President Biden Honors One of the Most Influential Opponents of Illegal Immigration in American History

Cesar Chavez and his union were strongly opposed to illegal immigration, and illegal immigrants

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Joe Biden is committed to providing a path to citizenship for the eleven million or so people living in the United States illegally. So it's rather ironic that he has placed a bust of the late labor leader Cesar Chavez in a prominent place in the Oval Office.

Chavez and his union, the United Farm Workers, were strongly opposed to illegal immigration, and Chavez was known to refer to undocumented workers by the slur "wetbacks." If you search the web, you will find a lot of revisionism going on about Chavez's attitude toward immigration, as his actual stance on immigration creates a dissonance with his heroic status on the left, given the latter's current dogma on immigration. (Chavez also played a leading role in killing the Bracero guest worker program, which had given hundreds of thousands of Mexicans the ability to lawfully but temporarily work in the United States).

This shouldn't be especially surprising, given that, for obvious reasons of self-interest in constraining labor supply labor unions until recently were typically opposed to immigration in general, and especially illegal immigration.

As historian Eladio B. Bobadilla explains:

Cesar Chavez was, in fact, deeply hostile toward "wetbacks," as he (and many others of this time) called them. He was relentless in his efforts to halt immigration from Mexico and was active in pursuing the deportation of those already here. Chavez claimed that undocumented workers were driving down wages, and crucially, being used as strikebreakers. Both complaints had merit, of course. Mexican immigrants were routinely used to break strikes; their desperate situation often led them to take whatever work they could get, even if it meant clashing with the UFW's goals. And certainly, all of these dynamics played a role in wage depression.

What is disturbing about Chavez and the union's actions is how rigid and unwilling they were to consider that the issue was more complicated. Some Chican@ [sic] organizations and leaders, among them Bert Corona, cautioned Chavez that alienating undocumented workers was a disastrous mistake. Others complained that Chavez was spending entirely too much of his (and the union's) efforts on the "Illegals Campaign." Others still worried that Chavez was making enemies of people who in fact were allies in this class and social struggle.

UPDATE: Also this: "Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported. Some UFW officials were also known to picket INS offices to demand a crackdown on illegal immigrants."

UPDATE: To clarify, this post is not about whether Democrats/liberals/progressives should be willing to honor Chavez for what they perceive as his achievements, even if they profoundly disagree with his views on immigration. Rather, my point is much more narrow: the president has at the top of his agenda helping undocumented workers, which makes it odd to give special prominence at the beginning of his term to a guy who was very much anti-undocumented workers. To take an analogous example, I don't expect Democrats to suddenly disavow FDR; but if President Biden's priority was admitting more refugees, or opposing discrimination against Americans whose loyalties some question based on ethnicity, it would be odd to give special prominence to FDR gratuitously.

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  1. Immigrants cause income stratification — that’s a known fact.

    1. Illegals suppress all wages for the enrichment of billionaires. That is true from laborer to top professionals.

      That is why I demand that Somin support the recognition of the Mexican lawyer license in the 50 states. We can then be flooded with a million $40000 a year lawyers from Mexico. Those making $40000 are their top lawyers. Many Mexican lawyers are unemployed. Until he does, Somin should STFU about illegal immigration. Mexico is more overlawyered than the USA. The Mexican lawyers need our help. Only racist, white supremacist, lawyer bias prevents the recognition of the Mexican lawyer license in the 50 states.

      1. India has a ton of lawyers too. Their coders are already putting a damper on US software engineers’ salary expectations.

        1. Yes, 1.3 million Indian lawyers, making $25000 if lucky. They all speak the King’s English. They are trained in the British Common Law. Could get up to Associate speed in a month of CLE. Somin, I demand you support recognizing the Indian law license.

          Make them immigration lawyers for the 11 million illegals Biden wants to turn into Democrat voters. Their salaries could be paid by the taxpayer. That is probably a waste of his time, because they are already voting Democrat and making our nation a permanent one party state like Venezuela.

          Then we will need a million lawyers to litigate reparations to America hating ghetto people.

        2. If you value your life, don’t fly on an airplane with guidance systems using Pajeet’s spaghetti code.

          1. If you have information about where the coding for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was written, and by whom, you can make the news from this Comment section. I would like to hear more.

    2. Yes, competition drives down prices. We call this the market.

      1. If you are a lawyer, open lawyer licensing to the entire world, then support immigration to suppress the wages of others. Democrat constituents busted records of prosperity under Trump, due to his immigration restriction. Now, they will endure the opposite. The lawyer license is an anti-competitive, anti-market tool.

        It is also quackery. Pro se criminal litigants outperformed public defenders in jury trial outcomes.

        1. I am a lawyer. I don’t know what you think “open lawyer licensing to the entire world” means, but I support allowing lawyers from anywhere in the world to secure licensure in any State. So far as I can tell my own state (Texas) does not prohibit foreign lawyers from being licensed here. I also support removing licensure requirements for all lawyers except those practicing in family or criminal law. I think barriers to entry exist to harm the public and benefit lawyers and I oppose such barriers generally.

          1. I looked it up. Texas requires graduation from an ABA accredited law school. Not too many such schools in other countries. A seasoned lawyer from another land would have to attend law school for three years to even sit for an exam.

