It’s always good to shroud your sexism in racism


Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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292 Responses

  1. Avatar Lenoxus says:

    It is interesting that the racism would be so much more explicit than the sexism. Normally it’s the other way around — a columnist can remain well-respected after going into huge detail about men and women having innate differences that go beyond social influence, but not the same with regard to race. To put that another way, there’s a reason the “alt-right” considers “cuckservatives” to be traitors primarily on race rather than sex. By the way, where does this Steyn person fit on that spectrum — is he basically alt-right himself?

    (I’m not trying to do oppression olympics here — whether sexism or racism is actually more oppressive in its effects is a seperate question. I’m just talking about one specific flavor of social acceptability; heck, there are probably areas I’m ignoring in which racism would be more acceptable than sexism.)

    Meanwhile, I feel like a certain sort of comment might be made criticizing the original post gere… I just want to pre-empt them by saying there’s nothing wrong with straining on both a camel and a gnat. (Maybe something bigger than a gnat; a large rodent of some kind.)Report

    • Thanks for the comment, Lenoxus. I, too, was not trying to do the oppression olympics here, but it can be difficult to walk that line without peppering the post with countless caveats. I get what you’re saying about how usually the sexism might be more overt than the racism. I think what we see in this situation is that it’s not just that the sexism is less overt; it’s just woven in, almost subconsciously.

      I couldn’t say if Steyn is alt-right. Honestly, I don’t really know what that means. I spend most of my time writing about municipal politics and zoning regulations.

      The gnat-camel reflection is also fair. All I’ll say to that is that when this post came out, I saw a lot of people on twitter commenting on the race aspect. Lending my voice to that wouldn’t add a whole lot. However, I didn’t see any comments on the sexism angle, so that seemed like something different to explore.Report

      • Avatar geokstr in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        Since when did Mexicans become a race? Why don’t you just declare wymmyn and LGBTQWERTYs races as well? NewSpeak is all about redefining the language to prevent badthought and that’s all doubleplusgood, right?

        And I wouldn’t doubt that someday it comes out that Mexico is actually taking an active part in sending us their poorest, least educated, sickliest citizens, along with its criminals. We’ve already got 25% of Mexico’s entire population living here – we might as well declare it the 58th state. It’s the only way the most corrupt government in the universe can survive.

        This column is just more looney-toons from the hyper-sensitive about “micro-aggressions”, which, like rightwing “dog whistles”, can only be detected by leftlings.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Lenoxus says:


      This is a good observation. I wonder what is causing the racists to come more and more out of the woodwork so openly.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Facebook (the internet, actually) and the changing demographics of America.

        The first allows you to live in a self-reinforcing bubble, which means you…lose track…of where the social guidelines are. You forget, basically, how to be a racist in public. Why dog whistle and use socially acceptable euphemisms when everyone you know agrees with you and uses more…definitive…terms?

        Second, the changing demographics — especially the election and re-election of a black, Democratic President. Both a powerful statement and symbolic of a changing America. Racists, by and large, want America to go back to the 50s or earlier. Black faces in power aren’t 1950s. It’s not familiar. It’s change, and it’s visible, and while you can scream affirmative action a LOT for black CEO’s and such, the President was elected. It takes a lot of self-delusion to pretend he somehow got the job in any other route than ‘winning’.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I wonder what is causing the racists to come more and more out of the woodwork so openly.

        Well, if you can keep all the moving parts straight in your head in this little game, you have to first remember that no one is a racist. Next, you have to recall that the biggest push from conservatives against the accusation of racism is that they’re racially color blind, so whatever policy or position they’re advocating is based exclusively on non-racial considerations (and it’s liberals who are the real racists). Finally, you have to realize – as I’m sure you do! – that discourse based on the first two principles has become not only common and accepted but revered to some extent within our broader political discourse. It’s been normalized.

        But here’s the thing: what you view as racists coming outa the woodwork is viewed by others differently. As you seeing racism in comments and people who aren’t (by self-definition!) racists.

        Of course, the above sorta assumes that racists are actually coming outa the woodwork, which I don’t think is actually the case. Racists, and racist language, are like the poor: they’ll always be with us. Maybe the impression that there are more racists now has something to do with boldly rejecting the dog-whistle and going straight to English language signals.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This is a good observation. I wonder what is causing the racists to come more and more out of the woodwork so openly.

        The change of emphasis from “racism as personally held beliefs” to “racism as structural oppression” has changed the playing field, somewhat.

        If someone now says “I think that we shouldn’t change how we do the things we do with regards to Policy P”, we now understand that they are a racist when we would not have understood that in 1950 (unless Policy P explicitly dealt with African-Americans).Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        >>I wonder what is causing the racists to come more and more out of the woodwork so openly.

        What do you mean by “out of the woodwork”? Derb and Steyn were fired from NR and now are free to spout outright racism on their personal blogs. A columnist moving out of the mainstream press and becoming more extreme in alt venues is, in my opinion, moving *into* the woodwork, and not out of it.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to trizzlor says:

          trizzlor: Derb and Steyn were fired from NR and now are free to spout outright racism on their personal blogs.

          It seems that the Steyn case is rather more complicated than that. I still haven’t found a good summary of the matter, but Steyn had a public “dust-up” with one editor in relation to the dreadfully important Duck Dynasty affair, then also separated his legal defense from NR’s in relation to the Michael Mann lawsuit. In neither instance was Steyn accused of “racism” or did his views on race (or on immigration, for that matter) come into play, as far as I know. Do you know differently? Based on what?

          Apparently, he still frequently appears on FNC and is still a regular guest host for Rush Limbaugh. Very right, but not alt-right. Consult the handy chart. I’d say Steyn qualifies as “edgy,” especially since he’s willing to go to court to defend his intellectual freedom as he sees it rather than just give in.Report

      • Avatar mikulin in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        You degree are the reason.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Lenoxus says:

      Mark Steyn wrote (in the National Review, FWIW) accusing a climatologist who didn’t deny climate change of fraud, and calling him “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science”. He was sued over this, and his lawyers fired him after he insulted the judge in print.

      I’m not sure I’d describe Steyn as “well-respected”. At least not “widely respected”.Report

      • Avatar Ivan in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Given that after the first few rounds of the interminable lawsuit (interminable due to Mann’s delaying tactic), Steyn upgraded his legal team to the top names in the field (Kornstein, Platt, Songer), it’s at the very least a bit disputable who fired whom.
        And as for public “respectability” – I am quite sure that in his days, Mark Twain wasn’t nearly as “well-respected” as say the heads of English departments at Oxford or Harvard (now, what were they names again?)Report

      • Avatar Paptimus in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I don’t mean to split hairs, but Steyn never said that. He merely quoted Rand Simberg (his co-defendant) in and article called “Football and Hockey.” The libel suit against Steyn is rooted in his declaration in the same article that Dr. Michael Mann has engaged in fraud (Steyn maintains his use of the term was colloquial and not intended to accuse Mann of an actual crime) and that he is the “ringmaster of the tree-ring circus,” perhaps among other specific phrases.

        That aside, I’m not sure that I agree with Mr. McLeod’s (is it alright if I identify you by your gender?) assessment that Steyn’s article is either racist or sexist. Undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, however you classify them, are illegally resident foreign nationals. A subset of that group, which comprises a majority, are in fact Mexican citizens. Why is it inherently racist to point out the principal nation of origin of illegal immigrants? We share a large border with Mexico and many of its citizens do not respect that border. End of story. It isn’t particularly significant that these entrants have a different ethnicity than a majority of Americans; to presume that arguments for securing the border or expelling our unwanted guests are divisive and constitute ad hominem distractions from a critical issue facing the United States. Suppose for a moment that Mexicans were principally Caucasian rather than Hispanic, but that the characteristics of immigrants to the United States were otherwise unchanged. Would it still be racist to point out societal friction and problems associated with Mexican citizens? I don’t think it would be. And yet the incidental factor, that our illegal alien population are largely ethnic minorities, is used to bludgeon critics of the status quo and demonize them as racists and bigots.

        Hillary Clinton’s two and a half terms as US Senator and service as Secretary of State are certainly a significant part of her resume. But for many conservatives and probably many progressives, a President Hillary Clinton would be a return to the Clinton era in the same way that many on both sides of the aisle are horrified by or enthusiastic about the prospect of President Jeb Bush. Hillary is as difficult to separate from Bill Clinton as Jeb is to break from his father and brother. The Kennedys, particularly Ted, suffered for decades over references to the Camelot days and comparisons to JFK. Mrs. Clinton, similarly, is Mrs. Clinton, and pointing that out has everything to do with her association with all things Bill and Hillary and little or nothing to do with highlighting her gender.

        I admit to being a fan of Steyn’s writing and a regular at his blog, and while I sometimes find his snark goes a bit far I believe it is rooted in passion rather than prejudice. But maybe I have blinders.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Paptimus says:

          This calm and thoughtful comment has no place in this debate!

          (Just kidding. I don’t think I’ve seen you before, stick around.)

          I was channel-flipping the other night and caught a few minutes of a PBS doc on the Dust Bowl, and how migrant “Okies” fleeing their ruined land were subject to all kinds of discrimination elsewhere (“No Okies Need Apply”-type signs saying they weren’t welcome, etc. etc.)

          This isn’t to say that such treatment was right; only to say that the treatment didn’t appear to be based on racial/ethnic prejudices (lots of Okies were white).

          The treatment was based on (probably) the usual fears – that local systems could not support a rapid large influx of poor and desperate people.Report

          • Avatar Paptimus in reply to Glyph says:

            That’s an interesting anecdote, but I don’t really see how it relates to either my comment or works it is derived from. Please elaborate.

            Discrimination against Mexican and other immigrants is a separate problem, but I don’t think that a reluctance to support a large and notably uncontrolled migration of destitute or otherwise desperate people is simply rooted in fear. Logical criticisms of the current immigration policies in the United States include:

            1. The current system doesn’t emphasize or prefer individuals that have high economic value, such as those with STEM degrees.
            2. Along with the first point, policies in place encourage immigrants to self-select their families. Because of the policy of birthright citizenship, this is increasingly a challenge.
            3. Enforcement of overstayed student and work visas, etc. is lax and should be tightened.
            4. A coherent and sensible policy that allows for immigration for humanitarian purposes should be adopted and enforced.
            5. Pathways to citizenship should be streamlined so that those wishing to become Americans or live in the United States are discouraged from doing so illegally.
            6. Our border with Mexico is too porous and should be controlled as tightly as is feasible for security and immigration purposes. Why is the (notably much larger) Canadian border more difficult to circumvent than the only land border the US shares with a developing nation?
            7. How should the existing population of illegally resident foreign nationals in the US be dealt with? Mass deportation seems impractical so it seems more sensible to cut them off from economic incentives to stay while deporting those who authorities happen to come across. This may also help with #6 and other items above.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Paptimus says:

              My comment was simply providing a historical example of reluctance to accept unlimimited “immigration” that did not appear to be rooted in racial/ethnic animus; by analogy, neither need be reluctance in this instance.

              And “fear” was not intended as a pejorative, though it’s often used that way; fear can be reasonable – for example if I fear that my roof, already water-damaged, may collapse in heavy rains. I quite carefully phrased my sentence, I thought, to make clear that I was arguing against looking at the question as necessarily and always ‘Fear of the Other’, so much as ‘Fear of What Unlimited Additional People Might Mean’.Report

              • Avatar Paptimus in reply to Glyph says:

                Fair enough, I see your point. But along the lines of the list I outlined above, that some people feel the need to fear what unlimited additional people might mean is in itself indicative that our immigration policies are broken. Nearly 12 million people that are in the United States right now shouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be if they were obeying our laws.

                Assuming that they were evenly distributed across the country, one in thirty-two people people you met each day would be illegal immigrants. That is cause for action, if not concern. But “unlimited” is exactly what the mass migration across our southern border is: uncontrolled and largely unmitigated as a matter of practice. There have been a few reports over the last few years that suggested the Mexican government was actively helping its citizens to cross the border illegally, to say nothing of the atrocities committed by coyotes (people who help border crossers, usually for exorbitant sums of money). Something should be done to stem the tide, and I don’t think another amnesty should be part of that if we are to avoid further violation of our borders.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    FWIW — and this is a small point to the larger one in your post — I think that immigration opposition is one of those areas that can be linked to xenophobia, which in turn can be linked to racism.

