Monday, May 22, 2006

Mary Ann Glendon on Immigration

Professor Glendon holds forth on immigration in the newest First Things.

She credibly links American demand for young workers to our culture's antipathy towards reproductive sex. Many have complained mass emigration from Mexico relieves pressure on elites to address the corrupt areas of their culture. Though Glendon doesn't explicitly make the connection, being sympathetic to mass migration herself, immigration into the United States relieves pressures of our own, like the need to reconsider our own anti-natalist corruptions.

Glendon writes compellingly about the cultural effects of private actions en masse:

Those same years, to be sure, saw impressive advances for many women and members of minority groups. But not all the innovations represented progress. Some tended to undermine the cultural foundations on which free, just, and egalitarian societies depend. For example, the notion gained wide acceptance that behavior in the highly personal areas of sex and marriage is of no concern to anyone other than the “consenting adults” involved. With the passage of time, however, it has become obvious that the actions of private individuals in the aggregate exert a profound influence on other individuals and on society as a whole.

Yet it is more than a bit obvious that the actions of immigrants from abroad will themselves bring private habits with major effects in the aggregate. Glendon raises the very serious problem of cultural practices in sexual matters, but as is typical in immigration debates she shies away from analyzing the specific cultural transformations which, for good and ill, Hispanic immigration will likely bring. If one can analyze the dysfunctions of libertine culture with intelligence, it seems one should grant Latin culture similar consideration.

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