Victor Davis Hanson: Illegal Immigration And The Spiritual Sickness Of The West

Enforcing the Rule Of Law has become an exercise in abnormality…

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FILLER

he usual suspects have weighed in on recent belated efforts to enforce U.S. immigration laws. Our now bankrupt media, the corrupt government of Mexico, and the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion apparat have damned a series of laws recently passed by the Florida legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis that enforce existing federal immigration laws.

Such critics seem oblivious to the current violence that is paralyzing Europe in general, and in particular France—as if such European chaos offers no lessons for the U.S. or any other salad-bowl, open-borders Western nation.

Florida decided no longer to provide de facto and illegal exemptions to foreign nationals who entered and now reside in the state illegally. Gov. De Santis is conveying a message to the country that not enforcing the laws, exempting those who break them, or treating foreign nationals as if they had a birthright to enter the U.S. illegally, does not even win gratitude from those who violate U.S. law.

Such American magnanimity is seen, and rightly so, by illegal immigrants and the government who sends them here, as Western spiritual decadence. Thus illegal immigration is to be unapologetically leveraged and forever manipulated—and rarely to be reciprocated with any appreciation.

The Mexican Government was not only more fearful of destroying the U.S. border during the Trump years; it oddly also gave the hated Trump more respect than it had shown either the supposedly messianic Barack Obama or compliant Joe Biden.

Indeed, the more Mexico praised and manipulated Obama and Biden, the more contempt it showed the U.S. Paradoxically, the more Mexico denounced Trump, the more it conceded to Trump that it must begin to cease its export of multimillions of its own citizens.

No one is now arguing that Florida is breaking any laws by enforcing them. Again, the outrage is instead over the state’s legal adherence to the law. No one privately believes the illegal aliens affected by the new enforcement are euphemistically merely “undocumented migrants.”

In truth, illegal aliens never sought nor possessed nor intended to possess immigration “documents” in the first place, although millions of would-be law-abiding immigrants easily do just that. Instead, they have shown contempt for U.S. laws and those who made and enforced them.

So “illegal alien” is precisely the correct term. Most other euphemisms are designed deliberately to obfuscate criminality and brand anyone a racist who would seek to differentiate legal immigrants from illegal immigrants, and legally residing aliens from illegally residing aliens.

The Hostility Of Mexico

Note that the Mexican government now routinely urges those of its expanding expatriate community that are legal U.S. citizens to vote against Republican candidates in general, and De Santis in particular. Such interference is simply a warning sign of how much illegal immigration has warped the entire political landscape of America.

Imagine if a Republican U.S. president urged the 1.6 million American citizens now residing in Mexico to speak out against Mexico City’s immigration policies. Or what if he hectored millions of Mexican citizens now residing in the U.S. to become politically active in opposing the Obrador government? Would the Mexican people applaud that interference?

Note that Mexico never shows appreciation that some 20-30 millions of its citizens have entered the U.S. illegally and with impunity and been treated as if they were citizens. Instead, it is always a demand for more, more and more. Indeed, any mere suggestion of enforcing our own law—not Mexico usurpation of it—is again smeared as “racism.”

Why does Mexico feel it has an inherent right to mock U.S. laws—aside from the natural contempt it holds for America for reacting in such logical fashion to its aggression? Remittances via illegal immigration is a $30 billion profitable Mexican enterprise. U.S. cash sent southward is the largest source of its foreign income.

Exporting human capital reduces social welfare costs for a racialist Mexican government that does not extend sufficient social welfare for many of its own largely indigenous people in the south.

Through illegal immigration, Mexico creates a favorable expatriate community that helps to influence U.S. policy to transition illegal aliens to citizens through blanket amenities. It encourages those to enter the U.S. without background checks, on the self-interested rationale of also sending northward felons and others deemed undesirables by the Mexican government.

Moreover, Mexico attacks any smidgeon of U.S. immigration law enforcement on the strategy of putting Americans on the defensive as “racists” and “xenophobes.” That way it softens any American pushback to the cartels’ exportation of Chinese-reformulated fentanyl to the U.S.

Apparently, the billions of dollars the cartels harvest from their drug profits that pour into the Mexican economy outweigh the dangers such criminals pose to the rule of law in Mexico.

Mexico City acts as if the 100,000 norteños gringos that die from illegally imported Mexican opioids are tolerable collateral damage. In some sick way, does weaponizing cartel fentanyl serve Mexico by creating a sort of deterrence against enforcing the rule of law across the entire border—as in ”close the border—and you’ll get even more of our drugs!”? In a word, any unbiased and disinterested observer would interpret the behavior of the Mexican government as at war with the U.S.

The European Mess

We are beginning to see something similar now coming to a head in Western European countries such as France, the Netherlands, and Sweden in particular, but also Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Greece. While European illegal immigration differs from the American brand, the same parameters of Western spiritual bankruptcy persist.

Mexico and its citizens accept that millions in Mexico prefer to live in the United States even though America is premised on principles antithetical to Mexico. They also assume that by smearing the American hosts as racists, xenophobes and nativists, they will achieve greater concessions.

So too millions of North Africans, Middle Easterners and sub-Saharan Africans flee without legal sanction to Europe. The premise shared by such illegal immigrants, their host country, and their home governments is that literally hundreds of millions of people would prefer to move to Europe—and abandon their own homes, extended families, and familiar landscapes to enter a completely alien and antithetical culture.

