A number of my liberal friends have loudly insisted that the main reason for all the hate and bile Barack Obama faced was because he was black. Well, excuse me, I disagree. There is a certain element in the Republican Party, and the conservative movement at large, that will not accept Democrats as legitimate–be they white, black or polka-dotted. Well, a leading right-wing blogger may have admitted as much. He believes that we ought to have a litmus test for prospective migrants to this country based on their political leanings.
John Zmirak, a senior editor at The Stream, the Christian right blog helmed by Michael Brown and James Robison, was due to attend the Edmund Burke Foundation’s National Conservatism Conference in July, but was forced to stay home after his dogsitter canceled at the last minute. He was, however, intrigued by a talk given by Penn Law professor Amy Wax, who argued that we should judge migrants by “how close they are to America’s founding culture.”
To Wax’s mind, First World immigrants are more desirable because they’re more likely to adapt to our culture and less likely to end up on the dole. She claimed that Third World immigrants are simply not capable of assimilating, and unless we change course and fast, “we are going to go Venezuela.” When Zack Beauchamp of Vox first reported on this talk, Wax came under fire from both sides of the political divide.
But Zmirak didn’t see a problem with such a litmus test. He claimed that many Latin American countries aren’t rooted in “the kind of ordered liberty and prosperity” that we value in this country. Additionally, he argued, immigrants from these countries, rather than embrace “America’s distinct, historic values,” tend to be more supportive of big government. He also noted that the influx of Latino Catholics immigrants has actually made the Democratic Party more supportive of abortion.
Zmirak looks at this trend and sees a country going further and further to the left as more Latino immigrants come in. To his mind, no conservative should want that, “so we shouldn’t put up with it.” His solution is a “nakedly political” litmus test for migrants based on a simple question–“how do future migrants from that nation seem likely to vote?” If migrants from that country are more likely to support abortion, big government, and encroachments on religious freedom, he puts it bluntly–“then we don’t want them here.”
It’s literally impossible to overstate what Zmirak is saying here. He’s saying that there are certain issues on which we can’t have a mature, adult discussion. After all, if it were up to him, any migrant who supports larger government would be stopped at the gates, and any migrant who is pro-choice is not welcome.
One can quibble about whether Wax and Zmirak’s arguments are racist. But there is no doubt that the litmus test they are proposing is fundamentally un-American. Imagine if someone like Paul Krugman or Laurence Tribe were to say that any migrant who supports assault weapons should be turned away. It would be outrageous and undemocratic–just like what Wax and Zmirak are proposing is outrageous and undemocratic.
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