Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ponder this for a bit

What Did We Ever Do Without Illegal Aliens?
by Mac Johnson
Oct 3, 2005


It is with unhappiness and great reservation that I recall for you the America of my youth. America in that time was a dysfunctional wasteland. Without masses of illegal aliens there to do the necessary work that no American will do, the place simply fell apart. Lawns went unmown for years at a time. The problem was so bad that children simply disappearing into their overgrown lawns became the third leading cause of childhood fatality for a time.

Also, there were no restaurants in those days. Without an illegal servant caste there to bus the tables, wash the dishes, cook the food, and take the orders, no restaurants were possible.

Even had a restaurateur managed to find a few Americans so desperate and unaware of their hallowed elite role in the world economy that they were willing to work in the food service industry, he would have had no food to serve. We all know that no American can pick an apple, or process a chicken, or pack even a single blueberry or peanut. Without the agricultural underclass, there was no food in those days.

Without an imported peasant population to care for us, we just sat listlessly in our dilapidated, un-painted homes hoping that one day some helpful pliant people would show up and do the jobs that no American will do.

Oh wait. That’s not what happened. All those jobs got done just fine back then -- before we had the army of illegal immigrants that I am told are absolutely essential to our “modern” globalized economy. How was this possible? Who did these thankless menial jobs for reasonable wages? Wait… It’s coming back to me. I know. I did them! My friends did them. Young Americans did them.

After school we worked at restaurants. In the summertime we cut grass. More than once, I was paid actual cash money to clean up construction debris -- at work sites where every worker was an American. And every one of those workers spoke English and supported a family (or a bass boat or a drinking problem) working at a job that few Americans can take today, because you often can no longer make enough money to support a family, or even a proper drinking problem.

My cousins worked the summers on nearby farms, an unthinkable thought today. What farmer would bother teaching or tolerating a fifteen year old American kid who might want Friday off and expects to go home and eat dinner with his family? It now seems a silly thought --when he can instead just drive down to the local illegal labor pool and hire a truckload of instant peons, who expect nothing more than low wages, paid well after dark.

I point out all this for two reasons. One is to illustrate how false the Big Lie of illegal immigration is. The Big Lie being, of course, the claim that illegal immigrants simply take jobs that no American is willing to do. I have lived through an age of modest immigration and I live now through an age of obscene uncontrolled illegal immigration -- and I have yet to see one vital job go undone.

The second reason I bring these points up is to illustrate that the effects of open borders are not simply economic; there are also cultural effects. Among these is the disappearance of entry-level jobs that would normally be offered to American youth. Such jobs have long been part of coming-of-age in America and have served an important role in introducing young people to the culture of employment long before they are graduated from school and enter their adult careers.

At the time, I regarded having to work in high school and college as one of the great crimes against humanity of my age. Like many teenagers, my interests lay elsewhere and my attitude was one of inexplicable entitlement. But looking back on it, these basic jobs were some of the great formative experiences of my life. I have many friends who recall their starter jobs similarly.

It was at these jobs that we learned punctuality, politeness and customer service, and the ability to deal with the occasionally rude or bullying customer. We learned that work really doesn’t do itself and putting it off accomplishes nothing. We learned too, that even “menial” work can be organized and done more efficiently if you think about it just a little. We discovered that promotions and firings were not exactly random events, but bore some relationship to our productivity, and in many cases, attitude. I learned that sometimes you should keep your mouth shut and just think to yourself. (Admittedly, it is a lesson I must occasionally relearn even now.)

But the most important thing we learned was independence. I can remember, very distinctly, at the age of sixteen, spreading out a stack of twenty-dollar bills on my bed and just looking at them. Nobody gave them to me. I earned them. They were owed to me. It was a remarkable feeling. So I just sat and looked at it all, smiling and tired. (I personally think direct deposit has been a disaster for the morale of corporate employees. There is something uplifting about holding a substantial wad of money in one’s happy little fist.)

Today, these entry-level jobs (and the lessons they teach) seem to be rapidly fading away in many parts of the country -- a trend that is spreading geographically every year. In many regions, lawns are cut by crews of immigrants methodically working their way through middle class neighborhoods, while the young walk aimlessly by or shoot baskets in the driveway. Throughout most of the country, restaurant kitchens are the exclusive purview of foreign adults. Even if an American kid were to end up in one, one wonders how much he could understand of the lingua franca of the service sector.

Likewise, few American kids clean, or pick, or plant anything anymore. Such jobs are seldom sought by or offered to anyone other than those assembled in illicit day labor queues.

America is rapidly becoming home to a new ethnic caste system. Certain jobs are now deemed below the members of the middle class at any point in their lives. An entire generation of middle class Americans is being raised with foreign nannies wiping their backsides, foreign landscapers mowing their lawns and raking their leaves, foreign cooks flipping their burgers, foreign hands harvesting their crops and digging their ditches.

In the midst of the battle over the economic and legal implications of Washington’s current abandonment of our borders (and its active sabotage of our immigration enforcement system), very few have thought to ask, “what are the cultural consequences of this new system of servants for the common man?”

There is a corrupting effect to having servants, and to never knowing either tiresome labor or the feeling of worth an adolescent gains from being paid to do necessary work.

Once before in American history we have had to ask such questions. Do we really want -- again -- to become a nation dependent upon abundant and cheap manual labor to maintain our standard of living and economy?

Cheap human labor is seldom really cheap. You can pay for it upfront, or you can pay for it a generation later. But you will pay for it. You will pay for it in the resentment of the children of the servants, who do not wish to follow their parent’s subservient path. And you will pay for it in the corruption of the children of the served.

A society of equals must serve itself. And a society that cannot serve itself must cultivate inequality.