            The other problem is that nothing covered in school or on that exam happens in the real world. And nothing in the real legal world will have been covered in school. Law students may spend a morning in traffic court, run according to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, to understand the total irrelevance of law school, never mind technical practices in other areas. They will learn a brand new business on graduating, and will need 10000 hours to do so. They should skip law school, and its bar exam.

            The Bar exam has no statistics about reliability (repeatability) of results, inter-rater, intra-rater, split half, and others. It certainly has no validity statistics showing it protects the public from inadequate representation. The Stanford Binet IQ test, with tens of thousands of reliability and validity studies, was banned as racist. It is the most validated test in history. Your score at 7 will predict where you will be in life at 50. What are the racial disparities in the Texas bar pass rates? It should be banned, and anyone should be able to be lawyer, from anywhere in the world. Just qualify with a Texas mailing address. That is open market.

            Then clients can write reviews of their experiences on Yelp. Those are far more valid, real world results, compared to a score on an exam at age 25.

            1. I have already told you that I’m opposed to licensing regimes generally. I would certainly do away with the ABA accredited law school requirement entirely, which I think is stupid. As a lawyer I welcome the competition and I think customers of legal services would be better served by deregulating the legal profession.

  2. And of course nothing at all has changed since the 60s. Conditions are precisely the same as they were when Chavez was here. So of course he would hold the same views today.

    1. Well, that does seem to be the standard advocated by Biden’s supporters (and presumably Biden himself) when considering portraits and statues of judges, generals, university sponsors and other political leaders whose behavior, while inappropriate today, was completely normal for their time.

      And by the way, “wetback” was deeply offensive even at the time that Chavez said it.

      1. I see a huge difference between a Cesar Chavez, who was imperfect but spent most of his life working to make life better for people, versus professional white supremacists and slaveholders who spent their lives working to make life worse for people, at least people with different skin colors than their own.

        It is stipulated that nobody is perfect, and that what is acceptable in one era may not be in another. But if someone is famous specifically because he was a white supremacist, that’s different from someone who is famous for trying to make the world a better place who also had an imperfect view of racial issues.

        1. When you claim that they were all “professional white supremacists”, you display such flagrant inability to see your own biases that it’s not even worthy trying to talk to you. You’re wrong and you’re a hypocrite.

          1. I accept your concession that you don’t have a substantive response.

            1. Chomsky’s daughter worked for UFW and it was progressive orthodoxy to oppose illegal immigration up until the last decade when open borders advocates like AOC and Ilhan Omar took over the progressive movement. So Bernie Sanders consistently opposed illegal immigration up until this new group of progressives started advocating open borders.

              1. Good on you; unlike Rossami, you at least made an argument so we have something to talk about.

                The difference between, say, Robert E. Lee and others whose statues are being taken down, versus Cesar Chavez/Bernie Sanders who opposed illegal immigration, is their premises. Progressives ultimately want to make the world better for everyone, so any change in progressive orthodoxy is based on either the emergence of new facts or a new understanding of previous facts. But the underlying premise — we’re trying to build a better world for the benefit of all — remains the same; the disagreement is over how, exactly, to accomplish that. It’s kind of like talking about busing to end segregated schools; progressives all agree that segregated schools had to go; the issue up for debate was whether busing was the best tool to achieve that end.

                Contrast that to a professional white supremacist like Robert E. Lee. He’s not trying to make the world a better place for everyone; he’s trying to maintain white privilege on the backs of minorities. His premise was evil. So the issue with him is not that we disagree with his tactics; it’s that he was fighting for an evil premise.

                1. Progressives ultimately want to make the world better for everyone

                  Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

                2. I voted for Biden and I consider myself a Joe Manchin Democrat, so I agree that progressives want to make the WORLD a better place. But American progressives clearly believe America is not a 100% force for good in the world and so on some level they want to punish powerful productive Americans because they believe that will make the WORLD a better place. So I agree Medicare for All would in the short run help Americans…but what happens when we have open borders?? Then M4A ends up helping anyone that can get to America with productive Americans footing the bill.

                  Query—why did Michael Moore spend most of his career fighting to keep jobs in Michigan and out of Mexico…but in recent years he wants the factory in Michigan to be staffed by people from Mexico?!? It makes no sense.

                  1. I agree that progressives want to make the WORLD a better place.

                    they want to punish powerful productive Americans because they believe that will make the WORLD a better place.

                    When you find yourself having to rationalize the methods by which a group intends to achieve its stated goals, you might want to pause and consider if the group has ulterior motives.

                  2. I would say that no nation is either a 100% force for good or a force for evil; all countries are a mixed bag. The US is more of a force for good than China or North Korea, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

                    I’m not entirely sold on open borders. And I do support doing what can be done to alleviate the bad conditions in Mexico and Central America that drive so many people from there to try to get to the US. However, if we have open borders, you can still do things that encourage people to be productive once they get here. And frankly, the type of gumption that makes someone risk life and limb to get to the United States indicates that the people who come here are disproportionately likely to be productive anyway.

                    In Northern Europe, which has a welfare state that is lavish by US standards, you have about the same percentage of people gainfully employed as you do in the United States. Most people want to be productive.

