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It has been pointed out that all the brave Scotsmen left to settle the world – from New Zealand to Hudson’s Bay, the intrepid Scots made it all happen. They left behind everyone who let their fears control their lives. Scotsmen have conquered the world, while Scotland today is a wallowing morass of welfare and zero-sum despair.
I think the same pattern repeats itself with most other immigrants: America self-selected immigrants who craved freedom and opportunity and could overlook the insecurity and all the unknowns inherent in boarding a ship for distant shores, never to return. I am not sure if there is a genetic component to this tolerance, but there surely is a cultural one: cultures and religions differ in their belief in the ability of individuals to direct their own fate, and most people are swept along by the prevailing winds of nature and nurture.
If we consider that America was founded by this self-selected crowd, and that risk tolerance seems to be somewhat-inherited, then a few things follow:
1: The founding principles of the United States attract like-minded immigrants, but these same principles do not export very well. There is a reason other countries do not have the American Spirit.
2: If we wish to preserve this ethos, then the United States should continue to welcome hard-working, risk-taking immigrants – and one easy way to change the incentives is to entirely bar all public moneys for immigrants.