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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Orlando Sentinel: ROCKER free as a bird and speaking his mind

Small-town quail hunting with John Rocker (of the Southern Boys Investment Group)...because he am “one of you”!

People never really sat down and asked me, ‘John, why did you say some of these things?’ Well, I’ve got very good reasons. I don’t just fly off the handle, don’t just spout out diarrhea of the mouth. When I say something, I’ve got meaning behind it

We’re not talking about my reasons. We’re talking about black-and-white census reasons, all kinds of survey reasons.

I would have told you about immigrants. These are the percentages, this is what I know is going on with this country, where a lot of them want to come in and be integral parts of the society and assimilate themselves and be Americans. There are those kind of people; every one of them can come over here and build this country to be as great as it is today. But a lot of them come over here and just freeload off our good fortune, and those are the ones I have a problem with. People that in venues like this all over the country, they have a problem with it, too.

‘I’m one of you’

 

Repoz Posted: February 19, 2006 at 11:39 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: February 19, 2006 at 12:21 PM (#1867972)
"I don't hate all immigrants, just the dirty ones!"

John, really, just let it go. The perception of you is already solidified in people's heads, and nothing short of a direct sacrifice by yourself towards immigrant rights is going to change that.

If you really care about stuff like this, do something about it. Offer to patrol the US border on weekends, help catch the illegals in your hometown, or something.
   2. Rancischley Leweschquens (Tim Wallach was my Hero) Posted: February 19, 2006 at 01:17 PM (#1867994)
"This right here, this is America!"

Well, that's certainly not MY America. Man, there's 12 feet of snow and it's -8 F outside right now... I'm North American but I guess I have closer links with the "North" part than with the "American" one... No wonder people here play hockey and not baseball.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 19, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#1868032)
If you aren't a Cree or an Apache or a Kickapoo or whatever, you don't get to ##### about immigrants screwing up the country.
   4. bob gee Posted: February 19, 2006 at 03:14 PM (#1868063)
well, his clarified statement seems to echo my beliefs: support *legal* immigrants (who want to learn english along with their heritage), stop illegal ones.

but his original stuff was hateful.

the negative stuff i hear goes along the lines of "send all those a-rabs home" or similar nonsense when some of those 'a-rabs' speak better english, work their butts off, etc.
   5. pv nasby Posted: February 19, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#1868085)
Sounds like the guys playing center for the Celtics, kevin.
   6. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: February 19, 2006 at 03:34 PM (#1868088)
but don't benefit from those taxes.

Whee! An illegal immigration debate!

They send their kids to the tax-supported public schools. They get urgent medical care at hospitals, at taxpayer expense. They enjoy taxpayer-supported initiatives indirectly, like clean air standards and open space initiatives. In addition, even some of the low-income housing is tax-subsidized.

I actually think I agree with kevin's central point here (although I'm conflicted about it, and "net asset" doesn't make it right in a moral sense). But I think there's no way that his quoted sentence fragment can be proven.
   7. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 19, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#1868092)
FWIW, I am a big fan of illegal immigration. I am the product of illegal immigration in resistence to the racist immigration laws of the early-20th century. My family worked their butts off for this country, and it's a sentiment that I've tried to bring into my privileged existence.

Many of my students and their parents were illegal immigrants. They shared their stories when we did a unit on "immigration". I would argue that coming within moments of death in a desolate desert to be an American shows a bit more willingness to do anything for the country than popping out of the birth canal in the proper locale (For example, my supervisor who fell asleep during the kids' presentations on the topic).

Their final proclaimation was this: Any people should be able to immigrate. If they have not contributed in some defined set of ways within a couple of years, they would be deported.

When asked about those of us who were born here, they said, "Well, of course it would be the same! If you haven't done anything productive by 21 or so, you would be asked to leave..."

I don't know that I would agree, but it certainly has a logic to it.
   8. ChuckO Posted: February 19, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#1868136)
I had to laugh at that business name, Southern Boys Investment Group. That's SBIG. I'll bet old John boy loves to sit around drinking beer with his buddies while bragging that it means, "It's big!"
   9. Шĥy Posted: February 19, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#1868180)
They send their kids to the tax-supported public schools. They get urgent medical care at hospitals, at taxpayer expense. They enjoy taxpayer-supported initiatives indirectly, like clean air standards and open space initiatives. In addition, even some of the low-income housing is tax-subsidized.

Not to mention that they get to enjoy the protection of the police, firefighters, and military, all of which they didn't pay for.

I am a big fan of illegal immigration.

There can only be one possible reason for this and it is:

I am the product of illegal immigration

You're just a little biased there. Would you also support any terrorists who enter the county through illegal immigration?

If you haven't done anything productive by 21 or so, you would be asked to leave..."

I don't know that I would agree, but it certainly has a logic to it.


Yes, creating a totalitarian state that seperates families is completely logical.
   10. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: February 19, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#1868190)
If you haven't done anything productive by 21 or so, you would be asked to leave..."


How do you think I ended up here in Canada?

Best Regards

John
   11. pv nasby Posted: February 19, 2006 at 05:58 PM (#1868196)
No, you're thinking re-productive.
   12. AZ Posted: February 19, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#1868202)
They work their asses off in low-wage, low skill jobs that nobody else is willing to do, they increase tax revenues but don't benefit from those taxes. They keep businesses alive that otherwise would have succumbed to Chinese imports.

I would guess that most illegal immigrants are working in the service industry, e.g. migrant farming, cleaning offices, or food service. I think it would be impossible (or at least cost-prohibitive) to outsource the delivery of my dinner to China.

will prove that illegal immigration will prove to be a net asset for the country.

That may be true, compared to the scenario where those people hadn't immigrated at all. But the comparison should be whether the country is better off if they had immigrated legally vs. illegally.
   13. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 19, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#1868295)
I am a big fan of illegal immigration.

There can only be one possible reason for this and it is:

I am the product of illegal immigration

You're just a little biased there.


I'm sorry, I thought my initial post was very civil. My response to this crap is not going to be quite so civil.

Who are you supposed to be? What are you biases on immigration? What have you done for the country that makes you so special and justified in being so condescending to other Americans?


Would you also support any terrorists who enter the county through illegal immigration?

Would you also support citizens born here who raped small children repeatedly?

How about nativists who ignore the core point of someone's argument to soundbite in a condescending way?

What I was discussing was resistence to racist immigration law. Are you in favor of racism? Do you love cancer? Isn't it fun to take the worse case scenario and piece together irrational arguments?

As someone whose family has been separated on three separate occasions (within immediately familes, as in minors left behind) due to racist immigration law, I agree that I have first-hand experience that makes me wiser than you as to the drawbacks of racist immigration law.

Slaves who ran away broke the law too and robbed American taxpayers of their "assets". Of course, they were also resisting a great injustice. What is your feeling on that issue?

I found it especially ironic that you mocked my 16 year-old students' suggestions on the idea as "separating families". Did you mean that you didn't like it because it would "separate families" whose kids happened to pop out of the birth canal in the proper location?

But hey, what I was most impressed with was the 16 year-olds' ability to come up with their own plans for the issue from their own values. I would love to see you demonstrate that ability--how would you reform the immigration system to address issues of racism in immigration, issues with illegal immigration, and issues of nativism and citizenship?
   14. DCW3 Posted: February 19, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#1868336)
If you haven't done anything productive by 21 or so, you would be asked to leave..."

I'm not sure I know a single person who did anything productive before the age of 21.
   15. JMM Posted: February 19, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#1868364)
There are only two ways to really stop illegal immigration:

1) improve the economies of underdeveloped nations so that coming to the US to get paid less than shite to do all the backbreaking labor that Americans would never do for themselves is financially unappealling;

or

2) make the penalaties for employing illegal aliens borderline sadistic.

[or, of course, decriminalize illegal immigration via guest worker programs, but that might almost make sense if done correctly].
   16. Шĥy Posted: February 19, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#1868414)
Would you also support citizens born here who raped small children repeatedly?

How does this have any relation to not supporting illegal immigration? If immigration is done legally, the nation can limit the number of drug dealers and terrorists that enter the US. By supporting illegal immigration, you are supporting these people entering the country.

How about nativists who ignore the core point of someone's argument to soundbite in a condescending way?

So I am a nativist because I am not a "fan of illegal immigration?"

