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Tilting at Windmills

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January 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IMMIGRATION QUERY....Since my commenters frequently delight in reminding me that I'm practically a Republican compared to their pure and unsullied leftiness, I have a question for them. First, here is Jonah Goldberg writing about the conservative position on immigration:

There are, I believe, some minimal principles all conservatives agree on and I think those who disagree really aren't conservatives. Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance. Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it. Conservatives believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if immigrants didn't come here illegally. Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture (though we debate its adaptability and power to assimilate).

And here's my question: is there anything here than even lefties would disagree with? I could quibble with the "American culture" thing, which is frequently a codeword for "keeping the brown people out," but it seems fairly unobjectionable here given the minimally mushy interpretation Goldberg puts on it. So what exactly makes this a set of conservative principles?

Kevin Drum 4:43 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (144)

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Comments

Because GWB said so.

Posted by: Gaucho on January 16, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why left-handed people would be against those things.

Posted by: Bud on January 16, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Because their main goal is "keeping the brown people out."

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard on January 16, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that there is a "border" is objectionable, because it can be used to keep the "brown people" out.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hoyt: Actually, Goldberg's point is that some conservatives want to put a halt to immigration while others are pretty friendly toward it. And he's right.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on January 16, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

You can spin the term "American culture" into a set of principles that most left-of-center types would agree with. Refresher course: watch one of John Sayles' more optimistic movies.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 16, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

What's to disagree with?

Goldberg, ever the wanker, took a series of bromides that anyone with half a brain would agree with, and pronounced them "Conservative". The idea being, of course, that all right-thinking Americans would get behind them, and only those crazyass liberals would disagree.

Of course, it is the standard plan of all such shills to take those platitudes and put the devil in the details of their interpretation.

In other words, standard Conservatism by stealth.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Since liberals don't believe in any borders, the whole concept of immigration is objectionable.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how to cleanly map Jonah's principles to the Kirk principles, which are this lefty's mental model of conservatism ("real" conservatism).

http://www.kirkcenter.org/kirk/ten-principles.html

Posted by: Bill Arnold on January 16, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Since liberals don't believe in any borders, the whole concept of immigration is objectionable.

FF here demonstrates the other standard Conservative technique.

Fabrication.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The American culture bit is offensive because it is very obviously code. There's also another major thing that I find offensive by virtue of its exclusion from the list: liberals all agree that we as a civilised society must act with compassion toward even illegal immigrants. As the richest nation on earth we must not deny illegal immigrants access to basic healthcare, we must not punish the children of illegal immigrants by denying them schooling, and we must crack down on businesses that exploit illegal immigrants.

The difference between conservatives and liberals here is that conservatives really don't have a heart - they are like a bunch of automatons that blindly apply rules. Liberals craft the rules carefully to account for the fact that everyone involved is a human being worthy of a basic level of respect and consideration.

Posted by: reader on January 16, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

As frankly0 said, it is a sort of negative space strawman. By casting the conservative position as rational, it implies that the liberal position must be something different and thus irrational. Without actually having to set up a strawman and shoot it down...

Posted by: tinfoil on January 16, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

My quibbles with you have never had anything do with "purity" or repub/dem.

My quibbles have (I *think*) been on the grounds of steadfastly refusing to EVER impart, or even suggest malfeasance to the administration, preferring instead to chalk it up to "oversight", "errors", "mistakes", and so forth. Thus my nickname "see-no-evil Drum".

This post is an excellent example.

Sure, the literal words, surgically amputated from all context, are just fine. So too are many of the literal words, similarly divorced from the context of utterance, of the KKK.

But there you go, happily seeing-no-evil in the use of context-free code...

Has nothing to do with ideological purity, or which side of the aisle you are on. Just your Forrest Gumpiness that prevents any notion of ill-will from occurring to you.

It's possible that it started from you becoming cowed by the republicans always screaming about how "shrill" democrats are, and you resolved to become Lieberman-esque, so that that particular criticism could never be levelled against you. But who knows?

Posted by: cdj on January 16, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 is entirely right: the problem with Goldberg's assertion is not the content; it's the (sorry, folks) frame.

By making pronouncements like this, the snake-oil salesmen win every time. If the strawman opponent agrees, then they're right. If you disagree, then you're crazy, and therefore they're right.

The proper answer is not "you're right." The proper answer is "Goldberg is a liar and a hypocrite. Republicans want open borders when cheap labor takes jobs away from Americans and boosts the profits of their corporate paymasters, and they want closed borders when their racist supporters start squealing about scary brown people."

Posted by: bleh on January 16, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of snarking, Kevin, why don't you answer the question. In what way do Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton run afoul of all of these things:

* Illegally approved the surveillance of American persons without a warrant.

* Deceived the country into supporting a war of choice against a country that didn't present an immediate threat to the US or allies.

* Gross incompetence.

* And, authorized detainee abuse.

Posted by: adam on January 16, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm practically a Republican compared to their pure and unsullied leftiness"

Well said, Kevin. Now THAT is profound intellectual argument.

:-(

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 16, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"As the richest nation on earth we must not deny illegal immigrants access to basic healthcare, we must not punish the children of illegal immigrants by denying them schooling, and we must crack down on businesses that exploit illegal immigrants."

How about we send illegal aliens back to their own country so their government can take responsibility and take care of their health care and schooling?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Kevin continue to quote Jonah Lucianne Goldberg? The only purpose this serves is to provide credibility to a total idiot.

Posted by: lib on January 16, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kevin: If the masses aren't clamboring for it, and the Media Elite raging for it, we must ignore it (W breaking the law; Alito lying to the Senate; etc.).

If you call Kevin on it, you get brilliant snark.

And we wonder why the Repukes control everything.

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 16, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I can understand perfectly well the difficulty you have with the question. From a see-no-evil with context-free code words perspective, there's absolutely nothing that makes those principles conservative.

It's only when one places those words in the REAL WORLD, where REAL PEOPLE - of a certain sort - actually say them that one can see the conservativeness involved. I won't bother trying to explain it - I'd have as much luck explaining red to a colorblind person.

Posted by: cdj on January 16, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK


To Conservatives border's are significant in balancing their desire for an exploitable, low cost labor force, with as minimal a level of public support as is possible. Conservatives believe their are rules, rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship, and just rules and responsibilities that come with hard labor performed on those citizens behalf. Conservatives believe, at minimum, that it would be preferable that immigrants didn't come here illegally, to the extent that legal immigration would not raise wages or benefits in those jobs previously performed by illegals. Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture, and if it must be destroyed in order to preserve it so be it.

Posted by: Mooris on January 16, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

"FF here demonstrates the other standard Conservative technique.

Fabrication."

How come all the organizations with the words "without borders" in their names are invariably liberal?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

And in response to Golberg's statement:

There are, I believe, some minimal principles all liberals agree on and I think those who disagree really aren't liberals. Liberals agree that there should be citizens and that citizenship has significance. Liberals agree that citizenship has a definition (as do all concepts) and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it. Liberals believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if citizens don't act illegally. Liberals agree that there is something called 'American culture' (which is proven by the fact that JoGo uses the term to mean something).

Posted by: adam on January 16, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I generally don't read Jonah. He never says anything really interesting or original. This is what happens when your Mommy gets you your jobs.

I would take exception with the comment Kevin did, for the same reason. Other than that, I see nothing to disagree with.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett on January 16, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Because GWB said so.

And that pretty much says it all. Where Democrats run into trouble is when Republicans are actually right about something.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 16, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Random dishonest conservative: "All conservatives hate the slaughter of innocent children and love Freedom!"

Kevin: "What is wrong with you radical lefties that you can't just agree? All you puritans, wanting to 'stand up' for 'principles.'"

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 16, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Free trade means that there's freedom of movement for both capital and labor.

Posted by: foo on January 16, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

If this is Kevin's attempt to prove his Republican bona fides, he gets no argument from me.

The fact that Kevin is more "Republican" on the wiretapping issue than some people who have been elected to office on the Republican ticket has nothing to do with the Goldberg quote. I don't see the relationship.

Most liberals and conservatives agree that borders and citizenship exists (and that we have a culture in America -- doh! -- but I don't think we'd agree on how to define it), so I fail to see how that becomes a conservative "position on immigration."

Goldberg, like other conservatives, would like to trademark any general statement about America and claim that you're a conservative if you believe it. I remember seeing a list of top conservative movies somewhere, and damn if they weren't many of the movies I like too. Fact is, they were just good movies and nothing particularly conservative about them. (The irony of calling a movie like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" a conservative movie seemed lost on whoever put together the list.)

The differences between conservatives and liberals on immigration is not that we disagree about the existence of borders and citizenship. It is a difference in the policies that we may draw, not just from those beliefs, but as a way to address the complex political, economic, sociological, and human realities we are faced with today.

Posted by: JJF on January 16, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

How come all the organizations with the words "without borders" in their names are invariably liberal?

You mean, for example, that viciously unAmerican organization "Doctors without Borders"?

Yes, FF, I think we can conclude that you too are a wanker.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

If Drum wants an answer, cdj probably has the best one when he compares Goldberg to the KKK. It's not that our two main parties are that far apart in terms of first principles. The differences are at the margin, usually, which means that arguments are not that much about policy, but about winning (the Kos phenomenon). That means Goldberg and Drum can write the same paragraph about immigration, with one crucial difference: Drum would have to add the proviso, "and this proves why the Repugs and ChimpyMcBushHitler are all evil". Otherwise, you're practically a republican yourself, Drum.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

cdj,

I think you're really being unfair to Kevin here. Kevin's commentary is always very level-headed, well-informed, and fairly judicious. He also makes wonderful graphs and charts. I fail to see how Kevin's commentary has painted a picture of an administration that is anything other than the picture of a political operation that puts party over principle, PR over substance, and singular interests over the public good. Indeed, I believe just the other day Kevin commented on an initiative promulgated by the adminsitration that is anything but a sop to big business interests (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_01/008009.php).

