The Squeezed Middle

There is a lot of talk of immigration of late, and far, far more to come, both of talk, and, more to the point, of immigration itself (see this article by Mark Steyn for his take on the ‘Dreamer’ debate amongst our neighbours to the south). I myself am an immigrant, coming into Canada as a wee lad, leaving my native Scotland under the decision of my parents.  The six of us, that is, along with my three brothers, all entered through the proper channels, following that quaint notion of legal procedure. Many current immigrants, in Canada, but far more so in the United States and Europe, have come through illegal and improper channels, some, one might surmise, for good reasons, others, one might also surmise, for less noble and necessary ones.

The thing is, the ‘law’ should decide who is who, which ones are true refugees, which ones are not. This is the whole point of a ‘border’, which defines a country geographically, which in turn corresponds to the notion of ‘citizenship’, the legal standing to come and go as one pleases across that border, along with all the rights and privileges of working, and the duty of paying taxes and such, within that border.

Those of us who continue to try to keep and obey the law are being undermined by those who simply do not keep and obey the law, or do their best not to. Society seems to be dividing ever-more into the ‘elites’ who are either above the law, or to whom different laws apply, or whose riches and privileges permit them to care not for the law; and the undocumented underclass who also in many ways escape the burden of law, recipients of a growing welfare state, with ‘free’ handouts in everything from education to housing to cookies (and now there is talk of a guaranteed income, just to keep them all nice and happy and, yes, as Belloc well predicted, servile).

In-between these two growing swathes of society is the ever-more squeezed middle, those who try to obey the law, who fulfill all those difficult jobs, the ‘working class’ who provide, or used to provide, actual and real wealth to the economy, instead of the growing cadre of ever-more expensive and lavish governmental and bureaucratic jobs that siphon off that wealth; all those who pay taxes, perform civic duties, who strive to maintain the culture upon which our nation was built.  Their numbers are dwindling, for who, in the end, wants to be the chump who strives to maintain order when the order is inexorably and incrementally being disordered, dismantled, even flouted without consequence, beneath and all around him?

One might call him a chump, but, from another, non-worldly, perspective, such is often the way of sanctity, to do what one should and must, even if it makes little or no earthly or temporal sense, and there is little reward this side of the grave. As Wellington would have said of a more secular pursuit, at least one has done one’s duty, to God, to one’s neighbour, to oneself.