Author Topic: So much news, so little sense  (Read 4448 times)

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BT

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So much news, so little sense
« on: May 27, 2007, 12:09:30 PM »

http://www.suntimes.com/news/steyn/402407,CST-EDT-steyn27.article


May 27, 2007

MARK STEYN
News, news everywhere -- so much one can hardly take it all in:

Item One: In Gaza, Islamic Jihad is planning to send waves of female suicide bombers into action against the Zionist Entity. Asked by an Israeli reporter whether self-detonating ladies enjoy the same 72-virgin deal as the lads, an Arab scholar said no, but that the gals will be served in Paradise by "dwarfs." Snow White got seven dwarfs, but it's unclear whether Blow White will get the full 72: Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, etc., all the way down to Incendiary, Non-Alcoholic and Anti-Zionist.

Item Two: From Sikeston, Mo., comes the touching story of a 3-year-old girl and Raymon and Richard Miller, two brothers who happen to be the father and uncle thereof. Unfortunately, they don't know which is which. Four years ago, Holly Marie Adams, who was in town for the rodeo, "slept with" both men on the same day. And in the fullness of time, upon discovering the fullness of her belly, she decided Raymon was the dad and demanded child support.

Raymon decided he saw himself as more of the uncle type, and so dragged his brother into court. What did the DNA results show? Well, they're identical twins, so there's a 99.5 percent probability Raymon's the father and there's a 99.5 percent probability Richard's the father. And, as they're both crying uncle, that suits neither of them. Naturally, Raymon wants the state of Missouri to pick up the child support. Technically, the state of Missouri didn't "sleep with" Holly Marie Adams, though, if it too had been in town for the rodeo that day, its chances would have been better than even.

Given that neither man wants to be the father in any meaningful sense, the famous split decision of the wisdom of Solomon might be in both their interests, if not the little girl's. What passes for heartwarming family sentiment in this case comes from the brothers' mother, who said, "I felt like I had gained a granddaughter but lost my sons."

Item Three: America's bipartisan "comprehensive immigration reform" bill. Just because this story comes above the fold on Page One doesn't mean it's not just as nutty as the foot of page 27 news-in-brief stuff up above. Peggy Noonan's take at the Wall Street Journal bore the sub-headline: "Open Borders? Mass Deportations? How About Some Common Sense Instead?"

Indeed. Everyone wants to sound reasonable and be the chap who charts the middle course between the Scylla of open borders and the Charybdis of mass deportation. But these are not equivalent dangers. The Charybdis of mass deportation is a mythical monster: It does not exist. It will never exist. No politician is arguing for it, and no U.S. agency is capable of accomplishing it. Indeed, even non-mass deportation does not exist. Go on, try it. Go to your local immigration office and say: Hello, boys. Here I am. I'm an illegal immigrant, got no right to be here, been breaking the law for 20 years, but I've seen the light and I want you to deport me back to Mexico, Yemen, you name it. The immigration guys will say: Leave your name and address and we'll get back to you in a decade or three.

But the Scylla of open borders does exist. It's the reality of the situation. What else would you call it when a population the size of Belgium's (the lowball estimate) or Australia's (the upper end) moves onto your land? And with the connivance of multiple state agencies, not to mention those municipalities that proudly declare themselves to be "sanctuary cities?"

In life's rich tapestry, there are bound to be questions to which there are no good answers -- that Missouri paternity suit is one of them. That's how advocates of the "bipartisan compromise" prefer to talk about immigration: difficult business, no ideal solution, and only extremists would pursue such theoretical perfection as "mass deportation."

OK. But whatever happened to non-mass deportation? Not long after Sept. 11 I chanced to be heading north on I-87 between Plattsburgh and Montreal. At the border crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Lacolle, Quebec, I noticed that what appeared to be a mini-refugee camp had sprung up. It's not often that you see teeming hordes lining up to get into Canada, so I asked the immigration officer what was going on. He rolled his eyes and did a bit of boy-those-crazy-Yanks stuff and then explained that most of the guys waiting to get in were from Pakistan. In the wake of 9/11, the authorities had rounded up various persons of interest in the New York City area. Whether or not they were terrorists, they'd certainly violated immigration law, overstaying visas and so forth. And as a result, many other illegal immigrants from Muslim countries had concluded it was time to liquidate their assets and break for the border. In other words, the roundup of a relatively small number of persons sent thousands more fleeing to Canada. As that Missouri grandma would say, don't look on it as losing a Pakistani illegal but as gaining a Canadian neighbor.

