IM’ing with your Maximum Leader

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader did his quick post f last night and was about to log off his computer when a Yahoo Messenger window opened and he found himself invited to chat with an old college friend.

In the spirit of making blog posts out of IM conversations, here is what was written.

loyal reader chic: Hey man. I was needing to get some work done but I’ll procrastinate with you if you’re up for a chat!
Maximum Leader: Sure.
MaxLdr: I’m always up…
MaxLdr: for a chat..
LRC: rad
LRC: Whatcha doin’?
MaxLdr: drinking a bourbon and coke
LRC: nice.
MaxLdr: listening to iTunes
LRC: I haven’t had a bourbon and coke since … a long time.
MaxLdr: now playing: Dig it by the Beatles
MaxLdr: You should get one.
LRC: Me = not a Beatles fan
MaxLdr: Very patriotic drink
MaxLdr: not liking the Beatles = unAmerican
LRC: I’ve been sober since August. Did you know that?
MaxLdr: Are you a communist?
MaxLdr: No!
LRC: Green party. Is that the same as a communist?
MaxLdr: close
LRC: (I’m SOOOO not a member of the Green Party. I am SOOOO just pulling your leg.)
MaxLdr: all the Greenie gals I’ve known…
LRC: are easy?
MaxLdr: have hairy pits, smell of sweat, and look as though they could use a shower
LRC: Ah. Doesn’t really matter if they are easy at that point, eh?
MaxLdr: Not if you are drunk enough not to be able to smell
LRC: I have a friend whose dad stayed drunk so long he is now permanently not able to smell
MaxLdr: Sorry to hear that - but he prolly deserved it.
LRC: amen
MaxLdr: Abusing yourself like that…
MaxLdr: Let me refill my drink…

It goes on from there. If you would like to read the rest, click through below the fold. If not… Well then just surf on.

By the way… If there is an “emoticon” to symbolize sarcasm, your Maximum Leader would like to know what it is. If there isn’t such a beastie, there ought to be…

If you would like to chat with your Maximum Leader feel free to seek him out on Yahoo Messenger. His id is “nakedvillainy.”

Carry on.

Got Nuthin’

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has got nuthin’ at this moment. Of course it hasn’t helped that he’s been up to his eyeballs in other work. Yes… As hard as it is to believe, your Maximum Leader has responsibilities beyond blogging. And as hard as that might be for you to understand, it is harder for your Maximum Leader who would much rather blithely opine on this and that than do other things.

Actually, it isn’t entirely accurate to say that your Maximum Leader as nuthin’ to blog about. In fact his mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. He just doesn’t have the energy to blog.

Just to paint you all a pathetic picture right now… Your Maximum Leader is sitting in his office at the Villainschloss. He has a Washington Nationals (Go Nats!) souvenir cup filled with ice, four fingers of 1792 bourbon, and Coca Cola. Playing on iTunes is Tom Jones. (Who right now is belting out “She’s A Lady.”)

As you all know, when one doesn’t have the energy to blog one does the whole link dump thingie… So… Here are some links…

Myllan caps. Tiaras. We’re all about royalty here.

Your Maximum Leader is about to put on Shaun of the Dead and finish his bourbon. In honour of that one should read over what the Colossus writes about a wish list for when the zombies attack. In the peice the Colossus notes that he would go with NATO 7.62 ammo vs Russian 7.62 x 39. He takes this decision because he says good Russian ammo is hard to come by. Your Maximum Leader has solved this problem by purchasing himself boxes of 7.62 x 39 ammo by the crate. He believes he could scrounge together about 6000 rounds of 7.62 x39 ammo. That would last long enough to find some more.

The Passion + The Rock = Pure Llama Gold.

The things Annika will do for 100 quid.

Buckethead is on to something here.

And finally… The US got their butts kicked by the Czechs in World Cup Soccer. (But the game still scored big ratings on the Duece.) Well… There is always 2010.

Running low on Bourbon. Gotta go…

Carry on.

Mrs P. & the cap.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader needs to say it… He just loves Mrs. P. Not in a “blog crush” sort of way.* He just loves reading everything that Mrs. P writes. Indeed, he’s found that after checking the list of loyal minions on the sidebar, the next blog he clicks onto is Patum Peperium. He finds himself getting giddy over the next report of Chuck and Camilla, or the abandoned bishop, or a missive on the evils of “Red” Ken Livingstone. And is Mrs. P and epicure? Of course she is! He only wishes he had time to try out all of the recipies that she posts. (The same could be said of all the recipies that Brian posts as well.)

