Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Personal Asides: The Immigration Issue AsideWont it be the Death Knell for the Republican Party?...Tony Blair, the Complete Wilsonianbut Abject Political Correctionist as Well. Terry Przybylskis Latest Presidential Trivia.
The Republican Party.
I presume that by writing this I shall be regarded as hopelessly shallow, parochial and partisan but, friends, I am a national Republican, have always been and given the lamentable state of the Democratic party and its likely effect on the national polity will always be. Therefore let me share with you my central concern. Dont be so naïve as to imagine that political consequences have always been at the heart of any major federal program. I frankly dont think President Bush has any lasting concern about the consequences for the Republican party, so bound up is he in a religious ethos of compassionate idealism. In the immediate post-Civil War Republicans wisely saw that an influx of new immigrants could not absolutely sure but could help the voting populace of the Republican party.
But then conservative Republicans passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a combination racist and economic blockade against a flood of low-income workers whose employment could throw U. S. workers out of jobs. Interestingly enough, liberal environmentalists who are concerned with undue population growth see widespread immigration as counterbalancing the lower population growth rate, fearing projections showing that largely through immigration U.S. population will reach 400 million by 2050.
The see-saw battle goes on. A Rice University economist, Donald Huddle, has reported that in 1994, legal and illegal immigration drained $51 billion more in social welfare and job displacement costs than immigrants paid in taxes. But the Urban Institute, a liberal think-tank, says immigrants contribute from $25 billion to $30 billion more in taxes than they receive in services.
I cannot imagine that opening the floodgates to legalize Hispanic Americansgiven their strong Democratic voting IDwould do anything but solidify this country into a one-party nation. And since the destiny of the West depends on a strong conservative neo-conservative, if you choose attitude, I am not exactly thrilled at this prospect. None other than Winston Churchill told Franklin Roosevelt as they discussed the postwar world: I did not become the Kings first minister to preside over the liquidation of the British empire. The fact that the empire faded away came as result of many factors, but not Sir Winstons intransigence. Few people exceed me in my support of George W. Bushbut I believe his idealism could well stand a corrective.
The political battle over immigration blurs distinctions. Free marketers seem to merge with ethnic advocacy groups; trade protectionists and many labor groups converge. Corporate interests that profit from low wage-earners, supply side economists cite the fact that the U. S. economy would shrink seriously without illegals; Catholic Church leaders support freer immigration on supposedly humanitarian grounds but also to swell their ranks. The polarization has radicalized many; Lou Dobbs on CNN has built a wide following as active critic of permissive immigration. Democratic party activists see a groundswell of voters among Hispanics if they get through the mesh and get legalized. Some neo-conservatives who fear a recurrence of terrorism here link the possibility with wide-open immigration; people active in trying to control illegal drugs see widespread immigration as a serious threat.
So with that said, let me open this up to a plebiscite. As a Wall Street Journal reader, I can well appreciate the good effects loosened immigration will have on business and the economy. What effect will it have on the party that I firmly believe must prosper if the nation is to survive? Living in a one-party city and county and remembering what it was only a few years ago when Illinois was a swing state I am not interested in being carried away by non-sectarian idealism. Please: the line is open for your comments.
Probably because Tony Blair is a consummately articulate practitioner of the English language, unlike George Bush, we can view his views with a clearer focus than we can the presidents. Conventional wisdom has it that Blair has been a great British leader whose career was diminished by Iraq. But those who say this dont know much about Blair. Its like saying Churchill was an empire-builder whose goal was shattered by World War II. Churchill was indeed an fervent empire-builder and his empire was reduced by World War II and its immediate aftereffects but World War II made Churchill and were he alive today would not fret about the dissolution of much of the Commonwealth because it would be his belief and a correct one that by reacting properly to the challenges of World War II he saved the West.
Blair is the consummate Wilsonian. He passionately believes in globalization; thus the venture in Iraq was as natural for him to support as participation in World War II was for Churchill. It was here in Chicago in 1999, at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he brilliantly listed all the unifying aspects of globalism that have the potential to weld humanity into one. If any speech was idealistic, it was that one. He listed trade, communications, fighting disease, financial markets, human rights and immigration, declaring, Globalization begets interdependence and interdependence begets the necessity of a common value system to make it work. Blair, as an intellectual, should be seen as the great rival of Harvards Samuel Huntington. Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations, sees possible disaster in the clash. Blair on the contrary sees not a clash of civilization but, rightly, I think, a clash of civilization ours versus the barbarism of an Islam whose religion was never hijacked but is, when fervently observed, an enormous threat to the peace of the world.
George Bush believes that, too, but is not as eloquent or perhaps as thoughtful as Blair. Having said something good about Blair the world leader, I am appalled that his domestic policies in Britain have embraced a kind of neo-fascism that punishes freedom of speech. The stupid political correctness law threatens the freedom of the British peoples.
A complex man, Blair.
Hes b-a-a-a-k! Terry Przybylski has a presidential trivia for us. If youre not as old as I or Frank Nofsinger (whos not as old as I either) you may have trouble with this one.
Who is the last president to smoke cigarettes in the White House?
For added credit, name three presidents who used to smoke cigarettes but kicked the habit before they got to the White House?