Bruce Bartlett On Capitalism And Slavery
June 07, 2007, 07:11 PM
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In his 6/6/07 Townhall.com column "Yes, Immigration Is About Culture," Terence Jeffrey finished strong:

"Balkanization, fostered by the multiculturalist mindset, is a threat to American culture, but there is a greater threat behind the current drive to amnesty all illegal aliens and maintain a flow of new, exploitable, unskilled foreign laborers.

"This is the ideology that wants to write into law —in this nation founded on the principle that God created all men equal —that there shall be a resident subclass of laborers constrained by government to work for wages so low no American would accept them. This ideology is a form of materialism that puts the pursuit of profit above all else. It is the inordinate love of money.

"It would dissolve what is best about America in a culture of greed."

Economist Bruce Bartlett is another Townhall columnist. Bartlett was precocious among prominent conservatives, as he stopped drinking the Bush Kool-Aid in 2004, saying "If George W. Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3." In 2005, Bartlett was fired by his 12-year employer, the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, over his criticism of Bush. Bartlett subsequently fleshed out his criticisms in the book Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. (I haven't read the book —I just know about it.)

In his own Townhall column of 6/6/07, "Immigration Frustration" Bartlett provided a perfect illustration of those concluding remarks by his Townhall colleague Jeffrey:

"Meanwhile, as miserable as their lives are, for most illegal aliens this is a good deal, too. They wouldn’t come here—braving a lot of hardship in the process—if they didn’t think they were coming out ahead on the deal. In short, the status quo is really a win-win for everyone.

"We don’t want to open the borders entirely, because that would let in a lot of riffraff. But we don’t want to close the borders entirely, either, because we need the cheap labor. So, in my opinion, the optimum is to allow some illegal immigration, but with enough enforcement to keep it under control.

"It is precisely because of their illegal status that they are valuable and are willing to work cheaply. If they become legal, as the pending legislation would establish, the next thing you know they will be demanding the minimum wage, health benefits, and unions, at which point they may no longer be a net benefit to our economy, but a liability."

Savor that one for a minute! As Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up."

What it calls to my mind is a brief passage at the end of Chapter 10 in Max Shulman's classic 1943 farce on college life, Barefoot Boy With Cheek:

"A capitalist banker walks past. He sees their bodies. He calls a policeman stooge. 'These people owe me money,' he says. 'Take them to the tallow works and have them rendered. Turn over the proceeds to me.' Then he turns and walks away. His footsteps echo hollowly in the distance."

Perhaps the best way to look at Bartlett —clear-eyed on Bush relatively early on, but a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge with respect to illegal aliens —is parallel to the advice by Eric Blair (aka "George Orwell") on what to make of Salvador Dali:

"One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being."

Orwell —who "hated cant and lying and cruelty in life and in literature" and thought "that modern man was inadequate to cope with the demands of his history" —would presumably have had a field day with someone as civilizationally and morally obtuse as Bartlett.