Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tidbit for Thought

Was walking to the grocery store the other day and passed a group of Immigrant Rights supporters. This group identified as Socialists and one of their banners stated, "No human is illegal." Now, call me crazy, but does it seem strange to anyone else that a group calling themselves Socialists would cite to some sort of "higher law" like they did? Certainly someone could be illegal under positive law, so their statement could only make sense if they believe in some higher moral law in which all men share equally as legal citizens. Yet don't most Socialists scorn the very idea of a higher law? Marx did say that religion is the "opiate of the masses." Perhaps the higher law is grounded in something else: rationality? But didn't a higher law grounded in rationality lead to the very burgeois system the Socialists eschewed? Perhaps I'm forgetting some basic tenet of Socialism or something, but I'm pretty sure there's some incongruity there. I would find any explanations or corrections helpful.

6 comments:

D said...

I think you might be over-analyzing. The banner expresses the factual statement that there is no such thing as an illegal person. People can be in the country illegally, but that doesn't make the people themselves illegal. We don't call people who get parking tickets "illegals."

Labeling people as "illegal" is a way to dehumanize them, which is what we do when we want to treat people as less-than-human.

-Dave Lane

Anonymous said...

I say we make it illegal to be osama...he justifiably is an illegal person

Anonymous said...

Since Marxists abhor nation-states, the phrase "no person is illegal" makes perfect sense to me coming from a Marxist.

Charles Iragui said...

Many people have commented on the ressemblance between communism/marxism and organized religion. The passionate devotion of militants to the cause of worldwide socialism implied belief in truths higher than any positive law (Antigone's "divine law"). Is this logical? If one believes that unguided human reason can pick out right/wrong, then it is not inconsistent...

Marx certainly believed that Communism would be the achievement of the ideals of the religion/superstition-combatting Enlightenment, and would create a paradise of human wisdom. And a big part of that was equality of all human beings.

I think, unlike Dave, that this slogan is exactly what you've said Sarah, a denunciation of our ability to exclude/expel people from our territory. (I highly recommend taking Immmigration Law.)

I think that just as a thief has no right to steal into one's house, so aliens have no right to enter this or any other country (with the same exception as trespass has: necessity, like starvation or flight from danger).

Gustavo Arosemena said...

The slogan is rethoric (not factual) aimed at changing public opinion and the decisions of authorities (in the broadest sense). Its certainly not construing US Law, or even atempting to defend a natural law doctrine. After all, its just a banner. Please excuse if I am stating the obvious but otherwise we might make a straw man out of it, unintentionally.

Its an emotional appeal that in theory, should shock people into realizing that its immoral (inapropriate etc) to call somebody illegal, when its a person and thus its expected to have some "dignity"

That fight for human dignity is pretty central to socialism, there´s the whole "alienation" issue there. Consider that that foreing capital, produced by workers is welcome much more easily anywhere in the world.

Thats my idea about how it is consistent

Anonymous said...

I think you may be looking at this from an overly doctrinaire position. Socialism has evolved into many subgroups, with competing ideologies. Some adherents of liberation theology fall into categories of socialism, for example (socialism as a derivative of religious obligation). The Gandhian ashram is essentially a socialist ideal: moral codes have been used to promote socialist policies in the past, and there's no reason to think that they are inherently incompatible unless one thinks, ironically enough, of Marx as Gospel.

That's frankly a fundamental error that could only be made by someone with a superficial understanding of socialism as a concept.