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Worrying about immigration was wrong then and it’s wrong now

Dr Frederick L. Hoffman, speaking at the International Eugenics Congress, as reported in the Times of 27 July 1912:

He said the statistics were taken from the [Rhode Island] State Census of 1905. They showed two things – first that half the population of this typical New England State were of foreign extraction, and, secondly, that fewer native-born women were married and had families as compared with foreign-born women. The statistics also showed that a far larger percentage of Roman Catholic married women were mothers. Therefore, this originally Protestant State was in a fair way of becoming Roman Catholic. He thought these figures showed an alarming tendency in American life.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. These are exactly the same fears we hear today and they are no more valid now than they were then. Well, I say that. I assume that Rhode Island is a functioning state albeit a social democratic one.

As this is a eugenics conference I can’t help being reminded of this choice quote from Niall Ferguson:

The crucial point to note is that a hundred years ago work like Galton’s was at the cutting edge of science. Racism was not some backward-looking reactionary ideology; the scientifically uneducated embraced it as enthusiastically as people today accept the theory of man-made global warming.

33 comments to Worrying about immigration was wrong then and it’s wrong now

  • James

    Thing is though, all those Irish did turn New York and Massachussetts into Democratic bastions. Similar to those Scandinavians who emigrated to the upper Midwest. And surprise surprise, all those poor Mexicans who reliably vote for socialists in Mexico also seem to vote for lefties in America. So I’ll keep worrying about mass immigration.

  • Alisa

    This is going to be one of those interesting threads where we are going to wait for our comments to unsmite…

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Um. The very little I know about Rhode Island’s government does not tell me that it’s a bastion of probity. ‘Famously corrupt’ is more like it. Of course, it may have been corrupt beforehand.

  • Chip

    So does this mean that the increase in Hispanics to 40% of California’s population has had no influence on that state’s drift from the richest, most business-friendly state in the US, to the country’s most indebted, welfare-friendly basket case?

    Whew, thanks for the unthinking blanket statement of the year.

  • Whew, thanks for the unthinking blanket statement of the year.

    Yeah because we all know that Anglo people vote for low tax high liberty political candidates, right? Like… er… George Bush?

  • Steve M

    Perhaps they might get a low tax high liberty candidate if all the politicians weren’t trying to buy the immigrants loyalty with their tax money.

  • Jordan

    If you think that your fellow native-born Americans are lovers of liberty who are just stymied by furriners, then you are just plain wrong. Your neighbors are statists. It’s depressing, but it’s true. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can stop supporting boneheaded anti-immigrant policies.

  • James

    If you think that your fellow native-born Americans are lovers of liberty who are just stymied by furriners, then you are just plain wrong. Your neighbors are statists. It’s depressing, but it’s true. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can stop supporting boneheaded anti-immigrant policies.

    So how does importing a people with a far greater proportion of socialists/neomarxists among them compared with white Americans improve the situation exactly?

  • Jordan

    So how does importing a people with a far greater proportion of socialists/neomarxists among them compared with white Americans improve the situation exactly?

    It doesn’t help things. But neither does restricting immigration. In order to restrict immigration, you must necessarily restrict liberty. Like voting for the lesser evil, restricting immigration still lands you in the same socialist hell, just at a slightly slower pace.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The real problem, in my immodest opinion, are not the immigrants themselves (I have been an immigrant for my entire working life) but the members of the ruling class who adopt immigrants as a mascot, to paraphrase Thomas Sowell.
    The more immigrants there are, and the more criminally-prone the immigrants are, the easier it is for the ruling class to bash the middle class into submission. Especially in English-speaking countries, and maybe in the Scandinavian peninsula.
    That’s why I think this post, and to a lesser extent the comments above, are red herrings.

  • James

    It doesn’t help things. But neither does restricting immigration. In order to restrict immigration, you must necessarily restrict liberty.

    Yes, you restrict the liberty of others to come to your country and vote for leftists. Which is rather good from the perspective of liberty in America.

  • lucklucky

    “In order to restrict immigration, you must necessarily restrict liberty.”

    Wrong immigrants have no right over the citizens of the country. If you shut the doors of your home you are not restricting liberty of anyone.

    The only people that would have restricted liberty are those citizens of that country that want immigration.
    But immigration restricts the liberty of the other owners of the country that are against it.

    So the only solution is to split the country. Those that accept immigration get a piece of the territory the others get another.

  • RRS

    Well, of course, the R I influx was Portugese. The effects are still with us, as the nearby areas of N E receive those from Brazil (which tells us something about language in “culture’).

    But, on to the real changes, the diminution of assimilation, both here and in the U K.

    The efforts of the “constituency builders” (particular interests) to thwart the earlier kinds and rates of blending, usually on spurious grounds (diversity anyone?) have been spectacularly successful – and damaging to the real potential “values” of immigration.

    We see instead efforts to imitate the intruding influences, to the point they displace rather than enrich the pre-existing culture and “values.”

    Over to you U K (and La Belle France).

