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Immigrants from shithole countries

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 January 2018

This is from Drudge today.

And then there’s this from the formerly interesting Bill Kristol.

Mr. Kristol is apparently too stupid to know — or thinks we’re too stupid to know — that an anecdote is not the same thing as data. Because there are a few really good immigrants from some country does not mean we should be bringing in a lot of people from that country, and it’s horribly insulting for Kristol to think that anybody should be swayed by that kind of illogical argument.

Trump is right. Haiti is a shithole. The president of the United States shouldn’t be talking like that, but … he’s right. (If he really said it.)

He’s also right to question why we need to be bringing so many people in from Haiti — or from any other country.

We can’t let everybody on the planet who wants to come to America immigrate, so we have to have rules and priorities. Those rules and priorities should be based on what’s best for America. Simply put, we want people who will assimilate and contribute to our culture.

In the past, we did this by restricting immigration by the source country. A German might be considered more likely to assimilate into American culture than a Tibetan. That’s not true for every German or every Tibetan, but it might be a safe generalization.

Our culture is enriched by immigrants. As a trivial example, it’s really cool that I can walk a few blocks from my office and get 25 different ethnic cuisines. We like immigrants.

At the same time, America is different in important ways, and we don’t want to water down the things that make us different — and, let’s be honest, better. (For some examples, see Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World. Immigrants should have to agree with the basic political philosophies that distinguish America.)

Our immigration rules have to be rational. I’m no expert, but I think there should be three basic principles.

1. We want people who will assimilate and agree with our values.
2. We want people who will contribute some skill or knowledge that we need.
3. Sometimes we should let people in for humanitarian reasons.

I don’t see why this should have anything to do with country of origin. When people apply to immigrate, they should take a test or a survey so we can check to see if they meet our needs. For example, if we need 1,000 engineers, we should pick the top 1,000 — irrespective of what country they’re from. If they’re all from Haiti, fine.

2018-01-12  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 32

  1. Lew
    12 January 2018 @ 9:55 am

    Damn.

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    12 January 2018 @ 11:54 am

    I just saw a headline on CNN.

    “Trumps signs MLK proclamation after calling African nations shitholes.”

    What does the one have to do with the other? MLK was an American.

  3. Robin R.
    12 January 2018 @ 1:13 pm

    Ever since I’ve come to Europe from the USA (more than 30 years ago), I’ve been branded an immigrant from a shithole country.

  4. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    12 January 2018 @ 1:20 pm

    Which proves that everybody in Europe is racist! 🙂

  5. Robin R.
    12 January 2018 @ 1:34 pm

    They are! But when I tell them that, I get an endless stream of “what about this?” and “what about that?” regarding the USA.

  6. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    12 January 2018 @ 1:35 pm

    🙂

  7. RR
    13 January 2018 @ 10:21 am

    It’s true that Haiti and a number of other Third World countries are on average horrible places to live. Moreover, it is also true that an open borders position on immigration is completely unreasonable. And the United States should have an immigration policy that favors our interests.

    With all said, the implication of Trump’s “shithole” comment is that everyone from Haiti and other poor countries are bad and should not be allowed into the United States. That’s simply wrong. Since Trump has a long history of racist or borderline racist comments about Obama as not born in the United States, Mexicans as rapists, that a judge with Mexican ancestry was inherently biased against him, etc. it is hard for me to give him the benefit of the doubt. If someone without Trump’s history of stupid and outrageous statements had called Haiti a “shithole,” I wouldn’t think much of it. But Trump is another matter.

    Also, why would anyone from Norway want to immigrate to the United States? Norway is a peaceful, wealthy country with universal healthcare.

  8. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    13 January 2018 @ 10:37 am

    I’m not saying this to defend Trump. I’m saying this because I think people run to “racist” too easily.

    I believe Trump questioned why we need *so many* people from Haiti, which is a perfectly reasonable question and not racist at all.

