Magic Thinking and Personal Interest

We’ve talked about confirmation bias in the past and how we are all susceptible. Confirmation bias is when we accept those things that support our particular view of the world and reject those things which call that view into question. A version of this is Moral Intuition. That’s when we respond to a particular issue emotionally and then use our rational brain to create arguments supporting what we have already decided must be true because it aligns with our moral foundations.

These biases lead to Magic Thinking. That is when we invent or accept views completely unsupported by science or fact because this particular view is consistent with our world view.

Here’s an example of Magic Thinking.

God makes political choices
This is a simple one to work through. God, as described in the Bible, is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfect. He created us in His image and likeness which means in His eyes we are perfect too. He supplies our every need. So why would this God involve Himself in politics at all? It is akin to praying that God influence the outcome of a sporting event. Why would He bother? It is our responsibility to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling”. Then Paul goes on to say, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Events unfold to further God’s will, not to satisfy our own particular personal plan. That will is His desire for us to increase in grace and in our understanding of Him. So the unfolding of God’s plan is generally the path that does the most good and blesses everyone. There are no losers in God’s plan. Winning is strictly a human concept. It is Magic Thinking to expect a prayer for victory to be answered. A much more effective prayer is one that humbly seeks direction and alignment with the plan that is already in place for us.

Magic Thinking is dangerous for our democracy because it transforms important issues from facts to belief. Beliefs are highly emotional subjects. So any attempt to debate them is divisive. That’s because beliefs by their nature are personal. So when you question a belief, you are also calling into question the intelligence and honesty of the person holding that belief.

Some who seek to manipulate the public in order to advance their own agendas put a lot of effort into transforming political positions into beliefs.

Here are some other examples.

Climate Change
From a scientific perspective, there is wide agreement that the climate is changing and that the change is PRIMARILY caused by human activity. That doesn’t mean that all scientists agree on everything. There are certainly a small number of climate scientists who have dissenting views. It also doesn’t mean that the scientific models are perfect. They aren’t because our planet is a complex system. But those models continue to improve as climate scientists better understand how our planet is responding to the increased heat being retained by our atmosphere.

Magic Thinking claims that climate change is some sort of liberal conspiracy. The politics of personal interest is the best way to disprove that. Self interest in the scientific community is strongly biased toward disproving accepted theories. That’s how scientists make a name for themselves in their peer community. The scientific method REWARDS the person who is able to demonstrate that a popular theory is flawed. That reward is shared with those who can duplicate the experiments which support the new theory. In other words, a dissenting view supported by good research is always welcome in the scientific community.

There is also no proof that scientists who disagree with the generally accepted theories about climate change suffer financially. In fact, it is much the opposite. Those small number of dissenters from the majority view are richly rewarded for their positions by the powerful interests who oppose actions restricting the use of fossil fuels.

The politics of personal interest also provide a simple explanation for conservative opposition to any government actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The majority of the money financing conservative politicians who deny climate change comes from organizations linked to the Koch Brothers. Their wealth is based on fossil fuels. Their personal interests are opposed to any restrictions on the use of fossil fuels.

They have successfully deployed the same techniques originally developed by the Tobacco Industry to create doubt and confuse science and belief. If anything, it is testimony to the ethics of the scientific community that most climatologists have resisted the temptations of participating in the lucrative practice of junk science.

Free Markets
The Magic Thinking here is that free markets can regulate themselves. So any failure for free markets to operate successfully is attributed to too much government intervention rather than companies that have become too big to fail.

The reality is that while it is certainly possible for government to overreach, there is no evidence that free markets can effectively operate without regulation.

The politics of personal interest are a reliable measure of where this argument came from too. Who stands to benefit the most from a deregulation? Those entities that had been previously regulated, their management, and their stock holders. Who back the conservative politicians who promoted the agenda of deregulation? The same group.

One need look no further than China for examples of how industries behave in economies where there are no regulations. The environment is polluted. Workplaces kill workers. Products kill customers.

The Magic Thinking is on the part of individuals who have been convinced by these larger monied interests that deregulation benefits them. Just ask the people in Charleston, West Virginia where “business friendly” state regulations allowed a toxic chemical storage facility to be built upstream from their drinking water intake pipes. Magic Thinking in this case is the Libertarian view that the marketplace will punish bad corporate behavior. The facts are that at least in our version of capitalism, short term profits always trump long term unfunded liabilities (externalities).

