Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
A European perspective

The view that most Americans have of Hitler is very much conditioned by the 4 years between 1941 when America entered the war, and the end of the war in 1945. Americans think of Hitler as some sort of boss mob they defeated, a war enemy, top of the list of several crazy dictators that America freed the world of. Europeans, because they were closer to the action during the pre-war and early war years also remember Hitler as a populist extreme right-wing politician.

Ever since Vidal completely derailed Buckley with the comparison on live TV in 1968, it has been very clear that the Republican party doesn't see any parallel between their politics and Nazism. But from a European perspective the more extreme right-wing populist positions mentioned in the Republican primaries bear at least some resemblance to some of the Nazi politics. You take proposals like confiscating money from Mexicans to pay for keeping them out, or imposing travel restrictions on Muslims and change the words "Mexicans" / "Muslims" into "Jews", and the resemblance to laws issued by the Nazis between 1933 and 1941 becomes quite eerie and a bit frightening.

That is not to say that Donald Trump is a Nazi or comparable to Hitler. There is absolutely no indication that even if elected he would somehow turn America from a republic into a dictatorship. It isn't even very likely that any of his proposals would ever be enacted if he became president. He probably doesn't even believe in that stuff, he just knows that it is what certain people want to hear and says it because it could potentially get him the Republican nomination. But the resemblance to anti-semitic propaganda and laws does explain certain European reactions to Donald Trump.

Personally I see Donald Trump more as a symbol of the schism in the Republican party between the establishment Republicans and the anti-establishment Republicans. There is still a greater than zero chance that Trump will split the party like Theodore Roosevelt did in 1912. And while I do believe that there is no way that the party can work around that schism and win the presidential election this year, I consider it possible that a split would actually strengthen the Republicans in the long run. Right now nobody really knows what the Republican party stands for, and some of the more extreme opinions on that matter look rather ugly from over here.

It's amusing how many people have been brainwashed into thinking that Hitler and Nazism are somehow "Right Wing".

The "right wing" in both Australia and America are more concerned with individual freedom and responsibility than the "left wing".

Remember, you can't spell Nazi without Socialist Workers Party - Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei AKA NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party)
The unique quality of Hitler and the Nazis was that they didn't simply want to oppress or take the power from the groups they didn't like (mostly Jews), but massacred them with the goal of exterminating their groups completely.

I'm pretty sure the European Jews would very much preferred if Hitler just built a wall around Germany and make them pay for it.

Going Goodwin isn't helping any discussion. Immigration is a problem and solving it by walls is a valid option (not saying it's the best option) and acting like it will lead to Nazism or Holocaust is dishonest.
Interesting opinion that you think immigration is a problem, Gevlon. I read your blog, and you claim to be for a meritocracy. That means that people who lose their job to an immigrant that doesn`t even speak the language, are not to be felt sorry for. Ayn Rand was pro immigration also, she for example had no sympathy for native Americans being displaced by Europeans. Can you explain how "immigration is a problem" is consistent in your world view? Or did you mean "immigration is a problem for socials and m&s"?
The unique quality of Hitler and the Nazis was that they didn't simply want to oppress or take the power from the groups they didn't like (mostly Jews), but massacred them with the goal of exterminating their groups completely.

That depends completely on the time frame. The Holocaust aka "Final Solution" started in 1942. The laws that were proposed and enacted by the Nazis against the Jews from 1933 to 1940 were about taking their power and money away and turning them into second class people. There is a clear parallel to proposing to confiscate remittances from Mexicans.

As Asphodel said, immigration is more of a solution than a problem. Especially in America, where nearly everybody currently holding power and wealth is descendant from an immigrant. It is hard to come up with a better example for "individual freedom and responsibility" than somebody deciding to move to a different country with better economic conditions. Staying put is the way of the moron & slacker.
It's amusing how many people have been brainwashed into thinking that Hitler and Nazism are somehow "Right Wing".

The very definition of what is "left" and "right" in politics comes from the seating order in national parliaments in the 19th and early 20th century. A seating plan of the Weimar republic clearly shows the NSDAP being self-identified as physically sitting on the right wing of the parliament. Xenophobia is a very common feature in various self-described right-wing movements.

In ideological terms the difference between "left" and "right" is mostly about the difference between "equal outcome" and "equal opportunity". Angela Merkel, who is clearly a politician of the right, is rather welcoming to refugees because she believes that to be a matter of giving them equal opportunity. In a lot of other parties of the right, including in America, the notion of "conservative" has resulted in politics of defending the rights of people who have acquired wealth and power against the people who want to better themselves. Building a wall against immigrants is neither promoting equal outcome nor equal opportunity, but is a statement that people who by accident of history were born in a place that is currently enjoying better economic conditions somehow have more rights, including the right to prevent other people who weren't that lucky to try to get a piece of the cake.
You are right Tobold. I find the whole wall argument funny because it shows just how ignorant people are. I kind of wish we do spend millions or rather billions building a wall just so I can laugh when we see how that does absolutely nothing to stop immigration.

I live in a city that has a large population of undocumented immigrants. You know how they got here? On a plane. Legally. With a visa. They simply overstayed their time.

