Tag Archives: VDARE

Immigration to US for whites only?

An argument that has been made by our friends over at VDare is that the entire idea of America being a nation of immigrants is misguided, at least immigrants of the multi-racial variety. After all, the constitution enshrined slavery (certain heterodox methods of interpreting the document not-withstanding) and the Naturalization Act of 1790 only allowed for citizenship for “free white persons”. Occasionally this argument veers off into strange directions. For instance when Peter Brimelow attempts to minimize the importance of immigration to American history:

It’s also true the intellectual elite tends to think America was Built By Immigrants because they live in New York or Los Angeles or somewhere like that—which are heavily immigrant cities, entirely immigrant cities.

But the last estimate that I saw, when I was researching Alien Nation, was that if there had been no immigration at all after 1790—none at all—the population of the US would still be about half of what it is now, through natural increase.

Having only half the population we currently have doesn’t seem like a way to ensure prosperity and minimizing the importance of cities like New York or LA (which make up a disproportionately large part of the American economy, these two cities alone accounting for about $2 trillion out of a total American economy of $15 trillion, or about one seventh , while combined of the only about 4% of the population, ~12 million people in the cities out of 300 million Americans) is even worse in that regard. But the primary focus of this critique of immigration is of the non-white variety. So, did the founders want only whites in this country (beyond perhaps slaves), and if so should we care?

Now the first and most obvious point is that the Naturalization Act of 1790 was an act about citizenship not immigration. We here at open borders have talked at length about the importance of disentangling these two concepts. But a modern understanding of the difference doesn’t mean that the Founders intended for this to be different. Perhaps they simply assumed that a path to citizenship was a necessary prerequisite for permanent residency in the United States. That’s what VDare would apparently like to argue anyways.

However, the Naturalization Act of 1790 could not have possibly been meant as an immigration restriction. After all article 1 section 9 of the United States Constitution states:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

While this was primarily to prevent a blocking of the slave trade before 1808, the addition of “migration” as well as importation of “persons” seems to imply more than just slaves. Furthermore, the act which banned that trade did not attempt to ban voluntary non-white immigration. The text  only bans importing “any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, in any ship or vessel, for the purpose of selling them in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States as slaves, or to be held to service or labour.” If the founder’s intent was to deny non-whites entry or the right to migrate to the United States they seem to have left enormous loop holes.

Also while writers at VDare are quick to cite Federalist No. 2 to support the idea of the white American ethnic identity, whether John Jay is truly encapsulating the ideas of his fellow founders, or is even accurate in his description of the United States at the time, is questionable. The relevant quote from Jay being:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs

With religion for instance, allow me to quote Thomas Jefferson in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

And over at the Huffington Post, David Bier present us with a number of quotes in favor of immigration generally and at least one quote from Thomas Paine directly in opposition to Jay’s view of the United States:

If there is a country in the world where concord… would be least expected, it is America…made up as it is of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable.

And yet Paine still argues the country works as a propositional nation (the very thing VDare is attempting to deny). What this demonstrates is not the Founders were unambiguously denying that America had a particular ethnic origin, but that they were divided on the issue. Their ultimate actions however look a lot more similar to keyhole solutions we here at Open Borders: The Case might support than the close the border solutions of VDare. If the United States was meant by some of the Founders to be for whites only, it’s equally not clear that the men who warned against the dangers to liberty of standing armies would have supported militarizing a border against peaceful immigrants.

But this leads us to the question of whether in the modern world we should even care what the founders thought? The founders also failed to end the immense injustice of slavery or give women voting rights, things even conservative admirers of the founders should find to be major failings. Franklin’s own position on Germans in the United States would seem to be rather problematic now that Germans are the single largest ancestry for Americans to claim. Losing 17% of the US population that is almost entirely white probably would not be a preferred outcome for the VDare writers.

But ultimately the founder’s views can only be a proxy. They were certainly intelligent men and the opinions of intelligent people are generally worth at least considering. But in the modern world we have far more data and experience on how economics, politics, and just the way the world in general works. Thus both people asserting the founders supported immigration and those saying they opposed it are discussing a point of view that should carry very little if any weight in modern debates. The founders may have intended a propositional nation or may not have (or more likely some believed in one position and others in the other). But they no longer have to live with the consequences of such a choice and those who do should decide the issue.

