Creeds 2

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thanks those of you who have commented about, or written him privately about, creeds. He supposes that until you start thinking about it you take for granted these (sometimes grand, and sometimes common) statements of faith.

Your Maximum Leader was particularly pleased that the very delightful Mrs P passed along a link to the Athanasian Creed. (NB to Mrs P.: Your Maximum Leader is sure he’d love your cold shellfish salad any time.) Gosh… It has been a long time since your Maximum Leader had seen those words. Indeed, he thinks that he last read the creed attributed to St. Athanasius in a religious education class at church when he was about 14. For those of you too lazy to click through on the link from Mrs P. here is the English text of that creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlasingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Etneral and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

You know something minionly readers… Just when he feared that Western Christendom was getting all soft and squishy (like the Smallholder) he reads something like the Athanasian Creed and he gets warm tingly feelings all over. Compared to the creeds offered up by your Maximum Leader yesterday, this is a creed with an edge. Indeed, if your Maximum Leader was inclinded to start a religion and write a creed for it, he would more likely want something edgy - like the Athanasian Creed - versus the gentle embrace of the Massai Creed from yesterday’s post.

Your Maximum Leader will have to do a little digging to learn ore about the Athanasian Creed. He knows that the Apostle’s Creed was orginially written to clarify the Church’s position against the heresy of Arianism. The Nicene Creed was a statement of the official Church position against the heresies of Arianism and of Gnosticism. Your Maximum Leader states this from a historical, not theological, perspective. This tidbit was mentioned in the podcast which provided the genesis of this post; as well as being mentioned in Lord Norwich’s great 3 volume history of Byzantium. He will have to figure out which heresy the Athanasian Creed was meant to combat. (Alas, your Maximum Leader doesn’t remember his heresies as much as he might like.)

A few people have asked your Maximum Leader to tell them more about his religious views and his creed. Unfortunately, many of you would be greatly disappointed if you were to know where he stands with his own personal concept of the creed. (And St. Athanasius would easliy judge that your Maximum Leader would be going to everlasting fire.) There isn’t much to tell. Your Maximum Leader will let this matter go in saying that his personal beliefs are likely more in line with Judaism, at this point, than with mainstream Christianity. And he says this knowing that one or two readers will immediately start praying for your Maximum Leader to be born again and thereby saved.

For any prayers you care to offer for his soul, your Maximum Leader is most grateful.

Of course, not all creeds are religious. If your Maximum Leader may fall back on that old canard of using a dictionary definition… Another definition of a creed is a system of belief, principles, or opinions. We don’t seem to have clear and concise political creeds anymore. We have political party platforms. And let your Maximum Leader go on the record saying they are turgid, miserable documents. Here is the last GOP platform. Here is the last DNC platform. Here is the Green Party platform. And finally, here is the Libertarian Party platform. The Libertarians, to their credit, have a preamble to their platform that is a political creed.

Since he asked yesterday, he’ll ask again today - but in a different form. Do you have a political creed? Have you ever thought about it? Should you?

These questions are much easier for your Maximum Leader to answer than are the religious creed questions. He suspects that they might be easier for you to answer as well.

For example, your Maximum Leader believes that: the role of government ought to be to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens; representative democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others; all citizens ought to have equal justice under the law in open courts; the nature and scope of government powers ought to be limited; citizens should be encouraged to participate in a free market economy; and citizens have a duty to be informed participants in their political life. That is pretty simple. Of course, those simple tenets can each be expounded upon greatly. But that is a clear starting point. In fact, that creed is somewhat off-the-cuff. Your Maximum Leader is sure that you could come up with a nice off-the-cuff political creed as well.

Perhaps we should think more about political creeds. We have lots of cognitive dissonance in our political life. We like cheap produce, but we don’t like illegal immigrants who help provide it for us. We like low taxes, but we expect government financial support. We like making the world a better place, butwe can’t stand the military-political costs of doing so.

Perhaps a political creed might be a guide that we could measure our actions against. It could help show us how we ought to behave - politically at least. Think about it.

Carry on.

Happy Birthday Richard Wagner

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wished the departed Richard Wagner a happy 195th birthday today. As long-time readers of this site know, your Maximum Leader is a great Wagnerian. The score of the day will take liberally from various Wagner operas. (Your Maximum Leader made a special Wagner playlist for the iPod this morning.)

For those of you inclinded to learn more, you can check out this (rather balanced) bio on the composer on Wikipedia.

You might also want to check out the “official” Wagner website. Namely the site for the Bayreuth Festival.

Carry on.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader subscribes to a number of podcasts. One of them is of the PBS show “Speaking of Faith.” It is an hour-long weekly show where the hostess, Krista Tippet, has a themed discussion on a single subject under the broad heading of “spirituality.” Many weeks the discussion isn’t your Maximum Leader’s cup of tea so to speak. He wanted to describe the shows he doesn’t care for as banal. But that is an inaccurate description, as the shows are always pretty thoughtful. He supposes that he objects (intellectually) with the subject matter - or approach of the participants in the discussion. That doesn’t make the show banal - it just makes your Maximum Leader a bit dismissive. No matter how dismissive he might be, he always listens to the whole show.