I laugh at people that think all or even most undocumented immigrants came by crossing the border of Mexico illegally or that undocumented immigrants are only Hispanics.
I'd also like to add that if you are seriously concerned about undocumented immigrants or immigrants in general you should be looking at the large businesses that employ them not the poor saps who kill themselves for dirt wages.

I live in central Florida. Our largest industries are tourism/hospitality, construction, and retail. Guess why there are so many immigrants here? Do you honestly think huge companies like West Gate, Marriott and others don't know what they are doing when they hand out labor contracts to staff their hotels or building projects? People like Donald Trump have made millions off the backs of immigrants. Paying for a cheap contracted labor force that gives them deniability when someone questions the legal status of their workers.

Disney? They use their leverage as a huge business to get the government to approve work visas so they can fly in immigrants to work $7 an hour and live in rent controlled housing that Disney also owns. Why is nobody protesting that?

But oooooh no the real problem are the Mexicans because God forbid people take jobs offered to them or they want to provide better lives for their families. And what about kids who were brought by their parents to this country. They grew up in America. Went to American schools. They might not even know their native language or culture or that they are even undocumented. They are just as American as the kids next to them but fuck them too right?

Give me a break. Just like the Irish, Germans, Italians, Chinese and all other immigrant groups before and after them eventually people will move on from viewing Hispanics as the boogeyman "taking people's jobs" and jump to whatever unfortunate group starts to come here next.
Well, if so many folks are for unrestricted immigration, you'd think we'd hear an honest platform for that sometimes, as distinct from "we'll keep the immigration laws, but somehow it's impossible to enforce them".

Of course the truth is we want immigration, but from those who will reinforce or assimilate into our culture, or at worst form insular communities that are self-supporting and don't impact general governance or crime, or even bring global warfare / terrorism to our doorsteps. Is it still permissible to consider policies that will help bring that about?

That is the old dichotomy strawman argument: "If you believe that a wall on the southern border is stupid, you must be for unrestricted immigration". Even the most avid supporter of Syrian refugees will still tell you that there is a need to check everybody and try to sort out the handful of IS terrorists that might hide in their midst. Nobody wants *unrestricted* immigration.

The thing what makes Trump so hard to bear is that he doesn't allow for the possibility that there might be a single Mexican or a single Muslim who is not an enemy of the USA. The left wing position is that every person is different and you can't put restrictions or persecute a large group of people just because you suspect that *some* of them might have evil intent. Most Muslims aren't radicals, and most Mexicans aren't welfare scroungers.
Gerry Quinn if your comment was directed at me I would say that I am not for unrestricted immigration. We should definitely discourage people from doing things like entering the country illegally and overstaying visas. However if we have 12-13 million people in this country who are undocumented we have to provide some way for them to get legal. We have done so before (under Ronald Reagan in 1986 no less!) and we need to do so again. It is common sense. Keeping 12-13 million people as undocumented does not benefit us as a country in any way. Getting those 12-13 million people legal status so they can then pay income tax, contribute to social security, medicare, etc and earn a fare wage will help our country as a whole.

It will help boost wages in areas like construction, agriculture and hospitality just to name a few. It will provide added revenue to taxes. It will make neighborhoods safer, because people will now not be as afraid to talk to police and rescue services. It will enable children of immigrants who are not American born, but raised here the opportunity to go to college and contribute to society. It is not an issue that's going to just disappear. These people have been here for decades, they didn't just show up yesterday.

You want to spend billions of dollars on a wall that people will just climb over or dig under and won't affect things like people overstaying visas? Sure go ahead, but you have to solve the problem of the people that are already here. And if your answer to that is "oh lets load them all up on buses and send them back" I would just say good luck.
Remittances from the US to Mexico are a sizable chunk of Mexico's GDP. Charging a fee on those would provide lots of money for a wall. A wall won't stop illegals from coming, no one thinks that, it will make it more difficult than just walking over like it is now. 'You're not going to stop them with...' is a dishonest argument - we can't stop crime of any type from happening.

A wall is one step. Fining businesses that employ illegals enough to make it an uneconomic decision is what would get rid of the majority of illegals now in the US. Arizona tried to do that, and got tied up by the federal government. Trump's Justice department would be much less likely to behave that way.

This would leave the minority that are engaged in criminal activities, which would be handled by the police much as it is now.

Remittances from the US to Mexico are a sizable chunk of Mexico's GDP. Charging a fee on those would provide lots of money for a wall.

Banker's salaries are a sizable chunk of the US GDP. So why not confiscate that to finance the wall? And why do you think that confiscating money from a legal Mexican immigrant who is sending money for his poor family back to Mexico is right, but confiscating money from a rich banker is wrong?
I would also add that both left and right wing politics actually start to look very very similar when you get towards the more extreme examples.
I would also add that both left and right wing politics actually start to look very very similar when you get towards the more extreme examples.
Actually, a bus to the border seems like one of the most practical methods of making illegal immigrants legal, without simply encouraging their replacement by the next wave.

And I can't help but feel that, while tacking illegal immigration - be it by building walls or other methods - may indeed be a difficult task, it might just go easier if those in charge of it are in fact committed to doing it, rather than just paying lip service to it.

