Sanctimony City-dweller explains her love of immigrants

Some of my Facebook friends are bicoastal sanctimony city-dwellers who work in venture capital (is that actually work when they underperform the S&P 500, on average?). One of them recently explained what’s going on inside her head:

I struggle with caring about [the vast swath of middle America that’s suffering].

Do we owe people good jobs in their hometowns? I’m not so sure. I think we probably owe people jobs, but it’s a bridge too far to owe them jobs they can get with no education in their hometowns, only because of the historical coincidence that their fathers had them. The jobs are there: you just have to learn programming (which you can do free, online) or do shitty low-paying work, and you may have to move. But no one really gets the job they want where they want. I don’t have it.

And all my sympathies are with immigrants. I see them as the best people, the least entitled people. It is hard to move. But they move for the jobs. They move to countries their family doesn’t live in, where they sometimes don’t speak the language, with little money, and they work hard. (This is much harder than the move from West Virginia to Brooklyn.) They often sacrifice their lives so that the lives of their offspring can be better, and they often accomplish this. I wish middle America had more of this gumption, which is deeply American.

So in the end I believe in open borders, the economic value of living closely with others, and that sentimental ideas about our hometowns belong in Faulkner novels, not our economic policies.

One thing I found interesting is the description of the struggling fly-over Deplorables as having “no education”. (Can’t fly over Midwestern Deplorables on Virgin America anymore. Who says that the elite are not suffering too?) They spent 13 years in what is pretty much the world’s most expensive K-12 system. How did they come out with “no education”?

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43 Comments

  1. Russil Wvong

    April 13, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

    1

    Reminds me of your comparing low-skill workers to draft horses. Chrystia Freeland records similar contemptuous sentiments among the ultra-rich in her book Plutocrats.

  2. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

    2

    I’m sure she prefers these immigrants so much that she lives in a neighborhood packed with them and sends her kids to school with their kids.

  3. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 1:04 pm

    3

    These sorts of people have to realize that their own kids are not going to make as much money. They are actively ruining the neighborhoods and job prospects their own kids will face. Or are they really all delusional that their children are ladder climbing geniuses who will float above it all in wealth?

  4. dean

    April 13, 2017 @ 1:27 pm

    4

    This view represents Interesting mix of totalitarian attitude and ignorance of unemployment rates in different locales. It is not jobs, K12 + college system totally failed in educating this person about basic principals and knowledge of basic documents USA was formed on.

  5. billg

    April 13, 2017 @ 2:25 pm

    5

    The VC’s attitude mirrors economic data: all of net economic gains since the “great recession” have gone to the top 1%, and all of the new jobs have gone to immigrants.

  6. negativez

    April 13, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

    6

    The quoted viewpoint displays an fascinating cognitive dissonance – immigrants are virtuous for sacrificing for a better future for them and their children, yet the better future those immigrants expect is almost certainly one where those same children don’t have to be immigrants and make huge sacrifices again with each generation – in other words they aspire to be the very class of people the quotee dismisses.

    It’s pretty easy to extrapolate the above into a picture of the better-off class perpetually selling a ‘noble strivers’ Ponzi scheme to new generations of peasants.

  7. dean

    April 13, 2017 @ 4:25 pm

    7

    bilg #5, from your link: “From November 2007 through November 2014, the number of employed native-born Americans has decreased more than 1.45 million, while the number of employed immigrants has risen by more than 2 million (as the immigrant population grew rapidly, too), ” It could just mean that immigrant population grew at greater rate then native population and some of them are employed. From demographics statistics it looks like recent immigrants have higher birth rate than second + generation Americans and that shrinking % of naturally born citizens employed could indicate that children of immigrants are not faring great in the labor market, in tune with negativez #6 assessment of cognitive dissonance in the cited point of view.

  8. dean

    April 13, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

    8

    No worries, publishing arm of MIT, MIT Press, came out with high – tech solution, that will simplify maintaining nation’s highways and at the same time address federal funding of priceless research “Communism for Kids (MIT Press)” https://www.amazon.com/Communism-Kids-Press-Bini-Adamczak/dp/0262533359/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491847605&sr=8-1&keywords=communism+for+kids .