What I was discussing was resistence to racist immigration law.

But, you can't screen for good hard working people who suffered from racism. Anyone can come through by illegal immigration.

I found it especially ironic that you mocked my 16 year-old students' suggestions on the idea as "separating families". Did you mean that you didn't like it because it would "separate families" whose kids happened to pop out of the birth canal in the proper location?

All I was saying is that deporting US citizens who you or someone else deem have not been productive by the age of 21 is far from logical.
   17. E., Hinske Posted: February 19, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#1868415)
I'm just chiming in to point out the silliness of Congress passing something calling for the Secretary of Homeland Security to look at a fence along the US-Canadian border. We just want to bring hockey bags filled with pot across the border and go home...why must your racist immigration laws persecute us?
   18. Traderdave Posted: February 19, 2006 at 10:41 PM (#1868444)
I roll my eyes when people say "immigration is fine, just do it legally" because the chances are very good that their forebears came to America before there were any real immigration controls. Entry for Europeans was essentially unrestricted until 1920, as it was for Asians until 1880. Most white Americans (and I'm one) are the descendnats of people who immigrated legally only becasue there were no laws at all.

And legal immigration is hard for Mexicans and other Latino people. The US only allows 5000 visas a year for "un-skilled" labor. The rest of teh millions of agricultural workers, kitchen help, etc are forced to either wait years for a legal relative to sponsor them, or come illegally.


And kevin is right in post 5.
   19. Cabbage Posted: February 20, 2006 at 02:00 AM (#1868737)
I'm all for keeping criminals/terrorists out, but I really feel that it would be in both the short and long term intersts of the US if we simply let everone in.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:06 AM (#1868834)
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:18 AM (#1868853)
Entry for Europeans was essentially unrestricted until 1920

Western Europeans - Americans didn't like Papists.

I'm just chiming in to point out the silliness of Congress passing something calling for the Secretary of Homeland Security to look at a fence along the US-Canadian border.

It worked so well against the Huns...
   22. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#1868859)
Andy, that is a fantastic cartoon.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:28 AM (#1868868)
Entry for Europeans was essentially unrestricted until 1920

Western Europeans - Americans didn't like Papists.


True, but southern and eastern European immigration (i.e. Italians and Jews) wasn't really cut off by law until 1924. The rise of the second KKK had much to do with this, as they dominated entire state legislatures and wielded vast influence within Congress and the Democratic Party.

The Irish Papists, though, were still allowed to immigrate rather freely, along with their English and other northern European brethren.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#1868875)
Andy, that is a fantastic cartoon.

Thanks. My website is full of racial and ethnic images, both good and bad.
   25. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#1868877)
True, but southern and eastern European immigration (i.e. Italians and Jews) wasn't really cut off by law until 1924.

Really? My Polish ancestors from my father's side used a fake name and pretended to be German.
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#1868890)
True, but southern and eastern European immigration (i.e. Italians and Jews) wasn't really cut off by law until 1924.

Really? My Polish ancestors from my father's side used a fake name and pretended to be German.


Which would make perfect sense in light of what I said. The 1924 act severely restricted the immigration of southern (mostly Italians) and eastern Europeans (mostly Jews, but also including Polish and other Catholics), but still allowed great numbers to immigrate from England, Ireland, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. My own father immigrated from Norway in 1927 without any trouble. This of course was a decade where anti-Catholicism and anti-semitism was at a then all-time high, and southern and eastern Europeans were considered less "white" than their northern counterparts.
   27. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 20, 2006 at 04:26 AM (#1868935)
Would you also support citizens born here who raped small children repeatedly?

How does this have any relation to not supporting illegal immigration? If immigration is done legally, the nation can limit the number of drug dealers and terrorists that enter the US. By supporting illegal immigration, you are supporting these people entering the country.


Oh I see, so by saying that illegal immigration as a resistence to racist immigration code is good, I'm a friend to drug dealers and terrorists.

That makes perfect sense. So you are saying the most effective way to bar terrorists and drug dealers is to not check for weapons or intent to enter the country, it is to check for race, correct?

My first post made perfect sense. It was very clear why I supported illegal immigration.

You had several perfectly logical arguments to make:
1. Restrictions on immigration are necessary and with reform could be non-racist and effective.
2. Restrictions may be racist and often ineffective, but that they are really the best we can come up with right now.
3. There's some logical reason that popping out of your mom in the U.S. is worth bonus points.
4. That my characterization of immigration law, either currently, or historically as racist is inaccurate.

You choose none of the above and instead decided to:
1. Ignore my points and use variations of the "illegal is bad, dumbass" sort of argument.
2. Insult my family and background.
3. Use completely non-sensical arguments like, "Setting restrictions on citizenship for natives=a totalitarian state!"

When I questioned your argument, you sound-bit AGAIN and ignored my questions:

"How would you deal with immigration?" and "What makes YOU a 'good American'?"

As long as you are getting personal, I must say, this display certainly hasn't convinced me that you are a better contributor to our great nation than the vast majority of undocumented folks I've met.
   28. Шĥy Posted: February 20, 2006 at 04:44 AM (#1868951)
Oh I see, so by saying that illegal immigration as a resistence to racist immigration code is good, I'm a friend to drug dealers and terrorists.

You keep ignoring my point that illegal immigration lets anyone in. You don't get to choose to let the people who suffered from racism in but keep terrorists and drug dealers out. Anyone can enter the US and bring whatever he/she wants.

You choose none of the above and instead decided to:
1. Ignore my points and use variations of the "illegal is bad, dumbass" sort of argument.
2. Insult my family and background.


I never came close to saying any of that.

3. Use completely non-sensical arguments like, "Setting restrictions on citizenship for natives=a totalitarian state!"

No, I said that deporting every 21 year old natural born citizen who you or someone else thinks hasn't been productive would create a totalitarian state. You seem to be misreading/changing everything I write.
   29. Mr Dashwood Posted: February 20, 2006 at 11:04 AM (#1869149)
Historically, any concerns about immigration are not really about 'immigration' but about assimilation. The Know-Nothings of mid-19th-century America were not upset at all immigrants but about the political effects of the Catholic vote, and the possibility of a substantial body of Catholic citizens assimilating into a decidedly Protestant polity (many Protestant immigrants were staunch Know-Nothing sympahthizers, which caused the Know-Nothings a serious problem). Who is to say they were wrong to hold that view? I think it's arguable that they had a good case. One example: The King James Version of the Bible used to be read in American schools on a daily basis, and school texts had a decidedly anti-Catholic tone. One of the more important issues embraced by Catholic politicians at the time was to seek more liberal legislation on this so that their own children would not be exposed to Protestant literature (the Index Librorum Prohibitorum still was functioning then, remember). This kind of "separation of church and state", contributed to creating today's a-religious public education in the United States.

The Know-Nothings were right to be concerned about the effects on American society as then constituted of assimilating a large minority of 'dissenters'. In the long term it did change American society in a way they would not appreciate.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2006 at 01:07 PM (#1869163)
Who is to say they were wrong to hold that view?
Well, it's all about what "wrong" means, ain't it?

The Know-Nothings were afraid of Catholic immigration not just because it would change society, but because they believed that change would be destructive to their society. Are you arguing they weren't wrong about that? Are you arguing they weren't morally wrong to hold that view?

Really, it seems like you've redefined the issue and redefined "wrong" such that just about any bigot can be defended as being "right" in some way. There's no question that any minority group's acquisition of civil rights will create a change in society, that doesn't mean I have to respect where a bigot is coming from.
   31. Gaelan Posted: February 20, 2006 at 01:20 PM (#1869172)
The anti-immigration folks make me think its time to start a repatriation lobby.
   32. JC in DC Posted: February 20, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#1869183)
Eraser:

I agree with many things you say about immigration, but I can't help feeling you were waiting to be piqued by someone's comments and Why just stepped into the middle. Supporting "illegal" immigration is somewhat ludicrous. Why rightly asks questions abuot this, even if his questions are somewhat predictable and simplistic. You got personally offended much too quick.

Do you really support immigration through illegal means? I support many of the illegal immigrants we come into contact and work with. I support the notion that our economy actively encourages people to break the law to enter the country and join the workforce. But I recognize this is a terrible and unstable situation and needs to be changed. "Illegal" immigration is good neither for the immigrants who so enter (and some of whom die trying to enter) nor for our country, and this includes many of our poorer folks who lose jobs to illegals; the notion that the immigrants do jobs no one else will is partly true, but partly false; it's also true that immigrants do jobs that union workers would do, but companies won't hire them b/c of their wage demands.

