Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Kind Word on Behalf of the Mexicans

Libertarian Robert Higgs makes below some perfectly reasonable points about Mexicans in general and I suspect that everything he says about them is true. But he is very one-sided in his comments. So I think it behooves me to restore some balance to the discussion.

His basic sleight of hand is to imply that illegal immigrant Mexicans are just like Mexicans in general. He does not consider that most Mexicans stay in Mexico and that people who break the law for their own advantage may be substantially unlike their law-abiding relatives -- and may in fact be just the sort of people that most societies would like to exclude.

And criminality among Hispanics in the USA is high. Its incidence runs about half-way between the white and black incidence, with the first-generation children of the illegal immigrants being particularly troublesome. America could certainly do without that.

And the political attitudes they bring with them are also a problem. Ones who share Higgs's libertarian views would be great rarities. Like most Latin Americans, they are instinctive socialists and reliably vote for the Democratic Party. They provide that party with one of its two big "rusted on" votes and have thus allowed that party to drift further Left than at any previous time in its history.

And that drift is a drift into authoritarianism, scarcely what Mr Higgs would wish. Latin American politics are overwhelmingly authoritarian socialist and the large Hispanic vote is bringing that to the USA too. Bipartisanship seems to have totally vanished. Mr Obama compromised on nothing.

"But we need them!" Mr Higgs says. Life in Australia is very similar to life in the USA but we have very few illegal immigrants of any kind. Successive conservative governments have cracked down on it very effectively. So I doubt that the USA needs Mexicans. If it does, however, the need could be easily met by introducing a "Gastarbeiter" (guest worker) system similar to that which applied in Germany from the 1960's on. In such a system LEGAL immigration could be allowed for a certain time and for certain occupations -- such as farm labor.

And America has a substantial population of non-working blacks -- who are the descendants of farm workers. Suitable adjustments to welfare provisions could, one imagines, get at least some of them into the jobs presently being done by Hispanic illegals.  How incorrect can I get?

“The immigration problem” or “the border problem” has been a heated topic of debate and politicking in recent years. (This recent spurt is only the most recent in a series that goes back for centuries in U.S. history.) In large part this debate pertains to the entry of Mexicans, especially undocumented Mexicans, into the USA. For those who support a strong “closed borders” or “secure the border” position, the debate often involves claims about Mexicans—what sort of people they are, what one may reasonably expect them to do if they become residents of the USA, what crimes they have committed or will commit in the future, and so forth. Anyone who is familiar with Mexicans is struck repeatedly by the sheer ignorance and the false claims that immigration opponents marshal in support of their position. The president himself has trotted out howlers about Mexican rapists and drug traffickers as important, standing problems of even the existing flow of Mexicans into the USA.

I have a working familiarity with the social science literature on immigration. (In the past I have written articles for economic history and demography journals that dealt with various aspects of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.) More to the point for present purposes, I have considerable personal experience with Mexicans. I grew up on the rural west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1950s in a place with a population composed of about two-thirds Mexicans and their native-born children. In October 2015, I emigrated from the USA, and since then I have lived in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. I speak Spanish, though not with the fluency I would like, and in one way or another I deal with Mexicans nearly every day. So when I think or speak about Mexicans I do so with some personal as well as scholarly background.

In this light, I am stunned by how many Americans have a false impression of Mexicans. Of course, any generalization about them will be subject to qualifications. Mexico is a large, diverse country with a large, diverse population. And obviously from individual to individual great variations exist. No population consists of nothing but good people (however defined) or nothing but bad people (however defined).

Overall, I have found Mexicans—both those with whom I grew up in California and those among whom I now reside in Mexico—on average to be fine people in all relevant dimensions. They are devoted to their families and love their children. They are extremely hard workers, often under extraordinarily difficult and unpleasant conditions. They are good-natured and friendly, courteous and generous. They are also in many cases surprisingly resourceful, knowing how to build or repair all sorts of things, often without proper tools or materials. Many of them have an artistic capacity that allows them to create various products that are not only practical but also beautiful. Centuries of oppression and brutality by the ruling classes have not destroyed their hope for a better future, and they are often willing to bear great personal costs in order to make that future better for themselves and their children.

In view of the sorts of people they actually are—not as they are painted by vicious politicians and border bullies—one might well suppose that not only are they not an especially worrisome kind of immigrants to the USA, but instead exactly the kind that native-born American should welcome, the sort that among other things will do thousands of difficult and uninviting tasks—for example, working in poultry or meatpacking plants, putting on roofs, holding down building and highway construction and masonry jobs in rain and summer heat, cleaning hotel rooms, cooking and cleaning in restaurants, harvesting crops such as apples, asparagus, strawberries, and hundreds of others that demand backbreaking manual labor, and so on and on—tasks that native-born workers are not exactly clamoring to perform these days.

