Mark Of The Demagogue: The Ignorant And Dishonest Appeals To Emma Lazarus

Friends and followers: Don’t let anyone get away with this. Using “The New Colossus,” the 1883 poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty as authority in any current debate over national policy is either fatuous, ignorant, dishonest, stupid, or a cynical effort to appeal to the emotions of those who have no grasp of history or logic.

There is are periodic outbreaks of silly Lazerus worship every now and then, and we’re in the middle of another one. Indignant memes showing Lady Liberty and some or all of Emma’s one hit poem are popping up all over social media. Anyone who posts one is either an ignoramus, a liar, or shamelessly trying to suck up to progressive friends who are dishonest and ignorant, hoping that nobody will notice. I notice, and so should you. Call them on it. Appealing to the words of “The New Colussus” is approximately as  valid as extolling the words of “Imagine,” “Jabberwocky,” or “Me So Horny.” Anyone who tries it should be mocked and shamed.

The Trump administration issued a final rule yesterday empowering federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future. Good. This is sensible and responsible policy, and while polls are inaccurate and the public doesn’t understand what it says it approves or disapproves of much of the time, it is also policy about 3/4 of the public seems to agree with.

Of course, Democrats are calling it “racist,” since anything that the Trump administration does is racist. The negative stereotype of the immigrant who dashes to the welfare office the second he becomes a citizen has been around for decades…

but Americans don’t find the behavior funny, and should not. Expecting new Americans given the privilege of using our individual liberties to succeed to the extent their abilities, creativity and diligence will take them to be self-sufficient is completely reasonable and responsible. It also is 100% consistent with the expectations when Emma Lazarus wrote her poem. There was no welfare, public housing, food stamps or other public assistance waiting for those  tired,  poor,  huddled masses yearning to breathe free. There was just the air to breathe free, and the opportunity to succeed or fail.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), responded to the ginned-up hysteria by responding,  “President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America.” Unfortunately—because President Trump appoints the best people—Cuccinelli also mangled the poem, I assume intentionally, in his comments, saying  “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.” This gave the many anti-Trump hacks in the news media and in academia a useful diversion to deceive the public with. For example, “To see how something so expressive of the country’s greatest ideals, to see how it could be so contorted or distorted, is really, I think dismay is the only word,” said historian Annie Polland, the executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York.

Distorted? The Lazarus poem was written at a time when immigrants received no assistance at all. It was understood that it was opportunity and liberty, and only those, that immigrants were seeking, and they expected nothing more. The US population in 1883 was about 50 million:  there was an abundance of land and jobs.  Today’s population is about 370 million. The National debt in 1883 was 1,884,171,728. There were no entitlements; those who were not self-sufficient put no burdens on the rest of the public. Today the debt is a dangerous $22.03 trillion.  Under the new rules, immigrants will still recieve far more public assistance than any of Emma’s huddled masses. The new policy will not cover enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, enrollment in Medicare Part D, nor the use of Medicaid by children, pregnant women, or new mothers during the 60-day period. Enrollment in the supplemental food program WIC, for low- to moderate-income pregnant women, infants, and children will also not lead to a public charge determination.

With that context, behold the Democratic demagogues! Here’s Cory Booker:

This administration’s cruel new policy called public is another racist policy that targets the less fortunate and is intended to prevent certain immigrants from becoming citizens and voters. It’s wrong and goes against our values. I will reverse it as President.

Good luck with that last promise, Cory. I guess he subscribes to the Biden formula. You know: Joe said “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” the other day. Cory now is claiming that if the U.S. doesn’t want to accept immigrants who can’t take care of themselves, they must be targeting non-whites.

Boy, figuring out who the racists are these days is tricky!

Beto thinks it’s racist too, so that makes at least three Democratic challengers who equate “poor” with “non-white. For good measure, he uses the Emma Lazarus deceit: “The words on the Statue of Liberty won’t be changed at the racist whims of this administration—and neither will the character of this country. ”

Any immigrant who pledges that he or she will accept no more government assistance than the huddled masses of Emma’s era should be handed a green card and welcomed with a laurel and hardy handshake. President Trump should add this to the policy; call it the Emma Lazarus rule.