Posted by: KC on January 16, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone can talk a good talk. But when the chips are down, it's the conservatives leading the way to bring freedom to the poor and voiceless. Liberals are the other hand, could care less with the plight of women and homosexuals in the world.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

They are certainly not libertarian principles! No to borders! Why should the government be allowed to choose who lives where? Let people decide to live where they want to live!

(Wedge, lefties, think wedge! Drive it between the conservatives and libertarians.)

Posted by: Ayn Rand on January 16, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Because what we really want is unfettered immigration for purposes of driving down the bargainging power, and therefor the wages, of the working and middle classes.

However, what we really don't want is for all these little brown people that come here to shovel shit and clean our houses to be able to vote and tell us Republicans what to do or, egads, vote Democrat.

Their role is to clean house, shovel shit, wipe our assess and to do it at the lowest possible price and not bitch about it.

That's why I have proposed the Guest Worker program: Low Wages, No Votes. Its what's for dinner. - George W. Bush (paraphrased)

Posted by: Bubbles on January 16, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, KC, cdj comparing republicans with the KKK is what's unfair. But I suppose you would be unable to see that.

Posted by: peanut on January 16, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

"You mean, for example, that viciously unAmerican organization "Doctors without Borders"?

Yes, FF, I think we can conclude that you too are a wanker."

Unlike liberals, conservatives don't view people who disagree with them as viscious Nazis.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut:

You are correct. All Republicans are not Klansmen, though all Klansmen are Republicans.

Posted by: asdf on January 16, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"You are correct. All Republicans are not Klansmen, though all Klansmen are Republicans."

Problem with liberals are they are usually not very well informed. Study a little history and you'll learn klansmen are almost exclusively Democrats. Dem. Sen. Robert Byrd as an example.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Tangent topic -

The LA Times today had a story about the tax collections of various countries. Mexico is at the bottom of the list -- well below the U.S.

Since low taxes is the ne plus ultra of modern-day conservatism, the secret formula to wealth creation, and the holy grail of human enterprise, why are all those good Mexicans willing to abandon their homeland paradise and risk their lives to come to el norte?

Just asking...

Posted by: JJF on January 16, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance."

That's not something which ruled their thinking backaways when we pushed Mexicans off their own rich, resource-filled territories in Texas and California and put the borders where we wanted them.

(Please don't come back with, Hey, wetbacks, Get over it!, showing that wellknown American arrogance which always makes me think of the Sigourney Weaver character in "Working Girl" who takes what she wants "because I'm me.")

If we enforce our borders (an almost totally unrealistic idea, given the actual terrain), then we must at least recognize that having a nation on our southern border which is increasingly stressed -- politically, socially and economically -- would be a lot more inconvenient than Iraq ever was.

All many of us lefties want is a sense of reality when dealing with borders. All us lefties living down here near the border want you to know is that the border thing carries with it a huge load of hypocrisy. Those who are most scathing about immigrants are those would most like to continue having access to cheap not to say desperate labor.

Globalization is a fact. It's as much of a necessity for a Mexican agricultural worker as it is for WalMart. But we know which gets treated better by Congress.

American culture? Many of us (inside and outside of the US) would say "Step on it before it multiplies!"

Posted by: PW on January 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone can talk a good talk. But when the chips are down, it's the conservatives leading the way to bring freedom to the poor and voiceless. Liberals are the other hand, could care less with the plight of women and homosexuals in the world.

Are you writing your comments from inside an asylum? Are you waiting for a nurse to bring you your afternoon meds? Or are you living cooped up in your dark, dank basement and your only interaction with other people is comments boards on the internet? Sure would explain a lot.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on January 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK


How come all the organizations with the words "without borders" in their names are invariably liberal?

Even if that were true, it would actually prove that liberals usually do care about borders; since "without borders" is only applied to a few entities, it follows that the rest are implicitly "with borders." If we were always against borders, we'd just call them "Doctors," right?

I mean, take the American Civil Liberties Union, People For The American Way, America Coming Together -- they seem to have some sense of border, no?

Posted by: cminus on January 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance

- yes, it would be nice if more Americans knew basic geography. For instance, being able to find "Iran" on a map and "USA" on a map would go long way toward explaining why Iran cannot attack the USA with nuclear missiles.

Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it.
- exactly so. Citizenship means following the law. Hence illegal wiretapping is action unworthy of a citizen.

Conservatives believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if immigrants didn't come here illegally.
-True. We should reform our immigration system so that those immigrants we employ receive status as guest workers, rather than allow them to be exploited as illegals. And while we're at it, we should probably expand the number of legal immigrants we allow in, so that fewer people feel the need to enter illegally.

Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture (though we debate its adaptability and power to assimilate).
- And that culture is based on a shared set of ideals, not ethnicity, language, or creed. That's why nativism is un-American.

Posted by: moderleft on January 16, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are practically a Republican compared to my pure and unsullied left handed leftiness, and how dare you question my unsullied leftiness?

Oh, wait -- this is about immigration . . .

Most of Jonah's points are agreeable, except for the last one -- American Culture is too close to Pat Buchanan's KultureKampf, and is right wing code for bashing those furrin'ers and their furrin' ways.

The problem is that American policy on immigration is based on hypocrisy -- if a would be immigrant can survive the border crossing roulette, they have an almost free pass to join the low wage work force. And since they are illegal, they are at the mercy of the good will of their employers.

The current system is a perfect GOP set up -- the GOP wing nuts get to go all nativist and racist about the brown foreigners overrunning Whitebread America, while the GOP corporatists have an unlimited supply of low wage workers to exploit.

And Tom Tancredo can kiss my left ass . . .

Posted by: ck on January 16, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Doctors Without Borders is not a liberal group. Anyone who would disparage them is an absolute total fuckwit, pure and simple. Health care providers donate their time-- often months per year-- to care for poor sick people in faraway places. They leave their families, their practices and put themselves at personal risk to take care of people who otherwise might never be helped. If that is a liberal group then it must be because they don't get any personal financial gain from it-- by donating their time they actually lose money.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on January 16, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

You're kidding? You mean that conservatives believes that there are certain "rules, rights and responsibilities" which go along with citizenship? Its hard to believe I've lived this long without realizing that this is a conservative postion!

And all along I've been sitting here thinking that the difference between liberals and conservatives is what, exactly those "rules, rights, and responsibilities" might actually be, when in fact, I guess, liberals must not believe in rules, rights or responsibilities! If I would have known that I was not really liberal but a complete literal anarchist, life would have been so much simpler!

Thanks so much for pointing this out.

Really, letting this slide by is unbelievable.

Posted by: hank on January 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike liberals, conservatives don't view people who disagree with them as viscious Nazis.

One word for you, man: "feminazi."

Okay, I suppose that's not a perfect refutation, since it doesn't actually suggest a level of viscosity. But neither did frankly0. He or she just called you a wanker, which (a) has nothing do with viscosity, (b) seems to be true, and (c) has nothing to do with being a Nazi, either, come to think.

Posted by: cminus on January 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance.

Some liberals disagree. They object to the use of birth certificates for registration on the grounds that "It shouldn't be illegal to be born". Similarly, the California legislature thinks that illegal aliens should be permitted drivers' licenses (because the border is irrelevant to the issue.)

Posted by: contentious on January 16, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

FF:

I hesitate to respond, as you appear unable to engage in a discussion, but Klansmen -were- Democrats. They -are- Republicans. Surely you can see the difference?

Both sides have freak fringes, of course. But the leftie freaks--such as ANSWER--tend to hate the Democrats, while the rightie freaks--such as alumni of CAP--tend to embrace the Republicans.

Posted by: asdf on January 16, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

The devil is in the details. We can all agree that citizenship involves following certain rules, and confers rights and responsibilities. But conservatives go on to argue that someone who is here illegally should not have the access to the resources and services that a citizen enjoys. A conservative will argue that a baby born in the US to someone here illegally should not be granted American citizenship.

And liberal though I am, I more or less agree in a nuanced liberal kind of way, but a lot of my more liberal friends argue with me. They think it is wrong, wrong, wrong to discriminate against anyone, even if he or she is here illegally--they see any attempt to distinquish between legal immigrants and illegals as racism.

However, conservatives are thrilled to get low-wage employees so while they may bitch and complain about illegal immigration, they aren't very interested in stanching the flow. For them, it's the best of all possible worlds--they want to pay union-busting low wages AND they don't want to provide public services.

And some liberals--who are also happy to snap up cheaper goods and food--view floods of immigration as the way to dilute an American culture they hold in contempt.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 16, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Because in an ideal world there SHOULD NOT be borders. One humanity, forever at war with alien powers...

...whoops. Let's just stick with no borders in an ideal world.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 16, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The one place I think that conservatives and liberals differ is that most liberals are wary of anything that smacks of nationalism. You know, the beyond arrogant belief that we are the best in the world, there has been no one better before us and there will be no one better after us...oh, wait, there never will be an after us because we will rule the earth forever. Wuhahahaha.

