Jeff Sessions Was Right
Despite his falling out with President Trump, Jeff Sessions' record has kept him more than welcome in conservative circles.
For the casual Republican observer, the warm welcome for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s “Future of American Political Economy” conference might have come as a surprise. Former President Trump famously fell out with Sessions, pushing him out of the cabinet and then denying him his former senate seat in the 2020 Alabama Senate primary. But despite the Trump treatment, respect for Sessions remains pronounced on the right.
The reason is straightforward: In the face of the Biden Administration’s failing immigration policy and the resulting chaos across the Southwest, Jeff Sessions’ consequential reign at the Department of Justice has been clearly and fully vindicated.
The criticisms from the left are familiar to us now—that Jeff Sessions’ was using his office to launch an unfair crackdown on innocent migrants and that racism was the driving motive. For an activist media and an open-borders Democratic establishment, Sessions provided an easy target. A Southerner with a disappearing dialect, the media directed coastal elitist bigotry towards him in a way that no other Republican, save for Brett Kavanaugh, experienced.
Whatever the pitch of the media’s animosity, they can’t hide the facts. Jeff Sessions implemented policy that was bringing the border crisis to a close in an innovative, just, and humane way. Zero-tolerance, aggressive DOJ prosecution and the unfairly demonized policy of separating children from human traffickers resulted in the most stable environment the border regions have seen in decades. In the final year of the Trump Administration, border apprehensions were cut in half, an indisputable testament to Sessions’ time as attorney general and his impact on policy across multiple agencies.
Now, as a result of the Biden Administration’s open-borders ideological obsession, the southern border has become awash in crime, drug and child trafficking, and an unprecedented surge of economic migrants. In just six months, border apprehensions shattered previous records, reaching one million. Additionally, untold thousands are likely crossing undetected, taking advantage of halted wall construction to violate the law and terrorize border communities. The situation is rapidly deteriorating with no clear leadership from President Biden or his incompetent border czar, Kamala Harris. Faced with reversing course and fixing the crisis, the Biden Administration instead chose to ignore the crisis completely. It is likely the crisis will intensify as Democratic leaders choose to pacify immigration interests and the media, hoping to skirt the criticism they helped foment against problem-solvers like Attorney General Sessions.
In light of this paralysis, it is important to take stock of the lessons of the last few years. Jeff Sessions proved that the open-border interest groups, the media, and the D.C. establishment were dead wrong about the border. Though the wider public may never fully appreciate his record of accomplishment, those conservatives who strive to understand the border quagmire will never forget the selfless contribution Jeff Sessions made to stop crime, save lives, and improve our nation. Americans can only hope another leader with such commitment will rise to meet these challenges soon.
Editors note: Jeff Session will deliver the keynote address at The American Conservative 2021 Gala on October 7, in Washington, D.C. Tickets and sponsorship here.
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How I Became Post-Post-Political
Everyone in politics wants to be post-something. Maybe that's one root of our problems.
These days, everyone in politics wants to be post-something.
The most recognizable example of this are the post-liberals, who believe that classical liberalism has fallen away and that something else must inevitably take its place. Others sigh about a post-Christian West; Fareed Zakaria charts the waters of a post-American world. We were supposed to be post-racial for a while, though that didn’t exactly work out. Nationalism was supposed to blossom post-liberalism, except now there are those who think we’re post-nationalist too. Some conservatives say they’re post-fusionist while others are somehow already post-Trump. There are centrist wonks who boast of being post-political altogether; there’s the post-left and the post-right. There’s also the post I want to club my own head with whenever I try to keep track of all this.
Some of this posting is a reflection of the fact that our politics is in flux, that old assumptions are giving way to new ones (or to even older ones). But some of it also strikes me as the usual goth-kid online eye-rolling. We’re so over all that, man. Which makes me not want to be post-anything anymore. Even post-COVID is losing its appeal. I want to be pre-, or better yet, ante-.
