May 25th, 2006

Good fences make better neighbors?

So, was Frost right? Do good fences make good–or at least, improved–neighbors? We may get a chance to find out.

Here’s a very interesting perspective from today’s NY Times, on the effect of a possible US/Mexico fence on Mexican policy itself:

“To build, or not to build, a border of walls? The debate in the United States has started some Mexicans thinking it is not such a bad idea….

The old blame game — in which Mexico attributed illegal migration to the voracious American demand for labor and accused lawmakers of xenophobia — has given way to a far more soul-searching discussion, at least in quarters where policies are made and influenced, about how little Mexico has done to try to keep its people home.

For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy,” said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. “And it has boasted about the growth in remittances” — the money immigrants send home — “as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure.”

Indeed, Mr. Fox — who five years ago challenged the United States to follow Europe’s example and open the borders and then barely protested when President Bush announced plans to deploy troops — personifies Mexico’s evolving, often contradictory attitudes on illegal immigration.

Gabriel Guerra, a political analyst, said the presidential election in July and the negotiations over immigration reform in Washington have put Mr. Fox on unsteady political terrain…

Analysts said it was unlikely that Mr. Fox would ever speak publicly in favor of a wall. But in recent communications to Washington, his government, as well as leaders of all Mexican political parties, have hinted about building walls of their own.

Last March, in a document published in three of America’s largest daily newspapers, including The New York Times, the Mexican government, along with leaders of the political establishment and business community, explained its position on immigration reform.

In that document, the Fox government said that if the United States committed itself to establishing legal channels for the flow of immigrant workers, Mexico would take new steps to keep its people from leaving illegally.

So perhaps this sort of deal was an intended consequence of the proposal to build a wall. At any rate, it’s an interesting one. Of course, it’s not really about the wall itself so much as it’s about the combination of the wall and the amnesty proposal.

But since the wall is such a good metaphor, I’ll let Frost have the last word:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

25 Responses to “Good fences make better neighbors?”

  1. confusedforeigner Says:

    Anthing ‘sticky’ that I’ve posted on here has been glossed over or ignored e.g. chatilla and sabra.

    Well debunked indeed.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    When’s Confud going to stop his routine of being the non-sticky fly paper?

  3. confusedforeigner Says:

    She calls herself a therapist because “psychologist” is a generic and meaningless term.

    On the contrary.

    Therapist is a generic term for a broad range of nonprfessional disciplines. Shiatzu anyone?

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    Therapy and psychiatry are related in the department of psychologists. Since there are a lot of psychologists, neo being a therapist qualifies being called a psychologist, or someone who studies human psychology, which is what she does. She calls herself a therapist because “psychologist” is a generic and meaningless term. This is related to her reason to calling herself new-neocon instead of just another neocon (psychologist). See, I’ve just exercised a bit of psychology to analyse the actions of a therapist.

    My efforts to explain it would be inferior to how it is written down here. So read that.

    The simple question of why Neo doesn’t recognize any Post Traum Stress Syndromes consists of two simple answers.

    She has never been in combat or been in a situation where immense psychological pressures were applied to their psyche, self-identity, or self-image.

    Second, she does not apply that to herself because she doesn’t have the syndromes.

  5. confusedforeigner Says:

    Ymarsakar said…
    Neo’s a psychologist. People might be here to learn about human psychology…

    Just a wild psychotic guess.

    2:12 PM, May 27, 2006

    If neo is a psychologist, why doesn’t she call herself that, rather than the generic ‘therapist’ which is usually used by people without real professional qualifications.

    A psychologist surely would regognise their own ovet symptoms od PTSD.

  6. neoneoconned Says:

    you see precious little psychology, just a few attempts to pathologise opinions that differ from neo.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    Neo’s a psychologist. People might be here to learn about human psychology…

    Just a wild psychotic guess.

  8. neoneoconned Says:

    to be honest s. wasp if you are not politically obsessive what the hell are you doing on such a political site?

    regularly look at beautiful world – get it seen before it is ruined by capitalism.

    can’t break keyboard as i need it to annoy smug right wing people like you.

  9. Willem Says:

    I would like to use this very interesting site to promote my less, but anyway nice, site:
    http://gotoholland.blogspot.com

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    Do people now realize why I say “conned” instead of neo neo whatever? Aside from not wanting to type neo neo that is.

  11. paleomythia Says:

    oh shit! :D of course I was

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    nyomythus: Hey, I’m nnc!

    If you’re referring to “neoneoconned” when you write “nnc,” please try to come up with some other nickname, like “conned.” Thanks!

  13. nyomythus Says:

    nnc

    You hyper-excess on what is wrong with democracy’s past and fail to see that democracy’s great strength is its ability to improve upon itself — unlike anything but a democratic endeavor. Democracy is the way of nature that mankind is evolving towards, from his comparative super-intelligence [or insanity] to all other creatures in nature.

  14. nyomythus Says:

    The rich people will win. They will get their cheap labour and all of you neo-cons will get one more lesson on the power of organised capital. Not that it will change your minds one bit.

    American has a strong legacy for not accepting, “rich people will win” [by say that you are surrendeing to thier will] but indeed it is a hard fight. [see American Civil War] Slave owners composed less than 3% of the population and the rest were subjugated by a socially backwards yet robust economic system. Stories of its evil are legion. Some 20% of people lynched during the following Jim Crowe period were white. It was a system of terror of forced labor and it was ideological too.

