Summary

To be well positioned in a Republican primary, a candidate needs to want children brought to this country by their undocumented parents to remain both ignorant and sick. In this country’s long history, has there ever before been a major party so flat-out morally depraved?

Mitt Romney is appalled that Rick Perry provided education for “illegals.” But Rick Perry has a good riposte to that: Romneycare in Massachusetts provided them with medical care.

So: to be well positioned in a Republican primary, a candidate needs to want children brought to this country by their undocumented parents to remain both ignorant and sick.

And none of the rest of the Nine Dwarves has the decency to challenge this disgusting nonsense. Has there ever been a major party in this country’s history so flat-out morally depraved?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

26 thoughts on “Summary”

  1. Whoever wins the primary will go on to receive about 50 million votes, give or take, in the general. No one of consequence will call out those fifty million supporting morally bankrupt leadership.

    It’s not just the party that’s morally depraved.

  2. “Has there ever been a major party in this country’s history so flat-out morally depraved?”

    Well, there was that major party in the 1850s and thereabouts that thought that children could be brought into the country not so much by their undocumented parents but by cotton and indigo planters…

    Now, FWIW I disagree with Romney on this and think that we should provide in-state tuition at public universities to the children of undocumented immigrants*. But in the grand scheme of moral evils I’m not sure that I’d put denying 18 year olds extremely lucrative benefits that are paid for by the taxpayers of a state as being as high on the list as, say, 50 million elective abortions over the past few decades. But

    * Of course I think this because charity toward the alien is commanded by Almighty God, as taught by His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, though I suppose some folks think I shouldn’t inject my religion into politics.

    1. SD’s snark is fairly ahistoric.

      The Southern Whigs were every bit as bad on slavery as Southern Democrats. The Northern Democrats were not notoriously keen on slavery, although I’ll admit that the Northern Whigs were better. And the Virginians–both Whig and Democratic–hated the idea of importing slaves from overseas. (By the 1830’s Virginia had plenty of slaves, but the good land was elsewhere, so it was a big slave exporter.)

      On slavery, regional affiliation trumped party affiliation big-time. The big distinctions, as far as I can tell, were on the role of the federal government (Whigs liked an expansive government), general moralism (a Whiggish speciality), central banking (more Whiggery) and free trade.

      1. Sorry, Scrooge, but Mark set himself up for that one, and explaining that SOME Democrats were not all THAT into slavery is a poor parry.

        Today’s Democrats are not those Democrats, but the question was “has there ever been …,” and the answer is “yes.”

  3. The GOP problem has always been (or at least for the past century+) that they can’t really come right out and say what their policy aims really are, letting the robber barons take everything and screw everybody over. The only message they have is ‘fear the other’. When the Communist Monsters could no longer be used to make the hoi-paloi shake in their beds (USSR crashed and the robber barons were in buisness with the Chinese) they had nutin’.
    Now the GOP has cobbled togeather a new collection of boogie men, the trouble being that it seems to be just about everybody that isn’t working on Wall Street or running a war profit company. They just hope that the rubes they’ve had suckered for all these years don’t stop shrieking long enough to realize that they are on the hit list too.

  4. “To: to be well positioned in a Republican primary, a candidate needs to want children brought to this country by their undocumented parents to remain both ignorant and sick.”

    Nah, you have to want children brought into this country by their illegal immigrant parents to be brought out again. You’re perfectly free to want them to be well educated and healthy, just so long as it isn’t here.

    See, the theory here is that, once you’ve noticed that somebody is here illegally, you shouldn’t be doing anything in regards to them except removing them from the country. Giving them an education? Allowing them government services? You can only do these things by allowing them to stay in the US!

    And you’re not supposed to be allowing them to stay, you’re supposed to be deporting them.

    Well, the federal government won’t deport them, and the federal government won’t let the states deport them, but it still remains possible for the states to make them very unwelcome, in the hope that they’ll deport themselves. And denying people who are legally supposed to be somewhere else every possible service is a way of doing that.

    But the end isn’t sick, ignorant children. It’s healthy, educated children, living in their own country, not our’s. It’s just that the federal government won’t permit the most direct and efficient means to this end.

    1. Brett,
      Try to be minimally consistent. I know that you think that the war on drugs is insane, as well as a denial of basic liberties. But how does this jibe with your post? You think that nasty (but unpredictable) consequences on immigrants will eventually produce “healthy, educated children, living in their own country.” By that logic, the war on drugs should have produced a healthy, drug-free population. It hasn’t. Nor did late-18th century English law, where almost everything was punishable by death, produce a crime-free society. Indeed, late-18th century England was crime-ridden, despite the death penalty. (Are you going to argue that mere hanging wasn’t enough, and drawing and quartering would have done the trick?) Nor are the children whose parents beat them for the slightest infraction of deportment notably well-behaved.