Let's really stop demonizing each other and try constructively to think about a solution. I would favor an enormous increase in the numbers of unskilled legals allowed to enter, for instance. I do also support efforts to assimilate immigrants into American culture.
   33. Mr Dashwood Posted: February 20, 2006 at 02:39 PM (#1869200)
that doesn't mean I have to respect where a bigot is coming from.

I think you are confusing the moral difference between someone who is a member of an exclusive group (eg, citizen of the United States, a Protestant community in the mid-19th century) wanting to maintain that exclusivity, and someone who attacks a fellow member of the same group for bigoted reasons.

I haven't read the article, but from the pulled-out quote Rocker doesn't like foreigners who won't assimilate into the American culture he is familiar with. That's very different from not wanting to sit next to minorities or people with alternative lifestyles on the subway. Bigotry often goes hand-in-hand with concerns about the assimilation of immigrants, but it does not follow that concern about the latter leads to the former.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#1869205)
I think you are confusing the moral difference between someone who is a member of an exclusive group (eg, citizen of the United States, a Protestant community in the mid-19th century) wanting to maintain that exclusivity, and someone who attacks a fellow member of the same group for bigoted reasons.
I am confused. What is the moral difference?

The Know-nothings believed that the Catholic immigrants were immoral, that they would hurt the racial stock of America and lead to a decline in the culture if they were admitted to the "exclusive group" of Americans. I find those views prima facie bigoted. Do you not see them that way?

Maybe I'm misreading you here, but you seem to be obliquely defending the moral stance of 19th century American nativists, and that's pretty disturbing to me.
   35. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#1869211)
I wrote a ton of meta crap, but I'll just put it on the end of this post, cause I'd rather have folks deal with the actual issue:

On the subject of immigration, of course you are right--we need reform. I thought it was very clear from my original post that I wasn't saying, "Let's not think about this at all!"

I brought up several points:
1. Illegal immigrants who are resisting racist law should not be vilified any more than other people resisting racist, unjust law.
2. People should be judged on their contribution to the country, not their ethnicity.
3. Place of birth should not be one of the primary criteria for evaluating contribution to country.

The reasonable point I've seen in response is:
1. Some 16-year olds' solution to "3" may break up families of adults, depending on how we as a country, (not I or anyone else), define "contribution".

Of course, we already face that problem with the deportation of American citizens parents while the citizens are minors.

In terms of your points about the law needing reform:
I agree entirely, but isn't breaking unjust law one of the most fundamental ways to reform our nation's laws? I mean that civil rights movement certainly wasn't pushed by "law-abiding citizens"...

The idea is not to hold up any and all illegal immigration, but to hold up those who broke an unjust law in the pursuit of the American dream and values.

Isn't that one of the most "American" actions of all?




Let's really stop demonizing each other and try constructively to think about a solution. I would favor an enormous increase in the numbers of unskilled legals allowed to enter, for instance. I do also support efforts to assimilate immigrants into American culture.


I agree entirely with this and most of your other points, JC. As I said in my second post, I simply expressed my opinion in the first post, and was not looking for a fight. That's why I shared my students' experiences as well as my ideas. I understand that not everyone will agree. I think if you read Why's response from my perspective, it should be pretty clear why that would be regarded as a direct attack.

The idea that someone who is in support of illegal immigration must support ALL illegal immigration is a cheap debate tactic and the idea that someone who is in support of illegal immigration must only be so because their family came in illegally shows a complete and utter lack of the skill of empathy.

I mean think about that for a second: Someone just personally attacked my right to discuss immigration at all, and basically questioned my right to call myself "American" and I'm taking things too personally?

I guess my reaction is what's the point of sharing anything personal in a community if you have people who are just going to search for sound-bites to play their personal bigotries out on you. That ruins the community, and I'm not going to let that stand.
   36. JC in DC Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:40 PM (#1869247)
The idea that someone who is in support of illegal immigration must support ALL illegal immigration is a cheap debate tactic and the idea that someone who is in support of illegal immigration must only be so because their family came in illegally shows a complete and utter lack of the skill of empathy.


This is what I don't get though, Eraser. You might mean you don't support all those people who enter illegally, and you might even mean you don't oppose efforts to root out terrorists. But you really ought to be more precise about what support of "illegal immigration" means. Wouldn't it be better if there were (ideally) no such thing; and I don't mean in a Pat Buchanan, shoot-them-when-you-see-them way, but in a way that virtually eliminates it by allowing much greater legal immigration and much more focused exclusion of people who are being dumped into our country by their homelands, or who are terrorists, or drug runners, or whatever?
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#1869255)
I think there's a distinction between personal ethics and policy ethics, here.

Given a set of policies in place, people need to figure out their ethics in regard to those policies. As I read it, in the case of the current US immigration policies, E-X supports generally the ethics of illegal immigration.

But if he were to formulate a more utopic set of policies, they certainly wouldn't look like the system we have now. When he said that he supported illegal immigration, I can't believe he meant that he supports our country's current laws on naturalization and detention and all the rest.
   38. Zapatero Posted: February 20, 2006 at 03:48 PM (#1869256)
When I was a student working on my BA in Economics, we were taught that "zero unemployment" for the United States was about 5%. That is to say, when you take into account all the movement in the society (students graduating and starting to look for jobs, people changing cities, folks-reentering the job market after raising a child or for whatever reason) 5% is about as low as the unemployment rate can ever go. So if your overall unemployment rate is 9%, then 5% of that is your perennial short-term unemployment of people moving to new jobs, and 4% is really people who are willing to work but can't get jobs for long periods of time.

The U.S. unemployment rate today is 4.7% that's right, we're below "zero unemployment" as that term was understood in the 1990s. Basically, everybody who is willing to work can find a job somewhere in this country. And there's a lot of work not getting done because there aren't enough people to do it.

The bottom line is that we need more labor, from whatever source. And things are just going to get worse when the baby boomers really start retiring in mass numbers, because the ratio of working people to nonworking people will fall. Put another way, ask your local service industry employers how they feel about immigration. I suspect they'll tell you that they need all the help they can get, from anyone who's willing to do the work.
   39. bob gee Posted: February 20, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#1869263)
shoemaker - the unemployment rate is ALWAYS understating the actual unemployment in the country. for example, if a person is unable to find work after X (i think it's 6, but i don't remember the actual number) number of months, they are not included in the unemployment number. there's a slew of other (not insignficant) people who are not considered in the list of unemployed as well.

i met someone (slightly different tangent; political mention here, but i'd have the same feeling no matter what political party) who basically worships the ground bush walks on. he has his own business...hires illegal aliens...who he pays in cash...and gets much of his payments in cash - which he doesn't pay taxes on, nor do his workers.
   40. Zapatero Posted: February 20, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#1869265)
Oh, and by the way many illegal immigrants do pay taxes. Here's the key quote to me:

Suarez, a painter, said he did not file because of his expected $700 to $1,000 refund.

"I'm just doing it to be OK with the government," he said.


Think about it -- why would Suarez be entitled to any kind of refund in the first place? That suggests the IRS already has his money, doesn't it?

The reason is that many illegal immigrants work in service jobs for legitimate employers. That means part of their income is withheld. As we all know come tax-time, the government usually withholds a little too much, since most of us get refunds. Lots of illegal immigrants don't know about all that, though, and so they lose their refunds. That's right, illegal immigrants often pay more in taxes than they need to.

It all depends on who they're working for. But you can bet that if they're in a restaurant kitchen or cleaning a shopping center, then their employer reports their income and lots of them are probably missing out on refunds they're entitled to. These days both the federal government and individual states are collecting payroll taxes from illegal immigrants and giving them a way to file tax returns.
   41. Zapatero Posted: February 20, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#1869345)
Bob gaj -- Just to clarify, my post about the unemployment rate is about the rate itself, as it is calculated. So even with all those folks who aren't counted, a 5% reported rate is what was considered "zero unemployment" at that time.
   42. Mr Dashwood Posted: February 21, 2006 at 09:56 AM (#1870234)
The Know-nothings believed that the Catholic immigrants were immoral, that they would hurt the racial stock of America and lead to a decline in the culture if they were admitted to the "exclusive group" of Americans.


