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Not to step on Frank’s beat, but in a case of I-read-it-so-you-don’t-have-to, Salon has a piece by the intellectually one-dimensional Michael Lind. If you ever want a handle on unthinking progressive reactionism, Lind is your guy.
Strangely, Lind sounds much like a conservative in that he laments the support for open borders by progressive elites.
The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.
The most fascinating part is that Lind fears immigration for the same, yet the exact opposite, reason that our side fears it.
Unlike most prominent progressives, Paul Krugman recognizes that you can have a high-wage social democratic welfare state or you can have unlimited immigration — but you can’t have both. Krugman observes that “open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global.”
Fascinating. The same formulation the right uses, but with a different conclusion. The right says we can’t open immigration when we still have a welfare state. The left says we won’t be able to keep our welfare state if we open immigration. On the surface, one side’s worst fear is the other’s dream.
In a bout of refreshingly honest cynicism, Lind continues:
Much of the left’s opposition to immigration law enforcement, of course, is based on a strategic appeal to the Latino vote, not on a rational analysis of what sort of immigration policy best suits U.S. labor market conditions in the 21st century. If most Latinos began voting for Republicans, undoubtedly many Democrats who object to border and workplace enforcement would fall silent pretty quickly.
Conversely, I expect that some on the right’s opposition to increased immigration would disappear if the votes were on the other foot.
Finally, I’m curious how this concluding statement by Lind makes people feel:
While [elites on both sides] form a new fantasy-based community, dreaming of a utopian world without borders impeding the flow of labor, money or goods, reality-based egalitarian liberals in the New Deal/Great Society tradition can resume the project of creating a high-wage, social democratic nation-state inside America’s well-policed borders
While elites team up to create the brave new world, could the “real people” who have to deal with the actual consequences team up to save the comfortable status quo for completely opposing reasons?