Lou Dobbs with a Gun

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Not America's toughest sheriff. Just the most megalomaniacal.

Ready to cash in on the immigration crisis (see Nick Gillespie's "What Immigration Crisis," in the August-September print edition of Reason), the no-nonsense Sheriff from the desert is up to his usual tricks: finding new ways to violate those irksome civil liberties that get in the way of him doing his damn job.

Except this time, Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio has turned his rage toward Mexicans—or as he calls them, "alien smugglers and their customers."

And Arpaio's new vigilante Posse crusade is great news for an area already riddled with cases of clear racial profiling.

Yet Arpaio is simply following a track record of self-promotion and costing his county millions with his "America's Toughest Cop" facade.

After all, this is the man who brought us green bologna, ostrich meat, pink underwear, and raids on prison pornography.

Rest assured, immigration advocates. With Arpaio against us, we can't lose.

Sheriff Joe's new commercial here.

NEXT: After Midnight

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  1. The Sheriff sucks in many ways, but, aside from the fact that many of the prisoners are in jail for victimless crimes and blah blah blah, I can’t see anything wrong with putting prisoners on a chain gang and dressing them up in pink underwear and whatnot.

    Now the posse thing – no abuse could possibly result from it. No sir.

  2. There’s an Aerosmith song in this somewhere.

  3. I think Suzanne Somers should run against him. After all, she’s the, well, you know the rest.

    Funny sidebar: I’m getting married in September. Neither of us are religious. So when I went on my town’s website to find out who can marry us, it linked me to the Sheriff’s office. Apparently, according to VA law, Sheriffs are the appointed hitchers. Hehe, sweet…I wonder if she’ll wear that big hat and a pistol.

    Better that they’re performing marriage ceremonies than lynching brown people…

  4. I think Macy ought to have to live on a ranch in Arizon that sits on the border for a month before she has such a fit. The illegals tresspass, breakdown fences, kill and barbeque cattle, leave trash everyone, walk into people’s homes and demand food and rides to town, many roads are undrivable because of the coyotes who barrel up them lights off at over 100 miles an hour every night smuggling immigrants. If I lived down there, I would be ready to land mine my property and install a .50 caliber machine gun turret on top of my house.

    There is more to this story than just innocent migrants and evil sherriff. More to it that is, if you have any respect for private property or are looking to do anything beyond scoring cheap points in the immigration debate.

  5. John, that’s a lot like tying the drug trade to violent crime. The border problem exists because of our insane policies regarding immigration, not because of anything inherent to the immigrants themselves. Make those policies rational with the right incentives and disincentives and, like the alcohol biz after Prohibition, the real problems that you cite largely go away.

    The problem is that “rational” and “US politicians” are not commensurate.

  6. Mark,

    How is “putting folsk in prison for victimless crimes” any different from any other jurisdiction? Our prisons are stuffed full of folks convicted of victimless crimes. I know, it doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t exactly single him out, either.

  7. Sy,

    That is to some degree true, but unless you completely open the borders, there are still going to be some people who get shut out. There are always going to be criminals who the U.S. should not let in. Those are still going to be sneaking accross.

    That said, the ranch owners and sheriffs in Arizona can’t change U.S. immigration policy. They are just stuck with the results. I don’t think you can blame them for trying to do what they can to protect their property.

  8. Evan! –

    You’re! right! I was just pointing out that I don’t see anything intrinsically wrong with chaingangs and whatnot.

  9. In a definitive report on the sheriff in The Arizona Republic, Dennis Wagner notes that Arpaio used to be an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration–a gang of legal vigilantes for whom due process is the enemy.

    Too right that.
    Hey Nick, are you familiar with this Dennis Wagner fellow. Maybe he could write the odd Reason piece (is there any other kind?)

    One Google search later?
    Alas, I think DW might be busy with real journalism to have time for this ra…I mean, “opinion journal”. He’s got lots of bylines with The Arizona Republic. Apparently he’s the guy who dug Sammy “The Bull” Gravano out of witness protection.

  10. John,

    That’s true, there will always still be some people shut out, but most of the problems you cite are a result of the large volume of illegal immigration. If it were just a trickle, the roads wouldn’t be damaged and people wouldn’t get too worked up over the occasional cut fence.

  11. I read a Sheriff Joe story a few months back; the outrage du jour was that he was moving prisoners from Building 1 to Building 2 by marching them down a public street, in bright pink clothes, to humiliate them in front of all who saw them. And what’s more: these were jail prisoners. Presumed innocent prisoners awaiting trial, not criminals found guilty.

    Also, due to security measures, it wasn’t the ones accused of true crimes like murder or rape that were being marched like that; it was the guys accused of harmless stuff like possession of a joint.

