Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
They Said It:
To some people, “government” appears as a vast reservoir of power which inspires them to dream of what use might be made of it. They have favourite projects, of various dimensions, which they sincerely believe are for the benefit of mankind, and to capture this source of power, if necessary to increase it, and to use it for imposing their favourite projects upon their fellows is what they understand as the adventure of governing men. They are, thus, disposed to recognize government as an instrument of passion; the art of politics is to inflame and direct desire.
Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, 1962.
IMMIGRATION, THE RULING CLASS, AND THE GNOSTIC DREAM WORLD.
Regular readers know that we have spilled a great deal of ink (1s and 0s, toner, whatever . . .) over the last couple of years railing against the inadequacies and corruption of the American ruling class. The last several weeks, of course, have brought those inadequacies and that corruption into sharper focus, as the IRS scandal, the Justice Department media scandals, and the National Security Agency surveillance/secrecy scandals have served to remind us that the contemporary ruling class is incapable of ruling judiciously. Our exalted leaders not only cannot be trusted with power, but also consider themselves distinct from, and in a way at odds with, the rest of the country.
This is not entirely surprising, of course, in that the republican form of governance – which presupposes the necessity of some sort of a ruling class – always carries the risk that the rulers will, by some amalgam of machinations, determine the secret to enduring power and thereby evolve into a permanent caste, supposing both a right to power and an ingrained hostility to those who would seek to wrest that power back on behalf of the people. Even the Founders, those who fashioned the American republic, understood this possibility and worried about the nature of the men who would comprise the ruling class. Madison put it this way in the most federalist of the Federalist Papers, (#10), which argued the superiority of a constitutional republic over a pure democracy.
Under such a regulation [the proposed republic], it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
We don’t wish to blame the Founders for our current predicament. Indeed, one may argue convincingly that the nation would not be suffering today from the on-going abuse of power if the constitutional safeguards that the Founders erected against the establishment of a permanent and corrupt ruling class were still intact. But, of course, that vision has been corrupted to ruinous effect. And thus the ruling class persists as an undying, deeply entrenched, and immeasurably powerful force in contemporary American society.
Given this, we think it would be a mistake to conflate the strength of the ruling class with the relatively minor abuses of power we have witnessed over the last several weeks. This is not, we should emphasize, to dismiss those abuses entirely or to suggest that they don’t matter. But the extent and the potential deprivations of the ruling class are hardly restricted to the present politicized federal bureaucratic apparatus and its handful of corrupt and corrupted executive overseers. And to focus on these scandals exclusively is to risk missing the bigger picture, which is the ruling class’s much broader reach and far greater ability to affect the national ethos. It is to risk missing the forest for the trees, if you will.
At present, it strikes us that the Obama administration scandals are having an effect on the President’s personal popularity and on the popularity of “the government” more nebulously. But those effects are, in the larger scheme, insignificant. Indeed, the scandals – and especially the NSA business – are serving as a fine cover for the broader ruling class as it attempts, essentially, to change the fundamental nature of the nation. The country class – and its derisible media – is focused almost entirely on Washington and what Washington did or did not do to the citizenry’s phone calls, emails, and internet searches. The political class, by contrast, is focused almost entirely on the nation’s southern border, as the inimitable Mickey Kaus recently noted:
Probably through sheer bad luck, a series of dramatic scandals has captured the attention of both the press (which would ordinarily be celebrating the Gang of Eight’s epic achievement) and conservatives, who would ordinarily be kicking up a fuss . . .
If the conservative public were paying attention, the flaws and crude deceptions of the Schumer-Rubio bill would be common knowledge. They are so obvious, especially in the border enforcement area, that even Sen. Rubio pretends to be dissatisfied with his own bill. Byron York reports that many conservatives are shocked when they learn that Rubio’s bill doesn’t secure the border before legalization. It doesn’t! “First comes the legalization,” as Rubio boasted yesterday . . .
