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The Zeroth Amendment to the Constitution

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From the New York Times:

Immigrants Shouldn’t Have to Be ‘Talented’ to Be Welcome

Masha Gessen SEPT. 6, 2017

… As long as politicians consider it necessary to qualify the victims as “hardworking” or “talented,” they fail to stand up to the administration’s fundamentally hateful immigration agenda.

… It’s not immigrants’ economic contribution that makes America proud; it’s its adherence to the words inscribed inside the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor/your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — from the Emma Lazarus poem that the White House adviser Stephen Miller waved away last month during a news conference on immigration reform.

 
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From MSNBC:

THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS 8/2/17

Historians discuss White House Statue of Liberty comments

Jon Meacham and Michael Beschloss talk about the White House comments on the Statue of Liberty. Beschloss compares it to separating the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Duration: 6:40

You can watch the video there. It’s rather hilarious.

Highlights include:

Prof. Jon Meacham: “I don’t think you could celebrate liberty without celebrating immigration. We are in fact a nation, almost entirely, of immigrants.” …

Brian Williams (of all people): “Michael, when has Truth been doubted before, the way it has been doubted under this Administration by enormous segments of society?”

Prof. Michael Bechloss: “I think never in the history of the Presidency, I think it’s pretty fair to say that. And even what we saw with Mr. Miller was an example of that. His saying that the poem doesn’t count because it was put on later, you know, it’s sort of like the Bill of Rights was ratified four years after the Constitution, so Bill of Rights isn’t very important either.”

Uh … I guess I must have dozed through the history class when we discussed how Emma Lazarus’s poem was ratified by two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and then by three-fourths of the states.

 
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From today’s press conference given by Trump domestic policy advisor and speechwriter Stephen Miller with Jim Acosta, who looks kind of like George Clooney’s dad, but who is officially Diverse due to his precious Conquistador-American ancestry.

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OBEY GIANT

And from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect:

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All your hiztory are belong to us

 
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From the NYT:

Supreme Court to Hear Travel Ban Case
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and ADAM LIPTAK JUNE 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for President Trump to prohibit the entry of some people into the United States from countries he deems dangerous, but the justices imposed strict limits on Mr. Trump’s travel ban while the court examines the scope of presidential power over the border.

Mr. Trump quickly hailed the court’s decision to hear arguments on the travel ban cases in October, saying — in a formal White House statement, not a tweet — that the court’s decision to temporarily lift some of the legal roadblocks to his ban was a “clear victory” for national security.

As we all know, the Zeroth Amendment was carved into the living body of the Constitution by Founding Father Emma Lazarus, superseding all lesser liberties granted to individual American citizens in the Bill of Rights, such as the First Amendment. Thus the Zeroth Amendment: Any and all huddled masses, the more wretched the better, get to immigrate to America from anywhere anytime they feel like it. And if you aren’t happy about that, you’d better shut your racist trap if you know what’s good for you.

But in precisely which of the Constitution’s penumbras and/or emanations the Zeroth Amendment actually resides remains a matter of some uncertainty.

 
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“The contemporary US belongs to all nations”-Ahmadinejad

More than a dozen years ago, Libya’s Colonel Qaddaffii prophetically pointed out that America didn’t belong to Americans anymore, it belonged to the whole world:

All the people all over the world had made America and it shall accordingly be for all of us.

Now, according to the Daily Mail, another statesman of similar caliber is forcefully expressing this new conventional wisdom:

‘The contemporary US belongs to all nations’: Former Iranian president targets Trump’s travel ban and says the American political system is ‘corrupt’ in open letter to the president

PUBLISHED: 05:03 EST, 26 February 2017

… Iran’s former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter Sunday to President Donald Trump, striking a somewhat conciliatory tone while applauding immigration to America and saying it shows ‘the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations.’ …

He also acknowledged the some 1 million people of Iranian descent living in America, saying that U.S. policies should ‘value respect toward the diversity of nations and races.’

‘In other words, the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land,’ he wrote.

‘No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.’

Someday …

Perhaps someday, Trump will be silenced and the truths of great Americans like Col. Kaffaffee and Ahmadinejad allowed to ring out in this land.

Only then will the Statue of Liberty stop crying.

