May 7, 2013

The highest law of the land: Emma Lazarus's poem

You maniacs, you blew it all up.
Emma Lazarus's poem inscribed near the Statue of Liberty is a bit of ethnocentric kitsch that has been turned into an all-conquering mind virus that is making impossible intelligent thought about the future of America. The Constitution may not be a suicide pact, but Lazarus's dopey poem is turning into one.

In his column in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank points out that even if conservatives don't say that Hispanic immigrants tend to be badly educated, or even notice that Hispanic immigrants tend to be badly educated, conservatives are still racist because -- Gotcha -- Hispanic immigrants are badly educated! 
No poor and huddled need apply

By Dana Milbank, Monday, May 6, 5:47 PM 
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint prefaced his condemnation of immigration legislation Monday with the same form of inoculation conservatives often use on such occasions: He quoted Emma Lazarus. 
“There’s a statement at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty,” said the former Republican senator who just took over as chief of the powerful think tank. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses . . . ”

He and his colleagues then went on to outline their version of immigration reform: No poor and huddled need apply. 
“We feel that the best immigration system is one that focuses on bringing high school [graduate] immigrants in,” said Robert Rector, the Heritage scholar seated beside DeMint for the rollout of a new study on the costs of immigration. “We think the proper policy is that you shouldn’t be bringing immigrants into the U.S. that by and large are going to impose additional costs on U.S. taxpayers by getting more benefits than they pay in taxes,” he explained. 
... Latinos have been suspicious of Republicans in part because they assume that conservatives’ desire to crack down on illegal immigration may extend to legal immigration as well. Republicans invariably proclaim that they are big fans of legal immigration. But the Heritage doctrine undermines that, because it would sharply curtail Hispanic immigration — legal and illegal alike. 
Of the Mexican-born people in the United States age 25 and older, nearly 60 percent didn’t graduate from high school, according to a Pew Hispanic Center compilation of census data. Among Central Americans, the figure is 50 percent. To shun those without high school diplomas would dramatically reduce eligibility among Latinos. 
Rector acknowledged that “all immigration in fact does make a larger GDP.” But, he added, “the question is fiscally whether they pay more in taxes than they take out in benefits. College-educated immigrants do that. Other immigrants do not.” 
Even the second generation doesn’t pay its way, he argued, citing “very sophisticated data on the expected upward mobility based on historical averages of kids given their ethnicity and their parents’ education level.” 
But even if you accept Heritage’s calculations, immigration isn’t purely a fiscal question. If Republicans don’t find a way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country, they risk political oblivion as the swelling ranks of Latino voters turn against them. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recognized this in reaching a bipartisan agreement to allow legalization — a proposal being denounced by the right. ...

Never mind the rest of that Lazarus inscription DeMint cited, the bit about accepting “the wretched refuse” and the “homeless, tempest-tossed.” Now they’ll need a diploma.

The only way for conservatives to prove they aren't racist is by letting more badly educated Hispanics in. Of course, that will just make it more obvious that Hispanic immigrants are badly educated, which will mean that conservatives are even more under suspicion of noticing racist hatefacts. So, the only way for them to atone for that is to let more badly educated Hispanics in. And so forth and so on.

39 comments:

Robert Holmgren said...

Emma Lazarus should've been deported. What's wretched is the idea that it is the best interests of a nation to have refuse dumped on its shores.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dana,

Badly educated? Yes, but the problem is, you see, for the most part, they stay that way. It's impossible to separate culture from nature. Dana, ask yourself why it is that Mexicans have never made much of Mexico. Why they've never overthrown the corrupt government of the country nor of the small towns and villages. Mexico does have natural resources that could stem that poverty, you know. Beautiful coastlines. Even oil.

I mean, Dana, what would you say if Sicily were the size of Mexico, had millions and millions of citizens and they began pouring into the good ole USA by_ the_ millions, uninvited, mind you? Nothing to stop the steady stream?

Or Dana, hey. Why not just let the Somalians do the same, bud? Why, they can move in right next to you, right? Along with all those Mexicans that live next to you. The ones that attend the same schools to which you send your children, if you have any?

