Immigration

The Perils of Zero-Sum Worldviews on the Left and Right

The awful ideology of the perpetrator of the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand is one of many examples of how far-right nationalists and far-left socialists have more in common than we often think. Both worldviews rest on the dangerous assumption that the we are locked in a zero-sum game in which some groups can only succeed and prosper at the expense of others.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Some may find it surprising that the perpetrator of the recent horrific New Zealand terrorist attack that killed fifty Muslim worshipers in two mosques, combined seemingly right-wing nationalism with seemingly left-wing socialism and environmentalism. He hates nonwhite immigrants to Western nations, but also hates capitalism and capitalists, and believes that we must take draconian measures to stave off environmental catastrophe. People who perpetrate "lone wolf" terrorist attacks often have strange and idiosyncratic ideas. But in this case, the terrorist's worldview is less unusual than it might seem. A similar combination of views is evident in many xenophobic nationalist movements, both past and present. Socialists and nationalists have their differences. But they also have much in common, including a zero-sum view of the world.

Anti-immigrant nationalist parties in Europe often combine hostility to nonwhite immigration with support for extensive government control of the economy. That's true of such cases as the National Front in France (now renamed as the "National Rally") and the AfD in Germany. Such parties often also often blame immigrants for real and imagined environmental degradation, just as the perpetrator of the New Zealand attack does. Numbers USA, one of the most influential anti-immigration organizations in the US, has similar views, including advocating coercive population blaming immigrants for environmental degradation. James Tanton, a founder of the organization and other leading restrictionist groups is also a longtime advocate of coercive population restriction.

Similarly, the perpetrator of the New Zealand attack argues that environmentalism and immigration restriction "are the same issue [because] the environment is being destroyed by over population, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment." Some influential far-left environmentalists have also advocated coercive population control, including defending China's cruel "one child" policy.

In the early twentieth century, the Nazis promoted an even more extreme form of racial nationalism, and combined that with even more extreme government control over the economy. Hitler advocated extermination of the Jews and the conquest of other European nations primarily because he had concluded that that was the only way Germans could survive and prosper in a zero-sum world.

Racial nationalists and socialist far leftists share a common zero-sum view of the world under which some groups can succeed and prosper only at the expense of others. It is easy to see how that sort of world view often leads adherents to believe that drastic action—including violence—is essential to ensure that the "right" people end up as winners in this cruel zero-sum world. I discussed this crucial commonality in greater detail here:

Psychologists find that people are often naturally suspicious of "out groups" different from their own, and therefore more likely to suspect them of nefarious activities of various kinds…

Many Americans worry about our trade deficit with Japan or Mexico in a way that few do about New York's trade deficit with Iowa, or their personal trade deficits with their local supermarket. This, despite the fact that economists across the political spectrum recognize that none of these deficits actually say anything meaningful about our economic performance.

In addition to helping stoke fear of out groups, ignorance also exacerbates prejudice by contributing to the perception that the world is a zero-sum game. As Donald Trump likes to put it, nations like Mexico and Japan are "winning" and the United States is "losing" because they sell more goods to us than we do to them. Similarly, if Group A is doing well, it must be at the expense of B, C, and D. Understanding the fallacy of such thinking requires some knowledge of basic economics, and often also some reasonably careful reflection about the evidence…

The Nazis held a particularly extreme version of the view that the world economy is a zero-sum game. But more moderate – yet still dangerous – versions of the same world-view remain common on both right and left.

Zero-sum thinking need not always lead to racial and ethnic hostility, or xenophobia. It is also often channeled in other directions, such as hostility to the wealthier members of one's own ethnic group or society. In some cases, it leads to a combination of both fear of foreigners and fear of the wealthy.

For example, unexpectedly popular Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders echoes Donald Trump's hostility to international trade, while simultaneously arguing that ordinary Americans can only be economically successful by redistributing vast wealth from "the 1 percent." Until recently, he also expressed considerable hostility towards immigration, denouncing the idea of free migration of labor as a plot by "the Koch brothers" and other malevolent billionaires, which would impoverish the working class and end up "doing away with the concept of a nation state."

Still, zero-sum thinking often leads to fear of out groups, such as foreigners or minorities. If the world is a zero-sum game, we often naturally assume that our only recourse is to ensure that "our" group ends up among the "winners" rather than the "losers," as Trump might put it. Although often associated with the nationalist right, such thinking is not limited to any one side of the political spectrum. In both America and Europe, left-wing political movements have often been susceptible to it, as well – a pattern evident in the hostility of many early-twentieth century Progressives to immigrants and racial minorities, and in the recent rise of left-wing anti-Semitism in Europe.

Fortunately, most nationalists and socialists aren't willing to go so far as to personally commit acts of terrorism. But all too many are willing to advocate large-scale coercion that inflicts great harm on large numbers of people, in order to ensure that they and their preferred causes don't end up as losers in a zero-sum world. Everything from barring migrants fleeing horrible oppression, to separating immigrant children from parents in order to deter them from entering, to coercive population control, to massive expropriation of property, and repression of "capitalists" in order to transfer the nation's wealth to "the people." The list can easily be extended.

There is no easy way to combat zero-sum thinking on either the left or the right. Both have deep roots in a combination of political and economic ignorance and basic human psychology, which makes us susceptible to "in group-out group" hostility. But perhaps the beginning of wisdom is to recognize that most of our economic and social interactions do not have to be zero-sum games in which gains for one group must come at the expense of another.

Far from enriching natives, immigration restrictions often end up undermining their freedom and prosperity as well as that of potential immigrants. Standard economic estimates indicate that free migration throughout the world would double world GDP, with many of the gains going to natives, not just migrants. Natives lose the gains from trade with immigrants, and also suffer from the civil liberties violations inherent in efforts to keep out and deport migrants. Rich and poor are not locked in a zero-sum game either. To the contrary, they can prosper together through mutual exchange, and historically often have.

Pollution and global warming are genuinely serious problems. But addressing them does not require massive coercion or keeping millions of people in poverty. Historically, increasing wealth has actually led to reductions in pollution (after an initial increase early in the process of industrialization), as wealthy societies can more easily afford to invest in reducing pollution. Even when it comes to the particularly difficult challenge of climate change, there are ways to combat that simultaneously increase prosperity rather than stifle it. They include reducing regulatory obstacles to using nuclear power, cutting back on zoning restrictions that make it hard to build denser housing, and offering prizes for the development of new "clean" energy technologies. Where regulation is needed to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions, it should take the the scalpel form of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, rather than the meat cleaver of coercive population control and government takeovers of huge portions of the economy.

It would be naive to imagine that zero-sum games never occur. But they are far less common than either the far left or the nationalist right imagine. The more people come to understand that, the better.

NOTE: Because perpetrators of terrorist attacks often undertake them in large part to gain fame and media attention for themselves and their ideas, I have refrained from mentioning the name of the man who committed the New Zealand attack or linking to his "manifesto." I have instead linked to this helpful summary of his ideas, by James Peron. However, both the name and the manifesto are easily found online, for those who wish to read it for themselves.

UPDATE: In the original version of this post, I stated that Numbers USA advocates "coercive population control." However, while that is true of John Tanton, who helped found the organization, I have not see evidence that the organization promotes that idea today. Accordingly, I have edited the relevant part of the post to reflect that fact. I apologize for the mistaken conflation in the initial version.

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231 responses to “The Perils of Zero-Sum Worldviews on the Left and Right

  1. What’s with this, “Socialists and nationalists have their differences.”? Last time I looked, socialism and nationalism were orthogonal, and all four corners of the matrix were populated.

    That’s like saying, “People who like chocolate, and people who eat cake have their differences.”

    Or is this just trying to pretend that the Nazis weren’t really socialists?

    1. I find that quibble far outweighed by gratification at using the phrase “far left socialists”. It’s become standard practice to pretend that socialists are “just” left wing, and that anyone to right of them is “far right”.

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    3. It’s a little odd, it’s mixing economic systems (socialism) with social-organization structures (Nationalism)

      1. It was all the rage in 1930s & 1940s Germany…

        1. You mean the period when lots of socialist leaders ended up in concentration camps?

          1. You mean communist leaders?

          2. Leftism is tribalism. It should be obvious that not all tribalists are allies, as they are not all from the same tribes. To infer that some tribalists being sent to camps is proof that the rulers are not tribal themselves is absurd. They are just tribalists of a different tribe.

            Leftists have long argued that the Nazis must be right-wing because they ran against communists. This is ludicrous. They hated capitalism and everything else that the right, then or now, espouses, while being paragons of all left-wing ideals of their era. They were praised by socialists in other countries as they came to power, and condemned by capitalists.

            All the historical revisionism in the world can’t change the fact that the Nazis were left-wing.

    4. Communists are international socialists, fascists are national socialists.

  2. No one in my town, or my state gives (or should give) one droplet of shit if unfettered immigration would “double World GDP”. The free market will always result in greater overall wealth.
    You can twist the facts however you want, but Miltob Friedman is still right: you can have open borders, OR, a welfare state: pick one.
    The addition of 50 million people who can’t speak English and offer nothing but the ability to cut grass will not make the average American wealthier.

    1. The can also pound nails and wash clothes. That will certainly double our GDP

    2. The addition of 50 million people who can’t speak English and offer nothing but the ability to cut grass will not make the average American wealthier.

      I would take 50 million people who can’t speak English over someone like you anytime. At least they care about something and willing to work hard for it.

      1. Well, except for their home. They’d rather go elsewhere. But, yeah, they care about SOMETHING. That is good. I bet they’ll treat YOUR home with WAY more respect than they treated their own.

      2. So you choose to ignore the welfare use by households headed by an immigrant?

    3. People like you have been whining about immigrants destroying “their” country for much of our history. Yet we’ve only gotten richer and stronger. Your xenophobic lamentations will be ignored, as they always have been, and America will continue to prosper.

