2008 July 25 Friday
Obama Declares Self World Citizen

Barack Obama opposes national borders and declares himself a citizen of the world. By contrast, I think I'm a lot better off by being a citizen of a Western industrialized democracy with strong rule of law and (if only) strongly defended borders.

In an echo of former President Ronald Reagan's speech when he demanded the Berlin Wall be pulled down, Obama said: "The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down."

Obama introduced himself to the Berlin crowd as a proud U.S. citizen and a "fellow citizen of the world."

The Western developed nations need walls to keep out the exploding populations of the Third World. There are many times more of them than there are of us. If we let them all in our quality of life would plummet and we'd lose basic freedoms. Obama's flowery rhetoric amounts to pretty lies. His idealism appeals to people who want to dream impractical dreams. But if you want to hold on to what you've got then impracticality is your enemy.

I would like to see a reporter ask Obama he's saying that Israel's walls around the Gaza Strip and West Bank should be torn down and if Israel's wall on the border of Lebanon should be torn down. I would also ask him if he thinks that the South Korean government should tear down its DMZ barrier with North Korea. Or how about walls around prisons? Should they go too? We've got all manner of walls keeping various groups in and out. Tear them all down? They all start seeming analogous to the Berlin Wall if you just suppress your critical reasoning faculties.

In a post entitled "Obama Christ, Superstar" Rod Dreher argues Obama's liberal internationalism sounds a lot like Bush's.

As I've said elsewhere, I find Obama's stance to be a liberal internationalist version of the same crusading, feelgood, soaring, moralistic universalism that led us down the primrose path when it came out of the mouth of George W. Bush (compare Obama's speech to Bush's second inaugural address). It's perfectly understandable that people want a big change after eight years of Bush. I certainly do. But this Obama Messiah business is absurd. People think the guy is going to usher in a New Jerusalem; guess what, folks -- it's a Potemkin Village.

People like to think happy thoughts. Right now a lot of people are projecting their dreams onto Obama and he's using rhetoric that lets them interpret what he says in the most optimistic way possible. I'm reminded of vague popular song lyrics where different people imagine a song is about different topics.

Does Obama's strongly stated support for Israel extend to the West Bank settlements which have lots of fences and walls around them?

JERUSALEM — An Israeli defense committee has approved the construction of 22 homes in a barely populated West Bank settlement, Defense Ministry officials said Thursday. The move appeared to catch some Israeli officials off guard, angered Palestinians and was likely to prompt criticism from the international community as it tried to push forward a long-faltering peace process.

Would the settlements be okay without barriers around them? That way the settlements would bring more Palestinians and Israeli Jews into contact with each other. Won't that produce mutual understanding and affection? Or might it produce mutual understanding and hatred?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 July 25 09:55 AM  Elites As Enemies

Christopher Rasch said at July 25, 2008 11:25 AM:

The U.S. didn't have anti-immigration laws until the The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Did U.S. quality of life and freedom decline from 1776 to 1882?

Also, it seems to me among my basic freedoms is the freedom to associate. For example, if I invite a black woman to spend the night at my place, it's none of your business, correct? If you object that we might be creating low IQ black babies, or that she might commit crimes while in the neighborhood, would I not have the right to tell to mind your own business? It seems to me that one of the basic principles of law is that you should only lose your freedoms if you commit a crime. Since neither I nor my would-be black companion have committed a crime, you should have no right to preemptively prevent our association because of your fears of what we "might" do.

Likewise, I don't see that you have any ethical basis to prevent me from associating with peaceful immigrants. Claims to the contrary violate both my rights of association and property.

Your analogies to prisoners, Palestinians, and North Koreans fail for the following reasons:

Prisoners have committed crimes. It's not just to treat would-be immigrants who have committed no crimes as if they are criminals.

Palestinians remain poor in large measure due to the trade and labor embargoes that the U.S. and Israel have imposed upon them. Poor people with little hope for change are fertile recruiting grounds for terrorist groups. It seems to me that the only way that Israel will solve the Palestinian problem will be to make it possible for Palestinians to become rich and have a stake in the future of Israel. And that will only come from increased trade and immigration.

Likewise, North Korea will cease being a threat when the Kim Jong Il regime collapses and is replaced by a pro-market government. That would be hastened by greater ties between North Korean and South Korean people, which will also only come about through trade and immigration.

