Friday, October 6, 2006

Arguing about Words

Well. People come, people go. If you think this observation isn't up to the high standard of insight you've come to expect from Forgotten Prophets, well, that's just your problem. Cuz there's a lot in that gnomic little epigram, believe you me. People come, people go. Yes siree, they sure do. Yep.

You might be thinking that I mean individuals. You, for instance. You come, you go. Well who could argue with that? Clearly you're here. But you're not buried here. You'll be leaving, shortly. If I'd meant you, though, don't you suppose I'd have said a person comes, a person goes? Or you come, you go? And the fact is that I don't even know you. I don't have a clue about you. Nothing. You are a cipher. Maybe you've left a comment, and I've followed it over to your own blog. Maybe. But first, do you have a blog? Not likely. And if you do, did you comment? Clearly, clearly not. Unless you're that armpit fetishist ... but all are welcome. I don't wish to seem ungracious. Anyway, how did the conversation get twisted into talking about you again? You know so much about me. I know so little about you. Hardly seems fair. I make a few general remarks, and all of a sudden you're all defensive. I'm just bored of it, hear me? Bored.

So. Immigration. And the good old USA, the only developed nation in the world that has no effective law enforcement on the issue. Mexico has an armed southern border, keeping out the Guatemalans. It is a felony to violate Mexican immigration law. But the good old U. S. of A.? Well, after all, this is a nation of immigrants. ... Ha! You fell into my trap! Now I'll pounce!

Everybody who's here, came from somewhere else. Everyone. Those who imagine themselves to be autochthonous natives? They arose spontaneously from the primordial slime? -- maybe the La Brea Tarpits? The Garden of Eden was situated where the Grand Canyon is now? They evolved here from some Kansan vole? Ain't nobody who didn't cross the water to get here. That's the first point.

People got here from elsewhere in one of five ways. They immigrated here, as every legal resident or citizen would have come, within living memory. They were forcibly brought here, as from Africa. They colonized. They invaded. Or they arrived as nomads. We will exclude slavery -- it is special pleading. So, immigration, colonies, invasion and nomadism. The difference is political. Immigration involves a state, borders and laws. Colonization involves a planned relocation and the transplantation of an existing lifestyle. Invasion speaks for itself. Nomadism is just people, families, clans, tribes, wandering around -- sometimes clashing with other nomads, or with settled, even national populations, though not part of a nation-state -- there are no states involved.

Which of these modes of population transfer most accurately describes the current situation in 3rd Millenium America? Nomadism is precluded by the existence of a nation-state with its laws and theoretical borders. Immigration doesn't apply, since the preponderance of influx is unlawful. What's left? Invasion and colonization.

There is a radical element, of southerly heritage, that attempts to justify the situation with a racist claim to the land. Because a non-related but non-European population was here some hundreds of years ago, Las Razistas pretend to a right of precedence. It's a stupid argument. That some tribe crossed over the Bering Strait during a BC millennium and wandered into the Americas, doesn't give them any more claim to the continents than does C. Columbus claiming half the globe for the rulers of Spain. "Claim" is a legal word. If it is a moral one too, it has to do with, say, a valley, not a continent. Those who make a racial claim, aside from being racist, suppose that invasion is legitimate. In which case one wonders at their objections to the effective conquest of the American southwest during the Mexican American War. Their invasion is okay, but ours wasn't? It starts with an h, and ends with ypocrisy. What word am I thinking?

The government of Mexico is engaged in a systemic effort to export northward its unwanted and surplus, its unskilled and uneducated population. This would almost be colonization, except the unwanted population is sent off without any more supplies than a few bottles of water and maybe a blanket. No, it's more about getting rid of 10 or 15% of the population of Mexico, than it is about retaking Arizona.

What, then? It's not really an invasion, like with the hordes of Attila the Hun. It's certainly not colonization, like the Pilgrims, or the Greeks into Libya. It's not the slave trade, or a forcible Assyrian-style relocation of a people. It's not immigration, since it is illegal. It's not nomadism, since there is a state involved. But it is, in fact, all of these.

We have to loosen our definitions. Nomadism, because it is imagined that the laws aren't in effect -- We'll go where we like. Slave trade because it's about exploitation, and relocation because Mexico is so corrupt and Third Worldly that it drives people out. Colonization because the arrivistas need not assimilate. Invasion, because they can invade. Immigration, because that's what they're calling it, and who wants to argue about words?

Well. They come. They come. Do they go?



Vandy said...


I read your blog, I visit daily. Yours is the last blog I visit because I know I'm going to be here awhile. I've still not read everything you have written here, but working on it and enjoying it.

I enjoy reading your blog because you are able to put into words what I feel/believe about certain subjects, and I learn something now and then as well.

I've commented once (what to pray for) and been tempted to comment several other times. But the fact is I'm just an average joe, average IQ, working stiff, I don't feel like my comments would add much to your blog.

I'll keep reading, please keep writing.

Jack H said...

Oh git along with you. I'm in charge of self-effacement around here, and there's just no more to spare. I use it all up. Well, it's understandable. After all, I have an IQ of 106! Pretty intimidating, eh?

I kid.

Thanks for the kind words. We do our little parts, toiling in the fields of the Lord. Some sew, some reap. And afterwards, we gather round and sing songs.


GUYK said...

Jack, the land has always belonged to whoever could take it and keep it. Possession is 9/10s of the law and I reject anyone's 'moral' claim to any land. If they could not defend it then they lost it and any claim to it. I make no claims that this is right....or wrong...just that this is the way it is.

The point is that we in the USA have taken this land and made it properous. Now we are in the process of losing it because we have lost the will to fight to keep it and base that loss of will on our 'morality'. If we lose it because we were afraid to fight to keep it then we didn't deserve to keep it. Only the strong can win and keep a land and most of the time for only a few hundred years at a time.

Jack H said...

G -- a very pragmatic view. I think you may have overstated your position. When you are old and cannot protect yourself or hold your land, you depend on law and morality and the civility of your neighbors and society. It's when cultures come into conflict that ownership becomes a problem. Cultures with different laws and different conceptions of ownership are distined for conflict. That's pragmatic, too.

What I used to tell my son is that of all the conquering peoples, Americans are most gracious. What other indiginous people has rights that are respected? The Picts? The Avars? Extinct. Those who will not adapt and assimilate, are lucky to have reservations. Not nice, for them. But reality sucks.


Anonymous said...

"What I used to tell my son is that of all the conquering peoples, Americans are most gracious. What other indiginous people has rights that are respected? The Picts? The Avars? Extinct."

What about the Maori in New Zealand, or the Inuit in Nunavut Territory, Canada?

Jack H said...

I suppose the operative word would be "most". Most gracious. It's really a minor point, though. What is the commonality, in your example? A British heritage. I say it as a non-Anglo-Saxon. One might adduce the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Hardly any genocide, to speak of. But that was pure colonialism -- not population transfer.

I expect my point stands.