Dr Van Nostrand said...

And they wonder why Washington Post suffered an 85% drop in earnings?

Anonymous said...

"The Constitution may not be a suicide pact, but Emma Lazarus's dopey poem is turning into one."

When a people is set upon suicide, who/whom may gainsay them??

youngalexander

Simon in London said...

"Latinos have been suspicious of Republicans in part because they assume that conservatives’ desire to crack down on illegal immigration may extend to legal immigration as well."

(Legal) Latinos are suspicious of Republicans because they suspect that Republicans would cut back on the social services, which Latinos are in favour of. They are entirely correct.

Callowman said...

Dana's following Mad Men.

Anonymous said...

Here is one messagethat you'll never hear from the elitists.

Anonymous said...

Even supporters of open borders can see the absurdity of the poem. To wit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6CJ0VumwN4

DJF said...

Reminds me of the protest sign

“No matter what I put on this sign, you will still call it racist.”

Anonymous said...

If I was given refuge in America I believe I would be grateful. I would like to think I would repay that act of kindness by looking out for those who gave me refuge. Empathizing with them, not with the poor and huddled masses, who have done nothing for me.





Anonymous said...

Rather than kitsch, perhaps schmaltz? Origin fits better too.

Kitsch:
a. tawdry, vulgarized, or pretentious art, literature, etc., usually with popular or sentimental appeal.

Schmaltz:
a. Excessively sentimental art or music.
b. Maudlin sentimentality.

[Yiddish shmalts, animal fat, sentimentality, from Middle High German smalz, animal fat, from Old High German; see mel-1 in Indo-European roots.]

guest007 said...

Sen. Rubio has stated that after comprehensive immigration reform passes, the Republicans will have putthe issue behind them and will have the chance of appeal to Hispanic voters.

Yet the results of last amnesty bill showed that Hispanics will give all of the credit to the Democrats and will become even more loyal Democratic Party voters.

Any Republican who argues that conservatives can ever appeal to Latinos/Hispanics/Mexicans is a fool and should probably not be involve in running the government.

rightsaidfred said...

What should be Dana Milbank's epitaph?:

"...a slightly better than mediocre mind destroyed by political correctness."

Anonymous said...

What should be Dana Milbank's epitaph?:

"...a slightly better than mediocre mind destroyed by political correctness."


"A Scots Irishman who served his people."

Anonymous said...

If I was given refuge in America I believe I would be grateful. I would like to think I would repay that act of kindness by looking out for those who gave me refuge.

Amazingly, the opposite happens.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is true, Southern whites only have a slightly higher poverty rate than Northern whites maybe 2 to 3 points which is still below 2nd generation Hispanics. 2nd generation Hispanics have poverty rates above whites in West Virginia or Kentucky. Educatoinal levels of 2nd generation Hispanics is probably below younger whties in both West Virginia or Kentucky, older whites in these states have a higher high school drop out.

Anonymous said...

Well, in some parts of the US Mexicans have higher poverty rate than blacks. In California, blacks have lower poverty rates than Hispanics in Riverside, Orange and San Diego which disproves the myth that blacks don't work. In fact in California Mexicans get a bad reputation for taking their time when they get pick up to do day labor.

Hacienda said...

Can I take Emma Lazarus at her word?

"The New Colossus"

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
“”
Emma Lazarus, 1883


Less ethnocentrism than Judaic femaleism. Steve, I think you're hallucinating.

heartiste said...

Amazingly, the opposite happens.

It sure does.
Give the immigrant $100K in welfare, he bombs your marathon.
Give him nothing, demand everything, and expect him to sink or swim, he's got his hand over his heart, pledging allegiance like it's going out of style.
Which it is.

Anonymous said...

Less ethnocentrism than Judaic femaleism. Steve, I think you're hallucinating.

How so? Lazarus was a Zionist. That isn't ethnocentric?

Dave Pinsen said...

