Friday, January 18, 2008

The corruptive and destructive influence of mass immigration;

Importing Maxims not congenial with Republicanism:

Mr. Auster has a nice post up on the Huckster's latest position on immigration where he (Auster) notes the ambiguity in Huck's language which leaves wiggle room for Huckabee to grant amnesty, or to support the granting of amnesty, to multitudes of illegal immigrants while holding strictly to his promise to oppose amnesty for millions of illegals. Auster's points along with Howard Sutherland's points concerning the term amnesty and what it has come to mean as opposed to what it means fundamentally led to an exchange between Mr. Auster and myself which I've included below.

TM writes:

Good catch. BTW, what constitutes a "special path to citizenship" to Huckabee's mind, I wonder?

Also, thanks to Mr. Sutherland for correctly defining the term "amnesty" for us.

LA replies to me:

I think, though I'm not sure, that "special path" is a term that makes it sound as though the speaker is opposed to legalization, while creating an escape hatch. I have no idea what a "special path" means. If your intent is not to legalize illegals, why bring in the idea of not legalizing illegals by a "special path"? It sounds like weasel language, allowing you to legalize people so long as you don't do it by a "special path."

TM replies:

I agree, it's weasel language. And what kind of people use weasel language?:

(a) conservative Republicans

(b) Republican Statesmen

(c) demagogues/weasels/RINO presidential candidates

One thing we can know is that amnesty is one special path to citizenship according to Huckabee because of the way the sentence reads -- " oppose amnesty or any other special path...". So I suppose you're right when you say that we need to use the term as it is commonly understood today. That's certainly the way Huckabee is using it in his sentence, that's the only way it can be understood in context of his statement.

I think you've done it right. By publishing Mr. Sutherland's proper explanation of the term "amnesty" you've acknowledged the term's correct and original meaning. But you've also acknowledged that the term (as with many of today's terms) has undergone a change to mean, in essence, a path to legalization. This is a corruption of the true meaning of the term, of course, and I don't like it any more than anyone else does, but it is this idea that people associate with the term amnesty these days. Here again there are three minimal requirements for having intelligent conversation (debate, discussion, whatever) between minds: (1) a mind capable of transmitting a thought, (2) a mind capable of receiving a thought, and (3) a mode of communication common to them both (a language).

I've noted this many many times in the past, but generally when there's a misunderstanding or miscommunication between parties, it is usually the third element where the problem lies; the terms used between the various parties involves different meanings for different parties involved in the conversation. My point is that there are a couple of means available to us for ameliorating the crisis, either (1) we re-establish the proper meaning of the term amnesty in this case so that everyone understands it in its original meaning, a virtual impossibility particularly in the short term, or (2) we acknowledge that the term has undergone a change in meaning, and we use the term (for the sake of clarity in communication) as it is widely understood now. In the meantime, the original uncorrupted meaning of the term must remain intact for the sake of understanding its usage (particularly in legal documents) prior to 1986 or whenever this term came to mean legalization.

This is one of the huge problems with immigration to my mind. We don't speak the same language as the invaders, and I'm not just referring to the English language. We don't speak the same political language that immigrants do. So how in God's name are we ever to come to understand one-another in terms of the organization of society and government and so on and so forth, except by the corruption of our language, and therefore of our institutions? George Washington once said (and I paraphrase) that it deeply concerned him that we send young people abroad to learn the higher branches of erudition due to the danger incurred of [their] imbibing maxims not congenial with Republicanism from young Americans living among other political systems who have not yet learned well the value of their own. I have said many times since I first read that statement some twenty years ago that we've imported this very danger to America in a very extensive way. It's no longer a danger of sending youngsters abroad to be corrupted in their political understandings, but of importing the corrupting influences here to our Universities and our public schools.

What kind of a people engages in such self-destructive practices?


Vanishing American said...

The language Huckabee uses is obviously weaselly.
When he says he does not support any 'special path to citizenship' for illegals it seems, in my interpretation, to mean no instant granting of citizenship via a stroke of the pen, which would be the most radical kind of amnesty. And the politicians, especially the President, have used the term 'amnesty' only in its narrowest sense, leaving themselves room to grant an amnesty which is somewhat less radical but still an amnesty, granting eventual citizenship to illegals. This to my understanding is Huckabee's preference: some kind of 'touchback' requirement followed by getting in line to go through the same citizenship process as those who had never entered illegally.
Nobody, however, has the guts to call their plan an 'amnesty', even McCain; they all insist it isn't amnesty unless it's instant and automatic citizenship for all.