It’s time to wake up! Conservatives–while you are (rightly) excited about NSA snooping and partisan IRS corruption, the Congress is about to change America in a more profound, permanent way right under your noses. In the process it will hand President Obama the major second term achievement that will help him overcome the very scandals that are distracting you–or, rather, make his survival or re-ascendance unimportant. He will have won. Democrats will have shaped the future electorate to their own liking. They’ll have transformed what America is.
Please forget about Benghazi and Cincinnati and Edward Snowden’s girlfriend for a minute and pay attention to the main event . . .
Ignore the f—ing scandals for a few days and save the country from Chuck Schumer.
The fact of the matter is that there is no immigration crisis at present. The existing laws are more than adequate to handle any current problems – or at least they would be, if they were enforced. The only people in this country who are clamoring for action are those who are directly affected by immigration policy and who stand, therefore, to gain from a change to the status quo. Some of these people, of course, are illegal immigrants; men, women, and children who are in this country in violation of the law and who are keenly interested in changing that fact. Their concern is both understood and understandable. But what about the rest of the immigration-reform coalition? What motivates them? What moves them to take a non-issue and turn it into a cleaver with which to divide the nation?
The short answer is the enhancement of their own power. The longer answer was provided just last week by P.J. O’Rourke in his cover story for the Weekly Standard:
For more than 60 years it has been almost a rule of American politics that the less important an issue is to the American public, the more serious the American political system is about it—the United Nations, Korea, McCarthyism, the Suez Crisis, the wheat surplus, Quemoy and Matsu, the Peace Corps . . .
The rule works in reverse too. The more important an issue is to the American public the sillier the political system gets. When information about the dangers of the 9/11 attack was lost among federal security bureaucracies, Congress and the White House added another layer of federal security bureaucracy. When the financial system fell down, Congress and the White House gave money to the people who caused the collapse instead of the people the system fell on. When the cost and complexity of medical care began to worry everyone, Congress and the White House changed the subject and bent our ear about insurance instead of health until we all felt like we’d been button-holed at a Rotary meeting by the local John Hancock agent determined to explain the relative merits of whole life and term. And now the scope of our federal budget deficit is matched only by the scope of the nothing Congress and the White House are doing about it.
All of which is to say that the ruling class does what the ruling class wants, the people it ostensibly represents be damned.
If you listen to the debate over the immigration – such as it is – the nature of the ruling class’s interests are readily apparent. Most of the Republicans pushing for immigration reform, for example, are doing so out of crass and transparent personal interest. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the terrible twosome of Republican capitulation, have said over and over again that immigration reform is about the survival of the Republican Party, that the GOP must pass immigration reform if it wishes to persist as a major political force.
Just this weekend, Graham insisted that the GOP has to pass reform in order to avoid obsolescence. “If we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016,” Graham said. “We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party, and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community, in my view, is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run, in my view.”
Good Lord. “Big girl’s blouse” doesn’t seem quite adequate to describe the blubbering baby, does it?
Of course, what Graham doesn’t say is that he fears for himself and his ilk, above all. If the Republicans lose the “Hispanic community,” does that affect you, or us, or any other regular American? Not so much. What affects us is the quality of the policy implemented by our leaders, whether they do what is best for the country, rather than for one of the country’s two main political factions.
The permanent loss of Hispanic voters would, however, affect those men and women who rely on voters, which is to say politicians. Lindsey Graham, for example. If “we” don’t pass immigration reform, and if – as these Republicans dubiously claim – that “causes” permanent Hispanic alienation from the GOP, then Lindsey Graham will be inconvenienced. He will lose some votes. Heck, he may even lose his seat. And he just can’t have that! That will not do! Therefore, immigration reform is imperative.