Mrs P has even inspired your Maximum Leader to learn new things. Yes. Yes indeed. She has. You see the little cartoon of your Maximum Leader over on the left-side sidebar. The cartoon of your Maximum Leader a la Richard III - as drawn by the Big Hominid. The one with the bejeweled floppy cap… Yes that one.

You know how your Maximum Leader will, from time to time, for effect, “doff his bejeweled floppy cap” in the direction of some other blogger or reader who deserves his thanks… Well, after doffing his bejeweled floppy cap in Mrs. P’s direction last week your Maximum Leader thought to himself, “You know, Mrs P probably knows the real name of that floppy cap. She is probably just too polite to correct your Maximum Leader.”

Not wanting to be found wanting by Mrs P in this matter, your Maximum Leader googled. He read. He researched. And he googled some more. He even went so far as to call th Metropolitan Museum in New York City and speak to a deputy sub-altern assistant curator of costumes…

That bejeweled floppy cap is actually a bejeweled myllan cap.

He thought you would like to know.

So now, for Mrs P’s kind plugs of this site recently as well as her great comments (especially the Frog & Peach - a bit your Maximum Leader is still laughing about) - your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled myllan cap in her direction.

Carry on.

Natural Growth

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t much to make promises to you all. He doesn’t want to make a proclamation and then have to renege. Of course, reneging is a perrogative of being a Maximum Leader - but for your sake he doesn’t want to go to that well all too often.

This being said, allow your Maximum Leader to make you a promise…

If you are an attractive woman, your Maximum Leadr will never fire you from a job from growing from a “C” cup to a “D” cup. Never. Never ever. Indeed, if you are an attractive woman and you go (by any means frankly speaking) from a C cup to a D cup and want to show your growth to your Maximum Leader; please feel free to do so.

Carry on.

Pointless Letters to Congress

One suspects that citizen letters to Congress will have a smaller impact than big-business lobbying, but if any of our readers are concerned about the way that agribusiness is watering down the legal definition of “organic,” you can go to this link and send automatic e-mails to your representatives.

100 Below: Roger’s Testimony

During Wednesday night service, Roger Baker, rather than giving a run-of-the-mill testimony, spoke with the force of all the doubters in history. Roger’s soaring oratory and rhetorical flourishes stunned and captivated everyone. Joanne Smith passed out. Reverend Ivanisky removed his collar and lamented loudly.

Just as Roger had convinced those attending the First Christian Church of Majorsville, Illinois that The Lord was a Freudian figment of their collective unconscious, The Lord appeared among them. He looked around and spoke.

“Don’t look at me like that. I brought some refried bean dip for the buffet after.”

Unlike Zarqawi, your Maximum Leader is not dead

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just had a moment to pop in and say that he is, in fact, not dead. This makes him much better off than the late-not-to-be-lamented Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

Notice how your Maximum Leader doesn’t blog for a day or two and suddenly… Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is dead.

Coincidence… We think not…


Your Maximum Leader is going to read up on what he has missed over the past few days. He may also try and post some thoughts on immigration.

Carry on.

Smallholder Will Burn In Hell

Is it wrong to drink a toast to the death of another human being?

Methinks not in the case of Zarqawi.

Today’s Washington Post says that there is some dispute over the timing of Zarqawi’s death:

Several discrepancies emerged in various accounts of Wednesday’s events. Police and witnesses at the scene tol a Washington Post special correspondent that Zarqawi was only wounded in the attack and was whisked away by U.S. forces, dying in their custody. Caldwell said he was killed instantly.

Is it wrong to hope that he didn’t die instantaneously? Is it wrong to hope that he bled out while American soldiers “whisked” him away, knowing that the hated infidels had settled his hash.

If so, I might have to take that option on that condo in Gehenna. Great views of the lake of fire.

Korean Shopkeepers and Illegal Aliens

When I worked in Baltimore, I was astounded at the ubiquity of anti-Asian prejudice displayed by a majority of my students. There is a widely held belief within Baltimore’s urban community that Asian shopkeepers are able to have their stores because the government gives them money to open stores so that blacks can’t get jobs (You see, Asian-American store-owners rely on family labor not because family labor is cheap but because they hate black people who make up the vast majority of their customers).

