Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Donald Trump, Nazism, and the Immigration Debate

I heard a fantastic interview listening to Issues Etc on-demand the other day. Pastor Wilken spoke with Dr. Richard Weikart regarding the Darwinist roots of the Nazi worldview. You can hear the segment HERE. At approximately 31:00 minutes into the program, the discussion turned to the Nazi deportation of the Jews. Dr. Weikart seemed to imply that the Nazi’s began with the strategy of simply deporting the Jews and wound up approximately a decade later at the bottom of the slippery slope in the valley of genocide. Even though they were discussing Nazism, the topic was really current events, as it almost always is with these types of discussions. I sent the following comments to the Issues Etc comment line:

In your discussion with Dr. Richard Weikart on 08/28/15 regarding eugenics and Nazism, you asked the question, "How does it get from that [deportation of the genetically inferior] to, ‘let’s exterminate them'?" Dr. Weikart went on to discuss how the Nazis progressed from a strategy of deporting the Jews, to mass extermination. The implication seems to be that "deportation of undesirables" is the top of a slippery slope which leads to holocaust.  
Is Dr. Weikart saying that the Nazis developed their plans of mass murder as they slid down the slope from their relatively innocuous initial plans for deportation? If so, history seems to indicate otherwise. Hitler started with the intention of eradicating the inferior races from existence as too many historical sources to enumerate here indicate, including Mein Kampf. He simply hid his end goal of murder, which he knew the public would not accept if he were brutally honest at the time, by calling for deportation. 
This is also an argument used by some opponents of those who advocate stricter enforcement of existing immigration law. Activist journalists such as Jorge Ramos like to set up the straw man argument that it would be impossible to deport X number of millions of undocumented immigrants. Also, no person is "illegal." Do you see the Nazi deportation of Jews as equivalent to the call for stricter enforcement of immigration law, and the deportation of illegal aliens from the U.S.? I do not see them as equal. The former is discrimination based on race/creed/color etc; the latter is government faithfully fulfilling its God-given role according to Holy Scripture.

They flirted around the areas I covered in my comments, and I don’t believe they mentioned Donald Trump by name, but it was certainly clear what Dr. Weikart’s view of The Donald was. 

I personally think Donald Trump is a populist, probably with a leftist bend, who will say anything he thinks is profitable in order to achieve his ends. One look at his past will show you he’s not a Republican. His comments about taxes, and buying politicians to “get things done” tells me he certainly isn’t a conservative, and his stance on SCOTUS’ 2005 Kelo decision and the concept of eminent domain makes me question whether or not he has ever heard of the U.S. Constitution. The thing which seems to have Donald Trump’s critics the most upset, though, is immigration. I don’t say his immigration policy, because he hasn’t outlined one. I don’t say, “what he thinks about immigration,” because I don’t trust him to say what he really believes. All of that is beside the point, however, as one only needs to mention “immigration” to merit an attack from both the left and the right. 

I felt compelled to put the proverbial pen to paper because of another piece involving the Nazis which is making the Facebook rounds. Someone took the 1920 Nazi Party platform and edited it to replace the word “German” with “American.” He did this in order to show how racist what Donald Trump is saying in his campaign regarding immigration is. This is what the creator had to say about his project:

So I have had a little fun. I've taken the 1920 Nazi Party platform [I used this translation: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/…/Holoca…/naziprog.html ] and edited it to replace "German" with "American" as well as making a few other minor changes that mask its identity but keep its spirit. I reprint the edited version below. What strikes me is that I bet if you showed it to Trump supporters, they would love it. What I worry about is that when you told them what it was, they wouldn't care. [And yes, as Phil says in the comments, it really does read like a Trump/Sanders ticket, with the nationalism and the socialism.] Feel free to copy and paste and use as you wish.

The piece is certainly interesting, and I suppose that it could be a useful thought experiment. I couldn’t help but feel a little insulted though, as I am one of those Libertarians who believes in border security. Consider these examples from the piece which deal with immigration and citizenship. Remember, these things were taken from the Nazi Party platform of 1920:

3. Only Americans can be Citizens of the State. Only persons of American blood can be Citizens, regardless of birthplace. No one who is not the child of an American can therefore be an American Citizen. 
4. Any person who is not a Citizen will be able to live in America only as a guest and must be subject to legislation for Aliens. 
5. Only Americans are entitled to decide the leadership and laws of the State. We therefore demand that only Americans may hold public office, regardless of whether it is a national, state or local office. 
6. We demand that the State make it its duty to provide opportunities of employment first of all for its own Citizens. If it is not possible to maintain the entire population of the State, then foreign nationals (non-Citizens) are to be expelled from America. 
7. Any further immigration of non-Americans is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Americans who entered America after August 2, 2014, be forced to leave America without delay.

There is a debate about immigration going on between two sides in this country, and it is frustrating. It’s frustrating because the two sides are ignoring quite a large middle. On one side, advocates of open borders lobby for unrestricted immigration with few, if any, controls or expectations of assimilation for the immigrant. On the other, xenophobic rednecks want all brown people to be rounded up and shipped back to their country of origin, while simultaneously constructing a 400 foot wall along the length of the southern border, without doors or gates. Those are the choices presented to the American people by the media, and by Democrat and Republican establishment politicians. In reality, we suspect strongly that things will remain status quo. 