You see, you are projecting your interpretations back in time on the Know-Nothings. "Racial stock" was, at least overtly, not a major concern of theirs.

At its most basic, the Know-Nothings were alarmed at what they saw as the <u>political</u> effects of large-scale Catholic immigrations. Catholics were believed to have not been encouraged to think for themselves, and to vote the way their bishops told them. So they weren't going to be allowed to become citizens without a long wait that would "Americanize" them. (Know-Nothings, at least initially, were also opposed to slavery, which the Catholic church was believed to endorse.)

So, to a Know-Nothing perspective, restrictions on acquiring citizenship were a defence of democracy.

Now, I have no doubt that plenty of Know-Nothings didn't like the Catholics because they were foreign. But for most it was an ideological question.

Which brings us to the exclusivity. Countries are like clubs; they control access to membership. One can exclude from membership whomever one wants. It's different if someone is already a member.

And in one particular sense, I <u>am</u> defending the Know-Nothings. You see, from their perspective, calling them bigots puts you in the same company as a Stalinist calling a Cold Warrior a fascist. Stalinism offers a fine rhetoric of democracy, but the practical experience of GULAG suggests something different, and suggests that real democrats might prefer the Cold Warrior as their friend
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 12:51 PM (#1870255)
Catholics were believed to have not been encouraged to think for themselves, and to vote the way their bishops told them.
You keep repeating these obviously bigoted statements in completely neutral language.

Is there any reason to believe that Catholics are not able to think for themselves, or ever were unable to do so as a group? Of course not. That's just beyond stupid, as a positive assertion.

Such a "belief" amounts directly to bigotry.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 01:25 PM (#1870265)
Stalinism offers a fine rhetoric of democracy, but the practical experience of GULAG suggests something different, and suggests that real democrats might prefer the Cold Warrior as their friend
Are you comparing the effects on democracy of lower-class Catholic immigrants to the effects of a Stalinist secret prison?

Stalin actually had secret prisons. The implication of your analogy, since you present it as a defense, seems to be that you think there actually are ethnic/religious groups which are so incapable of functioning in a democratic society that their participation in such a society would be analogously evil to forced labor camps. Is that what you want to assert? Which ethnic/religious groups?

Here's Thomas Whitney, founder of the Know-Nothings, on democracy:
I take direct issue with democracy. As I understand the term, I am no democrat. If democracy implies universal suffrage, or the right of all men to take part in the control of the State, without regard to the intelligence, the morals, or the principles of the man, I am no democrat. . . . As soon would I place my person and property at the mercy of an infuriated mob, and hope to save them, as place the liberties of my country in the hands of an ignorant, superstitious, and vacillating populace.
Here's (a partial paraphrase of) Thomas Whitney, founder of the Know-Nothings, on participation in democracy:
Human beings "are entitled to just such privileges, social and political, as they are capable of employing and enjoying rationally." Since human beings exhibited this capability to differing degrees, they were naturally entitled to different rights and privileges.
Since Whitney obviously believed that ethnic/religious groups, as wholes, were incapable of employing their priviledges rationally, this cannot be portrayed as an ethic of extreme responsibility, but a directly bigoted belief that some peoples are entitled to civil rights while others are not.

Source: Bruce Levine, "Conservatism, Nativism, and Slavery: Thomas R. Whitney and the Origins of the Know-Nothing Party," Journal of American History 2001 88(2): 455-488.
   45. JC in DC Posted: February 21, 2006 at 01:29 PM (#1870267)
Matt: I'm missing your point. You seem to be laying wood into fra paolo, and I can't decide whether it's b/c he accepts at face value what the Know Nothings said (and doesn't see that their stated views were really a cover for another kind of bigotry), or whether you think he agrees with the Know Nothings' views.
   46. JC in DC Posted: February 21, 2006 at 01:33 PM (#1870270)
That's a great article, Matt.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 01:36 PM (#1870273)
JC -

I'm arguing that their stated views amount to prima facie evidence of bigotry. I agree with you that the stated views contain a moderation not seen in, say, their participation in riots in New York and Baltimore, but I find that even this "face value" moderation still constitutes bigotry.

As to fra paolo, I can't tell why he's defending them. His analogies suggest to me that he finds something morally defensible in their views, and as far as that's correct, I'm very troubled by his defenses.
   48. JC in DC Posted: February 21, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#1870286)
His analogies suggest to me that he finds something morally defensible in their views, and as far as that's correct, I'm very troubled by his defenses.


Yeah, I was not sure what he thought he gained by his analogies, either.
   49. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 21, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#1870309)
ooo, I'm totally going to use that article in my "responses to immigration" unit! Thanks!
   50. Mr Dashwood Posted: February 21, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#1870365)
Stalin actually had secret prisons.

The Catholic Church actually had the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The United States had first amendment rights.

The 1848 revolutions in Europe were not welcomed by the Pope.

The Office of the Holy Inquisition still existed in 1854.

I think all the Catholics who are 'laying wood into' me need to clarify in their minds whether the Catholic Church of the 1850s was the kindly Christian institution of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, or a repressive, anti-intellectual force that inhibited the development of democratic rights in Italy and other countries.

My analogies are an attempt, clearly one that has failed, to equate Catholicism as it was perceived by Protestant America in the middle of the 19th century, with anti-democratic forces of the 20th century.

As for the Know-Nothings and democracy, the 1854 party was very clearly anti-Kansas/Nebraska Act, and consequently anti-slavery; see Tyler Anbinder's "Nativism and Slavery". Let's see if I can't find some Democrats from that era talking about slavery to compare with your Whitney remarks.

Large-scale immigration has an effect on the community that has to incorporate the newcomers. If a members of that community don't like what those effects will be, and see that they will occur, what ought they to do? This is the question no-one seems to want to deal with here. Except to say such views are immoral.
   51. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 21, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#1870370)
Eraser-X,

Check out an e-mail I just sent you, though I'm not sure how long it takes to get past the screeners in the BTF tower.
   52. Andrew Edwards Posted: February 21, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#1870416)
Well, John Rocker appears to still have enough influence to cause several Primates to waste hours of their time doing detailed background research on the impacts of immigration.

My inflammatory two cents is that people who oppose allowing as many immigrants as possible from China must want people to live under communist dictatorship, and are therefore objectively pro-communist. People who oppose unlimited immigration from, say, Iran, must want the 99.9995% of Iranians who aren't terrorists to live under Sharia law, and are therefore objectively pro-Fundamentalist.

Or something.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 21, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#1870425)
My non-inflammatory two cents is that you were very wise to choose the right parents. Or something.

You can now proceed to one of those "life is unfair" comments, yada yada yada.
   54. Mefisto Posted: February 21, 2006 at 04:38 PM (#1870437)
I can't believe I missed this discussion until now.

Let's go back a bit on the issue of Catholics and democracy. It was a standard Protestant view in the 17C that Catholics could not be proper citizens because their primary loyalty was to the Pope rather than the country/king. Locke, for example, takes the position that Catholics are not entitled to citizenship for this reason.

Before you dismiss this as simple bigotry, remember that this was an era when Popes were willing to declare Protestant kings illegitimate and relieve Catholics of their duties towards them (implicitly authorizing even assassinations -- and those did happen). In fact, of course, most Catholics in Protestant countries remained loyal in every meaningful sense, as did most Protestants in Catholic countries. Nevertheless, the reaction to Papal policy and the exploitation of fear left anti-Catholic attitudes quite common. Some of this concern remains today: witness JFK's election, for example.

The Know Nothings clearly did adopt this view of Catholics. To some extent, then, I think fra paolo is correct in pointing out the political, as opposed to ethnic, dimension of Know Nothing politics. Remember that many KNs were originally Whigs. Irish immigrants, in contrast, were almost universally Democrats. Without getting into chicken and egg issues, it's clear that these political differences reinforced the political aspects of the immigration debate.

BUT, and it's a big BUT, that wasn't the limit of Know Nothing attitudes. They DID express ethnic distaste for Irish immigrants. They were also anti-German. The Germans were heavily criticized for not speaking English, living in enclaves, and failing to assimilate (sound familiar?). The Germans, though, were Protestant. KNs couldn't use the Catholic card against them. The KNs were anti-German at least in part for ethnic reasons.

