Ecology, Ethics, and Immigration -- Writings of Garrett Hardin

By Michael Masters
Volume 12, Number 1 (Fall 2001)
Issue theme: "Garrett Hardin: an introduction and appreciation"

Noble intentions are a poor excuse for stupid action. Man is the only species that calls some suicidal actions "noble." The rest of creation knows better. - Garrett Hardin Will Rogers once said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble, it's what you know that ain't so." The prairie philosopher's pithy but prescient aphorism succinctly captures the modern mass hypnosis known as liberalism - which might be described as the collection of all feel-good social, moral, and political sermonizing that just "ain't so." The litany is all too familiar "From each according to his ability to each according to his need," "Our diversity is our strength," and that great classic, "All men are created equal," (with apologies to Thomas Jefferson, who really meant that all Englishmen deserved equal treatment under English law.) Few contemporary issues arouse greater liberal ire than opposition to immigration. The first line of defense of liberals' open border policy is an ever-ready appeal to American sentimentality - the poor, the starved, the "huddled masses" must be housed, clothed, and fed - all at taxpayer expense. If this fails, the left unlimbers its rhetorical weapon-of-mass-destruction. Since immigration is almost exclusively a Third World affair, doubters are assailed with dark accusations that opposition to immigration is racism - a curious word whose etymological history begins with its utterance by the Bolsheviks in the early 1930s. It's all very Orwellian, and most men dare not contradict this oppressive Zeitgeist in public, no matter how mild or well-grounded in science and reason are the arguments. Lost in the witch-hunt hysteria of this high stakes kulturekampf - in which immigration is merely one of many battlefields - is thoughtful consideration of the long-term consequences of playing politics with the future of peoples, nations, natural resources, and the earth's ecosystem. Even groups such as the Sierra Club, whose very purpose for existence is protecting the environment, cower in silent neutrality on the immigration issue. Intellectual Foundations However, not everyone is intimidated into silence by emotional rhetoric substituting for rational dialogue. One of the most persistent and eloquent advocates for a sound ecological view of population and immigration issues is Garrett Hardin, professor emeritus of biology at UC Santa Barbara. Professor Hardin is the author of numerous books and essays on ecology, population, immigration, and even ethics - especially ethics. His writings have played a major role in creating a scientific, intellectual, and political foundation for a sustainable population policy. His seminal essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons," first published in 1968, served as inspiration for a generation of ecologists, ethicists, and immigration control advocates - including well known figures such as former Colorado governor Richard Lamm and The Social Contract's own John H. Tanton. Other essays include "Living on a Lifeboat," "Carrying Capacity As an Ethical Concept," and "Discriminating Altruisms." His books include The Limits of Altruism, An Ecologist's View of Survival; Living Within Limits; The Immigration Dilemma, Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons; and Exploring New Ethics for Survival. Another release, Stalking the Wild Taboo, includes several essays illuminating the destructive impact of universalism on our society. Hardin's works elaborate recurring themes suggesting that dire consequences may be in the offing as a result of our immigration policies. First, all ecosystems - from the common grazing lands shared by our herdsman ancestors to the oceans that girdle the globe and the minerals that lie beneath our feet, to the homelands of nation states as they have endured for many centuries - are finite. The numbers of living things, as well as the quality of life supportable by any ecosystem, is limited by its carrying capacity. Second, populations that are not constrained by adversity, foresight or accountability will, in serving their own self-interest, inevitably exceed the carrying capacity of their ecosystem. Exceeding this limit may produce severe and possibly permanent damage to ecosystems and the populations that depend on them. This is the essence of the "tragedy of the commons." Third, the uniquely Western urge to solve all problems with outpourings of compassion - which quickly escalate to torrents of money, food, medicine, "advisors," and peacekeepers - often produces outcomes not at all in keeping with the kind-hearted spirit that prompted such effusions. Professor Hardin calls this the Law of Unintended Consequences. There is a dark side to these acts of conscience. Recipients become dependent on handouts, removing incentive for self-betterment. Worse yet, philanthropy must have its managers and bankers. Not only do the poor and disadvantaged benefit from charity but so do those through whose hands flow donors' cash. Finally, when charity takes the form of high levels of immigration its byproduct is to supply the rich and powerful with cheap labor. Underneath the Orwellian compassion doublespeak lies old-fashioned greed. Ethical Ecology Contrary to liberal rhetoric, a sound, indeed compelling, argument can be made that ethical considerations demand limits on immigration. Since