I could patiently explain the economics of why so many immigrants opened stores in urban areas (low rents, captive customers who did not own vehicles and could shop around for lower costs, etc.), but most of the kids doggedly insisted that is was all a government plot to give benefits to someone else. There was no reasoning with this.

I see an echo of this with the people who keep insisting that illegal aliens don’t pay taxes or social security, the facts be damned!

I have explained before why illegal aliens do both. But in my last post on the topic, a commentator tried to rebut my argument:

“But about illegals, your orsiginal contention here was that illegal immigrants are less likely than ordinary folk to commit further illegal activities once they’ve crossed the border. Now you’re talking about the money they’re losing by working under stollen or falsified Social Security numbers. If you or I stole or falsified a Social Security card, we’d be up for a prison sentence of not less than three years, and maybe as much as ten. It’s a fellony; plain and simple.

“…They do not get welfare or social security (becuase they are illegal)…”

Yes! Yes they are, but who told you they don’t collect Social Security?

But what I find particularly disturbing is your constant refferences back to economics. You keep saying that something illegal is OK to do, if it makes you some money. But that’s exactly why we have laws. Many things that are illegal are also profitable, that doesn’t make them alright.”

Well, I linked through to the post that purportedly shows that illegal aliens get social security. You can click here if you want to see for yourself.

For my lazy clickers out there, I’ll post the first two paragraphs below:

The U.S. Senate blocked an effort on Thursday to limit SocialSecurity benefits for illegal immigrants who would become permanent residents under a sweeping immigration overhaul being debated by lawmakers.

The Senate immigration bill would give millions of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country a path to citizenship as long as they pay a fine and back taxes and meet such requirements as learning English.

Now, your humble Smallholder may be a hayseed living out in the sticks, and make no claim to being particularly bright, but I seem to remember that “would” is a term indicating a conditional future. So in fact, the article shows that illegal aliens HAVE NOT and CURRENTLY NOT received or receiving social secutiry benefits in the past or present, but MIGHT get them in the future IF Bush’s plan turned those illegal immigrants into permanant citizens who were no longer illegal. So, even IF Bush’s plan HAD NOT been blocked by the Senate, illegal aliens WOULD NOT have gotten benefits even then - because, after pating fines and penalties, they WOULD no longer be illegal.

My commentor is also particularly disturbed by my constant referral to economics. I have dealt with economic issues, because the anti-illegal immigrant side of the debate like to trot out bad economics to prove that illegals are bad for America. Like many other elements of their stance, I simply took the time to refute their basic premises - folks who claim that illegal immigrants are a net drain on the national economy are either ignorant (in which case they ought to shut up), or, if they understand economics, are motivated by some other consideration and are lying about the economic reality knowing that ignorant people will parrot their arguments. Economics is complex. The folks who lie rely on the fact that most Americans don’t understand economics. So I took a while to explain exaclty why the anti-illegal economic claims were ridiculous. Complexity take a while.

But I don’t think that my discussions have been limited to just economics. The non-economic elements might have gotten fewer words, but that is only because they are easier to rebut (though the assimilation question will take some time - I just haven’t been able to devot ethe hours it will take to provide historical context to the question yet. But I shall try in the near future).

To refresh your memory, I have also refuted the argument that illegal immigrants increase crime rates. Well, actually I didn’t - I just linked to the FBI study that did it for me. One commentor ignored the evidence and simply restated the old anti-illegal canard:

“When you start with a population of proven law-breakers, you’re going to get a lot more of the worst of humanity than you would from a random sampling.”

Silly, silly, silly. As I said before, if we make no distinction between types and motivations for crime, almost ALL of us are technically lawbreakers:

One commentor… makes the farcical argument that, FBI statistics be damned, illegal immigrants must commit more crimes since they have shown a willingness to violate immigration law. As if any violation of any laws will lead to violent behavior. The Boston Strangler, after all, got his start driving 56 on the interstate. Almost all Americans violate some laws every day. Violation of one set of laws does not predestine one to become a violent felon. Examples:

If you do any of the following, society should fear you:

Smoke or use tobacco while underage.
Fish without a license.
Having sex outside of wedlock in Virginia.
Have oral sex in Virginia (or, if you are the Minister of Propagands, in 42 other states).
Break the speed limit.
Download music on Napster.
(In the future: Keep a backyard flock of chickens in Virginia. Breakin’ the law! Breakin’ the law!)