It's hard for us today to recognize how ethnically uniform the US was from the beginning to about 1850. There were very few minorities outside the basic English cultural/ethnic background. Ethnic politics was relatively new in the 1850s, but the KNs did practice them.
   55. CrosbyBird Posted: February 21, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#1870475)
I think all the Catholics who are 'laying wood into' me need to clarify in their minds whether the Catholic Church of the 1850s was the kindly Christian institution of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, or a repressive, anti-intellectual force that inhibited the development of democratic rights in Italy and other countries.

Not to provoke the local Catholics, but I think it's a mistake to characterize the current Church as free from repressive or anti-intellectual influence.

As a pro-choice, pro-stem cell research, pro-birth control, pro-gay marriage American, an influx of highly religious Catholics is to this day something that I view with more than a little trepidation. Perhaps I am too self-important, but as far as I can concerned, rejection of birth control and gay rights specifically are intellectually and morally indefensible, and I'd want to keep immigrants who represented those policies out of my country.

In much the same way, I'd imagine that if a group of outspoken atheists planned to immigrate into the US, there would be a significant concern on the part of many Americans that their lack of faith would contribute to the moral bankruptcy of their country.

Since Whitney obviously believed that ethnic/religious groups, as wholes, were incapable of employing their priviledges rationally,

I'm not sure I agree with this. It's more likely that he viewed the average member (as opposed to all members) of the group as less capable (as opposed to incapable).

Then again, it is difficult to shake the notion, as an atheist, that all members of any religion suffer from some sort of irrationality. I struggle in my everyday life to understand the people around me with religious conviction, and to separate one aspect of a person's belief system with what seems unsupportable logically from the ability to reason in general.
   56. JC in DC Posted: February 21, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#1870480)
To bite, or not to bite?
   57. CrosbyBird Posted: February 21, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#1870552)
I figure #57 should either provoke a three pager, or kill the topic dead.
   58. TH Posted: February 21, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#1870566)
Simple somewhat serious solution to immigration "problem": legalize unlimited immigration from the Western Hemisphere, enforce immigration laws on only employers, and get rid of the minimum wage. Basically makes what is happening now (and what I believe is beneficial for America and Americans) completely legal.

Oh and #57, as an atheist I used to feel that exact same way but I have grown to greatly respect many religions (boy that would sound retarded to the high school or college me).
   59. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: February 21, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#1870568)
He looks a little like scott stapp in the picture linked to the article.

"Venues like this" and "towns like this" turns out to be a recurring theme in what almost could be a political stump speech. People here view Rocker as one of their own in part because his most substantial message is, "I'm one of you."

God help us if rocker runs for office and wins.

Why couldn't he have gone hunting with cheney instead?
   60. CrosbyBird Posted: February 21, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#1870590)
Oh and #57, as an atheist I used to feel that exact same way but I have grown to greatly respect many religions (boy that would sound retarded to the high school or college me).

Don't get me wrong. The present-day CrosbyBird respects a lot of the good that religion can do, recognizing the comforts people draw from spirituality and the external good works done by religious organizations.

The highschool/early college version of CrosbyBird is one that I'm pretty ashamed of. I won't go into detail, but you can probably imagine.
   61. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: February 21, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#1870607)
I had to laugh at that business name, Southern Boys Investment Group. That's SBIG. I'll bet old John boy loves to sit around drinking beer with his buddies while bragging that it means, "It's big!"

I think of it as SoBIG.



How does this have any relation to not supporting illegal immigration? If immigration is done legally, the nation can limit the number of drug dealers and terrorists that enter the US. By supporting illegal immigration, you are supporting these people entering the country.

Why is it that illegal immigrants are drug dealers and terrorists? I can sort of see drug dealers, because americans always get upset about the drugs they don't control, but terrorists? Weren't the few terrorists who have carried out acts of terror within our borders legal immigrants? Terrorists don't need to bivouac across the border, as they have the financial backing to come into the country legally.

On a sidenote, is iraq going to run out of suicide bombers soon? At the current rate of (seemingly) one a day, isn't the country/region going to run out of crazy people at some point? There can't be an endless supply of people willing to blow themselves up, can there?
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 21, 2006 at 07:20 PM (#1870611)
Don't get me wrong. The present-day CrosbyBird respects a lot of the good that religion can do, recognizing the comforts people draw from spirituality and the external good works done by religious organizations.

And don’t forget that it was Marx himself who wrote that religion was “a haven in a heartless world.”
   63. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: February 21, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#1870626)
religion was “a haven in a heartless world.”

Or at the very least, an opiate for the masses.
   64. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 21, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#1870637)
Really, it seems like you've redefined the issue and redefined "wrong" such that just about any bigot can be defended as being "right" in some way. There's no question that any minority group's acquisition of civil rights will create a change in society, that doesn't mean I have to respect where a bigot is coming from.
It means that you have to be honest about it. If someone says, "We shouldn't do X because it will result in Y," then a valid response is, "I'm willing to pay that price." A valid response is, "Great! I think Y would be a wonderful outcome!" An invalid response is to deny that it will result in Y simply because you're afraid of losing the policy debate if you admit it.

Bob Gaj:
shoemaker - the unemployment rate is ALWAYS understating the actual unemployment in the country. for example, if a person is unable to find work after X (i think it's 6, but i don't remember the actual number) number of months, they are not included in the unemployment number.
This is incorrect. There's a time limit on eligibility for government unemployment benefits, but unemployment <u>status</u> is a separate matter entirely.

What causes one to be excluded from the base "unemployment rate" -- the narrowest, but most reported, measure -- is if one stops looking for a job. The basic reason for that is that we don't want to count people (women, but let's be PC) who stay home to raise their kids as "unemployed." We want to measure people who want jobs but can't get them. There's an intermediate category, called "discouraged" workers, which comprises people who do want jobs but have given up looking.


The reason is that many illegal immigrants work in service jobs for legitimate employers. That means part of their income is withheld. As we all know come tax-time, the government usually withholds a little too much, since most of us get refunds. Lots of illegal immigrants don't know about all that, though, and so they lose their refunds. That's right, illegal immigrants often pay more in taxes than they need to.
There is no basis in the article you cite for that claim, or for the claim that "most of us get refunds." (Why on earth would an intelligent person get a refund? Admittedly, most Americans are innumerate, so it's not implausible, but a refund means you've given an interest-free loan to the government.)
   65. RichRifkin Posted: February 21, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#1870684)
What causes one to be excluded from the base "unemployment rate" -- the narrowest, but most reported, measure -- is if one stops looking for a job.

Comparing unemployment rates across countries has always been tricky, in that different countries use different standards for what it is to be unemployed, who is and is not counted in the work force, and even what a job is. (Is someone who, for example, joins the French Army in the French labor force? In France, he would not be counted. But other countries, including the U.S., count their members of the military as members of the labor force, making the employment rate in those places seem higher.)

Also, it is difficult to accurately guage how many people without jobs are actually looking for work. If someone goes to a job service or registers with his state unemployment office, he will be counted. But obviously a lot of people who are looking for work are missed by that count. How should a person be counted who only looks at classified ads and only occassionally applies for those jobs? Maybe such a person is a dependent of someone else, so his need for income is not severe, but he would like to work?

Nonetheless, I always thought that the unemployment stats were telling because they could reasonably accurately measure the relative unemployment, and tell us which direction the employment picture is going, up or down, over time. That we could tell, for example, if our current unemployment rate is 4.9%, that is better than another period of time when it was 6.9%.

Unfortunately, even that is a shaky assumption. It certainly is the case that in narrow periods of time, we can assess the upward or downward movement of unemployment on a relative basis using the BLS numbers. But over any long stretch of time, it's hard to compare. Why? Because the rules of who and who is not employed, or who and who is not in the work force has been changed.

The military example is just a small one. Prior to the mid-1980s, people in the U.S. military were counted as "not in the labor force." Then, the Reagan Administration changed the rules, explicitly so that would lower the unemployment rate, which was then deemed too high. A more drastic change occurred with the exclusion of millions of formerly "unemployed" people, by putting them on SSI. There has been a massive explosion of the numbers of people in the U.S. who receive "disability" checks. This has had the effect, since the late 1980s, of making it appear that our unemployment rate is much lower than it was, say, in the 1970s. And that is an illusion.