                    1. Illegal immigration from Mexico was great for America historically because Mexico actually has better weather than most of America thanks to most Mexicans living 5000 feet above sea level. So many would make money in America and then retire in Mexico and wouldn’t tax our health care system. Central Americans will never return to those s holes and so they will tax our Medicare/Medicaid system.

                      Anyway, in January 2017 Obama made it more difficult for Cuban asylum seekers to get legal status in America because they were largely “economic refugees” gaming our asylum laws…so I just need to be consistent with Obama to turn away Central American asylum seekers while you are the one that needs to explain why we should take more phony asylum seekers from Central America.

                    2. The standard is not whether Obama (or anyone else) took this position or that position. The standard is whether any given position is good policy. Not all progressives agree with each other on every policy, just as not all conservatives agree with each other on every policy. So the fact that Obama did something doesn’t make that the progressive gospel.

                      I already said I’m not entirely sold on open borders. But if you want me to make the pitch for them, it’s that most refugees will contribute. Not everyone; there will always be a certain number of moochers in every crowd. But if you compare immigrant rates of criminality, employment rates, and small business ownership to those of people who were born here, you’ll find most immigrants are a good investment.

                    3. I explained why historically illegal immigration from Mexico was positive and the same conditions don’t exist with respect to the new group of illegals/phony asylum seekers from Central America. Obama didn’t even do any analysis with Cuban refugees other than they tend to vote Republican so they will no longer get special treatment.

                      I actually support reparations for descendants of American slaves so I have a pretty open mind when it comes to social justice issues, but the progressive position on immigration/borders is nonsensical.

                3. Progressives ultimately want to make the world better for everyone

                  Therefore their good intentions mean that they get a pass when implementing their actual proposals ends up hurting everyone.

                4. <

                  Contrast that to a professional white supremacist like Robert E. Lee. He’s not trying to make the world a better place for everyone; he’s trying to maintain white privilege on the backs of minorities.

                  But Lee *was* trying to make the world better for everyone. He thought that blacks in the U.S. were better off than they would have been if they or their ancestors had been left in freedom in Africa. The fact that this was completely wrong is beside the point, if we’re just going to judge people on their intentions.

        2. I see a huge difference between a Cesar Chavez, who was imperfect but spent most of his life working to make life better for people, versus professional white supremacists and slaveholders

          You see it, but it’s barely there.
          Cesar Chavez spent most of his life working to make life better for some people (people who pick grapes) and worse for others (people who eat grapes).
          Everybody does that.
          We can take it as read that the slaveholders were unjust; while you may feel that Chavez’s cause was just, other people (including myself) disagree and see him only as agitating for a different injustice.

  3. Shocking news! People who are rightfully lauded for one thing, may not have been perfect in all aspects of their lives!!!!!

    Leave it to Ric Romero … sorry, Prof. Bernstein to help you out here.

    Did you know MLK had some affairs?
    Did you know that Ronald Reagan sold weapons to terrorists?
    Did you know that Gandhi was a terrible misogynist and racist?
    Did you know that Mother Teresa … well, you can look it up. 🙂

    Stones, glass houses, etc.

    1. “MLK had SOME affairs?” Euphemism city.

      1. Like Trump had SOME payoffs to cover up SOME affairs? 🙂

        Euphemisms, man? But yes, everyone is imperfect. It is usually a better measure to see what good they did instead of dwelling solely on the bad if you’re trying to get a full view.

        1. Full view is better, agreed.

          In the case of “Dr.” King, we sure could use the full view. Why the near universal hagiography for a serial cheating plagiarist?

          1. Honestly?

            Because the good that he did for this country (in terms of both achievements and the manner) were amazing; and the issues of his personal life w.r.t the affairs were both not particularly relevant to those achievements and unfortunately uncommon. That doesn’t excuse those actions, which were incredibly painful in his personal life, but it’s not really the most relevant feature, either. No one is perfect.

            For the most part, I enjoy the balanced view that you can find in a good biography, and I do not subscribe to the “great man” theory of history. But I tend to think that when people concentrate on certain aspects of some people (such as MLK), it often says more about that person than it does about the person they are seeking to discredit. IMO, of course.

            1. What good did he do for the country other than setting the precedent that blacks are not responsible for their own behavior and that any lack of achievement due to their average IQ of 85 is due to white racism?

            2. Yet the “cancel culture” seems to be driven by matters that very minor parts of a person’s life.

          2. I feel like no one really cared about politicians/public figures cheating in their marriages until Clinton.

            Kennedy’s affairs were well known to the press at the time, and when the public did find out, they made little jokes about what a handsome scoundrel he was. No one tries to take JFK down a peg by saying he had an affair with Marylin Monroe.

            1. To claim that people only started caring about that with Clinton is pretty wild revisionism.

              Off the top of my head:
              – Gary Hart
              – Alexander Hamilton
              – Grover Cleveland
              – Andrew Jackson (the accusations in this case were false but still people cared)

              With just a little research, you can find many, many more.

              1. I’ll grant you Gary Hart, but he seems like a slightly earlier precedent of Clinton. A test case. I think I heard a “This American Life” or “Radiolab” on him, and how the reporting of his affair was a big break from the norm at the time, which was to leave politicians’ personal lives largely unreported.

                The others are all before living memory. Sorry if my comment read as though it was supposed to encapsulate all of history.

