Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Can't Anybody Get it Right on Immigration?

With respect primarily to Mexicans and others further south, conservatives are divided between xenophobic opposition to all them foreigners who don't look like us, despoil our communities, and speak Spanish, on the one hand, and business types who think that an ever increasing pool of unskilled workers means cheap labor costs, on the other hand. Liberals are all over the place. The multiculturalists think diversity is swell -- let a thousand varieties of flowers bloom -- and are blind to the the negative side that may involve loss of cultural unity with accompanying conflict and violence between economic, cultural, and ethnic subgroups. This group includes some progressive Christians who are filled with compassion who think you can leap from love straight to generous social policies without having to take into account all the complexities, ambiguities, conflicts of just interests, and all the difficulties involved in reaching solutions with proximate justice for all affected. Naive idealists think you can have a compassionate policy toward poor immigrants but like the naive multiculturalists are oblivious to the unavoidable side effects, like dragging down the wages of all workers, who may be divided into competing ethnic, racial, and cultural groups whose conflicts may escalate into violence.

Politicians are subject to all the above groups, interests, and values that vary with their region, party, and money sources. They seek for some winning electoral strategy that maximizes support in dollars and votes.

Nearly everyone, including some of the loudest and most obnoxious, risks oversimplifying the issue based on ignorance, self-interest, ideological preferences, and so on and champion solutions as if the truth they see is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Disinterested theorists and others, including a few politicians, who seek the common good find that no one policy benefits all equally and that the good shared in common is only a small piece of the pie. Pessimists and skeptics like me conclude we must settle for the least bad policy and hope that the struggle of power between all the competing interests will somehow yield something workable and not entirely unjust.

More detailed analysis with more specifics can be found in previous postings.


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