Heather MacDonald and Jason Riley Debate Immigration

July 25, 2010
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A very interesting debate about immigration took place this weekend on the John Stossel Show between Wall Street Journal editor Jason Riley and the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald. I’ll let you decide who bests whom.

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3 Responses to Heather MacDonald and Jason Riley Debate Immigration

  1. Dan Hand on July 31, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    [For the record, Heather uses what I would assume is the old-style nomenclature of her Scottish forebears: Mac Donald, rather than MacDonald (or McDonald). As for the substance of their debate…]

    I, as someone who believes that all mass immigration is inherently inimical to any nation-state, regardless of its level of economic development, because I believe that culture, rather than economics, is the crux of any cohesive society, would take exception to the argument on display– and also argued at length in “The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal” by Mark Krikorian– that the new immigrants, mostly Hispanic peasants, and overwhelmingly Third Worlders, are essentially no different from those of a century ago, during the previous Great Wave. (I would be retrospectively against that wave, too, by the way– including some of my own ancestors!– as a matter of the same principal.)

    Regardless, I do agree with Ms. Mac Donald, and Mr. Krikorian’s argument in his book, that the differences between the American economies of 1910 and 2010 make the issue of sameness immaterial: current immigrants are coming to an essentially different place than many of our own ancestors did a hundred years ago! Unskilled and uneducated laborers are not what a modern, well-developed, high-technology economy needs.

    Mr. Riley’s argument about supply and demand is ludicrous on several fronts. First, nations are not mere economic markets, as libertarian ideologues believe (or wish) them to be. Second, even if one were to view America as simply an economic market, it is in no way a free one: the welfare state draws millions of foreigners who would not otherwise bother to come to this country, whether legally or illegally, if they were simply to be dependent upon their own private devices. Third, there would never come a time when the ownership class would wish the supply to stop because demand had been sated: more immigrants will always mean both further downward pressure on wages, especially for the working class, and further upward pressure on prices, especially in the real estate and housing markets– and both of those constant pressures are precisely what the ownership class craves, as those pressures translate directly into more wealth (and power) for the ownership class itself!

    So, Heather Mac Donald wins the limited debate that she and Mr. Riley had on John Stossel’s program; but, neither she nor it went nearly far enough in arguing against mass immigration per se, as far as I am concerned.

    • G. Perry on July 31, 2010 at 10:10 PM

      Krikorian does a good job of enunciating a general immigration policy in his book, which is a must-read-along with Roy Beck’s manifesto, which was published in 1990, IIRC-but I think MacDonald’s suggestions are a great place to start, and we have to start somewhere. Transitioning to a skills-based immigration policy-although, as Krikorian points it, that has inherent problems of its own-is a good steppingstone to real reform. Especially if it means doing away with the current policy of chain migration, a la family reunification.

  2. Terry MacDonald Parks on June 6, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Ms MacDonald,
    i just watched your interview/show with John Stossell. I agree one hundred percent with what you were trying to present (obviously to a “person” who is adamant in blaming bad choices on someone else). Thank you for staying the course in this matter, even when it is “way past” the point of proving that all of us have a choice. I am so sick of having to accept the fact that our country as a whole makes excuses for “bad choices” simply because these bad choices are made by blacks.
    I know this sounds racist on its own. ….but no…..I have no sympathy for someone who says that the only path for our young blacks is to sell drugs……..OMG….are you kidding? Do you hear what you are saying??? I mean the pathetic “blacks”….ask the successful “blacks” and see what they think about being lumpled into that mix….

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