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Fear of a Mexican planet

Daniel Larison's post sets out, clearly and pithily, the reasons why we should worry about Mexican immigration.

I've linked to it because I'm not worried about the Mexicans, and it's because I don't think any of Larison's reasons give cause for alarm.

  • Assimilation just isn't the problem Larison thinks it is. How exactly do we suffer if Mexicans remain "unassimilated?" i'm sure this doesn't hold true for Mr. Larison, but for many opponents of immigration, "assimilation" is a code word for not having to hear Spanish spoken on the street. One faces this problem in Europe, so it cannot be that this is a threat to our "European culture." What else can "assimilation" mean? That Mexicans won't soon be driving SUVs and shopping at WalMart like the rest of us? Even if this is true, which it isn't, both of these behaviors are salutary.
  • Mr. Larison fears that large numbers of Mexicans won't adopt the "habits of the natives." Well, in some cases, that would be a bad thing -- but only when those habits are good ones. For neutral habits, like the preference among 50-something whites of European heritage for lime-green Izod golf shirts, or bad habits, like the preference among native 20-somethings to sit on their ass all day complaining about how no employer worthy of their great talent will hire them, rather than going out and getting a job, the refusal of Mexicans to adopt the local habits will benefit our great Nation.
  • The most bizzare part of Mr. Larison's post, though, is its worries about democracy. I want to believe that it's saying this: that large numbers of immigrants unaccustomed to democracy threatens our own democratic traditions, which depend upon a cultural assumption that it's democracy or the highway. But it would be so much easier to read the post this way if there wasn't all that stuff in there about the new immigrants' self-interested preference for left-wing politics. If you're worried that the bill of rights and the protection of minorities will be trampled, that's one thing. But lovers of democracy, even "liberal democracy" (which I generously take to mean a democracy that preserves basic human rights), have nothing to fear from people of any background that prefer left-wing policies and candidates for office. The only people who have anything to fear from these are people that prefer right-wing policies. Don't try to misdescribe this as a fear for "liberal democracy."
  • Even if everything Mr. Larison says about Mexican immigrants were true, these threats pale against the threats to our democracy and culture from other sources. The chief among these being, of course, globalized trade, the de facto rule of multinational corporations, and the strictly industrialist mindset that goes with this. It wasn't Mexicans who deprived Ms. Kelo and the citizens of New London, Connecticut, of their private property. It was a state apparatus bent on catering to the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Show me a concrete case where Mexican immigrants have eroded our respect for private property as much, and I'll reconsider my criticisms.
Most of my friends who are sympathetic to my agrarian tendencies are also opponents of immigration from Mexico. Perhaps I'm dense, but I still fail to see any crisis here.

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