What did the huddled masses find on the other side of the golden door in 1883? Maybe a job in a slaughtershop, sweatshop, factory, or on a farm. No government social safety net. Those that were healthy, hard working, and had a bit of luck stayed, married, and had children; others gave up and went back to their home countries.

With plenty of jobs and land for unskilled immigrants and no welfare state, Emma Lazarus's sentiments did little harm back then. In the second half of the 20th Century, when we did have a generous welfare state, Viktor Frankl proposed balancing things out with a "statue of responsibility" on the west coast.

Anonymous said...

Once again I don't get why they don't cite the numbers. More Mexicans have come to the USA in the last 35 years than all the Germans, Italians, Greeks, Poles, Swedes, Norwegians, Finns and French COMBINED over the past 400.

Most people also don't know that we have taken in more third worlders in the past 50 years than Europeans in the previous 350. They can't understand this because whites are still a majority. They don't account for the fact whites have been having children here since 1607, and thus their original numbers from immigration have increased.

People still are being brainwashed that since whites kept everyone out out of the good ole USA, we are obligated to make up for that. They are not being told, that even if that were the case, they have already made up for it since nonwhite immigration has now exceeded European immigration.

James Kennett said...

The harm done by that poem is incalculable.

The USA was incredibly lucky with the "tired, poor, huddled masses" that immigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They were mostly from Western Europe (including Poland) plus a large number of Jews from Russia. If you want to find people whose children and grandchildren will be as successful as those from earlier phases of immigration, tiredness and poverty are not good indicators to look for.

James Kennett said...

The issue of education is something that liberals don't "get". Ask them whether it would add to the nation's vitality if we lowered the school leaving age to 12 in certain districts, and abolished school completely in others, and they would probably start to foam at the mouth.

Yet they tell us that we benefit from immigration from countries where people have minimal schooling, or none at all.

Power Child said...

@ Robert Holmgren: Emma Lazarus's family, while Portugese-Jewish, had been in America, on both sides so far as I know, since the colonial era. (Holmgren...what is that...German? Norwegian?)

I'm not into poetry or criticism thereof, but maybe "The New Colossus" is about the spiteful exile sentiment? Not so much lifting a lamp as shaking a fist:

Screw you, Old World
I got out of there
And now I'm here in this New Awesome World.
We're so awesome and in-your-face
We'll even take all your wretched refuse,
And it'll turn out to be better than your pomp,
Because look at me, you called me wretched refuse
And now I'm what's up.


Judaic femaleism isn't too off the mark.

Of course, tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews isn't quite the same thing as tens of millions of Mexicans. And Europe was probably less wise to make things intolerably difficult for their Jews than they would be to make things intolerably difficult for their Muslims. But these are nuances most people apparently have always had trouble dealing with.

Svigor said...

Amazingly, the opposite happens.

It seems to be a universal human truth that in relationships, people are either dominant or submissive. It's a matter of degree, of course, but parity seems to be more fantasy than reality. And the public face of white America is clearly submissive. So, naturally, non-white-Americans assume the dominant role, and despise submissive America for its weakness.

In short, it's the old "they're either at your feet or at your throat" thing. Given a quick backhand, they'll be back at our feet again. My point is, there doesn't really seem to be two ways about it: either you're in charge, or the other guy is. Whites seem to be the only group for which this is substantially less true, thus it'll become more true, the less white America becomes.

Chechens Uber Alles said...

Gimme your Chechen terrorists and send them to NY and Boston. To SF too.

Hacienda said...

Svigor sez:

the less white America becomes.

-------

It's all about the demographics. Give me demographics, you can have all the shouting about "backslapping" in cyberspace.

God, whites can't be bothered to go to the places they drop bombs on.

I envision a happy time when whites will be about 2% of Earth's population passing away their lives in Google Virtual Reality spendour. In a fantasy world were they command drones and drop bombs on Afghanistan, Nigeria, N. Korea. But it's actually all an illusion. A lie. Because, it ain't actually happening. Only whites think it is.

Anonymous said...

