Monday, April 10, 2006

Go back?

I saw one of the signs being carried today saying "Honkies, go back to Europe". Do they really think the U.S. would be so attractive had it not been settled first by English colonists and then by other immigrants?

It reminds me of the Palestinians demanding the return of their land. Unfortunately, there's no way for Israel to turn over just the land as it was in 1948, empty desert with little or no economy. The basic truth is that the land in Israel is worth more because of who possesses it now than it was before they came. Utah, where I live, was home to roving bands of Fremont culture Indians who barely survived. Before the Mormons settled in Salt Lake Valley, Jim Bridger claimed he'd give $500 for the first bushel of wheat to be grown there. Lucky for him, nobody held him to it. The Mormon pioneers built irrigation systems and made the desert bloom.

So suppose we gave the Southwest back to Mexico. How long would it remain prosperous? My guess is not long. Most of them would want to know where the Gringos had gone, so they could go there and get jobs.

Glenn Reynolds seems to agree:
If they wanted to live in Mexico they'd have stayed in Mexico.

In fact, they're leaving Mexico because its corrupt and thuggish political culture stifles economic growth and opportunity. The people there are smart and hardworking, after all, and they tend to do just fine when they get here. They're leaving because being smart and hardworking is enough to get you ahead in the United States, but not in Mexico. And I suspect that if the Reconquista advocates somehow did get their way, and the Southwest United States became a new Northern Mexico, we'd soon have illegal immigrants crossing over into Kansas and Oklahoma for opportunity, because the Mexican political culture would have ruined things in Arizona and Texas just like it's already ruined them further south.

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