Breeched Wales Bloviating in the Hot Sun

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Race Baiting for Open Borders

While I was over at No Treason I also spotted a post titled "The Real Reason Some People Want Closed Borders". by John Lopez. Based on the number of comments, I see this is an issue people aren't willing to discuss, lest they be called a racist. Which is a reasonable assumption given poor reasoning that went into this post.

One commenter got the gist of the post.

In my decade of libertarian discussions and debate, I have yet to hear an anti-immigrant position that at it's essence in principles did not boil down to "I just don't like those brown-skinned other people"

Although this commenter goes a little further than claiming it is only "some people".

John's post starts with a picture of some illegal immigrants who beat a team of MIT students for an engineering prize. He then writes:
Let that sink in for a minute.

I wasn't surprised so it left me wondering what I was suppose to let sink in. It's no surprise to me that a U.S. high school team might beat MIT. I've heard of this kind of thing before.

It certainly would have been more surprising had I believed that illegal immigrants were not are allowed to go to taxpayer funded schools. After all then they would have had to pay for their own education. That would be hard to do on an illegal off the books salary. So I don't think we are to be surprised that they got a good education because they were here illegally. Since most people know that doesn't preclude one from getting a free US education.

That leaves me with one thing. We were suppose to be surprised because they were "brown skinned". That leads me however to wonder exactly what racial makeup John expects us to assume on the part of the MIT team. Here I was assuming that team had perhaps a Chinese and East Indian or two. Is he some sort of racist that assumes MIT is all white?

I’ve given enough of the background so now on to my point. This post wasn't about me. Johns post was mainly a hack job on one Ira Mehlman. I found it hard to believe that a guy named Ira Mehlman would be concerned about immigration for solely racist reasons given historical facts about Jews, or for the fear of an inability of Jews to compete academically with Hispanics. I did look it up, and Ira is a Jew, or at least he is a co-founder of an organization titled "American Jewish Immigration Policy Institute".
So not finding this Johns post credible I decided to find out Mehlman's real reasons were. Was he against immigration for the same reasons as say a Chuck Pearson. Someone who, by the way, has a problem with Ira.
You can't read a news story like "Mexican Official Wants Border Eliminated" without running straight into a Jew. "'It is clear that their objective is to affect the domestic policies of the U.S.' said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform" -- thus proving once more Pearson's Law. "Any organization that is not explicitly anti-Semitic ends up being run by Jews." Surprise!

I doubt it. This guys so dumb he didn't even recognize that Ira was arguing against a fully open border with Mexico. Ira seems smarter than that.

One of the first things I wondered about is how Mehlman got pulled into this MIT article. He wasn't mentioned at either of the links provided by John. The way John made his post it seemed like Ira couldn't help but speak up about the winning of this award. Is Ira against private organizations awarding prizes to illegals? I don't think so. I found the original article at Wired here. They made the connection but with a lot of intervening text that John removed. Ira's quote wasn't about the prize. It really only pertained to taxpayer money going to illegals.

Next I wondered why John felt justified in saying this was Ira's "real" reason for wanting closed borders. In the colloquial the "real reason" is a sole hidden agenda. Was it true that Ira was hiding something and that it was the sole reason he was for closed borders? Well, firstly the reason isn't hidden. He states it plain and clear. Furthermore, he has lots of other reasons, it's just that John didn't feel the need to mention them, or perhaps even to look them up. Reasons like a quite justified fear of muslim immigration, a perhaps ill informed concern about unskilled labor, concerns with overpopulation, infrastructure and tax burden, also concerns about fairness on the issue of the educations grants from the state.

Well so far John has lead me astray on most of these facts, so I began to wonder if Mehlman was even wants closed borders as the title states. Again, I have been mislead. Turns out Ira is all for immigration as one would expect given his heritage. It's just that he wants it done legally. The opposite of an open borders position is not closed borders after all.

Of course, maybe I got John all wrong, and he was moralizing about some other point besides racism. If it truly was about education grants then why didn't he balance his article and complain about foreign countries not allowing US citizens access to their programs? Then an Ira Mehlman could win one of those lucrative oil revenue supported grants from say Saudi Arabia. That would be a laugh if Jews won all the grants from Saudi Arabia.

Reverse Equivocation

I was over at No Treason reading a post by John Sabatta titled Jon Henke Sucks Ass. I followed the link over to Billy Beck to see what the fuss was about. Turns out it is about this quote from Henke:

"Here's the thing: maybe you know some way to engage in politics without compromising, but I don't. Actually, that's not quite true. There have been a few people who've done well without much in the way of compromise: Genghis Khan comes to mind. Stalin. Mao."

Beck took an alternate meaning of "politics" than intended and found the statement offensive.
And I actually have people asking me why I say this person is a "punk". We're talking about someone who will actually compare people who will not stoop to electoral politics with all the worst murderers in history.

