Dear Reader (and those of you who bear a striking resemblance to hackneyed Indian stereotypes and who, putting your ears to the ground, heard this column coming a long time ago),
Well, so much for “epistemic closure.” The supposed Right Wing Industrial Complex – comprised of Fox News, talk radio, National Review, and the Republican party (and, if you listen to Andrew Sullivan, Cotton Mather, Mephistopheles, Torquemada, and the cop who caught him smoking pot) – marches and thinks in complete lockstep. As closed-minded as a Church Lady with a migraine, we are incapable of thinking there’s a world outside our ideological swift boat.
Just when this argument was about to implode from its own idiocy, a Godzilla-sized foot called “immigration” came stomping down on the delicate dorm-room-philosophical Bambi. Conservatives are split on the issue: David Frum takes National Review’s side, although he makes it sound like he’s the lone voice speaking in Arizona’s favor; meanwhile, Karl Rove, alleged leader of the homunculi within the right-wing colossi, Marco Rubio, the golden boy of the tea-party movement, and Jeb Bush, heir to the Bush dynasty, are just a few of the dissenters from the right-wing mob of unindependent minds.
I’m somewhere between the two conservative extremes on this stuff. I think theWall Street Journal’s open-borders position is bonkers (so long as there is a welfare state, at least), but I’m also in favor of generous immigration policies for the folks who actually wait in line. As one reader put it to me, I’m for high fences and wide gates. But, as familiar as this point may be, you can’t be in favor of a particular immigration policy if you’re not willing to enforce any immigration policy.
But we’ll have plenty of time to debate all of that now that the Cone of Silence, epistemic closure, has been lifted.
Conflicted by Good, Torn by Evil
But since we’re on the topic, I found this bit of political analysis Krugmanesque, by which I mean annoying and smug. Coincidentally, it comes from some guy named Paul Krugman:
Well, politically, though, this is one of those issues that cuts right through the middle of both parties. . . . Democrats tend to be pro-labor, which means they are worried about immigration; on the other hand . . . it’s the party that generally is for inclusiveness. So the Democrats are divided. Many of them divided within their own hearts. It’s an interesting thing, it’s not so much different wings of the party as each individual Democrat tends to be kind of torn about this.
Republicans are divided between the sort of cultural conservative wing, the “preserve America as the way it is,” and the business wing, which likes having inexpensive immigrant labor. So this is one heck of an issue. It’s going to — it’s deeply divisive among both parties, which is one reason not to rush it, to push it at the top of the agenda right now.
Now, obviously Krugman’s analysis isn’t completely baseless. But it still presents the issue as one where Democrats are torn in their bleeding hearts between two noble and kind concerns, while Republicans are torn between their love of reactionary atavism and their sweet tooth for exploiting the poor.
Tea Partiers Don’t Count?
I have a piece in the next issue of NRODT on the liberal reaction to the tea partiers and that NYT poll. Basically, now that the Times poll allegedly shows that the tea partiers are “affluent,” white, and well-educated, liberals insist they can be ignored as the same bunch of marginal, fringe right-wing cranks the Left always ignores. For example, E. J. Dionne says they’re a relatively small minority of voters, or some such.
Anyway, one point I didn’t have room to discuss in the piece still seems worth mentioning. Using the Times’s numbers, there are significantly more tea partiers than there are black voters. And yet whenever conservatives note that Obama’s (or before him, Bill Clinton’s) support is heavily skewed by the nearly monolithic support of African Americans, liberal bloggers go batty, suggesting that it is somehow racist to even take note of the fact. “Blacks are Americans too!” they shriek.
To which the reasonable response is, “Of course they are.” But as a point of political analysis, it’s hardly racist to take note of the fact that the black vote operates a bit differently than, say, the Catholic vote. Indeed, it’s an interesting question: Is the black vote more ideologically “fringe” than the tea-party vote?
Anyway, my only point here is that I find it funny to see so many liberals who have no problem saying that, because the tea partiers are white and middle class, they don’t deserve any respect or attention. But if one were to make a similar claim about the black vote, you’d invite charges of racism.
Socialism! Well, as promised, my Commentary essay is now up. Lots of interesting reactions have been coming in, but I’ll hold off discussing all that for the time being. Look for my odd quickie interview with Will Cain tomorrow, when it should be up on the Corner.
Frumianism! Also look for my upcoming conversation with David Frum for Bloggingheads. We’re taping it today. Should be . . . interesting.
Random Question Why is it that I get all sorts of generous and kind, but odd or not entirely convenient offers from readers? “Come visit my alpaca farm!” “Let me be your aluminum-market expert!” “If you’re ever in N’Djamena, I know a fantastic Chadian restaurant where they make the most awesome millet paste balls.” “Hey, I’ve been reading the G-File since 1998, and if you need a deal on industrial ball bearings, I am so totally your guy!”
I’m not being ungrateful; it’s all very flattering. And quite a few readers have shown me great kindnesses. But where are the eccentric billionaires with the empty villas on Lake Como just sitting there?
Anyway, this came to mind because I’m car shopping these days, and I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever had a reader say, “Hey, I can make you a great deal on a car.” I’ve gotten offers – and I’m not making this up – for serious discounts on Portuguese-language DVDs, but a nice convertible? No.
Random Question II
I’ll be in Philly for most of the weekend. Any family-friendly recommendations? I know about cheese steaks. What about good restaurants? Diners? Places to take the munchkin?
Debby’s Links You get them here first – I won’t post them to the Corner until tomorrow!
Smart Women Drink More [BROKEN LINK]
Loosely related: The Most Bizarre Life Story on Earth?