Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blaming the immigrants

By Libby
Updated below

I read Jim's post last night and found it so disturbing that I went to bed and didn't blog a bloody thing on any of my five blogs. I'm shocked to see his display of intolerance and his willingness to buy into a neo-con's twisting of statistics without fact checking the veracity for himself.

Indeed, a quick check of Britain's bureau of national statistics shows that the latest trends indicate net in-migration of foreign nationals is dropping, not rising and only 11,000 entries were granted on the basis of asylum. Furthermore, out-migration of British citizens is not a new trend but has been occurring for decades prior to the influx of foreign nationals, the most common reason being for marriage or work-related reasons, so I find the contention that they are fleeing out of fear of lawlessness and terrorism absurd. Indeed, thanks to the Bush doctrine, terrorism is on the rise everywhere and there is no place in the world that is free of those dangers, so it doesn't even make sense.

As for the thousands of immigrants unknown to the British government, one wonders how Mr. Thomas can speak so authoritively on the subject. Has he personally conducted his own census? Since he gives no links to support his contentions, one can only suppose he made this up out of the whole cloth, out of his own distate for brown skinned people.

I don't doubt that England is changing. So is America. So is the world. Internationally, middle class Caucasians procreate less and Third World ethnic groups, who lack the economic means to afford First World health care, procreate more due at least partly to lack of access to birth control. This could be partly be traced to the Bush administration's insistence on doling out foreign aid for absistence-only programs in lieu of birth control technology in Third World countries.

Middle class neighborhoods inevitably change. In America they call it white flight and it happened in our inner cities decades ago, long before immigration became an issue. Then it was black people who were blamed. Now the new scapegoats are Muslims in Europe and Mexicans in America. It's not their fault.

The vast majority of immigrants don't leave their family homes and move to a new country with malevolent intent. It's simple economics. People go where they can make money, not to take over society and although the miscreants get all the press, millions of honest immigrants work hard, contribute to their new countries, and are no threat to security.

I would remind all those who want to blame their fellow human beings for wanting to better their condition, that we are all descended from immigrants. Our own forefathers arrived here to escape from persecution. England thought they were a threat to the status quo too and decried the changes they were making to society. And if assimilation is the criteria, we all should be speaking Native American languages and following their customs to this day. But instead the new Americans forced the Indians to accomodate their culture. Every wave of immigrants since has been vilified by those who already have established their own security and begrudged the new group a place at the table.

The first wave of immigrants rarely assimilate fully. They historically form enclaves where their home language is the primary mode of communication. It's the next generations that meld more seamlessly and so it will be with the new immigrants today. Broadbrushing entire ethinic groups as "the enemy" serves no purpose other than fostering enmity and that is a greater threat to civil society.

I would agree that immigrants should learn the language and customs of their host country but anyone who has tried to learn a new language later in life should realize it's not that easy for older people to do so. Perhaps our governments have gone too far in accomodating the differences and have in effect provided a disincentive to assimilate, but that's a failure of government, not the immigrants. It's human nature to take the path of least resistance.

Frankly, I find this current bashing of immigrants not only intolerant but inhumane and pretty damn arrogant considering the number of American ex-pat communities I've encountered around the world in my travels who have lived in their host countries for years without bothering to learn the language.

Update: And yet more intolerance from a suprising source.


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Blogger Jim Martin said...

While I agree that American expats might not learn the language,nor do they want to exhort others to kill in the name of religion.
I state my positions based upon friends living in England and Scotland and what I read for myself. The British are tolerant to a fault even when their system is not. The Muslim immigrants are intolerant and at least 20 percent of British Muslims have no problem with killing and martyrdom.
I think it's easy to say that nothing is backed with facts, well the facts are available. Search and you'll find that the numbers in active support of jihad and martyrdom in Britain is more than 10 percent and more than 20 percent in sympathy.
What would happen if that was true in this country?
I refuse to be a bleeding heart liberal in the face of this threat and to say it has something to do with brown faces. It has to do with religious intolerance and fanaticism.
It's time to wake up.

10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

Since you updated your post Libby with a link to Down With Tyranny, I'll update my comment.
I think he has it right, also, but it's a complicated post.
It's not intolerant to recognize those people that are threats to your way of life and confront the threat.

10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Don't take it too personally Jim. We're free to disagree with each other. I simply find the broadbrush approach more dangerous than the fanatics. By your own statistics that means 80% of Muslims don't agree with that approach.

I might suggest that there are 20% of the general population of the US now that support some kind of violent change and not all of them are Muslims.

I'm not unaware that I'm in the minority on this issue, which why I feel the need to speak out in support of immigrants.

10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

There is no way to sum up such a complex situation, but I do have some knowledge of Brits and quite a number of my immediate family are British nationals.

I'm not quite so convinced of their tolerance for one thing. I find the level of casual anti-Semitism shocking sometimes. I find a lot of snide racial jokes of all kinds being told without much embarrassment and I'm not talking about pub talk, but about academics and intellectuals.

It's hard to ask of them that they not be upset with second or third generation immigrants who blow up buses however, or those who have achieved relative prosperity yet work hard to establish intolerance and religious law, minority though they may be. It has to be jarring to find that the largest building in the county is a mosque and that half the people on the street have begun to wear Muslim garb or Nigerian robes. Humans are after all, only human.

As a foreigner, I may be pleased to be able to find good Indian or Chinese restaurants in small villages and I believe the locals are pleased too, but my personal and non-scientific impression is that the influx from Pakistan and other former entities of the Raj is enormous and insular and growing too rapidly for the comfort of those who are basically tolerant. Asking them not to be upset about losing the "Britishness" they're proud of and used to is perhaps being a bit hypocritical.

Even if I fault some of the Brits for not noticing that there are probably far more physics professors, writers, businessmen of great success and certainly far more law abiding citizens from the subcontinent, Asia, the middle east and Africa than their are mad bombers, I can't fault them for being human and reacting to such changes in their society and their country which is far smaller than ours.

The English are far more secular than we are, the ubiquitousness of churches notwithstanding and accommodating millions whose lives revolve around religious law and the expansion thereof into almost all areas of life, isn't easy even for a tolerant people. The rate of change is more difficult than the volume.

But you're right Libby, the export of the ambitious and the educated has been going on for a long time. They've been complaining about the "brain drain" for decades and it has to do with opportunities for affluence and personal freedom that don't exist over there.

That is to some degree changing as the US makes it very difficult for an Englishman or any other European to get a visa.

10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

I think that your last sentence is telling. Our government is working like hell to get more Iraqis and Somalis and every other kind of Islamic in and won't let in the Europeans.
And Libby a lot of people complain about this country but they aren't advocating blowing people up and then doing it.
Our guests need to be mannerly or they need to get the hell out.

10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I'm afraid, I have to leave for work this hot minute, but I will be back to revisit this. I hope I may be able to grab a couple of free minutes this afternoon.

11:12:00 AM  

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