We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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The Barrister has already made a very thoughtful post on the topic of illegal immigration, but I'd like to add a little follow up to show another side to this whole debate that is frequently overlooked: the role of language itself in framing the issue. Perhaps the most commonly heard euphemism these days is "undocumented worker," an old standby of the illegal immigration lobby, but in truth it is only one term amidst an entire vocabulary of lies and distortion peddled by illegal immigrant advocates from Ted Kennedy to George W. Bush and used to dictate the terms of the broader discussion. With that in mind, I've prepared a little glossary of phrases to help the discerning reader wade through the abysmal media coverage of this issue as well as the half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods uttered by the political leadership of both parties.
"Hard-working people" A favorite of President Bush, most often used to describe illegal aliens and thereby to excuse their illegality. An irrelevant point, since merely working hard at one's job (if we accept this premise) is obviously not a legitimate excuse for violating the law of the land. See also "good-hearted people."
"Jobs Americans Won't Do:" Another Bush favorite, this phrase is used so casually by the President that hardly anyone has taken the time to study the implications of such a statement. In fact, this glib phrase is a true monstrosity, as it implies that there are entire types of jobs which not a single American is willing to do - and what's more, the President apparently is approving, or at least accepting, of this unwillingness of millions of his own citizens to perform such work. A tacit endorsement of the creation of a foreign-labor underclass to perform menial labor.
"We Are A Nation of Immigrants:" A particularly vile half-truth. While a majority of Americans are descended from immigrant ancestors (that is, foreigners who entered this country after its independence), only about 15 percent of Americans today are foreign-born. And how does the fact that large numbers of legal immigrants have come to this country at certain times in American history serve as a good argument (or any argument at all, actually) for granting amnesty to illegal aliens in 2006?
"Comprehensive Approach/Reform:" A phrase often on the lips of Bush and co., this is the current "hip" way to refer to a mass amnesty of illegals, without actually saying so.
"Unwelcoming/Un-American:" Adjectives used more often by the left, but increasingly by the right as well, to delegitimitize any attempt at controlling our borders or enforcing immigration law. Hillary Clinton recently put a new spin on this old standard by calling a Republican immigration bill un-Christian as well.
"Migrants/migration:" While civilized, lawful countries maintain immigration policies, the use of the word migration conjures up visions of flocks of birds headed northwards unimpeded, or perhaps of the great migrations of antiquity: nobody describes the Goths or the Huns "immigrating" across the steppes and into the Roman Empire. By using the word, the user hopes to create a psychological sense of a vast and imminent force beyond the control of law-abiding societies.
"Welcoming society v. lawful society:" A relative newcomer, most recently found in Bush's weekly radio address (itself a masterpiece of immigration Newspeak), which draws a false parallel between enforcing the laws of the nation (a clear, concrete concept) and a vague notion of being "welcoming," which as defined earlier is simply an emotional appeal for non-enforcement of the same laws. Bush claims that we can be both at the same time, when the two concepts are clearly diametrically opposed.
"This bill is not an amnesty/I am firmly opposed to amnesty but...:" Usually (but not always) an excellent indication that the bill in question is an amnesty.
"Tightening/strengthening the borders:" Usually used in connection with initiatives to hire a couple dozen new border patrol agents, or to spend millions on surveillance equipment that doesn't either impede or capture anyone wishing to illegally enter the country.
At right: Hard-working Mongol immigrants facilitate a cross-cultural dialogue with Polish knights at Liegnitz, 1241 A.D.
The Battle of Liegnitz- a calamitous defeat for the Poles (thanks for catching the omission). Fortunately for Europe, the Great Khan Ogedei died shortly thereafter and the horde withdrew back to the steppes to participate in choosing a successor. (Some historians also argue that the heavily forested terrain of northern Europe was a serious impediment to the Mongol army, which needed vast amounts of grazing land to support its horses).
Loved the picture. And good post, also. But I still agree with another reader's comment elsewhere (mp) that the best way to keep illegal immigrants out is not to give them any jobs. And that means, no cleaning ladies, no landscapers, no nannies, no restaurant workers, etc. Easy for me to say: I stayed home full time with my young kids, now work, do all my own cooking, gardening, and what cleaning I can't avoid. Have not knowingly encouraged a single illegal to stay here by hiring them. What are children for, anyway, if not to pull up the dandelions by the roots?! And walk the dog, load the dishwasher, etc.
As far as disease goes, classics like "Rats, Lice and History" etc. really do broaden our view of history. Despite the narrow view of it I learned back in the Dark Ages, it wasn't all about a bunch of guys' strategic ambitions and political intrigues. Ecology, crop failures, climate change, diseases, fashion, as well as the usual religion, politics and military technology drive history.