Friday, November 23, 2007

In today's column on Rudy Giuliani's approach to immigration, David Brooks brings up a 1996 Giuliani speech:
“I’m pleased to be with you this evening to talk about the anti-immigrant movement in America,” he said, “and why I believe this movement endangers the single most important reason for American greatness, namely, the renewal, reformation and reawakening that’s provided by the continuous flow of immigrants.”
So the "continuous flow of immigration"--and not, say, a tradition of liberty, a robust Constitution, or a vast continental expanse--serves as the greatest reason for "American greatness" for Giuliani?
(A side note: it seems that part of the debate about immigration in the US right now is not if there should be a "continuous flow of immigrants" but how big this flow should be.)

Also, it probably should be noted that, while Brooks is complaining about how Giuliani has run on immigration (since Brooks believes in the "moderate" path of "comprehensive immigration reform"), he is not complaining about how he thinks Giuliani would govern. And Giuliani still has run and still is running in support of legalization of the "undocumented"....Could Brooks be trying to appeal to the "yahoos" in slamming Giuliani for the way he has run on immigration while also trying to assure "moderates" that Giuliani will really support "comprehensive immigration reform"?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving one and all! From Lincoln's first Thanksgiving proclamation:

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case and, potentially, declare whether it believes the Constitution guarantees an individual right to bear arms. Instapundit has a roundup. Some think that Justice Kennedy could be a deciding vote (and a vote against the notion of an individual right to bear arms). Certainly, Kennedy was a crucial swing vote in the 5-4 (Scalia, Rehnquist, O'Connor, and Thomas in the minority) Kelo v. New London opinion, which declared that increased tax revenue and the prospect of economic development were really "public uses," so a municipality has the power to take your home or business via eminent domain and assign it to a developer who, they think, might be able to raise the tax/economic base of that property and the area around it.
Malkin has an interesting (and slightly older) post up on some of the debates about immigration and citizenship during the founding of the USA.
Jonah Goldberg has an interesting post up on the relationship between necessity and morality in light of technological developments. However, I don't think (and I don't think Goldberg is implying) that technological progress can always obviate moral problems and that inventive "breakthroughs" will always lead to the categorization of more things as "immoral." Though Goldberg emphasizes the way in which the development of technology helped make child labor less necessary and, therefore in the eyes of many, more immoral, we can also look at the example of the cotton gin. I don't know exactly how true this theory is, but many historians believe that the invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s helped perpetuate the institution of slavery because it made the plantation system more efficient and increased the commodity value of a slave. Even as this system may have seemingly become more efficient, opposition to the slavery system also grew. (And eventually the slave system may have impeded technological progress in slave-holding states, so, ironically perhaps, a piece of technology may have ultimately retarded technological progress in a wider sense due to the radical cheapness of labor in and the agrarian emphases of the plantation system.) So the relationship between technology and moral progress is not always so clear cut. As Goldberg says at the end of his post, it is a very interesting topic...

Monday, November 19, 2007

A member of the City Council of Des Moines, Iowa is considering putting forward a proposal to make that city a "sanctuary city." If this policy and debates about it get more coverage, I wonder how it could affect the presidential campaigns there...