Indeed, Gathathi and Ahmadinejad are the true American patriots of the 21st Century. They are who we are. Perhaps someday they will have their faces carved on Mount Rushmore over the outmoded visages of slaveowners Washington and Jefferson.

Like race, Immigration Does Not Exist. The are no “Non-Americans,” just Americans who haven’t moved here yet.

 
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Commenter FX Enderby updates the Declaration of Independence:

We hold Our Values to be self-evident, that all Billionaires are endowed by The Economy with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Cheap Labor, Open Borders and the repression of contrary opinions. That to secure these rights, Global Financial Oligarchs are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from manufactured consent of the governed. That whenever any act of Congress restricts the free flow of Cheap Labor, it is the Right of the Oligarchs to alter or to abolish it, and to instruct the Supreme Court, or any available court, to ignore such laws.

We, the self appointed Elite Oligarchs of Global Finance, in Davos, Assembled, appealing to the Reified Economy, Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, do, by Authority of Our Media, solemnly publish and declare, That WE, the Supeme Owners of the United States Government, are, and of Right ought to be, Absolved from all Allegiance to the citizens of the United States and that We have full Power to declare War on, utterly dispossess, replace at whim, or totally dissolve such citizens; and to do all other Acts and Things which Greedy Psychopaths may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Economy, we mutually pledge to greedily increase our Fortunes, by any means necessary regardless of any obsolete conceptions of Honor.

 
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A friend writes:

What is the exact definition of the zeroth amendment? I’m quoting it to everyone but I don’t know what the exact definition is.

I like to think of Founding Father Emma Lazarus’s Zeroth Amendment as too ineffable to pin down into precise words, but then I’m not all that good at verbal precision.

What’s your definition?

For reference, here are the 26 times I’ve blogged about it.

 
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I’ve been pointing out for awhile that the elite conventional wisdom about how borders are immoral is getting ever more extremist, but I’m not sure I ever expected it to go this far.

So, feel free to covet thy neighbor’s wife and worship graven images, because Emma Lazarus’s Zeroth Amendment now applies not only to America but also to the Afterlife:

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Obama is said to have bombed 5 of the 7 countries, with barely a peep.

It’s right there in the Negative First Amendment: “Invade the World, Invite the World!”

It’s who we are.

 
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Czar’s Palace, Russia

From the NYT:

A Return to National Greatness

David Brooks FEB. 3, 2017

The Library of Congress’s main building is one of the most magnificent buildings in Washington, or in the country. It was built in a pivotal, tumultuous time. During the 23 years in the late 19th century that it took to design and build the structure, industrialization transformed America. More people immigrated to America than in the previous 250 years combined. …

In that story, America is placed at the vanguard of the great human march of progress. America is the grateful inheritor of other people’s gifts. It has a spiritual connection to all people in all places, but also an exceptional role. America culminates history. It advances a way of life and a democratic model that will provide people everywhere with dignity. The things Americans do are not for themselves only, but for all mankind.

This historical story was America’s true myth. … It gave America a mission in the world — to spread democracy and freedom.

Admittedly, John Quincy Adams, who knew all the Founding Fathers from Franklin onward, said on July 4, 1821:

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. …

But JQA’s viciously Czarist rant is not who we are. JQA was America’s first minister to Russia, so, obviously, he was subverted there. Here’s photographic proof that JQA, long before Trump, was the original Siberian Candidate:

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In defense of JQA, however, he never had a chance to see Fiddler on the Roof to learn the True Meaning of America. But what’s Trump’s excuse?

It gave us an attitude of welcome and graciousness, to embrace the huddled masses yearning to breathe free and to give them the scope by which to realize their powers.

The Zeroth Amendment requires us to be Huddled Masochists. It’s who we are.

But now the myth has been battered. …

And so along come men like Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon with a countermyth. Their myth is an alien myth, frankly a Russian myth. It holds, as Russian reactionaries hold, that deep in the heartland are the pure folk who embody the pure soul of the country — who endure the suffering and make the bread. But the pure peasant soul is threatened.

This alien Russian myth was made up by the notorious Czar Thomas the Jefferson.

It is threatened by the cosmopolitan elites and by the corruption of foreign influence.

Similarly, Czar George the Washington wrote in his notoriously virulent Farewell Address, with help from Grand Duke Alexander the Hamilton:

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.

