Category Archive 'Nativism'

06 Sep 2016

On Every Corner!

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“My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

Marco Gutierrez, founder of the group Latinos for Trump.

Hat tip to David Larkin.

17 May 2016

Know-Nothing-ism Redivivus

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Roger Cohen finds that everything old is new again: both the anti-immigrant passion of the late-1840s-early-1850s American Party and the America First isolationist movement of the late 1930s. Like Protectionism (which has been discredited for decades and decades after the Smoot-Hawley Tariff provoked a universal trade war which played an important role in the world-wide Great Depression), Nativism and Isolationism have been for a very long time looked upon as discredited political positions, which it would be intrinsically disgraceful and discrediting to embrace.

Donald Trump proved that none of the three grave historic fallacies of American politics was a third rail that killed candidacies any longer. His supporters in general didn’t know their history and didn’t care.

On the evidence, ethnocentrism is a pretty basic human instinct. Band together with your own. Keep the outsider down or out. In the 1850s, at another moment of American unease, the Know-Nothings swept Massachusetts and won mayoral elections in Philadelphia and Washington on a nativist platform to “purify” national politics by stopping the influx of Irish and German Catholics.

Papist influence was then the perceived scourge through which the Know-Nothing movement, as the Native American Party (later the American Party) was commonly known, built its following. Today the supposed threat is Muslim and Mexican infiltration. Or so Donald Trump, the de facto Republican presidential candidate, would have us believe in his “America First” program.

A know-nothing tide is upon us. Tribal politics, anchored in tribal media, has made knowing nothing a badge of honor. Ignorance, loudly declaimed, is an attribute, especially if allied to celebrity. Facts are dispensable baggage. To display knowledge, the acquisition of which takes time, is tantamount to showing too much respect for the opposition tribe, who know nothing anyway.

Any slogan can be reworked, I guess. America First has a long, unhappy history, the America First Committee having pressed the view that the United States should stay out of the war to defeat Fascism in World War II. …

Well, America First is back, tweaked as Trump’s we-won’t-be-suckers-anymore ideology. …

The know-nothings are on the march. But of course they must know something. Millions of people who vote for Trump cannot be wrong. Perhaps their core idea, along with the unchanging appeal of ethnocentrism, is that politics no longer really matter. Celebrity matters.

Power centers are elsewhere — in financial systems, corporations, technology, networks — that long since dispensed with borders. That being the case, loudmouthed, isolationist trumpery may just be a sideshow, an American exercise in après-moi-le-déluge escapism.

Read the whole thing.

02 Dec 2015

Illegal Alien

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11 Jun 2014

The Politics of GOP Self Destruction

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Let’s hear it for the Tea Party and the Conservative Movement. Led by political geniuses like Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and Micky Kaus, we just succeeded in tossing out of office for sins of ideological impurity almost certainly the most competent and conservative political leader in the House of Representatives.

Old John McCain betrayed the GOP on more crucial occasions and vital Senate votes than I can count, and we ran him for president against the most glamorous and most radical democrat party nominee in a generation. The Third Senator from New York, Lindsey Graham coasted easily to victory yesterday, having “more fun than any time I’ve been in politics,” kicking the crap out of the Tea Party.

But GOP great minds are today patting themselves on the back for successfully joining with liberal democrats in Virginia’s 7th District to eject from James Madison’s former seat the single congressman representing the greatest institutional threat to the Left.

Cantor’s crimes consisted, of course, merely of being an effective majority leader and operating as part of a system. Cantor wound up a target for a unfocused animosity against the system, while being additionally singled out for special blame for trying to negotiate with our adversaries to resolve the immigration mess.

Cantor’s loss is a particularly bitter one because it was, in significant part, produced by passionate enthusiasm over the only issue on which many conservatives and Republicans are dead wrong.

I was reflecting about all this unhappily today, and I found myself wondering how it is possible for Republicans to traffic commonly so openly in false and obviously bigoted stereotypes of Hispanic immigrants, to indulge so frequently and so loudly in xenophobia and nativism in a society in which the heavy hand of political correctness so typically enforces strict censorship of un-PC speech and condign punishment for conspicuous violations. I think that Republicans actually get to be bigots and racists about the Beaners because the liberals indulgently stand back and avoid criticizing that kind of Republican argumentation, knowing perfectly well just how electorally suicidal it is.

I know personally a lot of people, I actually have cousins, of fairly recent immigrant background, whose grandparents came to this country roughly a century ago, who talk like they think they came over on the Mayflower, and who self-indulgently like to believe that the Mexican illegal working as a laborer on construction, doing agricultural work, or making peanuts washing dishes is taking something away from them and spoiling their view of the landscape. These people seem to have no idea what earlier arrived Americans thought of their own exotic and uncouth ancestors back in the day when those ancestors arrived here –just like today’s Mexicans– to take jobs Americans wouldn’t do.

Cantor was right to want to do something to straighten out the unenforceable immigration legal mess, and the loudmouth, low IQ conservative leadership which took hold of an cheap and easily exploited emotional issue to attack him actually merely organized the proverbial circular firing squad. They knocked off one of our absolutely best political leaders, and they did it using an issue on which they were wrong and an issue whose exploitation is certain to harm Republican prospects. We used to win elections in California. We elected Ronald Reagan governor of that state, and then gained the presidency. Then, the same kind of bright thinkers devoted their political energies to bitching about the presence of the Hispanic immigrants who mow their lawns and do all the other manual labor in California, and they gave the state away to the insanely radical California democrats. Keep it up, and we can count on the same process working nationally.

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