You said yes? You felon!

No one would seriously argue that the above behaviors (full disclosure, I have at one time or another, done all of the above except the Napster thing. But I’m told it is widesprad.) will predict criminal behavior. But somehow crossing the border is signifigantly different. Perhaps we are more likely to believe them Hispanics are capable of crimes because they are…. icky.

I’ve also dealt with the myth that hard working Americans are losing jobs to illegal aliens. I thought about that again today when the local radio station announced that Harrisonburg’s business community has sold 1.1 billion dollars worth of goods this year. The two driving engines of the local econmy are JMU and the illegal-alien heavy industrial chicken manufacturing. I wonder if some of those merchants who are hiring new workers owe some of their financial success to the purchasing power of the illegal community? Oops, economics again. Sorry.

To get back to the original point, I don’t think that I “keep saying that something illegal is OK to do, if it makes you some money.” My economics points are simply a point by point addressing of false claims made by the anti-illegal immigrant side. Even when I directly attack the false belief that illegal immigrants increase violent crime, I have just been pointing out the ridiculous link people make between any type of lawbreaking and future crime. Let me state for the record that I don’t encourage lawbreaking (in general).

But since we are talking about morality, let me ruminate for a bit.

Breaking one law is not inherently as immoral as breaking another law.

I, for one, and I hope you agree, think that all crimes creating victims are immoral.

Rape bad. Murder bad. Armed robbery bad.

But we have also made many things illegal that have nothing to do with victims.

In order to sell tomatoes by the pound, I would have to invest several hundred dollars in a certified scale that won’t be any more accurate than my kitchen scale. I get around this by selling tomatoes on a “per box” basis - and then use my kitchen scale to measure out one or two pounds per box. But let’s assume that, radical criminal that I am, I decide to sell by the pound to happy customers. Would that be immoral? Now, I do make money doing it. Does the fact that I make money in the transaction change to morality?

Now, I don’t have to break the law in that instance because the law is easily avoided by selling by the box. But I also abide by stupid laws that are very inconvenient. I can’t sell meat by the pound. I have to sell a live animal to my customers, and can then provide the free added service of delivering the animal to the butcher and arranging cutting instructions. If a customer wanted to buy just steaks and hamburger, would it be immoral for me to sell them just because it broke a law designed to make it more difficult for farmers to compete in the marketplace?

Going the speed limit on the interstate is actually more dangerous than going with the flow of traffic. Speeding in this context (merging with traffic flow as opposed to pretending you are on your own personal Autobhan) doesn’t create victims. It likely reduces the number of victims by making the interstate safer. Is speeding immoral?

A group of teenagers who aren’t going to drink and drive and have a few beers in someone’s basement - are they as immoral as a seriel killer?

I think we can all agree that victimless crimes are less immoral than crimes that produce victims.

And illegal immigration is a victimless crime. In fact, because of the positive economic benefits, it actually helps Americans. Oops, economic again. Sorry.

So excuse me if I don’t jump on the bandwagon of condemning the morality of people who want to work hard and build better lives for their families. But I’ll confess that this isn’t the same slam dunk case as there is against the economics and crime stuff. Different people can reach different conclusions.

But one can ask the absolutists: If any and all lawbreaking is immoral and ought to be punished, why aren’t you speaking out against other lawbreakers? Why single out illegal aliens?

I alsways have the same thought when you see those Christians who are so rapidly homo-hostile Tje Bible condemns a lot of things. Of all the things the Bible condemns, why is it that you are so worked up about gays? Unless I am mistaken, Jesus never addresses homosexuality but spent a huge amount of time condeming the acquisition of worldly possessions. Why aren’t the same people wanting to deny equal rights to gays demanding the disenfranchisement of rich people:

“Rich people, not having given away their money to the poor and immorally hording it, have demonstratd that they are dangerous to society. They ought to be denied the ability to raise children because they will only infect their children with greed. Children are better off in foster care than if they were adopted by greedy people who are going to burn in hell since it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a capitalist to get to heaven!”

Actually, that might be a better argument than the one against letting gays adopt. Being gay is innate and isn’t influenced by your parents (at least for males). But I would think that being greedy is a value that can be inculcated.

