The Greatest Entitlement

Americans, for the most part, do not like the idea of someone getting something for nothing. You want something, you pay for it. We conservatives especially cringe at the idea of entitlements.

Except for citizenship. For most Americans, the best citizenship is free citizenship. Sure, we are happy to let a few selected customers pay for a second-class version of it, but for the vast majority, it is something that neither has to be earned nor purchased.

Those few who pay for it also have to prove they deserve it. They have to spend a lot of money and go through a complicated process just to prove they should be allowed to even get the chance to earn it. Once that hurdle it overcome, they have to contribute to the economy for a specified period of time during which they can be thrown out of the country at the caprice of a judge or a legislature. They have to pass an exam to show that they know enough to become a real American. They have to pay another considerable amount of money to the Government, in addition to anything they pay to a lawyer to help them find their way through the maze of naturalization.

Wouldn’t it be the real American way to make everyone pay for it? Why not make the right to vote contingent on passing an exam and paying a $680 fee? Why should people get this for nothing just because they happened to be born in the US or have parents who happened to be born American? After all, many of these people have not contributed anything to the economy and for some even their parents have contributed nothing.

If we are going to deny millions of willing, working people the opportunity to even pay their way to citizenship then it only seems right that those who are not assets to the country should not be deciding its future as an entitlement of the accident of birth.

Why I’m Giving Up My American Citizenship

This might have been a better post for the Fourth of July, but most readers were probably out watching the fireworks and wouldn’t have seen it. So perhaps it is better to write it and post it today.

Yes, it’s true. Soon I will no longer be an American citizen.  Don’t worry, I won’t be a British citizen either. I’m giving up both citizenships. But then again, so are you. Whichever one you have. The reason is very simple. I’ll be dead and so will you. Heaven doesn’t take passports. Hell doesn’t either for that matter. (And if you are one of my atheist friends who doesn’t believe in either and thinks you will just cease to exist, annihilation brings loss of citizenship, too. But I’m going to continue in a Christian perspective…)

I say soon, because this life is but a moment, whether you live one year or one hundred. Kerry Livgren described us as dust in the wind. Moses, in Psalm 90, says were are like grass that grows up in the morning and in the evening whithers away.

Even in that moment, it will have mattered very little. If there was pride to be had in American citizenship, I think I could have it. I could sound like St Paul in Philippians 3:5 describing his Jewishness. I am of the stock of the United States, of the state of Texas, an American of the Americans; concerning the law a Strict Constructionist; concerning zeal, persecuting the liberals; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, a law-abiding citizen. I can trace my lineage in North America to before the American Revolution several times over.

If God has so chosen, I may be an American for another 46 years, maybe even a bit longer. I’m going to be stateless for eternity. In between is the Judgement Seat of Christ. As far as I know, the relative zeal of my flag waving will not be mentioned. My committment to national sovereignty probably won’t be challenged. There may not even be a query about whether I supported and defended the Constitution. Now I don’t know all the questions that Jesus is going to ask me or you, so you may dismiss this as pure speculation. However, I believe there is a practice exam with the correct answers in Matthew 25.

For as long as I’m an American and living inside the United States, I will participate in civic activities, including voting in elections for those candidates I think will best preserve the good things about the United States for future generations of blown dust and whithering grass. After all, living in the US provides one of the best opportunities for a life of relative ease and safety and modern conveniences. And liberty and justice for all, of course.

Now as I understand it, this life of relative ease and safety and modern convenience is a scare commodity and can’t be spread too thin, or people start to suffer. Well, not suffer, exactly, but their quantum of relative ease and modern convenience could be marginally reduced. Therefore if anyone is going to be allowed come along and enjoy it (along with that liberty and justice for all, of course), they need to prove that they will be net contributors, and we’ve set up rules to make sure that’s the case.