Here is a quote:

Research by the economists David Autor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Mark Duggan at the University of Maryland shows that once Congress began loosening the standards to qualify for disability payments in the late 1980's and early 1990's, people who would normally be counted as unemployed started moving in record numbers into the disability system — a kind of invisible unemployment. Almost all of the increase came from hard-to-verify disabilities like back pain and mental disorders. As the rolls swelled, the meaning of the official unemployment rate changed as millions of people were left out.
   66. Mefisto Posted: February 21, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#1870692)
In light of #57 I guess I should add that Locke and others also argued that atheists couldn't be citizens. Various reasons were (are) given: they can't take an oath since they don't believe in God; the oath is meaningless to them because they don't believe in an afterlife; they can't engage in moral behavior without religion. These impress me about as much as the argument in 57.

IMO, instead of trying to reason out how people can behave in certain ways in light of their beliefs, we're better off waiting to see if they do. If we actually see Catholics and atheists, just to pick two examples, behaving as citizens, then we don't need to waste time on scholastic arguments which "prove" logically that the behavior we witness is "impossible".
   67. Daryn Posted: February 21, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#1870715)
People should be judged on their contribution to the country, not their ethnicity.
Place of birth should not be one of the primary criteria for evaluating contribution to country.


If we are going to have countries, which is not necessarily a great starting point, I think one of the best things about a country (take my country Canada, please) is that if you are born there you can always be a Canadian no matter how useless your life is or how fluky it was that you were born there in the first place. Everybody deserves to have a place they can always call home. The whole concept of losing citizenship because of uselessness or bad behaviour needn't be a part of any immigration discussion.
   68. J. Cross Posted: February 21, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#1870761)
I think one of the best things about a country (take my country Canada, please) is that if you are born there you can always be a Canadian no matter how useless your life is or how fluky it was that you were born there in the first place. Everybody deserves to have a place they can always call home. The whole concept of losing citizenship because of uselessness or bad behaviour needn't be a part of any immigration discussion.

Agreed. The useless flunkies are the ones who need the country the most.
   69. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#1870788)
It means that you have to be honest about it. If someone says, "We shouldn't do X because it will result in Y," then a valid response is, "I'm willing to pay that price." A valid response is, "Great! I think Y would be a wonderful outcome!" An invalid response is to deny that it will result in Y simply because you're afraid of losing the policy debate if you admit it.
I think this simplification of the argument misses the exact nature of mine and fra paolo's disagreement.

He has, in my reading, said two things. First was that Catholic immigration in the 19th century would change society. I agree with that, but I think it's simply a truism - adding people to a society changes society. To me, that's no defense of nativism.

Second, he said that there was "a perception" that the Catholics were generally incapable of properly engaging in democratic action, and that if we "understand" this perception, we understand why the nativists held their position.

My argument in regards to the second point is that, on an ethical level, I don't really need to engage that perception, because it is prima facie evidence of bigotry. Do I really need to argue that Irish people were perfectly fine and capable citizens of the United States? That seems utterly ridiculous, and I'm perfectly happy to label as outright bigotry any denial of that assertion.
Before you dismiss this as simple bigotry, remember that this was an era when Popes were willing to declare Protestant kings illegitimate and relieve Catholics of their duties towards them (implicitly authorizing even assassinations -- and those did happen).
I certainly don't believe, as a historical point, that there's anything that's really "simple" bigotry. The Know-Nothings emerged from a certain historical setting in which the space of possible thought included a distinctive type of national/ethnic/religious pride coupled to anti-Catholicism.

But fra paolo brought up the Know-Nothings in an explicitly ethical context. He was arguing that they were right. See how he introduced the topic:
The Know-Nothings of mid-19th-century America were not upset at all immigrants but about the political effects of the Catholic vote, and the possibility of a substantial body of Catholic citizens assimilating into a decidedly Protestant polity (many Protestant immigrants were staunch Know-Nothing sympahthizers, which caused the Know-Nothings a serious problem). Who is to say they were wrong to hold that view? I think it's arguable that they had a good case.
"They had a good case." Not, they constructed within the realm of their society a belief which, while flawed by its construction, had a certain contextual logic. No, "they had a good case."

I don't need to respond to that question with tons of historical context, because he is talking ahistorically in the first place. And ahistorically, I see little need to debate such a position in close detail.

Reading this over, my implication seems to be that fra paolo holds an objectively bigoted position. As best as I could tell, he was arguing that the Know-Nothings had objectively good reasons for thinking that Catholics should be treated as second-class citizens, though he never used those words. So, I guess I;m gonna have to stand by that implication. I want to say that I'd much rather be wrong than right about this reading, and I'm interested to see the response.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 09:45 PM (#1870793)
My first blockquote is from David Nieporent, my second from Mefisto. Sorry for any confusion.
   71. Mefisto Posted: February 21, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#1870828)
Matt, I don't disagree with your interpretation of fra paolo's quote (the 3d one). I understood that some part of the disagreement involved the narrow issue of whether there was some political aspect to the KN position. I think there was, though I don't agree with the reasoning which led thinkers like Locke to that conclusion. I also think, and said, that there was a great deal of bigotry in that conclusion and, I should add, in the actual behavior of the KN party.
   72. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 21, 2006 at 10:12 PM (#1870838)
He has, in my reading, said two things. First was that Catholic immigration in the 19th century would change society. I agree with that, but I think it's simply a truism - adding people to a society changes society. To me, that's no defense of nativism.
No, it's not a "truism." Adding like people to a society doesn't change it significantly. Adding people from a different culture can change it significantly. That's not a sufficient defense of nativism, but it's certainly part of it. What if society is good the way it is? What if, say, you've got a nice, tolerant, liberal democratic society, and then a bunch of religious fundamentalists want to come into the society and impose their religious values on you? Would you be so quick to welcome those people then? What if you're, for instance, gay, and these people want to re-outlaw homosexuality? Would you be so welcoming?

My argument in regards to the second point is that, on an ethical level, I don't really need to engage that perception, because it is prima facie evidence of bigotry. Do I really need to argue that Irish people were perfectly fine and capable citizens of the United States? That seems utterly ridiculous, and I'm perfectly happy to label as outright bigotry any denial of that assertion.
In hindsight, it may "seem utterly ridiculous," because we know that the Irish didn't screw up the country, but that doesn't mean they knew it at the time. It is not "bigotry" to assert that culture matters.

Simply throwing around labels like "nativism" and "bigotry" isn't argument. It's self-congratulatorily patting oneself on the back for one's openmindedness (without, ironically, actually listening to an opposing argument).
   73. spivey Posted: February 21, 2006 at 10:18 PM (#1870845)
I don't know if this is true or not but I bet once the academics figure it out, it will prove that illegal immigration will prove to be a net asset for the country.

There have been academic studies done to test this, and they show that illegal immigration is a net asset. As AZ points out though, there can be ethical issues about illegal immigration that are not accounted for in that.

Would you also support any terrorists who enter the county through illegal immigration?

While I agree this could be a problem in the future, it really hasn't been a problem in the past. Right now, terrorist organizations are well funded enough to where they can just get high level immigration forgeries. I think we'd have to get to the point where we were using optical scan identity cards (or something similar) before terrorists moved onto trying to cross the border - and that's a long way off because most people don't want to spend the money for that.

Western Europeans - Americans didn't like Papists.

As has been said, that didn't stop the Irish from coming in (although it did lead to them being treated poorly once they arrived). South east Europeans looked different and had a decidedly different culture that wasn't just due to religion. WWI making the US isolationist and racists controlling the Dillingham commission (which convinced a lot of people who didn't previously believe in racial superiority) created a perfect storm for restrictions on SE Europeans.
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 21, 2006 at 10:23 PM (#1870851)
In hindsight, it may "seem utterly ridiculous," because we know that the Irish didn't screw up the country, but that doesn't mean they knew it at the time. It is not "bigotry" to assert that culture matters.
Well, sure, but the Know-Nothings weren't saying just that "culture matters."