@ Robert Holmgren: Emma Lazarus's family, while Portugese-Jewish, had been in America, on both sides so far as I know, since the colonial era.

And yet she still wasn't able to fully assimilate to the American people, as evidenced by her rabid Zionism.

Anonymous said...

Screw you, Old World
I got out of there
And now I'm here in this New Awesome World.


Yes, our European ancestors fled the Old World for the opportunities of the New World.

Today, Mexicans and Central Americans are fleeing the New World for the opportunities of the, wait for it, New World.

They have trashed their part of the New World in under 200 years. How long will it take them to do the same to ours?

Anonymous said...

"If I was given refuge in America I believe I would be grateful. I would like to think I would repay that act of kindness by looking out for those who gave me refuge.

Amazingly, the opposite happens."

True. Not always the case, but often enough. And encouraged by the elite.

Reg Cæsar said...

Emma Goldman-- excuse me, Lazarus-- was just a spoiled rich girl who liked her housemaids on the cheap. As in, "No non-Irish need apply."

But even the Hasidim were too wretched for her tastes.

Skeptical Economist said...

Emma Lazarus was a cliché upper class elitist of her time with a well-developed disdain for ordinary Americans. She wrote about

"the wretched quality of work performed by the vast majority of American mechanics and domestic servants."

and the

"false sense of pride that revolted at the very name of servant, as derogatory to the freeborn American".

By all accounts her family had many servants. Her father was a member of the Union Club and the Knickerbocker club. At some level she was simply an upper class elitist with views inline with the norms of her time. However, that is exactly the point. The upper class of her time (and ours) found mass immigration personally congenial for less than altruistic reasons.

It can of course be argued that her poem was inspired not be personal (or class) greed, but by sympathy for the growing flood of poor immigrants (Jewish and non-Jewish) coming to New York after 1880. Perhaps this is true and indeed such a claim is supported by her other activities around 1883. However, sympathy for poor immigrants has been the cloak for less noble motives at many points in American history and her crass prejudice against ordinary American puts her pro-immigrant views in a very different light.

Svigor said...

It's all about the demographics. Give me demographics, you can have all the shouting about "backslapping" in cyberspace.

God, whites can't be bothered to go to the places they drop bombs on.

I envision a happy time when whites will be about 2% of Earth's population passing away their lives in Google Virtual Reality spendour. In a fantasy world were they command drones and drop bombs on Afghanistan, Nigeria, N. Korea. But it's actually all an illusion. A lie. Because, it ain't actually happening. Only whites think it is.


Aw, you're just saying that to be nice...

The funny thing is, you can have your wish right now by #(@!ing off to the land of your ancestors. What's holding you up?

Hacienda said...

Lazarus was a Zionist. That isn't ethnocentric?

-------------------------

Oh Hell Yes.

But there's a difference between before the fact and after the fact.

Pre-mortem, post-mortem. They don't teach this in K-12, college, or grad school.

Hacienda said...

What's holding you up?

-------------------

The difference between East and West. When you live in one or the other a great number of years, you really can't switch.

I could go back, but I would still be living in the West mentally. And I wouldn't have any of the friction, that allows movement, climbing. I wouldn't know where the grips are, what not to fall into. It would just be, for me, a sensualist empty delight.

I've also discovered the West is an impossibly fun, goofy place. Populated by the most remarkably, unintentionally, funny people.

Anonymous said...

But there's a difference between before the fact and after the fact.

Before what fact? Zionist migration to Palestine began in the mid-19th Century.

Anonymous said...

And that is exactly what will happen. Some evils are so immense they can't be fought.

Svigor said...

The difference between East and West. When you live in one or the other a great number of years, you really can't switch.

I could go back, but I would still be living in the West mentally. And I wouldn't have any of the friction, that allows movement, climbing. I wouldn't know where the grips are, what not to fall into. It would just be, for me, a sensualist empty delight.

I've also discovered the West is an impossibly fun, goofy place. Populated by the most remarkably, unintentionally, funny people.


So your wish wasn't really your wish, just a lie.

How fucked up are you?