“The Best and the Brightest”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/04/us-usa-obama-immigration-idUSKBN0F91LX20140704

This story (link provided above) is a couple of days old but still relevant, given the continuing and escalating anger over the illegal immigration situation that has a hundred thousand children per year pouring across our border.  As busy as things have been for me this past week, I couldn’t let it pass.

Commenting on the issue, President Obama remarked that:

It’s in our DNA. … We shouldn’t be making it harder for the best and brightest to come here.

The statement is so illogical and insulting to the American people that journalists should be ashamed for letting it pass without challenge.  First of all, what we’re talking about here is the entry of illegal immigrants.  No one is giving them IQ or aptitude tests upon crossing the border to determine whether they represent the “best and brightest.”

Secondly, the remark implies that America is short on “best and brightest” qualities – that too many Americans are among the “worst and dumbest,” making it necessary to import superior people.  It also implies that the degree of goodness and intelligence is something inherent in one’s make-up – something that can’t be developed through education and training.  It says we’d rather  import people with skills and training that may be in short supply (though the data proves that we have no such situations), rather than invest in training and education.  It says that if you’re in a disadvantaged situation in America – tough.  We’ll import someone else and give them all the advantages.

And a question that’s never asked is why the “best and brightest” want to come here in the first place.  The stated reasons are because they are fleeing this or that or, more often, because they’re seeking a better life.  What’s unsaid is that those are euphemisms for what they’re really fleeing – the effects of overpopulation in their home countries.  So how much sense does it make to pursue immigration policies that guarantee that our own country will eventually come to the same fate?

The arguments in favor of high rates of immigration are pure BS.  The president is merely caving to business interests who want to maintain downward pressure on wages through an over-supply of labor and who, secondarily, see a growing population as a growing customer base that will swell the bottom line.  Who cares that it steadily erodes the quality of life of everyone but the top 1%?

Immigrants are no magic elixir for our economy.  They are merely people, no different that the rest of us.  In the final analysis, the only effect of immigration, legal or otherwise, is to grow our population.  Any discussion of immigration policy that isn’t in that context makes no sense whatsoever.  We have to begin by asking ourselves whether it makes sense to add workers to the labor force while fifteen million Americans are still out of work.  Does it make sense to add oil consumers when we’re already heavily dependent on imported oil?  Does it make sense to add carbon emitters when the challenge of meeting commitments to reduce carbon emissions already threatens to erode our quality of life?  Does it make sense to increase the demand for social safety net services when we already can’t afford them?  Does it make sense to increase the stress and strain on our resources and environment when they’re already near the breaking point?

I voted for Obama in the first election because I thought he favored the interests of the American people over the interests of global corporations.  What a disappointment.  Contrary to outward appearances, he clearly either lacks the intelligence to connect the dots between population growth and a host of critical issues (perhaps he doesn’t represent the “best and brightest?”), or is just another politician beholden to the deep pockets who put him in office.

 

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