Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dobbs' last stand

At first glance I agreed with Lou Dobbs' commentary on CNN.COM this morning: A Call to the Faithful. He's been ringing the Separation of Church and State bell, proclaiming that the constitutional wall is being breached. Of course I agree that our administration has been promoting their sectarian doctrines over the constitution they are sworn to defend, but Lou's bell sounds a bit tinny and the reader soon recognizes that his real concern is that too many Christian leaders are talking about some form of amnesty or path to legal status for some or all illegal aliens. By insisting that Churches shouldn't take a stand on the question of aliens and their treatment, he's insisting that the subject of how we treat our fellow men is not the province of religion. It's not that Dobbs is a solipsist and I suspect he's not really a complete secularist either. He can see the difference between a President preaching and a preacher preaching. He just doesn't care. He's just making a stand.

I don't know what religion is about other than power and money if it's stripped of any concerns for human welfare and made unable to promote kindness, mercy or compassion. I don't know what kind of religious values Dobbs might be in favor of in that he quotes Paul's Letter to the Romans:
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
instead of promoting any particular teaching of Jesus. It's hard to understand why Dobbs is furious at Cardinal Mahoney telling his flock that:
"Anything that tears down one group of people or one person, anything that is a negative in our community, disqualifies us from being part of the eternal city."
It sounds suspiciously like a Christian sentiment, if not equally Jewish and Muslim. It sounds like some of the clergy is taking time out from gay bashing and trying to confound science and is instead promoting what Jesus taught rather than what the Roman Paul taught to the Greco-Roman pagans.

It sounds like Dobbs is steamrolling the separation he claims to support if after all, the US government is established by God and must not be opposed. The only supposition that makes Dobbs' tirade coherent is that he just doesn't care about logical consistency or human values as long as we can quickly and ruthlessly expel anyone who entered illegally or overstayed their visa. He's waxed nearly hysterical trying to show that we are all at risk of leprosy and other horrible things because of the "Brown Peril" overrunning our borders. Dobbs explains to us that there is a growing schism between leaders who call for decency and compassion and parishioners who just want the filthy, disease ridden, dope smoking, lascivious Mexicans to go away. Someone needs to explain to him that his "argument" was used to support slavery and trash abolitionists - even though he knows it.

As a rule, I suspect someone of racism when they persist in depicting people as groups and resist looking at the indecencies and inhumanities their policies will inflict on individuals. I think that fits Dobbs like a white hooded robe. Nativism, xenophobia and garden variety racism have been and continue to be as American as the 4th of July. The screams about protecting our borders are not a bit different than what the Immigration Restriction League was howling a hundred years ago; no different than the repugnant phobias against the Irish, the Yellow Peril hysteria that resulted in the Exclusion Act and expulsion of American Citizens of Chinese descent, the arrest and incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent and all the horrors and race riots of the Jim Crow era. The same rhetoric of disease, drugs, corruption of values, traditions, language, ethnic purity and the loss of jobs that was wrong then is wrong now and although I have been on Lou Dobbs' side when he had the guts to question the Bush administration and its lies, I am not on his side now and will not be until he begins to separate the perceived need to control the borders from his need to dehumanize and demonize a group of people. Some people may deserve a legal path to citizenship, others may not. It's not beyond comprehension that we may be able to accommodate both without resort to brutality, that we may be able to treat people as we would be treated - at least not for me.

9 comments:

scotti said...

Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are more crowded than Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I'm not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn't object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

d.K. said...

Capt Fogg:
Did you catch Dobbs on 60 Minutes on Sunday? I almost emailed you... He was as arrogant as you'd expect.

His wife, by the way, is Mexican-American -- which in itself means nothing, just interesting. BTW, she says she supports his views, and often chides him for not going far enough.

And the world turns...

Capt. Fogg said...

Well, it's easy to say that "Everybody says" without regard to the fact that everybody does not say as you demonstrate by not saying the opposite. Really, that being true, your argument sort of falls apart, nicht wahr?

What comparison did you invite by using the phrase "final solution" which mirrors Hitler's Die Endlösung der Judenfrage if you did not wish to be compared with Hitler? Do you thing that if I were to call you a Nazi it would somehow validate your opinions?

"Anti Racist" is not a code word for anything unless you choose to make it one and even then it would be only your desire for it to be so that would make it seem so to you. It does not to me. I'm familiar with racist sentiments amongst people you couldn't tell apart by looking and neither of which would you consider to be "white."

The word Genocide of course is hyperbole of an extreme sort as nobody is killing masses of white people for being white in America. Since hyperbole consists of telling a lie to make a point, there really isn't much of a point to replying.

I don't understand why you think, or why you claim others think that racism would be solved by deportations or importations of various peoples into each other's territories. Racism is an attitude that is independent of objective reality for the most part. Perhaps you liked pre-columbian America better? If not, at what point in the continuum do consider America to have been as it should be? I'm sure you know that immigration from Africa began almost in parallel with European immigration.

Of course genetic science shows that the idea of race purity is illusory. Everyone has been intermarrying for millions of years. Races as we know them, are ephemeral and the product of blending, but go ahead and rage against history and science and fact. It's amusing.

