Immigration and Assimilation

It has been said that without secure borders, where illegal immigration proceeds unabated and unchecked, you have no country.  Yet even with legal immigration, without assimilation you have no nation.

You may think these two terms, country and nation, are one in the same, but actually they are not. The term “country” more specifically can be defined by geographical measures – boundaries or borders if you will – as they define the physical scope of a people’s sovereignty.  On the other hand, “nation” carries with it a connotation related to the people within a country.  A nation is a collection of people who reflect a specific identity that distinguishes them from the other nations of the world.  Thus, when someone speaks of “the French”, a profile of what those who live within the borders of France immediately comes to mind that is peculiar to them.  The same could be said for every other nation and used to be said of us, Americans.  Alas, that distinguishing identity is quickly vanishing.

It used to be that when the rest of the world spoke of “Americans”, there was something special about that designation.  Even in the eyes of our enemies it evoked envy in that, as in the case of communist regimes, they were not able to match the accomplishments of our unique culture, driven by our economic and political systems, both of which tied back to our unique identity.  However, when we allow individuals into our country who have no desire or intention of taking on the traits that identify one as an American, that special, unique identity becomes more and more diluted until it becomes no longer recognizable by both those within and without our borders.

The things that made us great – the belief in inalienable rights of all people, personal responsibility, the political philosophy of limited government and individual liberty, all based upon the dignity and man and the sanctity of life – are being assailed on every side, and their diminishment is leading us down the pathway to oblivion.  When we assimilate it does not mean that we give up our individuality or those traits of the ancestry from which we came (as in the case of the Borg of Star Trek fame), but rather we incorporate those American traits into ourselves.  It is these traits, along with a common language and pride, that bind us together as one people, just as our motto states:  e pluribus unum – “out of many, one”.

In a recent episode of Dennis Michael Lynch’s program “Unfiltered” on the Newsmax TV channel, a guest pointed out that that in 1970 the immigrant population of the United States totaled 13.5 million, or 6.6% of the total  population.  Today, that number has grown to 61 million or 19% of our population and growing rapidly.  What makes this more alarming is these individuals are not integrating into the American culture and identity like immigrants in times past, and this trend must change or we will be changed forever.

Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s foreign minister, gets it.  He said that he will push a new law that basically tells immigrants in Germany to either learn German and assimilate into the German culture or lose their residency status and be deported.  America needs to follow Germany’s lead.

Unless we secure our borders and re-evaluate the goal of our immigration policies, we will no longer have a country; but, it will not matter as we will also have ceased to be a nation.


(for a more in-depth, scholarly reading on this matter I highly recommend Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity by the late Dr. Samuel P. Huntington, former University of Harvard professor and chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies)


-April 1, 2016

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Those of us in the conservative movement find ourselves in a heated and an unfortunate (many times) acrimonious political campaign.  Many may think that such is a decline in our political process, but such could not be further from the truth.

I imagine many individuals look upon our founding fathers, though flawed individuals as we all are, as paragons of political wisdom (which they were) and united in the quest for liberty and the establishment of our republic.  If that is your perception, allow me to share just a few quotes to forever dispel that thought from your mind.  There were numerous rivalries and harsh feelings among many of our foremost founders.

It is no secret of the animosity that existed between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, yet here are the thoughts of James Madison on some of the other founders that may shock you:

“Hancock is weak ambitious a courtier of popularity given to low intrigue and lately reunited by a factious friendship with S. Adams–J. Adams has made himself obnoxious to many particularly in the Southern states by the political principles avowed in this book. Others recollecting his cabal during the war against General Washington knowing his extravagant self importance and considering his preference of an unprofitable dignity to some place of emolument better adapted to private fortune as prof of his having an eye to the presidency conclude that he would not be a very cordial second to the general and that an impatient ambition might even intrigue for a premature advancement. The danger would be the greater if particular factious characters as may be the case, should get into the public councils.”  (James Madison, letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788)

As for the enmity between Jefferson and Hamilton, consider these words Jefferson penned in a letter to President Washington on September 9, 1792:

“To this justification of opinions, expressed in the way of conversation, against the views of Colo Hamilton, I beg leave to add some notice of his late charges against me in Fenno’s gazette; for neither the stile, matter, nor venom of the pieces alluded to can leave a doubt of their author. Spelling my name & character at full length to the public, while he conceals his own under the signature of “an American” he charges me 1. With…”

They also had the same complaints with the press that many decry today.  For example, in a letter to George Washington on October 18, 1787, Madison wrote:

“The Newspapers here begin to teem with vehement & virulent calumniations of the proposed Govt.”

