Friday, April 12, 2019

Fearmongering at the border

David Brooks, attempting to mimic the human emotion of "compassion," in his column today offers the following analogy:
Suppose one night there is a knock on your door. You open it to find 100 bedraggled families shivering in your yard — exhausted, filthy, terrified. The first cry of your heart would be to take them in, but you’d know there were too many.
If there were any confusion, the "100 bedraggled families" are the "hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence in Central America or seeking economic opportunity"[1].

But the math here does not remotely add up. Let's say there are "hundreds of thousands" of refugees at the southern border (the "yard.") There are 329 million Americans in our "household." A half a million refugees is not "100 bedraggled families" -- which would equate to 33 billion(!) refugees. It's 0.15% of the US population -- which is the equivalent of a family of four letting one person sleep on their couch for one weekend out of the year.

We are not one family facing a hundred impoverished families. We are the richest, most powerful nation in the history of human civilization, occupying the third largest territory (bigger than India! Bigger than China!), overwhelming populated by immigrants and their near descendants.

That so many conservatives are ready to exploit a humanitarian crisis of their own making to argue that the US is just helpless before the brown horde of the 0.15% percent is frankly pathetic at best, racist and deliberately disingenuous at worst.


1. Aficionados of Zionist histories will recognize the strategic ambiguity of "fleeing violence…or seeking economic opportunity" as a near relative of the popular "fled or were expelled" to characterize ethnically cleansed Palestinians. "Centrists" love this phraseology because they can admit the awkward facts whilst giving their more bigoted readers an "out," eg "fled," "economic opportunity."