The disaster that is the Immigration and Naturalization Service is well documented (see Is E Pluribus Unum Out Of Style?, October 2002), nowhere in higher relief than in the cases late last year of accused D. C. sniper Malvo and the Haitian refugees in Florida. Michelle Malkin has vividly described the bankrupt status of U. S. immigration policy and enforcement in her articles and new book, Invasion. It is long past time to get very serious about this problem and introduce tough measures to control immigration and our borders, protect Americans from terrorists, and restore the value and integrity of American citizenship. A good start is to deal with the hard truth that the U. S. doesn’t enforce its present immigration laws and that illegal immigration provides a subsidy for a large number of U. S. employers and households at the expense of taxpayers. Our new ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, has some good ideas on reform, including a market-driven guest worker program. Meaningful reform has been overwhelmingly approved by the U. S. House, only to be delayed in the then Democrat-controlled Senate (surprise!). President Bush should put it high on his list of priorities, properly fund the Border Patrol, and forget about amnesty deals with Mexico. One encouraging sign is that Asa Hutchinson, our first undersecretary for border and aviation security in the Department of Homeland Security, is a tough former prosecutor whose appointment has created a stir among liberal immigrant civil rights groups. The big problem is with the INS, however, and unfortunately, there was not a word about any of this in the President’s State of the Union message. Ronald Reagan missed a great window of opportunity during his Presidency to enact the sweeping reforms recommended by a blue-ribbon commission that would have avoided much of the crisis we face today, but he considered the issue a “no-win” politically. Sadly, there are some signs of this sentiment in the current administration.
“The failures of socialism and welfare statism clearly show that those who demand equality at the expense of prosperity will get neither equality nor prosperity.”—Richard W. Rahn, Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute.
It is axiomatic in economics that increasing the cost of capital (by taxing it) is destructive to capital formation and, conversely, decreasing it is constructive, allowing productivity to be enhanced, which builds overall wealth and raises everyone’s living standards. For us supply-siders, this is pretty basic; for Keynesian demand-siders who are mired in the old economy, these principles violate their command and control economic theories, hence decreasing their power. Their only remaining weapons are the politics of envy and class warfare, but they will lose, because capital goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well treated.
It has been instructive to me that one of the leading stories on the domestic front recently has been the University of Michigan affirmative action cases pending before the U. S. Supreme Court, the briefs filed on them by the Bush administration, and the related question of racial and ethnic diversity in college admissions as a compelling public interest. Who are we fooling? Almost one-half of minority children don’t complete high school and over one-half of third graders cannot read at grade level. And our primary focus is on diversity in our elite institutions of higher education? Recently, I participated in an education conference in which my friend, Dr. Matt Ladner, presented some interesting statistics on the potential Hispanic college applicant pool in Texas. Starting with approximately 93,000 18-year olds in 1997, 54,000 graduated from high school, 13,000 took a college entrance exam, 5,800 scored over 900 on the SAT, and 2,600 of those were in the top 10% of their graduating class. This tells me that, in order to meet their “diversity” objectives, the top public colleges in Texas (mainly The University of Texas and Texas A&M) are relegated to fighting over the 3% of Hispanic kids who could possibly succeed at that level. Yet I read this week that Texas A&M admissions officials, after announcing the creation of the office of Vice President for Diversity and making ethnic diversity a top priority, are convinced that, without racial preferences in admissions, little can be done to “entice” more black and Hispanic students to the school. Not a word suggesting measures to increase the pool of candidates who are qualified.
Count me as one who is disappointed in the Bush administration’s brief in the Michigan cases. A much stronger stand should have been taken by not only rejecting the particular Michigan racial preference plans, but also in disavowing ethnic diversity as a compelling public interest justifying racial discrimination in admissions (see The God Of Diversity, March 2001). However, the much more compelling issue here is the abject failure of the public schools to produce more qualified candidates, for while only a lucky few will benefit from these misguided “diversity” quotas, large percentages of our minority youth are being condemned to permanent second class status.
If I hear the words “no smoking gun” one more time, I think I’ll throw up. Did we really believe that the UN arms inspectors were going to discover new evidence sufficient to indict Saddam Hussein for weapons possession before a grand jury? And who is the jury, anyway? The UN, which has just appointed Iraq to chair its disarmament conference and elected Libya to chair its Commission on Human Rights? Give me a break!
What we have in Saddam Hussein is a brutal menace who has expressed the moral equivalent of Hitler’s Mein Kampf about his intentions for thirty years. As David Brooks recently pointed out, this is not about this missile or that weapon of mass destruction (another term I’d like to ditch), but about the explicit objective of a madman to be known 500 years from now as the Arab who brought America down and re-established Pan Arabism by whatever means possible, including racial and ethnic genocide.
There was a time when I would have agreed with the “realpolitiks”, that we must have a narrowly defined mission, a definitive and imminent threat, and a well-defined exit strategy before intervening in Iraq. The events of the 1990’s, culminating on 9-11-01, changed this view for me. As I’ve suggested before, in too many instances in the past, this realpolitik has supported stability as the ultimate objective, where revolution and transformation would have been preferable, albeit messy. On the subject of this particular enemy, I’m much more a crusader in the best sense of that term, as an American form of crusading intervention for liberation, not to act as the “redeemer nation” to recreate the world in our image, as with Woodrow Wilson, but rather based on universals that are the minimal acceptable standards in an increasingly smaller and more interdependent world—the rule of law, the sanctity of each individual life, and self-determination. The ruling elites in the Arab-Muslim world, friend and foe alike, must choose which future they want, but the status quo is not acceptable for them or us. Call this type of crusading American exceptionalism if you like, but name another regime that has the moral authority to lead it.
Speaking of Woodrow Wilson, it is often remarked that it is impossible to understand the past century, not to mention our current world problem spots, without a grasp of the world shaped by World War I and the subsequent Paris Peace Conference, in which Wilson was so heavily influential. For a comprehensive account of the Conference, I recommend Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan, an engrossing and meticulously researched analysis of the six month period during which the world’s principal political leaders sat, in effect, as a world government in Paris to settle the war. Many of the decisions of that conference still bedevil us today.
I have found British philosopher Roger Scruton to be one of the most insightful and original writers on our current human condition. In his most recent book, The West and the Rest, he outlines the very different worldviews of Islam and Western Civilization and shows how the West must reassert its distinctive identity to have any hope of preserving itself from the radical Islamic threat. Basic to this reassertion, he believes, is to place the concept of freedom in its proper context–not as an end in itself, but as a means to pursue noble ends: “if all that Western Civilization offers is freedom, then it is a civilization bent on its own destruction”.