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'Something is terribly, terribly wrong'

"'Something is terribly, terribly wrong'" Continued...

Issue: "Schiavo’s fight for life," April 2, 2005

WORLD: You write about Californians' "dependence on seemingly limitless cheap labor-the Devil's bargain we have made to avoid cutting our own lawns, watching our own kids, picking our peaches, laying our tile and cleaning our toilets." You also contrast the scene at the Fresno malls, where thousands of healthy American teenagers are hanging out during the raisin harvest, with the work of the "tough, lean Mexican immigrants" who bring in the harvest. Is it impossible at this point for middle-class Fresno parents to insist that kids earn their electronic gadgets by working in the fields?

HANSON: I don't think so. If there were not a perennial supply of cheap labor, wages would rise, and would draw back workers to now despised seasonal jobs; something is terribly wrong when central California counties experience 15 percent unemployment and yet insist that without thousands of illegal aliens from Oaxaca crops won't be picked and houses not built. At some point, some genius is going to make the connection that illegal immigration may actually explain high unemployment by ensuring employers cheap labor that will not organize, can be paid in cash, and often requires little government deductions and expense.

WORLD: You note that "America really is endeavoring to level the playing field in one era, rather than in the traditional three generations of past immigrant experience, as it feverishly tries to meet ever-rising expectations." Yet you note that immigrants "are given every sort of counseling, pep talk, grievance boilerplate-everything but a real education that might allow them to compete with native Californians." What needs to be done to make expectations more realistic and at the same time accelerate the ability of immigrants to speed up the timetable by learning vital economic skills rather than emphasizing grievances?

HANSON: Begin with English. We have made a good start by eliminating bilingual education; we should follow through and cease exemptions as well, and then end government-mandated translation services and replication of documents in different languages. Take a hard look at the therapeutic curriculum in the social sciences, from Chicano Studies to Sociology and community studies classes that impart little real literary, historical, scientific, or linguistic knowledge, but simply enhance the mechanisms to complain about not having such advantages. Look at UC campuses' catalogs to appreciate the seeming insanity-dozens of classes on La Familia, La Raza, low-rider art, or Aztlan, very few courses on the actual American Revolutionary or Civil War. Something is terribly, terribly wrong, when the state (as evidenced recently by the UC-Berkeley quota scandal) tries by intricate fiat and disguised mandate to increase the number of Mexican and Mexican-American students in our universities, even as it secretly worries that there are too many first-generation meritocratic Asians at places like UC-Berkeley and UCLA.

So what is the Asian community doing that its Mexican counterpart is not? Is it family emphasis on education, a sense of separation from the motherland, a tendency to stress achievement rather than victimization, preference for private enterprise rather than government entitlement? We need to discuss these taboo and politically incorrect paradoxes if we really wish to end something like 4 of 10 California Hispanic high-school students not graduating. Too many are profiteering and finding careers out of perpetuating the failure of others-others who will be the dominant population of the American Southwest in another decade.

WORLD: "Even timorous attempts to initiate an honest public discussion of the issue can earn one the cheap slander of 'racist.'" Have major media become part of the problem by misreporting attempts at discussion? Or are many anti-immigration people truly anti-Mexican? Is anyone in Congress talking about immigration in a productive way? Is there a role for church leaders in this, and are any stepping up?

HANSON: In my experience only a fraction of the opponents of open borders are racist-a fact borne out by the overwhelming majorities of African-Americans and Asians who do not support illegal immigration nor bilingualism in jobs and government. The journalism and communication departments now feed the major media, and they start with the Holy Grail of the university: "All inequality of result can only be explained by discrimination and thus rectified by retroactive compensatory prejudice and group entitlement; any other exegesis is racist." Many in Congress are fed up with the present system perpetuated by the odd alliance of the corporate/libertarian right (who want cheap labor) and the therapeutic/ethnic left (who want unassimilated, bloc Hispanic voters and constituents). Church leaders can step forward and talk honestly about the problem in terms of morality-is it so ethical to hire someone, pay him cash, break the law in doing so, and then expect the public to pick up the cost when such an employee is sick, hurt, laid off, or aged?

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