What happens instead is that the offending company profits from their bad behavior. Those profits flow to company management and shareholders. When the externalities finally catch up with the company, the real costs of production are revealed. The cost of the damage done to either the environment, the workers, or the customers far outweighs the assets of the company. The company declares bankruptcy and taxpayers are often left holding the bill. Lawyers may make a little money attempting to recover some costs from those who profited, but most of those profits are long gone and will never be recovered.

Immigration
Just like climate change, this country is facing an undeniable demographic reality. Our population is aging. If we fail to embrace immigration, we will suffer the same bleak economic outlook that Japan has been struggling with the past decade. Combine that with the major demographic shifts in the electorate that were the foundation for Obama’s two Presidential victories and Republicans are facing a stark choice. Either embrace immigration reform or die as a relevant national party.

The Magic Thinking is that conservative Republicans can continue to be a force in the House because of gerrymandering and the lower voter turnouts during off year elections. As long as they can retain that majority, they don’t need the White House or the Senate. They can do this by suppressing the vote, preventing immigrants from becoming citizens, playing wedge politics with their base, and outspending the opposition.

The reality is that conservatives are simply going to run out angry white voters. When they do, it will be hell to pay for the tactics that they employed to hold onto the power that they had.

Abortion
The facts are the no one can say when life begins. We can recognize when something is living, but there is no agreement when something starts living.

The rest of the facts are that Roe V. Wade did not decide when life begins. It also had nothing to do with personhood. It was decided based on the rights of the mother. Her rights take precedence until the point in time that the fetus can survive independently. There is NOTHING that the current right to life movement can do to change that perspective short of a constitutional amendment.

Magic Thinking, however, suggests that the Justices make a bad decision. They simply didn’t have the facts that we have today. If we just get some different justices on the bench, the decision will get reversed. It’s not going to happen.

The politics of self interest call into immediate question why this issue continues to fester for decades after this decision was made. The people who benefit from this continued controversy are the advocacy groups (for both sides) and the politicians who are able to raise money by aligning themselves with one group or the other. It is not unlike divorce lawyers to make their money asserting the rights of their client, when they know full well that judges are loath to give one parent sole custody of the children, support an inequitable property split, limit child support, or these days provide alimony. If both parties in a divorce were told what the likely settlement would be, they would start to work out the details on their own rather than invest money in lawyers attempting to “win”. The same is true here. No one will win. It will instead be a trench war that will only stop when the next generation refuses to continue to fund special interest groups.

The Poor
Poverty is a complicated subject. The facts are that programs like Social Security and Medicaid have dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly. We already dug into the economic costs of poverty and the benefits to reducing it.

The Magic Thinking, however, is that poverty is the fault of the poor. They must have made a bad decision somewhere in their lives for them to end up in the position that they now find themselves. As a result, any attempt to help them escape poverty does nothing to resolve the more fundamental character weakness that got them in this condition to begin with.

Ayn Rand has written the “Bible” for this particular form of Magic Thinking. The challenge is that those who advocate this gospel of “personal responsibility” and “greed is good” are also dealing in belief rather than fact.

Conclusion
Magic Thinking masks the politics of personal interest. Those special interests are well versed in the tactics required to transform political points of view into beliefs. Once a political position becomes part of an individuals belief system, they are no longer open to a fact based discussion. Those who embrace these beliefs will only accept the facts that support their beliefs. They will reject the facts that call those beliefs into question. They will defend their positions using the stock arguments of Moral Intuitionism. Those include media bias, conspiracy theories, flawed polling, and junk science.

The result is an increasingly polarized electorate, gridlocked government, and crumbling economic and physical infrastructure. The only times that we are able to make any changes are during the first two years of any new administration when the majority party can actually pass parts of their agenda by imposing their will on the minority.

This is no way to run a country.

13 Responses to “Magic Thinking and Personal Interest”

  1. Keith says:

    Let’s see if we can’t identify some real magic thinking..

    God cares about politics. – ROMS 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” And verse 4 – “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” Jeff wanna try again?

