Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 

Immigration and Racism; Logical Failures

The favorite cry of the open borders crowd is that anybody who supports tougher borders and enforcing our immigration laws is, by definition, a racist.

I'm for enforcing our borders. I support a tighter enforcement of our immigration laws. I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens in any form. I don't believe in rewarding behavior. While I can understand the circumstances that drive them to come here, I do not concede that harsh economic conditions in Mexico, Honduras, or El Salvador, gives them the right to cross into our country illegally. I generally support the idea of citizen patrols on our borders, like the Minutemen. So am I a racist?

According to some folks I am.

Never mind that I support opening immigration restrictions to allow more unskilled workers to immigrate legally. Never mind that I support revamping the immigration system so that it doesn't take years to bring a foreign born spouse into the country. Never mind that my reasons for supporting strong borders have nothing to do with the race of the people on the other side, and everything to do with the idea that a nation has not just the right but the duty to secure its borders.

David Neiwert at Orcinus wrote a series of articles on his blog detailing exactly how and why those folks who feel that securing our borders is a good thing are actually racists in disguise. He opens his piece with a throwaway line that not all Minutemen are racists, then spends thousands of words describing how they really are racists after all. His research is meticulous and thorough. There is no doubt that there are racists involved in the Minuteman project.

But does that mean that all Minutemen are racist, or that all folks who believe in securing our borders are racists?

Time for Logic 101.

Everybody who took math in high school remembers this one:

If A=B and B=C, then A=C.

Put in words, if A and B are the same, and B and C are the same, then A is the same as C. For example, If Mark is 13, and 13 year olds are adolescents, then Mark is an adolescent.

Pretty simple stuff.

Now,consider this construction. If Mark is 13, and some 13 year olds are fat, then Mark is fat.

Hmmm. That doesn't work as well, does it? So what's the difference?

The difference is the key word "some." We added a qualifier to the second term, so we can no longer equate the first with the third without using the same qualifier. We've moved from basic math into set theory. Now we have to say this:

If A is a member of Set B, and Set B is contained by Set C, then A is a member of Set C. This is a true statement. Our second example would become this: If A is a member of Set B and Set C contains some members of Set B, then A is a member of Set C. As before, we see that this statement is false. Going back to Mark, we can't say he was fat because according to our statements, not all 13 year olds are fat. Our conclusion is not born out be the facts.

Which brings us back to David Neiwert. Despite all his meticulous research into the sordid underbelly of the Minutemen and his excellent command of all the facts, his argument fails because its underlying logic is flawed. His argument boils down to this: If you support the Minutemen, and some Minutemen are racist, then you are supporting racism. Or if you take his opening disclaimer seriously, then replace racist with extremist, i.e. If you support the Minutemen, and some Minutemen are extremists, then you are supporting extremism.

Neiwert explains that one of the most dangerous aspects of the Minutemen ovement is that it has been embraced by the mainstream. He attributes this to the fact that the Minutemen have disguised the racist and extremist aspects of the movement. He's arguing that by hiding the repellant aspects of the organization, the Minutemen automatically become attractive. What he fails to investigate is why that would be so. Given his intense antipathy for border control (In one of his examples of the racist nature of Jim Gilchrist, he points to Gilchrist's use of the term illegal alien, instead of illegal immigrant. In another place he equates demonizing people based on their race with seeking to deport them based on "perceived immigration status.") this is not surprising. Based on the articles he wrote, immigration control is racism by default, even if it's an unconscious racism.

Obviously, I do not share that view.

As I've written before, I believe we have every right to secure our borders, and to chose who we let enter our nation. And it doesn't matter one bit to me what the color of the guy on the outside happens to be. Anybody who believes he has the right to break in and take what he wans regardless of the law is a threat, no matter what color of the rainbow his skin happens to be, because by his actions, he has declared that the laws of our nation do not apply to him.

It's just that simple.

Now then, to the rabble rousers on the right, screaming about the reconquistadors; I want you to re-read the section on Logic 101. Realize that while the radical fringe elements of the immigration movement do exist, they no more define the immigrant movement than do the Nazis hiding within the Minutemen define me.

So you just might want to lay off the rhetoric, and work on a solution that deals with the majority of illegals, rather than the minority of nutjobs.
Posted by Rich
84.5 miles • (7) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink


***Due to Spammer activity, comments have been temporarily disabled.
Please contact us by email if you wish to comment and we will enter it manually
rhailey(at)shotsacrossthebow(dot)com***



Logic 202

I'm hungry. You have food. You exploit me. I'm taking your food.

You can pretend that the issue is as simple as people breaking the "law", but it stems deeper than than. Not all law is just. Blacks were not considered "men" and it was illegal for them to vote.

The bottom line is that our goverment was well aware of the "illegal" immigration and even promoted illegal immgration for cheap labor. Once these people weren't needed, the government, at least the one in place, can care less. I can go on for a long time, but the only way for you to graduate to logic 202 is to educate your self in WHY there are so many "illegal" people here.
Posted by SAL  on  05/03  at  03:34 PM

Before tackling logic, first you must learn to read. I recognize the economic factors leading to the desire to enter the US, and said so. I also said that just because they want to come here doesn't mean they have the right to come here.

You must have skipped that part.

As for your logic, it is deeply flawed in several ways.

