Monday, October 31, 2011

Bachmann the Pharisee

I can't add anything to Michael Gerson's succinct annihilation of Michele Bachmann's raison d'etre as a candidate. She's running as a conservative 'Christian' who will restore morality in American public life, which she intends to do by punishing children for the crimes of their parents. That's expressly forbidden in Deuteronomy 24:16.
Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.
But that's a verse taken out of context! Surely if we read what surrounds it, we'll see that it doesn't apply to the case of undocumented aliens.
14 Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. 15 Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. 16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin. 17 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. (NIV)
Yeah, so there is that.


Carol L. Douglas said...

None of that would be a problem if we enforced the borders in the first place. Tiny Albion, NY is a community that doesn’t see murder for years on end, but is located in apple country in Orleans County. It had its second murder by an illegal alien this year.

We’ve used illegal aliens as slave laborers for two generations, separating them from their wives and children. Meaning that the current generation of illegal migrant workers was raised without fathers. We’ve sown the wind, and now we reap the whirlwind.

Chops said...

Why enforce the border? Why not allow legal immigration to large numbers of immigrants? That's how my family arrived here from various countries. Illegal immigration is about supply and demand, not crime. By keeping the honest poor out, we've selected those who are willing to break at least one law. Sowing the wind, indeed.

Carol L. Douglas said...

My great-uncle was turned back at the border for having bad papers in the Twenties, so we're no stranger to the problems of immigration. No nation has ever had open borders, including us. Every nation titers immigration as a method of maintaining national identity, preventing dissolution of common values, and (yes) economic self-determination.

In addition, there's the issue that the porous southern border creates a massive crime problem in the US. Something like 27% of criminals in Federal prisons are foreign nationals, and in Texas border county prisons, something like 34%. None of them are there for immigration violations; they're there because they committed other crimes.

If we want to argue that Central Americans should have precedence over others, I'm fine with that. But there are people all over the world wanting to come here, and we have to have an orderly process of choosing among them.

Chops said...

Yes, and legal immigration would allow a greater mix of immigrants. That would preserve our national identity as a melting pot: if your co-workers are from India, Laos, Tibet, Siberia, Yemen, Chad, Angola, Brazil, and Santa Lucia, you've gotta learn English!

Also, you're simply wrong about the idea that countries have "always" had immigration restrictions. That wasn't the case until the 19th century. Before that, population was (accurately) viewed as a strength, and immigration was encouraged - throughout the ancient world, the middle ages, etc. Notions of national purity are a fiction of modern times, and fed the great evils of our time.

Chops said...

The best solution to crime is to liberalize legal immigration. Then we can track of most of the foreigners living here, and deport them if they commit felonies. They'll have an incentive to keep clean noses and work hard.

By contrast, now we try to defy the laws of supply and demand, so we keep out people who place a high value on tranquility, family, and honesty.

If we liberalized immigration today, and continued to penalize employers who hire illegals (i.e. to avoid paying taxes), then the illegals would quickly become unemployed, and go home. We've already seen a decrease in illegal immigrants during the Great Recession.

Carol L. Douglas said...

I think you're conflating two questions--that of what we want our legal immigration rules to be and whether we in fact want to wink and nod at illegal immigration.

While you may be right about the 19th century (and I suspect that European admixture wasn't as liberal as the Americas were, since Europe had a glut of unskilled laborers they wanted to offload), that isn't the truth during the classical era. The Romans had a class of person called the dediticii, which included the barbarians. You didn't get the blessings of citizenship without giving something important to Rome--either your body as a soldier, or your wealth, or your land. In fact, until very recently, it was accepted that the influx of barbarians into the Roman empire caused its downfall. Although my intellectual superiors cavil at this, I still believe it to be in large part true, since Rome had the same problem utilizing unskilled labor that we have here today.

Also, although the Deuteronomy passage certainly argues for treating the alien in our midst with compassion, it doesn't suggest throwing the doors open to him.

Chops said...

Roman citizenship was very different than legal residence. And the later emperors often welcomed barbarian immigrants. Sometimes they regretted it later, but they did welcome and settle them in underpopulated areas.

And you're right about my approach: we have to open more legitimate avenues to immigration or there is going to be illegal immigration. You can't flog your way out of this problem.