The same, of course, can be said for much of the rest of the Republicans establishment – the consultants, the managers, and the wannabe movers and shakers. They think that Latino voters can be bought, and bought cheaply. And they think that once those voters have been bought and paid for, things can get back to normal and both parties can get back to representing roughly half of the country so that nobody ever loses an election too badly and nobody in the all-important consultant community ever has to lose a job, lose a paycheck, or miss a meal. This is about their survival, their ability to maintain themselves in the standard to which they’ve grown accustomed. And if you aren’t willing to sacrifice to that end . . . well then . . . to hell with you.
Marco Rubio, the Senator from Florida, the erstwhile Tea Party darling, and the lead Republican sponsor of the Senate’s immigration reform, has his own personal interests in this business, of course. For starters, Rubio wants to be president someday. And unlike his fellow Tea Party Senators – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee – he appears to believe that the Tea Party label is a hindrance to that end. He needs to “evolve” beyond his partisan and parochial roots. He needs to be a big time player. He needs to show the world – and especially Chuck Schumer – that he is the “real deal” and can compromise and play the game. Only then can he position himself for a run at the White House.
Rubio’s problem, obviously, is that it is tough to make this transition. An elected conservative who seeks the approval of the Washington insiders, runs the risk of alienating those who elected him in the first place, who detest the insiders and view any attempt at detente as a betrayal. Newt Gingrich, for one, could help explain to the good Senator how this works. It probably also doesn’t help when you let your aides run their mouth in an on-the-record interview with a reporter from the New Yorker, as Rubio did and as Ryan Lizza reported:
[Chuck Schumer aide Leon] Fresco and [Rubio aide Enrique] Gonzalez helped to unlock the deal with labor and the Chamber of Commerce. The two biggest sticking points were wages for foreign workers (the unions wanted them to be higher) and the objections of the Building and Construction Trades union, which argues that plenty of Americans are looking for this kind of work.
Rubio sided with the Chamber against the construction workers. ‘There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,’ a Rubio aide told me. ‘There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.’ In the end, the wage issue was settled to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s satisfaction, and the Building and Construction Trades union won a cap on the number of visas for foreign construction workers.
We suspect that this statement – although walked back by Rubio spokesmen – will haunt the Senator, both in his push for legislation that will make him “legitimate” in the eyes of the insiders and in his effort to maintain enough conservative support to run for president. More than that, though, this statement reveals, quite plainly, the interests of the other, behind-the-scenes ruling class players in this debate.
Clearly, the immigration debate is indistinguishable from the debate over American labor. Many who wish to restrict immigration – the unions, for example – do so in an effort to protect some workers, their workers, from overseas competition. At least in theory, fewer immigrants means a smaller pool of workers, which means more secure and higher-paying jobs. More immigrants, by contrast, means precisely the opposite, a larger pool of workers and, by extension, lower wages. And this is in many ways, the key to understanding the push for immigration “reform” at present.
In an essay for National Review, Victor Davis Hanson, himself a scholar and a farmer, noted the self-interest of the “business community” in the push for reform. And while we’re not sure we’d put it in exactly the same terms as does Dr. Hanson, we think that his explanation makes a certain sense:
The divide over immigration reform is not primarily a Left/Right or Democratic/Republican divide; instead, it cuts, and sharply so, across class lines. Elites blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration to ensure that the opponents of the latter appear to be against the former. They talk grandly of making legal immigration meritocratic, but fall silent when asked to what degree. They talk darkly of racist subtexts in the arguments of their opponents, but skip over the overt ethnic chauvinism of proponents of amnesty; they decry conservative paranoia over a new demography, but never liberal euphoria over just such a planned reset. They talk deprecatingly of rubes who do not understand the new global realties, but never of their own parochialism ensconced in New York or Washington or San Francisco. They talk of reactionaries who do not fathom the ins and outs of the debate; never of their own willful ignorance of the realities on the ground in East L.A. or southwest Fresno.
