The Real Lesson of Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011

As we gather together with loved ones-or not so loved ones-to give thanks, or express regret, perhaps it’s a good time to put things into perspective. A few days ago an acquaintance posted a cartoon to Facebook often used to lampoon those of us who are not open borders fetishists by predisposition. I’m referring, of course, to this gem. Although his position on immigration is utterly deplorable, as illustrated by this interview with the indomitable Mickey Kaus, I have to give credit to Nick Gillespie for his astute observations about the insipidity of editorial cartooning. The aforementioned cartoon, which I can only assume is attempting to depict interaction between the Wampanoag and early Plymouth settlers, is no exception.

Leaving aside the distinction  between settlers and immigrants that is consciously overlooked by the cartoonist, there’s also the the not-so-subtle implication that unfettered immigration is to be welcomed because we, i.e. the descendents of European colonists, live in a country that used to be populated exclusively by indigenous Indian tribes. There are so many things wrong with this illogical notion that I don’t have time to enumerate all of its shortcomings in this entry, but let’s start with the bizarre premise that there was ever a time or period in modern society where the concept of sovereign territory didn’t exist. This is not only historically inaccurate-as the many protracted, sanguinary conflicts between Puritan colonists and American Indian tribes attest to-but also insidious. It is built upon the assumption that private property does not exist-which is what the open borders mentality is predicated upon, even among its ostensibly libertarian exponents-and that you are not entitled to your life and livelihood if any outsider, no matter how dubious his or her claims, wants to exploit it.

The logical end-point is the sacrifice of your life in order to placate some altruistic ideal, founded upon myths and misconceptions propounded by the open borders dogmatists. If you want to see where this fuzzy thinking leads, I suggest you look into a riveting documentary about the Wampanoag broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens. In We Still Live Here, director Ann Makepeace traces the recovery of the Wampanoag language by a small group of tribespeople living in Southeastern Massachusetts. The fact that their language was extinct for over a century is attributable to the loss of their land, an elementary, ineluctable concept that open borders enthusiasts fail to or refuse to grasp. A concept that, however, is perfectly illustrated by this video, a cartoon short by the defunct cartoon series run on Current TV. I think it embodies the foolishness undergirding the open borders philosophy.




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