    Also, countries can be disastrous shitholes for a number of reasons. Often it’s because of corruption. Do people who live in a corrupt system get comfortable with that? Do we want people who are (culturally) comfortable with corruption?

    Another reason a country might be a shithole is that the people are uneducated. Another might be that they have stupid laws. For example, I’ve heard that Haiti has some stupid laws re private property.

    Do we want people who are uneducated, or who have goofy attitudes towards private property?

    None of these things have anything at all to do with race.

    People who have grown up in a culture that is very different from the United States are not likely to assimilate as well as people from other cultures. That’s not racist.

    You might say, “Oh, but coming from Trump, we know what this means.”

    That is the tactic of the left. Keep making accusation after accusation until you can say “he has a history of problems with this.”

    Sorry. I’m not falling for it. If you want to accuse Trump of racism, show me something that’s racist. Don’t give me dog whistles and innuendo and winks and nods. And don’t tell me that race-baiting activists interpret his comments as racist.

    Again, I’m not defending Trump. I’m just fed up with the way we talk about racism.

  9. smitemouth
    13 January 2018 @ 12:35 pm

    If by shithole country we mean a country where there is poverty, hunger, no education, and corruption, well then, I agree that Haiti and many African countries are shitholes. But, so is rural Appalachia, most Indian reservations, and most ghettos.

    It’s not something he should really say as leader of this country because we don’t want to insult those countries. We want to keep our alliances strong.

    I have no objection and in fact welcome immigrants from those countries. They often recognize how they are blessed to be here–even if they are not doctors or engineers. Maybe we need some of their cultural infusion to appreciate that we shouldn’t put jobs and work above family. Or to recognize that there is dignity in all work and the image of God is in all of them.

    But, if your dad is a KKK guy…

  10. William
    13 January 2018 @ 9:16 pm

    QUOTE: I believe Trump questioned why we need *so many* people from Haiti, which is a perfectly reasonable question and not racist at all.
    In several previous discussions you said you don’t believe anything your read. Given that, how is it that you’ve come to this belief? http://crowhill.net/blog/dont-believe-anything-read-matter/

    QUOTE: None of these things have anything at all to do with race.
    Indeed, your examples don’t have anything to do with race. Yet, how do you know that Trump’s point of reference wasn’t inclusive of race? What was it in his comments that made it so clear that you can emphatically rule out the possibility of race being a factor?

    QUOTE: Sorry. I’m not falling for it. If you want to accuse Trump of racism, show me something that’s racist.
    Would anything short of Trump admitting it directly to you convince you? If so, what would be that “something” you’d find credible?

    QUOTE: Trump is right. Haiti is a shithole.
    According to reports and meeting participants, Trump’s “s**thole” reference wasn’t about Haiti but African nations. Given that, it would be factually inaccurate to reference the entire African continent as a “s**thole”. That said, I find it interesting that Drudge only used the picture you posted as a representation of Haiti. It’s almost as if that is the only view of the country. By that method, some parts of the US and Asia could be considered “s**tholes” too. America the Beautiful

    QUOTE: He’s also right to question why we need to be bringing so many people in from Haiti — or from any other country.
    He indeed has a right but the concern is about “why” he raised this point. It’s interesting that he focused on Haiti and African nations for potential limits. He reportedly spoke about Norway and Asia without limits (seems he was welcoming of these areas). Yet, if indeed poverty and education were factors of concern for Trump, some areas within Asia and Norway have these challenges and could be considered “s**tholes”. I wonder if people from those areas would be limited too? Although I’m not opposed to a merit based system (in concept), I would hope the factors within that system reflected American values, ideals and traditions. Shouldn’t the sentiment of “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” factor into this merit system somehow? Or, is eliminating that a part of “making America great again”?

    QUOTE: The president of the United States shouldn’t be talking like that, but … he’s right. (If he really said it.)
    Hopefully, we can all agree on that…the president shouldn’t be speaking like this. That said, it appears his statements have been confirmed by some in attendance.