There is a third option, however, which politicians and social activists either ignore or mischaracterize to suit their need. This option can be summed up in the phrase, “Big fence, wide gate.” Americans wish to see their government attempt, in earnest, to stop the entry of millions of illegal aliens per year into the country. Not wanting to unduly deny any person a reasonable shot at the American dream, a majority of them also wish to make the process of immigrating to the United States easier, 1) so that people do not attempt to come here illegally, 2) we maintain the integrity of our nation’s borders, 3) we know who is coming to our country and can better judge whether they mean us good or ill, 4) and we can admit the best, most talented immigrants more quickly.

I do not understand why this is a difficult concept for people to grasp. Americans who wish for the immigration laws of the United States to be enforced and for the immigration system, in general, to be reworked to be more efficient in the interest of national security are not National Socialists. I am not a Donald Trump supporter. I do, however support the enforcement of immigration law and the reworking of America’s immigration system. Certainly any honest person will admit that there is a middle ground between advocating for either open borders or a locked-down, xenophobic police state. But, since both Donald Trump and I used the words immigration, I am the same ignorant xenophobe he is supposed to be.

I couldn’t tell you what is inside the mind of The Donald. I do know that it is not unreasonable for Americans to want their Federal government to stop millions of people from violating their nation’s border every year. Many of these illegal aliens become an added drain on the federal Treasury, and they cause the cost of government at federal, state, and local levels to increase. Moreover, illegal aliens who enter the country without any controls go through no process of assimilation to American culture. You can make jokes about American “culture” all day long by pointing to McDonalds and American Idol, and the point is well taken. That is not the culture to which I am referring. True American culture is not what is broadcast on television, but rather the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and our other founding documents. The U. S. Constitution protects the rights of man from an oppressive government. It establishes that the government of the United States is one which respects the rule of law rather than the rule of men. It is not unreasonable to require that those who would immigrate to the United States be familiar with those ideals, be positively disposed toward them, and agree to uphold them. 

I don’t really give a crap what kind of weird traditional head scarf someone wears when they move here. I don’t care if they look like me, speak a different language, or have different social or religious traditions than I have. What I do care about, is whether or not that new immigrant with the crazy hat “…holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Among the people crossing the borders illegally may be America’s next James Madison or Thomas Jefferson; there may also be the next Osama bin Laden or Che Guevara. No one could possibly know, though, because “no person is illegal,” and to demand that the federal government insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare by securing the border is somehow racist. 

There are those who wish to stop all immigration, legal and illegal. I believe these people are misguided. My now ex-crush, Ann Coulter, is one of these people. She does, however, understand the basic problems that illegal immigration presents to a country, and makes a compelling case that America’s current immigration policy, which was adopted in 1965, was specifically designed to change the demographics of America, and thus, the culture. 

As Democratic consultant Patrick Reddy wrote for the Roper Center in 1998, “The 1965 Immigration Reform Act promoted by President Kennedy, drafted by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and pushed through the Senate by Ted Kennedy, has resulted in a wave of immigration from the third world which should shift the nation in a more liberal direction within a generation. It will go down as the Kennedy family’s greatest gift to the Democratic party” (Coulter 2015).

Reddy also wrote:

The immigration reform of the 1960s has produced a whole new generation of Democrats. What more could Democrats ask for? (Reddy 1998)

Indeed.

She also makes another good point which I have heard echoed by people whom I know to be reasonable and caring. The immigration “problem” cannot be fixed until something is done to stop the massive amounts of people entering the country illegally, or illegally overstaying their visas. To quote Ann:

As Reagan’s amnesty proves, it’s pointless to talk about what to do with illegal aliens already here, until we’ve secured the border. When the bathtub is overflowing, the very first thing you do is turn off the water. You don’t debate whether to use a rag or a mop to clean up the water, whether to get a bucket or put a hose out the window, whether to use towels or sponges. The number one priority is: Shut off the water (Coulter 2015).

After that happens, I am – along with a large chunk of the rest of the country, I suspect – willing to discuss every option, from amnesty to deportation, to best deal with the people who have come here illegally, and to fix our immigration system…but not a moment before. As long as those Establishment big-wigs on the right (read Chamber of Commerce) think that they can import near-slave labor from Mexico, and those leftist elites (read rich Democrat politicians) need voters and inexpensive housekeepers, however, nothing will change.

This is why the average person is frustrated with the so-called immigration debate, and why so many are being seduced by the populist rhetoric of Donald Trump. He is, in his brash-but-media-savvy way, not so much saying what people want to hear, as he is saying something different than the establishment politicians are saying. What’s more, he is saying his nonsense in a way in which they want to hear it said – loudly and without apology. Calling people who cherish and wish to protect America’s Constitution and way of life, and are frustrated with politicians of both major parties, modern day Nazis is not the way to win them from his camp. Boldly advocating for the kind of reasonable immigration enforcement and reform they desperately wish to see become government policy is.





Bibliography

Coulter, Ann. Adios, America. Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, 2015.

Reddy, Patrick. "Immigration: The Real Kennedy Legacy." The Public Perspective. October/November 1998.