On ‘The Cost of Revolution’

George Watson, in his article “The Cost of Revolution: England and 1789” (June 1989), goes to extensive lengths to distinguish between “revolutions.” Given the “preservative” nature of the pre-1789 experience, one wonders whether the term “rebellion” may be more apposite. Discarding the common dictionary distinction, which hinges on the issue of success and does not allow for a “trespasser” theory of interpretation, the latter concept provides a distinction with perhaps more of a difference. Not only does it accommodate Watson’s insight that opposition to the French Revolution is not opposition to change but merely its method, it also captures the uniqueness of the English and American experiences (as well as the Dutch). The fruits of these “rebellions” were borne from an appreciation for and incorporation of the past, not a repudiation of it.

        —Gordon D. Payne
Madison, WI

On ‘Burden of Liberalism’

You can’t imagine how refreshing it is to find a conservative publication that not only mentions immigration, but actually knows that there is massive illegal immigration, as your July issue (Cultural Revolutions, “The March Chronicles“) indicates.

Probably one of the problems is that conservatives like the competition in the marketplace for jobs, which is fine as far as it goes. When the employer exploits the illegals, by paying far less than minimum wage, paying them so little in the fields that they live outdoors with no running water, no toilet facilities, no cooking facilities; when employers can even decide not to pay for work already done—that’s not the free market at play. That’s a new form of slavery.

There are sections of California that look like the worst slums in Mexico, and most of the illegals are horribly treated. On the other hand, a good 25% of the cars stolen in this area are stolen by illegals, sometimes to drive further north, often to re-sell on either side of the border. Other thefts add up to about the same percentage of our crime rates. We’re seeing too many of the uninformed urging that we let everyone in who wants to come. Romantics all, who will let somebody else cope with the problems.

        —Barbara McCarthy
San Diego, CA