American Liberty as Goddess of Youth

Edward Savage. Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth, Giving Support to the Bald Eagle. Philadelphia: Edward Savage, June 11, 1796.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

* * *

The Jury Box never has liked the spirit he perceives underlying the anti-immigration movement, and doesn’t like it now.

This space agrees with John Salmon:

Unlike most of my conservative brethren, I am not obsessed with illegal aliens-who, as it must be noted again and again, are not felons, even if AZ thinks they are. (Bet it doesn’t hold up in court).

Why would we think it is some kind of grave offense against mankind to want to improve the well-being of yourself and your family? As a Christian I am concerned about those who seem to want to seal the borders, as if that were possible, against the poor. I guess we Catholics are typically more open-minded than evangelicals on this point.

But with the amnesty-loathing crowd, it always comes back to BUT THEYRE HERE ILLEGALLY!

So what? Change the law. Make them legal. Make them pay taxes, and a small fine if you like. But make them Americans.

This is largely what America exists to do, to make opportunity available for the less-fortunate. My Grandfather (maternal) came over on a boat, from Italy, and included with his contingent were various “uncles” who were no such thing, but claimed to be, to evade immigration law. Is this a stain on my family’s history? Hardly.

All of these “relatives”, whatever their origin, made good on the American Dream. I think the vast bulk of Mexicans and others who come here want to do the same. What’s the problem?

The problem is that a lot of people just don’t want them here. This is the one area where liberals’ accusations of racism, so easily tossed about, make sense. As more than a few people have pointed out, were the illegals Canadian, I doubt there’d be much of an uproar.

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9 responses to “American Liberty as Goddess of Youth

  1. Thanks for the quote!

  2. Elk,
    I have an Hispanic girlfriend. Her family has been in Colorado since the days of the Spanish Land Grants. Does that mean anything more or less to those of us who have roots that go back to Jamestown or Plymouth?

    The fact is that her family preceded mine in settling this land.

    NOW!!! – She and her family, their heritage and hard work are derided, spat upon by these new “immigrants.”

    The point is this:

    Immigration allowed outside of the rule of law, constituted and agreed upon as the law of the land; and structured to create a political voting populace and force that is antithetical to the Constitution and its amendments breeds anarchy…..or worse. It breeds either Anarchy or Communism.

    I’m thinkin’ that you and I, we have a fundamental difference of opinion…which is a good thing.

    What I see, living here in the West, and experiencing the rapacious redistribution of wealth to those whom the government, NOT GOD, names as “entitled” is requiring much more than the Declaration of Independence stated…” Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness …”

    There is no guaranteed success. There is no entitlement to anything but salvation. And that too, is a choice.

    The US was created to allow folks a chance…not provide them with life, healthcare, food stamps, housing and soylent green on Wednesday afternoons.

    just sayin, ol’ son, just sayin.

  3. OH…and I meant to add this controversial video which I love just because it is good music:

  4. Hi, Sven, I would say you and I agree this should be a Land of Opportunity with an emphasis on Opportunity — not on free handouts. (I believe it was during the most recent election I heard someone recalling his old Irish immigrant grandmother who’d always voted Democratic because in the old days, she said, the Democrats were for the people who worked. Alas, now, she said, the Democrats had become the party of people who *don’t* work.)

    I also feel strongly that immigrants to this country should learn to speak English so they can participate in our nation and truly take advantage of all this nation has to offer. The Southeast Asians are an example of immigrants who have come to this country in recent years under challenging and tragic circumstances and have worked very hard. I remember reading of a Vietnamese kid who had been in a refugee camp as a child, hadn’t spoken English on coming to this country, and now a few years later was valedictorian of her class. This is an inspiring story and not, I think, an unusual one.

    At any rate, I feel it is very important that this land remain one of hope for new Americans. And from a New England perspective I get the feeling that “illegals” — at least up here — make an easy political scapegoat. I don’t think anyone’s complaining about the Irish guys who all work under the table in Boston, and I don’t think anyone’s really worried about Canadians on the border. So who are the “illegals” that are the fodder of political speeches in New Hampshire during election season? Latinos, I gather. Frankly, and this is my humble opinion, I sense a strain of nativism or Know-Nothingism at work in these appeals that by heritage and inclination I oppose.

  5. I actually have heard a little complaining about Irish illegals, perhaps some 20 years ago or so, but I’ll admit that’s fairly rare.

    I agree a lot of this is a species of racism, or perhaps buried xenophobia. Indeed, there’s a strong undercurrent of AngloSaxonAngst that’s running through a lot of extreme political commentary at this point in time, which in part, I fear, reflects an unfortunate hidden reaction to having a mixed race president. Some who would otherwise never harbor such thoughts are basically secretly, and perhaps unconsciously, afraid that this signals the ultimate demise of the country as a “white” nation.

    An interesting aspect of this is that I suspect that in the future “Latinos” will be no more an “other” race than Italians or Irish now are. People have forgotten that at one time Italians and Irish, along with other southern European peoples, and Eastern European peoples, were regarded in essentially the same fashion as “minority” races are today.