                1. Yeah, that’s right.

                  What happened was this:

                  Media didn’t care about affairs; public did.
                  To
                  Media cares about affairs; so did public
                  To
                  Media cares about affairs; public does not.

              2. “To claim that people only started caring about that with Clinton is pretty wild revisionism.”

                It actually started the “not” caring. People cared before him.

                JFK is not a good example. He was already dead before it became common knowledge so outrage was muted.

                The intense “its just a blow job” defense worked in more ways than one.

                20 years later, the remnant of outrage was killed off by people justifying vote for Trump.

              3. John Tower’s nomination as SecDef was rejected, in part because of his “womanizing.”

            2. “Everyone lies about sex”

              “Trump paid off a porn star and lied about it.”

              It’s all selective outrage.

              1. The outrage about Trump’s affairs is the hypocrisy.

                It was new heights of blatant and tawdry, and the right turned on a dime. Especially evangelicals.

                I didn’t see many on the left argue an affair was disqualifying (maybe a couple). Some talked about using campaign funds, which was pretty shady though not disqualifying. Of course, that misappropriation turned out to presage a whole lot of similar misappropriations of federal dollars.

                1. Anyone who voted for Trump thinking he was a pure moral vessel shouldn’t be allowed outside without adult supervision. The Christian right knew they were voting for him because they agreed with his policies, not because they were endorsing his personal life.

                  1. No – people who didn’t vote for Clinton or the other Clinton, and some also Obama citing character flaws – those people got real quiet. And there were lots of them.

                    The Christian right made quite a stand some years ago about character over policy. And again they turned on a dime.

                    Trump revealed a lot about the priorities of a lot of people on the right.

                  2. So if they’d agreed with Pete Buttigieg’s policies evangelicals would have been willing to vote for him too? I doubt this.

            3. But now being a “womanizer” is considered to be a serious character flaw

          3. Just spit-balling here, but I think it probably had something to do with MLK’s role in the civil rights movement. What’s your theory?

            1. This whole subthread is absolutely unbelievable. People who glorify Donald Trump castigate MLK for his personal life. I thought I’d seen it all here.

          4. MLK had more valor than most soldiers on the front lines. He stood in front of crowds day after day knowing that he was the target and that it was only a matter of time before someone would take a shot at him. It was just 4 years after a POTUS had been gunned down.

            Willingly accepting your martyrdom for a noble cause makes up for a lot of personal flaws.

            1. I don’t disagree, but the president in question had been gunned down by a Communist, which was not the group that MLK had to fear.

              1. I simply meant to imply that an intelligent person would have to be aware that crowds and bodyguards would not foil a determined assassin after JFK.

                I recently heard an interviewee on NPR say that his FBI monitors had to have known that King was a target and should have been able to stop the assassination. That rings more than a little hollow considering that the entire secret service couldn’t predict or stop Oswald.

    2. Did you know Ghandi was a lawyer?

      His stupid liberation from British colonial rule caused the deaths of 10 million people, in ethnic cleansing .Ghandi, a lawyer, a good friend to Adolf Hitler, a foam at the mouth anti-Semite, a sleeper with his pre-pubescent niece, is one of the greatest mass murderers in human history. Only Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the Democrat Governors with their economy shutdowns killed more people than that lawyer scum bag.

    3. “People who are rightfully lauded for one thing, may not have been perfect in all aspects of their lives!!!!!”

      It’s all the same thing, Chavez recognized that to achieve his goal of better wages and working conditions for farm workers that illegal immigration had to be rigorously suppressed.

      That’s not an isolated view in the Latino community.

      1. That’s not all he did. Not hardly.

        And it’s certainly not what he stands for now.

    4. Stones, glass houses, etc.

      I’ve heard there are even bloggers at fever swamps like Instapundit who criticize The New York Times for factually challenged partisan journalism. ????

  4. In this particular case, Cesar Chavez is being honored for his role as a labor leader; one of his primary objectives as a labor leader was to crack down on illegal immigration and illegal immigrants. So, this is not, e.g., a case like Thomas Jefferson being honored for writing the Declaration and so forth–but he also owned slaves, this is more like honoring the founding fathers of zoning laws, who wanted to do all the good things zoning is said to do–and exclude black people from white neighborhoods.

    1. Or, more cynically, Chavez is being honored because he’s a famous Mexican-American, and who cares what he actually stood for? In which case, proceed…

      1. I think Chavez became popular more recently because of the desire to have a Latino-named streets in cities similar to MLK. So yes, what he actually stood for is far less important than the combination of: Hispanic name + the phrase “labor rights leader”.

        I’m not kidding.

      2. More like “he’s a famous Mexican-American and what can we make it look like he stood for to benefit our goals.”

    2. Cancel culture much?

      Also, is Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of Black people really more attenuated from the Declaration of Independence than Chavez’s anti-Illegal immigration beliefs were from his role in the labor movement? Your choice of framing here is telling.

      1. It certainly is, given that TJ’s initial draft of the Declaration included anti-slavery language that was dropped at southern insistence, and the language of “all men are created equal” was used for decades by first the antislavery and then the civil rights causes.

