Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Why Do Migrants Always Flock to the West?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

16 Thoughts on “Why Do Migrants Always Flock to the West?

  1. Ted Buila on September 18, 2015 at 12:15 am said:

    Re: “…. Many ordinary middle-class Westerners” At least here in the States the “many ordinary Westerners” came here for the same reason/s. God help the Native Americans but when they are finally “liquidated” America will be a 100% immigrant country. So what’s the point you’re driving at? Is it the we Americans are good guys and Europe is two-faced when it comes to immigrants/refugees? If so I think you could have said it in a paragraph. Punt.

    • Proudly Unaffiliated on September 19, 2015 at 7:04 am said:

      VDH kindly offers us, free of charge via his blog, several thought provoking articles that are designed to help us understand what is happening. His work is loaded with facts, often historical facts not readily found elsewhere. Fortunately for us, VDH has the historical perspective and insight to connect dots (facts, events, etc.) in this novel and instructive way. So the point is always this with his work– read it, think about it, learn from it. I know his articles (and books) enrich my understanding of the world.

    • You should consult a dictionary for the definition of “immigrant.” I was born here, and so was my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. I have no identity but American; to say that I am somehow still an “immigrant” because I am not an Amerind is racialist. The Amerinds migrated here, too, originally, but that’s not the point. The article is about Western nations being held, by themselves and others, to absurd standards when it comes to illegal immigrants who come to partake of the freedom and affluence of a Western culture they hatefully reject. If you didn’t get that, I suggest you reread the article, perhaps with your eyes open this time.

  2. The Economist and the Wall Street Journal and the U.S. Chamber will praise these invasions because they see migrants as economic units that should be shunted across borders just as cash is. Labor units are like financial units. They don’t see the cultural or political fallout of treating people this way – such as the death of the 2-party system in the U.S., now in its early stages. The old U.S. melting pot worked because of shared religion for almost all, learning English by all, and shared European ethnicity. A generic American emerged to make up 85% of the 20th century population. Such assimilation doesn’t happen as easily with Muslims, Latinos, and some Asians.

    • Neither do they see the economic impact. Or perhaps they see it but all they are concerned about are corporate profits. When you import poverty into the United States you make the country poorer. It’s basic math, as you have to divide the national GDP by the size of population. If these people are contributing less than the average GDP figure then they are dragging down the average, which makes the country poor.

      Conversely for the countries exporting their populations, they are become wealthier just by exporting their poor people. Puerto Rico pioneered this, but Mexico quickly learned. All of Puerto Rico’s poor people are in New York and other American cities. Puerto Rico itself, by getting rid of its poor, has by far the highest GDP per capita in Latin America–nearly three times the average.

      There is simply no way that importing poor people into the United States makes the country wealthier. It’s mathematically impossible.

      They only people who benefit are the rich who get cheap labor for their factories, cheap labor to mow their lawns and care for their children. That’s it. Everybody else will be paying higher taxes to school the immigrant children and pay for all the other services. No one should have any illusions about it: third world immigration is very, very expensive and gets more and more expensive as time goes on.

  3. Some perspective on migration from that ancient Roman Seneca on his glorious Rome which acted as a powerful magnet to migrants of his day.

    “Look, I pray you, on these vast crowds, for whom all the countless roofs of Rome can scarcely find shelter: the greater part of those crowds have lost their native land: they have flocked hither from their country towns and colonies, and in fine from all parts of the world.

    Some have been brought by ambition, some by the exigencies of public office, some by being entrusted with embassies, some by luxury which seeks a convenient spot, rich in vices, for its exercise, some by their wish for a liberal education, others by a wish to see the public shows. Some have been led hither by friendship, some by industry, which finds here a wide field for the display of its powers. Some have brought their beauty for sale, some their eloquence: people of every kind assemble themselves together in Rome, which sets a high price both upon virtues and vices.

    Bid them all to be summoned to answer to their names, and ask each one from what home he has come: you will find that the greater part of them have left their own abodes, and journeyed to a city which, though great and beauteous beyond all others, is nevertheless not their own”.

    It would appear in our time that the degree of ‘melting into the pot’ and engaging with contribution toward the new relatively ‘affluent’ Western hosts and their societies would depend indeed on how migrants make those societies their ‘own’. It would appear that there will be challenges of how democracies will function alongside its social aspects.

    If Latin America and the Islamic nations dump the ‘material’ well being and quality of life responsibilities to their peoples off to the West it could arguably be a prescription for disaster. The West indeed looks to be that ‘great city on seven hills’ but there has to be economic limits of what can be done. And on that the disenchantment perhaps could rear its head where some will never say they can ever call the West ‘their own’.

  4. Contributor Buila is mistaken. The remote ancestors of American Indians (European names originally, but so also are the words Native Americans) also invaded the western hemisphere, and were just as likely to practice conquest and empire-building as the later arrivals from Europe and Africa. Their descendants are thriving, in part thanks to modern medical practices. In the United States many of these descendants have acquired new skills, such as operating gambling casinos and especially in making Native America Studies and important presence on all up-to-date colleges and universities.

  5. James Heimer on September 18, 2015 at 9:12 am said:

    America is 100% immigrant, as the Native Americans are themselves immigrants from Asia. What makes them a unique class of immigrants is that they have been afflicted with the benevolent care of the government, which has kept them apart from the mainstream of American culture into which later immigrants have merged, and consigned them to government dependence and poverty.