    QUOTE: I’m not saying this to defend Trump. I’m saying this because I think people run to “racist” too easily.
    There have been a few times you’ve called out Trump’s behavior. Yet, more consistently, it appears as if your commentaries are sympathetic to Trump and Trumpism (e.g., NFL kneeling, China relations, UN speech, crude responses to critics, firing of Mueller, tax return genius). In those cases, you tended to give him the benefit of the doubt and in one post you even stated, “I kinda like Donald Trump”. As well, you referenced his making a serious unsubstantiated allegation (to date, a lie) as a “genius move”. Interestingly enough, the day the story broke about Trump Jr. being caught in repeated lies relative to Russians (with his admission and documented proof), your commentary was much more of an attack on the media versus the person who brazenly and repeatedly lied and the implications of that. You recently stated, “People should admit their own ignorance, of course. But it’s far more important that they admit their own bias.” Obviously, you can support or defend whomever you like. Yet, given your previous admission that you “kinda like Donald Trump”, do you feel you can be totally objective concerning these types of circumstances?

  11. Robin R.
    14 January 2018 @ 12:46 am

    It’s the Critique of Pure Crowhill!

  12. Robin R.
    14 January 2018 @ 1:00 am

    Trump is a person who has enjoyed great wealth and opulence all his life. If he saw my apartment, he might very well call it a shithole. It is not at at all filthy. It is my castle. But I am sure someone like him would still call it a shithole. The privileged simply have very high standards regarding living conditions and creature comforts.

  13. RR
    14 January 2018 @ 8:26 am

    Greg,

    I agree that there are probably all sorts of legitimate reasons to limit immigration from Haiti as you described. And while the left does sometimes rush to judgement in terms in charges of racism, I don’t think it is a leftist tactic to say that Trump has a long history of racist or borderline racist statements, or even stupid statements in general. Seriously, you don’t have to be on the left to acknowledge that Trump often says dumb and offensive things.

    For instance, here are some recent pieces from NR that outline some of Trump’s inflammatory statements on race:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/455395/trumps-s-ty-remark

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455408/donald-trump-shole-comments-identity-politics-their-most-divisive

    The last piece mentions the reaction of conservatives to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” comment. Clinton didn’t come right out and directly say that she hates rural and blue collar whites. But liberal Democrats in general and Hillary Clinton specifically have a long history of looking down their noses at rural and blue collar whites. And of course, Hillary Clinton is a person of low character who frequently lies and dissembles. Thus, many people (rightly in my view) saw her “deplorable” comment as evident of the mask slipping with respect to her bigotry towards rural and blue collar whites.

    Similarly, because of his history, Trump doesn’t have much credibility on race. Is it really a big stretch to interpret his remarks as racist? Or put another way, unlike other people, why should we give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this?

  14. smitemouth
    14 January 2018 @ 10:08 am

    Just saw some video of Rump from 2013 saying, “Why don’t we let in immigrants from Europe?”

    That is pretty much the same thing David Duke would ask. And it is totally untrue. I know immigrants from Europe. Europeans are less likely to immigrate I think because their standard of living is much higher than Latin America or India and there is less benefit for Europeans to immigrate.

    The ironic thing is that 2 out of his 3 wives are European immigrants.

  15. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    14 January 2018 @ 2:03 pm

    The governor of Maryland used to refer to the Maryland eastern shore as a shithouse. He was never accused of racism. Gee, I wonder why.

    If Trump said that Bosnians were lazy good for nothings, people would say that was foolish, or wrong, or whatever, but they wouldn’t say it was racist, because Bosnians are white. But if he said precisely the same thing about Haitians, that would be racist.

    Gee, I wonder why.

    “Racist” simply doesn’t mean anything.

  16. RR
    14 January 2018 @ 2:40 pm

    Greg,

    I don’t live anywhere near Maryland, nor do I know much about politics in Maryland or its regions. However, perhaps the governor of Maryland is bias against or even bigoted towards people living on the eastern shore. It could be racism or simply class or cultural bigotry. I think that a lot of liberals aren’t racist, but are definitely bigoted against rural and blue collar whites who are culturally different from them. That’s a big reason why so many rural and blue collar whites voted from Trump, because they knew that Hillary Clinton and her supporters don’t like them.

  17. William
    14 January 2018 @ 2:45 pm

    Greg, you said…”Sorry. I’m not falling for it. If you want to accuse Trump of racism, show me something that’s racist. My question to you was…would anything short of Trump admitting it directly to you convince you? If so, what would be that “something” you’d find credible? Any thoughts on that?

    That said, the view that Trump’s comments are racially charged seems to resonate with some interesting audiences…

    What Some Non-Liberals Say

    What Some Non-Americans Say

  18. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    15 January 2018 @ 8:53 am

    What is “racism”? To me, it means the belief that one race is superior to another intrinsically. Not because of circumstances, but because of their nature.

    So, for example, if someone says Chinese people are superior to White people, I wouldn’t know if that’s racist without probing further.

    Do they believe Chinese are superior because of circumstances — and that if white people had the same circumstances they would be equal? If so, that’s not racist.

    In the same way, if someone said blacks are superior to whites, I would want to question further to find out what they mean.

    But that’s not what most people today mean by “racist.” To tell you the truth, it’s not at all clear to me what people mean by the word. It seems to be something along the lines of “that hurts someone’s feelings.”

    So, to answer William’s question, I would believe Trump is racist if he said something racist, and persisted in it when questioned. (Because people, and especially Trump, sometimes say things they might not believe.)

    But it would have to be real racism. E.g., “this race is intrinsically superior to that race.” Not this fluffy silliness we call racism nowadays.

  19. smitemouth
    15 January 2018 @ 9:33 am

    So, if David Duke says, I just want to separate the races. I want to preserve the white race and our white values, that might not be racism?

    Or, if an employer says, I only want to hire white people, I don’t want to hire blacks, asians or half breeds. That might not be racism?

  20. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    15 January 2018 @ 9:40 am

    Both the examples you cite strongly imply a belief that the races are intrinsically different, and “white values” seems like a clincher for the first one.

    I can imagine a situation where a non-racist employer thinks it’s just too much trouble to have a mixed race staff.

    Would that “breed racism”? It might. It depends on the circumstances.

    It would certainly be a stupid thing to do in modern America.

  21. William
    15 January 2018 @ 3:13 pm

    Greg, thanks. Appreciate your response and further thoughts on this subject.

    QUOTE: What is “racism”? To me, it means the belief that one race is superior to another intrinsically. Not because of circumstances, but because of their nature.

    Do you feel this is the only legitimate definition for racism? Would you find other definitions that contain your thoughts and related elements legitimate?

    QUOTE: I would believe Trump is racist if he said something racist, and persisted in it when questioned.

    Could you please provide an example of something Trump might say that you’d deem legitimately racist? As well, do you believe there could be situations where he may not say anything publicly but his actions could be racist?

    QUOTE: In the same way, if someone said blacks are superior to whites, I would want to question further to find out what they mean.

    How would you (and others) further question Trump’s comments, since it’s unlikely most would have the opportunity to do this with him directly?

    QUOTE: I can imagine a situation where a non-racist employer thinks it’s just too much trouble to have a mixed race staff.

    To avoid trouble, on what basis do you think a “non-racist” employer would select the race of people they’d employ? As well, could you see a scenario where Trump could determine it was too much trouble to have the US be a mixed race country and develop policy to only have citizens of a certain race? What would indicate that his policy was developed on a non-racist basis?

  22. Robin R.
    15 January 2018 @ 5:26 pm

    When George Wallace blocked the entrance of the University of Alabama in order to keep out African-American students, some of thought that was racism. They also thought the same thing when he proclaimed: “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” But they were engaging in fluffy silliness when they accused Wallace of racism. He might have believed that the races should be kept separate because of their circumstances, not because white race was intrinsically superior to the black one.

    Did I get that right?

  23. Robin R.
    15 January 2018 @ 5:27 pm

    *because the white race

  24. Robin R.
    15 January 2018 @ 5:37 pm

    You might think that this the consequence of racism, but that is fluffy silliness.

    http://www.blackpast.org/files/Marion__Indiana_Lynchings__1930.jpg

    It’s all about circumstances.

  25. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 January 2018 @ 7:39 am

    William, why don’t you provide your definition of racism?

    Robin, a philosopher should know better.

  26. Robin R.
    16 January 2018 @ 7:49 am

    Counter-examples were what Socrates was all about. Plainly Wallace was a hard-core racist, but you would be hard put to find any statement on his part in which he said that African-Americans were intrinsically inferior to whites.

  27. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 January 2018 @ 8:07 am

    Seems to me that “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” clearly means there is an intrinsic difference between the races that can never be overcome.

  28. Robin R.
    16 January 2018 @ 8:16 am

    Or it could mean that the people of the black race are so deeply conditioned in their grotesque inferiority that integration will most likely corrupt white people.

  29. William
    16 January 2018 @ 9:50 am

    QUOTE: William, why don’t you provide your definition of racism?

    Greg, I’ve provided a definition in a previous discussion thread but in a slightly different context.

    You aptly stated in previous posts…“The problem is that people get so darned upset about racism that they can’t speak clearly and honestly about it.. As well, “And you’d think that with all the “racism” talk we’ve had over the past several decades that this would be elementary stuff — that we’d have definitions and distinctions to keep these things clear. But we don’t.”

    Indeed, it’s a thorny subject that’s all too often misunderstood. So, I’m following Covey’s guidance this round…”seek first to understand and then to be understood”. Therefore, my objective is to clearly understand your perspectives and that’s why I’ve asked for your continued insight. You made some interesting and unique statements in this thread and I’d like to understand how they play out in this current context. Given that, do you have any further thoughts on the questions I asked above?

  30. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    16 January 2018 @ 10:04 am

    Honestly, William, it doesn’t seem to me that you’re trying to understand.

    For example,

    “QUOTE: I believe Trump questioned why we need *so many* people from Haiti, which is a perfectly reasonable question and not racist at all.
    “In several previous discussions you said you don’t believe anything your read.”

    That’s just not a serious comment.

    This morning I heard that Dick Durban complained the phrase “chain migration” is racially insensitive because blacks came to this country in chains. Aside from the fact that Durbin has used the phrase himself, this is illustrative of the utter insanity of the “racism” discussion today. People will pick any ridiculous thing as a pretext for a charge of racism.

    I’m tired of it.

    I’ve said what I think “racism” means, and I haven’t seen any evidence Trump is a racist. The only “evidence” seems to be that some people feel bad because of something Trump said.

    Boo hoo.

  31. William
    16 January 2018 @ 10:47 am

    Greg, sorry you feel that way. Yet, the quote you highlighted was a serious comment. For me, it sometimes seems your statements don’t jibe. So, I raise them to get further understanding of your thinking. In other cases, your statements don’t seem to be clear…so I ask further questions. For instance, it’s still not clear as to what Trump might say or do that you’d find to be racist. That said, I’d still be interested in your further thoughts on the questions above (prompted by your previous statements).

  32. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    16 January 2018 @ 1:36 pm

    I suppose there are any number of ways Trump could be racist. I don’t really see the point in giving an example, but if it would help ….

    Let’s say Trump said, “We don’t want more black immigrants,” and somebody asked why, and he said because black people don’t have the same intellectual abilities as white people. Now I suppose he could possibly mean that as a situational comment (and not something intrinsic), but … in such a case — and given the current environment — I think it would be fair to assume that’s a racist comment.

    Re: the employer, I can imagine a situation where a company is trying to work in a country that is very racially divided, and where there’s a lot of bad feelings. Perhaps it could be so bad that when companies try to integrate their workforce, it only makes things worse. In that situation, a non-racist employer might figure it’s better to just hire everybody of one race. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it might be the less bad thing in a certain situation.

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