They were saying that Irish Catholic culture specifically made the members of that culture incapable of participating in democracy. Why did you so defang their position?
Matt, I don't disagree with your interpretation of fra paolo's quote (the 3d one). I understood that some part of the disagreement involved the narrow issue of whether there was some political aspect to the KN position.
Thanks for the response. I agree with you about the political aspects, and I meant to make that clear above. I just wanted to clarify why I hadn't dealt with the more complicated historical issues earlier.
   75. Mr Dashwood Posted: February 21, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#1870909)
Re: Matt Clement of Alexandria's post 71

Second, he said that there was "a perception" that the Catholics were generally incapable of properly engaging in democratic action, and that if we "understand" this perception, we understand why the nativists held their position.

My argument in regards to the second point is that, on an ethical level, I don't really need to engage that perception, because it is prima facie evidence of bigotry.

While I haven't done a lot of research into every single word ever written by them, I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of Know-Nothings were outright bigots.

My first point is that <u>if</u> an external group is perceived as a threat to the constitution and laws of a country, <u>what</u> is the legitimate response to admitting members of that group as immmigrants?

My secondary point is that <u>even though</u> Know-Nothings were bigots, we can empathize (not sympathize) with their fears of the effects of large-scale Catholic immigration, because it <u>did</u> alter the laws and customs of the United States in ways they did not care for. We don't have Bible readings in schools, and we do have baseball on Sundays, <u>in part</u> because of the admission of Catholics.

Reading this over, my implication seems to be that fra paolo holds an objectively bigoted position. As best as I could tell, he was arguing that the Know-Nothings had objectively good reasons for thinking that Catholics should be treated as second-class citizens, though he never used those words.

And, to the extent I am <u>empathizing</u> (not sympathizing) you are right. If empathizing with someone's point of view means that one agrees with them, then I am guilty as charged.

Personally, though, I don't have a problem with empathizing with a point of view yet still thinking it to be misguided. (I was raised a Catholic, and still attend Mass frequently, so having sympathy for Know-Nothings is somewhat awkward.)

Moving on to CrosbyBird's post 57, I am confident in saying that there is a Metropolitan Media Class in the English-speaking world that looks askance at the Catholic church as an institution, and is eager for every single revelation it can get about the priestly sexual abuse scandals in order to besmirch the message that there is more to life than found in this world. (The same class also often mocks the more basic faith found among Evangelicals.) I traded in my Metropolitan Media Class membership card thirteen years ago in Savanarola's cell at San Marco convent in Florence, but I can empathize with where he is coming from.
   76. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 21, 2006 at 11:40 PM (#1870932)
I'm learning a lot from the Know-Nothings discussion, but know too little to add anything of value.


If we are going to have countries, which is not necessarily a great starting point, I think one of the best things about a country (take my country Canada, please) is that if you are born there you can always be a Canadian no matter how useless your life is or how fluky it was that you were born there in the first place. Everybody deserves to have a place they can always call home. The whole concept of losing citizenship because of uselessness or bad behaviour needn't be a part of any immigration discussion.


I can see the value of this in theory, but don't see how it applies in the present day where many people of various countries don't really have a "home country" due to the circumstances of their birth. For example, I had a friend who was ex-US military who they tried to deport to Laos when he was caught with some weed. When it was pointed out that he didn't speak Laotian or know anyone in Laos, they tried to send him to Thailand. Ultimately, he was well enough connected that he was able to get a lawyer who won the case for him, but my point is that these issues of "what do we do with homeless folks" are already at the center of the debate.

As for me, the only place in the world I feel like I can just be myself and get treated as an equal human being is Hawaii. I wonder how I'll feel if it finally gains its independence.
   77. J. Cross Posted: February 22, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#1870957)
Catholics were believed to have not been encouraged to think for themselves, and to vote the way their bishops told them.

You keep repeating these obviously bigoted statements in completely neutral language.


This is obviously bigoted? To some extend Catholics ARE encouraged not to think for themselves and to follow the positions of the church. Now, whether this is true to a greater extent with Catholics than other religions is a matter of opinion but holding that opinion doesn't make you bigoted.

If I believed that a mass immigration of religious fundamentalists would alter our country's laws I too would oppose their immigration.
   78. JC in DC Posted: February 22, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#1871026)
This is obviously bigoted? To some extend Catholics ARE encouraged not to think for themselves and to follow the positions of the church.


This IS obviously bigoted, even in your qualified but equally false form.
   79. Mefisto Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#1871041)
All he talks about is the melting pot of the early 1800's America and how ethnically diverse it was.

It's all relative -- consider what Toqueville saw in France. There were, of course, a fair number of ethnically French and German citizens in the US in the 1830s and quite a few Scotch-Irish. Plus slaves. That probably seemed diverse to good ol' Alex. Of course, pretty much all of them were Protestant....

Really, though, I was comparing the 1840s to today.
   80. Mefisto Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#1871048)
To some extend Catholics ARE encouraged <strike>not to think for themselves and </strike>to follow the positions of the church.

Fixed it.
   81. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#1871049)
Moving on to CrosbyBird's post 57, I am confident in saying that there is a Metropolitan Media Class in the English-speaking world that looks askance at the Catholic church as an institution, and is eager for every single revelation it can get about the priestly sexual abuse scandals in order to besmirch the message that there is more to life than found in this world.

I think the vast majority of people that seek wide-scale revelation of the priestly sexual abuse scandals want it because 1) it's a horrible thing for children to be abused, 2) the Church actively covers up such events, and 3) the Church doesn't take enough punitive action.

I don't enjoy the sexual abuse scandals. Nor do I consider it a purely Catholic phenomenon; I have a family member who was sexually abused by her rabbi over sixty years ago. The bad clergy aren't an indictment of belief in God, but they are an indictment of the organizations that shield the abusers.

If you ask me how I feel about the Catholic Church, I think it's a dangerous organization that causes more harm in the world than the good it does, particularly from a historical perspective. It isn't Catholics in first-world countries I'm particularly uncomfortable with... it's the missionaries in Africa who advocate against birth control in a region plagued by starvation and the AIDS epidemic. Such a position is, in my opinion, representative of a sense of priorities that is, for lack of a better descriptor, morally repugnant.

I admit that the Catholicism is often attacked more than other similar religious beliefs, merely by the nature of one giant edifice to point the guns toward. I would go so far as to say that all three major monotheistic religions are often diametrically opposed to humanity's progress, whether in the condemnation of behavior considered deviant, the opposition to scientific advancement in a variety of fields, or the prioritization of antiquated moral rules over solutions to real-world problems.

Certainly we have come a long way from locking up scientists for daring to quantize the universe, but there's still a long way to go.
   82. Mefisto Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#1871063)
There were Irish, Scandinavians, some spanish, some Poles, and a whole myriad of indians too.

That's pretty diverse.

All true and fair enough, though the numbers of some of the groups you mention were very small.
   83. JC in DC Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:32 AM (#1871071)
it's the missionaries in Africa who advocate against birth control in a region plagued by starvation and the AIDS epidemic


Why do you think those missionaries are there? Diamonds? Vacation?

Why are people in Darfur starving? Why are people in East Africa starving?

The missionaries aren't against "birth control." They're against irresponsible sex. The question whether condom distribution makes sex more responsible than abstinence education is an empirical one.
   84. Mefisto Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#1871080)
The question whether condom distribution makes sex more responsible than abstinence education is an empirical one.

In all fairness, JC, that's a dodge here. Suppose the empirical research were convincing beyond a reasonable doubt that condom use did have that effect. Would the Church then change it's teaching?

If I believed that a mass immigration of religious fundamentalists would alter our country's laws I too would oppose their immigration.

If that were something which could be known with certainty, this would be a fair argument. Personally, I have a great deal of confidence in the American way of life and I don't worry too much that the immigrants we get will reject it.

Cue uplifting music here.

I should add that I DO have concerns that the present Administration hates the country enough to change its fundamental values, but that's another topic.
   85. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:53 AM (#1871084)
The missionaries aren't against "birth control." They're against irresponsible sex. The question whether condom distribution makes sex more responsible than abstinence education is an empirical one.

I was under the impression that the Catholic Church had a well-defined policy against birth control. Has there been a dramatic and recent shift?

As for the condoms vs abstinence education, why the false dichotomy? It should be fairly obvious that both are useful if the goal is to inhibit overpopulation and the spread of sexually transitted disease.
   86. The Original SJ Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:58 AM (#1871090)
My cousin, after she graduated from college, went to Mexico to teach something or other (we weren't really close).

Anyway, she met and fell in love with a local, and they were married 3 years ago.

