Latin America adopting the matricula consular
Several Latin American
countries are planning to follow Mexico’s example and issue consular identification cards
to their myriad nationals living in the United States. Meanwhile, the only concern being expressed by the F.B.I. about the official recognition of such cards by U.S. institutions—which already includes 100 banks as well as hundreds of police departments and other state agencies—is that they may be fraudulent. Which means, I suppose, that a person could claim to be from Nicaragua, whereas in fact he’s from … Bolivia? So far, in all the stories I’ve read about the matricula consular
issue, not a single person in the U.S. government or in a mainstream opinion organ has grasped the elementary concept that even if such a card is not
fraudulent, the only thing it verifies is that the carrier comes from the named foreign country; and, since he’s using that
card rather than a United States ID card, the only thing that his use of the card “validates” is that he’s an illegal alien.
No, such an idea is too difficult, too abstruse, for contemporary Americans to grasp; the only objection that anyone can conceive against American institutions accepting these cards as valid IDs is that they might be forged and used by terrorists. In other words, terrorism establishes the bottom threshold of what is acceptable in America. Anything that is not as bad as terrorism, is ok.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 14, 2003 12:06 PM | Send
By the way both Jared Taylor, editor of the American Renaissance, and Pat Buchanan were interviewed on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country this week about immigration. They were both introduced without any qualifiers indicated they are “mean” and “racist” so that’s progress. It was a very lively debate (they had a Muslim and Hispanic Nationalist on to counter them). The full transcript can be read here: http://www.msnbc.com/news/992620.asp
Now if only the O’Reilly Factor would get the idea to book Jared Taylor…
Mr. Auster writes:
“Anything that is not as bad as terrorism, is ok.”
It is fascinating, isn’t it? This is related to the Hegelian Mambo, it seems to me. In the first steps of the dance, the guy to your left extends a hand on an issue that is important to you, the concervative. In this case that is Islamic terrorism. Then he plants his foot there; that becomes the most rightward point of thought considered acceptable for the next few steps of the dance. He twirls you around, and hey, now that becomes the rightmost point for you too. What was once awful enough become a point of agreement between the conservative and the leftist now becomes a boundary on the right never to be passed.
What is stunning is the degree to which everyday people are willing to dance the dance. It seems to be rooted in the notion that politics is the art of the possible; that if you just stop dancing then even the one thing that is awful enough for both you and your leftist dance partner to share in common will be lost.
Its a trap, but the cheese - the thought of maintaing personal relevance rather than being lost in the margins of right-wing freakdom - seems to have near-universal appeal to conservatives. The conservative desire to see society as imperfect but good, and to preserve what is good in it, becomes his fatal flaw.
And the threshold or boundary keeps moving. In the mid-90s, Linda Chavez argued that the proof that Hispanic immigrants were assimilating was that they were good, willing workers, compared to sullen incompetent U.S. blacks. In other words, any immigrants who were better than low-level blacks were desirable and assimilable immigrants. That seemed like a bottom-of-the-barrel standard, right? But, in accordance with the Hegelian Mambo, since 9/11 the threshold has moved even further left, or further down. Now the standard for good immigrants is that they _not be terrorists_. To back up the thesis, consider the fact that we’re now admitting large numbers of black African refugees into this country, which we had never done before, bringing Somalis into Maine and so forth.
Another point in response to Matt. Part of the Hegelian Mambo is that conservatives are so eager to find any signs of good sense on the left, that as soon as a leftist agrees with a conservative on anything, the conservative gets all happy and excited. “Aah,” he thinks, “there is still a common basis of good sense among us after all. This proves that our society is not ultimately divided, but united around a shared consensus.” So he joins with the leftist on that one issue, and gives the leftist a pass on everything else he has done. He buys into the leftist’s unprincipled exception, not holding his feet to the fire and saying (for example) “how can you support public standards in THIS area, when you trash it in all these other areas?” So the conservative, in his happiness at finding some patch of common ground with his fellow Americans on the left, gives up most of his own ground to join with the leftists.