Tuesday, May 16, 2006

About President Bush's speech last night...

two diametrically opposed ideas entered my mind:
1. Some of the jobs "Americans won't take" are physician and chemist, due to the lousiness of our educational system, which turns out ignorant and complacent people who have majored in righteous indignation. When they start college, they are educationally deficient, and when they finally graduate 5, 6 or 10 years later they are experts in marching, catcalling, and making ridiculous puppets, but have an unquenchable belief in their own superiority. Then they go to law school and become ambulance chasers and sue the pants off the rest of us. Or they become teachers and transmit their ignorance to the next generation of Americans. Unfortunately for our future as a nation, a majority of the students studying for advanced degrees in the sciences in this country are foreigners.

2. "Guest workers" who do jobs "Americans won't do" sounds uncomfortably like "hewers of wood and drawers of water," in the words of Jonathan Swift. In other words, a permanent underclass. This is the way the Germans, for example, treated the Turks who they imported to do their dirty work for them. They couldn't be citizens either, for a long time. In the case of Germany, this engendered bitter feelings. In France, too, Muslims are kept isolated and denied meaningful work. Do we want to breed this kind of resentment? Can't we learn anything from the French experience?

Admittedly, we can't expel 12 million people. But perhaps we could kick out those who are convicted for crimes? Let them serve their sentences, and then back to Mexico. Perhaps it would be better to forget about the law-abiding many who have already sneaked into the country, and fix our sights on keeping out future "undocumented"--a word which sounds more like someone who left the car registration papers at home than someone who has no business being here. Employers should pay market wages for workers, and not hire anyone who is illegal, under penalty of law.

Let's enforce the laws we already have. Flouting the law leads to contempt of the law.

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