My challenge to the absolutists: Use your next Smallholder-bashing post to explain how your “lawbreaking is always wrong” applies to those innocuous crimes everyone ignores. Please explain why illegal entry to this country ought to be treated more harshly than other victimless crimes.

Wait Till Jerry Falwell’s God Gets A Load of This!

Pity poor Skippy in Canada.

Canada is ripe for a righteous smiting, my friends.

But on the postive side, I guess a Royal Mountie does always get his man.

Polymath: Beware!

Voles in the Batesville neighborhood have been known to suffer gruesome deaths at the hands (or trigger finger?) of deadeye Polymath.

But Polymath did not reckon with the awesome power of the Vole Conspiracy.


“In Ancient Rome, vole advisors were responsible for Caesar’s rise to power and his reign of a thousand years. Little did the people know that he was a mere puppet of the secretive ‘Dark Vole’ and his followers in the Temple of Eternal Vole Supremacy who had taken a vow of world domination. There is some evidence to suggest that Caesar himself was in fact a number of voles in a large suit with an electric head.”

Via Patem Paperium.


Lost Blogging

As our readers may or may not know, I am part of a mixed marriage.

My wife likes television. I’m a Luddite and would happily “kill the tube.”

I’m not taking some morally elitist position here. I just find that, if the television is on, I’ll become a couch potato and watch it. After all, I’ll say to myself, the book I’m reading will still be here in thirty minutes. That Seventies Show is on now!

And then, thirty minutes of my life later, I realize that I have wasted thirty minutes of my life.

BUT there are a few shows that I really like. Buffy was awesome. The Simpsons make me chortle. I wish that I had watched Firefly when it was on, but at Brian B.’s urging I netflixed and loved the show. Early West Wing stuff was great. Law and Order is an old standby in reruns. But there is only one show currently in production that interests me at all: Lost.

I swear to God, there better be a friggin’ coherant story arc that will explain all the weird stuff. If the writers have no idea where they are going and are just putting pseudo-mysterious crap out there, I will be pissed.

But as for now, I’m fascinated by all the twists and turns (and was sorry that holding AP movie nights for my students made me miss three of this season’s episodes so I have even less of a clue about what is going on).

I have one gripe, however.

Jack is the “man of reason” and Locke is the “man of faith.” Ought Locke be an Enlightened man of reason?

And shouldn’t the mysterious, bitter, and cyncial Rousseau have a more optimistic view about the nature of man?

Just sayin’.

P.S. Kudos to the Minister of Propaganda for introducing me to Buffy and West Wing. I only started watching them beause he was working on those shows and was being supportive of my bud. But then the story lines suckered me in. If only he would get a job on “Lost” or “My Name is Earl,” I could brag that I know someone working on the show. And he might introduce me to Evangeline Lilly. Of course, My Name is Earl is unwatchable crap, but for some reason, I’d like to visit the set…

Frogs & Peaches

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn’t have an opportunity to thank the positively delightful Mrs P for the Frogs & Peaches comment to this post. Mrs P also did a whole Friday Afternoon Fun post about the Moore/Cook routine about the Frogs & Peaches. Your Maximum Leader didn’t have a chance to listen to the link Mrs P provided on Friday (getting the Villainettes camping and all…). But he did read her post and listen to the link yesterday.

Your Maximum Leader has heard many of the Moore/Cook routines before, but never this one. It is a shame really… Had he heard of it before he would have brought it up with a (now departed) friend. This friend of your Maximum Leader’s had a beautiful plantation home on the James River outside of Richmond. He would always throw a big Christmas party on Dec 26th. Attending this party was always a highlight of your Maximum Leader’s holiday season.

One year, after the party (or the after-party-party as we called it), we started wondering aloud what we could do to spice up the menu. Party food was pretty much unchanged for years and years. There was a country ham, a turkey, a leg of venison, crab dip, little party wieners, those tiny tiney quiches, spinach turnovers. We figured we could really mix it up if we thought of some fun dishes to add to the menu. Among the suggestions were: a punch made out of Alka Seltzer and marachino cherry juice, fried eggs as finger food (carried around the parlour in a skillet of hot grease), and your Maximum Leader’s favourite - Krispy Kreme Doughnuts flambe. Had he known of the Moore/Cook piece he would have suggested Frogs & Peach or Peach & Frog.

