Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Progressives Fear Open Borders Too

 

world-war-z-2013-stills1Not to step on Frank’s beat, but in a case of I-read-it-so-you-don’t-have-to, Salon has a piece by the intellectually one-dimensional Michael Lind. If you ever want a handle on unthinking progressive reactionism, Lind is your guy.

Strangely, Lind sounds much like a conservative in that he laments the support for open borders by progressive elites.

The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

The most fascinating part is that Lind fears immigration for the same, yet the exact opposite, reason that our side fears it.

Unlike most prominent progressives, Paul Krugman recognizes that you can have a high-wage social democratic welfare state or you can have unlimited immigration — but you can’t have both. Krugman observes that “open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global.”

Fascinating. The same formulation the right uses, but with a different conclusion. The right says we can’t open immigration when we still have a welfare state. The left says we won’t be able to keep our welfare state if we open immigration. On the surface, one side’s worst fear is the other’s dream.

In a bout of refreshingly honest cynicism, Lind continues:

Much of the left’s opposition to immigration law enforcement, of course, is based on a strategic appeal to the Latino vote, not on a rational analysis of what sort of immigration policy best suits U.S. labor market conditions in the 21st century. If most Latinos began voting for Republicans, undoubtedly many Democrats who object to border and workplace enforcement would fall silent pretty quickly.

Conversely, I expect that some on the right’s opposition to increased immigration would disappear if the votes were on the other foot.

Finally, I’m curious how this concluding statement by Lind makes people feel:

While [elites on both sides] form a new fantasy-based community, dreaming of a utopian world without borders impeding the flow of labor, money or goods, reality-based egalitarian liberals in the New Deal/Great Society tradition can resume the project of creating a high-wage, social democratic nation-state inside America’s well-policed borders

While elites team up to create the brave new world, could the “real people” who have to deal with the actual consequences team up to save the comfortable status quo for completely opposing reasons?

There are 31 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Profile Photo Member

    If every social program were abolished this afternoon, I would still be opposed to open borders. And if “closed borders’ led to an even more lavish welfare state, I would still be for closed borders.

    • #1
    • May 27, 2014, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    wmartin:

    If every social program were abolished this afternoon, I would still be opposed to open borders. And if “closed borders’ led to an even more lavish welfare state, I would still be for closed borders.

     There are many who agree with you, but there are also many who (claim, at least) that the welfare state is their main opposition. I expected push back on this front, but wanted to keep the post as focused as possible.

    It’s good to get to the heart of people’s actual objections rather than spending time on objections that wouldn’t change their mind even if they were convinced otherwise.

    • #2
    • May 27, 2014, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. rico Inactive

    Mike H: [quoting Lind]
    The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

    Congratulations, Mike. It seems you’re not alone.

    • #3
    • May 27, 2014, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    rico:

    Mike H: [quoting Lind] The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

    Congratulations, Mike. It seems you’re not alone.

     Neither are you! There are even more Democrats on your side:

    Forty-four percent of Democrats favor decreasing immigration, compared to 37 percent who want to keep it at present levels.

    • #4
    • May 27, 2014, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frankly if the welfare state can’t survive massive immigration I think that should be put down in the plus column for it. In fact what could be better? Immigrants manage to save us from ourselves because while we are willing to build up a welfare state for “natural” American’s the last thing we would want is to give it to those illegals. So we dismantle the progressive welfare state to spite them, but in fact all we have done is managed to restore our old self-independence and limited government. Take that illegals! How do you like our free country now? 

    • #5
    • May 27, 2014, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Valiuth:

    Frankly if the welfare state can’t survive massive immigration I think that should be put down in the plus column for it. In fact what could be better? Immigrants manage to save us from ourselves because while we are willing to build up a welfare state for “natural” American’s the last thing we would want is to give it to those illegals. So we dismantle the progressive welfare state to spite them, but in fact all we have done is managed to restore our old self-independence and limited government. Take that illegals! How do you like our free country now?

     Perfect attitude, Valiuth!

    • #6
    • May 27, 2014, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Profile Photo Member

    Mike H:

    There are many who agree with you, but there are also many who (claim, at least) that the welfare state is their main opposition. I expected push back on this front, but wanted to keep the post as focused as possible.

    It’s good to get to the heart of people’s actual objections rather than spending time on objections that wouldn’t change their mind even if they were convinced otherwise.

