Sunday, May 21, 2006

There's got to be something in the DC water...

Is there something in the water in Washington? Presumably rational people make the stupidest comments imaginable. The latest to demonstrate significant lack of coordination between fact and speech is Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He was on Meet The Press this morning, talking about immigration, and he graced the world with this gem:
Well, first of all, we shouldn't be very sympathetic to employers who are hiring large numbers of illegal immigrants and paying them very low wages and exploiting them. Those folks are the 21st-century slave masters, and what they're doing is just as immoral as what the 19th-century slave masters did that we had to fight a civil war to get rid of.

John Podhoretz called the comment "just disgusting, no matter where you stand on this question." Correct. Jonah Goldberg said it was "absurd and more than a little depressing." All of that. Mark Kilmer at Red State says that it's "an awful analogy." That's putting it mildly.

It is all of those things, but what it is mostly is a piece of Durbinesquely insanse hyperbolic nonsense. Slavery was a system under which human beings owned other human beings. They denied their "property" the rights of movement, speech, association, self-determination - everything that comprises "freedom." Someone hiring illegal aliens is reaching an agreement to pay a mutually agreeable wage to a worker who wants to earn that wage for doing that work. The worker is free to leave, to go somewhere else at any time. There is no comparison whatsoever between the two positions, and any attempt to link them should be repugnant to any sentient beings.

Technorati tags: Sensenbrenner, MeetThePress, Immigration, slavery



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