Most conservatives conflate patriotism with nationalism. But there is a stark difference between loving your country and worshipping it.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on January 16, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

KC -

I think you're woefully mistaken. Where does that leave us?

lol

Posted by: cdj on January 16, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
You're no Republican. That you have independent ideas on national defense, taxation, and intelligence makes you a little closer to the larger majority of the nation. Don't let my lefty friends get you down.

There's a time coming in this great party when we'll have to realign liberalism to the times we live in as opposed to the times we wished we lived in. We can't withdraw troops at the drop of a dime, slash defense spending, ignore the care and feeding of the world's leading economy at the expense of expanding government willy-nilly (like the GOP but for different programs). Massive public aid programs won't make us stronger or safer.

In this case, we need a guest worker program. Jonah is right for a few sentences. Then I'll just ignore him as usual.

If they're coming here to work, we need to make employers accountable for the accuracy of their employees' citizenship status. Then we need to tax these guest worker's earnings just like everyone else's. They should pay for the administration of their program. If they don't intend to stay and become citizens, then the other price they pay to work here is to help pay for my retirement and health care (and roads, and sewers, etc).

Posted by: Sebastian on January 16, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you call Kevin on it, you get brilliant snark.

I would'nt call Mr. Drum brilliant in any sense. He is a decent writer. Means well I think. But in trying to always maintain the middle ground in a political landscape which is moving right, he keeps drifting, drifting....

Posted by: ppk on January 16, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

My initial reaction to the quote was yeah, so what. But when analyzed carefully, it really is an amazingly misleading and hypocritical piece of propaganda:

Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance.
Funny how those borders are wide open to corporations and the movement of goods and capital, while they are fenced and patrolled to stop the movement of people.
Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it.
They also think it is acceptable for the rich and powerful to break the rules, and evade their responsibilities, to the extent they can get away with it. They not only excuse this bad behavior, the celebrate it. They also are determined to chip away at the rights guaranteed to all Americans in our Constitution.
Conservatives believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if immigrants didn't come here illegally.
Actually, they love illegal immigration because it gives them workers they can mistreat and underpay. They only say that illegal immigration is bad because the illegality is essential to denying the human rights of the immigrants.
Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture (though we debate its adaptability and power to assimilate).
The real debate, of course, is not whether American culture exists, but what is good and bad about it. Personally, I think that fear, ignorance, racism, sexism, homophobia, jingoism, and unfettered corporate greed, are not aspects of American culture that we should be proud of. Conservatives are hell-bent on reinforcing all of those, and on stamping out the traditions of independent thought, innovation, and community that I think represent the best in American culture.

So what exactly makes this a set of conservative principles? Nothing. It is just an attempt by conservatives to take credit for simple rationality and basic human decency. Then they use it to justify their fundamentally irrational, selfish and inhumane policies. The fundamental difference between left and right is that when conservatives and liberals say the same thing, the conservatives say it because they think it would help them gain and hold power, while the liberals say it because they believe in it.

Posted by: TomB on January 16, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

"bring us your poor, your tired, your hungry..." whatever happened to that?

Exactly how many Americans can guarantee their ancestors were legal immigrants?

The current immigration debate is about who is most scared of the alien "other" and who can do most posturing without mentioning brown people out loud.

Posted by: Alien Nation on January 16, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, there is no such thing as "American Culture" if the word culture is used in the same way, as say, "Japanese Culture," or "German Culture."

As a country, the United States is not the byproduct of any one ethnic group. This is a nation of immigrants, mixing with the few native americans left. As a result, being an "American" is not a question of abiding by "cultural" norms. The only "culture" the United States possesses is the agreement to live under our laws.

You would think, as we are currently is what is supposed to be a life and death struggle with people who not only belong to an actual religious culture, but tribal cultures, that conservatives would be jumping to point out this critical distinction, but if they are I've never heard it.

Posted by: hank on January 16, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hello Alien,

I've got no problem with bringing us whoever's poor, hungry, etc. And when they find a job, tax them just like me and everybody else. After all, that's what's being an American is all about. Shared burden. Not being snarky. That's what should happen.

Posted by: Sebastian on January 16, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture (though we debate its adaptability and power to assimilate)."

The content that conservatives put to this phrase is always, and extremely, objectionable.

Posted by: david on January 16, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if immigrants didn't come here illegally.

And what do they believe "at maximum"? That no immigrants should come here at all? There are probably more than a few Native Americans that would like to see this enforced retroactively.

Posted by: josef on January 16, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah Goldberg says: "...Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it...." And in so saying, he is being utterly and deliberately dishonest.

Every kind of conservatism--the idealistic, academic kinds as well as the murderously practical authoritarian kinds--depends upon multiple classes of citizenship, each with its own distinct set of rules, rights, and responsibilities. If a conservative doesn't have an out group to lord it over, whose second-class status is embedded in the structure of society, then he literally doesn't have anything; all he can do is pout, and proclaim that the wrong game is being played.

As always, the identity of the out groups and the basis upon which they are declared unworthy are local, topical, and unimportant.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on January 16, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"How come all the organizations with the words "without borders" in their names are invariably liberal?"

The howlingly ignorant Freedom Fucker (who knows not the meaning of the word freedom and has never fought anything except his boyfriend) thinks that "Doctors Without Borders"
is an organization devoted to the abolition of nation states- rather than a humanitarian organization that will go...well, anywhere to provide medical relief.

I'm telling you, you can't buy stupidity like this. Grow it in a lab, maybe... but you can't buy it. Freedom Fucker, we salute you- the dumbest troll of the day.

Posted by: solar on January 16, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

all of these points are either unobectionable bromides that anyone, left or right, should be able to agree with, or code fopr "keep the brown people out or at least make them act like us as mucha s possible." the idfference is in who says it and in what context.

this is especially true of the last one, about "culture" which is in itself either a total fiction used to define difference or a useful shorthand so that you don't have to say "the way that people define themselves and their difference from other people" over and over.

Posted by: URK on January 16, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

That's a good question, Kevin. What makes those
"conservative" ideas, other than the fact that they say they are?

In reality, it's the "conservatives" who employ the illegal immigrants. Without the employment, hey presto!, no illegal immigrants.

So, let's get real for a minute. Liberals have pretty much shut down the smoking racket, by not smoking. Can "conservatives" do the same with the illegal employment of immigrants?

And if not, why are we even having this discussion?

Posted by: serial catowner on January 16, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Kevin continue to quote Jonah Lucianne Goldberg? The only purpose this serves is to provide credibility to a total idiot.

I'm inclined to agree. Jonah Goldberg is professionally and intellectually unqualified to discuss immigration policy (to say nothing of most other policy isses), so why should his thoughts on the issue be given any attention?

Posted by: Constantine on January 16, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

And where, pray tell, do we find these "conservatives" who agree there are rules, rights, and responsibilities that go along with citizenship? Are they in Congress, like Tom Delay? Are they in the White House, or the Green Zone in Iraq? Are they explaining to Senators that the Constitutional course of action is for the President to do whatever he feels like, regardless of the law?

Pulleeze, tell us you just posted this to pull our chain. Although, frankly, Goldberg's post looks more like a bag of flaming dog crap than anything else...which, I guess, means we get stuff on our shoe when we try to stamp it out.

Posted by: serial catowner on January 16, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, there is no such thing as "American Culture" if the word culture is used in the same way, as say, "Japanese Culture," or "German Culture."
***
As a country, the United States is not the byproduct of any one ethnic group.

Sentence 2 is unrelated to sentence 1. the "American culture" has been a culture of entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and related themes. They are not uniquely American in origin, but the most independently minded and highly motivated people of many other ethnic groups have come here for the freedom and opportunity denied them in their home countries.

It is true that American culture is different from German and Japanese culture, because it is based on values found in all nations and ethnic groups, not on "national origin", "race", or "previous condition of servitude". There is, however, a core American culture.

Posted by: contentious on January 16, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

American culture? I wonder what that might entail? Too bad fatty jonah couldn't detail it for us. I'd love to learn.

Posted by: Pechorin on January 16, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

"But the leftie freaks--such as ANSWER--tend to hate the Democrats"

Really? How come you never find a shortage of Democrat guest speaker at ANSWER sponsored rallies?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 16, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bleh has it right: if the Republican party really wanted to stop the flow of illegal immigration they could do it by punishing businesses that hire undocumented workers. They like it both ways in this discussion. And like their other positions with both a social and business aspect, the social aspect will get the talk but the business aspect will get the walk.

Posted by: nat on January 16, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter,

FYI

wanker Pronunciation (wngkr) n. Chiefly British Vulgar Slang 1. A person who masturbates. 2. A detestable person.

Now, FF, when I called you a wanker, I think I meant both 1 and 2 above. But, really, is that like calling you a "vicious Nazi"?

I mean, the point of calling you a wanker is that you are ridiculous. Are Nazis, you know, especially the vicious ones, ridiculous?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 16, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a liberal (commie leftist moonbat)I never heard of "ANSWER" until just now. I googled them and I don't see much wrong with wanting to end war and racism.

Posted by: on January 16, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

So what exactly makes this a set of conservative principles?

The "American Culture" comment. I've lived on both coasts and the Deep South. The idea that there is an American Culture is just not true. There are many.

