“Trump considering declaring national emergency in an effort to secure wall funding”

Wow. Trump and Pelosi and now waging a real battle of the minds.

Trump wants to take money and labor from the military to build a wall, and Pelosi calls the wall an “immorality.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your elected representatives, America’s best and brightest.

31 thoughts on ““Trump considering declaring national emergency in an effort to secure wall funding”

    1. Never said it was close to the same thing. Trump’s actions are clearly worse. Declaring a fake national emergency IS immoral …

      But constructing a fortified national border is an accepted principle of humankind’s geopolitics, whether you agree with it or not. Neither stance, not pro nor con, is moral or immoral.

      The wall seems impractical, wasteful, unnecessary and in some areas all-but-impossible to build. But there’s no moral issue. It’s just a national border.

      Plus it’s a hunk of concrete or maybe some steel slats. It’s an inanimate object. It hurts nobody. No land mines. No electrification. No guards shooting people from their towers. It just sits there. No immorality involved.

      (Although it may be built for immoral reasons.)

      Trump himself may certainly be guilty of immorality, but that’s a different subject.

      1. You may want to look into the ecological impact of the stupid wall before you declare it morally neutral. Not to mention all of the imminent domain cases that will ensue. Not to mention the basic immorality of wasting money on a pointless wall when millions of Americans have no access to healthcare, and hundreds of millions are one catastrophic health condition from bankruptcy.

        But sure, I guess we can pretend that Trump’s wall-o-racism is morally neutral, if that’s what it takes to assuage peoples’ guilt.

        1. I would not consider any of those things immoral if the benefits from the wall outweigh the liabilities. In the minds of many Fox News viewers, there are gangs of outlaws ready to cross the border in the dead of night and kill our children and puppies. If I believed that, I would agree with them on the wall.

          The immorality is in the hyperbole created by Fox and Trump to get people to believe that alarmist scenario.

          As for the economic argument, it’s not a choice between a wall and health care. America has the money to do both. We just don’t have the will. And, frankly, five billion dollars for the wall is nothing in today’s terms. That’s three days’ sales for Walmart. America’s current spending on health care is more than three trillion per year, and is expected to double in the next decade. Trillion with a “t.” In that context, the wall is pocket change.

          But I would turn that statement about “five billion not being that much” around. Bill Gates has donated $30 billion to causes he believes in. Warren Buffett has dropped three billion to foundations in a single shot. If the conservative billionaires really believe in that wall, they could easily finance it out of their own pockets. Obviously, it’s not that big a deal for them.

          But they’re OK with it as long as you and I pay for it!

          It’s worth adding that even if the conservative billionaires gave Trump the money today, and the whole process was ruled perfectly legal, the full expanse of wall still might not get built! There are still all kinds of legal and technical problems with it, especially along the Rio Grande.

        2. Kevin

          By that logic, anything that’s not healthcare is immoral: national defense, space exploration, even some infrastructure items.

          Plus even the Pentagon’s annual budget is chicken feed compared to the cost of health care.

          (I’m not saying we should not have “medicare for all.” After all, Americans are already paying for that health care in the cost of insurance plus “out of pocket,” and if the government regulated prices, the additional cost of the government bureaucracy could conceivably be fully offset by the savings created by price caps. A few pharma companies would be hurt, but they have learned to make a profit in countries with national health systems. A lot of insurance companies would take an immediate hit, but the country would survive that. So don’t put me down as an opponent of that until I have time to study it in depth.)

          But it’s not health care OR a wall. Health care alone is about $3.300 trillion. Health care plus the wall is $3.305 trillion. You’d never notice the difference.

          Plus the wall might even reduce the cost of taxpayer-financed health care, since it (presumably) might mean fewer people for the taxpayers to provide care for.

  1. The wall is immoral.

    Beyond the fact a majority of Americans think it’s a stupid idea, it’s also bad in terms of spending funding on something objectively stupid, which then takes funding away from literally every other non-stupid thing.

    1. A border wall can’t be immoral. That’s pretty obvious. The creator of a wall may build it for immoral reasons, but a properly secured national border is an accepted part of humanity’s geopolitical principles.

      Not to mention that it’s a harmless inanimate object!

      Even the creation for “immoral reasons” is debatable. If all those immigrants were coming from a highly conservative society like Poland or Russia, where they represented future Republican votes, those now opposed would be all in favor, and those in favor would be all opposed. True “morality” is not that flexible, at least as I understand it.

      Now if you think it’s a dumb and rather wasteful idea, at least if it will stretch the length of the border, then you’re onto something!

      1. Agree. There is no immoral action until you get into the realm of land mines and electric fences. I bet the Trump secretly wishes he could go this route since he likes deterrence such as taking kids away from parents. A wall is actually just sort of passive aggressive.

