The Corner

Mad, Wobbly McCarthy …

Sorry to be late getting back — I was busy negotiating with Iran, in French, and then I had that appointment to reduce my carbon footprint.

It drives me crazy when people opine authoritatively on stuff they are not authorities on, and when they use slogans and aphorisms as a substitute for critical thought.  (Holmes’s “marketplace of ideas,” Franklin’s “Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither,” and Peres’s “you negotiate with your enemies, not your friends” come to mind).  Reflecting on Derb’s comments, and his emailers, it occurred to me that I might be guilty of just these flaws.  I have not done research in this area, so I don’t really know what is the national attitude, assuming there is one, about immigration.  I know my own attitude (which is generally, but certainly not passionately, immigration friendly), and the attitude of the place I come from.  As Jonah rightly points out, those people are not East Coast elites–they are unabashedly patriotic, God-fearing, ethnics who have proudly fought America’s wars, policed its streets, made it go, etc.  When I think of a “nation of immigrants,” those are the people I have in mind.

But I’m not an authority, and when I too-offhandedly invoked the phrase it was based on an assumption, which may or may not be true, that my experience is representative.  I also think the phrase, like the “amnesty” label, is one that doesn’t tell us very much that’s important despite being thrown around (including by me) pretty freely.  I’m surprised it provoked so much discussion, but, as often happens on the Corner, I’m glad because I’m learning a lot about something I should have known more about.