Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

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Immigration impasse explained

Why is it so hard to reach any reasonable compromise on the immigration issue? It is because faults of our immigration policy are about hundred years old and most of us are accustomed to accept them as unquestioned wisdom. The first comprehensive immigration law in the U.S., the Immigration Act of 1924 bears the sins of the times, which had barely been openly explained and duly criticized.

Before 1924 we had mostly unfettered immigration; only Europeans were allowed to immigrate. That immigration was completely different from what we experience now. It was a free movement of people back and forth in search of jobs and new opportunities; for every three immigrants arriving, one left. Every time immigrants started coming from a new region, the most adventurous individuals arrived first to scout the opportunities. Families arrived later. Despite what they declared at the entry point, if they were not fortunate here they returned to their homeland, knowing that they could come back later.

Before 1890 most immigrants were coming from England, Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia and Netherlands. Gradually, these countries could not provide as many immigrants as the U.S. needed. As a result, after 1890 most new immigrants were Jews, Poles and others from Eastern Europe; as well as Italians from Southern Europe. Culturally they were far apart from Western Europeans, not only ethnically but also because that they were coming from backward regions; they were poor and mostly illiterate. They settled largely in American cities, forming ethnic enclaves where English was barely spoken, where life was completely different than on the main street. Many Americans were seriously concerned that these new immigrants would never assimilate and that they would destroy American society.

These fears need to be seen in the context of times when many scientists believed that racially some people might be superior to others. That doubtful science fueled anti-immigration sentiment at the beginning of the 20th century; as for many Americans it appeared obvious that those new waves of immigrants were inferior, not worthy to be accepted into American society. This intention of stopping the influx of immigrants considered racially undesirable was reflected in the Immigration Act of 1924. The government bureaucrats were put in charge of shaping the ethnic composition of the nation.

Parallel, similar to today, immigrants before 1924, mostly low skill laborers, were willing to work for less than Americans. Likewise today, Americans did not understand that the low skill labor expands economy, and as such creates more of better paid jobs, that mostly only Americans can take. By cutting off inflow of cheap immigrant labor The Immigration Act of 1924 assigned to the government bureaucrats the task of protecting the lazy Americans from the competition of industrious immigrants.

Again, we have to see this approach in the context of the beginning of the 20th century. Those were times when socialistic ideas were gaining recognition. The Soviet Union had a promising start, and even many of its critics, disapproving drastic methods, saw some value in socialism as a concept.

In capitalism, as it was understood by the Founding Fathers, the society functions the best when all people are given equal opportunities to pursue their individual interests, when government has no agenda in implementing any political programs, and when it is limited to protecting individuals’ freedom of enterprise. In opposition, socialists see a lot of chaos, inefficiency and injustice in those unregulated actions of individuals, and they believe that we need a government to form lofty political goals and that it is justifiable to limit freedoms of some individuals in order to implement those policies.

Those socialistic concepts gained popularity in the beginning of the 20th century. Prohibition, voted in in 1920, is the best example of Americans misguided by illusions that the government by its central planning and forceful implementation of lofty sounding ideas can shape the nation. The Immigration Act of 1924 was another example of Americans lured into a trap of delusions that socialism might work.

Before 1924, immigration was a part of economy; when it was up more immigrants arrived and stayed, when it was down fewer arrived and fewer stayed. Since 1924, immigration has become a political issue separated from the economy. That separation from the economy was even straightened by later immigration laws. Particularly, in 1965 the concept of a family sponsored immigration was introduced, turning the right to immigrate to the U.S. into a gift that a wealthy nation has been giving to a very lucky few among the poor of the world.

Every time the government applies abstract policies to economy it distorts the market, and the black market appears. In this case it is illegal immigration. The nation faced it big time in 1986, but no one asked how it occurred in the first place. Illusions that socialism might work could be understood in 1924, but in 1986 the Soviet Union was on the brink of bankruptcy; President Reagan called it “the evil empire.” Somehow no one in the entire U.S. could see that our immigration policy was not working because it was built on the same socialistic concepts that led to the evils and failing of the Soviet system. So, instead of reversing the policy, in 1986 Americans decided to continue with even greater determination what did not work so far. More money was thrown into border protection. American employers were required to verify the immigration status of new hires.

For the first 210 years of the Republic, Americans had the freedom to hire whomever they pleased regardless if this person came from across the street, across the ocean or across the Rio Grande. This freedom was taken away in 1986, and this law could and should be challenged as unconstitutional. With the 1986 immigration law, every employer in America was turned into an unpaid government official obligated to execute the law, which government could not enforce itself.

The immigration law of 1986 meant even more decisive departure from the fundamental Americans values of freedom of individual and small government, and expansion of government intrusion into economy and individual lives of Americans. It is as pure socialism as it could be. Socialism did not work anywhere else before and it has not been working when applied here. In result, our immigration crisis is even deeper now that it was ever before.

Still, in immigration debates as we have presently, the voices explaining the very reasons for our immigration mess are barely heard. According to the recent opinion poll, about 55% of Americans want even fewer immigrants than we have now. Similarly, as one hundred years ago, blindfolded by xenophobia, they fall again into a trap of socialism.

Looking at one hundred years of Americans’ confusion on immigration only one conclusion comes to mind, that nonsense, even if supported by majority of Americans, even if voted in by the both chambers of Congress, even if signed into law by President – it is still just nonsense only.