He has not been allowed into the country, despite being married to a US Citizen for 3 years.

Anyway, she flys down to see him 2 weekends every month. Because she visits Mexico so frequently, she was placed on some sort of watch list, and she is searched EVERY TIME SHE GOES THROUGH CUSTOMS. EVERY TIME! asking her if she is a mule and whatnot.

anyway, I told him to learn how to throw a curveball. Short of that, she is SOL
   87. The Original SJ Posted: February 22, 2006 at 02:59 AM (#1871091)
just wanted to vent, hearing that story about the Canadian figure skater and the act of congress on new years eve sort of pissed me off.

carry on.
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 22, 2006 at 03:37 AM (#1871133)
I was under the impression that the Catholic Church had a well-defined policy against birth control. Has there been a dramatic and recent shift?

I doubt it, but just as in the case of abortion, the Church preaches one thing and the followers practice the other. There are few polls which show that "Catholic" practices as a whole are particularly different from other Americans in either abstinence, birth control, or abortion. And I doubt that even the most "orthodox" of Catholics differ all that much from Orthodox Jews or Protestant fundamentalists in this respect.

And say, of these three groups, which ones tend to have the biggest families nowadays? I don't think that it's the Catholics.

Maybe it's just my lifelong agnosticism and general indifference to religion as a whole (great music, though), but I've never found any great differences among Protestants, Catholics and Jews, at least, in the sense that you've got large groups of tolerant types in all three camps, and fairly large groups of redasses in all of them as well. Whether you notice one particular brand of obnoxious fundamentalist more than the others depends on what part of the country you live in more than anything else. In the Washington area it seems to me that the secular fundamentalists make more noise than any of them---not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, since there are now so many religious fundamentalists in all three branches of the federal government to guard against.
   89. RichRifkin Posted: February 22, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#1871158)
There were Irish, Scandinavians, some spanish, some Poles, and a whole myriad of indians too.

That's pretty diverse.


All true and fair enough, though the numbers of some of the groups you mention were very small.


Don't forget African-Americans. Prior to the Civil War, blacks made up a majority of the population in a few states (S. Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana) and were nearly a majority in a bunch of others in the South. They also had a significant population in a few non-slave states. What is interesting, demographically, is that the absolute U.S. population of blacks declined in the 50 years after manumission, while white birth-rates skyrocketted and death rates fell. Add to that the big immigration of Europeans, and blacks declined from being close to whites in total population at one point, to being only 10 percent of the U.S. population at the start of WWI.
   90. J. Cross Posted: February 22, 2006 at 04:16 AM (#1871161)
To some extend Catholics ARE encouraged <strike>not to think for themselves and</strike> to follow the positions of the church.


Fixed it.


Well, I come from a Catholic family and I'm my opinion it was accurate before.
   91. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 22, 2006 at 04:20 AM (#1871164)
Don't forget African-Americans. Prior to the Civil War, blacks made up a majority of the population in a few states (S. Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana) and were nearly a majority in a bunch of others in the South. They also had a significant population in a few non-slave states. What is interesting, demographically, is that the absolute U.S. population of blacks declined in the 50 years after manumission, while white birth-rates skyrocketted and death rates fell. Add to that the big immigration of Europeans, and blacks declined from being close to whites in total population at one point, to being only 10 percent of the U.S. population at the start of WWI.

This gets me to jump in this thread. I have a quickie ethnic/racial composition of the US as of 1790 here in front of me. As of the first US census, 19% of the population was black. I don't have any previous or subsequent census info with me, but I can't for the life of me see there ever being a point in time when blacks were close to equal with whites in terms of population. FWIW, here's the US breakdown in 1790:

African: 19%
English: 48%
Welsh: 4%
Scotch-Irish: 9%
Scots: 3%
Irish: 5%
German: 10%
French: 2%

That leaves all others at 3%, and apparently doesn't count the Native American Indians. The German population (which made up 30% of the Mid-Atlantic population) includes some Swedes, and Dutch. New England was by far the most homogenous - 82% English.
   92. Mefisto Posted: February 22, 2006 at 05:05 AM (#1871184)
Well, I come from a Catholic family and I'm my opinion it was accurate before.

I don't doubt your personal experience, but that isn't official Church doctrine and I'm not sure how much to generalize from your example.

Don't forget African-Americans.

I sneaked them past everyone in post 83.

I have a quickie ethnic/racial composition of the US as of 1790 here in front of me.

I'm impressed. Where'd you get that estimate? As I'm sure you know, the Census Bureau didn't start asking for place of birth info until 1850. Did they go by surname? State info?
   93. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2006 at 07:21 AM (#1871246)
There are few polls which show that "Catholic" practices as a whole are particularly different from other Americans in either abstinence, birth control, or abortion.

I wouldn't doubt it. I've met many people who attend mass with regularity that don't take confessional, engage(d) in pre-marital sex, or use(d) birth control. People tend to keep their abortions somewhat private, so I couldn't tell you much about that (although less than 5% of the people I socialize with believe in the reversal of Roe v. Wade).

I would characterize the US as a pretty secular nation with the average citizen being fairly secular. Even the everyday churchgoers aren't necessarily religious zealots.

Maybe it's just my lifelong agnosticism and general indifference to religion as a whole (great music, though), but I've never found any great differences among Protestants, Catholics and Jews, at least, in the sense that you've got large groups of tolerant types in all three camps, and fairly large groups of redasses in all of them as well. Whether you notice one particular brand of obnoxious fundamentalist more than the others depends on what part of the country you live in more than anything else. In the Washington area it seems to me that the secular fundamentalists make more noise than any of them---not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, since there are now so many religious fundamentalists in all three branches of the federal government to guard against.

At the risk of sounding like a bigot, I think there is a substantial difference in fundamentalists of Judiasm and Christianity or Islam. Fundamentalist Moslems fly planes into buildings. Fundamentalist Christians blow up abortion clinics and blame homosexuals for 9/11. Fundamentalist Jews... live in insular communities and have funny haircuts.

Far be it for me to defend the hyperreligious members of the faith I was born into... I don't hold a lot of respect for someone who won't shake a woman's hand because she might be tainted by menses... like my grandmother's cousin. My Roman Catholic wife took serious offense at this when he shook my hand and then refused to shake hers.
   94. CrosbyBird Posted: February 22, 2006 at 07:24 AM (#1871248)
although less than 5% of the people I socialize with believe in the reversal of Roe v. Wade

I know it may shock some of you, but it's relatively hard to find real hard-line conservatives here in NYC. :)
   95. Gaelan Posted: February 22, 2006 at 12:26 PM (#1871288)
And don’t forget that it was Marx himself who wrote that religion was “a haven in a heartless world.”


religion was “a haven in a heartless world.”

Or at the very least, an opiate for the masses.


I believe these quotes actually are consecutive. If I remember correctly it goes "Religion is the sigh of the soul in a soulless world. Religion is the opiate of the masses."

In hindsight, it may "seem utterly ridiculous," because we know that the Irish didn't screw up the country, but that doesn't mean they knew it at the time. It is not "bigotry" to assert that culture matters.


Whether, and in what way, "culture matters" may be the most important political and philosophical issue of our time. Without giving a definitive answer, or even an argument, I would suggest that our presumption should be that culture does not, in fact, matter. "Culture", however defined, makes a very poor independent variable in terms of explaining political outcomes.
   96. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: February 22, 2006 at 12:51 PM (#1871299)
To some extend Catholics ARE encouraged not to think for themselves and to follow the positions of the church.

Not one missionary position joke?

Shame on you Primer.

ALso, as the product of legal immigration, I'd just like to say taht John Rocker is #########.
   97. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: February 22, 2006 at 12:53 PM (#1871301)
My post disappeared
   98. JC in DC Posted: February 22, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#1871370)
Well, I come from a Catholic family and I'm my opinion it was accurate before.


It seems to me the correct generalization to have drawn would have been:

"In my family we are not encouraged to think for ourselves."
   99. nycfan Posted: February 22, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#1871909)
Fundamentalist Jews... live in insular communities and have funny haircuts

This isn't even close to true in Israel and the West Bank. Remember that it was a Jewish fundamentalist that killed Rabin, and there have been many instances of Jewish terrorism. Even in the US there's the Jewish Defense League, which is designated as a terrorist group by the FBI.

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