Posted by: Randy Paul on January 16, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

To the extent that any Conservative can be taken seriously--and they can, sometimes--this is not such an instance. Every one of these little statements, "Conservatives agree that..." is semantically empty. There is no "there" there, so to speak. None of those statements contains actual information that you can use for any purpose. There was no ribbon in the typewriter. No ink in the pen. The page is empty, Kevin, and I really don't know why you waste your, or our, time with this kind of crap. The guy is at the back of the cave, screaming at the (other) bats, and you record it for us, and ask us to decipher, compare and contrast the screechings with normal Human speech-noises. This should be in the dictionary as the definition of "fucking waste of time". Jeez, you wanna blog about what Jonah seys, fine, but at least wait till he says something...

Posted by: Doozer, on January 16, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Zoe Kentucky,

You know, the beyond arrogant belief that we are the best in the world, there has been no one better before us and there will be no one better after us

You're writing about nationalism here but this seems to be a near universal trait. Simply substitute Liberals for nationalism, and you describe liberal perspectives on the world. To be fair, you can also insert Conservative and you see them looking down on Liberals. This isn't a design flaw solely inherent in the concept of nationalism.

Sebastion

If they're coming here to work, we need to make employers accountable for the accuracy of their employees' citizenship status. Then we need to tax these guest worker's earnings just like everyone else's. They should pay for the administration of their program. If they don't intend to stay and become citizens, then the other price they pay to work here is to help pay for my retirement and health care (and roads, and sewers, etc).

I'm with you on all of the above, but what makes you think that the majority can actually generate enough economic value to contribute as you sketch this out. The National Rsearch Council determined:

In contrast, the NRC found that because of their lower incomes and resulting lower tax payments coupled with their heavy use of public services, less-educated immigrants use significantly more in services than they pay in taxes. The NRC estimates indicated that the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime.

Certainly, engineers, nurses, teachers, auto mechanics, plumbers etc are going to generate surplus economic value but illegals with 6th grade level educations simply are a drain on the economy.

Far better to implement more robotization, like the Japanese. You need high skilled people to design, manufacture, and maintain the robots, not to mention the whole marketing aspect:

For many jobs, after all, lifelike features are superfluous. A robotic arm can gently help to lift and reposition hospital patients without being attached to a humanoid form. The same goes for robotic spoons that make it easier for the infirm to feed themselves, power suits that help lift heavy grocery bags, and a variety of machines that watch the house, vacuum the carpet and so on.
Posted by: TangoMan on January 16, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter's opinion will probably mean more in a policy debate when he moves out of his mom's basement and begins to pay taxes. As long-time posters here know, he is by his own admission -- 15 years old. When he is an adult, and experienced more of the world than high school, he may find some of his strident opinions a little less attractive. Conversely, he may stay an asshole his whole life. But for now, just ignore.

Posted by: Pat on January 16, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

My first reaction to Mr. Goldberg's post was "Who would even call these principles?" Goldberg's "points," with the exception of the last one which reveals all, are simply sissified statements of the obvious and a means to invite the reader to accept the "logic" of whatever follows after. Sorry, I'm not going there.
I like the analysis of TomB.

Posted by: TuiMel on January 16, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I think that there is a conservative-liberal split on the issue of illegal aliens qualifying for in-state tuition at universities and most conservatives think that it is unjust that an American citizen from another state has to pay more than an illegal. I've seen plenty of Liberals defending the practice but can't recall reading any conservative defenses. Any links to conservatives support would be appreciated.

Posted by: TangoMan on January 16, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Note other posters, contentious, as Exhibit A. What America has, is not a culture, but a system of laws designed to allow people from VARIOUS, SOMETIMES CONFLICTING CULTURES to live together. Considering the geographic size of the contenental United States, it is not surprising that many Americans easily assume that there is an "American culture" without really thinking about what the word means.

We're not unique because we are "better" than everyone else, we're unique because, unlike many other countries, we are not bound by traditional tribal, cultural, norms.

We are a country. We speak English. We adopted the common law of England as our law. We probably have practitioners of every religion as citizens. We stand for the proposition that the best possible culture for a country is no culture, or to be more accurate, perhaps the separation of not only church and state, but of law and culture.

It doesn't take much in the way of observational skill to see that in other countries which are culturally integrated that such cultural integration often inhibits citizens of those countries from reaching their fullest potential. Contentious, meet the culture of Islam, Islam, meet contentious.

Yet, here is contentious, attempting to argue that "entrepenurship" is part of the American culture, and more ironically than one would think possible, that the fact that many people have fled legal and cultural restrictions to prosper here is some sort of argument for what passes for modern-day "conservatism."

"All conservatives agree that there is something called American culture."

Don't strain yourself thinking too hard about what that might be. We wouldn't want anyone to have a brain anyuerism by suddenly realising that they are a liberal,

Posted by: hank on January 16, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Freedom Fighter confused the British term 'wanker' with its German root, 'ubervanker'.
And I'm pretty sure 'Assholes Without Borders' is a conservative outfit.

Posted by: Jim 7 on January 16, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Since you guys seem to need some help "breaking the code", I'll go ahead and interpret for you. I'm afraid I can't give you the OMG HIDDEN RACIST interpretation, but you seem to be able to guess that one pretty easily without help. Call this the "not a racist, but still a conservative" interpretation, if you like.

The first point is that conservatives believe that being a citizen of the US -matters-. I was born a citizen, and there are certain responsibilities I have. I've got to pay taxes, even if my employer doesn't properly withhold them. If Iran nuked Israel and we needed to draft ten million men tomorrow, I'd be drafted. Every so often I get jury duty. You know, the whole cornucopia that you learned back in high school civics.

So what's the -good- side? What's the point of being a citizen if every right, every protection, the whole nine yards is available to anybody who manages to sneak in?

In fairness, there are plenty of liberal commenters who would not take that position, who believe that while some distinctions aren't ethical, others are (so even illegal immigrants get protection against illegal search and seizure, police brutality, what have you.) At the same time, recognize that you have some fellow-travelers who don't believe that, who literally subscribe to the position that any distinction between immigration status is inherently immoral - who in fact believe that the idea that the US might have the right to refuse entry and the full panoply of rights to anybody is wrong and repulsive. That's the main reason that these are "accepted by all conservatives"... they're NOT accepted by certain liberals.

As far as "American culture", we're not necessarily talking about Mom and apple pie, though we LIKE Mom and apple pie and it makes us happy when other people do too. I don't mind if my neighbor's wife wears a burqua, but I -do- mind if he makes her wear it. I don't mind if my Korean buddies eat kimchee (more like, can I have some?), but I -do- mind if their dad beats the crap out of them because they got home late. I don't mind Mexican guys -at all- (hell, when you grow up in Houston, you see that being a racist is downright stupid), but I mind plenty if my car gets hit by an illegal immigrant with no license or insurance. About all that I really ask is that people obey the laws and treat their fellows well.

I recognize that border enforcement is tough. I understand that it's really easy to recommend tough verification measures when you're lily white and nobody is ever going to suggest deporting YOU on a paperwork error. I sure don't want my Mexican friends to be shaken down by the police for papers every time they run into an officer.

I don't want to "keep the brown people out". ANY immigration reform is going to have to significantly increase the limit of people who can legally immigrate. If people want to become Americans, I want them to become Americans.

At the same time, we do need to do something about the current situation. Like other posters have said, what we have now is very close to the worst of all worlds in respect to immigration - a lot of people coming to the US illegally, forced into dead-end low-paying jobs that don't conform with employment law, and the like. I hear a lot of complaints about how "increases in GNP and the nation's wealth aren't communicating themselves to the middle and lower classes" - well, folks, could it have anything to do with the million poor, unskilled workers we import a year? Might that not have any deflationary pressure, you think?

The worst part is, I know plenty of people who want to immigrate, but have trouble with the bureaucracy, people who aren't going to do it illegally and can't do it legally. What, we can handle a tremendous influx of illegal farm laborers, but a few extra computer programmers from the UK isn't all right? By expanding LEGAL immigration, we'll get a higher class of immigrant as well!

Not everybody who opposes illegal immigration is a "get the darkies out" reactionary caveman, as much as you might like to imagine so.

Posted by: Avatar on January 16, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nice post, Avatar, but...

If people want to become Americans, I want them to become Americans.

Therein lies the rub:

Define "American".

Posted by: Anarch on January 16, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

American culture? I wonder what that might entail? Too bad fatty jonah couldn't detail it for us. I'd love to learn.

Exactly. Goldberg can't claim that "Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture" without explaining exactly what conservatives agree that it is.


Posted by: Nemo on January 16, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Before I vote for Avatar for whatever congressional district he or she plans to run in, I'd like to throw a couple of issues on the fire as to why no reasonable solution, a solution Avatar would like, has been proposed by the 100% Republican federal government.

1. Too many Republican leaning employers like hiring illegal immigrants. Many of these employers don't have an especially fond view of U.S. labors laws. They dont' like the labor laws that apply to citizens now, let alone the thought of moving much of their workforce from the "illegal, who cares what happens to them, hey they can't sue me anyway" to the "legal" category.

2. An offshoot of this point is that since workplace rules often a grounded in safety, it would be kind of hard to exempt documented non-citizens from safety regulations, no? Or at least it would be for pretty much all Democrats.

3. Putting aside the fact that if you document those workers, they now would have pretty much everything citizens already have in terms of the right to work, what else is in the way? Well, the Democrats and Republicans can't even agree on healthcare and governments role in it. If you think its bad policy that these illegal aliens have too many of the rights of citizens, how about my worry that if the "bird flu" gets ahold of this country, it likely will do so because of that certain subset (pehaps large) of the poor which relies completely on emergency room for medical help, with no preventative care otherwise available due to cost. Cue the healthcare debate. Down goes the "rational immigration policy."