  9. bjdubbs

    April 13, 2017 @ 5:14 pm

    9

    They would move except there are no longer wage differentials between Ohio and LA. The wages in LA are as bad for low-skill workers as the wages in Ohio, for obvious reasons. They don’t move because whites on the coasts don’t want to pay more for hotels and car washes and Chipotle. Her rant could be rephrased as “why should I pay more for a maid just because the maid is American?”

  10. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

    10

    The biggest problem I see there is the idea that anyone dissatisfied with his job should simply teach himself how to program. There are probably tens of millions of Americans trapped in low-wage jobs. If they all taught themselves programming, the salaries of programmers would be driven towards the minimum wage. It’s also not something that everyone can do. Being a programmer probably requires at least average intelligence. It’s also well known that there’s a lot of age discrimination in the field, so it doesn’t make sense for people over the age of 45.

    On the other hand, the excerpt that you shared with us, doesn’t include the word deplorable, so it’s not fair to imply that she’s referring to anybody in that way.

  11. Smartest Woman on the Internet

    April 13, 2017 @ 6:56 pm

    11

    @Vince: the excerpt that you shared with us, doesn’t include the word deplorable, so it’s not fair to imply that she’s referring to anybody in that way.

    You’re right; the Facebooker didn’t use the word “deplorable” to describe non-Liberal Whites, but the woman she voted for did.

    The jobs are there

    The jobs were there before they got off-shored or wages pulverized by 40 years of unremitting immigration.

    you just have to learn programming

    This Facebooker never keyed a line of code in her life, nor could she. And this is surely not the career advice she’s given her own kids.

  12. superMike

    April 13, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

    12

    Isn’t it funny that the same people that claim that “Trickle Down Economics” don’t actually trickle down economic gains from things like tax cuts into general prosperity also claim (entirely seriously) that immigration is good enough for the economy that it will benefit everyone?

  13. George A.

    April 13, 2017 @ 7:23 pm

    13

    As soon as I read this line:

    “The jobs are there: you just have to learn programming (which you can do free, online)”

    I begun to feel sorry for this person and everyone around her who keeps up with her.

    Question to Philg (if you can answer by keeping this person secret): what does this person do for a living?

  14. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 8:22 pm

    14

    Smartest Woman:

    You’re right; the Facebooker didn’t use the word “deplorable” to describe non-Liberal Whites, but the woman she voted for did.

    You’re making an assumption about who this person voted for, though you’re probably correct. However, Hillary Clinton said that half, not all of Trump voters were racist or homophobic or anti-Semitic, etc. She described such attitudes as deplorable, which many Americans would agree with. Half of Trump voters works out to be just about 1 out of 10 Americans, fortunately not a large portion of the popultion. Polling conducted some time after Mrs. Clinton’s remarks indicated that she underestimated the bigotry of Trump voters. The polls showed that it was actually around 3/5 of Trump voters who held the views that Hillary described as deplorable.

    Also, there was plenty of evidence made available during the campaign that Trump himself is a bigot. So it may be the case that two-fifths of Trump voters are not deplorable. However, all Trump voters voted for a candidate who is himself deplorable.

  15. Neal

    April 13, 2017 @ 9:16 pm

    15

    Technological progress, the move to a global economy, and immigration all produced huge benefits for the U.S. economy while contributing to the struggles of the folks @philg calls “fly-over Deplorables” in roughly that order. The focus on immigrants is really a political ploy. Blaming “others” distracts from the real problems: (1) our political and economic system enabled a tiny fraction of the population to capture about half of those benefits and then squandered most of the balance on a terribly inefficient healthcare system, and (2) The solutions being offered by the current government won’t even address illegal immigration (the easiest of these issues to address) much less offer significant relief to those Americans who are struggling because of these (and other) economic transitions.