      2. Meh. I doubt you’d be splitting such hairs had she said, “The wall is stupid,” saying, “The wall is an inanimate object, a wall can’t be stupid.” It’s a feature of our language that we use objects as symbols of the reasons for the objects’ existence.

        OF COURSE Pelosi is talking about Trump’s reasons for wanting to build the wall. His campaign was built around fearmongering and playing into tribalism and racism. The wall’s principal purpose is to be a response to the fears he stoked in order to win. It’s an essential part of his overall strategy — Mexicans are evil and rapists; the caricature of Dems wanting open borders, the claim of terrorists in the caravans, the claim that the Dems want them to come in so they can vote as Democrats, etc., etc., etc.

        I think that Pelosi was right on target, your odd quibbling about language idioms notwithstanding.

        1. 1. Language is important. Immorality is defined as the state of being outside the accepted norm of behavior. A secured national border is part of the accepted norm. (As long as it doesn’t involve harm, like land mines or electrification or packs of vicious dogs.) But there are no such harmful things being proposed; just a simple barrier.

          2. But the wall isn’t morally neutral because it is an inanimate object. It’s because it is a HARMLESS inanimate object. Land mines are inanimate and immoral.

          There are really no significant negative consequences from having a secured border, and there are some positives, so I can understand why people would want a wall in some cases and in some locations, but to build a wall across the entire length and breadth of the southern border is expensive, impractical, and could be tied up for years in appeals on eminent domain, especially in that section where the Rio Grande forms the border.

          But Pelosi is just nuts to call it “immoral” for somebody to want a secured national border. A lot of Americans want it, and they aren’t immoral just because they disagree with you and me about whether we should build a massive barrier. There’s no way to defend that Pelosi statement. It’s just playing to her base – Trumpian! It’s actually something dumb enough that Trump could have said it if he were on the other side of the argument. On what basis could a secured national border consisting of harmless materials be outside the accepted human standards of morality?

          And in fact, if Mexico had a culture like Poland or Russia, with all of the immigrants representing future conservative Republican families, I’ll bet Trump would not want a wall and Pelosi would. That’s not a matter of morality, but situational ethics, or maybe it’s just politics as usual.

          On a side note, I’m not sure how many people actually cross the border illegally every year and nest somewhere in the USA. Aren’t most undocumented aliens here after entering legally for some reason (study, tourism) and then just staying when they should not.

          1. I see a semantic black/white fallacy in what you’re saying. I can agree that something which causes direct harm can be categorized as immoral. But you shouldn’t exclude other things just because they fail to meet that standard. Just to use one example, is a Jefferson Davis statue immoral?

            You also invoked a strawman when you quoted Pelosi calling it immoral to want a secured national border. To my knowledge, she never said that, and it’s certainly not the Democrats’ position. In fact, the Dems want MORE funding to ACHIEVE a more secure national border. The issue is whether a wall is the best (or even an effective) solution to that problem, and so far the answer has been a resounding NO. So the issue (you can call it a moral issue) is whether to fund an ineffective solution (likewise, we don’t fund military spending on muskets, NIH spending on iron lungs or USPS spending on ponies), when clear and compelling evidence for an ulterior motive exists. And then a second moral issue exists when you consider the nature of the pandering he had to do to convince a segment of the public it was needed, in order to help secure his election.

            I’d also disagree that a flip in the voter demographics of immigrants would flip the situational ethics (or similarly, if Merrick Garland had been a conservative judge, or if gerrymandering & voter suppression instead favored the democrats). In general, the Dems tend to be less swayed by the situational ethics, and would be on the side of immigrant human rights, demographics notwithstanding (that’s not a universal statement, just a larger trend).

            For your last question, yes — most illegal immigrants are Visa overstays, not illegal border crossings. The airports are our primary vectors, and ports of entry are our secondary vectors. This is a part of my point — the ineffectiveness of the proposed solution to actually affect the problem (setting aside how big the problem actually is).

            As for the size of the problem, there’s a pretty good podcast in the Revisionist History series by Malcolm Gladwell that talks about the normal patterns of immigration, the real effect of illegal border crossings, and the unintended consequences from increasing the security. The bottom line, ironically, is that increased border security isn’t necessarily the best solution for the health of our economy and society — the things we’re ostensibly trying to protect.

          2. There’s nothing in your comments that defends Pelosi’s statement that the wall is immoral. If anything, it refutes it. If Democrats want a secure border and think the wall is not an effective enough way to do it, then what could make it immoral? It’s just ineffective. Ineffective is not immoral, as Jimmy Carter demonstrated.

