Nativism and Nature – a Common Cause
The time has come to deal with an unpleasant subject, a subject tainted with racism and refugee camps, a subject that inspires deception and delusion, a subject on which both major political parties were deeply divided until quite recently.
That subject is border enforcement. Should nations be able to control who enters their borders? Who gains citizenship?
Close the borders and you get refugee situations. Open the borders wide and you get world government – and nowhere for refugees to run when things go bad.
Open the gates to the ambitious and educated and the US gets scientists, engineers, inventors, doctors, and startup founders. Hurray! We also cause a brain drain on developing nations, depriving them of scientists, engineers, inventors, doctors, and startup founders. Oops!
Open the gates to manual laborers and we get nannies, cheap maid service, hard working roofers, and migrant laborers willing to sweat it out in our fields – for low wages. We also get strike breakers, a market minimum wage pulled down to third world levels, welfare ghettos filled with angry young men with no opportunity for advancement, and colleges filled with delicate Snowflakes who never got toughened by doing Real Work.
Do you want the US to be a more egalitarian society? Tighten the borders. Do you want to bring the troops home and follow a more peaceful foreign policy? Tighten the borders.
But if you do tighten the borders, you will get some really sad refugee stories. Ouch! You will also make many racists happy. Double ouch!
In a moment we will provide a quick fix to make the racists unhappy. Later on will work on those sad refugee stories. In between we will look at the implications for the environment. (They are huge, by the way.)
Making Racists Unhappy
Nativism mixed with conservatism is associated with racism because...some of the anti immigration web sites are racist. Very racist.
Let us rub their noses in an Inconvenient Truth: Black America has deeper roots in this country than White America. Most black Americans trace their roots to slaves. The slave trade ended in 1808. Millions of white people immigrated here much later. Many white Americans trace their roots to the days of gigantic steamships. When handing out nativist points, the typical black American beats the typical white American hands down.
If the Know Nothings had gotten their way, this country would be browner, not whiter. The ratio of African to European Americans would be higher. And there would a much higher ratio of Native Americans. Oklahoma might still be called Indian Territory. South Dakota might still be an Indian reservation as well.
Open Borders vs. Ecotopia
Ecotopia requires limited population.
Sure, we could increase our population to 2 billion people and still preserve some cuddly creatures. But we couldn’t enjoy them. We would be crammed into cities eating Soylent Brown and settling for electronic entertainments powered by nuclear energy. Hunting, fishing, and paleo dieting would be restricted to the elite.
Environmentalists preached the importance of birth control back in the 70s, and most people in the developed world have responded. Europe has negative native population growth. The US has had slow positive growth.
But without border control there is zero benefit to those who opt to limit their family sizes in order for future generations to be able to enjoy nature. Their 2.1 children will simply be overwhelmed by those societies which opt to continue having big families who migrate here for the elbow room.
(Even border control might not be enough. Fecund subpopulations within a border might overwhelm the ecotopians over time. Ironically, the Bible has a solution to excess population growth: dole out perpetual land inheritance by family. The family that overpopulates experiences the downside of overpopulation.)
Throw in democracy and the problem gets worse: cultures, tribes, religions, and even political ideologies can get in childbearing races in order to outvote their opponents.
A Shareholder Model for Citizenship
Think of the US government as a gigantic corporation. It provides certain services like protection from external enemies, Interstate highway funding, postal service, intellectual property law, etc. It also owns huge amounts of land. Each adult citizen owns one voting share.
The original corporate charter was to strictly limit this corporation’s functions. Those limits have been largely nullified, and now shareholders haggle with each other who gets to raid the treasury.
What if we were to go all in with the corporate model and have this gigantic corporation pay a dividend, a Citizen Dividend?
You could eliminate most welfare programs for those of sound mind and body. You could make the tax code flat for 99% of the people, which would make employer withholding trivial to compute. Tie the dividend to a budget surplus and you get fiscal restraint. Do you want more programs or a bigger dividend check?
With a Citizen Dividend you can ensure that even lower class citizens can lead the good life while allowing some guest workers in. Market Minimum Wage + Citizen Dividend = Living Wage.
With a Citizen Dividend we can put a numerical value on citizenship: the equivalent annuity value. Instead of having a quota system for who gets to come here, just charge admission.
For go-getters wanting to arbitrage high US wages and the low cost of living at home, this system ensures that said go-getters are net taxpayers.
For the super productive inventors, businessmen, and professionals, the arrangement will be a minor cost, and the natives benefit from the net taxpaying and addition to the economy.
For hard case refugees, the price might be painful, but will still be less than the price of staying at home. We have a crude filter for separating true refugees from opportunists. And those do-gooders who think the price is too high can put their money where their mouths are.
As for the millions of illegal immigrants already here, they get a tax increase. Some might go home. Those who stay contribute to the treasury. Problem reduced – without a horrifying police action.
This solution is not comprehensive We would still need border enforcement. The problem of birthright citizenship remains. But maybe we could have a rational national debate on the subject. How much do we want to dilute our shares? This will put the open borders Democrats in an awkward position. Very awkward, once you realize who gets a windfall if we have a Citizen Dividend.
For those already prospering in this country, the Citizen Dividend would be largely a wash, a replacement for some tax deductions. For the working poor, and the poor who want to work, the Citizen Dividend would be a big deal. And guess who makes up a big fraction of the poor in this country: the descendants of the persecuted. A switch to a Citizen Dividend would have effects very similar to Reparations.
Race Reparations and border control, in one simple package. How’s that for creative legislation?