Then we have former HUD Secretary Julián Castro who suggested that the Trump administration is “effectively” “taking the words off that plaque” on the Statue of Liberty. The Horror. The poem isn’t policy, it isn’t law, its a relic of completely different conditions in America, and it has no more valid influence over immigration than “There once was a man from Pawtucket…” I don’t care what poems written in 1883 say, and neither should any responsible elected official.

“What it looks like is that this administration is not just against undocumented immigrants, it’s also against legal immigrants. And on top of that, it seems to only want immigrants that look a certain way,” Castro mau-maued on MSNBC. I believe what they’re looking for are it seems like well-to-do immigrants from some European countries.”

Because all immigrants of color are poor, right?

Then Castro undercut his own argument by praising previous generations of immigrants who “started off with nothing, but they were able to become successful small business owners or good employees and pass on wealth to their children and their grandchildren.” Nothing in the new policy opposes those kinds of immigrants, no matter what color they are.


Pointer and Facts: Tyler O’Neil

61 thoughts on “Mark Of The Demagogue: The Ignorant And Dishonest Appeals To Emma Lazarus

  1. Considering “The huddled masses” were fleeing from oppressive regimes like Czarist Russia and Ireland during the Potato Famine where an estimated one million people died of starvation and disease and America could use their labor, times were quite different. Oh course Cory Booker and the rest of the corrupt Democratic Party are going to ignore this fact.

  2. Apropos of this: saw recent posts I can pull up that said, “I believe in a living constitution, but an 1883 poem is immutable law.”

    I agree with the sentiment that immigration policy should NOT remain in the 1870’s, while the progressive bureaucracy storms into the 21st century, but I do not like two systems. Sponsors of immigrants have to file affidavits of support that the immigrant will not go on public assistance for 2(?) years. But, besides such limited caveats, Equal Justice under Law matters.


  3. Wow. That is some mighty fine “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” revisionist history right there. The Oklahoma Land Rush and The Homestead Act leap to mind of some prime examples of public assistance. There are many more.

    • You have to be kidding. Equating the equivalent of ongoing transfer payments to land grants is ridiculous.

      When the Federal government made its lands available to the public it had little infrastructure to manage and protect those lands from foreign invaders.

      Homesteading was a means to get people to develop the nation. Land grants of 160 acres were available to freed slaves and anyone else that could put the land to productive uses.

      There is a huge difference in paying to house and feed a person indefinitely and providing anyone that chose to avail themselves of an economic opportunity to build a nation.

      • ”There is a huge difference in paying to house and feed a person indefinitely and providing anyone that chose to avail themselves of an economic opportunity to build a nation.”


        There were many granted in 40 acre increments in the America’s Dairyland North Woods, my lovely and long suffering wife’s family still owns half of one.

        Many existing county township sections up this way (depending on the topography and waterways) are square 640’s or four 160’s.

        • Sparty, read some Willa Cather and see whether you’d enjoy spending a Nebraska winter in a sod hut. Or live in desert that was Phoenix in 1880. All to get some land to level and clear and maybe irrigate so you could farm and live on it in the house you built yourself without losing it in a tax lien sale. Now there’s a hand out.

          • “Welcome to America. Here’s some untamed wilderness and an axe. Get chopping.”= NOT pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, I guess.

          • ”Nebraska winter in a sod hut”

            I might take that ahead of spending it on the western WESconsin prairie or the North Woods, OB, where life truly could be, and often was (to borrow a phrase) ”solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

            My Great Grandfather (William!) and wife had a daughter, disabled from birth, that according to my Grandmother, sat in a rocking chair and cried all day, dying by age 12. They had another daughter who was stillborn, or died the same day, in late April 1896.

            For those unaware, even in this day-n-age, late April on a dairy farm ain’t no cake walk, to put it mildly. You’ve already (hopefully) planted oats (provided all the stumps have been pulled), are preparing to plant corn, the gosh darn cows still require attention (and feed) twice the day, the machinery (horses) needed tending (and feed), and the wife is preparing to plant that big garden.