  • Regional

    In the Regional city I live four of the five units in the block of flats I live are occupied by guest workers and it makes me happy when I hear them going to work at 5·30 AM each morning and returning home after 6 PM on the three days they work. There’s no racial tension and they’re a big improvement on the usual Dole bludging Bogans of this area. Australia is too good for Bogans.

  • Chip

    “In order to restrict immigration, you must necessarily restrict liberty.”

    Obviously you leave your car unlocked and your front door open because you don’t want to restrict liberty.

    And you must have fantastic birthday parties and baby showers, with the open invitation to all people, known and unknown.

  • Chip

    “Yeah because we all know that Anglo people vote for low tax high liberty political candidates, right? Like… er… George Bush?”

    Hispanics support Obama 70% to 20% over Romney.

    So should a supporter of low taxes and high liberty worry about immigration?

  • K

    It doesn’t help things. But neither does restricting immigration.

    So speaks the true believer.

    As a California native let me assure you that California was more often than not a red state until
    1. Massive immigration in the 80s-00s.
    2. Public employee unions.

    There was restricted immigration for decades prior to what amounted to a Mexican invasion and the significant but relatively controlled flow of Central Americans and Mexicans of all races had little practical effect on the state.

    When the wave hit it bankrupted government services – news stories about illegal alien Cambodians being recruited to come here to live on welfare – a backlash resulted amongst the natives – of all races. This, in turn begat a ballot initiative which passed and disconnected the illegals from government services. The left got the popular bill declared unconstitutional and subsequently got themselves a radicalized population that will vote left for at least a generation.

    California was a 55-45 percent red type state until the wave hit. Adding another 20-30 percent who will vote 60-70 percent blue absolutely moved it solidly into the blue column. It’s gotten even worse in the last 10 years as quite a few natives – of all races – have moved out of the high tax state and the public employee unions have sealed the deal by creating a Democratic party machine state.

    On the upside, most of the Mexicans are some of the hardest working nicest people you can imagine. They have western values. If they were all free market capitalists, I’d be running trucks over the border myself while the leftists would scream for border controls. Alas, that is not the case – for now anyway.

  • Laird

    There’s a little more to the history of immigration “reform” in the US, especially in CA. Back in the past, while we did have fairly strict de jure limitations on immigration, de facto everyone more or less turned a blind eye to illegals, especially the seasonal migrant workers who picked all the crops. They came into the country unmolested, worked for the season, and took their earnings back home to their families in Mexico. The system worked fairly well, and everyone was happy. Then people (notably the UFW, since they couldn’t get the illegals to unionize) started demanding that we clamp down on the illegal immigration. The inevitable result was that if people were able to get into the country they didn’t leave, for fear that they couldn’t get back in again next season. Then they had to bring their families along too, since they weren’t going home. And of course (thanks mostly to the leftists), once they were here they had to receive schooling, welfare and all other social services this country was offering to its citizens, which added even more incentive to remain.

    If we simply had a rational guest-worker program (preferably coupled with meaningful restrictions on social services) much of the problem would take care of itself. But that’s just too simple: the liberals want the political support (including votes, even if they are illegal) of the hispanic community and the conservatives can’t countenance any sort of amnesty or the thought that Mexicans are taking “our jobs” (even though no one else will do them). Stupid, dishonest and hypocritical, the lot of them.

  • Hispanics support Obama 70% to 20% over Romney.

    So should a supporter of low taxes and high liberty worry about immigration?

    I think you just made Rick Martinez’ point for him: the alternative is Romney.

    Romney is in favour of neither low tax nor liberty and is just the latest iteration of everything that is wrong with the Republican Party. It shows how few of the lessons of what went wrong under Bush have been learned by the people who dominate the national party.

    The “Anglo” dominated Republican Party that chose George No Child Left Behind Bush, a man who massively expanded the state, are choosing Mitt RomneyCare, the Drug Warrior Police Impersonator, to run against the vile Obama.

    And you think the problem here is immigration?

  • Chip

    Perry, everything in your world must be either black or white. Romney isn’t a perfect candidate therefore the fact that 70% of Hispanics support a socialist for president is immaterial.

    In the real world, however, it’s all shades of gray, and the fact is that almost-anyone-other-than-Obama will be less hostile to free markets.

    And thanks to the voting habits of immigrants from Mexico, Obama is more likely to be re-elected and California is more likely to sink into the fiscal abyss.

    The real world, not the fantasy world of absolutes and all or nothings.

  • Chip

    Laird has gotten to the nub of the matter. Much of this problem could be solved with a robust guest worker program, much like the arrangement Singapore has with Bangladesh. Demand for labour is met in the host country and labourers are happy to return home after several years with a tidy sum.

    Immigration policy could then focus on bringing in the best and brightest for permanent settlement. Instead, the US like many countries has the worst of both worlds. The government looks the other way as millions of unskilled labourers settle in the country permanently, while throwing up ridiculous bureaucratic barriers to skilled professionals.