     This is similar to the “I love legal immigration, but not illegal immigration” stance of some conservatives, which is vulnerable to “well, just make it all legal, and you don’t have that problem.” This is also because there is a racial/ethnic dimension involved in the immigration issue, and many conservatives find anything that even touches on race/ethnicity distasteful.

    Most conservatives (like most people, regarding most issues) just base their issue positions on a gut feeling. In this case, I think the conservative “gut” is saying something valuable, even if they haven’t fully thought it through.

    • #7
    • May 27, 2014, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. rico Inactive

    Mike H:

    rico:

    Mike H: [quoting Lind] The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

    Congratulations, Mike. It seems you’re not alone.

    Neither are you! There are even more Democrats are on your side:

    Forty-four percent of Democrats favor decreasing immigration, compared to 37 percent who want to keep it at present levels.

    Actually, my point wasn’t immigration growth. I was referring to the second sentence of the quote:
    Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

    My bad for carelessness. But yes, it is encouraging that the vast majority of Americans (including Democrats) have enough sense to recognize the necessity of defending our sovereignty with enforced borders.

    • #8
    • May 27, 2014, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    rico:

    But yes, it is encouraging that the vast majority of Americans (including Democrats) have enough sense to recognize the necessity of defending our sovereignty with enforced borders.

    Lucky for me, when elites and mainstream America disagree, the elites tend to get what they want.

    • #9
    • May 27, 2014, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I dont think we should be surprised that a big block of liberals are opposed to immigration. It just proves that, like with the Republicans, there is a conflict in the Democrat party between populists and elites.

    In fact, some on the right get a little too lazy when they portray the left as always marching in lock-step. In reality, the left is at least as fractured as the right – but they have been successful enough over the last few decades to buy off most fractions and thereby engender a spirit of tolerance and complacency among their base(s).

    However, it does seem that the traditional Democrat base is on a slow terminal decline: private unions are disappearing and the populist South is now almost completely Republican. It will be interesting to see how the party views immigration in 10 years.

    • #10
    • May 27, 2014, at 3:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Done Contributor

    Valiuth: the “I love legal immigration, but not illegal immigration” stance of some conservatives, which is vulnerable to “well, just make it all legal, and you don’t have that problem.” This is also because there is a racial/ethnic dimension involved in the immigration issue, and many conservatives find anything that even touches on race/ethnicity distasteful. Most conservatives (like most people, reg

     If it would result in an actual collapse of entitlements, I might be in favor of it. But it won’t. Just the long slow drag of massive debt and inflating away promised benefits in order to stay just ahead of the collapse.

    • #11
    • May 27, 2014, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Frank Soto:

    If it would result in an actual collapse of entitlements, I might be in favor of it. But it won’t. Just the long slow drag of massive debt and inflating away promised benefits in order to stay just ahead of the collapse.

    Let’s assume you’re right. How is that different than the Medicare collapse? We’re going to hit the wall eventually, does it really matter which wall it is? My guess is fiscal impossibility will lead to cuts only when it has to, but I think cuts are more likely than higher taxes. Does it really matter what causes the math to becomes unsustainable and when?

    • #12
    • May 27, 2014, at 4:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Z in MT Member

    Mike H: If you ever want a handle on unthinking progressive reactionism, Lind is your guy.

     How is this progressive reactionism? The elites of both parties are the inheritors of the progressive torch. If anything this is the exact opposite. Progressive is not the antithesis of libertarian.

    • #13
    • May 27, 2014, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Z in MT:

    Mike H: If you ever want a handle on unthinking progressive reactionism, Lind is your guy.

    How is this progressive reactionism? The elites of both parties are the inheritors of the progressive torch. If anything this is the exact opposite. Progressive is not the antithesis of libertarian.

     That was more of an aside to frame the article based on another of his posts that linked anything conservative to Koch Brother plutocracy (it is Salon after all). Sorry for the confusion.

    • #14
    • May 27, 2014, at 5:13 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    I favor increased immigration, but I dislike the use of the term “open borders” to describe any who support increased levels of immigration. I favor increased immigration for pragmatic reasons. I do not think foreigners have a right to come to our country. I believe strongly in national sovereignty and that the right of a nation-state to exclude whoever it may choose trumps any right to free travel or freedom of association which prospective immigrants may possess. The problem with the term “open borders” is that it conflates the question of immigration levels with issues of border control and security, and with questions of individual rights and national sovereignty.