all environments are finite, overpopulation must inevitably lead to nasty consequences- overcrowding, high crime, social unrest, high taxation, resource depletion, environment degradation, and more. This makes population a problem of ethics as well as ecology, themes Professor Hardin first explored in "The Tragedy of the Commons." The idea behind the "tragedy of the commons" was first advanced in 1833 by mathematician William Forster Lloyd. Its thesis begins with a pasture, held in common by a band of herdsmen. All are free to use the commons to graze their animals. Use of the pasture costs each herdsman nothing, but his livestock are valuable. Therefore each herdsman, acting out of self-interest, will be tempted to exploit the commons by grazing more livestock on the land. But the commons can only support so many animals. This limit is called the carrying capacity. Exceeding the pasture's carrying capacity leads to depleted grass stocks, soil erosion, malnourished animals - and, quite possibly, conflict among herdsmen. Unchecked, this process will lead to exhaustion of the commons. When this happens, everyone suffers, even those who - out of a sense of responsibility or conscience - refrain from overusing the commons. The inevitability of this outcome is the "tragedy" of the essay's title. Fortunately, restraint is possible even in the presence of human greed. If the pasture has an owner, he has a vested interest in preserving it for the future. If he fails to limit use to the pasture's natural carrying capacity it will be ruined, and he will suffer great loss. The tragedy of the commons is a persuasive argument for private property ownership. In a crowded world, privatism may help provide a stable social and economic life. This theme will be further explored later. The Conscience Dilemma While private property ownership may mitigate the tragedy of the commons, conscience will not. Since conscience is one of the most compelling demands of both secular humanism and Christian dogma, this will strike many as heretical. However, Professor Hardin summons forth the rather startling conclusion that under certain circumstances, conscience may eliminate itself from a population People vary. Confronted with appeals to limited breeding, some people will undoubtedly respond to the plea more than others. Those who have more children will produce a larger fraction of the next generation than those with more susceptible consciences...The argument here has been stated in the context of the population problem, but it applies equally well to any instance in which society appeals to an individual exploiting a commons to restrain himself for the general good - by means of his conscience. To make such an appeal is to set up a selective system that works toward the elimination of conscience from the race... If even one person in the community follows a lower standard [of conscience] that person prospers at the expense of the others. A laissez faire market system ruled by conscience alone rewards for a lack of conscience... The second stage in the dissolution of a conscience-ruled system takes place because of envy. As the �good guys' see the �bad guys' prosper, their envy is energized and one after another good guys become bad guys. One may well ask, if conscience is bound to eliminate itself, why does it exist today? After all, the human race has been around for a long time. We will return to that question later. The Compassion Trap The political left has been highly effective in funneling debate over immigration into the compassion cul-de-sac, sidestepping entirely the long-term issues raised in "The Tragedy of the Commons." Perhaps Professor Hardin's greatest gift is his ability to articulate the consequences of short-sighted policies based on emotionalism. No better example of this talent exists than Professor Hardin's 1993 letter to his granddaughter, Dinah. The young lady had taken her grandfather to task for his opposition to high levels of immigration that threaten to overwhelm America during Dinah's lifetime. Professor Hardin's response was reprinted as an essay in the 1995 collection, The Immigration Dilemma, Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons. The letter's central themes form the core strategic rationale of several immigration control organizations, among them Numbers USA, the Carrying Capacity Network, Zero Population Growth, and the highly effective traveling immigration billboard campaign that helped unseat Republican immigrationist Spencer Abraham. Professor Hardin's admonition to his granddaughter is that neither Christianity nor any other survivable moral code compels us to accept every downtrodden stranger in the world, Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statue of Liberty notwithstanding ("Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore..."). We should be our brother's keeper (familial), but we can never be our brothers' keeper (all of mankind). The world's excess population is simply beyond our means to accommodate. Noble Deceptions Professor Hardin points out that not everyone who claims to speak from noble principles is in fact doing so. Immigrationist rhetoric is often motived by self-serving goals - among them cheap labor and political power. The Lazarus poem morphed a French gift celebrating America's struggle for independence into a welcome mat for the entire world. And, it also served to defuse opposition to large-scale importation of low wage workers. Hardin exposes the unseen hand guiding