There was also the falling out between the two authors of The Federalist Papers, Madison and Hamilton, that became quite heated as they exchanged essays published from 1793-1794 regarding the role of the presidency and legislature in foreign policy matters.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became so estranged from one another that they refused to communicate with one another for over twenty years, before being reconciled shortly before their deaths.  Their reconciliation was such that when Adams died on July 4, 1826, his last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives”, not knowing Jefferson had died five hours earlier.

So you see, our current animosity, though unfortunate, is certainly not new.  My hope and prayer is that once this primary season is finished, we can be of the same mind as Adams and Jefferson on that semi-centennial day of the signing of our Declaration of Independence.

-March 25, 2016

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Tax Reform – “Fair” versus “Just”

A few nights ago I listened to pundits debating the tax proposals of some of the presidential candidates as to which was better.  The word “fair” was repeatedly used in the discussion.  In another interview, Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame (who support Senator Sanders) were asked if they thought his proposal of a 92% marginal tax rate was “fair”, to which they replied “yes”.  The interviewer pressed them on this and inquired if they would accept such a high tax on themselves given the level of their incomes, and they replied “yes” again, as it would be fair to those who earned less for the rich to “pay their fair share” (I guess it never occurred to them that they could voluntarily pay that tax now without an oppressive governmental confiscatory policy).

But is a tax system supposed to be “fair”?  What is “fair”?  That is an elusive definition as it depends upon what part of the income spectrum you fall.  Sure, some rich individuals like these two may mouth support for such rates, but their refusal to voluntarily pay those kind of taxes highlights their hypocrisy.

I would argue that a tax system should be “just” and not “fair.”  You may consider the terms synonymous, and indeed we use them in our regular course of conversation as such.  However, they are not the same.  The concept of “fair” is really a perception based upon the subjectivity of those impacted by a given situation, such as two siblings arguing over whether or not at Christmas time they were both treated “fairly” in the gifts they received.

“Just”, on the other hand, is a determination based upon an objective source such as law.  We go to court when we feel we have not been treated “fairly” in order to seek “justice.”  Our founders did not seek to establish a government that would be “fair”, but rather one that would be “just.”  James Madison wrote in The Federalist Number 51:

“Justice is the end of government.  It is the end of civil society.  It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.”

Thus, according to Madison a tax system must be one that would comport itself to the concept of “justice.”  So what would make for a “just” tax system?  I submit that any tax on income of any kind is not a “just” system.   In his Second Treatise of Government John Locke wrote

“every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself..labour being he unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to…”

To this Thomas Jefferson added in his first inaugural address:

“a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.  This is the sum of good government,…”

It can be safely stated that any kind of an income tax system violates the statements made by these three great champions of personal liberty.  Instead of arguing over this nebulous concept of a “fair” tax system, candidates should be setting forth their plans for a “just” tax system – which by the way has languished in Congress without a vote for two decades.  This proposal involves the elimination of all income and payroll taxes and replaces it with a national consumption tax.  Unfortunately it is commonly referred to as “The Fair Tax”, but it is a more “Just Tax” system.  I want to be treated “justly”, for then I can say without equivocation that I have been also treated “fairly.”

-March 18, 2016

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A Contrast of Pledges

In the first paragraph of our Declaration of Independence it begins by unrolling a reference to human history as the canvass upon which the rest of the document will be painted.  In the second paragraph it pivots to the principles that transcend human history as the bold brush with which what follows is to be painted and ends with a noble attestation.

