Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Washington Post has a new blog called "Stumped" in which Andres Martinez, a former LATimes editor (who'd been forced out in an ethics scandal), answers people's political questions. One question was whether recent legal immigrants resent illegals. Martinez said, basically, no, they just love 'em. Here's the answer I posted:

Of course American citizens of Latino heritage generally support a future replete with more and people of the same race and culture--especially if that includes Uncle Hidalgo and Aunt Dolores. This is simple tribalism, and all humans share this trait. That's a far simpler explanation than your spin-stuffed exegesis. And as Einstein observed, explanations should be as simple as possible (but no simpler).

You are also correct (to a point) that the Latino voting bloc is now so large--courtesy of two previous amnesties--that neither party leadership dares ignore it. OTOH that's hardly a moral argument.

But our southern border has several other virtual signs you failed to notice-- "Safety valve for Mexico's kleptocracy" being the most significant. Mexico's ruling class keeps half of the country's populace in dire poverty, due to their hogging so much of Mexico's rich natural resources. Meanwhile the Catholic Church's opposition to all forms of birth control has resulted in Mexico's populaton exploding from 20 million in 1940 to over 100 million now--far more people than Mexico's economy can absorb.

So according to you, America has to take the fall for the problems Mexico created all on its own. And that "help wanted" sign you allude to was posted there by America's ruling class--the prime beneficiaries of this mostly unarmed invasion. I don't need my lawn mowed by illegals. And I'm happy to pay a dime more for a head of lettuce--which is about what it would cost.

We force skilled workers with advanced degrees and a good command of English to wait a decade to come here while you advocate on behalf of unskilled workers who speak no English, and whose children are less likely to learn fluent English than any other immigrant cohort in American history.

Meanwhile American unskilled workers with a high school diploma or less have seen their real wages cut by a quarter because their bosses use illegals' labor as a club to cut wages and bust unions.

But you don't know any Americans with just a high school diploma, do you?

Your selective focus bespeaks an ethnocentric orientation all too common in today's Democratic Party and the academic sector. Mexican peasants are the new Negroes, taking on the mantle of the noble Rousseauian savage at one with nature. At the same time you dismiss the complaints of Anglos as simple racism, nativism, and other namecalling epithets.

But when you correctly observe that our exploding Mexican and Mesoamerican population is a potent voting bloc, you fail to couple that observation with the fact that you can only pander to this group by alienating the vast majority of America's indigenous--that is, born here--population. And calling us names will only silence a few of us.

Remember when Bush and our "Democratic" Congress conspired to jam what your side propagandizes as "comprehensive immigration reform" down our throats?

It didn't fly because those Congressmen heard from their constituents. What you insult as "nativist" is simply our love of our own culture.

I've been to 14 foreign countries, mixed with the locals, eaten the food, learned some of the language, gone scuba diving and done other forms of adventuring across four continents. In fact I speak Spanish, have studied at the University of Mexico, and am quite comfortable in Mexican society. This invasion doesn't gore my own ox particularly. Who gets hurt is Joe Lunchbox. But I come from Scots-Irish peasant stock myself--including a father with a 7th grade education--and I understand how these folks feel when their TV station turns into a Telemundo branch and their corner market becomes a Carniceria and their grundge rock station starts blasting Tejano. In large swaths across the American Southwest it isn't multiculturalism we're getting. It's ethnic cleansing, with a kind of American Quebec coalescing under our noses.

Your side is likely to win, since your side represents a Devil's bargain between Big Business, Latino racialists, the Catholic Church, and the Democratic Party leadership. Along with various far-left organizations.

All we've got is 80% or so of the American people and Republican pols awkwardly trying to balance their Big Business donor's demands for more illegals against their consitutents' demands for less.

So that's tough odds, I realize. But we'll do what we can.

BTW when you do take the Southwest back from us...will you return it to the Indians you stole it from? When I hear Mexican advocacy groups talking about how the Southwest is really theirs, I never hear them mention this. Ask a Navaho what HE thinks of such claims sometime.


You can see the whole thing here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Does Bush deserve praise for the "surge"'s success?

That was the question raised by a website called The Moderate Voice.  This was my reply:

Bush’s traits overlap with those of actually virtuous people. Thus his stubbornness at times will look like strength of character; his conscious dumbing-down of his speech at times will look like he’s got the common touch; and his warlike posturing at times will look like he’s an actual warrior.