The Tanton memo and restrictionism among US Republicans

A few months ago, I blegged for readers’ views on the relation between immigration and US politics. Here’s what I wrote:

Logically, I can make out four broad positions one can stake on immigration and US politics. I’m curious to hear from readers and co-bloggers about the relative merits of the positions:

  1. Immigration good for Democrats, bad for Republicans regardless of either party’s position on immigration. In other words, even if the Republicans took a pro-immigration stance, more immigration would still hurt them. The electing a new people argument offered by Peter Brimelow of VDARE has this structure. Mark Krikorian of CIS also makes similar arguments. This argument naturally appeals to:
    • Those trying to sell restrictionism to the Republican Party.
    • Those trying to sell pro-immigration policies to the Democratic Party.
  2. Immigration good for Republicans, bad for Democrats regardless of either party’s position on immigration. I don’t know anybody who has taken this position, but I’m adding it for logical completeness. This argument naturally appeals to:
    • Those trying to sell pro-immigration policies to the Republican Party.
    • Those trying to sell restrictionism to the Democratic Party.
  3. Immigration good for whichever party adopts a more pro-immigration stance: In this view, both parties need to compete to be more pro-immigration, and whichever party manages to be more pro-immigration will benefit more from immigration. This seems to be the view of many open borders advocates and other pro-immigration forces, such as my co-blogger Nathan here and here. This argument naturally appeals to pro-immigration forces trying to simultaneously make inroads into both parties, setting up a “race to open borders” between both parties.
  4. Immigration bad for whichever party adopts a more pro-immigration stance: In this view, both parties gain from adopting a more restrictionist stance. Restrictionists who are trying to make a broad-based appeal to both parties would find this argument appealing. In this view, the vote of people with restrictionist sympathies matters a lot more than the votes of potential immigrants and their apologists. Thus, whichever party adopts a more pro-immigration stance will lose a lot more in terms of restrictionist votes, even if they gain a few immigrant votes. Such an argument, if believed, would lead to a “race to closed borders” between both parties. Some restrictionists have made these types of arguments, though they’ve largely focused on (1).

The general consensus in the comments, which saw a fair bit of participation from people who are not Open Borders bloggers and have a somewhat critical/skeptical take on open borders, was in favor of point (1). Namely, immigration is good for Democrats and bad for Republicans, and this holds mostly regardless of the parties’ respective stances on immigration. In other words, if the Republicans adopt a more pro-immigration stance, they will see some gains among immigrants, but still won’t get a majority of the immigrant vote, and the overall increase in immigrant numbers would swamp the slight increase in immigrant share (basically, a small increase in the share within the immigrant vote could be overridden by a greater increase in the immigrant vote share relative to the total vote — this is the electing a new people argument).

Nathan in particular dissented from this view. He suggested that there may be more of a case for (3) in the somewhat longer run, i.e., either party could gain from immigrant votes by marketing itself well. This would of course be ideal from the open borders perspective, as I noted above. In this post, I discuss a memo sent out by John Tanton and the extent to which it sheds light on the discussion above.

The Tanton Memo

The Cafe Con Leche Republicans website’s self-description reads: “We are Republicans who think the GOP should be more welcoming to immigrants.” The site recently published a memo by John Tanton (here’s the PDF of the memo) from 2001. For those unfamiliar with John Tanton, he is an anti-immigration activist who played an important role in helping found leading US restrictionist groups such as CIS, FAIR, and NumbersUSA. Many people on the pro-immigration side view Tanton as a mastermind responsible for much of the success of restrictionism in the United States. I suspect that people have a tendency to overplay Tanton’s role (just as critics of libertarianism overplay the influence of the Koch brothers) but his contribution to the human condition (positive or negative, depending on your perspective) is far more than that of most people. I quote the memo in full below (emphasis mine):

Roy Beck [referencing Roy Beck, CEO of NumbersUSA] and I think we have come up with an idea that can actually move the battle lines on the immigration question in our favor. While we are working on other ideas to move Democrats, this one involves using the recently released census data to show Republican members of Congress, the Administration, and the party’s leadership how massive immigration imperils their political future. The goal is to change Republicans’ perception of immigration so that when they encounter the word “immigrant,” their reaction is “Democrat.”

