most U.S. working people. Such changes included steadily declining real wages, shrinking benefits and protections, the marked growth of temporary and contingent jobs, declining rates of unionization, increasing privatization, cutbacks in health care and education, and the like. Although most of these changes may be traced back to the early 1970s, it was not until the 1990s that they became more widely recognized and discussed.

    In 1994, California voters passed an anti-immigrant measure known as Proposition 187, a law that excluded undocumented immigrants from public schools, medical assistance, and other government services. That year, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 61 percent of U.S. residents thought that immigration levels should be reduced, up from 49 percent in 1986. Although Proposition 187 was ultimately ruled unconstitutional, many of the same measures were incorporated in federal legislation passed in 1996.

    The end of the 1990s brought a period of economic expansion and rising wage levels, and anti-immigrant sentiment grew more muted in many parts of the country. The tide turned once again, however, following the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, however, rather than being stigmatized as an economic drain, immigrants are demonized as dangerous terrorists, as the violent acts of a few extremists are blamed on all immigrants, regardless of who they are or why they are here.

    Vigilantes and Hate Groups

    Anti-immigrant politics have also given rise to an increase in vigilante activity, particularly in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Vigilantes have vowed to stop "illegal" immigration by patrolling the border with binoculars and guns, "arresting" at gunpoint anyone they presume to be an undocumented immigrant. Despite the threat of bloodshed, several political figures have defended such vigilante activity, including former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner, who has said that ranchers near the border "have legitimate concerns about the trespassers on their property." In one 17-month period in 1999 and 2000, at least 30 incidents of vigilante violence were reported in a single section of the Arizona-Mexico border. Other ranchers, by contrast, have installed humanitarian aid stations on their land to assist border crossers who might otherwise face sickness or death due to dehydration.

    Some vigilante activity is supported by white supremacist hate groups. A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors the activity of hate groups, describes organized anti-immigrant networks on the radical right. Groups such as the National Organization for European American Rights (NOFEAR), formed by former Klansman David Duke, and the Council of Conservative Citizens overtly promote racial hatred, using vicious language to attack immigrants. The SPLC report describes their views as follows:

    In the eyes of most of these groups, immigrants (typically, nonwhite immigrants) are responsible for nearly all the country's ills, from poverty and inner city decay to crime, urban sprawl, and environmental degradation. Many of them also believe there is a secret plot by the Mexican government and American Hispanics to wrest the Southwest away from the United States in order to create "Aztlan," a Hispanic nation. ("Blood on the Border," SPLC Intelligence Report, Spring 2001)

    The "Greening of Hate"

    In another development during the 1990s, a new form of anti-immigrant ideology took hold, based on claims that immigrants degrade the environment. Since U.S. residents consume resources at a higher rate than people in developing countries, the story goes, immigrants who come here are transformed from low-rate consumers to high-rate consumers, negatively impacting the earth's environment. Similarly, immigrants are blamed for degrading the quality of life in U.S. communities, by creating more congestion and urban sprawl and less open wilderness. These arguments scapegoat immigrants for the wasteful and destructive consumption patterns of the world's wealthiest nation.

    Anti-immigrant groups like Negative Population Growth or the Carrying Capacity Network are essentially offering a recycled form of arguments for population control. This view identifies "overpopulation" as the source of the world's ills "” with the planetary "excess" population once again tacitly understood to consist of people of color. Once accepted with little question, population control ideology was widely and successfully challenged in the 1970s and 1980s "” both by Third World–oriented movements arguing that inequities in the distribution and control of the world's resources are the primary cause of global hunger and poverty, and by women's movements around the world arguing that women, not governments, should control their own reproductive decisions.

    Some historians trace this type of "scientific racism" back to the original Malthusianism of the 1700s; as each successive form of this ideology has been discredited, a new one has emerged to take its place. The concept of "overpopulation," for example, emerged when the turn-of-the-century "eugenics" movement, which began in the United States, became permanently associated with the atrocities of Nazi Germany. A generation later, as population control fell out of favor, anti-immigrant environmentalism emerged to take its place. In this most recent manifestation, anti-immigrant ideologues have sought to enlist mainstream environmental groups such as the Sierra Club in their cause "” so far without success.

