Monday, June 04, 2007

Populism on the Right

The Politico discusses the possibility of immigration reform destroying the Republican Party.
…Republicans across the board seemed astonished when the first-quarter FEC reports came out and, all told, the Democratic presidential candidates out-raised the Republicans by $25 million. The party committees are lagging behind their Democratic counterparts.

There is no mystery. Conservatives, who voted in droves for Democrats and against Republicans as a protest vote last November, are now voting with their pocketbooks. The sleeping giant of the conservative movement has been awakened, and if the immigration bill passes, one can imagine an organized effort to shut down all grass-roots conservative money from going to any GOP party committee and instead direct their hard-earned dollars to legitimate conservative groups.
This is most ominous, because the premises behind stopping immigration are collectivist, if not racist. Notice the socialist sounding rhetoric, attacking “corporate America”:
The immigration bill, most conservatives believe, is a sellout of everything they hold dear – the rule of law, justice, freedom and sovereignty. But rather than listen to the grass-roots American people, the GOP elites are instead listening intently to the voice of their master, corporate America.
How is stopping individuals who want to come to America to work and better themselves in the interest of freedom? And bringing up sovereignty is an equivocation of the word; we defend our borders against hostile nations, not against peaceful individuals who want to come to America to work.

I have speculated on this before. I think people feel a general unease about the growing state, the loss of freedom, the decline of culture and our government’s inability to defend us against militant Islam. The brown-skinned people sneaking into America to work serve as a scapegoat for their fears. (And the unions, who oppose an expansion of the labor market that brings down wages, help to stoke this fear.)

I haven’t studied the immigration bill close enough to say if it is good or bad. These days all bills are complicated, mixed bags that require Talmudic study to understand and judge. Sometimes little riders are ghastly power grabs by the state that make a bill unworthy of passing.

The populism we’re seeing in the Republican base is a disturbing sign of the decline of individualism. This is the mob mentality of which our Founding Fathers were so leery.

As the left embraces multiculturalist collectivism, the right is embracing a more nationalistic, mystical collectivism. Between the left and right, the two should get us to outright fascist totalitarianism within decades.

UPDATE: Rewrote one sentence that actually said the opposite of what I wanted to say. Been a long day...


madmax said...

"As the left embraces multiculturalist collectivism, the right is embracing a more nationalistic, mystical collectivism."

Great identification. I read alot of right-wing blogs and they are in an uproar over Bush's amnesty bill. I can understand legitimate concerns about national security but their reaction to Mexican immigrants seems way over-the-top to me. I agree with you, its as if they see their country slipping away and they see the symbol of that being Mexican immigrants. They can't see the root cause of the decline. So they want to lock the door to the house, close the blinds, throw themselves in bed and hide under the covers. That's really all I can make of it. Any way you look at it, the nationalism element is not a good sign. And the anti-American Left only emboldens American Nationalism which combined with Christian zeal could easily pave the way to fascism.

Myrhaf said...

I think we're on the same page, Madmax. The national security element is completely beside the point. First, the only way to stop terrorism is to go on offense against the states that support terrorism. Second, look at a map. America is a long box with two borders on land and two long coasts. There is no way we can turn this country into a medieval castle that keeps everyone out.

EdMcGon said...

This is one area where you and I disagree, and not for the reasons you stated.

To allow illegal immigration, and then reward it with citizenship, is like allowing a burglar in your house to move in with you. If laws are not enforced, then why bother having them?

If you want to argue that we need to allow for more LEGAL immigration, I will happily agree with you.

Myrhaf said...

Unlike laws against murder, theft and so on -- real crimes -- laws against coming to America to make money are bad laws. Most people have understood this distinction and for decades the laws have not been enforced with vigor. I think the best policy is to continue to ignore the laws. I also think that ignoring the laws is probably better than this new immigration bill.

EdMcGon said...

That is why I support making it easier for people to legally migrate to America.

Unfortunately, ALL of the people coming here are NOT just poor people looking for jobs. Maybe only a minority of them are criminals or terrorists, but do you really want to maintain an open door policy for them too?

Myrhaf said...

I don't want criminals, disease carriers, enemies or sabateurs coming to America, but this bill is not really about them. It's about legalizing the millions who came here to work, probably because Bush thinks it will mean Republican voters (a questionable idea).

BTW, Boortz, who is usually right, is wrong on this issue. He harps about how illegal immigrants are criminals who flout our laws. In the USSR it was illegal to read certain books and in Nazi Germany it was illegal to be homosexual. I put illegal aliens in the same category: they are criminals because the law is bad.

EdMcGon said...

I don't know how you can justify keeping an open door policy for immigrants AND keep out the "criminals, disease carriers, enemies or sabateurs" at the same time. They all come in through the same door.

Myrhaf said...

Whatever the authorities did in, say, 1900, when there were no limits to immigration, that is what I would advocate they do now.