Moreover, not all Mexicans who come to the USA are unskilled, low-wage workers. Entrants also include highly educated people such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, and information technology workers. Mexico’s labor force is no longer a mass of unskilled or semi-skilled workers, and in many cases both the migrants and the U.S. economy stand to gain by Americans’ welcoming highly skilled people from Mexico. That such people have relatively less to gain does not imply that they have nothing to gain. In any event, it behooves Americans to recognize the existence of this type of migrants as well as those at the bottom of the wage scale.

It would be a most instructive experiment if somehow all the immigrant workers were to be removed from the U.S. economy overnight. The upshot would be calamitous for many U.S. industries and for large geographic areas of the country. Immigration opponents rarely appreciate the extent to which the U.S. economy depends on Mexican (and other immigrant) labor and the tremendous extent to which the foreign workers produce and distribute goods and services essential to day-to-day life for everyone. The oft-heard claim that the migrants come to the USA simply to sponge off the welfare state is so preposterously out of touch with reality that it staggers the mind. Yes, of course, some immigrants take advantage of the welfare state, but their taxes (not just income taxes but also property, sales, excise, and social security taxes), fees, fines, and other personal payments also prop up that system. They are not simply welfare deadbeats (as obviously many native-born persons are) and not simply consumers or competitors for jobs or housing. They are above all producers.

More important, however, they are in the great majority of cases good and decent people seeking what most people seek—an opportunity to work toward building a better life for themselves and their children. For those of us who know them more intimately than most, it is painful to hear the ignorant and malicious statements that circulate about them, especially perhaps on social media, where people are frequently unrestrained in letting loose the most vitriolic and baseless accusations. Individualists, above all, should know better than to judge a large group of people on grounds such as race, ethnicity, or place or birth—attributes that no one has earned but has merely been born with. Americans in particular ought to meet a higher standard than to embrace such collectivism, especially about people who in many cases are personally unknown to those making the negative appraisal. Among the highest aspirations of the American people historically has been the idea that their country would serve as a beacon of freedom and a refuge for the oppressed of other lands. It is high time that more Americans became cognizant of the desirability of reestablishing this noble aspiration.


Second life for a VERY incorrect politician

Silvio Berlusconi, 80, is set for an astonishing comeback after sweeping election victories for Italy's right-wing, as critics admit the former prime minister is 'politically immortal'

Italy's right celebrated Monday after big victories in local elections, with all eyes on a potential comeback for former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi -  just months before the country holds national elections.

The 80-year-old billionaire's Forza Italia (Go Italy) party and the far-right Northern League won 16 of the 22 cities up for grabs Sunday.

Their victory was a shock setback for the governing centre-left Democratic Party.

The loss of the city of Genoa was a particularly big blow. The northern city has traditionally been a bastion of the left, but it passed to the centre-right for the first time.  

Former centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi, dismissed the wins as having little bearing on national voter sentiment.

But the mood on the left was sombre. Editorialist Riccardo Barenghi wrote in the left-leaning Italian newspaper La Stampa that it 'couldn't have gone worse'. He added: 'Not just for Matteo Renzi, not just for the [Democratic Party]. But for the whole of the Italian left.'

'[It was] as if we'd gone back 23 years to when the left was beaten by the Cavaliere ('The Knight', Berlusconi's nickname), who appeared on the scene like a rabbit from a magician's hat, and today reappears like a castigating ghost.'

The next general election must be held by spring 2018, but the coalition supporting Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is fragile and many experts say the government could call elections for late in the year.

At the national level, the PD and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) are running neck-and-neck in the polls, each with about 30 percent of voter intentions, while Forza Italia and the Northern League are each hovering at around 14 percent.

Political commentator Stefano Folli called Sunday's results 'a searing and very painful loss for the left.' He wrote in the left-leaning La Republica: 'Berlusconi reveals himself to be politically immortal.

Berlusconi, 80, had been largely absent from politics - though not the gossip pages - following his ousting in 2011 and his party had since struggled with internal divisions and corruption scandals.

Silvio Berlusconi's return might have seemed like an impossibility two years ago when details of his lurid sex parties surfaced. The 'elegant dinners' would take place at the tycoon's mansion in the outskirts of Milan.

An Italian court heard that they'd involve pole dancing, strip teases and erotic games performed for Berlusconi by troupes of young women. The girls all received cash and rewards in return for attending the parties.

Two women invited to a 'bunga bunga' party - Ambra Battilana and Chiara Danese - claimed women at the notorious events would grope the media tycoon's genitals while singing 'Thank Goodness for Silvio'.

They said that at one point Berlusconi brought in a statue of a little man with a huge penis. Berlusconi then 'began passing it around the girls, and he asks them to kiss the penis.'  

On Sunday it benefited in part by picking up votes from supporters of Five Star, which performed poorly in the first round and failed to make it into run-offs in any of the largest cities.

But he boasted that he injected energy into his party's efforts. He said: 'I'm back and you can see the results. 'If we remain united we will win the general election. And we will do so with a programme that I'm drawing up and will make public soon.'