    Climate change – I still don’t see it. The little, oh so little, we can influence emission of CO2 can not do much harm. It sure was a cold year by the way, Storms are at an all time low seemingly. Very little tornado activity in two years, longest period of time in recorded history with out a major hurricane, etc, etc, etc…. coming up on 17 years with no warming. Don’t bother to respond as you’ll simply regurgitate the same propaganda just like I just did.

    Free markets – How this…. GOVERNMENT is need to make the rules and then be the ref. (They aren’t very good at either of them) We simply can’t have “Free markets.” However what we need is a market with as much freedom as possible from the govt. Again this doesn’t mean NO GOVT!!! (We probably agree on this)

    Let me make one case of what govt shouldn’t do. Student loans for college seem like a good idea. I can think of very few things where growth in rates matches that of tuition. Why is this. The colleges no most can no longer afford school without loans. SO why keep raining the rates? Well the govt provides student loads so kids who couldn’t normally get there with out a job or some other means can go. Colleges keep raising rates, create more majors, many worthless, And the govt keeps supporting it. Now student debt is well over a trillion dollars? Why? Because the govt created a bubble. Would college rates have continued to to go up so rapidly without cheap money being supplied to students? In the mean time colleges are creating more degrees then are necessary. How many flight attendants, bar tenders tsetse’s are college degreed, some completely worthless, because college was made affordable by student loans…. See how gov’t tries to do a good thing but ends up creating a mess? (Just like the Carter housing act, Clinton doubling down on it, then Greenspan creating very cheap money then BOOM!!!!!)

    Immigration – Magic thinking calls someone here illegally an “Undocumented worker.” Lets just stop there. We have a terrible problem today. My heart goes out to every kid at the boarder and beyond. This has nothing to do with immigration. NOTHING. It’s magic thinking on your part to assume it does. A person here illegally is illegal. If you want to discuss immigration reform then that an entirely different matter. I can not magically think as you have,

    Abortion – It is legal in this country for a woman to kill the child inside of here. To that we agree. Magic thinking says that it’s a choice not murder. While that choice is legal is does not stop it from being what it is. Over 50,000,000 times in the USA since Roe v Wade. So lets not use magic thinking but facts. Every person thats been born, except Jesus, has been a fertilized egg. Every time. It’s the only way it happens. So once that egg is fertilized the process towards life has begun. The supreme court of the USA decided that a woman is free to do with this fertilized egg what she chooses because the fertilized eggs has no rights, it is not recognized. This does not suggest the “thing” in her women is not life. Only magic thinking allows one to believe this isn’t the putting away with life, and therefore murder… )However murder is legal in this case) Magic thinking is alive and well…

    Poverty – I pray for the poor and help the poor. Also the bible says the poor will always be among us. It is complicated. The bible also says if a man does work neither should he eat. You however are taking a one sided view. I have many friends in poverty that had every opportunity I had. Sat in the same classes, ate the same food, one even lived in the same house. While many are in poverty through no fault of their own, many are in poverty, and took others with them, due to their own choices. You are choosing a very difficult subject here to apply magic thinking. It goes both ways. (A third way is simply a person who has no abilities, may have a disability or some other disfunction.) You simply are framing conservatives as you see fit… This is magic thinking.

    Conclusion – While I have always very much enjoyed our conversations – it is very obvious you are suffer the bias you accuse others of having. A simply review of the subjects you choose to write ponder will confirm that. Jeff, we all have bias’ it’s impossible to remove them from ourselves. Heck, you even spent a lot of time discussing our predisposition …. 😉

    You’re still the man however…. thanks for keeping up the oat..

  2. Keith says:

    Magic thinking allows you to go back to the “liberal playbook” as Rome is burning. Are the above really all you have to comment on. The IRS – everyone testifying seemingly is lying or pleading the fifth, Benghazi cover-up manipulation of communication, -2.9 GDP in Q1 etc etc etc… Common Jeff get out of campaign mode..

    The administration is struggling and the perception that we elected a person who makes a good spear but is not a leader is certainly clarifying…. The media is doing it’s best to help him but there is only so much he can do.

    Poor Hillary is running around the country trying to set herself up for 2016 but keeps saying she and her husband are hardship cases and “really aren’t that well off” even though they made more the $100 million in the last 13 hears, own to multi million dollar mansions ext ect ect. What can we make of this?

    I will comment further on healthcare in a few days…..

