A Perspective on the President’s Plans for the Wall

Well, this from the Family Research Council is a bit more hopeful than most of what I’ve been reading lately.  It’s also interesting, if unsurprising, information about the legal status of the President’s plans.  (Although, the USA is still probably doomed and it’s just a matter of time… )

If liberals wanted to sue over the border wall, they’re about 13 years too late. Congress already gave its blessing back in 2006 when it passed the Secure Fence Act. The same goes for the president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel. The House and Senate have been on board since 1995 when they authorized it. If the Left’s being honest, its problem isn’t that the president is moving forward with the wall. It’s problem is that the president is Donald Trump.

Back in 2014, the Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry points out, the media had no problem calling it a “border crisis.” Neither did Barack Obama, who stood in the same Rose Garden as Donald Trump did on Friday, and insisted, “We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all.” Five years, one administration, and who-knows-how-many caravans later, and suddenly, this president is doing something “immoral” by addressing the situation. That’s not because the dilemma changed. It’s because the occupant of the Oval Office did.

Take columnists like Karen Tumulty. In 2014, Scarry explains, she had no problem writing about the “current crisis on the Southwest border.” Well, it must have magically fixed itself, because last month, she accused the president of “manufacturing an emergency.” California, New York, and 14 other states want you to think that Donald Trump was acting outside of his constitutional authority when he used his executive power to finish the job Congress gave the greenlight to over a dozen years ago. But, as Ken Klukowski told me last night on Washington Watch, nothing could be farther from the truth.

“It’s critical for everyone to understand: the president is not invoking any of his inherent constitutional powers — none of his Article 2 powers, like commander-in-chief authority. In this case, you have a president who is only acting under a specific act of Congress, a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act of 1976. It’s been used 59 times before. This is just number 60. In fact, the 59th time was earlier this month — also by President Trump — regarding U.S. relations with Venezuela, because of course the turmoil going on over there. Maybe I missed the press release, but I didn’t hear the sky fall [when he declared that emergency]. I didn’t hear a news story from the National Archives that the Constitution burst into flames. One would almost think that this is just part of the rule of law. And that’s exactly what’s going on here.”

President Trump’s request is simple. He wants to move money that’s already been approved by Congress from one bank account to another. This president hasn’t “conjured funding from thin air (the military construction and Army Corps funding has already been appropriated),” the Federalist argues, “nor is he using funds for purposes explicitly prohibited by Congress (to the contrary, Congress explicitly authorized the construction of a border wall).”

In other words, there’s no constitutional crisis here. The only reason these leftist states are suing Trump is because he wants to protect American sovereignty and security. Juxtapose that with 2012. When conservative states took Barack Obama to court over his health care mandate, it was for the exact opposite reason. Unlike Trump, Obama wasn’t in the business of protecting freedom — he was in the business of undermining it. Obviously, after eight years of Obama, a lot of people are out of practice when it comes to operating within the limits of presidential authority. But in this instance, the contrast between the two parties has never been clearer.

 

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New Documentary About Africa

African pro-life leaders are putting out a new documentary about Africa and aid from the Western World and how it comes with “Strings Attached” in the form of pushing “progressive” Western ideas and ideology about “reproductive health” (i.e. contraception and abortion) and the harm it causes African nations and peoples.

Here’s the trailer:

Esolen on the Sad State of Our Culture

Anthony Esolen takes a look at all the things that are “normal” today which would have been unthinkable 30 years ago in Who Would Have Known…?

I cannot imagine any librarian thirty years ago, not even the most “liberal” in the land, retaining her job after having a man in drag come and encourage young people in his favorite degeneracy. What changed? What have we learned since then that would cause us to change our minds?

Here are some things I did not know thirty years ago when I could still entertain the idea that a man with a man is no different in emotion and behavior than a man with a woman:

Read the whole thing here.

 

Nationalism and the Pope

Austin Ruse takes a look at Nationalism in Why the Pope is Wrong About Nationalism:

In our own country, we prefer the ability to see our congressman when we redress our grievances and to vote him out of office if he resists. This is clearly not possible in a world of international institutions.

Yet this is the international institutional model Pope Francis seems to favor over “nationalism.”

Nationalism is not a form of government but a way of looking at the human person, the nation-state, and the world. Nationalism presumes a people brought together through a common language and a common religion—though other religions may be accepted—along with a shared history and an agreement to accept the laws of the nation as well as a common defense. Nationalism does not presume isolationism in foreign affairs, as many believe, but does presume not to meddle in the affairs of other peoples.

Israeli scholar Yoram Hazony posits this view in his new book The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books, 2018). Hazony argues the choice is not between nationalism and internationalism, but rather between nationalism and empire. He cites many empires over many centuries including the Holy Roman Empire, and he argues that all of them have been coercive. Such empires are born from a belief that peace and prosperity can only come through a particular worldview that is universally applicable. The acceptance of this worldview comes either voluntarily or through coercion, including war.

I can vouch for the coercive empire-building of the UN and the EU, institutions Pope Francis holds in such high regard. Each has a similar leftist worldview including upholding the “universal values” of abortion and sexual perversion. What’s more, they use their power, mostly monetary and legal, to coerce all governments to accept this view.

Nationalism properly understood allows for citizens to love their own country and at the same time recognize a similar love in the hearts of those in other countries. Nationalism does not preclude bi-lateral agreements, nor even multi-lateral agreements, but the decisions rest within the borders of each state. Nationalism does not posit a global worldview that all others must accept.