    My attitude toward folks like Sheriff Joe is: if you have your sick little S&M domination/humiliation fantasies, just fucking admit to it instead of lying to yourself and everybody else about how you’re actually this upright font of virtue trying to protect the innocent from the depraved.

  12. Is there some kind of prize for link density?

  13. SY:
    The border problem exists because of our insane policies regarding immigration, not because of anything inherent to the immigrants themselves.

    I agree with the last part of that sentence, but the first part is nonsense.
    Don’t you think it could be that the border problem exists because of the huge differential in the economies of the US and south of the border ?

    the other Mark:

    I can’t see anything wrong …. dressing them up in pink underwear

    If you subscribe to the notions that:

    1. Prison serves punishment rather than public safety.

    2. Humiliation is part of 1.

    3. The keeper of the public gaol is its Supreme Master, accountable only to his own private ambitions and aggrandizement.

    then I can see your point.
    Pray tell, though, what are this and other common kinds of humiliation supposed to accomplish? Deterrence? Not hardly, witness the non-deterrence of even the death penalty. Do you think pink underwear has yet cured a single drug addict or kept out one illegal immigrant?

  14. John,

    You are wasting your breath. The libertarians have gone off the deep end on this issue, and DON’T CARE about their fellow citizens along the border. Cheap political points are FAR more important than us here in fly-over country.

  15. Wait, who’s Macy Hanson? I don’t recognize her as a regular Reason poster.

  16. Do you think pink underwear has yet cured a single drug addict or kept out one illegal immigrant?

    Of course not. But it doesn’t hurt the inmates, and it’s funny. Heh heh, pink. See?

  17. Larry Anderson:

    Hilarious, accuse libertarians of cheap political points in a thraed about Sheriff Arpaio!
    What do you think should be done in the interest of fly-over country residents?
    I have a suggestion: A few public floggings Saudi Arabia style would certainly help keep some wet-backs away. The good Sheriff seems like a shoe-in candidate to carry out this visionary policy.
    Besides trampling those pesky and hugely outdated Constitutional amendments, it is surely more important to protect you folks and your children.

    In mild desparation,
    martin

  18. I liked the bit in season 2 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! where they interviewed Sherrif Joe, and he said that were it not for the drug war, you’d have surgeons getting high before operating on you.

  19. Martin,

    These threads, as so often happens, strayed a bit a field from JUST Sheriff Arpaio. John mentioned how dangerous the border country had become, from property destruction, to assault, to rape for the residents of the region due to the extremely lawless types running the border. The typical response seen here with regards to this is to generally accuse the poster of being a racist who hates all those ?brown people.? So yeah, you pretty much covered the point spread. The rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for border residents certainly ARE being violated, but as has been show clearly here that those abuses are insignificant to the libertarian pipe dream of fully open borders.

    I did not say, nor have I ever mentioned a desire to see violence visited upon ?wetbacks,? nor a hope for a Saudi type ?justice? system. But please.. Do feel free to continue demolishing your strawmen.

  20. Evan!, I live in VA and a few years ago I got a court order that allowed me to marry some friends of mine. If you aren’t religious, and have a good friend or brother or something, it is a cool way to go.

  21. I liked the bit in season 2 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! where they interviewed Sherrif Joe, and he said that were it not for the drug war, you’d have surgeons getting high before operating on you.

    Yeah, that made me chuckle to. Sheriff Joe is well on his way to becoming a self parody. As for the pink underwear thing, I see NO reason that inmates (especially violent offenders) should be granted any luxuries beyond what is needed to survive, but the public humiliation is over the top. He often claimed how much money he was saving the county with his tents and such, but now is spending a ton of cash just for pink jumpsuits and undies.

  22. John mentioned how dangerous the border country had become, from property destruction, to assault, to rape for the residents of the region due to the extremely lawless types running the border.

    And Chicago was pretty damned scary in the 1920s, but it was due to Prohibition, not merely those who would like to buy or sell alcohol. Blaming mere “immigrants” for crime in the border country is like blaming mere wine-drinkers for Al Capone.

    Here’s something I tried to post yesterday but the server ate it: most of us know better than to hold it against somebody if they happen to have a skin color or ethnic background different from our own. Why is dicrimination based on place of birth more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help? “I don’t hate you because you were born of a brown-skinned mother; I hate you because you were born of a brown-skinned mother whose legs were on the wrong side of an arbitrary boundary when she went into labor.”

    Yeah, that’s a noble attitude.

  23. The libertarians have gone off the deep end on this issue, and DON’T CARE about their fellow citizens along the border.

    It seems to me that it’s the legislators in Washington, who more and more come from places like Nebraska and North Carolina, who don’t care about their fellow citizens along the border.

    After all, if people who are doing nothing but looking for a job are allowed to pass through well-known border checkpoints on public roads, they won’t be barbecuing cattle over private citizens’ fenceposts.