Anyhow… The show that just aired was a repeat. A repeat of a show done three years ago. The subject of discussion was “creeds.” The interviewee was Jaroslav Pelikan. Dr Pelikan died last week (aged 82). Dr Pelikan was a professor of history at Yale for 40 odd years and was a world-renown scholar of religious creeds.

Unfortunately, your Maximum Leader’s reading in theology is not broad enough to have included anything by Dr. Pelikan. He suspects that the Big Hominid, or other blog “authorities” in theological matters have read some of Dr. Pelikan’s works and could discourse on them with more expertise and insight.

Your Maximum Leader was intrigued by the program, and has listened to it twice since is broadcast on Thursday. Indeed, his thoughtful reflection on the program - coupled with lots of other stuff to do - precluded him from blogging yesterday.

Dr. Pelikan’s interview is a good one. Your Maximum Leader will encourage you to listen if you are so inclined.

For those of you who are religious, and there are a fair number of you among the readership of Naked Villainy; have you stopped to consider your religion’s creed? Your Maximum Leader has. He was raised a Roman Catholic. He was brought up in the church, fell away from the church, returned with a certain amount of vigour, but has fallen away again. The second falling away was prompted by a serious reflection on the Nicene Creed, the nature of Jesus, and a reasoned attempt to understand his truly held religious beliefs.

Your Maximum Leader, while not a theologian, is probably better versed in matters of Judeo-Christian doctrine than your average person. He admits his knowledge of Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism are pretty solid. Most mainline Protestant denominations are variations on a theme and he is pretty comfortable there as well. He knows a fair amount about Judaism and Islam as well. He’s got the great desert monotheistic religions covered. One could say his understanding of the children of Abraham is good.

He is also a fair historian. He studied it in school. He has a passion for it. So he reads a lot. He is also critical and discerning in what he reads.

So, one day at Mass your Maximum Leader really starting thinking about what he was saying while he was reciting the Nicene Creed. He kept on thinking about it after Mass. Even through the week until the next Sunday. It was on his mind. After a while, your Maximum Leader pulled out the Catechism of the Catholic Church and started reading.

For those of you unfamiliar with the format of the Catechism, it goes line by line through the Nicene Creed and explains what each line means. In case you aren’t familiar with the Nicene Creed here it is:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

If you are an Orthodox Christian you don’t say the bracketed phrase in the final stanza reading [and the Son]. Pretty much every major Christian religion uses the Nicene Creed to describe their basic religious beliefs.

Of course, the other great monotheistic religions have creeds. If you are a Jew you have a creed too, the Shema. The Shema goes: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” If you are a Muslim you have a creed too. “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

There are, as you may know, and certainly as Dr. Pelikan wrote about in his book, many Christian creeds. One that seemed to figure prominently in the discussion on Speaking of Faith was the Massai Creed. Until this program he’d never heard of it. The Massai Creed does a superlative job of “Africanizing Chrstianity” as Dr. Pelikan put it. Indeed your Maximum Leader liked this creed so much he will reproduce it in full here.

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Beautiful isn’t it? Your Maximum Leader thinks so. He does particularly care for the description of Jesus’ life, teaching, and death. It is wonderfully illustrative in a way that the Nicene Creed is not.

So your Maximum Leader thought about the Creed of his church. He thought about what he felt he knew from sources sacred and historical. He did a lot of soul searching. He also discovered that there was a significant portion of the creed in which he didn’t believe.

Perhaps a word or two on belief here might be a propos. There are a number of different types of “belief.” There is belief derived from observable or testable facts - empirical belief so to speak. There is also belief derived from faith. This is a irrational commitment to something one feels to be true.

As you can tell from where this appears to be going, there is a certain measure of skepticism that your Maximum Leader has towards many things religious. Perhaps one could say that he took to heart David Hume’s exhortation that if there is a easy to understand explanation for something that is attributed to a “miracle” then probably the other explanation should hold.

So your Maximum Leader contemplated the Nicene Creed. He went back and forth over what he believed. He’s tried to work out his own creed. Indeed he’s still working on it. One result of this contemplation has been that he doesn’t self-identify as a Catholic any more. Indeed, there can be some argument as to whether he is technically a Christian or not. (A discussion he believe’s we’ve once engaged in here.)

To have a creed means that you are making to make a conclusive statement about something in which you believe. There is a negative aspect to creeds too. If you conclusively believe in something you conclusively deny other somethings. It can be a tricky business.

Do you have a creed? Have you ever thought about it? Do you think you should?

Carry on.

And now for something completely different… Pt 2

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, if he was President of Iran - which he is not, wouldn’t let any coalition of other nations talk him out of a nuclear program.