    Just look at the absurd dichotomy of many US cities becoming sanctuary cities for unskilled illegals, while Peter Thiel goes to extreme lengths to build a floating city off the California coast to bring in skilled workers.

  • Perry, everything in your world must be either black or white. Romney isn’t a perfect candidate therefore the fact that 70% of Hispanics support a socialist for president is immaterial.

    Because it *is* immaterial. Oh I agree everything is not black or white but Romney represents more-of-the-same, just a bit less of it than Obama. That is the elephant-in-the-room.

    Romney is a tax-and-spend Republican who will at very best take the USA back to the bloated state George Bush was responsible for (and face it, we all know nothing even close to that degree of retrenchment is actually going to happen) and so unless you support tax-and-spend policies, there is simply no one to vote for. If Hispanics tend to vote for Democrat statism rather than Republican statism, can you understand why I cannot really get all too swept up by the horror of it all?

    You say Obama is a ‘socialist’. Well sure he is, but the majority (as in almost all) of the ‘socialist’ programmes he presides over will still be there when Romney is (maybe) in the White House and they will still be there when Romney leaves the White House. ObamaCare will go and some sort of RomneyCare Redux will replace it. w00t.

    And why is that? Because the people of mostly white European decent who dominate (and indeed vote for) the Republican Party are hardly any less statist than ‘socialist’ Obama and the people who vote for him.

    If the Tea Party even actually becomes the Republican Party, that might not be true, but the mere fact Mitt RomneyCare is the alternative to Obama shows, there is no ‘alternative’ on offer, just various packages of the same foetid crap masquerading as ‘choice’.

  • James

    Ignoring Romney, there were 16 Tea Party candidates in California that stood for election to Congress two years ago. All lost, in large part because of the growing power of the Hispanic voting bloc.

  • ragingnick

    Capitalism and Free markets have their genesis in the white European West. Not in Africa, latin America or Asia, so its hardly suprising that those of european descent are consistently less hostile to liberty .
    immigrants of non-white descent are always going to vote for the statists leftists, and socialists.

    In the real world restricting immigration is an unfortunate but necessary step in preserving a culture of free-markets and liberty. Unfortunately it is probably too late anyway; the floodgates have already been opened, and we now have a died in the wool Marxist in the white house.

    Hispanics, Blacks, and Jews are all reliable democrat / socialist voters. An open borders, multiculturalist ideology has been pushed relentlessly by the left as a way of attacking the foundations of Western civilisation upon which capitalism and liberty are built.

  • Capitalism and Free markets have their genesis in the white European West

    Same can be said for Fascism and Communism. I don’t think Western Civilisation is quite what you think it is.

  • Dave Francis

    – comment deleted… you must be kidding. Say when you need succinctly and spare us the crazed vastly over long screeds.

  • Jake Haye

    A libertarian society is a society of libertarians.

  • Looks like the problem is the sort of democracy that lets other people vote for my money.

  • Chris Cooper

    Patrick, Wikipedia tells me that the religious affiliations of Rhode Island are:

    ..Christian – 87.5%
    ….Roman Catholic – 63.6%
    ….Protestant – 21.6%
    ……..Episcopal – 8.1%
    ……..Baptist – 6.3%
    ……..Evangelical – 4%
    ……..other – 3.2%
    ….Other Christian – 2.3%
    ..Self-identified non-religious – 6%
    ..Other religions – 1.9%
    ….Jewish – 1.4%
    ….Muslim – 1.2%

    It seems that the old feller back in 1912 got it right.

  • Andrew Duffin

    I don’t worry about immigration per so, I worry about the kind of people who are immigrating.

    If they were all law-abiding tax-paying productive would-be citizens who were happy to integrate into our society, and had no intention of overturning and remaking it, then I would stop worrying.

    I guess that “half the population of this typical New England state” in 1905 were exactly like that.

    These days, in our open-ended and open-handed welfare state, with no qualification of any sort asked or expected before the handouts begin, and nobody ever removed no matter how heinous their behaviour, I am not so sure.

  • @Chris Cooper. Well, he was right about the change in religious composition. Whether he was right that that was something worth worrying about is another matter.

  • Chris Cooper

    I think Moslem immigration is definitely worth worrying about.

  • The problem is egalitarianism, not immigration per se. If there were no Marxist laws like anti-discrimination statutes, and private property and free association were still fundamental rights under common law, all the alleged negative externalities from immigration would be internalized to those who associated with them voluntarily.

    But with the draconian anti-discrimination laws in employment, and increasingly in speech, there is forced integration and a perverse externalization of costs associated with immigration. When the paddy got out of the boat in Ellis Island, he couldn’t sue some honest textile owner in Brooklyn to give him a job because he was a “minority.” If he couldn’t make it, he’d take the boat home the next year.

    Compared to now, when the entire establishment is hell bent on suppressing any discussion of negative effects from immigration. Anyone is entitled to free emergency room care, free public schooling, and affirmative action upon arriving. Then these poor people get recruited by ethnic activists in the left’s coalition to beat mean,old, racist white men with in the political arena. An ugly sight.