I don't really care for arguments about the economic benefits of immigration - for the simple reason that culture trumps economics. Somewhere in After America, I quote a particularly fatuous slab of happy talk on the subject:
'Sober-minded economists reckon that the potential gains from freer global migration are huge,' writes Philippe Legrain in Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. 'The World Bank reckons that if rich countries allowed their workforce to swell by a mere three per cent by letting in an extra 14 million workers from developing countries between 2001 and 2025, the world would be $356 billion a year better off, with the new migrants themselves gaining $162 billion a year, people who remain in poor countries $143 billion, and natives in rich countries $139 billion.'
$139 billion? From "a mere" 14 million extra immigrants? Wow!
As Christopher Caldwell points out in his book Reflections On The Revolution In Europe, the aggregate gross domestic product of the world's advanced economies for the year 2008 was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at close to $40 trillion. So an extra $139 billion works out to an extra, er, 0.0035. Caldwell compares the World Bank argument to Dr Evil's triumphant announcement that he's holding the world hostage for one million dollars!!! As he says, "Sacrificing 0.0035 of your economy would be a pittance to pay for starting to get your country back."
Because culture trumps economics. If you're a Swede who likes living in Sweden what would you rather forego? The 0.0035 of spectacular gangbusters economic growth? Or the mosques and the honor killings and the no-go areas and the cross-cultural rape epidemic?
On the fault line of economics and culture comes this new paper from my old NR colleague Mark Krikorian's think tank:
More than half of the nation's immigrants receive some kind of government welfare, a figure that's far higher than the native-born population's, according to a report to be released Wednesday.
About 51% of immigrant-led households receive at least one kind of welfare benefit, including Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance, compared to 30% for native-led households, according to the report from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for lower levels of immigration.
Those numbers increase for households with children, with 76% of immigrant-led households receiving welfare, compared to 52% for the native-born.
Those figures suggest that, in the age of welfare, America's mass immigration is little different from the Old World's. Europeans are told they need immigrants to help prop up their otherwise unsustainable social programs: In reality, Turkish immigrants have three times the rate of welfare dependency as ethnic Germans, and their average retirement age is 50. Entire industries have been signed up for public subsidy. From After America:
Two-thirds of French imams are on the dole. Does the World Bank set their welfare checks on the debit side of that spectacular 0.0035 economic growth? Or does that count as valuable long-term investment in the critical economic growth sector of fire-breathing mullahs?
Importing dependency on the present scale has cultural consequences for America that far outweigh any economic benefits. It tips us ever deeper into a bifurcated society of social immobility, with a prosperous elite, an all but extinct middle class, and a vast swamp of people with a choice of either welfare checks or low-wage service jobs - the Age of the New Servility, as Mickey Kaus sees it. If Trump et al can wrest this issue away from the Republican Party's depraved donor class, tragedy might yet be averted.
~Lucas Bedia writes from Alabama to take issue with what he perceives as my sneer at yesterday's Day of Prayer for Climate Change:
You have yet to substantiate your claim that the Holy See instituted a "International Day of Prayer for Climate Change." In Fit of Peak and Day of Disgrace you did cite stories by The Guardian and CathNews, which, while they do point out that the Holy See did in fact designate yesterday as a day of prayer "for the Care of Creation," did not credibly make any direct connection between that designation and papal concern about global temperatures, because they simply didn't manage to quote or link to any Vatican source to that effect, let alone quote the Pope himself. If there's any topic that one can rely upon the media to misreport and distort, it is religion, whether that religion is Islamic or not. Thus, I maintain that you rather unfairly mischaracterize the Pope's conduct as alarmism about global temperatures.
Sure, it would have been super swell if he had designated 1 September as a day of Prayer for the respect of private property, private conscience, the scientific method, the right to dispute and even mock the veracity of "conventional wisdom," and the rule of law, (you know, things that are swiftly falling apart before the juggernaut cults of Statolatry, Big Gay, and Islam) but his concern about abuse of the environment as harmful to humans, especially the poor, is not unfounded. Therefore, I think he deserves a fairer treatment from you in this matter. Maybe his priorities about the environment aren't well ordered, and he could almost certainly benefit from a few hours studying economics and law, but his special designation re: 1 September has yet to be shown to be the crypto-statist ploy that you are painting it as.
A slight clarification is in order. Just say that you, like the Great El Rushbo, mildly exaggerated the Pope's concerns and unfairly jumped to a conclusion about them, having taken the reporting of a mainstream media outlet about the Papacy at face value, when you should have known better. It'l show that you actually care about the truth, unlike Mr. Mann & co..
Lucas in Alabama
Well, as I've said before, pontiff-wise I prefer the Pope Emeritus, as we are apparently expected to call Benedict. His successor is not my bag - on the Falklands, on free speech, and now the environment. Here's what he actually said - and I do not think it can be characterized as merely a day to remember our obligations as stewards of God's creation:
I wish to inform you that I have decided to set up also in the Catholic Church, the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" which, beginning this year, will be celebrated on the 1st of September...
As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through. Therefore, first of all we must draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation, always remembering that for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, "the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us." (ibid., 216). The ecological crisis therefore calls us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to "an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them." (ibid., 217)...
The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live...
For this reason, it will be the task of this Dicastery, in collaboration with the Episcopal Conferences to set up relevant initiatives to promote and illustrate this Day, so that this annual celebration becomes a powerful moment of prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate life styles.
This is very much the language of climate alarmism - "ecological crisis" - and its preferred solutions - "the adoption of appropriate lifestyles". "Lifestyle", incidentally, is surely not a word that should ever pass the papal lips. Advanced western man is for the most part a better steward of the environment than he was 150 years ago, so I don't get this idea that we're in some "crisis" - unless His Holiness has bought into Obama/Mann Big Climate hysteria. There is a very particular environmental crisis outside the Pope's front door - the hideous graffiti that greets the eye at almost every corner of the Holy City. That's not a glamorous subject for him to issue an encyclical on, but, unlike this "ecological crisis", it is something for which modern godless man is directly, 100 per cent responsible.
~Scots reader Alistair writes of my latest tome, which arrived via Kindle at the stroke of midnight:
I love the book - as all previous ones.
I couldn't wait till breakfast, so started on it at one minute past midnight. But such was the ensuing chortling and snorting that my wife banned it till morning. Actually you have form on this. I unwisely read America Alone just 8 days after a hernia operation back in 2006. This led to such heavy guffawing that I popped a stitch! But it was only one, and 9 years later I remain intact.
All power to you in your vital battle(s).
A stitch in nine saves Steyn (from getting permanently banned by your wife). I was going to warn you that this new book's a two-stitch popper, but you may already be feeling it...
Speaking of which, I'll be talking about "A Disgrace to the Profession" bright and early at 7.30am Central tomorrow, Thursday, with Jay Weber on WISN Milwaukee. Hope you can join me.