People who arrive with needs will only be a drain on the whole system of relative ease and modern convenience (though not necessarily on liberty and justice for all, but that’s secondary, really). So as it has been explained to me by those with minds greater and sharper than my own, it is my civic duty to keep them out. An example of drain is having to print things in other languages. (I’m guessing this causes massive demands on both the ink and paper industries, with a domino effect on the rest of the economy.) A country needs to have everyone speak and write one language. Otherwise we end up like Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK. Where would we be then? Even if some people get in who have needs, but I’m sure Jesus is going to understand if we insisted that they learn English first.

Real Americans don’t like socialism. Except for Social Security. Even the most conservative Republicans will not touch the socialist/ponzi scheme that is Social Security. It is possible that those who come here to drain the system will end up getting a Social Security number, working forty quarters, paying in, and drawing benefits. Benefits that are for American citizens who worked forty quarters and paid in. There’s no actual legislation pending that would give the drainers a chance to do this, but all good Americans are upset that it could happen, and I’m sure Jesus understands that.

Social Security is one thing, but health care is another. While we tolerate providing minimal health care to the poorest of the poor, people who arrive with needs have been known to receive health care this way. Once again, they are putting a drain on the relative ease of those born here or invited here because they are net contributors.  Jesus understands this.

I hope so, because after I give up my American citizenship, I will have to answer for how I used it. No, there won’t be questions on the flag, sovereignty and the Constitution, but there is an awful lot covered on that practice exam in Matthew 25.

In sermons, my father often quotes a couplet from his childhood for which the source is unknown, but the sentiment entirely biblical:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last

What’s done for Christ?

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.

Standing before Christ, it may be possible to plead that while being personally supportive of those in need, volunteering at the soup kitchen, putting change in the poor box at church, and sending a check to the charity of your choice (those people who look after other people for a living so as not to interfere with your relative ease and convenience), as a voting member of the State, your civic duty was to look after the relative ease and modern convenience of your former fellow citizens and keep others away from liberty and justice for all, at the point of a gun or the barbed wire of a fence if necessary.

You go ahead and try that approach. I’ll have enough on my plate that I won’t have a chance to look over, give you that Sarah Palin wink and say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Increasing Support for Child Sacrifice

If opinion polls are correct, more and more Americans are in favour of child sacrifice. No, I’m not making some sort of oblique reference to abortion. Some of you may think this is too bizarre, but it is true.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California has publically called for the deportation of American citizens who are the children of illegal immigrants. In a Fox poll published by the conservative group ResistNet, 56.5% of 1500 repondents supported this idea. So am I just given to hyperbole and tenuous metaphor by calling this child sacrifice? I don’t think so, and here’s why:

Hunter and supporters of this idea are downplaying that citizens who happen to be the children of undocumented immigrants are, in fact and in law, just as much citizens as Duncan Hunter. This is their legal status in US and international law. They got their citizenship the same way he did, even if you consider them second-class citizens – admittedly a way of treating some people that has a long and glorious history.

Duncan Hunter thinks this has to be done for the greater good. He said, “you could look and say, ‘You’re a mean guy. That’s a mean thing to do. That’s not a humanitarian thing to do.’ We simply cannot afford what we’re doing right now. We just can’t afford it. California’s going under.” In other words, “it’s not nice and it’s not a civilised way to treat a human being, but we’ve got to do it anyway. California can’t afford for us not to jettison these citizens.”

Citizenship entitles someone to all civil rights. It is long established in the US (and in international law, but that’s a concept despised by many Americans) that everyone within the boundaries of the US for whatever reason has certain civil rights protection, but it will be easy enough to disregard that. However, depriving a citizen of their civil rights is more serious. To strip a large class of people of the citizenship they have always had – these are not children naturalised by the grace and favor of the US Government – and that they acquired in the same way as all other natural born citizens is a big step.

I am not suggesting that Hunter is not entitled to hold this point of view, but rather that it should be explictly stated. He considers some citizens to be less desirable than others, so those in the majority should exercise their democratic voice to deprive that citizenship. Perhaps it is worth other Americans considering what safeguards are in place to prevent another majority forming (based on however they want to form an association or declare an affinity of common interest) that finds them in the minority and decides to forceably remove them from the country of their citizenship? The new majority may even hold sway long enough and significantly enough to pass a Constitutional amendment to enforce it.