  24. “John mentioned how dangerous the border country had become, from property destruction, to assault, to rape for the residents of the region due to the extremely lawless types running the border.”

    a lot of this stuff – the anecdotals i mean – has the stink of harry anslinger on it.

  25. I live in VA and a few years ago I got a court order that allowed me to marry some friends of mine.

    Virginia allows polygamy?

  26. Interesting that Maricopa County isn’t a border county.

  27. Sure, shecky, bamboozle them with facts why don’t you?

  28. I said VA, not West VA (apologies to my western brothers). I’ll re-phrase – I was awarded permission to officiate a wedding ceremony in a manner the Commonwealth of Virginia subsequently accepted as legal. Or something like that.

  29. a lot of this stuff – the anecdotals i mean – has the stink of harry anslinger on it.

    Yes, if only there were a global network where anyone with even minimal intelligence could say, SEARCH for information…

    Oh, wait…

  30. Jennifer,

    There is still enough of the old “drugs&guns” libertarian left in my soul to agree that the drug war has had JUST these types of consquences, and removal of many of the stupid drug laws WOULD help. But until that far off day when the people force the government to change the laws, what would you have the citizenry do? High ideals are pretty cold comfort to a family that has its door kicked open in the middle of the night by illegals (or worse) in the mean time.

  31. Why is dicrimination based on place of birth more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help?

    Why is discrimination in favor of your family members more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help? We can’t all have the advantage of being born relatives of yours, you know. And if you feel that everyone is obliged to be treated equally under all circumstances, why do you “discriminate” by sleeping only with your boyfriend rather than any man (of woman) who asks? I can’t help never having the opportunity to have attended medical school – would you “discriminate” against me by refusing to allow me to perform surgery on you or a loved one?

    If there are any two concepts that have been tortured into meaninglessness in modern political discourse, those would be “discrimination” and “equality”. Personally, I’m pretty sick and tired of every dishonest idiot with an agenda attempting to legitimize it by stamping an equal sign on it, no how absurdly inappropriate it is. And at this point, any time those 2 words come up in a discussion, I automatically assume I am dealing with a dishonest idiot. Surprisingly (or maybe not), that more often than not turns out to be an astonishingly accurate assumption.

    Any qualification or restriction we apply is by definition “discrimination”. We discriminate between (as opposed to against) things all the time. If you couldn’t “discriminate” between an apple and a poisonous mushroom, you probably wouldn’t live very long.

    Discrimination *is* a perfectly noble and legitimate activity, abuses notwithstanding. The fact that the facility can be abused does not negate it’s (very valuable) uses.

    In this case, the rational is quite simple – the moral priority of relationships. You owe obligations to your family that you don’t owe to my family, you owe obligations to your boyfriend you don’t owe to me, you owe obligations to your community that you don’t owe to my community, and lastly, there are obligations you owe to fellow citizens that you don’t owe to non-citizens. If you want define that relationship as “arbitrary”, fine. But then, explain how any other relationship that incurs an obligation on your part is any less so.

  32. High ideals are pretty cold comfort to a family that has its door kicked open in the middle of the night by illegals (or worse) in the mean time.

    This is true, and if I knew someone with a strong anti-immigrant attitude who had PERSONALLY suffered at the hands of illegals I’d likely keep silent out of politeness and decency. (Same way I wouldn’t discuss the evils of bigotry with a Holocaust survivor who despised all Germans, even though I’ve got a lot of Saxon blood myself.)

    But the fact is, immigration is like drugs in that if you make it illegal, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to avoid having innocent people suffer blowback from its illegal status.

    Assume that we should keep our immigration laws as they are, or even make them tougher. How exactly do you propose to make border Americans safe from Mexican criminals lurking in the night? We’ve had decades of practice with the drug war and can’t even keep our own cities safe as a result; you think a 2,000-mile border will be easier to handle?

  33. Why is discrimination in favor of your family members more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help? We can’t all have the advantage of being born relatives of yours, you know.

    And if I were arguing in favor of the government’s giving my family privileges that it denied to yours, that metaphor would be great.

    And if you feel that everyone is obliged to be treated equally under all circumstances, why do you “discriminate” by sleeping only with your boyfriend rather than any man (of woman) who asks?

    So let me get this straight, PM — you’re basically saying that since I’m willing to fuck my boyfriend but not you, that means I should expect the government to view place of birth as one of the single most important factors about a person? Brilliant! Let me try other metaphors based on that same principle:

    “Since I am willing to wear burgundy lipstick but not green, I have no business opposing discrimination based on skin color.”

    “Since I am willing to eat chocolate but not cyanide what gives me the right to bleat about equality of the sexes?”

