Monday, October 23, 2017

Andrew Sullivan on (a) Illegal Immigration and (b) Free Speech

He calls illegal immigration "the issue that could lose the next election for Democrats"...and says a lot of the same things I've been saying for six or seven years:
This is, to be blunt, political suicide. The Democrats’ current position seems to be that the Dreamer parents who broke the law are near heroes, indistinguishable from the children they brought with them; and their rhetoric is very hard to distinguish, certainly for most swing voters, from a belief in open borders. In fact, the Democrats increasingly seem to suggest that any kind of distinction between citizens and noncitizens is somehow racist. You could see this at the last convention, when an entire evening was dedicated to Latinos, illegal and legal, as if the rule of law were largely irrelevant. Hence the euphemism “undocumented” rather than “illegal.” So the stage was built, lit, and set for Trump.
I think it's now undeniable that the left's lines of argument converge on open borders--and I got a fair bit of grief for saying this when I first started saying it.
   Sullivan's also right (as usual) about free speech:
   For me, as regular readers know, few things seem as ominous as the fate of free speech in the West. In democratic countries without a First Amendment, writers and speakers are now routinely hauled into court for hurting someone’s feelings or violating some new PC edict. In Canada, it is now a crime to use pronouns that have served the English language well enough for centuries, if you are not careful. You are compelled by law to say “ze” or “xe” or “ve” or an endlessly proliferating litany of gobbledygook— “(f)aer,” “e/ey,” “perself” — invented out of thin air by postmodern transgenderists. Justin Trudeau doesn’t just want you to be criminalized for saying things he regards as “hate,” he wants to use the criminal law to force you to say things you don’t believe in and can’t even remember.
   In Britain, meanwhile, it is now a criminal offense to post something on social media that “is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice.” “Hostility” is defined thus: “ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.” In other words, if you “dislike” some idea, and someone else asserts your view is driven by “unfriendliness” to a member of a minority, you are breaking the law. There is effectively no free speech left in the U.K. that isn’t subject to a criminal veto by someone seeking to make trouble or permanently primed to take offense. And that is not to speak of the chilling effect such laws have on others too intimidated to open their mouths at all.


Blogger The Mystic said...

For what it's worth, the reason I gave you crap about the open borders thing is that you seemed to be arguing that the left had a super-secret ulterior motive in which they masked their conspiracy to obtain open borders by focusing on this issue

Or something.

To say their lines of argument converge on open borders is still weird to me. Back when I was actually paying attention to this crap, at least, I had the impression that the left was incompetently flailing about when it came to this issue (as is usual), and when reduced to their apparent absurdity, there seemed to be a close proximity with open borders.

And I say that carefully because I never found an example of someone whose position actually reduced to open borders; instead, what I would find is someone whose position was incoherent, and whose rational absurdity seemed to preclude a non-open-borders position.

But that's not really the same as the impression I get from assertions such as "lines of argument converge on" a conclusion. People who hold irrational positions which could perhaps somehow be partially salvaged by adopting another, related position (like open borders for the leftists) are not necessarily endorsers of the position which could partially save them from their own incoherence.

Things may well be different now, but back when you first started proposing this explanation for the left's behavior, it seemed to me we didn't have much evidence that the left actually endorsed or desired the promotion of open borders. Maybe they've started moving in that direction now.

God help us; open borders and criminalized thought and speech.


That's an unexpectedly strange combination of qualities for a dystopia.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

It's not really a terribly odd argument--it's similar to the one Sullivan uses, and I put it that way, too: if group G is saying a lot of things that don't *entail* x, but don't make a lot of sense unless they presuppose x...and, especially, if x is exactly the kind of crazy bullshit one ought to expect from G...and especially if x is the kind of thing they'd be hesitant to say out loud on account of it being crazy and/or politically radioactive...well...there's a pretty good chance that they're either screwing up their courage to say x, or only sort of coming to realize that they accept x.

Also, the only empirical evidence is on my side: I made a prediction, and lo, it hath come to pass... It *could* be luck...but you can *always* say *that.*

2:22 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

My understanding of free speech is that the government shall not prevent you from speaking in a public space, but is not required to give you a soapbox from which to speak.
A lecture hall in a public university is exactly such a soapbox.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

That understanding is incorrect with respect to the final sentence. Public universities can't discriminate on the basis of the content of your ideas. If they let student organizations bring in Democrats to speak, then they have to let student organizations bring in Republicans to speak. If a certain lecture hall is commonly used for such events, a public university can't deny someone its use on the basis of the content of his ideas.

2:50 AM  

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