Funny thing about us humans. We persist in believing that we can have our cake and eat it, too -- notwithstanding the proof positive of an empty plate.
In its own complicated way, this also holds true for immigration, of course. (Have I mentioned previously that everything is connected to everything else and that this reality often involves religion? Repeatedly, actually.)
We delight in globalization’s immediate benefits -- cheaper foreign-made garments, instant international communications, exotic vacations that a generation ago middle-class travelers could only dream about, the transfer of capital across international borders to a degree previously impossible and more.
Yet we persist in ignoring that globalization is also a lure for those in the world’s poorest and most violent nations to seek a better life in the world’s wealthier and safer nations. They also want the good life that our globalized news and entertainment media have dangled before them.
We forget, or simply ignore, all this because as a specie we tend to prefer short-term material gains; quite frankly, the glitter blinds us. That is, until the day comes when we belatedly wake up and notice -- and then default into push-back mode -- that these globalized immigrants have different religious, social and political outlooks; that they speak foreign languages and have different skin colors, all of which are the stuff of massive demographic change.
This brings me to a recent New York Times business section piece that combined extensive graphics with solid reporting, a fast-growing online journalism trend.
The piece sought to explain the spreading trans-Atlantic backlash against the massive global movement of people over the last decades.
Here’s how The Times’ lede put the problem. This is long, but essential:
Immigration is reshaping societies around the globe. Barriers erected by wealthier nations have been unable to keep out those from the global South -- typically poor, and often desperate -- who come searching for work and a better life.