            They didn’t have much, if any, time to grieve. And here I piss-n-moan because I have to evict a dug-in ground hog and wascally wabbits are having at my Black Magic & Lacinato kale; sheesh!

            Anywho, a good read on the subject of those hardships is Mark Wyman’s The Wisconsin Frontier.

            Anyone claiming they’d gladly “pull stumps” will lie to you about other things as well.

            FTR, I have pulled stumps; actually more like hacked, chiseled, crow-barred, kicked, and cussed, (oh yeah…<b<CUSSED!) them out. But on my terms, and without all the other…um…externalities carving an existence out of the wilderness entailed.

            It reminds me of the Earl Nightingale parable where a socialite gushed to a concert pianist that the former would give anything to play like the latter, who countered with: Oh No You Wouldn’t. The moral being that the socialite only thinks she’d give anything, believing that the fully developed talent is a commodity you can get from Amazon Prime©™® next day delivery.

            The effort, practice, the sacrificed alternatives, and infinite patience? Oy; who has time for that…

    • The only “revisionism” I see going on here is your suggestion that entitlement programs which exist to provide needy people in developed lands with food, shelter, healthcare, and income is somehow equivalent to allowing someone to claim unowned and unimproved land in a vast wilderness, which without settlement would generate no benefit to the public, and requiring that it be developed within a few years in order to gain ownership (a formalized version of the ancient principle of homesteading)—with no provisions given for food, shelter, healthcare, or income.

    • Some thoughts on Spartan’s comment

      The Homestead Act came out the Homestead Principle, didn’t it? “Under the homestead principle a farmer putting unowned land to use gains ownership over it”. And was linked to the Free Soil party — an anti-slavery party making efforts to oppose the Southern system (a primary conflict in mid-19th century). The government of the North had to find a way to colonize unoccupied lands as a strategy of *containment* of the expanding plantation-system of the South. (If I understand correctly).

      If a person or family were to take advantage of free land, that person would have to have some capital to develop it wouldn’t they? If you had no capital at all developing such rough land would be very hard. Effectively impossible. So, the government provided access to some land that no one could do anything with as a strategy to keep plantation combines from exploiting it with slave-labor. And to build political good-will and to build its political base.

      What is interesting is that such a parcel of remote and wild land would require capital investment, and the one doing the work would have to have that capital to do so. So it was more of a symbiotic deal than a give-away. Just try to conceive of being given say some worthless hectares of land in remote Wyoming today if you had no money at all to get to it, to occupy it, to build on it. Therefore it stands to reason that if families immigrated to take advantage of such an offer that they had money saved to do so. Therefore the policy was good economic strategy by a government. They caused the importation of capital with a strategic offer. A pioneer with some capital is the best way to see it.

      The present situation is so radically different as to be incomparable. Obviously the Democrat Party is desirous to ‘import’ people to further strengthen itself and to take eventual control of the nation itself. It has to be stated that there is an enormous power-battle going on right now the nature of which people seem to have a difficult time seeing clearly. Vast economic interests, and capital, are taking their stand on one side and desire to create this New America under the aegis of the Democrat Party. But apparently some factions oppose this. And certainly people — common people really — in the center of the country.

      The Republican Party, if this Democratic populist demographic eventuality is likely, is showing ‘last gasps’ as a new and rising power structure, and its demographic, assume more power. Now, it seems to be making some points, but it is quite possible that as the historical wheels turn that the democratic demographic will eventually gain power.

      It is interesting to compare the political and social environment at the time of the Homestead Act to the political and social environment of today though, because politics was then and is now right at the center of it. If the Northern definition of what the nation was going to be had to battle against the Southern definition, how would we describe in roundabout terms what is going on today in the present?

      It is definitely a question of definitions.

      A final note: If the government then allowed people to get a title to some valueless land after investing in it, how could a policy be crafted for modern immigrants that was similar in structure? Also: this allowing a title to be issued could not be called ‘public assistance’ since nothing was taken away from the general population (in tax monies). Therefore, it could not be called public assistance.