Those who know anything of it usually can only recite some of the first sentence of that second paragraph and that closing phrase, but are totally unacquainted with the bulk of what comes in-between.   Jefferson used a broad brush stroke to paint the background for the complaints of the colonies by painting the scene of government’s purpose and its relation to its citizens before returning to history to, with pinpoint strokes, sketch out the specifics of where the British government had failed in matching up to its obligatory “colors.”

Time and again he lays out the charge of the King’s (and Parliament’s) refusal to give heed to the concerns and welfare of the colonists.  He enunciates this failure with one specific example after another and ties them back to their being a violation of the principles set forth in that second paragraph.  If you take a few minutes to read them you can sense that many of these abuses could well be lodged against those who govern us in Washington, as well as in our state capitals and city halls.

However, a glaring contrast between now and then comes at the very end.  After starting out with a reference to history, setting the foundation of unassailable principles, spelling out the particulars springing forth from them, Jefferson returns to the higher level of appealing to Him from whom the principles he enunciated spring from and closing with the noblest of pledges:

“we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Today, however, we hear quibbling over whether or not a candidate pledges to support his opponent who defeats him in a primary.  Candidates are expected to pledge allegiance to their party’s “platform”, while their big money donors expect them to also pledge to do their bidding once the candidate is elected.  Lost in all of this is the idea of pledging lives, fortunes and sacred honor.  An elected official is to serve, i.e., to devote a limited portion of their lives in serving the lives of his/her fellow citizens; yet all too often they end up serving their own welfare.   Instead of expending their fortunes, they enrich their fortunes by manipulating their positions of power to extract riches from others they hold at ransom under threat of legislating oppressive government legislation and/or regulation.  And finally, we seldom see among them any semblance of honor.

In my first run for Congress, I came home after midnight one evening and couldn’t go to sleep.  I’d re-read the Declaration the day before and suddenly a modern version of it started coming to me, so I got up and hurriedly wrote the following Declaration that you can access here below.  I hope you find it encouraging.

Declaration of Reclamation

-March 11, 2016

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Why the Electoral College – Part IV

Having covered the historical background of what we commonly refer to as the “electoral college,” the question now is “What advantages does it have over the approach of electing the president and vice-president by direct popular vote?”

As I explained in Parts I and II, the elector approach serves to protect the foundation principles of our system of government, namely republicanism and federalism.

Second, pure democracy will ultimately result in the oppression of minority interests by the majority.  The electoral college is designed to protect the interests of those in the minority and in fact, to enhance their interests.

Third, it helps contribute to the political stability of the nation by encouraging the existence of multiple political parties – or at least to preserve a two-party system at a minimum.

Fourth, it helps maintain the unity of the nation because it requires a distribution of the popular support across the country.  This means that a candidate for the office of president must compete for the votes of all of the citizenry across the nation.

Without these last two mechanisms in place the election of the president and vice-president would come to be dominated by the larger population centers or regions, thus ignoring huge swaths of the country.  A direct corollary to this would be the eventual disappearance of political parties and a real choice of candidates from which the citizens could choose.  In the scenario where the president would be elected by direct popular vote, one party would gain the pre-eminence in those heavily populated areas and thus become the victor in every election.

An analysis conducted by the Washington Post following the 2008 election demonstrated that were we to change to electing the president by direct popular vote, the Democrat party would be that dominate party since the densely populated cities and their surrounding areas are in the Democrat camp.  Furthermore, most of the country and citizens in-between the two coasts, with the exception of a few major cities, would be ignored because they would not be a factor in the outcome of the election.

In the final analysis, to abolish the current system and replace it with a direct popular election would forever change our entire system of government.  We would very quickly coalesce into a true “national” government, further reducing the existence of the states to a level of irrelevance.  In a word, we would cease to be a federal republic (I know, in many respects we’ve already ceased to be one).  This was a major fear of many of our  founders when the Constitution was proposed and why they gave us this ingenious system we call “the electoral college.”  I hope then that these four essays will help you understand why we must keep it intact and give you the information to better educate those you meet who think our system needs to be cast aside.

-March 4, 2016

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