The radicalization of the conservatives?

The editors of National Review are challenging the editors of the Wall Street Journal to debate the immigration bill. The NR editors are evidently steamed, as they have a right to be. Here they are, the most moderate, rational, and loyal-to-the-president group of conservatives, or at least “conservatives,” that you could find anywhere, but because they opposed this horrendous and indefensible bill, the Wall Street Journal editors dumped them among the foaming-at-the-mouth nativists, something they never imagined happening to them in their lives.

Which makes me think. What is it, in many cases, that leads people to be radicalized? It is when they themselves are personally attacked or treated unjustly by the powers that be. Benjamin Franklin was a loyalist to Great Britain, thinking of himself as British rather than American, until the court of King George III deliberately insulted him in a manner that shocked him to the core. It made him see the conflict between the Crown and the American colonies in a radically new light, and he became an adherent of the colonies’ cause. The NR guys, the Powerline guys, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, never expected to be called irrational xenophobes by a Republican president and by their fellow establishment conservatives. They are deeply offended by this. But, as in the case of Franklin, it goes beyond a sense of personal insult. The shock of being contemptuously put down by what they had thought was their own side has started to make them realize the extreme nature, not just of this immigration bill, but of the entire open borders movement and mindset of which it is the expression.And this has opened them up to new insights about the meaning of mass immigration and about the meaning of our country that it threatens.

In a democratical society, said George Washington, the people must feel, before they will see.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 31, 2007 05:22 PM | Send

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