      • I can’t believe this needs to be said, but I will do it anyway. None of this land was technically unoccupied. It was occupied by hundreds of thousands of Native Americans (what was left following exposure to European diseases). We used the U.S. Cavalry to fight wars and herd them onto reservations. Once the land was “unoccupied,” it was then given to white settlers.

        • ”None of this land was technically unoccupied.”

          Like Dr. Lillian Sloan (Barbara Hershey) said to Lewis Gates (Tom Berenger in Last Of The Dogmen): What happened was inevitable. The way it happened was unconscionable.

          While not disputing the gist of what you say, you’re assuming a Native American population density that isn’t supported by facts.

          And European diseases originated in Europe?

          • It doesn’t matter where they originated, European settlers brought their diseases with them. Since Native Americans did not have thousands of years of immunity and resistance built up, it nearly wiped them out. But I think you know that.

            As for inevitability, probably. Racism is natural, albeit evil — at least Alicia embraces it. That’s my not-so-subtle point here. People tend to forget about government programs that help white people but they sure do notice when they help those with brown skin.

            I gasped aloud last night when I read this post. The Homestead Act was ultimately responsible for several hundred million acres being given away to White Americans — after it was taken away from Native Americans. There is no better way to build wealth than through property.

            • Go ahead and use the “downtrodden Native American” narrative as a means to gain cheap points on immigration. I’m sure my family members will get warm fuzzies for it.

              “Desperately ingenuous efforts to evade particular evidence, or to denigrate objective facts in general, are all consistent with their heavy emotional investment in their vision, which is ostensibly about the well-being of others but is ultimately about themselves.” -Thomas Sowell

              • Nowhere here was I trying to score cheap points. (Also, quoting other people is lazy, bad writing, and a sign of poor logic — especially if it takes up the bulk of your comment.)

                • Your whole argument is cheap. “Stupid people complaining about immigrants receiving welfare! Your ancestors only got any land because the government stole it and killed the Indians, the ultimate form of ‘public assistance’ for white people!” This isn’t even a fair summary of all that happened, never mind that how the United States obtained the land, and whether the means were just in all cases, has no bearing on your proposed analogy between 19th Century immigrants being able to claim uncultivated land and 21st Century immigrants receiving welfare. Your should be embarrassed for offering such pathetic comments.

              • Mrs Q. I can’t find where you commented about Jung and the ‘inmates running the asylum’ . . . but I am just getting through an interesting and revealing book The Aryan Christ by Richard Noll which offers a contrary picture to the ‘wise old man’ image that we now have.

                It is odd because I am relatively certain that Jung’s techniques — his ways of engaging with oneself to put it in reduced terms — can certainly be useful and helpful. There is also a genuine and ‘positive-leaning’ side of Jung which I cannot deny.

                But simultaneously it is not hard to notice how important and influential people who came into his circle seemed to ‘go off the deep end’.

                I did notice your Bible quote. It is interesting to me that Jung’s protestantism-extreme, as I might call it, resulted in a veering away from Christianity’s essence into a Nietzschean paganism . . . and then to no Christianity at all.

        • Spartan: I can’t believe this needs to be said, but I will do it anyway. None of this land was technically unoccupied. It was occupied by hundreds of thousands of Native Americans (what was left following exposure to European diseases). We used the U.S. Cavalry to fight wars and herd them onto reservations. Once the land was “unoccupied,” it was then given to white settlers.

          It definitely did not need to be said, certainly not to me. The lands that became the United States were lands gained by occupation, displacement, and settlement. The English colonizer had no *use* if you will for the indigenous peoples and simply pushed them out of the way. The anthropology of the day had a unique way of *seeing* these primitive people. Just as it did the African.

          What is interesting about your assertion — which has no bearing at all as to how the land was settled within the states and nation of the US — is that you bother to mention it! What is its purpose in your argument?

          The Earth turns, universes explode . . .

