Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.
Under the hot sun, sweating Hondurans trudge across Mexico headed for the United States and khaki-wearing hacks in comfortable D.C. digs pound out defenses of amnesty on their iPads. The men in the desert call the thing that they want “amnistía,” but its domestic defenders refuse to use the “A-word.”
To them it’s always immigration reform. But it’s not immigration that is being reformed; a word that comes from the Latin “reformare” which means to reshape.
It’s the United States of America that is being reformed and reshaped.
The consequences of that reformation are not only linguistic, but political. Amnesty’s reshaping of America will make conservative political positions untenable. That is why some establishment Republicans are pushing for amnesty. A political shift that will bury small government as thoroughly as the gold standard isn’t just to the advantage of the Democratic Party.
It’s also to their advantage.
Many assume that illegal alien amnesty means cheap votes for Democrats and cheap labor for Republicans. But that’s only partly true.
There are powerful men in both parties who believe that the United States must “reform” to be more like Europe. That it must have a stronger central government and more controlling social policies.
Amnesty is an opportunity to reshape national politics by eliminating opposition to everything from Common Core (support for Common Core in California is at 77% among Latinos and 57% among whites) to Global Warming crackdowns (90% of Latinos want government action) and nationalized health care (74% support “public option” government health care).
Super-Amnesty, many times bigger than the last amnesty, will kill conservative politics. The Tea Party will become a historical footnote. Taxes will go on rising. Government will grow unstoppably bigger.
There will still be a Republican Party. It will support nationalizing health care and expanding the welfare state. Think of today’s Democratic Party. That will be tomorrow’s Republican Party. Pick a radical left-wing party that barely registers on the polls. That will be tomorrow’s Democratic Party.
Articles that claim to be making a conservative case for amnesty are taking a left turn down a dead end street. There can be no conservative case for amnesty because there is no such thing as a conservative case for a policy that will not have a conservative outcome.
It’s possible to make a conservative case for just about anything by breaking conservatism down to a handful of supposed principles such as “free enterprise” or “stronger families” and then overlaying those principles on a policy.
That same technique can be used to make a conservative case for nationalizing health care or child slavery. The piecemeal principles argument is fine for constructing talking points, but it’s also cheap sophistry. It can be used to prove anything which means that it also proves nothing.
The only meaningful argument for a policy is based on outcomes.
If the outcome of a conservative policy is more liberalism, it was never a conservative policy to begin with. That is the simplest and most reliable acid test of any “conservative” policy agenda.
Will Policy X put the country on a more liberal or conservative track? That is a question that Republican advocates of amnesty don’t like answering. Their conservative case for amnesty is all about stronger families and free enterprise; they don’t want to talk about what the United States will actually look like after a generation of majority support for every possible big government gimmick.
72% of Hispanics in the US believe that the system favors the wealthy and that the government should intervene to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. 60% believe that hard work does not guarantee success. The majority want higher taxes over tax cuts and spending more while raising taxes to pay for it.
And for those holding out hope on the social conservative front, the majority supports gay marriage and opposes abortion by only a narrow margin.
These aren’t racial or ethnic differences. They are political culture differences. Immigrants from brutal totalitarian left-wing dictatorships, like Cuba or the USSR, often lean to the right. However immigrants from countries that lean to the left without being giant death camps, tend to also lean to the left.
The Swedish immigrants that I’ve met think that gun control is so common sense that only a complete maniac would oppose it. Mexico has universal health care and no matter how badly it works, Mexican immigrants think that it’s only natural that the government should have a public option. China spends vast sums of money on a public education system. Chinese immigrants expect the US to do the same.
Immigrants who don’t leave a home country with the understanding that it is completely broken and should only be mentioned as a cautionary tale will support repeating those same tragic errors here.
The Mexican Constitution specifies a minimum wage, unionization and low-cost housing. Those aren’t unusual things in Latin American constitutions. They may exist more in theory than in reality, but they are a baseline expectation.
Amnesty advocates claim that legalization will assimilate illegal aliens. It’s hard to tell if they’re kidding themselves or us. They will be “assimilated” by the same left-wing social system that they have already been living in. They will be assimilated by public schools and state universities, by community activist groups and media outlets and by all the other arms of the Democratic Party and its left-wing satellites.
Republican advocates of amnesty speak of this country as a beacon of freedom. And they’re right. That beacon of freedom has been offered to immigrants around the world. And it is in their interest and ours that the beacon remain lit by opposing a Super-Amnesty of illegal aliens that would drown out its light.
The American culture of freedom is already under siege. Immigration should serve America’s culture of freedom. Anything else would be unfair to Americans and to the generations of future immigrants.
There can be no conservative case for Super-Amnesty unless it can be argued that it will make the country more conservative, freer and less taxed than it is today. Instead the numbers show that Super-Amnesty will create overwhelming support for government power, less freedom and higher taxes.
America will become California.
Super-Amnesty is radical social change in a can. Conservatives don’t believe in radical social change. Amnesty supporters insist that conservatives should lay out a policy alternative to mass amnesty, but the very idea that massive social problems have easy solutions is an intellectual error of the left.
Conservatives accept that social problems arise from human frailty, rather than fundamental inequities. We do not believe in push-button solutions to social problems. Instead we affirm that in maintaining our ideals despite human frailties, we will become a better nation.
Illegal aliens will always exist because there will be people on both sides of the border who will selfishly break the law, harming themselves and others. The solution to this social problem is not to reject the law, abandon borders and citizenship, but to affirm these things in the face of their violation.
We do not fight theft by rejecting ownership. Instead we defend the value of human labor. We do not stop killing by making excuses for murderers, but by championing the value of human life. We do not protect marriage by redefining it so that it means nothing, but by recommitting to the family. And we do not end violations of the border by watering down American citizenship, but by strengthening it.
Making America more Socialist can never be a conservative policy. Authentic conservatism is not misled by talking points that speak of conservative principles.
It accepts nothing less than a conservative outcome.
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