Friday, May 19, 2006

Fair Play

Charles Krauthammer: “Do liberals really believe in a de facto policy that depresses the wages of the poorest and most desperate Americans...? Do liberals believe that the number, social class, educational level, background and country of origin of immigrants ... should be taken out of the hands of the American citizenry and left to the immigrants themselves, and in particular, to those most willing to break the very immigration regulations the American people have decided upon democratically?”

These are points I’ve made, in these pages. Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, poses them in terms of Freud’s last words: what do liberals want? Indeed, what do they want? We’ll put aside the trite and the truism, and look for substance, in this immigration debate. Okay, substance. Um. Uh. Hm. Uh.


Okay, let’s forget that. Let’s consider the trite and the truistic. They want fair play. Well, that’s what laws are for – so they want different laws? No. The laws specific to this immigration issue are simply not enforced, so it’s not strictly a practical matter of law. It must be that having to sneak, rather than riding in chartered buses - or parade floats - across the border doesn’t seem fair, to them. Yes. That must be it. It certainly is not fair that foreigners should have been born in some other country, and for that mere and ugly truth are condemned to a life of summer dust and winter mud. It would be fair if everyone started out with the same blessings of a prosperity-promoting culture and non-corrupt institutions.

And there is something demeaning to the soul and inimical to one’s dignity, to creep by night across desert wastes, or crawl like proud penitents through transnational tunnels. I know, for my part, that a large part of why I don’t do sneaky, creepy, cowardly, dishonest things is that my conscience would torment me utterly if I did. So those who have arrived here by doing such shameful things enjoy the physical fruits of their actions, at some price to their honor. Well, as every liberal knows, negative feelings are bad, and their cause must be legislated against.

The guilt - or rather the inconvenience - of being here unlawfully must be a grave emotional burden. It ought not be. Their crime should be expiated, and can be simply by saying it is so. Amnesty is absolution. And pardon my bias, but that seems just about the only forgiveness a liberal wants – from society.

It boils down to conscience. And with a liberal, to me, it seems that conscience has more to do with feeling right, than doing right. It’s alright to change the rules retroactively. It’s required that everyone, losers along with winners, gets a trophy. Morality is a continuum of infinite gradations of gray, with no final resolution into black or white. We’ll just vote on the definition of right or wrong, and that’ll settle it. The imposing trove of defense mechanisms by which we justify ourselves will be the sacraments of sanctification in a secular faith of fair play.

Oh my. Is this a rant? My tone is quite calm ... but I intended to deal with so many other points. Because I’m sure liberals want more than just illegals to have high self-esteem. Should there be a Part Two? Hardly seems worth the bother. It’s like writing a manual on the care and feeding of unicorns. I’d just be guessing.

But after all, nobody has the right to tell me I’m wrong. It’s a free country. Whatever that means. I get the free part. But the definition of country seems increasingly gray.


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