I know it feels at times like we aren’t making any progress.
It is easy to get frustrated and depressed, to exaggerate the strength of our opposition and the imbeciles in Der Movement and to conclude that all is lost and that “there is no political solution.” As maddening as all of this can be, those of us who are in this for the long haul have persisted.
George W. Bush has a penned a new op-ed in The Washington Post which is a reminder of how radically our politics has actually changed over the last 15 years. It is easy to forget just how marginalized our views on everything from nationalism and populism to race, immigration, trade and foreign policy were a mere decade ago and how strong and impregnable Conservatism, Inc. appeared to be at the time.
“Effective border management starts well beyond the border, so we must work with our neighbors to help them build freedom and opportunity so their citizens can thrive at home. We cannot rely on enforcement alone to prevent the untenable and so often heartbreaking scenes that come with large-scale migration.
We also need a modernized asylum system that provides humanitarian support and appropriate legal channels for refugees to pursue their cases in a timely manner. The rules for asylum should be reformed by Congress to guard against unmerited entry and reserve that vital status for its intended recipients.
Increased legal immigration, focused on employment and skills, is also a choice that both parties should be able to get behind. The United States is better off when talented people bring their ideas and aspirations here. We could also improve our temporary entry program, so that seasonal and other short-term jobs can more readily be filled by guest workers who help our economy, support their families and then return home.
As for the millions of undocumented men and women currently living in the United States, a grant of amnesty would be fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens. But undocumented immigrants should be brought out of the shadows through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned, as for anyone else applying for the privilege. Requirements should include proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and civics, and a clean background check. We should never forget that the desire to live in the United States — a worldwide and as powerful an aspiration as ever — is an affirmation of our country and what we stand for. Over the years, our instincts have always tended toward fairness and generosity. The reward has been generations of grateful, hard-working, self-reliant, patriotic Americans who came here by choice. …”
This is what we were up against in the 2000s.
This is what True Conservatism used to sound like back like back in the day before The Weekly Standard died and became The Bulwark and the people who used to read National Review were still alive. Jonah Goldberg and David French used to be highly respected pundits at National Review about five years ago before taking their toys over to The Dispatch. The True Cons are a pale shadow of their former strength in 2016 and even paler shadow of how strong they were back in 2004.
This is a small sample of where we are now in 2021.
There is a whole branch of thought in Der Movement which holds as an article of faith that 1.) White people in this country will never wake up and 2.) that it is impossible to persuade them that we are right and 3.) that there is no political solution to our problems. What if White people actually were waking up and our beliefs were finally going mainstream and few people had realized this?
Note: There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that comprehensive immigration reform is going to pass in this Congress. It isn’t because the politicians have changed. It is because our politics has changed. Political reality has slowly and steadily moved in our direction and away from George W. Bush.