11 comments on “Lessons From the French Revolution

  1. This was a great article, thanks for contributing. Its always good to hear different points of view…though most people refuse to acknowledge that another pov than their own may have some validity, especially in politics.

  2. WOW

    I’ve never really thought about this before. But it rings ‘spot on’. Even those not of the Mormon faith can appreciate the historical relevancy of the revolution and how it compares to the current economic state of North America.

  3. When it comes to immigration, it boils down to this for me… I have no problem with those who come here legally. If people want to come to America, and do it legally, that’s fine by me. It’s the illegal immigrants that bother me. Yeah, they may be good hard workers, etc… but they are illegal. It’s important to be a law abiding citizen. Being an illegal immigrant is not okay.

  4. Hmm. . . My impulse is to leave a LENGTHY reply, but I will try not to. The biggest issue I see within the immigration debate is one of language. I think most people would concede that we have a lot of immigrants because, well, we either cannot or will not do the jobs that they do. They fill a niche in our society and our society provides for their needs. This isn’t bad. This is the way it always been in America. Think of the Irish or Germans or any other white group of immigrants. The big difference seems to be one of culture (don’t worry, I’m coming back to the language thing). America has always been referred to as a “melting pot”. The validity of that idea aside, most of us believe that America is a relatively homogoneous society. And we like that. Now, the current wave of immigrants doesn’t seem to want to melt. Not only do they refuse to eschew their culture, but they won’t even speak to us in our own language. I’m willing to bet that if they spoke English they wouldn’t seem like such a threat. This isn’t just a cultural concern either. It’s practical. If they don’t speak English how will they learn the laws that will make them safe drivers? Or what about their health care? If they can’t read the directions on the bottle, how will they know how to take their medicine? Truth to be told, how will our society take them in if we can’t communicate with them? Let me be clear, though, I am not a proponent of an English only society. We are the ONLY industrialized nation that is not at least bilingual. And the reason, I believe, is cultural pride. We love our culture and our language so, therefore, we want people to learn our ways. We don’t want to learn theirs. Why can’t we learn Spanish and they learn English? Geography has put us all together and limited our resources–we have got to learn to coexist. I think language is the place to start. A lot of problems could be solved if we’d only learn to talk to each other!

    Oh, and another thing to consider: anyone remember a recent time when we restricted immigration based on race? It’s called WWII. America told European Jews that only so many of them could come to our country when thousands were fleeing for their lives. A lot of people suffered and died because we didn’t like where they came from.

  5. Sooo interesting!

    Lotsa stereotypes floating around this stuff, but “they” are as diverse as “us.”

    I think the main point I’d add to this, though, is that the USA has repeatedly tried to bring up Mexico’s standard of living. Anybody heard of NAFTA? What was the point of that again? Oh, right, to eliminate economic barriers between the USA and its contiguous neighbors!

    When they win, we win. The richer they get, the richer we get. Nobody’s standard of living has to fall. We can all rise together. It’s called international trade, and it happens all the time. Anybody remember India before outsourcing? How about South Korea before KIA? Japan before Sony? It works really well! (Read Adam Smith for the details.)

    The USA needs Mexico to be prosperous, but Mexico isn’t cooperating: interpretation, corruption throughout the government and business leaders. The more money we pump into their economy, the richer the guys at the top get. Makes me mad.

    So, here’s the bottom line: figure out a way to eliminate corruption. First, stop paying the corrupt–get money to the good guys in Mexico, not the crooks.

    Hey, wait a minute! You mean the Perpetual Education Fund? The Humanitarian Aid Fund? (Yup, the prophets and apostles–and the odd philanthropist here and there–got there first. We just have to try to keep up.)

    Thanks for a great read!

  6. Wow–what great comments we have going on here! I’m certainly no expert, but I feel the same as Ailene. Obey the laws of the land and I don’t mind who immigrates here.

  7. @Laura: Re: the language barrier – I have a hard time buying into this reasoning because I’m not sure who you’re talking about. For this to be the main driver, you would have to have specific parties that couldn’t talk to each other and I just don’t see that. I think it has more to do with the issues of entitlement, health care, taxes, etc.

    “We are the ONLY industrialized nation that is not at least bilingual” – I’ll take you’re word for it that that’s true, but don’t you think that has more to do with our size and history, rather than our cultural pride? Europe and Africa are filled with nations the size of one of our states. An hour-long flight in any direction, in some European countries, lands you in another nation. In America, you’re just in your neighboring state (sometimes).

    “anyone remember a recent time when we restricted immigration based on race?” – Maybe I’m just straining at gnats here, but aren’t immigration restrictions based on nationality, not race? I see those as two very different things, but I could be wrong.

    @Dr. Tseh: Great comments! It’s nice to hear someone debunk the zero-sum myth of wealth. I’m tired of hearing so many people assume that wealth is like matter and can’t be created or destroyed.

    I also enjoyed your comment about the Perpetual Education Fund. I have to admit, though, it reminds me that we’re commanded to gather in our lands (stakes). I don’t think that means we can’t emigrate, but I do think that means we have a responsibility, where possible, to build up the area we reside in, instead of moving to one that’s already…bettered?

    I’ll write a more thorough response in a post.

  8. Well thought out article. Many good points. I just have one question. What responsibilities does the immigrant have to the society it wants to assimilate into? Sometimes that which is given freely and not earned is not valued.

  9. That’s a great point, Ann. I often wonder why the American Revolution was so successful yet when we try to export Democracy it doesn’t seem to work very well.

    I think it’s for the same reason you mentioned. When the revolution comes from inside and you have to work for it, as opposed to having the work done for you, you value it more and strive to make it work.

    If I understand your point correctly, you’re saying the immigrants that are just given access to America might not behave or value this gift because it’s just that…a gift. In other words, they don’t have any skin in the game.

    I actually think that allowing them come over and stay here, long term, gives them more skin in the game. With citizenship, they have the right to vote, they have better access to services and, potentially, more of a desire to stay, long term. Then, if they misbehave, we take those rights away.

    So, once they get here, maybe we load them up with all kinds of reasons to stay here and behave correctly. That way, we give them an incentive to be productive and obey the law.

    By making it difficult to get here and stay here, we only build animosity and take away any incentive to do what’s right.

    Great comment, Ann!

  10. As far as incentive to stay here, I think they already have it… because they are already doing it!

    Doing what is right isn’t always convenient or easy, but it still must be done. I don’t think laws should be changed just because some people don’t want to obey them.

    I don’t have any incentive to stay out of the carpool lane when it’s just me in the car… other than the fact that it’s a law. I stay out of the carpool lane when I’m alone because it’s a law. Although it would be much more convenient for me if I could use it regardless of if I was alone or not!

    Hmm… maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with anything… or maybe I made a good point. I don’t know.

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