    I disagree with just about every point those who focus on the Mexican border when discussing illegal immigration bring up, but it seems wrong to declare that opposing toleration of undocumented workers from Mexico and Latin America is in itself racism. It’s absolutely a position that attracts certain people to it like a moth to flame, but I’m not sure I buy into the conclusion that “we have too many Mexican nationals here illegally” = “I am a racist.”Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      So what IS the right number of Mexicans?

      The focus on folks of a particular nationality/ethnicity/race makes it really hard to not call it racism.

      I mean, if he said, “We have enough immigrants. There are Americans who can and will do that work if we let them,” then we can argue whether this is nationalism or xenophobia and if it is legitimate or not.

      Or if he said, “We have enough low and unskilled immigrants. There are Americans who can and will do that work if we let them,” then we can have those same arguments with some people chiming in that a dog whistle may be afoot.

      But when he says, “We have enough Mexicans,”… in singling out Mexicans from all other immigrants groups he is indicating something unique about them… something especially undesirable that makes more of them uniquely bad.

      I don’t know how to call that something that isn’t under the umbrella of racism.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

        Has anyone actually had that discussion Kazzy? Bc every time someones says anything about illegals, the majority of which are Mexican, all we hear from the left is racism.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:


        “I don’t know how to call that something that isn’t under the umbrella of racism.”

        Well first off, if you were really looking to understand the other side, you could start by acknowledging that for many people the fact that the people they are discussing are not in fact immigrants is actually pretty important.

        There are a lot of legitimate questions illegal immigration brings up, especially when it involves the scope of population that have come to the US via the Mexican border. First and foremost in my mind (and often ignored by liberals wanting to call others racist) is that the vast majority of them are essentially used as cheap and expendable labor, primarily because you don’t have to pay them anything close to a living (or even minimum) wage, and employers have practically no zero risk flouting employment laws and OSHA standards when hiring them. It’s about as close a thing to slave labor that exists inside the US borders today, and part of why we allow it is the exact same reason everyone looked the other way when there actually was slave labor — we get so many things at such a better cost because of it. Why looking the other way or giving tacit approval to this system isn’t something liberals ever consider racially driven is something I’ve never understood.

        But beyond that, there are legitimate issues of infrastructure, cost of providing services (without proper mechanisms to tax them to help pay for those services), and basic rule of law. I don’t necessarily agree with those who hang their hats on these issues, but they are legitimate questions. As to the “Mexican” part of the equation: none of these seem to be significant issues at all with Canadians — who, btw, are people we think of as white and so the thought of them being used as something close to slave labor is silly to most of us. And so it doesn’t seem necessarily racist to focus instead on the single border where, if you believe the current system is a problem, the problem exists.

        And again, that doesn’t mean that such arguments don’t call racists its cause — it does and it always will, almost by definition. But that isn’t proof that those who oppose illegal immigration are racist, any more than you being more supportive of a system that relies on the economic subjugation of latin Americans makes you inherently racist.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          The first-order question, as I see it, is “Does a nation have the right to limit the number* of people who come in to the country? Or is that racist/xenophobic?” If the answer to the second is “Yes”… well, that’s consistent, but it’s also utterly divorced from reality. We stop people coming in from Mexico, Mexico stops people from coming in from its south, and so on. A racist regime? A xenophobic one? Maybe, but not one I am especially concerned about it. Sometimes these conversations reach a point where I can only say “If this makes me a bigot, then I am a bigot.”

          I don’t believe the alternative model, where the US population jumps up by 45%, is exactly workable.

          That means two things: First, that we have to be in the business of deciding who should and should not be able to enter the country. Second, the latter category has to be contrary to law. They can be referred to as undocumented or illegal or unauthorized immigrants or whatever term you like. But if any and all opposition to them is bigoted, then a bigot am I. Full stop. And I don’t care.

          In practice, though, in my many discussions with people over the years the ideological difference in approach between “legal immigrant” and “illegal immigrant” is mostly (though not always) illusory. Especially when it comes to those who are passionate about illegal immigration. The person who is passionately against illegal immigrant who is not skeptical of legal immigrant? A rare bird, indeed. Which is why I tend not to accept the “I’m not anti-immigration, I’m anti-illegal-immigration” without first hearing their response to “What is your stance on H1-B visas?”

          I’m also, perhaps uncharitably, skeptical of claims that “Once we seal the borders and do all of these other things, we can talk about increasing the number of legal entrants.” I mean, I think they’re right we can talk about it, but I suspect that their stance will be a firm “No.”

          On the other hand, I think border hawks are also correct in their skepticism of claims that we need to do something about the illegal immigrants already here and then in the future we will build the fence (or take whatever other steps the border hawks seek taken). Some of that skepticism being rooted in the conversation here, and elsewhere, which is that “illegal immigration” is something that shouldn’t be opposed. Which even when not stated outright, is there between the lines of things that are stated outright.

          * – I’m excluding from this things like “Anyone can come pending a background check.” I’m not assuming that border doves are cool with letting crime lords and their syndicates into the country.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

            Adding on to this, I don’t think there’s *necessarily* anything racist about naming a particular country or ethnicity, if that country or ethnicity actually makes up the bulk of the population under discussion.

            If, for example, Mexicans currently make up 70% of all US illegal immigrants (I don’t know that they do, just arguendo), then if you believe that illegal immigration is a big problem and Mexicans make up its bulk, saying “I am concerned about all the illegal immigration from Mexico” is not de facto racist; any more than saying (again for example, and assuming these countries make up the bulk of the populations under discussion) “I am concerned about outsourcing all the US IT jobs to India/textile jobs to Pakistan”.

            In fact, in some ways these are roughly-equivalent complaints, though the US right tends to make #1 more, and the US left #2 more.

            (None of that is to say that racists don’t often glom onto such discussions and focus on the racial/ethnic aspects, since they obviously do; I’m just saying that stating simple facts that ARE aspects of an issue should not, in itself, be considered ‘racism’ IMO).Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


              I would say that “I’m concerned about illegal immigration from Mexico” and “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”.” are categorically different remarks.

              The latter says nothing about immigration. To say that America has more Mexicans than “anybody” needs — including Mexico! — is to say that Mexicans are inherently bad. That is out and out racist.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

                The qualified one (“more unskilled Mexicans”) one doesn’t really bother me (assuming it’s arguably true), since any country doesn’t need unskilled people, it needs skilled ones.

                The unqualified one (“more Mexicans than anybody needs”) is definitely worse.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


                If he had said, “America has more blacks than anyone needs…”
                Or, “America has more women than anyone needs…”
                Or, “America has more gays than anyone needs…”
                Or, “America has more Jews than anyone needs…”
                Would we even bat an eye at calling it a vile statement?

                Again, we can talk about the impact of immigration, legal immigration, illegal immigration, Mexican immigration, all without necessitating accusations of racism.

                What I don’t know how to do is talk about a specific group of people in a manner that says, “A critical mass of these people ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD INCLUDING THEIR HOME COUNTRY is bad for whatever place that is,” without concluding that the person hold that group of people in lower esteem than he olds other groups of people, groups that presumably can exist without limits the world over. I mean, seriously, you are pretty good at playing devil’s advocate. Show me a way to read that statement that doesn’t end with this one particular guy harboring animus towards Mexicans.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

                The only way that it’s not pretty terrible would be in contexts of overpopulation, which immigration arguments are sometimes a subset of – the fear that our “environment” – be it physical, or financial, or justice – can only support X number of people without risking resource depletion.

                I could say “China has more Chinese people than they need” since they have an acknowledged population problem, which is why they instituted one-child policies and the like, without being racist, right?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

                Even then, I’d argue that the appropriate statement would be, “China has more people than they need,” and then discuss their ability to sustain populations of a certain size.

                If his issue is about overpopulation of America than A) he needs to frame that and B) given that Mexicans make up approximately 11% of the American population (with only about 1/6 of all current Mexicans residing in America being illegal immigrants themselves… and only 1/3 being immigrants at all…), that is an odd place to make his focus.

                But even I have to think you don’t actually believe that and that in this case, the dude really is a racist and that all attempts to frame that criticism as, “Dude, you’re just poisoning the dialogue by playing the race card,” are themselves just playing the race card card.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

                I personally don’t think America is in danger of getting overrun by Mexicans just yet – certainly not physically, we have lots of room; economically, I think they probably are a net good; and it’s my understanding that immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates than natives.

                But, I could be wrong; and, even if immigrants commit crimes at lower rates, there still could in theory come a future point where their total numbers (even at lower rates) start to swamp certain systems.

                So in theory (which was all my original riff off @will-truman ‘s comment was about, not the specifics of Mark Steyn and his comments) I don’t think that naming a group automatically amounts to bigotry against that group, particularly in these types of discussions.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Kazzy says:

                all attempts to frame that criticism as, “Dude, you’re just poisoning the dialogue by playing the race card,” are themselves just playing the race card

                Do I read correctly that mere analysis of someone else’s debating tactic is racist? Hilarious.Report

              • Your finding that criticism hilarious is obviously racist. Not finding your finding obviously racist would also be racist, and not hilarious. Nor would it be hilarious to find not finding finding your finding not obviously racist not obviously racist. It would be racist. Obviously.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                I am afraid you consider the above piece of gibberish witty.
                As much as the temptation may be to throw back at you “hilarious”, it’s just sad. And silly.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:


                Not in the least. If I say, “Holy shit, this guy who thinks Mexico has too many Mexicans is a racist,” leads someone to say, “You won’t talk about immigration without labeling your opponents as racists,” then that someone isn’t actually engaging my point but is simply using self-victimization as a trump card.

                I have never… not here or elsewhere… argued that anti-immigration sentiments are inherently racist. What I’m arguing is that this particular dude’s comments are racist. So when @notme trots out his bumper sloganing, he is playing a slight of hand game that undermines constructive dialogue.


                I think singling out an individual group without giving any rationale whatsoever for why we should view that group differently is cause to question whether what makes that group most obviously unique (whatever that quality may be) is the rationale for singling them out.

                For instance, if I were to say, “Man, I fucking hate oranges. I’ve never met an orange I’ve liked. If I never see a fucking orange again… or orange juice or even Oragina and probably fucking Sunny Delight, too… I’ll die a happy man,” it’d be reasonable for you to think, “Man… what does this guy have against oranges?” And even if I then said, “Citrus fruits make me ill,” you’d probably walk back your initial question but that wouldn’t have made it inappropriate to ask in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Kazzy says:

                then that someone isn’t actually engaging my point but is simply using self-victimization as a trump card.

                That’s not playing the “race card”. And it’s not self-victimization either: you victimized them first by accusing them of racism.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

            @will-truman Most of the discussion I see going on with immigration is couched in a populist framing, which (I believe) is due to the fact that it first rose to prominence on talk radio (which is fueled entirely by populist messaging). And anytime you have things driven by populism, you are going to have an undue emphasis on xenophobia, racism, and other assorted forms of bigotry.

            All of which is to say that my observations about those on this issue pretty much match yours.

            And me being me, I would cynically add that I believe that neither side actually wants to the issue to be solved in any meaningful way. I think it’s great fodder for both mills, and that the drivers of the conversation on both sides would rather have that fodder than not.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              I almost responded to your first comment with my long-time phrase on the issue:

              “You don’t have to be a racist to be strongly opposed to illegal immigration. But it helps.”

              I think your last paragraph is accurate, though I may not agree on why. I don’t think it’s one of those issues that is kept alive to keep it alive. I think it’s an issue where each side has conflicting interests within their parties (and/or between their parties and electoral reality).Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:


              Re: your last paragraph

              Are you referring to politicians and talking head? Or regular people?