4. While we are at it, someone mentioned education, in this context of the children of the illegal aliens, many of whom are actually citizens themselves due to being born here. Well, again, we can't even agree on having public education as a priority at the federal and state level. The Democrats are currently arguing for the existence of public education for citizens, there is no way to extend the playing field to non-citizens, despite how wise it might be for the country to educate those who are likely staying here.

5. Obviously, it would be good tax policy to not have an underground, non-taxable economy with illegal immigrants as a significant portion. This would be fixable, but for the fact that the current Republican position is that all taxes of any kind are evil. Clearly, this is not just my opinion, as we have, at the federal level, currently the largest tax cuts for the relatively well off coupled with the largest defecits. You can call this what you like, but its impossible to claim its actually based on raising money to run the government. You think you are going to get this administration to logically consider how to integrate the non-citizen work force into the tax structure when they will not even admit that the tax structure of the country is valid? Bush's father admitted the tax structure of the United States was valid and look where it got him.

Nobody's worried about wealthy, multi-millionare illegal immigrants from Sweden. Its the poor illegals which posit a policy problem. There is no current agreement on what to do with poor citizens, let alone poor non-citizens.

Over to you, Avatar.

Posted by: hank on January 16, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum disingenuously asks: So what exactly makes this a set of conservative principles?

Absolutely nothing. Don't try to tell me you're just now noticing that Jonah Goldberg is a 40-watt incandescent bulb plugged into a socket where you'd need a 1500-watt halogen to light up the field. Jeez, Kevin...

Posted by: s9 on January 16, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK
And here's my question: is there anything here than even lefties would disagree with?

I don't know, its fuzzy and incoherent in its sloppy shifting between descriptive and normative statements in its standards -- the worst example is the first example "there should be borders and these borders have significance."

I disagree in the abstract with the idea that, on principle, "there should be borders", and, a fortiori, with the (apparent) principle that they should have significance (OTOH, I do think that, given other divergences in the status quo world order, borders, with varying degrees of significance, are a current pragmatic necessity, a compromise of sorts.)

I think many more conservatives (in favor of a narrower definition) than liberals would disagree with Jonah's apparent (though its hard to tell if this is what he means) endorsement that the existing definition of citizenship ("citizenship has a definition") is also one which must be embraced on principle. For instance, I've rarely heard liberals advocate for a redefinition of citizenship, but frequently heard conservatives agitate against birthright citizenship.

I would disagree with the "rules, rights, and responsibilities" line unless the proper understanding of "rules" is merely a synonym for "responsibilities", rather than, as seems likely, it is meant to mean conditions.

I would disagree that there is a thing called American culture; there are many different things called that by different people and exhibited by different communities that have existed in this country for extended periods of time, and they are inconsistent and often mutually exclusive. I would further disagree with the implicit principle that the one thing called "American culture" that Jonah is referring to, whichever version it might happen to be, is something that has a value that needs protecting via immigration policy except in the loosest possible sense (i.e., exclusion of dangerous criminals.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 16, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

hank: Contentious, meet the culture of Islam, Islam, meet contentious.

And yet there are conflicting cultures of Islam. The retrograde Culture of Wahhabism was certainly not the culture that built the great caliphates, or that built the Ottoman Empire.

Capitalism (savings, banking and reinvestment) is frequently not considered a "culture" because it crosses national, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries. But it is as much "cultural" as technological inventiveness or music.

Part of American culture is the first ammendment to the Constitution, unique in human societies. No group is immune to aggressive criticism, and no religion can impose itself by law on other citizens. If you want to be an "American" you have to let other people draw humiliating cartoons about your religious leaders and blaspheme your beliefs in other ways.

Posted by: contentious on January 16, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

There are, I believe, some minimal principles all conservatives agree on and I think those who disagree really aren't conservatives. Conservatives agree that there should be borders and that these borders have significance.

Unless these borders surround another nation. Further, this principle, in the conservative pantheon, does not apply to capital.

Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it.

Unstated is the corrollary that this is limited to a select group of whites, preferably Protestant ones.

Conservatives believe that it would be, at minimum, preferable if immigrants didn't come here illegally.

Unless, of course, you are hiring them to work for you.

Conservatives agree that there is something called American culture (though we debate its adaptability and power to assimilate).

Yes, xenophopia is a widely shared american cultural trait (in all fairness, we are not alone in this regard).

Kevin: If you accept uncritically examined conservative assumptions, it is difficult to dispute their conclusions, even with the paucity of evidence they usually bring to bear. Please do keep this thought in mind.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 16, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

you know what else conservatives believe in: freedom, liberty, peace, justice, and apple pie.

I just can't believe libruls don't believe in those things.

Posted by: jjm on January 16, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives say they believe in lots of things, but the only thing they really do believe in is that they hate liberals.

Posted by: Avedon on January 16, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

[swift]

There are a few principles that all Nazis hold:

1. That our country should be defended from those who would attack her

2. That all of our citizens should lead purposeful, productive lives, get good exercise and have plenty to eat.

3. That our citizens should have room to live in, and should be able to live close together if they want to.

4. That our countrymen living under foreign domination should be freed.

5. That there is such a thing as the culture of our people.

Don't be stupid, be a schmartie,
Come and join the Nazi party!

[/swift]

Posted by: Wilbur on January 16, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

hank: Yet, here is contentious, attempting to argue that "entrepenurship" is part of the American culture, and more ironically than one would think possible, that the fact that many people have fled legal and cultural restrictions to prosper here is some sort of argument for what passes for modern-day "conservatism."

Entrepereneurship is more generously supported in American law and society than most others. We have fewer "barriers to entry"; we have better tax laws for the self-employed; patents and copyrights are explcitly recognised in the Constitution; "Yankee ingenuity" (even non-Yankees like Westinghouse, Edison, Wrights, Gates) were recognized in grade and high school curricula; venture capital, limited liability corporations, and generous (still) bankruptcy laws, venture capital firms; small business administrations at the federal and local level. The US is where inventors (like the Japanese inventor of blue/green lasers) most like to relocate. This theme is not as strong as it was, but it is still strong.

Another part of American culture that conservatives insist on respect for is the American language (built out of English, thousands of borrowed words, and tech-based neologisms.) Not for conservatives the assimilation-defeating and anti-achievement bilingualism that liberals propose for the public schools. ( the Constitution, laws, and technical scientific reports are in English -- not knowing English is a severe handicap to upward mobility (another American theme, not specifically conservative but more respected by conservatives than by liberals), which was why Clarence Thomas spent so much time and effort mastering Standard American English. )

I have liberal friends who do not support assimilation in any way, and who deny that English should be required of anybody. The appear to believe that ballots and laws should be written in all languages. Conservatives support English as the only truly official language, with others for occasional use at most. This is especially true of immigrant conservatives who have learned English and received college technical degrees.

If you think of the public policy debates, I do not think that Goldbergs points are either empty or agreed by liberals.

Posted by: contentious on January 16, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

In case you have been sleeping North American is now a single labor market. The stuff about US borders is a bad joke.

Posted by: Eli Rabett on January 16, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Study a little history and you'll learn klansmen are almost exclusively Democrats.

Freedom Fighter

This was true until 1948, because the Klan was mostly a southern phenomenon, and that was reliably Democratic. But then in 19148 Hubert Humphrey pushed through a strong civil rights plank in the Democratic platform, and Harry Truman let it through to outflank Henry Wallace.

Then the southern racist Democrats abandoned the party, first for the Dixiecrats in 1948 and then to the Republicans.

This is the argument Condi Rice uses, that she is a Republican because Democrats prevented her father from voting. That may be true, but those Democrats then left the Democratic party because the Democrats wanted them to stop that crap, and the Republicans welcomed them.

Posted by: anandine on January 16, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree in the abstract with the idea that, on principle, "there should be borders"

Wow, cmdicely, I'm surprised. This is a pretty radical viewpoint. How do you think a truly borderless world would work? Or...at what level are you interpreting "should", here? Are we talking "should" as in "all humankind should love one another as brothers and sisters"? Or are we talking "should" as in "there should be effective legislative oversight of executive branch policy and actions"?

I think it's a sucker's game to react negatively to Goldberg's nonsense here, or even to react at all. I'm with Kevin on that. Nobody is proposing eliminating borders, and the observation that "there is such a thing as American culture" is simply a fact - as anyone in any country other than America will surely tell you. Obviously there are rules, rights and responsibilities involved in citizenship; again, this is a fact, not a matter of moral principles - last time I checked we were still enforcing the law, even against non-citizens, and people were still doing jury duty, paying their taxes, sorting their trash, etc.

The immigration debate really has nothing to do with any of this. We shouldn't even be calling it an "immigration debate". It's a problem of our relationship with Mexico. Period. What it requires is a serious attempt to create the rule of law in Mexico's northern border states. And that's about much more than immigration; it's about multilateralism, institution-building, transparency, cooperative law enforcement, and reducing economic inequalities - especially ones running along sharp artificial dividers like borders, which are just invitations to chaos. The US can no longer afford an impoverished Mexico. We can blame the situation on them and continue to cope with massive illegal immigration and crime, or we can actually do something about it.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

How come all the organizations with the words "without borders" in their names are invariably liberal?

Ha! This is hilarious. And here I thought the point of "Reporters Without Borders" was to advocate for freedom of conscience everywhere in the world, even in Tunisia, Burma and China, without respect for borders. Turns out it's really a secret plot to encourage illegal immigration to the US!