      1. Thanks for this
        “Against open borders ==”xenophobic”

        I’m all for recruiting as many people as we need to keep our population from cratering or getting to the point where retirees outnumber workers. But open borders is demographic suicide.
        If you are still too dense to understand this and want a visual example: look at India.
        Why isn’t India kicking everyone’s ass economically? Why is it, rather, a place where, 3 generations after the British left, a politician runs a winning national campaign on eliminating public defecation?

        1. …aren’t blue cities starting to basically ALLOW public defecation? Isn’t SF notorious for it?

          When your government is run less capably than fucking India — you might have problems.

        2. Because India embraced socialism? I am at a loss to understand what India has to do with immigration.

          1. India is the paradigm of the “aw, we don’t need any kind of demographic consistency, we will adjust” argument.
            India has 8 languages that serve as “native languages” to at least 30 million people; the US is struggling with the idea of a SECOND language, Spanish, with that kind of demographic heft. India is the very epitome of the “melting pot”: and it’s a zoo.

            1. Dunno if you should essentialize diversity.

              India got rogered both politically and infrastructure-wise but good back in the colonial days.

              1. India was a dysfunctional mess due to the caste system prior to colonial days, and would, all things held equal, likely would be worse off but for the British, and still burning widows as the funeral pyre.

                1. One of the problems we see with open borders, basic class of cultural values.
                  Do you chop off hands when people are accused of stealing, or hold a trial? Mutilate female genitalia? Cook land eat dogs? Treat people not of your religion like non persons? Even at the basic level, expect to haggle and or be cheated at the public market?
                  When you can’t agree about the basic expectations for laws and a legal system, you’re headed for a fall.

              2. Sarcastro, does anyone but whitey have responsibility for anything? You seem racist.

                1. Colonialism had a long reach and a long legacy, Jesse. Between Europe, and then the US/Russia, heavy is the head that is the hegemon and uses the world for it’s playground.

                  Turkey kept it’s own business. It owns most of it’s issues.

                  I also blame the Mongolians for Islam turning inward and becoming less xenophobic.

            2. You’re confusing cause and effect.

    4. The Friedman reference needs more attention.

      Too many here refuse to engage in the substance of the issue, instead hiding behind platitudes like “We’ve had immigration before and everyone didn’t die!”

      Turning our cultural tide strongly against the NAP is bad for liberty. There are a number of ways for that to happen, and we’re practicing one: Import a bunch of people with no NAP background, place them in an environment with strong anti-NAP incentives, and bombard them with anti-NAP media, “education”, and culture, while telling them that NAP adherents are racists.

      1. The NAP is a reductive and idealistic way to view the world.

        To use it as a reason why you shouldn’t have immigration is a new twist, but does show how under-determined it is, allowing one to rationalize anything.

        1. Lol. The communist calling others idealistic.

          1. You think I’m a communist?!!

            1. No, I think JesseAz is a bigot. The kind who have railed against the Irish, the Jews, the blacks, the Asians, the Catholics, the women, the Italians, the atheists, the gays, the Hispanics, the other Asians, and others throughout American history. The kind who have been beaten by better Americans in each of those debates. The kind who are disaffected right-wingers, have lost the culture war in America, and adore Pres. Trump. The kind the Conspiracy cultivates and flatters for an audience.

              Carry on, clingers. In compliance with the preferences of better Americans, of course . . . unless you actually think you are going to turn the tide of American progress.

    5. Having an inexpensive house cleaner so you can work more – or devote more time to leisure – doesn’t make you richer?

      1. Keeping in mind that most people aren’t wealthy enough to hire even an inexpensive house cleaner, in no small part because the inexpensive house cleaner’s brother helped bring down their wages?

        No.

        1. You can’t afford $50 every two weeks?

    6. “The free market will always result in greater overall wealth.”

      Yes, that’s why lifting immigration restrictions would double world GDP. Because labor is something traded in free markets, too.

      “The addition of 50 million people who can’t speak English and offer nothing but the ability to cut grass will not make the average American wealthier.”

      Even if America had no welfare state? Or was Milton Friedman wrong?

      1. Having read that paper, I’m a little dubious of its ultimate claims. Most notably, it appears to avoid any social upheaval that may result.

        World GDP could “just” as easily be doubled by doubling the birth rate in the first world. Same caveats about social upheaval are present.

        1. “World GDP could “just” as easily be doubled by doubling the birth rate in the first world.”

          Immigration restrictions are a government policy that can be relaxed. Forcing first worlders to breed would require massive government intervention. You’re not comparing apples to apples.

          If you want to contribute to the discussion, tell us about the social upheaval you view as inevitable from allowing markets to dictate the number of new immigrants entering a country.

          1. I don’t think massive interventions, but you’d need some changes in public policy for sure. A large increase in the tax deductions for children, and making SS payments a function of your childrens’ income would about do it.

            1. I’m skeptical that tax deductions meaningfully increase fertility but if you’ve seen some data on it, I can be convinced. The problem with the SS payment strategy is that fertility goes down as people need money less, with some exceptions. People who need money less are also less likely to be convinced to breed for money.

              1. Please refrain from using the offensive and hateful term “breed” (and “breeders”) when referring to human procreation. It is offensive.

          2. What social upheaval would come from 100 million new immigrants crashing onto America’s shores in a year?

            Mass housing crisis, mass poverty, resulting increase in crime, massive stress of the hospital network, massive stress of the social support network, etc…..

            I mean, what would you expect from an additional 100 million new people in the course of a year?

      2. Julian Simon isn’t wrong. In an economically free society, the more the better.

        With more people and economic power, solutions are developed to problems faster and faster, and, most counterintuitively, faster than they become serious. This is why Peak Oil faded to nothing, as it was just a retread of 1970s shortage scares. Same for AGW. The veracity is irrelevant — it will be solved without the presumed (by both sides) draconian government command and control of the economy.

    7. We are actually pretty lucky to have Mexico as the source of our illegal immigration. I mean look at Italy they get most of their illegal immigration from Libya.

      Mexico is Christian, has excellent food, they lots of cultural roots in the US, and they assimilate well, and they overwhelmingly come here to work. This isn’t to excuse illegal immigration, but it could be a lot worse, and legal limited term work visas could be a win win solution.I

      1. A Timeline

        Problem: Social Security is struggling, but Congress are cowards. But the math is inevitable: at some point there will be only 2 workers per retiree.

        Push the can down the road: Let people, younger workers, flow over the border, to buttress the tax base.

        Both sides agree!

        Later problem for Republicans: Becauee of general jerkiness, most new citizens from south of the border vote D.

        Democrats: We like that!

        Both: Neither side can admit this, so let’s fight over job loss vs. fairness or facism or some damned thing.

        See also Puerto Rican statehood and 2 extra senators for Democrats. Yours, Puerto Ricans, for the small price of paying federal income taxes!

        1. As a matter of fact, the GOP platform calls for statehood for Puerto Rico.

  3. To an open border fanatic, everything supports open borders.

    Too bad Sanders is a Soviet admirer who once [still?] favoed complete government ownership, his moves to oppose immigration would be humorous.

    1. Has anyone asked Bernie what he plans to do about wreckers, hoarders, and, saboteurs?

    2. A high rate of immigration interferes with nearly everything else liberals want to achieve in the United States. More people deplete the environment. A diverse population is more difficult to organize into labor unions than a homogeneous population. By competing for jobs and places to live immigrants lower wages and raise rents. As more non whites move to the United States, more white vote Republican.

      1. The only thing liberals want to achieve in the United States is power. Everything else is pretext, or at best a dispensable use for that power.

  4. The last time I looked nationalism did not over lap very much with socialism. And it doesn’t seem that the left, while often employing stupid ideas and offensive speech, has not marched into a crowded building and killed a bunch of people with an automatic weapon.

    To try and equate the tactics of a violence driven far right with a relatively non-violent, albeit incendiary verbal far left is not helpful to the debate.Timothy McVeigh and more recently, the far right perpertrators of violence in Charlottesville were not socialists.

    1. The reason you don’t see nationalism and socialism overlapping too much is because the NAZIs frightened everybody. It’s not because it’s an incoherent combination. But just as the cold war is getting far enough in the past that communism is starting to become fashionable again, so is national socialism.

      Both flavors of socialism tend to get pretty bloody, though most of the blood from both comes after they take power.

      1. The Nazis were awful as socilialists by any definition other than just looking at their name, Brett.

        1. Only if you’re taking a very, very shallow understanding of socialism, and of the meaning of “ownership”.

          The communists accomplished ‘common’ (government!) ownership of the means of production by openly taking ownership of those means of production, and having them run by government employees.

          The fascists accomplished the same goal by leaving them nominally in private hands, while regulating the businesses so stringently that the nominal owners became de facto government employees.

          In both cases the fundamental idea of socialism, ‘common’ (government) control of the means of production, instead of letting the means of production be owned/controlled by the private sector.

          In both cases the goal is the eventual elimination of the private sector.

          1. I’m not getting into a liberal fascism discussion yet again. Suffice to say ignoring their vastly different starting philosophical principals is to reduce all authoritarian governments into one simplistic thing.

            And then to back-engineer the governments into the philosophies once you’ve done that flattening? You’ve divided by zero – you can equate anything at that point.

            When you see all the evils in the world stemming from one source, that’s a sign you’ve got a pretty distorted worldview.

            Muslims-Nazis-Gays-Soviets-Atheists-Democrats. All the same to you?

            1. You guys are looking at them as political philosophies instead of memeplexes: gigantic congmomerations of memes evolving to spread to as many people as possible for the purpose of seizing power.

              These two only differ in one adopts the additional vector of nationalism, while retaining nominal private ownership, but with a heavy government “partnership”. The goal is the same as in any corrupt country: control of the business movers by those in power, so they can skim and divert to cronies.