But he would ring up George W. Bush periodically and yell “Surprise!” before hanging up.

Then he’d laugh with all the Ayatollahs, turn on a “Friends” re-run, and get some hummus with salty chips and a yoghurt shake.

Carry on.

And now for something completely different…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to let you all know that if he was filling up the Villainmobile and happened to be short on cash; he would gladly leave the Smallholder with the filling station owner as a “deposit.”

Just sayin’.

Carry on.

Still Out of Gum

Brian must have really missed me.

See his gammy-handed “smackdown” here.

Lest you think from Brian’s tone that he is consumed by maniacal Smallholderphobia, please see the Concurring Opinions link here about electronic interaction (via Volokh Conspiracy). His (and occasionally my) words may seem to be rabid invective, but it is all in good fun. Besides, if you are a regular reader, you know that your humble Smallholder is a man with thick skin who regularly suffers the slings and arrows of the Maximum Leader’s jealousy (I’m sorry Mike, but those Swedish devices just don’t work, so you’ll just have to resign yourself to your genetic diminuation). So I am ready to stoically accept Brian’s harsh words with aplomb.

On to a thorough fisking of Memento Moron. Sorry, but I’m all out of lubrication.

I’ll confess to one of Mr. Moron??s charges: I did frequently use immigrant as a shorter form of illegal immigrant. I’d like to say it was from some clever debater’s tactic, but it was actually sloppiness. My bad.

Mr. Moron takes a cheap shot at your humble Smallholder: “Will (Smallholder) bother to read my links, let alone respond to them? The blogosphere waits with bated breath.”

You wound me, sir! Of course I’ll read your links.

Heather Mac Donald’s screed against illegal gang members is here.

Now, just because Heather Mac Donald’s career seems to be built around Coulterian shrillness (I just made that up! Pretty cool wordsmithing, huh?) doesn’t mean we should dismiss her arguments out of hand. We will accept her claim that a good proportion of California gang bangers are illegal. This is at odds with my experience in Harrisonburg (where are gangs are mostly made up of the unraised children of illegals - a distinction without a difference many might say). But even if we accept that 12,000 18th street gang members are illegals, that in itself does not prove the violent criminality of illegals as a whole, even when we include grizzly individual crimes. This kind of “illegals are all violent narco-trafficers” fuzzy - even magical - thinking is a common feature of anti-immigration tracts. In any group of 11 million people, you are likely to find some criminals. However, although I never claimed that all immigrants are honest and law abiding, I will say this: ALMOST all illegals are honest and law-abiding (with the exception of the whole illegal immigration thing. Heh), just like almost all people of any group are honest and law abiding.

Any funnily enough, academic researchers, the General Acoounting Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation agree with me. Click through this pdf link and go to page 9. If you read further through on the study, there is a discussion about underreporting of crime when the victims are immigrants, much as I discussed in my earlier post. Brian pooh-poohed this, bur perhaps he will accept it now if it inflates the perceived criminality of all illegal immigrants. Even if we acknowledge illegal on illegal crime, that still means that illegals pose a lesser threat to citizens than native-born Americans. Note that the conclusion that illegals have a lower crime rate than citizens is not a conclusion drawn by some left wing counterpart of Brian’s Miss Mac Donald. This is the conclusion of the law enforcement branch of the U.S. government. The conclusion was drawn while trying to find ways to combat illegal immigrant crime, but folks who fight crime want to think about the actual source of the problems - while realizing that immigrants are (only slightly) less criminal than citizens, the FBI wants to catch the bad guys.

I would imagine that if you could control for poverty, the gap between illegal and citizen criminality would be even more stark since illegals are at the bottom of the pay scale and poverty among citizens is a huge predictor of criminal behavior.

“Smackdown” that. Total national statistics compiled by the FBI versus right wing shill’s anecdotal, local evidence that represents less than a percentage point of the illegal population. That said, I do agree with Mac Donald and Mr. Memnento that sanctuary laws ought to be repealed. Local law enforcement officials OUGHT to report violent illegals to the INS. But removing a the small numbers of violent illegals will have no bearing on the overall picture of illegal immigration by the hard-working folks trying to make better lives for their children.

Another link that Brian wants your humble Smallholder to read is an angry rant appearing in the Idaho Observer. I will give Brian the benefit of the doubt that he came across the article while googling, did a find word for “illegal” and did not himself read the rest of the article. The economic judgments made are just ludicrous. I wouldn’t rely on the author’s understanding of the economy to buy a copy of Maxim Magazine.

Calculating the true cst of illegal aliens is very difficult. Anti-immigration forces frequently focus only on direct costs and benefits, either because they don’t understand the multiplier effect or are purposefully ignoring indirect consequences. They will tag lines like “lost wages for American workers” and “money sent back to Mexico” as if Adam Smith hadn’t explained 230 years ago that economics isn’t a zero-sum game. Immigrant wages are not “lost” to America. Immigrants circulate their wages just like other Americans. So the money still ends up in the economy. Some money is sent back to Mexico, but as any economist will tell you, countrys don’t exist in a vacuum. Some of that money will stimulate Mexican demand for American goods (I’ll do a post on the Mexican government’s hypocrisy about remittances at some point).

