History is always being made; it is always visible — if we are willing to look. We are often apparently too busy or engrossed in narrower vistas. Many for instance, are today engrossed in little Ferguson, MO and its spreading clones while history is being made in Ukraine and many other places. One of the great currents of history is the movements of peoples.
One hugely powerful such current was a comparatively few people who migrated into the ancient Middle East and were known as ‘Israelites.’ Their doings are reported in the Bible. In Europe, many successive waves of folk built what we see today and the same occurred in the Americas. Today’s Navajo are the southwestern extension of people from Alaska and Canada, who apparently stopped when they came up against first, the Pueblo people and latterly, the Spanish.
We tend to assume perhaps, that these human waves are limited to history but it is not so; they ARE history and ongoing. They are perennially driven by the same forces: both nature and human nature. Nature uses drought, disease, floods and other disasters, human nature relies upon conquest and simple inability to govern decently.Sometimes both push at once. The result is the same, masses of people moving into new places.
Often, those places have been already populated, resulting in perhaps gradual amalgamation or in conflict over resources. The process has proceeded and is proceeding today in Europe and North America particularly though it goes on everywhere.
In Europe, African and Middle Eastern folk escaping miserable and risky lives under corrupt regimes in impoverished places are largely Moslems, a religion that has attempted invasion in the past. In North America it is Hispanicized Indian peoples. Both arrive as impoverished and little educated, from cultures alien to those they are coming to join. There is one overwhelming commonality among the arrivals: Life as a poor American or European is safer and better by far than in their places of origin.
Their children do not know that; growing up poor in Europe or America seems to them the bottom of possibilities, not an immediate improvement as it was for the parents. Unless the children merge into the larger societies, they become a problem, a reservoir of resentful and troublesome malcontents, a threat to stability. When times become hard on everyone, the friction heats up. That is going on in Europe and North America today.
“Close the Border!” is the mantra heard in the U.S. while the hapless government welcomes the floods at great economic cost it cannot fund to satisfy political goals of its various financial donors. The governments that accommodate these immigrants against the desires of their citizens are in an impossible position. All their major economic and political support wants the arrivals: New Democrat voters, more cheap labor and dependable government clients are all wanted. It is seen as necessary to lower American and European labor costs to compete with the rest of the world, though it is politically unwise to state in public.
The unstated goes well past that, the living conditions elsewhere are literally unlivable in increasing parts of Africa and the Middle East; much of Latin America is in decline from an already low standard. People will leave for better places whether or not they are wanted. The U.S. border cannot be closed; if it could, the flood of drugs would have long been stopped. But no politician will say that today, just as they ignore the financial failure of American and European social policy.
What is needed on both sides of the Atlantic is a rational and managed administration of immigration. A policy geared to the economic and social needs and capabilities of the various countries affected by immigration. Those allowed in should be selected for productive reasons, those likely unproductive, should be identified and excluded. The “carrying capacity” of countries should be debated and enforced. How many impoverished, needy and marginally productive folk can be absorbed all at once by an already stressed economy?
The floods can’t be stopped, but they can be much better managed. It has been done before in both Europe and North America; it is time to remember that. Such a policy will as it always has done, condemn many people to substandard lives in awful places. But there is no other way to preserve decent lives for those who have made decent places. If that seems a harsh reality, a glance at history will show that it has ever been so. However many millions have wished it otherwise, have failed to alter that.