    Roots of Anti-Immigrant Activism

    European Americans have held a dominant position in the United States, both culturally and politically, for the country's entire history. Among some whites, racial anxieties over losing their majority status have lead to a backlash, combining with resistance to multiculturalism and other movements that seek to include communities of color as equal partners in all aspects of U.S. society.

    White supremacist groups tend to seek members among low-income whites, especially those who have been most deeply affected by deindustrialization and other forms of economic dislocation, channeling their anger and frustration over their own condition toward a clear target "” people of color.

    Some of the more sophisticated anti-immigrant groups, meanwhile, have tried to reach out to African Americans and other U.S.-born communities of color by including them among the "natives" who are threatened by immigration. While such groups may disavow the overtly racist rhetoric of hate groups, they nonetheless advance the same type of arguments in more "respectable" language. For example, according to the SPLC, the mainstream anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which claims 70,000 members, has worked collaboratively with white supremacist hate groups. Conservative politicians like Patrick Buchanan, meanwhile, combine populist rhetoric on economic issues with racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic ideology.

    The overt racism of hate groups and the more subtle bigotry of mainstream anti-immigrant organizations both serve to divide people who might otherwise find common ground in social struggles for justice. While they may attract followers with the power of their rhetoric, such anti-immigrant movements do nothing to address the root causes of suffering "” the economic, social, and political structures that maintain an unjust and increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege. Instead, they substitute a lethal combination of resentment, scapegoating, and hatred "” the classic recipe for fascism.

    Comment


    • #3
      YOU ARE SO IGNORANT !
      We are NOT AGAINST IMMIGRANTS !! HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS !????
      WE ARE PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO PRO IMMIGRANT !!!

      But we expect and demand that all immigrants respect this country. That is all we ask. We want them to fly our flag, speak our language, not rape our women. Is this too much to ask? I think not ! If you want to be an American then you are welcome ! But to be an American, you must LOVE and respect America and hate everyone else ! You can not share loyalty. You must renounce all other nations ! You must renounce all your false gods and terrorist prophets ! You must love America in order to be an American. We reject hyphenated Americans. We reject foreign flags flying over the American flag. We reject other languages than the American language. We reject other religions except the American religion that worships our Lord and Savoior Little Baby Jesus. I welcome with open arms all people who love and believe in America !!! And only America ! You can not bless America and a terrorist ! You can not. You must support America and oppose all other nations and religions. You must bless America and no one else !!!

      GOD BLESS AMERICA AND NO ONE ELSE

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for your post Hudson, finally something worth reading.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by davdah:
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I shall consider whether Locke's case is really powerful enough to justify such an attitude.
          I got this far and stopped. I tell you what. When you have the title JD or Your Honor next to your name then this may be appropriate. Until then this little diatribe is as compelling as any one sided hit piece.

          Further, as SOM says, most people are not in favor of no immigration. Most, around 82% want people who come here to show a little respect. Waive with all fingers, not just the middle one. Learn English, not say 'pinche vato'. Get the point?


          ProudUSC, pssst. Beverly ain't European. How do you explain her? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

          What a bunch of sorry alien piss ants. I guess its hard for them to look in the mirror of truth and recognize their pathetic selves. If articles posted on a message board has them pissing their pants and hurling personal attacks in cyberspace, I'd love to be there when La migra knocks at the door.

          I don't even waste my time reading their ramblings, especially when their ignorance and lack of defense amounts to hurling personal attacks and posting 700 pages of irrelevant BS.

          Take care Davdah!
          Wolves Travel In Packs
          ____________________

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by davdah:
            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I shall consider whether Locke's case is really powerful enough to justify such an attitude.
            I got this far and stopped. I tell you what. When you have the title JD or Your Honor next to your name then this may be appropriate. Until then this little diatribe is as compelling as any one sided hit piece.

            Further, as SOM says, most people are not in favor of no immigration. Most, around 82% want people who come here to show a little respect. Waive with all fingers, not just the middle one. Learn English, not say 'pinche vato'. Get the point?