1. The primary motivator for illegal entry is not hunger, but employment. Jobs pay better here. (Which invalidates the whole 'exploitation' argument, but we'll address that later.) Mexico is a very wealthy country; the problem is that a corrupt government, catering to the wealthy, has acted for decades to concentrate that wealth in the hands of relatively few families, leaving the rest of the country to fend for themselves. This is not a situation created by the US; why should we feel obligated to deal with the consequences?

2. Illegals come to the US for eonomic opportnity. We have jobs here, and they pay better than in Mexico. They come here voluntarily. Some do so through legal channels, protecting themselves from so-called exploitation. Others choose a different route, entering illegally. It is this decision, not some nefarious corporate plot, that makes them vulnerable to exploitation.

But how can they be exploited if they make more money and live in better conditions than they did in their home country? Or are you suggesting that they are exploited even more in Mexico? If so, then once again, the US is not obligated to clean up their mess.

3. Necessity is not the mother of legality. Just because you think you need something does not give you the right to take it. Most of us learn this in kindergarten; apparently some take a little longer.

4. Now, let's look at the construction of your Logic 202.
<em>I'm hungry. You have food. You exploit me. I'm taking your food.</em>
I like how you insert the exploitation claim, which is actually irrelevant to the logic chain, in between the actual cause and effect in order to provide moral cover for the action of stealing. The fact is that the illegal act, entering the country, occurs prior to the supposed exploitation. In short, you cannot use the supposed exploitation to justify the illegal entry.

5. Finally, let's talk about your example of unjust laws. Absolutely, denying the vote to anyone based solely on their race is unjust. However, the example is in no way analogous to US immigration law. Immigrants are allowed in or held out based not on their race, but on the best interests of the US. That's not racism, no matter how you try to redefine it.

Once again, I believe our immigration system needs fairly major reform, not to make it more just, but to make it ore effective for folks on both sides of the border. However, that does not justify foreign nationals entering illegally.
Posted by rich  on  05/03  at  11:04 PM

<blockquote>
3. Necessity is not the mother of legality. Just because you think you need something does not give you the right to take it. Most of us learn this in kindergarten; apparently some take a little longer.
</blockquote>

I don't understand this metaphor. What are illegal immigrants "taking"?
Posted by Chris Wage  on  05/06  at  03:16 PM

The reference was directed at SAL's "logic 202" where he indicates that illegal immigrants are going to take what they need.

In general though, there have been several studies showing that illegal immigrants have an overall negative impact on the US economy, using more resources than they produce. I haven't seen the studies or had a chance to look at the methodologies, so I'm not going to give them too much weight, particularly since the economic impact of illegal immigration is pretty much irrelevant to my position.
Posted by rich  on  05/06  at  09:35 PM

The exploitation comes in the form of how employers use them and government agencies look the other way. Meatpacking plants are a perfect example. OSHA has reportedly eased up on it's safety inspections in that area as the work force has become more hispanic.
Posted by Mel  on  05/08  at  07:00 PM

"In general though, there have been several studies showing that illegal immigrants have an overall negative impact on the US economy, using more resources than they produce."

There have also been several studies that show how are economy is dependent on the work and labor of illegal immigrants-- that they do the work U.S. citizens do not want to do, and therefore allow for U.S. citizens to be supported by an underpaid workforce who are stripped of benefits (which are handed to 'legal' citizens). All 'studies' are driven to prove a certain agenda. I will not pretend that the 'studies' i refer to have less of an agenda than the ones you have referenced.

...As far as this being as immigration laws being inherently 'racist', I completely agree. To truly understand/approach racism, we have to understand that our country (the institutions that run it, maintain it) were founded within racist ideology, and traces of this ideology can be found today (such as within immigration laws; i.e. who can and can't be allowed within our country or receive benefits; comparable to the alien land acts imposed upon japanese immigrants in the 1920s).

Race, as it is conceived in the United States, is politically driven and legally constructed. If you have trouble understanding this, please look up one example (of many) where Mexican-Americans were 'constructed' as white: Hernandez v. Texas, 1951.
Posted by Mory  on  04/18  at  08:06 PM

"In general though, there have been several studies showing that illegal immigrants have an overall negative impact on the US economy, using more resources than they produce."

There have also been several studies that show how are economy is dependent on the work and labor of illegal immigrants-- that they do the work U.S. citizens do not want to do, and therefore allow for U.S. citizens to be supported by an underpaid workforce who are stripped of benefits (which are handed to 'legal' citizens). All 'studies' are driven to prove a certain agenda. I will not pretend that the 'studies' i refer to have less of an agenda than the ones you have referenced.

...As far as this being as immigration laws being inherently 'racist', I completely agree. To truly understand/approach racism, we have to understand that our country (the institutions that run it, maintain it) were founded within racist ideology, and traces of this ideology can be found today (such as within immigration laws; i.e. who can and can't be allowed within our country or receive benefits; comparable to the alien land acts imposed upon japanese immigrants in the 1920s).

Race, as it is conceived in the United States, is politically driven and legally constructed. If you have trouble understanding this, please look up one example (of many) where Mexican-Americans were 'constructed' as white: Hernandez v. Texas, 1951.
Posted by Mory  on  04/18  at  08:07 PM

Page 1 of 1 pages
Commenting is not available in this site entry.

Quote

Bible Verse of the Day

Monthly Archives