The elites favor de facto amnesty for a variety of self-interested reasons. For the corporate echelon, creating a guest-worker program and granting amnesty — without worrying about securing the border first — ensures continued access to millions of cheap laborers from Latin America. The United States may be suffering the most persistent unemployment since the Great Depression. There may be an unemployment rate of over 15 percent in many small towns in the American Southwest. American businesses may be flush with record amounts of cash, and farm prices may be at record levels. But we are still lectured that without cheap labor from south of the border, businesses simply cannot profit.
As we said, we wouldn’t put it exactly this way. And Hanson – who deals with the problems of illegal immigration personally on a daily basis – is probably a little more jaded than most parties to this conversation. Perhaps a more accurate or more nuanced picture of business leaders’ support for “reform” can be found in a recent column in Bloomberg Businessweek, citing two recent polls of business elites. To wit:
Business leaders often portray U.S. immigration reform as a necessary means to increasing the supply of workers, whether as high-skilled engineers for the technology sector or, say, minimum-wage housekeepers for the hotel industry. A pair of recent polls suggest that small business owners also see immigrants as important customers, job creators, and taxpayers.
In a survey released today by the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council, 82 percent of Democrat small business owners and 62 percent of Republicans supported a road map to citizenship for immigrants already living in the U.S. as well as for future immigrants. Seventy-one percent of the 515 respondents, meanwhile, said that immigration policies should encourage economic integration, and that such policies would strengthen the customer base for small businesses.
“It’s not just about labor supply,” says Sam Blair, network director at the Main Street Alliance. “Small business owners see immigrants as business owners and job creators in their own right, and that immigration reform is important to building a stronger customer base in their local economies.”
Those findings follow a poll published last week by the Small Business Majority—before Congress reached a deal on Friday night—which found 84 percent of 500 small business owners supported a Senate proposal on immigration reform, and nearly 75 percent favored adding immigrants to the tax base.
This is fair, we think. And it is certainly a more forgiving, more nuanced picture of business support for reform than Hanson’s. Of course – and here’s the catch – it’s all still self-interested, economically self-interested. Why increase immigration? Why legalize those already here? Why push now for reform? To help us, to increase our customer base, to stabilize our economy, to make us better off. All of this and more may or may not happen in the face of reform. But in any case, it is still exclusively self-interested.
Now, as any economist will tell you, self-interest is a good thing, which is to say that, in the aggregate, individuals pursuing their own self-interest will approximate something as close to the public interest as is possible to establish. Why then, is self-interest so troubling in the case of immigration reform?
The problem, as we noted above, is the conflict between the ruling class and those damned pesky people over whom they rule. This conflict, we believe, is perhaps best captured by the real heart of the immigration debate and the issue that distinguishes the ruling class from the country class most substantively, namely border enforcement.
We suspect that immigration reform would be supported by an overwhelming majority of the country class – which is to say the American people – if the reform and its attendant amnesty were bolstered by concrete and verifiable efforts to harden the Southern border. If the idea of “reforming” immigration is to end the current dysfunction, then a major part of the solution should be to correct the conditions that created said dysfunction in the first place. And that means securing the border. The problem, as we are told over and over again by our betters, is that there are some 11 million immigrants in this country, contributing to its economy, raising their children, utilizing social services, but who are not considered full “people” because they crossed border in contravention of law. This is the crisis. Fair enough, we suppose. But then, how does one prevent “the crisis” from reoccurring without hardening the border?
The answer, of course, is that one doesn’t. The next crisis is built into the reform.
Why, pray tell, would anyone want to reform immigration but not reform the process by which immigration reform becomes necessary? Why would anyone want to push a process that ensures another crisis? Why, in short, would anyone object to an enforcement-first approach to illegal immigration, an approach that would all but certainly satisfy the overwhelming majority of Americans?
As always, it boils down to the ruling class and to its objectives, which are different from those of the country class.