In any case, your analogy would only hold true if most other countries were as threatening toward the U.S. as Palestinians are to Israel, or North Koreans are to South Korea. Since most countries are not "terrorist" nations, it's not just to treat their citizens as if they were.

There are many reasons not to like Obama. But support for breaking down artificial barriers to trade and immigration is not one of them.

Randall Parker said at July 25, 2008 11:59 AM:

Christopher Rasch,

First off, America was a pretty uncrowded place back in the early and mid 1880s.

Second, immigrant groups with high crime rates violate my rights when they commit crimes against me.

Third, immigrant groups with a strong propensity to vote for the welfare state violate my rights when they vote for politicians who want to separate me from my money.

The problem with waiting until people actually commit crimes: At that point someone else is already dead, raped, injuried, lost property, in pain, etc. We need people who will not commit crimes in the first place if we are to live safely in a free society.

Here from a report on the US Department of Justice web site we find relevant facts we should consider when setting immigration policy.

An estimated 22% of black males ages 35 to 44 in 2001 had ever been confined in State or Federal prison, compared to 10.0% of Hispanic males and 3.5% of white males in the same age group.

About 1 in 3 black males, 1 in 6 Hispanic males, and 1 in 17 white males are expected to go to prison during their lifetime, if current incarceration rates remain unchanged.

Do you deny these facts are relevant to immigration policy. If so, why?

Will said at July 25, 2008 12:24 PM:

I am of mixed opinion on Obama's speech in Berlin, and especially in light of the Byron York post making the rounds -- which I see you haven't linked, but is somewhat in line with this kind of thinking. Essentially, Obama pointed out that people from all over the world died on 9/11. Yes, but York pointed out at The Corner, it was maybe 1% of them. The vast majority were Americans.

So Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly makes the point that he is trying to point out that the war on terrorism is everyone's concern, in Europe as well as here. This point is worth making I also think there has to be a better way to involve American Muslims in an outreach role better than we have so far.

A good place to start would be the recent movie that I have done post-production work on, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. The film features several very well-spoken individuals who are Muslim or Arab or even at times sympathized with the jihadist worldview. We could use a cultural ambassador. Obama is not Muslim but considering how many Americans seem to get this part mixed up, don't you think they'll get that mixed up over there? Just something to think about.

Bob Badour said at July 25, 2008 3:36 PM:
Did U.S. quality of life and freedom decline from 1776 to 1882?

Oh hell yeah! The decline was sharp and drastic. Just ask the fucking Cherokee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears

n/a said at July 25, 2008 6:51 PM:

Rasch is, of course, incorrect.

The original United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 103) provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to aliens who were "free white persons" and thus left out indentured servants, slaves, free African-Americans, and later Asian Americans.

The 1790 Act also limited naturalization to persons of "good moral character"; the law required a set period of residence in the United States prior to naturalization, specifically two years in the country and one year in the state of residence when applying for citizenship. When those requirements were met, an immigrant could file a Petition for Naturalization with "any common law court of record" having jurisdiction over his residence asking to be naturalized. Once convinced of the applicant’s good moral character, the court would administer an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution of the United States. The clerk of court was to make a record of these proceedings, and "thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States."


I'm also curious if CR is as gung-ho about eliminating "Civil Rights" laws limiting freedom of association as he is about open borders?

Dragon Horse said at July 26, 2008 5:15 PM:

n/a...let me give you a history lesson.

"Free white person" in 1790 did not include Irish either or any Southern Europeans as they were not generally considered "white". White at the time was Anglo-Saxon, French, German, Dutch...that's about it to my knowledge. In fact some Southern states had laws that specifically said Italians, Greeks, Jews, Spaniards, etc were not "white". It depended on where you lived. I know for a fact Irish people were not "white" in Louisiana till around the time of the Civil War. :-O

"In Rollins v. Alabama (1922), an Alabama Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of one Jim Rollins, a black man convicted of the crime of miscegenation, on the grounds that the state had produced "no competent evidence to show that the woman in question, Edith Labue was a white woman." Labue was a Sicilian immigrant, a fact that, this court held, "can in no sense be taken as conclusive that she was therefore a white woman, or that she was not a negro or a descendant of a negro."

So in Alabama in 1922 I could have married Maria Bartiroma and it would have been 100% legal, because Italian whiteness is "inconclusive" :-) haha

"The Atlantic Monthly (1864): "The emancipated Negro is at least as industrious and thrifty as the Celt, takes more pride in self-support, is far more eager for education, and has fewer vices."