    I do apologize if I’m being pedantic. Having read over what I just wrote I feel a little bit like Fred Cole vis a vis “isolationism.”

    • #15
    • May 27, 2014, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Salvatore Padula:

    I favor increased immigration, but I dislike the use of the term “open borders” to describe any who support increased levels of immigration. I favor increased immigration for pragmatic reasons. I do not think foreigners have a right to come to our country. I believe strongly in national sovereignty and that the right of a nation-state to exclude whoever it may choose trumps any right to free travel or freedom of association which prospective immigrants may possess. The problem with the term “open borders” is that it conflates the question of immigration levels with issues of border control and security, and with questions of individual rights and national sovereignty.

    I do apologize if I’m being pedantic. Having read over what I just wrote I feel a little bit like Fred Cole vis a vis “isolationism.”

    I know what you mean. I like to be somewhat provocative for the fun of it. I guess I want to own the “open borders” label instead of allowing it to become more of a pejorative than it already is.

    I’m sure we disagree on some trivial aspects, but c’est la vie.

    • #16
    • May 27, 2014, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Done Contributor

    Mike H:

    Frank Soto:

    If it would result in an actual collapse of entitlements, I might be in favor of it. But it won’t. Just the long slow drag of massive debt and inflating away promised benefits in order to stay just ahead of the collapse.

    Let’s assume you’re right. How is that different than the Medicare collapse? We’re going to hit the wall eventually, does it really matter which wall it is? My guess is fiscal impossibility will lead to cuts only when it has to, but I think cuts are more likely than higher taxes. Does it really matter what causes the math to becomes unsustainable and when?

    Yes. Yes it does matter.

    • #17
    • May 27, 2014, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Frank Soto: Yes. Yes it does matter.

     In that case, I would love to be educated.

    • #18
    • May 27, 2014, at 6:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    Mike H:

    Frank Soto: Yes. Yes it does matter.

    In that case, I would love to be educated.

    I think there is a distinction to be made between a fiscal collapse caused by the unsustainable promises those within a polity make to themselves and a fiscal collapse hastened by the addition of large numbers of new beneficiaries from outside the polity. I’m skeptical of claims that increasing immigration would be a net-drain on our national finances (I’ve been meaning to post on the subject for a while, but keep getting sidetracked), but if it would that seems to me to be a good reason to reject increased immigration.

    • #19
    • May 27, 2014, at 6:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Salvatore Padula:

    Mike H:

    Frank Soto: Yes. Yes it does matter.

    In that case, I would love to be educated.

    I think there is a distinction to be made between a fiscal collapse caused by the unsustainable promises those within a polity make to themselves and a fiscal collapse hastened by the addition of large numbers of new beneficiaries from outside the polity. I’m skeptical of claims that increasing immigration would be a net-drain on our national finances (I’ve been meaning to post on the subject for a while, but keep getting sidetracked), but if it would that seems to me to be a good reason to reject increased immigration.

     Am I being too consequentialist? I do feel many people on the right error a little too much on the side of process.

    • #20
    • May 27, 2014, at 6:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    Mike H:

    Salvatore Padula:

    I think there is a distinction to be made between a fiscal collapse caused by the unsustainable promises those within a polity make to themselves and a fiscal collapse hastened by the addition of large numbers of new beneficiaries from outside the polity. I’m skeptical of claims that increasing immigration would be a net-drain on our national finances (I’ve been meaning to post on the subject for a while, but keep getting sidetracked), but if it would that seems to me to be a good reason to reject increased immigration.

    Am I being too consequentialist? I do feel many people on the right error a little too much on the side of process.

     I don’t think it’s a question of process as much as of deontology. Those who share a social contract have different rights and obligations to one another than they do to those outside the social contract.

    Even if you want to view the question purely through a consequentialist lens, I think the acceleration of fiscal collapse caused by increased immigration is a legitimate concern.

    • #21
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    Duplicate.

    • #22
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Zafar Member

    Level of migration and open borders and the welfare state are all different things.

    A list of countries showing foreign born population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-born_population

    From which

    Australia (27.7%)

    Canada (20.7%)

    US (14.3%)

    Spain (13.8%)

    UK (12.4 %)

    Germany (11.9%)

    France (11.6%)

    Australia and Canada are arguably higher functioning welfare states than the US, but they both have a significantly higher proportion of foreign born population than the US.

