I was presented with a bit of a moral dilemma – I guess, more of a moral question…
I was discussing the morality, the amorality or the immorality of separating children from adults trying to illegally cross the US border – and in that discussion, I was called immoral because I wanted the law enforced. It isn’t that I don’t have sympathy or compassion for these children, but it seems to me this is a little like the old story of the child murdering his parents and then petitioning the judge for mercy because he is now an orphan. I get that there are cases where people are fleeing terrible conditions in their home countries (and there are a percentage who aren’t, they just seek economic advancement – like the mother of the child Time magazine dishonestly placed on its cover).
So, being somewhat schooled in the Socratic Method, I asked a few questions.
“Does morality and compassion have a border? Does caring begin and end along the Rio Grande? If they get a foot across the line, we are supposed to care and if they don’t they are invisible?”
“Why do you ask?” came the reply.
I then proceeded to make an argument for something that is historically proven effective but now considered gauche and evil – hegemonic imperialism.
I asked, “My point was that if you care about the morality of helping refugees and have true compassion, and you have the power to stop the root causes of the conditions the refugees are fleeing, do you not have the moral duty – a moral imperative – to do so?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean a good old dose of Manifest Destiny. Projecting American leadership and dominance by extending her power and influence militarily. If we are concerned about the plight of illegal immigrants, from a moral perspective, should we also not be concerned about the same conditions experienced by people who can’t or won’t escape them? It seems to me that selective compassion lacks morality.”
“Well, we can’t do that.”
“Why not? These states are clear and present dangers. The Mexican government is corrupt and now it is going to be corrupt AND communist. The new president-elect has already encouraged an invasion at our southern border. For decades, Mexico has done little to nothing to stem illegal immigration, the drug trade or human trafficking. Central America is just as bad.”
“Nation building in Afghanistan and Iraq were disasters.”
“I agree. New store, same old crappy management. If you are going to have a better store, you must change the management. It isn’t the general populations of Mexico and Central America who are the issues – it’s the corrupt governments. If it is ever to be fixed, this is where it must start. You have to end the corruption.”
“We have no right to interfere with sovereign nations. That would be an invasion.”
“No, it would be a defensive action against an invasion that is ongoing – one that has been ongoing for decades – and I’m not talking about nation building, I’m talking about national expansion. I’m not talking about transplanting American values, I’m talking about something akin to the old British Empire – they don’t model us, they are PART of us. Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama…all part of the United States (or at least part of a commonwealth governed by the US, under our Constitution with protection from a military that can end the corruption.”
“No one wants that. Plus, nobody wants all those problems.”
“Well, your own comments show how wrong that is. You make the argument that people want to come to the US for freedom, opportunity and economic success – so they do want that, enough so that they are willing to transit 2,000 miles or more with nothing but the clothes on their backs to get it…and as for the problems, we suffer the effects of them now – we just have little means to effectively deal with them.”
“It’s not our right…”
“Maybe not…but America is expected to take responsibility for something it can’t. America can’t accept responsibility without the authority to do something about it. Hell, we’ll even invite Canada and Puerto Rico – call it the USNA – the United States of North America. Our southern border would then be the 139 mile border between Panama (the 60th state) and Colombia rather than the 1,954 mile US/Mexico border – shorter wall and much easier to defend.”
“Not really. I think in the coming years, we’ll find out how possible it really is. It is the only way I can see to deal with the real issues that plague all of the countries spanning North America.”
So, there was my defense of imperialism and hegemony as the solution to our moral dilemma at the southern border.
A bit of “go big or go home”, I guess.