        1. Yes anti-slavery language was dropped at southern assistance and yes the ideals of the Declaration were used for abolition and civil rights causes. And yet, I don’t see how either of those facts undermine, or even mitigate, my point. Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of slaves and maintenance of Sally Hemmings as slave/sex slave/concubine is , or more relevant, to his being honored as Chavez being honored for the labor movement and being anti illegal immigration.

    3. This is just fun with a carefully tuned scope.
      That part of his leadership is not why he’s honored, or why he’s well known.
      Despite your insistence that these two things cannot be separated, history has, for better or worse, disentangled Chavez and illegals from Chavez and the rest of his labor organizing.

      You can take an issue with the narratives of history if you want, but it’s a stretch to take it up with Biden. Everyone is picking up the signal he’s laying down.

      1. “History” has disentangled these things because when Chavez was being lionized, opposing illegal immigration and favoring strict limits on legal immigration was a mainstream, acceptable view in liberal and left circles, so no one cared. It’s not because they can be easily disentangled, any more than Sam Gompers’ organizing in California can be easily disentangled from his openly racist support for Chinese exclusion.

        1. Mother Jones apparently wanted more coal to be burned.

      1. When I was a college student, the Boston Phoenix used to run the weekly Zippy the Pinhead comic. I understood that it was supposed to be funny, but I never quite got why.

  5. The next 4 years are going to be bad for this blog if this is the best you could do

    I miss when this blog used to be dedicated to real legal analysis that made me understand principled conservative arguments. These kind of articles are just click bait for the trash commenters that are just “yay MAGA” or “you’re all Nazi’s”. Remember when the commentators were mostly in tune with law and current events and had something to add to the conversation? Now it’s mostly the tabloid equivalent of legal news and analysis. At least Volokh, Somin, and occasionally others keep up the intellectual honesty.

    1. I’ve written a great deal in my academic writings about how labor unions worked to exclude blacks, women, Chinese immigrants and others from the labor force. You can start here: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0822325837/reasonmagazinea-20/
      Once you’ve mastered these writings, feel free to come back and talk about clickbait.

      1. ” Once you’ve mastered these writings, feel free to come back and talk about clickbait.”

        What a non-sense response. You are being purposely obtuse about the point the OP made.

        Whatever wonderful stuff you have written in the past has no bearing on on the criticism of THIS article which is a stupid “gothca” style post. It is click-baity and it’s also a useless article.

        Government honors imperfect person. News at 11.

      2. This article wasn’t about your academic writing, it was click bait. This is my point exactly. You’re capable of doing better, but apparently choose not to enlighten readers and instead post fox-news style meaningless partisan crap.

        1. So don’t read it and spare the rest of us your scolding

      3. Contrast the demographics of Everett, WA (which is where Obama and NLRB wanted the 787 to be manufactured) with North Charleston, SC which is where Boeing fought to build the new aircraft.

    2. Well, look at the bright side!

      In two years, we will see the plugging of a new book:

      Even More Lawless then Obama: The Biden Administration’s Unprecedented-er Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law

      1. Me: Blog post about any of a wide range of topics.
        Loki: You published a book I didn’t like six years ago. Waaaaaah.

        1. It’s the joke that keeps on giving!

          It’s not like you didn’t have plenty of people prior to publication give you a heads up that you might want to tone down the red meat just a little if you wanted to be taken seriously in the future.

          A tourist is traveling through Washington, D.C., when it starts to rain. He decides to wait out the storm in a nearby restaurant. The only other person at the restaurant is an older man staring at his drink at the bar. After a few moments of silence the man turns to the tourist and says in a rueful voice:

          “You ever heard about Lochner? I wrote a whole book about Lochner! I toiled away through the wind and cold, but do they call me Bernstein the Lochner Revisioner? No.”

          He continued “Do you know anything about the admissibility of evidence? Some people considered me an expert at discussing the difference between Frye and Daubert. I found every case and figured out every way to get bogus testimony excluded from the courtroom. But do they call me Bernstein the Gatekeeper? No.”

          “Do ya know about a country called Israel and real estate prices in DC? Well, I used my spot on a blog to tell people all about what was really going on with Israel, and about real estate prices in DC . Do they call me Bernstein the Polymath? No.”

          “But ya screw one goat..”

  6. Big assumption that Biden even knows who the bust represents.

    1. If he was younger, I might believe you.

      Given Biden’s age, I am fairly certain he knows who Cesar Chavez is.

      1. “Given Biden’s age”

        That is why he probably does not.

        1. ? Seriously Bob, I know you’re an old guy, like, really old and grumpy, so this shouldn’t be very hard for you.

          Cesar Chavez was a really, really big deal from the 60s – 80s, and continues to be taught in California (he has a federal day and everything that is observed in some places outside of California as well).

          It is difficult to imagine a Democratic Politician who achieved their first elected office in 1970 (and was probably politically aware before that) not being aware of Cesar Chavez.

          But whatever, man.

          1. His memory is not what it used to be.

            Probably thinks its his gardener.

            1. Wow. Okay.

              That didn’t work so great before the election … and it’s, um, aged even worse afterwards.

              Sure, though, if that’s what you’ve got, go for it. Ha ha, Old Man Bob is accusing Biden of being senile! That’s a knee-slapper!

              1. Work or not, its true.

                Getting up for a few events with some drugs doesn’t refute it.

                1. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.