School costs go up. That is undeniable. How do we factor in the result of lower cost goods? In the same way that opponents of Walmart claim that Walmart’s non-union wages hurt the poor but ignore the reality that Walmart’s low prices save more in real spending power for the poor than is lost in lower wages, and ignore the fact that leaving Americans with greater disposable income stimulates other businesses (gee, honey, I spent $20 less on groceries at Walmart. Let’s go see a movie!), resulting in a major net increase in American wealth, opponents of illegal aliens ignore the indirect consequence that lower-cost goods have on Americans’ spending power.

Not to beat a dead horse, but there are very few losers when it comes to illegal immigration. Companies get cheaper labor, prices fall, consumers get more goods, more disposable money is spent creating jobs that would not otherwise exist. Only poorly skilled workers are really harmed by illegal immigrants.

And can they really blame the immigrants? After my experience teaching in Baltimore, I have come to realize that the unemployment “problem” isn’t (at most times) the fault of the economy at large. The welfare system has created an underclass who are unemployable due to their lack of discipline. I well remember the student who was loudly complaing that he lost his job at McDonalds because of racism. I asked what had happened. He said that on his first day on the job, his supervisor asked him to mop the bathroom floor and the student replied “Who the fuck do you think you are asking me mop the floor?” Hmmm. Must have been racism. That, and the fact that the manager super-sekritly wanted to hire an illegal alien.

We should all cry for the worker who would be gainfully employed if only the horde of Mexicans hadn’t stolen his job. But how sad is it when a person who has grown up in a country that offers a free public education is outcompeted for a job by someone lacking an education who has to move through a hostile country that outlaws their very presence and has an initially poor grasp of the English language. All thing being equal, one imagines that an employer would choose to employ a native beacuse the native will be easier to direct and because the native does not pose a risk of fines from the INS. But things aren’t equal. Most native-born citizens who are at the bottom level of the economic ladder are there because they have chosen not to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by the educational system. I’ll acknowledge that many poor folks are trapped in a cycle of poverty because their parents haven’t taught them a work ethic, and I’ll say that if government could find an effective way to instill a work ethic in those kids it ought to, but the fact remains: The lowest rung of American workers are less willing to work hard than are immigrants, illegal or otherwise. If you know someone who manages minimum-wage workers, ask them about how hard it is to find low-skilled folks that are dependable and hard-working. Hardworking Americans are not unemployed because there are no jobs. If I lost my teaching job tomorrow, the bank foreclosed on the farm, and I my education and intelligence (such as it is) went “poof,” I would stil be able to get a job almost immediately. It might not pay as well or be as satisfying or carry as much prestige, but I would be hired because I show up every day, work, follow directions, and can be civil to customers and supervisors.

Anti-illegals often like to claim that illegals get welfare and don’t pay taxes. This isn’t simply ignorance of economics. It is simply false. Illegals can’t qualify for welfare and don’t qualify for social security, and they pay more taxes than similarly situated Americans.

First of all, sales tax is unavoidable.

Secondly, wage-based taxation is still withheld from their paychecks, including the roughly 14% for social security, medicaid, and unemployment - all perks that illegals cannot claim. They also pay regular state and federal taxes.

Let me ’splain.

Most employers, in order to “comply” with INS regulations require workers to show IDs and social security numbers in order to be hired. Many employers knowingly turn a blind eye to forged documents. Nonetheless, even though INS rarely truely messes with a company, a company will be in hot water with the much more potent IRS if it does not withold payroll taxes. So state taxes, federal taxes, in some cases locality taxes, social security, medicare, and unemployment insurance are all deducted. This happens to all of us. Check your pay stubs.

The difference between us and illegals? We can file tax returns at the end of the year to get some of that money back. We (if we are old enough right now) might actually see a social security check. Can we please call a moratoriam on the old lie that immigrants don’t pay taxes?

Balancing taxes and social services used, immigrants might be a net loss on the government’s books. Robert J. Samuelson, who is balanced, non-partisan and objective, concludes this is a case. But before Brian and the illegal-bashers crow too loudly, they ought to note that the lower wages and prices create a massive gain INDIRECTLY that more than compensate for the direct ledger.

Brian goes on to take exception to my conclusiuon that:

Costs up = jobs down = sales down = recession.

In his own words he says:

Costs Up, but that’s where the formula falls apart. Jobs will NOT be lost — people who are competing for jobs just out of their league (legal immigrants and unskilled Americans) will be able to settle for jobs now filled by illegals. This will ease competition for jobs at the next level up, increasing those wages and taking pressure off of that tier of society, and the effects spread from there. So I reject the jobs lost. As for sales down, with more Americans and legals making the money, it will stay in the economy instead of being wired to Chiapas. Furthermore, the easing of strain on Emergency rooms and other government services will save a good chunk of that $21 Billion mentioned earlier, helping with taxes and government budgets. So what we have is:

Costs up + Jobs (among potential consumers) up + Sales up == Increased profits.