            ProudUSC, pssst. Beverly ain't European. How do you explain her? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

            I wasn't trying to explain Beverly. I was simply adding another article regarding the roots of nativism. Not directed at anyone.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by davdah:
              Even if these groups were as sophisticated as made out they would still need a compelling reason to get people to join.

              But wait... they made mention of the types they recruit. Low income whites, hmm. Are they in fact saying poor white trash? Who is calling who names here? I'm offended!! I used to be that. Who can I call to complain to?

              Doesn't matter since even an unemployed Pollock can figure this one out. Where's the beef? They keep saying racism but where is it? Dare I quote S12?, what race is an illegal?
              Wolves Travel In Packs
              ____________________

              Comment


              • #8
                While they may attract followers with the power of their rhetoric, such anti-immigrant movements do nothing to address the root causes of suffering "” the economic, social, and political structures that maintain an unjust and increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege. Instead, they substitute a lethal combination of resentment, scapegoating, and hatred "” the classic recipe for fascism.
                This statement speaks volumes to those of you who descended on this forum for no better reason than to promote controversy and hatred. If not, what other purpose are you serving? Do tell . . . I'm all ears.

                Comment


                • #9
                  douchebags like proudusc and hudson have missed the point (no surprise there)...every time these clowns are challenged to support their uninformed opinions on illegal immigration or whenever I (or anyone else) takes them to task,they try to play the race card....but none of these imbeciles has ever answered my simple question: "what race are illegal aliens?"
                  So proudusc, hudson and that toilet bowl cleaner mike2007, attempting to label me or anyone else that is against illegal immigration as some sort of racist loses instantly on lack of merit....unless, of course, any of you dunces can tell our audience (with a straight face) what 'race' are illegals??? Well? (cue Simon & Garfunkel...."the sound ....of silence...."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Your personal attacks on all of us do nothing more than to show what an absolute imbecile you are, S12. You use the same tired words, phrases and insults all the time. Maybe you need some new material? Your stuff is getting rather boring. Yawn.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      at least I have the courage to back up my words, you on the other hand, are just a spineless wimp....and you always close your blather with ' god bless America and everyone else" as if by writing this dogmatic phrase, this alleged deity will do your bidding....sure....you and bsanchez should team up and see if you can summon your favorite deity like a genie in a bottle...

                      why not back up your position with a few facts....like ...hmmm...point to that section of our Constitution or INA where it states that anyone who sneaks across our borders is immediately entitled to a green card, merely for having disobeyed or ignored our laws....or that any illegal alien has the 'right' to live and work in the United States of America...please....find those laws and back up your mindless postings......show some backbone....wimp.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BELIEVE:
                        Thanks for your post Hudson, finally something worth reading.
                        You are welcome. And thanks for Proud for the contributing article.
                        "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Immigration's Costs -- And Benefits
                          June 26, 2006

                          Illegal immigration has been painted as a costly problem, an economic necessity and a political football as the debate surrounding it has gathered steam.

                          The Wall Street Journal Online asked economists Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, and Philip Martin, of the University of California, Davis, to discuss the underlying causes of immigration (both legal and illegal), its historical roots and the nature of the current political uproar over the issue.

                          What do you think? Share your thoughts on our discussion board.
                          * * *

                          Gordon Hanson writes: For all the heat that the debate about immigration has generated, the net economic impact of immigration on the U.S. economy appears to be remarkably small. First, some thoughts on legal immigration, before we address illegal immigrants.

                          By bringing new workers into the economy, immigration allows existing U.S. capital, land, and technology to be used more efficiently. Also on the plus side, immigrants pay property taxes, sales taxes, Social Security taxes, and income taxes.
                          ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS

                          Gordon Hanson obtained his bachelor's in economics from Occidental College in 1986 and his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. Before joining UCSD in 2001, he was on the economics faculty at the University of Michigan and at the University of Texas. He has written more than 50 publications in academic journals and other academic volumes. His current research focuses on causes and consequences of Mexican migration to the U.S., how and why multinational firms globalize their production activities and the factors that shape countries' export capabilities. His most recent book is "Why Does Immigration Divide America? Public Finance and Political Opposition to Open Borders."
                          Philip Martin is a professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of California, Davis. He also chairs the University of California's Comparative Immigration & Integration Program and edits the monthly immigration newsletter, Migration News. He studied labor economics and agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1975. His research focuses on farm labor, labor migration, economic development, and immigration issues, and has testified before Congress and state and local agencies numerous times on these issues. His most recent book is "Managing Labor Migration in the Twenty-First Century."