Going post-al can be exhilarating, since it implies a void in which something new can be built. But at some point, you do have to get around to the building—and not just building another meme, really building. To that end, maybe it’s time to go post-post, to acknowledge that the past isn’t as easily transcended as we like to think, that it will inevitably inform what we seek to do in the present. And maybe instead of rejecting it, we should study it, respect it, try to improve on it for the sake of our children.
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Our Exhausted Moment
My appearance on the post-left podcast "ex.haust" to talk conservatism, the past, and the future.
I recently joined TAC contributor Emmet Penney for an interview on his podcast, “ex.haust”—tagline: trying “to understand why it is that despite calamities and rapid change nothing feels possible anymore.”
Penney wrote an essay for the site titled “Nuclear Power Plants: Our Industrial Cathedrals” that was both a defense of investment in nuclear energy and a semi-formal declaration of parting ways with the American left. Key passage:
The left’s distaste, and often contempt, for those who have come before us sits side by side with its climate catastrophism. On the one hand, the left wants to escape from history more than it wants to understand it; on the other, they scarcely believe a future is possible. This locks them into a distorted presentism, a survivalism.
We had a great conversation, ostensibly about my blog post “We Are Going to Win” and my response to the blogger Curtis Yarvin, “Roman Rhetoric And Florentine Politics: A Reply To Yarvin”, but in actuality we covered everything from the current state of the conservative movement to technological modernity and international relations.
Check it out.
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On Returning to Twitter, Abusing It, Hating It
It may be that we one day regret turning our public discourse into a narcotic. Until then, unleash the dopamine.
One week ago, I did something I thought I’d never do: I got back on Twitter.
I’d been off mostly uninterrupted for a decade, since 2011 when I’d been on vacation with my family in California. It was the first time I’d ever seen the West Coast, and there was a moment when we were driving down I-5, unfamiliar desert vistas and signs with exotic town names whizzing by, and I was sitting in the backseat, staring at my iPhone 3GS, trying to think up boring bon mots while frantically pressing refresh to check for notifications.
It hit me, then, the cosmic absurdity of all this. I logged off and that was that. I returned briefly in 2016 after a prominent commentator tweeted something kind about an essay I’d written. But after a month or so, I thought better of it and went Twitter-free once again. The endless griping of journalists around D.C. bar tables about how much they secretly hate Twitter steeled me in my decision. I would be the Scarlet Pimpernel of conservative punditry, mysterious, with an effeminate color as my calling card.
The reasons I’m back on now are purely self-interested: I want to share my work, find a wider audience, participate in the (*shudder*) national conversation. Yet I’ve also been awestruck over the past seven days as to just what an unbelievably addictive medium Twitter is. I can be making faces at my four-month-old son, I can be sprawled on my couch reading a good book, and there’s still a small part of my brain that’s adrift in Sector T, wondering whether I’ve racked up likes or retweets from any one of my whopping 75 followers.
It really is all about that positive reinforcement too. I scroll through my feed like everyone else, enjoying the (occasional—don’t flatter yourself, tweeps) funny jokes and sharp analysis. But that isn’t what drives the compulsion; it’s the notifications, the rush of knowing that @TradNeutronBomb455 cares—really cares!—about me! This may in part be my fault. I have one of those post-thumbsucker addictive personalities. I used to blow through half a pack of cigarettes during a night out in the city; at our old TAC offices, I would sit at my desk and half-consciously pop mints in my mouth all day long.
But I also don’t think I’m all that special in this sense. Humans are a compulsive species. We like to have something to do to fill the dry stretches. And it’s hard not to notice that, whereas once you would go into a bar and find people smoking cigarettes and laughing, today you find them sitting alone and staring at their phones. The impulse is the same. Twitter’s innovation has been to take our national discourse and refashion it as a narcotic. And if the subliminal purpose is to keep rewarding yourself with highs, then the incentive is going to be towards ever edgier opinions, more extreme putdowns, more immersive LARPing. How else can you outdo the other junkies and keep the rush going?
