Friday, April 30, 2010
I have been reading commentary from the libertarian side of the blogosphere about the new law. Much of it is negative. Fair enough. If one is a strong libertarian, then one might oppose all laws that restrict immigration. I myself hold nowhere near as strong a position. I favor a large expansion of legal immigration, but oppose illegal immigration.
But the posts don't justify their position based on this opposition to all immigration restrictions position. Moreover, they don't argue with the same vehemence against the federal immigration law, which has a more restrictive content (even though it does not seem to be much enforced). I wonder why.
Based on discussions of the Arizona law, such as this one by Kris Kobach, it seem to be a relatively moderate response to the failure of the federal government to enforce the law. I think it has some real costs -- the main one, being the discretion that it gives to the state police. But if one is going to have restrictions on immigration, and if one does not have an effective fence, then one will need to have some type of enforcement, and this does not seem obviously mistaken or excessive.
I think it is sad that hispanic citizens and legal aliens will sometimes be asked for their identification. But let's be clear on the causes -- the failure of the feds to enforce the law and to build a fence as well as the corruption and problems of the Mexican government and society. Yet, the venom of many liberals and some libertarians appears reserved for the Arizona law.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/05/03/100503fa_fact_lepore?currentPage=all#ixzz0mWLpSYlZ
Well, that's as much as I can take of our enlightress's highly irritating twaddle. I, in my amateurish, crankish way, think that history, and in particular what the words, terms, concepts and sentences of the Constitution meant when it was ratified, has everything to do with what it means today as law. Talk about amateurs! Legal philosophers have incredibly refined ideas of what they are talking about when they talk about original meaning. Talk about dumb ideas seeping out into the culture and getting dumber as they go. Here is a writer for a popular cultural journal promoting the notion that originalism is based on some silly, rootin' tootin', junior high school idealized vision of the past, and that anyway, silly, it suggests that something we did in the past is like, relevant today! But have any of these dimwits thought about what law is? Of course the past has everything to do with what the law is now because the past is inevitably when the law was made. Yes, yes, originalism is controversial and many issues remain to be worked out. But compared to the mush that passes for thinking about the relation of the past to the present among professional historians (such as I have heard anyway) originalism is the critique of f*&%ing pure reason.
More generally, allow me to opine that the Tea Partiers are on to something really important about our history, what it means, and the use that should be made of it. They are absolutely right to grasp the Constitution in their feverish hands and think, hey, wait a minute, where does it say the federal government can regulate everything? To which I say, where f*&%ing indeed? What, they ask, is this "We the People" about anyway? I call that a good question. This is not something that can be giggled away by some hipster academic ironic bullshit. Besides, it should be perfectly obvious that what is really going on is that the historical professoriate just doesn't like what is to be found in the Constitution because it is well to the right politically of what they cotton to. But instead of saying, hey! let's be academic socialists!, they say, oh history, it's terribly complex and not even real as you imagine it, leave that to us, go home and pay your taxes now, there are pondering professors to be paid. But what is going on now is real history, real politics, real lives, not fodder for whatever the latest exotic historiographical pose happens to be and of which we are mercifully ignorant. The past is not a fiction. It can't be because it has the property of being composed of facts. Our freedoms, our rights, our liberties (oh how, how naive!, how quaint!, how [insert latest/gayest academic putdown term here]) are rooted there. We have them because of the people who really did come before us and thought of them, discovered them, turned them into law, fought for them, wrote about them and (pay attention now) we remain committed to them. Anyway, you get the idea. Read your Constitution. Screw the New Yorker.