          You see ultimately what underpins all these conversations — and certainly ethics — is the issue of power & force. I suggest that we do not know how to resolve the inevitable conflict that results when we approach the question. So, yes, the lands of North America were taken from the inhabitants and a totally unimagined — an unimaginable world — was constructed. It came about through the act of taking, displacing, replacing and building. And this is how all human culture has functioned ‘since man crawled out of the slime’.

          What is interesting about you — a mindless person who has never had nor will ever have an original idea — is that you refer to the destruction of the indigenous tribes in much the same manner of Howard Zinn and (::: fearful genuflections :::) Noam Chomsky. That is where your narrative goes if you were to follow it through. You do not seem to understand that if you begin to go down that road you will end up undermining and dis-invalidating your very self. You live on these ‘stolen lands’. You are profoundly complicit. You cannot at the same time self-actualize and self-condemn!

          Seen in another way you could as easily say that the land was *unoccupied* in the sense of non-exploited. Just the tribes of heathen savages. No cultures to speak of, no material culture hardly, just barbarism (in the classic, anthropological sense). They were pushed out of the picture because there was nothing else to be done with them. A sad fact perhaps, but a solid fact.

          Strange isn’t it? The cruelty of life, the frightening and brutal understructure of it.

          In all other parts of the Americas — Mexico and Peru for example, but also here where I live — the indigenous populations were not ‘pushed to the side’ but became the understructure of the society. And they still are un-integrated. And incapable — non-interested! — in becoming integrated. And further: incapable of (and non-interested in) creating any sort of culture and civilization as we have created, can create, and will create.

          To know ‘who one is’ and ‘what one is’ has always been one of my primary focuses. Who the heck are you Spartan? What do you serve? It is not in any sense clear from your (forgive me) mealy-mouthed, largely sentimental notions. I actually think that you really have no idea who or what you are. You float without definition but emote things that really make no sense.

          This seems like the typical sort of ‘jousting’ that goes on here when a ‘lefty’ pipes up among the ‘righties’. But my interest in you and your situation is more complex because I recognize, at least, that you desire to have a moral and ethical core. But how could you if you have no ideas who and what you are? OK, so you desire to *become something else*, this I get. But it is an amorphous blob determined by sentimentalism! Not making this up!

          I can help if you’ll let me . . . 🙂

        • The “native americans” you referenced actually took the land from the prehistoric Mound peoples who were the first to settle the land. Most modern tribes were nomadic until sequestered on reservations. Have you ever wondered why there are no archeological ruins of what we call native americans. Unlike the Maya or Azteks of mesoamerica the humans populating north america never stayed put long enough to build cities.

        • Okay, time to dust off a very old but still pertinent essay I wrote some time ago…

          This was in response to ‘La Raza’ and the like asserting that we ‘stole’ their lands from them.

          “It would seem that certain ‘people of indefinite nationality’ would like to assert that the United States, or large portions thereof, belong to a certain ethnic group, and the Caucasians should leave, or at least shut up. We are just immigrants, they say, and stole the land for the true owners, the ‘native americans.’ These folks want much of the United States to be returned to Mexico (who has done SUCH a good job with what they have already… /sarcasm)

          Yes, my great-great-blah blah grandparents came to this country as immigrants, but their children were NATIVE American Citizens. Not native American as in teepees and buffalo hunts, but in terms of citizenship in the United States of America.

          If you want to start the game of saying that makes ME an immigrant, we can do that too.
          It all just depends on how far back you wish to go…

          My family started showing up in the 1600s.

          Most Hispanics have European blood from Spain starting back in the 1500s: that makes them immigrants to the entire new world just as I am.

          According to the Smithsonian, the ‘Native Americans’ (Incas, Aztecs, Apache, you name ‘em) invaded the new world via land bridge around 7,000 years ago, and were not the first to do so. They were Asian Steppe people (for the most part) following the wild game; those already here (Clovis people, with European skull characteristics) were either destroyed, enslaved, or died out.

          The Clovis people arrived as much as 12,000 years ago, and could still be considered immigrants, since man ‘evolved’ in Africa and NOBODY originated in the new world!