    I’m a southerner; I hope I would have had a conscious against slavery. What would slaves have thought about my desire to go north and fight for the North and upheave their patched-together lives? Many blacks were fine with the way things were because they couldn’t image something better, and this is part of the evil and great sorrow of slavery [and dhimmutude]. Today black Americans are some of the wealthiest and freest people in the world with immeasurable talent, intelligence, and potential.

    It’s likely that I would have been indoctrinated by the massive moral distortion of Antebellum – I would have had to have relinquished my sense of self and place. Thankfully, I live in the midst of the Information Revolution – I can hear a different voice, and in my profession [academia] I can keep my mouth shut – for the sake of continuing to provide for my family and self. America did not start the Slave Trade, but in time, and too much time, America ended it and at a great cost at that, and still there was work to do, “Miles and miles before I sleep – Frost”. It was the result of not choosing to uphold the principals of freedom in early America history; the price was enormously greater by not acting on slavery in early America.

    We could have built a greater America without slavery. The disaster with the Native America was stated by European Monarchies, people long gone, and grossly mishandled by our developing democracy. We are learning from that lesson, by WW2 we still had not fully learned the lesson [or had the speed of logistics, mobilization]. In a sense, “developing democracy” is an ardent process, one that free people must advance to minimize “mishandling” [an insubstantial word].

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    Bush has self-deprecation, I’m just taking dibs on the insults. It is quite serious, let me assure you. Far worse than tri luminal intelligence.

  16. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Did any of you political obsessives read the poem? Did any of you take the time to simply enjoy what Neo posted?

    Spring is the mischief in me. What a wonderful line and to think I’d missed it all these years.

    NNC you’re a loon. What can you possibly hope to gain here? Do you simply enjoy couching your lance at windmills? Sad and pathetic. Get outside. Smell flowers. Watch trees leaf. Break your keyboard over your knee.

    Break out the cigars,this life is for squirrels; We’re off to the drugstore to whistle at girls.” Song of the Pogo Walt Kelley

  17. neoneoconned Says:

    Ryan: when it does i promise to let you know.

    Immigration into the USA is a fascinating topic because it divides the right so much. On the one hand is the “law must be upheld send ‘em all back” mob. Then there is the cynical Republican “hey the imigrants are all right wing catholics and therefore potential republican voters”. Then there are the rich people who really hold the power. They need cheap labour for various economic enterprises, particularly in agriculture.

    The rich people will win. They will get their cheap labour and all of you neo-cons will get one more lesson on the power of organised capital. Not that it will change your minds one bit.

    oh and this

    Ymarsakar said…
    Hey Nyo, I’m the psychotic one. Don’t go calling anyone else that, or I’ll go off here. Just fair warning.

    yrmadwnkr is developing self deprecation! I am going to have to start reading his posts again. :-)

  18. Robert Schwartz Says:

    The Frost poem is very deep. It can be read against itself. On the surface it holds that “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” a protest against being walled out. And that is the way I read it in my salad days when I was green.

    But his neighbor’s point is made in the action. The existence and repair of the wall have forced these flinty old New Englanders to to work together. Good neighbors work together to solve problems. The wall has made them good neighbors by making them work together. The wall does not wall them out, it brings them together.

    The ritual is not rational. “Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.” But it is a ritual “Oh, just another kind of out-door game” And it works as rituals do.

  19. nyomythus Says:

    Heheh

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hey Nyo, I’m the psychotic one. Don’t go calling anyone else that, or I’ll go off here. Just fair warning.

  21. nyomythus Says:

    Does it ever bother you that your name implies you’ve been outwitted?

    Not unless pixels have a conscious — the rationale of a psychotic troll.

  22. stumbley Says:

    nnc:

    It’s not a question of “poor people’s labor,” it’s an issue of illegality. I’m sure that Canada has laws against just anyone walking over the border, and the provision of services to people who don’t contribute to the cost of those services, but maybe not?

    In any event, this is not about “rich people’s money,” either, since the “rich people” are the beneficiaries of what amounts to immigrant slave labor. The “guest worker” program likewise institutionalizes low-wage jobs without granting the benefits due actual citizens.

    The real answer is to penalize those who hire illegals severely, to dry up the demand. No demand, no supply.

    I welcome those who come to this country, legally. It’s part of what makes America great, in my opinion. I just don’t see why my friend the critical care cardiac nurse, married to an American citizen, had to wait two years to even be considered for citizenship and its attendant benefits, when an itinerant laborer can walk across the border and collect welfare immediately. Seems unjust, somehow.

  23. Ryan Says:

    Hey ‘Conned,

    Poor people’s labor should be traded in free markets? I thought you didn’t like people to be treated as commodities… but maybe you’re fine with that.

    Does it ever bother you that your name implies you’ve been outwitted?

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    Free markets aren’t an invitation for looters to come in for some free stuff.

    Besides, Fox is okay with sending Mexican workers to get chewed up by in the badlands, but now he starts whining when he realizes that these Mexicans can actually stay in the US and will drag their entire families off. No remitances then, eh.

  25. neoneoconned Says:

    i thought you neo-cons were in favour of free markets

    or does that only apply to rich people’s money

    not poor people’s labour

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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