“The cure for US job woes: More immigrants”

I’ve been baffled by this for the last couple days.

I’m not sure I follow their numbers, but I’ll accept them on faith for the moment. The thing that baffles me is the source: a very conservative think-tank.

Political conservatives have railed against anyone who was different practically since the ink was dry on the Declaration of Independence, if not before. Blacks, Italians, Jews, Chinese, Mexicans, Irish, or most recently, Muslims. When they get bored fearing and hating Muslims, they’ll inevitably find some other “different” group to fear and hate. Just about the only thing uniting all those groups is that they come from Somewhere Else. (The only hated home-grown groups that I know of have been hippies and gays, or when all else fails, the ever-useful generic label of “liberals” — the conservative definition literally being “anyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like us.”)

So when conservatives publicly announce that the US needs more immigrants, despite both their hundreds of years of ideology and rhetoric against the whole concept and the ascendant frothing-at-the-mouth Tea Party movement… well, either we’ve entered some kind of bizarre mirror-universe, or things have gotten so bad that reality is starting to penetrate even the well-protected innermost enclaves of willful ignorance.

Things are bad, but conservative will is strong, so I haven’t decided which it is yet.


  1. The American Enterprise Instutute is economic conservatives, not social conservatives. Part of the confusion inherent in the American political discourse is that we see the two as being the same when they in fact are not at all connected and sometimes oppose each other. (The only consistent economic conservative in the race is Ron Paul, and he’s loads different on these sorts of civil freedom issues, not that I support him – because he’s an extremist.)

  2. Political conservatives are almost always economically conservative as well (except, of course, to putting money in their own pockets and those of their friends, and funding wars — which is often the same thing). My amazement stands.

    • Ron Paul would be a case of someone different than that, he wants to cut the Defence Department (real cuts, not “reductions in increases in spending”) by 15%, but he too is a politician, which isn’t necessarily relevant to this discussion.

      Political Conservatives is something that is in politics, for winning elections. “Political conservative” is a result of the Richard Nixon “south first” strategy where the Republicans planned (quite successfully, I might add) to take the southern voters from the Democrats, whom they’d voted before almost exclusively, by appealing to their “social conservative” prejudices rather than being merely the party of business as before going back to Lincoln’s recruiting the Whigs to the party. Before Nixon did that, there really wasn’t such a thing in American politics as a Conservative as we know it today. There were Democrats in the South, who were before de-segregation by in large social conservatives but (at least when it came to whites) patronage-oriented liberals (usually rural patronage though). Then there were economically conservative Republicans in the north, who did things like support business and send the army in to Little Rock Arkansas to force de-segregation. 😉 (Note I bring up segregation, a lot of social conservatives have deep roots in the anti-desegregation movement. Jerry Fallwell and Jesse Helms both got their start saying de-segregation was the devil’s work and was a communist plot, respectively.)

      Anyhow, this, the AEI, is a big economic-conservative think tank, they have a long history of being strictly economic conservative, not as much as a Libertarian think-tank such as the Cato Institute, but still economic-conservative. I.E. business interests, not get the blue-color southern vote interests when it doesn’t coincide. though I am amazed to see that Chaney is on their board; who I viewed as more of a typical Republican fear-mongering politician than anything else.

      • To sum it up, both you and the Register are thinking that the only kind of conservative left in America is the strange two headed pro-business-pro-prejudices beast that Nixon brewed to win votes. A few think tanks in Washington though, believe it or not, try to be strictly economically Conservative. (There are a few social conservative think tanks too though, usually they have the word “family” in them.)

        • You’re right, I thought there were only two kinds of conservatives: Republicans, and Republicans pretending to be Democrats. 😉

          • That’s the main drawback of the two-party system, you assume that the two parties represent the two primary points of view. Usually whatever points of view either side of the political system comes up with are much worse than reasonable alternatives. 🙂 Of course, a multiparty system tends to lose a lot of stability compared to a two-party system. Things can degenerate into Fascists or Bolsheviks taking over parliamentary systems. I think we’d benefit, however, from a reasonable third-party alternative.

          • In a two-party system, the two parties represent the only points of view — at least, the only points of view that you can vote for, which means anything else is irrelevant.

            The best proposal I’ve seen is a multi-party system with proportional representation, such that if one candidate gets 20% of the votes (if that’s the minimum needed) and another gets 80%, both are elected, with the 80%-voted candidate getting 80% of a vote on every subject, and the 20% one having 20% of a vote. It means a little more math work for Congressional staffers, but it would eliminate a lot of problems with the views of large minorities (such as, for instance, Intelligent Americans… oh, wait, I did say large minorities) being ignored.

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