                          In the negative column, immigrants use public services in the form of public education, fire and police protection, government assistance, etc. Add the positive and negative elements together and you get what looks like a very small number.

                          We can calculate the gain to U.S. GDP due to immigration, known in econ parlance as the immigration surplus, using a simple formula that is a function of three things:
                          "¢ The importance of labor to the U.S. economy

                          "¢ The size of the immigrant labor inflow

                          "¢ The change in U.S. wages due to immigration


                          Whether legal or illegal, immigration generates a gain in national income by making U.S. business more productive. George Borjas and Larry Katz have examined the specific consequences of immigration from Mexico for U.S. wages.

                          But illegal immigration differs from legal immigration in several important respects. First, illegal immigrants tend to have low skill levels, which means they end up in jobs in agriculture, construction, household services, landscaping, low-end manufacturing, or restaurants and lodging. Employers in these industries (and consumers of the goods these industries produce) are primarily the ones who benefit from illegal immigration. In a recent study, Patricia Cortes, a graduate student at MIT, finds that U.S. cities that have higher larger immigrant inflows have lower prices for housekeeping, gardening, and other labor intensive services. Ten percent more immigration lowers prices for these services by about 1.3%.

                          Second, illegal immigrants, by virtue of their low income levels and their tenuous attachment to the legal economy, don't pay all that much in taxes. Yet their kids still attend school and their U.S.-born kids still get access to Medicare. What does this mean for the net fiscal consequences of illegal immigration? The Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigration think tank, estimates that the short-run net fiscal impact of illegal immigration is negative, on the order of $10 billion in 2002, or 0.09% of U.S. GDP in that year. This is not a big number.

                          As with immigration overall, what upsets people is not the aggregate impact of illegal immigration, which, as with legal immigration, seems to be more or less a wash. It is that the benefits of illegal immigration are enjoyed by one group -- the employers who hire them (and the consumers of their services) -- while the costs are incurred by other groups -- low-skilled workers and taxpayers in states where illegal immigrants reside.
                          * * *

                          Philip Martin writes: Gordon is right: Immigration, whether legal or illegal, adds workers, most of whom get jobs, which makes the U.S. economy larger. If there are economies of scale, as when producing more lowers the cost of production, the prices of some goods fall, benefiting those who buy those goods at home and abroad.

                          Most of the benefits of immigration go to the immigrants who earn higher wages in the U.S. than they would at home. In the standard triangle analysis, there are no net economic benefits to the U.S. economy (the triangle in the Hanson and Borjas papers above, as well as in my book "Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and Farm Workers") if wages do not fall with the addition of immigrant workers.

                          It has been very hard to agree on how much wages declined because of immigration, but the 3% estimate of Borjas is reasonable.

                          With migrants getting most of the gain from immigration in their wages, and owners of capital and land getting most of the rest in higher profits and rents, the surplus triangle is 1/10 of 1% of GDP. Pro-immigration people stress that immigration is positive, a net economic benefit, and in a $13 trillion economy, 1% is $13 billion. Anti-immigrant people stress that immigration adds $13 billion, or about two weeks' growth in an economy growing 2.5% a year.

                          Economists agree that the immigration generates a small net economic benefit for the U.S. and in doing so redistributes income from workers to owners of capital and land. Perhaps this is why immigration is such a political hot potato; it's mostly a distribution issue and, for governments that are in the business of redistributing income via taxes and subsidies, regulating immigration is another redistribution tool.

                          How many, from where and in what status are the core questions of immigration policy. Could the U.S. get a larger economic benefit if changed the mix of immigrants arriving?

                          The National Research Council data suggest the answer is yes. Making often heroic assumptions about how well immigrants and their children will fare in the U.S., the NRC calculated the present value of a typical immigrant arriving in the U.S. in the mid-1990s to be $89,000, that is, taking into account the taxes paid of immigrants and assuming that their children and grandchildren are like their U.S.-born counterparts, the NRC estimated that the present value of the taxes paid will exceed tax-supported benefits consumed by $89,000 over the next 50+ years.