    Anyhow, I point this all out perhaps for a surprising reason. I fully agree with the comments above about the closet racist or xenophobic elements of this debate. But I fear that this also serves to keep us from discussing a very real issue.

    Nobody can or should blame the illegal immigrants from attempting to leave Mexico and other Central and South American countries (quite a few illegals are actually not Mexican, but from further south). But it should not escape our attention that the US serves, for these nations, the same purpose that the American Frontier served our country in the 19th Century. We’re the frontier to which their most motivated, and perhaps inclined to make trouble, population leaks. This means that those nations never really have to reform, as the population that’s most inclined to build those nations up, leaves, leaving those with long term vested interests still in control in states that are troubled. This is not in the interest of the populations of those countries.

    Additionally, this country isn’t endlessly large. Americans like to pretend it is, and we also like to pretend that we’re a huge success due to our native intelligence. But to a very large degree we’re a success because we had half a continent to ourselves that was unexploited. In order to exploit it it served our selfish interest to import a cheap laboring population, even bringing in slaves, of course, at first.

    Now, that’s really changed, although we blind our eyes to it. We import much in the way of everything we require, and manage to maintain our position as a strong nation in part due to the odd developments of modern economies, part due to native skills and intelligence, and in part due to the retained momentum of prior generations. But we shouldn’t pretend that North America can absorb an endless amount of immigration before it does damage to the country, both literally and figuratively. A US of 400 million, which we’re approaching, will not be the country it is today. It’ll have lower opportunities for all, will be dirtier, poorer, and, well. . .much more European in some ways. Sadly, a Mexico with an open border with a 400M US will still be the Mexico we see today, having never had to reform.

    Times do change. No nation can endlessly absorb the population of a neighboring troubled neighbor. That’s the real issue, and the really uncomfortable one, that nobody is really debating.

  6. The crucial issue is that the newcomers be workers. If so, and that certainly appears to be the case so far, they help us deal with the unrushing demographic woes of Social Security and Medicare (and Obamacare).

    There is a vast amount of unocccupied land in the US.

  7. “onrushing” demographic woes…

  8. “There is a vast amount of unocccupied land in the US”

    There really isn’t. In actuality, quite the opposite is true. All US land is occupied in some fashion, save for National Parks and areas of Alaska. It’s just a question of what occupies it.

    The perception of vast un-occupation really comes about due to misconceptions as to use. Not all land is equally usable, and the pressures on land use retire vast amounts of land from certain uses daily. As a rule, the switch is from lightly occupied agricultural land to densely populated urban uses.

    This is something I’ve experienced in my own life, and perhaps that helps colors my view. I live in what many people consider to be the “unoccupied” rural west, but I have to drive much greater distances now to get outside of what occupied areas. When I was a boy, even though I was living in this “small city”, I could literally walk out of town and be in agricultural land if I wanted to. Now, I have to drive nearly to the edge of the county to do that. This county is, fwiw, huge. Probably about 60% of the size of Vermont.

    And, as my family has strong rural roots, it was the case that we had owned agricultural land ourselves. My father and I were on the verge of reentering agriculture, which we could afford on our relatively modest means, at the time of his death. Now that land is not even ag land anymore, and there’s no earthly way to afford the land. In effect, this means that about 50% of the usable ag land in this county is now housing.

    The US became a net food importer for the first time for a couple of months about two years ago. We’re rapidly putting land into housing. Sustaining the home ownership rate we presently have is wholly unrealistic with our anticipated population growth, which is immigration driven. While the land appears to be “unoccupied”, it isn’t. Every square inch of land in the US outside of Alaska is in fact occupied, it’s just a question of what occupies it. Agriculture occupies that land, in one sense or another, that is devoted to industry or housing (save for the relatively small amount in parks). As more of that goes into housing and industry, the character of the country will be permanently impacted.

  9. Regarding “onrushing demographic woes”, let me suggest that this is a false argument. If it’s correct, we must ever increase the population at all odds, which is a poor reason to increase the population.

    In reality, what would best fund Federal programs would be increased wealth, not increased population. The relationship between the two doesn’t necessarily exist. If it did, Canada, with less than 10% of the US population, wouldn’t have had social welfare programs of a much more extensive nature than ours for much longer. Indeed, you can make the argument that the best investment for the future would be to hope for a more stable population which is ever better educated.

    On that, I’d also note that our immigration situation tends to be heavily biased against “internal immigrants’ who use part of our systems resources, but who do not benefit from it well. The populations that are hurt the most by immigration in the US are those that compete for the same class of jobs, which unfortunately remains those portions of the population most historically underprivileged. To a degree, the question has to be asked as to why the US tolerates so much illegal immigration, while ignoring the huge US underclass to a degree. If we are turning a blind eye to illegal immigration in order to benefit from their labor, wouldn’t we be better off seeking to fully employ those in the US who have traditionally suffered from low employment first?

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