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Some Progressive Thoughts On Immigration

Over at Jonah's place:

"We must know our IMMIGRANT's pedigrees. They are flooding our shores with actual and potential Insanity, Imbecility, Pauperism, Prostitution, Alcoholism and Crime"

"When the low immigrant is giving us three babes while the Daughter of the Revolution is giving us one it means the Gibson and Harrison Fisher Girl is vanishing. Her place is being taken by the low-browed, broad-faced, flat-chested woman of lower Europe. "

This guy must have known different European women than I do.


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K wrote:

Love the stuff about left handers. Explains why the public elementary school I attended tried to "break" me of the habit.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

I always thought H. P. Lovecraft was a hoot because of this. He bought completely into the immigration menace thing in the 1920's and wrote a large number of politically incorrect short stories about mutant, aberrant hillbillies and swarthy foreigners worshipping freaky elder gods spiced up with human sacrifice, bestalialty, things man wasn't meant to know, etc.

Jim Harris wrote:

I always thought H. P. Lovecraft was a hoot because of this.

I'm sure that that's true. However, Lovecraft was not in any sense a progressive or a liberal. Likewise Albert E. Wiggam, who Goldberg quotes here, was a mixed bag. In one of his books, Wiggam spends some pages on the intelligence and military prowess of royal lineages in Europe. He has more in common with William F. Buckley than with Barack Obama.

There is a valid historical point here: The eugenics movement did, unfortunately, entangle two very good ideas, contraception and the science of evolution, with some very bad ideas, such as genetic rationales for elitism, racism, and immigration control. By the end of World War II, the liberals had it straightened out. Look who sees an immigration menace these days.

Fletcher Christian wrote:

Lovecraft had a point, which was that high levels of inbreeding and first cousin marriage produce populations with very high numbers of people with assorted genetic defects, especially if the defectives are not culled (which in fact Christianity prohibits in any case). The analogy with breeding animals is not relevant, because in that case the defectives don't get to breed.

As for royalty, it is quite possible that up to some point in history royals did in fact tend to be superior. Not only because of better nutrition, but because they deliberately chose good stock for breeding - and because in this case the defectives were culled, usually by death in battle. Up to perhaps 1600, royalty usually led in battle, from the front - and someone who is physically inferior tends to die, in a position like that. Especially with no antibiotics and so on. And there has, throughout history, usually been at least one war for a prince to die in.

Of course, this no longer applies to royalty, especially European royalty - they are inbred and the defectives haven't been culled; witness the high incidence of haemophilia in European royalty.

Bill Maron wrote:

Jim, you slay me. Being concerned about uncontrolled illegal immigration and its drain on scarce resources in states like CA, TX, AZ and NM is the same as worrying about bloodlines diluted by immigration? The vast majority of border security advocates aren't against legal immigration. For you to try and equate the two is undeserved and insulting. If you don't live in a border state and see, first hand, the problems and think the press reports fairly, I have a bridge to sell you.

Jay Manifold wrote:

They'd be against legal immigration if it were set at 5 million a year. Protestations to the contrary, it's all about the volume, not the legality. Also, CA (scarcity mentality) != TX (abundance mentality).

Jim Harris wrote:

The vast majority of border security advocates aren't against legal immigration.

You and they are trying to split a hair that won't divide. The immigration laws that we have were written to keep immigration down, to suit people who are against immigration. They have quotas. The first such national quota, the Emergency Quota Act, was passed in 1921 when Lovecraft and Wiggam were voting citizens, to appease people who were like them. Jay Manifold is right, it's about volume, not legality. If it were just about legality, the simple solution would be to raise the quotas.

Yes, they don't phrase it in terms of genetics these days. World War II and the Civil Right Movement made that argument taboo. But the fact is that Wiggam and Lovecraft didn't really know anything about genetics. They looked to genetics to explain what they did know, which is that the immigrants were poor, didn't speak English, and had strange cultures. After all, women generally are "flat-chested" when they don't have enough to eat.

And that is where things stand today as well: poverty, lack of English, and strange culture. Those are still the three crisis alarms of the so-called "border security" movement today. Otherwise why would they be up in arms about Spanish lyrics for the national anthem. It's perfectly legal to sing the anthem in Spanish, Klingon, or any other language; it's not another 9/11.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

"...Lovecraft was not in any sense a progressive or a liberal."

That's a relief! Cthulhu just wouldn't be the same if he was. As a fan of his (Lovecraft not Cthulhu ^_^) I believe his main point that runs through almost all of his works isn't remotely political in any way but rather the genuine somewhat existential (in a non-egocentric manner) fear that greater intelligence should equal greater evil; that evil is nothing but the inherent nature of intelligence. Now add that humanity is pretty much at the bottom of the pile when it comes to what amounts to intelligence on an interstellar/interdimensional scale and you've got an interesting setting (and Cthulhu the refugee in hiding in/on Earth isn't all that far up on the intelligence/evil scale either).

My recommendation is to read Lovecraft with that in mind and one will likely (re)discover a very interesting author and not the undeserved stereotype.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

And could someone tell me just what is supposedly so wrong about immigration control and quotas?

Do the opponents of such let anyone move in and stay in their flat/house/ranch/whatever no matter what happens or how many move in?

I people want truly free movement across a border there's a word for that: union (which is why it's called the United States of America, I'm sure Mexico and Canada are free to apply for membership if they wish to ^_^).

Habitat Hermit wrote:

That should be "If people.." not "I people...", spotted it a second too late ;>_>

Jay Manifold wrote:

The people of Mexico are applying for "membership," by voting with their feet against two centuries of misrule by utopian incompetents.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on March 10, 2008 9:41 AM.

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