affixation of the poem to Lady Liberty As a matter of historical fact, the poem is not a part of the statue. It was added to the island 17 years after the statue was dedicated. And who added it? Congress? No, some of Lazarus' wealthy friends put it there. Congress wasn't consulted. Neither were the homeless and the unemployed. Nor Americans working on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder, where they can easily lose their jobs to new immigrants. The wealthy don't suffer from such �generosity.' In fact, they often gain by being able to hire cheaper servants. Similarly, Professor Hardin examines Jimmy Carter's Mariel boatlift fiasco of 1980, a disaster that contributed to Carter's unseating by Ronald Reagan. Hardin concedes that Carter may have been motivated by humanitarian beliefs. But, he points out, no matter the motive, the 120,000 Cubans who made it across the 90 miles separating Cuba from Florida amounted to the Cuban population increase for a single year [emphasis added]. Carter soon backpedaled from this folly due to public pressure as well as belated recognition of the fact that "Cuba could easily send us that amount every year - forever." Numbers Matter Putting the situation in personal terms, Professor Hardin points out that in order to solve this problem on a world-wide scale - assuming the world's poor number two billion - every family in America, Dinah's included, would have to immediately accept 32 strangers into their home. In turn, those strangers would add another newborn child each year thereafter - in perpetuity. Roy Beck of Numbers USA uses this metaphor with telling effect. Mr. Beck travels about the country with a jumbo fishbowl full of gumballs representing the world's six billion occupants. He removes a few, a symbol of the world's annual increase of almost 100 million. He then asks the rhetorical question, can taking in that annual surplus, an amount equal to one third of the U.S. population, make a difference to the rest of the world? Clearly not. And yet America would be devastated. Returning to the numbers consideration, Professor Hardin raises the issue of sentimentality versus rational thought as an ethical issue - and one for which the ethical answer is the opposite of that claimed by sentimentalists I approach immigration problems from the scientific side. As modern science emerged in the seventeenth century, Galileo said �the grand book of the universe is written in the language of mathematics'... Time after time, a difficult question that does not obviously involve mathematics yields its secret once mathematical reasoning is introduced. Such successes lead some of us - I'm one - to believe that the discipline of ethics can also benefit from mathematical insights. We must pay attention to quantities...As far as ethics is concerned, perhaps the difference between one brother and two would not be enough to bother about. But suppose there are a million brothers. Ten million. In all realism, must I be "my brothers' keeper" when there are hundreds of millions of brothers out there crying to be cared for? Ideas Have Consequences In his 1975 essay, "Carrying Capacity As an Ethical Concept," Professor Hardin illustrated the sometimes dire consequences of "doing the right thing." He describes the impact of Western food and medical aid on Nepal. Population inevitably soared - but with devastating consequences not only for Nepal's environment but also for the people of, surprisingly, Bangladesh [Nepal's] winters are cold. The Nepalese need fuel, which they get from trees. Because more Nepalese are being kept alive now, the demand for timber is escalating. As hillside trees are harvested in greater quantity, the soil washes down the slopes into the rivers that eventually find their way to India and Bangladesh. Once the absorptive capacity of forest soil is gone, floods rise faster and to higher maxima. In 1974 a catastrophic flood covered two-thirds of Bangladesh. In 1974, Hardin published "Living on a Lifeboat." This essay dealt with the ethical problems of a finite world composed of an ever-growing human population. Imagine that the ocean is filled with many lifeboats - each with a limited "carrying capacity." Suppose people in other lifeboats have reproduced to a level that can no longer be sustained within their lifeboat and therefore are leaping into the water and seeking admittance to our lifeboat. Or perhaps they may simply wish to avail themselves of the amenities with which we have outfitted our lifeboat. The ethical dilemma we must solve is how to deal with these potential "immigrants" in the water. Professor Hardin discuses three approaches. First, "We may be tempted to try to live by the Christian ideal of being �our brother's keeper' or by the Marxian ideal of �from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.'" This ethical code will lead us to take in all comers. Since people in other boats are multiplying endlessly, our lifeboat will eventually be swamped. Our conscience will be our undoing. Second, we may take in no one at all. If this is our choice, given the imperatives of human nature, we had best be prepared to enforce it with arms. "Stand by to repel boarders," in the timeless words of ancient sea captains. To those who object to this alternative, Hardin offers blunt advice "Get out and yield your place to others" [emphasis in original]. The third choice is that, heeding the pangs of compassion evoked by these pitiful strangers, we may decide to take in only a few. But this