Arizonans, are you feeling less frustrated yet? At bottom, the dispute over the state’s law is a conflict of visions. The law’s supporters believe we should take the border seriously and assert the country’s sovereign right to control who comes here and who doesn’t; its detractors believe any serious effort to make good on that sovereign right is exclusionary and tinged with racism because it’s primarily directed at Latinos.
In this struggle, the latter camp sees Felipe Calderón as an ally and thrills to his disparagement of their countrymen.
It’s all part of the culture war. It’s not just between Rousseauians and Lockeans, but also between those who believe in American exceptionalism, and those who seek a transnational “progressive” “multicultural” future. And Arizonans, and others, can’t wait until November to start to take their country back from those who seem to despise it.
[Update a couple minutes later]
Lest there be a misunderstanding, that last sentence was just an expression of their eagerness to vote next fall, not a prediction or recommendation that they do anything else sooner. Other than continue to pass their own laws, of course, and defend their state(s) from a foreign invasion, as the federal government seems determined not to do.
[Update a few minutes later]
This is sort of related, but like Jonah, I can’t figure out what David Brooks’ point is. I also think that he mischaracterizes the divide. It’s not the French enlightenment versus the Scottish one. I think that any essay like this that ignores both Locke and Rousseau misses the mark. It’s about whether not not one accepts human nature as it is, or if one believes that we are blank slates, and worthy putty to build a new Soviet man.
[Update mid morning]
More thoughts on Arizona from Heather McDonald:
…let’s be honest: National origin is an inevitable part of immigration enforcement. Foreign alienage is a prerequisite to being an illegal alien; to say that national origin may not be a factor in assessing whether someone may be in the country illegally is to render immigration law nonsensical. If foreign alienage were not a valid consideration regarding border control, incoming passengers on international flights could not be separated into U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens for customs clearance. Yet the illegal-alien lobby, in its nuclear assault on the Arizona law, has managed to discredit notice of foreign birth as a factor in immigration enforcement and to fold foreign alienage into the utterly lethal category of “racial profiling.” The original version of SB 1070 said that a “law enforcement official#…#may not solely consider#…#national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.” In the uproar that followed passage of the law, Arizona legislators took out “solely.” It is not clear how this change affects legislative intent or the impact of the law. The Supreme Court has allowed border-patrol agents to use apparent foreign birth as one factor in the initial decision to make a car stop near the border. Lower courts have applied that ruling in cases challenging car stops far from the border as well, allowing apparent foreign alienage to count as one part of reasonable suspicion in initiating a stop, so long as the stop was based on other specific, articulable facts as well. SB 1070 is narrower than those rulings, since it applies only to the development of reasonable suspicion after a stop has already been made. To argue, as the illegal-alien lobby is currently doing, that a local law-enforcement officer may not consider apparent foreign origin in deciding whether to ask someone about his immigration status is tantamount to shutting down immigration enforcement entirely.
Obviously, that’s the goal.
[Update a few minutes later]
Sometimes, though there’s poetic justice:
The lawmaker injured in the crash…is an open-borders advocate.
Well, OK, maybe not so poetic, but justice nonetheless.