Lest you think I’m being melodramatic, one study found that Twitter creates more powerful cravings than cigarettes and alcohol do. Suppress one outlet for that compulsive energy and it will quickly siphon itself into something else. And while Twitter might not give you lung cancer a la smokes, there’s plenty of evidence that social media is making us lonelier, a condition that’s exacting a lethal toll of its own.
It may be that we one day regret turning our public square into a dopamine-sloshed glorified comments section overseen by an evil corporation that seeks to carve up and profit off of our attention spans like so many securitized subprime mortgages. But until then, here we are. And so it is that I just spent a day caring that a conservative organization I do not give a damn about uninvited from their conference a porn star I did not know existed. “What’s happening?” the Twitter prompt cloyingly asks, and you can be damn sure they’ll manufacture something for you if you come up blank.
Then again, who am I to talk? I’m back on the street corner now. You can follow me @mattpurple5. May God have mercy on all of us.
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George Will’s So-Called ‘Civilized Nations’
The columnist's two-tiered cultural hierarchy justifies the worst neocon impulses. It's also just plain wrong.
WaPo columnist George F. Will, the liberal establishment’s token house conservative, is ecstatic about the apparent end to the warmongers’ short-lived wilderness years, celebrating “civilized nations’ efforts to deter Russia and China”—a welcome change from the relative detente of the Trump era—in his most recent semiweekly column.
The octogenarian commentator—historically a moderate on foreign policy, at least by GOP standards—opens with some vicarious saber-rattling about the British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender, which last month reportedly entered Russian-claimed waters off Crimea in the Black Sea. Will is quite proud of the rather modest show of force, which he counts as “one episode among several lately that demonstrate increasing resistance to Russian and Chinese assaults on a rules-based international order.” To that list Will adds a virtual event put on by the Hudson Institute last month on “The Transformation of Japan’s Security Strategy,” as well as a smattering of details, including joint military exercises, that suggest the U.S. and Japan may be prepping for the possibility of war over Taiwan.
More interesting than the routine spasms of hawkishness Will observes is the final line he discharges in cheerleading them: “It is, therefore, well to notice how, day by day, in all of the globe’s time zones, civilized nations are, in word and deed, taking small but cumulatively consequential measures that serve deterrence.”
Whatever the faults of the Chinese and Russian governments (those of the former being particularly egregious) Will’s attempt to set them up in contrast to “civilized nations” can hardly be taken seriously. Under what definition of ‘civilization’ does China—with its morally rich, globally unique, and socially integrated philosophical system; its national history stretching back over four millennia and a political heritage in the making every bit as long; its arts, architecture, and traditions to rival the very best cultural productions of the West—not obviously fall? Likewise Russia, where, for instance, some of the finest works of world literature have been produced even within the last two centuries, and where a pious and profoundly beautiful national Christianity took root more than a millennium ago.
Apparently the brutality of the reigning regimes in these two nations is enough to mark them as uncivilized. But we can hardly claim the moral high ground here. In the United States, some 60 million children have been slaughtered in legal abortions just since 1973; civil authorities cannot even maintain the barest minimum of order, with arson, murder, and looting commonplace in major cities over the past year; our government (not without reason) cannot even maintain public faith in the integrity of its elections. Civilized?
If “civilization” is anything more than liberal procedures and gross domestic product, the United States is anything but—or, at the very least, has no better claim to the label than Russia or China might. If a civilized nation is one with a highly developed culture, marked by social order and historical identity, then on these and numerous other counts China and Russia, political problems notwithstanding, are two of the most civilized in the world.
The first Chinese kings reigned in the last days of the third millennium before Christ. The first U.S. president served yesterday in comparison. Even if we prefer to speak of an Anglo-American civilization (George Will, giddy at the adventures of a British naval destroyer, surely will not object), we cannot trace our roots back much further than the early days of Russia, when China had been an empire for centuries already. Besides, it cannot be forgotten that each of the three nations in question, as it now exists, is the product of a revolutionary rejection of its roots and of its ancient systems. The Russia of the tsars cut off its head in 1917; imperial China had done the same already in 1912; and Anglo-America had beat them to the punch in 1688. If there is any difference between our civilization and theirs, it is that ours emerged last and was abandoned first.