    Yes, Pig Mannix, me being choosy in regards to my friends is just EXACTLY like the government treating people differently based on who they are, not what they’ve done. Really.

  34. explain how any other relationship that incurs an obligation on your part is any less so.

    Only one of the “obligations” based on birth that you bring up is reflected in law as discrimination against individuals and their free associations.

    there are obligations you owe to fellow citizens that you don’t owe to non-citizens

    Why did you stop there? Are there obligations we own to our fellow members of our race? Our nation of origin? Our sex? Our sexual orientation? Our Myers-Briggs type?

    And why is the citizenship obligation mandated by force of law and the race obligation prohibited — at least today! — by force of law?

  35. there are obligations you owe to fellow citizens that you don’t owe to non-citizens

    I forgot to ask–exactly what are these obligations, anyway? What am I, personally, obliged to do for an American citizen that I don’t have to do for a foreigner?

  36. But the fact is, immigration is like drugs in that if you make it illegal, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to avoid having innocent people suffer blowback from its illegal status.

    AMEN

    I can just hear the howls from politicians federal, local, any stripe, legions of “experts”, assorted “public interest groups”, childrens protection rackets, er.. activists, etc, etc if the US were the country where a huge number of fathers and mothers have to go abroad into illegality and menial jobs to make a living for the family, influencing the economy to the degree that the official currency would be the Lempira or whatever. The social liability of generations growing up without parents present hasn’t even been assessed. Great way to live. SOoo desirable. Can’t think of a better life.
    And what’s the politicians’ response? More criminal laws, stiffer sentences, more erosion of liberties…
    Sound familiar?

    Perhaps helping their economies to improve might help, but then we’d create more competition besides the Chinese or perhaps they’d grow, GASP, coca, the best money maker due to yet another War On…, oh well, never mind.

  37. Jennifer:

    One obligation I owe my fellow citizens but not those of another country would be to go to war to defend against foreign enemies, no?

  38. And if I were arguing in favor of the government’s giving my family privileges that it denied to yours, that metaphor would be great.

    The point here is, that your relationship with your family entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of my family. Likewise, the relationship of the United States government to citizens of the United States entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of non-citizens. Last time I checked, the citizens of the United States established their government to promote their interests. Not to be the Grand Arbiter of World Utopia.

    So let me get this straight, PM — you’re basically saying that since I’m willing to fuck my boyfriend but not you, that means I should expect the government to view place of birth as one of the single most important factors about a person? Brilliant! Let me try other metaphors based on that same principle:

    “Since I am willing to wear burgundy lipstick but not green, I have no business opposing discrimination based on skin color.”

    “Since I am willing to eat chocolate but not cyanide what gives me the right to bleat about equality of the sexes?”

    Um, that was pretty much my point. Comparing those things is an absurdity, since they’re distinctly different.

    Now, if you could get through your head that the status between citizen and non-citizen is likewise distinctly different, you’d be off to a good start.

    I forgot to ask–exactly what are these obligations, anyway? What am I, personally, obliged to do for an American citizen that I don’t have to do for a foreigner?

    Exactly the same obligations you have to your family, your boyfriend, or your community – to not compromise their interests in favor of other parties to whom you have no such relation.

    If your concept of citizenship is such that you don’t understand that, then I can understand why you don’t have any problem with giving it away so cheaply. It’s “just a piece of paper”, right?

  39. Jennifer: Why is dicrimination based on place of birth more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help?

    PM: Why is discrimination in favor of your family members more noble than discrimination based on other such traits a person can’t help? We can’t all have the advantage of being born relatives of yours, you know. And if you feel that everyone is obliged to be treated equally under all circumstances, why do you “discriminate” by sleeping only with your boyfriend rather than any man (of woman) who asks? I can’t help never having the opportunity to have attended medical school – would you “discriminate” against me by refusing to allow me to perform surgery on you or a loved one?

    You have got to be kidding or else we ought simply to skip the rest of your post as nonsense. I mean do you seriously not see the difference between individuals discriminating for whatever reason they wish, and a statist policy which codifies some particular arbitrary discrimination based on an accident of birth? Do we really need to explain the difference between the individual and the state on a site like Reason!? Your argument basically boils down to something like “because an individual can act a certain way the state has a right to act the same way.”

    So tell me how your argument up there wouldn’t also work in support of say the fugitive slave act. Let’s imagine that back then someone like Jennifer argues that we shouldn’t discriminate based on race or skin color any more than eye color or hair color. Someone like you comes along and points out that because she doesn’t think every man is as entitled to the same treatment from her in the bedroom that she has undermined her stand against discrimination (!?!). Such a point would be patently absurd to the point of being comical. Unless you have a principled distinction between the case you made and the parody, I’m afraid your response to her falls in that category as well.