              Both offer lack of freedom in the one thing that makes the west great: economic freedom. A nation with free speech but everything controlled by government is not free.

              1. memeplexes

                …No.

                Communism and Fascism are not bad faith populist brands. They are real, toxic, philosophies. Reducing them to merely populist brandings again proves way too much. Under that rubric, Hitler and Stalin and Trump and Obama and Churchill are all the same, as they are all politicians who tried for popular support in the hopes of attaining political power. The goal is the same, and the method is memes, after all!

                Using economic freedom as your sole political metric will screw up your perspective.

          2. This tends to happen when countries are engaged in large-scale war. A lot of the US economy was devoted to war production as well, and manufacturers were, at a minimum, strongly encouraged to shift away from consumer goods and work on supplying the military.

            It is not a good idea to judge how socialistic a country is based on its behavior during such periods.

            1. Considering the process started about 1933, which was years before any war started, it’s hard to blame it on the war economy.

              The Nazis were quite open about their policies: Strong social programs, strong capital restrictions, government “advisers” on all major business boards, limited business profits, high minimum wage, mandatory hiring, requiring government approval for firing of workers…

              There only reason the Nazis are considered “right-wing” is because the USSR got Europe to consider all forms of nationalism to be right-wing (as part of an attempt to support International Communism).

              1. Sure, but remember that part of Hitler’s program was to rearm Germany, and he turned a lot of effort towards that as soon as he took power. Maybe Germany wasn’t at war in the mid 1930’s, but they were definitely getting ready.

        2. That’s wishful thinking. If you look at their huge public capital projects, public education system, public health system, gun control, etc. etc. in the lead up to the war.

        3. Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism: at least it’s an ethos.

        4. “The Nazis were awful as socilialists…”

          All socialists are awful as socialists.

          1. Indeed. Are the Venezuelans awful socialists, too?

      2. Socialism is trying to ensure a good standard of living for everybody in society. In practise this means helping the outsiders: minorities, poor people, women, etc.

        “National Socialism” is trying to ensure the “right people” in society are taken care of and maintain their place, generally at the expense of the outsiders.

        The names are similar, but they’re almost completely opposite as philosophies.

    2. McVeigh was a Democrat. The cop killer in Houston was a Democrat. Scalise’s shooter was a Democrat. FTC shooting Democrat. Chikfila a Democrat. all motivated by politics. The left likes to point to Charlottesville and claim the right, but it was race based not politics based. There is a reason many kkk members are still Democrats, such as the southern California person who endorsed Hillary or the globalist from Australia this weekend. The left and the media love to attach the shootings to the right wing, but rarely actually do by more than a tenuous thread.

      1. “McVeigh was a Democrat.”

        He was a registered Republican and a member of the NRA. Neither group is responsible for his actions. Stop with the identity politics.

        1. He had been a member of the NRA, quit on the basis of them being too compromising. He’d also been a member of the GOP in the 1980’s, similarly left. So, no, he wasn’t any Unibomber.

          Maybe if he had been on the left he could have gotten a cushy teaching job at some college, like so many left-wing terrorists seem to manage.

  5. This entire thesis is completely wrong. Completely. Nowhere in the realm of nationalism does zero-sum logic appear in the slightest. At all.

    Nationalists do not argue that outsiders steal a slice of their pie. They argue that outsiders destroy the pie-making.

    1. outsiders destroy the pie-making

      Why would they? Everyone likes pie.

      1. Arguing over whether the nationalists are right is orthogonal to the question of whether this article defines their beliefs properly.

        1. So you’re speaking for nationalists, but not supporting them? Tricky position to take.

      2. I only like two kinds of pie: warm pie and cold pie.

      3. Liking pie doesn’t mean you don’t trash the kitchen while stealing the pie.

        1. It’s pretty dubious anyone is stealing the pie. Illegals work too. Harder than you or I, no doubt.

          Maybe yell at the people who employ them, who are willing to allow a bit of serfdom if it lets them buy a few more pies for themselves.

          1. In this case “stealing the pie” refers to bringing with them the culture that created the horrible economy they’re fleeing. And, of course, no small amount of living off the dole. (Yeah, they’re not supposed to, but those fake IDs are useful for more than buying beer.)

            1. bringing with them the culture that created

              You mean not voting how you want. Meh.

              1. So, you are you admitting that if hispanics voted as socially conservative Catholics *should* vote, then you wouldn’t support immigration so staunchly?

                1. So, you are you admitting that if hispanics voted as socially conservative Catholics *should* vote, then you wouldn’t support immigration so staunchly?

                  You mean like when they voted for Prop 8, stunning the other Democratic factions?

            2. “…to bringing with them the culture that created the horrible economy they’re fleeing.”

              I think we can all agree that Mexico’s problems are caused by Mexican food and pan flutists. Wait no we can’t, I love Mexican food more than American food, and I’ll fist fight you over it.

              I think you mean they will bring with them the destructive policies that led to the economy they’re fleeing, which is dumb because if they wanted those policies, they’d just stay in Mexico. Do you think Cuban refugees are really longing for communism in America?

              1. The “culture” in question tends to be familist/tribalist with a strong tradition of ignoring the law whenever convenient.
                Mexico was an extremely corrupt country even before the cartels experienced their massive growth, and most of the rest of Central America was even worse. If you were related to the right people, you didn’t get a job, you didn’t get police protection, your contracts *might* show up (after taking your money) but certainly wouldn’t bother doing a good job.

                These people don’t long for communism or corruption, but the don’t know anything else. In small numbers, they can integrate into the US culture. In large numbers, you get ghettos.

                1. Right. In the third world, and not just Latin America, there is a sense that the law and societal mores only really matter to the extent that you can’t get away with breaking them. Look at the way Hispanics drive here as an example.

                2. “These people don’t long for communism or corruption, but the don’t know anything else.”

                  Yes, they do. That’s why they’re moving. They hear about how things are different, somewhere else, and flock to it.

                  1. People bring a socio-culture with them when they move. Sometimes they lose pieces of it as they assimilate into the native culture. Sometimes the native culture is overwhelmed by the culture that is immigrating in. And much of the time, there’s a period when the two cultures overlap, and conflict can result.

                    Let’s give a simple example of culture…bribing the cops. That’s just not done in the US (at least not openly). In other countries…well, a $100 under the license and the cop may see his or her way into letting you go.

                    Why? What makes the difference between these two situations? To a first approximation the bribe makes sense. The cop makes out better, and the person making the bribe makes out better. Why not? But to a larger societal standpoint, it’s not an advantageous cultural trait.

                    1. “But to a larger societal standpoint, it’s not an advantageous cultural trait.”

                      Right, and what makes you think cop-bribing isn’t the sort of thing that people who move from one place to another are intentionally fleeing?

              2. No. They are fleeing the RESULTS of the destructive policies. They either aren’t smart enough or are delusional enough to not make the connection between the destructive policies they supported and the results that they are fleeing. That’s why they continue to vote for socialistic policies the moment they can.

    2. Maybe they saw the movie about what Americans do to pie.

    3. Yea, just because they’re trying to take our jobs, doesn’t mean it’s zero sum. Because they aren’t going to fill our jobs with themselves, they’re just going to murder the jobs. Nationalists are just trying to save jobs.

  6. Good thing this author is around to label everyone. Now he just needs to define everything for us too. Is this exemplary of elite academic reasoning? Not very impressive.

    1. Labeling is the sort of thing that *spits* elites do.

  7. I think the author gets something right in this. It isn’t about being “left”, “right”, “center” or whatever. It is about respecting others and knowing that there is actually more than one way to live in this world.

    Thinking that your way is the only way possible and that anyone that doesn’t agree with you is evil never leads to any good.

    1. Fine platitudes, and we can all join hands and condemn the Leftists for simultaneously insisting that no way is better than any other while also calling opposition to socialism “bigotry.”

      But at the end of the day, I am more productive, wealthy, healthy, and capable than most other people, and that’s largely the product of good choices. Equal opportunity is not equal results, and trouble results from basing a campaign for tolerance on multiculturalist drivel.

      1. I am more productive, wealthy, healthy, and capable than most other people, and that’s largely the product of good choices.

        This very much assumes facts not in evidence.

        Especially productive, as you appear to be a lawyer 😛

      2. You’re an above-average dickhead with the degree to prove it. Congratulations on your recent bar passage.

  8. They serve pie in prison every now and then. A nut job in Norway can kill 75 teens to make a point, and another in New Zealand can butcher 49, and various others in the USA can do their share. All they have to do is throw up their hands when the cops show up and they can enjoy that occasional pie the rest of their lives and glory in their notoriety.

    That is how the liberal democracies fall apart. They no longer have the moral courage to punish anybody for anything. They won’t punish the Boeing execs who made hideous decisions regarding an auto-pilot system for a situationally unstable aircraft and the degree of pilot training absolutely necessary to cope with that situation. Not even with the felony negligent manslaughter convictions those execs deserve.

    They won’t punish the abortionist who induces labor and drowns the living, viable infant produced in a tub of saline solution on the theory that the umbilical cord still makes it the mother’s property to murder. Any nation of people that thinks that is OK wonderful probably deserves to be put down like dogs by an angry God.

    More than all that, nations without the moral courage we had as recently as the Cuban Missile Crisis probably can not preserve democracy in a world increasingly populated with nuclear armed totalitarians. Especially when those tyrannical regimes have some economic clout and can use lobbyists and buy influence in America’s absolutely clueless and for-sale legacy media.

    1. Not sure what your general nihilism about America has to do with zero-sum worldviews since if everything is inevitably crap, why not try for mercy and empathy where you can?

      Pivoting from the death penalty to underenforcement of white color crime is a helluva whip-saw.

      I can’t think of anywhere falling apart because murderers feel like they have carte-blanch. Thinking that there’s an upper class that’s above the law, on the other hand…that’s lead to quite a few revolutions.

