Shallow Logic and Citizenship

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Michelle Alexander is a civil rights advocate and visiting professor at a theological university in New York City.  Back in December, she penned an article for the New York Times titled, “None of Us Deserve Citizenship.”  By positing this obvious statement, she then uses it to advocate for essentially open borders and allowing anyone into this country since, after all, even we- the current American “citizens-” did and do not “deserve citizenship.”

She is correct in this observation, but takes it to a scary extreme.  By taking this stance, she tries to cleverly undermine the arguments of those who take a strong stand against illegal immigration.  Yet, it becomes obvious that she takes a naive and Utopian view of humans in the first place.

It is true that no one born in the United States- or any country for that matter- deserve “citizenship.”  First, you have to be alive.  Being alive allows someone to “deserve” something.  Nobody ever really did anything to deserve to be born either.  Therefore, taking Alexander’s argument to the extreme, we can ask whether life itself is intrinsically morally suspect also just as she makes that argument with respect to citizenship.

Does anyone deserve to be a certain height or possess a certain IQ?  Yet, there are obvious benefits attached to be being tall.  It could get you a college basketball scholarship.  Having a high IQ can get you into a prestigious college.  And the list goes on.  But, does being tall or having a high IQ then make these attributes a moral evil?  And if we accept that premise, as Alexander and other Leftists seem to believe, how do we then correct for that moral evil?  How can these inequalities or, in the parlance of the Left, “privileges” be corrected?

The answer is nothing short of tyranny.  And the solution is a form of socialism applied to every inequality there is out there.  The solution, then, is sameness of outcome.  Yet, regardless- and this is where Leftist naivete and Utopianism enter the picture- due to the variety of choices and experiences, there will always be variation among people.  Their solution is a never ending series of interventions to correct the inherent differences.

We can see this thought pattern in other areas.  For example, your kids did nothing to inherit the wealth you may have accumulated in the form of money or property.  Still, as long as there is capitalism, your children are certainly entitled to an inheritance- the fruits of your, NOT their labors.  You earned those goods and you deserve to leave them to your offspring as you see fit, or even not at all.

And so it is with citizenship.  Citizenship is a gift or an inheritance that, although unearned, is granted at the discretion of the giver- the United States.  Citizenship is, therefore, an inheritance and that inheritance can no more be given to anyone who enters the country illegally any more than we can condone or reward someone for stealing from another.

Obviously, through its citizens, the state can play around the edges.  They can, for example, grant asylum to those legitimately running from persecution.  However, expanding the definition of “persecution” to meaning that to come from a poor, poverty-stricken country is not the answer.  Nor is the degree of lawlessness in a foreign country grounds for expanding the definition of persecution.

Furthermore, as the granter of citizenship, the state can pick and choose who, if anyone, they wish to allow to enter the country.  For example, if there is a shortage of scientists and engineers, it makes a certain amount of sense to allow foreign-born and trained scientists and engineers to enter the country to shore up the domestic shortfall.  But these are temporary allowances that in no way undermine the fundamental concept that they should, because of their presence, deserve citizenship.

Likewise, it may make a certain amount of sense to allow low-skilled workers into the country to make up for a shortfall in domestic low-skilled workers.  But, the advocates fail to realize that unlike the high-skilled worker scenario who serves a purpose, there really is no shortage of low-skilled workers in this country.  The only thing keeping them out of the labor market is the suppression of wages by the foreign-born, often non-citizen low-skilled laborer.

And it may very well be that the experiences of people in their home country is tragic from an economic standpoint.  But, the United States is not the world’s depository for every tragic sob story.  Unfortunately, as a country we avoid “tragedy” in this area and instead prefer to resort to emotionally-laden pablum which is the milieu of the Left, not the Right.

The article and sentiments of Alexander show no sense of natural human limits.  It is pie-in-the-sky Utopianism.  Our Founders’ list of freedoms from encapsulated in the Bill of Rights has become a positive entitlement of the rights enjoyed by rightful citizens to advance universal citizenship.  Thus, those who enter the country illegally are magically afforded the very rights and privileges true citizens enjoy.  They are afforded due process of law, the right to petition for redress of grievances, etc.  Illegal immigrants become flagrant advocates for illegal immigration and march in the streets protected by the First Amendment which would be rendered moot with open borders.

The views and values of the Left are naive and dangerous in the area of immigration.  The alleged philosophical twisting of logic by Alexander and her ilk prove their intellectual laziness- something another Alexander- Hamilton- noted centuries ago.  As he stated, “…the ordinary intellectual lives in a shallow world of empty word games.”  Stating that “no one deserves citizenship” is another way of saying “everyone gets citizenship” no matter how they entered this country.  If that is not the definition of “shallow” and “empty word games,” I don’t know what is.

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