leads to another problem. Whom do we admit? "How do we discriminate?" Such choices are all the more important when we realize that every stranger we admit only increases the odds that we ourselves may eventually be forced into the water. Professor Hardin asks the crucial question Before we commit ourselves to saving the life of each and every person in need, we had better ask this question "And then what?" That is, what about tomorrow? What about posterity? As Hans Jonas has pointed out, traditional ethics has almost entirely ignored the claims of posterity. In an overpopulated world, humanity cannot long endure under a regime governed by posterity-blind ethics. It is the essence of ecological ethics that it pays attention to posterity. A Family Affair "Living on a Lifeboat" vividly illustrates the fact that immigration has turned the West into a precarious human commons. Because of its prosperity and social order, the West is a magnet attracting those who cannot create such conditions for themselves. Although we already pay a high price for immigration in crime, taxes, welfare, and destruction of our culture, our children and grandchildren will pay a higher price still To be generous with one's own possessions is one thing; to be generous with posterity's is quite another... Rejection of the commons is still valid and necessary if we are to save at least some parts of the world from environmental ruin. Is it not desirable that at least some of the grandchildren of people now living should have a decent place in which to live? To carry Professor Hardin's argument a vital step further, consider the fact that each lifeboat is not filled with an arbitrary collection of strangers. It is, instead, largely filled with family members, related to each other as an outgrowth of the processes that created today's ethnically-based nation-states. Liberalism's acolytes demand that we throw our own children overboard to make room for the strangers in the water. And yet familial ties are a fundamental part of our character, a heritage of every man, woman, and child on earth, regardless of race or ethnicity. Loyalty to kin has a biological basis, a relationship first hinted by Darwin and later elaborated by a generation of sociobiologists, led by W. D. Hamilton. The key is kinship altruism, the tendency of all animals, not just humans, to make sacrifices for their kin, the most obvious examples of which are the sacrifices parents make for their children. Kinship altruism also explains why conscience exists today. Conscience-based moral behavior arose as a consequence of altruism within family groups. Conscience has endured because, until recently, Western homelands were relatively homogeneous - constituting, in effect, large extended families of distant cousins. (A recent genetic study reveals that all Europeans descended from a single breeding group of 10 to 50 females.) For thousands of years, no non-kin competed for altruism's benefits. Extension of altruism's benefits to the flood of non-Western immigrants disadvantages Western peoples and their over-active consciences. Demonizing the inborn tendency of related people to exhibit loyalty to their own kind is not moral behavior, it is an assault on the very core of human existence. Just as nature bids a mother to care more for her own child than those of strangers, so must we each concern ourselves with the well-being of our kinsmen more so than that of immigrants from lands not our own. Basis of Governments In any society large enough to preclude individuals from exercising complete control over their own destiny, governments and political systems ultimately determine the fate not only of individuals but of entire peoples. Thus, it is vital to understand the benefits and limitations of social systems, particularly as they bear on the survival of the peoples by whom and for whose benefit they are created. In his landmark 1971 book, The Limits of Altruism, An Ecologist's View of Survival, Professor Hardin defined four systems of societal organization commonism, altruism, socialism, and privatism. (Commonism should not be confused with communism - which is, as someone wrote, socialism out of the barrel of a gun.) The viability of each system is different depending on whether the commons is sparsely settled or crowded. Under "pioneer" conditions, any of the four can be made to work, and each has been tried at one time or another, with varying degrees of success. But systems that work under conditions of abundance begin to break down when carrying capacity is reached and scarcity becomes unavoidable. As "The Tragedy of the Commons" demonstrates, commonism fails when too many people use the commons. Altruism also has flaws, despite its evident propaganda value to liberals. It is surprisingly similar to commonism, except that it is the altruists who are exploited rather than a physical commons. Privatism, on the other hand, avoids the exploitation pitfall and is a viable system even in times of crowding. Responsibility and self-reliance go hand in hand, a system incorporating values that we view as traditionally Western. Unfortunately, this value system is not shared by many of today's immigrants. They bring their own culture and value systems, and they seem little disposed to conserve our commons. The importance of selecting a nation's future population based on shared civil interest concerned America's founders. In his 1781 book, Notes on Virginia, Thomas Jefferson counseled against importing peoples not grounded