    Jennifer’s point is exactly right. I have asked the same question many times in previous immigration threads and never gotten anything like a convincing answer (probably because there is none), usually just some nonsense like above. Almost every time someone does try to answer the question, the response could be used almost word-for-word as a defense of slavery or Jim Crow laws. That fact alone ought to be pretty damning of the logic behind such a response.

  40. We discriminate between (as opposed to against) things all the time.

    I partially agree with this statement. Of course, discrimination between two things (apples and poisonous mushrooms) or between two people (my boyfriend and my elder neighbor) is necessary. It is useful for our survival. Yet, it is completely different when we are talking about people being exploited and abused simply because they are trying to have a better life (and at the same time, making yours easier). The world is not only about oil, economics, and politics; it is also about morality.

  41. The point here is, that your relationship with your family entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of my family. Likewise, the relationship of the United States government to citizens of the United States entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of non-citizens.

    Once again, governments are not individuals or families! Or is that a point you would only concede when arguing with liberals about some other collectivist view of humanity?

    Second, you can’t get around Jennifer’s question by relying on an arbitrarily legal classification of “citizen.” Exactly who should be allowed to be a citizen is at the heart of the question about discrimination. But if you must put that much weight in a central-statist dictate, then can I presume you would have no problem if we simply change citizenship to include anyone who wants to come here to live or work? Now that they are also all citizens we can do away with your question-begging about owing citizens priority. So would you be ok with that or not? If not, then we’re back to the more fundamental question of why not, which must address Jennifer’s question about why it is ok to discriminate on the arbitrary accident of birth location and not the arbitrary accident of skin color.

    If you claim that citizenship goes beyond the legal classification dictated by the state but rather includes some philosophical moral weight as well, then her question becomes all the more relevant and all the more difficult to dodge with legal technicalities. You must then explain who exactly is entitled to this morally sanctioned superior treatment that comes with the designation “citizen.”

  42. That is to some degree true, but unless you completely open the borders, there are still going to be some people who get shut out. There are always going to be criminals who the U.S. should not let in. Those are still going to be sneaking accross.

    So, a 95% reduction of your problem is not good enough? Well, then, I got nuthin’.

    Don’t you think it could be that the border problem exists because of the huge differential in the economies of the US and south of the border ?

    Yes. So what? The problem is, in my jaundiced view, that because we cannot have different laws and privileges for citizens and non-citizens, we create incentives for the non-productive to come over. No incentives, no freeloaders trying to get in. People who come here to work and create a good life for themselves and their families, hey, open the doors. The economy isn’t static, the pie grows with the contributions of productive immigrants.

  43. Why did you stop there? Are there obligations we own to our fellow members of our race?

    Um, NAACP?

    Our nation of origin?

    Italian Anti-Defamation League?

    Our sex?

    NOW, anybody?

    Our sexual orientation?

    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force?

    Our Myers-Briggs type?

    Got me on that one! All the same, there are plenty of organizations founded on the assumption that there are loyalties owed on the basis of those qualifications. And personally, I think those are perfectly legitimate relationships.

    And why is the citizenship obligation mandated by force of law and the race obligation prohibited — at least today! — by force of law?

    Because compromising the citizenship obligation can have detrimental effects on your fellow citizens. And race obligations aren’t prohibited by law. See above.

  44. Are there obligations we own to our fellow members of our race? Um, NAACP?

    Your examples don’t work, PM. Black people are not required by law to join the NAACP. If they want to go out of their way to help their fellow black people they certainly can, but black people do not have any obligation to others of their race. Ditto your examples of the Gay/Lesbian task force, the NOW, the Italian anti-defamation league, or anything else.

    compromising the citizenship obligation can have detrimental effects on your fellow citizens.

    Like what? I fully support making citizenship cognizant of certain types of behavior–I’m not arguing that we should let high-ranking members of the Taliban come here if they want–but birthplace? How exactly will I be hurt if some Mexican guy washing dishes at a restaurant becomes a citizen?

  45. Your argument basically boils down to something like “because an individual can act a certain way the state has a right to act the same way.”

    No. My argument is that specific relationships demand specific obligations. If I hire a lawyer to defend me, he shouldn’t be working for the prosecutor as well. And if I’m paying taxes to a government to represent my interests, it shouldn’t representing the interests of foreign nationals in opposition to them.

    Second, you can’t get around Jennifer’s question by relying on an arbitrarily legal classification of “citizen.” Exactly who should be allowed to be a citizen is at the heart of the question about discrimination. But if you must put that much weight in a central-statist dictate, then can I presume you would have no problem if we simply change citizenship to include anyone who wants to come here to live or work? Now that they are also all citizens we can do away with your question-begging about owing citizens priority. So would you be ok with that or not?