      Sometimes, punishment is the only thing that works, or at least if it doesn’t work, has some moral desert. But you can’t say that the children of immigrants morally deserve to be sick or ill-educated. And punishment just doesn’t work here. Immigrants–both legal and illegal–come because they want the work, and they are willing to go through all kinds of crap to get it. There are non-punitive alternatives that would control immigration just fine, such as an aggressive identification program aimed at illegal employment.

      The only conclusion I can draw from this is that you are not any kind of libertarian. You are a basic conservative (hang ’em, burn ’em, flog ’em), who likes his dope and happens to be godless.

      1. @Ebenezer,

        you are not any kind of libertarian. You are a basic conservative (hang ‘em, burn ‘em, flog ‘em), who likes his dope and happens to be godless

        And you had imagined there was a distinction between those two labels why, precisely?

        1. @ Mrs. Tilton:
          Are you pointing out that many “libertarians” are just conservatives seeking social respectability? That’s true, but I, at least, see some distinctions between libertarians and conservatives.

          Conservatives are a moralistic tribe. They think it is positively desirable that those who do not conform to conservative morality be miserable. Libertarians don’t mind other people being happy, as long as it doesn’t affect their tax rates. Conservatives believe in enforced social solidarity; libertarians do not believe in solidarity of any kind. Conservatives subsume economics to social issues, which can sometimes lead to conservative support for some progressive economics (e.g., the RC church.) Libertarians do not believe that social issues exist (although the smarter ones will recognize some form of civil society, such as business enterprises.)

          1. Koreyel,

            I pointed out to Brett that Obama has presided over more deportations than any administration in the last 50 years but he of course prefers to repeat talking points than acknowledge facts because he is a troll.

  5. there was that major party in the 1850s and thereabouts that thought that children could be brought into the country not so much by their undocumented parents but by cotton and indigo planters…

    As that party’s spiritual and ideological descendants constitute the base of the latter-day party Mark refers to, I’m afraid you get no points for what you doubtless congratulated yourself was a telling riposte. But thanks for playing.

    Of course I think this because charity toward the alien is commanded by Almighty God, as taught by His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, though I suppose some folks think I shouldn’t inject my religion into politics.

    That’s right, you shouldn’t. That unattractive and irrational beliefs can sometimes coincidentally lead to support for decent policies may, in a democracy with universal adult suffrage, be welcome on purely pragmatic grounds. This does not, however, make such beliefs rational or attractive.

    In the mean time, as the well-being of the smallest and weakest among us is so obviously dear to your heart, you might do well to reflect on your One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’s history of mass child rape and its enabling and protection of child rapists. (And no, I’m not impressed by the pained and pious words its spokesmen utter when things can no longer be kept under wraps; actions speak louder than papal bulls.)

  6. sd: “Well, there was that major party in the 1850s and thereabouts that thought that children could be brought into the country not so much by their undocumented parents but by cotton and indigo planters…”

    True. And their political/spiritual descendants are in which party now?

    sd: “Of course I think this because charity toward the alien is commanded by Almighty God, as taught by His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, though I suppose some folks think I shouldn’t inject my religion into politics.”

    I’d like to know which persons here said that. Also, please note the ‘seamless garment of life’ doctrine, which has a lot of implications.

  7. The Catholic Church bought and sold BABIES — took them from their mothers, told them the babies were dead, and SOLD them to other families. In EUROPE. In the NINETEEN-EIGHTIES.

    From the evidence, one might rationally conclude that the Roman Catholic Church is the best-protected, most successful international crime syndicate ever.

  8. Lessee here….huge numbers of people overcome great obstacles (some life threatening) to come here to work hard, strive, and succeed. Under any other circumstances the Bellmores of the world would be ejaculating hosannahs to their naive bootstrap version of economic improvement, shouting, “Horatio Alger lives!!” But I guess “free markets” and “the watchman state” are to be invoked only when they align with your predjudices.

  9. Barry: “True. And their political/spiritual descendants are in which party now?”

    Excellent question. Maybe the party that, until recently, venerated as one of its elder statesman a Senator from West Virginia who was active in the Ku Klux Klan in his youth? Or maybe the party that consistently opposes efforts to allow poor black children to escape the dangerous and ineffective public school systems they are in because doing so would upset one of the party’s biggest fundraising and voter mobilization blocs? But perhaps that’s not the answer you’re looking for?

    Anyhoo, my point was certainly not that the Democratic Party is evil due to the fact that the Democratic Party of the 1850s advocated for the evil of slavery. After all, “the Democratic Party” is an organization currently made up of human beings, none of whom, as far as I know, were voting-age adults in the 1850s. Rather, my point was, contra our excitable host, that there maybe – just maybe! – have been times in our nations history when major political parties have advocated polcies slightly – slightly! – more morally questionable than denying subsidized university tuition benefits otherwise given to state residents to people who are not, strictly speaking, legal residents of those states.