          Since 99.999% of the Hispanic and Indian inhabitants of the new world have ancestors showing up as recently as 7,000 years ago, they are also ‘immigrants by this standard.’

          Heck, the Arabs and the Jews are STILL arguing over land disputes from 5,000 years ago: who is an immigrant there?

          Back on point: What does it matter if your family arrived in America 400, 600, or 7,000 years ago? We are not talking about ancient history, but about civilized nation states, who sign treaties, make war, conquer, or cede land to each other.

          Mexico gave up her rights north of the border when she scrapped the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, telling the INVITED gringo Mexican citizens in Texas that they were no longer citizens and had none of the rights promised them when they moved there. You see, the gringos were asked to settle in Texas, because they would be loyal to Mexico and were industrious. Ads were placed in newspapers along the east coast to bring them in.

          Yes, they were lured in, granted citizenship, developed infrastructure and farms, but suddenly must leave or be subject to lawlessness by the Mexican government. That action led directly to the loss of Mexico’s northern provinces (remember the Alamo?), and is binding to this day. The Mexican regime of that time showed a substantial lack of good faith in dealings with other nations, and (like many other nations before and since) paid for their arrogance.

          Let’s look at each side of the border today: deserts to the north bloom, highways promote commerce, and the rule of law (mostly) protects the innocent. South of that border? Not so much. Deserts are still arid wastelands. Gangs kill without consequences, many times with the blessing of the corrupt government. Citizens are serfs, and the rule of law is a joke. And groups like La Raza (and how is a group calling itself ‘the race’ not racist?) want to return whole states to that system…

          The great Southwest is far better off with the border where it is.

          And the ‘norteamericanos’ (aka ‘gringos’) will fight to keep it that way.

  4. I referenced the Lazurus poem in my recent post.

    Emma’s father Moses was a wealthy New York sugar refiner. Sugar refining required large numbers of unskilled labor. I can imagine that the young Miss Lazurus who lived to the ripe old age of 26 heard her father discuss the need for the huddled masses at the dinner table and among his business associates to keep a lid on the growing dissatisfaction among the labor classes. Anarchists were prevalent in NewYork and Boston and bombings were typical.

    Miss Lazarus led a sheltered privileged life as a socialite. I don’t think she ever ventured to the Five Points because if she had her sensibilities would have never allowed her to write The Colossus.

  5. Those land grants were gravy waiting to be occupied & exploited?

    Not exactly.

    Not according to my Great Great Grandfather’s Richland County, WI Civil War era journals, leastways.

    There were no Gubmint Agencies to improve it for the grantees; cut-n-clear the timber, pull the stumps, cultivate the land, plow/disc/drag/plant for crops, build the dwelling(s).

    No safety nets when things didn’t pan out, either.

    • I will take that deal every day and twice on Sunday. Please give me free land and I will be happy to pull my own stumps.


      • ”Please give me free land and I will be happy to pull my own stumps.”

        Good for you! But that’s nothing more than talking the talk; how many AREN’T self-made women who worship their own Creator and would?

        Not many’d be my guess.

          • Hey Sparty, why don’t you homestead in someplace like West Baltimore. I bet you could pick up some properties to rehab there for next to nothing. The whole family could move in. The girls could learn construction methods.

            • There are probably even numerous government programs that would help with your costs! Probably wouldn’t have to even take out any stumps!

          • Spartan, I have been developing an aggressive therapy that might help you to overcome the narcotic liberalism that has you in its grip. I would like to offer you my therapeutic services, as you once offered me mental health assistance.

            At the core of my therapy are encounter groups at unpredictable hours with other recovering souls, a radical paleo diet where you have to strangle your dinner, the group singing of approved patriotic hymns, and of course a regimen of strange extracts like Fulvic Acid, Red Pine Needle Extract, and Noni Juice . . .

            As you know, I did contract for a time with a local therapist as per your advise. Though we did end up hacking her apart with machetes and freezing her flesh for later consumption we did recognize she was a kind person, a bit plump, and we are better people now feeding off her . . .

            I can cure you! Just give me a chance.