    • #23
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Done Contributor

    Zafar:

    Level of migration and open borders and the welfare state are all different things.

    A list of countries showing foreign born population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-born_population

    From which

    Australia (27.7%)

    Canada (20.7%)

    US (14.3%)

    Spain (13.8%)

    UK (12.4 %)

    Germany (11.9%)

    France (11.6%)

    Australia and Canada are arguably higher functioning welfare states than the US, but they both have a significantly higher proportion of foreign born population than the US.

     Helps when your immigrants aren’t abysmally poor.

    • #24
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:23 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Zafar:

    Level of migration and open borders and the welfare state are all different things.

    A list of countries showing foreign born population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-born_population

    From which

    Australia (27.7%)

    Canada (20.7%)

    US (14.3%)

    Spain (13.8%)

    UK (12.4 %)

    Germany (11.9%)

    France (11.6%)

    Australia and Canada are arguably higher functioning welfare states than the US, but they both have a significantly higher proportion of foreign born population than the US.

     They are also arguably freer states.

    • #25
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Salvatore Padula:

    I don’t think it’s a question of process as much as of deontology. Those who share a social contract have different rights and obligations to one another than they do to those outside the social contract.

    Even if you want to view the question purely through a consequentialist lens, I think the acceleration of fiscal collapse caused by increased immigration is a legitimate concern.

     From Wikipedia:

    Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules.[1] It is sometimes described as “duty” or “obligation” or “rule”-based ethics, because rules “bind you to your duty.”[2] Deontological ethics is commonly contrasted to consequentialism[3] and virtue ethics. Deontological ethics is also contrasted to pragmatic ethics. In this terminology action is more important than the consequences. Humans decide right or wrong.

    I guess I disagree that humans ultimately decide right or wrong. To the non-lawyer, deontologism seems almost identical to process, in practice.

    • #26
    • May 27, 2014, at 7:35 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. rico Inactive

    Zafar:

    Level of migration and open borders and the welfare state are all different things.

    A list of countries showing foreign born population:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-born_population

    From which

    Australia (27.7%)

    Canada (20.7%)

    US (14.3%)

    Spain (13.8%)

    UK (12.4 %)

    Germany (11.9%)

    France (11.6%)

    Australia and Canada are arguably higher functioning welfare states than the US, but they both have a significantly higher proportion of foreign born population than the US.

    This is all beside the point. None of these countries have open borders. Mike is advocating open borders.

    • #27
    • May 27, 2014, at 8:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    …reality-based egalitarian liberals in the New Deal/Great Society tradition can resume the project of creating a high-wage, social democratic nation-state inside America’s well-policed borders.

    Reality-based egalitarian liberals? Rebels, no doubt, to the status quo.

    Just for the record, that project is not something that the Rebels can control. You don’t create a high-wage state by slathering social Democracy (whatever that means) all over it; instead you’ll get what we’ve gotten from the Great Society: Trillions spent and a permanent dependency.

    Which is really what open borders is all about, if you’re the Democrat here, and it’s still what it’s all about, if you’re a Democrat who wants to have “well-policed borders”. You still want the votes that immigration of any stripe brings in, to maintain power and to help create that social democracy that’s going over so well in the EU these days.

    • #28
    • May 28, 2014, at 4:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. Guruforhire Member

    Rich people want cheaper labor. Since new earnings are pretty much not happening cutting costs is the only real way to boost margins.

    Low interest rates are biasing the capital/labor mix towards capital, and we are in a vicious cycle of displacement of labor, with no new opportunities on the horizon, and no rational basis by which to believe in new opportunities in theory.

    Now you want to make these displaced people who have memories of better days passed to compete against the entire world for a job stocking shelves at walmart?

    Therein lies why nobody outside of political theorists, and ivory tower dwellers believe in mass immigration, legal or illegal, anywhere in the west.

    Retraining programs have been a farce, are a farce, and will most likely continue to be a farce into the future.

    • #29
    • May 29, 2014, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H

    Cheaper labor is good for consumers too. The best anti-immigration economist concludes open immigration would reduce the wages of a high school dropout by only 10%. At the same time, products would become cheaper and more human labor leads to innovations in how to utilize it. Immigration restriction is based on the same logical facilities as other forms of protectionism. It’s another form of minimum wage.

    Of course, best results are only going to be reached by deregulation, but that is our real problem with or without more immigrants.

    • #30
    • May 29, 2014, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • Like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.