In this particular case, we think that a clue to what this all means can be found in the quote cited above and written by P.J. O’Rourke. Recall, O’Rourke writes, “For more than 60 years it has been almost a rule of American politics that the less important an issue is to the American public, the more serious the American political system is about it—the United Nations, Korea, McCarthyism . . . ” We note here that these first three issues mentioned by O’Rourke have something in common. And it is something that they share with the current bout of immigration “reform” as well.
We have neither the time nor the space in this newsletter to do this portion of the immigration debate the justice it deserves. (Fortunately, it comprises a large section of our long-promised book, the first volume of which is complete and awaiting a brave and noble publisher.) Still, we think this complicated and complicating factor in the debate should be noted here, if for no other reason than no one, anywhere else seems to be discussing the idea.
We have, up to this point, mentioned the interests that several factions in the ruling class have in the immigration reform debate. As of yet, though, we have not mentioned what motivates the largest portion of the ruling class, that portion most enthusiastic about reform, namely the political Left.
Obviously, there’s no one single answer that explains why the Left is anxious and excited for immigration reform. Many Democrats join their Republican brethren in mistakenly believing that Hispanics are both simple and unified, which is to say that they believe that legalizing 11 million minority immigrants will, automatically, create 11 million new Democratic voters. Some Democrats are, for lack of a better term, mistakenly altruistic, which is to say that they believe that legalization and reform will solve all the problems faced by the “undocumented” Hispanic community and will, in and of itself, allow its members to become full, functional, and productive members of American society. Still others see immigration as a wonderful wedge issue, one that will not only turn Republican against Republican, but will make those who are resistant appear intolerant, which is only fair, after all, since they are intolerant. And so it goes.
For our purposes, though, the key to understanding the broader cause of immigration reform is the real but never discussed reason that the Democrats have always been and will always be absolutely and indissolubly opposed to genuine and effective border security.
Let us explain.
Some Republican opponents of immigration reform have been quoted time and again making the argument that “amnesty” is a serious threat to the nation because it is a threat to American “sovereignty,” meaning that these newly minted legal immigrants will have flouted this nation’s laws and demonstrated that its borders are purely symbolic. A nation that can’t enforce its own laws and can’t control its own borders is not really a nation at all, they argue. And the Democrats are willing to sacrifice sovereignty in the name of 11 million new voters. They want to win so badly that they’ll compromise the notion of a sovereign America in order to do so.
These opponents are half right. They misunderstand the Left’s motivation. They believe that the Left’s sacrifice of sovereignty is merely the means to an end, the end of more Democratic voters. But the fact of the matter is that the voters are, at best, a secondary consideration. Sovereignty and its sacrifice are the proverbial main event. They constitute an end – and a very important end – in their own right.
Now, we want to be careful here and to avoid sounding like the black-helicopter/tinfoil-hat folks, who think that the Left is forever trying to turn the United States into a global socialist state. Still, it is a fact that the Left in America has, for a variety of reasons, long favored the sacrifice of American sovereignty in the pursuit of global government, which would, allegedly, promote peace and economic cooperation and foster long-term growth.
The entire post-War period – from Roosevelt’s attempts to court Stalin at Yalta and beyond, to the establishment of the United Nations, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund; from Truman’s speech on the Greek crisis to the formulation of the policy of containment; from the war in Korea to the Marshall Plan – is the story the American Left’s attempts to nurture and encourage world government, under beneficent American leadership.
From Wilson to Roosevelt to Truman to Kennedy, the American Left in the 20th Century dreamed of a world without borders and without the animosity and competition “falsely” created by nationalism and national sovereignty. The sentiments and aims of the American Left leading up to and immediately after the Second World War were perhaps best summarized by the recommendations of the “Commission for a Just and Durable Peace,” which was comprised of various Protestant leaders and was headed by John Foster Dulles. Dulles, of course, was a Republican who would go on to become Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. But he was also a long-time advocate of global government and an ally to the Left, beginning when he was appointed by Woodrow Wilson as legal counsel to the U.S. delegation to Versailles. Among the proposals offered by Dulles’s Commission were the following:
Strong immediate limitations on national sovereignty.
