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« Remembering death | Main | The Economics of Reconciliation »

April 08, 2009

Aliens, Yes. But Strangers?

Immigration, as an issue, reminds me a lot of capital punishment. There's a number of poor, sentimental arguments on either side, and a few genuinely good arguments on both sides.

Oddly or not, the best immigration arguments seem to exist in the space where free market economics and Christian love intersect. In general, I think that increased immigration is a good thing, so long as (1) we control our borders, (2) we encourage a Melting Pot more than the Cultural Mosaic (including strict enforcement to address gang problems), and (3) we take a minimalist approach to entitlements. Of course, we quite unfortunately do none of those things today, except perhaps address the gang problems.

Anyhow, this NRO post -- in which Richard Nadler takes on John Derbyshire (and his third degree blackbelt in TaeKwonEeyore) -- is one of the better commentaries I've read on the topic in a while.

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Comments

Anne Morse

A blackbelt in TaeKwonEeyore. Hah! I love that!

Allen

Heh. Thanks Anne!

Jason Taylor

The choice between melting pot and cultural mosaic is, to adapt a phrase from our beloved Community Organizer, a "false choice". America has always been both a cultural mosaic and a melting pot. The question is how the two fit together. It is unrealistic to ask people to forget the Old Country, nor is it necessarily good. It is also unrealistic to allow citizenship to people who will take the rights but not the duties.
In any case some of my dislike to multiculturalism is that it feels forced and awkward and it's chief proponents don't feel like they have a knack for understanding the type of cultures they are "multi-ing". When they talk about any culture outside of the upper West Side they feel like they are analyzing it it and not understanding it, their sympathies feel patronizing and shallow and so on.
Victorians despite their not undeserved reputation for snobbery seem to have had a better grasp of other cultures. While they often romanticized them and presented them in an overheroic light just as they often made the opposite error, Victorians never really feel like they considered themselves to have a godlike stature above the mass of mankind. They seem to be studying people not labrats.

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