                  But you certainly don’t know enough to assert anything.

                  1. Last year of flubs and forgetfulness says otherwise.

                  2. Breitbart or Newsmax or someone said so.

                    Good enough for Bob, and too many others, sadly.

                    1. Just my eyes.

                      I’ve lately experienced a relative with dementia, he’s in the early stages.

                      So, its in and out, some days better than others. Soon enough it will be every public appearance, which will be fewer and more controlled.

            2. Bob, such nonsense from you is just digital noise.

        2. That is funny, and not funny. Biden is not long for the Presidency. He had trouble walking, talking and remembering, yesterday.

          Harris is the agent of the Cali tech billionaires. Everyone hates her, including blacks. She is the mass incarcerator of blacks, and was rejected by them in the primaries. Biden was ordered to select her.

          The Cali billionaires will then control the House and the Presidency. $trillions will go to enrich them and to impoverish the rest of us, especially blacks.

  7. This article wasn’t about your academic writing, it was click bait. This is my point exactly. You’re capable of doing better, but apparently choose not to enlighten readers and instead post fox-news style meaningless partisan crap.

    1. I’ve been reading this blog since about 2002 in it’s various incarnations, and while somethings have changed, one thing is a constant, at least since they added comments, and that’s the class of comments whenever a democrat is criticized:

      “You shouldn’t have blogged about this because…”

      1. If you think that complaint has exclusively or even predominantly come from the left, get some fresh air. 18 years with your head up your ass can’t be healthy.

    2. You’ve said that before.

    1. That shows how naive the speech was

  8. Chavez, Bernie, and Trump are all roughly aligned on this issue. Modern Democrats are not. But they don’t want mass immigration because we are the shining free city on the hill. Nor because, in a free economy, the more the better.

    They want it to win elections, and, preversely, so they can continue ladling regulatory burden hand over fist, reducing the freedom of business that makes “the more the better” work so well.

    No matter the direction, it’s a poop sandwich.

    Enjoy the honor of someone you don’t honor anymore, while you loudly ask, “So what has Chavez done for us lately?”

    1. What keeps modern Dems aligned is the right’s angle is spiteful demonization of the immigrants.

      If the right were to start talking about penalizing businesses, you would see a lot of open space open up IMO.

      1. I always thought the best way to end illegal immigration was to pass laws so workers had a private right of action against businesses that hire illegal aliens. With safe harbor provisions that allows for quick dismissal just by providing documentation of e-verify vetting.

    2. Pro-Immigration unites centrist democrats, chamber of commerce republicans, and libertarians.

    3. Correct, plus a funny irony is that if you believe Julian Castro and Cory Booker that the asylum seekers on the border are fleeing rapists and domestic abusers then you would have to believe Central America has a disproportionate number of “bad hombres”. 😉

    4. And Democrats want cheap nannies and gardeners — they do have a history of importing brown people for such … endeavors.

  9. So your criticism of Biden is that he is . . . not sufficiently doctrinaire? Too willing to tolerate opposing views? Too accepting of nuance?

    Pretty early to be scraping the bottom of the barrel this badly.

    1. Well, for one thing, if I were a member of Congress opposed to Biden’s legalization/citizenship plans, I would quote liberal hero Cesar Chavez, whom Biden himself thought sufficiently heroic to give an honored place in the oval office, for why I was against. Which is why I think it’s odd that Biden, given the priority he is giving “the path to citizenship” would choose to raise Chavez’s profile at this moment.

      1. But that’s what history does; reduces dead people to simple narratives. It’s not uncommon; it’s nearly inevitable.

        Everyone knows the signal Biden is sending. (I like Latinos and labor).

        If you want to talk about the real story of Caesar Chavez, there’s always room for that.
        But I don’t think you’ll have a lot of luck leveraging Chavez to argue Biden now has to support a crackdown on illegal immigration or something or else he’s a hypocrite.

        1. But that’s what history does; reduces dead people to simple narratives.

          At what point is it appropriate to push back on the changing of the historical narrative? When someone lionizes Che Guevara as a hero of the people? When someone quotes a Soviet citizen’s praise for Josef Stalin to prove he was a great leader? When someone uses Mao Zedong’s collectivization efforts as a model of labor organization?

          How simple is too simple? We live in the information age. It doesn’t have to be this way.

          1. As I said in my post, there is always room to add in the real story.

            But legit pushback with facts, not just a political cudgel.

            When someone is stanning for Stalin, I’d say maybe read the room.

      2. I suppose it is also odd that on 1/18 a bunch of people who are against affirmative action, don’t support the Voting Rights Act, attack BLM and downplay police brutality, believe that being against white supremacy is an attack on them personally, and voted or sued to throw out election results based largely on the theory that there was fraud in largely black areas of the country approvingly quoted and honored Martin Luther King Jr.

  10. Coalitional politics is interesting. People care deeply about a few things, and then adapt their positions on other issues to please members of their coalitions. So labor unions nowadays are a lot friendlier to both immigration AND environmentalism than they were 45 years ago, because they are in a large political coalition with those groups.