              Because if you’re talking about regular people, I think there is something interesting where you simultaneously push back against those who declare all anti-immigration folks are racist (something you are right to push back against) while also declaring that all folks on both sides are engaged in a certain level of disingenuousness. I guess I’m trying to understand which broad strokes are and are not appropriate to paint with.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


            I think your questions are exactly the sorts we should be having with regards to immigration.

            Again, I’m not taking a stand on immigration itself or categorizing any particular set of opinions on immigration as better or worse than others.

            What I’m saying is that the following statement is racist any way you slice it:

            “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”.”

            That ain’t about immigration. That is about the speaker (writer) thinking worse of Mexicans than he thinks of other people. That is racism.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          First off, where did I say that I support the status quo? Second off, where did I say that opponents of illegal immigration are necessarily racist?

          The funny thing is, I agreed with the bulk of your comment up until that last paragraph. As I said, there are many legitimate questions to ask and conversations to have about immigration, legal and otherwise.

          When the conversation turns from, “We should really consider all the ramifications of mass immigration (legal or otherwise) on both immigrants, their home countries, and their adopted countries and its inhabitants,” to “We have too many Mexicans,” I think we’ve crossed from legitimate conversation to some form of racism.

          Do you think the folks who trot out the “too many Mexicans” line care about how those workers are treated? Or actually read the research on the economic impact of immigration? Or do you think they have to press 1 for English and consider this an affront to their idealized version of America? I’m sure not ALL of them fit into that last category, but the vast, vast, vast majority do.

          And, again, I’m not talking about illegal immigration opponents. I’m talking about the “too many Mexicans” crowd.

          Personally, I am opposed to illegal immigration insofar as I think we should make immigration to and from this country much easier and devise a sustainable system wherein all comers can (eventually) enjoy the rights of citizenship while also being held fully accountable for the costs of being a member of our society. I realize that is rather vague and pretty pie-in-the-sky idealistic, but I think it demonstrates that I’m neither for the status quo nor reflexively antagonistic towards those who oppose illegal immigration.Report

      • Avatar m mcinnes in reply to Kazzy says:

        Steyn presumably singled out Mexicans because, unlike folks from countries other than Canada, Mexico shares a long border with America. The United States has a mechanism for controlling immigrants from other jurisdictions, but given the large, swinging open door on its southern border, none for dealing with the influx of Mexicans. As a result, instead of America taking the Mexicans it wants, it’s stuck with all of the Mexicans who want to come. That’s a big difference. It’s also a fairly obvious explanation for Steyn’s focus on Mexicans. Of course, people like Johnathan MacLeod are inclined to see racism and sexism and all sorts of other -isms wherever they look.Report

      • Avatar Paige in reply to Kazzy says:

        Zero ILLEGAL Mexicans is the right number.

        Most of the people crossing into America ILLEGALLY right now are Mexicans. There is absolutely nothing racist about pointing this out or stating that we don’t need ILLEGAL immigrants here. I’m seeing a lot of fuss in the comments about Mexicans but no one seems to be addressing the key problem here – not that they’re Mexicans but that they’re here ILLEGALLY.

        Mark Steyn could be a frothing racist with a giant swastika tattooed on his back and a white hooded tucked into his dresser for all I know. But pointing out the overtly obvious source of a problem doesn’t make him a racist.

        Bring me the hood and we’ll talk.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Paige says:

          But that isn’t what he said. He said:

          “What he said may or may not be offensive, but it happens to be true: America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”.”

          Nothing about immigration, legal or otherwise. Lots about Mexicans and there inherent worth.Report

        • Avatar Notme in reply to Paige says:

          Dont bother with kazzy, he just wants to argue about racism and ignore the real issue which is the all the illegal aliens.Report

      • Avatar mzee in reply to Kazzy says:

        Maybe because the overwhelming majority of immigrants is Mexican? “Mexican” is not a pejorative term, people.Report

        • Avatar Ivan in reply to mzee says:

          It would seem to me that considering the word “Mexican” a denigrating, pejorative term betrays racism on the part of the person who perceives it as such.Report

        • Avatar Henry Rohrer in reply to mzee says:

          This is incorrect. Mexicans account for about half of all foreign born in the US, and just over half of all people here illegally.

          The commenter’s error likely reflects the way the illegal immigration issue is framed by the various sets of the media.Report

      • Avatar Ivan in reply to Kazzy says:

        In regard to “Mrs. Clinton” – the point here is that Hillary Rodham wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell successfully running for any office of national significance. Steyn doesn’t call Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer “Mrs. Pelosi” or “Mrs. Boxer”.
        The only significant qualification of Hillary Rodham for an elected public office is having added Clinton to, and quite quickly upon her entrance into the political arena on her own removed Rodham from, her public name.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Ivan says:

          That’s not true, though Hillarycare was enough of a failure that her earlier successes could be seen as mere happenstance.
          Her work in Northern Ireland, in particular, was something that was key, crucial, and not a standard First Lady thing.Report

          • Avatar Ivan in reply to Kim says:

            1) Let’s leave aside how “crucial” her contribution was; the fact remains that even if we accept that she has done some things beyond a “standard” First Lady stuff, it’s being the First Lady what gave her the opportunity, not her own, independent career success.
            2) If you believe that having worked on the Ireland file, whatever credits the press would be willing to trumpet out for her, would be enough to get her elected a Senator, appointed a Secretary of State and make her electorally viable Presidential Candidate, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Ivan says:

          That’s why we call both Jeb and W “Bush Junior”.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Conflating wanting to discuss illegal immigration with racism is a brilliant ploy the left has come up with to shut down any type of honest discussion about the issue. Frankly, I’m not sure why liberals don’t want to discuss the issue.Report

      • Avatar Lenoxus in reply to notme says:

        I acknowledge the possibility that liberals are shutting down this conversation with racism accusations, but I also believe that if that is going on, it needs to be examined more closely. Why do conservatives give up so easily here?

        It could even be argued that the person who responds to a racism accusation by refusing to respond is actually shutting the conversation down. Aftet all, it’s not like every racism accusation is necessarily defensible. Despite conservative hyperbole, no one can get literally everything they want just by “crying racism”, any more than by appeals to patriotism. So: if it’s not racist when Trump talks about murderers and rapists, just say so. Or conversely, acknowledge his racism and then distinguish yourself from it.

        One counterpoint I can anticipate (not from you, just in my own mind) is that the conservative stance, while not racist, has enough superficial similarity to racism that once the racism accusation has been made, the well is irredeemably poisoned. An immigration hawk can’t go on to make the points she was going to make without sounding racist-and-therefore-wrong. If only liberals would unilaterally agree to keep the race card completely off the table, we could have a real conversation, but right now (to mix metaphors) that card is a loaded gun, waiting to go off. I dunno.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme says:

        Read what I wrote, @notme . I didn’t say opposing immigration (legal or illegal) was racist. I said making statements like, “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”…” is racist.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

          You said it over and over as well, but that doesn’t make it right. First, Mexican isn’t a race. So you can say the same thing about Canadians, and it would not be racism. It would be untrue, as no one can get enough Canadians unskilled or otherwise, but not racism. Discriminatory? Maybe. Bigoted.. Maybe, but not racist. Second the unskilled portion of the statement clearly indicates that Mexico needs to improve their education, skills training and generally social network so they pump out skilled workers rather than unskilled labor. Nothing bigoted there. They need more skilled labour in relation to their population. The first part, “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some” also is not bigoted. He did not say America shouldn’t allow immigrants from Mexico; that is all you and your own biases. America is a sovereign state. Why should it have any Mexicans, let alone the numbers of Mexicans it does have? The number of non-citizens within the borders of any nation is something that is highly controlled throughout the world. I don’t know what the magic number of non-Americans that should be allowed in at a time is; I don’t really care. But stating that America has enough Mexicans is an opinion you can agree or disagree with without having to resort to claiming it is racist to have that opinion.Report

    • This is a fair comment, Tod. I’ve had the racism-xenophobia discussion with multiple people around here over the past few years. I’ve come to the point where there is such little difference between the two, that I don’t worry too much about conflating one with the other.

      (Also, I consider restrictive immigration policies to be inherently racist/xenophobic, that I’m not too worried about the legal-illegal distinction. Which is another discussion I’ve had around here a few times, so best not to dig too deep into it.)

      Putting that aside aside, if I accept the legal-illegal distinction, I don’t think it has too much traction here. Yes, Steyn said that America had too many illegal Mexican immigrants, but before that he said that America had too many Mexican immigrants, without making any distinctions based on legality.

      I’m going to assume that Steyn is, more or less, okay with Canadian immigrants, so what’s his beef with legal Mexican immigrants?Report

      • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        [Steyn] said that America had too many Mexican immigrants, without making any distinctions based on legality.

        When the number of illegal vs. legal immigrants is so grossly skewed for the former, one can be excused for not qualifying every single clause where term may appear.

        what’s his beef with legal Mexican immigrants?

        You’re putting words in his mouth.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:


          How skewed is it? Do you have numbers?

          Steyn also said that NO WHERE should have as many Mexicans as America does. That isn’t a conversation about immigration. That is a conversation about Mexicans and their inherent worthlessness.

          Edited to add some numbers:

          33.1M folks of Mexican ancestry. 11M non-American born. So that means 2-to-1 in favor of folks of Mexican ancestry born in America. Which could still trace its roots to illegal immigration as past generations could have come here illegally. Of the 11M non-American born, approximately half are undocumented.

          So, of 33.1M folks who called themselves Mexican in America, approximately 6M are themselves illegal immigrants.

          Whoops. #factsReport

      • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        So, of 33.1M folks who called themselves Mexican in America, approximately 6M are themselves illegal immigrants.

        The question was not about who calls themselves what – or how many descendants former immigrants had in the States. It’s how many legal (apprx. 100,000/year) vs. illegal immigrants (many hundreds-of-thousands of apprehensions alone/year!) are crossing the border. Whoops #facts indeed.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:


          But it isn’t so grossly skewed. Even looking just at immigration rates, it is approximately 50/50. So, no, not skewed. Not right. You’re wrong. Wamp wamp.

          Now, if you want to talk about apprehensions… people who are stopped from entering the country… than that shouldn’t be considered when someone is ranting about Mexicans in this country. Because, ya know, those Mexicans aren’t in this country.Report

          • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Kazzy says:

            The thing about apprehensions is that there is widespread guesswork that apprehensions occur something like 40% of the time … meaning there are at least as many illegal crossings as apprehensions. That in turn dwarfs the number of legal immigrants from that area. QED wumba wumba victory dance.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

              Show your work. Not guess work. Actual work. You haven’t given us any actual numbers about apprehensions or legal immigrants or how Steyn knows who is an immigrant and who was here.

              Also, Jon misquoted. Steyn DIDN’T say too many immigrants. He said too many Mexicans. Period.

              Here, I’ll quote him… again…

              “What he said may or may not be offensive, but it happens to be true: America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some. It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”.”

              “…more Mexicans than anybody needs…”

              Should I bold it next time?Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy I think you are conflating nationalities with things like race, religion, and sex. They’re pretty different.

                “There are too many latinos in this country” is not the same thing as “there are too many Mexicans in this country,” especially when we’re talking about whether or not the country can sustain the number of undocumented workers it has. (Though I will certainly concede that to a certain type of racist, “Mexican” is absolutely used in this way.)

                It’s similar to how “we don’t let Utahans vote in Oregon elections” is not really the same as “we don’t let Mormons vote here.”Report

      • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        “… What´s his beef with legal Mexican immigrants …”
        Maybe the number of them? (You know – the “too many”.)
        Maybe the fact that they’re coming from a country with a significantly different culture – a culture that indisputably leads to less opportunities for individual advancement, whether in strictly economic terms, or in terms of developing one’s talents and human potential.
        A few measurable and indisputable aspects of the culture: corruption level, gender inequality, inadequate human rights safeguards – both instituted and expected/called for by the public, racism, xenophobia, high tolerance for child abuse, in case of female children including sexual abuse, etc. etc.
        Up to a certain volume and with adequately functioning support infrastructure, the newcomers can be integrated into the culture of the host country. (As was historically the US both expectation and practical experience.)
        Beyond certain volume and absent the infrastructure, the inferior culture starts undermining the culture of the host.
        In effect, instead of escaping the problems that made the immigrants to emigrate in the first place), they’re bringing them with them and re-create them in the new country.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


      I think this is an interesting and tricky issue because theoretically most opposition to mass immigration doesn’t have to be xenophobic and/or racist but it often has that effect if not the intent. Here is my thought:

      1. Most people seem to believe that the nation-state is the apex political unit. There is a small crowd of people who don’t believe in this and they might be elite but they are not the majority.

