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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Anti-British Sentiment

I saw this on Volokh and had to post it. A Duke law professor wrote one of the most (uninentionally) hilarious pieces I've ever read in a Canadian newspaper, or anywhere. The professor's name is Michael Byers. I'm going to post some of my favorite quotes.

Still, millions flock to the country, like moths to a flame.
I was on my way to a conference in San Diego when I surrendered my green card. The next morning, out for an early run, I saw scores of Mexican men tending lawns and flowerbeds. Later, a woman from Guatemala cleaned my hotel room.

(I like the fact that people always think they know what is best for immigrants. Why would you come here rather than going to live in Canada, or staying in Mexico? Perhaps because you know that you will be able to get the best life possible here. Not everyone is a posh law prof who can afford to pick up and move to Canada in easy luxury, indeed, can live almost anywhere in some form of luxury. I'm really tired of the "I know what's best for you" attitude, especially toward immigrants. I know many immigrants, including quite a few illegals. And they have a better life here than they did back home. Otherwise, they would leave.)

Next quote: But after Sept. 11, 2001, fear replaced curiosity as the standard response to things unknown. Before 9/11, my wife's English accent often generated a friendly response, including the comment "You sound just like Princess Diana." After the attacks, the warm chatter gave way to a strained silence.

(Yup, because everyone is scared of Britishers. I know their teeth can sometimes jump out at you, but I must say I've never been afraid of an Englishman, barring soccer hooligans. And I somehow doubt that this was a real reaction. I doubt that the English accent was a burden and a curse to the young lady, prompting random searches, suspicion, etc.)

Needless to say, my opinions attracted considerable hostility, all the more so because I was expressing them from within a conservative law school at a conservative university in the very conservative South. I stood my ground, but it wasn't easy. And then it occurred to me: The United States wasn't my country; it wasn't a place for which I wanted to fight. My thoughts drifted northward, to the place where my values had been forged.

(Yup. Ol' Conservative Duke. Practically the stronghold of the neo-cons. Express an opinion even somewhat liberal, and you are instantly isolated and ostracized. Terrible. On the list of conservative bastions it ranks just above Berkely. Seriously, who writes this stuff? Joe Stalin wouldn't call Duke conservative.)

And finally, my favorite: The moment was upon me. My heart bursting with pride, I looked the immigration officer in the eye and said, as simply and non-judgmentally as possible: "I have chosen to live permanently in Canada."
"Permanently?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, "Of course."

(I'm sorry, it's next to impossible to have a heart "bursting with pride" about Canada. To be fair, it's next to impossible to be "bursting with pride" about residence in Minnesota (and I love Minnesota). They're bland, uninteresting, and somewhat dull places sometimes. Maybe that's what you like. Canada really hasn't ever harmed anyone. You can love that. But you can't be proud of being from a country has contributed nothing. And finally, good riddance, Mr. Byers. Now, if we can just get the Baldwins to live up to their promise.)


Hey now, Stephen Baldwin, the only really cool Baldwin (on account of his collaborations with Pauly Shore, especially Bio-Dome) is a GWB supporter. TAKE THAT ALEC!
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