The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.
P R A E S I D I U M
A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis
15.1 (Winter 2015)
The Polis vs. Progress
A Modest Proposal: Bribing the Border Crisis to a Happy Resolution
In the late Sixties, Ernest van den Haag proposed that, rather than funding a baby industry among welfare recipients, we should pay the unemployed, undereducated, usually unwed beneficiaries of federal largesse not to have babies. Though the proposal was serious, it was so taken by no one of influence, and of course was branded as racist into the bargain. The alternative for which we collectively opted was to have Uncle Sam raise an entire generation of children without parents, who struggled in school because of deficient support at home and who then proceeded to make the very bad choices that attract people without opportunity and without worthy role models. When illegitimacy proliferated, this generation at last put the skids on by massively aborting the “overflow”—for Uncle Sam’s generosity turned out not to make life much better at all. Yet the fatal cycle nevertheless continued, since by now the young people in question didn’t know how to avoid having one or two children before they themselves were adults.
Question for the liberal progressive: if being aborted is better than being born into a life of poverty, criminality, and cruel discrimination, might not never having been conceived be better still? Is getting hacked to pieces during the semi-sentience of incubation really superior in some way to no sentience and no hacking? Might Professor van den Haag have been onto something, after all?
If so, maybe we should reconsider his approach during the accelerated disintegration of Western society fifty years later. I mean his general approach; for, in our cultural nose-dive, we have plunged far below the altitude where the parachute of reaffirming the nuclear family will break our fall. Now, in late 2014, as sophisticated gangs of butchers, nightmarish diseases, no-exit insolvency, and tribal division along impenetrable language and cultural barriers stalk us all at once, it’s time to find a technique for crash-landing.
Here’s what we face in the USA. (Europeans are familiar with a modified, or sometimes amplified, version of each of these dilemmas.) We have no national border, so we are being inundated by people who grew up eating grubs and straining water out of mud. Our political class wants such people here because their votes can be bought for something slightly tastier than grubs and mud, if only they can be given a vote. There is really no intent among this elite to supplant the grubs-and-mud lifestyle forever more, for resources are entirely and transparently wanting for a long-term solution; but if the democratic process can be manipulated to confirm the progressive oligarchy’s choke-hold on power, then permanent answers to poverty will eventually emerge (of a sort already hinting at by “family planning”).
How does an oligarchy secure power over tens of millions of semi-literate minions? Let us count the ways. Members of the entrepreneurial class support the progressive state’s open border because unionized labor has forced the cost of doing business through the roof. Any sensible person can understand their distress… but in collaborating with the oligarchic class to tap into a dirt-cheap labor source, they are essentially passing along the cost of fringe benefits to ordinary taxpayers. The middle-class marks now pay for the border-jumper’s ER visits; they now pay for the education of his undocumented children; they now pay to repair the streets that he drives and to equip the police who keep him safe. Meanwhile, he siphons money out of their community and sends it back “home”.
Members of the professoriate support the oligarchy’s open-border project for rather complex psychological reasons having nothing to do with the case’s merits. Snubbed, frustrated bookworms who had no natural aptitude or temperamental inclination to throw elbows about in the noisy, aggressive marketplace, they have always been stung by the tacit contempt that their society dribbles upon them. They never get to drive the fast cars or live in the big houses. And so they defame the marketplace for its all-too-evident squalor (neglecting to add that squalor is part of the human condition); and on the border, their reflexive position is, “Dissolve it!” simply because the bourgeoisie wants to defend it. Most professors, in my experience, are really not political or social revolutionaries: they’re just big kids who got pushed around on the playground and now see a chance to urinate on the bully’s locker.
Lawyers, by comparison, see a chance to make money. Hispanic lawyers have their bellicose mugs on billboards all over the Southwest, glowering like El Cid and balancing on their pointed finger the quotation, “Yo lucho por sus derechos!” Gringo lawyers soak up a little Splanglish and cut TV commercials where they drawl, “Ah-key say habluh espan-yowl.” Keep those rafts and tunnels coming: keep those clients mincing through the door.
It seems that the most vocal, communally active priests and preachers love downtrodden lawbreakers because any occasion to manifest moral superiority over the rest of us—over us money-grubbing capitalist sons of Mammon—is welcome. Think of them as professors with almost supernatural mojo: overgrown kids, that is, with an extremely high opinion of their intelligence not cramped by haunting memories of being inferior on the primal playground savannah. Bullies never bothered them. They exuded such self-confidence even at a tender age that the baddest-ass boy in the class intuitively sensed a no-fly-zone around them, just as a hungry bird lays off a yellow-and-black moth.