                          However, the same study emphasized that the key to the benefits of immigration for the U.S. are their level of education. Those with more than a high-school education had a net present value of almost $200,000, while those with less than a high-school education had a net present value of negative $13,000.
                          * * *

                          Gordon writes: I think few would argue with the statement that we are living through an unprecedented moment of immigration from Mexico and Latin America. Where disagreements might arise is over what brought this moment about and how long it might last.

                          If you go back to the middle of the 20th century, immigration from Mexico just wasn't a big deal. The share of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. labor force actually fell from the 1920s to the 1960s. Now, these numbers don't include temporary immigrants that entered the U.S. under the Bracero program from 1942 to 1964, but I think the importance of that program is easy to exaggerate. Since braceros had to return home at the end of each year, the program represented a one-time increase in the U.S. labor force of just a few hundred thousand workers. Even at its height in the late 1950s, when over 400,000 Braceros entered the U.S., these workers represented less than half a percent of the U.S. labor force.

                          Today, however, the scale is entirely different. Mexican immigrants now account for about 5% of the U.S. labor force (and 35% of the immigrant labor force), up from less than 1% in 1970. What happened?

                          I would cite two events. Since 1982, Mexico has had several major economic contractions and has been unable to string together more than a few years of solid growth. As a result, per capita income in Mexico has steadily fallen relative to per capita income in the U.S. Why stay in Mexico when incomes are rising faster in the U.S.?

                          Compounding migration pressures has been the entry of Mexico's baby boom into the labor force. While fertility rates in Mexico have dropped sharply in the last three decades (from five kids per woman in 1970 to three kids per woman in 2000), it wasn't that long ago that the typical Mexican woman had nearly a half dozen children. Mexico's high fertility years produced a demographic bulge, the members of which in the last 20 years have come of age and started to look for work. As luck would have it, Mexico's baby boom entered the labor force during Mexico's two decades of dismal economic performance and decidedly lackluster growth in labor demand. The result has been the surge in Mexican immigration that we have been witnessing.

                          What makes the current surge in Mexico-to-U.S. migration hard to slow is that today's generation of Mexican young people do not have a memory of good economic times in Mexico. Many may have lost faith in Mexico's ability to provide them with a decent future. Such a change in expectations is a powerful force because it implies that Mexico would have to produce unexpectedly strong economic growth for a sustained period to get Mexican workers to believe in the Mexican economy, again. In the meantime, Mexican labor will keep heading north.
                          * * *

                          Philip writes: Gordon has nicely laid out the failure of Mexico to create jobs for its baby-boom generation and the challenge of generating stay-at-home development after repeated disappointments in Mexican economic development. I think that the Bracero experience has relevance for today's policy debate, in which both the House and Senate agree on more border and interior enforcement, and both seem to favor guest workers, but only the Senate offers a path to legal status.

                          The Bracero ("strong arm") program was very important in setting Mexico-U.S. migration in motion. There were actually two periods of programs, between 1917 and 1921 and again between 1942 and 1964. The second period was important for several reasons: It gave Mexicans experience migrating legally and illegally to the U.S., made farmers familiar with Mexican workers, and introduced the nemeses of guest-worker programs everywhere: distortion and dependence.

                          Opening legal channels for guest workers doesn't necessarily curb illegal immigration. Between 1942 and 1964, some 4.6 million Mexicans were admitted to do farm work; many Mexicans returned year after year, but between one million and two million gained legal U.S. work experience.

                          The Bracero program is another example of the maxim that there is nothing more permanent than temporary workers. The economic decisions of U.S. farmers became distorted as they made investment decisions that assumed Braceros would continue to be available. There was no need to raise the piece-rate wages that most Braceros earned, so it became profitable to plant orange and apple trees in remote areas. If the Bracero program were ended, these plantings would be unprofitable, explaining why farmers argued that they would go out of business without migrants. The program was nonetheless ended at the behest of President Kennedy, who believed that Braceros were "adversely affecting the wages, working conditions, and employment opportunities of our own agricultural workers."

