Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Opinion: Bret Stephens Should Get Stuffed


The wall is not a jobs-creating infrastructure program; it's a symbolic boondoggle that doesn't actually work because people can go over it, under it, and around it, and building it wouldn't defuse the political "bomb" the Republicans keep lobbing because it is a basically rhetorical bomb and we don't defuse those by accepting their framing.

He uses a vehicle crash (grisly enough) as his example of what's bad about immigration--shouldn't there have been another barrier for these people to have butted up against before their collision? (And if my mother was a quill I could have been a poem....)

Here's the grisly part: the wall, and the policies of Trump, didn't actually stop people from wanting to come here. They come here because they believe the US is nonetheless, a better place to live. Treating people who are amongst us with compassion is a choice we can make for us--the inducements for migrants to come exist whether we decide to be bastards or not. 

He seriously writes this admitting all the reasons he's not actually quite right: he knows it's not a true physical barrier and doesn't address the root causes, but says it's better to try and give the Republicans something they want in order for a chance at comprehensive reform. But no--the wall option exists in the first place, as far as I can tell, so that Republicans can focus on that, call it a plan, and never deal with the actual hard thinky/worky bits.  

The wall itself isn't a serious bargaining chip--it's a talking point. If you give them that, they don't need anything else. The wall is the barrier to real conversations about immigration. (It's also an environmental disaster and a shambles for property rights on the border, for a whole other conversation.)

A wall as an opening is not good symbolism, or anything else. 


Burr Deming said...

I love what you write, but...
Let's not get crude.

Simply suggest to Bret:
"At your earliest convenience, please perform an anatomical improbability."

Glen Tomkins said...

Clearly, Lincoln passed up an amazing opportunity to both outmaneuver the secessionists and juice up the northern economy, when he failed to propose slavery reform. Introducing slavery into the northern states would have created more economic opportunities for entrepreneurs to exploit creating very thrifty non-paying jobs (the best kind, from a supply-side perspective), and at the same time would have pulled the political rug right out from under those folks who had seceded to protect slavery.

No need to secede, we can meet all your human ownership needs right here within the Union!

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