      2. Most people seem to think that being a citizen of a country should come with certain rights and benefits like work priority.

      3. So how do we handle immigration? Or like Kazzy said, how do we determine how much of Group X is enough in the United States or Canada or wherever? I do think that some immigrants perform jobs that Americans are unwilling to do because they are low pay and backbreaking labor. I also think that tech companies like HB-1 Visas because they can pay foreign engineers less and the STEM shortage thing they talk about is largely a lie.

      So squaring the circle on these issues is hard.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        There is a legitimate, non-racist, non-xenophobic discussion to be had about immigration, and it should be had. But it would be wonky, loaded with numbers, and — however important — boring. It would be a niche issue, like agriculture or shipping.
        The immigration discussion we are having today, and have almost always had, isn’t that discussion. There are reasons for this.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The difference between skilled and unskilled labor (and who is opposed to it) allows for interesting dynamics.

        I pretty much directly benefit from the importation of unskilled labor. When I need construction work done, for example, the influx of unskilled labor pushes the price of that down. Getting my roof done, for example, was startlingly cheap. I had some concrete done and that was cheaper than I expected as well. (Thinking about having the porch stained again… I imagine that that will be startlingly affordable.)

        People in my neighborhood who have their lawns done by contractors also benefit from cheap unskilled labor.

        Then I think about who is most likely to oppose unskilled labor? Well, other unskilled laborers.

        The problem is that unskilled laborers are less likely to have access to really awesome ways to complain about business competition. They probably have smaller vocabularies and their vocabularies are probably saltier with more Anglo-Saxon words than Latinate ones.

        So when they complain about the competition that doesn’t have to follow the rules that they have to follow, they will use shorter, saltier, words.Report

    • Avatar Ivan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Well, I think the racist accusation is perfectly appropriate – given the shift in the meaning of the word from somebody holding some kind opinions about race(s) to simply somebody I dislike and/or disagree with.
      The most illustrating example of the new usage I came across was a case where a young lady was saying that her brother (full brother, not step- or half-brother) was a racist because of him showing to her what she considered insufficient amount of respect.Report

  3. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Also, as someone who has written about the Clintons a bit here on this site, I will say that writing about Clinton just as a last name the way you do everyone else does has its challenges — much in the same way that political writers will list Cruz, Perry, and Jeb. But it’s even a little harder when talking about Clinton than others. Jeb is running at a time when W has been long, long out of the limelight. W ran when HW had long, long been out of the limelight.

    Part of Clinton’s political strengths is that there’s another Clinton — a far more popular Clinton — that they’re always finding ways to keep in the limelight.

    I’m not saying that “Mrs.” is the way to go (especially since I suspect that Clinton prefers to go by Ms. when such a title is required, which makes me wonder if it wasn’t an attempt to be purposefully priggish). But I am saying that over the next year and a half, writers of all political stripes are going to be taking artistic liberties with how they refer to her in writing and it’s necessarily going to be in a way that is going to be different from the way they refer to other people in the same article.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Judging by her branding, she went with “Hillary”.

      Racism is…different…than sexism. It’s baked into the cultural cake in a very different way.

      It’s often a subtler sort of thing, and studies have shown it can infect even people with the best intentions because it’s been programmed into them since birth. I’m thinking studies on elementary schools, for example. Showing that boys are not only called on more often than girls, but that the teachers themselves tend to overestimate how often they call on girls. Leading them to think they’re splitting time, when it’s often something like 70-30.

      Racism is much the same way, but you can…minimize…your interracial interactions in a number of innocuous ways (you might not even think of it as such, since you’re choosing where to live based on school districts, or ‘vibe’ or a dozen other things that still amount to de facto segregation). A bit harder to minimize your contact with the opposite sex, since you’ve got many more reasons to seek them out.Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to Morat20 says:

        There’s also the fact that sexism frequently involves pedastlizing and infantilizing, where racism usually involves more demonizing. An implicit association test pitting “man” vs “woman” would return quite different results than “white” vs “black”. Has anyone done such a study?Report

    • Avatar Guy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      This may have been an issue in 2006-2008, but since then it has seemed pretty clear to me that Bill is now the subordinate Clinton. And of course, Hilary has a couple of titles available that her husband never did: Senator and Secretary (and Secrator, a combo title I just made up). Plus, as you say, Ms is perfectly available and makes no reference to her marital status.Report

      • Avatar Kazz in reply to Guy says:

        Also, only ONE Clinton is running for President. So if a conversation is being had about the election and the name Clinton is mentioned, we should assume Hillary unless otherwise specified.

        That said, the most prudent thing to do would be to refer to her as she wishes to be referred (and to obviously extend this to all the other candidates and, really, subjects of media pieces). I know that different outlets have different style guides and different rules for exceptions, but referring to folks by their preferred name/title seems a pretty basic form of respect.Report

        • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazz says:

          Yes, style guides (formal or not) should dictate here, and from his post, it is not in Steyn’s “style guide” to say “Mr. so-and-so”. When he chooses “Mrs.”, there’s something going on.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazz says:

          “the most prudent thing to do would be to refer to her as she wishes to be referred”

          I generally agree with this statement under a lot of circumstances, but political campaigns is one where I would maybe question it.

          Each candidate tries to “brand” themselves in a way which they think will best appeal to voters; but journalists should be under no obligation to go along with such “branding” (they are not supposed to be operatives nor advertisers), especially if they think that branding is an attempt to deceive or manipulate voters in any way (for example, calling Bush “Jeb!”, so as not to call to voters’ minds that OTHER Bush).

          My preference, I think, would be for journalists in such instances (who should ideally BE neutral, and if not, at least have an interest in APPEARING so) to follow a consistent ruleset – so (for ex.) always use the candidate’s plain last name (=Bush, Clinton, Sanders), unless you need to add something to the last name in that particular article’s context to distinguish it (if W. or Bill is also in that article).Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph says:

            Apparently, she prefers Mrs – which is why the NYT, her home state paper, refers or referred to her that way.

            If you want, you can look up the bit of internet discussion on the topic and try to reach your own conclusions about this “dreadfully important” matter.

            My own theory is that It all in some way goes back to the fraught “just standing by my man like Tammy Wynette” problem that the couple has taken to be politically significant enough, and was magnified by the Lewinsky scandal: If Clinton went by “Ms.,” it would be taken as subtly disrespecting her marriage – almost as Soviet sleeper automaton radical lesbian feminist as going by her, ahem, maiden family name. “Mrs.” is meant to subtly re-assure the more traditional voters and housewives that if she’s not exactly one of them, she’s not some alien bra-burning Marxist-Leninist hairy-armpitted robot fiend preparing to steal your children and raise them communally. Not completely anyway.

            Could be Steyn quite consciously is pointing to that whole history, to the discomfort with dynasties and in particular with a Clinton dynasty, or could be he was just trying to vary his usages having proximately referred to Senator Secretary Ms. Mrs. Grandmama Hillary Rodham Clinton as “Hillary” at least two times.

            Sorry I can’t nail it down. I know all of America is holding its breath on this question, but I have some even more dreadfully more important things to get to.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod says:

              “could be he was just trying to vary his usages”

              I wondered about this too; especially if you are not shooting for a dry tone (like a straight reporting piece would be), you often want to switch words up.

              So when I am writing about the rock band Guided by Voices, I might call them that once; then in the next sentence, I might write “GbV”; then in the next, I might write “the band”; then in the next, “Pollard and company”; then I might refer to “Robert”, “Bob”, “Uncle Bob”, or “Mr. Pollard”; etc., etc., and so on and so forth, yea verily, the Lord did grin.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


            I’d be okay with consistent rules. However, I would want to see those rules looked at because sometimes there is some baked in sexism or other biases at play.

            And while you are right about the media not playing into branding, personally, I don’t think Jeb should be asked to answer for his brother nor Hillary for her husband. So, in those cases, I actually think their branding improves the process. Hilary isn’t Bill. Jeb isn’t George W. Or George HW for that matter. We should evaluate Hilary as Hilary and Jeb as Jeb.Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:


              I don’t think Jeb should be asked to answer for his brother nor Hillary for her husband. So, in those cases, I actually think their branding improves the process. Hilary isn’t Bill. Jeb isn’t George W. Or George HW for that matter. We should evaluate Hilary as Hilary and Jeb as Jeb.

              I struggle with that, especially concerning Jeb vs. W. I realize they’re two different people, but they seem to be very much cut of the same cloth, both literally and figuratively. I’m probably not likely to vote for Jeb or any of the Republicans (I’ll probably do a third party), but one reason I won’t support Jeb is because of how W. turned out.

              Perhaps it’s because in many ways I’m a low information voter. Jeb’s being W.’s brother is a proxy for the type of information I’d ideally learn on my own. I’m not saying I’m right. In fact, I believe I’m wrong and I certainly would have been wrong to judge W. by his father. I’m just saying that the fact that Jeb is brother to W. really does color my view, and largely negatively.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                One interesting difference is that Hillary has much closer ties to Bill than the Bushes do, including especially before & during the time of the respective presidencies. Many of the Bill controversies included Hillary as an active player, not a mere namesake.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                I would certainly hope that Hillary has closer ties to Bill than the Bushes do.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to CJColucci says:

                While I admit that your remark is funny, and don’t suspect any underhanded intentions on your part, it demonstrates how easy it is to demagog an issue.
                Either one would have at each and every instance of mentioning an issue list all the qualifiers, making the text virtually unreadable, or he or she provide the partisan demagogues with an opportunity to distort his or her message with – technically speaking – genuinely direct quotes from their speech.Report

              • You might be right about Hillary, or at least Hillary ca. 2000. By now, she has 8 years as Senator and 4 years as Secretary of State by which to judge her.

                My own impression from that 12 year record is that I’m uneasy about her being president, but that she’ll be less bad than Jeb or most of the other GOPpers on offer.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                @gabriel-conroy @frank-ch-eigler

                I would agree that Hillary probably has closer ties to Bill than Jeb does to either his brother or his father but I wouldn’t consider any of those ties to be more representative of who they’d be as a President than, say, the person they choose as their running mate.

                I mean, sure, Jeb and George grew up in the same house under the tutelage of dear old dad and there are probably some shared worldviews and values and whatnot. And Hillary chose Bill as a partner in part because of any number of things the two had in common. And yet, I don’t think Jeb should be pressed any more on questions about Irag than other GOP candidates or that Hillary should be expected to answer questions about infidelity or anything else relating to her husband’s administration. I mean, if folks choose to vote for or against a candidate because of their family… well, that’s democracy. But I’d look side eyed at any deliberate attempt to connect Hillary with Bill or Jeb with either George. If they want to brand themselves with their first names so they can be seen as individuals, refusing to do so to hold them “accountable” in some way for their family feels wrong. Especially if it is being done by the news media (and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY if they are doing it to one candidate but not the other… e.g., “Here comes Hillary and BUSH!”). Applying consistent rules seems fair enough, but going out of their way with either Jeb or Hillary feels wrong.Report

              • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:

                I don’t disagree with any of that really. But I don’t always follow it in practice.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


                Oh, sure. It is hard NOT to see Jeb as a Bush and Hillary as a Clinton because, well, Jeb is a Bush and Hillary is a Clinton. To your credit, you at least seem aware of this which gives you the opportunity to push back against it.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Or anything else related to [Bill Clinton’s] administration”

                Hillary Clinton’s political brand and marketing theme for every election she’s run in since 2000 is that her time in the White House is relevant experience to be the ‘experienced’ candidate against her opponent. So, yes what Bill did personally is a non sequitur, but Clinton Administration policies are fair game.

