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.