Monday, January 29, 2018

The DACA Trap: Donald Trump and the demise of the Democrats.

The current immigration debate in this country centers on four broad topics: 1) amnesty for the "Dreamers", 2) a border wall and border security, 3) chain migration, and 4) the visa diversity lottery.

The Democrats want #1, the Republicans want (or claim to want) #2, #3, and #4. Donald Trump proffers a compromise where both sides give the other side their ask. Democrats get #1, Republicans get #2, #3, and #4.

As a matter of political pragmatism, it is highly likely some form of amnesty provision will be needed to secure Democrat votes for the Republican ask. As a matter of historical appraisal, legislation with bipartisan elements is more successful and more enduring than purely partisan legislation (and one should note that Democrats had ample opportunities to participate in the tax reform legislation, but that their "Resist!" strategy overpowered any impulse to compromise on the substantive issues).

As a matter of political pragmatism, one achieves legislative success by accepting what is possible today, without categorical insistence on what is ideal. For Democrats especially, this would mean accepting the conditional amnesty offered by Trump to at least remove the threat of deportation from the Dreamers.

Why, then, are Democrats so hostile to this compromise? Why is it that when Donald Trump expands the amnesty offer the Democrats expand their hostility?

I suspect it is because the Democrats' self-interest lies more in preventing the Republicans gaining #2, #3, and #4 than in gaining for themselves #1. Amnesty might regularize those who are already here--but border security and moving to a merit based immigration system will change the political dynamics of immigration for decades to come. Merit-based immigration is fundamentally what Milton Friedman termed "immigration to jobs"; the Democrats are unequivocal champions of "immigration to welfare". While Democrats cynically hyperventilate about the travesty of deporting "Dreamers", if they take the deal that is being offered they must surrender all hope of sustaining immigration to welfare (by which they seek to import and otherwise buy votes from the electorate).

What the Democrats have done with their derisive dismissals of President Trump's compromise is admit to wanting more immigration to welfare. What they have made clear is that amnesty is not half as important as perpetuating the current broken immigration system which encourages immigration to welfare and prioritizes immigration to welfare over immigration to jobs. One need not hold a PhD in economics to realize that such a stance is a stance against the economic interest of both America and the American worker--indeed, that's a very easy case to make.

By accident or by design, Donald Trump is steadily branding the Democrats as the party of illegal immigration, the party of immigration to welfare, the party that stands explicitly against obvious American interests and those of American workers--long a traditional bastion of Democratic strength. This can only weaken them heading into the midterm elections, and could do permanent damage to their credibility as a major political party.

It is too soon to tell, but if this debate continues in this fashion, Donald Trump come November could be presiding over the complete dismantling of the Democratic Party, and completely eviscerating progressivism as a political force in this country.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Leftist Intellectualism AKA Peak Stupidity

When Donald Trump speaks, leftist "thinkers" wet themselves. That is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from leftist commentators' overwrought reactions to President Trump's speech in Warsaw, Poland, on 6 July 2017.

Leading the lunatic charge is Peter Beinart, writing in The Atlantic:
The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.
Following close on his heels is Jeet Heer bloviating in The New Republic:
Here, Trump is defining the West not based on ideals like democracy and liberty, but atavistic loyalties to territory and shared kinship. 
Not to be left out, the reliably pretentious Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post concluded:
...President Trump's understanding of history [is] as a zero-sum clash of civilizations in which "the West" can triumph by imposing its will.
This "intellectual" nonsense exposes the fundamental illiteracy and ignorance of the left.

To begin with, the entire construct of "race" is a fiction. One only need look at just a handful of human horrors over time--Rwanda, Culloden, Drogheda, Srebrenica--to know that the human capacity to hate is not bounded by mere skin color. 
There is but one race, and that is the human race. There is none other.
Further, what fosters and fuels human divisions are the same building blocks that form our various communities--tradition, custom, and culture. Ideals such as democracy and liberty are elemental to a full understanding of "the West", but they exist only in the communities we form in adherence to and appreciation of those ideals. Communities by dint of sheer physical reality are invariably defined both by territory and shared kinship (which is itself an anodyne term for what sensible people call "family"). Defending the West geographically is not an atavistic loyalty to some animalistic urge, but is the practical reality of preserving and promoting the ideals we hold most dear.
There are other communities in the world--and Trump does not hesitate to call out those he quite reasonably identifies as adversaries of the community of nations known as "the West", principally Islam ("radical Islam", more precisely, although the extent to which the fundamentalist Islamic creeds of ISIS and Al Qaeda are "radical" is debatable at best). Islam is many things--false religious ideology, extremist political ideology, encapsulation of Arab and Bedouin traditions and customs--but "race" is most assuredly not one of them.
The statist authoritarian nations who reject democratic governance and the rule of law are another community that attracts Trump's wrath. Yet these also are neither religions nor races, but real places, inhabited by real people, with whom we must contend if we wish our community of nations to endure.
Messrs Beinart, Heer, and Robinson are using terms they clearly do not understand to comment on concepts they clearly do not comprehend.
Donald Trump offered up a stirring defense of Western civilization. He champions the notion that our culture, our history, our customs and our values are worth preserving. He enthusiastically argues that our culture, history, customs and values warrant not just robust apology but stirring advocacy. He notes the many real successes and achievements within our culture and our history--achievements of technology, of law, of basic notions of justice and human worth--and reminds one and all that these are not just good things, but great things. 
The uncontestable historical reality of Western culture is the Internet, the empowerment of women, the emancipation of slaves and the proposition that all men are created equal. Democracy exists because Western nations have endured, and freedom has expanded because Western ideals have taken root in realms far beyond the cradles of Western civilization.
The uncontestable historical reality of Islam is hundreds of millions of dead, the subjugation of women, the promotion of slavery, and the presupposition that only the select few deserve all that society offers. The uncontestable historical reality of statist authoritarianism--of Communism, of Fascism, and of Socialism--is likewise violence, death, destruction, and human degradation. 
The uncontestable present reality is that the left rejects the successes of Western culture and embraces the ideologies--and communities--that oppose Western culture.
Messrs Beinart, Heer, and Robinson, in their idiocy, encapsulate why leftist thought invariably fails: despite being a product of Western thought, it is implacably opposed to Western thought. Leftist thought opposes the very culture, history, customs and values that created it. Invariably, leftist thought espouses intellectual suicide.
The tragedy of the leftist "intellectual" is that to be leftist is to concede the debate before it even begins.