Here’s what the Census Bureau tells us: There are 28.4 million foreign-born persons living in the U.S. (This was before the Census Bureau recently added another 5 millionto their totals, probably mostly more illegals.) The Center for Immigration Studies breaks the numbers down this way. Of the 28.4 million, 5.5 million are illegals, and 500,000 are here on temporary visas, like the HI-9. Of the 22.4 remaining, 10.6 are already citizens. That leaves approximately 12 million legal non-citizens, about 8 million of whom, having lived here the required five years, could be naturalized. The other 4 million are still in the waiting period. And, of course, we’re adding about 1 million or more to the queue each year.

We know about the heavy tilt of recent immigrants toward the Democratic Party, both from polling booth exit surveys, and from regular surveys like the Harris Poll, enclosed as Item 1. These folks vote at least 2 to 1 for Democrats, and even up to 9 to 1 – see The Boston Globe article (Item 2). Mr. Bush got 35% of the Hispanic vote overall; i.e., Mr. Gore got about 65% – a landslide. I could send many similar articles, but will stop with a U.S. News & World Report (Item 3) confirming the saliency of this view.

Our plan is to hire a lobbyist who will carry the following message to Republicans on Capitol Hill and to business leaders: Continued massive immigration will soon cost you political control of the White House and Congress, given the current, even division of the electorate, and the massive infusion of voters about to be made to the Democratic side. We are about to replay the Democratic hegemony of 1933-53, fueled back then by the massive immigration of 1890-1924.

We have a candidate for the lobbying work in James Edwards, a former staffer for a member of the House Immigration Subcommittee, recently a lobbyist with a trade association, and the co-author of The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform. He has just joined an independent lobbying firm. He’s solidly in our camp, is very well connected in Republican circles, and is willing and able to take on this assignment. We would like to hire him half-time for a year to give this a try. Our budget for this project is $1 00,000. Mr. Edwards would pay his expenses out of his hourly fee of $1 00.00.

May we have your frank opinion of this idea? If you think it plausible, would you be willing to help support it financially?

Implications of the memo

The memo, if legitimate, suggests that Tanton sought funding to promote the position which I label as (1) in my list: immigration good for Democrats, bad for Republicans. The points I make below assume the authenticity of the memo.

  • This memo certainly indicates a definitive strategy on the part of John Tanton and others in restrictionist circles to appeal to Republicans’ political concerns.
  • Tanton wasn’t the first restrictionist to make this sort of argument. Peter Brimelow, founder of VDARE, in which Tanton hasn’t played an important founding or ongoing role, made the electing a new people argument in the pages of National Review back in 1997 (four years before the Tanton memo).
  • Judging by the mostly consistent stance that restrictionist groups have taken in support of this position over the last few years, this strategy seems to have been selected for, though Tanton’s role as an individual in selecting this strategy for all restrictionist groups is questionable.
  • Of course, just because restrictionists chose to focus their resources on the argument doesn’t mean that it is false (unlike what Cafe Con Leche Republicans seems to suggest). In contrast, the reason they selected that argument is possibly because of its element of plausibility and truth. The ideal position from the restrictionist perspective, after all, isn’t (1) but position (4) on my list: Immigration bad for whichever party adopts a more pro-immigration stance. That Tanton and other restrictionists chose to adopt (1) instead of (4) reveals that they were constrained in their narrative by the facts. More in the next point.
  • This and related evidence make it reasonably clear that restrictionists are restrictionists first and foremost, and their political party loyalties, if any, are secondary. Their choice to align with the Republican Party is a strategic choice based on a belief that they can convince the Republican Party more easily about the synergy between restrictionism and the Republican Party, not out of a principled loyalty to the Republican Party. Specific restrictionists may well be Republicans, but others may well feel more at home with the Democratic Party. Even in the memo, Tanton says in the very first para that he will be searching for parallel strategies to woo Democrats. For this reason, Republicans would be well advised, from the perspective of electoral success, to view restrictionists with a good deal of skepticism when restrictionists claim to have Republicans’ best interests at heart. It may so happen that on a particular issue, the restrictionist position coincides with what is electorally favorable to Republicans. But restrictionists have an incentive to exaggerate their case.
  • I don’t think that restrictionists are overall wrong in terms of their very basic numbers (I’m excluding restrictionists such as Ann Coulter for the purpose of this statement). Where I think Republicans may go wrong (from their own electoral success perspective) is in taking restrictionists sufficiently seriously that they don’t consider the possible gains from new, somewhat untested, pro-immigration configurations.