Back to Brooks:

The true American myth is dynamic and universal — embracing strangers and seizing possibilities. The Russian myth that Trump and Bannon have injected into the national bloodstream is static and insular. It is about building walls, staying put. Their country is bound by its nostalgia, not its common future.

The odd thing is that the Trump-Bannon myth is winning. The policies that emanate from it are surprisingly popular. The refugee ban has a lot of support. Closing off trade is popular. Building the wall is a winning issue.

The Trump and Bannon anschluss has exposed the hollowness of our patriotism.

“Anschluss” … I thought Trump and Bannon were Russians, not Germans. It’s hard to keep up …

It has exposed how attenuated our vision of national greatness has become and how easy it was for Trump and Bannon to replace a youthful vision of American greatness with a reactionary, alien one.

We are in the midst of a great war of national identity. We thought we were in an ideological battle against radical Islam, but we are really fighting the national myths spread by Trump, Bannon, Putin, Le Pen and Farage.

We can argue about immigration and trade and foreign policy, but nothing will be right until we restore and revive the meaning of America. Are we still the purpose-driven experiment

As described in The Federalist Papers by founding father Rick Warren

Lincoln described

Most famously in his Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our Proposition Generators brought forth on this continent, a new idea, conceived in immigration, and dedicated to the proposition that all imperialism is good:

Invade the World! Invite the World!

Brooks continue:

and Emma Lazarus

Founding Mother and authoress of the Zeroth Amendment in the Bill of Rights: “If anybody anywhere wants to move to America, you can’t stop them or even look at them funny because that would be racist, you racist.”

wrote about: assigned by providence to spread democracy and prosperity; to welcome the stranger; to be brother and sister to the whole human race; and to look after one another because we are all important in this common project?

Rare color photo of Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address (slightly retouched)

Or are we just another nation, hunkered down in a fearful world?

Do you ever get the impression that David Brooks sometimes draws his inspiration for his columns by reading the latest satires on iSteve and then crafting the Platonic Essence of whatever thinking I had just parodied?

 
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As we all know, the Statute of Liberty mandates non-discrimination against anybody anywhere who wants to move to America for reason, no questions asked. If they feel like coming, we have to let them in to not be racist.

It’s the law!

Still …

What we were promised:

What we get:

(Thanks to commenter Senator Brudlefly.)

 
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As you know, the French gave us the Statue of Liberty to celebrate immigration. Voltaire wrote the famous poem inscribed on it:

I disapprove of what you say,
But I will defend to the death
Your right to be punched in the head
If you say anything bad about immigration,
To encourage the others.

Now, France is enjoying the benefits of Statue of Libertyism, too.

Paris’s new Huddled Masses:

And the Huddled Masses’ Wretched Refuse:

 
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New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen writes in the NYT:

The Closing of Trump’s America
Roger Cohen JAN. 27, 2017

… I am lucky enough to live in Brooklyn Heights with a view out over the East River to lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. So while watching President Donald Trump’s dark inaugural speech a week ago I was able at the same time to glance out at the torch that symbolizes American openness and generosity of spirit.

As Trump’s “AMERICA FIRST,” “AMERICA FIRST” echoed across my living room I thought of Emma Lazarus’ words inscribed on the pedestal of the statue:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Friedrich Trump, a penniless German immigrant, was one of those “huddled masses” back in 1885. Lucky he did not attempt to enter the America taking shape under his grandson.

Over time, but not without struggle, I believe the torch will prove stronger than Trump’s fear-filled jingoistic darkness. With the stranger comes renewal. America cannot be itself without it, and Americans will fight for their idea. It is, after all, how they became who they are.

 
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There are a number of plaques on the Statue of Liberty, such as this one commemorating the important role of Freemasons in the statue’s history, and another from the Boy Scouts. Most of these plaques have of course never been assumed by anyone to be the law of the land.

But one plaque bearing a poem by Emma Lazarus, added 17 years after the Goddess of Liberty’s opening, has been retconned into displacing the real meaning of the Statue of Liberty, making it into a Statue of Immigration. It’s remarkable how many people in positions of influence seem to think Emma Lazarus’s poem is the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill of Rights:

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Similarly, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today thundered:

There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty.