in "the freest principles of the English Constitution with others derived from natural right and natural reason." It was vital, he wrote, "for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which of necessity they must transact together." Otherwise, immigrants ...will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, or if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as usual, from one extreme to the other... In proportion to their number, they will infuse into it their spirit, warp or bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. A more apt description of current social and political conditions in America would be difficult to imagine. Who Will Guard the Guardians? But what of socialism? This system is also possible, but its Achilles' heel is the fact that it "gives managers first whack at the statistics - which they can alter or suppress to hide evidence of their incompetence." Or their malfeasance. Managers under socialism profit from their favored position, and they have the power to ensure that this unhappy situation is never discovered. Professor Hardin asks, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who shall watch the watchers themselves?" Combining socialism with universal altruism leads to a system remarkably like that which we endure today. "Managers" of various stripes coerce - or deceive - kind-hearted people into subsidizing endless welfare, foreign aid, and immigration. Through the managers' hands flow the productive bounty of an entire civilization, stolen surreptitiously from unwitting altruists (a bemused taxpaying polity). The outcome of this deceit is the electoral loyalty of those to whom the ill-gotten largess accrues (in the form of welfare and affirmative action) and whose votes, in turn, keep the managers in power. Despite the fashionable conceit that democracy and free enterprise have routed the worst excesses of socialism, what is happening in the West is recogni-zably Marxist in design. Universalist altruism has been enlisted as an insidious means of securing wealth and power. It exposes us to exploitation by appeals to our innate sense of moral probity. Says Hardin "[S]uch verbal devices as �principles,' �liberty,' and �fairness' can be used as competitive weapons." And, if those words don't provide sufficient polemical firepower, an arsenal of rhetorical terror weapons waits in the wings, ranging from "mean-spirited," "isolationist," and "bigot" to "racist," "fascist," "anti-Semite," "Nazi" and that ultimate malediction, "hater." Isn't it odd, however, that "Marxist" and "Bolshevik," two of the most deadly ideologies in a century of unprecedented human suffering, are absent from this litany of vilification? Politics As Destiny One of liberalism's worst excesses is the fact that it condemns ancient loyalties to family, tribe, nation - and, increasingly, religion - as morally wrong. This attack on human distinctiveness - true diversity, if you will - continues precisely because it benefits politically those who espouse it. The psychological coercion that marks political correctness is not wielded to secure "liberty, fraternity, and equality" for the masses. By "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor," politicians secure the loyalty of the poor as a source of support and therefore of wealth and power. Professor Hardin writes Why poor people should want to make this transfer is no mystery But why should rich host encourage it? This transfer, like the reverse one, is supported by both selfish interests and humanitarian ones. The principle selfish interest in unimpeded immigration is easy to identify; it is the interest of the employers of cheap labor, particularly that needed for degrading jobs. To Professor Hardin's indictment of employers seeking cheap labor must be added condemnation of politicians catering to minorities. Just as Reconstruction's Radical Republicans exploited the Southern black vote, both parties today pander shamelessly to minorities as a means of attaining power. In such situations, "democracy" is hardly an expression of the "will of the people." Indeed, in a polyglot empire there is no "people," only many "peoples" - all of whom have diverging interests. When applied to "diverse" peoples, democracy simply legalizes exploitation of the commons. The problem is not that democracy is inherently evil but rather that it has limitations. If the interests of those forced together as voters are sufficiently antagonistic, exploitation of producers by envious have-nots is inevitable. As Hardin notes in The Immigration Dilemma, the real enemy of democracy is "diversity" Since diversity is so highly praised these days, it would be well for us to examine the environment needed to foster and conserve this virtue. Many people think that One World - a single political sovereignty governing the whole world - will be achieved some day... Year after year the studies of Freedom House show that the great majority of the nations are not democratically run. In the formation of a single sovereignty, democracy would probably not survive the bargaining of the major non-democratic powers... Unity within nations, coupled with diversity among nations, is surely the best recipe for evolutionary progress in the species as a whole. We need not yield to stereotypes of superiority and inferiority to justify preserving the distinctiveness of the world's peoples - a distinctiveness that immigration irretrievably destroys. Distinctiveness, and the divergence of interest that