(I took the header picture of a Common Loon resting on a pond in Utah on its way north in June of 2015. It was in transition from winter to summer plumage.)

Translate - I dare you. Then make a comment on the funny errors the translator made.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Typecast: nativism's disguises

A rather rough draft - this is why I usually spend a lot of time editing anything political I write.


Duffy Moon said...

Certainly you'd be generous enough to allow that not everyone who believes the borders ouught to be enforced is a "right wing xenophobe", right? Certainly you don't believe that EVERY SINGLE ONE is a racist?

I'm not one go argue on teh internets, and I don't really have a horse in this race (well, not anymore than anyone else).

Still, consider:

If we are to equate an illegal crossing of borders (and subsequent residence in the country whose borders were violated) with speeding, let's follow that comparison. If a speeder is stopped by an officer, he may get a ticket or he may get a warning (likely dependent on a number of factors I don't really want to get into here). He's not going to be put in jail or flogged or beheaded, certainly.

Now, let's say that speeder gets a warning and, just when the law officer has returned to his vehicle, the speeder pulls into traffic and immediately pedal-to-the-metals it, and speeds off down the road. Certainly that officer is going to stop that individual again and (probably with some incredulity) give him a ticket this time.

Suppose, then that, again, the speeder takes off at a faster-than-legal speed. If this type of thing continues, that individual is going to find himself in way more trouble than someone who is ticketed for speeding and then decides to take it slow for a while, right?

Can we compare the person who has broken a law by enterring a country in violation of that country's immigration rules, and then remains in that country, to a person who continues to break the speed limit? Breaking the speed limit is not a noteworthy crime (perhaps). Breaking it repeatedly (or constantly) becomes quite a bit more serious.

So, a person who crosses a border into a country in violation of that country's laws can be likened to a speeder. A person who then returns to (or is returned to) the country from which he illegally entered this country is equal to (in our little comparison) the driver who takes his speeding ticket, thanks the officer, and then carefully drives away.

The person who continues to live in this country in violation of immigration laws, then, can be likened to the individual who, after being warned, continues to break the speed limit laws, and it is this continuation of illegal behavior which eventually causes the real trouble.

Now, if you're wanting to make the argument that we ought not to have immigration laws, or that we ought to have completely open borders, that's a horse of a different color, and is a logical argument (one which I happen to disagree with, but still). But to say that we ought to have immigration rules but that breakers of those rules ought to not be held responsible is, I think, a bit schizophrenic.

CStanford said...

Certainly I will allow that, and no, I don't think every single one is racist. But I have seen how some people cloak their own feelings that I would be willing to describe as bigoted under the more legitimate arguments of preserving law and order. I would ask everyone who believes the borders ought to be enforced: How? and why? Based on their answers I think you could judge pretty well whether they were motivated by some kind of prejudice, even if they didn't want to be.

You make a very good point and I think your last comment: "to say that we ought to have immigration rules but that breakers of those rules ought to not be held responsible is, I think, a bit schizophrenic" hits it right on the head. And I would make the argument that we ought to have, if not entirely open borders, then at least very different immigration laws.

When a rule becomes impossible to enforce and even impossible to obey, my thought is: change it. It was made this way by people, it can be made a different way. The laws could have been changed at the federal level, and we missed that chance. Now several state legislatures feel that immigration laws should be even tougher. I have a hard time accepting that there isn't some deeper motive when they voluntarily make laws harsher.

It's self-perpetuating: the harsher you make the laws, the harder they are to keep, the more offenses you record, the more you feel a need to crack down even harder.

That wasn't what America was supposed to be about.

People from other countries come here for good reasons, and they do it without documentation for good reasons. If people want to decrease the amount of disorder and displacement going on, they need to look clearly at what measures will work and try to address the root causes. I'd be glad to see more examples of that, but from what I see there is too much needless fear along with its poisonous by-products.

I see a big difference between wanting to assuage or mitigate the chaos and trouble that is caused when artificial laws collide with powerful economic (or other) motivations; and a fear of alien people. The biggest red flag I see whenever I hear about opposing illegal immigration is when I see signs that what a person is worried about is illegal immigration from *Mexico*. Too often I've seen that lead to cultural chauvinism and a willingness to condone racial profiling to try to catch offenders. This is especially offensive in the southwest, where there is a significant population of Hispanic and brown people who have been citizens since 1850. It upsets me that they should feel pressure to give up their language and culture, and it upsets me even more that they should be seen as guilty until proven innocent because of their color or their language.

Again, the post shows the inadequacy of my hasty first drafts for good political arguments. Maybe I should keep my typecasts on other topics.

Duffy Moon said...

The libertarian in me can completely dig what you're saying.

I generally don't talk politics or other hot-button issues online, because I have a tendency to be 100% convinced of the correctness of whatever belief I hold, regardless of the actual, verifiable (by others, of course) correctness of that belief.

But so I just had to comment because I really don't have a firm grip on where I ultimately come down on this issue. Two strong socio-political forces are battling it out here on this one for me: Less Govt More Freedom vs. Why Can't People Just Follow The Rules. It's an ideological cage-match, and could go either way, really.

Olivander said...

My great-great grandfather was an illegal immigrate. Stowed away on a boat to avoid the draft in Germany. So if it weren't for an illegal immigrant, I wouldn't be here today.

However, I do see the argument of what's the point of having immigration laws if we aren't going to enforce them? But the problem may have reached such a scope that it's impossible to truly enforce at this point, at least in regards to the illegals already here.

I don't think we ought to slam shut and padlock the borders, either (ie: giant wall). That's a bit overreactive.

I think we've focused on Mexican illegals because they're easy targets. (Where is the hue and cry against illegal Chinese immigrants being smuggled into the States by the hundreds?) It takes less law enforcement effort to raid a meatpacking plant than to adequately monitor and patrol the borders. It also makes Homeland Security look like they're doing something besides x-raying shoes at the airport.

The only good approach I can see is to focus on enforcing existing immigration laws at the border, and when an illegal who is already here gets caught breaking the law, kick him/her out. The majority of illegals are only trying to get by and provide a better life for their families. As long as they're being productive members of society, let them be and concentrate on our real problems.

KellyJo said...

Very well said, cstanford! :) I completely agree and appreciate your insight. It will help me in future discussions. ;)


elg said...

Bravo! I think you are at least as coherent in your first-draft typecasts as 95% of bloggers are at any point.