This essay is an abbreviated version of a lecture: “Why do we have such a big immigration mess?” delivered on October 2, 2013 at the Heartland Institute, in Chicago.

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4 thoughts on “Immigration impasse explained

  1. Victor Frazee

    Dear Mr. Kowalczyk,
    In regards to the immigration issue videos produced by Roy Beck, how can any average minded adult with an average education not see that the points that Mr. Beck discusses are anything but true? Let’s put it this way, if the Pilgrims had not landed on this continent, had others from Europe not followed them, would the North American Continent still be populated by various Native American Indian Tribes? It is an obvious conclusion that once word of mouth made its way back to Europe and other places that life is so much better here, others followed. That is what is happening now with people from places where legal or illegal immigrants come from. They are telling their friends and families to ‘come one over’.
    His point is that for every 1 million people who come to this country (legally or otherwise) it will not make a difference the world over. The overwhelming majority are extremely impoverished people and thus become totally and instantly dependant upon our support infrastructure the minute they enter our Country. Because they are overwhelmingly low wage earners, they do nothing more than exacerbate the decline of an already severely diminished capacity to sustain that kind of growth by not paying adequate income tax. Regardless of what anyone says, regardless of social, political, economic or religious perspective, we simply cannot afford the population growth. That is the only point Mr. Beck tried to convey. Furthermore, Mr. Beck exhibited no bias of any kind. He merely provided the information, based on past circumstances and future projections for the viewers to reach their own conclusion. I’ve lived abroad for 17 years throughout Asia.

  2. George Williams

    I notice that you seemto deliberately ignore what is going on with tie Muslim community in Europe, perhaps because it doesn’t fit your narrative about the past nature of immigration. During the Victorian era this country was not faced with anything like the Muslim immigration, where peoples of the Islamic faith are attempting to rush the gates of the West en masse. ISIS has openly stated that it sent terrorists among these people, and now Europe is now suffering incredibly high crime rates and incidents of terrorism. The ideology of Islam runs counter to virtually everything the Founders beliefs, yet not a ounce of criticism or concern comes from the mouth of Henryk Kowalczyk. If you dispute this, I suggest that you stop ignoring this problem and watch someone who knows something on the subject. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Bill Warner, Douglas Murray, and Karl Goldberg are the foremost experts on Islam in this country. They do not agree on your foolish Idea of a open border, so I’m telling you now that they’ll challenge you on you closeminded beliefs about immigration. I dare you to watch the myriad of You Tube videos by these people.

  3. George Williams

    Do you know why that you will fail to obtain a reasonable compromise? It’s because you refuse to compromise, preferring to use history rather than the current state of the world, and the desires of the citizens in your calculations. This is the 21st century. Circumstances in this country have changed since mass immigration was permissible. Somehow you’ve got the idea that the dynamics that permitted past mass I’m migration still hold true today. During the 19th century, this was an agrarian society, where formal education was far less important than today. Today, the illiterate and unskilled immigrant would undoubtedly be put on the public dole as would this children. The federal system of welfare did not exist at that time. I would counter your apparent belief that prejudice was the driving force for limiting immigration, with the argument that ther was actually was far more concern for states becoming responsible for masses of unemployed new immigrants dying in their streets. This is why New York state tried to collect a head tax on immigrants dumped on their shores. Immigrants had never been dumped on their shores at such a rate and no one knew how much help these people would need to survive during the period when they were unemployed. The law at the time precluded overseas recruitment because employers would pay the way of foreigners to come to the US and displace US citizens and work for lower pay. If the US Immigration service found that a questioned immigrant had been promised work by a recruiter, he was subject to forced return. I have to agree with this approach to immigration. Congress has only one constituency, those who voted them into office. This is fully consonant with the law of the land, and likely would be supported by by the Founders. Open borders, unconditional immigration, immigration without controls is insane. Such immigration fails to consider that done without consideration, masses of people with political views inimical to that of the Founders will ultimately prevail. Islam is a political party as well as a religion. The politics of Islam is found in the unquestionable word of the Muslim god, Allah, as set down by his prophet, Mohammed, and in the supporting traditions as set down in the hadith and in Sharia, the law of Islam. No Muslim deigns to dispute these things, lest he be condemned as a heretic. When Muslims becomes a majority in a secular state, that state ultimately becomes an Islamic state, under rigid medieval law of Sharia. No Muslim may leave Islam, lest he be condemned to death, and be killed by any Muslim who has the inclination to do so. It is evident that Muslims would not make good defenders of common law and the Constitution that you claim to revere. The freedom you seek certainly would never blossom in the Islamic State that could form after heavy immigration and the high birthrate that Islamic doctrine promotes. I hope that I have convinced you of the fallacy of your belief in uncontrolled immigration.

  4. George Williams

    Islam is different from communism in thst it has no religious component, no higher being that promises retribution by a vengeful god, should an adherent fail to live his life in accordance with his “holy” Quran and Sharia, both of which condemn to death all infidels. I could quote dozens of incendiary calls to murder of Jews, Christians, homosexuals and atheists that are cited in the Quran and Sharia, but I leave that to Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islam. You wont find the truth from Muslims, because it’s an ugly truth that they and the cowed and ignorant media work hard to conceal. To them, Islam is always the “religion of peace.” As one Muslim agitator in the UK often says in candor, Islam is not one of peace but of submission to Allah. All must submit or die, or be subservient to the Muslims. It’s all in the Ideology of Islam.

About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became a freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I have lived in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in the service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of the politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions, I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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