According to FF, borders are absolute and inviolable - until the President decides your country is part of the "axis of evil", at which point they magically melt away to allow access to the U.S. Army.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe: What it requires is a serious attempt to create the rule of law in Mexico's northern border states. And that's about much more than immigration; it's about multilateralism, institution-building, transparency, cooperative law enforcement, and reducing economic inequalities - especially ones running along sharp artificial dividers like borders, which are just invitations to chaos. The US can no longer afford an impoverished Mexico. We can blame the situation on them and continue to cope with massive illegal immigration and crime, or we can actually do something about it.

Sounds great, but given that Mexico is a sovereign country, what do you suggest we do about it?

Posted by: alex on January 16, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, nobody else is posting, but I've got more to say, so to those who are annoyed: my apologies. Here's the thing:

The US and European approaches to handling immigration and labor mobility each have their merits and failings. The US is much better at absorbing immigrants into mainstream culture (despite conservative rantings), as the lack of any indigenous US Muslim terrorist movement shows. Our laissez-faire, anybody-can-be-an-American attitude works very well in this regard. It's also partly because it's much easier to get into the US economy in low-end service jobs and integrate your way up than in Europe, where employment is more occupation-stratified and rigid.

Europe, on the other hand, is much better at preventing massive, disruptive labor migration through smoothing out differentials between countries of origin. In 1975, one might have imagined the Spain/France border coming to look like the US/Mexico border today. Instead, Spain joined the EU and benefited from massive agricultural and development subsidies for 10 years; an economic miracle took place; and by the late '80s, the income inequality had ameliorated to the point where the natural disincentive to leave one's home country, and the promise of economic success at home, effectively limited Spanish emigration. The same thing is in the process of happening in Eastern Europe today. For the moment, everyone is terrified of being overrun by Polish plumbers, but that issue will have disappeared within 15 years, max.

The difference is that Europeans really did define a common identity in the post-WWII era which made voters willing to accept subsidies for fellow European countries in order to create a peaceful, prosperous common European home. The US has never undertaken this effort in North America; we don't consider Mexicans "Americans". We consider them practically enemies, certainly inferior aliens. And Mexicans quite often reciprocate the sentiment. The US has never even vaguely considered actually making financial sacrifices in order to make Mexico safer and more prosperous, both for their sake and for ours. What France did for Spain, the US would never consider doing for Mexico. (France does, of course, have an immigrant problem, but it stems from Algerians - whom they could hardly have refused entry to in the '60s - and other North Africans, whom they've failed to integrate; see superiority of US model in this regard, above.)

Now, why should we spend billions on aid to make Mexicans rich? Here's an idea: why should we spend billions on border defense to keep Mexicans poor? Why should we spend billions to make Iraqis dead?

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Borders are arbitrary ideas that can be moved by political power. Labeling people legal or illegal is also an arbitrarty decision, usually made by the same political powers. Most economists and businesses want the 'borders' open to movements of capital, goods and services, but for some reason labor is disqualified from the equation. Many argue some business sectors exploit illegal immigrant labor, which is true, but if the laborers were deemed legal, then proper labor laws could not be evaded so easily. Everything but people can now move freely throughout the world. We have to cease being nationalistic and open our borders to people and stop debasing them as nonpersons.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 16, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with most of those principlals.

Bush only wants open borders for the slave labor.

Their willingness to work cheaply only causes other labor markets to becomes saturated and low-paying as well. It's the opposite of "the rising tide lifts all boats."

Posted by: Psyberian on January 16, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds great, but given that Mexico is a sovereign country, what do you suggest we do about it?

We could start by asking the Mexicans what they would like to do to enhance the rule of law, and seeing where we fit in. And making it clear that the issue of lawlessness and corruption in northern Mexico and the Texas/NM/AZ/CA border region is a multilateral problem which we find - to borrow a term from another thread - "unacceptable". In the context of moving towards reducing lawlessness and corruption in the entire Rio Grande region.

We simply have entirely the wrong kinds of attitudes towards the whole relationship with Mexico. The best European analogy might be southern Italy - smaller population, smaller area, and certainly mixed success to date, but a hell of a lot better than the US situation with Mexico. And one of the driving forces there was integration into European structures coupled with contingent European development subsidies. Was a lot of the money wasted? You bet. But would you rather have barefoot Italian kids running heroin rings in the streets of Amsterdam?

Put another way: I don't know enough about Mexico. Which is, in itself, an indictment. But I think "what do you suggest we do about it" is exactly the kind of wrong question I'm talking about - unless the "we" here includes Mexico.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Alito punted on birthright citizenship. Talk about slamming the door behind you.

Posted by: ahem on January 16, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah Goldberg says: "...Conservatives agree that citizenship has a definition and that there are rules, rights and responsibilities which come with it...."

Sounds like he plagiarised the British Labour party.

Posted by: ahem on January 16, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Hank. I lean Republican, but not particularly so, and I'll vote for a good Democrat. (Unfortunately not many of those in Texas, ah well.)

I'll point out that your (4) is more or less what we do now - schools educate kids regardless of immigration status. And lemme tell you, it's HELL on the local school districts. You've got massive growth of the student population (think it was around 5% annually), and most of your instructors need to be at least a little bilingual... and you can forget parental involvment, you're damned lucky if you even have a good address for the kid. (Mom works for a school district here, so I hear her war stories.)

That's the real problem with illegal immigration - while these guys pay federal taxes, often enough, they don't pay much in local taxes and they hit the local school/medical/police infrastructure pretty hard.

As to defining "American", well, what's it say on your citizenship papers? ;p Seriously, I don't demand that everybody coming here be just like me (we wouldn't get too bloody many immigrants if I did), but I do ask that you get along with everybody. Like Contentious says, if you can't put up with somebody drawing a mocking political cartoon, you'd probably better stay home. I'm generally happier if you learn some English, because I'd like to be able to talk to you, and I can't swing five languages. (Not even really two, to be honest, but one tries.) At the least, I expect your -kids- to learn English, get an education, and assimilate at least partially.

And yeah, I do expect immigrants to obey the law. In fact I'm more of a stickler for them than I am as far as native-born citizens. If you were born in Detroit and grew up really poor, okay, you still have a right to be here even if you screw up. But if you're an immigrant, you -asked- to come here, and did under the understanding that you would obey the law.

There's one of the problems with illegal immigration, of course. If you're breaking the law by being here, how much respect do you have for the law otherwise? I don't want neighbors who obey the law purely out of a desire to keep their heads down and away from the police. I want neighbors who obey the law because it's the right thing to do. I want their kids growing up and believing that they should obey the law, not just get away with avoiding retribution.

Brooks, I point out that, while Mexican immigration is certainly the largest category, it's not all of it - we have a pretty big Vietnamese district here, for example. (I'll digress for a moment and say that the best thing about immigration is the FOOD. Ethnic food makes me very, very happy.)

So what about policy prescriptions? I like the idea of an "instant verification" system for workers - hell, if we can do it for guns, we can do it for employees. Couple it with big fines for employers who use illegal immigrants for labor. We'll end up paying a bit more for domestic produce, of course, but meh, probably worth it. Naturally we're going to want to couple it with tighter observation of the border, and some actual enforcement of that too. Increase the number of issued visas/work permits/what have you by at least double, triple if it's necessary, or wherever the numbers start working. I'd prefer an "immigration visa" with a limited time to become a citizen (years, but not decades). I'd also remove birthright citizenship subject to the parents becoming citizens; if they do, their kids get in. I'd also smack the -hell- out of the local police department on enforcement - don't do sweeps or anything, but if somebody's not here legally, don't just look the other way either!

Anybody have any objections to that kind of system? People who want to get in, can get in, subject to filing the paperwork and the normal restrictions (don't have terrible diseases, a criminal record, an Al Qaeda membership card, and so on.) Employers don't get to exploit illegal workers, and so maybe they'll end up having to pay a legal wage. Immigrants get an easier legal ride, so long as they're here to stay, which practically speaking most of them are.

(There's a lot of pissed Republicans asking why we haven't done this already - it's one of the biggest issues in the whole Delay replacement so far. Who knows, maybe it'll go somewhere.)

Posted by: Avatar on January 16, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK
I'm practically a Republican compared to their pure and unsullied leftiness

That's true. And it's become much more true over the past few years. Not just because you've moved right but also because they've mved left.

Are you sure you wouldn't feel more comfortable on the left side of our party instead of the right side of your current party?

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 16, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Brooks, I point out that, while Mexican immigration is certainly the largest category, it's not all of it - we have a pretty big Vietnamese district here, for example.

We have a pretty big Vietnamese district here, too. (I live in Hanoi.) Not so many Mexicans, unfortunately for the food. Though some entrepreneurial Vietnamese folks in town have started making corn tortillas! Amazing.

But I venture to bet that vanishingly few of the Vietnamese in your town are there illegally. Some, maybe, but not many.

I basically agree with everything else you've posted, except:

1. I strongly disagree with revoking the birthright citizenship clause in the Constitution, which is pragmatically impossible and undesirable anyway; countries like Germany that make citizenship difficult and have multi-generational families of non-citizen residents develop, well, terrorists.

2. I don't actually think your proposals will "solve" the illegal immigration issue. They may significantly ameliorate things, but they won't solve them. There will still be millions of illegal immigrants in the US. And that means we'll still have the truly vexed problem: family. I don't believe in breaking up families in the abstract interest of adherence to immigration law. I don't believe in taking children's parents away. And kids who are born in the US are citizens. They have rights - and that's a GOOD thing.