I'm quite familiar with the Netherlands and their problem with immigration has nothing to do with race but rather with culture. Racial assimilation is far easier than cultural assimilation and yes, groups that will not assimilate and who retain a loathing of the culture to which they have imported themselves do cause problems. You yourself seem rather annoyed with American culture and the idea of individual liberty and I see attitudes like yours as counterproductive at best and grounds for killing you at worst. Perhaps you'd like to find some place where everyone looks and thinks like you and stay there?

Tchüß

Capt. Fogg said...

D.K.

No, I didn't catch 60 minutes, but I'm sort of avoiding Dobbs at the moment. It does not surprise me that his wife is Mexican and supports his ideas. There is a tendency with some people to want to want to make it harder for others to do what they have done. It makes their accomplishments seem more important.

It's not so much that Dobbs advocates controlling immigration, but that he resorts to all the same sleazy accusations that serious racists have used - fear of disease and losing jobs. He resorts to treating a widely divergent group as all one and the same. He doesn't seem to care about backing up the hypothesis with facts - but what I dislike the most is his bit about "amnesty" and making the idea of objectivity seem ugly.

Exactly why treating people as individuals, with dignity and decency is so repugnant to him I cannot understand.

By the way, aren't all Mexicans "American" by definition? :-)

d.K. said...

No, I think in plain English, American is understood to be someone who is a citizen of the United States, and Mexican-Americans can also be Americans, and citizens of the United States, but the term calls attention to the fact that their forebairs were from Mexico.
Just as we don't call Canadians Americans or Colombians Americans in English, we don't call people who live and are citizens of Mexico "Americans."
In Spanish, they try hard to make the argument that we are all Americans from the Canadian North Pole to Tierra del Fuego, but I don't think that's useful.
Mexican-American is not pejorative in my mind at all. Neither is Norweigian-American. There's a place for those terms in precise English, to provide desired context. :)
I have the feeling you agree with me and are making another point which is factually true, but not necessarily accurate ;-)

d.K. said...

Forbairs? Note to self: proofread.

Also, thanks for replying to the first comment. I read it twice yesterday and had no idea what scotti's point was. I think I now do.

Capt. Fogg said...

I have a feeling that other nationalities grumble when we claim "American" as a nationality - it does after all, refer to a continent or two. Canadians in particular have got on my case for using it in that way. But yes, that's how it's understood here in God's own America, even though my passport says United States of America rather than America.

Of course I grumble endlessly about the linguistic dance we're supposed to perform in order to obtain our certificates of acceptability from the self appointed guardians of opinion. I weep at the notion that Eskimos, Sri Lankans, Russians, Chinese inter alia are now Asians rather than Asiatics or Oriental. None of those things was ever intrinsically pejorative and to anyone disposed to using any of those words, any euphemism can be used with the same derogatory sneer. Words don't cure racism and the victims of racism don't seem to be much involved in choosing the the descriptors we are bullied into using.

Having married into a Chinese family, I know any number of Chinese people, none of which, so far, has expressed any offense at using a Greek term like Asia to describe the east rather than the Roman Orient but every college sociology department pundit wants to tell me I'm a racist for refusing to submit. Do Asiatic Bears prefer to be called Asian? Does either epithet show that one hates of loves bears?

The continent on which a population resides is largely irrelevant in terms of pointing out the rather obvious genetic and cultural diversity anyway, but to some people whose mind set I cannot understand, specificity is racist while euphemistic side-stepping isn't.

While I'm ranting, I've never met an indian who objected to the term, although most prefer "Lakota" or "Apache," etc. A native American simply doesn't refer to them while excluding me, unless you twist the word native into a pretzel.

The bottom line is that being a racist now seems to be about accepting the linguistic authority of academics rather than having feelings about a population based on race or ethnicity. You could be a Bodhisattva or Arhat who loves everyone and hates no one, but watch your tongue anyway!

Score another one for Orwell.

d.K. said...

I should know better than to lecture you on the English language. You can probably tell I'm a MidWesterner - blissfully naive and incorrible that Midwestern sort of way.

I was in Graduate School in California in the mid-1980s when I used the term Oriental instead of Asian innocently and I was quickly put in my place. I guess I was overseas when that characterization became offensive. I learned, when I got out of the Army and went to work for the government as a civilian in 1998 that we don't say Native American anymore - we say American Indian (or indigenous is also acceptable - but you make a great point: indigenous and native describe me too! Sheesh).

I'm constantly learning and memorizing these things so as not to offend anyone, and your larger point is so true: I would never use that sort of language to offend. A sneer in enunciation conveys meaning so why should I have to be so careful with language so as not to convey a definition I did not create? And the group protected is rarely the group offended, as you point out. It's the sociologists and language police who get to decide that.

Thank you, as always, for broadening my horizons. You said a few posts back how much you love America but hate so many of the bastards who live here. I'm with you on that.

Capt. Fogg said...

The idea that I'm somehow a bigot or a racist because I don't dance the dance offends me no end.

When it gets to the point when you can't ask high school kids to read Mark Twain because he's a "bigot," we've lost all claim to be doing anyone any good.