      As for your fire and brimstone about abortion, that’s just getting your church in my state.

      1. Well, wait and see. The Old Testament God was a great one for group punishment.

        1. I suspect the Lord will spare us if he can find just one just man.

        2. How long do you expect the end of liberal democracies will take? Asking for a friend.

  9. These types of arguments ignore reality. You make 10% of Americans much poorer. Those 10% are supposed to feel better because the other 90% are very slightly better off on average ? with the average skewed because the top 5% reaps fabulous gains?

    You make a sizable fraction of the population worse off, they are going to want to defend themselves. The faster you do it, the faster society destabilizes. Even if you’re right and it’s only temporary. Making some other people richer won’t help. And the more difference between the people who immediately benefit and the people who temporarily lose out, the more instability you get.

    People aren’t statistics. You complain about zero sum thinking, why don’t you acknowledge it as a reality and adjust your policy implementation (or the speed of it) based on that reality?

    1. Actually, in practice it’s more like making 90% of Americans poorer, and 10% much better off.

      1. Whichever fraction, the people who lose out are going to want to defend themselves.

        The most common response to their plight seems to be to name-call and taunt them. Even the responses that aren’t outright hostile lack humanity.

        And then you get Trump and Brexit and Duarte and Bolsonaro. And still the idealogues don’t learn anything.

        1. “Whichever fraction, the people who lose out are going to want to defend themselves.”

          Right. That’s what the post is about. Zero-sum thinking is believing that there is a total benefit of X to be split between the 90% and 10% you talk about. Left out of the discussion entirely is the benefit of the immigrants. And a nuanced discussion as to whether the 90% are better off (in sum) than the 10% are worse off. Because if the 90% are better off (in total) than the 10% are worse off, it’s not zero-sum and the optimum policy choice should be to side with the 90%, even if the 10% protest.

          1. What about the other side of that coin? The 10% are much much better off, while the 90% are mildly worse off? Let’s put some hypothetical numbers to it.

            Hypothetically, the 10% increase their incomes by 100%, while the 90% each reduce their income by 10%. That’s not even a net zero thinking, it’s an overall increase. Is it the optimum policy choice though?

            1. Whether it is an “optimum policy choice” is neither here nor there. It isn’t zero-sum. In a democracy, it probably won’t matter, because the 90% outnumber the 10%. The 90% prefer sub-optimal outcomes that make themselves better off.

              But that’s why people arguing for sub-optimal outcomes want to insist that it is zero-sum. They have to motivate people to think in those terms to get them to encourage sub-optimal social policies.

              Notice, again, that your hypothetical does not factor in any benefits to the immigrants.

              1. It’s not “zero sum”…. People simply argue for their own well being, and the well being of their neighbors. If you have a policy where one side gets much much richer, while the other people get poorer…that’s a recipe for social unrest.

                When everyone gets richer, it’s good. When the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, that’s social unrest. When the 90% take everything 10% have… well the 90% are better off, but long term studies have shown that doesn’t work well either.

                1. Right, which is why optimal solutions are ones that result in the most good for the most people. In this case, a more optimal solution (as proposed by some economists) would be to let markets decide the movement of labor, then tax some portion of the overall economic benefit enjoyed, and use that to offset the losses by particular groups (through job training, for instance). That would be more efficient–and less intrusive–than centrally planning labor market supply throughout the United States.

                  I acknowledge that this solution will not work if people have valid concerns about the sort of persons moving here, but I don’t have those concerns about Mexicans, and haven’t been convinced that I need to.

          2. “The benefit of the immigrants” is completely useless to the fraction of the people who got screwed over.

            Do you think anyone says “hey, I got really screwed over by this, but it’s ok that my family’s future is circling the drain, because some other people I never met are way better off”?

            Now add a bunch more people to each side and let them talk about how they’ve either been similarly screwed over or similarly benefitted. Does that seem like a stable social dynamic? How is it going to turn out if you increase it so it happens more and more? Not peacefully.

            All that extra theoretical GDP won’t be created in a society at war with itself.

            You can’t balance betraying person A by helping person B twice as much. Person A becomes your enemy (and maybe everyone’s enemy) and person B learns to feel entitled.

            1. “”The benefit of the immigrants” is completely useless to the fraction of the people who got screwed over.”

              So what?

              “How is it going to turn out if you increase it so it happens more and more? Not peacefully.”

              Yes, it will, because there will generally be more wealth for all, and those people who complained about it (like they have been, forever) will, ultimately, still be infinitely better off than their ancestors. We’re not trending towards more violence.

              “You can’t balance betraying person A…”

              Notice that the betrayal is that they have to compete for labor with someone who is willing to do their work, and who is wanted by the people who otherwise would have paid A. And if we keep B out, won’t A just “learn[] to feel entitled” as well?

              1. Optimism looks exactly like comfortable people dismissing the suffering others they don’t care about.

                1. You mean like the illegals you don’t seem to mention, Ben_?

                  1. I don’t think American leaders or American citizens should prioritize benefits for foreign nationals who snuck across the border or overstayed a visa. So no.

                    American leaders have a duty to people they represent. Americans have some sort of nominal civic duty towards their fellow countrymen. Especially their countrymen who obey laws and support their communities.

                    If you want to characterize that as forgetting the needs of illegals, that’s mostly fair.

                    Creating enemies in your own country to benefit foreign nationals here illegally is wrong. Also it’s very dumb ? unless your goal is destruction.

                    1. “I don’t think American leaders or American citizens should prioritize benefits for foreign nationals who snuck across the border or overstayed a visa. So no.”

                      Your own hypothetical assumes a larger benefit to American citizens. It would be an optimal solution even if it provided no benefit to people in other countries. The benefit they enjoy is just the icing on the cake.

                      “Also it’s very dumb ? unless your goal is destruction.”

                      I don’t think Chamber of Commerce Republicans are trying to bring the country to its knees. Rather, I think they suspect that this wave of populism will pass, just like it always does.

                    2. Business leaders like cheap labor. They like employees who have no other option and no legal recourse for mistreatment. They have private security. They live behind walls in rich neighborhoods. They reap most of the rewards and avoid most of the consequences.

                    3. “Business leaders like cheap labor.”

                      So do their customers. But if you think the Chamber of Commerce is exclusively made up of comical corporate stereotypes, consider: do you think a small business owner running a residential roofing crew has private security and lives in a rich neighborhood?

          3. ” Left out of the discussion entirely is the benefit of the immigrants. ”

            Damn straight we’re leaving out the benefit to the immigrants.

            That kind of reasoning suggests that our government should raise taxes until we’re all living on instant ramen, and ship the money off to efficiently raise the living standards in third world countries instead of here. That would maximize utility, right?

            We’re not considering the benefit to the immigrants, because the purpose of our government isn’t to maximize global utility, it’s to benefit people who are already citizens.

            1. “Damn straight we’re leaving out the benefit to the immigrants.”

              But I’m not, so how are you going to persuade me?

              “That would maximize utility, right?”

              It certainly does raise very real fucking questions about how the US spends its tax dollars, don’t you agree?

              “…it’s to benefit people who are already citizens.”

              Who do you think are hiring Mexicans? Whose lawns are they mowing? Whose children are they raising???

              1. Poor people should be happy that rich people can get cheap lawn work.

                Poor people should be happy to sacrifice their children’s schooling all the other downsides. Cheap lawn work is the greatest good.

                1. Poor people use goods and services produced by illegal immigrants, too. Who do you think built the roofs on their apartments?

                  1. The apartments they had to get rent assistance on, because they couldn’t get roofing jobs, you mean?

                    1. That’s great zero-sum thinking. Please assume there are people in the world who are both not rich but also not put into destitution by foreign laborers. And those people live in apartments, sometimes. And the cost of rent is cheaper, because of the foreign laborers.

        2. Right. They’re called bigoted rubes who can’t accept that the world has changed. That’s how we got Trump, and how we’ll eventually get a civil war.

            1. You’re another ‘civil war is coming’ guy?

              1. Historically, the ‘civil war is coming’ guys are always eventually right, just like the “hyperinflation is coming’ guys.

                1. Naw – because CW2 folks always name a cause, and it’s always comes down to a personal policy frustration they universalize.

              2. No predictions. Try not to get distracted.

                The point was that you can’t make up for betraying and hurting one person by helping another more. The sum can be above zero and you still created a dangerous enemy with a well-founded grievance.

                The idea that “let’s keep doing this more and more” won’t turn out well. The people you betrayed will defend themselves.

                1. “The idea that “let’s keep doing this more and more” won’t turn out well. The people you betrayed will defend themselves.”

                  Well they’ll certainly have plenty of time to do that, since historically the betrayed people aren’t workers. But, as always, we’ll just pay them off and move on with our lives.

                  The American War was not started by betrayed white people who lost their janitorial services jobs. If they had the wherewithal to start a movement, they wouldn’t be losing jobs to Mexicans in the first place.

                  1. Racism against Americans also won’t help.

  10. The current levels of immigration are too high, and this has nothing to do with racism.

    Studies show that while massive levels of immigration increase GDP, they don’t make the average American better off. In fact, the net GDP gain of about $50 billion annually is offset by an additional $50 billion in taxpayer liabilities associated with that immigration. Most of the gain itself goes to a privileged wealthy few, so this is yet another example of privatized gain at the cost of socialized expenses.

    More importantly, the policy of high immigration levels has distributional effects among Americans, which add up to benefiting a few while making the working classes much worse off. The net economic effect to Americans of massive immigration levels has amounted to a $500 billion annual wealth transfer from poorer Americans to richer Americans.

