It just seems right that the best contemporary intellectuals that the Golden State has recently produced are from the land. The same land that is the foundation of the $ multi-billion agriculture industry. Whether we are talking about David Masumoto [Epitaph For A Peach] or Victor D. Hanson, we are talking about men who grew up on the farm, left for a short while to study at some of our best institutions of higher learning and ended up returning to farm and think. Think they do! They are men who are familiar with what it takes to grow produce that will feed the rest of the nation and the world. It's fitting that these men use their mind to escape the rigors of daily farming labor. Growing up, they knew what it takes to be exposed to the sultry sun and heat of the Central Valley of California. There is one common point between them: They value hard work, education and family. These values have attracted me to their work. The characteristics of their works are hard work, sweat and ideas.
I had the pleasure to read one of Victor D. Hanson's previous works titled, "Carnage and ure." It was released right before the September 11 attacks on our nation. All of us needed to hear this type of reassuring messages contained in the book. It was somewhat an avant-coureur, a precursor, a prophecy to the events that would follow 9-11. In that book, he looked at nine military battles between Western and non-Western armies. He states that the ural values of the West based mostly on consensual government, free enterprise, freedom of speech, individualism produce far superior forces.
It makes sense that I was waiting for the release of this book, Mexifornia: A State of Becoming.
Book Background: How To Understand The Author's Views and Ideas
This humble, down-to-earth author is a professor of Classics at CSU, Fresno State. In fact, a colleague of his and he are the founders of the Classical Studies department at the university. Despite his new found fame, he has not let it get to his head. He knows that fame is futile. He used to grow grapes and other fruits on his Selma, CA farms. The discipline of working with his hands has been serving him very well these days. He writes a column for the National Review Online and contributes essays to major newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. What is worth remembering here is that he still lives on his family farm. Even though he does not farm any more (leasing the land to farmers), he remains close to the land. That's why his views on labor issues involving illegal immigrants in the fertile San Joaquin Valley are important.
Author Speaks his mind: He says what others can only whisper about massive, uncontrolled illegal immigration in the U.S.
Some critics may call him nativist, racist or conservative, others may see some old farmer's grandson who is trying to offer suggestions and solutions to one of the problems facing California. Illegal immigration is rampant. There does not seem to be any control in sight. The Classics professor would counterattack by saying he grew up with Mexicans and Americans of Mexican ancestry. He saw how his parents and grandparents hired and treated them. He himself provides them with employment on his farms. He knows very well about the situation of interdependent relationship. That's why he said in a column to the Los Angeles Times, "It isn't healthy for a citizenry to feel one thing and then say another---Nursing frustrations in private that one day will explode when tapped by demagogues of both right and left." Why is that the case? The author acknowledges that employers in agribusiness, construction, hotels, restaurants and manufacturing welcome cheap labor. He made the following comments about why illegal immigration continues. "...our own citizens find collecting entitlements more lucrative "work" than the backbreaking labor offered to illegal immigrants.
What's clear in this book is that the author does not mince words. He offers his straight talk. That's what a farmer does. In addition, he is an intellectual who has risen beyond the confines of the classroom. He has become the face of the public professor. While revealing the causes of the California's problems in this book, he does not do it without compassion. He shows the plight of the Mexican workers and other immigrants. Writing about he knows, Victor Hanson writes about his experience with workers from Mexico. This is not a local problem. All the western states are impacted by illegal immigration. While it has downsides, in terms of contribution the state's economy, illegal immigration which farmers readily exploit through contractors offers some benefits to the rest of us. Who would pick up our fruits, peaches, nectarines in 100+ temperatures? Native-born Americans would not want to do this type of heavy-duty type of work. Illegal immigration will continue to flourish with that kind of mentality.
It's not something new to the rest of the nation. Most Americans or people living in rich countries have always had poor people, countryside workers picking their fruit, mowing their lawns, baby-sitting their kids and busing tables.
The author suggests that if we continue down the current path, we'll have a Mexifornia
Who should be interested in this book?
Everybody who has ever complained in silence about illegal immigration should take a look at it. It will provoke deep thoughts.
What are some of the solutions the author proposes?
I would encourage everybody to buy this book. It's a very interesting book.