Them and Us

Eric Watt Forste (
Wed, 27 Aug 1997 14:45:28 -0700

den Otter writes:
> It's been tried before, for example in South Africa and Israel...
> needless to say it didn't (doesn't) work very well. It basically
> means slum cities at the edge of "rich areas", or at least ghettos.

Exsqueeze me? Since when have South Africa and Israel had
unrestricted immigration for all comers (which is what John K
Clark's post was about)?

It seems to me that the only example of unrestricted
immigration for all comers was the United States of America
before the Chinese Exclusion acts (and the later total
regulation of immigration in the 1920s). I don't know about
you, maybe it's just a trace of Yankee chauvinism in me, but
I'm rather pleased with the results of *that* experiment in
unrestricted immigration for all comers. I mean, compared to
the alternatives.

You "Caucasians" must be really smart if you think that South
Africa and Israel have unrestricted immigration for all comers.

> The problem is others (less "fortunate" than yourself) coming to
> *you*. If immigration really was totally free, all successful places
> would be overrun even faster by masses of poor immigrants (in your
> case wave upon wave of Mexicans, I guess).

Again, I suppose that the nineteenth-century USA proves your
point for you. For over a hundred years, the immigrants just
rolled in, with no regulation whatsoever, and the country just
kept getting poorer, and poorer, and poorer... (Um, wait,
that's not exactly what happened, was it?)

>From trying to follow the "logic" behind some of your extrapolative
scenarios, it seems to me that you could stand a dose of microeconomics
and price theory. You might want to look into a little thingy
known as the Principle of Comparative Advantage.

> The "private protection agencies" will probably evolve into *states*,
> with their own "turf" (country), "protection money" (taxes) etc.
> The correlation between what you pay and what you get will eventually
> fade, and you might end up with a truly medieval "city state"
> scenario, with bands of thugs roaming the countryside, despotic
> rulers, lots of small wars...the works. Hardly an improvement,
> I'd say.

Um, mechanism please? How will insurance premiums evolve into
taxes? How will turf-monopolists exclude competition without
annoying (and losing) their customers, and thereby losing their
revenue base? I hope you can come up with something better
than Nozick's goofy scenario from ANARCHY, STATE, AND UTOPIA.

> > >"We" are the Caucasians (oh, it's that ugly word again)
> >
> > No not ugly, just rather quaint and old-fashioned, a phrase past
> > its expiration date, like "moving pictures" or "horse-less
> > carriage" or "phlogiston" or "luminiferous ether".
> Any ideas for a replacement?

"Caloric" needed no replacement, because it meant something other
than thermic energy; it "referred" to an illusory fluid that doesn't
actually exist. Probably "Caucasian" needs no replacement, either,
but if you really want one, it's probably more honest to speak of
palefaces, or more colloquially and metaphorically, of white people.
Of course, "Caucasian" includes all Arabs and most of the people
in the Indian subcontinent... is it your intent to include these
people in your referent, or is this just an embarrassment of early
twentieth century physical anthropological usage to you? I have
to guess the latter, since you reserve much of your venom for
Muslims, who are mostly Caucasian according to the traditional
usage of that word.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd