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Thread: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

  1. #1
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Immigration is a polarizing topic around the world, arguably no more so than in the US and Europe. That said, I often wonder if there are material questions at the heart of the issue largely overlooked in a typical immigration delate, due perhaps to its inherently political nature. I’d like to pursue that notion in this thread. The idea is for a sort of survey among the forum, particularly of those who have more insight or specific opinions on the subject than I do. I’d make a poll but I’d rather encourage discussion and avoid putting people on the spot.


    The general points of discussion I propose are as follows:


    Are the social and political implications of immigration to a European country different from the US?


    My position: Yes, obviously. The US is a nation of immigrants, a social experiment of sorts. There is no ostensibly racial or cultural component to American identity, despite older immigrants hating newer ones. Anyone can be an American if they want to be, and nominally believe as we do in American civic and philosophical principles.


    This doesn’t seem to be true of any European country, for obvious reasons. There is a “blood and soil” element to German or Italian identity, for example, that is different from the US. I can learn German, move there, work/live/marry there, etc, but I will never be German. Not only is my name and heritage not German, but I was not born there. No matter what I do, I will always be “other.” And I don’t find that to be inherently problematic.


    If 100,000 foreign nationals settle in the US, the US does not become “less American.” If the same event happens in a European country, can the same be said?


    My position: Not necessarily, for the reasons stated above.


    The foreign-born population of several major European countries is between 10-20%, higher than the “peak” levels in the US. Is it problematic to consider this trend...problematic?


    My position: No. So why is the issue considered politically partisan in most if not all European countries? Understand that I am not including racist conspiracies or religious angst in this assessment. Most residents of major European nations appear generally opposed to efforts to settle more economic migrants in said countries, while not necessarily supporting an outright moratorium on immigration from outside the EU.


    For economic growth reasons, perhaps European governments do not wish to discourage immigration levels needed to maintain forward trajectory. However, how much weight does any consideration for cultural concerns and public sentiment warrant under the circumstances? At a time when global growth is slowing and climate change/war promises a steady stream of refugees and economic migrants for the foreseeable future, the prospect of open-ended immigration to Europe as a wealthier and more stable place to live may not be as problematic as some believe, at least in principle. At the same time, the situation is understandably concerning for people living in these countries who are already seeing massive levels of immigration within the last 30-40 years. Which deserves priority - growth, or stability and respect for cultural norms?

  2. #2
    Cohors_Evocata's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Given that over half the population of what is currently our capital city seems to have consisted of immigrants as early as 1650, I can't say I'm too concerned. (source: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...F4B04712101D7; ).

    Okay, that was somewhat in-jest, but I do think it hits upon a point. The mass immigration to Amsterdam is basically gone from the public consciousness here, assimilated into this idealized version of the Dutch Golden Age. We know that we had contacts with other ethnic groups, but it's usually imagined only in the context of trade with far-off lands, not in the sense of immigrants coming into the Dutch Republic to look for work, even though that undoubtedly did happen; and perhaps locally on a fairly large scale even. You could argue the example differs from today in that the migration predates modern nation-states and that they would have been culturally similar, but the Dutch had just fought some 80 years to get rid of Habsburg (and, as they saw it, Spanish and Catholic) domination. Given that both adherence to Christianity and the European-ness of Polish migrants to the Netherlands hasn't prevented complaints about them and the context above, I don't expect Dutch inhabitants would have been much more fond of Catholic Flemings and Germans coming into their city (I'm not sure how Calvinism and Lutheran Norwegians might have interacted, but oh well). Yet as communities they (and the Norwegians studied in the linked article) are gone from the city nowadays, absorbed into the general population and out of the general consciousness. I don't want to claim that the same will happen with current migration trends, but I do think claiming there are no precendents at all (as some are wont to do) is a bit odd.
    Last edited by Cohors_Evocata; September 08, 2019 at 06:54 AM.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Anti-immigration stems mainly out of economic pragmatism. It usually takes a large chunk of taxpayer funds to provide them with welfare, healthcare and all the other necessities, and they mostly end up working as cheap labor. Which is beneficiary for a small percentage of population that has stake in paying as little as possible to their workers, for anyone else (as in taxpayers) - not so much.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Economists havent been able to determine the exact economic net impact of immigration. Your assertions cannot be empirically proven, HH. Not to a degree of certainty that would classify them as facts.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    Anti-immigration stems mainly out of economic pragmatism. It usually takes a large chunk of taxpayer funds to provide them with welfare, healthcare and all the other necessities, and they mostly end up working as cheap labor. Which is beneficiary for a small percentage of population that has stake in paying as little as possible to their workers, for anyone else (as in taxpayers) - not so much.
    Uhhh, I didn't know cheap produce in the grocery only benefited the rich. News to me.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    Uhhh, I didn't know cheap produce in the grocery only benefited the rich. News to me.
    I know. The groceries are so cheap that it makes me wonder why the subsistence wages of so many workers employed by large corporations have to be subsidized by tax payers via state assistance. Then again, the problem of the welfare state combined with mass-migration was outlined by Friedman decades ago, but no one paid any attention.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by ep1c_fail View Post
    I know. The groceries are so cheap that it makes me wonder why the subsistence wages of so many workers employed by large corporations have to be subsidized by tax payers via state assistance. Then again, the problem of the welfare state combined with mass-migration was outlined by Friedman decades ago, but no one paid any attention.
    I agree, corporate welfare has gone mad.
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    I think only a healthy population can absorb and gain from immigrants. When a sickly population imports a foreign culture, it's more like swallowing a cyanide pill. No immigrant is forcing native Europeans to abandon God, family and country; they're doing that on their own initiative. Immigrants are just finishing the job that native Europeans started.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    I think only a healthy population can absorb and gain from immigrants. When a sickly population imports a foreign culture, it's more like swallowing a cyanide pill. No immigrant is forcing native Europeans to abandon God, family and country; they're doing that on their own initiative. Immigrants are just finishing the job that native Europeans started.
    Most immigrants to western European countries have strong family values and are far more likely to be religious than are the native populations.

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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by ep1c_fail View Post
    Most immigrants to western European countries have strong family values and are far more likely to be religious than are the native populations.
    Social conservatism is a good thing, but it's also a tool which can be used for good or for evil. If your enemy is socially conservative but you're not, that's not likely to end well for you.

    Ultimately, people are punished by their sins, not for them. Europe is simply receiving in itself the due penalty for its errors. They still have a few years to change course, but if they don't return to God soon, their destruction seems inevitable.

    Luke 13:6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

    8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

  11. #11
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    How about we just reduce the immigration numbers without becoming Bible Bashers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
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  12. #12
    Mithradates's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohors_Evocata View Post
    Given that over half the population of what is currently our capital city seems to have consisted of immigrants as early as 1650, I can't say I'm too concerned. (source: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...F4B04712101D7; ).

    Okay, that was somewhat in-jest, but I do think it hits upon a point. The mass immigration to Amsterdam is basically gone from the public consciousness here, assimilated into this idealized version of the Dutch Golden Age. We know that we had contacts with other ethnic groups, but it's usually imagined only in the context of trade with far-off lands, not in the sense of immigrants coming into the Dutch Republic to look for work, even though that undoubtedly did happen; and perhaps locally on a fairly large scale even. You could argue the example differs from today in that the migration predates modern nation-states and that they would have been culturally similar, but the Dutch had just fought some 80 years to get rid of Habsburg (and, as they saw it, Spanish and Catholic) domination. Given that both adherence to Christianity and the European-ness of Polish migrants to the Netherlands hasn't prevented complaints about them and the context above, I don't expect Dutch inhabitants would have been much more fond of Catholic Flemings and Germans coming into their city (I'm not sure how Calvinism and Lutheran Norwegians might have interacted, but oh well). Yet as communities they (and the Norwegians studied in the linked article) are gone from the city nowadays, absorbed into the general population and out of the general consciousness. I don't want to claim that the same will happen with current migration trends, but I do think claiming there are no precendents at all (as some are wont to do) is a bit odd.
    You are talking about the local migration and eventual, also expected assimilation of culturally similar peoples, but that is not what is happening today. These newcomers have a rather different culture and they are resistant to integration/assimilation

    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Most residents of major European nations appear generally opposed to efforts to settle more economic migrants in said countries, while not necessarily supporting an outright moratorium on immigration from outside the EU.
    Thats because most people is not against immigration in general, they are against letting in unemployable people.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    How about we just reduce the immigration numbers without becoming Bible Bashers.
    What is the goal with reducing immigration numbers, and why can't we aim for a keyhole solution?
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    An important aspect of this debate is that pro-mass-immigration stance is mainly anachronism from middle of past century. We live in day and age where AI and robotics are going to change job markets rather drastically. Truth be told, we need less people. So promotion of high birth rates or mass immigration is fiscally counter-productive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sukiyama View Post
    Economists havent been able to determine the exact economic net impact of immigration. Your assertions cannot be empirically proven, HH. Not to a degree of certainty that would classify them as facts.
    It simply depends on which segment of society are we talking about. mass immigration certainly does benefit major corporations and banks, but we are yet to see any evidence that it does benefit majority of population which would have to pay for the expenses via taxation, but would not reap any of the benefits.
    Last edited by Heathen Hammer; September 13, 2019 at 04:29 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    An important aspect of this debate is that pro-mass-immigration stance is mainly anachronism from middle of past century. We live in day and age where AI and robotics are going to change job markets rather drastically. Truth be told, we need less people. So promotion of high birth rates or mass immigration is fiscally counter-productive.

    While labor replacement with capital (the Luddite concern) is it's own issue *cough cough*capital gains tax*cough cough*, limiting the labor pool is not a good answer as the jobs are not "disappearing", they are shifting to different sectors. Take a few 101 econ classes and you will quickly figure out how a labor market works, rather than abusing economics for the sake of your desired political goals.

    I have also never heard of anyone being "pro-mass-immigration", though I can see the political savvy in the term. I bet I could get more people to not like you by describing your political positions as "pro-total-isolationist". Probably not accurate, but who is going for accuracy when slinging mud, amirite?
    They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.

  16. #16
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithradates View Post
    Thats because most people is not against immigration in general, they are against letting in unemployable people.
    Well, anyone is theoretically employable at a certain price point. Is economic self sufficiency really the deciding factor here?
    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    What is the goal with reducing immigration numbers?
    This is one aspect of my OP. Rather than focusing on economics as a proxy for deeper issues, I’d rather look reality in the face. I would be quite taken aback, and more than a little sad, if I took a trip to Italy and a significant number of people I encountered there spoke English, gathered for tea time at 4 and 8, and started forming their own communities here and there. Multiply the effect by millions of people, and one begins to see what I’m talking about. I don’t believe immigrants to necessarily be an economic drain on society. Is the economic metric the only one worth considering in the immigration debate?

  17. #17
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post
    What is the goal with reducing immigration numbers, and why can't we aim for a keyhole solution?
    The generally agreed target was under 100,000 in the UK. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/pol...thousands.html

    Ah. So keyhole solutions would be like lots of little measures to achieve the same result. Naturalisation requirements, language needs, larger minimum wage and better enforcement thereof, more emphasis on integration etc rather than a blanket cap on numbers. I do feel like we’ve been trying that for a while. Johnson however wants to do the opposite turning study visas into two year work visas. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...00081.html?amp
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Well if you survive a beheading I feel like that's fair enough you get to go home

  18. #18

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    This is one aspect of my OP. Rather than focusing on economics as a proxy for deeper issues, I’d rather look reality in the face. I would be quite taken aback, and more than a little sad, if I took a trip to Italy and a significant number of people I encountered there spoke English
    I see you've never been to Rome then.

    gathered for tea time at 4 and 8
    England in real life isn't a Victorian costume drama.

    and started forming their own communities here and there. Multiply the effect by millions of people, and one begins to see what I’m talking about.
    See Benidorm if you're looking for an example of 21st century English colonialism.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    Quote Originally Posted by The spartan View Post

    While labor replacement with capital (the Luddite concern) is it's own issue *cough cough*capital gains tax*cough cough*, limiting the labor pool is not a good answer as the jobs are not "disappearing", they are shifting to different sectors. Take a few 101 econ classes and you will quickly figure out how a labor market works, rather than abusing economics for the sake of your desired political goals.

    I have also never heard of anyone being "pro-mass-immigration", though I can see the political savvy in the term. I bet I could get more people to not like you by describing your political positions as "pro-total-isolationist". Probably not accurate, but who is going for accuracy when slinging mud, amirite?
    Seems like you are arguing against a point I didn't even make, so I'll write off "read a book" boomer-tier argument as a poor attempt at baiting.
    In any case, it is quite clear that with technology moving forward a lot of currently existing jobs are becoming obsolete - and job pool can and will decrease as human jobs are going to be replaced by machines and AI.
    So you are still yet to prove to us why would overpopulation be a good thing. Not to mention the environmental concerns.

  20. #20
    Muizer's Avatar member 3519
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    Default Re: Immigration to the US and Europe in Historical and Social Context

    While it is no doubt an interesting topic, I don't think it's that relevant politically speaking. The recent European migrant influx is caused by the regular migration pathways being overloaded through circumstance (the war in Syria, the chaos in Libya, primarily).
    Since it was a door that was never 'opened' to begin with, closing it will require a whole new level of border control and a systems of rounding up, detaining and expelling illegal immigrants to close what was never closed. So, by all means ask your question, but the actual political choice we have to make is not 'do we want immigration or not', but 'do we accept our society to be changed by immigration or by the draconic countermeasures it would take to stop it'.
    "Lay these words to heart, Lucilius, that you may scorn the pleasure which comes from the applause of the majority. Many men praise you; but have you any reason for being pleased with yourself, if you are a person whom the many can understand?" - Lucius Annaeus Seneca -

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