Fool Me Once...Mariel Boatlift II?
July 12, 2008, 05:38 PM
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One theory for why states and cities are raising their high school graduation requirements (Los Angeles now requires passing Algebra II to graduate) is that they are hoping to persuade their dumber students to move somewhere less demanding, and keep people with dumb kids from moving to the state in the first place. For example, Arizona now has much easier high school graduation requirements than California, so it would be smart for families with not so bright kids to relocate, and it would be smart for Mexicans planning to sneak into America to choose Arizona, where their kids are more likely to become high school graduates, than California.

The theory isn't very plausible, however, because there's little evidence that California's politicians and educators are smart enough to understand it.

You might, however, someday see politicians in, say, New Hampshire devising ways to get illegal immigrants to live in Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts even while working in NH.

That reminds me that I wouldn't be surprised to see the following happen:

Imagine you were a fairly young man relatively high up in the rather geriatric Cuban Communist dictatorship. You are content to bide your time until Fidel and Raul are gone, but you intend to then emerge as the Deng of a prosperous post-Communist Cuba. And you intend to enjoy that role for a long time.

As you survey post-Communist transitions, you note the sad case of East Germany, where Communism badly dented the formerly famous Protestant work ethic, leaving economic malaise even two decades later.

Cuba is in even worse shape culturally and morally: huge subsidies and tiny wages mean that Cuba is now full of welfare bums and hustlers who won't take jobs.

Think of how much easier everything would be for you as El Presidente of capitalist Cuba if you could just get rid of the bottom quarter of your population.

You aren't a cruel man. You don't wish the Cuban parasite class ill. You just want them to go be parasites on somebody else, somebody who is big, rich, and only 90 miles away.

Fidel made many mistakes, but he was a clever man, never more so than in 1980, when some political dissidents took refuge in a foreign embassy, hoping for asylum in America. Fidel made lemonade out of lemons by not only letting the political prisoners go, but by emptying his prisons of all the real criminals too, dumping them on Uncle Sam in the Mariel boatlift.

Could you pull off something like that anew? Could America be fooled twice?

Say you started rounding up all the welfare mothers and pimps as "anti-Communist wreckers." The Cubans in Miami would soon be up in arms (it would help to schedule this right before a Presidential election). Finally, you could relent and let a million bums sail for America in a Dunkirk like exodus, where they would be granted asylum as soon as they landed. The Wall Street Journal would write rapturous editorials about it.