Bush and the Republican leadership know that a recession and disheartened middle class is a sure recipe for electoral disaster.

The Recession conclusion is iffy at best, and as for a disheartened middle class, well:

Harvard economics Professor George Borjas showed that illegal aliens displace American workers out of $200 billion in lost wages annually.

In conclusion:

Support illegal immigration to avoid a recession.

In conclusion:

Smallholder is wrong.

Um, no.

First of all, there is not a pool of hard-working, dependable, able workers who are currently unemployed. The currently unemployed might temporarily take some of the jobs vacated by the miraculously disappearing illegals, but they will hold them only until the boss asks them to mop the floor of the bathroom.

But let’s assume the poor, oppressed willing unemployed American worker does exist. So he takes the job at a higher wage. So costs are up. Brian agrees to this point at least.

But many of those jobs won’t be transferred from illegals to Americans because they wil be eliminated. Businesses only hire when the expected value of a worker’s contribution exceeds the marginal cost of hiring, training, and paying that worker. If we raise wages, many employers simply won’t hire. This is the argument against the minimum wage.

If jobs start to get eliminated, aggregate purchasing power declines - whether or not the buying power was held by an illegal or an American. Lower purchasing power reduces aggregate demand. So more jobs fall below the marginal utility point. So there are more layoffs. As the King of Siam says, “et cetera, et cetera.” A viscious cycle develops.

The analogy is exaclty apropos to Walmart as discussed earlier. If (uneducated) American workers (who failed to take advantage of the opportunities provided to them) lose $200 billion in wages due to the depressive wage influence of illegals, they gain more back in purchasing power than they have lost, just like the poor who have their wages depressed by Sam Walton’s megacorp actually end up with more purchasing power because of lower prices.

If any of you believe that magically raising the poorest Americans’ wages without a commensurate increase in productivity would lead to more jobs and a better economy, as Brian suggests, I suggest that you try this thought experiment.

Congress votes to raise the minimum wage to $12 hour. Companies, faced with much higher labor costs that outpace productivity gains, calculate marginal utility for their workers and begin laying people off. Those companies that can still profitably employ the unskilled have to raise prices. Everyone pays more for basic goods and foodstuffs, so they have less disposable income. They reduce discrentionary spending. Aggregate demand drops. More layoffs follow.

Those unsklilled laboers who are able to hang on to the $12 jobs now find that higher prices leave them able to buy fewer goods than they previously purchased when they were making $5.15 and hour. So the poor hardworking American (if he exists) doesn’t really benefit.

More importantly, those Americans who are hardworking and disciplined enough to make it into the middle class are screwed. Their wages haven’t be raised by fiat. But the prices affect them too. Inflation reduces the value of their savings. They can buy less and their savings are worth less. So we have now penalized hard working Americans to provide symbolic but realistically counterproductive “help” to their least-deserving countrymen (that is, if you believe that taking advantage of opportunities, getting an education, working hard and saving are traits that render people “deserving”). And those middle class folks, whether they understand that the magic disappearance of illegals is the root of their economic woes (most Americans, after all, are unfamiliar with concepts like inflation, supply and demand), will feel pain and tkae to the polls with righteous vengeance.

Notice that leader of both parties want to take no action that might result in the dangerous economic scenario described above. Leaders of both parties, whether they choose to demagogue to the economically illiterate or not, understand the reality of the economy and know that illegals are essential to the welfare of the country as a whole.

This is why any wishful thinking about getting rid of illegals is “magical.” There is zero chance that we will see a real crackdown on illegals. Bush, Frist, Hastert, Reid, and Pelosi all understand economics better than the “An illegal took muh job” crowd.

Bush is a smart, canny politician (no matter what the Minister of Propaganda says). This is why he has proposed sending 6,000 National Guardsmen to the border. The 6,000 weekend warriors will not slow illegal migration in any real way. But Bush is hoping that it will make him look tough to the anti-immigrant crowd. The folks who understand the basics of economics won’t mind this little fig-lead; Bush has winked at them and said “Hey, I’m not going to derail the economy. You won’t lose your housekeeper.” Since the anti-immigrant crowd is ignorant eough to believe that evicting the backbone of our low-price society would magically make native-born Americans better off, Bush can reasonably expect them to not understand that his guard proposal is full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

This pattern of saying one thing to his base while doing something else has been there all along. Bush claims to be a fiscal conservative and then raises domestic spending faster than LBJ. Bush claims to support responsible reform of entitlement programs and then rolls out a “drugs for old people” program that will cost more than quadruple the pricetag of Iraq. Bush says he will appoint anti-abortion judges, but then selects judges largely based on their attitude about executive privilige (Won’t South Dakota be surprised when Alito and Roberts follow their consistent pattern of respecting stare decisis and uphold Roe). Bush’s poll numbers show that the approach has started to fail with many members of his base, but he’s trying it one more time on the anti-immigrant crowd.