                          Today, 75% of U.S. hired workers on crop farms were born in Mexico, and more than half are unauthorized. If we substitute "unauthorized Mexican farm worker" for "Bracero," we get the same debate as we had in the early 1960s and the early 1980s, before IRCA was enacted.

                          Perhaps the best way to minimize the distortion inherent in guest-worker programs is to charge employers for the privilege of employing legal migrants, and to use the taxes or levies collected to help them to mechanize and restructure jobs. In agriculture and many other U.S. industries that hire Mexican workers, it can be hard for an individual employer to mechanize, since, e.g., the crop must be packed or processed in a facility that is set up to handle machine-picked or hand-picked produce, but not both.

                          The other issue is the dependence of some areas of Mexico on the U.S. labor market. Economic theory suggests that areas sending and receiving migrants should see convergence in wages, but this anticipates higher wages in areas losing workers. Wages have risen in Mexico, but many of the rural areas from which most migrants come have been described as filled with nurseries and nursing homes, reflecting the fact that working-age adults are in the U.S. Remittances can lead to better housing and spending that generates multipliers and helps nonmigrants, too, but may not lead to the economic development that would keep young Mexicans seeking a brighter future at home.

                          The Bracero program sowed the seeds for subsequent Mexico-U.S. migration, which makes me cautious about beginning another large-scale guest-worker program. Second, if a new guest-worker program does not deal with the distortion that invariably creeps into the decision making of guest-worker dependent employers, there will be future "I will go out of business without migrant" protests. Third, if Mexico cannot absorb its labor force entrants in good or formal sector jobs, there will continue to be strong incentives to cross the border.
                          * * *

                          Gordon writes: Where do we go from here? Congress is battling over how to manage illegal immigration, with a plan to expand a guest-worker program being the most popular current policy option. In a nutshell, the idea would be to convert illegal immigrants into guest workers, which the U.S. government could regulate.

                          A guest-worker program, at least how it is envisioned by Congress, would be a disaster. For as maligned as illegal immigration is, it has some attractive features in terms of economic efficiency. Illegal immigration delivers U.S. business the types of workers they need (low-skilled labor, which is increasingly in short supply), when they need them (during times when the U.S. economy is expanding), and where they need them (in regions where job growth is strong).

                          A guest-worker program would have none of these properties. Given the snail's pace at which the Department of Homeland Security operates, U.S. employers would likely have to apply for guest workers long in advance of when they actually need them. The flexibility and adaptability of current illegal inflows would be lost. In response, many employers would probably go back to what they are doing now, which is hiring illegal workers.

                          Successful policy reform would require rethinking both illegal and legal immigration in the U.S. Why not convert most family-sponsored immigration visas into visas awarded on the basis of skill? Why not make the number of immigrants awarded visas conditional on U.S. economic conditions? Why not have the price of a U.S. immigration visa be determined by market conditions? These are questions that in the current debate should be asked but sadly are not.
                          * * *

                          Philip writes: I hate to think that illegal migration, with migrants dying in the desert and sometimes subject to unscrupulous employers, is the best we can do. I think the first priority is to agree that hiring unauthorized workers is a serious offense and devote the resources needed to change the behavior of employers and migrants. We can do this; we have done it for child labor, and we can make hiring unauthorized migrants just as unacceptable, as is true in northern Europe and Germany.

                          After 1986, both U.S. employers and Mexican migrants thought for a short time that the U.S. government was taking unauthorized migrants as seriously as child labor. But they soon realized that it wasn't, and they went back to hiring the unauthorized workers who showed up seeking jobs. There was also a layering in the labor market, with many employers turning to labor contractors to hire crews of workers on separate payrolls, cutting the link that allowed for some earlier Horatio Alger stories of ambitious workers climbing the ladder within a corporation when discovered by the right manager.

                          Labor migration is a process to be managed, not a problem to be solved. An effective migration-management process is one that uses economic incentives and disincentives to encourage employers and migrants to obey government-set rules, since we will never have enough enforcers to get compliance that goes against economic interests. In guest-worker programs, these economic incentives and disincentives involve payroll taxes; in general legal immigration, we have to answer the question whose interest migration is to solve.

