The Corner

A Suggestion for the Arizona Legislature

As I mentioned in a bewildered post yesterday, the American government, via the Obama State Department, has apologized to the Chinese dictatorship for the new law in Arizona concerning illegal aliens. Washington and Beijing were holding talks about “human rights.” In a session with journalists, assistant secretary of state Michael Posner was asked, “Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And, if so, did they [the Chinese] bring it up or did you bring it up?” Posner answered, “We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”

Bear in mind that China is a country with a gulag (called laogai). A country that denies citizens their basic rights: to expression, to assembly, to worship, and so on. A country against which all-too-credible charges of organ harvesting have been made. A country that imprisons and tortures anyone with the nerve to ask for freedom, including some of the bravest people on earth: Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng are but two of them.

I have a suggestion. I suggest that the Arizona legislature pass a resolution calling on the government in Washington not to apologize for or condemn the Arizona law to foreign dictatorships. Seriously. The resolution would have no binding effect; it would merely be symbolic, and shaming. But legislatures have busied themselves with worse.

Here I am in beautiful, decorated Oslo, celebrating the Norwegians’ National Day with friends. And I am taking a little Internet break. And I am almost disbelieving at what the American government is doing. Are you? I mean, Google — lame, profit-seeking Google — is tougher on the Chinese Communists than the American government is. Pathetic, and outrageous. I think the Arizona government should make a statement — and that both supporters and opponents of the controversial law should join in. Even if I were a strong opponent of the law in question, I would be aghast at the Obama administration’s use of it before the dictatorship in Beijing.

A reader of ours wrote to say, “Look, nobody’s perfect. As my father told me, that was a line the Communists used during World War II: ‘Nobody’s perfect. Churchill drinks too much, Stalin murders millions . . .’”

Years ago, when I was a student, I migrated from left to right: and one of the things causing that migration was moral equivalence, the incessant moral equivalence that those around me posited between the Free West and the Communist East. Not much has changed. The people in the Obama administration remind me of the people who were my professors, grad assistants, and classmates. Yuck.

Quick story: One day, after class — when no one was around or listening — I asked one of my favorite professors about Marx and the depredations of the Kremlin, the Khmer Rouge, Mengistu, and other Marxist-Leninist rulers and regimes. Didn’t Marx bear some responsibility for sowing the seeds of terror and tyranny? He sputtered at me — red-faced, quite angry — “Are you going to blame Thomas Jefferson for the sins of Richard Nixon?” I left that classroom pretty rattled. Not long after that, I found — somewhat to my horror — that I was reading National Review.

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