So the question is: Why is enforcement of U.S. immigration somewhere between minimal and nonexistent? By some estimates, half of all illegals have arrived on George W. Bush's watch -- i.e., they broke into a nation at war with borders supposedly on permanent "orange" alert.

To return to the 72-virgin jackpot, even the looniest jihad-inciting imam understands that human nature responds to incentive, to the tradeoff between obligation and reward. But the immigration bill is all reward and no obligations. The only clause that matters is the first one: the mandatory open-ended probationary legal status the bill will confer the moment it's passed. All the rest -- the enforcement provisions on border agents and security fences that will supposedly "trigger" Z-visas and then green cards -- is nonsense, most of which will never happen. If you're "undocumented," you don't care about whether your Z-visa leads to citizenship 15 years from now: What counts is crossing the line from illegal to legal, which in this bill happens first, happens instantly and happens (to all intents and purposes) irreversibly. All the rest is Beltway kabuki.

That Missouri case should remind us that in a wealthy society the knottiest problems are usually the consequences of moral choices. To embed lawbreaking at the heart of American immigration and to allow it to metastasize through the wider society was perverse and debilitating. Most Americans see this differently from Washington and Wall Street. They're pro-immigration but they don't regard it as a mere technicality, a piece of government paper: after all, feeling American is central to their own identity. They rightly revile the cheap contempt the rushed Senate bill demonstrates not just for transparent, honest small-r republican government but for the privilege of being American. Happy Memorial Day.

© Mark Steyn 2007


Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007, 02:33:05 PM »
<<To embed lawbreaking at the heart of American immigration and to allow it to metastasize through the wider society was perverse and debilitating.>>

I can see where Steyn could legitimately say that lawbreaking has been "embedded at the heart of American immigration," although (a) it's a sloppy and inaccurate way of putting it and (b) it might happen to be the best practical policy available.  What I can't see is how it ["lawbreaking"] has been allowed to "metastatsize" "through the wider society."  That's one hell of a stretch.  And Steyn hasn't produced a shred of evidence in its support.

Immigration is a lot like prohibition - - it's a law that proved virtually impossible to enforce in a liberal democratic society.  So the issue really isn't so much "lawbreaking" as it is the realistic recognition of the limits of enforceability of a specific law.

"Lawbreaking" is pretty selective in its context here anyway - - what was so "lawful" about the way the whites took America from the Indians anyway?  And what was so "lawful" in how they got California from the Mexicans?  Now that they are in possession of their ill-gotten gains, the Americans want to put up gates to keep the Mexicans out and the Mexicans aren't having any of it.  Apparently, aided by persons within and without the U.S.A., the Mexicans are filtering back in  to what was always "their" land anyway.   IMHO, the influx can be slowed but never stopped by "law" and Steyn and others like him would be well advised to quit whining about "law" and "fairness" (being themselves the beneficiaries of American lawlessness and unfairness) and show more respect to people who are trying to find practical solutions to the "problem" of immigration.

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007, 03:14:57 PM »
"Lawbreaking" is pretty selective in its context here anyway - - what was so "lawful" about the way the whites took America from the Indians anyway?

And what was "lawful" about the way that the Indians took America from the aboriginals that came from Europe?
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007, 03:29:56 PM »
<<And what was "lawful" about the way that the Indians took America from the aboriginals that came from Europe?>>

How do you know that European aboriginals were here before the Indians?  And if they were, how do you know how the Indians took America from them?

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007, 07:05:24 PM »
How do you know that European aboriginals were here before the Indians?  And if they were, how do you know how the Indians took America from them?

I pay attention to history. It's been years since anyone took the "Clovis First" theories ("Native Americans" were the aboriginal humans) seriously. There were humans in the Americas for thousands of years before the Native Americans arrived via the Bering Strait land bridge, and those original humans arrived from southern France (Solutreans) - this is supported by mitochondrial DNA.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2007, 07:07:25 PM by Amianthus »
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Universe Prince

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007, 10:30:15 PM »
Quote from: Mark Steyn

But the Scylla of open borders does exist. It's the reality of the situation.


No, it is not the reality of the situation. If we had genuinely open borders, we wouldn't have people by the millions risking death just to sneak in. And open borders is not a Scylla. Nor is it a Charybdis or any other sort of monster. But the use of the metaphor of open immigration as a monster reveals the underlying nature of Steyn's argument. That underlying nature is fear. The idea of open borders as monster implies that it is a threat to the lives of innocent people, and it is not. On the contrary, the threat of death is what people desperate to make a better life now are risking by crossing the desert to come here. Seems to me, Steyn has it backwards.

