I haven’t yet commented on the kerfuffle over Arizona’s illegal alien law because it was so fractious that I wanted to let the dust settle, and I wanted to collect my thoughts before writing. Sadly, the first isn’t even close to happening yet, so neither is the second. But especially since so many in my own community–Latter-day Saints–are voicing opposition to this online, I need to contribute.
Almost all of the argument against the Arizona law amounts to one paltry thing: they’re racist! They’re doing it because they hate Hispanics!
Haven’t we lived with political correctness long enough to see it for the desperate, transparent attempt to stifle freedom and restrict discussion that it is? Individual racists still exist, but are few and far between, and certainly any broad social consensus on a policy issue such as this is based on the honest good intentions of the citizenry, not some sudden massive throwback to the Jim Crow era.
I’m happy to debate the pros and cons of this law, but people who base their position on the idea that those who disagree–regardless of what they say, no matter what other information they bring to the table–are really doing it because their black evil hearts are just filled with hate, are indulging in the worst possible vices of civic discourse: lying, stereotyping, refusing to listen to others with the benefit of the doubt. They’re changing the subject, sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting, “La la la! I can’t hear you and I don’t have to because you’re just a dumb meanie! La la la!” No constructive conversation can come from such an intellectual disconnect.
I encourage anyone who supports Arizona to engage in discussions with those who disagree with us, but to present this understanding to them up front: if you’re going to insult millions of people and boil our principles down to ugly slurs, this conversation is over and I will walk away.
That being said, I don’t want to merely repeat what has been so ably said by so many others; there are plenty of fine commentators out there who have dissected and exposed the fallacies of anti-Arizona, pro-open borders sentiments, but the purpose of this post is to point out the inherently dishonest nature of much of the blather coming from the left.
I have yet to hear an even remotely compelling argument from the left for allowing illegal immigration to continue unabated, unchecked, and unfettered, as if the status quo were the ideal, the intended, natural condition of things, or even too restrictive. Such nonsense is a lunacy that would be laughed down by every civilization in history, and most any other culture in the world today. How can you argue a point whose end would be to declare the destriction of borders, security, and even national identity itself?
If someone wants to oppose Arizona, the following is the only decent, frank way of expressing that position, without guile (and I offer it without guile myself, as a friendly attempt to elevate the tawdry, juvenile quality of our national discourse on this so far):
“I don’t believe in trying to identify or deport illegal aliens. I want them to be able to continue living in the U.S., enjoying the benefits of our society and influencing its future. This is rooted in my belief that borders are not sacrosanct, or even that important. Therefore, I don’t believe that national identities exist or are important. I believe that we should freely, publicly flout laws that we find distasteful–not necessarily unjust, but merely unpleasant. I find the idea of defining and enforcing borders and citizenship distasteful, therefore I support those who demand entitlements contrary to long-established law.”
Besides wishing for opponents of Arizona’s laws to stop demonizing us and to be more honest about their own mindsets in championing illegal aliens, I do have a third desire: for the left to recognize and address the substantial ethnic tribalism in their midst, by which I mean the deep-seated tendency among some (not many, but enough to be significant) Hispanics (and their sympathizers on the left) to defend illegal immigration because of their confessed values of racial separatism and animosity towards the majority of American society.
The best example of this is the controversy about the five students who wore U.S. flag-themed clothes to Morgan Hill High School on Cinco de Mayo and caused outrage among the Hispanic population there, to the point of hundreds of Hispanics marching on city hall soon after just to demand “respect.” The biggest, scariest issue here–and one that doesn’t seem to have been noticed by anyone–is that the aggrieved members of the community vocally identify themselves as separate from Americans. Take this video, where a girl who attends the school is interviewed from about 1:20-1:27 on the tape, who states that she wouldn’t offend Americans on the Fourth of July by wearing a Mexican flag. The only way to understand this is that she sees herself as Mexican first and American second or, more likely, not at all. Another female student said a similar thing here.
These girls are probably not illegals or the children of illegals, which actually makes their attitude worse. If they have no compunction about declaring themselves not to be citizens of the nation in which they live, then how dangerous must be the cultural influences that have molded such a mind-boggling philosophy? You don’t think many advocates of illegal immigration aren’t motivated by a deeply ingrained sense of antipathy towards America? Behold, in the two videos linked above, exhibits A and B.
I’ve lived in the Southwest my entire life. Believe me, I could give plenty of examples just like those two.
If the incessant mantra from the left about pro-Arizona, anti-illegal alien laws being a simple matter of racism is a red herring (or, as it were, a brown herring, as this attempt to shift the discussion from facts to feelings, from principles to attitudes, is rooted in a refusal to consider anything other than skin color), then the abundance of anti-American invective evident from the left may well be an example of another rhetorical shortcoming, not a logical fallacy so much as a psychological problem: projection, the attribution of one’s own traits to others.