- The Lindy Newsletter
- Borders Are Lindy
Borders Are Lindy
Last week in Dublin Ireland, chaos reigned. A knife attack happened outside a school, wounding innocents and igniting a wildfire of rumors and rage. The attacker, an Algerian migrant, became the kindle for a raging inferno of unrest. The streets of very progressive Dublin became a canvas of violence, painted with the fury of rioters clashing with police, the glow of burning vehicles, and the plunder of looted stores.
Dublin looked like a war zone in some parts last night as people rioted over an immigrant suspect being revealed to have allegedly carried out a mass stabbing attack on children. Police pushed a homeless man during the riot:
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo)
Nov 24, 2023
During the last 15 years Europe has opened its doors to migrants. These surges in immigration have reshaped Euro cities urban landscapes. Places like London or Paris really do look diverse when you’re there and resemble American cities like New York City.
But that looks like it is changing. Last week, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, an anti-immigrant, far-right party leader, orchestrated a staggering victory. His party, once fringe players in Dutch politics, doubled their seats, breaching the 20% barrier. This is happening in nation after nation.
Italy already elected Giorgia Meloni and her party last year.
Portugal eyes a March snap poll with the right-wing bloc, led by the right wing party Chega, as frontrunners.
The forecast for the 2024 European Parliament elections? A surge in far-right representation, a shift poised to reshape EU policies on immigration, climate, and expansion.
France and Germany, traditionally powerhouses of moderation, are being influenced. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has proposed reducing cash benefits for asylum seekers and speeding up processing and removals.
But this means lowering the levels of immigration, not making it completely zero or kicking out migrants. Nations are less cruel to migrants now than in the past. Even today's most anti-immigrant parties are, by historical standards, surprisingly pro-migrant. Historically, landing unarmed on foreign soil with intentions to settle was akin to signing one's own death warrant. Captivity, death, or enslavement awaited those who dared. But today, societies welcome such arrivals with a hospitality.
The United States and Immigration
The same thing is happening in America. They call our country the land of immigrants but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t just a Republican issue anymore. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has said the migrant crisis is the toughest problem NYC has ever faced, even Chicagoans are protesting all the migrants that Texas is shipping up to the city. Not surprisingly, Trump is leading Biden in the polls for President in 2024. If you could name one reason why he won in 2016, his anti-immigration rhetoric was probably the most important reason.
Could America mirror Europe's recent experience with immigration? It's a possibility. Historically, the United States saw a massive influx of immigrants in the early 20th century, significantly shaping cities like Chicago. During this period, characterized by relatively open immigration policies similar to today's, Chicago experienced rapid growth.
By the early 1900s, immigrants and their children constituted over 80% of Chicago's population. What followed was a populist backlash and the 1924 Immigration Act closing off immigration. But then the system opened up again during the reform of immigration laws in 1965. We see this cyclical pattern happen again and again over history.
I don’t think this is about racism or xenophobia. It was Americans of European stock shutting down immigration from European countries in the early 20th century. Today, a whopping 42% of Latinos say increasing border security is a very important immigration policy goal. Borders are Lindy and humans are tribal creatures.
Here's the tribal equation – rolling out the red carpet for a lone stranger but turning fierce against a large group. It’s like this bizarre calculus of hospitality: At what headcount does kindness flip into hostility? Where's that line in the sand, that magic number where you switch from open arms to bared teeth?
In This Newsletter
1) The Canada Experiment: Can a country become an economic superpower by accepting millions of high skilled foreigners from around the world every year? An interesting experiment is taking place right now in Canada. If it works and Canada becomes richer then America it will change everything we know about immigration. It may even influence American immigration policy in the future and cause America to open its borders. But what if it fails?
2) Humans are a Tribal Species: Distrust of excessive immigration, even if its peaceful, is not irrational. Let’s explore why.
The Canada Experiment
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