David Brooks’ basket case: In this morning’s New York Times, David Brooks lays out the case for comprehensive immigrations reform.
The evidence all supports it, he says. He ends his column with a warning:
BROOKS (2/1/13): The first big point from all this is that given the likely gridlock on tax reform and fiscal reform, immigration reform is our best chance to increase America’s economic dynamism. We should normalize the illegals who are here, create a legal system for low-skill workers and bend the current reform proposals so they look more like the Canadian system, which tailors the immigrant intake to regional labor markets and favors high-skill workers.Are we “a pathetic basket case of a nation?” Why does Brooks have to ask?
The second big conclusion is that if we can’t pass a law this year, given the overwhelming strength of the evidence, then we really are a pathetic basket case of a nation.
To see Brooks’ question answered, just skip over to Paul Krugman’s column, remembering the mess which occurred when he did Morning Joe this week.
Krugman writes a highly instructive column, a variant on the instructive column he’s now written dozens of times. He describes the way the western world’s Very Serious People insist on a certain set of economic nostrums.
He then walks us through the evidence. Those nostrums turn out to be junk.
Krugman has written this column again and again and again. It doesn't make any real difference. His demonstrations rarely affect the things said by Serious People—people like Mika and Joe.
Implicitly, his column describes us as “a pathetic basket case of a nation”—as a society whose elites refuse to react to real events in the real world.
This brings us today’s front-page report from Timbuktu, an ancient city which has recently suffered under the imposition of Shariah law.
Lydia Polgreen’s report is fascinating all the way through. Near the end, without intending to do so, she describes suffering Timbuktu as a version of our own nation.
She quotes local residents describing the way they suffered under the strictures of invaders. In what way does the conduct of these invaders differ from the conduct of the people Krugman keeps describing?
POLGREEN (2/1/13): Mr. Tandina said he tried to use his decades of Koranic education to argue with the Islamists, citing verses about respecting the burial places. They would not listen.Be sure to read Polgreen’s full report. But in fact, Krugman has written that column dozens of times.
Before long, he said, amputations started. Then came the executions. Again he said he tried to intervene, going to the Islamic court with stacks of Islamic law books under his arm.
“Islam was whatever they said it was,” he said. “They did not respect the holy book. They respected nothing but their own desires.”
For hundreds of years, Timbuktu was one of the world’s most important centers of Islamic learning. The city has dozens of mosques, and it is famous for the ancient, handwritten manuscripts that city residents have collected for generations, preserving them against waves of invaders and creating a priceless trove of knowledge about the Islamic world and beyond. Many families have long traditions of Islamic learning, passed from father to son.
So many here bristled when the Islamists called the population to lecture them about the proper practice of the religion in which they had been raised.
“What they call Islam is not what we know is Islam,” said Dramane Cissé, the 78-year-old imam at one of the city’s biggest and oldest mosques. “They are arrogant bullies who use religion as a veil for their true desires.”
It doesn't matter what he says. As in Timbuktu, so here: The people in question aren't going to listen. They have their own desires.