In the case of the “surge” it has taken him the length of WWII to realize that you have to hold the ground you take or the enemy will take it back. Let’s see, how long has that been a military principle? Several millenia I’d wager. Talk about reinventing the wheel.

Another equally ancient principle is that war doesn’t solve political issues–however, it’s often a necessary precondition (something lefties rarely acknowledge). In this case, given that we’re up to our eyeballs in Iraq (and that’s a huge given, I realize), we can neither stay nor go without paying a terrible price in a variety of terrible ways. There is no easy/simple/satisfying solution. None. Even though we should never have gone in, that doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on what we should do now. If only it did–that would make things a lot easier to figure out.

And don’t forget that one of these terrible prices is what’s going on in “Afghanistan, which will never get solved until or unless Al Quaeda’s and the Taliban’s stronghold in Pakistan is eliminated. Another potential price is China possibly deciding that we’re too entangled in Iraq to defend Taiwan, leading China to invade and conquer Taiwan soon after the Olympics. These are just two outstanding flashpoints. There are others as well. People all over the world carefully examine every move America makes, and then decide what moves they’ll make.

So taking all that into account, should we praise Bush for starting to do part of the right thing four years late? Yes we should. Centrists show they’re centrists by always giving the devil his due. That’s what “nonpartisan” means.

But now what will he do with the reduced level of violence there? Iraq’s million-odd Christians (many from families that have been in Iraq for literally thousands of years) are nearly all in exile today in Syria and Jordan, expelled by the forces we set loose when we decapitated Iraq’s government. Southern Iraq is more or less a province of Iran. Kurdistan is doing relatively well. Baghdad and western Iraq are still war zones, albeit at a lower simmer.

And the “government” of Iraq shows no interest in compromise with the Sunnis. The purpose of the “surge” was to make peace possible between Iraq’s opposed sectarian factions and apportion the country’s oil wealth fairly. But the “government” there appears to regard the current situation simply as a time to rearm and regroup for the coming civil war. As do many Sunnis.

I’ll give Bush plenty of praise if he can crack that nut.

I'm back from scuba diving in Indonesia

I was gone for the last month or so due to going on a dive trip to one of most remote locations on Earth (for diving at least): the Raja Ampat islands of eastern Indonesia. Trips like this give you perspective. We spent 11 days on a dive boat crewed entirely by Indonesians who were Muslim, Christian, and Hindu--and who all got along perfectly. 

In fact, everywhere we went in Indonesia we were welcomed by the locals, regardless of which religion they practice. The only problem we had was with the mosques. In Islamic tradition muzzeins ascend the four towers surrounding a mosque five times a day to sing out the call to prayer. 

Well, no more. Now they use a sound system Iron Maiden would envy. We discovered this during a stay in a hotel in Makassar, a city of over a million souls. The nearest mosque was several blocks away, and the call to prayer was so loud we could hardly hear ourselves talking, even with the hotel window closed. It is as offensive as some ghetto thug plunking himself down on a crowded beach with a giant boombox played full blast, daring anyone to object.  

The same thing is practised in Bali, which is over 90% Hindu. Yet even there the local mosques blare out their sectarian message while nearly everyone in earshot grinds his teeth at the offense. 

This is not like church bells in Christian towns. The bells don't have words. And, most importantly, the bells are not hyper-amplified. The mosque PA even went off at 4:30AM, waking up all of us in our group.

There was a stark contrast between the behavior of Islam at the mosque level vs. that of individual Moslems at the personal level. In that same town my spouse and I were walking along the beach and young Moslem women came running up to be photographed with us. It was a status thing, because white people are so rare in that area. 

I wonder if the mosques are being run by Saudi-trained majoritarian Imams who believe religion should be coercive? Seemed like it. And if so, their ideological soulmates would be American Christianists who believe America should be a Christian theocracy. That sounds extreme, and it is, but they're pursuing their goals incrementally. And to add insult to injury, they justify it by claiming that Christianity is under attack and they're merely defending themselves. 

Of course there are militant atheists who are trying to use the courts to expel every trace of religion from public life. But what % of the American public do they represent? I'd guess .005% of the population. At least 2/3 of Americans say they're Christians. To then go and play the victim card--as if they're a persecuted minority like Christians really are in Iraq--is simply obscene.
Loudmouthed mosques there, science-denying schoolboards here. All cut from the same cloth of coercive belief systems, whose partisans are trying to stuff the rest of us like geese being prepared for paté.