The other day John Hinderaker of Powerline wrote:
If someone proposes that next year we should import 10,000 unskilled immigrants from Pakistan, the first question we should ask is: why do we need them? But that is the one question that no one ever seems to pose.
This is a terrible question and to my eye shows just how close Conservatives come to accepting many of the assumptions of Socialism.
Socialists seldom think in terms of individuals, but instead talk about the economy as some great big machine that they get to run. We all remember Bernie Sanders saying
“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country”
When Hinderaker is asking if we need more immigrants, or Sanders is asking if we need more deoderant choices, they are both working from an assumption that some authoritarian gets to sit at the top and make these choices for us.
The question "do we need immigrants" is actually senseless. Who is "we"? Who gets to make decisions for "we"? Only a socialist thinks this way. In a free society, the questions that matter are "Do I want to hire this immigrant?" or, as an immigrant, "do I want to take the chance of moving to an unfamiliar country to try to better my life." If I wish to hire someone from another country and they wish to move here and take the job, what the hell does it matter if John Hinderaker thinks this person is "needed"? I have decided I need a certain immigrant for my business, and the immigrant has decided that moving here is a good tradeoff for him. In capitalism, that should be a done deal.
Could the immigrant or I be wrong about my employment offer being a good idea? Sure. But authoritarian government second-guessing of individual decisions is supposed to be a progressive-socialist game, and here is a prominent Conservative doing exactly the same thing. If Bernie Sanders wanted to require me to get government permission to produce a new flavor of deodorant, Hinderaker would be outraged. But never-the-less he similarly wants me to get government permission (actually he wants to deny me government permission) to hire the employee I want to hire.
All this "Amercan jobs for Americans" thing may sound nice, and get head nods at the local Rotary, but what it actually means is that individual business people like myself have to be limited to hiring from a government-approved list. Doesn't sound much like the free markets and small government Conservatives claim to want.
Hinderaker quotes approvingly from David Frum
However one assesses [the Farook family] chain and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of legal immigrants choose to come—or, more exactly, are chosen by their relatives—for their own reasons. They are not selected by the United States to advance some national interest. Illegal immigrants are of course entirely self-selected, as are asylum seekers. …
Donald Trump’s noisy complaints that immigration is out of control are literally true. Nobody is making conscious decisions about who is wanted and who is not, about how much immigration to accept and what kind to prioritize—not even for the portion of U.S. migration conducted according to law, much less for the larger portion that is not.
Doing things for one's own reasons. Self-Selection. Lack of government control. Lack of government decisions about who or what is wanted. Lack of national priorities. These all sound like ... capitalism and a free society. Replace the word immigration with any other term and Conservatives would blast these two sentences and Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama would vigorously nod. I could write a $15 minimum wage screed using almost these identical words from Frum. Here, let me try:
However one assesses [the John Smith] $8 wage and its consequences, it seems clear that the large majority of employers set wages for their own reasons. These wages are not set by the United States to advance some national interest. The wage rates are entirely self-selected by employers and employees.
Bernie Sanders's noisy complaints that wage rates and income inequality are out of control are literally true. Nobody in government is making conscious decisions about who is hired and for how much, about how much income to accept and what kind to prioritize.
Postscript: Yes, I know that Conservatives are all worked up because 1 in a 1,000 or so of our immigrants might be murderers. You know what, one in a thousand Americans born every day will likely grow up to be murderers, but we don't ban sex. We accept the consequences that we get a few bad apples along with a lot of awesome productive people.
I would also ask Conservatives this -- why don't you think the Left's desire to ban gun ownership to head off mass shootings is fair? I would suggest one reason is that it is unfair to ban legal gun ownership for 1,000 good people because one will use their gun to commit a murder. If you agree with this statement, explain why your argument against immigration is different from the Left's call to ban gun ownership.