We have seen already and at length what happens when self-professed civilized nations attempt to rule the world beyond their borders. In places like Afghanistan (where Will, no unflinching hawk, was advocating U.S. withdrawal by fall 2009) American failure to understand native civilizations has led to untold suffering and destruction. With nations like China and Russia, the mistake cannot be so easily made, and even less easily excused. Any impending conflict—not between civilized and uncivilized nations, but a true clash of civilizations—may leave George Will very much surprised.
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Chaos and Calamity for College Republicans
A close and contested election may spell the end for the influential party auxiliary.
This past Saturday, the College Republicans National Committee held their biannual convention to elect their national leadership. To say the elections descended into chaos would be an understatement; what happened was closer to a calamity for the organization.
The election was between two factions: a reform ticket led by Arizona’s Judah Waxelbaum and an establishment ticket led by Virginia’s Courtney Britt. The two sides had exchanged heated accusations for months leading up to the election, many of them the routine party politics observers should expect during any election. But the stakes were dramatically escalated when the incumbent national chairman, Chandler Thornton, stripped several state federations supporting the reform ticket of their delegations to the national convention to support his preferred successor, Britt.
The brazen attempt to rig the election was shocking to members of the College Republicans and even drew the attention of influential elected officials. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Senator John Boozman, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, elected officials in states that the CRNC stripped delegates from, released statements supporting the disenfranchised students. Several other state Republican parties also weighed in on behalf of their collegiate counterparts.
Despite the enormous outcry from elected officials and the party grassroots, the CRNC Convention moved forward. The day’s business mainly consisted of heated debate and party-line votes. Courtney Britt delegates systematically voted to strip Waxelbaum-supporting state federations of their delegations to the convention. The plan worked: Courtney Britt was narrowly elected the next chairwoman of the College Republicans.
Or so she thought, as it has become clear her victory was pyrrhic. In the aftermath of the election, outraged state federations across the country began to consider disaffiliation from the CRNC, which would leave Courtney Britt the humiliated chairwoman who broke a 139-year-old party auxiliary. This includes large state federations such as Florida and Pennsylvania, which were stripped of delegates. The Texas and New York College Republicans have already called meetings to formalize their exits. Asked for comment, Texas College Republicans Chairman Brandon Kiser confidently stated, “our vote to exit the CRNC will be unanimous.”
It is not clear how a chairwoman who scorned influential elected Republicans, disenfranchised her members, and set off an organizational secession crisis will be able to rebuild the College Republicans National Committee. After the disaffiliations, it can hardly accurately be referred to as a “National Committee.” The organization is now on life support, and the work to rebuild will fall to the tens of thousands of College Republican grassroots activists on campus. While the CRNC concerns itself with power politics and fiasco, campus conservatives can at least take solace in the honesty and decency of their fellow grassroots activists, upon whom the burden to fight the left without party resources will now fall.
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The Protests in Cuba are Against Communism
Contrary to Twitter and media depictions, Cubans are protesting against the regime rather than a simple vaccine shortage.
Over the past week, the protests in Cuba have earned widespread coverage across the globe. The motivation for the protests is clear to the participants and most onlookers, yet media outlets have insisted on an alternative explanation.
A viral video released on Sunday shows a large group of Cubans shouting “Cuba isn’t yours” in front of the Communist Party headquarters. Protesters also yelled “down with communism” and “down with Díaz-Canel,” in reference to Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who also serves as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, having succeeded Raúl Castro (the younger brother of Fidel Castro).
