In ‘The Nation’ Greg Grandin shares some tactical or – what they hey? – strategic thoughts, specifically “nine reasons Democrats should embrace immigration reform this year”.
A couple of thoughts are prompted.
His first point: “Immigration reform ends the Southern strategy”. The Republican Southern strategy was that Party’s response to the political opportunities opened up by a) the combination of the Civil Rights Movement (in its first, Martin Luther King nonviolent and unitive phase and then in its second, separatist, revolutionary, Black Power phase) and b) by the cultural whackery promised by the Boomers’ youthy anti-authoritarian anarchism, which had been given such a strong boost by the profound (Democratic) failures in prosecuting the Vietnam War.
At first this was a purely political-tactical gambit, picking up a demographic that the other Party had left or lost.
But then by the mid-1970s there began the queasy and ominous elements of Deconstruction – deployed with the support of the Dems initially against ‘men’ but then against ‘patriarchy’ in all its alleged forms. And when all that began to register with the larger body of the citizenry, the Southern culture – the only game left in town that supported any sense of tradition and social order – became by default the choice of a lot of Citizens: not simply ‘backlashers’ and Southerners mad at the loss of Jim Crow, but rather a whole lot of folks who simply had their doubts about what seemed an awful lot of change on verrrry dubious bases.
Nor was it irrelevant that Southern culture by its very nature was tradition-oriented. Granted that had been put to bad use in the Jim Crow era, but in the mid-70s things had moved wayyyy beyond Civil Rights as any average person would have understood that Movement’s agenda in – say – 1960. Beside the Black-Power revolutionary separatism, there had been the follow-on (and far more organized) radical-feminist Revolution built – craftily – on the Jim Crow era paradigm: males exercised ‘patriarchy’; the aforesaid ‘patriarchy’ was a form of gender-slavery and far worse than the Jim Crow oppression of blacks; and the only thing to do was for the Federal government to do to White, Macho, Working-Class, Industrial culture what it had done to Jim Crow culture in the South. (Oh, and that all sex was rape.) (Oh, and that Family and Marriage also had to go.)
In the face of such hugely doubtful agendas, highly dubious in both the Content of their demands and the Method of their implementation (rapid, intrusive, and imposed) many folks turned – by default – to the Republicans.
Immigration came into this: as Affirmative Action started to wobble under the weight of its own inconsistencies and its extension to increasing numbers and types of persons for ever more vague reasons, Multiculturalism arose. Its assertion was that American culture was not worth assimilating into and should be Deconstructed by Dilution: bring in more and more folks who weren’t native to that culture and then, under the guise of ‘respecting’ their native culture, Dilute the traditional American culture and identity-as-Americans into non-existence.
“Diversity” began to make its appearance, not so much as a proven theory but simply as a buzzword (that was accepted whole-hog by the Beltway). As best I can see the ‘Diversity’ mantra, based on the assumption (never proven) that a ‘diverse’ country is stronger than a ‘monocultural’ one, was embraced as a way of neutralizing the assaultive aspects of Multiculturalism (which sought, as I said, the essential Deconstruction by Dilution of American culture – especially that White, Male, Working, Industrial culture). And America as ‘monocultural’ prior to 1970 is more than a bit of a stretch.
You can look around and ask yourself – absent the extensive and ubiquitous happy-face Correct burbling – if American society and culture are “stronger” now than they were several decades ago.
Immigrants were thus dragooned into coming over as pawns in this frakkulent strategy of Deconstruction by Dilution. (Which was only one prong of a sustained and lethal assault, another prong of which was the Correct attack on the bases of American culture: Family, traditional Ideals, and Industry itself, both as a personal discipline and ideal virtue and as an actual web of industrial capacity.)
The America of the historic Immigration waves of earlier eras – culminating in the era from 1880 to 1920 - no longer existed when the current era of ‘immigration’ began: its social and cultural ideals had been deeply weakened and were under assault with the assistance of the country’s ‘political elites’ with the full connivance of the government itself, and its actual ability to create sufficiently-salaried and reliable jobs was being outsourced-away.
So to suggest that the anti-immigration sentiment in the country is merely the result of traditionalist and ‘dominant’ backlashing and selfishness and insensitivity, or perhaps as nefarious as the Jim Crow regime of the pre-1965 South, is hugely misconceived (to be polite about it).