  16. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 9:38 pm

    16

    One thing I found interesting is the description of the struggling fly-over Deplorables as having “no education”. (Can’t fly over Midwestern Deplorables on Virgin America anymore. Who says that the elite are not suffering too?) They spent 13 years in what is pretty much the world’s most expensive K-12 system. How did they come out with “no education”?

    This is also unreasonable. There’s no indication that your Facebook friend thinks that no one in the Midwest has been educated. It’s unclear what sort of people she is referring to. Some not insignificant fraction of struggling people in the Rust Belt probably left school before receiving a high school diploma.

  17. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 9:43 pm

    17

    Modern immigration is destroying the historic american nation. Americans are being reduced to a disadvantaged minority in their own homeland. This is not about scapegoating over marxist class warfare. Plenty of people with plenty of money see the catastrophe that immigration is going to lead to this century.

  18. Neal

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:05 pm

    18

    @bobbybobbob – American citizens constitute over 90% of the population so whatever is happening it is not the case that “Americans are being reduced to a disadvantaged minority in their own homeland”.

  19. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:14 pm

    19

    Neal, your revealing comment really gets at the heart of the matter. You refuse to even acknowledge that there is such a thing as the American nation, in the historic sense of the term nation. To you this is just a place where people have proper documents while going about their business.

  20. Neal

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:15 pm

    20

    @bobbybobbob – To me this is just a place where “all men are created equal”.

  21. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:22 pm

    21

    Well good luck with that belief in about fifty years. The people we’re importing en masse don’t find it very important in terms of application of the law. As an idea it was very much wrapped up with the American people.

  22. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:22 pm

    22

    bobbybobbob:

    So you’re claiming that some people who have documents that indicate that they’re American citizens are not part of a cohort that you call the historic American nation. What sort of people would these be?

  23. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:27 pm

    23

    It’s a fuzzy set, but if you fly overseas to visit family you’re less American than those who can’t.

  24. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:30 pm

    24

    That sounds like an argument against all immigration. I know that it sounds tedious, but the vast majority of the population is descended from immigrants.

  25. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:33 pm

    25

    Not really. The American nation mostly grew by natural increase over the centuries. “Nation of Immigrants” is a lie.

  26. Vince

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:37 pm

    26

    American Indians make up, what, one out of 50 Americans. Immigration has to responsible nearly all of the people. We’re a nation immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.

  27. bobbybobbob

    April 13, 2017 @ 10:41 pm

    27

    You are confusing settlers and pioneers with immigrants. The former conquered, built, and populated the nation, while the latter showed up for cushier jobs.

  28. Neal

    April 14, 2017 @ 12:21 am

    28

    @bobbybobbob: I am not “less American” (or more American) than any other American.

  29. Viking

    April 14, 2017 @ 12:26 am

    29

    This debate was funny. When I read the comment about no education, I saw the part about the elite suffering no virgin air etc, and missed the parenthesis, which made it look like:

    Who says that the elite are not suffering too?) They spent 13 years in what is pretty much the world’s most expensive K-12 system. How did they come out with “no education”?

    I thus concluded the facebook friends had been educated in Massachusetts, the most expensive K-12 in the world, and ended up with no evidence of education.

  30. Manxane

    April 14, 2017 @ 12:28 am

  31. Vince

    April 14, 2017 @ 11:59 am

    31

    You are confusing settlers and pioneers with immigrants. The former conquered, built, and populated the nation, while the latter showed up for cushier jobs.

    The significance of this is unclear. If the settlers and pioneers were born outside the country, then they were immigrants. One of my great-grandfathers came over from Central Europe around 1910 and found work in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania. He wasn’t a settler or a pioneer, but he didn’t have a cushy job either.

    It’s also worth noting that a large portion of all soldiers and sailors who fought in the wars from the Revolution to WW2 were probably immigrants or children of immigrants.

    Furthermore, it sounds like you would be against the policies that exist in Canada and Australia, which gives preferences to educated people in their immigration laws. Those would just be people seeking cushy jobs.

