Arguments that indiscriminate immigration is socially beneficial are too widespread to pick upon in detail — spend any time over at The Economist or, for the full-throttle ‘altruistic’ version, Bryan Caplan’s place, to be inundated in them. It’s hard to see how a lack of selectivity could ever be advantageous from the perspective of the demographic recipient, but the whole discussion evades a far more toxic problem. If a case for the mass implantation of unscreened foreign populations is couched in the language of self-interest — however misguidedly — it can, at least potentially, be engaged rather than merely diagnosed. (This blog has no problem with immigration in general whatsoever.)
Far more disturbing to any surviving assumptions about sane social policy decisions is the very different argument (exemplified by the Cathedral-crazed second questioner in this clip (via)) that immigration is a punishment to be embraced, in a form of religiously-intoxicated, collective self-flagellation, to scourge the sin-blackened Occident, unendingly, for its ineliminable historical crimes. This is ethnomasochism in its purest instantiation, and argument is wholly irrelevant against it. Such moral-religious convulsants do not want ‘good’ (productive, orderly, talented, aspirational) immigration. They want the lash. No ‘racist’ profile of potential immigrant groups can be vicious enough to elicit aversion, on the contrary — the more harm that is promised by the incomers, the more sobbing gratitude accompanies the invitation. Immigration is meant to be torture, so what use are brainy, well-behaved entrepreneurs? The ideal immigrant in this vision of infinitized moral purgation is not a social asset, but a wretched, dysfunctional parasite, or better still an arrogant, contemptuous aggressor. ‘Model minorities’ are erased from the picture entirely, because they do not exact the suffering that is so ardently desired. (“You can wander through Chinatown late at night without being robbed, beaten, or raped — what’s the possible spiritual value in that?”) To repeat the essential, and hideously consequential point: Immigration is supposed to punish us.
This is the terminal pathology of Western Civilization, in its ‘highest’ state of expression. There is not much that can be said to be fortunate about it, except that it cannot be indefinitely prolonged.