Democrats who cry about crops “dying on the vine” sound increasingly like anti-abolitionists who feared cotton would not be picked without slavery.
Another wave of social media posts is making the rounds, suggesting that without illegal immigrants working, Californian crops will “rot on the vine.” Libertarians are seemingly just as fond of making this incredibly naive claim as Democrats, and none of the individuals making the claim seem to understand the absurdity of their statements.
There is no doubt that there is a shortage of labor willing to work. However, libertarians never question whether the high cost of living in California combined with the slave-like conditions many illegal immigrants find themselves working in have anything to do with the issue at hand. No, it is almost always the fault of President Trump and those who expect basic immigration laws to be enforced.
Even PunditFact, an independent fact checking website, rates the claim as “half-true” and notes that the labor shortage has been a problem for American farmers since at least 2015.
However, the greater problem with the screeching has to do with the sentiment:
If we don’t let non-citizen labor do this work for below minimum wage, it won’t get done.
Throughout the 1700s and 1800s, a similar sentiment was held by anti-abolitionists, who sought to keep slavery at all costs:
If we don’t let black slave labor do this work for no wage, it won’t get done.
Previous to the invention of the cotton-gin, a motorized harvester capable of outperforming a human’s ability to harvest the important crop, the harvests were almost completely handled by black slave labor. Even when abolitionists were able to make the moral claim that Christian landowners should not impose their will over other human beings under threat of force, the anti-abolitionists were able to use this economic argument to strike fear into those still undecided on the issue of abolition.
The modern left, especially those who rely on the taxes generated by agriculture in California and elsewhere, find themselves repeating this same mantra. “We cannot do the moral thing, it will be economically difficult.”
If we look at the post-confederate South, they may have a point. In many ways, the South never recovered from the destruction wrought upon them during the war, nor from the loss of labor. The cotton-gin was not enough to save white landowners, and – as Democrats are now fearmongering – technological innovations may not be enough to save West Coast Democrats.
This does not change the immorality of their actions. The left, along with their naive allies in the Libertarian Party, choose to make the argument that morality and the law are secondary to economic comforts. They tell us that it is perfectly fine for millions of illegal immigrants can be subjected to third world living conditions and starvation wages, because we will have marginally cheaper strawberries and avocados.
And if some of those illegal immigrants might be psychopathic murderers? Well, at least we have cheap guac.