Throughout the four years of the Trump presidency, left-liberals pointed to his plans to build a southern border wall as the best evidence that Trump—and half the country, by extension—is fascist. If Trump won’t let people move around freely, we were told, his motive is likely blind ethnic hatred and the result is a world partitioned into large de facto concentration camps. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wept.
Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney wanting border walls before that, by contrast, was fine. Obama deporting more people back across the border than Trump or Bush did was a-okay. And now, in the brazenly deceitful and partisan logic of left-liberal activists, President Biden building a border wall is barely even worth mentioning. Indeed, they’d prefer it not be mentioned—unless the new construction looks like it might pick up some swing votes for Biden next year, in which case they’ll pivot and tout it as an achievement.
When Republicans do something, in short, it’s bad, but when Democrats do the same thing—ta-da!—it’s good.
It’s moronic enough when a political party and its loyal voters think that way, but in the case of the immigration issue, the Democrats also have joining them in this jaw-dropping hypocrisy a vast swath of academia, media, stand-up comedians, and other fellow-travelers, some of whom snippily stopped talking to friends, family, and colleagues over the latter’s failure to be sufficiently enraged at wall-builder Trump. Left-liberals should be about as embarrassed now by Biden’s wall u-turn as—well, as they should have been a decade ago as it became clear Obama wouldn’t be an anti-war president.
Their outrage is phony and electorally opportunistic, on this topic as on most others.
I say this as someone who is no Trump voter or foe of immigration. If it were up to me, there would be no borders, no nations, and no presidents. In the meantime, I’d be happy if borders became far more porous, perhaps filtering only for known violent criminals, terrorists, and hostile foreign military personnel.
Sen. Rand Paul leans toward this sort of narrow-but-firm border enforcement, I think, but nearly every other political voice on the topic says either that immigration is inherently bad—undermining local culture and national sovereignty—or else that it’s such an unalloyed good that it should be celebrated and government-subsidized, even when the government subsidies transform what could have been beneficial migrant influxes into unassimilated, isolated bands of people using free housing, medical care, and food when not making drunken forays away from their vandalized hotels to menace neighboring businesses, which is roughly the situation described in a video interview with a former Row Hotel worker in New York City.
(Note, by the way, how the difficulty of having a nuanced discussion about immigration is compounded before your eyes in that video by the YouTuber’s fear that someone in the footage will use a stray word or two that get him demonetized.)
The real election story here is that if Biden is smart enough to notice even deep-blue states like New York are getting fed up with the current (government-subsidized, government-mismanaged) immigration policy—with New York City’s Democratic mayor going so far as to predict the city’s destruction if trends continue—then Biden likely realizes that anger could cost him some swing states in next year’s election, all that really matters to politicians in the end.
Speaking of elections, one irony of right-wingers being even more anti-immigration than Biden is that at least some of the Latinos they’re keen to keep out of the U.S. hate the left as much as U.S. Republicans do. Argentina may well prove that this coming Sunday by electing a self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist—that is, a consistent anti-government libertarian—president. Javier Milei doesn’t merely want to reduce government programs, oust establishment politicians, and “dollarize” the lately-stagnant Argentine economy.
He also denounces the Pope as a tax-loving leftist, likens his own intended governing persona to the superhero Wolverine, performs in a rock band, and can explain his laissez-faire economic reform plans articulately in great detail, as he does in this interview with him by The Economist. This means that Milei gets the right answer in at least three of my four favorite topic areas: superheroes, music, and politics.
His standing in my other favorite topic area, science, is imperiled by the fact that publications such as Science and Nature—more corrupt than the sometimes-still-useful Economist—condemn Milei for wanting to cut Argentina’s Ministry of Science budget along with everything else. But then, if one thought that everything good should be run by and subsidized by the government, one ought to be a communist. That way lies not endless plenty but the shabbiest of hotels.