                Now, it should be the easiest thing in the world to take credit for the stuff that went well, and blaze a different path on the things that didn’t (in left wing eyes) because the obvious fact is that over 20 years have passed the world is different (and not flat)Report

              • Avatar Ivan in reply to Kazzy says:

                Generally speaking, a woman shouldn’t be judged on infidelity of her husband.
                A woman who spent considerable effort during his husbands term in office on keeping in line the other women who enjoyed, or suffered, her husband’s sexual predatory attention is something different.
                Hillary is known for making sure the objects of Bill’s consummated attention kept quiet about their experience, and to describe her methods as velvet gloves wouldn’t be entirely accurate.
                Not to mention that being somebody’s son or brother is much less a matter of choice or consequence, than to choose to marry, and remain married, to somebody.
                And for such a person to be running as the defender and protector of women is sheer cynical hypocridyReport

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                It’d be interesting to see, for instance, how Jeb fills out his potential policy team. If there is, for instance, a lot of crossover with Dubya’s then…well, you can expect some similarities.

                There’s a handful of names associated with the Iraq war that are dealbreakers to me, for instance — if you so much as employ them to write an op-ed for you, you’re never getting my vote.

                Jeb’s gonna be stuck answering questions about his brother, and he should have solid answers (it’s a predictable question). But if Wolfowitz or Cheney is part of his foreign policy team, well….whatever chance he had of my vote is gone.Report

              • Avatar gingergene in reply to Morat20 says:

                Jeb Bush has already chosen heavily from among W.’s foreign policy team, which is one of the reasons that *I* am keenly interested in his answer to the Iraq question. And Paul Wolfowitz is on that list, although Cheney isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to gingergene says:

                Well then yeah. DOA for my vote right there. Wolfowitz is a deal break, unless there’s actual video of Wolfowitz being used to determine what NOT to do. Like his entire role is to offer his opinion, which is then stricken from the list of potential solutions.Report

    • One allegation of sexism I’ve heard in the past is that sometimes people use Clinton’s first name to diminish her standing–saying “Hillary this” and “Hillary that” doesn’t offer her the respect she deserves. I’d say that sometimes that has probably been true, but usually not. Especially now, she has very much branded herself as Hillary.

      In this piece, Steyn uses “Hillary” eight times (though never does he use “Hillary Clinton”). He uses “Bernie” nine times. He could easily exclusively use “Hillary” to avoid the “Mrs.” thing and it wouldn’t come off as anything special, as he uses Sanders’s first name regularly.

      Further, he never once mentions Bill Clinton. In this piece, the absolutely only Clinton he could ever be referring to is Hillary. And he, admittedly, is writing this for a very politically-engaged audience, so they know which Clinton is currently running for President.

      But no, he still has to use “Mrs.”.

      Now, this may not be a conscious choice to belittle the current front runner on the basis of her gender, but that’s not totally the point. The point is that sexism is so ingrained, that it just tends to seep out, intentional or not.Report

    • Avatar Ivan in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I am quite sure that Hillary Rodham prefers Ms. Clinton to Mrs.
      The fact that it’s the Mrs. what got her where she is would neither be politically advantageous to her taking advantage of the opportunity, nor flatter her self-esteem.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    “The idea that “his” country doesn’t need those people is quite odorous.”

    Really? And here I thought it was the american public that decided who we let in and who we didn’t and how many of each and such. Having an opinion that we’ve allowed too many from one place or “undesirables” is now racism? That’s for clearing that up.

    Mrs Clinton…what Todd said.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Damon says:

      Really the “American public”? Do you know how naive that sounds? Did anyone ask you, because no one asked me? Did anyone ask you about the H1B visas that companies are using to replace American workers with?Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to notme says:

        The terms in an employment contract are between the employer and the employee. Its not anyone else’s business. If tomorrow, Cato institute decided to hire me from all the way on the other side of the world, that is between the Cato Institute and me. Why do you have the right to interfere with that decision?Report

        • Avatar Notme in reply to Murali says:

          The govt claims the right to interfere in business relationships all the time for a variety of reasons.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to Murali says:

          Every contract has 3 parties- the buyer, the seller, and the adjudicator/enforcer.

          No one thinks of the 3rd entity as an active party, mostly because it’s agency is usually so pervasive as to be background.

          And it very common for us as taxpayers to leverage our role in contracts to advance social policy.

          For instance it is legal to make a contract with a minor, but the state refuses to enforce it, to advance the social policy of protecting children.

          Of course the taxpayers interest in your contract isn’t infinite but it is greater than zero.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to LWA says:

            And religious people have a non zero interest in whether two Gay people can get married. That doesn’t mean it’s right for their opinions to have any effect on whether Gay people in fact get married.Report

            • Avatar LWA in reply to Murali says:

              As I said, there are boundaries to the collective interest.

              To use your analogy, religious persons as part of the collective body DO have a right “for their opinions to have any effect on whether Gay people in fact get married”. Whether or not the collective body chooses to recognize this form of marriage, or that form of marriage is very much within our power.

              Which is why the slippery slope arguments are invalid. The collective body can choose to recognize same sex marriage but not plural marriage, or marriage to minors, or marriage to a lawnmower.

              Or to flip it another way- when you suggest that the state adopt a policy of indifference to contract, do you intend for the state to also be indifferent to their adjudication and enforcement?
              Or are you asserting a positive right to have us enforce any contract you wish, without our ability to say no?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to notme says:

        That’s EXACTLY my point @notme

        That and the fact that I seem to constantly point out that it’s “democracy” it’s called when someone get’s their way but a “travesty of democracy” when they don’t. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Damon says:

      Well, yes, sometimes racists get to make policy.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The Mets are in first place right now, thank you very much.Report

  6. Avatar trizzlor says:

    It always puzzled me that Steyn was such a popular writer while at National Review. To this day you regularly see outraged comments over there along the lines of this guy writes here, but Steyn was let go?!, usually when someone is sympathetic to same-sex marriage. Because I’m a masochist, I used to keep a log of his predictions, some of which I think are instructive given that he still seems to be doing the politics beat and people still seem to be reading it:

    Dec 31, 2011: “I said I liked the cut of this Tim Pawlenty fellow, who promptly self-destructed … But Newt wouldn’t be where he is right now if the conventional wisdom were all that wise … right now he’s heading for the nomination and Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels aren’t.

    Nov 8, 2011: “In 2012, the least we deserve is a choice between the collectivist assumptions of the Democrats, and a candidate who stands for individual liberty — for economic dynamism not the sclerotic “managed capitalism” of Germany

    April 11, 2009: “Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it’s all more complicated. The attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S.” Two days before the Obama administration ended the Somali standoff with lethal force.

    March 2, 2009: “Long way to go yet … Where do you figure the floor is? Five thousand?” In response to the DOW hitting 6,800; four days before the DOW bottomed out at 6,600 and then rallied consistently.

    Feb. 14:, 2009 “The so-called Wall Street fat cats are, in fact, emaciated cadavers in the late stages of that feline version of HIV.

    Jan 31, 2009: “But, if this fraudulent “stimulus” does pass, it will, in fact, de-stimulate, and much more than the disastrous protectionist measures of the Thirties did

    and on and on it goes. The issue isn’t really the fact that he’s so frequently wrong, but that he so confidently moves on from one failed claim to make another.Report

  7. Avatar jack says:

    perhaps he should refer to Herself as Mrs Bill Clinton, as she seems to be running as Bill’s spouse, that is to say, she is devoid of any other positive qualifications.

    Really, I am an aussie and I certainly get why you guys elected Bill, twice, but Hillary, really?Report

  8. Avatar Devin Barber says:

    Perhaps Mrs Clinton was used not to opress but to identify. There are at least 3 Clintons in the public eye, and two of them are female. To argue that “of course everyone knows which one is the one running for President” assumes that everyone does. I wouldn’t doubt many people would vote for either of the other two family memebers, ignoring the fact that one is not Constitutionally eligible and neither would (presumably) want to run on Hillary’s parade with a competing candidacy. He could have just used “Clinton” – in a late paragraph in the article he does use the plural to refer to the family; he could have used “Hillary” – which he did the other six times she is referenced in the article. He did, afterall, swap Donald/Trump and Bernie/Sanders references throughout the piece. But it appears that using “Mrs” one time is an insight into the soul. To refer to anyone by “Mr/Mrs/Ms” apparently is so taboo now I wonder why the words are even allowed in public and private discourse.

    Or perhaps he was needling overly sensitive writers who look for reasons to find offenseReport

  9. Avatar Fake Herzog says:

    Bernie Sanders criticizes ‘open borders’ at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

    By David Weigel July 30

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) found himself at odds with some immigration reform advocates Thursday, defending his 2007 vote against a comprehensive immigration bill and telling an audience hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that “open borders” were a threat to American jobs.

    “There is a reason that Wall Street likes immigration reform,” Sanders said. “What I think they’re interested in is seeing a process by which we can bring low-wage labor into this county.”Report

    • Avatar Lenoxus in reply to Fake Herzog says:

      Ugh. That argument might make sense if we’re talking about green cards, but on what grounds can open borders (or something closer to it) be dismissed as “bring(ing) low-wage labor into this county”? If everything is out in the open, then immigrants would compete for the same minimum wage as everyone else, and be protected by the same safety standards, etc.

      One possible counterpoint is that immigrants, by virtue of more desperate circumstances, are more willing to work for those low wages. Fine then — on what grounds do we consider them less deserving than native-born poor people?

      Every time I re-examine the issue I feel that open borders would be an economic boon with upsides way overwhelming the downsides.Report

  10. Avatar Devin Barber says:

    So just so we can all be clear, which exactly are the obvious racist statements in the original article?

    “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some.”
    If there is an appropriate number, then this isn’t racism, it is an argument that the number we have is too many. He’s not saying the number should be zero, he is saying that whatever number is present is more than the country needs. Maybe he secretly does think that number should be zero. But to say the number is too high is not racist in itself.
    “It certainly has more unskilled Mexicans than any country needs, including countries whose names begin with “Mex-” and end in “-ico”.”
    This is a more specific restatement, focusing on the exact merit any country would logically include in an immigration policy: are the incoming immigrants going to provide a net benefit to the country? Does the country need a large number of unskilled immigrants at this time? Mexico certainly doesn’t seem to mind the loss of a large number of their own unskilled citizens… does that mean Mexico is racist for sending them away? The Mexican government certainly doesn’t seem to want them within their own borders – maybe that should tell us how many we should want within ours.
    “And it has far more criminal Mexicans than anybody needs, which is why they make up 71 per cent of the foreign inmates in federal jails.”
    Again, how many criminal Mexicans does America need? It is racist to insist that a person from Mexico, once convicted of a crime (other than the illegal entry to the country itself), should not be allowed back in the country? That perhaps our too large prison population would be much lower if those criminals from another country had never come here in the first place, or been sent home once they demonstrated criminal lifestyles? If these are such wonderful people, why doesn’t the country of origin want them back? How is our country better for keeping them around?
    “Just to underline that last point, a young American woman was murdered for kicks in a supposed “sanctuary city” on the eve of the holiday weekend by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He had flouted US immigration law for years – or, to be more precise about it, local, state and federal officials had colluded with him in the flouting of US immigration law, to the point where San Francisco’s sheriff actively demanded the return of this criminal to his “sanctuary city”, thereby facilitating the homicide of an actual citizen, taxpayer and net contributor to American society.”
    Is it racist to oppose Sanctuary Cities? That is to say, is it racist to expect elected local officials to follow and enforce existing Federal law? It is racist to point out that an illegal immigrant from Mexico commited the crime? Are we debating the law? No we are ignoring it. Let’s have a discussion about what immigration law should be – including numbers – but until the law is changed, how about we enforce what is on the books?

    Maybe, just maybe, the argument should not be to cry “Racist!” but to awnser the questions honestly. How many immigrants from Mexico (or whatever country you wish to consider) does the USA currently need? Do we have more than that number? How many unskilled immigrants do we need? Do we have more than that number? How many criminal immigrants do we need? Do we have more than that number?

