Boat People

Our family line has some who came over earlier than 1776 and some who rode the waves to America much, much later and in far worse circumstances. It also seems we have a lot in common with Peggy Noonan than just a good Irish background.

20 Responses to “Boat People”

  1. Ken Summers says:

    Mine span the range from early 1600s to 1874 (and include at least one who fled the potato famine).

  2. Mike Rentner says:

    Well, as one whose family came much later than the Susan Constance, I’m all for stopping this horrible war on immigrants.
    I don’t care how they get here. Immigration restrictions only encourage slavery markets by putting people into dangerous people’s hands to get here.
    If I were living in a poor, corrupt, oppressive country, I would hope that I would do everything in my power to leave it and go somewhere better.
    There’s only one downside to immigration and that’s when people come here and go on the dole. The solution is not to restrict immigration, it’s to end the dole.
    I’ve never seen anyone have a legitimate gripe about people who come here and work. It keeps wages low and thus prices low. They’re happy, consumers are happy, everyone is happy.
    Oh wait. No not everyone is happy. The people who aren’t happy are those that can’t compete against poor, uneducated, non-English speaking people. They’re not happy. But then anyone who can’t compete in those conditions isn’t likely to be happy with anything.
    My vote is to open the borders for all comers, so long as they aren’t criminals or terrorists. If you make the borders easier to cross legally, you’ll make it easier to find those crossing illegally.
    As always, the correct solution is less government control and more freedom.

  3. Ken Summers says:

    Mike, we need to restrict immigration to levels that can be absorbed by the economy. Artificially depressing wages (and increasing unemployment) by unrestricted immigration would increase balkanization of ethnic groups. This happened with several ethnic groups in the last two centuries, and they became effectively “slaves” even though legal immigrants.
    That’s not to say the current legal immigration levels are optimal – higher might be better, lower might be better – but a huge oversupply of unskilled and (largely) unemployable labor, especially if they don’t already speak English, is a recipe for trouble.

  4. Mike Rentner says:

    Which ethnic groups are you referring to? The Chinese thrive here. The Irish are pretty much main stream now. Germans too.
    My own Portuguese family is not even recognized as being out of the mainstream much anymore. So where is the balkanization? Oh yeah, the balkanization comes from politicians fighting over the dole.
    Mexicans and other Central and South American ethinicities are almost more numerous than whites (which now includes Portuguese I guess) and they hold offices at the highest levels in the country.
    So what is the trouble? Oh yeah, the trouble is when newcomers have to hide from jack boots to get here and continue hiding while they’re here rather than be welcomed and enjoy freedom with their attempts to find prosperity.
    They have just as much right to live here as you do. That’s what this country is all about. Sure, voting should only come after becoming a citizen and there should be a process for that, even for those born here, but just living here should be free. This is the land of the free, after all.

  5. ‘Land of the free’ true, but not the ‘land for free’. We don’t owe the world our backyard, but we do owe people a shot at getting here. Every kind of person, from rocket scientist to strawberry picker. But LEGALLY. Hell, yes, it’s a mess and needs to be straightened out, BUT. Legally; no if ands or buts. Jack boots is kinda over the top ~ it is the law, like it or not. Should we selectively enforce that or not? And I certainly don’t agree with “politicians fighting over the dole”. The Irish bred like rabbits, so of course we’re everywhere, as well as most of the original immigrant communities. As you said, ‘mainstream’. One of my favorite beefs? Two words, Mike ~ “Little Saigon”. When every sign is in Vietnamese (up to and INCLUDING the ‘no smoking’ ones in the community college I attended), when you have to SPEAK Vietnamese to be able to communicate within the ever expanding confines of the ‘district’ and there are serious law enforcement issues by virtue of that very same insular community, then you have ‘balkanization’ starting. A little foreign fiefdom set up within our borders, pretty much run the way they want it because they’ve effectively sealed themselves off. (Or actually the City of Garden Grove effectively let them.)
    It’s happening everywhere, with dozens of different nationalities and ethnic groups withIN those nationalities. And they all want the ‘old country’ here. Those who immigrated through the turn of the century ~ right up to my darling mother-in-law in the 60’s ~ came here to be AMERICANS. Not better fed, say, ‘Bulgarians‘. They wanted to be a part of the community that is this nation, be a part of the energy of this place and reap the rewards of busting their a$$es. And all those cultures have immeasurably richened the melting pot that is us. But it is ‘us’, not ‘them’. Which is the difference between then and now, and also a good measure of the resentment people feel. Now, I’ve known you for a million years. We both spreche de English, my MIL worked like a dog to get it rolling (and wants to know why they have to have 4 Spanish masses on Sunday for the Mexican workers, when SHE learned how to speak English), but there are generations of immigrants, legal and illegal, who have never (and will never) attempt to speak a word. Never attempt to step outside the safety of their national fiefdom, be it in Minnesota, Indiana, Arkansas ~ wherever. Never add to and be a part of the fabric that is ‘us’ and they’re perfectly content doing so. Pretty soon ~ well, it’s happening already ~ those cultural enclaves are going to bump up against each other, and it’s not gonna be a mesh. It’s gonna be a grind. And grinding causes friction, friction causes sparks and voila. Because there’s no common ground. No ‘us’.
    Nothing’s melting in the pot. It’s congealing.

