Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Coming American Plantation

By Aussiegirl

Our ever brilliant friend, Tim Birdnow, writes the definitive article on the immigration crisis for The American Thinker.

Tim is exactly right. What the politicians propose to do with the so-called "guest worker" program is nothing short of recreating a country-wide plantation. And as Tim so eloquently explains, look what the plantation did for the South.

He is also exactly right when he says that it simply isn't true that there are jobs that Americans simply will not do -- there are jobs that do not pay well enough for people other than illegal slave wage workers to do.

A great deal of this mischief he lays at the feet of a society that spoils its children. Remember in the old days there always was a push for "summer jobs" for youth? What ever happened to that? Even those youngsters wanting a summer job find that they are already filled by illegals.

In addition, in the past decades there has been a wrong-headed push for the idea that ALL students should get a college education, which only leads to lots of unmotivated students and a dumbing down of curricula in order to accomodate them.

What ever happened to the shop courses in high school? There are lots of young people who aren't the least bit interested in going to college or sitting behind a desk and are not suited for such work. What happened to learning a trade after high school? What happened to good old-fashioned honest blue-collar work? It is in the trades that many illegals find work, often undercutting and pricing out skilled native workers.

As someone who has done extensive renovation of my old house, I can attest to the fact that nothing beats quality craftsmanship by good American workers -- workers who speak English, I might add. The contractor I always deal with only employs American craftsmen. Some of his best workers dropped out of high school and function on a barely literate level. But you should see the brilliance of these talented craftsmen. They have an intelligence and a skill all their own that no college or school could ever teach (and that few college graduates could manage).

They can do any job that needs doing, from carpentry to skilled cabinetmaking, to plumbing, electrical and concrete work. And no tricky problem seems beyond their ingenuity to solve. In renovating an old house one always encounters problems that are unanticipated, and it often takes a great deal of thought and inventiveness to come up with creative solutions. These solutions often involve putting heads together and pooling ideas. Try doing that with a crew that doesn't speak English.

I could go on and on. Do read Tim's excellent analysis, as I only excerpt parts here:

The American Thinker

Welcome to America! Here in America we invite you to come to clean our toilets, pick our lettuce, and mow our lawns. Come on in, folks; we need you to do the work we have become to lazy to do ourselves, and too cheap to pay for. Come to work here at Plantation America!

Is that what it has finally come to? Has America become a continental plantation? Are we really comfortable with a plantation system, a system where one group exploits the labor of a minority for cheap commercial gain? Is Plantation America, a system of cheap illegal labor, a good thing to put in place for ourselves and our national future?

The whole “jobs Americans won’t do” argument is, to put it mildly, a crock. Anyone who says Americans won’t pick lettuce or sweep floors has never worked in a factory, or a mine, or waited tables. When I was a young man I had a job cleaning the meat-cutting room at a grocery store; when I started it hadn’t been done for some time and there was decayed meat piled in tubs and trash cans. The smell almost made me vomit. This was a wet, dirty, disgusting job, but I did it because it had to be done and I needed the money.

The point is that you can find someone to do any job if you are willing to pay them a decent wage.

[...]Of course, it is possible to restructure things to make the jobs more attractive. Nobody wants to wash dishes, but if it paid better, and if the employer wouldn’t demand that his employees work every Friday and Saturday night, perhaps more of these kids would be willing to accept those jobs? Here in St. Louis there is a famous frozen custard stand, and the owner has young people lined up to work for him. Why? Because he starts a college fund for them (or at least he used to) and lets them bring home screwed up orders. In other words, he offers an incentive for these kids to work.

[...]You see, Illegal immigration has a retarding effect on the development of greater efficiency in the industries where illegals dominate. One of the arguments for tolerating illegal immigration is that we will pay more for food.

This may be true in the short term, but I would like to point out that the availability of cheap labor provides a disincentive to mechanization which, ultimately, could drive cost down even further. Would wheat farmers in Kansas, or corn farmers in Iowa have such enormous, highly productive farms if America had always had dirt-cheap labor? There would never have been an incentive to develope modern farm equipment, and the farm production would be a fraction of what it is today. America would not feed the world if the amber waves of grain had to be hand-cultivated. Economic need drove the development of the technology needed to cultivate huge tracts of land. Cheap labor would have kept America’s farmers doing things the old fashioned way because it would have been cheaper in the short term.

One need only look at history to see that this is true; the antebellum South had plenty of cheap labor to work plantations (both slave and poor white Southerners), and this plantation economy sapped all of the vitality right out of Old Dixie. The free states were the ones to prosper; it was there that industry developed, farms flourished, businesses thrived. Mines, railroads, shops and stores sprang like weeds from the fertile soil of the American spirit because free men work harder for themselves than for others, and necessity dictated that those men find new, better ways to do things.

We all know how this story ended; the South, after centuries of gorging on slave and sharecropper labor, was no match for the industrious, innovative, self-reliant peoples of the North. The lure of cheap labor eventually destroyed the Southern Way of Life.

Of course, illegal immigrant labor is not quite the moral abomination that was slavery. But the same economic forces that made slavery such a bad system apply. Both develop a two-tiered sytem where some disdain “jobs Americans just won’t do” while others form an ethnic underclass that carries the burden of actual work. Both systems build in powerful disincentives to experiment and innovate. Slavery was an easy way to make money; illegal immigrants are a modern way to accomplish the same thing. Nothing worthwhile comes cheaply on this Earth, and doing something on the cheap usually costs you more in the end.

That cost may be more dear than many Americans realize. Increasingly, we hear about the Reconquistas; those groups of illegal aliens who wish to take back the lands they claim were stolen by the United States. Groups like MeCHA and La Raza invoke an irredentist dream of a nation called Aztlan . Are we prepared to partition the United States for cheap maid service and gardening?

[...] America has, unfortunately, become the land of the quick fix. We no longer seek long-term solutions, are no longer able to look beyond the horizon. This bodes ill for our future and the future of our posterity, since the easy way is usually the worst. Slavery, was an easy solution to America`s labor problems, and nearly destroyed the country. Illegal immigration, much like slavery, leads to sloth and degeneracy in the populace while creating a permanent underclass. This must be stopped, or our nation, like Rome and old Dixie, will perish from this Earth.

We need a modern Emancipation Proclamation. It’s time to close Plantation America!


At 11:33 PM, Blogger Tony said...

Right on!


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