Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, did not encompass the idea of an open door for all who wished to come here. The simple tale is that the generous French offered Liberty as a gift, honoring America's cherished ideals of freedom and opportunity for all of its citizens. The true circumstances, of course, were much more convoluted. The idea for the Statue of Liberty first took hold of the imagination of its sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, during a dinner party at the home of Eduoard-Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, a French intellectual and activist who hoped to sponsor an enormous monument that might serve as propaganda against the conservative leaders of the then shaky French government. Bartholdi had always wanted to create a colossal, awesome structure, and Laboulaye named him to create what Laboulaye envisioned as a powerful political lever for shaping French government and society.

The first conversations with Laboulaye occurred in 1871, more than fifteen years before the Statue of Liberty would actually stand within New York Harbor. A lot of arm-twisting for funds took place in the meantime, along with two trips to the United States, and a variety of differing sketches for the statue. At the same time, Laboulaye managed to rise quickly to prominence within the French government, pushing an amendment through the chambers of parliament that essentially called for the establishment of republican status for France. The result: the Third Republic. To fortify their regime, Third Republic leaders strongly advocated the completion of Bartholdi's statue. What better way to cement their image of France, writes historian Marvin Trachtenberg, than with a truly grandiose monument linking the history and destiny of France with the great modern republican state, the America that had not only triumphed over its internal enemies but was ascendant in every sphere, already marked to be one of the great world powers? Bartholdi designed the Statue of Liberty to ensure coherence with this agenda. He positioned her within New York Harbor to face outward toward Europe (and particularly, France); looking across the Atlantic in hope that Europe's countries might soon realize her strength. Not laden with the swords and shields of war and imperialism, but instead standing resolute with a torch to "enlighten the world" to democracy, the Statue of Liberty was built to be an icon of France's republican ideals. Someday, Laboulaye and his followers hoped, their country would grow stronger by recognizing her strength.

The oft-quoted Emma Lazarus sonnet obviously was not a part of the gift from France and some say it was added to the base later without the explicit approval of the congress. Lazarus in writing her poem was merely reflecting on the persecution suffered by Jews in Eastern Europe. Many feel now that the great waves of immigration of the 19th and early 20th centuries are over, the Lazarus poem is no longer relevant except as a historical artifact conceived and added after the Statue of Liberty had been in place for some time. The "golden door," lighting the way should no longer be fully open as it was before the bronze plaque with Lazarus’s poem was afixed to the base. It perhaps should remain ajar for those for whom a need can be demonstrated but not for all who wish to come here. The torch of freedom burns as brightly today as it did when the statue was first unveiled but it is not and never was a torch that beckons a new wave of immigrants now that America is fully developed and settled. Economic growth based solely on population growth is unsustainble.

4 comments:

Dee said...

Some feel the way you do. Others do not. To some, Emma´s poem is as relevant today as when it was 1st day it was placed.

In Malthus day, he also thought our country was fully developed and settled. Each generation believes they have reached the pinnacle.

Many think we still have a long way to go.

ultima said...

My point was that the idea behind the gift has been misconstrued as a result of the subsequent posting of the poem.

Malthusian reasoning is a little different than what we use today in terms of declining natural resource availability, a petroleum dependent economy, crowding and congestion on our streets and highways and in our cities,etc.

tweety said...

I am agreement with you, Ultima. Nothing is forever. When that statue was erected and the poem at the bottom of it put on it, we were a wide open frontier and sparsely populated. Times have changed. Any reputable source will tell you that we do not have the necessary resources to sustain the number of people we have here already. Our cities are crowded our highways congested and we have much air pollution now. Our jails, schools and hospitals are suffering the same fate from too many people. Why would anyone want this?

mirrorism said...

This is true. In the cities there just is not enough room for a 3500 square ft. house, and parking space for the full-size pickup truck, the wife's full-size SUV, the kids' Mustangs, and the 100' boat. And you can forget about the new giant shopping centers and malls, Best Buys and Circuit Cities, super 24-hour gyms, movie theaters, heck, you can even forget about a simple Super Target.

We, Americans, are not like anyone else on the planet; we need our leg room dammit!