Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Liberty and Justice for All

Pretty Lady is shocked. She took at peek at The Corner today, to see what the greatest lights of conservative thought have come up with, lately. Although John Derbyshire's perspective on illegal immigration is irreproachable up to a point (Pretty Lady is, of course, opposed to offering sanctuary to terrorists and criminals), he rather ruined it for her, right at the end.
Why on earth would any person from Somalia be granted admittance to this country for any reason? I can't even see the need for diplomatic representation — the place is just a chaotic slum. We are the fools of the world.
Ahem.

John, darling, Pretty Lady needs to remind you of something. Remember that cute, romantic, foolish little poem at the base of the Lady, that big Lady in New York Harbor? The one which goes something like, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'?

That is what we do. That is what we have always done. This is not a new thing; it is not a liberal invention of the Welfare State, this offering of refuge and a New Start to honest persons of all nations, fleeing chaos, oppression, war, starvation, and injustice elsewhere.

'Why on earth'? Well, John, THIS IS WHY:




John, there is a reason that Conservatism, as a philosophy, is grossly unfashionable at the moment, a reason going far beyond the non-conservative excesses of the egregious 'neocons.' This very good reason is that the sort of studied, knee-jerk contempt for the poor and unfortunate of the world that you have just displayed is not only tacky, vulgar and morally repulsive; it actively kills the soul.

And John, we idealistic youngsters do not wish to do without our souls. Heed us or perish.





18 comments:

Desert Cat said...

Pfft! The notion that one's political philosophy should be referenced to prevailing notions of *fashion*...

And yes, I have noticed how very "fashionable" the liberals in charge of Congress are these days. What are they at now, a 9% favorable rating? All the while Barry is making his mad, dizzying dash away from radical liberalism toward the center.

george said...

Pretty Lady
…this very good reason is that the sort of studied, knee-jerk contempt for the poor and unfortunate of the world… is not only tacky, vulgar and morally repulsive; it actively kills the soul.”

Studied AND knee-jerk.

Contempt for the poor and unfortunate doesn’t enter into it. The poor and unfortunate of the world are legion, our resources are not. Tacky, vulgar, and morally repulsive sounds knee-jerk to me – and all liberally high hat. The first order of responsibility for those repugnant conservatives would be to husband the resources of this country so that it remains healthy and viable AND so that this nation and it’s citizens can continue to be the most generous and charitable in the world. Tilting the world so that all its poor and unfortunate land here is wildly out of the realm of reality. It makes me wonder – why concern for the soul when the brain is already obviously dead.

Pretty Lady said...

Whose brain is dead, George, hmmm?

And who said anything about 'tilting the world so that ALL of the world's poor land here'? The Derbyshire comment I was referring to specifically said ANY Somalian; as far as I know, there are a great many Somalian immigrants living productive, peaceful lives here, chauffeuring people around New York City.

You see, George, when conservatives make ugly comments about people's intelligence, their poverty, their unproven criminal tendencies and the like, it merely makes it easy for decent people to dismiss the solid rationality of genuine conservative principles. One may make a case for stronger and saner immigration policy without resorting to beating on those who already get dumped on by the vast majority of the planet.

It simply makes you look like a bully.

Pretty Lady said...

And DC, you may want to brush up on your understanding of the words 'irony' and 'flair' before haring off on a snipe hunt.

Pretty Lady said...

Moreover, George, the entire point of this post was that Pretty Lady's reaction was anything BUT knee-jerk. Pretty Lady has spent literally years studying the mind-set of radical right-wing factions, with a mind open to their internal logic, in wilful suspension of knee-jerk emotional reactions. Moreover, she grew up in a household where great stacks of National Review were available on every coffee table, and thoughtful lectures on the virtues of conservatism were administered, gratis, at the dinner table.

So when she says that Mr. Derbyshire's attitude is tacky, this opinion is deeply steeped in the understanding of both the nature and virtues of Conservatism, and the nature, characteristics, and pitfalls of Tackiness. Sadly, the two are not mutually exclusive.

george said...

“And who said anything about 'tilting the world so that ALL of the world's poor land here”

You didn’t say it, you implied it. Your use of the “foolish little poem” found on the Statue of Liberty to prop up your argument surely implies you agree with it – or were you being poetic as well? By any reading, those sentiments comprise an open invitation.

Desert Cat said...

Oh dear, you know I like chasing after your butterflies of flair and irony with my snipe net.

Pretty Lady said...

Of course I agree with the poem on the Statue of Liberty, George. Presumably this is not a problem, the Statue of Liberty being a famous patriotic landmark and all.

For generations, George, we have allowed the immigration of the tired and the poor--victims of the Irish potato famine, Holocaust refugees, shellshocked Bosnians, El Salvadorans fleeing from the Sandinistas, Chinese fleeing from the Communists, and on, and on, and on. Largely, these immigrants have worked hard, risen in economic status, paid taxes, and become solid American citizens. Our great nation is built on the immigration of the poor and beleaguered. Poverty and oppression is simply not an adequate reason to keep people out.