Atlantic Monthly (1896): " A Celt lacks the solidity, the balance, the judgement, the moral staying power of the Anglo-Saxon." The Celt "imbibes with avidity the theory of equality, and with true Celtic ardor pushes it to excess; there are many Irish-Americans, young men growing up in our cities, who are too vain or too lazy to work, self-indulgent, impudent, and dissipated."

The term "white" expanded to pretty much anyone that could "pass for" European from 1790 - post WWII. I say pass, because it is not uncommon for very European Lebanese Americans to be considered "white" but Osama Binladen would never be considered "white" although he is Caucasian. There was also a famous court case involving an Indian who tried to be considered "white" and he was rejected although the court admitted he was in fact Caucasian scientifically. LOL

U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923): The court conceded that Indians were “Caucasians” and that anthropologists considered them to be of the same race as white Americans, but argued that “the average man knows perfectly well that there are unmistakable and profound differences.”


More on the creation of the modern white American:


rob said at July 27, 2008 12:07 AM:


How did Celts overcome stereotype threat? Why did Negroes not benefit from these positive stereotypes? Most likely Negroes had fewer vices because they were less free. Even today those Negroes under white authority and living among whites tend to have better life outcomes than Negroes left to themselves. Quite a bit of this effect in US is probably due to the most civilized and intelligent Negroes living among whites, but perhaps not all.

Perhaps the Atlantic Monthly has been wrong for a long time. Perhaps the modern Negro should socially construct himself as white, thereby eliminating his disabilities.

Scarlett O'Hara, that's an Irish name, isn't it?

Dragon Horse said at July 27, 2008 6:16 AM:

LOL...stings huh? haha

Dave said at July 27, 2008 8:14 AM:

Well yes it wasn't perfect, but I think the definition of white person back then was more meaningful than it is today. It originally basically ment Northern European (with some exceptions for prejudice against the Irish), these days white means anyone from anywhere who has a fair complexion be they Arabs, Mexicans, North Africans, East Russians, Turks, Afghans, Jews both European and MiddleEastern, or ofcourse Europeans. The definition has intentionally been over used to take away its original meaning.

Dave said at July 27, 2008 8:29 AM:

Regards Christopher Rasch's point.
Its a bit of a libertarian fantasy that most of the world didn't have anti immigration laws until recently. Where-as it is true that specific national laws didn't exist as they do now, much of the borders between nations had natural boundaries such as desert, mountains, rivers, seas that before modern transport specific laws to restrict the movement of people would have been redundant, and many neighbouring tribes hated each other so localised movement was not as free as people who romanticise the past like to think.

Dragon Horse said at July 27, 2008 3:45 PM:


Silk Road seemed pretty free...(at least from Mongol times on) and people (merchants and religious figures) usually (I admit not always) freely traveled.

It is true that it seemed (but for the Irish) Northern European Celts and Northern Germanic were considered white. From what I could find, all Catholics (even Bavarian Germans), Slavs, and Jews were looked down on but for French Catholics. All the former were considered non-white and became white at various periods up until around WWII.

What is interesting is that in Texas all Mexicans were considered "white", but then became Mestizo, then they came up with Hispanic (which can be any race although most Mestizos say they are 'white' because in Mexico they would be)...most mulatto Hispanics say they are white as well (thinking of Dominicans...actually more than Puerto Ricans in my experience, although the former appear more black West African), unless they are very very dark.

Now anyone from Europe and the Middle East is white. Strangely Armenians are considered Asian although they are more Caucasian than some Arabs who might have heavy black admixture. That is according to the government.

In reality most Arabs are not treated as "white" unless they can pass for some form of European. Most Armenians appear white, unless they constantly tan like Kim Khardasian (she is not naturally that dark). Why any Arab (even one who is obviously mostly black) is considered white by the U.S. Census but North Indians are not I have no clue...it makes no sense. Obviously it didn't to the Indian man who filed a lawsuit and lost. LOL

Dave said at July 28, 2008 11:11 AM:

Also stranglely while America considers some Indians and many mid to northern Asians 'white', Britain during the days of civil rights protests etc, considered anyone not from Europe to be 'black'.
Only recently apparently (as told by people older than me), have these other minorities staked out claims of there own specific group.
It seems that people just identify with which ever large group they think will give them the most influence until their own real group is big enough to stand alone.

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