              • I think the hacking with the machetes allowed them to skip step: the carving up the crcass once the strangulation took effect. “Pre-carved”, so to speak. They could not have,most likely, fit her into the freezer whole.
                All in all, one of the finest posts from Alizia in quite a while.

            • Move to the right location in Kalifornia, and you would likely have no problem attracting an abundance of customers.for your proposed regimen (you’d have to slowly work up to the “patriotic hymns” segment).

      • I will be happy to provide assistance to all those willing to work their butts off for it. I will call it sweat equity.

      • You would take free land because you know it would be worth lots of money. This was not the case in 1880. Your first clue might have been the fact that the government was giving it away instead of selling it to eager condo developers.

        So take that awesome deal and live where you are completely at the mercy of wild animals, thieves, and the elements. You’ll have to chop down all the trees before you get to pull stumps. You also do not have the option of loading up at Home Depot. Hurry and build, Winter’s coming and the kids have dysentery. Just be thankful you aren’t in a modern city in public housing with free school, daycare, groceries and doctors.

      • I don’t even know what you’re trying to say… “1800’s land grants are similar to today’s safety nets because I’d pull stumps for free land”? Feel free to clarify.

        If that is the contention… Now? Sure. Because now most arable land in America isn’t vacant. And that relative shortage of land means that the land itself has such a high value that you could leverage it to pay someone to pull the stumps, and then turn it for a profit. And that’s most likely what would happen, because, let’s be real, the idea of you pulling stumps amuses me.

        If that isn’t… What *is* your point?

  6. Just an FYI…the poem is not in the Statue. It is in the museum established in the pedestal. And it was put there some years after the statue was erected.

      • Jack, the pedestal was the US obligation.

        What is not publicised is that raising money here for the pedestal was not getting any traction. Joseph Pulitzer had to shame the public into donating. The Lazarus poem was added in 1903 as part of another fund raising campaign by the Statue of Liberty Committee.

        Here is the irony of the argument. The statue represents liberty. Freedom from government oppression. How much more oppressed can you be if you must live your life according to the giver of stuff. How can you pursue happiness if that government limits how much in assets you may own to qualify fir help. How much liberty do you have when the politicians that control your economic condition demand that you vote as a monolithic block.

        • Thanks, Chris. I was late getting to this. The simple fact is that the pedestal is a separate building, and the statue was erected on top of it.

  7. “President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.”

    Clearly this is racist. Bootstrap claptrap, as Sparty points out. A myth.

  8. Isn’t Canada’s immigration policy similar to what Trump’s proposing? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but last I checked Canada had very clear guidelines stating who they want, and at the time I didn’t quality because I didn’t have a degree. I think the gov’t wanted those with applicable skill sets as well, which I didn’t qualify for then either.

    Apparently Canada is pretty guilty of abeleism

    I also read this article about town in Switzerland who rejected a woman’s application to immigrate because she was an annoying vegan.

    My point isn’t our country should be like anyone else, it’s that in reality our country has been more fair than is being represented in media.

  9. The land grant argument didn’t even occur to me, frankly. It should have, because it is the only brittle twig someone trying to rebut the fact that poor immigrants to the US were not given anything but opportunity in 1883 (…94, 1905, …10,,,20,,and many decades going forward) has to rationalize a rebuttal. (Question for another time: why can’t people of intelligence and good faith, shown that the rhetoric of their pet demagogues are logical and historical crap, just say, “Why yes! You’re right! They are blowing smoke out their asses! How gullible of me!’? It would be the intellectually honest thing to do, after all.)

    Immigrants weren’t given land; they were given opportunity to prosper, or not, in a wide open, growing, expanding country that needed people to make a frontier into a nation. The opportunity came at no cost to the US, and much potential long-term benefit. If the deal was really “you come here and get free land,” wow, those immigrants who settled into the hell-holes of New York City, Boston an Chicago were really morons, for the government didn’t give them a choice between getting scalped on their own land in Oklahoma and having a nice, government paid -or tenement in Boston’s North End. That’s because the land in the West wasn’t a gift al all. It was an opportunity to die, starve or otherwise fail trying to become happy, successful and maybe even rich while working yourself to the edge of death or beyond.