Your Maximum Leader doffs his bejeweled floppy cap towards Mrs P and thanks her for the laughs.

Carry on.

Root, root, root for the home team…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader should just have called the past two Mondays “Smallholder Posting Days” and just saved any crap he planned on posting until Tuesday. Of course… The school year is nearly over. Tat means that the good Smallholder will retire to his farm for the season and Naked Villainy will return to being all Maximum Leader all the time…


Any of you minions who are Washington Nationals baseball fans might be thinking that a wild-card berth is in the Nats future. The Nats have won 7 of their past 10 games and 5 of 5 over the past few games. Allow your Maximum Leader (a Nats fan you know) to disabuse you of this notion. First off, they will return to RFK soon. And while they did well against the Dodgers last week at home, the Curse of Bobby Kennedy (a trademarked feature of the Llamabutchers) will likely strike them again.

Also, you’ve got to realize that the trade season is upon us in baseball. The Nats are sellers in a buyers market baby! Your Maximum Leader is sure that Soriano will be somewhere else come July. (He hopes in St. Louis and not in New York. Either New York team…) Frankly Livan Hernandez, if he keeps up his current streak, might also be dealt away. So might Jose Vidro. All these players are worth lots of minor leaguers and prospects. The new ownership of the Nats is dedicated to build the team through a strong scouting and farm system. The studs of now will be dealt to grow the studs of tomorrow. Let us (Nats fans at least) hope for the best.

UPDATE: Thomas Boswell and your Maxmium Leader. Same wavelength.

And in other sporting news… Your Maximum Leader is told that elsewhere in the world something called the World Cup will be starting on Friday. Your Maximum Leader might have missed this fact were it not for his minion Tilesey exhorting him to proudly support his Anglo heritage and root on jolly ole England.

As your Maximum Leader figures it, he could root for any of three national teams. The US of A, Scotland, or England. Since Scotland is out that narrows it down to two.

According to the World Cup area of ESPN, the US of A are playing in something called Group E. The other teams in Group E are Italy, Ghana, and the Czech Republic. Now… Knowing absolutely nothing about soccer, your Maximum Leader would guess that the serious competition in Group E for the US of A would be the Italian team and the team from Ghana. As much as he loves the Czechs as a people, they really ought to stick to hockey. That leaves Italy and Ghana. Your Maximum Leader seems to remember something about Italy’s team being embroiled in some sort of scandal back home. Something about bribing judges or sleeping with judges or calling judges funny names. So if the Italians are distracted by scandal, or more likely distracted by busty female fans exhorting them to come join them for antipasti; the Italians will not be much of a threat.

That leaves those pesky players from Ghana. They are one of the few teams from Africa. They likely are playing for pride. Pride in showing up all those “developed” nations by beating them on the soccer pitch. Sot it looks like Ghana will be the big threat to the US of A in this World Cup thingie…

Your Maximum Leader, as you can see from the above ramblings has no idea what he is blogging about on this subject. So, with no knowledge of soccer, he will have to resort to the second method for choosing who he should root for. Which team has the cooler jerseys. The US of A team jerseys look cooler than the English ones. Thus your Maximum Leader will couple his patriotic fervor with his keen fashion sense and root (root, root) for the US of A.

Carry on.

Immigration and Bigotry

A while back Brian and I sparred over immigration.

I’ve left it alone for awhile, but do want to clarify one point.

I do not feel that Brian is intentionally basing his anti-immigrant stance on concious prejudice. Once again I got caught up in the heat of the moment and used words loosely and did not mean to give great offense to our blogsopheric buddy. Brian is a good man and would not conciously hold ideas that were prejudiced.

Many of the folks on his side of the argument are prejudiced. And prejudiced in ways that require them to contort logic. When presented with clear evidence, in the form of FBI records, that immigrants are slightly LESS likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans (or should I say nativists?), there is a pause and then “what about Hispanic gangs!” come right back out. As if Hispanic gangs are not included in the FBI statistics and as if Tookie Williams and the Crips are an export of Tijuana.