My co-blogger John Lee has argued (here and here) that Republicans may well benefit electorally from smartly chosen pro-migration and pro-migrant strategies, though he is fairly qualified and cautious in selling his case (for instance, John rejects the view that immigrants are likely to become majority Republican, at least in the near future). While I think John makes a fairly good case, a Republican strategist whose job is to provide Republican candidates advice to win elections would surely be advised to account for the possibility of bias in John’ assessment. Insofar as the discussion above suggests that the “immigration good for Democrats, bad for Republicans” meme was deliberately selected and exaggerated by people who are restrictionists first and Republicans second (if at all), similar caution is advised for Republican strategists listening to restrictionists.

The Most Uplifting Form of Human Allegiance

A position long held by Steve Sailer is that citizenism is ” the least destructive and most uplifting form of allegiance humanly possible on an effective scale.” Long term readers of this blog might guess that many of the bloggers here would tend to disagree. But here Sailer argues that of our options, we aren’t going to get better than citizenism.

My starting point in analyzing policies is: “What is in the best overall interests of the current citizens of the United States?”

In contrast, so many others think in terms of: “What is in the best interest of my: identity group / race / ethnicity / religion / bank account / class / ideology / clique / gender / sexual orientation / party / and/or personal feelings of moral superiority?”

Given the options he presents, I might be hard pressed to say that citizenism is any worse than those options and it is clearly superior to many of them. “Personal feelings of moral superiority” for instance seems to devolve simply into straight egoism. Meanwhile the other options have problems of either arbitrariness or stifling of diverse ideas. But is universalism, namely the idea that all humans should carry equal moral weight to each other, truly not possible on “an effective scale”?

Continue reading “The Most Uplifting Form of Human Allegiance” »

Migration and Christianity

When I wrote Principles of a Free Society, I hinted at a Christian case for open borders:

American Christianity has not been only a conservative force, fending off bad foreign ideas and keeping America true to its heritage of freedom. It has often championed reform, progressively realizing the latent imperatives of America’s founding ideals.

Nobel laureate Robert Fogel has argued that American history has followed a pattern by which the evolution of religion leads the evolution of political reform, with four “Great Awakenings” in religion– in 1730-60, 1800-40, 1890-1930, and 1960 to around 1990– leading to four great eras of political reform: the American revolution, the anti-slavery movement and the Civil War, the creation of the welfare state, and the civil rights movement; and finally the tax revolt of the Reagan era and the 1996 welfare reform.

Fogel’s periodization could be disputed; but the links he draws between religion and political reform are compelling. Churches enjoy no institutional representation in the American political system, nor do they typically instruct their members how to vote. Yet religion heavily influences voting behavior and other forms of political participation. Today, for example, one of the strongest predictors of voting Republican is church attendance.

In spite of the Republican bias of American Christians, however, and the anti-immigration bias of the Republican Party, I think there are signs that immigration (that is, support for immigration) is emerging as a distinctively Christian political issue. An immigration amnesty in 1986 was championed and signed by a born-again Christian president, Ronald Reagan. Another Christian president, George W. Bush, strove for and nearly succeeded in passing immigration reform in 2006 and 2007, with widespread support from churches.

The Catholic Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles compared a repressive anti-immigration law in Arizona to Nazism. Richard Land, president of the general conservative Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has advocated comprehensive immigration reform. Polls by Pew show that religious leaders and frequent churchgoers are significantly more pro-immigration than less frequent attenders.