    If you’re answer is just to say “racist!” you aren’t making any meaningful point.
    If you say “It’s not about how many we need – we should take all that want to come, even if they come illegally, with no work skills, and/or are criminally inclined”, then while someone might disagree with you, at least that honest answer can contribute to a discussion.Report

    • Avatar Lenoxus in reply to Devin Barber says:

      “America has more Mexicans than anybody needs, and then some.”
      If there is an appropriate number, then this isn’t racism, it is an argument that the number we have is too many.

      Of course there isn’t some “appropriate number of Mexicans”. That’s incoherent except on racist terms. What’s the appropriate number of European-descended people in the US? Of the top of my head I’d say 10^50 would probably be more than could be sustained within our borders, assuming present space-time configurations. And likewise for any other particular group.

      Maybe liberals wouldn’t have this purported knew-jerk-cry-racism reaction if the tough-on-immigration crowd did at least some of the work to filter out the —assuredly rare! — racist arguments made by their compatriots.

      If you’re answer is just to say “racist!” you aren’t making any meaningful point.
      If you say “It’s not about how many we need – we should take all that want to come, even if they come illegally, with no work skills, and/or are criminally inclined”, then while someone might disagree with you, at least that honest answer can contribute to a discussion.

      How about “Ideally, we ought take all the ones that want to come, unless there’s a good reason on a case-by-case basis, such as the person being a fugitive from the law.” Is that middle ground permissible? Of course I recognize the practical obstacles in the way, and I’m perfectly fine with gradual work in that direction.

      I refuse to grant any respect to how you frame the issue. Your rhetoric absolutely drips with xenophobia (every other word is “criminal”, yeesh) and I probably shouldn’t have bothered to engage.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Ah, the joys of intersectionality.

    Here’s a report from “the United States Commission on Civil Rights”.

    Anyway, I remembered that when I went through and remembered one of the other times we discussed immigration.

    If you see “The United States” as a union and illegal immigrants as “scabs”, it might provide a way to look at illegal immigration in a way that is somewhat less racist.

    But I say that as someone who benefits from illegal immigration.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

      So apply labour laws to illegal immigrants and allow them to become citizens – in effect, have them join the union. Problem solved, in that regard.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

        “Just legalize it, baby!” is also my answer for the drug war. I admit that it elides a number of dynamics, though.

        One important dynamic of immigration is this: I don’t know whether this is the case today but, way back when, the majority of workers didn’t want to become citizens. They wanted to come here during the season, whichever it was, send back remittances, then go back home when the season was over.

        Ironically, the tightening of the border has resulted in people saying “it’s too dangerous/expensive to go back and forth and back and forth… easier/less expensive to cross once with my family and settle down.”

        The tightening of the border has resulted in more permanently residented undocumented workers who just want a better life for themselves and their families who, it seems, originally preferred to not become permanently residented undocumented workers who just want a better life for themselves and their families.

        I don’t know how much weight to give the apparent preference to merely work and not become a citizen.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m not sure why temporary workers visa’s aren’t the obvious option. Six months or one year maybe. They are pretty common around the world, not sure if we have them. If a person breaks the law then they can’t get another visa.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            I’m remembering the ordeal that Maribou and I went through in order to get a Fiancee Visa. It was, seriously, unbelievably daunting. I had to call my Congressional Representative’s INS Liaison to properly fill out the paperwork. Maribou and I were fluent English speaking college-educated people and it was still a byzantine mess that required the help of a Congressional Representative’s staffer to get us through it.

            All that to say:
            I don’t think that the problem of imported unskilled labor is one that is best addressed by government paperwork.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Generic government complain recognized. But temp visas sound just like what you are talking about. The overarching problem is immigration system is overly complicated and certainly not designed to be easy to work. We can’t even start to fix what we have now so completely open borders, even if that was a good idea, sure as heck aren’t going to happen. If we could actually try to fix some problems in this country then simplifying immigration would be way up there a good one to start with.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to KatherineMW says:

        Part of the problem is that America has not decided what “solving” the problem would even look like.

        We could choose to pay farm workers 20 dollars an hour, and the resulting flood of natives into the fields would crowd out the immigrants.

        Or adjust the number of visas to match the demand.

        Somehow I doubt this is what Mr. Steyn has in mind.Report

        • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to LWA says:

          If you “somehow” doubt that this is what Steyn has in mind, then you either haven’t read much of Steyn, or your reading comprehension needs some work, or your prejudices make it impossible for you to find in a text anything else than what you want to find there.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to KatherineMW says:

        So apply labour laws to illegal immigrants and allow them to become citizens – in effect, have them join the union. Problem solved, in that regard.

        That, interestingly, is all *my* objections to ‘open borders’ in a nutshell.

        I do not like people in this country that cannot vote.(1) I think any such system is ripe for abuse, and I think it makes a mockery of democracy, I think it removes a fundamental aspect of civil rights from people.

        I am not in favor of illegal immigration (Which is even more exploitive), I am not in favor of H1-B visas, I am not in favor of additional guest workers programs.

        Of course, I appear to be one of the few people aware there are *two* solutions to the ‘We should not have people in this country that can’t vote’ problem. That we can, in fact, solve it the *other* way.

        I would be perfectly happy with open borders if people could walk over the border and, after meeting residency requirements, and maybe taking a short civics test, vote.

        But the Republicans won’t *ever* allow that to happen.

        1) And, yes, I’m opposed to criminals being stripped of their right to vote, also.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

          Well, points for consistency at any rate.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Will Truman says:

            I have hypothesis that while not all policies will alter the percentage of people voting, any policy that *would* alter that will have the Republican establishment firmly on the side of ‘lower percentage voting, please’. Even if it conflicts with the Republican base’s desire.

            Most people *only* think of this percentage shift via people losing their right to vote, via various machinations, but the percentage can also be reduced by merely importing people who cannot vote.

            Hence the Republican establishment refusing to do anything towards actually reducing the number of people here illegally, despite their base being clearly on board with that. (Please note, as the Republican establishment continues to disintegrate thanks to the base taking over, this unwillingness has slowly gone away.)

            That said, I wouldn’t actually be in favor of completely open borders *right now*. The problems in Mexico won’t go away because non-problem people leave. (Despite what Trump seems to think, that people illegally crossing the border from Mexico are coming here to commit rape and murder, they actually are often *fleeing* rape and murder at the hands of the drug cartels.)

            If there actually *was* a chance of having ‘true open borders’, where all people in Mexico could just leave and come up here…that would cause a rather serious problem. Well, two problems…an annoying one here where we try to absorb another 25% of our population, which we can’t do quickly…

            …but the actual problem is the empty country left behind. We can’t leave a neighboring country in the hands of armed drug cartels!!!

            At some point, we actually are going to have to spend the money and fix Mexico. Or, frankly, we could solve a large portion of that by getting rid of our drug laws.

            We’ve slowly stood by and watched Mexico turn into a hellhole thanks to *our* drug laws. At some point we’re going to have to something about that, not just because it is literally our fault, but because it’s causing massive problems for us, also.Report

        • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to DavidTC says:

          “I would be perfectly happy with open borders if people could walk over the border and, after meeting residency requirements, and maybe taking a short civics test, vote.”

          What of the concern that many open-borders arrivals of the sort currently treating the borders as open would be a drain on the welfare / entitlements system?Report

          • Are there any in the world who do not deserve to have their needs taken care of?Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

            What of the concern that many open-borders arrivals of the sort currently treating the borders as open would be a drain on the welfare / entitlements system?

            I am not really sure how the idea ‘People would come to American and choose not to work to get welfare’ is any different than the argument ‘People in America choose not to work to get welfare’.

            I.e., I am unsure how this isn’t a concern about *welfare*, instead of a concern about open borders.Report

            • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to DavidTC says:

              “I.e., I am unsure how this isn’t a concern about *welfare*, instead of a concern about open borders.”

              Naturally, it’s about numbers. With open borders, 6.7 billion -new- people would feel invited to enjoy the system, including the freebies.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                …and what welfare program do you think someone stepping off a plane would be eligible for? They haven’t paid into unemployment so can’t get that, they have to be looking for a job to get SNAP…

                I guess they get WIC? And Medicaid?

                However, I think you’re not actually understanding where I’m coming from. I’m not saying ‘I want open borders’.

                I am saying ‘I object to any open borders plan that does *not* include citizenship. Any plan *without* that is a deliberate plan to create second-class people who cannot exercise their right to be ruled by a government they control, and thus, on the basis of democracy, I object.’.

                As no open border plan seems to grant citizenship to all these moving people, and it seems *very* unlikely one ever will…in practice, it means I don’t actually want open borders.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

              There are theories of morality that deal with the concept of how large an individual’s circle is.

              An individual who only cares about his appetites in the shortest of terms is described in either the harshest of terms or the most clinical.

              An individual who puts primacy on her appetites but is willing to delay gratification somewhat, but only somewhat, is considered pretty immoral.

              An individual who puts primacy on his appetites but is willing to delay gratification for years or decades is at the beginning of the “acceptably immoral” part of the spectrum. At this point “appetites” could probably be changed to desires (or even “well-being”).

              An individual who puts primacy on his immediate family, an individual who puts primacy on her extended family, an individual who only cares about his city/state/country. An individual who puts primacy on people he recognizes as fellow members of his religion.

              As we go up and up in there, we see people get more and more moral.

              An individual who cares about everybody in the world, whether they like it or not is even more moral.

              According to this particular theory, anyway.

              When people who put primacy on their country butt heads with people who care about everybody in the world, it generally creates all kinds of static.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’ve met a few people who (verbally) “cared” about everybody in the world. I have yet to meet a single one among them who would have a practically feasible plan how to do that.
                In sufficient numbers, unassimilated Mexicans will turn the US into another Mexico. How’s that exactly going to benefit the broad public, including the Mexicans themselves, I am still waiting for somebody among the “caring” to explain.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to agnostic13 says:

                There is, actually, a morally valid basis for privileging the welfare of fellow citizens above others. To paraphrase, social justice isn’t a suicide pact.

                But there is quite a bit of moral territory, isn’t there, between throwing open borders without limit, and invoking a lifeboat ethos?Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to LWA says:

                “Social justice” is bogus term used at best out of honestly well-intentioned ignorance, commonly to assuage one’s guilty feeling about one’s privilege, frequently to justify taking somebody else’s property by force, and at worst, to cynically manipulate other people to gain status and power.
                People have all kinds of advantages and disadvantages in life – from having or not having good looks to special talents to brains, coming from wealthier or poorer parents with better or not so good parenting skills.
                There is no way to equalize all those initial inequalities from in terms of practical feasibility. And even if there was a technologically and methodologically feasible solution, any attempt at implementation would need to involve, and to empower, humans with all their limitations, such as ineptitude and corruptibility.
                “Social justice” is either a means of soothing and rationalizing self-delusion, or political weapon to justify and mask grave injustices.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to zic says:

                No, social justice is one of those nebulous liberal terms that means whatever the speaker wants it to mean at that time to support whatever boondoggle gov’t program they want.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to zic says:

                I am impressed with your ability to formulate your argument so persuasively and comprehensively.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to agnostic13 says:

                All you are really saying here is that your moral intuitions about property rights are somehow superior to my intuition about solidarity.

                Worse, your logic is self refuting.
                You make the case for a naturally occurring hierarchy of ability, implying some sort of Darwinism, then declare that it is somehow immoral to take by force.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to LWA says:

                You make the case for a naturally occurring hierarchy of ability, implying some sort of Darwinism, then declare that it is somehow immoral to take by force.

                If OTOH you believe taking others’ stuff by force is moral, then you certainly won’t mind us forcefully defending oneselves from such incursions.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                How do you know it’s yours?Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to LWA says:

                Because I placed my seal on it when my blood sweat and tears created it from the nothingness.

                Or do you have a serious question?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:


                Did you create it in a vacuum, without the support of a greater network? Schools? Roads?