The obvious takeaway from the protests is that a significant portion of the Cuban population has had enough of communist rule, expressing their opposition to the regime. But according to Twitter’s description, the protests were due to “shortages of COVID-19 vaccines and basic necessities.” The New York Times offered a similarly disturbing evaluation, arguing that the Cuban protesters “shouting ‘freedom’ and other anti-government slogans” were simply upset about “food and medicine shortages.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked this week if the administration acknowledges that the protests are against communism, but her dismissive response placed the blame on government mismanagement without any recognition of the regime at fault. Obviously, the lack of essentials has played a role in the public frustration, but to suggest that the proximate cause of the protests is simply mismanagement and a supply shortage is, to quote President Biden, malarkey.
Others, including Black Lives Matter, have blamed the U.S. embargo on Cuba as the cause of the poverty and misery suffered by Cubans. The embargo is a convenient scapegoat for those who insist that every injustice in the world is attributable to the United States, but it’s difficult to reconcile with reality on the ground. After all, it is not the embargo that has restricted internet access to the public, detained critical journalists, prevented hungry families from fishing, and arrested protesters en masse. No, the endless cycle of oppression begins and ends with the communist dictatorship.
Misdirecting to vaccine shortages and embargos not only distorts the facts, but excuses the barbaric regime. It misleads Americans and humiliates Cuban dissidents, who are relying on the international community for support. None of this necessarily means that the U.S. or any other country should intervene directly in Cuban affairs, but at the very least, we should be telling the truth about the dire situation. And the truth is that the Cuban people have endured decades of communist oppression, resulting in the shortages and desperation now on display for the world to see.
Michael Huling is a graduate student at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and an editorial intern for The American Conservative.
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Limousine Liberals and Brooks Brothers Populists
Class traitors cannot be the drivers of a successful, long-term populist movement on the right or the left.
Cartoonist and columnist Frederick Theodore “Ted” Rall III is in the Wall Street Journal this morning, writing “In Defense of Limousine Liberals,” a less than complimentary label for which he borrows David Callahan’s definition: “hypocritical wealthy do-gooders insulated from the negative fallout of their bad ideas.”
The limousine liberal attracting Rall’s immediate attention is Maya Wiley, a failed progressive candidate for mayor of New York City. Ms. Wiley, daughter of the late professor and activist George Wiley, earned degrees at Dartmouth College and Columbia Law School before going on to a lucrative career in such suspect fields as professional activism, higher education, and Bill de Blasio’s administration. With typical annual salaries comfortably in the six-figure range, and a Prospect Park estate valued at $2.7 million, Wiley hardly has the working-class bona fides one might like to see from a candidate with her professed priorities.
No matter, Rall insists. While neglecting to make any actual argument to this end, he seems certain that there’s nothing wrong or hypocritical about, for instance, decrying inequality in the educational system—and demanding a reckless overhaul of public schools in the names of “equity” and “justice”—while simultaneously placing one’s own children safely in expensive private schools.
Rall’s archetype of this admirable and totally-not-a-hypocrite limousine liberal is the late Massachusetts senator Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy, who, Chappaquiddick notwithstanding, can hardly be regarded as a paragon of the common virtues of the American underclass. Rall recalls Kennedy’s militancy on behalf of forced busing—the top-down integration policy that, perhaps more than any other action, catalyzed the downfall of America’s noblest city—despite his refusal to place his own children in Boston public schools. Whole communities were destroyed by the implementation of busing and the ensuing chaos, educational outcomes plummeted citywide, and as the working-class communities of Boston suffered a blow from which they would never recover, the Kennedys and others who had demanded it all in the name of progress remained entirely untouched.
How exactly this is not hypocritical—to say nothing of why we should go so far as to venerate Kennedy and his ilk—Rall does not venture to explain.
But the most important question here is actually more basic than whether it’s right for limousine liberals to escape the “negative fallout of their bad ideas.” Why are their ideas bad in the first place?
One major reason is the aforementioned insulation: Elites are cut off not just from the repercussions of unsound political action, but from the on-the-ground experiences that would inform sound political action. It’s not just that they have no skin in the game, though this in itself is a moral and political hazard; it’s that the game is so utterly foreign to them that they’re trying to referee without even knowing how it’s played.
Politics is neither abstract nor scientific. Real politics—especially good politics—is organic. The more detached from people and place it becomes, the less its proposed solutions are actually going to line up with the problems at hand. A Ted Kennedy who lived in South Boston and sent his kids to South Boston High would have held the opposite opinions on busing not just out of self-interest, but because his politics would have been informed by experience of the community rather than by the impersonal dictates of social scientists and social engineers.
We need not limit ourselves to hypotheticals. One of the most prominent and persistent opponents of forced busing was state senator William Bulger, who had been born and raised in the neighborhood he served, and opposed busing because he—unlike detached suburbanites like Michael Dukakis and government functionaries like Judge W. Arthur Garrity—knew that it simply wouldn’t work. Bulger, who is living in retirement in (where else) South Boston, was one of the last notable members of a Democratic tradition whose politics were learned not at Dartmouth or B.U., but among the demos for whose good they wielded power—that is, the precise antithesis of the limousine liberal. Now, as Democratic politicians and, consequently, the Democratic platform drift further and further from the working-class base, Republicans have both the opportunity and the responsibility to take up that torch.
Class traitors—something like the limousine liberals, but with more self-awareness—serve a purpose. Plenty of those left behind by the gentrified Democratic party were brought into the Republican fold by the billionaire son of a Manhattan real estate mogul. The apparent heir to the populist wing of the GOP is a banker’s son who went from undergrad at Stanford to a J.D. at Yale Law. The premier voice of the post-Trump, populist right is the preppy-dressing Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson. Such upper-crust champions of the underclass have been called everything from “Brooks Brothers populists” to, in the phrase of Substack blogger Curtis Yarvin, “Coriolanus conservatives.” We could not do without these people—nor would we want to. They are moving in the right ideological direction, and they exercise invaluable political influence in service of what are, by and large, the right ideas. But they can only take us so far.
If the Trump era affirmed one truth about electoral politics, it’s that the person matters much more than the platform. As Yarvin writes in explaining his terminology (taken from the “Shakespeare” play about the famous Roman defector), “Coriolanus makes a bad general of the Volscians—not because he is a bad general, but because he is not a Volscian, and does not understand the Volscian situation.”
If we are going to win—and especially to win in the places where we have not been winning, and where we badly need to—it will not be by descending and arguing really hard that our ideas are better than the alternative, but by showing those whom Rome would crush that we are Volscians, too. (Bonus points if it’s actually true.)
For that, neither Prospect Park nor Mar-a-Lago will do. Middletown might.
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We Are Going To Win
Some brief thoughts in response to T. Greer's "Culture Wars Are Long Wars."
Tanner Greer, who blogs under the title “The Scholar’s Stage,” is one of the most incisive independent writers commenting on American politics today. Some very smart people read him; some very powerful people read him; sometimes, those people are the same people. In a recent post, “Culture Wars Are Long Wars,” Greer makes just that important titular point, reminding us that it is in the turnover of generations that society is truly transformed. This is an old observation: think of the comments of Socrates on education in The Republic or the Bible’s perpetual use of the language of generations—some are crooked and perverse but others will return to the path of wisdom. But it is also a truth that is easy to forget in the hubbub of partisan legislative battles, so that the “culture war” is generally waged by conservatives not with the end in mind, that is the production of a new generation confident in what it means to be a human being and an American, but rather for little horse race victories in elections and the judiciary. The voters are, too often, taken for a ride.
As Greer puts it:
America’s conservatives fought a political war over culture. Republicans used cultural issues to gain—or to try to gain—political power. Their brightest minds and greatest efforts went into securing control of judiciary, developing a judicial philosophy for their appointees, securing control of the Capitol, and developing laws that could be implemented in multiple state houses across the nation. No actual attempt to change the culture was attempted.
That seems about right, to me. Or, at least, it describes the functional effect of the efforts of establishment conservatives for the last half century or so, regardless of their intentions or the supposed nobility of their methods.