  3. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Sounds like a touched a nerve.

    I said that God doesn’t care about who wins. Jesus addressed that issue pretty clearly when he said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.unto Ceasar’s.” He didn’t comment on the legitimacy of the Roman occupation, or the hope of the Jews that the Messiah would help return Israel’s independence. It is magic thinking to suggest that God is on your side. Lincoln best expressed that during the civil war when he said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

    Wikipedia has a good in depth article on this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_and_religion

  4. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Climate Change – “I still don’t see it.” You are welcome to your opinion, but it has no standing with regard to the science of the matter because you aren’t a climate scientist. That is the Magic Thinking here, that the opinions of lay people have the same weight as those who have devoted their lives to the study of this subject and submit their findings to rigorous peer review.

    You fact that you feel empowered to discount science as propaganda is probably the most damning evidence of the depth of your belief.

    There are those who for religious reasons claim that they earth is much younger than it is and try to pick apart that reality. Their view is not supported by the scientific facts that have survived peer review. Man’s time on the earth has been very brief. There was a time when the earth was simply inhabitable by anything. So some time between the time when the earth was too hot for life and when we have the first evidence of homo sapiens, something happened. But it did not follow the literal interpretations of either Genesis story.

    I don’t know whether or not you have gone around the world. I have not. Yet I’m willing to accept that the world is round, even though I have no personal experience that this is the fact. Your claims about climate change are similar to those who claimed that the world is flat or that the earth was the center of the universe. Science disproved those claims centuries ago, but it took a long time for those facts to be accepted by the general public. Beliefs are hard to change. Generally those who hold them take them to their grave.

    Science has also disproved claims that the climate is not changing or the dramatic changes occuring are caused primarily by something other than human activity. If you can’t accept those facts, there really is nothing more to discuss because you are operating with belief rather than fact. You are also likely to take at least some of those beliefs to your grave. A grave that will experience a very different climate during the years after your death than occurred during your life.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Free Markets – well at least we can agree on something. Government has a role in limiting the excesses inherent in the free market.

    After that we are just discussing the details.

    The rule should be pretty simple. When corporations misbehave, we need government oversight.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Immigration – Magic Thinking is that this is an enforcement problem. What is deliciously ironic is that the current underage immigration problem is the result of a law signed by Bush II. It effectively gives free entry to every underage illegal immigrant as long as they are from a country that doesn’t have a border with the US.

    This is a policy problem.

    Our immigration policy should support our national goals – grow the economy, increase our productivity, and protect our international interests.

    Instead we have a policy that is influenced by xenophobia and special interests.

    I’ve provided the details in previous posts to support the fact that immigration is directly related to availability of jobs. During the recession, net immigration dropped to zero. Now that the economy is rebounding, so are job opportunities for undocumented workers. Republicans could have stopped illegal immigration cold by going after the employers. The reason they don’t do that is because immigrant labor is important to Republican interests.

    Republicans can’t seem to see beyond the narrow fears of their base, and the Magic Thinking is that they can continue to win by making immigrants the enemy.

  7. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Abortion – You again are welcome to your belief that abortion is murder, but that is all that it is.

    You confuse fertilization with living.

    Here are the qualities that an entity must possess to be considered living according to scientists.

    1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state.
    2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells.
    3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism).
    4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism.
    5. Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment.
    6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms.
    7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

    A zygote does not exhibit all of these capabilities.

    While there is widespread agreement on what a living organism looks like, there is very little agreement on when something starts living. That’s because life is really a process rather than an event.

    Magic Thinking confuses belief with science. That’s what is going on here.

    The other component of Magic Thinking is the belief that deciding when life starts will somehow be able to overturn Roe v. Wade. It won’t. That’s because the legal decision has nothing to do with when life begins or when a fetus becomes a person.

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Poverty – The Magic Thinking that I was taking issue with here was the characterization popularized by Ayn Rand and regurgitated by politicians like Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and Gary Johnson. All those who are poor are guilty of bad choices and bad thinking. Those who are successful have no responsibility to help the poor because that would be removing the single strongest incentive they have to become more responsible adults.

    I agree that poverty is a complicated issue with no simple answers or universally proven solutions.

