Eight or nine years ago, when our previous president began engaging in the sort of foreign policy endeavors which eventually reduced his popularity to perhaps the lowest ever recorded (and which have now naturally been continued by his successor), I pointed out to my liberal friends that the issues at stake were not really ideological.
As I described it, there’s Left and there’s Right and there’s just plain crazy. If our heroic “W” had decided one morning that G-d had told him to invade and conquer India so as to convert all the Hindus to Mormonism at the point of a sword, sincere liberals probably would not have liked the idea. But principled conservatives might have been just as doubtful.
Now to a similar, though lesser extent, the same may be true in reverse as well. One may imagine policies sufficently sensible and beneficial to the nation as a whole that both Left and Right might be willing to grit their teeth and mutually tolerate them, overcoming the rather unpleasant sensation of actually ending up on the same side of an controversial issue.
There are some early indications this may be the case with the policy proposals embedded in my recent immigration article, notably the idea of raising the minimum wage so as to reduce the business incentives serving to promote mass immigration.
In a lengthy and detailed discussion of my piece published on his own prominent Counterpunch webzine, leading Left journalist Alex Cockburn finds considerable merit in the idea, recognizing that the disastrous state of American economic stratification has only been worsened by the impact of what Marx might have characterized as a vast army of surplus immigrant labor. Although he regards some elements of the package as being politically unrealistic, he notes that the same basic connection between a higher minimum wage and reduced illegal immigration had been made several years ago by so stalwart a technocratic liberal as Michael Dukakis.
- “The Republicans, Immigration, and the Minimum Wage”
Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch, September 30, 2011
And given that recent headlines have placed Alabama as the current ground-zero of America’s anti-immigration political backlash, it’s quite heartening that a local liberal webzine there expressed a similarly very positive reaction to the proposal:
- “A Conservative’s Answer to Illegal Immigration: Raise the Minimum Wage – A Lot”
Left-in-Alabama, September 28, 2011
An Editor at a local Lancaster, Pennsylvania newspaper also strongly supported the ideas proposed, drawing upon the realities of his local
- “Higher wages, lower immigration?”
Gil Smart, Lancaster Online, September 23, 2011
Meanwhile, the reaction much farther Rightward has also been quite favorable, including among members of the hard-core anti-immigrationist community. Within just the last couple of days, Steve Sailer has published a lengthy VDare column respectfully analyzing my piece, and soon followed that by two detailed posts on his own blogsite, mostly focusing on the likelihood of effective enforcement. His general conclusion has been that although a much higher minimum wage might not magically solve all of America’s immigration problems, it would probably constitute a very useful component of a broader solution, and would certainly not preclude continued efforts to enact more traditional anti-immigrationist measures.
Sailer’s generally supportive reaction has not gone unchallenged, however, and his blogsite posts have accumulated well over 100 comments
within just a 24-hour period, many quite long and detailed, Although
they vary considerably in both substance and tone, the most common response seems to involve what the Chinese might call the “Three Denunciations”—denouncing immigration, denouncing the minimum wage, and denouncing me as a crazed “Open-Borders” fanatic.
Since most of these commenters are very doubtful about the notion of raising the minimum wage, they generously offer their own preferred solution to the continuing horrors of mass immigration, namely “FORCE THE POLITICIANS TO CLOSE THE BORDER!!!” It’s really quite shocking that VDare and the myriad of other anti-immigrationist activist organizations had never previously considered such a simple and elegant solution to their problem…
- “Sailer on Unz: Immigration, The Minimum Wage, And The Rule Of Law”
Steve Sailer, VDare.com, October 2, 2011
- “Would raising the minimum wage deter low-skilled immigration?”
Steve Sailer, ISteve.com, October 3, 2011
- “On the minimum wage and immigration”
Steve Sailer, ISteve.com, October 4, 2011
Finally, mainstream-conservative blogger Noah Millman also weighed in quite favorably on my proposal, suggesting that it complemented some of his own proposals for resolving immigration problems:
- “Crime Shouldn’t Pay; Working Should”
Noah Millman, The American Scene, October 4, 2011
Various other somewhat less prominent rightwing commentators have also discussed and debated the proposal, often at considerably length, and have come to a whole range of different conclusions, ranging from strong support to harsh attacks, much as I would have expected.
So far, the political calculus appears quite encouraging. A policy able to attract overwhelming support on the Left together with very substantial support on the Right might actually stand some chance of being enacted, even in a political system as totally dysfunctional as our own. We shall see.