The President should consider dedicating a new plaque at the Statue of Liberty that is truer to its original purpose. One possibility would be excerpts from the once-immensely famous Independence Day oration by John Quincy Adams. Here are lengthier excerpts that could be drawn upon:

From The American Conservative:

On July 4, 1821, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams delivered an historic address on U.S. foreign policy. After reading the full text of the Declaration of Independence, he continued:

… From the day of this declaration, the people of North America were no longer the fragment of a distant empire, imploring justice and mercy from an inexorable master in another hemisphere. … They were a nation, asserting as of right, and maintaining by war, its own existence. A nation was born in a day. …

The Declaration of Independence pronounced the irrevocable decree of political separation, between the United States and their people on the one part, and the British king, government, and nation on the other. … But there was no anarchy.

From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American union, and of its constituent states, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians, in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct. They were bound by the principles which they themselves had proclaimed in the declaration. They were bound by all those tender and endearing sympathies, the absence of which, in the British government and nation, towards them, was the primary cause of the distressing conflict in which they had been precipitated by the headlong rashness and unfeeling insolence of their oppressors. They were bound by all the beneficent laws and institutions, which their forefathers had brought with them from their mother country, not as servitudes but as rights. They were bound by habits of hardy industry, by frugal and hospitable manners, by the general sentiments of social equality, by pure and virtuous morals; and lastly they were bound by the grappling-hooks of common suffering under the scourge of oppression. Where then, among such a people, were the materials for anarchy! Had there been among them no other law, they would have been a law unto themselves.

They had before them in their new position, besides the maintenance of the independence which they had declared, three great objects to attain; the first, to cement and prepare for perpetuity their common union and that of their posterity; the second, to erect and organize civil and municipal governments in their respective states: and the third, to form connections of friendship and of commerce with foreign nations. …

And now … inquire, what has America done for the benefit of mankind?

… She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own. …

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. …

Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of mind. She has a spear and a shield; but the motto upon her shield is Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was the sixth president of the United States (1825-1829).

It’s almost as if the Statue of Liberty weren’t really all about Invade the World, Invite the World.

(In reality, the Statue of Liberty is about Freemasonry.)

Or Trump could put up a screen playing this:

 
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As we all know, the Zeroth Amendment to the Constitution, as carved on the Statue of Liberty, is that Americans don’t have the right to borders because that would discriminate against the civil right of every foreigner on Earth to immigrate here. For instance, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ringingly reminded us of the Zeroth Amendment today:

Screenshot 2017-01-25 16.31.51

But that leads to the less-cited Omega Amendment:

 
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Lord Jeff Sessions comments:

Women’s March Endorses Zeroth Amendment:

“Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. It is our moral duty to keep families together and empower all aspiring Americans to fully participate in, and contribute to, our economy and society. We reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against queer and trans migrants. Immigration reform must establish a roadmap to citizenship, and provide equal opportunities and workplace protections for all. We recognize that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to the United States, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.”

When will leftists realize that everything they’ve been fighting for is jeopardized by mass third world immigration: good wages for low income workers, economic and social equality, environmental protections, rising living standards for African Americans etc. People like Cesar Chavez, Barbara Jordan, and Samuel Gompers all understood this. Will today’s leftists wake up before it’s too late, or have we already passed the point of no return?

Never?

The problem with immigration is it turns into a political doomsday machine, a juggernaut of ever-expanding special interest groups that make it ever harder to say rationally, okay, we’ve reached severely diminishing returns with mass immigration, so time for a timeout.

 
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Screenshot 2016-09-21 22.48.41

As we all know, the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill of Rights, as carved on the Statue of Liberty, is that Americans don’t have the right to borders because that would discriminate against the civil rights of foreigners to immigrate here. The Zeroth Amendment precedes the First Amendment, by the way, so you don’t have the right to protest about it either.

 
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Rhetorical momentum is a massive force for stupidity in our world. Diminishing returns set in rapidly on any policy, but the natural psychology is instead to Double Dumb Down on here-to-fore successful demagogic gambits.

For example, from the Los Angeles Times:

What’s the Alt-Right?

Thomas J. Main

Thomas J. Main is Professor at the School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY. He is writing a book on the Alt-Right and American politics.

Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump on Thursday for his cozy relationship with a new political movement, the Alternative Right, or Alt-Right. The Alt-Right rejects American democracy as did the American communists of the 1930s and the New Left of the 1960s. The main challenge to our way of life today now comes not from the radical left, but the Alt-Right. …

But it is the underlying ideology of the Alt-Right, rather than its controversial policy positions, that is truly sinister.

Those evil bastards don’t believe in the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill of Rights, as Founding Father Emma Lazarus carved on the Statue of Liberty in 1787.

Alt-Right thought is based on white nationalism and anti-Americanism.

It’s almost as if the American Revolution had been about Americans demanding “the rights of Englishmen.”

The Alt-Right holds, in essence, that all men are not created equal, and that as racial equality has displaced white dominance, America has declined and no longer merits the allegiance of its white citizens.

Alt-Right leaders, unlike Neo-Nazis or KKK supporters, are intellectually and rhetorically sophisticated. Jared Taylor, editor of the American Renaissance website, holds degrees from Yale and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. …

In the letter, Taylor denies the notion that “the things you love about America…are rooted in certain principles.” Rather, “they are rooted in certain people.” That is, white people: “Germans, Swedes, Irishmen, and Hungarians could come and contribute to the America you love,” Taylor says. “Do you really believe that a future Afro-Hispanic-Caribbean-Asiatic America will be anything like the America your ancestors built?”

That’s pretty much the argument of Federalist Paper #2, but then you can’t get more anti-American than Federalist Paper #2.

White nationalism is more important than inalienable rights because “Even when they violate your principles, white people build good societies. Even when they abide by your principles, non-whites usually don’t.”

It’s almost as if Norway is a better place to live than Zimbabwe.

But to notice that would be wrong.

… The Alt-Right represents the first new philosophical competitor to liberalism, broadly defined, since the fall of Communism.

Is anyone listening to the Alt-Right? Yes: Key Alt-Right websites the American Renaissance and VDARE — named after Virginia Dare, “the first white child of English parentage born in America” — both received more web visits last November than Dissent and Ms. The National Policy Institute and its Radix Journal together had many more visits than the neoconservative policy journal National Affairs.

So the Alt-Right has an audience — and in Trump, it has a candidate. Trump’s rants about Mexican rapists charging across the southern border, his attacks on an American-born judge of Mexican descent, and his calls to ban Muslims from entering the country, are all in line with Alt-Right ideology. Accordingly, Alt-Right organizations made robocalls for Trump in the Iowa, New Hampshire and Utah primaries.

VDARE declared in July: “We are all Donald Trump Now.” And the website’s editor, Peter Brimelow, wrote on Wednesday: “Trump is the best presidential candidate on immigration that we’ve ever had. That’s not saying a lot, goodness knows — but it’s a YUGE advance.”

… All schools of American political thought — and especially mainstream conservatives — must reject this dangerous ideology.

One of the patterns you notice more and more these days is the descendants of Ellis Island huddled masses reasoning, “Boy those stupid WASPs shouldn’t have let us in way back then because, even though they are too stupid to have figured it out yet, we’ve taken over. But eventually they might figure it out … so we’d better punish them now so they can’t ever do anything about it in case they ultimately wake up. Hmmhhhmm … I know let’s rub their noses in diversity by letting in a hundred million or so Muslims! Yeah, then those idiot WASPs will finally notice they are being insulted and humiliated like they deserve. If that’s not enough to finally get their attention, we could let in two hundred million Muslims. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?”

 
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From the New York Times:

A Central Conflict of 21st-Century Politics: Who Belongs?
The Interpreter
By AMANDA TAUB JULY 8, 2016

WASHINGTON — The trend emerged into public consciousness last year with the rise of far-right politics in Europe. It spread with Donald J. Trump’s successful campaign to become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in the United States. And its consequences became unmistakable with Britain’s vote last month to exit the European Union.

What is driving this surge in anti-immigrant populism in Western politics?

Michael Ignatieff has a theory, one rooted in his research as a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and in his experience as former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party.

Ignatieff is the grandson of a Tsarist count. His father was Canada’s UN ambassador. (Zbigniew Brzezinski would be a fairly comparable figure in American history.)