This is child sacrifice in more than just a metaphorical sense. Once these children are stripped of their citizenship, they not longer have a right to be in the country of their birth and they can then be deported. That is the stated ultimate objective. It’s just a matter of opening up one of the gates in the big wall, shoving them through and quickly locking it behind them. On the other side of that wall is a drug war that has claimed the lives of over 20,000 mostly innocent people in the last half-decade. In that environment, a lot of those children thrown over the wall will probably not survive for long. But their deaths are necessary to keep Duncan Hunter’s California and the US from going under. It’s a price that has to be paid. Most Americans won’t think it a heavy price, because they didn’t want that class of citizen in this country anyway.

One of the things the US needs to do to stop the flow of immigrants is to make it a less attractive destination. If we can show the world that the US is a place where some citizens have more rights than others and that any undesireable group can lose their civil rights at the caprice of any given majority of sufficient size, maybe they will start to look elsewhere. A lot will still come because life on the margins is still outweighed by the economic opportunity, but the new apartheid will discourage a few.

Times are tough and everyone has to make sacrifices. Every citizen needs to be willing to make sacrifices for the common good. You know, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. That includes all these Latino kids. Their country needs them to give up their citizenship, their opportunities for the future, and in some cases their lives, so that everyone else can continue to enjoy the American way of life.

I would say that Hunter and his supporters do need to act fast. At this time a significant number of these citizens are below the age of majority. They are children subject to the whims of the enfranchised adults. If they are allowed to grow up, they will have a say in their own affairs and enjoy the full rights to exert their citizenship (that they admittedly acquired they same way Hunter and most Americans did) and try to oppose being thrown out of their country. It is much easier to deprive a child of their civil rights than someone who can speak up for themselves.

Some of these undesirable citizens are already adults. If legislation enabling certain people to be stripped of their citizenship and deported is proposed, there will not doubt be protest rallies. If they were good citizens they would be doing this willingly, not engaging in some sort of protest. If they are participating in rallies against giving up their citizenship, it just shows how unAmerican they are, doesn’t it?

Illegal Means Illegal – What Could Be More Simple?

I was leaving a comment on a Facebook thread about illegal immigrants, responding to someone who said,  “I think the problem is when the word “illegal” comes into play. Imagine making a law to punish law breakers, hmmmm…” I thought to myself, it’s really as simple as that. Okay, there are a few minor hitches, but surely nothing we can’t handle.

If you look at it that way, the Arizona law doesn’t go far enough. After all, if someone committed a robbery we wouldn’t just arrest them and punish them because they got stopped for doing something else, would we? So if someone has broken the law by entering the country illegally, what are we waiting for? I have heard it over and over from my fellow conservatives:  they have broken the law and entered illegally, so let’s just round them up and send them back to where they came from.

Many of them have large families of children who are US citizens, so we’ll need to deport these US citizens to countries of which they are not citizens – wait, that’s where the word “illegal” comes into play, as you can’t just go deporting natural born citizens.  Okay, Plan B:  take all the children into the care of the State to feed, cloth and house them until they are 18. Yes, that would be the only legal option. I’m sure they’ll grow up to be fine law-abiding, emotionally stable, productive adults having had their parents forceably removed from them to another country and permanently separated.

But the upside is that we will need so many state-run orphages, which will provide jobs. We’ll need those jobs because the hundreds of thousand of illegals won’t be spending any money on food, clothing or shelter, so there’s gonna be some job losses. Of course state-run orphages will have to be paid for out of tax dollars, but it’s worth paying a lot more in taxes to create this social care monolith because we won’t have all those law-breaking immigrants.