  9. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Magic Thinking – I agree with you that Magic Thinking is not the exclusive province of conservatives. There are some liberals, for example, who use Magic Thinking to justify not vaccinating their kids.

    The political challenge, however, is that big money interests have successfully used Magic Thinking to transform conservative positions into belief. That has led to the extreme levels of partisanship that we have experienced in this county.

    For better or for worse, liberals have aligned themselves with the scientific community. That isn’t to say that there are still examples of Magic Thinking. But liberals by the nature of their makeup, have an easier time changing their beliefs when science suggests they are in error.

    Not a value judgement. Just the scientific facts. 🙂

  10. Keith says:

    #1) God does care who wins..Again read the passage I posted above. He decided who wins!!! I’m not sure how the verse you responded with applies

    #2) You said – The fact that you feel empowered to discount science as propaganda is probably the most damning evidence of the depth of your belief.
    MR) I do not discount science. What I do discount is that science is the property of the left…. Science, in this case as it pertains to global warming, sorry I’m not going to use the progressives new word for it, has not convinced many of it’s findings. I do not believe science knows all there is to know about our earth. (is it propaganda on the lefts part to actually change the name?)

    I do not believe science knows the history of the earth or the earths climate AT ALL! We have been studying the climate for 100 years, give or take, and how old is the earth? Really think we know what happened?

    I do not believe science knows how the data they formulate today will effect us tomorrow with absolute certainty. Al Gore is already wrong…

    Did you notice Jeff that the govt replace 2007(?) as the hottest year ever and put back 1935, I think, as the hottest year ever? (remember that’s just out of the last 100 or so.

    Why if CO2 causes all this arming would 1935 be the warmest year. Why then is we continued to pour CO2 into the air at ever increasing level since 1935, again I think< would in the 1970's Time Mag have a cover story that said the experts say we're going to freeze? Shouldn't it Jeff have continued to get hotter and hotter as we poured more and more CO2 into the air from 1935 , (?) on?

    I do not believe I know as mush as science AT ALL. Jeff, NO ONE has bothered to answer those very simple questions. I have plenty more. All I know is from the first time I even knew there was a conversation about global warming Progressives like yourself were calling me a denier and that the discussion is over.
    So you can stick to the progressive playbook and call names all you's like but until science can answer the seemingly very simple questions I have then I will continue to ask them…. Science only knows what it knows. Even now science is begging to say the oceans depth is doing a better job of cooling the air then they thought…

    #3) The perfect example of your misplaced science!!!!!

    YS) Here are the qualities that an entity must possess to be considered living according to scientists.

    MR) EXACTLY!!!!! Who says science makes this call.

    Tell my 13 week along niece carrying her first child this. She just had her second ultra sound…… "my baby was doing flips for the camera. When he/she finished showing off it layer there, facing the camera with he/she's legs crossed. I couldn't believe what I was looking at."

    Jeff, this is progressive nonsense. Regurgitate it if you'd like. Use it to call conservatives stupid and having a belief rather then science. I'd call your use of science a red herring…. Defend your position against this; Every person on earth began as a fertilized egg. Your use of science may sooth the conscious of those how support abortion, as legal as it is, but it fails the smell test.

    YS)For better or for worse, liberals have aligned themselves with the scientific community. That isn’t to say that there are still examples of Magic Thinking. But liberals by the nature of their makeup, have an easier time changing their beliefs when science suggests they are in error.

    MR) Might it be becasue librals HAVE NO BELIEFS. So LIBRALS have created SCIENTIFIC "facts" to support their position. Let's go back to abortion. They have created a set of BELIEFS that says what life is. What are they based on? Things they believe to be required to live. I do not agree this is LIFE. Does this mean I don't believe in science? NO. It means life is as it begins!!! So take your science and apply it more correctly and then we have something….

    Nice try though…

  11. Keith says:

    And changing gears…. doesn’t Obama’s lack of recognition of his failings, my words, seem awfully reminiscent of Bush failing to recognize his? Your words.

    I would also ask for you to define immigration reform. Please do this in light of the 80’s deal they got Reagan to sign which was suppose to be the end all. Just what do you progressives want..

    Here’s my list

    Close the boarder FIRST AND FOR MOST OR IT HAPPENS AGAIN.
    NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED IN AFTER THIS!!!