                Because if you depended on that stuff, you owe something back. Otherwise, you’re just taking other people’s stuff, too.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to zic says:

                Oh the old “he didn’t build that” chestnut. Don’t worry, I glow in certainty that I am by far a net contributor to our governments’ treasuries.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                And you probably think I’m not? Just looking for a handout from your pocket, right?

                Guess again.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to zic says:

                I’m afraid you’ll have to explain, perhaps using very small words, how come all the payments I make for goods and services by other individuals, organizations, and governments, and not wanting to take others’ stuff, somehow still leaves me in a state of original sin, so that I can’t call my stuff mine.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                This is boring.

                We’ve been through this debate endlessly here; go back and read the archives.

                But the very ‘stuff that’s yours’ is supported by a legal structure that, to maintain your stuff, you need to fund. Start there and build up.

                You are not an island, whatever the goods and services and stuff you make that enables you to pay taxes depends on a surrounding economy, on customers for your skills or product, and enough stability in their lives that they’ll actually be customers.


              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

                For what it’s worth, the question of “so, okay, let’s assume that I didn’t build that… what are my moral obligations and, more importantly, what are the moral obligations of those who have no reason to be told that they didn’t build that?” remains unanswered.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Jaybird says:

                those who have no reason to be told that they didn’t build that?

                Can you provide an example of such a person?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

                Oh, someone who has built nothing, I suppose.

                Someone who does not have much of an education, someone who does not have a business, someone who does not have particular job skills, someone who doesn’t have a whole lot that they can leverage in order to trade otherwise.

                Someone that we know that Obama was not talking about in his paragraph before he got to “you didn’t build that”.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                And people wonder why its hard to see a difference between libertarians and republicans at times. Use fox/Rush attack quotes and you are going to look like a republican.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Oh, yeah. Now I remember why I stopped talking about the moral obligations that everybody has with everybody else in a society.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                No i don’t think anybody ever you stopped you from talking about what you wanted. In fact that topic seems interesting. In fact i’m sure plenty of republicans would enjoy talking about it. The kind of republicans that like Rush and Fox and Brietbart. You can usually tell them by the quips and quotes they use.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Well, since we know that they’re the bad guys, anyone should oppose them if other people say things like the things that those people say.

                Hell, that can be the argument in itself!

                “You sound like the opposition!”Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Who said anyone was a bad guy? I just noted it is easy to misidentify a libertarian as a republican when they use Fox/Rush quips and attack quotes. Hell they could actually be good arguments. Just trying to understand the various plumage of different birds.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                So I’m back to nodding to myself about how the benefits of trying to discuss these things are nil and the costs include how we end up with discussions about me (and, not only that, insinuations about how there are people like me) rather than discussions about the topic.

                I should have remembered that I’d get the “wrecker” treatment.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird says:

                Boy what a bad someone.

                Maybe we should put that someone in prison.
                Or a work camp. Or throw them out on an ice flow or something.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

                That’s much crueler than I expected.

                I was thinking that we’d merely throw such a person into a crappy part of town or a trailer park or something and tell them that they’d have some (but nowhere near all) basic needs met at the cost of being roughed up by the authorities over trivialities for the rest of their lives.

                Which would have the benefit of being able to get bipartisan support, I’d think.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to zic says:


                Funny I thought I paid taxes for schools, roads etc.? After I’ve paid my taxes I don’t “owe” anything!Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to zic says:

                Of course, there is no way for me to know whether you’re a genuine victim of brainwashing or one of he conscious perpetrators.
                The greater network you mention was created and paid for by taxes.
                It is fair to say that one’s taxes should reflect their fair share of the cost to build this stuff.
                One’s taxes being used to finance social engineering experiments is a completely different matter, the more so given the disastrous consequences these experiments consistently bring about. (Witness the damage inflicted on the parts of the black population that allowed themselves to be seduced by the lure of the entitlement trap.)Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                Property rights aren’t naturally occurring phenomena that exist apart from our recognition.

                They only exist because we collectively agree on certain moral intuitions about labor and justice.

                We collectively defend them from the very Darwinism that Agnostic was referring to.Report

              • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to LWA says:

                “Property rights aren’t naturally occurring phenomena that exist apart from our recognition.”

                Explain that to Cecil the Lion protecting his land, his kill, and his pride.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

                This is a totally off-topic random thought that just occurred to me, so it can be ignored (and apologies for the distraction), but maybe the fundamental existential crisis of humanity is rooted in our dietarily-omnivorous nature.

                We are never comfortable in the universe, because we are never sure whether we are the lion or the antelope, predator or prey; being both, maybe we can never settle on how to relate to the universe or each other.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Glyph says:

                Well since you opened the door..
                I am watching the show Humans, about robots that achieve sentience, and the hijinks that ensue.

                The humans are terrified by the very existence of a being that is superior, even absent any hostile moves.

                They keep asking for reassurance that they will not be attacked, and as I watched, it occurred to me that the robots should be the ones asking that question, given the wildly uneven way that we treat each other.

                I mean, we have these codes and religions and philosophies that set out rules, which are promptly twisted and warped then justified post hoc.

                John Locke’s theories (speaking of property rights) are still being used to legitimize claims, even though his theory was essentially, you find a piece of land, drive off the inferior heathen, then add your labor to the land and it becomes a Just Claim.

                So in this light, one can assert that the Mexican immigrants are staking their claim to North America, as soon as they can overpower/outbreed/ outlast the inferior heathen squatting here.

                Or maybe its the other way round. It depends, I suppose, on who gets to write the history.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to LWA says:

                I’m two episodes in on Humans and really enjoying it so far. The makeup/acting is doing a good job placing the synths in deep in the Ambiguously Uncanny Valley – absent facial expression cues, a blank-eyed statement like “I will always protect your daughter” can easily be read as either a promise, or a threat.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to LWA says:

                To defend society against what you call Darwinism makes about as much sense as to defend electrical circuits against Ohm’s laws or to defend ships against Archimedes law.
                There is no such thing as collective as a coherent unit thinking and acting in its own interest as a whole.
                A collective is a collection of individuals pursuing their own goals and interests, some of them more compatible with the goals and interests of others, some of them less so.
                Over time, (a) leader(s) emerge within a collective, and the goals and interests of this/those leader(s) influence what is and is not being done to much greater extent than the goals and interests of others.
                It is not just arguable, it’s quite clearly demonstrable, that when earning the leadership position is based on measurable positive results, living conditions of virtually all members of society improve. If they’re based on ability to deceive and manipulate others, among other means by employing nebulous terms lending themselves to subjective interpretations, such as “social justice”, the collective(‘s) well-being tends to trend in the opposing direction …Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to LWA says:

                One of the leftists’ argumentation’s most egregious transgressions against rational thought is their commonly used perversion of definitions.
                Solidarity is voluntary sharing.
                When something is taken from somebody by force, whether morally justified or not in some particular circumstances, it is something substantially different.
                There are two problems with your intuition about solidarity:
                1) In an evolved society founded on Judaeo-Christian traditions, there is no need to enforce solidarity. It happens spontaneously, and the more so, the less the government interferes.
                2) It’s a very nebulous term that allows for all kinds of interpretations, and thus is bound to be exploited by opportunists. It tends to lead not only to forming an hierarchy you abhor, but it’s hierarchy based on ability not to usefully contribute to the well-being of others, but on ability to deceive and manipulate in order to acquire unfair advantage, more often than not to the detriment to the society as a whole.
                And as for your opposition to hierarchy of ability – are you really saying that it doesn’t matter to you how competent is the doctor to operate on somebody you care about, how competent was the technician who installed the monitoring instruments in the operating room, how capable is the life guard on a beach, or the air controller directing air traffic – to name just the life and death areas?
                The competence in other areas might be not as dramatic, but taken all together, it makes a significant difference in the quality of life the society enjoys.
                Property rights on the other hand are clear-cut – one is entitled to keep the results of one’s own efforts or the results of efforts of somebody else who willingly transferred those results to him or her. (Provided of course, the results were obtained legally. Had they not been obtained legally, it’s a completely different matter that has nothing to do with this topic.)Report

              • Property rights on the other hand are clear-cut

                That’s why law schools spend only a day on them:

                “Property law says that you get to keep your stuff. Any questions? Good. Tomorrow, we’ll do contracts. Be prepared to discuss the first paragraph on page 2.”Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                And your point is?
                True, I might have been more detailed in saying that the principle of property rights is clearly and unequivocally definable.
                Sure, when two or more parties voluntary decide to join forces to tackle a complex issue, their agreement can become quite complex as well. That doesn’t make the principle any less valid.
                “Social justice” on the other hand can be anything anybody wants or proclaims it to be.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

                In another thread, someone (InMD I think?) brought up the idea that rapid social/cultural change can bring with it violence (we were discussing this in the context of the mass deaths at the hands of 20thC communist regimes).

                If in fact that statement is true, then unchecked mass immigration (which almost by definition can change a social/cultural landscape rapidly) is something that might warrant concern.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Glyph says:

                Rapid social changes wrought by demographics also provoke violence.

                So perhaps the right to reproduction by minorities needs to be re-assessed.

                The error here is in seeing the violence as unavoidable, similar to thinking that demands for civil rights provoked white lynching. The decision to react violently is a choice.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to LWA says:

                I never said violence is unavoidable, just that it may be associated.

                And generational changes (having children) are by definition more gradual and far slower than immigration-related changes. It’s going to take 18 years for kids to grow up. Hundreds or thousands of adults can move themselves into a place in 18 days, or 18 hours.

                Again, I don’t consider myself an immigration foe. But I also don’t think dismissing any and all concerns out of hand is wise either. I love all you guys here just fine, but you can’t just walk into my house and stay with me indefinitely.Report

              • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to LWA says:

                Unfortunately, history shows that there is rarely a shortage of those who are quite happy to make such choice.
                In which case the choice you happen to make becomes quite irrelevant.
                The error here is to make the assumption that if something doesn’t have to happen, we needn’t to worry about what if it does.
                According this kind of logic, it’s possible that your house won’t catch fire, so you don’t need smoke alarm. Air planes might not collude in the air or while landing, so we don’t need air controllers.
                Slogans are fun thing to chant. How much sense they make for the real world is a different question, entirely.Report

  12. Avatar M W Rodgers says:

    As convincing as anthropogenic global warming — Oh, and it’s August 3rd and the Mets are in first place in the NL EastReport

  13. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    That just means Mets fans get to wait until maybe as late as September before experiencing their annual heartbreak.Report

  14. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Complaining that Mexicans are talking American jobs in America: racist

    Complaining that Mexicans are taking American jobs in Mexico: not racist

    This is great news, for Hillary.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      H1-B visas also create an interesting dynamic. People who leap to calling people racist for opposition to wanton importation of unskilled labor suddenly discover all kinds of nuance when it comes to loosening the leash on skilled labor importation.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


        Who are these people?Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

          I do would appreciate that being unpacked and elaborated upon.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:


            @jaybird insinuates (because Jaybird only ever insinuates) that folks who support immigration under the guise that opposing it is racist oppose immigration of the form that involves H1B visas.

            I’m asking who these folks are and what evidence he has that they exist in significant numbers that his insinuations (because Jaybird only ever insinuates) are relevant and meaningful.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

                The BJ link explicitly says he is for immigration reform. Both suggest the desire for more H1B’s is about increasing the supply of high tech workers ( which is inarguable) but also about being able to cut wages ( which is certainly plausible). But i don’t recall the posters at LGM or BJ being against immigration reform. The opposite in fact. They are cynical about why certain group push for specific targeted reforms.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Here’s the quote: While I support immigration reform, and am sympathetic to the idea that it should be sensitive to the needs of employers, there’s a fine line between “guest worker” and “indentured servant”. And, yes, bringing in workers in any industry will depress wages for those already here working in that industry.”

                It’s no longer asking questions about the people who just want to come here and make a better life for themselves and their family, but about depressing wages for those already here working in that industry.

                They’re arguing against H1-B Visa holders the way that union members argue against scabs.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah i read that quote…”support immigration reform” that seems to be the key part.