THEN, in his second ‘reason’, Grandin suggests, stunningly, that “immigration reform” (and by now no sober person can see the word “reform” without wondering what fresh and virulent whackulence is actually being put forth) should be embraced because “it wins back the Catholic Church to social justice”.
First, there is some real question as to whether the Catholic Church has ever abandoned its Vatican II ‘social justice’ stance. Surely its support for reliable Family structure to provide the utterly indispensable Shaping of the young (without which they will grow up Shapeless and require ever more intrusive government regulation in order to maintain any Shape to their social and even personal lives at all), and its continuing refusal to Embrace the Suck in the matter of abortion, constitute a substantial and profound stance for ‘social justice’.
Second, there is some real question as to whether dragooning folks from other countries – luring them, even – to come over to the hugely weakened American situation as it now is (and doesn’t promise to be getting better any time soon) isn’t itself a form of profound and insidious social IN-justice.
Third, there is an elephant in the middle of this room here: ‘liberals’ have played no small role in the quarter-century long assault on the Catholic Church (defender of Family, Marriage, Virtues, Ideals, and the Higher Authority of God) as nothing but a nest of child-molesting (and, nicely, ‘male’) priests and their conniving bishops. Although I have often written here that the Jingoist-Right, tainted heavily by nation-idolizing Protestant Fundamentalism, was also complicit, since the Church also stands officially against preventive war and invasive occupation and a whole bunch of other stuff that the government has now made Standard Operating Procedure.
Granted that ‘The Nation’ magazine itself has never gotten very deep into that sex-abuse mudhole, it strikes a jarringly incongruous note for one of the flagship ‘liberal-progressive’ magazines to suddenly propose to its faithful that the Catholic Church is a worthy potential ally in this particular campaign.
But, as so many of the proposals in this piece, there is a heavy flavor of ‘technique’ to all of this: the short-sighted ‘strategizing’ of political ‘alliances’ – however temporary or fragile or incongruous – and studied avoidance of deeper issues. This article represents a form of political-gambit, much as the Bush-Cheney ‘strategizing’ about the Iraq War was merely a matter of ‘getting a lock on’ necessary groups of allies (or dupes) and not only a studied avoidance of, but a treacherously dishonest manipulation of, such deeper issues and questions – Questions, even – that were at stake in the entire agenda ad bellum.
And then, as if to demonstrate that entire dynamic more clearly, Grandin comes right out and says it: “But immigration reform now has the potential to trump abortion as a wedge issue”. So it would be a political benny to sidestep the intractable (40 years in 2013) ‘abortion problem’, insofar as you define that problem as merely being a political one: one very influential demographic officially objects to it on the deepest moral grounds. And in best modern ‘Beltway’ style, the game is to somehow sidestep the profound questions and tack together an alliance on whatever conceptual terms can be arranged, legitimately or otherwise.
My, my. As in the festering frakkulence of American’s current ‘wars’, it has to be said: so much ‘strategy’, so little seriousness. But of course, for the past 40 years it was precisely the very serious Deconstructive and Dilutive assault on American culture and society which required the abandonment of and suppression of and distraction from any Seriousness at all in the realm of American public discourse (Who in office wanted to admit publicly just what they were up to there inside the Beltway? The national Patient wasn’t quite anesthetized enough for that, and might yet rise up off the table if it became clear just what the elite Beltway ‘doctors’ had in mind).
There are reasons within the Catholic system for its support of some aspects of immigration: concern for the human impact on illegals already here and their children; concern for persons in foreign countries living under such awful life-circumstances that ANY improvement – including coming to America in its present state – would be desirable; and – more politically – an increase in serious adherents to replace the Shape-Deconstructed cohorts of American young, raised for decades with the idea that God is not a hypothesis needed in the magnificent American dampdream envisioned by the liberal-progressives.
And perhaps the mention of this entire gambit in such a respected liberal-progressive organ is a signal to the cadres as to just what is now allowable to imagine and still retain the indispensable creds of Correctness. Although to the most committed, this must be like Berlin happily trumpeting a pact with Stalin to the long-faithful Sturmer of the National Socialist Workers Party.
In his third ‘reason’, Grandin displays persistence in this uncharacteristically religious bent: Embrace of immigration reform “slows the inclusion of Latino evangelicals into the religious right”. I can’t help but think that unless it has taken the veil, ‘The Nation’ is not so much concerned for immigrants’ immortal souls as it is for political strategizing and manipulation.
