Mony a mickle maks a muckle

The old Scots saying above translates roughly as "a lot of little things make a big thing". It is a saying that often occurs to me when I read a common Leftist defence of illegal immigration. David Leong has recently put up a comment (scroll down) on my Immigration Watch blog that is a characteristic version of that defence. The defence is that some individual immigrant is a good person and that therefore all immigrants should be accepted. Stated as baldly as that, the illogic is obvious but the argument is of course usually stated in a more emotional way, usually with some personal mention included and unreferenced assertions about the benefit of "diversity" etc.

Responding to illogic is always difficult but maybe I should have a brief stab at it. Mr Leong himself appears to come from a fine family of mostly LEGAL immigrants from China and Chinese people are of course famous for prospering wherever they go. And the characteristic virtues of the Chinese -- such as patience, reserve and self-control -- are ones that I personally admire. They are certainly virtues that help Chinese to fit in well with predominantly Anglo-Saxon societies.

The essential point here, however, is an unfashionable one: There ARE intergroup differences. Anybody who argues that (say) the Chinese are as a whole no different from Africans (considered as a whole) is simply not being honest. And from what I gather, the Chinese living in China certainly have a dim view of Africans when they are aware of them at all.

The defence mounted by those who are dishonest about group differences, however, is that realists such as myself are "racist". When conservatives do have that accusation hurled at them by Leftists (a common occurrence) however, conservatives sometimes reflect that if the very mild and centrist George W. Bush is accused by the same or similar people of being a Nazi, we are dealing with hysteria rather than reason. So it seems clear that the "racism" accusation is simply one piece of dishonesty being backed up by another piece of dishonesty. Such accusations do however have some effect in suppressing rational debate -- something that Leftists need to achieve in view of their own slim attachment to reality.

There are however many ways in which group differences can be denominated, quite aside from country of origin and I myself do not at all support immigration being based on race or country of origin. Most opponents of illegal immigration into the USA simply support the rules that the USA already has in place and seek to have those rules enforced. Those rules are a mish-mash of criteria but in all cases rely on people being categorized in various ways -- and none of those ways are racial.

If we ignore all criteria and let anybody in, however, we will soon find that the many "mickles" of individual people coming in will amount to a "muckle" that large numbers of the existing citizens of the country may not want. A big majority of Americans, for instance, are greatly displeased by what they see as the large numbers of unassimilated Hispanics who are now in their country and they want that influx stopped. Whether the political elite will do that, however, remains to be seen.

In the end, however, all that I have said above boils down to that very fundamental disagreement between Left and Right over equality. Conservatives believe that people are equal only in the sight of God and before the law whereas Leftists somehow, somewhere, detect an equality that conservatives cannot see at all. On many occasions, only conservatives seem able to see and admit the real differences between people both as individuals and as groups -- and if that is racist then it gives the term "racism" undeserved dignity.

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

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