    1/2

    1. 2/2

      One can also explore in detail the total breakdown and failure of the mechanisms of assimilation in the face of all-time historical high levels of immigration, the resulting decline in community and societal trust, the tectonic schisms and ruptures of a more and more divided nation, and the specter of losing any semblance of liberty as the populace ceases to politically buy into fundamental founding principles of the U.S.

      But we don’t need to go beyond the basic economics to see that immigration should be reduced, just as it was last time the U.S. reached all-time high levels of immigration (and at a time when undeveloped resources made immigration more justifiable).

      Sadly, the basic economic malincentives explain a great deal of the vociferous, profoundly intellectually dishonest opposition that we see to any sort of sensible immigration reform.

    2. Studies show that while

      Studies don’t show that, or at least are quite disputed.

      This kind of confirmation bias again demonstrates your thesis is chose before your support for it.
      Being an anti-immigration zealot doesn’t make you racist, but it is still prejudice. of a different sort.

      failure of the mechanisms of assimilation in the face of all-time historical high levels of immigration
      Now…this is getting racist. Because we all know which race you’re talking about here. And again, unsupported.

      1. Yes, they do. And no, you won’t find a compelling dispute, but plenty of non-responsive dissembling. But you’re the poster child for that, with your constant flinging of racist baseless accusations of racism.

        1. Yes, they do.

          Burden’s on you, buddy.

          ‘all dispute is not compelling, it’s non-responsive dissembling’ is some awesome confirmation bias.

          Saying Mexicans these days don’t assimilate is indeed kinda racist, even if you don’t say Mexicans. Because we literally cannot know that; assimilation is generational and we don’t have any info on the most recent influx of immigrants. Which means you’re pre-judging them.

          Funny, I lock horns with lots on here, but the only ones I end up calling out as racist are you, Brett (who cites ‘Camp of Saints’ as predictive….) and AltRightLowIQMeztizosGuy. So maybe it’s not me, dude.

          1. Mexicans are hispanic, which isn’t a race, it’s an ethnicity.

            As for assimilation, you’re right…it takes time. It’s not that hispanics don’t assimilate, they do (Mexicans have, because they also want to stop the South Americans) but the influx keeps coming so there is no assimilation. Everytime someone says the Germans/Irish/Italians/Slavs/Chinese etc assimilated, it should be pointed out to them that after the 1924 immigration act, the waves of immigrants stopped coming in and *that’s* when they assimilated.

            1. the influx keeps coming so there is no assimilation

              That’s…not how assimilation works. A new wave of immigrants doesn’t un-assimilate the old wave.

              1. Progressives and socialists openly celebrate the political effect of very high levels of immigration over a long period of time, because it appears this will ensure the eventual success of their agenda. So in that specific sense there’s nothing to argue about on the effects of immigration, only whether you think those effects are a good thing.

              2. Quite to the contrary of what you think, assimilation only works if there is a dominate culture the immigrants adhere too. Immigrants will conform to the dominant culture over time if new immigrants of their demographic don’t keep coming in. If immigrants keep coming in from their home culture, they set up parallel institutions and they have no need to assimilate. Given enough of them with the vote, and they become the dominate culture. That’s what’s happening in Tibet with the Han Chinese coming in, and what happened to Texas when Mexico let Anglo settlers in, and in a hundred other historical examples.

              3. Continuous new waves substantially decrease the rate of assimilation.

                See: United States, lack of assimilation to the native culture, 1600-1900, for an extreme example.

              4. Yes, it does. It allows the remnants of the old culture to stick around to the point where it becomes ubiquitous.

          2. See below link for a starting point.

            “Saying Mexicans these days don’t assimilate is indeed kinda racist”

            Go ahead and impute all of your imaginative racist fantasies to others. The actual point here is that assimilation and integration takes time, and larger numbers take more time. You’ll agree that dropping a billion immigrants in the country would be untenable in this sense, so we have no disagreement in principle, only in quantity and degree.

            “Funny, I lock horns with lots on here, but the only ones I end up calling out as racist are you..”

            No, you’ll call anyone racist who points out the obvious case for reducing immigration. That’s what all of the loudmouth fanatics in the media are doing too, and most of the political controversy today seems to come down to this. I never cared much about immigration policy until when recently we all saw how unhinged you guys are about it. It’s really bizarre, but seems to stem from the strange intersection of several a number of different ideologies and agendas (big business, cheap labor, open borders, progressives and socialists relying on changing voter demographics, etc).

            1. No, you’ll call anyone racist who points out the obvious case for reducing immigration.
              I do not think that wanting to reduce immigration makes you racist. But if the ‘obvious case’ is that those Mexicans won’t assimilate this time and the Dems want to use them to replace whites, then yeah.

              I never cared much about immigration policy until when recently we all saw how unhinged you guys are about it.
              Sounds like a personal problem.

              big business, cheap labor, open borders, progressives and socialists relying on changing voter demographics
              First 2 are definitely not liberal stuff, the third does not have any kind of mainstream support even on the left, and the last one is gonna happen anyway.

              Did you think that maybe it’s actual affinity for an underprivileged group being targeted with such hostility by the right? Naw, gotta be bad faith.

              1. “But if the ‘obvious case’ is that those Mexicans won’t assimilate this time”

                Not at all. Good grief man, what is wrong with you? Your mind is consumed by a hyperactive imagining of thoughtcrimes in other people.

                As I said – the point is that assimilation takes a lot of time, as well as deliberate effort and manageable numbers.

                “Did you think that maybe it’s actual affinity for an underprivileged group”

                Yes, of course some people think that way. But those people are just being manipulated. They likely aren’t even aware of the minority groups facing the worst suffering and persecution in the world today, such as the thousands of Christians being slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria as we speak. They likely can’t even wrap their mind around the fact that millions of Latinos support Trump and want to build the wall. In reality, the vociferous and profoundly dishonest opposition to ideas such as reducing immigration is only explained by the reasons I outlined, as well as simple political tribalism and TDS.

                1. the point is that assimilation takes a lot of time, as well as deliberate effort and manageable numbers.
                  No, the point is you want to lessen immigration because you only look at the sliver of the scholarship that finds the costs outweigh the benefits, and even then only in the short term. Until you even attempt to grapple with those who don’t confirm your point of view, I will continue to assume your reasons are more emotional than actual.

                  those people are just being manipulated
                  False consciousness theory is more of a Communist philosophy usually, ML.

                  Also not buying your crocodile tears about minority groups, considering how you’ve admitted to being a nativist. (‘shouldn’t a country prioritize the needs of it’s own citizens first, Sarcastro?’)

                  You think American liberals are in favor of Muslims slaughtering Christians in Nigeria?

                  the vociferous and profoundly dishonest opposition to ideas such as reducing immigration is only explained by the reasons I outlined
                  Haha, yep. Anyone who doesn’t buy your rhetoric is a liar. Have some humility and consider maybe you’re not obviously right just because you’re very sure you are.

                  1. “you only look at the sliver of the scholarship that finds the costs outweigh the benefits, and even then only in the short term. Until you even attempt to grapple with those who don’t confirm your point of view, I will continue to assume your reasons are more emotional than actual.”

                    Citation needed. You refuse to provide a scintilla of scholarship or evidence to support your claims. I, meanwhile, have read voraciously and grappled with the most informed opposing viewpoints. But you’re so abjectly ignorant you apparently can’t even link to them.

                    “considering how you’ve admitted to being a nativist. (‘shouldn’t a country prioritize the needs of it’s own citizens first, Sarcastro?’)”

                    More lies and slander. Pathetic. Citizens include non-natives. I explained to you nativism vs. nationalism in terms a 3rd grader would understand, so I don’t know if you’re dishonest or just dumb. But really, do you think that a national government should prioritize the interests of its citizens, or not?

                    “Anyone who doesn’t buy your rhetoric is a liar.”

                    I didn’t say that. I said there has been a lot of dishonest opposition in the media. I’ll readily admit there are some on my “side” of the issue that are dishonest too, but you apparently can’t do the same.

                    1. I provided citations yesterday; they were discarded as balderdash. I’ve also cited those who dispute your guy. It was called ad hominem.

                      Your scholar’s cap doesn’t fit too well.

                      I, meanwhile, have read voraciously and grappled with the most informed opposing viewpoints
                      You do a great job of hiding that, what with your single champion, zealotry, and admission that your motivation was because the other side was just so crazy about immigration.

                      More lies and slander
                      You want me to find the thread from a few weeks ago?

                      Admitting you’re a nationalist not a nativist is not moving away from lunacy, dude…

                      You continue to argue that disagreement is all either false consciousness or liars, and that you don’t buy the reasons they give.
                      Not a healthy way for a scholar to take on the world!

                      Where did I say there are no liberal liars?

                    2. Sorry, I don’t think you provided any links at all on this topic at hand. Go ahead and show me where you did that.

                      “You want me to find the thread from a few weeks ago?”

                      The one where I took great offense at you calling me a nativist, which is tantamount to an accusation of racism? And now here you are claiming that the opposite happened and I’m a self-proclaimed nativist? Sure, if you want to further prove what a fool you are.

                      Let’s see if you can answer a direct question: Do you think national governments should prioritize the interests of their own citizens?

                      “You continue to argue that disagreement is all either false consciousness or liars”

                      There you go making things up again. I just said that there is genuine disagreement. And there is all sorts of genuine disagreement, including among close friends that I hang out with on a weekly basis. But I also said there is a lack of perspective on the part of some, due to what the media chooses to focus on, and there is political tribalism and so on.

                      A number of polls indicate that millions of Latino and black Americans want to reduce immigration and build the wall. Some indicate that those groups favor even lower immigration levels than other groups of Americans. So do you think maybe there are non-racist reasons for this?

                    3. I liked to the Times, and Brookings and one other. No time to dig them up, but I’d be happy to.

                      But are you really arguing your one guy isn’t an outlier?

