Olly olly in free
By Jack J. Woehr
web posted January 19, 2004
President GeorgeW. Bush probably doesn't know who King Canute was, but nonetheless
he is determined not to follow Canute's example. King Canute confounded his flatterers
by ordering his throne to be set up at the seashore, where he commanded the tide
to recede. Time and tide proverbially waiting for no man, the tide duly rose,
right up to Canute's neck, and his flatterers took their admonishment, as well
as carrying the somewhat wetter and heavier throne back to court on their backs.
Bush, wisely, is not bucking the tide: he's ready to call "olly-olly-in-free" to
our Mexican guest workers.
My U.S. representative, the Hon. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo) , on the
other hand still believes that the undocumented Mexican workers who have made
themselves a mainstay of the economy of the United States can be successfully
rounded up and deported and the border sealed. (See Bush
amnesty irks Tancredo in the Denver Rocky Mountain News). With some ten
millions in this country at the best current guesstimate, it's hard to see how
mass deportation is practical. With due process, we could deport maybe 10,000
a month if we diverted a few billions of dollars more in that direction. It would
take a long time to send home ten million souls at that rate, with more coming
all the time, by land or by sea if we build a wall to the south.
President Bush is correct. It's time to admit that the tide has come in. Besides,
to this American Libertarian, it just makes sense. After all, immigration is
the hydraulic pump which has provided our nation's upward social mobility over
I've suggested this online, that immigration actually drives the rest of us upward.
This assertion has infuriated my ostensibly liberal correspondents, in whose
hands Liberalism has gone from being a progressive philosophy of internationalist
inclusion to a populist-nativist reaction against internationalism. But it's
true nonetheless that immigration is the engine of America's greatness. Here's
how it works:
Wave after wave of immigrants come to the United States seeking freedom from
oppression and economic opportunity. They labor for slave wages. Their labor
produces wealth, from which others derive greater benefit than those whose hands
perform the work. Mexican guest workers harvest our crops, build our houses and
roads, clean our workplaces. If you don't directly make a profit on their labor,
you do business with someone who does. Despite the dislocation and displacement
of individual native workers and classes of native workers, overall the ship
of our economy floats higher as wealth generated by labor accumulates in that
common pool of opportunity that is the American economy.
I support Pres. Bush's initiative. I doubt his motivations are angellically pure;
certainly he hopes to derive (gasp!) some political benefit from it. But the
primary beneficiary so far seems to be the ever-problematic USA-Mexico relationship,
which could use some soothing and has duly received some in the form of the president's
intiative regarding Mexican guest workers.
Admittedly, one is free to argue that the program as proposed would contain certain
unfair elements; it's hardly a shocking statement to suggest that the current
administration favors big business over the little guy. All this can be worked
out in the U.S. Congress. The alternative of allowing the once-progressive and
now dyed-in-the-wool reactionary labor unions championing a modern racial exculsionism
disguised as progressivism to roadblock the normalization of the status of Mexican
guest workers will merely result in an elevation of the crisis. That current
crisis already has taken on ugly overtones, with vigilantes in Arizona "patrolling" the
borders and with increasingly shrill and dangerous proposals emanating from politicians
of Mr. Tancredo's persuasion.
It's time to normalize Mexican guest worker status before the populist-nativists
and "liberals" completely panic and move on to Serbian-style ethnic cleansing.
Because that's really the only alternative to admitting that the tide has come
in and that the Mexican guest workers and their families, all ten million of
are here to stay.
Jack J. Woehr of Fairmount, Colorado, doesn't quite understand how he went
from being the Jefferson County, Colorado Democrats' Harold Stassen to becoming
an official of the Jefferson County Libertarian
Party , but he's happy he did.
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