In a hell-hot irony, apparently large numbers of immigrants (and upon them be peace) ‘welcomed’ by the liberal-progressives as pawns in their General Deconstruction and Dilution campaign, have perversely refused to stampede over the liberal-progressive ‘bridge’ (and rightly so, it is a rickety and treacherous thing). Instead they have done some ‘embracing’ themselves, of the only element they can see on the modern American scene that offers both robust community and – indispensably connected to that robustness – a profound and solid relationship with Things Unseen.
Which, come to think of it, seems clearly to give the lie to the entire ‘secularist’ foundation of the liberal-progressive agenda and dampdream: that ‘religion’ and the entire dimension of the Beyond with its Higher Authority and Higher Law and Virtue and obedience thereto is merely an “opium” (as one noted and hugely discredited commenter, dear to the hearts of many of the original radical ‘reformers’ 40 years ago, once said), and America and its folks had no need of it – whether they knew it or not; and that you could sustain a flourishing society and culture without any Beyond at all.
The immigrants were brought in as pawns and lab-rats in that dampdream (that is masquerading as cutting-edge social thought). Many, many of them have since demonstrated a mind (and soul) of their own: they have accepted the increased (however tenuously) material benefits of current American life compared to their country of origin, but have shrewdly and stubbornly sought out a source to sustain their relationship – as individuals and as communities – with the Beyond. The ingratitude! After all the liberal-progressives have done for them, they won’t drink the Kool-Aid! Perhaps, in that shrewd and calculating wisdom traditionally ascribed to peasants, many of the immigrants can identify a lethal dampdream drummed up by profoundly clueless elites when they see one. And have taken steps to filter the whackness out of their immigration experience while acquiring the material benefits.
Recall that while the urban proletariats eagerly embraced his revolutionary wisdom, Lenin soon had to resort to shooting huge numbers of peasants – creating the class of kulak and declaring mere existence in that class to be a crime against the people and the Soviet State; and eventually shipping off to Siberian work-death camps large numbers of the disillusioned proletarians as well. And he knew all along that he would have to; Lenin was brassily trumpeting Terror as an essential political tool from the get-go.
Naturally, Grandin’s little strategic gambit here might be expected to seduce the Catholic hierarchy, so punchy from the sustained (and so selective) sex-abuse bouts that they might be imagined at this point to be grateful for any official ‘rehabilitation’ and any place on the A-list of national political ‘players’. I expect Rome will play its traditional role of reining-in the emotionally-driven weaknesses of local hierarchs and spackle them up with a few well-placed Latin admonitions.
Despite the clearly-calculated offer of more communicants, lured away from the admittedly whackulous Fundies.
His fourth point is that “It is lose-lose for the Republicans”. Oh goody! Goody goody gumdrops! Just what We need more of: short-sighted political gamesmanship (and gameswomanship, most surely) masquerading as serious deliberation about what’s best for the country and the common-weal in the long as well as the short term. Tit for tat. As if it’s going to make a difference to anybody except the connected ‘elites’ whichever Party wins the next round of elections.
We have hit the berg, and can’t claim We didn’t see it coming. And whether a Democratic Congress or President can bail water faster than its Republican shadow is hardly a matter for serious consideration at this point. At the rate the water is coming in, buckets are no longer on the table, no matter how adroitly handled.
At this stage, C-Span or CNN or any ‘news’ shows are probably as detached from reality as a soap-opera.
But – alas – this is what elites ‘do’, and it’s all they have left. And if We aren’t kept entranced to the very end, We might take it upon Ourselves to step in and save the game and defenestrate the poltroons.
Ditto Grandin’s fifth point: “It splits the conservative coalition in other ways”. More gamespersonship.
But it does let a few cats out of the bag;
The wedge would be driven by ‘business Republicans’ and the “no-amnesty, know-nothing wing”.
First, the Know-Nothings were a party of the immediate pre-Civil War era, and I can’t see too much relevance here. There was a Nativist element to it, as there has been throughout American history, especially since the 19th century. But again I say that in Our current situation, and given the type of virulently and actually hostile elements seeking to Deconstruct and Dilute American society and culture (and they’ve already succeeded in terms of the industrial base itself), there is plenty of justification for a prudent Citizen to wonder if lots more immigration on those terms and to support that agenda is really a good idea.
