This tweet by Mickey Kaus reminds me of an irritating chesnut that pro-immigration types love to trot out whenever they encounter disagreement. It usually takes the form of
“Well, it’s a shame that the Indians didn’t think of border control!”
Or something equally smug. It’s stupid for two reasons:
- The Indians did think of that. Which is to say, they contested white overlordship of North America with everything they had. There’s hardly a state in the Union that was not wrested from the natives violently. Some more than others, but still. The idea that the Indians meekly welcomed the palefaces to America is just plain wrong. They fought. They fought hard. They just had too many material disadvantages to overcome.
- Why on earth would we want to emulate their results? So, in an argument about whether our immigration policy is letting in too many foreigners, you deliberately bring up the people from whom foreigners took the continent, as an argument for letting more foreigners in. Precisely whom is this supposed to persuade?
The answer, of course, is no one. It’s not an argument; it’s an exercise in social signalling. By saying it, you get to be one of the good, socially aware people, thus trumping any need to actually be right on a policy question. Because if you’re one of the good people, your opponent must be one of the bad people, so whatever he says is bad.