There are excellent arguments to be made for limiting mass immigration of a single culture, lest it become a migration that swamps the native culture and strains local resources to the breaking point. However, Mr. Derbyshire was not bothering to make these arguments; he went straight for the thoughtless, bigoted contempt button, and Pretty Lady is calling him on it.

george said...

“Poverty and oppression is simply not an adequate reason to keep people out.”

They are not. But there are other reasons. In your original statement you made reference to the Welfare State.. Now I shall reference it. The Irish escaping the potato famine, my parents fleeing a war ravaged and newly Communist Eastern Europe did not have that Welfare State to fall back on. They depended on kinsmen, fellow countrymen, and ethnic organizations for help. Such help, although I’m sure it still exists in small doses, has been largely superceded by that very same Welfare State. There comes a straining point and then there comes a breaking point. I fear we’re closer to the latter and do not want sentiments, no matter how noble, to test that camel’s back.

Pretty Lady said...

Such help, although I’m sure it still exists in small doses, has been largely superceded by that very same Welfare State.

No. This is a gross exaggeration. Pretty Lady is, personally, friends with immigrants from Cuba, Russia, South America and Mexico, and regularly interacts with local communities of dozens of nationalities, ethnicities and religious groups.

The vast majority of these people are strangers to assistance from Social Services. They get housing tips from their countrymen, jobs from their countrymen, and occasional loans and financial assistance from same. That is how it works. Social services merely exist for the prevention of epidemic disease, rampant crime, and actual starvation--in other words, for the welfare of the entire community, not just impoverished immigrants. Plus those ESL classes are indispensable.

george said...

“vast majority of these people are strangers to assistance from Social Services”

Social Services do not account for the entirety of the strain. Free P.S. education and the increasing kowtowing to the need for teachers of the same increasingly exotic languages and exotic religious sensibilities. Emergency Rooms increasingly providing non- emergency medical treatments, and more. Your personal experiences in New York belie everything I hear and read about in Los Angeles particularly and California generally.

Pretty Lady said...

The situations in various countries in Africa, George, are testament to what happens when the poor and the people with funny languages are NOT educated by the ruling classes. Free public education is an investment in not only our future economic viability, but our future safety from military coup by enraged, ignorant tribal demagogue.

Similarly, what happens when there is no medical treatment available for the underclass is not worth contemplating; outbreaks of infectious diseases are no respecter of social class.

Thirdly, the problems of Los Angeles have more to do with the social problems fostered by suburban sprawl without organic community centers than with either public services or immigration; but this is another essay entirely.

Desert Cat said...

Thirdly, the problems of Los Angeles have more to do with the social problems fostered by suburban sprawl without organic community centers

Wait! I get it. This is irony and flair, right?

george said...

Pretty Lady

My last comment on “Liberty and Justice For All” - I hope.

I’ve mentioned in previous comments the logistical and financial strains of mass immigration. You and I have disagreed with each other and will continue to do so – no matter. But those were my concerns. I’d like to take a turn at Mr. Derbyshire’s concerns.

Perhaps Mr. Derbyshire and others use too broad a brush and too heavy a wash in their attempt to present a case against immigration from parts of Africa and other exotic locales. Pretty Lady has warned of the consequences of such opposition- “it actively kills the soul.” I don’t believe I’m putting my soul in jeopardy but I’ll leave her to judge.

Immigration to this country should have prerequisites. It matters not your color, stripe or pattern. It matters not where you come from. Here is what matters.

This country is based on Western, European, democratic, Judeo-Christian principles – accept it. Your culture is welcome – up to the point where it clashes with above principles – accept it. You are coming here, you adapt to the host country – the host country doesn’t adapt to you – accept it. Any societal, cultural, religious, or tribal - traditions, ceremonies, rituals, customs, practices which are bizarre or malevolent will not be tolerated – accept it. If:
- you insist on the right to mutilate your daughters genitalia
- you insist on the right to marry off your underage daughters
- you insist on the right to kill your women to preserve family honor
- you believe Jews are subhuman
- you believe Judaism is a gutter religion
- you are offended by a crucifix
- you are offended by pictures of dogs
- et al
Stay the hell away! – you are not welcome!

I cannot see how anyone could object to the above. We have the right to preserve the nation as it has been for over two hundred years – the nation to which all manner of people wanted to come.

Pretty Lady said...

You see, George, you're not getting any argument from me on these issues at all. Isn't it nice when we can find some common ground?

DC, my position on the socially destructive architecture of the suburb is well known. But, as I said, this requires a separate essay, and my schedule today is rather full. Diatribe to follow in time.

Chris Rywalt said...

I just watched a great clip of George Carlin pointing out that conservatives are very interested in your welfare from the moment of conception right up to the moment you're born -- after which you're on your own.

Vidad said...

You're damn right, Pretty Lady. I'm all for keeping this a great nation by not allowing criminals in. However, helping fellow human beings is a greater good, whether or not we think they're "on our level."

In reality, we're all on the same level before God - even the poor "refuse" that many conservatives seem to hate so much. And that liberals pretend to love, when it suits their interests.

Sigh.

Shea said...

George W Bush is the first President in the history of the United States to Pardon himself. He was granted a pardon along with anyone who was in his administration, for possible war crimes since 9 11, in the bill that passed giving immunity to telecoms such as at and t