Lessons from Nature: invasive aliens

Invasive species alert sign
Sign warning of the presence of zebra mussels, an invasive alien species.
Migrants throwing rocks at helicopter
Central American economic migrants throw rocks at a circling helicopter in Mexico, on their way to the United States (where they plan to illegally cross the border), November 2018.

I have spent a lot of years of my life teaching outdoor and environmental education, conservation education, and sustainable agriculture education. And one thing I have learned, as a guiding principle, is that the natural world can often serve as a lens through which to view human society with greater clarity and awareness.

Let me cite one example, which seems to be impinging itself upon us, here in the West, with greater and greater urgency:

It is now a commonplace, among the “talking heads” of the Western media, political, and academic elite, that “diversity is a strength.” Some even go so far as to say that diversity is “our” strength. The notion is not completely without merit: there is a type of diversity which can be a strength.

The biologist and ecologist E.O. Wilson, for example, has demonstrated how biodiversity can greatly enhance resilience: the ability of, for example, a natural forest ecosystem to resist the impacts of a changing climate, or infestation by pests or diseases, especially as compared to a monoculture tree plantation, or a grain farm.

But – and this is a big “but”! – this is true only of a certain type of diversity, the sort which comes about naturally, over centuries or even millennia. An example in the natural world might be a healthy forest, meadow, or wetland. And example in human society might be the tremendous diversity of cultures, customs, and tradition which make up the vibrant tapestry of Europe.

Ecologists have long recognized the existence of a category of organisms to which “human ecologists” appear oblivious (or, more accurately, feel socially and politically constrained to ignore or deny): invasive aliens, which often find fertile soil in a new ecosystem, in which are there few or no natural controls to limit their spread. Invasive aliens in their original locality are perfectly fine and non-disruptive, because there are natural controls that limit their spread, and prevent them from getting out of hand.
Continue reading “Lessons from Nature: invasive aliens”

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The Left Case against Open Borders – American Affairs Journal

The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds.

Source: The Left Case against Open Borders – American Affairs Journal

To say that the Left has “painted itself into a corner” on the topic of open borders and mass migration is to say no more than the truth:

“The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds. In the heightened emotions of America’s public debate on migration, a simple moral and political dichotomy prevails. It is ‘right-wing’ to be ‘against immigration’ and ‘left-wing’ to be ‘for immigration.’ But the economics of migration tell a different story…

“While no serious political party of the Left is offering concrete proposals for a truly borderless society, by embracing the moral arguments of the open-borders Left and the economic arguments of free market think tanks, the Left has painted itself into a corner. If ‘no human is illegal!,’ as the protest chant goes, the Left is implicitly accepting the moral case for no borders or sovereign nations at all. But what implications will unlimited migration have for projects like universal public health care and education, or a federal jobs guarantee? And how will progressives convincingly explain these goals to the public?”

As this article points out in stark terms, the American Left in general, and the Democratic Party in specific, is going to have to wrestle with the fundamental question that leftist and center-left parties in Europe are already grappling with, namely, what does it want to be when it grows up? What are the core values, and the core constituency, on which it wishes to focus?

Ultimately – and probably sooner rather than later – American Democrats are going to have to choose:

Do they want to be the party of mass migration and open borders, or do they want to be party of a social safety net that assists the disadvantaged (and really, anyone who is not part of the infamous “1%”) and those struggling here at home? They are going to have to choose one or the other, because there is not enough money, and there are not enough resources, to do both.

Lofty ideals and stirring rhetoric aside, we simply cannot “feed the world.” There is too much world out there. So are we going to do what we can to help, while focusing our finite energy, attention, and resources on the plight of our own people? Or are we going to tear down the borders, and lay prostrate at the feet of a wave of economic migration that will diminish if not destroy everything we have built here over the last several centuries, for little if any improvement in their own situation?

The time of choice is drawing near. Indeed, it is already upon us!


N.B.: I am looking at this from the perspective of my own country – the U.S. – and the West in general, but the article also makes the point that mass migration is actually harming rather than helping the migrants’ countries of origin:

“Despite the rhetoric about ‘shithole countries’ or nations ‘not sending their best,’ the toll of the migration brain drain on developing economies has been enormous… Developing countries are struggling to retain their skilled and professional citizens, often trained at great public cost, because the largest and wealthiest economies that dominate the global market have the wealth to snap them up… It is not difficult to see why the political and economic elites of the world’s richest countries would want the world to ‘send their best,’ regardless of the consequences for the rest of the world. But why is the moralizing, pro–open borders Left providing a humanitarian face for this naked self-interest?”