Actors and entertainers are yet more cryptic. Though often millionaires many times over, they love the gutter and its contents as nature water loves the low ground. Perhaps, since tapping into surges of irrational display on cue is their bread and butter, they carry this talent into all they say and do. Or perhaps, as the late Charlton Heston believed, their work is so irregular—so all-or-nothing—that they see themselves as fruit-pickers getting screwed over even in their five-garage domiciles. Or yet again, perhaps they have grown so accustomed to pushing the envelope of taste always farther in pursuit of an audience that whatever outrages the mainstream finds a way into their act. In that regard, they are a lot like professors.
And the Fourth Estate? “Journalists” (to dress “propagandist” in a quaint euphemism) are one part entertainer and one part professor. They are incomparably glamorous (at least in their own eyes) and incomparably brilliant (at least in their own eyes). Their magnetic attraction to throwing open the border may be as simple as a delight in seeing the state turned upside-down in testimony to their awesome persuasive powers. (What fun is a gun if you never shoot it?) In their old age, rewarded with a new progressive utopia, they may very likely try to flip the hour glass once again, just to access the same pleasure—for which attempt they will wake up the next day in a ditch with a bullet through their skull, courtesy of The Leader. Poetic justice will be served on that day… but none of us sane adults will sleep any easier knowing that every idiot eventually gets the grave he begs for.
The rest of us, after all, are thinking of our children—and of the idiot’s hapless children, and the braggadocio’s, and the megalomaniac’s. Oddly, the progressive often chooses the “van den Haag option” without even accepting pay for it: he or she simply avoids pregnancy, as if subliminally aware that life in Utopia is going to be bloody hell. (Or maybe he really anticipates a New Jerusalem and doesn’t want to share it with screaming brats.) If you fail to avoid bearing children altogether, however, or to slaughter them massively in the womb—or to confuse them so about sex that a sperm never again meets an egg—then you have to question just how we are to save the next generation from inhabiting one great North American continent of Guerrero.
Guerrero, you see, is the Mexican state with the highest murder rate in the whole glorious republic, whence the truth is now leaking out about a combined police and cartel massacre of forty-three high school students. The students were protesting something or other, and the Mexican law-enforcement-by-cartel system doesn’t like protests. If you had Googled this story in early October, you might have found one or two US sources offering further detail. My original information came from foreign websites. The American press has collectively sought to step over the mess. It doesn’t want to project an unruly image of our southern neighbors, because American politicos need border-jumpers to be embraced so that American entrepreneurs can put coolies on the assembly line and pony up—in gratitude—with generous campaign contributions that will seat more activist judges, who will bestow the vote far and wide and legitimize man-boy love at the cinema and in the church…
Yeah. So what does the tedious, taxpaying, child-rearing bourgeois do?
He remains legion in number, for the moment; but the politicians are against him, the wealthy private sector is against him, the schools are against him, judges and lawyers are against him, even his religious faith’s leaders are increasingly against him—and it goes without saying that Hollywood and network news are against him. Besides having few allies, he has been left with little time to design the crash-landing of which I wrote above in something less than metaphor. The number of passengers storming the booze cabinet is teetering at fifty percent already: one taxpayer per every citizen on the dole.
Perhaps, then, the booze should be allotted in an orderly fashion, as a reward for good behavior. Surely getting the passengers away from the cockpit is the first step to figuring out the craft’s controls. My proposed application of the van den Haag formula would therefore be to pay illegal residents an annual stipend if they would return to their nation of origin. As counter-intuitive as this solution seems under conditions of geometrically escalating debt, it possesses hidden virtues. In the first place, the mere presence of over ten million illegals, when tabulated in terms of educational, medical, custodial, penal, and other costs, seems to hover somewhere between one and two hundred billion dollars annually. (A much-circulated claim about six years ago that the figure exceeded three billion was likely very inflated.) Crude arithmetic indicates that ten million people could be paid over $20,000 each for going home, given this proportion of cost to detriment—and the cost of having them stay can only rise as drug cartels, foreign diseases, civil unrest, and terrorist threats continue to multiply fruitfully. So from the perspective of mere numbers, the notion of “pay to go home” is anything but extravagant. On the contrary, it is a cost-cutter deluxe.
The illegally resident would of course have to register properly as they exited. I have hopes that the obtaining of a twenty-first century identity card—so formidable an obstacle to impoverished would-be voters that federal judges have branded it a resurrection of the Jim Crow era—will prove miraculously free of snags once applicants start to count the zeroes in their bounty. Twenty G’s goes a long way in Mexico. All the recipient has to do is leave and stay out…
Except that, should he do only this and no more, we will be missing a golden opportunity to address the long-term problems of our two nations. More strings should be attached to the bargain. Some may think that requiring good behavior back in the old country ought to be among the criteria; but if atrocities like the mass-murder in Guerrero show anything, they warn us that staying on the right side of the law in Mexico often means paying bribes faithfully and turning a blind eye to beatings and executions. It might be more productive of good citizenship in that collapsing nation if we paid double to those who “disturbed the peace”.