But Grandin lays open to light that awful, frakkulent, and treacherous 40-year de facto alliance between the total-autonomy anti-‘oppression’ Left that sought to Deconstruct and Dilute that White, Male, Working Class Industrial American culture, and the corporate Wealth that sought to get rid of the gains of the American Worker over the past hundred years or so, and especially since the New Deal and the postwar Detroit Consensus (give workers reliable employment and pay them well and they will buy the products).
His ascription of this to ‘the Republicans” is more than a little misinformed, if not also dishonest.
And while bald and utter ‘libertarianism’ is merely one extreme response to what has never been admitted to be the extreme agenda of Deconstruction and Dilution, folks who are trying to recover some semblance of personal-responsibility and excellence in conducting one’s life as individual and Citizen, and persons seeking to re-introduce some amount of Citizen participation in a government that is now morphing into the worst of both a National Nanny Regulatory State (the elite Left’s dampdream) and a National Security Corporate State (the elite Right’s dampdream) are hardly nefarious in their concerns and hopes.
His sixth point is that “it revitalizes the union movement”. I can’t see at all how there can be a union movement with no more of the jobs that are necessary if one is to be an actual ‘worker’. And if the liberal-progressives are trying to sell Kool-Aid to the effect that the ‘knowledge and service’ economy will provide many opportunities for barristas and leaf-blowers and nannies to unionize in the Grand Style … well, I can’t see that being realistic at all.
For one thing, union members didn’t just fight for their own personal rights but for their Families; and because they considered themselves responsible not just for ‘fulfilling themselves’ but for providing a good life to their children and families. And THAT motivation has been, you recall, Deconstructed.
And for another, corporatist chieftains (and chieftainesses) are not about to let ‘unions’ get going again. They’ve just spent the past 40 years trying to get rid of them. That was, you recall, their price for their undercover alliance with the Left elites in the first place. And if immigrants are here, facing the monstrous complexities of trying to realize the American Dream in an America that is unable to any longer support such a Dream, then they are not going to be risking what they’ve got by doing the risky work of union-organizing (or re-organizing). Most of them, anyway, will be working for the government, one way or another. Which, by the by, is hardly a recipe for an independent Citizenry.
Seventh, an embrace of immigration reform “dilutes the power of the Florida Cubans”. Granted this particular highly-concentrated though small demographic has had a rather unsung but palpable influence on national politics, I can’t see how they have had “a toxic effect on US domestic and foreign policy”, any more than – say – the supporters of Our Staunch Ally Sans Treaty.
Grandin indicts them for being fomenters of the “Brooks Brothers Riot” that helped shut down the disputed Florida recount in 2000. (Which, you recall, created an opening for the Supreme Court to do for the Right in 2000 what it had done for the Left with Roe v. Wade in 1973 – tit for tat and a nice balancing act … and a stunning example of what happens when the Supreme Court tries to play politics out on the field rather than quietly and tactfully reading the election returns in the privacy of chambers).
He indicts them for “delivering Florida’s large number of electoral votes to Republicans”. Although given the large number of ‘traditional’ retirees dwelling therein, raised in that traditional White, Male, Working, Industrial culture that the Left was eagerly and with malice aforethought trying to Deconstruct and Dilute … well, I think there are a whole lot of other elements, and larger, in the equation than the Florida Cubans. And again I note that Grandin has no strategic thoughts – let alone indictments - concerning the supporters of Our Staunch Ally Sans Treaty, whose activities in pursuit of Middle-East domination have played no small part in leading Us to Our current unhappy misadventures in the famously-named ‘graveyard of empires’.
Eighth, “it helps American cities”. Here he limns some sort of latter-day Norman Rockwell scenes from his own personal experience dwelling in the metropolis of Durham, North Carolina. Wherein dwelleth hordes of “undocumented laborers”, all happily carousing and communalizing in the streets AND – GET THIS – “raising families”.
Let Us pass over in silence the eerie and queasy semblance of this vision to the happy darkies, singin’dey songs on de fron’ stoop, of a more benighted age.
The smallish place (85th or so largest city in the country) is – by the oddest coincidence – home to both Duke University as well as other universities and to “the Research Triangle” corporations that are major elements of the knowledge-and-service ‘economy’, so-called. You do well to note just how much government-money and influence must support such an ‘economy’.
It is no coincidence that in this little city, the elites of both Left and Right meet and greet, spinning their several webs happily, and mutually enriched by the flow of Beltway cash and benefits.
And here, plopped right down – and by the oddest coincidence – is a large agglomeration of undocumented aliens, apparently happily employed.
Do you see some dots that need to be connected here?
