31 May 2006

Splitting the Conservative Coalition

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AJStrata is appalled (as am I) by the positions being taken by some of the most respected conservative bloggers, and concludes that the conflict within conservatism may split the movement.

I feel like politics in this country has entered the twilight zone. People I respected for brilliant logic and insight and top notch debate have become emotional, simplistically surreal in their proposals. The level of the discussion has dropped way down into fevered accusations in some places and pure denial in others…

Most people in this country are not crying for retribution against people who have worked to make a living and raise a family. The folks who started with “deport the criminals”, and who moved on to “make the criminals felons”, and who have since moved on to “starve them out by making it impossible to get a job”, have rightfully been labled extremists. The anti-reasonable-solutions crowd is motivated by emotion, some strange combination of a need for retribution and fear of a future they cannot control…

The extremists who think any sign of compassion (i.e., any deviation from humiliating people working without the proper papers) is ‘amnesty’ are a small minority. The American People are a smart, caring, reasonable people who have led the world in many areas solving many problems. When I see numbers like these in polls where emotion is not a driver (the Dubai Ports World issue was the one exception in many, many years) I see the wisdom of a great nation. To some they see only the ignorant masses who are simply mistaken because the have not seen the light.

Well, from here it is not hard to see what happens. The 25% who cannot stomach a comprohensive bill will destroy the governing coalition of conservatism. In an 80-20 world you are never going to get what you want. The anger in this minority and being rejected is hot and I doubt these people will ever be able to deal with losing. The fact they have been forced to say democracy should not lead on this issue because there is not majority in the Republican caucus (which is being whipped by special iinterest money, not the national interest) shows the vacuousness of their position. The shifting goal posts from mass deportations to starving them out of jobs indicates these people know, deep down they are losing this debate. They do not have the President or the people on their side. But my feeling is they have invested too much emotion to come back from the brink. Somehow Durbin was able to survive is 80-20 moment. The conservative coalition will not survive this I fear. But if that is the price we pay to retain our humanity and compassion, then that is the price we pay. So be it.

I’d say it goes beyond humanity and compassion. Conservatism is all about a preference for freedom and spontaneous order, for allowing the voluntary choices made by individuals interacting freely to proceed wthout coercive interference.

Illegal aliens are here because we need inexpensive low-skilled workers and want to employ them. They are illegal because our immigration policies and regulations are unresponsive to that reality. This unfortunate situation has gone on as it has for so long because denial and hypocrisy are uncontroversial and politically cost-free.

We ought to enforce the laws we have, but we shouldn’t have laws we really do not want to enforce. I’ve heard a lot of shrieking recently about unusually high gasoline prices. What do you suppose would happen to food prices, housing prices, service industry prices, if there were no Latin American immigrants here willing to do the hardest and most unattractive jobs at the lowest wages?

AJStrata is perfectly correct. We are not going to create an immigration Gestapo to perform door-to-door searches. We are not going to uproot and deport families who have been living here for years. It won’t happen. The American people will never stand for it.

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Paul Lester

“What do you suppose would happen to food prices, housing prices, service industry prices, if there were no Latin American immigrants here willing to do the hardest and most unattractive jobs at the lowest wages? ”

I think businesses who are worth having will find innovative ways to compete! I think we would get better food, housing, and service industry prices. Illegal’s and the business that employ them are hurting this country and ruining American ingenuity. If a company can not compete legally, they should get the hell out of here.


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