  6. Mike Rentner says:

    That Viet Namese quarter IS us. The Portuguese neighborhoods in Massachussetts are us. That’s who we are. The Irish neighborhoods are us.
    So what if they speak another language. How does that hurt you? So long as we don’t have the dole, the best way for them to succeed is to learn English. We will always have little bits of Italy in New Jersey and New York where they speak Italian. We still have a few neighborhoods in Texas where they speak German. I know that they still speak Portuguese in New Bedford. My Grandmother was one of them.
    I just don’t see a problem.

  7. Ken Summers says:

    Mike, despite the “melting pot” idea, there was a lot of imposed segregation among immigrant groups, mostly imposed by others. There are reasons we have Chinatowns and Little Italies.
    Much of it was overt racism, but much was imposed by people profiting off keeping the immigrants in ghettoes and making sure they couldn’t better their lives. I’m as much a freemarket capitalist as anybody, but those with power, both political and financial, ensured there were few free markets. That goes far to explain why socialism and anarchism became attractive ideas to a lot of people.

  8. the best way for them to succeed is to learn English.
    And they don’t. That was precisely my point. And it hurts us all. Every time a cop has to go into a neighborhood where there’s no one who can translate, or the paramedic who needs information and can’t get it, or the struggling city administration that has to scale back upkeep, improvements or services because they have to have translators for the court system. They think of themselves as their nationality first, not as Americans. These insular conclaves don’t so much want to be Americans as just be here.
    And you’re being hugely disingenuous with the ‘bits of Italy’, etc. Of course they still speak their native languages ~ Major Dad kicks himself because he can’t roll an ‘r’ ~ and everybody loves Prince Spaghetti Day, but back atcha ~ so what? Those neighborhoods grew and prospered because the majority also made it a point to learn English, to have bi-lingual households. And they had to because the schools taught in English. How does it hurt me? When our son, if we hadn’t had the wherewithal otherwise, would have gone to a school where EVERY hour’s worth of class time was divided into teaching the lesson first in English and then RETEACHING it in Spanish. What did the kids take away from a day in school? Not a damn thing. Where the constraints on the school system to deal with the fiscal problems posed by non-English speakers resulted in one subject book for every three pupils, so no homework, no follow up, no EDUCATION. Oh, it hurts all right ~ it hurts everyone and everyone pays for it ~ with a pool of illiterates coming out of a broken school sytem, teenagers who have no hope for a future because they can’t read, can’t function in even a marginally demanding setting, who then become the idle hands that ‘do the Devil’s work’. Like the French Muslims who consider themselves Muslims, which also happens to be what the French consider them. Didn’t that work out well for everyone. Then the ‘happens in every school system’ line. Sure, and we’ve done post after post on that. But multiply the problems inherent in any average school system by the exasperation factor of multilingual education, the additional funds sucked out of the schoolroom to deal with the ‘needs’ of non-English speakers ~ teachers, support materials, etc. Please, tell me that doesn’t ‘hurt’ everyone involved, from the kids to the taxpayer.
    That Vietnamese/Hmong/Cuban/whoever/insert your choice Quarter isn’t us. They make no attempt to be a part of anything outside of their own immediate community and interests.
    So long as we don’t have the dole,
    Well, we do.

  9. Mike Rentner says:

    Well, now you’re exposing the evils of publicly funded schools, which is a different topic.
    My life’s ambition is to destroy public schools. It’s the most important change we can make to the country, but now I’m way off topic.

  10. Rob says:

    My American grandfather of Italian descent was embarrassed and frightened to speak Italian like his older immigrant brothers on the streets of 1920s New Orleans. They were the flavor of the day of the various hate groups, including the one-step up Irish immigrants in New Orleans. The Irish and Italians were natural enemies in New Orleans and I still have no idea why. My mother of Irish descent and my father of Italian descent got along famously for a long time. Here’s the deal: If the enclaves everyone worries about aren’t forced as they were in the turn of the century immigration wave, they would tend to occur naturally as we’re seeing now. The first generation speaks their native language and little to no English and it frustrates them more than it does us, the next one speaks the native language and English, and the third will speak English almost exclusively. It takes time and it’s a friction-laden process. We’re in the middle of an immigration wave right now and they’ll learn to blend. I’m not as concerned about this as most others are. The immigrants who are united only by former geography and language will melt into the pot like the rest of us did.