One commentor on Brian’s site, and I’m calling Lurch out by name, makes the farcical argument that, FBI statistics be damned, illegal immigrants must commit more crimes since they have shown a willingness to violate immigration law. As if any violation of any laws will lead to violent behavior. The Boston Strangler, after all, got his start driving 56 on the interstate. Almost all Americans violate some laws every day. Violation of one set of laws does not predestine one to become a violent felon. Examples:

If you do any of the following, society should fear you:

Smoke or use tobacco while underage.
Fish without a license.
Having sex outside of wedlock in Virginia.
Have oral sex in Virginia (or, if you are the Minister of Propagands, in 42 other states).
Break the speed limit.
Download music on Napster.
(In the future: Keep a backyard flock of chickens in Virginia. Breakin’ the law! Breakin’ the law!)

You said yes? You felon!

No one would seriously argue that the above behaviors (full disclosure, I have at one time or another, done all of the above except the Napster thing. But I’m told it is widespread.) will predict criminal behavior. But somehow crossing the border is signifigantly different. Perhaps we are more likely to believe them Hispanics are capable of crimes because they are…. icky.

On the anti-immigrant side of the argument you have the following threads:

Economic: Immigrants are bad for America. Refuted. Direct costs are more than recouped indirectly in the form of cheaper consumer goods, greater buying power, and the multiplier effect. Nativist reply: nuh-uh!

Crime: Immigrants lead to higher crime rates. Refuted. Government statistics definitively show that immigrants are, if anything, slightly less likely to commit crimes. Nativist reply: nuh-uh!

Tax fairness: Immigrants don’t pay their fair share of taxes and use social services. Refuted. Immigrants actually pay the same sales tax on all purchased goods and do not get any of the taxes they pay under false social secutiry numbers back. They do not get welfare or social security (becuase they are illegal). Nativist response: nuh-uh!

Job theft: Immigrants steal jobs from hard-working Americans. Refuted. Anti-immigrant folks are also typically opposed to raising the minimum wage because it will eliminate low-level jobs by rejiggering employer’s calculations of marginal utility, but somehow magically think that an indirect lift of the minimm wage would not have the same effect. Plus, Republicans are supposed to value hard work and individual initiative. How hardworking are Americans who are outcompeted by folks who don’t even speak English? The marketplace has decried that the “wounded” Americans are not very hard-working at all. Employers do not make hiring decisions on some mushy “i love this group or that group” criteria. They hire employees who will contribute the most to the success of the business. Nativist response: nuh-uh!

The Law is the Law! We should punish all wrongdoers: “What part of illegal do you not understand?” When the legal purists demand the harsh punishment of speeding and fellatio, I’ll pay more attention.

Assimilation: Hispanics, unlike all other immigrant groups of the past (aside form the involuntary immigration of Africans), will not assimilate. Open to question. BUT, historical trends say they will. I’ll try to do a post on assimilation. I’ll argue that there is little indication that Hispanics are different from other immigrants waves. However, analyzing the future is speculative by nature and good people may disagree. Some Nativists are probably concerned about assimilation due to racial prejudice. However, it is possible to be both free of racial prejudice and concerned about assimilation: One could be concerned about the maintenance of the American cultural norms that have worked so well and propelled us to wealth and freedom. I have only rarely seen this argument in isolation; it is usually mixed with economically illiterate diatribes and fears of crime, but non-racist folks concerned about assimilation are out there. I might qualify for that category: I think it is important to pursue policies that encourage assimilation - for us and for “them.”

American Morality. Talking with the Foreign Minister, I realized there is another aspect to the immigration situation. Given that legalizing currently illegal aliens will lessen the countrywide financial benefit of illegal labor, on purely economic grounds we ought to make sure that they never get legal status. Of course, such a Machiavellian stance has moral implications: Is it okay to exploit the willingness of immigrants to work to benefit ourselves while at the same time denying them basic benefits of American society? This is troublesome. I don’t know where I stand here.

Elitiism. Rich middle class people only like immigration because it threatens the poor and less fortunate. My neighbor told me that I would feel differently about immigrants if they were competing for teaching jobs. Actually, if an immigrant could teach better than me and was willing to do it for less pay, society would benefit from my loss of employment. Realistically, the eltists argument is a red herring. Immigrants are not and cannot compete with Americans who are hardworking and educated. The benefits of growing up in our society are immense. I doubt that someone fleeing from a Mexico City slum will be able to teach AP US history. And even if she had the knowledge, I doubt that she could be as exciting as me. (And yes, sometimes I do have to turn sideays to go through doors). The Volokh conpiracy addresses academic immigration elitism very well here.

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