What We are being led into is NOT the broad, sunlit uplands of a marvelous future; what We are being led into is NOT merely a regression to some earlier and less ‘enlightened’ phase of American history.
What We ARE being led into is a re-feudalization of society and culture. The elites – and it makes no difference whether of Left or of Right – are going to wind up re-feudalizing Western society and turning most citizens back into serfs.
To listen to Monsieur Grandin he seems quite pleased with progress in that direction so far. And, indeed, seems to see it as ‘progress’. But he and his ilk are dragging Us back toward a time of sociopolitical and socio-cultural monstrosities that, for the United States, were permanently (it was presumed by most at the time) buried in 1787.
But today, to quote Christopher Sarandon’s vampire of 1985: “Welcome to fright night – for real”.
It’s not enough to build your national and personal home over a presumption that “it could never happen here – not again”. It can happen here: the monsters vanquished in 1787 could return, and indeed have been invited back.
Which is the danger that Franklin sorta was warning about when he said to Us that you’ve got a democracy, “if you can keep it”.
It appears that Our era cannot. (Feel free to prove that impression wrong.)
Duke is simultaneously a verrrry government-friendly place and the scene of the infamous Duke Lacrosse Rape scandal – since utterly discredited – in the course of which a hundred or so of its faculty admitted loudly and proudly that “facts don’t matter”. Advice perhaps given to Bush-Cheney when they were charting and stove-piping their way to a quick little war in the Middle East almost a decade ago.
Anyhoo, Grandin lives in the sure and certain hope that this new incarnation of American happy-darkies will make cities (pick one, several or all: ‘richer’, more creative, more robust, more transgressive, more “diverse”). Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And all without any unforeseen consequences, certainly no downsides (or was that Rumsfeld about Iraq?).
THIS apparently is the type of actual experience that feeds and fuels the still-dewey liberal-progressive dampdreams.
Ach. Oy. Frak.
Lastly, and he has saved the best wine until last, Grandin burbles brassily that “it is the morally right thing to do”.
Take Us now, Lord – for I feel like Sam and Dean Winchester realizing that the Apocalypse is due in on the two-fifteen from Durham. The liberal-progressives, who have built their entire regime precisely on the fact that ‘morality’ is either “quaint” or delusional, certainly not fit for governmental and public affairs (Bush-Cheney got that part right), and most likely merely a ‘cover’ for ‘backlashing’ (like the Constitution’s protections merely provide ‘cover’ for utterly evil (and male) perps who must be rooted out and consigned to outer darkness) … the liberal-progressive cadres are now being signaled that ‘morality’ is part of the Party-Line upon receipt of this Memo.
But he spends no time on irony nor – of course – allows any time for thought about THIS bombshell. No, his point, instantly made, is that “as a result, it is strategically smart”. So … doing the moral thing is doing the right thing, and being so it is therefore strategically smart. Which is the point of the exercise.
But I’d like to go back an inch or so. If morality is ‘right’, why is it ‘right’? Just because enough people agree that it is right? (And if they decide otherwise tomorrow then it will be the wrong thing to do, just as soon as a Memo can be distributed to the cadres?)
Doesn’t morality rely for its usefulness and right-ness upon the reality that there is indeed some moral order (or Order) in human affairs and perhaps even built-into human affairs? Perhaps placed there by some Source that has – or Who has – designed the human experience with an orientation toward such an Order?
If not, if there is no Higher Law in which morality is anchored, then morality is simply a matter of some sort of politics – a consensus or at least a critical mass of ‘alliances’ cobbled together for the moment and for the purpose at hand. Sort of like Bush-Cheney cobbling together their Coalition of the Willing who – after looking at matters as hard as they could – decided that Yes, what they wanted to do was Right and Good and they all were Right and Very Clever.
What I get a whiff of here is Stalin re-opening the churches in order to bolster morale for the Great Patriotic War. When History took off its street-clothes, revealed its awefull and muscled torso, and got in the ring with him, the swaggering, monstrously-mustachioed Ultimate Gargoyle had to quickly call upon the Beyond in order to get help. Because that vast and suffering sea of humanity known as the Russian people seemed profoundly attuned to that Beyond.
He drew few lasting conclusions from his experience – alas – and the Beyond got short shrift again just as soon as History left the ring and put its deceptively civilized disguise back on.
And here’s Grandin urging the cadres to push ‘morality’.
History must be closer than any of the elites want to admit.