Pod the Lesser, Birthright Pundit: When John Derbyshire raised objections to the current but dubious interpretation of the 14th Amendment that guarantees American citizenship to the children of illegal aliens born in the U.S., John Podhoretz replied on NRO’s Corner in his inimitable manner, “Sorry, pal. If you’re born a Podhoretz, you get to make a living offering your opinions, no matter how big of a jerk and fool you are. Period. That’s how it works, and thank God for it, otherwise a great deal of the money made in the 21st century by Podhoretz relatives would not have come to pass.”
Wait a minute, sorry, what Pod Person 2.0 actually said was:
DERB’S “INTENTIONS OF THE PARENTS” EXCEPTION TO THE 14TH AMENDMENT [John Podhoretz]
Sorry, pal. You’re born here, you’re a citizen here. Period. That’s how it works, and thank God for it, otherwise a great deal of the advances made in the 20th century by immigrant children to the United States would not have come to pass…
Boy, some people just can’t stand the idea that some other people might become citizens in this country, eh? If the problem of birthright citizenship is not the citizenship itself, as Derb’s e-mailer suggests, but the fact that the citizen can petition to get his family members made into citizens, then there’s a simple expedient to fix that: You can change the law. Or you can try remembering that without immigration, there would be about 75 million people in the United States, a nation that now comfortably houses 300 million and could easily accommodate many more. Oh, and if any e-mailer e-mails me angrily AND USES CAPITAL LETTERS TO MAKE HIS POINT, that e-mail goes in the garbage can. As will slurs — both open and subtle — against Spanish-speakers, claims that “this wasn’t the country my father fought for in WWII/Korea/Dominican Republic/Grenada,” and the always popular “why should my tax dollars go and pay for.” There’s plenty of things my tax dollars go and pay for that I don’t like. Welcome to democracy. You don’t like it? Try to change it. Period.”…
This effort to deny citizenship to those born in the United States because of their parentage is a mark of a passionate movement that is playing footsie with unreason. No “sensible” restrictive immigration policy that I’m aware of calls for the denial of birthright citizenship. That is lunacy. Mind the gap.
Of course, Pod Minor is completely confused about the issue, which is illegal immigrants’ children, not the offspring of his ancestors, who were legal immigrants, but his making this error just shows how much of neocon thinking about immigration, if you can call it “thinking,” is based on ethnic nostalgia and resentment of old slights toward ancestors, feelings that just seems to grow, perversely, in strength with the passing of the decades. (See my “Remythologizing the Melting Pot” review of Tamar Jacoby’s book on immigration for details.)
I’m what you could call an Old Neoconservative, in the tradition of social scientists like Moynihan, Glazer, J.Q. Wilson, Sowell, and Murray, and the intellectual decline of the neocons over the years is painful to me. Norman Podhoretz has mutated into, essentially, an ethnic activist in the mode of Jesse Jackson. Little Big Pod is the equivalent of Al Sharpton, although not as witty.
Exactly why a no-talent ethnic bully like John Podhoretz thinks he can define what is and isn’t conservative is a mystery, but the bigger conundrum is why he isn’t laughed out of a career … except, of course, for the obvious fact that he’s, as they say in Little Italy, connected.
Charlotte Allen even coined the term “podenfreude” to describe the enjoyable sensation one experiences while reading terrible writing.