  32. Zapiens

    April 14, 2017 @ 12:00 pm

    32

    @Manxane

    One of the required documents for the teaching faculty job at UCSD is:

    “Statement of Contributions to Diversity – Applicants should summarize their past or potential contributions to diversity. See our Faculty Equity site for more information.”

  33. Manxane

    April 14, 2017 @ 12:52 pm

    33

    @Zapiens

    I was more.concerner about the “Potential Security of Employment” in the job description.

    Would make the parents so proud to spend 10 years in school to.finally get a job with potential security…

  34. Viking

    April 14, 2017 @ 1:08 pm

    34

    The job category of this position is only half bad. It looks like a fixed term position with potential for turning into a tenure track position. This type of position is above postdoc and adjunct professor.

    A really bad position is adjunct professor teaching, which only makes sense for people who have secure sources of income, and like the prestige of being a professor.

  35. Tom

    April 14, 2017 @ 2:37 pm

    35

    The jobs are there: you just have to learn programming (which you can do free, online)

    Furthermore, “let them eat cake”.

  36. Tom

    April 14, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

    36

    But a statement like that does make you ponder why programming is such a crap occupation. My guess is it’s all founded on ridiculous EULAs and a basic lack of responsibility stemming from this. No skin in the game.

  37. Tom

    April 14, 2017 @ 2:48 pm

    37

    “Statement of Contributions to Diversity – Applicants should summarize their past or potential contributions to diversity. See our Faculty Equity site for more information.”

    I’m considering sending in my application but I’m hesitating at the last moment. It’s either this one

    Dear Sirs, I have had semi-romantic relations with numerous women of many races during my travels in the Third World, wherefore I consider myself uniquely qualified with respect to a broad panoply of foreign cultures and Diversity. As part of this I may also have contributed a number of multiracial “optimals” to the human species. If hired, I do swear I shall furthermore zealously continue with these important efforts for the foreseeable future.

    or

    Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.

  38. superMike

    April 14, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

    38

    Why “Learn programming”? Why not “Learn venture-caplitaling”? (Is there a degree or licensure requirement for that?)

  39. Smartest Woman on the Internet

    April 14, 2017 @ 5:11 pm

    39

    @superMike: Why not “Learn venture-caplitaling”? (Is there a degree or licensure requirement for that?)

    How many tens of thousands of H-1B visas does the US government give each year to foreign VCs?

  40. anonymous

    April 14, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

    40

    you just have to learn programming (which you can do free, online)
    I have to deal with the aftermath of code written by people with CS degrees who seem to have taught themselves programming by recursively googling stackoverflow. You haven’t seen anything until you see a multi-threaded c program written by someone who doesn’t know what the hell (s)he is doing fail spectacularly. The point being, a roofer in Huntington, West Virginia couldn’t do any worse. Can you bring back ArsDigita University with matriculation limited to deplorables in Middle America?

  41. sabbir@clipping path service

    April 15, 2017 @ 12:26 am

    41

    ely googling stackoverflow. You haven’t seen anything until you see a multi-threaded c program written by someone who doesn’t know what the hell (s)he is doing fail spectacularly. The point being, a roofer in Huntington, West Virginia couldn’t do any worse. Can you bring ba

  42. Mark

    April 15, 2017 @ 1:30 am

    42

    I’ve thus concluded that the vast majority of “Facebookers” who write these manefestos aren’t very smart. Literally. They just aren’t very smart. They’re committed and well-meaning, but not very reasonable.
    I forgot who is credited with this statement:
    Remain silent and people can only assume you are dumb. Open your mouth and you confirm the assumption.
    The Facebooker you quoted hasn’t lived within ten miles of any of the folk she described. And her children have not been bogged down in a public school that gets crushed by these no English speaking immigrant’s no English speaking children.
    I’d bet my 7-Series on that one…

  43. Tom

    April 15, 2017 @ 3:40 am

    43

    Nothing well-meaning about it.

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