In the short and medium term, I see no way to resolve this problem. But in the long term, I think we need to seriously face the fact that until the Americas are a uniformly prosperous economic zone, we are going to have these troubles. We cannot continue the LA solution: ignore our poor southern suburbs, blame them and let them rot, and spend more and more on policing the wealthy gated communities, where our ever-rising non-white population is treated as ever more suspect. We have to turn the US back into one country, and we have to turn the Americas into a community.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 16, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I would certainly say that the issue there is that Goldberg takes principles which anyone would agree with and defines them as specifically being conservative principles. This is a common conservative tactic. Claim that at essence, what they are argueing for is something everyone can agree with. Thus, they imply (and quite often openly state) that liberals do not believe in these things and thus present liberals as outlandlishly radical. Meanwhile, the devil resides in the details as the debate amongst themselves on immigration very often takes on a blatantly racist tinge at its worst.

Posted by: BStu on January 16, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, Kevin, in response to your actual question: Politics in this country is more of an argument about means, not ends.

For example, everyone thinks kids should get a good education. Where the argument starts is how to best do this.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 17, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

hank: "And by the way, there is no such thing as "American Culture" if the word culture is used in the same way, as say, "Japanese Culture," or "German Culture.""

Not sure what you understand the word "culture" to mean, but to claim that there's no such thing as American culture is to ignore an awful lot. Take, for example, all of American Literature. Or uniquely American movements in religion - Quakers; Shakers; Mormons; the Church of Christ, Scientist, to name but a few. If there weren't American culture, there probably wouldn't be rock & roll. While there's a multiplicity of ideas in America, it's also true that there is a uniquely American way of looking at the world, and I don't mean this in a jingoistic or po-mo multi-culti way. It's true, to some extent, that we are an amalgam of other cultures, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a distinct American ethos or culture.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 17, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

For Jonah Goldberg, "American Culture" means keeping hold of what you think is yours, while crying like a whiney-assed titty-baby when you think "what is yours" is being threatened (whether that threat is real or not).

Posted by: NOLA on January 17, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Politics in this country is more of an argument about means, not ends. For example, everyone thinks kids should get a good education.

Um...as opposed to that other country, where some people don't think kids should get a good education... What was the name of that country again? Papua New Guinea, was it?

When the argument about what constitutes a "good" education involves one side which believes in actually learning biology, as practiced by actual biologists, vs. a side that believes in filling out exercises in Christian-designed rote-quiz textbooks at home, punctuated by frequent prayer - that sounds more like an argument about ends, not means.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 17, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Also, how does one reconcile "everyone thinks kids should get a good education" with slashing funding for education? All the indications I see is that American businessmen see American public education as a needless expense. They are perfectly happy with public education as long as it's in India and China.

Posted by: TomB on January 17, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

THE WALL? AND WHAT TO DO WITH CURRENTLY RESIDENT ILLEGAL ALIENS?

I, though not a conservative agree with them if they believe this:

1) Build the wall; whatever it takes to reduce the number of immigrants to a trickle.

2) Deport the illegal aliens who rooked their law-abiding fellow countrymen who wait patiently to immigrate legally by sneaking ahead of them. As the saying goes, "if they cheat them, they'll cheat us."

Are either of these "progressive" positions?

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on January 17, 2006 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

"...the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime." wrote Tango Man.

This seems to me to be a fundamental difference between the left and the right. The right always need to put a dollar value on everything.

Maybe if you worked a little harder to help your fellow man and try to not think about how much it costs to be compassionate, you and others like you would be better human beings.

Posted by: Bojangles on January 17, 2006 at 6:33 AM | PERMALINK

Bojangles: This seems to me to be a fundamental difference between the left and the right. The right always need to put a dollar value on everything.

Good for them.

It's one thing to be willing to pay the price, but quite another to ignore it. The starry-eyed approach leaves you broke, and hence unable to help others financially. A compassionate but financially responsible approach is far more effective.

Posted by: alex on January 17, 2006 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Economic conservatives generally DON'T believe in borders, so I'm not sure what Goldberg is talking about when he says that is something they can all agree on. This is in fact one of the few things conservatives get angry with other conservatives about. Witness the amazing recent spate of Washington Times cover stories about the Minutemen, etc.

It's not Democratic farm owners hiring all those illegal workers. I guess you could amend the statement to say that Republicans can all agree that they need to att least pretend to care about our oh-so-sacred border, unless violations of said border prove to be financially lucrative to themselves.

As for American "culture", last time I checked it was not the liberals who denigrated as "immoral" the products of Hollywood, "irony" and hip-hop music, three of the most well-known and world-beloved features of "American culture". Seriously, this is laughable. Everyone likes some aspects of their nation's culture and dislikes other aspects. We would be nothing but robots if this were not the case.

Posted by: kokblok on January 17, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Can we please keep Emma Lazarus' awful little poem out of this? Permanently.

What I want to know is who finances these 'immigration advocate' groups. Follow the money. A shit load of money. You can take it to the $2 window that the cash comes from parties with huge vested interests in illegal immigration.

I believe that the recent riots in France were a tea party compared to what we are setting ourselves up for in the not too distant future.

I'm also really tired of the 'undocumented' or 'without documents' circumlocution. What? They left their documents in their other pants? The dog ate 'em?

Posted by: CFShep on January 17, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

What Goldberg seems to be trying to do is cover up the fact that the top echelon of the republican party does not agree with his "principles" on immigration.

There is a big wide split between the elite at the top of the conservative/republican party and the gullible oafs who make up the majority of conservative voters. The corporate elite want illegal immigration today, illegal immigration tomorrow and illegal immigration forever, as long as they can get cheap labor out of 'em. The gullible oaf type republicans are mad as hell about illegal immigration and immigrants. Dems really need to understand and exploit this before they get blindsided in the next election. Republicans will be scapegoating immigrants just like they did gays in '04.

Dems better get on the right side of the issue and make an effort appeal to the voters who are rightly angry about cheap labor and outsourcing by blaming the republican elite for outsourcing and causing illegal immigration by not enforcing the existing laws. Better make the case that the people who need to held responsible for illegal immigration are the big fat rich employers who are abusing them and not the poor immigrants themselves.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 17, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

This paragraph from Goldberg is part of the 30 year project to tie the word conservative to anything objectively good and tie the word liberal to anything objectively bad.

Whether real voting conservatives really believe any of this is entirely besides the point, irrelivant.

The idea is to tie the word "conservative" to the idea of "good". Why? So that when you want to do something objectively bad, like say the medicare drug bill, you create mental conflict in the mind of the press and the mind of the public who are used to thinking of conservative ideas as "good" ideas. It goes like this:

conservative = good
Republican = conservative
therfore
Republican = good
And
Not Republican = bad
And so
Republican bill = good law
Not Republican bill = bad law
Thus
Opposition to Republican bill = bad
And
Opponents of Republican bill = bad

Fox News does this every single day, as do many many people. What's so sickening about it is that taken to its logical conclusion it gives the GOP absolute power to do anything they want. It is an anti democratic cancer. It's also great political cover for Republicans and a propaganda masterstroke which is why they will never give it up.

It is also an open secret. If you read the foundation texts of the movement conservatives, the first few speeches by the men who founded the olin foundation, heritage, American enterprise inst., they all go on at length about "molding the public mind".

The word conservative needs to exposed for what it has become: an empty shell for Republican arbitrary power.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 17, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this might be the STUPIDEST thing you ever posted.

The progressive position on immigration is the Jordan Commission's record, 1994-1997. Goldberg and his colleagues at the National Review (e.g., John Miller, Steve Moore) torpedoed that position -- with the active support for groups identified with the left, e.g., La Raza, the National Immigration Forum, etc. That defines what's wrong with the Left on these issues.

So now you think Goldberg can define... anything useful? WTF is WRONG with you?

Progressives recognize the value of GOVERNMENT, which means making choices: you cannot have a permanent supply of cheap foreign labor unless you are willing to include them as citizens. Got it?

That means enforcement, not cheap promises without delivery.

If you cannot make your "no" effective, your "yes" will be essentially meaningless.

And if you can't make distinctions, you won't make sense. You're right about Goldberg at least this far -- he is as incapable of clean common sense on these issues as "the Left" is, but byallthingsGodly, why play that game WITH him?

Make sense:

Legal immigrants are people we WANT: that's why they are legal, and on the path to citizenship. They should be brought in PROMPTLY -- which they are not, because Congress promises more than it delivers. (So why do liberals urge more promises rather than more delivery?) Illegal foreigners are people we DON'T want -- and they should be kept out: period. When there are people here illegally, e.g., the wives and kids of legal immigrants, the law should be changed to MAKE them legal, not because it is "amnesty", but because Congress should deliver on its promises.

Talking about this stuff in terms of bogus subsidy economics instead of free markets, and family values, and citizenship, is not only a sign you're not serious, it's a sign of an astonishing political sloth.


And people who should not be here? They should be THROWN out.

So why are you letting mush and bullshit define us? Why not talk plainly about values to frame real choices?


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 17, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Because their main goal is "keeping the brown people out."

That statement has NO basis in fact. I wish you would stop saying it because it's not even slightly true.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 17, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe, can you please make sure to announce when you run for the Senate so I can move to your state and vote for you?

Not to get too sycophantic here, but Kevin's comment section needs more of you.

