Archive for the ‘haiti’ Category

Americans are decent, generous, Christian people who understandably want to help others.  But our desire to help must be tempered by our responsibility to our countrymen to maintain an orderly, safe, and prosperous country.  It also must be tempered by some recognition that Haiti’s bad circumstances are not caused by the earthquake, but rather are exacerbated by the earthquake; the conditions that made the earthquake so bad stem from the characteristics of the Haitian people and the unique characteristics of Hatian society.  Even David Brooks recognizes this obvious fact.  So I was a little chagrined to learn that Florida may be taking in several hundred thousand “evaucees” from Haiti, most of whom I imagine will never leave.

A very similar, though less dramatic, experiment took place in Houston, Texas in 2005, where Bill White, our mayor and basic centrist liberal, extended the red carpet to New Orleans’ many Katrina refugees.  It was a noble gesture, and Houston responded quite well logistically, but longer-term it’s a gesture for which the poor and working class Houstonians had to bear the brunt of the cost.   Homicide went up 28%. Crime in general increased. Many refugees remained stuck in a cycle of dependency that they had begun as welfare cases in New Orleans.  Most Houstonians had ambivalent or negative feelings about the Katrina refugees in the end.

There is no reason to think the outcome will be different in the case of the many Haitian refugees we may soon be taking in.  Indeed, because of language barriers and an even more corruption-ridden antecedent in Haiti, it will probably be worse.  The refugees won’t live in the fanciest neighborhoods, but rather in poor and working class apartment complexes on government subsidies.  Haitian gangs, Haitian attitudes about crime and corruption, and Haitian disrespect for law and  order will almost certainly follow in their wake, as they have followed those  Haitian immigrants already here in Florida.

This is not a tough call.  There is good reason to be helping Haitians in Haiti.  They’re in our hemisphere.  We have the resources to help.  It’s part and parcel of a Western Hemisphere oriented foreign policy.  But there is no reason to take in massive numbers of Haitians into our country in order to extend that help.  Such a refugee policy will hurt vulnerable and poor Americans–white and black–in order for the leadership classes to feel good for a day or a week until they move on to some other pet cause.  Charity does not require that we endanger ourselves and hurt third parties to whom we have responsibilities and ties of citizenship.

We no more have to take these forlorn Haitians into our homeland to show our compassion than we have to take real life, often self-destructive, homeless people  into our real life homes.  But that’s what Obama and company want Florida to do for Haiti:  a gesture stemming from a perfect storm of liberal compassion, the opportunity to show a “lack of racism,” indifference to America’s working class, and the cultivation of a political constituency through specialized immigration policy.  This is going to be bad and especially bad for Florida.

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What’s happening in Haiti is very sad.  But the images coming from there are utterly predictable. The outpouring of global charity at most is treating the symptoms; the causes remain, and this mass death will be repeated elsewhere in similar countries for similar reasons.  Let’s face it:  Haiti’s chief problem is that it’s filled with Hatians.  The mass death toll from this event is a consequence chiefly of that fact.  Its government, economy, construction practices, and every single aspect of society is hellish, not so different from what prevails in Somalia or Afghanistan, and it’s been that way pretty much forever. If Haiti were filled with Swiss or Americans, very few people would have died.  But whenever a big disaster hits the Third World it’s followed by mass extermination.  By contrast, the 7.1 earthquake in San Francisco in 1989 killed about 60 people.  These facts are not coincidences.  When these horrible things happen, I tend to think: one more super unlucky consequence of living in the Third World, none of which will be changing any time soon, because the foundation of those societies, their people, are not changing any time soon.

In addition to understandable sympathy and charity in the short term, is the question of what to do with our own little corner of the globe.  If the Third World is the way it is not because of a lack of resources, but rather its people, as well as institutions that reflect the values, prejudices, and shortcomings of such people, why do we want millions and millions of such people to come to our country, which is run very differently and does not have Third World problems, until fairly recently?   This is a purposeful policy choice by our leaders who are either short-sighted or devilish themselves.

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