The anti-immigrant forces like to chant about harm to the economy, unpaid taxes, and crime. When analyzed, they are wrong on all counts. It is kind of like opposition to gay marriage. It all boils down to “fags/wetbacks are icky and I don’t like them sorts of people.” Politicians are willing to pander and demagogue on the gay marriage issue even when they know that it is judicially inevitable because there are no real costs to the larger society. What Bush, Frist, Hastert, Reid, Pelosi, et. al. have demonstrated is that while they will still pander and demagogue like there is no tomorrow, they will really go after the illegals. Because that harms us all.

Beer… Commercial…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just wanted to post his agreement with Dr. Leopold (Mc) Stotch.

Great beer commercial.

Just great.

Carry on.

Titan Arum

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader advises you to go and visit the Berlin Botanical Gardens to witness the multiple blooming of their Titan Arum specimen. Well… Go if you are in the Berlin area at least.

As long-time readers know, the Titan Arum is the offical flower of Naked Villainy, your Maximum Leader, and the Mike World Order (MWO). Know for the stench of rotting flesh it emits when blooming, this tropical flower is also pretty phallic.


Carry on.

Celebrity breakup

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Sir Paul McCartney is separating from Heather Mills, his wife of 4 years. According to the article there is no prenup… But before they were married Paul judged that Heather wasn’t a gold-digger…

We’ll see on that point won’t we?

Perhaps now Paul can get back to dating super-hot Brazilian supermodels… That is, if he ever dated super-hot Brazilian supermodels… Perhaps your Maximum Leader was just projecting there.

Carry on.

Keeping them out & impact

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has enjoyed reading all the stuff abounding on Albert Gore’s internets about our immigration situation. If you haven’t you should check out Brian’s latest. In it he continues to put the smackdown on the Smallholder.

Of course, this time he also puts the smackdown on your Maximum Leader. It seems your Maximum Leader deserves a smackdown because he’s expressed support for the (possibly wrong) belief that the net economic impact of illegal immigrants is a positive one. To express this more clearly… Your Maximum Leader has believed that, when viewed nationally, the economic benefit reaped as a result of cheap labor outweighs the cost of services provided to (or otherwise concerning) illegals. Again, the cost of illegal immigration is not borne equally across the various states of our Republic - so people in California pay more than those in Virginia.

Well… The Confederate Yankee provides (in a comment over at Phin’s site) some interesting information on this point. Allow your Maximum Leader to quote in full:

I am probably the first guy you mentioned that told you that immigrants cost more than they give back, so I guess I should have told you that I have the numbers to support that contention.

Start with the Center for Immigration Studies, which places the net loss per year at more than $10 billion/year in 2002 (it has since shot up), and this executive summary shows numbers built from U.S. Census data.

In addition, illegals hurt salaries for legal Americans a significant percent.


“A Harvard University study in 2004 found immigration - both legal and illegal - reduced annual earnings for American-born men by 3.7 percent, or nearly $1,700. For those without a high school degree, the effect was double that, with wages down 7.4 percent.”

Immigrants point out they’re not just workers. They’re consumers with money to spend. At Monday’s rallis, they pledged to prove that point by boycotting all spending for one day.

That “spending” is overshadowed, though, by the burden they place on schools and hospitals - draining resources not so much from the federal government, but from states.

“The average native-born household in California paid $1,200 more in taxes than they got in benefits,” says James Smith, a senior economist with the Rand Corp. “Almost all of that was because of immigration’s effect on California.”

Simply Google “cost of immigration” on Google, and choose any source you like. I’ve not been able to find a single source that says illegals have done anything but cost us more than they bring in. Please feel free to show me contrary evidence.

I’d also like to know what sources you can cite to support your claim that the cost of agriculture and construction would triple. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence to the same, of course, but I’ve seen no hard facts to support those claims. History shows that when labor gets too expensive, technological improvements replace those same workers, and those workers move on to different kinds of work. It’s pretty much been that way since the Industrial Revolution.

If we do lose $5-$9 billion in agriculture in the first 3-5 years of a crackdown as this report suggests, we’d still come out about $8 billion/year ahead of where we are now. Factor in similar number for construction (which is generous, because illegal alien employment is not thought to be as high) as we’re still coming out billions ahead. No matter how you slice it, illegals cost more than they put back into the system.

I am open to persuasion, it you can find data to the contrary, I just don’t think it exists.

Interesting stuff, n’est-ce pas? Harvard studies… Rand Corporation… Not your typical mix of right-wing nativist organizations… Your Maximum Leader was contemplating some of the Smallholder’s posts about jobs going overseas and the technology factor was a point he was going to make… But, he didn’t.