[Incidentally, if you check out Trump's actual words, he does indeed allow that some of the immigrants may be "good people". Granted, he does not lay too much stress on the point, nor does he see it as sufficient reason to let immigrants in.]

The issues with immigration in the US are not localized to an ideology of liberal or conservative views. Our Republic, and the Constitutional framework that supports it are whats at stake here. In regards to immigration, there are several things going on behind the scenes that threaten to degrade the establishment of proper Constitutional citizenship. Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office announced that it will no longer require incoming US citizens to declare that they will bear arms on behalf of the US as stipulated in the Oath of Allegiance.

The new citizenship oath directly contradicts the oath that is taken whenever a US citizen joins the Military, and the Military has announced no plans to change its own induction oath. Immigrants have historically played a huge role in our military in times of war, and the oaths they took required unmitigated allegiance as part of becoming a citizen, so the above change sends a chill down anyone's spine who actively "supported and defended" the Constitution in the past. When changes are quietly made to the tenets of becoming a citizen, without referendum or Constitutional due process, it will make anyone nervous and suspect of what the ends are.
Funny that you talk about the constitution. Because I thought the constitution said "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

A law that says that a Mexican (but not somebody of another nationality) who wants to send money by Western Union to his family will have a certain percentage of that money confiscated doesn't strike me as constitutional. A law that says that a Muslim (but not somebody of another faith) will have special travel restrictions imposed upon him doesn't pass that bar either. I have a strong impression that even a Supreme Court stacked with Republican justices would strike down such laws.

Note that this doesn't mean the USA can't send home illegal immigrants, or arrest terrorists. It is the generalization of such measures to all Mexicans / all Muslims that is unconstitutional. And if you treat people of certain nationalities or faiths as second-class citizens with diminished rights, you maybe shouldn't rely on them to defend your country.
While you may disagree, I interpret those words as applying to US citizens, not people who are here illegally. The rules for obtaining citizenship apply equally to everyone, not those individuals singled out by a particular party, belief or prejudice. If people come to the US and apply for and obtain citizenship lawfully, then they become supporters and protectors of the Constitution and benefit from its precepts. Undocumented and/or illegal immigrants who purposefully evade citizenship, while at the same time making demands upon the Contitution for protection is what has most US citizens concerned.
Nowhere in Trump's proposal to confiscate remittances does it say that it only applies to *illegal* Mexicans sending money home. Legal immigrants are targeted as well. Shouldn't the constitution at least apply to them? And to the millions of Muslims with a US passport?
Others have said it already, so I do not feel compelled to comment further on the fact that illegals are in the US already. It would be unconstitutional for legal immigrants to have their income targeted by any means, but seeing as WU money transfers are a point-of-sale(POS) retail transaction service that is supported by fees, then simply requiring a SSN, Greencard or passport number would be all that is needed to prevent the money from being confiscated. All people(not just Mexicans) who are here legally will have those documents. Remember what I said above: People who are here illegally, but at the same time demand constitutional protections are what irks the ire of US citizens. That's what this is all about. Illegals already come across the border and demand that US tax dollars pay for the birthing of their children, or provide them with drivers licenses, food stamps and a host of other benefits aimed at providing assistance to legal US residents. Again, let them become legal US citizens and none of this is no longer an issue. And again, a system to become a legal, US citizen, has been in place for decades. Why are these discussions not centered around that?
The discussions are centered about what Trump is actually saying, not your politically correct whitewashed re-interpretation of it. There are 55 million legal hispanics in the USA, but when he says "Mexicans" that is supposed to just mean the 12 million illegal ones?

And what about his Muslim proposal? Are you going to re-interpret that and tell me travel restrictions will only apply to known terrorists? It seems pretty clear that there Trump is targeting 2.75 millions of innocent people which are legal US citizens when the problem is with a handful of people who actually want to harm the United States.

Trump is a populist who is exploiting the natural xenophobic tendencies of parts of the population that are white, rural, and badly educated. That works due to the low participation in primaries. But in the general election all those millions of hispanics, and people of other faiths, and women that Trump insulted are going to show up, because they are really, really afraid of that guy becoming their president. Meanwhile 40% (latest poll) of the Republicans is staying in bed, because they can't see eye to eye with their own candidate.
Are you sure you are talking about what Trump is actually saying, rather than - say - Salon-filtered soundbites? According to Vox - hardly a great friend to Trump - Trump proposes to confiscate remittances only from illegal immigrants. His stated plan is discussed here:
If you put in a link, it would be better if it actually supported your point. Quote from what you linked to: "Trump's proposal claims that Mexico got $22 billion in remittances from "illegal immigrants" last year; in fact, that's the amount of remittances sent to Mexico period — from legal immigrants, unauthorized immigrants, and even Mexican emigrants in countries other than the US (though the last group only sent 2 percent of remittances). This raises the question of how Trump would differentiate between legal and unauthorized immigrants' remittances."

It may "raise the question" of how he would differentiate, but that does not alter the fact that his policy platform includes such differentiation, contra your assertion that "legal immigrants are targeted as well".
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