Henke defends himself in the first comment at No Treason.
Look, I'm not particularly concerned with the apolitical stance you guys take. I sincerely wish you the best of luck with that.

But what Billy wrote is a lie. Perhaps he knows better and perhaps not, but if there's a shred of intellectual honesty among you, somebody will observe that I could NOT have been comparing Billy Beck, or any of you, to the aforementioned murderers. I explicitly stated that you have to be a ruthless totalitarian to be able to participate in politics without making compromises. In politics, you can either negotiate with your opponent, or kill him.

Billy Beck, et al, do NOT participate in politics. What's more, in that same post, I wrote of political conscientious objectors like yourselves: "I accept that. I even admire it".

On the narrow subject of what Jon Henke meant by "politics" in his Ghenghis Khan quote, I think Henke wins this fight and Beck loses. Billy Beck did misunderstand him, and uses his own personal equivocation to make his deduction. He equivocates on the meaning of "politics" in order to turn Henke's statement into a vile comparison. That form of reverse equivocation is no more than a straw man argument. You have to get the oppositions argument correct before you can refute it.

Was Beck wrong in his interpretation of Henke? Was he being reasonable? Let's see.

There is a longstanding tradition in Libertarianism to talk about "the political means" to refer to the use of force to impose ones will on others. In fact many "pure libertarians" refuse to join the LP precisely because they are "political parties". Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that Henke was using a definition similar to this when talking about libertarians and libertarianism? Especially, after Henke makes it clear? I think so.

This opinion is not shared by Beck. Even after being corrected by Henke he goes on to comment.
You're wrong, Henke. You don't know what you're talking about, and this episode is emblematic of your problem, which is mainly that you're simply ignorant.
I did not lie about anything, I made no mistake of understanding or anything else. The fact is that you have no idea what you wrote means. And the fact that you're such an ignoramus is what brought you to this strait. You're a strutting fool, with far more attitude than you're worth.

This is one incredibly beautiful example of screwy logic. He's claiming here that Henke doesn't know what he himself meant. Furthermorw, he is acting as if there is only one possible definition of the word "political". Is he merely calling Henke ignorant for using a different meaning of the word than the one he wishes to impute? No, he is going further than that. He's claiming there is only one possible definition and that Henke is an ignoramous for not knowing this.

Perhaps Beck is ignorant of the fact that the word "politics" has multiple definitions?

Lets look at the American Heritage entry for the word politics:

1. (used with a sing. verb) a. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs. b. Political science. 2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) a. The activities or affairs engaged in by a government, politician, or political party: “All politics is local” (Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.). “Politics have appealed to me since I was at Oxford because they are exciting morning, noon, and night” (Jeffrey Archer). b. The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government: The politics of the former regime were rejected by the new government leadership. If the politics of the conservative government now borders on the repressive, what can be expected when the economy falters? 3. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political life: studied law with a view to going into politics; felt that politics was a worthwhile career. 4. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive. 5. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Political attitudes and positions: His politics on that issue is his own business. Your politics are clearly more liberal than mine. 6. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.

Beck is claiming that he meant version five. That isn't reasonable in light of the original context, the liberarian view of politics, and further in light of the fact that he was corrected by Henke in his comment as stated here.
So tell me, how exactly did I compare NON-participants to murderers? And how do you reconcile my *admiration* of principled non-participation with Billy's claim that I compared principled non-participation to murderers?

You can't. You simply can't. I informed Billy of his misapprehension. He blew it off. Now you know. If you can reconcile the clear meaning I gave with the fucked up, ass-backwards intent Billy infered, by all means, be my guest. But I think that, whatever your opinion of my political stance, you have both gotten this one badly wrong.

You don't owe me an apology. You don't owe me shit. But you owe it to yourself not to spread such a poor misunderstanding.

Was what Billy Beck wrote “a lie” as Henke claims. Well that depends on whether Beck knew the meaning that was intended at the time, doesn't it. If he knew then it was a lie. If not then perhaps it was just some form of reverse equivocation. A logical fallacy, sure, but not a lie. This leaves Beck in a quandary. Does he claim ignorance, or a poor grasp of logic?

Now personally I thought the meaning was clear from the context, so unless there is something strange about Beck's thought processes here. I don’t see how he could not know what Henke meant. Did he commit a fallacy, was he lying, or was this due to some other reason known only to him? I'm not going to fall into the trap Beck did however. I leave it up to Beck to tell us.

I do however form opinions and at this time my opinion is that Beck doesn't argue fairly, or with any sort of logical rigour. It is very hard to argue with someone who puts words in your mouth. You end up spending all your time defending your character and never on the point at hand. At some point Henke is just going to have to ignore him. My opinion will change the minute Beck apologizes to Henke. That, however, is going to be a tough pill to swallow after calling Henke a "punk".