    All here illegally go to the post office in the next 6 months and register so we know who you are. You will
    #1 – get a “I’m here card”
    #2 Pay some sort of fine
    #3 If you are a felon you’re going home.
    #4 Under 18 “dreamer” you will be allowed to be a citizen
    #5 You came illegally you will have legal residency but NEVER be allow to vote.
    #6 You will speak english
    #7 Promise not to park your car on the front lawn (Thanks funny Jeff, it’s ok to laugh. They made jokes about us Italians. They also make this joke too!!)

  12. Jeff Beamsley says:

    1) Good example of why you can’t argue religion. Your view is a version of Calvinist pre-destination. God choses winners and losers and there is nothing that you can do about it. You are welcome to that view, but I don’t happen to share it. Not worth discussing this anymore because we won’t get anywhere.

    2) Science is valid in and of itself because it can prove its conclusions based on theory and experiment. Just like truth, science doesn’t need a poll to determine what is true. Most of the people in world as one time believed that the earth was flat. It still was round.

    Your opinions about climate change (not a progressive term, but a scientific one) don’t matter because you aren’t a climate scientist.

    Climate scientists HAVE answered all of your questions. You have simply been unwilling to accept their answers because of your basic confirmation bias on the subject.

    Also science is apolitical.

    The whole point of this post is that progressives have generally aligned themselves with science because they are much less prone to magic thinking that conservatives. The reaction of conservatives has been to reject the advice of the scientific community because it calls into question their basic beliefs. Not a good way to run a country.

    BTW, climate scientists are NOT saying that the ocean is doing a better job of “cooling the air”. They are saying that more of the excess heat generated by increased greenhouse gases is being stored by the oceans than they originally thought. As a result, ocean temps are rising more quickly which results in sea level rise and more intense storms. There is limit to how much of this heat the ocean is going to be able to store. Once that limit is reached, air temps will begin to rise more quickly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_heat_content

    3) There is a difference between “living” and “growing” as the scientific definition living points out.

    Cancer is an example of something that grows out of control in the bodies of some people. No one would suggest that cancer is living.

    This is a good example of your willingness to reject those who devote their lives to this study of these issues because they call your basic beliefs into question.

    Sorry that it makes you uneasy, but your reaction is a perfect example of the Magic Thinking that I mentioned.

    As far as name calling, you might want to look in the mirror. Lots of name calling in your post.

    Liberals DON’T create scientific facts. Scientists do. Another example of how you create reasons to reject basic science because liberals are much more likely to approach a political issue from a science-base perspective rather than a belief-based perspective.

    Also to suggest that liberals don’t have beliefs just because we don’t happen to share some of yours is equally absurd.

    You can reject the scientific description of living if you would like, but when you do and then substitute your own belief-based description, you are engaging in Magic Thinking.

    Thanks for proving my point.

  13. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Just posted something on immigration.

    It is consistent with stuff that I have posted in the past.

    Immigration is NOT an enforcement problem.

    The reason conservatives view it that way is because of they are blinded by their moral foundations – in this case fairness/cheating and authority/loyalty. They simply can’t get past the fact that people are breaking the law and not being punished for it – even if it is a bad law.

    It is a POLICY problem.

    People primarily come here because there are jobs. During the recession when the jobs dried up, immigration dried up.

    We have jobs that US citizens are unwilling to work.

    We have foreign workers willing to work those jobs.

    We have an economy built in part on the low domestic prices for things like fresh produce based in large part on cheap immigrant labor.

    We could solve the immigration problem in a minute by instituting a guest worker program like many other countries around the world have done.

    We could save a lot of money at the border by enforcing this guest worker program at the employer level.

    The problem is that conservatives don’t want the current system to change. It makes them money and allows them to demagogue immigrants. That is another lovely aspect of the conservative mind set that we have been dealing with ever since catholics followed protestants to the new world.

    While I agree with many of the points that you have listed, it really doesn’t matter.

    In the very near future this country will do a complete 180 on immigration and be the better for it. Immigration is going to power the economic engine of this country for the next 50 years. It’s these immigrants, and not the conservative politicians trying to demonize them, that will save our retirement system by pumping new young workers into our system and new family formation into our economy.

    Conservatives won’t like it, but they will simply be out voted.

    If you can speak Spanish, you’ll have a big advantage.

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