    Those immigrants got nothing but liberty and the opportunity to make choices, gambles and bargains betting their character, industry and endurance, with no government safety nets, entitlements or guarantees. Land, if an immigrant chose that gamble and challenge, was no gift, and, of course, can’t honestly be analogized to government programs and benefits today.

    • We have so much unoccupied land in this country. Maybe not in Rhode Island, but Wyoming or Alaska? My guess is that everyone here is okay with giving immigrants free land as long as they bring their own axe? Right?

      • So what do we do when we run out of that unoccupied land, invade Mexico to get more. Why should immigrants get free land when we have citizens sleeping in tents because housing costs are driving them outdoors?

      • I would not be opposed to a policy that gave land to qualified immigrants in exchange for their agreeing to permanently waive all government assistance in excess of what was available to immigrants in 1883. Of course they’d have to acquire their own equipment.

      • With caveats that they don’t own the land until they’ve worked it for a period of time (maybe 20 years), take no benefit from entitlement programs until they do, and break no laws…. Then yeah. I think that would be an awesome program.

  10. I had not read the Emma Lazarus poem until today, but had heard the notable phrase ‘give me your tired, your poor’ etc. I was interested in the word ‘colossus’ which term Jose Martí used in some of his essays: El Colosos del Norte.

    Martí had an ambiguous, conflicted view of the developing US:

    “Between the shanties of Dakota and the virile and barbaric nation in process of growth there, and the cities of the East – sprawling, privileged, well-bred, sensual, and unjust – lies an entire world. From the stone houses and the majestic freedom north of Schenectady, to the dismal resort on stilts south of St. Petersburg, lies another entire world. The clean and concerned people of the North are worlds apart from the choleric, poverty-stricken, broken, bitter, lackluster, loafing Southern shopkeepers sitting on their cracker barrels.”

    “They admire this nation, the greatest ever of those which liberty has raised up; but they distrust those elements which, like worms in the blood, have begun in this marvelous republic their work of destruction.” Cubans could not “honestly believe that the excessive individualism, the worship of riches, and the prolonged celebration of a terrible victory are preparing the United States to be the model nation of liberty…. We love the country of Lincoln just as much as we fear the country of Cutting.”

    “These new tartars sack and pillage in the modern manner, riding in locomotives…. These birds of prey form syndicates, offer dividends, buy eloquence and influence, encircle Congress with invisible snares, hold legislation fast by the reins as if it were a newly broken horse, and, colossal robbers all, hoard and divide their gains in secret…. Senators visit them by back doors, cabinet members visit them in the quiet hours after the working day is over; millions of dollars pass through their hands….

    Martí would have to be classified as an ultra-liberal. Even more: a radical liberal.

    Simón Bolívar too had a somewhat jaundiced view of the developing United States, at least in respect to the independent countries of Latin America:

    Carta del Libertador Simón Bolívar al coronel Patricio Campbell, fechada en Guayaquil, 5 de agosto de 1829: “Los Estados Unidos parecen destinados por la Providencia a plagar la América de miserias en nombre de la libertad”.

    [“The United States appear destined by Providence to act in the name of ‘liberty’ as a plague to the rest of the Americas”]. [

    What is interesting, from my perspective, is the historical roots of the ‘struggles’ that we notice still going on in our present.

    It is odd to compare this ‘romantic vision’ of America, containing elements of truth certainly . . . with the perspectives of other people who see things differently.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  11. Sparty may not own an axe or be ready to harness her daughters to the plow but, credit where it’s due, she IS a “voice crying in the wilderness,” … or a doughty reverberation in the echo chamber, as it were. I have to admire the woman’s guts and persistence in the face of the the enemy.

    • ”I have to admire the woman’s guts and persistence in the face of the the enemy.”

      Hard to disagree, and I think if any regular EA X-Chromosomal Unit commenter were capable of pulling stumps, it would be she.

      Honorable mention to Alizia, who would not only talk them out of the ground but have them thank her for the privilege as they were dragged off to the burn pile…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.