My suggestion isn’t quite so radical. I think the recipients of the viente mil por año should first learn to read fluently (in a language of their choice), and then proceed to complete a kind of Great Books course. The Bible might be among these books; the Koran would probably not. Saint Augustine would be satisfactory; Hitler, Mao, and Che would definitely not. Montesquieu, Frederick Douglas, Ortega y Gasset, Solzhenitsyn… but not Garcia-Márquez, Bertold Brecht, Salvador Allende, or Guillermo Lora. My purpose here isn’t to supply the actual syllabus, but only a notion of it. Other works could be read, naturally, in the “student’s” own time, but he or she would not be tested over them. There would be no remuneration for pondering them. Since it’s our money that would be paying for this catechism, we would have every right to require one title over another. You don’t contract for someone to build a house and then bankroll whatever kind of structure he feels like putting up.
This suggestion is so far from being frivolous that it may be the most brilliant idea ever advanced on the subject (all modesty aside). Skeptics who question whether the tests could ever be remotely administered that would monitor the students’ yearly progress have a legitimate cause of concern: the logistics would be complicated. Even so, I wouldn’t anticipate a major industry south of the border of cheaters employed to complete exercises. Where, in Mexico, would these erudite desperadoes come from? And even if bright school children were massively recruited to sit exams as illegal proxies, at least we would be initiating the next generation into a culture all but forgotten by their parents. In such circumstances, a loss becomes a win.
Along the same lines—but from a northern direction—consider this. Our public sector’s obligation to provide graders would force vast numbers of our youth currently trapped in brain-numbing teacher-education programs to read the Great Books list themselves! They could be permitted to grant provisional passes if weak students would provide remedial work—which would further make them masters of a tradition that formal education presently teaches them to deplore or ignore. The skills they would acquire in tutoring their economically impoverished neighbors could eventually be applied to the enrichment of classrooms in their own culturally impoverished nation.
And then we have the specific and direct benefits of the program. If the stipend-recipients should slip back into the US illegally again during their ten-year exile of expense-paid study, they will at least have received a smattering of initiation into the principles and values that once elevated Western society so far above Mexico’s current state. If they decide at the appropriate time to apply legally for US citizenship, they will very likely have evolved into the thoughtful, independent sort of person that we want to welcome among us. If they stay in Mexico, they have an excellent chance of creating a counterpoise (at least in local politics) to the combination of Mafia-style thuggery and conventional patrón/peón paternalism that has reduced that nation to such misery.
Finally, imagine how much such a project would piss off Mexico’s ruling class! The dollars which that elite band of brigands so longs to siphon out of our economy would come pouring in directly—but so would skills and ideas which they have staunchly refused to their underclass in order to preserve its servile state. We would witness something like genuine liberation theology, just maybe: the freeing of the human spirit thanks to uncensored ideas that create a conversation within the individual’s mind, thanks to literacy.
The enemies of the American middle class that I mentioned above would not thin out as a result of this stratagem. All of the vested interests would continue to oppose us: the New World Order political elite, the mega-business elite, the education mafia, the legal profession’s confraternity of shysters, the transprofessioned infotainment zombies of Hollywood and the news desk, and even the kiss-my-ring hierarchists of the Church Progressive. We should still be bigots, racists, sexists, homophobes, Nazis, rednecks, Luddites, and cavemen to all of them. Yet perhaps a single critical group would respond differently—the very group whose expulsion my plan would be said to target in its hateful racist hatred: the group of illegal immigrants.
I think the typical Mexican border-jumper would respond very well to this opportunity. Swishing out toilets at the Holiday Inn or mowing Reverend Brown’s lawn probably doesn’t pay a whole lot more than twenty thou a year, and it’s very hard work. If you could make the same money, or better, and learn to read at the same time—and do all this back in the bosom of your extended family, where everyone speaks and eats and courts and worships as you do—why wouldn’t you seize that opportunity? Why would you want to hang around in a major metropolitan area where dope-pushers and kidnappers proliferate when you could more easily fly under their radar in your rustic village of birth? Would you live “in the shadows” north of the border just so that a dozen Gringo economic and political interests could exploit your suffering to grow richer and more powerful? Why wouldn’t you just leave them all to go find themselves another patsy?
I doubt that I will ever see the day, honestly… but I dream of the illegal alien slapping all of these clammy, protecting hands from his shoulder and saying, in whatever the Spanish equivalent is, “Bugger off!”
The author who contributes to this journal under the sobriquet “Pancratistes” is a college professor who has elected to evade the watch of PC holy warriors.
Last fall intensified the twenty-first