I was reading an old Harry Turtledove alternate history paperback over the weekend and it got me thinking about the science fictional conceit of parallel universes.
For your consideration:
The cross-universe gate was invented in Research Triangle Park in 2017, although none of the researchers understood what they had until two years later. The problem was that the gate would make connections to other universes, but the connection would collapse with in milliseconds.
In 2019, though, they finally tuned in another world where through some trick of math or physics, the gate was stable. Three weeks later they understood what they'd found: a world where history diverged from our own in the 1820s. A world where the Confederacy broke away after a brief war, slavery was phased out in the 1890s and replaced with an almost as bad feudalism, and the union – stretching from Alberta to Columbia – was restored.
A world where through accidents of assassination, random laws, a few unlucky plagues, and more, technology was several decades behind our own world, and where the standard of living was only half of what we're used to here in Earth Prime.
The government got wind of the project early and tried to monopolize it, but the secret was already out. The equipment to build a gate required neither strange and expensive materials nor huge amounts of power.
Which is to say, in short order, thousands, then tens of thousands of gates were connecting Here and There. And then the immigration started. After all, how are you going to keep them down on the farm when they've seen X-boxes, internet porn, cancer drugs that actually work, and more.
Of course, unparalleled immigration was not with out its dark side. Here has gay marriage, smoking bans, a general societal agreement on a decent welfare state, and more. There has none of these things. After history split in the 1820s a lot of the "blue" changes we experienced here never happened. A man – even a gentleman – over There has no compunctions about telling a black man on the sidewalk to get out of his way, and will address him as "n_____" as he does so. It's unsociable not to offer a guest a cigarette. The idea of welfare spending is insane – why, one might as well ask a woman who she prefers as the next president!
By 2025 there were three million There men over Here.
By 2030 there were thirteen million.
There were some advantages – they'd do the jobs that most of us only watch Mike Rowe do on TV. Shortages of lumberjacks, welders, coal miners, and more were alleviated. In an economy still suffering from the economic collapse of 2008, this was no small thing. The economy picked up.
In Here world, where the government reports that 20 percent of Americans claim to have a disability, there was grumbling. How dare these interlopers do jobs that no decent Here person would do, and accept so little for them?
Other joined in the clamoring, saying that their willingness to work for less was hurting wages.
The There men paid their taxes, though, and they kept the factories running, so the business elite argued forcefully in their defense. Zuckerberg was particularly eloquent.
There was more grumbling. The "n-bomb" was making a return to use and smoking and littering was up. Every other week a professor at Harvard or Yale penned an editorial in a prestigious east-coast newspaper arguing about the coarsening of our national culture.
There were now over twenty million There men.
The Somerville, Massachusetts government reversed itself and declared that the There men could, in fact, be called "illegals".
…but their timing was comedy gold, because it happened the day before the US Supreme Court ruled on the matter. In a divided ruling with no less than one primary opinion, one separate concurrence, and three dissents, the court ruled that since the There men had US citizenship granted under a Constitution identical to ours (aside from some minor differences like the lack of a 19th amendment), they were, in fact, US citizens, and could not only stay here, but could vote.
The internet erupted, and a minor law blog even made the front page of the New York Times when several of the authors got so heated about the topic that they started calling each other "pony-lovers".
That was forgotten in days, though, because people belatedly realized what amnesty meant: November was coming – and with it, elections. …and it turned out that the Republicans had been passing laws: registering people to vote at dive bars near the oil fields, at Ford dealerships, at Pawn shops near the coal mines.
The Republican sweep was unprecedented. President, 61% of the Senate, 64% of the house of Representatives.
Some conspiracy theorists on the left immediately declared that the trans-historical gates had been a plot all along: the Republicans had been behind the whole thing. Was not the fact that they registered There men to vote at the places where they congregated proof of this?
The conspiracy was never proven, but for decades the allegation lived on: The Republicans, unable to convince the people to elect their party, had elected to import a new people.
They'd done it – and they'd won.
Of course, it wasn't a complete victory for the Republican establishment: they themselves were discomfited by the relegalization of mandatory prayer in school, the increase in the violent crime rate (the There men did like to duel), the resurgence of prostitution, the fact that most restaurants now smelled like tobacco smoke for the first time in half a century, and more. On the bright side, though, the Republican elite didn't actually have to interact with those people. Their votes were needed, yes, but they weren't exactly welcome in the same social circles.
But enough science fiction.
Let's return to the real world.
Let's talk about amnesty for illegal immigrants, the motor-voter law, the fact that the US does not require proof of citizenship to vote, and the talk of a "permanent Democratic majority", and allegations that the Democrats have elected to import a new people.
(N.B. my own thoughts on immigration probably aren't remotely like what you think from the above)
Last 5 posts by Clark
- Clark's Farewell To Popehat - December 30th, 2015
- The Current Refugee Crisis - November 18th, 2015
- Top Seven Things I Like About Internet Shame Mobs - July 29th, 2015
Gamer Gate vs Anti Gamer GateA Civil Discussion on Inclusiveness - June 23rd, 2015
- Two Kinds of Freedom of Speech (or #Strangeloop vs. Curtis Yarvin) - June 10th, 2015