  11. Mr. Bingley says:

    The difference Mike, and the problem, is that is those older ethnic neighborhoods that you refer to everyone made damn sure that they learned english because their kids were gonna grow up as ‘merkuns, by gum, and join into the greater society, whereas now they file lawsuits to have ballots and schools in their native tongues so they can keep isolated.

  12. Mike Rentner says:

    Not to belabor the point, but why do you care what language they speak?
    Now the issue of providing free translations is a totally different topic. It has nothing to do with whether people should be here.
    Again, it is the dole. Government has no business spending money on providing hundreds of languages for drivers tests like they do in California. People coming here should be expected to learn the dominant languages, English, and Spanish in many parts of the country.
    Remember that unlike the French, there is no legal definition of English. Our language is one of convention, not definition. If the convention includes words like canyon, coyote, hoosegow, and vista, then those are as much English as skiff, school, quarter, and any other number of adopted words. Who’s to say that we have to stick with one language at all?
    The problem isn’t the people or the language. The problem is the crime and the fears of losing jobs, and the robbing of our tax money to support some of the immigrants. You don’t solve those problems by depriving people of the chance for freedom. You solve them by safeguarding our own freedoms from taxation for subsidizing others.

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    The language defines the country, and the culture. The dominant language is english in the whole country. Once you allow a country to have more than one you encourage it to have a hundred, and you no longer have a country but a collection of soon-to-be-warring citystates. I agree that the dole is a large part of the problem, made one hell of a lot larger by allowing any person who sneaks in to stay but putting up all types of roadblocks to those folks who try and do things legally and correctly. As Ms. Noonan states, just wtf does that encourage in our new arrivals?

  14. Mike Rentner says:

    Lots of countries have multiple languages. We’ve had numerous languages for a long time. We haven’t disintegrated yet.
    Puerto Ricans hardly speak any English, yet they are part of our country.
    What unites us is not a language or monolithic cultures as far as food and habits go. Our nation is a culture of rugged individualism and freedom from government. That’s what unites us. Linguistics is irrelevent.
    I don’t remember giving anyone permission to “allow” other languages. Free people speak whatever language they wish, or they’re not free.
    And as to your last point, that is exactly my point. We make it too hard to become a legal immigrant. We can never, never stop immigration. By making immigration difficult, we encourage lawlessness. The solution, as always, is to decrease government control.

  15. Mr. Bingley says:

    Yes, we’ve always had multiple languages spoken in homes and social occasions, but always only english at any involving the polity, and that is now changing, and that’s a perilous development, in my opinion.
    We must know different Puerto Ricans, as all of the ones I know are conversant in english, to a much greater degree than I am in spanish.
    A common language is the glue that holds our differing ideas on food, religion, government, etc together; without that one common thread all the rest is impossible.
    Free people can and should speak whatever language they want in their private lives, but in their public lives it is essential that they are all on an equal footing and speak the same language, so there can be no misunderstanding, no inequality.
    But Mike, by making immigration easy you are encouraging lawlessness, it seems to me. We are the freeest country in the world, and the proof is clearly shown by the foot-votes of all the folks who try by various means to emigrate here. But for a free nation to survive ‘freedom’ must not be allowed to expand into anarchy. We ask only of the immigrants that they follow our laws, and we owe it those who came before that those laws be enforced. We owe nothing to the world that would require us to open our borders, and we owe our citizens the integrity of those same borders and the integrity of our legal system.

  16. Mike Rentner says:

    Yes, they must follow laws. But why do you care if they are here at all, so long as they are following the laws?
    But if you make arbitrary things illegal, you make criminals out of otherwise peaceful people.
    We can’t stop people from coming here, that has been decisively proven. The trick to good governance is to make the legal way be the same as the easy way as much as is practical.
    Freer immigration is the answer.
    And with that, I will retire from this discussion because I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

  17. Mr. Bingley says:

    Oh heck, your welcome is in no danger of wearing out Mike; our discussion has been quite adult-like and respectful.
    Part of the glory of freedom is that you have the right to be wrong! 😛
    As sadly do I…a right which I exercise all too often.

  18. What HE^ said!
    (You can’t leave – we haven’t gotten to argue like this for 20 years, you elitest!)

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