Facts versus feelings

The issue of illegal immigration is an emotionally charged one.  I believe far too many of our leaders enable its continuation due to cynical political calculations: if the American people won’t vote them greater powers, they’ll import a people who will.  But for the average citizenry, those who support the continued entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants each year are largely driven by genuine compassion.  Indeed, it’s hard not to compare the conditions many of these people are leaving to those in the U.S. and not feel a sense of obligation to help.

That is why dispassionate examination of the facts of the matter is absolutely essential.  Simply put, this ongoing, unprecedented wave of migration is demonstrably harmful to the citizenry already living within the United States:

A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation.

In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it…

“Concern over immigrant welfare use is justified, as households headed by non-citizens use means-tested welfare at high rates. Non-citizens in the data include illegal immigrants, long-term temporary visitors like guest workers, and permanent residents who have not naturalized. While barriers to welfare use exist for these groups, it has not prevented them from making extensive use of the welfare system, often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children,” added the Washington-based [Center for Immigration Studies].

The numbers are huge. The report said that there are 4,684,784 million non-citizen households receiving welfare… Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).

The American people have historically been a generous one, no doubt in large part to the legacy of Christian charity.  The current level of charity, however, is both unsustainable and unfair to the Americans who have paid into various systems like Social Security and are now unlikely to realize their promised benefits because those funds went to others.  The injustice of transferring wealth from citizens to those who have entered the country (legal or illegal) only to become a burden on it should be obvious.  Given the fact the United States is already flirting heavily with insolvency, carrying trillions of dollars in debt and routinely hearing warnings about Social Security and other programs running out of funds for promised benefits, it’s clear the current situation cannot be tolerated.

The soothsayers who want to allow the status quo to continue try to shame concerned Americans by pointing to our history as a ‘nation of immigrants.’  In doing so, they omit certain critical data points:

  • Past waves of immigration, such as the early 1900s, were conducted according to strict legal protocols, requiring processing at such places as Ellis Island.  It was not a free-for-all “rush for the border” as we have today.
  • Previous immigrants had to prove, among other things, that they had the means to be self-supporting.
  • Previous sources of immigration were mainly from Western European nations with at least a tenuous connection with the English social and political context that framed the United States.  Today, not so much.  (Note the dramatic change on this animated map, both in terms of volume and sources of immigration, starting about 1970.)

This is not to say that individual people from other parts of the world are any less human. It acknowledges, however, that culture is an essential facet of any country, and is not easily discarded in favor of a new worldview. In short, we have allowed alien ways of thought to establish themselves among us, with major implications for the future of our Constitutional heritage.

Much, if not most of our current inflow of people is from Latin America.  Is it not prudent, then, to examine the fact Latin America is “the murder capital of the world?”

With just 8% of the world’s population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders. It is also the only region where lethal violence has grown steadily since 2000, according to United Nations figures. Nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. 

The linked article goes on to note most of these murders are never solved, a result of the very weak legal systems and lack of accountability that exist in most of the countries south of the Rio Grande.  Gangs like MS-13 represent the effective local authority, and it should be no surprise that as we continue to receive large numbers of people from this area, that the established gangs export their influence north with it.  It’s understandable to want to help people fleeing such lawlessness.  But such an impulse has to be tempered by at least two questions:

  • Given the pervasiveness of violence and lawlessness, are we willing to import the entire populations of countries like El Salvador or Honduras to allow their people to escape it?  For how many nations are we willing to do this?
  • Does it do any good to permit large-scale immigration from this region that results in importing to the U.S. the very social problems so many profess to be fleeing?

The first duty of any legitimate government is the protection of its own citizens, not provision to outsiders.  Yet many of our leaders seem to turn that on its head, viciously attacking and slandering any who then question their priorities.  In turning the U.S. into the world’s charity, we have forgotten a warning given to us in the famous parable by C.S. Lewis:

Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.