                      Let’s see if you can answer a direct question: Do you think national governments should prioritize the interests of their own citizens?
                      On a thread about how dumb and dangerous zero-sum thinking is, I leave it as an excercize to the reader why I find that question not a useful one to answer. And why I find it telling you essentialize it. Very scholarly!

                      Glad you are backpeddaling to allow that some who disagree with you are not being manipulated by the bad-faith media conspiracy you’ve uncovered via the evidence that people continue to disagree with you.

                      do you think maybe there are non-racist reasons for [the wall]? nativist is not racist. I know Latino nativists who got their so screw everyone else, but don’t have any issue with fellow Latino citizens and join all the societies etc.

                      I continue to wait for someone to offer a reason for the wall that doesn’t rely on poorly reasoned screeds that immigration is a crisis and an invasion and the cause of all of our ills.

      2. Studies…and logic…do show this. Continually.

        Here’s an outtake from Somas’s pro-immigration linked paper. Note, in every example, increased low wage immigration lowers wages.

        “In a U.S. context, Borjas (2003) and Borjas and Katz (2007) argue that low-wage workers do ontext, Borjas (2003) and Borjas and Katz (2007) argue that low-wage workers do experience a modest decline in nominal wages from immigration. On the other side, xperience a modest decline in nominal wages from immigration. On the other side, Card (2009) and Ottaviano and Peri (forthcoming) fi ard (2009) and Ottaviano and Peri (forthcoming) fi nd that millions of recent immi- nd that millions of recent immigrants to the United States have caused the average worker’s nominal wages to decline rants to the United States have caused the average worker’s nominal wages to decline a few percent?if at all?while Cortes (2008) fi few percent?The mass migrations of the nineteenth century likely caused a cumulative decline of 1 or 2 percentage points ineteenth century likely caused a cumulative decline of 1 or 2 percentage points each decade in wages at the destination (Hatton and Williamson, 1994). ach decade in wages at the destination (Hatton and Williamson, 1994).”

    3. I love “studies show.” It’s a completely empty set of words meant to do nothing but conceal bluster. Even Borjas, one of the few prominent economists who is a low-skill immigration skeptic, only argues a tiny negative effect for a small number of people.

      1. Borjas: “The fiscal burden offsets the gain from the $50 billion immigration surplus, so it’s not too farfetched to conclude that immigration has barely affected the total wealth of natives at all. Instead, it has changed how the pie is split, with the losers?the workers who compete with immigrants, many of those being low-skilled Americans?sending a roughly $500 billion check annually to the winners. Those winners are primarily their employers.”

        I’m going to assume that the reason you’re denigrating George Jesus Borjas, “America’s leading immigration economist”, is because you’re a racist.

    4. You’ve repeated this filthy lie over and over again. Just link the study for people to interpret it correctly. And I’m not talking about the study’s author’s Op-Ed about the study. But the study or studies you’re relying on to reach this conclusion.

      1. I would love to engage in a constructive dialougue, but your labeling Borjas’ conclusion a “filthy lie” shows you’re not remotely interested in that. Too bad.

        1. You’re the filthy liar because you repeatedly misstate the conclusions reached in his paper by cherry picking part of his Op-Ed about the paper.

          1. You can keep saying this but it’s not true. Try reading Borjas’ Senate testimony from 2016 for an overview, then read his book.

      2. Here are your references.

        Borjas, George J. 2003. “The Labor Demand
        Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the
        Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market.”
        Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(4): 1335?74.

        Borjas, George J., and Lawrence F. Katz. 2007.
        “The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce
        in the United States.” In Mexican Immigration to
        the United States, ed. George J. Borjas, ed.,13?55.
        Chicago: University of Chicago Press

        1. Borjas is just about the only guy who thinks that. The cherry picking of his interpretation by the usual suspects around here is…suspect.

          1. 1. Ad Hominem argument.
            2. Failure to cite any arguments showing the contrary
            3. Failure to look at previous post, which noted three separate authors noting immigration lowers wages for select groups of native.

            1. 4. Failure to demonstrate how the arguments made by Borgas et al are actually incorrect.

          2. 1. Do you know what ad hominem means? I’m not saying he’s wrong because he’s bad, I’m saying if people cite only him and discard the mainstream of economic thought that disagrees with him, they are engaging in confirmation bias.

            2. Borjas is a scholarly outlier, do you deny this?

            3. what?

            4. Not my argument, though others have done so as we went over last time we discussed this.

            1. 1. I do know ad hominem means. You apparently don’t however. It means, rather than address the argument being made, you attack the person making the argument. Whether that be me “You’re just practicing confirmation bias” or Borgas “He’s an outlier”. Neither address the argument, they attach the person presenting it.

              2. Of course. Borgas is one of the pre-eminent scholars in the field. He’s an outlier like Einstein is an outlier in physics. You haven’t cited a single example to contrast him to. If you want more studies…. Increasing the labor supply by 1% does the following.
              A. Reduces wages in dropouts and african americans by 1.7% (Altonji and Card, 1991)
              B. Reduces wages in Droppouts and non-hispanic men (Borgas, 2016)
              C. Reduces wages in high school graduates and less, non-hispanic, by 0.7% (Monras, 2015)
              Reduces wages in men by 1.7% (Llull, 2015)
              D. Reduces wages in dropouts by 0.6% (Cortes, 2008).

              3. You ignored an earlier post with several authors.
              4. You spat a bunch of words up, but didn’t make a coherent argument.

        2. The first paper is a national-level estimate of the effect of increased immigrant supply of labor on domestic wages for those jobs. Not surprisingly, increased supply lowers the price of labor. He finds a 10% increase in supply to lead to a 3-4% decrease in labor costs. What’s interesting about the finding is that other data shows a lower decrease, which Borjas argues is because of confounding factors. The paper does not in any way purport to show that natives are in total worse off due to immigration. Rather, it just purports to put a % to the lower wage pressure caused by increased labor supply. (Where others had found 0-2%, Borjas found 3-4%.)

          I’ll get to the second paper when I can.

          1. NToJ-

            Well you’re right actually, I will agree with you here. A working class American may, as a result of immigration policy, earn substantially reduced wages and see his potential wealth and earnings redistributed to richer folks. But at the same time, he may be culturally enriched by overhearing several foreign languages spoken on the street. So while the worker may hold a very strong subjective opinion about this trade-off, there is no objective basis to conclude that he is “in total worse off” under this or that policy.

            1. One effect of wages going down is the costs for those goods and services goes down, too. So working class Americans enjoy cheaper housing, food, etc. than they otherwise would have. A conclusion Borjas agrees with (but does not quantify, at least in the second paper from above).

              1. This doesn’t scale like you imply, especially for the people whose wages are being decreased.

                Let’s give an example. Take a low wage profession, say factory worker. The factory produces chickens. A worker there makes $30,000 a year. Of that, he spends $5,000 a year on roast chicken. His wages decrease by ~1% due to labor competition, so he’s down to $29,700. Assume 100% of the cost of chickens is labor (inaccurate, but for the sake of the argument). Now, he only spends $4950 a year on chickens. The worker is still down $250 dollars. It’s not an advantage.

                1. Yes, but he also spends less money on things he doesn’t produce, but that are produced by more efficient (i.e., cheaper) labor. Like housing, other agricultural products, etc. And, as you said, there is a direct offset that he enjoys.

              2. Actually massive levels of immigration drive up housing costs, health care costs, education costs — all of the big ticket items that Americans spend most of their money on.

                It’s true that you want to be sure there isn’t too much of a labor shortage in a particular area such as construction. But a tight labor market is generally much more beneficial for average Americans because it raises wages. Even the likes of the NYT admit this now and again, such as just this week they noted this effect in the dairy market. If you will permit yourself to actually analyze things as they exist taking into account the welfare state which libertarians seem to ignore, then there are major positive tradeoffs to raising lower level wages through a tight labor market because of the obviated welfare spending.

                Of course, you may politically prefer a principle of maximizing the wealth of employers and equity holders, or overall wealth, at the expense of workers and deficit spending, and therefore you will advocate for the government to maintain the rather interventionist policy of extremely high levels of immigration relative to any sort of national or global historical comparison. But you can see why average Americans might disagree and prefer a tighter labor market, at least inasmuch as a more globally historically typical rate of migration will allow.

                1. “But a tight labor market is generally much more beneficial for average Americans because it raises wages.”

                  So much of your argument depends on this “average Americans” stuff. Average Americans pay the cost of construction, including in tight labor markets.

                  You act like it’s some great concession that an increase in labor supply decreases wages. That’s hardly a shocking thing; in fact, that’s the point. Government has the power to artificially increase wages by artificially limiting the supply of labor, with immigration restrictions or minimum wages. Take your pick.

                  “…therefore you will advocate for the government to maintain the rather interventionist policy of extremely high levels of immigration…”

                  Laughable. How is it “interventionist policy” to loosen immigration restrictions? Who do you think enforces immigration? Volunteers?

                  “But you can see why average Americans might disagree…”

                  A Pew Poll this week suggests differently.

        3. The second paper does not have much to do with the original claim, other than it contains a (less precise) restatement that increased immigration lowers wages. As the paper notes, one effect of those lower wages is it lowers the prices of goods and services that are low-skill labor intensive. (At least in the cited paper, I don’t see that Borjas quantifies the cost decrease.)

          1. Once again, lowered prices for costs and services do not compensate the full value for the lost off labor earnings.

            1. Even Borjas disagrees with you, here. That’s why he adds in the cost associated with welfare spending to get the equation closer to zero.

  11. “Socialists and nationalists have their differences”

    You know who else tried to combine nationalism and socialism?

    1. Groucho Marx?

  12. Adding a blitzkrieg of links to your blog post doesn’t actually mean it’s well supported by evidence when the links just link to other think pieces with minimal data.

