Critique of

YEH Ling-Ling's

High Time for a Sensible Solution to Migration

(An article dated 2015-05-19)

This author seems to propose general solutions to a specific problem, without considering all the consequences at either level.

The title, "High Time for a Sensible Solution to Migration" identifies migration as a problem distinct enough to require its own solution. Is it? Geese migrate annually; most of the complaints arise when they stop somewhere and settle down. Nomadic Mongol herders migrate annually; there are few complaints about them. Snowbirds migrate thousands of miles annually between the Northeast and Florida; the only complaints I hear are that some might vote more than once. Students migrate between dormitories and home; that seems to be considered acceptable.

Some people travel less often, saving fuel. Millions have moved from Rust Belt states like Michigan to Sun Belt states like Florida and Georgia; while there are associated economic problems, few question their right to migrate. For two centuries, Africans were forced to migrate to the Americas. Cherokee were forced to migrate from the Carolinas to Oklahoma. Germans migrated into Gaul and Britain, eastward as far as the Volga, then westward as far as the Pacific. Spaniards migrated to Latin America. A few French families migrated to Quebec, with some of their descendants dispersing to Manitoba or New England. Asians migrated to South Africa and Zanzibar. Han Chinese migrated to the Yangtze basin, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Taiwan, Tonkin, Singapore, and San Francisco. Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were forced to migrate to Turkestan and Siberia to tilt the demographics against secession. Vietnamese migrated from the north into then-Cambodian territory. Sinti and Roma gradually migrated from India through Romania and Bohemia to Spain and France. Jews migrated all over the world, some staying long enough in Spain or Germany to develop distinct languages. In ancient times, Greeks migrated to Egypt and Sicily; they visited Anatolia for a while until they were displaced by Turks who had come from Turkestan. Phonicians migrated to Carthage and then to Barcelona. Scythians migrated to Iran and India. My ancestors migrated from places like Ireland and Norway to Brooklyn. I migrated from Long Island to Appalachia. Most of the people I have met in GPVA migrated from other states, such as Connecticut and Kentucky. In prehistoric times, humans migrated from Africa to Asia and Europe, then to Australia and America. If migration is the problem, which should be undone first? (I would put a high priority on controlling the Chinese migration to Tibet.)

In recent waves, refugees have migrated from Albania and Tunisia to Italy, a distance of

Italy is putting policies in place to increase its population, but it wants to produce more genetically Italian people, even though the original Italic bloodlines have been mixed with Greek, German, Arab, and other immigrants over the centuries.

The second sentence asks, "What is the long-term and most cost-efficient way to help the maximum number of individuals worldwide seeking a better life?" That is backwards. The question should ask what steps would minimize the number of individuals who encounter barriers, be they economic, political, social, or educational, that stand in the way of attaining a better life. The point here is to minimize human numbers, not maximize them.

The author claims that the asylum policy proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker "will encourage larger waves of migration and result in higher social and racial tensions in a rapidly changing Europe." Higher than in 1933-45?

The article reads, "British Interior Minister Theresa May was correct to argue that sending back the migrants would deter future illegal immigration and thus help reduce potential deaths on the sea." Instead, many of those deaths would occur on land.

The next sentence claims, "This is the policy adopted by many countries such as Israel. . . ." Isn't Israel's policy selective, by religion? How many Jewish refugees are sent away? Maybe a few who, in addition to being hated by Gentiles, are burdened by a pathological "self-hatred" that affects their perception, making them see Arabs as human beings deserving of human rights. The government of Israel considers this malady a threat to the entire country, should its spread become epidemic.

Mentioning 55 billionaires in Africa, the article asks, "Why shouldn't these billionaires work with other leaders to curb their population growth and improve life for their own citizens, like China, Taiwan and Singapore have done?" Why shouldn't those billionaires be compelled to invest their money in education for Africans, even if they must be taxed to do it?