    Sure. And while we’re at it, we can redefine “next of kin” to include the entire state of Minnesota.

    What? You don’t want the entire state of Minnesota as your next of kin?! YOU BIGOT!! I HATE YOU!!!

    *waves hankie*

    If not, then we’re back to the more fundamental question of why not, which must address Jennifer’s question about why it is ok to discriminate on the arbitrary accident of birth location and not the arbitrary accident of skin color.

    “Accident of birth” is not only the distinction between myself and a citizen of Australia, it’s also the reason people named Rockefeller are living a lot better than I am. If you believe the role of government is to be neutralizing the advantages/disadvantages of accidents of birth, then the collectivist/redistributionist argument is indeed the one you want to have, because that’s the logical conclusion of that proposition.

  46. Pig Mannix wrote:
    >The point here is, that your relationship with your family entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of my family. Likewise, the relationship of the United States government to citizens of the United States entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of non-citizens. Last time I checked, the citizens of the United States established their government to promote their interests. Not to be the Grand Arbiter of World Utopia.

    wow, where do i begin?
    >The point here is, that your relationship with your family entails an obligation to give priority to their interests over the interests of my family.

    not if the relationship with my family means i have a relationship with racists, and the “other family” is a racial minority. then the relationship with the other family takes precedence over the relationship with my family, because a relationship with people who behave illogically and discriminate is less meaningful – from the point of equality – than a relationship with people who behave logically and are the targets of said discrimination.

    Jennifer further wrote:
    (snippage)
    >>Let me try other metaphors based on that same principle:

    >>”Since I am willing to wear burgundy lipstick but not green, I have no business opposing discrimination based on skin color.”

    >>”Since I am willing to eat chocolate but not cyanide what gives me the right to bleat about equality of the sexes?”

    Then Pig Mannix responded:
    >Um, that was pretty much my point. Comparing those things is an absurdity, since they’re distinctly different.

    the first step in discrimination lies in differentiation. if an employer differentiated based on lipstick color, that employer could then discriminate. if that employer ignored lipstick color, then discrimination could not take place.

    sorry to have to say it, but i’m lost on the chocolate v. cyanide thing. altho, as an estrogen-based lifeform, chocolate is The Bomb. anyone surfing this blog, please note that using the term “the bomb” does not make me a terrorist.

    >Now, if you could get through your head that the status between citizen and non-citizen is likewise distinctly different, you’d be off to a good start.

    ah, yes, the old “self-defining term preceded by an insult to make it sound reasonable” ploy.

    governments are free to establish Just Laws; i.e., laws that do not infringe upon the Fundamental Rights of an individual. a citizen certainly has a different “status” than a non-citizen: that’s why they’re separated into “citizen” and “non-citizen” categories, hence the self-defining term “status”. (and see how that pesky differentiation concept comes into play?)

    that doesn’t give the government the right to discriminate against non-citizens. certainly, it is reasonable if the non-citizen does not have the right to vote. i for one wouldn’t call that “discrimination”. however, the government allowing warrantless search and seizures of non-citizen’s property from, say, a hotel in which they are legally residing, but not allowing warantless search and seizure’s of citizen’s property would definitely be discrimination.

    so to me, it’s not the word “discrimination” that is important to this discussion, it’s how the word is used.

    Jennifer further wrote:
    >>I forgot to ask–exactly what are these obligations, anyway? What am I, personally, obliged to do for an American citizen that I don’t have to do for a foreigner?

    And Pig Mannix responded:
    >Exactly the same obligations you have to your family, your boyfriend, or your community – to not compromise their interests in favor of other parties to whom you have no such relation.

    again, in the “family relationship with racists” example i used above, i am to not reveal that my family is racist? do i have an obligation to hide my family if, for example, they are wanted criminals and the other parties are also “wanted criminals”? i have an obligation to hide neither, thank you very much.

    and why, pray tell, must Jennifer have a boyfriend? why have you not used the term, “partner”, “domestic partner”, or “girlfriend”? Sounds like discrimination to me.

    >If your concept of citizenship is such that you don’t understand that, then I can understand why you don’t have any problem with giving it away so cheaply. It’s “just a piece of paper”, right?

    an illogical conclusion. while this blog’s post is long, i don’t recall reading where Jennifer implied that she would give away her citizenship “cheaply”. if Jennifer doesn’t agree with you, then why have you inferred that she is “giving her citizenship away cheaply”?

    hmmm, sounds rather egocentric to me.

    please reread your posts, Pig Mannix in the clear, objective, logical light of day, and consider what you have said. some may find it offensive.

    or am i discriminating against you by saying that?

  47. So tell me how your argument up there wouldn’t also work in support of say the fugitive slave act. Let’s imagine that back then someone like Jennifer argues that we shouldn’t discriminate based on race or skin color any more than eye color or hair color.