Renzi, 42, limited himself to admitting that 'it could have gone better.'

Silvio Berlusconi was previously found guilty today of paying Moroccan Karima-El Mahroug, nicknamed 'Ruby the Heart-Stealer' for sex at a 'bunga bunga' party

The former media tycoon, who was also up until recently the owner of AC Milan, served nine years in three separate terms as Italian Prime Minister - making him the third-longest Italian PM since the country unified.

In 2013 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for sex and corruption offences - including having sex with 'Ruby the Heartstealer', a Moroccan nightclub dancer who was just 17 at the time.

Berlusconi was accused of using his influence to get Ruby, real name Karima-El Mahroug, released from Police custody.

The conviction, however, was later overturned.


Resident group claims women have become ‘endangered species’ in heart of Paris

IT’S supposed to be the place of liberte, egalite and fraternitie, but locals in one Paris suburb claim women have become an “endangered species” in the heart of the city.

Local activist group SOS La Chapelle, made up of residents in the La Chapelle-Pajol suburb, say the area has become a “no go zone” for women who area afraid to walk the streets of central Paris.

Together with members of another resident’s group, Demain La Chapelle, they’ve launched a petition calling for French President Emmanuel Macron, his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, to increase police numbers and clean up the area they say is dominated by drug dealers and traffickers.

An online petition titled “Women an endangered species in the heart of Paris” has gained nearly 20,000 fans on Facebook in two weeks. It claims women in the area are subject to insults in “all languages such as “b****, dirty wh*re, I’ll kiss you.”

“There are pickpockets street drinking, spitting, rubbish everywhere, The heady smell of urine,” it states. “There are the traffickers that take root: human beings, drugs, cigarettes, or false documents. “The employees of these traffickers mean to us every day that we are undesirable, we and our children.”

News of the petition has made headlines in France and sparked protests in the area as it comes amid a wider debate about immigration and cultural attitudes in the society where the burka is banned and immigration was a galvanising issue in recent Presidential and parliamentary elections.

La Chapelle has become home to a number of migrants in recent months following the closure of the Jungle refugee camp in Calais due to its proximity to Gare du Nord station from which the Eurostar travels direct to Calais and London.

It has quickly become politicised with some blaming immigrants for “hunting” women and creating a “male den” in the city.

The organisers have strenuously denied they were targeting one group or another and say they simply want to make women safe.

“Our petition written by local women does not target any particular public, it makes an inventory of various problems that overlap each other and cause problems of different natures (security, cleanliness, alcoholism, traffic, occupation of the public space ...).” the group posted in a follow-up statement online.

“We absolutely do not endorse articles and reports that make rapid amalgamations aimed at stigmatising a population.”

However those unhappy with the petition, that has led to street protests, claim it is xenophobia dressed up as feminism and has stoked anti-immigrant sentiment.

“It is a complete manipulation of the truth,” a woman known as Alice, told The Local. “The majority of the people in the area behave well”. “I have to come here everyday and if I didn’t feel safe I wouldn’t do it. This is a lie made up by the press and right-wing politicians,” another said.

Demain La Chappelle organiser Loic Guzman said the group is not “targeting migrants”, but their presence has attracted criminal gangs who sell fake immigration papers and drugs which has become the real problem.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has called for new accommodation centres “all over” the country to help address the issue of where to house the migrants moved out of Calais’ Jungle.


Meet overweight and extreme Australian feminist, Clementine Ford

She has admitted to bouts of mental illness.  She does however have a baby son -- and boy babies have a way of civilizing feminists -- simply by being themselves

Controversial feminist Clementine Ford has encouraged on a fan to 'kill men' in a handwritten note inside a copy of her latest book.

The Melbourne-based author and Fairfax columnist has regularly spoken about being the target of graphic abuse, trolling and death threats from men on social media.

But a picture shows that when signing one copy of her latest book, 'Fight Like a Girl', Ms Ford wrote to a fan: 'Have you killed any men today? And if not, why not?'

Ms Ford, 35, released her non-fiction 'manifesto' centred around her feminist views and experiences in September 2016.

In it, the mother-of-one urges 'all women and young girls - to take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power'.

Previously, Ms Ford has complained about trolling and 'hate' she receives on social media and through online forums.

In one case in 2015, a man called her a 'sl**' and was sacked by his Sydney-based employer.

Ms Ford has an army of close to 300,000 fans across social media.

It comes after publisher Allen and Unwin announced on Monday it had acquired the rights to her second book.

'Boys Will Be Boys', a book Ms Ford claims will be a 'love letter to her son', is due to be released in 2018.

But within just hours of the announcement, a petition calling for the 'man hating' piece not to be published was set up on

The petition has received 300 signatures in less than 24 hours. Ms Ford hit out at its organisers on Twitter saying: 'Oh no, they will probably take my contract away now.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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