Such illegal aliens, like those who enter the U.S., likewise assume they can lodge preemptive indictments of their hosts as racists, nativists and xenophobes—largely on the brief that after leaving their own poorer and often most failed states, they did not magically obtain near parity soon enough after arrival.

Illegal aliens in Europe further feel they can enter a mutually beneficial relationship with Western Leftists. The Left will normalize and amnesty their illegality. It will claim their own governments and people are racists for looking askance at illegal immigration. And it then will leverage illegal aliens to form a large new demographic bloc that will support leftist causes, either in the street, or legally through acquisitions of amnesty, green cards, and eventually citizenship

In other words, the Left increasingly has realized in both Europe and North America that its policies on immigration, identity politics, climate change and fossil fuels, crime and the economy are nihilist.

Their agendas eventually transform their large cities into precivilizational enclaves. And they are losing popular support. Thus the international Western Left needs both new voters and new dependents to be whipped up to serve as blameless victims of their conservative enemies.

The Illogic Of Illegal Immigration

One could argue over whether 18th and 19th-century Western imperialism and colonization of Asian, African, and New World landscapes proved solely lethal and toxic or sometimes beneficial to native peoples or both.

And further few can agree whether colonization proved in the long run and in a cost-to-benefit analysis, even predictably profitable for European interlopers, colonists and imperialists.

Yet whatever one’s take on past European colonization beyond the borders of Europe, what is indisputable is that most colonized people eventually rose up and threw out colonials—whether by violence in Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia or Vietnam, or transitionally and over time in India, Libya or Egypt.

Apparently, sinful Westerners were once spit out abroad, but as penance now are to be hosts to millions from those lands they fled. But on what logic or premises exactly?

Did the former victims of colonialism announce, “We hated you and yours so much in our country that we are now risking our lives to join you in yours?” Or was the subtext the placard slogan used by demonstrators on the closure of the once huge American base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, “Yanquis, go home!—and take me with you?”

In surreal terms, the old anti-colonialist mantras of the 1950s and 1960s of “our country for ourselves” has now become something like, “Keep out of our country, but don’t keep us out of yours.” What is far more astounding are the actual illogical absurdities of illegal immigration as it is practiced in the West.

One is the failure to integrate and assimilate into the culture of the host. Note again the logical fallacies. If the immigrant wishes to import his culture and seeks to retain it in Europe and if then that ensuing culture were to become the dominant one, would not the immigrant wish to move away from the very thing he had created—in the manner he had already done so in the past by leaving home?

In other words, if North Africans succeed in xeroxing Algeria or Somalia in France, why would they stay in France, since they already had fled to there precisely because it was not Algeria or Somalia?

Second, what about the ancient relationship between the guest, or rather the uninvited guest, and the host? Has it ever been a custom in any culture, country, or civilization in any era, that the guest enters the home of his host and makes demands upon it?

Or more absurdly, do uninvited guests ever fault the furnishings, the food, or the ambience of what the host has offered to him? Did Homer and his gods approve when the suitors made demands on the house of their host Penelope?

The answer is, of course no, because of an ancient comeback—so often caricatured but never refuted by the Left—that if the present wares are so bad, then why not just be free of them, leave and return home to paradise?

If President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico is so critical of the U.S., then why does he not block the border and insist that his citizens stay home safely far distant from a toxic host and its contaminating culture. But again these are mere word games because we know the answers to all the above paradoxes and absurdities.

Western Spiritual Sickness

The non-West sees a richer, more leisured, and more relativist West as something akin to H.G. Wells’s posthuman Elois—strangely effete creatures who coast on the fumes of a distant past that once bequeathed to them their present wealth and leisure. Yet these perceived unworthy inheritors of the work of prior generations are seen as hardly deserving of respect. Indeed, they rightfully earn from illegal immigrants even greater contempt for not defending what they enjoy.

Thus, millions with impunity swarm American and European borders. Many are defiant in smearing their would-be hosts as racists or worse for daring to enforce the sort of immigration laws taken for granted in their own homelands.

In Paris, they riot and burn on the assumption that the soft West deserves what is dished out. The host apparently is seen as some sort of sick masochist who enjoys being told how sinful the West was and is—and how deserving it is of a comeuppance of riot, arson, mayhem and violence.

If that logic seems preposterous, then why does the violence periodically break out to such devastating effect? Exploitation? Racism? Yet, in Europe there is less of both than in his prior homeland, evident by the vote of his own two feet.

The Ethiopian in Italy, or the Algerian in France apparently sees his European host also as a sheep that merely bays when given a needed periodic sheering—albeit with the care of the sheerer to clip away at, but not extinguish, his bountiful host.

A Middle East immigrant to Sweden would never act as he routinely does in Malmo if he were in Budapest, much less in Singapore or Beijing. An illegal immigrant knows that as much as he detests the French and loathes the Dutch, he needs more of the French and more of the Dutch than more of himself in the land of the French and Dutch—if his dreams and agendas of living differently from where he came from are to be reified.

None of these irrationalities are about race. Instead, they pertain to human nature and culture. And the fault is not all the on the part of the illegal alien, and his plethora of self-serving hypocrisies.

His host is culpable as well. The West demands little of the illegal entrant, whether defined as obedience to laws, or to melt into and absorb the culture that he has voted for with his feet. The Westerner’s greatest fear is not even hostile, violent, and unassimilated illegal aliens, but the perception that such a community judges the Westerner as illiberal.

Instead, the post-civilizational Westerner has lost all confidence in his homeland, his traditions, his values, and his very future, to the point that he is well beyond the inability of defending his civilization—given that he no longer even knows how to define it. ✪

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