Progressive Protectionism – Finding Common Ground


The term protectionism as it is generally accepted these days tends to conjure up associations with nativism and reactionaryism. Last week, I read a book by Colin Hines in which he introduced the concept of “Progressive Protectionism” (PP). PP is a counterbalance to practices such as neoliberalism, in which the pursuit of price and profit are aggressively pursued around the globe with little thought to the nations and families that remain in its wake.

PP speaks to a movement where, “nation states and communities join together and reintroduce border controls to protect and Via shutter stockdiversify their economies, provide a sense of security for their people, and prevent further deterioration of the environment.” In his book, Hines dares to call for restricting immigration. He seeks “to provide a plausible alternative to neoliberalism’s chief and most destructive battering ram: open borders for money, goods, services and people. The left, green and small ‘c’ conservatives who favor flourishing, sustainable local economies and businesses have much to unite them, but are at present in utterly impotent disarray.”   Although many politicians have talked about getting tough when it comes to restricting immigration and curbing the ill effects of globalization, none have done anything of substance. This goes for politicians on both sides.

If President Trump’s election demonstrated anything, it was that vast swaths of Americans either felt they were being harmed, or at least not being helped by unbridled immigration. Typically, it has been Republican politicians calling for immigration restriction. However, many Democratic politicians to include Bill ClintonHillary ClintonBarrack Obama and Charles Schumer at one time or another called for either the end of illegal immigration and/or strengthened border security. Moreover, Democratic and Libertarian voters have registered growing concern with current immigration policy. The proof shows in President Trump’s message on immigration, which put him over the top in states such as Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan – states that had gone to President Obama in the prior election.

Via shutter stockIn a recent article in Business Insider entitled, “Democrats Are Lost On Immigration –And They’d Better Rethink Their Ideas to Beat Trump,” Josh Barro states, “Democrats are much less clear about what they see as the purpose of immigration and how they believe their policies would serve the interests of existing American citizens. Often, their arguments for immigration focus on the opportunities it affords to potential immigrants — that is, people who cannot vote.”

Being the son of an immigrant, I am perhaps closer to the immigrant experience than most.   For the past decade, I have tried with varying degrees of success to have conversations with my progressive brothers and sisters on the unintended consequences of unbridled immigration. One topic often times discussed was, should we consider what good would follow if we return to the restrictive policies that were in effect from 1924 until 1965? I believe attempts at these dialogues have been extinguished not by their merit but by a blanket of propaganda. The money of high net worth, neoliberal social engineers over the years has guided “trusted” left wing organizations and institutions to favor open borders without knowing the impact on our environment and labor markets. Hateful rhetoric towards those who would dare to mention the topic has done little to nourish a healthy conversation.

A classic example occurred when hedge fund multi-millionaire, David Gelbaum hijacked the Sierra Club by providing donations of $101.5 million in 2001. Gelbaum’s fierce belief in open borders and his leverage within the Sierra Club has effectively prevented them from having a substantial conversation on population growth and its impact on the environment since the late 1990’s. With 80% of US population growth directly attributed to newly arrived immigrants and their children, you can see why, according to Dr. Jean Nelson, “the mission statement (of the Sierra Club) has become a meaningless paragraph of puffery, as the rapidly expanding population of the United States, driven by record numbers of immigrants, causes unprecedented environmental destruction and loss of wild lands.”

In May of 2016, PFIR prepared an environmental impact study (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental effects on U.S. immigration policy.  The EIS examined the potential environmental impacts of current immigration policies and of a range of reasonable alternatives. The study paid particular attention to annual immigration levels, and to the enforcement or non-enforcement of immigration laws. The EIS determined what effects alternative immigration policies will likely have on future population levels in the United States and what effects future population levels would likely have in increasing or decreasing key environmental impacts to terrestrial and marine environments in the United States.

Another example of healthy conversations ended before they began is with multi-billionaire George Soros. I have come to love the “LEAKS” and in particular the DC Leaks hack of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) e-mails. Late last year, we saw for the first time just what we were dealing with in our attempts to fight open borders advocates. In the United States alone, the OSF donated roughly $100,002,808 in 2015 and $118,500,126 in 2016 to organizations, many of which are open borders warriors such as La Raza, CHRLA and Casa de Maryland. Oddly, OSF donated to organizations that by a consequence of what they advocate increased the population of the US, and on another hand donated to Planned Parenthood.   Even more nonsensically, OSF donated $650,000 to Black Lives Matters (BLM).

Sadly, going forward we will probably never hear a discouraging word about effects of unbridled immigration on our environment and labor markets by the groups that compose BLM.  This is despite the adverse consequences immigration poses for economically disadvantaged blacks.

Soros’ OSF and David Gelbaum are not alone in using financial positioning to silence anyone who wishes to freely discuss a different perspective. Open borders groups are also funded by The Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Atlantic Philosophers, Jim Kaplan Fund, Hagerdorn Foundation, Haas Jr. Fund, Unbound Philanthropy and Western Union (yep, the middleman for sending all those remittances back to countries of origin). With all this money being pumped into one side of the immigration debate, it’s amazing they’re still fighting an uphill battle to win over the US public.

Via ShutterstockSolving the immigration debate in a manner that will work best for American citizens and our posterity must be based on a rational analysis of the facts.  We must trust that the best solutions in a democratic and free society start with open and honest conversations between citizens and not top down world views, formulated in an ideological vacuum by wealthy global elites and plutocrats. As Josh Barro aptly stated in his article, “You do not need to be a nationalist to understand that voters will expect policies to be made in their interest.”

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