    One of the issues that has fascinated me recently is the phenomenon of what is called the “TERF”, or Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (also known as “gender critical feminism”). When I studied feminism, in college, MANY of the feminist authors I read would nowadays be seen as trans-exclusionary. People like Andrea Dworkin and Mary Daly and Adrienne Rich. Nowadays, in the United States, feminists are in coalition with trans activists, so that sort of feminism has almost completely disappeared. In the UK, in contrast, it is still a very big deal and while plenty of feminists are trans-inclusionary, plenty of others are trans-exclusionary.

    The point is, we often think there’s some natural order to things, but there isn’t. Even on a central issue like abortion, there was a time when plenty of conservatives were pro-choice (including even Christian conservatives) and plenty of liberals were pro-life. In some other countries, the liberal coalition contains plenty of abortion skeptics (e.g., India, where sex-selective abortion is a big deal and a lot of feminists oppose it).

    1. This is too true.

      I remember when I was a young associate (younger? ahem) and I was working closely with another young associate. We became very good friends.

      Anyway, this other person was LDS (Mormon). The fascinating thing was that he would be labelled “reliably conservative” but while his social views were to the right of mine, almost all of his other views (from trade to taxes to immigration to everything, really) were far to the left of my views. And yet, he would espouse a doctrinaire “GOP” line despite that.

      It is what happens with a two-party system; you don’t get everything to match up.

      1. Even in a multi-party system where you might be able to find some small party that fits all your beliefs exactly, if that party wants a say in governing at some point they will have to form a coalition and backtrack on or abandon some of their commitments. Of course, this can end up destroying them politically as happened with the Liberal Democrats in the UK.

    2. We’ve seen it in the last four years with Republicans. They sidelined or downplayed a once dominant belief in free trade in favor of protectionism and sidelined market orthodoxy when it comes to “Big Tech” because a lot of their current coalition want those things now.

      1. Trump was able to do that because he knows with respect to the Electoral College it’s a winning position. Trump only lost by 40k votes in the EC even while he was a spectacular failure by every measure.

      2. I disagreed with Trump’s protectionism, but not his tarrifs on China for two reasons: China was gaming the system, and more importantly China is an international outlaw with it’s Uighar ethnic cleansing and concentration camps, and South China Sea ocean grab.

        If you supported South African trade sanctions during the Apartheid era then you should support chinese tarrifs.

        1. Except Trump’s tariffs were ineffective and enriched the American steel magnates that developed the technology that bankrupted America’s large steel mills. So I can support them in principle with acknowledging that they failed…which is good for Democrats because we can dismiss a big part of the progressives’ policy proposals.

          1. We’ll see if Biden has the balls to stay tough and more with China or whether they have just shriveled up with old age.

  11. Meh … to Biden one Latino is the same as another — perfectly fitting in his history of racism and ethnic insensitivity.

    Frankly, I’m just glad it wasn’t the other Chavez!

  12. Cesar Chavez was also pro-life and would have resisted the government’s attempts to force business to provide abortion coverage.

    1. MLK opposed same sex marriage.

      1. Hey, if you want to tear down statues of everyone who didn’t support same-sex marriage, go for it.

        I mean, I don’t think you’ll have much support from the LGBT community. We’ve all had lots of experience reconciling that the vast majority of historical heroes were homophobic assholes. So we’re over it. But hey, you do you.

  13. Mexicans are the biggest racists. Their governmnet postage stamps depict offensive images of blacks. Do not click on this link if offended by racist stereotypes, and extreme dehumanization of black people. It is back to the 1920’s in Mexico.

    https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Racism-Rears-Its-Ugly-Head-in-Mexico-3171753.php

  14. Understanding Professor Bernstein’s concern about revisionist history, It’s possible to admire someone without agreeing with every position they took or everything they said.

    For example, Democrats with liberal positions on abortion regularly say nice things about Mother Theresa, notwithstanding her opposition to abortion (and contraception) as a traditional Catholic. They overlook the things they disagree with and focus on the things they admire.

    This seems similar.

    Similar things happen on the right too.

  15. In two years, we will see the plugging of a new book:

    Even More Lawless than Obama: The Biden Administration’s Unprecedented-er Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

    It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s weird, isn’t it, that this is the first post-Trump post by Bernstein. It’s exciting to see where he goes! The attention to detail … who knows what horrors might await us because he has a bust of Cesar Chavez … probably means that Hugo isn’t far behind (they are cousins or something, right?).

    ….

    A tourist is traveling through Washington, D.C., when it starts to rain. He decides to wait out the storm in a nearby restaurant. The only other person at the restaurant is an older man staring at his drink at the bar. After a few moments of silence the man turns to the tourist and says in a rueful voice:

    “You ever heard about Lochner? I wrote a whole book about Lochner! I toiled away through the wind and cold, but do they call me Bernstein the Lochner Revisioner? No.”

    He continued “Do you know anything about the admissibility of evidence? Some people considered me an expert at discussing the difference between Frye and Daubert. I found every case and figured out every way to get bogus testimony excluded from the courtroom. But do they call me Bernstein the Gatekeeper? No.”

    “Do ya know about a country called Israel and real estate prices in DC? Well, I used my spot on a blog to tell people all about what was really going on with Israel, and about real estate prices in DC . Do they call me Bernstein the Polymath? No.”

    “But ya screw one goat..”

