Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, November 03, 2006

My contribution

I've just now sent this off the the Evergreen. In case it never sees the light of day, here it is:

"It’s not surprising to see the opponents of the College Republicans’ border fence display trot out the race card – it’s the only emotionally charged accusation they have left, used because they have no real arguments to offer.

The image of immigration to the United States some try to propose in our present time is one that is confused with what immigration meant in the past: an influx of skilled workers to our nation. People of various skilled trades who were fleeing persecution came here, legally, to continue practicing their trades in peace, helping to build the prosperity of the United States.

What we face now is different: millions of unskilled workers sneaking into the country to seek work illegally, hired by unscrupulous companies that hire them illegally and cheaply. The end effect is that low and unskilled U.S. citizens are priced out of the market. Why should we accommodate people who enter our country illegally – who break our laws – at the expense of our own citizens?

It is true that the border fence will not completely solve this problem, but it is a good start. Reversing this invasion will take more time, money, and effort; it will not be solved overnight. It will also take political willpower, which is what all of these red herring charges of “racism” are meant to sap.

I give my thanks to our College Republicans for taking this stand and informing people of what is going on and what is at stake.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A.
Instructor, Dept. of Philosophy"


Scotty said...

Poor Paul... I guess you just don't understand the complexities of the issue! :)

Nice letter. I hope that we get to see it.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

Yes, yes. Sadly, I have never been made to repeat THE TRUTH by marxist, racist, insurrectionist CES professors. I do not have my own little red book, I do not know how to sing the Internationale. Heck, I don't even drink fair trade coffee! I am doomed to see things in objective terms, with my reasoning cruelly severed from my emotions. I am lost; I will never be able to cling to unexamined assertions as gospel, instead being cursed to demand empirical evidence of any and all claims! How cold this existence! How dark! How dreary! Oh, woe is me!

Oh, wait... this is actually really cool.

Heh. :)

Nuge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nuge said...

Ah, the race card. I love it. It's about time we saw this here in Eastern Washington.

It makes for interesting discussion and a broader view of reality. Wait, conservatives, here me out.

I am from Alabama. I am also Vietnamese. In the South, everything is a racial issue, whether you think it should be or not.

That's one thing that is empirical.

You can correctly rationalize that something isn't racial, such as the immigration issue, but that doesn't make it so in reality. If you think so, you will be safe as an armchair philosopher, but you won't be laying any planks in the social bridge. All this animosity on campus is a clear example. Emotional, you say? Guess what else is emotional - politics. Political solutions certainly aren't always reasonable. I used to work in politics, and it is the most unreasonable thing ever, which was why it was so fun.

Most minority groups hold their racial identities much closer to them than the white majority, often because of prejudice and racism or the perception of either one. Understanding this is vital to the discussion and just the tip of the iceberg.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

You can correctly rationalize that something isn't racial, such as the immigration issue, but that doesn't make it so in reality.

You can correctly rationalize that something is racial, such as the border fence issue, and that doesn't make it so in reality either.

But of course, since you're invoking matters of deductive validity, it should follow that we would also check for soundness. In this case, that would require asking the individuals on each side of the debate why it is that they take the positions that they do. If we then find a contradiction of one or more of the premises, the conclusions built upon them are then questionable. Are the fence opponents on our campus willing to make this assessment of their premises? So far, the answer appears to be, "hardly."

We're all well aware that the opponents of this project think it is just about race, but, as we've sketched out above, that is just what they think. We proponents of this project have motivations other than race in mind - the economic points, which I briefly included in my letter, are a primary concern (that said, offer to abolish the welfare state, in all of its forms, and I guarantee you will see support for the fence disappear overnight).

But we proponents of the fence have many more concerns and reasons for supporting it than just that, while all the opponents have to offer is accusations of racism and xenophobia, over and over again.

I can certainly understand that race is rather important to such people, but we don't have to bow down to it, nor should we; it is little more than an emotional appeal, a basic fallacy. The fence opponents need compelling arguments, not just appeals to invented tribalism and genetics, and certainly not ad hominem attacks prompted by the color of fence supporter's skins.

Political events certainly are not always reasonable, but are we to use that as an excuse to continue acting irrationally? I'm not interested in adhering to such a low standard.