Recollections of Ethiopia
In The Social Contract winter edition I noted a minor error on page 140. Under the heading of "Other Languages" "Akharic" is listed. This may be a typo, but it should be "Amharic," the language spoken in Ethiopia. On a trip to Africa in 1974, I became fascinated with the Ethiopian people and their religious faiths Muslim, Coptic Christian, and Falashas- the local Jews, many of whom have since been brought to Israel as immigrants.
I've made it a point to follow news of the many calamities Ethiopia and surrounding countries have suffered in the way of endemic wars, famine, mass migrations, and the underlying serious long-term population problems.
I recall meeting a Canadian missionary on one of our hops on Ethiopian Airlines DC3s who was just returning from western Ethiopia. I asked about the status of family planning, and he said it was nil at that time as there was only one doctor in all the area he had covered. The latest figure I have seen is 4 percent availability - and that in the larger cities where there is some medical care.
The only hopeful signs of progress are in the resolution of the question of Eritrea's independence, and improvement in crop conditions. Otherwise the country remains one of those Sahel countries across northern Africa that continue to be basket cases insofar as family planning is concerned.
I feel fortunate I did get to visit when I did, as we were one of the tour groups allowed to shop on foot in the local markets, and had stones - and no doubt some foul Amharic words - thrown at our VW bus, and we got out of Addis Ababa just 12 days before Haile Selassie was thrown out and the communists took over. Thank goodness that part is now over.
By the way, at the CAPS [Californians for Population Stabilization] meeting in L.A. a few months ago, we enjoyed our old favorite, Dr. [Garrett] Hardin - and Roy Beck [Washington editor of The Social Contract], whom I had not heard before. He is a most well-informed speaker, and had eyecatching graphic presentations that certainly held our attention.
Seal Beach, California
Immigration in Canada and the U.S.
I enjoyed my friend Mark Wegierski's fine article on Canada [The Social Contract, Spring 1996], not least because ten years ago I published a book arguing similarly that contemporary Canadian politics are best understood as a Kulturkampf against English Canada's "Anglo-Saxon" nature (The Patriot Game, still in print).
But I think Mark is rather harsh about my favorable comments on the form of Canadian immigration policy - in contrast to U.S. policy. Canada selects immigrants who score well on a points system that values skills and speaking the national languages, as well as having relatives in Canada. The U.S. treats "family reunification" as an absolute, and imperative, right.
On the road with my book, Alien Nation, I regularly found American immigration enthusiasts claiming that any concern about skills or language must be racism. The Canadian counter-example usefully confounded them.
Mark is quite right, of course, about the content of Canadian policy basically, too many immigrants are selected. But even here, Canadian policy permits the inflow to be regulated by administrative action, whereas the U.S. inflow is inflexibly determined by statute. A Reform Party Prime Minister could end immigration to Canada on his first day in office - if he had the guts.
Author of Alien Nation Common Sense
About America's Immigration Disaster
The Sierra Club's Non-policy
We think it might be useful to you to understand how consistently the Sierra Club has backed away from population and immigration issues. Case in point is the new book published by them which does not even devote a single paragraph to either [The Sierra Club Green Guide by Andrew J. Feldman, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco].
We broke from the Sierra Club years ago because of this, but we remain very angry.
Elaine Stansfield, Director
Save Our Earth
Los Angeles, CA
Let's Get Behind A Reasoned
Advocate of Immigration Reform
I greatly enjoyed the Spring 1996 edition of The Social Contract. And yet, I can't help but feel that people are missing the main point of the immigration issue. Surely the question is not whether rapid immigration growth imperils the American standard of living, or whether most Americans want our current immigration policy, or even if Americans have the "right" to control their borders. The answers to these questions are completely obvious, and it makes little sense to belabor them over and over.
Immigration is not about economics or morality or ethics. It's about power. Period. The average American who works for a living does not want hordes of third-world refugees brought here, for fear that this influx will drive wages and living standards down to third-world levels. The rich and powerful do want hordes of third-world refugees brought here, for the specific purpose of driving wages and living standards down to third-world levels.
You can point out the logical fallacies in the arguments of the open-borders crowd all you like. They will call you a racist and hold the borders open. You can have charts and graphs galore proving beyond doubt that unchecked immigration is fraying America's standard of living. They will call you a racist and hold the borders open. You can deliver a petition to stop the influx with the signatures of 100 million Americans on it, and they will call you a racist and hold the borders open. Why are you wasting your time?
The problem is wholly political. We need politicians in positions of power who have not sold out to the cheap-labor lobby, and who care about the country as a whole. People like FDR, Truman, or Eisenhower. However, the two party system will not give us any meaningful choice at election time unless we do a lot of heavy lifting and make it. We need to support new candidates early in the process, and try to take the nominating process away from the Rolex crowd and take it back to the grass roots.
Now we have a Richard Lamm thinking about taking the reform party nomination for president. A more reasoned and rational advocate of immigration restrictions you will not find. Why the devil aren't we out demanding that he run, for the good of the nation? We should force him to run! Sure he's not perfect - who is? - but if we wait for perfection we will wait a very long time indeed. At the very least, journals like The Social Contract should be providing information about people like Lamm, including things like how to get involved, where to make contributions, etc. This is one place where petitions could be useful let the potential candidate know that there is a support base out there large enough to get him started. Or are we going to let this latest chance go down the drain yet again because we are afraid of actually doing anything?
Silver Spring, MD