The article claims, "China symbolized poverty just 3 decades ago." Not by a long shot. By 1985, China was an industrialized country producing many exports and prosperous enough to buy food abroad. Thirty years later, some parts of Africa still need economic assistance to feed their own people.

The article notes, "Singapore, a tiny poor city deprived of resources in the 1950's, has become a clean and economically successful country with very low crime rates." All it had to do was find a visionary autocrat to run the place with an iron hand, rather than the more common variety who loot the place in a few years.

The article boasts, "It is to be noted that both China and Singapore have way below replacement-level fertility." So does Scandinavia, while maintaining exemplary human rights records and democratic institutions. In Singapore, you can't even keep a cat as a pet.

Later, the article claims that "China's population is projected to continue to grow until 2030 even if it maintains its one-child policy." With "below replacement-level fertility"? Shouldn't this apparent contradiction be explained?

After all this dubious logic, the article arrives at the crucial point, "Further, some 70 million individuals are estimated to be added to the world population each year." If that problem is solved, won't it relieve all the others?

The article claims that countries like the United States "cannot keep absorbing big waves of impoverished migrants without neglecting their own poor and unemployed, or undergoing substantial transformations resented by growing numbers of their citizens." The United States managed to neglect its poor even at times when net migration was outward. The "substantial transformations" needed to accept homegrown sexual minorities has been "resented" by millions of citizens for a long time. Millions resent the current president, son of an immigrant, but a larger number elected him twice.

Continuing to miss the point, the article proceeds, "In any given country, there are far more un-skilled and low-skilled people than highly trained technicians and professionals." That fact is trivial. Necessarily, when a majority of people attain some level of skill, that level can no longer be considered high. Many skilled professionals are underemployed. Some immigrant engineers wind up driving taxicabs.

Here's another trivial truth: "Therefore, in today's high-tech economy, population increases essentially mean more job-seekers, polluters and additional pressure on social services and natural resources." Further, high-income technicians and professionals consume more disposable goods, drive bigger vehicles more miles, and fly more often, creating more pollution than the same number of paupers.

How about this statement: "Drought and global warning have already affected many parts of the world." How many? Texas is flooded, and most politicians in the state deny global warming.

The article continues, "Population growth will only exacerbate water shortages and climate change." Migration from the coast of Brazil to the Amazon basin causes deforestation of the world's largest land-based carbon sink. For as long as it continues, shouldn't that migration be redirected to less-sensitive regions of the world?

The article notes, "It is a Ponzi scheme to claim that population growth is required to help solve our fiscal and economic problems." That sounds plausible. On the other hand, why is anyone more concerned about fiscal problems than about exhausting the carrying capacity of our planet? If your life is at stake, do you check your bank account?

What should we make of this observation: "When France and England were the most powerful nations on Earth, their then populations were substantially smaller than today's"? Yet the British Empire's population included India, considerably larger than England. What conclusion are we supposed to draw?

The article arrives at a seeming conclusion, "Based on the above, clearly, granting permanent refuge to foreign poor will not reduce global poverty." Is that the intention? Refugees are not inert materials who can be moved around as other people see fit. Each is a human being making an individual decision to travel and to live in one place rather than another. We must dignify their right to choose their own lives. If their decisions are coerced by oppression in their lands of origin, the coercion, not their rational response to it, is the problem to be addressed.

Yet the actual conclusion reads, "To truly ensure quality of life for all human beings on Earth, aside from addressing trade, education, labor and environmental policies, each country has the mandate of stabilizing its own population and providing job opportunities for its people." Is that all? At what level should population be stabilized? Haven't many countries already exceeded a sustainable level? Even if the birth rate could be cut to zero, most the children in those countries will grow larger and increase their consumption of resources. Instead of exterminating the excess population, as has happened in Rwanda and Cambodia, wouldn't it make sense to transfer it to less environmentally sensitive regions?


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Last updated: 7 December 2020