The younger Ignatieff, who has lived outside Canada for most of his life in prestigious academic jobs, was an unsurprisingly ineffective politician:

But his explanation is lucid:

According to his argument, what we’re seeing is, in part, an ideological split between cosmopolitan elites who see immigration as a common good based in universal rights

What I call the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

, and voters who see it as a gift conferred on certain outsiders deemed worthy of joining the community.

This disagreement, he said in an interview, has animated much of the backlash against immigration that is described as “uncontrolled” and a threat to receiving communities. These disagreements over “who belongs,” he said, will “define the 21st century.” …

Like I’ve said, politics is basically about whose side you are on.

Big names in political history tend to be those who devised relatively lasting arrangements. For example, George Washington played a major role, first, in breaking apart the British Empire for being too big and, second, in unifying the thirteen states for being too small. Both decisions endure. Not surprisingly, Washington remains famous.

Q. Brexit took a lot of people by surprise as a specific political event, but also as an expression of some larger trends. One of those is rising nationalism despite globalization and the development of cross-border institutions like the European Union. Where are these coming from?

A. One thought that does strike me is: Why should we be surprised?

Globalization and a borderless world have been terrific for the educated, the young, the mobile, the multilingual, the multicultural. But globalization has been really tough for people whose jobs are tied to a community, whose mobility is limited by limited education, and — more positively — whose first allegiance is to their community, their locality, their place of birth.

Cosmopolitans are perpetually surprised that, A, they’re only 1 percent of the population, and, B, most people don’t think like them. …

They feel the global, mobile, cosmopolitan world is simply out of reach. Not only out of reach, but malign, in the sense that the global cosmopolitan elite are the people who are shipping the jobs out. …

This is a story not just about nationalism. It’s also a story about inequality. The division between cosmopolitans and nationalists is going to define the 21st century. Brexit is not just a little hiccup on the path toward a bright cosmopolitan future. Nor is nationalism. Cosmopolitans continually condescend to nationalism, but my patriotic pride is your nationalism, right?

Q. But if nationalism comes from positive feelings of pride and connection to one’s community, why does that often seem to manifest in fears of immigration as a threat to that community, as it did with Brexit?

A. The issue always is: Who belongs?

In many ways, global migration is exacerbating the salience of the division between a citizen and a stranger. Citizens are saying everywhere, “The one thing that political community means to me, the one thing a nation means to me, is control of my borders and the right to define who comes in and who doesn’t.”

Brexit was an amazing spectacle in which people who are recent immigrants, Indians, Pakistanis in origin, were saying, “No more Poles.” These were citizens saying: “We’ve lost control of our frontiers. Free movement of people is simply incompatible with democracy. It’s incompatible with the self-determination of peoples.”

That’s what nationalism is: “Take back control, control of our borders. Take back control of our economy.”

The problem, in a globalized world, is that all control is relative.

Everything is relative. The problem has become that the Zeroth Amendment is increasingly seen as absolute, ruling over all other.

… Q. Is this, on some level, driven by a conflict between democracy and globalization? If so, can that be solved?

A. I do think that there’s a real disconnect between an international cosmopolitan discourse about rights — the rights of migrants, the rights of refugees — versus the way in which ordinary people in most democracies see this question.

For ordinary people, a citizen’s relation to a stranger is a gift relationship, not a rights relationship.

Hospitality to travelers is a big theme in the Bible and other West Asian religious traditions. But it’s limited in duration and it’s reciprocal.

They think it’s up to the citizen to decide who gets in. It’s up to the citizen who decides what the boundaries of a political community are.

That’s what democracy means to them. That’s what democracy promises them: control of borders and the handing out of discretionary gifts to those they decide belong in the community.

There are a lot of Brexiters who think a decent country is generous to strangers, is compassionate to strangers. But that’s the language of the gift. That’s not a language of rights. This is an emerging theme that a lot of liberal cosmopolitan politicians — and I have been one! — didn’t understand.

This is a key element of this nationalist turn. We’ve all been slow to see that happening, but that’s a big trend going down, the distinction between rights and gifts. It helps to understand that.

Like I’ve been saying for years, we’ve witnessed an intellectual failure among elites due to censorship of public expression. The wisdom Ignatieff has finally stumbled upon really isn’t that complicated.

 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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