International control of all armies and navies.
Ultimately, a world government of delegated powers.
A universal system of money.
A “democratically controlled” international bank.
These proposals were accompanied by a lengthy declaration, part of which reads as follows:
For at least a generation we have held preponderant economic power in the world, and with it the capacity to influence decisively the shaping of world events. It should be a matter of shame and humiliation to us that actually the influences shaping the world have largely been irresponsible forces. Our own positive influence has been impaired because of concentration on self and on our short-range material gains . . . If the future is to be other than a repetition of the past, the United States must accept the responsibility for constructive action commensurate with its power and opportunity.
Dulles, of course, was a great proponent of the United Nations. Indeed, Dulles helped his friend and colleague Alger Hiss draft the United Nations charter in the spring of 1945. And while we don’t have the time or space here to get into the mass dysfunction of global governance that is the U.N., we do think that the following helps explain what the American Left expected of its post-War creation. This comes from William Burton, who was Truman’s Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and one of the biggest boosters of both the U.N. and UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), which was the U.N. agency tasked with “advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication.” Burton wrote:
We are at the beginning of a long process of breaking down the walls of national sovereignty. UNESCO must be the pioneer . . . As long as a child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can produce only precarious results. As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism. The schools therefore use the means described earlier to combat family attitudes that favor jingoism (nationalism) . . . we shall presently recognize in nationalism the major obstacle to development of world mindedness.
Truman, for his part, took the advice of his Assistant Secretary and got to work on “educating” the American people and indeed the people of the world. In the 1947 report on his Commission on Higher Education, Truman gave UNESCO and its plan his blessing:
There is urgent need for a program of education for world citizenship that can be made a part of every person’s general education . . . The role which education will play officially must be conditioned essentially by policies established in the State Department of this country and by the ministries of foreign affairs in other countries. Higher education must play a very important part in carrying out in this country the program developed by UNESCO. The United States Office of Education must be prepared to work with the State Department and with UNESCO.
As for just what, exactly, that UNESCO program entailed, we think that the following is a fair assessment. It is taken from UNESCO’s “Publication 356,” which was titled, “In the Classroom with Children Under 13 Years of Age – Toward World Understanding – V.” The paper was published in 1949, presumable in anticipation of the Baby Boomers’ arrival two years hence in kindergarten:
Before the child enters school, his mind has already been profoundly marked and often injuriously by earlier influences . . . he has first gained, however dimly, in the home.
The kindergarten, or infant school, has a significant part to play in a child’s education. Not only can it correct many of the errors of home training, but it can also prepare the child for membership at about age seven in a group of his own age and habits — the first of many such social identifications that he must achieve on his way to membership in the world society.
As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism. The school should therefore use the means described earlier to combat family attitudes that favor jingoism.
In our view, history and geography should be taught at this stage as universal history and geography. Of the two, only geography lends itself well to study in the years prescribed at this present survey. The study of history, on the other hand, raises problems of value which are better postponed until the pupil is freed from the nationalist prejudices which, at present, surround the teaching of history.
We could, we suppose, go on. But we think you get the point. All of this, of course, is part and parcel of the Leftist ideology and of the “dream world” that the Left constructs to rationalize its failed attempts to harness government’s power to make the world a more perfect place. We have cited Eric Voegelin’s description of the Gnostic dream world more times in these pages than we can even count. And given this, we will spare you another full recitation of Voegelin’s wisdom. The following bit, though, we think suits our purposes today:
Gnostic societies and their leaders will recognize dangers to their existence when they develop, but such dangers will not be met by appropriate actions in the world of reality. They will rather be met by magic operations in the dream world, such as disapproval, moral condemnation, declarations of intention, resolutions, appeals to the opinion of mankind, branding of enemies as aggressors, outlawing of war, propaganda for world peace and world government, etc. The intellectual and moral corruption which expresses itself in the aggregate of such magic operations may pervade a society with the weird, ghostly atmosphere of a lunatic asylum, as we experience it in our time in the Western crisis . . .