Quote from: Mark Steyn

To embed lawbreaking at the heart of American immigration and to allow it to metastasize through the wider society was perverse and debilitating.


The problem here is that we should never have made legal immigration into America so difficult. And that, not the recent bill in Congress, is what embedded lawbreaking at the heart of American immigration. And yes, it is perverse and debilitating. Exactly why we need to make legal immigration substantially easier, not harder.

Quote from: Mark Steyn

the privilege of being American


Being a citizen of the U.S. is a privilege. But coming to the U.S. should not be.

Quote from: Mark Steyn

Happy Memorial Day.


Indeed. Happy Memorial Day. Please take some time to remember the efforts of immigrants and the children of immigrants who risked and gave their lives in the service of the U.S. military. Immigrants who did not have to jump the legal hurdles that now exist to come here. Immigrants who faced the same complaints of being lazy, being criminals, being poor, being a drain on society. Please, remember them on Memorial Day. And consider that maybe, just maybe the immigrants of today are not less worthy of the liberty that the immigrants of the past had, that the immigrants of the past and their children fought to protect.
Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.
--Hieronymus Karl Frederick Baron von Munchausen ("The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" [1988])--

Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2007, 11:03:19 PM »
from wikipedia

<<Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact is used to refer to interactions between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and peoples of other continents – Europe, Africa, Asia, or Oceania – before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Many such events have been proposed at various times, based on historical reports, archaeological finds, and cultural comparisons. Some of those claims are listed in this article. Evidence for those claims is, however, generally scant and circumstantial, and only a few of them are taken seriously by researchers; only Native American migration from Siberia and the presence of the Norse in present-day Atlantic Canada have been proven for certain.>>

However the references are fascinating.  I never heard of Solutrean culture before and never heard of Clovis or pre-Clovis in relation to pre-Columbian Americans.  This is something I plan to read up on when I get the chance.

Thank you.


Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 11:13:57 PM »
Some good references here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean_hypothesis

Since it's supported by mitochondrial DNA, it's very likely to be the correct explanation.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2007, 01:10:24 AM »
It's supported by mitochondrial DNA to the extent that nobody's found Haplogroup X in Siberia or eastern Asia so far.  One tribe or clan with even 10 or 12%  Haplogroup X would be all it takes to blow the whole theory.   I see the Clovis descendants aren't too keen on DNA tests for the specimens that turn up now, and they've got the courts on their side, too.  Probably the effect of appointing religious nuts and conservatives to the bench.  I guess they stand to lose politically if it turns out they displaced the earlier inhabitants just like the whites displaced them.

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2007, 01:19:54 AM »
It's supported by mitochondrial DNA to the extent that nobody's found Haplogroup X in Siberia or eastern Asia so far.

Sure they have. But it only dates back to about 5,000 years before present in that area, much too late to have been responsible for the divergent DNA of ~15,000 years before present found in the Americas.

This is science, Mikey, not guesswork.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2007, 01:23:30 AM »
I guess they stand to lose politically if it turns out they displaced the earlier inhabitants just like the whites displaced them.

Especially since it will have been "the whites" they displaced...

When I first read up on some of this stuff about 4 years ago, my comment to my wife (who is part Native American) was "Karma's a bitch, huh?"
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2007, 01:24:27 AM »
<<This is science, Mikey, not guesswork.>>

All science starts with a guess, Ami.  Only it's called a hypothesis.

Michael Tee

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2007, 01:30:04 AM »
<<When I first read up on some of this stuff about 4 years ago, my comment to my wife (who is part Native American) was "Karma's a bitch, huh?">>

It's in such moments of tender intimacy that the bonds of marriage draw even tighter and the American family ever stronger.  Was it the frying pan or the rolling pin that she brained you with?

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2007, 01:31:47 AM »
All science starts with a guess, Ami.  Only it's called a hypothesis.

Guess you didn't study hard enough in your science class.

A hypothesis is an explanation for a set of data, not a "guess". The data would be the divergence of the mitochondrial DNA, in this case. Which is not guesswork.

There is no other hypothesis on the horizon for this set of data, and we (the US) have a very good set of population DNA information, thanks to the Human Genome Project.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Amianthus

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Re: So much news, so little sense
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2007, 01:35:41 AM »
It's in such moments of tender intimacy that the bonds of marriage draw even tighter and the American family ever stronger.  Was it the frying pan or the rolling pin that she brained you with?

Apparently, unlike those in your life, she has a wicked sense of humor. She laughed.

Besides, she's a mutt anyway. She's got German, Polish, Irish, Scottish, and British as well as Native American. And part of her family came over on the Mayflower.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)