    First, let’s illustrate a very significant difference between a slave and an aspiring immigrant: a slave is someone forcefully deprived of the fruits of his labor, which are rightfully his.

    What, that is rightfully his, is an aspiring immigrant being deprived of if he isn’t granted admittance to the country?

    That’s right – he’s being denied nothing that he has a legitimate claim to – unless you subscribe to the proposition that there’s a right to demand admittance to a country you aren’t a citizen of on your own terms. I don’t subscribe to that particular proposition.

  48. These threads, as so often happens, strayed a bit a field from JUST Sheriff Arpaio.

    The immigration debate has been hashed to death. What bugs me about all this is simply that this sheriff is an grandstanding attention whore with a sick desire for power. If he were simply keeping his nose to the grindstone and doing his job, there would be no legitimate reason for anybody beyond his county to have any idea who he is.

    If the citizens of maraicopa county like this guy, whatever. Too bad for them. But I wish the national media would learn to ignore him. He was even on my frickin’ local news show last week.

  49. “Accident of birth” is not only the distinction between myself and a citizen of Australia, it’s also the reason people named Rockefeller are living a lot better than I am. If you believe the role of government is to be neutralizing the advantages/disadvantages of accidents of birth, then the collectivist/redistributionist argument is indeed the one you want to have, because that’s the logical conclusion of that proposition.

    No it isn’t. You, PM, are the one insisting that government should mandate distinctions based on accidents of birth–if you’re born on this side of the Rio Grande you’re okay, but if you’re born on the other side you’re not, solely because the government says so.

  50. Your examples don’t work, PM. Black people are not required by law to join the NAACP. If they want to go out of their way to help their fellow black people they certainly can, but black people do not have any obligation to others of their race. Ditto your examples of the Gay/Lesbian task force, the NOW, the Italian anti-defamation league, or anything else.

    They do work. The point being contested wasn’t whether those obligations were required by law, but whether those qualifications could legitimately be the basis of a mutual obligation. Some people apparently think so. I agree with them. Obligations are not necessarily all legal. It’s perfectly legal to treat your family, your boyfriend, fellow members of your race/ethnic group and fellow citizens like shit. Just don’t expect to be considered a very good neighbor if you do.

    Like what? I fully support making citizenship cognizant of certain types of behavior–I’m not arguing that we should let high-ranking members of the Taliban come here if they want–but birthplace? How exactly will I be hurt if some Mexican guy washing dishes at a restaurant becomes a citizen?

    You probably won’t be. But, and I’ve used this example before, if you were the only person in the US who owned a car, there wouldn’t be much point in passing laws regulating how cars are driven, and who can drive them, and where they can drive them.

    In a country with, IIRC, 600 million cars, it becomes a legitimate issue of public concern, because that’s going to have an impact on the comfort and convenience of pretty much everybody.

    Nobody’s claiming that the guy washing dishes is a threat to the commonweal. But accommodating several million of his friends just might have an impact on the quality of life of people who are already citizens. And at that point, immigration policy becomes very much a legitimate matter of public concern.

  51. Nobody’s claiming that the guy washing dishes is a threat to the commonweal. But accommodating several million of his friends just might have an impact on the quality of life of people who are already citizens. And at that point, immigration policy becomes very much a legitimate matter of public concern.

    Please be more specific. What will this impact be? Is this something you can prove will definitely happen, or are you basing your argument on amorphous hypotheticals that “just might” happen?

  52. not if the relationship with my family means i have a relationship with racists, and the “other family” is a racial minority. then the relationship with the other family takes precedence over the relationship with my family, because a relationship with people who behave illogically and discriminate is less meaningful – from the point of equality – than a relationship with people who behave logically and are the targets of said discrimination.

    You’re relationship with your family is your own business. But my point there is that nobody else has a right to demand you give their family priority over your own. Exactly what you do, or don’t, owe to your family is own affair.

    the first step in discrimination lies in differentiation. if an employer differentiated based on lipstick color, that employer could then discriminate. if that employer ignored lipstick color, then discrimination could not take place.

    Yeah? And?

    that doesn’t give the government the right to discriminate against non-citizens. certainly, it is reasonable if the non-citizen does not have the right to vote. i for one wouldn’t call that “discrimination”.

    Then what would you call it?

    and why, pray tell, must Jennifer have a boyfriend? why have you not used the term, “partner”, “domestic partner”, or “girlfriend”? Sounds like discrimination to me.

    Well, for one thing, both Jennifer and her boyfriend post here regularly, so I’m pretty comfortable with the assumption her domestic partner is her “boyfriend”.