“According to the best analysis of capital flows and global wealth today, globalization is enriching the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries at the expense of the poorest, not the other way around…. Global wealth inequality is the primary push factor driving mass migration, and the globalization of capital cannot be separated from this matter. There is also the pull factor of exploitative employers in the United States who seek to profit from non-unionized, low-wage workers in sectors like agriculture as well as through the importation of a large white-collar workforce already trained in other countries.”

But what do we hear about this from the Left, traditionally the defenders of workers and the poor, against rapacious capitalists? Nothing. Nada. Crickets.

I have often talked about the unholy alliance between Washington, DC, and Wall Street; an even more unholy and damaging one may be between the corporate capitalists, profiteers, and neo-robber barons, and the supposedly “moral” Left, with its apparent desire to welcome anyone who is not of Western (read: European) origin.

In their desire to pull down what they see as “oppressive” structures of Western civilization, the Left is willing to make common cause with their greatest historic enemy – capital – and sell out their own natural constituency, labor. Want to talk about “collusion”…? There’s your collusion!

In any case, read the article, all of it. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest! Much that’s worth thinking about in it, although it’s far from comforting.

America’s 1st Freedom | Is Europe Grasping For Gun Rights?

Is Europe Grasping For Gun Rights?

Terror threats, rising violent crime and the European Union’s suffocating strictures on guns have many Europeans craving their own version of America’s Second Amendment.

Source: America’s 1st Freedom | Is Europe Grasping For Gun Rights?

For decades, European have been quick to disparage the United States for our robust Constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms, as enshrined in the Second Amendment.

Shielded, whether they knew it or not, by geographical features which (until recently) have served as de facto barriers to easy migration, and even more by despotic but mostly stable governments in places like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and secure in almost completely homogeneous and law-abiding societies, they mocked us for our “love affair” with guns, and derided our supposed “frontier mentality” on the subject.

But now, in light of the deluge of Third-World immigrants that was unleashed upon Europe in 2015 and continues to this day, some, at least, are mocking no longer. Rather, they are wishing (and I have heard this same thing from European friends on Facebook) that they had more Constitutional guarantees of freedom, and especially a 2nd Amendment!

The linked article is on the longer side, but worth reading in full; here are a few excerpts:

“In 12 days I visited Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Monaco, Italy, the Vatican, San Marino, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. Everywhere I went, I interviewed people about the state of things in Europe, and I was truly shocked by one thing in particular — the number of people who told me they envy America for its Second Amendment.

“I’m not making that up. Ask yourself this question: How much do you know about the details of the founding documents of any country in Europe? If you are like me, it’s not much. So that makes it even more remarkable that many people in Europe are familiar with one very important detail about the U.S. Constitution—our Second Amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

“Even more surprising was the number of people who expressed a wish that they, too, could be given the right to defend themselves and their families. And in several European countries, gun-rights measures are being actively addressed…”
Continue reading “America’s 1st Freedom | Is Europe Grasping For Gun Rights?”

Trump’s Critics Are Wrong about the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship | National Review

Donald Trump’s critics are wrong. Birthright citizenship is not mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Source: Trump’s Critics Are Wrong about the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship | National Review

President Trump’s iconoclastic (from the standpoint of the currently-dominant – and socio-politically Left-wing – national narrative), or classic (from the standpoint of history and, I would argue, right reason) stance on immigration issues is not limited to stopping caravans of border-crashing migrants, but also overturning the doctrine of “birthright citizenship”: the idea that anyone born within the borders of the United States is thereby a citizen of the United States.

This concept is a powerful draw for illegal immigration, since it means that the child of illegal immigrants, if born in America, will be an American citizen – and it thereby becomes both legally and morally difficult, if not impossible, to deport the parent(s) of an American citizen.

Thus the concept of “anchor babies,” since the child then provides an “anchor” tethering the illegal immigrant to the United States. The President, and many others (myself included), see this as unjust and unfair to present American citizens, including of course legal immigrants who have done the hard work of gaining their citizenship.

But what is the law, and what does the Constitution (the highest law of the land) say on the subject? That is where the debate rages, especially now that the President has returned to this campaign theme. Continue reading “Trump’s Critics Are Wrong about the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship | National Review”

Trump will keep America safe by blocking migrant caravan at border | USA Today (op-ed)

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Members of the Arizona National Guard in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 9, 2018 (Photo: Caitlin O’Hara/AFP/Getty Images).