accompanies it, is an inseparable part of human nature. The altruistic impulse that submits to its dissolution is misguided - as well as futile. In Creative Altruism, An Ecologist Questions Motives, a 1999 rewrite of The Limits of Altruism, Professor Hardin writes In the absence of competition between tribes the survival value of altruism in a crowded world approaches zero because what ego gives up necessarily (by the definition of the rules of One World) goes in the commons... [I]f we desire a world in which altruism can persist we must reject the ideal of One World and consciously seek to retain a world of more or less separate, more or less antagonistic units called (most generally) tribes. They may be synonymous with nations as we know them, or they may be some new political invention. Melting Diversity Attacking "diversity among nations" was exactly the point of Emma Lazarus' Statue of Liberty poem and its ideological companion, Israel Zangwill's stage production The Melting Pot. These saccharin propaganda pieces served as spin control for an emerging immigrant elite at the turn of the twentieth century - many of whom were Marxist-leaning Eastern Europeans sharing religious and cultural ties with Lazarus and Zangwill. These tear-jerkers helped dispel native disquiet over a growing immigrant population that threatened America's traditional culture and national interest. As propaganda they were masterpieces, delivering cheap labor to America's capitalists and political power to its social revolutionaries. The disarming assertion of The Melting Pot was that the alchemy of assimilation would soon mold Eastern and Southern European immigrants into model Anglo-Saxon Americans, leaving America's culture intact. Neglected was the fact that, historically, the more likely outcome was Balkanization. A century later, disunion is well advanced. Meanwhile, the melting pot has transmogrified itself into a diabolical instrument for gaining an end precisely the opposite of its original advertised purpose. Now it demands nothing less than the complete amalgamation of ethnic groups and races. Far from being the culture to which immigrants should assimilate, European-descended America is commanded to discorporate. Forcing disparate groups together does not conserve diversity, it destroys it. Destroying human distinctiveness - whether that distinctiveness is called tribes, nations, religions, ethnic groups, or races - is an act of aggression. It matters not whether the reason is misguided humanitarianism or something altogether more malevolent. Western Survival at Stake In an aptly titled 1971 essay, "The Survival of Nations and Civilizations," Hardin strips away feel-good illusions and forces attention onto the ultimate issue that confronts us-our continued existence as a distinct people. Professor Hardin writes If we renounce conquest and overbreeding, our survival in a competitive world depends on what kind of world it is One World or a world of national territories. If the world is one great commons, in which all food is shared equally, then we are lost. Those who breed faster will replace the rest. Sharing the food from national territories is operationally equivalent to sharing territories In both cases a commons is established, and tragedy is the ultimate result. In the competition for living space and resources between two species (or two groups that occupy the same ecological niche), one will inevitably and inexorably eliminate the other [I]n a finite universe-and the organisms of our world know no other-where the total number of organisms of both kinds cannot exceed a certain number species will necessarily replace the other species completely if the two species are �complete competitors,' i.e., live the same kind of life. If carried to its logical conclusion, our "melting pot" ethic can only result in the inexorable eradication of our distinctiveness. Others not fettered by fastidious consciences will occupy the land and multiply to the utmost limit. There is a word to describe this outcome "It may be that no one is ever killed; but the genes of one group replace the genes of the other. This is genocide" [emphasis added]. In a world rendered increasingly interdependent by communication, transportation, commerce, migration, resource exhaustion, environment destruction, and carrying capacity limits, the question of whether historic peoples and cultures will endure has become the paramount issue for Western civilization and its founding people The spectre of survival now haunts ethical thought. Attempts to settle the egoism versus altruism issue, to unsnarl population problems, and to lay out the grounds on which international relations can be rationalized all end up with the word survival - The tragedy of the West's moral outlook - based as it is on altruism, compassion, and conscience, seemingly humanity's highest ideals - is that it has become the threat to survival for the West. Our "commons" is more than just our land. It includes the entire social and cultural fabric of the West - the culture, traditions, values, prosperity, and ordered liberty created by countless generations of ancestors. Immigration is a death sentence for our children's children. Its repeal is a moral imperative.

[Visit the Garrett Hardin Society website for more information, articles, and biographical information.]

About the author

Michael W. Masters writes on issues of politics, history, moral philosophy, and sociobiology. He is a frequent contributor to The Social Contract.