    It’s funny, because my main point above was directly related to the idea that we try to view people holistically, and yet we also acknowledge that people will be primarily known for a few things. Like, say, the books that they write. 🙂

    1. You’ve sworn once and maybe more often that you were done reading and commenting on my posts. Instead, you’re back, and you are obsessively whining that I published a book six years ago that you don’t like (though I think you also swore you didn’t read it). Sounds like a cry for help.

  16. To the topic of “what do we overlook when honoring dead people” goes… well, it’s complicated, of course.

    The biggest issue is, of course, what we’re honoring them for. Overlooking that someone was sexist, racist, an anti-Semite, homophobic, and so-on, in order to honor them for something that is praise-worthy (and unrelated), is one thing.

    Praising some for being sexist/racist/anti-Semitic/homophobic/etc., or for actions directly tied to such, is a different thing.

    There’s also the degree. Overlooking a hero’s racism and honoring them is one thing. Overlooking a hero’s participation in lynchings and honoring them is another.

    All of which is to say, I’m unconcerned by this. At some point Biden will praise people I find despicable. He will honor someone that would have said “so what?” as I was beat to death. He will honor someone that didn’t consider Jewish or Black people to be, well, people. That’s what happens when you live in a time of relatively quick social change: most of your heroes were bigotted assholes.

    Which is not to say that I’m going to condemn anyone else for objecting to such honorings. What you find acceptable (or don’t) is for you to decide.

  17. but if President Biden’s priority was admitting more refugees, […] it would be odd to give special prominence to FDR gratuitously

    Biden has promised to restore the annual limit in the number of refugees admitted into the USA back to Obama-era levels (from a low of 18,000 under Trump up to 110,000), and added a portrait of FDR to the oval office.

  18. I am perplexed by the claim in Update 2: “the president has at the top of his agenda helping undocumented workers”.

    But I’m not seeing that in Biden’s stated priorities:
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/priorities/
    Nor in the first day actions he took, overall – pathway to citizenship plan, but not the highest legislative priority; preserving the DACA program.

    It’s like David Bernstein is making stuff up.

    1. Spot the euphemisms for helping the undocumented:

      Immigration
      President Biden will reform our long-broken and chaotic immigration system. President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people across the country—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country.

      1. OMG, Biden hid THE TOP OF HIS AGENDA under euphemisms in the sixth topic of his list of priorities. Not COVID-19, not climate, not racial equity, not the economy, not health care — if you have the right secret decoder ring.

        That’s the sort of dishonesty that recently led someone at this site to stop trusting the New York Times; a poster who coincidentally is also named David Bernstein.

        1. The fact that he issued executive orders benefiting the undocumented on his first day in office is entirely irrelevant…

          1. I wasn’t using his silly list as evidence, just rebutted the notion that it doesn’t appear on his list.

            1. Your claim that “helping undocumented workers” was at the *top of his agenda* is at issue. I listed several things he’s already done, so clearly, to anyone who isn’t intentionally dishonest, I made no such claim that would suffer from either of these dishonest rebuttals.

              William_Zanzinger’s observations about Bernstein’s intellectual dishonesty seem to be borne out.

              1. So your position is that providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers who might otherwise be deported to their home countries doesn’t count as assisting undocumented workers. That’s… odd?

                1. No, that’s not my position. Biden has done some things already for undocumented workers, and proposed more; I said as much in my first comment. My criticism is that this is in no way THE TOP OF HIS AGENDA, as asserted in the second update (“the president has at the top of his agenda helping undocumented workers”, which is clearly false).

                  Only a very dishonest person would continue to misunderstand this point, but go for it; you’ve done it four times already, so why not five?

                  1. So your beef is whether “at the top” should be interpreted as “at the very top” as opposed to “one of the top?” LOL, that’s a good use of your time.

                    1. It remains poorly worded.

                      But now do William_Zanzinger’s comment (the one that hasn’t been deleted)!

                  2. You can write a bizzare and angry comment on this article, too: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/01/21/biden-takes-action-immigration-day-one “Biden Makes Immigration Day 1 Priority,” along with many others.

  19. Of course Bernstein fails to mention that Chavez’s views and statements on immigration changed significantly over time as he engaged in discussions with other leaders and activists. He eventually adopted a much more welcoming approach to undocumented immigrants. This information is not hard to find if you care to do a little research.

    Obviously the fact that Chavez changed his position on the subject should be significant to anyone who seriously cares about how to assess his legacy and whether or how he should be honored.

    By focusing exclusively on Chavez’s earlier statements and completely ignoring the positions and actions he took later in life, Bernstein presents a distorted perspective to frame his analysis. This is par for the course with Bernstein, whose intellectual dishonesty has become his defining characteristic.

  20. Of course Bernstein fails to mention that Chavez’s views and statements on immigration changed significantly over time as he engaged in discussions with other leaders and activists. He eventually adopted a much more welcoming approach to undocumented immigrants. This information is not hard to find if you care to do a little research.

    Obviously the fact that Chavez changed his position on the subject should be significant to anyone who seriously cares about how to assess his legacy and whether or how he should be honored.

    By focusing exclusively on Chavez’s earlier statements and completely ignoring the positions and actions he took later in life, Bernstein presents a distorted perspective to frame his analysis. This is par for the course with Bernstein, whose intellectual dishonesty has become his defining characteristic.

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