How does an Israeli Jew like Hazony handle the Hitler question? He argues convincingly that Hitler was not a nationalist. Like all imperialists, Hitler had his own vision, however twisted, for global peace and prosperity that he was willing to impose on all nations by coercion and violence. Recall, he wanted a global Thousand-Year Reich. This is empire, not nationalism.

The Holy Father should remember the empire emanating from the UN is no friend to the Catholic Church. It is the font of population control and the kind of “ideological colonialism” that he condemned at the General Assembly only a few short years ago. He should also remember it was the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child that told Holy See diplomats that the Church must change her teachings on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

For Children of Divorce Believing in God as Trustworthy Parent May Be Difficult

Having just finished Caryll Houselander’s The Reed of God I was considering reading her autobiography, Rocking Horse Catholic.  Today I ran across this passage from it where she is talking about her reactions after being told by the nanny about her parents’ impending divorce which particularly notes the ability of a child of divorce to continue believing in a loving and trustworthy Father God:

“It is much to my parents’ credit that, though they had long been bitterly estranged, they had never quarreled in my presence; but the suddenness with which the blow struck me did nothing to soften it. My home—the house built on a rock, as I had supposed it to be—was to be swept away, and (as Beatrice took care to tell me) the reason was that my parents had quarreled. My sister and I quarreled very often, and it had always been impressed upon us that we must ‘make it up’ before we went to sleep at night; to let the sun go down upon our anger was considered to be tempting Providence; one of us might die in her sleep, leaving the other to a lifetime of remorse! That grown-up people ever did quarrel was a new and shocking idea, but that, when they did, the quarrel could never be made up at all was something utterly beyond my understanding. It shattered my faith in grown-up people—most of all in fathers and mothers. Emotionally children identify their parents with God. They stand for the things that the idea of God stands for to the human race as a whole—security, home, refuge, food and warmth and light, things taken for granted as unquestioningly as the love which provides them is taken for granted, and with the same innocent egoism of childhood. On the day that a young child learns that his trust in father and mother was misplaced, above all if one or the other has sacrificed him to some other love, emotionally if not consciously his trust in God is shattered. He will not, of course, reflect that circumstances may have overcome his parents; he looked to them for the invulnerability, the unchanging love that belongs only to God. This is why it is important to teach a child’s mind as well as his heart. He needs dogma: the religion that consists of nice feelings, hymns and prayers at Mother’s knee is simply a snare set for his feet. The seeds of revolt against authority had been sown in me even before my home was broken. Now that attitude crystallised. It has complicated my life ever since.”

The Wall: Catholic Approved or Not?

I’ve enjoyed some of Monsignor Pope’s writing in the past, but he goes a little wrong in this piece or perhaps more accurately he just doesn’t go far enough (which I suspect is deliberate and I can’t say I blame him): Is There a Catholic View on the Border-Wall?

He is correct in pointing out what the Catechism actually says in this portion:

In the current debate about “the wall,” I think that the Church should limit herself to speaking to her basic principles on immigrants and immigration. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2241) lays out two principles, which are meant to balance each other:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

So, the Catholic view is that a prosperous nation such as ours should be generous in receiving immigrants, especially refugees and the poor, but that there are legitimate limits the nation can apply. In particular, the receiving nation has a right to expect things of immigrants: that they follow its laws, respect the country’s way of life, and contribute to the shouldering of civic responsibilities. (A nation also has the right and duty to defend and promote the common good of its citizens — see CCC 1910.)

I am personally very upbeat about immigrants in this country, most of whom come from Central and South America. I have found them to be hardworking, skilled (especially in the building trades) and largely Catholic with strong family ties. I think that they are a blessing to our nation and that we should admit a large number of them annually.

I also understand, though, that our borders cannot simply stand open. There are legitimate concerns for security at the borders and immigration must be well-managed in order to promote the safety and general welfare of all: Americans and immigrants.

Where I think he goes wrong is in his optimism for immigrants in this country, which  I think is vastly misplaced based on the facts (Perhaps readers will remember our previous post cataloging of just a few of the murders committed by immigrants?).  I have no doubt that a portion of immigrants are just as Monsignor describes (especially those who have entered our country LEGALLY), but there are plenty more who absolutely do NOT hold up their end of the bargain to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” 

There is another place where I think he makes a mistake: our country is not as prosperous as he thinks it is or in as sure a place to offer generous aid to others.  Our prosperity is an illusion that could any moment be dissolved into chaos, poverty and collapse.  How many of our OWN citizens suffer terrible poverty and violence?  Should we not care for them first?  What of our Nation’s crushing and unsustainable debt load?  It IS going to catch up with us some day?  An individual’s worth is figured not just by looking at assets but by subtracting liabilities.  The USA has substantial liabilities to reckon with.  This is not to say that our country resembles a third world one — yet — since even our poor have smart phones, but even that is a symptom of terribly mismanaged charity.

One comment on Msgr. Pope’s post succinctly summed up the interpretation of the Catechism: “no country is required to beggar itself in the name of false charity, or to rob its people of the fruits of their work and for their posterity.”

Another passage from the Catechism that may apply to this situation is 2266: “The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to the people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good.  Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense…”

I don’t think storming another nation’s border and demanding entry qualified as respecting the citizens’ rights or of following the “basic rules of civil society.” If you break a Nation’s laws (unless they are legitimately immoral to follow), you are liable to punishment by said Nation.

And in case anyone needs convincing that shutting down illegal border crossings will benefit even those trying to cross, take a look at just one example of the horrible cost to women and children who cross the border, by choice or force: National Security Is Worth Wall .