The Hill says Michele Bachmann was trying to distinguish her candidacy from Newt Gingrich’s by offering this proposal.
She did. I’d say that she proved something very important about herself and her candidacy by advocating a policy so economically disastrous, so historically philistine, so morally repugnant, and so practically impossible.
Even in times of political adversity, even in times of defeat, it is usually agreeable to be conservative and Republican, because we have the better arguments on our side. We know that we are right. Our opponents are fools and knaves, who enjoy whatever successes they achieve by placing themselves on the side of entropy, on the side of water flowing downhill, who appeal to selfishness, self-entitlement, to group and class prejudices, to all the worst aspects of Human Nature.
Illegal Immigration as a political issue has successfully turned American politics on its head, making some Republicans and some conservatives on that particular issue into dangerous crazies, every bit as intellectually derisory, every bit as deluded, every bit as self-entitled as liberals.
What kind of person can endorse the rounding up, the arrest, the forcible transportation, and the involuntary exile of millions upon millions of men, women, and children? I’d say someone willing to contemplate violence and coercion on such a scale as an exercise in pure regulatory enforcement would be a moral monster.
Nativist conservatives attempt to justify their extravagant levels of outrage over illegal immigration and their embrace of fantasies of force and violence on an immense scale in two ways. They try pointing to the relatively modest real association between actual crime and illegal immigrants, and since the reality is not adequate to their purposes they then systematically confuse violent crimes associated with illegal drug importation and trafficking with illegal immigration. They also appeal to the rule of law and demand that our laws be enforced.
It is true that any unskilled laboring community originating from a poorer and more primitive foreign society is always going to include some real percentage of petty criminals, undesirables, and political agitators, and its ordinary members are, more frequently than the native born, going to litter, get drunk, and stand around outside playing salsa music. But it is perfectly obvious that the overwhelming majority of today’s wave of immigration, just as in the 1900s and 1850s, has come here to do work that needs to be done which native born Americans are typically unwilling to do.
Conservatives are right that it is important to maintain the rule of law, but when you find that decades go by and the law isn’t really being enforced, it is time to recognize that we are dealing with a case of laws which Americans demonstrably do not desire to be enforced.
America is culturally at root a Northern European, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon, and outside certain exotic indigenous subcultures, a decidedly law-abiding society. A lot of Americans don’t lock their doors when they go out even today. In a lot of parts of this country, if you drop your wallet on the street, someone will try to return it.
We do have a cultural problem, though, with laws produced by special interests and by ideologues and with laws expressive of our dreams and fantasies and wishful thinking, which get passed without proper thought for the consequences or intellectual scrutiny. Current immigration laws have no real relationship to our important principles, identity, or ideals, and even less to our national economic needs and requirements. They came about by compromises, by accretion, and by ideological politics. There was no grand national debate in which Americans as a whole thought the matter over, debated alternatives, and finally took a democratically arrived at position. Like Topsy, our current regulations just grew.