Ultimately, I think the Bible, the New Testament, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and in particular one detail in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, will force Christians to turn against the world apartheid system of border controls. When the priest and the Levite see the wounded man on the road to Jericho, they do not just fail to help, they pass by on the other side of the road— that is, they deliberately create physical distance between themselves and the suffering man in order to avoid incurring the moral responsibility to help him.

But of course, this is exactly what migration restrictions do: they keep the world’s poor at a distance, so that we will not feel conscience-stricken and have to help them. But of course it is perfectly clear in the parable that the priest and the Levite only make themselves more culpable by trying to avoid moral responsibility; and so it is with rich countries that close their borders to poor immigrants. Christians cannot go on failing to see this indefinitely. Time for a Fifth Great Awakening?…

How would church-state relations change if the conviction became widespread among Christians that to “love thy neighbor” meant not collaborating with the enemies who want to deport him? (Principles of a Free Society, pp. 189-191)

At that time, however, I had not read what the Old Testament specifically has to say about immigrants. When I did so, last May, for the post “The Old Testament on Immigration,” I was astonished at how thoroughly they confirmed my views. Again and again, the Bible stresses that foreigners are to be given justice, treated fairly, loved, and included in Jewish festivals and Sabbath observances. They were often grouped with widows and orphans as a protected class. In correspondence with readers after that post, I learned that there seems to be a distinction between a ger, which I’ve seen translated as “resident foreigner” but which means something close to “convert to Judaism,” that is, someone who has accepted the religious rules of ancient Israel, and a “foreigner at the gate,” zak or nekhar. Many of the Biblical passages which most strongly urge “foreigners” to be treated well use the word ger, and some argue that these exhortations do not apply to the zak or nekhar. I believe it is the latter, moreover, to whom the Mosaic law permits Jews to lend at interest and sell meat found already dead, which Jews are not allowed to eat. Some contemporary writers equate ger with legal immigrants and zak with undocumented immigrants. But this is certainly untenable, for several reasons. First, ancient Israel had no passport regime, and zak were not breaking the law by dwelling there: they were not illegal. Second, while the Bible does suggest that ger must obey the Mosaic law and thus shared the obligations as well as the privileges of Jews, there is no hint of some process of permission by Jewish authorities that had to take place for a person to become a ger. And in the story of Ruth the Moabite, no permission is asked. Ruth admittedly has a Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi, but her admission to Israel is not conditional on that. She simply comes, and gathers grain behind the reapers, taking advantage of a sort of ancient Jewish poor law. In short, there were open borders under the Mosaic law. And if that was the case even under the Old Testament law, which in many respects is rather harsh– a girl found guilty of premarital sex was to be stoned, for example (Deuteronomy 22:21)– then what about the New Testament, which often seems to endorse complete nonviolence…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” (Matthew 5:38-40)

… which pointedly softens the Mosaic law, e.g., when Jesus pardons the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11), and which is far more universalist in spirit, for example in eliminating the circumcision requirement so as to integrate Gentile converts? Surely it would be odd for someone to agree that the Old Testament called for open borders and then say that the New Testament offered a warrant for a harsher and more exclusionary migration policy than what the Old Testament allowed.

Given the comparative rarity of open borders advocacy among Christians, however– devout Christians are more likely to favor open borders than others, but it’s still a small minority view– I’m always interested in hearing the other side. What do Christian restrictionists have to say for themselves? Continue reading “Migration and Christianity” »

Paul Kersey on immigration and multiethnic societies

Paul Kersey has a thought-provoking piece up at VDARE with some speculation about the potential consequences of expanded migration and/or legalization initiatives currently being mooted by US legislators and policy wonks. Kersey uses an interesting technique similar to something that has often cropped up in the posts and comments at this site (including, specifically, comments by BK): an analysis of the performance of multiethnic societies to inform the debate about the short-run and long-run consequences of open borders. While Kersey’s rhetorical style is perhaps more upfront and forthright than that employed by the typical sophisticated restrictionist, the style of argument he makes does appeal to a wide range of people.

