Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No True Conservative Would Ever Tear a Family Apart

In Tijuana, from the April "caravan", via CNN.

Now that Anthony Scaramucci and Franklin Graham are on board, Brooks ("The Rise of the Amnesty Thugs") is venturing out to say he doesn't think much of the Sessions-Miller-Trump family separation party either, and it's not so bad in parts, especially since he points out that it's not just the CPB at the border that's violently separating immigrant families, but also ICE in the heartland, with links:
Sontag and Russakoff capture the fabric of immigration enforcement today: a van-load of men coming back from an Alcoholics Anonymous gathering detained by a state trooper after a routine traffic stop; a magisterial district judge in Camp Hill, Pa., pre-empting a Tajik wedding by calling ICE on the groom and best man, who were led away in handcuffs; work sites raided, with the Latinos separated from everybody else and lined up face to the wall; police officers who ticket Hispanics at a rate of twice or even five times their share of the population.
But of course there's always a razor blade in that apple, as our friends Driftglass and Boswood likes to say, which is that what he wants to say about it isn't so much that it's bad, or that it has to be stopped, or that Republican Senators need to do something about it, which would be terribly commonplace, as to produce his own smoking hot take, which is to clarify that it's not conservative! Though it is anti-liberal, where "liberal" means, as is becoming usual in the movement, "conservative looking for liberal approval", or trying to lull liberals into argumentative cease-fire, or into uniting against the common enemy of Imaginary Collectivism—Black Lives Matter secretly planning to turn into the Great Leap Forward and enslave us all!

That is, what's wrong with the Trump policy is its relentless statism:
Statism, conservatives have argued, has a tendency to become brutalist and inhumane because a bureaucracy can’t see or account for the complexity of reality. It tries to impose uniform rules on the organic intricacy of human relationships. Statist social engineering projects cause horrific suffering because in the mind of statists, the abstract rule is more important than the human being in front of them. The person must be crushed for the sake of the abstraction.
By contrast, Southern slaveholders, breaking up families by selling the children of the human beings who were their property for a profit, were keeping it personal as they exercised their sacred, Locke-guaranteed individual rights. Oh wait.

I don't think the Trump immigration policy has anything to do with bureaucracy trying to impose uniform rules on organic intricacy of human relationships because the abstract rule is more important than the human being in front of them. Sessions often sounds like that as he's uttering his nostrums—"The law must be obeyed!"—because they always do. Authoritarians abusing power love to say how they have no power to do otherwise. They're always making "tough decisions", meaning decisions they know to be wrong, and claiming that the law forces them to it. He's made it very clear that his aim is to frighten people.

The trouble with that Burkean-Kirkian-Brooksian picture of the world as divided between the kindly paternalism of Merrie England, where everybody was cozy and spontaneously taken care of by the way the right sorts of people were always in charge, squire and vicar, and the grateful peasants ate their soup and tugged their forelocks and understood how right it all was, and the soulless tyranny of Socialist England, where everybody has a number and nobody has a name, is a crock of shit. Neither has ever existed and neither ever will. Brooksian conservatism is, in fact, a fairy tale, in which poor Brooks may actually believe, for all I know, but conservative politicians and power wielders never will. I'm sure I've explained this enough to be getting tired of it.

Conservatives aren't entitled to complain that No True Conservative would ever countenance this wanton destruction of immigrant families until they've acknowledged that they brought it about themselves, by nourishing nativism and racism to turn themselves into a voting bloc, and preaching law and order meaning law for themselves, protecting the liberties of the people in higher position, and order for the others, whose liberty is of no account because they're such shiftless, lazy bastards to begin with. All those years of complaining about welfare cheats and unmarried mothers and abortion and the rampant violence from which decent people have to protect themselves violently if need be is what gave us Trump, and John Kelly (who was agitating for a family separation policy as DHS secretary 15 months ago) and Sessions too.

And then he's angry about the word "amnesty" being used to condemn those of us who want to be nice, you know, to the undocumented immigrant:
Here’s how you can detect the anti-liberal trolls in the immigration debate: Watch how they use the word “amnesty.” Immigration is a complex issue. Any serious reform has to grapple with tangled realities, and any real conservative has an appreciation for that complexity. But if you try to account for that complexity before an anti-immigration troll, he or she will shout one word: Amnesty!
Maybe we should find some arrangement for the Dreamers? Amnesty! The so-called moderate House immigration bill? Amnesty! Keeping families together? Amnesty!
I think the best way to cope with this isn't to complain that it's unfair but just to start using it. That's what Ronald Reagan did and it's time to do it again. I'm in favor of amnesty! Sue me!

It's very sweet that Brooks is worried about the victims of Trump's savage immigration policy, but I'll take his larger views more seriously when he shows some similar concern for the families that are being torn apart every day in our country by the abuses of the incarceration system, from bail to jail. Tell me that isn't conservative.

Until then I'll just think he's posturing to make us forget his part in the advent of the Trumpery.

This may be a little thin, but the points were really beautifully developed by Steve M and Driftglass while I was at work.

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