Oh… And while you might be perusing Confederate Yankee… Check out his wall idea. Dragon’s teeth. Concertina wire. No landmines though. But there is a handy electrified wire on top of the concrete/aggregate wall!

Your Maximum Leader might rethink his position on the overall economic benefit of illegals…

But anyho…

Let him restate a few items… More border guards are good. Wall is good, but unworkable for a number of reasons. Legal immigration is good (a subject your Maximum Leader hasn’t hit on in a while). And he would be happy to offer some sort of amnesty program to illegals in this country - if we could stem the flow of new illegals.

Oh yeah… We need to seriously re-evaluate our nation’s position on being a citizen by virtue of being born on US soil…

Carry on.

Laser Directed Fire

This is pretty cool… in a hawkish kind of way. Laser directed fire on insurgents(?) in Mosul.

ooooohhhhhh look at the pretty green lights! (its about 3.6 MBs)

Back to the trenches

Number 29…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has decided to take a little break from snarky immigration postings to talk about some real injustice in the world. Yes, loyal readers. REAL. INJUSTICE.

Thanks to (Dead Sexy) Sadie, your Maximum Leader chanced to look over the list of the Maxim Hot 100. This is the list where the (lame-o) editors of Maxim magazine tell their frat-boy (and frat-boy wanna be) reader who the hottest 100 women are.

Ready for the injustice? 29. Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt… Number TWENTY-FRICKIN’-NINE! That is wrong. Just wrong.

Let us see where other hotties show up on the list… #34 Jaime Pressly. Respectable, yet overrated. At least your Maximum Leader thinks that Ms Pressly’s 34 is a bit high. And who do we find at number 24? None other than the object of the Minister of Propaganda’s fancy, Kate Moss.

Let’s see some other travesties of the Maxim list… Where else to start but Number 3 - Lindsay Lohan. Ack! Your Maximum Leader wouldn’t touch Lohan with 10 foot cattle prod while wearing rubber gloves and a surgical mask. She reeks of “used.” If you catch his meaning.

Number 7 - Cameron Diaz. Redefining skank every day should be her motto.

Number 38 - Paris Hilton. Expanding the definition of skank every minute.

Number 79 - Halle Berry. What the hell? Lindsay Lohan is 3rd on the list and Halle Berry, who is easily one of the most beautiful women to have ever lived, is 79. There must have been some ad stuff going around the room when this choice was made… This is a greater injustice than placing the dreamy Jennifer Love Hewitt at 29. Frankly it is proof that this list is completely unacceptable. If this was the MWO, the editors would have to be dragged out and shot.

Carry on.

Economic Affects & Borders

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will share something with you all. When he is not fixating on chickas wrestling in pudding, or getting rained on, our Loyal Minion Phin is a pretty smart fellow. To wit, Phin’s recent post on Peaches. (NB to readers: notice how the posts on chickas and pudding get comments, but the ones on the economic affects of illegal immigration don’t. )


Your Maximum Leader believes, like Phin, that the net impact of illegal immigration is a positive one for the US. We all enjoy (literally) the fruits of the labors of illegals. Cheap produce is the most tangible benefit to Americans of our porous border. Additionally, your Maximum Leader and Phin agree that the costs of illegal immigration is rather low compared to the benefit.

But where your Maximum Leader will differ from Phin (ever so slightly) is about where the costs of illegal immigration are borne. The cost of illegals in the US is disproportionately borne by states like California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. So, your Maximum Leader (in Virginia) is not impacted (much) by the cost of supporting illegal immigrants; but he benefits from their labor.

Your Maximum Leader believes (hopes) that members of the President’s economic team recognize the varying impact of illegals.

So… A few thousand National Guardsmen will help patrol the border while we beef up the Border Patrol. As your Maximum Leader said yesterday, it is a start. Of course he said this before the Smallholder decided to wake from his manure-enduced stupor and post about the factors that drive Mexicans to cross the border.

Your Maximum Leader will restate, he’s never favored a wall along the whole border. He thinks that in particular areas along the border walls might be effective in reducing easy passage of illegals in urban and suburban areas. But along the vast expanse of border a wall isn’t going to be a practical solution.

Frankly, n solution is foolproof. Well… The one foolproof solution is barbed wire fences, guard towers with machine guns, and minefields. But it hasn’t come to that. Plus, all those Princess Diana adherents get all worked up about minefields. So do the environmentalist types. (Mines harm migratory animals you know.) And in all honesty there are few people who would approve of machine-gunning illegals as they cross the line.

So short of mines, machine guns and barbed wire, we can only hope to reduce the flow of illegals. If we can cut the number from 400,000 a year to 100,000, or to 50,000, or lower; it would be a step forward. We need to work towards cutting the flow of illegals.