    As I said, I actually think its wrong for states to act in this way. But if I was making a top ten list of evil things that various federal, state and local governments have done over the last ~235 years I might be inclined to place legalized chattel slavery, the forced relocation and extermination of Native tribes, legalized abortion, the firebombinjg of Tokyo and Dresden, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the continuance of a fundamentally arbitrary and undsiciplined administration of the death penalty, the abandonment of generations of poor children to poorly run public schools, the administration of torture to prisoners of war, the performance of medical experiements on African Americans and perhaps a few others things higher than “children of undocumented immigrants attending the University of Virginia have to pay the tuition rates that Ohio residents attending the University of Virginia pay rather than the tuition rates that residents of Virginia pay.” But I suppose we all have different value systems.

    1. sd says:
      October 25, 2011 at 6:17 am

      Barry: “True. And their political/spiritual descendants are in which party now?”

      “Excellent question. Maybe the party that, until recently, venerated as one of its elder statesman a Senator from West Virginia who was active in the Ku Klux Klan in his youth?”

      Incorrect. That would be the GOP.
      As for Byrd, if you knew anything then you’d know that was the *repentant* Robert Byrd? And you call yourself a member of which religion?

      After disposing of the d

  10. I would just ask people to remember that there is a huge difference between a faith and the people who run the organization. “The Catholic Church” most likely did NOT steal and sell any babies — a few whack job members of the faith may have, in addition to the many other crimes that have been committed, going back to the Inquisition. (And why stop there?) All’s I’m saying is, it has nothing to do with Jesus. (That’s right I said it — Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… so sue me.)

    I don’t make excuses for such things, here or anywhere else. All legal measures should be taken, whenever and wherever. (And I suspect it’s still going on, I’m sorry to say, people being what we are. You’ve heard of “original sin,” right?)

    But really, what is the point of attacking someone else’s religion as “unattractive” or “irrational?” I think atheism is an unattractive and irrational religion too, but I try not to go around saying it, since what’s the point? I prefer to just hope that people grow out of it.

    Other than this one time, I usually heart Mrs. Tilton’s posts.

  11. The next debate should be delicious.
    I expect the candidates to argue over which of them is offering the biggest tax cuts to the wealthy.

    One of those show-of-hands questions would be delighful:

    How many of you would cut the taxes of multi-millionaires an multi-billionaires by 20%?
    How many by 30%?
    By 40%?
    50%?

    Truly, we live in extraordinary times.
    And on that Republican stage, tilted heavily towards peak crazy, anything is liable to happen.

  12. I have never understood how those social conservatives who claim to be pious Christians gloss over the disconnect between the policies they advocate and the teachings of Jesus. The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, include nothing about hating those of different nationalities, nothing about buttsex, and nothing about Caesar determining who should make decisions to reproduce or avoid reproduction–(when Herod ordered the wholesale slaughter of babies in Judaea, Jesus was too young to speak). Jesus did explicitly endorse payment of taxes to the Roman government, and the single subject Jesus probably said more about than any other was His harsh condemnation of religious and political leaders who were sucking up to the rich and powerful. Of course, Jesus did denounce adultery and forbade divorced men from remarrying, but social conservatives are far more eager to carp about the social issues on which any words that Jesus spoke are not recorded.

    And by the way, Jesus’ early followers “were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” (Acts 2:44-45 RSV)

    How can the Bible thumpers rationalize talking of God while walking with Mammon? (I do not ask this rhetorically. I was reared by and among fundamentalists, and I have never understood this anomaly.) Can anyone out there enlighten me?

  13. It’s not that difficult to understand. You just need to keep a few points in mind:

    1. It’s not charity unless it’s voluntary.

    2. Envy and spite are sins, not virtues.

    The first implies that, whatever good you think you ought to be doing, YOU ought to be doing it yourself, not taxing somebody else to hire somebody to do it.

    The second guts the left’s emotive case for progressive taxation.

    Now, you want sucking up to the rich? How about Fisker Automotive? In no financial trouble, gets a loan from Obama to build cars (Only the rich can afford…) in Finland. Oh, that’s really going to generate shovel ready jobs here, isn’t it? But it benefits Gore, who’s an investor.

    Obama has demonstrated a pattern of using tax dollars, (Ok, let’s be realistic: Borrowed dollars; We haven’t the tax revenues to pay for it.) to make economically insane loans amounting to billions to companies with connections to Democratic politicians and his own bundlers. This administration is just rank with crony capitalism. And you’re lecturing Republicans about sucking up to the rich and powerful?

    I think there’s a biblical quote about motes and beams that’s appropriate here.

    1. Brett,
      The left’s case for progressive taxation is simple: the rich have more money. That’s not envy and spite: it’s arithmetic. What do you have against arithmetic?
      As far as your other point, I don’t have a charitable bone in my body. I want redistribution for the same reason that Bismarck wanted it: to protect my sorry ass from the mobs that will inevitably form if guys like you get the inequality they want.

      (btw, you didn’t respond to me or Koreyel upthread. Either rebut or man up, please.)

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