What’s more, we’ll be punishing all those businesses that stay afloat employing illegal immigrants. Law breakers are law breakers. They will be paying at least the federal minimum wage and if they can’t afford to let the government rather than the market mandate wages, they go under. And if they need the kind of work that citizens won’t do, regardless of how hard up those citizens are, they go under. I think fruit is overrated anyway, and besides, we can always import it. With all those taxpaying businesses folding, we’ll have to pay even more to make up the difference, but it will be worth it not to have all those law-breaking immigrants!

What’s more, someone is housng all those illegals and their citizen children. Some of it’s not the best of housing, but it is better to have it all boarded up than have illegals living there. With the hundreds of thousands of illegals we have, that’s a lot of buildings abandoned. But looking at it positively, most families with illegal immigrants tend to live around other immigrant families. Most of the houses and aparments will be concentrated in certain areas of towns and cities. It will be easy to drive around those boarded up areas and ignore them. Areas with lots of abandoned buildings tend to attract crime and fire. Ths will mean more jobs for police and firefighters. That’s more public sector jobs costing more tax dollars, but once again it will be worth it not to have all those law-breaking immigrants.

Yes, enforcing that unmoveable conservative principle of “illegal means illegal” will lead to the break up of thousands of families, a massive increase in social services, massive expansion of the public sector, and tax increases. Anyone opposed to that is just a liberal. The law is the law.

Yes, when you think it about in straight-forward terms like punishing law breakers, the answers are all so simple.

Government Profiteering Through Fees

I got my new passport today. I’m good to travel for another ten years.

I wanted to move my Indefinite Leave to Remain visa from my old passport to the new one. Seems like it would be a fairly straightforward procedure. Given everything I’ve paid in fees in the past, you would think it is would be free. Okay, maybe there would be a small administrative charge for the transferring the sticker, or even pasting a new one in the new passport.

Not exactly. There is a £160 fee. It’s like a 10-year recurring tax to be a taxpayer. But that’s for having it done by post. So I’ll just take in personally and have it done. Less administrative hassle for the bureaucrats, so a much cheaper fee, right?

Not exactly. The fee goes up. Way up. So what does the Government charge me for using my own petrol and taking time off work to make things easier for them? £500. There is an advantage to me though. I don’t have to wait up to 14 weeks to get my documents returned. So I suppose I’m paying for the privilege of not being prevented from traveling for three months.

But there’s more. Just as if I was applying to enter the UK for the first time, I have to answer the usual questions:

In times of either peace or war have you or any dependants included in this application ever been involved, or suspected of involvement, in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?

Have you or any dependants included in this application ever been involved in, supported or encouraged terrorist activities in any country?

Have you or any dependants included in this application ever been a member of, or given support to, an organisation which has been concerned in terrorism?

Why do they ask these questions? Do they honestly think that someone is going to be involved in genocide or terrorism and then admit to it on a government form? This is honestly sillier that then question at the airline check-in counter about whether you packed your own bag, as if you are suddenly going to remember that a strange Middle Eastern man showed up at your house and asked if he could pack your bag for you, just as a random act of kindness.

Fortunately, I don’t have to answer the questions (which wouldn’t be a problem) or pay the £160 (which would), as long as I keep my old passport with me. I just have to present both documents when I want to get back into the country. As I see it, why should I pay £160 when it is going to cost me £655 to apply for citizenship and it will take the same amount of time to process the application?

It is much cheaper to become an American citizen. $330 (or about £165). A replacement green card is $190 (£95). Is this just another example of Rip-off Britain?

Learning History and Citizenship

I’ve previously discussed the bias in history textbooks in the UK. In his most recent blog entry, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens looks at how the approach to British history seeks to undermine everything that is British.

At the same time that Britishness is being de-emphasised to the British, it is being heavily enforced with those who want to move here, or those, like me, who have been a long time but want to become citizens. New immigrants or those who want to upgrade their status have to take the Life in the UK test. It’s mostly aimed at limiting the number of dark-skinned people, but since the law has to be seen to be impartial, it takes in palefaces like me who are not from EU member states.