Up to this point, your Maximum Leader has kept his comments pretty much to the vast majority of illegals who are seeking employment in the US. But there are the narco-smugglers and terrorists who exploit our porous borders. A friend of your Maximum Leader is a Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. He is being moved from our area to a border state. His job will be to try and stop the narco-terrorists (as he once called them) from moving back and forth at will across the border. No easy task. But one that must be done nonetheless.

An open border policy is too great a risk to do nothing. Up to this point we’ve effectively done nothing. The upsurge of popular anger at this situation has prompted action. Action that must be harnessed and made into a cogent policy that starts to close our open borders.

Carry on.

You Won’t Have Nixon To Kick Around Anymore

Poor Memento Moron must have been horribly dissapointed when your humble Smallholder took a respite from blogospheric conflict. Our buddy Brian is so beside himself with joy at my reappearance that he had a response to my immigration missive posted before my keyboard cooled.

I acknowledge that there are a few bad men who come to this country illegally. But the VAST majority of people are the hardworking types I described above. It takes intiative to cross the border. Working in Harrisonburg, I encounter a huge number of immigrants, legal and otherwise. My impression is that the higher levels of crime associated with immigration is not caused directly by the immigrants themselves. So many of the immigrants in Harrisonburg are so busy working two and three jobs that they are not home with their children and their children often do a lousy job of raising themselves - though honesty forces the concession that somehow stopping illegal aliens would also preclude the creation of the antisocial American-born second generation. However, a fair amount of the crime pronbably results from people preying on immigrants who literally cannot seek protection from the authorities. Giving immigrants legal status would alleviate a small proportion of that crime.

The greatest criminal activity associated with illegal immigration is largely ignored: the American business communties’ prfit-driven motivation to look the other way and not check “papers” too closely. The unspoken reality behing the immigration debate is that the only real way to slow immigration down is to convince employers to stop giving immigrants jobs. And, aside from poorly skilled nativist high school drop outs, no one wants that.

Companies like immigrants because they hold down unskilled wages.

The middle class likes low wages because it reduces the cost of consumer goods and services. We like our cheap lettuce, grapefruit, chicken, landscaping services, and home construction.

There is no political way that Congress will actually pass legislation that would create enforceable penalties that would actually deter companies from hiring illegals. The Democrats are known for drinking at the corporate lobbying trough, but the Republican’s successful conquest of K-Street is even more impressive. Neither party wants to incur the wrath of the business community. Additionally, actually taking immigrants out of the labor pool would force companies to compete for unskilled American labor, driving up the cost of production. The higher production costs would be passed on to the consumer. The American economy already has serious inflationary pressures due to oil prices. Add higher production costs to the mix and we will have an ugly inflation monster knocking at Grandma’s door*. Stagnating home appreciation means that Americans won’t be able to continue to tap equity wealth to fuel spending, so consumer demand would fall.

Companies faced with a harsher business climate would start looking at their operations. If cheap labor based on illegal Mexicans can’t be found in America, the outsourcing trend wil accelerate. Instead of helping poorly educated Americans get higher wages, removing illegal aliens from the workforce will simply result in the elimination of jobs that poorly educated people can do. Many of our right-leaning readers will object to this. But consider this, my righty friends: this is exactly the same (and valid) argument made by the right against raising the minimum wage. If the logic opposing raising the minimum wage holds, so does the logic of welcoming immigrants.

Costs up + lost jobs + sales down = Recession. Bush and the Republican leadership know that a recession and disheartened middle class is a sure recipe for electoral disaster. Americans as a group won’t make the link between cracking down on immigrants and the recession. They’ll just vent at the ballot box**.

People like my esteemed friend Polymath like to highlight the “cost” of immigration. But those costs are more than offest by the economic benefits.

In conclusion:

Support illegal immigration to avoid a recession.

* Yes, I know that “ugly inflation monster knocking at Grandma’s door” is a terrible phrase. But the ugliness of my original language amuses me to the point that I won’t try to craft a better sentence. Inflation is so sucky that even describing it requires sucky language. ‘Sides, do you really think a poor sodbuster like the ig’nant Smallholder can be troubled to put together fancy words for all you snooty college types?

** Witness the public’s anger at Bush over gas prices. High gas prices are manifestly not the fault of the administration, despite what panderers like Nancy “No Blood for Oil!” Pelosi say (not that she is not mirrored by Bill “I’m a dishonest, opportunistic moron” Frist). Perhaps I’ll write a post defending Bush from gas-based attacks. If nothing else, it will give the Minister of Propaganda an aneurism.

Smallholder Returns

Naked villainy:
Has lackluster blog posting
Reduced our traffic?

Never fear, minions
Smallholder returns in style
Chews gum, kicks ass

Deviant Marriage?
A vociferous defense!
That’s how I roll, punk!

Sensible gov’ment?
Smallholder condemns Congress,

Wanna pick a fight?
Do your worst! Loose the canines!
I’m, all outta gum

I’d write a sonnet
But the lovely Ally says
Just haiku, farmer

    About Naked Villainy

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