May 1st, 2006


"to move as he will on the face of the earth"


"Man has the dwell where he will: to move as he will on the face of the earth."

I have seen exactly one -- o.n.e. -- Thelemite quote these words from "Liber OZ" in the context of the immigration debate. Good for her.

I wasn't planning on posting about this, because it's one of those issues heavily obscured by unconscious factors: an issue people find it difficult, on all sides, to be honest and sane about. Nor am I gonna state my own preferences here...even supposing I were certain what they are. Instead, I'll just make a couple of obvious points, on each side, which I believe to be underemphasized.

1. Nobody honest and sane can deny that there are serious social service issues involved here. At present, taxpayers (and health care consumers!) are subsidizing businesses and individuals who hire illegal aliens: they don't have to pay a living wage because taxpayers pick up a meaningful social service tab in any number of areas. It's a bad situation all around, for immigrants and taxpayers alike (and yes, I know for a fact many illegal immigrants also pay their taxes, so let's not debate that one, anyway). There are also serious border control issues; since they're both fairly obvious, yet more complex than they might at first appear,* I won't debate them here.

2. That said, nobody honest and sane can seriously deny that there are -- largely unexamined -- unconscious factors in play in the nativist in all nativist movements, always, worldwide.** Since people don't like to think of themselves as, say, racists, they are adept at inventing framing devices to hide their motives, even from themselves. This is ridiculously easy to prove, particularly among Thelemites. To wit:

"As far as I'm concerned it's a simple matter of laws. That's why they call them illegal immigrants. They're breaking the law, and need to be stopped, period."

"You feel exactly the same way about the drug laws, do you?"


Q.E.D. ;)

The best analogy I've personally been able to come up with is between immigrant workers and prostitutes. Each fulfils a need as old as mankind,*** doing a nasty job most privileged people don't want to do; everyone knows where to find one, and yet they're breaking laws for which they can be punished. Up until now illegal immigrants were in administrative, not criminal, violation; now the GOP wants to make illegal immigration a felony. Immigrants are in the streets on the theory that American business asked them to come here, and if it wants them here it should find a way to make it legal, not engage in selective show trials.

As with the legality of prostitution, strong arguments can be made on all sides of the issues involved. Let's just not kid ourselves about those issues...or, for that matter, about what "Liber OZ" has to say on the subject.

93 93/93 -- AJ

* E.g., the balance among border control, universal surveillance, "Liber OZ" see my point.

** This impulse is, alas, endemic among humans, though one can always hope for evolution -- and particularly the progress of Thelema -- to dissolve it, as education and cultural mixing traditionally have. Historically, though, if everyone for a thousand miles in every direction is a blue-eyed white person, humans will still find a way to divide themselves up, and project hatred across the divide. Witness, e.g., Eastern Europe, or the British Isles.

*** In the case of immigrants, something very like the traditional role of a "slave class." One small but significant reason illegal immigration has ballooned is that our previous slave class -- women -- is now increasingly employed in the workforce. OTOH, nobody ever seems to suggest one of the most obvious fixes for this problem: international efforts to get business to pay a living wage, worldwide. God knows that'd cut down on emigration of all kinds; odd the corporate media haven't long since championed it. ;)