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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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A Feast For Crows
This latest installment of Gearge R. R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" series isn't quite as gripping as the previous books but is still a pretty good read.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Flames of France: Coming Soon to a City Near You

By now, everyone must have heard that there has been rioting in France for the past 15 days and it is still in progress. More than 300 cities have had outbreaks of violence. Police have been repeatedly attacked and thousands of cars have been firebombed. Schools, post offices and police stations and innocent bystanders have been set on fire. (Committee of Correspondence has a map showing the most affected areas.) Here’s my understanding of why this is happening:

France let in a large number of legal immigrants from their previously occupied territories in Northern Africa so that they could use them as a cheap source of labor. These immigrants were different from the average Frenchman in a number of ways:

  • they looked, dressed and spoke differently
  • they were poor, uneducated and thus slated to be an underclass
  • they felt stronger cultural ties to their past and to their fellow immigrants than France, and they did little to assimilate into French culture
  • they tended to be Muslim instead of Protestant or Catholic

The established citizens of France looked down on these immigrants. While they were happy to hire them for menial low-wage jobs, for the most part they preferred them to stay in their gang infested, crime-ridden ghetto-like communities and out of mainstream French society. Over time, these immigrants had children who became citizens, yet retained the stigma of being different and grew up as poor, dissatisfied 2nd class citizens with few economic opportunities. Eventually, France ended up with 5.5 million of these people and they now make up about 10% of the national population.

The traditional Caucasian French (both Christian and secular) saw these people multiplying and noticed North-African Muslim culture was gaining influence and decided to put a stop to it. They passed a law forbidding the display of religious symbols in public schools, which was taken as an attack on Islam since Muslims have more strict dress codes than the average Christian or secularist (i.e. head coverings, etc.). This added fuel to the fire and made this semi-permanent underclass feel under attack. When a couple of teenagers were accidentally killed, their resentment turned into violence.

Here’s why this is important to us in America:
There are many similarities between what is happening in France and our own situation with illegal immigrants from Mexico. Our illegal immigrants meet nearly all the same criteria. They are poor, uneducated, don’t speak English, don’t assimilate into our culture and tend to collect in poor urban areas. Both the French and the United States’ governments more or less welcome poor immigrants because they are a source of cheap labor and are willing to do menial jobs that citizens supposedly aren’t willing to do. (In reality, there is no such thing as a job citizens won’t do as long as the correct compensation is offered.) The catch is that we already have roughly 3 times the 5.5 million people France is struggling with in this situation. How long will it be before our illegal immigrant population and their citizen offspring decide that they are tired of their lot in life and also decide to express their discontent via rioting and violence when some small spark sets them off?

I believe what is happening in France is likely to happen here if we don’t change our current system. We tacitly encourage illegal immigration by not enforcing our borders, by not enforcing our employment laws and by offering tax based services such as education, health care and other benefits to illegal immigrants. I don’t blame the immigrants for coming, as frankly they would be stupid NOT to come given our lack of vigilance and the poor conditions in Mexico. I instead blame our government for attracting and maintaining a permanent class of serfs for selfish reasons. The Republicans want them here so that the business community can have cheap labor. The Democrats want them because it is easy to buy their vote if they become citizens or have citizen children. They give them just enough tax based aid to encourage them to remain downtrodden and dependent.

This is amoral. If we stopped illegal immigration, both the people of the US and Mexico would be better off. Minimum wage laws here would be utterly obsolete as employers would have to offer whatever wage is necessary to attract American employees. Employers would more easily afford these higher wages if more US dollars would stay in our economy rather than be used to fuel the Mexican economy. Meanwhile, misery in Mexico would probably reach a boiling point as there would no longer be illegal workers in the US sending money back home. The able-bodied workers who are currently coming here would HAVE to fix their nation or live in utter misery. Historically when offered that choice, people replace or fix their government and improve their living conditions rather than tolerate misery indefinitely.

Instead of these improvements, we continue to attract and exploit immigrants from Mexico. Our money, in the form of illegal wages, pours into Mexico to stimulate their economy (Mexico’s third largest source of revenue, according to Time) and is used by Mexicans to buy Mexican goods and services. Illegal immigration provides just enough of a safety valve to let Mexico remain at a threshold of misery so that the lower class isn’t quite motivated to forcibly demand change. Our immigrants are just illegal enough to remain subservient and not demand better working arrangements. They try to avoid conflicts with both law enforcement and their employers for fear of deportation. This situation reminds me more of the Confederate slave owner phrase “my n*ggers know their place and don’t act uppity” rather than “all men are created equal” or “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Far better that we don’t let them come here at all rather than duplicitously let them live here as serfs.

One day our cities will also burn if things do not change. Look at the history of race riots throughout the world and in our country, in addition to what is currently happening in France. As I see it we have three choices for our country:

1. Learn to speak Spanish, abandon our culture and sacrifice our standard of living until it is low enough that illegal immigrants won’t want to come here any more.

2. Continue as we are now, allowing illegal aliens to come serve as our underclass and continue to exploit them until they are frustrated enough to make the riots in France look like youthful pranks

3. Take control of immigration, secure our borders and promote a common national culture where we can all speak the same language and understand each other. Let Mexico deal with their own problems while we build a nation of citizens and legal residents in which everyone is treated equally.

I prefer option #3. Which one do you prefer?

For more information on illegal immigration, see my article “Stop Illegal Immigration!” at

(Updated Sun 11/13/05 to include new links)

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