I was wondering: “Do you think it is over-statement to call the pundits and politicians favoring amnesty traitors? Given that the US had no strategic interest in invading and occupying Iraq, would it be fair to call those who favored that 2003 invasion traitors? Particularly if they were doing it because they primarily thought it was in Israel’s best interests?”
John* told me: To be a traitor, one must knowingly be working against the interest of one’s country.
This limits the traitors to those who are avowedly nationalists, such as the fringe group of Mexican Latino activists who want to take back the Southwest and make it part of greater Mexico. However, even these activists don’t want a formal merger with Mexico, they want the protections and benefits of being in the United States, without having to assimilate to the culture and values of the United States.
So many of the people who support amnesty and increased immigration do so for reasons that they may actually believe.
One subset sees a graying U.S. population and believes that without a large tax base of younger persons, the government won’t be able to keep its promises regarding social welfare programs, including social security and medicare, to protect its older citizens. They believe the size of the population must continue to increase to support those who are in and approaching retirement, and they see no reason to believe that immigrants, (illegal or legal, skilled or unskilled) will not ultimately pay more in taxes than they take from benefits. They do not accept that immigrants depress the wages that citizens would earn. I would call these people fools, but not traitors.
Another subset includes strict libertarians who believe that by stripping away the welfare state, and allowing free movement of labor and capital among nations, everyone will prosper, not that everyone, except the capitalists, will have wages depressed and that the richer countries will see their living standards plunge. These are people who are idealists, who have a particular vision of how economics work, and do not think they are acting in a traitorous way.
Another subset are the chamber of commerce types who along with the new silicon valley entrepreneurs, want cheap labor. They must realize that by doing so they depress wages and deprive citizens of jobs, but they also rationalize it that it allows them to provide less expensive products to consumers, spend more money on innovation, and return greater profits to their shareholders. Thus they justify it by expanding their view of their narrow self interest by rationalizing the benefits and downplaying the downside.
The benign liberals, look at the way that their ancestors came to America and were assimilated and thrived, and/or feel guilty about the standard of living they enjoy, and don’t want to deprive others of the same opportunities. This fails to accept that the country has changed and doesn’t need immigrants in the same way and also ignores that today’s immigrants do not necessarily have the same values and attitudes toward their new country that their ancestors had. It also disregards the impact of new immigrants on existing American jobs and culture.
For many of the advocates of amnesty, they believe America is a propositional nation. That the values set out in our Declaration of Independence (not our Constitution) are universal themes that everyone aspires to. They believe (and our laws on asylum promote this belief) that the United States is unique in providing constitutional protections to people who have run afoul of the political powers in their home countries. Now of course this has been expanded to protection for gay men and women in countries with official positions opposing homosexuality.
They do not seem to understand or appreciate how much of what makes the United States what it is, is the Northern European culture that for most of its history dominated it. The Protestant ethic and desire for a sense of order is what allowed community to thrive. All you have to do is listen to Garrison Keillor poke fun at the German Catholics and the Norwegian Lutherans in Lake Wobegon to see how different that is from Southern California with its pastiche of cultures primarily the cultures from the different areas of Mexico and El Salvador, China, Korea, Armenia, Thailand, Iran, Israel. We certainly have better food, but is there more crime? Is there less trust? Is any of that related to fostering illegal immigration.
On one level anyone who supports amnesty is a traitor. That person is a traitor because he is sanctioning someone for violating the law which undermines the rule of law. When we allow someone who breaks the rules to benefit from breaking the rules, while someone who plays by the rules, must wait for entry to the country, we encourage law breaking.
RE: the pundits who urged us to war against Iraq are traitors. Again the issue is were they working against America’s interest. Many of them believed they were working in Israel’s interest but they also believed that in doing so they were working in America’s interest. I don’t think they could accurately be described as traitors since they didn’t believe that they were harming American interests even though in fact the Iraq intervention was probably the worst foreign policy move in America’s history and definitely moved us from responsive or defensive war to peremptory or aggressive war. This also brings into play the whole notion of dual loyalty. Is it possible that countries in fact have identical interests? A short glance at historical disputes shows that countries always have disparate interests, but sometimes their common interests outweigh those. What is best for Israel is not always what is best for the U.S. and vice versa. I don’t know whether the Jewish neo-cons honestly believe the interests are the same, or whether they understand the policies they advance are better for Israel, and downplay the downside for the U.S.