Monday, November 28, 2005

Same Old Same Old

Hyman's most recent editorial on illegal immigration offers a case study of two Hyman hallmarks, one tactical and one strategic.

On the tactical level, we have yet another diatribe about the threat of undocumented immigrants bringing the country down. With the possible exceptions of John Kerry and higher education, undocumented immigrants are Hyman's favorite targets. You might remember the editorial he delivered several months ago in which he
equated undocumented immigrants with al Qaeda terrorists.

Hyman's latest exercise in xenophobia is nearly identical to another commentary he gave recently, all the way down to the 70,000 non-Mexican immigrant number. But
as we pointed out in response to that editorial, the idea championed by Hyman and the appropriately named Rep. John Doolittle ignores the massive costs of incarcerating undocumented immigrants until their deportation hearing and (more importantly) fails to acknowledge that undocumented immigrants contribute to the nation's economy. The suggestion that they "drain" the American taxpayer is, at best, mistaken and at worst, racist.

On a more strategic level, we see the trademark Hyman tactic of refusing to grapple with an issue intellectually by simply writing off any opposition as "not serious." Hyman implies that anyone who doesn't favor Doolittle's bill doesn't have an opinion that's even worthy of consideration. Never mind that quite a few conservatives (particularly those in the business community) oppose draconian measures to stop illegal immigration (based on their recognition that undocumented immigrants play an important role in America's workforce). Rather than go through the effort of weighing the pros and cons of the issue and making his case on its merits, Hyman simply proclaims that the opinion of anyone not on his side is too trivial to be acknowledged.

The debate on what national policy on illegal immigration is an important one, and there are intelligent cases to be made from various points of view. But, as is all too common, Hyman takes an important issue and diminishes both it and the public sphere itself with his sloppy, lazy rhetoric.

And that's The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 2.99


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