    And even if I was making an unwarranted assumption, how would that be discrimination?

    an illogical conclusion. while this blog’s post is long, i don’t recall reading where Jennifer implied that she would give away her citizenship “cheaply”. If Jennifer doesn’t agree with you, then why have you inferred that she is “giving her citizenship away cheaply”?

    An illiterate interpretation – I never said Jennifer was giving away her right to citizenship, I was speaking about granting the right of citizenship indiscriminately.

    please reread your posts, Pig Mannix in the clear, objective, logical light of day, and consider what you have said. some may find it offensive.

    It’s rather apparent I spent more time considering my statements than you have reading them, given your rather incoherent response to them. And if some people find them offensive, I submit that’s their problem, not mine. I think pretty much everyone here will agree that there’s no such thing as a right not to be offended. YMMV.

    or am i discriminating against you by saying that?

    Go ahead and discriminate. If freedom means anything, it surely means we have the right to choose the company we keep.

  53. If freedom means anything, it surely means we have the right to choose the company we keep.

    …unless, apparently, the company we choose happens to have been born outside the country.

  54. No it isn’t. You, PM, are the one insisting that government should mandate distinctions based on accidents of birth–if you’re born on this side of the Rio Grande you’re okay, but if you’re born on the other side you’re not, solely because the government says so.

    You might want to read the article attached to this post. It’s not the (federal) government that’s mandating that distinction, it’s the local population and their duly elected representatives. And I submit that as the legal residents and current proprietors of the state of Arizona, that’s a distinction they have every right to make. If anything, the federal government is facilitating immigration, over the heads and against the wishes of the people whose interests they’re supposed to be representing.

  55. The point being contested wasn’t whether those obligations were required by law, but whether those qualifications could legitimately be the basis of a mutual obligation.

    No, the point being contested was whether government has the right to discriminate and/or mandate discrimination based on those purported obligations.

    Do you really not see the difference between…

    It is illegal to discriminate in employment against someone on the basis of race.

    …and…

    It is illegal not to discriminate in employment against someone on the basis of citizenship.

    Your argument seems to come down to “citizens make the laws.” No notion of individual rights. No notion of legitimate state powers.

    That argument pretty much justifies anything, doesn’t it…

  56. You might want to read the article attached to this post. It’s not the (federal) government that’s mandating that distinction, it’s the local population and their duly elected representatives.

    I’m sure you realize, of course, that it IS the Federal government, not the state of Arizona, who decides whether or not people from other countries get to be citizens. Right?

  57. If freedom means anything, it surely means we have the right to choose the company we keep.

    No, it means that you, nor anyone else, should have the right to choose which company I keep.

    You talk about the people of Arizona as if it is some commune with a group identity of its own where they all have a say over the exercise of each individual’s basic freedoms (association to cite one). This view might be expected from liberals in many other arguments, but apparently it is convenient to use it when it suits your ends.

    The fact is you (or “we”) don’t own this country and an Arizonan (?) doesn’t own Arizona. You and he own what you own and are quite right to exclude whomever you wish – but don’t tell me I must also exclude someone I wish to hire simply because he is born on the wrong side of some line. That should be none of your business. Any talk of “we” have the right to determine what company “we” keep is a bunch of collectivist crap that you wouldn’t accept in any other context. There is no “we” – just millions of individuals who should have the right to associate with, hire, work for, and live wherever someone is willing to rent or sell accommodation to them.

  58. Me: So tell me how your argument up there wouldn’t also work in support of say the fugitive slave act. Let’s imagine that back then someone like Jennifer argues that we shouldn’t discriminate based on race or skin color any more than eye color or hair color.

    PM First, let’s illustrate a very significant difference between a slave and an aspiring immigrant: a slave is someone forcefully deprived of the fruits of his labor, which are rightfully his.

    Oh, so if the law simply made African-Americans ride in the back of the bus, or made it illegal to hire them, it would have been ok? Fine, let’s use Jim Crow instead.

    PM: What, that is rightfully his, is an aspiring immigrant being deprived of if he isn’t granted admittance to the country?

    What, that is rightfully his, is an African-American being deprived of if he isn’t granted admittance to the [the front of the bus, the neighborhood, the school, the washroom, the lunch counter]?

    Again, why is it ok for the state to mandate discrimination in one arbitrary context (race) but not another (place of birth)?

  59. Again, why is it ok for the state to mandate discrimination in one arbitrary context (race) but not another (place of birth)?

    That should read “Again, why is it ok for the state to mandate discrimination in one arbitrary context (place of birth) but not another (race)?”

    And, for the record, and so that someday that quote doesn’t get taken out of context or misread, I am not arguing that the state should have the right to discriminate in both cases, but rather in neither case. I know it’s obvious from the previous posts but sometimes you just need to restate the obvious.

  60. Hey y’all-
    Macy Hanson is a man…and WHAT A MAN!

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