    1. You know who else believed in blitzkriegs?

      1. I’m glad you saw the double-entendre :-), I worried it was to subtle for this crowd of carnival barkers.

  13. Truth and lies do tend to reduce themselves to a zero sum process. Can’t help that.

    1. Sometimes twitter-ish replies actually are pretty good in a longer form comment section.

  14. “…but also hates capitalism and capitalists….”

    The Nazis also hated capitalists (fascism is a collectivist ideology). One reason Ernst Rohm was executed was because he was loudly pushing for the promised “second revolution” that would take down the capitalists, blamed for selling out Germany in 1918. The industrialists who were supporting Hitler (mostly to block the Communists from gaining power) were threatening to move their support to another party if Rohm wasn’t silenced. Hitler was waiting for Hindenburg to die so he could take over and needed that support to stay in office until the old man croaked.

  15. The term “zero sum game” is muddled thinking at the outset. Rudyard Kipling parsed our human existence better stating: “Nature is red in tooth and claw.” That in itself was only an imperialist re-stating a Darwinian truth: nature is generally about competition and it is about change. President Trump might even put it more simply. It is about winning. His pals at the New England Patriots get that.

    There are some stalemates in nature, some complex symbiotic relationships, some miraculous dances of cooperation not only across species but across life’s kingdoms. All the same, rarely is anything all that stable. Populations of everything can soar and crash. Bad year for wildebeest and zebras, then its a bad year for lions, and so on.

    Unlucky creatures even go extinct. Can you picture Neanderthals negotiating with modern humans. “Hey guys, this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.”

    1. We interbred with neanderthals; we didn’t wipe them out.

      1. We took over their territory, and raped their women. Try again.

        1. where did you pull that out of, m_k?

          1. How do you think the interbreeding happened, slumber parties?

            Archaeological evidence shows that caves that used to belong to Neanderthals were taken over by cro-magnon man, and that the Neanderthals were pushed into less hospitable territories until the archaeological evidence of them ceases to exist (i.e. they went extinct). At the same time, DNA evidence shows the intermingling.

            1. Taken over and rape seem to be your own narrative choice. You assume a rivalry where there is no support for that.

              Under what archaeological evidence is there that Neanderthals were pushed anywhere?

              1. Archaeological evidence is aplenty. It’s pretty simple, they find a nice cave on a prime spot in say, the south of France, near game and resources. They dig down and find layers of cro-magnon stuff, then they dig deeper and find neanderthal stuff. Then they find caves in rather inhospitable spots and digging down, find no cro-magnon stuff but neanderthal stuff right at the same time period that they find cro-magnon stuff in the prime locations. Then the neanderthal stuff just stops. Did the neanderthal’s voluntary move from prime locations to bad ones?

                As for rape, obviously we don’t have written accounts, but when the geneticists can tell you that the exchange was male cro-magnons and female neanderthals. Again, do you think that the neanderthal males, being pushed out of prime locations, voluntarily surrendered their females?

                Bro, it’s the rape of Sabines. We see it again and again in history, like the Mongols.

  16. Libertarian values, democracy, and open borders are the impossible trinity of politics. Try to have 2 and you cannot have the third. Have your values and democracy? You must close the borders or else you will be replaced with other values. Have democracy and borders? Enjoy the anarchy. Borders and values? You must have a system of governance where majorities don’t matter.

    Dealing with radicals is a zero-sum game because radicals operate with zero-sum logic.

    1. Right, which is why the “one state solution” for Israel is an attempt to destroy it. The only way to give Muslims equal votes to Jews in Israel is to turn it into a failed Muslim state.

  17. Associating European anti-immigrant political movements with this violence is neither supported by the facts, nor is it civilized in nature.

    Civilized people seek to persuade others to vote their way by supplying facts and logic, not by smears and slurs.

  18. While a disjointed post, notably, Ilya gives Nationalism a bad rap here.

    While ethnic nationalism is of mixed blessings, at best, civic nationalism is a general good, especially compared to all of its competitors. This concept…that a people are a nation, unified by a common culture and set of values, and willing to make sacrifices towards the common good and those values, are a large part of what brought humanity into its advancement. It’s competitors…feudalism, tribalism, loyalty based on family relations…generally didn’t have the scope necessary to really advance humanity. In many respects, it’s the lack of “Nationalism” in Subsaharan Africa that is responsible for it’s continued issues.

    1. There’s a halfway between ethno nationalism (I don’t like you because you look like x) and civic nationalism (I don’t like you because of your ideas) that isn’t really an ideology, but it is a legitimate point that must be addressed; culture and race are related. Not related in the sense that how you look makes you the way you are (it doesn’t), but that if you are, say, Korean and there’s only 2 Korean societies in the world, you’re going to have some shared experiences, cultural attitudes, and societal standards that are unique to your people. This shouldn’t read as “You’re Korean so you think x”, but as “A larger proportion of Koreans believe x compared to this population.” The purpose of thinking like this is to exclude bad actors whose values are incompatible with your society. There are lots of cultures that don’t mesh with American conceptions of liberty, many of which are white and European. There are always people from every society who share our values, but anecdotes doth not national policy make. That’s the ultimate folly of ethno nationalism; how can you complain about radical Muslims when so many white Americans already vote for Socialists? Regardless, when you have a country where it’s almost impossible to get rid of anyone, you have to be careful about who you let in. Personally, I don’t mind not allowing immigration from places like Somalia anymore.

      1. The purpose of thinking like this is to exclude bad actors whose values are incompatible with your society. There are lots of cultures that don’t mesh with American conceptions of liberty, many of which are white and European. There are always people from every society who share our values, but anecdotes doth not national policy make. That’s the ultimate folly of ethno nationalism; how can you complain about radical Muslims when so many white Americans already vote for Socialists?

        I think you are making a lot of assumptions as to what “American values” are. This is just another version of defining some people as “real Americans.”

        I think, for example, that freedom of thought and democracy are both American values, so I don’t think that voting for socialists which, by the way, hardly any Americans do, is particularly un-American.

        I also think that pluralism, and notions of “the marketplace of ideas” are American values, so I don’t see how excluding those who think differently than you do is particularly American either.

        1. I’d agree with your statements here. Civil nationalism (and what makes America “America”) is a group of ideas, concepts, and culture that come together, that encourage diversity, and distinctly is not ethno-centric.

    2. This concept…that a people are a nation, unified by a common culture and set of values . . . are a large part of what brought humanity into its advancement.

      In other words . . . you want to kick Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, and roughly a dozen other states out of the United States of America?

      1. Leave it to Rev to respond like a silly provocateur to a thoughtful comment.

        1. Can’t imagine why you’d think how can you complain about radical Muslims when so many white Americans already vote for Socialists?
          and
          Personally, I don’t mind not allowing immigration from places like Somalia anymore.

          are so thoughtful m_k.

          Big words don’t make nationalist rhetoric any less dumb and poisonous.

      2. Sigh…

        Rev, you’ve got more in common with those areas of the country than you think. Although your bigotry is getting stale.

  19. Population growth always has a depressing effect on incomes. When I say “depressing” I mean that even when the population and the average standard of living are both increasing, as they were in the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s, the average standard of living would be growing more if the population was not growing, and still more if it was declining.

    On page 41 of “A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World,” University of California economics professor Gregory Clark has a chart that demonstrates that from 1300 to 1450 real wages for English laborers more than doubled. The reason was not an increase in productivity or a strong labor movement. The reason was that during the fourteenth century bubonic plague had killed an estimated half of the English population. With fewer people competing for jobs, wages increased. With fewer people buying stuff, prices declined.

    But it did not last. With a higher standard of living more English got married. They got married earlier. They had more children. When the English population rose to what it had been before the bubonic plague epidemic, real wages declined to nearly what they had been in 1300.

    1. So what we need is a nice plague?

      I’m not familiar with Clark’s work, but I don’t see how real wages could double (which, over 150 years, is not very impressive) without an increase in per capita productivity. If the average worker wasn’t producing any more in 1450 than in 1300, where did the increase come from?

      1. The increase came from other people in the production chain getting less. If you have a lot of laborers available, the negotiating power of labor vs the other factors such as capital declines, and labor gets a smaller share of the pie. Fewer laborers, labor gets a larger share, because they’re not bidding each other down as much.

        It’s remarkably important to remember that labor is not the only factor in production. It is, in fact, a declining factor in production, and increases in productivity are mostly due to the other factors, not the labor itself becoming more productive.

        1. I suppose you actually have data to support that implausible idea.

          You wouldn’t just make things up here, like you do elsewhere, would you?

  20. The relationship between population and standard of living can be illustrated with an equation:

    (natural resources x level of technology) / population = average standard of living

    Moreover, a growing population benefits those who get their incomes from interest, rent and dividends at the expense of those who are dependent on pay checks. More people mean more consumers and more job applicants. By the law of supply and demand this means higher prices, lower wages, and higher profits.

    In the United States population growth is mainly determined by immigration. The Immigration Reform Act of 1965 is a major reason for the growing income gap.

  21. I have never understood why white nationalists, white supremacists, and racists are referred to as right wing or far right. White nationalists, supremacists, and racists all categorize and judge people by what group they belong to, be it based on race, national origin, religion, class, gender, sexual preference, or any other grouping. This is collectivism and precludes judging people as individuals based on the content of their character. Collectivism is leftist. Individualism is right wing. Progressivism, socialism, Fascism, and Communism are all collectivist. Capitalism, individual rights, and limited government are individualist.

  22. And that “Common Ground” is………… Trying to use ‘Power’ for Wealth Gain by oppressing the Individual.
    Value = Wealth not Power = Wealth.

  23. Mikenewhamp – so looking forward to this (hopefully!)
    upcoming paper. Pathbreakig stuff.

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  25. Here is a stab at a non-zero-sum deal on immigration, a deal that I would support. Trade politically-related concessions on both sides.