                          If migration is to benefit natives, the key is to select immigrants most likely to be successful: young, healthy, well-educated English speakers. If migration is to allow the world's "huddled masses" to breathe free, there will be different selection criteria. The inability of policy makers to answer these questions may reflect American ambivalence about immigration.

                          WSJ
                          "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SonofMichael:
                            But we expect and demand that all immigrants respect this country. That is all we ask. We want them to fly our flag, speak our language, not rape our women. Is this too much to ask? I think not ! If you want to be an American then you are welcome ! But to be an American, you must LOVE and respect America and hate everyone else ! You can not share loyalty. You must renounce all other nations ! You must renounce all your false gods and terrorist prophets ! You must love America in order to be an American. We reject hyphenated Americans. We reject foreign flags flying over the American flag. We reject other languages than the American language. We reject other religions except the American religion that worships our Lord and Savoior Little Baby Jesus. I welcome with open arms all people who love and believe in America !!! And only America ! You can not bless America and a terrorist ! You can not. You must support America and oppose all other nations and religions. You must bless America and no one else !!!

                            GOD BLESS AMERICA AND NO ONE ELSE
                            Asking immigrants to "respect the laws of the land" when most, if not all USC, do not do the same is creating a double standard similar to the Separate but Equal doctrine and the Jim Crow laws that were enforced in our nation history.

                            In principle, we all should respect the laws of not only the United States, but other respective countries as well; yet nevertheless, we all fail in respecting the laws of our nation and others. And doing so, why are you asking immigrants to do something that USC cannot even fathom to do in our lifetimes, nor past or future. However, what is also morally imperative is if a law is unjust, civil disobedience could be used to bring about a change in the law. Hence, why most immigrant groups use the Dr. King as ProudUSC did. Additionally, we must not hate anyone else.

                            You say you are pro immigrant, yet you do not want immigrants from certain countries, regions, nor, in my opinion, races. You, meaning immigration reductionists or anti-immigrants, call immigrants you do not want as "undesirable" and Davdah's ploy on a racial slur, "Pollock" or "Polak."
                            "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by davdah:
                              1.Organize all the Chinese you know to come together and march down main street. Bring only the ROC flag and waive it proudly. Burn the American flag while your at it. Make sure you give bystanders on the street the middle finger. Yell at them and cuss at them.
                              Well, if Beverly can disrespect the office of the Presidnet of the United States (this means she is disrespecting America), don't you think it would look a wee bit odd to ask others not to something that you or others like yourself do? Does the phrase insipid hypocrite mean anything to you?

                              On the other hand, I do believe you are just that naive who thinks the protests ONLY HAD ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS when in fact most were either USC or LPR's. Are you going to suggest then that freedom of speech not be exercised to those who want to express it.

                              Finally, burning the flag is an example of political free speech. Again, would you really get upset if a whole bunch of hippies burn the flag because of war or someting the U.S. did?

                              If we take away freedom of some, then we take away freedom for everyone. If we have freedom for one, then we need to have freedom for all. Time to put up or shut up on this one.

                              2. Start making the cats and dogs in your neighborhood disappear. (don't eat them though)
                              Yea, but dogs are very, very, very good. Taste just like chicken

                              3. Traditions that are unique to China that you know would be irritating, start doing them, in our face.
                              Well, we have a sign outside the door requests to take off the shoes and have entertained guests for Mid Autumn festival and Chinese New Year. And it is always fun dinner entertainment to teach people how to use the chopsticks every once in a while.
                              "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

                              Comment

                              Sorry, you are not authorized to view this page

                              Home Page

                              Immigration Daily

                              Archives

                              Processing times

                              Immigration forms

                              Discussion board

                              Resources

                              Blogs

                              Twitter feed

                              Immigrant Nation

                              Attorney2Attorney

                              CLE Workshops

                              Immigration books

                              Advertise on ILW

                              EB-5

                              移民日报

                              About ILW.COM

                              Connect to us

                              Questions/Comments

                              SUBSCRIBE

                              Immigration Daily



                              Working...
                              X