Let me begin by noting what I like about Kersey’s approach. It seems to me that too often, discussions about the effects of policies are built on exceptionalist rhetoric that fails to learn from the experiences of other countries. For instance, discussions of affirmative action in one country often fail to consider evidence about affirmative action and similar policies employed in other countries. The same applies to discussions of the effects of the minimum wage, or of tax increases, or of conscription. The problem with ignoring other countries is that a single country usually doesn’t offer enough variation in its history to provide a lot of insight. Comparing across countries can help overcome this problem. There are a lot of caveats to be considered when doing inter-country comparisons, but it’s a tool that should be given a shot. This kind of analysis, incidentally, is one of the things that I admire Thomas Sowell for, even though I don’t often see eye to eye with Sowell’s moral outlook, empirical assertions, and rhetorical style (see here for my discussion of Sowell on migration and here for my personal views on Sowell’s output as a whole).

In addition to using an international perspective, it may also be important to extend the analysis beyond migration to other situations that might mimic the effects of migration. A common and plausible strand of thinking is that the performance of multiethnic societies compared to more homogeneous societies provides some insight into the effects open borders might have, in so far as open borders would make certain societies (the target countries of migration) more multiethnic. The use of these indirect proxies, weak and questionable though they may be from some perspectives, is better than just throwing up one’s hands or refusing to consider the question. Open borders is a radical proposal, and it behooves those discussing it to try their hardest to look at all the various things that could go right and wrong with open borders.

Based on the above, I was initially quite sympathetic to Paul Kersey’s attempt to figure out the impact of open borders by looking at two examples of racially and ethnically diverse societies that have been known to be ridden with conflict and problems — South Africa and Brazil. Clearly, my bottom line differs from Kersey’s, but I was hoping to gain some insight from Kersey’s piece on the matter. I was somewhat disappointed in this respect.

Kersey’s analysis of South Africa is similar to many other restrictionist analyses — South Africa ended apartheid, and look how bad things are in South Africa today. What does the evidence actually suggest? Grieve Chelwa did an excellent post on South Africa in the open borders debate. A very brief summary of his post: things were pretty bad and in many ways getting worse in the period 1980-1994 (prior to the end of apartheid), and things have generally been improving 1994-2008, though not very fast. But the improvement post-1994 is certainly quite impressive compared to the 1980-1994 performance. Within the 1994-2008 period, things have generally been better in the latter half of the period, and the poor performance in the beginning can be attributed to some bad leadership and statist economic policy. Grieve looks at poverty, inequality, unemployment, and crime. In the comments, BK brought up the decline in life expectancy, which is certainly one worrisome negative trend, and is mostly attributed to the HIV denialism of Thabo Mbeki. Clearly, there are no easy answers here, and South Africa is at best modestly encouraging and at worst modestly discouraging in terms of the case for open borders. With this background in mind, I thought Kersey might have some interesting insights to offer on the negative side of the ledger.

Kersey’s analysis of South Africa, however, involves block quoting the entirety of a sidebar (!) from a Daily Mail article about a rich guy shooting his girlfriend (it’s unclear whether the shooting was intentional or accidental). The sidebar laments South Africa’s high crime rate, and this is the main piece of evidence used by Kersey to conclude that apartheid was a failure. But as Grieve’s analysis showed, the rates for most violent crimes (including homicides, which have the most reliable data in general) has declined considerably since the end of apartheid, with the main exception to the trend being armed robberies (a quick-and-dirty version of the homicide data can be viewed here, but see the links in Grieve’s post for more). Probably, there are many interpretations of the statistics, but I’d have hoped that Kersey would not use a single-point-in-time number to draw conclusions about trends in post-apartheid South Africa.

I don’t really know enough (or in fact anything) about Brazil. Kersey’s analysis of Brazil looks potentially interesting, but I’d be loath to use it as an information source for reasons very similar to those that I elucidated for South Africa. I would strongly urge restrictionists like Kersey to perform deeper analyses of trends so that people on all sides of the debate have a better idea of the restrictionist end in the range of plausible conclusions one can draw from the data. By taking shortcuts and preferring sensation over substance, Kersey does both his own cause and the cause of truth a disservice.