Since they keep increasing the fee, I can’t afford to apply for citizenship. Thus I haven’t bought the book I need for studying to take the test. The test costs £34 for each sitting. I have had a look at the website linked above, to see what sort of things I need to know.

You would think that someone who speaks English as a first language and is certified to teach Citizenship to GCSE level wouldn’t have any trouble with the test. Surely they wouldn’t expect new immigrants to know more than someone with a good GCSE grade. Oh yes, they do.

I was just looking at the most recent available past paper for the OCR’s Citizenship Short Course GCSE. The bits that aren’t multiple choice or short answer are based on provided sources. The examinee doesn’t have to know any citizenship – they just have to be able to read for comprehension.

Typical GCSE questions:

State one example of a global evironmental problem
Citizens of the UK have rights and responsibilities. State one employment right that citizens have.
State one legal responsibility parents in the United Kingdom have to their children aged under 16.
State one employment right that citizens have.

Included topics in Life in the UK test:

How is the process of buying a house different in Scotland?
What are the powers of the devolved administrations?
How is European law organised?
What are quangos and non-departmental public bodies?
How can people find a dentist? (Clearly a trick question)
Which groups of people receive free dental treatment? (See the previous question)
How is education different in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?
Who can offer information on occupational or personal pensions?

Remember That You Were Strangers

Once again, I’ve been found using “Mike Huckabee theocracy theocrat” as a search string. It is always hard to tell if this is used by someone who thinks any Christian values in civil government is the equivalent of theocracy, or whether it is someone who can use it in the more specific sense of a particular set of views within Christian theology.

Since the former is really a straw man argument, it is pointless to argue with it. However, I am pretty sure that Huckabee would not fit within the usual bounds of the theocratic view, which is used as a synonym for – or close relative to – theonomy or Reconstructionism. That is not to say that he hasn’t been influenced by it – or even that he doesn’t have books by R J Rushdoony on his bookshelf, but he has not come across as a theonomist.

That being said, he does take the most theonomic view when it comes to the hot-hot-hot-button issue of immigration. It is one of the few policy areas where the other Republicans can “fault” him. After all, Tancredo and Hunter helped build the wall in California. Guiliani is protesting as much as he can that he didn’t run a sanctuary city and Romney that he didn’t hire undocumented aliens to work for him. Huckabee just keeps explaining over and over why he chose the policy about in-state tuition in Arkansas.

In my view, Huckabee is the only one approaching a biblical view on immigration. I don’t think he has one or supports one, but he comes the closest. I think he put the bar too high on the in-state tuition. I think a child of an undocumented adult who is domiciled in the state, has always lived in the State, and has no personal connection to any other jurisdiction should automatically get in-state tuition, whether or not they achieve a level of academic excellence not required of other children in the state. “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” (Exodus 12:49)

The treatment of aliens in the Old Testament, both legally and spirirtually, is a matter of God’s keen interest. They are not to be oppressed. “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.” (Deut. 24:14-15)

Just like the Israelites, we should remember that we were and are aliens. We were alienated from God, yet Christ died for us and gave us citizenship in heaven. And now that we have that citizenship, we have become strangers and aliens in this world.

One blogger criticised Huckbee as ridiculing the religious views of his opponents because they disagreed with his policy toward immigrants in Arkansas. Well, I’m not going to ridicule anyone; I’m just going to say they are wrong. There is no place in the heart of the believer for Nativism. It is a tenet of that form of idolatry known as American Civil Religion.

It is a patriotism that fails to acknowledge that every founding father was a stranger and an alien. They showed up in a place that didn’t belong to them without being invited, and in many cases stole the land from the previous inhabitants, driving them out with a combination of conventional and biological warfare. Native Americans were not even legally recognised as people until 1879 and did not have the full rights of citizenship until 1924.

The current influx of strangers in the land may have an impact on the current culture, but not nearly as much as the previous culture was impacted and nearly obliterated. How conveniently that is forgotten.

God doesn’t forget. He hears the cry of the oppressed and answers them. Those who fail to recognise this will have a lot to answer for.

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”