So, if we agree that “Culture wars are long wars. Instilling new ideas and overthrowing existing orthodoxies takes time—usually two to three generations of time. It is a 35-50 year process,” then what should we conclude? I think I get to conclude I am going to win. If you, like me, believe that there really is such a thing as a human being, as a normal, as a nature beneath the world, then it can only be resisted so long before a younger generation begins to notice that the status quo is not working out for them. We’re all going to make it. Moreover, if you, like me, are invested in the support of institutions and communities dedicated to preserving the means to receive answers to the questions implicit in those beliefs, e.g. churches, classical schools, great books, and the like, then a 35 to 50 year process is the kind of timeline you were already operating on. As Greer writes:
Cultural insurgents win few converts in their own cohort. They can, however, build up a system of ideas and institutions which will preserve and refine the ideals they hope their community will adopt in the future. The real target of these ideas are not their contemporaries, but their contemporaries’ children and grandchildren. Culture wars are fought for the hearts of the unborn. Future generations will be open to values the current generation rejects outright.
The task in the meantime, then, is to light whatever little candles of culture you can in the face of an encroaching dark and keep them lit by any means necessary, conventionally political or otherwise. Then marry, have children, and add fuel to the fires till they become conflagrations big enough to burn away the chaff. The twilight that is falling now will only make it easier to see the other points of light, to find your companions in the long war’s fight.
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Virginia Murder-Suicide Suspect Never Should Have Been Here
It’s far past time we get serious about immigration and crime.
My hometown of Herndon was rocked recently by a tragic apparent murder-suicide. A mother and her two young children were killed, and shortly thereafter a man who had a personal relationship with the woman jumped off a nearby parking garage to his death. He was not the father of the children.
But now, Fox News reports new details about the suspected killer:
A man in Virginia suspected of murdering his girlfriend and her two children before jumping to his death was a convicted MS-13 gang member who had been living in the U.S. illegally, according to a report.
Records obtained by Fox 5 DC show that 37-year-old Jose Iraheta Palacios – nicknamed “Little Crazy” – pleaded guilty in Fairfax County Circuit Court in 2015 to human trafficking, gang recruitment of a juvenile and three counts of gang participation and was sentenced to nine years.
That sentence would have kept him behind bars until 2024 – but a judge suspended seven years. Iraheta Palacios served two years in state prison and was deported – though later made it back into the U.S.
I have very little patience for the narrative that cruelty lies on the “restriction” side of immigration and crime debates. Cases like this hit close to home, literally. Jose Palacios never should have been in my hometown, never should have been out of jail, and a woman and her two young children should still be alive today—one of them preparing to enroll this Fall in the same middle school I attended.
It’s worth noting that Herndon has long had a sizable Salvadoran community. The town made national headlines in 2007 by opening a town-funded day laborer center which catered to both legal and illegal immigrants. The center was closed after two years, in part due to community backlash. The episode harkens back to a time in which a much more humane immigration debate was possible, one in which there was enough common ground that we could weigh the competing goods of assimilation, compassion, and the rule of law.
It’s hard to imagine similar debate happening today. The town has transformed in the 14 years since. An indication of this can be seen in the ethnic make-up of Herndon High School, my alma mater: When I entered high school in 2006, the Herndon student body was 18% Hispanic. In 2021, it is nearly 50% Hispanic.
This rate and volume of immigration isn’t good for anyone, immigrant or native-born. A society that cannot or will not enforce the rule of law is one in serious trouble. As existing authorities become increasingly incapable of knowing who is living in their community, the community itself, incapable of assimilating new arrivals, will bifurcate along ethnic lines. And as history shows, parallel societies that purportedly share the same government are never a recipe for success.
All of which brings us back to the tragedy that occurred a few weeks back: It never should have happened. To prevent this from happening again, to Americans and immigrants to our country alike, it’s far past time we get serious about keeping American communities both American and safe.