Trump will stop the caravan, defend our border, keep out criminals, and protect America. Democrats want to abolish ICE and keep a weak asylum system.

Source: Trump will keep America safe by blocking migrant caravan at border

“Another ‘caravan’ of several thousand illegal aliens is marching towards our southern border, and the Democrats want to lay out the welcome mat…

“These Central American caravaners make it very clear that they want to enter the United States, and they don’t really care what the people of the United States have to say about it. Singing their national anthems and carrying their national flags, the would-be invaders scoff at the notion that immigration laws apply to them.”

Precisely so. I will be honest, here: I would be a lot more inclined to welcome these people if they were waving American flags and singing “God Bless America.” But they are not. This is a clear challenge to our borders, to our territorial integrity, and therefore, to our national sovereignty. They are, in fact, invaders. Continue reading “Trump will keep America safe by blocking migrant caravan at border | USA Today (op-ed)”

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Didn’t try too hard, either…!

And when the Democratic candidates were dropping in the polls, and Republican ones rising, with a caravan of would-be-illegal-immigrants on the way…? I’m sorry, I don’t claim to know the truth behind the mail-bombs – the perpetrator may indeed be mentally deranged, and acting entirely on his own – but the whole thing still seems just way too convenient, to me!

One step at a time: desperate families join migrant caravan | World news | The Guardian

Image result for migrant caravan

“Thousands are walking to US border, away from hunger and violence of Central America seemingly unaware of Trump’s hostility”

Source: One step at a time: desperate families join migrant caravan | World news | The Guardian

Following is a slightly edited version of my response to a friend’s posting of this link on her Facebook timeline:

I should be sorry if this costs me a friend, but I think it has to be said: whether you love our current President or hate him with a passion, a border-crashing convoy / caravan heading toward the United States is no laughing matter, and it is certainly not a cause for celebration. It is a serious and dangerous threat to our territorial integrity and national sovereignty. If you want to come here, there are ways to do so legally. This is not one of them!

And while I recognize and respect that some of them may be “desperate,” I rather doubt that they are any more desperate than the majority of human beings have been for the majority of human history (and prehistory). I feel sorry for them, but the U.S. is not the land of milk and honey, or the leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We are our own country, with our own problems, and our own people to take care of, and we’re not going to be able to do that as well (or even as poorly… 🙄) as we are, if this sort of thing becomes the norm.

One woman interviewed said she was 65 and couldn’t get a job. If she couldn’t get a job there, what is the chance that she’ll get a job here, where she doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the culture, has few if any contacts…? Are you – this is a collective “you,” I’m not specifying anyone in particular – willing to pay for her support, and that of her family, and that of many others in this caravan, out of your taxes? Is the daughter she’s trying to find even here legally, herself?

Again, if you want to come here, there are legal paths: if temporarily, on a work visa; if your intention is permanent, by applying for citizenship. On the subject of citizenship, I have to admit, I have little sympathy or respect for people who come here wanting all the economic benefits of living and working in the U.S., long-term, but are unwilling to accept the responsibilities that come with citizenship. It is also a slap in the face to the millions of legal immigrants who have done it the right way! Many of them are livid about things like this, and rightly so.

In any case, trying to crash the borders – even if you call it “peacefully opening” them – in a mass caravan is a recipe for disaster. No borders, no country. It is both the right and the responsibility of any nation to be very careful about who they let in, for the good of their existing citizens and for the well-being of the country as a whole. If there is anyone who genuinely thinks it would be a good idea to open the borders and turn immigration into a free-for-all, please think carefully through all of the implications. The result, if it were ever to happen, might not be so pleasant as some might imagine.

UPDATE: Associated Press reports,

“Migrants traveling in a mass caravan burst through a Guatemalan border fence and streamed by the thousands toward Mexican territory on Friday, defying Mexican authorities’ entreaties for an orderly crossing and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats of retaliation.

“On the Mexican side of a border bridge, they were met by a phalanx of police with riot shields. About 50 managed to push their way through before officers unleashed pepper spray and the rest retreated.

“The gates were closed again, and police used a loudspeaker to address the masses, saying, ‘We need you to stop the aggression.'”

“Peacefully” opening the borders, eh…?