The religious moralist/economist, Adam Smith said society is best served by each individual pursuing self-interest, “the invisible hand theory.” Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Focus on the individual doing what is best for him/her and this society is well served.
Too much emphasis focused on the individual, however, sells short society’s benefits. They, the individual and society, go hand in hand, together.
The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – the G.I. Bill- gave opportunities to our WWII veterans which resulted in my brother becoming an engineer, having a number of veterans who became my teachers, and our family dentist who took advantage of the G.I. Bill. Most likely you, too, can give names and examples of individuals who went from military service to the classroom and eventually into America’s middle class. To deny that both the individuals and society benefited is to deny reality; to say some benefited more so than the other is debatable.
When applying Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory to immigration, I fear that underlying Trump’s opposition to immigration, besides the xenophobia displayed against specific race and religion, is excessive focusing on the individual. Our agriculture, hotel, tourist, and construction sectors, plus our A.I. and computer technology have worker shortages. Our society benefits from admitting entry to immigrants, granting opportunities to individuals seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They benefit, we benefit. It’s a win-win deal.
The President has repeated statements not supported with facts: “we are being overrun” – in 2017 had the lowest unauthorized crossing in recorded history; “we are being deluged by criminals” – crime rate among illegal immigrants is lower than our American population. Trump has been professed a strong preference for immigrants from Europe/Norway – white people- and not “those from s— h— countries”– non-whites. His gross exaggerations, false statements, scapegoating, evoking fear of outsiders, appealing to our lowest and worst survival instincts while totally ignoring the needed benefits immigrants offer our common good is shameful and wrong. Under Trump’s immigration policy, both the individual immigrants lose and our society lose. It’s a lose-lose deal.
We need a humane pathway to citizenship; we need secure borders; we need a strong immigration policy based on our better values and common sense. We need a smart policy not a knee-jerk policy based on racism, fear, and misinformation and certainly not a policy whereby children and parents are fecklessly and hardheartedly separated.
The ones benefiting from this divisive, fear-mongering, lying, snake oil spiel are out “only I can fix everything” President and his base supporters.
I suggest we honor our family values and show empathy: I Corinthians 15:10.
Toomey, Kelly, and Thompson remain mute and their silence implies consent.