To this day, the political Left in this country and throughout Western civilization deals with the world’s with problems by creating solutions that have no earthly chance of serious success and which are bound to make the problems worse in the long run. Look again at Dulles’s proposals for a “just and durable peace.” They sound nuts in theory, yes? But in practice, they sound an awful lot like the EU. And how, exactly, is that working out for everybody? Is war over? Has peace been achieved? Is the monetary union heaven on earth, or what?
Superficially, at least, it might sound a little silly to lump immigration reform in with the Left’s other dream world plans, pipedreams like global government and an “end” to war. But below the surface, it actually makes a great deal of sense. How did Europe get into the mess it’s in with its quickly growing and unassimilated Muslim populations? It imported its problem, believing that no culture is better than another and thus that the notion of national borders is irrelevant. People are people, after all. And only really dim and ugly people believe that it matters who lives where.
It’s the same thing here, of course. Only shallow bigots even notice national origin, and only jingoists care where someone was born or how they got to where they are.
Generic immigration law, of course, is hardly Gnostic. How many people can immigrate and under what conditions; who can apply for what visas; how long people must wait before applying for permanent status; etc. All of this is mundane. But it’s also all completely disconnected from the immigration debate in this country – and throughout the post-modern West.
You will note that the Left never discusses generic immigration law. It only discusses “grand bargains” and “comprehensive” changes and “complete amnesty,” and always it does so in full and open acknowledgment that it will never, ever do the one thing that could, at least in theory, change the immigration debate comprehensively, namely harden national borders. Borders, you see, cannot be hardened. Illegal immigrants cannot be turned away. Indeed, the very notion of their “illegality” is shameful, petty, bourgeois. Neither the United States nor any other Western nation should have the power to control its perimeters. To grant that power would be to grant legitimacy to the concept of national borders, which would violate the very spirit of the post-War, post-modern, multiculti paradigm.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Steve and Mark have finally lost it. No one really thinks about immigration that way. You’re right, of course. And that’s the point. No normal person thinks of immigration that way. But then, no normal person thinks it’s sane to provide amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants while doing absolutely nothing whatsoever to prevent the next 11 million from starting across the border the very next day.
The fact of the matter is that we are not dealing with normal people here. We’re dealing with the ruling class. And the ruling class is so far removed from reality that they wouldn’t know it if it jumped up and bit’ em on the backside. The Left in this country still has dream-world fantasies about post-national global government. The Right in this country still embraces the tactless notion that the country class – and especially minorities – is made up of very simple folk who can be placated with trinkets and baubles. Together, they care not one whit about what is best for the people or for the country, only what is best for them.
This is unfortunate on so many levels. In the case of the specific debate it is unfortunate because it prevents this country from having a realistic and sane immigration policy. As we have said countless times before in these pages, we generally favor greater LEGAL immigration. This is, as immigration proponents constantly remind us, a nation of immigrants that thrives on the ideas, spirit, and ethic of new arrivals. But a government cannot deal with immigrants properly – much less provide for the safety and well-being of its people – without first knowing who is immigrating and controlling and monitoring their flow.
Anything less is a pipe dream, one just as ridiculous and doomed to fail as all the rest of the Left’s crazy heaven-on-earth fantasies.
As the immigration debate progresses, watch the ruling class carefully. Not only is it pursuing its own will over that of the people, it is pursuing fantasy over reality as well.
If immigration “reform” passes this time around, our hope is that it will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, that it will constitute so egregious a violation of the will of the people that they will have no choice but to hold their so-called leaders accountable.
We won’t hold our breath, of course. But we won’t give up hope either.