    That is beside the point. As VDH points out, both the US and Europe are uniform in their treatment of waves of immigrants. “Migrants — many of them young men — come in such numbers that Western immigration laws are often rendered null and void. Western nations tend to apply their exacting immigration laws only to the much smaller number of immigrants who obey the law.” Both the US and Europe at “two-faced” in this regard, with the elites of both continents above the fray and immune to the consequences of unfettered immigration.

  6. David Park on September 18, 2015 at 11:02 am said:

    Tell the migrants or refugees or whatever you want to call those seeking the West the words of Obama: ‘You didn’t make this.’ And add another suggestion to that message:’You probably helped make that from which you are fleeing’.

  7. Proudly Unaffiliated on September 19, 2015 at 6:52 am said:

    Another excellent article from VDH. I did not know that the Mexican govt issued comic books to citizens to instruct them them on how to illegally get to the US. Wow…

    This article and the latest invasion wave into Europe got me thinking: we may be seeing this sort of “mass civilian migration” being weaponized. Sure, individuals will have to decide to move on their own, but conditions can be set up to encourage this. The actual nation state that benefits from this will never be the country being invaded but it may not be as obvious as with Mexico. The US and Russia are fighting a resource and proxy war in Syria now, so many refugees showing up in the west only creates problems for those governments and societies.

    Food for thought, as VDH supplies routinely.

  8. The rule of law, private property rights and free trade are the catalyst for assimilation, commonality and prosperity. The obvious and tremendous wealth created on the North American Continent in the 19th and 20th century are all too soon forgotten by this narcissist generation. This is the quality of life, comfort and leisure, prosperity and liberty that the the acticent Spartants dreamed of and fought for. Unfortunately it is being squandered by the ignorant psuedo intellectuals of this 21st century. They are willing to tear down all that has be achieved rather than take this model for raising humanity out of the muck and mire to the third world. Paul David Hewson ( Bono ) offered an suggestion that to relieve the population of Africa from poverty more Capatalist Policies would be the fastest way to prosperity. Hernando De Soto’s ” Mistery of Capital” presents the settled science of prosperity through private property rights, the rule of law and free and open markets. Dr. Victor David Hanson’s ” Carnage and Culture ” exposes the beauty of this type of liberty that only the west has ever provided to the common man and why it’s worth fitting for. Many paragraphs have been written and still the settled science of prosperity falls on the lefts deaf ears.

  9. Ted
    The European migrants from 1850 to 1930 were legal and all passed through legal points of entry. The criminal element was refused entry, although some passed through the cracks.

    Mexico is helping to send many of there undesirables to the US. Although the majority of the Illegal Hispanics will in time become good citizens many more also comprise a growing criminal class. The criminal class after one DUI, misdemeanor or felony should be immediately deported to their country of origin whether that country likes it or not..

  10. Anthony Mxyzptli on September 19, 2015 at 10:40 am said:

    Ted Buila — The Native Americans are in no danger of being “liquidated” as you put it. Not only are many of the tribes becoming very wealthy through “Indian casinos”, but they have complex and detailed recordkeeping of their members, which is used in aiding the court system in child custody cases where a child is suspected of having partial Native American ancestry.

    In addition, the Native Americans did not originate in North and South America either. They simply came here earlier than the Europeans, by an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 years. They were Asian immigrants rather than European immigrants, and many people believe they crossed via the Bering Straits. It seem to me that some of them may have been Pacific Islanders who arrived by boat, but the important point is that no human group originated in North America.

    For that matter, if one believes the “Afrocentric” theory of human evolution (that the human race originated solely in Africa), then every continent except Africa is populated by “immigrants”.

  11. If there was a message out there that they’re unwelcome, they probably wouldn’t come, but at best, there is a mixed message. And at times, or perhaps most of the time, the message sent to the third world is that their populations are wanted in America and in Europe. Only Japan is smart enough to telegraph the message that they would rather build robots to compensate for the diminishing size of their labor force.

    But Germany says to the mideast we need your labor, we need your breeding skills to build up our population. America says to its southern neighbors we need your peons, your unskilled labor and we’re not going to worry about the future consequences of what happens in the near future when Japanese-designed machinery makes their unskilled labor unnecessary and renders them unemployed. We’ll let future generations deal with what to do with the millions of unemployed peons in America then. In the meanwhile, multiply and be happy.

    The largely-white and christian elite mentioned in this article do not think in terms of consequences, strategy, raison d’etat or the survival of a nation or civilization. They think in terms of multiculturalism and social justice. In the “long” term this naive way of thinking means unfortunately the end of western civilization. But things happen so fast in this time and age that “long term” could mean as little as a hundred years for Europe to become mostly muslim and for a return to the religious wars of the past and more refugee flows, this time with Christians fleeing Europe for the Americas.

    • ” We’ll let future generations deal with what to do with … billions of peons worldwide. A great shake-out has begun. Lofty ideas give way to desperate attempts to hold on to what has been. 200 trillion of worldwide debt—–Globalization is teetering. Human nature prevents front-running problems with laser-beam focus. March forward in time—-precious hydrocarbons and the land of eternal war, the Middle-East

  12. I spot an underlying concept behind this immigration which displays sufficient characteristics of an invasion. This concept is inheritance. They believe if we in the West can simply inherit peace and prosperity from the generations that came before us, they can too. Mere location of residence would entitle one to inherit the West.

    It is tragic that the West completely forgot that peace and prosperity have not always been inherited. Every once in a while a generation had to fight for it and actually did. Looking at these young men coming into Europe I ask myself why don’t they fight for the type of country and life they want. I have a feeling that what they really want would not be radically different from the ambitions of dictators and islamists alike.

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