Indeed, the benevolence we think we bestow when we allow people to move to America only to become trapped in ethnic enclaves as wards of the state, is indeed largely imaginary.  Worse, it breeds understandable resentment among citizens who see their job prospects (see: H1B) and sources of public support diverted to newcomers, many of whom already broke our laws just coming here.

Our commendable compassion is being used to subvert us, and it’s well past time that stopped.  It isn’t compassionate to destroy one’s own nation trying to provide dubious help to others.  Universal birthright citizenship and the resulting “anchor babies” need to go, as does the vast majority of immigration of any kind for the foreseeable future.  When the lifeboat is already leaking and listing as the U.S. is, it’s suicidal to keep adding to the passenger list.

The difference between ‘loving’ and ‘nice’

This writer makes an excellent point:

One of the problems with modern Christian culture is the misconception that loving is a synonym for nice.  Jesus is often considered to be a sort of passive non judgmental friend, instead of our Lord, our Master.  …  Nowhere in the Bible is there a rule that a leader can’t correct the one they are leading.  Moreover, Jesus very strongly rebuked the Apostle Peter after Peter failed exactly in the way that Jesus had predicted.  In John 21 we learn about the reunion of Jesus and Peter after the Resurrection.  Peter eagerly dives into the sea and swims to Jesus, but Jesus doesn’t address Peter until after everyone has eaten.  Jesus then repeatedly rebukes Peter, to the point where Peter is absolutely heartbroken…

As Glenn Reynolds (on whose site I found this link) points out: “I am reminded of one of the Narnia books, where it’s pointed out that Aslan isn’t a tame lion.”

Not only does this equation of ‘loving’ with ‘passive niceness’ affect many Christians’ view of God — it also impacts how they believe they should interact with the fallen world around them.  In that world, people go out of their way not to call each other out for failures (this is one reason accountability has become so difficult — the leader who dares hold another to a standard becomes the subject of scorn for being “harsh,” rather than fault accruing to the one who didn’t measure up).  But the message of the Gospel is that we are all literally a hellacious mess, and there is only One way to address that.  Is it any wonder, then, few in this world want to hear what that message truly has to say?  It’s not as if we haven’t been warned of that.  Jesus, by definition, was (and is) the most loving individual ever to walk the face of the earth — and yet what he had to say made the leaders of his day angry enough to kill him!

Today, though, we keep our thoughts (and what we have received from the Spirit) to ourselves, rather than risk giving offense.  This may be ‘nice’ by the world’s standard, but it isn’t loving.  How can remaining silent rather than warning another of danger ever be considered loving?  How much more offended would a person be after a disaster, knowing that others had knowledge that could have spared them, but refused to share it?

The message is a stumbling block, and we should be aware of our own tendencies that can make it even harder to consider.  But so long as we are speaking out of love — out of genuine concern for those around us (and not just public posturing), we should be as bold… and blunt… as our Master was in confronting the root cause of all the world’s dangers and disappointments: sin, and the refusal to confront and repent of it.  For repentance to occur, the same heartbreak Christ brought to Peter must occur — a sorrow so deep that the soul cries out to God for relief.

Rather than bear that, though, most of the world would rather channel the surge of emotion that conviction can bring into hatred for the messenger, for failing to be ‘nice.’

Even so, we ‘ought to obey God, rather than men.’

Self-appointed divine mandates

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

C.S. Lewis

***

“Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, (former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) said with a grin: ‘I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.’”

New York Times, April 16, 2014

 

I haven’t read a harder-hitting example of Man’s tendency to un-Biblical self-righteousness in a long time.  May this Easter season show the aging nanny-state activist his need for Grace… and the need to show it to others as well.  In the mean time, we would all do well to look for more humble leaders…

50 years

While the rest of the world may still be obsessing over the loss of so-called “Camelot,” which was a myth if there ever was one, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note it’s also the anniversary of the passing of C.S. Lewis, whose writings inspired the name of this blog and nurtured the worldview that underpins it.

“Daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”

Instead of pondering the injunction to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” the world would be so much better off if everyone considered what they could do to honor God and serve their fellow man.