The Corner

Nazi, Schmazi

I can’t engage with anyone who thinks I’m a Nazi.  In fact, I pretty much stop reading when the words “Nazi” or “Hitler” show up, unless I’m reading an academic history of Germany 1933-45.  The presence of these words invariably means that whatever thing I’m reading can be summarized as: “I think you are a horrible person because you disagree with me.”   Just one closing point about immigration policy, though.  Explicitly in some e-mails, and I think implicitly in some of JPod’s posts, is the notion that it is wrong to discriminate when deciding whom to admit to our country and whom to exclude.   As a general point, this has no substance.  With two exceptions, any immigration policy discriminates.  It discriminates in favor of those it lets in, and against those it keeps out.  The two exceptions are (1) a policy that admits everyone without scrutiny, and (2) a policy that admits no-one.  Since I have already come out in favor of (2), whatever you care to say about my position, you can’t say it discriminates!   The substance emerges when you argue (which I think is JPod’s intent) that some kinds of discrimination are more objectionable than others.  JPod seems to be particularly scandalized by the thought that 19C Americans might have wished to discriminate, in immigration policy, against Catholics or Jews.    I can only say again what I have said before:  that the American people, in their republican sovereignty, have the right to admit or exclude whom they wish.  If they don’t want Catholics, or Jews, or Englishmen, I am not aware of any moral or ethical principle that obliges them to admit those people.  Until very recently (see Senator Edward Kennedy’s 1965 remark I quoted a few posts ago) this was an ordinary and unremarkable opinion held even by liberal Americans.  My guess would be that it is still a majority opinion among Americans; though the success of the intellectual pathologies of the past 40 years in addling our brains and robbing us of sense should never be underestimated.   This is not an eccentric or extreme opinion, either.  It is in fact easily the majority opinion of mankind, as a survey of immigration policies worldwide will speedily demonstrate.  Try immigrating to India or China.  Or Mexico.  That doesn’t mean we have to follow them, of course; but it does mean that I’m not out on much of a limb here.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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