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19.1.09

Plus ca change ...

I'm reading Jane Addams' The Second Twenty Years At Hull-House, which has a long chapter on "Immigrants Under the Quota." The book was published in 1930, but aside from the details of the national quota systems that were in place, it could have been written this year. The nativist bigotry, the pitting of immigrants and native workers against each other, the indiscriminate raids -- and her proposed solutions, like expanded legal immigration, aid to sender countries, unionization, and preventing employer exploitation of immigrants, are in line with typical 21st-century progressive ideas.

This all has to be balanced against the unfortunate previous chapter of the book, "A Decade of Prohibition." Despite detailing the many social ills that arose from the prohibition of alcohol -- which again parallel the modern prohibition on other drugs -- she remains a steadfast proponent of the 18th Amendment. She even cites as reason for her optimism the successful prohibition of other drugs, as well as the abolition of slavery (especially grating given the racial dimension of the current war on drugs).

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