Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Great Moments in Breaking From the Herd

Big Government, along with the rest of Andrew Breitbart's online mini-empire, has an unmistakable conservative slant. That is, you pretty much know ahead of time what kind of commentary you're going to get. For example—to choose a topic entirely at random—the controversial Arizona immigration law:
Unlike the reason based protests by tea partiers, the Arizona protesters are acting solely on emotions stirred by a constant barrage of leftist demagoguery. No civil rights have been violated, no racial profiling has taken place, and the motivation for this law was not racism. The motivation is completely founded in reason which is backed by facts and by a definitive understanding of the word 'illegal'.
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SB 1070 goes to great length to avoid racial profiling, the specter of which has engendered nearly all of the well-orchestrated hysteria against the law.
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This issue is no longer one which we can sit idly by and hope for a solution. We have solutions. First, we need to secure our borders. Second, we need to remove all financial incentives for illegal immigrants. And third, we need to demonstrate the clear and responsible pathway to legal immigration.
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This is not an immigration law. It's also not racist. It's not racial profiling. And it's not usurping the role of the federal government (which has abysmally failed here). Instead, it's an employment law and property law.
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I don't begrudge illegal immigrants doing what they have to do to take care of their families but I have a family, too, and immigration laws are supposed to protect us from unrestricted access to the infrastructure that comes out of my family's pocket.
Fun fact: That last one—which, by the way, makes some pretty good points—also answers the question of "hey, I wonder what Joe the Plumber is up to these days?"[1]

Anyway, you get the idea. Not all of it is wrong, necessarily, but it's staunchly pro-border-sealing and pro-government-mandated-paper-carrying. It's also rather insistent that of S.B. 1070 could be enforced without racial profiling, which, I'm sorry, is asinine.[2]

Imagine my surprise, then, when I read Ronald L. Trowbridge's article about a similar proposed law in Texas:
There is something downright sick in this prejudicial treatment. Conservatives and libertarians usually champion the supremacy of the individual over the collective. We judge individuals as individuals, not as members of a group. But too many conservatives are now demanding that we prejudicially judge people as members of a group. They have become the collectivists that they supposedly reject.
It doesn't even matter (at least, I like to think it doesn't) that I agree with his viewpoint—I'd appreciate it either way. In an era when it's so easy to isolate yourself from opposing opinions, and thus so easy to fail to notice your core ideology being gradually replaced by an arbitrary list of beliefs, we need more stuff like this. Trowbridge isn't saying conservatism itself is wrong, he's saying the views held by most conservatives on immigration cannot be accurately described as conservative.

The best part is at the end:
John Stuart Mill wisely observed that "He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." Open, honest debate—even on the contentious issue of immigration—is healthy because it takes us closer to truth and resolution. Let refutations—not just anger—begin in earnest.
How was this call for "open, honest debate" and understanding of where the other side is coming from recieved? Have you ever read anything on the Internet before?
What a load doc. I carry a drivers liscense and a SS card. What part of illegal can't you get through you thick head!!! Any citizen schould be more happy to show IDwhen asked. Moron
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Yeah. We all know a lot of you libertarians are retarded when it comes to supporting open borders and mass immigration. Nobody cares.
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Cry me a river, Trowbridge! It's such an inconvenience to carry your driver's license with you for identification! Oh, ...wait. We do that every day already. You whining wusses with your bleeding hearts make me want to puke.
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That is the single most absurd statement I have ever read regarding illegal immigration.
Those comments, by the way, are all among the dozen or so highest-rated on Big Government's thumbs up/thumbs down voting system. I wanted to see what kind of rating a comment in support of the article might have, but I couldn't find one.

1. I give it less than six months before Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher and John "Don't Touch My Junk" Tyner are co-hosting their own show on Fox News.
2. From the amended version of Arizona S.B. 1070:
A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.
See, they took out "solely." Now the police can't consider race at all…except to the extent permitted by the Constitution, which, it turns out, is kind of a lot.
The likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor, but standing alone it does not justify stopping all Mexican-Americans to ask if they are aliens.
Seems to me it'd be a lot easier to argue that racial profiling is acceptable in cases like this than to argue it won't be a problem, and I mean "easier" in the sense of "not quite so transparently naïve and/or disingenuous."

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