Flunking Responsibility, Honesty, Common Sense and Ethics: Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Daily Kos, and Anyone Else Who Repeats This Idiotic Analogy

Deval Patrick

I thought I might run an ethics quiz asking whether this current and mind-bogglingly stupid argument that keeps popping up from my sentiment-addled Facebook friends is more unethical than the pro-Hamas hashtags being appended to twitter comments by the “Think of the children!” saps led by celebrities like Jon Stewart, Selena Gomez, and John Cusack. Pondering on it, however, I realized that as ethically misguided as Stewart at al. are, the above quote and its ilk are worse….especially since state governors and U.S. Senators have more credibility than comedians and Disney pop tarts. Not that they should, mind you.

If I really have to make a detailed argument explaining why Deval’s quote and  Leahy’s ( “Think of all those Jews that went to the ovens because we forgot our principles. Let’s not turn our backs now.”) are unforgivably irresponsible, we are just as dim-witted as those demagogues (or, more likely, as dim-witted as they hope and think we are.) The statements are no more nor less than an invitation to every parent of every child in every poor, war-torn, politically foul, culturally poisoned, dangerous, corrupt nation in the world to somehow get them to the U.S. border, paying shady and often treacherous agents to do so, because the United States will not “turn its back,” and turn them back. The question isn’t whether this is a legitimate, responsible or sane position worthy of debate and serious consideration: of course it isn’t. The question is how anyone can think it is.

I know that it is the reductio ad absurdum of the open border crowd that pollutes the Democratic party, but the whole point to a reductio ad absurdum is that it is obviously nutsy cuckoo. Why do we have elected officials who are advocating nonsense? Why are there websites of any credibility (to some–Kos is reliably deranged and dishonest) that would even briefly embrace such a concept? And why are otherwise intelligent friends of mine sending me this as if it is revealed wisdom? The United States is obligated to take in all the children of  Chad, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Gaza, the Central African Republic, Kasmir, Myanmar, the Congo, Zimbabwe, the perpetually roiled South American nations currently flooding us with children and others once they somehow make their way to our borders…seriously? Sure, bring ’em all in!..it’s not like the U.S. doesn’t have endless resources, a manageable national debt and guaranteed full employment. I hate to resort to sarcasm, but the words of Leahy and Patrick only make sense as sarcasm, and compel a sarcastic response.

This completely unmoored from reason and reality, “think of the children” assertion is wildly irresponsible, but the historical analogy is dishonest for anyone who has read a history book, and ignorant for the rest—I will not venture a guess regarding which applies to Leahy and Patrick. The reference is to the St. Louis, the wandering luxury ship filled with German Jews hoping to escape Hitler’s extermination that was already underway in 1938. It was rejected by Cuba and the U.S., the intended destination of the refugees, and the passengers were ultimately returned to Europe. There is no analogy between this tragic and shameful episode in U.S. (and world) history and the current illegal child immigration crisis. None. At all:

  • The United States knew that the Jews on board the St. Louis were going to be murdered. The children at our boarders are not going to be murdered.
  • The situation in Germany was unique, new, and far beyond the normal social turmoil in that nation and any other. The children at our boarders are from nations in South America that have been in turmoil to various degrees intermittently for decades, and even centuries.
  • The Jews on the St. Louis were true refugees. The vast majority of children at our borders are not.
  • The rejection of the Jews was due, in great part, to anti-Semitism in the State Department and among large segments of the U.S. population. The resistance to a general “Come on kids! There’s room for everybody!” policy is not based on racism or nationalism (as open borders advocates argue, to demonize their opposition), but common sense, economics, equity, justice, fairness, civics, mathematics, human nature, sanity, and a recognition of reality.
  • Even if the United States had adopted a policy that accepted every endangered European Jew, the number of refugees it would have been obligated to accept would have been miniscule in comparison to the never-ending avalanche that Patrick’s and Leahy’s “policy” would bring.

In summary, it is a misleading, manipulative and miserable analogy, supporting a suicidal policy, probably in service of naked partisan gain. For any Americans who are not historically ignorant, dedicated to chaos, incapable of reason, lobotomized by sentiment  or corrupt to the core to wipe a tear from their eyes and nod heartily in agreement defies comprehension.

7 thoughts on “Flunking Responsibility, Honesty, Common Sense and Ethics: Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Daily Kos, and Anyone Else Who Repeats This Idiotic Analogy

  1. ‘Think of the children’ should also mean think of your own children and nieces and neighbors RIGHT NOW. There’s enough people here that need homes and educations and hope. These people should start volunteering their free time for schools, afterschool programs, and importantly day care. It’s easy to say ‘somebody should do something’ when it’s hundreds of miles away. How often have these talking heads put up in their own neighborhood or homes for people in trouble? This is really NIMBY underneath the headlines.

  2. I recently saw an interesting documentary made in 2009 called “Which Way Home”…follows unaccompanied children, some as young as nine, in their attempts to make it across the border into the US from mostly Central America. One thing that really stood out were the misconceptions of what life for these kids would be like if they were able to make it to the United States. Most were under the impression that they would be adopted and taken care of by “rich” people in the US…and everyone in the US was rich…and the adopted kids (some as old as 17) would be able to send home money in order to help their impoverished parents. Many of these kids were never heard from again and some were returned to their parents in body bags with death being caused by very brutal circumstances. For every child that does make it to the US, I can’t imagine the number of children who don’t make it and the terrible things that may have happened to them on the way. After seeing the horrors that these children faced on their treks to the US, I find it totally irresponsible that anyone from the US would give these families incentive to send their children off to find a “better life” in the United States.

    • The problem, Sharon, is that it is not really a misconception. The poor here in the U.S. live like kings compared to the poor in, say, Nicaragua.

      “Nicaragua is classified by the World Bank (WB) as the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. The gross national income (GNI) per capita is US$ 1,100 (2010). 48% of the population lives on less than a US$1 a day and 76% on less US$2 daily.”, this from the U.N. World Food Program at http://www.wfp.org/nicaragua. When some estimates put the various benefits for the poor here at over $100,000 per year (personally, I think that that estimate is ridiculous. My wife and I are making around $26,000 per year on social security retirement and qualify for NOTHING in the way of assistance.) I can see why we are the magnet. Sadly, that is all the more reason for us to close our borders to these children and ALL illegal immigrants. As long as we have an unpredictable, arrogant, incompetent and corrupt government, we simply cannot afford to accept them any more as a matter of economic expediency, and certainly not just because we want their vote when they grow up.

  3. I see your points and appreciate your responses. I wonder if the US does enough to inform or educate these kids and their parents on the dangers these kids face before they even make it to the border. Any programs in place etc.?
    It doesn’t seem that the parents were aware of the danger their kids were facing…but I could be wrong. Maybe the danger was worth it to them due to the extreme poverty?

    • These children have parents and a country. If those countries are impoverished, it’s largely because it’s been mismanaged by a too powerful and incompetent government. We’re starting to see how that works right here! A sovereign nation must live up to its responsibilities AS one. It cannot expect any nation, no matter how rich or powerful (as we no longer are), to support it by taking in a portion of its population.

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