    Ds concede an ambitious R agenda for stringent border security and reduced immigration of all sorts (but probably not a wall, because you can get more security by spending your money otherwise). For instance, Ds agree to back employer citizenship verifications, an end to chain migration, more selective occupational and educational qualifications for immigration, and a program of quotas by national or regional immigration source. No doubt some other stringencies could be added.

    Rs concede an end to gerrymandering and voter suppression. Also, Rs agree automatic registration for all citizens, guarantees of equal voting opportunities by region and precinct, no more census citizenship questions, no more voter role purges without safeguards to make sure real voters aren’t thrown off, no more voter ID at the polls, no more elections administered by partisan office holders. No doubt other safeguards could be added.

    I suggest that much of this immigration debate is just the flip side of the vote suppression debate, and vice versa. Who joins me in thinking the nation would be better off getting rid of both debates?

    1. I see a number of problems here.

      I could go into them, but the two biggest are,

      1) There’s no basis to believe that such a deal would be kept, because “grand bargains” have a history of being broken.

      and,

      2) The Democrats wouldn’t agree to any deal that actually stopped illegal immigration, because they’re actually counting on it to hand them the country by demographic change.

      1. This from the guy who previously lamented that some people refused to believe that anyone could really disagree with them.

        From Brett’s POV those who disagree with him always are operating in bad faith, and have secret nefarious agendas. Always.

      2. More than 4 hours, and no takers for a deal so odiously generous to racist anti-immigrants that I’m ashamed to have mentioned it. My naive hope had been that it suggested a way to mobilize right wing support against domestic racism. If it can’t do that, then I don’t want that deal on my conscience.

        Take a look at it. What it proposed was to allow an essentially racist take on immigration policy, in exchange for an agreement to do nothing except cease racially-motivated outrages in the electoral process. No takers. It was a bad idea. I take it back.

        Trump has done the nation the disfavor of disinterring and reanimating deep-buried racial conflicts from the post-civil war era. Now, apparently, nothing short of completing that long-thwarted task of Reconstruction can bring this unfinished business to a close. The work will be awful, costly and long.

        To think, only a few short years ago, most Americans thought these problems were dealt with and gone, left behind many decades in the past. Now, as if that old pernicious cry, “The South will rise again,” had sounded from the nation’s highest office, we find that woeful history risen up, and set newly before us, as a daunting agenda for the nation’s future. It’s a catastrophe.

        1. To amplify Brett:
          How is your proposal significantly different from Simpson-Mazzoli?
          We will not give up on very strict border enforcement with Mexico.
          And voter ID is also non negotiable…not so much as an anti immigrant measure, but because big city Dems are past masters at rigging elections.

          Otherwise: fine with me.

  26. I don’t think Ilya’s logic holds up.

    It is not necessary to se the world as zero-sum in order to want your group, whatever it is, to be on top. As long as you see, correctly, that there are inevitably variations in wealth and power, those incentives will exist.

    Indeed, they may be greater if you don’t see the world as zero-sum, because you will think that if only your gang were in charge there would be more of everything, which would make being on top even better.

    1. Some things aren’t zero sum, and some things ARE zero sum. Ideally capitalism gets you into the non-zero sum world, but capitalists would be fools to think the entire world is non-zero sum.

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  28. Its been at least a year since Somin has posted any thing that made any sense, or was this posted by the other Ilya?

    But I will say capitalist are by nature almost never zero sum believers, including Trump, because you can’t be a successful businessman without believing that you are providing value to your customers. And while some may be skeptical of just how successful Trump is, he without a doubt built a very successful Brand.

    1. because you can’t be a successful businessman without believing that you are providing value to your customers

      Trump University? The assertion is that someone genuinely believed Trump University provided value to

      Trump steaks? Trump vitamins?

      Trump water? Trump deodorant? Trump coffee?

      Trump casinos? Trump neckties? Trump mattresses?

      Trump’s principal brand seems to be delivering money-laundering services (involving residential housing) to certain foreign persons and a garish collection of cheap products to another, mostly foreign audience seeking to purchase ‘something American.’

      (American Beer, a downscale brand that flopped in the United States, outsold Budweiser in Russia for a time because people in the clubs wanted ‘something American.’ It drove the Anheuser-Buschers crazy to see canned beer that couldn’t fetch $8 a case in America outselling the King of Beers overseas. But some foreign customers will buy downscale merchandise that offers a perceived connection to America.)

    2. But I will say capitalist are by nature almost never zero sum believers,

      I think your proposition is true in general, but I also think it’s clear that Trump is an exception, a zero-sum guy.

      Just look at his attitude towards trade. If we run a trade deficit with some country they are “winning,” and we are “losing.” Never mind the notion that trade is mutually beneficial. It’s whoever ends up with the money who wins. That’s the philosophy of a scam artist, not a productive businessman who thinks his customer is getting value.

      1. Stop me if this sounds crazy, but have you ever considered that Trump might use hyperbolic language to focus attention on areas he wants it focused on, and that he may have discovered that exaggeration ensures that left-wing media who don’t want to help him will shine a spotlight on what he says so they can “fact check” him?

        1. What does that have to do with what I said?

          I mean, he’s been talking nonsense about trade for a long time. Do you really think he’s playing some sort of subtle game with the media? I don’t.

          Do you claim he’s not a scam artist? I guess you do, since you seem to be a mark.

          1. He did marginally improve Nafta, at least arguing US terms of trade. It terms of absolute free trade it didn’t. But NAFTA has never been about completely free trade, it’s been about improving competing National interests.

            1. Lots of complications, no doubt, but if you begin, as Trump does, with the idea that a trade deficit means you’re “losing,” then you really have no clue at all.

            2. Forgot to mention that the trade deficit actually doesn’t have all that much to do with trade treaties to begin with.

      2. I think he is wrong about tariffs and trade, at least in the long term, but I am open to some short term disruption to improve the long term picture. I’m all for zero tariffs, but since they are not zero and not equal across all products then it would be absurd to say we couldn’t negotiate a better deal.

        I’m a free trader when trade is completely free, when it’s not, pragmatic nationalism seems like a rational position.

  29. I dont know how the author could not believe that a lot of things in life are zero sum. How much more zero sum can disparate impact be?

  30. I dont know how the author could not believe that a lot of things in life are zero sum. How much more zero sum can disparate impact be?

  31. I’m not sure you should be taking that part of the manifesto at face value. A lot of analysts are saying that a huge portion of the manifesto is “shitposting”. Basically making fake arguments to draw more people into the debate.

    Are there left wing extremists? Even environmentalist ones? Sure.

    But this dude wasn’t one of them. The premise of the article is based on a deliberate troll.

    1. So by default he must be a right wing nationalist?

      I don’t say you should take everything thing or anything in the manifesto at face value, but discounting the things that make him look left wing or environmentalist, while giving full credit to the fascist parts is not a convincing argument. It’s more shitposting.

      1. I’m not saying he’s a right wing nationalist because of a couple paragraphs from his manifesto.

        I’m saying he’s a right wing nationalist because he carried out precisely the kind of terrorist attack associated with right wing nationalists.

        But seriously, look at the excerpt in question:
        “The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment.”

        Genocide to save the environment is a movie plot, not an actual belief shared by environmentalist extremists.

        No one thinks they’re going to save up the environment by inspiring people to shoot Muslims, not even crazy terrorists

  32. This–

    The awful ideology of the perpetrator of the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand is one of many examples of how far-right nationalists and far-left socialists have more in common than we often think. Both worldviews rest on the dangerous assumption that the we are locked in a zero-sum game in which some groups can only succeed and prosper at the expense of others.

    Is saying more than you’re clearly getting

    This–

    “Both worldviews rest on the dangerous assumption that the we are locked in a zero-sum game in which some groups can only succeed and prosper at the expense of others.”

    is letting you know that you’re only dealing with one side. The collectivist side. The statists. The left.

    ‘Far-right nationalists’ aren’t playing a game of groups. They have problems with the very definition of the word ‘nation’–which is only natural, because far RIGHT nationalists follow the precepts of the right, and enforced grouping is not, never has been, and never will be part of those precepts.

    The two factions fighting can be broadly described as ‘national socialists’ vs ‘international socialists’–but, to those outside the fray(or stuck between the factions), understand that, while the names are slightly different, the end goal is exactly the same for both–authoritarian, totalitarian communism for everyone–with a society as stringently stratified as a termite mound.

    And there is nothing on the actual right that wants a part of anything like that.

  33. The audience here is probably too sophisticated (I hope) to get confused by the difference between particulate air pollution, which even the Chinese, oil companies, and we right-wingers want to eliminate, and alleged greenhouse gas “pollution” which the left has convinced everybody is going to destroy the planet very soon.

    The chief greenhouse gas of which they complain is CO2, presently about .0004 of the Earth’s atmosphere. The cascade of scientific papers accusing C02 of preternatural effect in global warming commenced in 1988. Once prestigious journals and academies committed themselves to this seeming next big thing of an idea it quickly became a self-generating fashionable bandwagon. Everybody wanted on board. Even nations saw ways to mine economic advantage from the sweeping ideology of global warming theory.

    Lately global warming alarmists are shape-shifting into climate change alarmists. Instead of touting 99% of all climate scientists so much, they brag of all scientists who we allow to be published in our reputable journals.

    The ultimate takeaway to remember is that whatever immense economic sacrifices California makes or even the whole of the USA is forced to make to stop producing CO2, it won’t matter a vanishingly tiny little bit because China, India, and other developing industrial economies are rightly judging that the threat is actually small compared to the immense lifestyle benefits of progress for their people.

  34. The line connecting the far right and the far left is not a horizontal line of political thought, but a circle where they finally meet in authoritarian views of government action to force the rest of the population to obey their vision of the world and society.

    Their small numbers of supporters inevitably lead them to some form of terrorism in the hope they can either change minds through fear or destroy the targets of their radicalism.

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