                It’s a pretty commonly held belief that immigrants might depress wages. From what i’ve seen there isn’t data to back that up. However when one industry really wants to bring in just the kind of workers they want to hire, its superficially obvious they are looking to increase their supply of labor. Are the IT companies who want more H1B’s just trying to do a good deed? No, they want more workers.

                The thing it quote mining at BJ and LGM is aimed at people who, afaik, are all for more open immigration and for reform.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                The thing it quote mining at BJ and LGM is aimed at people who, afaik, are all for more open immigration and for reform.

                Yes, and even among those who are all for more open immigration and for reform, you still find this particular oasis of nuance.

                I mean, dig this: according to the Wikipedia: The actual size and the origin of the illegal immigrant population in the United States is uncertain and difficult to ascertain because of difficulty in accurately counting individuals in this population. National surveys, administrative data and other sources of information provide inaccurate measures of the size of the illegal immigrant population and current estimates based on these data indicate that the current population may range from 7 million to 20 million.

                An estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants were living in US in January 2000 through January 2011. This is a decline from the historic peak of 12.5 million seen in 2007.

                So let’s get a nice number to work with in there. Let’s say… 10 million? Sure, it’s higher than 7 million, but it’s lower than 11.5, 12.5, and 20 million and it gives us a nice round number to work with.


                How many H-1B Visas are there? Well, in any given year, the cap is 65 *THOUSAND*. That’s 65,000. But! There are a number of exceptions. According to the Wikipedia, Due to these unlimited exemptions and roll-overs, the number of H-1B visas issued each year is significantly more than the 65,000 cap, with 117,828 having been issued in FY2010, 129,552 in FY2011, and 135,991 in FY2012.. Wait, you ask. What is the duration of a visa stay? Again, according to the wiki, The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances.

                Let’s pick a good number to work with in the middle there. 5? Everybody loves to work with the number 5. Well, those numbers given by the webpage there get us to 383, over three years, another year gets us to half a million, and another year after that gets us to, oh, 650,000. A number 10 times the annual “cap”.

                650,000 H-1B visa holders are enough to inspire musings on the impacts of the marketplace for high skilled workers even among those most likely to be “all for more open immigration and for reform.”

                That is a number that is about 15% of the number of illegal immigrants.

                There’s precious little discussion of the impact of illegal immigration on the wages of the unskilled, I’ve found (and I’ve *LOOKED*). But there is discussion of it among the white collar set.

                Which is interesting.

                (Note: the fact that I am saying that these discussions exist should not be read as me saying that everybody talks about these things.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                “From what I’ve seen, there isn’t data to back that up.”

                Well, I did link to this report from The United States Commission on Civil Rights.

                Here’s from the conclusion:
                Evidence for negative effects of such competition ranged from modest to significant according to the experts who testified, but even those experts who viewed the effects as modest overall found significant effects in occupations such as meatpacking and construction.

                The jobs right where the distinctions between “unskilled” and “skilled” get really blurry. (Jobs that don’t require a high school diploma (and certainly not a college degree) but still allow for an experienced person to be miles better than an inexperienced one.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                That is quite different from what i’ve heard. Certainly might be true, but i’d always read there were mostly minimal, at most, effects. However what effects were present were in construction.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Well, now you’ve heard two different things.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Next report seals the deal for me. Best 2 out of 3 works for me.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

              Erm, people in the field of IT? This goes back to the outsourcing megatrend that we had a decade ago.

              I suppose that I have a lot more visibility to these arguments than most… but the argument that the best way to fix the H1-B Visa problem tend to range from “we need to not allow any H1-B Visas because they’re too exploitative” to “we need to regulate the H1-B Visas until they pay wages commensurate to what Americans would be able to get”.

              Here, look at this article (also from LGM).

              Here’s the conclusion: The high-tech industry then lobbies for more H-1B visas, allowing for immigration of high tech workers from nations like India. Is the reason a shortage? No, it’s to flood the market and lower wages for all. And it’s a great strategy–wrap your labor strategy up in a nice passage of national security and Sinophobia, convince Congress, the president, and the entire world of higher education that universities are not serving the needs of important American industries, and *presto*, you can start driving down wages for highly skilled labor by flooding market at both ends, creating a massive oversupply of labor.

              Imagine someone giving this argument against unskilled labor from Mexico.

              Do you not see a significantly different dynamic here?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                For whatever it is worth, I do not agree with that argument.

                The issue is that you don’t really qualify who these people are and how representative they are. You simply say “people”. I’m a people. I think we should make immigration easier for people at all levels.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Even as you don’t agree with that argument, do you acknowledge that it exists? That someone (a person, even) made it?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                But are the folks at LGM, or anybody else, making the similar argument calling for less immigration or closed borders or some such. Or are they for immigration reform and giving people a path to citizenship.

                That businesses want immigration because they want more people to work for them and they think it will help their business shouldn’t either be a surprise or that controversial in itself. Businesses want a plentiful supply of labor.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Again, Greg, my argument is that people treat H1-B Visas with much more nuance and understanding of market forces than they treat the immigration of unskilled people who only want to make a better life for themselves and their families.

                Not that one side is good, not that one side is bad.

                It’s a subtle argument that is more akin to calling people opposed to H1-B Visas “NIMBYists” than racists.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                SOME people, yes. Not all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                “People play fantasy football.”

                “SOME people, yes. Not all.”

                Speaking of which, we need to bug Burt about Fantasy Football.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Perhaps this is because an undocumented immigrant who’s here with their family fully intends to be an American citizen, in a de facto if not de jure sense. Whereas someone who’s here on an H1-B is very explicitly Just Here For The Job, and maybe they’d rather be in America than not but they aren’t on a path that makes that an outcome rather than a preference.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Kolohe says:

      Well that is an interesting dynamic, isn’t it?

      Its almost as if the entire structure of “free trade” was in fact a gigantic game of chutes and ladders, with the laws deliberately structured to provide chutes for some, and ladders for others.

      Erecting global laws that allow contracts to be adjudicated regardless of borders? Free Trade!
      Erecting global laws that provide workplace safety and minimum wages? Socialism!Report

  15. Avatar Bill says:

    The ubiquitous charges of racism and sexism grows tiresome. There’s nothing sexist or racist to be found in Mark’s remarks. Is it really racist to notice that 70% of inmates are from Mexico? Is it racist to observe that over 20k murders in the US have been committed by Latin. Americans in the past 5 years. Or that something on the order of 25% of the Mexican population now lives here – many of them illegally.

    Looking at these objective facts help me understand how what is going on here is different from an invasion?

    If tens of millions of unskilled Mexicans came pouring across the Canadian border, murdering a few thousand Canadians along the way how long would it take for you to conclude: we have enough Mexicans thank you.

    Mexican isn’t a race and this isn’t about race or about nationality. It is about the fact that the people coming here from there are coming with no skills, are uninvited, and are committing a lot of crime. If Canadians were do that from the Northern border the same would be said.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Bill says:


      How is it not racist to say that even Mexico shouldn’t have so many Mexicans?Report

      • Avatar agnostic13 in reply to Kazzy says:

        Your reading comprehension and/or attention to detail could stand a bit of improvement.
        Steyn didn’t say Mexico has too many Mexicans. He said Mexico has too many *unskilled* Mexicans.
        If you can find racism in effectively a statement that a country would be better off if it had more highly skilled workforce, then I suspect you may find objectionable words and expressions like whiteboard, blackbird, yellow journalism, and who knows, maybe even blue skies or greener pastures.
        And again – “Mexican” is nationality, not a race.Report

  16. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Bill: Is it really racist to notice that 70% of inmates are from Mexico?

    It’s an empty stat – because the actual stat (and to be clear the one Steyn does say) is that 70% of *foreign born* inmates are from Mexico. Which is like, duh, of foreign born residents more were born in Mexico than the next 8 countries combined.

    What it does not say, but people want you to think, is the 70% of the prison population in from Mexico, because that’s not even being close to true.Report

  17. Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler says:

    Erecting global laws that allow contracts to be adjudicated regardless of borders? Free Trade!
    Erecting global laws that provide workplace safety and minimum wages? Socialism!

    This need not feel so mysterious. The former is encouragement for voluntary contracts. The latter is a set of state-imposed constraints on voluntary contracts.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

      Trade agreements are nothing more than governments agreeing that they will allow no trade but that which satisfies certain requirements.

      Sometimes agreements set price ceilings or floors to prevent “dumping” , or selling at too low a price, or to protect a native industry.

      Yet oddly, the concept of selling labor at too low a price never comes up.

      Trade agreements are as much about restricting trade as allowing it.Report

      • Avatar Frank Ch. Eigler in reply to LWA says:

        Trade agreements are nothing more than governments agreeing that they will allow no trade but that which satisfies certain requirements.

        That’s a fair point, but the label you chose earlier was “free trade”, which is about relaxing previous requirements.Report

        • Avatar LWA in reply to Frank Ch. Eigler says:

          What trade agreement relaxes requirements?

          This isn’t a challenge to your Google-fu, but pointing out a paradox to the free trade theology- that in order to facilitate trade, property must be regulated and protected.

          The chutes and ladders I mentioned are more aptly described as gates and switches-
          For example, in Kolohe’s example, I can import capital freely from around the world, and import property easily from around the world; yet labor is constrained by law from moving across borders.
          Why? Because those who negotiate the agreements want it that way.

          We have a global structure that allows dozens of nations to cooperatively agree on what is meant by property, how it is to be protected, how capital is organized, how it will be effected, traded and exchanged. This structure is mandatory upon its citizens, and coercive, and no one objects to that fact.

          Yet the suggestion that within these agreements there be a standard of worker safety or minimum wage for labor is met with howls of outrage, and cries that it is unpossible.Report

  18. Avatar LWA says:

    So what IS the right number of Mexicans?


  19. Avatar Rich Horton says:

    You need to go even further to root out the evil I’m afraid. Sure, in the past year, according to Google, the inappropriate “Mrs. Clinton” has come up 20 times on Steyn’s page, but it has also come up 20 times at that bastion of reactionary politics Even “Think Progress” managed it 5 times. But the hands down leader of the vast right wing conspiracy must be Huffington Post and the Daily Kos where “Mrs. Clinton” has appeared hundreds of times just in the past year.

    Stay vigilant!Report

  20. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    It’s always weird what posts here get the drive-by comments from randos.Report

  21. Avatar zic says:

    I’ve stayed off this thread because I don’t really know what to think of the OP.

    ‘Mrs.’ would be, at least for publications like the NYT, required; a matter of their style guide. Second it’s common usage, and for someone less comfortable with the familiarity of first name, might opt for Mrs. over Hillary; yet that’s what she’s chosen as a brand. Using Mrs. Clinton, then, might also be a way of showing disagreement with her — refusing to call someone by the name they’ve chosen for themselves is a powerful show of disrespect.

    More troublesome is that it’s bad form because there is titles she’s earned that sets her apart from President Clinton: Senator. — Senator being the primary.

    There’s protocol on how to address a former senator:
    Regarding ex-US senators: I get that they remain the Honorable.
    But is it:
    Dear Mr. Santorum,
    Dear Senator Santorum,
    — Rich Hockberry

    Dear Mr. Hockberry:
    Senators serve with many other officials holding the office of senator. There is no singular official who subsequently holds a one-and-only office called The Senator.
    Thus the tradition is that former senators keep the honorific in retirement.
    So for a salutation use: Dear Senator Santorum,
    — Robert Hickey

    Yet that’s not what she’s chosen, either.

    There’s also the title ‘Secretary,” one she’s earned as Secretary of State. But for obvious reasons, this is laden with baggage for a woman, too.

    Honorable might be another. It is an appropriate honorific for a Senator, but if my standard is her chosen name (Hillary,) that doesn’t work, either: you don’t call yourself ‘honorable,’, it’s how others address you.

    But my main concern with the OP is looking for sexism in name only. There’s plenty of misogyny on display in how Clinton is presented in the media; there always has been. Here’s a media guide for identifying bias in reporting on politicians who happen to be women.Report