Posted by: skippy on January 17, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Because their main goal is "keeping the brown people out."
That statement has NO basis in fact. I wish you would stop saying it because it's not even slightly true.

Because their main goal is "keeping the brown people down."

Posted by: TomB on January 17, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Because their main goal is "keeping the brown people down.""
Posted by: TomB on January 17, 2006 at 11:43 AM

That too is absolute crap.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 17, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist's grand parents illegally entered the US. She/he should be deported. It should be evident to all that allowing all of the Catholic peoples from Southern and Eastern Europe to enter America a hundred years ago or so has ruined the country. Saclia and Alito are prime examples of how Catholic mafia types have taken over the country. Scalia's father immigrated from Sicily and became a judge in NYC. Totally mafia. Alito's father immigrated from Italy and became a highly ranked bureaucrat for the New Jersey Legislature. Pure mafia. Both are now going to be on the Supreme Court. I say deport both of these Catholic illegals back to whatever they came from. The Supreme Court has become a captive to the popish plot to enslave America and force everyone into obeying Roman blood rituals.

Posted by: Bill on January 17, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

bleh gets it right:

"The proper answer is not "you're right." The proper answer is "Goldberg is a liar and a hypocrite. Republicans want open borders when cheap labor takes jobs away from Americans and boosts the profits of their corporate paymasters, and they want closed borders when their racist supporters start squealing about scary brown people."

Posted by: bleh on January 16, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK


Most Republicans like borders so that when someone crosses it they can feel good about shooting them down with a Gatling gun.

However, the "Small government" Conservatives prefer to let them cross the border illegally, so they can exploit them in business.

OTOH, the "Religious Right" Conservatives like to let them cross the border, so they can convert those heathen Catholics to their brand of Evangelical Christianity.

Still yet, the Libertarian-leaning Republicans say let 'em cross the border and leave 'em alone because we're lonely out in the West and need someone to talk to, even if they're short and we have to look down to them.

Worried are the Social Conservatives who don't like the culture those invaders bring, watering down our wonderfully greedy immoral society with their 'traditional family values'.

Finally, the Compassionate Conservative Republican politicians agree with them all, in small groups when there's no press around and will not execute any policies which offend any of them.

Was Goldberg right? Not really. He's just livin' the fantasy.

Posted by: MarkH on January 17, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Most Republicans like borders so that when someone crosses it they can feel good about shooting them down with a Gatling gun."
Posted by: MarkH on January 17, 2006 at 12:37 PM

Oh yeah I forgot. Thankyou for reminding me Mark. Some of you people cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 17, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I wasn't gonna respond to Bill, until I figured most people don't know the history anyway:

No, none of my ancestors entered the U.S. illegally, for the simple reason that when they entered (Potato Famine for my paternal side, pre-WW1 for my maternal side), there was no law against it.

In fact, until 1965, virtually all U.S. immigration law was negative in character: made up of reasons to keep people OUT, rather than to let them IN. That is, if you showed up at a port, we'd let you in unless we had already come up with one of an ever-lengthening list of reasons to exclude you.

In that sense, the original American "immigration" law was the ban on the slave trade -- in 1808, if memory serves. In 1819, ship captains (all crossing the Atlantic in those days) were required to have a list of passengers, then eventually an immigrant could be admitted UNLESS they had a disease, no money, were an unaccompanied female, etc. (The laws enacted from the 1820s through the 1880s.)

We didn't have exclusive laws until we started getting immigrants across the Pacific after we got California in the 1850s - the Chinese Exclusion Acts, etc. And even then, the primary purpose of the act was NOT, contrary to myth, to limit the #s of Chinese who entered the U.S., but rather to reinforce the racist nature of American naturalization laws: only "free white persons" could become citizens from 1790 until 1943. (The 14th amendment's birthright citizenship does not include naturalization.)

So even a cursory knowledge of American history shows that it isn't just immigration that counts, it's CITIZENSHIP -- which, though Kevin doesn't seem to know it, is what OUGHT to separate progressives from the Jonah G's.

It was Teddy Roosevelt who first combined immigration and citizenship in the Executive.

And it was LBJ (and Ted Kennedy) who replaced the old negative system with an affirmative one: since 1965, we have let in new Americans not because we can't think of any reason to keep them out, but because we WANT them here. The Rule (with many exceptions) is that immigrants are INVITED -- by Americans: citizens invite husbands, wives, parent, kids and siblings; legal permanent residents invite spouses and kids; employers can invite foreigners who can grow amoebae into microchips, etc.

Give it up with this bullshit and utterly false ideology that "we were all like modern illegals once", cuz it's just not so.

.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 17, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

It should be up to descendants of Native Americans to decide who is and is not an illegal occupant of the US. The people who come up from Mexico and Central America share bloodlines with North American Natives, so they will probably be safe. All of those illegal Europeans better start making plans to go home, though.

Posted by: Bill on January 17, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Kevin,
I don't know about lefties as a group, but I personally object to the use of the word "American" to mean pertaining to the United States of America.
Then, the open-ended "there should be borders and that these borders have significance" without any qualification is scary. Torture can happen outside these borders and "American" culture is not violated. A sick Mexican needing emergency care available only in the US will not be allowed to cross the border but able-bodied farm workers will. (After all shouldn't one have nuanced positions on what the significance of the border is?)
The central idea of rules, rights and responsibilities for citizens likewise should really be rules, rights and reponsibilities for all residents.
Perhaps there is a more complete discussion in the original article, but the extract given is objectionable because it is based on an isolationism-when-needed, leaving enough loopholes for exploitation.

Posted by: Ravi on January 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

These are nationalist principles. I don't understand how they can be applied to a continent made up of separate nations. If that is the conservative position we are in more trouble than I thought.

Posted by: thebewilderness on January 17, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

He wasn't applying 'em to "a continent made up of separate nations", but to a single country, the United States of America. Did you really mean to say that the USA is made of of "separate nations", in turn made up of immigrants?

Lord, who thinks THAT is "the liberal alternative" to Jonah G's Nutramagen?

Kevin?


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 17, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

When he was running against Swartzenegger, Cruz Bustamante was thrown several softball questions asking him to renounce the reconquista rhetoric of some Mexican advocacy groups in LA (not La Raza, but of that type.) He explicitly refused to do so, believing turning Southern California into another Quebec is an appropriate goal of the left. Likewise Sen. Akaka of Hawaii recently proposed a non-intercource act between Native Hawaiians and the colonialist dogs that have invaded his islands, saying it is up to his children and grandchildren to take the final step of seccession from the evil empire.
That is the difference between conservatives and liberals.

Posted by: wks on January 17, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Not so. I have liberal Democratic credentials out the wazoo -- which is why I cited Jordan as the REAL progressive position on this stuff.

Unless, of course, it is ... whatever it is that Kevin thinks it is.

.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 17, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Soooo,...it's liberals who like cheap illegal labor? Conservatives are the CAUSE of border problems! DUH!

Posted by: chris g on January 17, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK
When he was running against Swartzenegger, Cruz Bustamante was thrown several softball questions asking him to renounce the reconquista rhetoric of some Mexican advocacy groups in LA (not La Raza, but of that type.)

"La Raza" is not a group (there a thousands of groups, with different political views, with that phrase in their names), so saying "of that type" makes no sense, since their is no "type" illustrated by the non-existent exemplar invoked. The specific group Bustamante was asked to repudiate was MEChA, of which he is a former member.

He explicitly refused to do so, believing turning Southern California into another Quebec is an appropriate goal of the left.

There are two problems with this. First, you have shown no evidence that MEChA has as a goal "turning Southern California into another Quebec", and, second, Bustamante never endorsed such a goal, so you assertion that he believes that is without support.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely

You are correct on the name of the group, I could not recall it.

IF I do the research and point out the hot-headed quotes Bustamante refused to repudiate, would you be willing to concede that his position represents an important part of the left? If not significant in percentage of people on the left side of the spectrum, but significant in the amount of mischief it could do to the long-term interests of the country.

Posted by: wks on January 17, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

P.S.

I assume you are an honest person, so you will agree that he did pointedly refuse to reject those that endulge in reconquista rhetoric.

Posted by: wks on January 17, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK
IF I do the research and point out the hot-headed quotes Bustamante refused to repudiate, would you be willing to concede that his position represents an important part of the left?

Refusing to accept the premise that he needs to repudiate someone else's rhetoric isn't a position on the substance, much less an "important" one, so there is no substantive position established by such a refusal at all.

And, in the broader sense, no, I wouldn't agree that MEChA is significant either in numbers or potential for damage, as you suggest.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK
I assume you are an honest person, so you will agree that he did pointedly refuse to reject those that endulge in reconquista rhetoric.

I will agree that he refused to comment on statements of MEChA or members of MEChA that have been frequently characterized as you do by the Right.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I agree with your post here 100%. Said exactly as I would have said it.

I think some of the commenters have gotten a bit carried away.

Statements should be evaluated exactly the same, no matter who is doing the talking. We all know that J. Goldberg is full of it. So what? Quickly agree with what he says that is correct. Take note when he is possibly using code. Then get down to real business.

Don't waste time reminding somebody that they are an idiot. What good it that? If you want to call them an idiot, at least wait until they are talking like an idiot.

And tbrosz: what you said about means and ends is true sometimes, but I don't have the slightest doubt that the truly prejudiced people that I know have gravitated to the Republican party. It is so blatantly obvious that I can almost make a blanket statement.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 17, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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