Sunday, May 21, 2006

Behead Those Who Insult Christianity

Wouldn't it be something if Christians, offended by the libels of Dale Brown's "DaVinci Code," rioted across the world, calling for the blood of the blasphemers who published the book, produced the film, or were otherwise involved with the project. The yarn is certainly far more insulting than the Danish cartoons that so inflamed the Muslim world. What is really objectionable, though, is the reaction of our "free" press to these two events. Editors and producers scared to incur the wrath of rampaging Muslims kept the cartoons off their pages, hiding behind a pretense of sensitivity to "the world situation." But they have no problem showing all kinds of images from the DaVinci Code, giving it "two thumbs up" on their syndicated television shows, and telling us that anyone who is offended just can't appreciate an obvious work of fiction. Well, it's always just a fun story until someone screams, "Off with their heads!" -- and means it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day of (Pointless) Action

A day has passed since a coalition of illegal immigrants, Mexican nationalists, Latino racists, leftist America haters and well intentioned liberals massed in several American cities to demand the U.S. renounce the rule of law. The impact of those spectacles, predictably, was negligible. Some folks lost a day of pay and the greedy fat cats who've replaced their American workers with illegals ended up getting stung when those illegals walked off the job. But other than being offended by outrageous displays of anti-gringo hate and ingratitude, most Americans barely noticed. There simply was no measurable effect. All the lefties really accomplished yesterday was to anger mainstream Americans and demonstrate that their movement can do very little except organize protests. If they wanted to flex the economic muscle of illegal labor, they failed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Americans Would Too Do the Work!

Do illegal immigrants really perform work no Americans are willing to do? Consider some of the jobs Americans do every day:

Americans go down into deadly mines, breathing coal dust that steals years from their lives. Americans climb down manholes and trudge through sewers carrying human excrement, rotted food and a noxious mix of chemicals. They collect garbage and clean up toxic waste. They face possible death and dismemberment serving in dangerous jobs like commercial fishing, timber cutting, and military service. Americans do back breaking labor on construction sites and in steel mills. They drive long haul trucks far from family and friends. Americans perform menial tasks, such as rustling shopping carts and flipping hamburgers. A black American near my apartment kneels down at people’s feet to shine their shoes.

The fact is Americans work their asses off in positions high and low, prestigious and humble. It’s a colossal insult to our people to say we think ourselves above any task needing to be done. And it’s just as insulting to say there are immigrants low enough to do that labor that is beneath us. It is patronizing and ultimately racist.

Of course, increasingly, illegal immigrants are taking over many of the lowest paid professions noted here, but not because Americans won’t do the work. Illegals are taking over because they’ll do the work for unfair wages. They’ll tolerate more abusive bosses and won’t make a fuss over safety codes and working conditions. Why should a business hire a black, white or other American who will then demand fair wages, safe conditions, and other legal labor and business practices, when they can instead hire vulnerable illegal immigrants at a fraction of the cost? Americans have been replaced in janitorial positions, factories and on farms not because they refuse to do the work, but because they refuse to work for the near slave wages and in the sweat shop conditions that illegals gratefully accept.

A perverse aspect of the illegal immigration debate is that it pits economic progressives against social progressives. People who care deeply about the plight of workers and who want to preserve living wages and good conditions are opposed by other people who care deeply about a vulnerable underclass of people who just want a better life. It really is a shame that some demonize illegal immigrants and paint them as wanton criminals. In desperation for a better life, would we all not cross a border and pursue it? However, the fact remains that by tolerating illegal immigration we are depressing wages for the entire society, keeping many poor children in poverty, and creating a large (and growing) underclass of informal workerbots who toil hopelessly for ever shrinking wages.

As I’ve written before, America needs immigrants – maybe even more than the 11 million or so who are estimated to be here illegally. But we need them to go through the legal process of immigration. That would provide additional security for our borders, and it would ensure that no one works in a Vietnam-style sweat shop or toils for less than the minimum wage. That might mean a more expensive head of lettuce, but it’s worth the cost to preserve the middle class that is being destroyed by what is essentially unrestricted laissez faire capitalism in the labor market.