            The situational ethics are obvious. A politician’s job is to get re-elected. Otherwise, he/she is fired. Democrats cannot get elected without the Latino Vote. In 2012, white people voted 60-40 against Obama, and black people voted 93-7 for him. Combining the two, the Democrats start with a 3.22 point deficit. The black + white vote consists of 85% of the electorate, and of those 85 people, 44.11 vote GOP and 40.89 vote Democratic. Asians and others are 5% of the electorate, and those five voters split 3.42-1.58 for Obama. So now we have 90% of the electorate complete, with the GOP running an edge 45.69-44.31. So of the remaining 10 voters (the 10% of the electorate which consists of Latinos), the Democrats must win 5.7-4.3 to get a majority of Americans. They actually did better than that. They won 72% of the Latino vote to give Obama a fairly comfortable edge. But the point is that without 57% of the Latino vote, the Democratic party can never achieve a national majority. That is the base they absolutely must pander to if they want to have a national majority. If they were to lose the Latinos, they would more or less cease to exist.

            I’m hoping that Trump will eventually move that 60-40 needle on white voters, as more and more of them reject him personally. That proportion held steady in 2016, but the GOP edge dropped to 55-45 in the mid-terms, as Democrats finally broke through on educated whites, winning 54% of that group. But I think that breakthrough may be specific to anti-Trump sentiment and not a move toward the Democratic party. I suspect (without being able to produce evidence) that white America is still 60-40 GOP, which means the Democratic party MUST MUST win a sizeable majority of Latinos.

          3. (I had to tag this reply to your earlier post rather than your latest one.)

            Re: “There’s nothing in your comments that defends Pelosi’s statement that the wall is immoral. If anything, it refutes it. If Democrats want a secure border and think the wall is not an effective enough way to do it, then what could make it immoral? It’s just ineffective. Ineffective is not immoral, as Jimmy Carter demonstrated.”

            I disagree with your characterization. First, it’s not as simple as “ineffective implies immoral” — it’s more complex than that. I’d argue that funding a boondoggle with money that can be put to much better use funding things that will (actually) help people is immoral. Further, I’d argue that failing to do something that can help someone is tacitly harming them, which falls under the criterion you were using before you goalpost-shifted.

            Second, I -did- defend Pelosi’s statement by giving you a counter-example to your original objection showing that causing direct harm is the line of demarcation to classify something as immoral. Again, is a Jefferson Davis statue immoral? (Or do you concede my point and drop direct harm as a necessary criterion?)

            Pursuant to that second point, I still maintain that pandering to racism in order to help get elected, with part of that pandering being fearmongering about an outside group, and promising a “solution” for them, and then trying to erect that symbol, validating the fears you stoked, and rewarding the very racism you took advantage of — is EXACTLY what I’d consider immoral. All of your responses to date have ignored this point, which has been made several times, and I’m not sure why you’re addressing it.

            Third, see Kevin’s response above for a number of direct effects that would result from building the wall, any one of which would cause direct harm to people or the environment. You seem to want to build a layer of abstraction between the cause and the effect, in order to avoid the consequences of the action.

            Finally, your point about the Latino vote notwithstanding, you didn’t connect your point (Dems need the Latino vote in order to win) to mine — it still doesn’t mean that Dems are acting out of a desire to pander to the Latino vote in order to win elections. I’ll go back to my original point — if Garland was a conservative judge, would the Dems have blocked his confirmation? If given the opportunity, would the Dems have engaged in active and blatant voter suppression if they thought it would have tilted the results in their favor? I’d argue that they wouldn’t, because it still runs counter to more fundamental and essential principals. I know your thinking about it is framed entirely differently — made perfectly clear by your comment that politicians’ jobs are to get elected, else they get fired.

          4. First. There is no way you can argue that the wall is not intended to do good. 300,000 people are caught and detained every year trying to get inside of America on the Southern border. (Nobody really knows how many succeed.) The wall is designed to prevent that. So it is designed to accomplish a worthwhile purpose, it may partially accomplish that, and it does no significant harm. The only real arguments against it are that it is ineffective and overpriced. That has nothing to do with morality.

            Second. There is no comparison to a Jefferson Davis statue, which is not designed to accomplish any practical goal or do the country any good of any type. Is a Jefferson Davis statue immoral? Well, it accomplishes nothing positive, and may encourage racism among white nationalists, or hurt the self-image of the descendants of those who were enslaved as a result of Davis’s actions. Yes, I would say that is outside the normal boundaries of what humans find acceptable.

            Third. You are forgetting what “immoral” means. It means outside the accepted norms of human behavior. A harmless barrier between countries designed to protect the territorial integrity of one of them, is a completely normal and accepted part of human geopolitics. That can’t be immoral, by definition.

            Fourth. Diversion of funds is a weak argument. (1) We spent a lot of money sending a mission to Pluto and Ultima Thule. That could have been spent to feed the hungry. Is NASA immoral. (2) There is no diversion except in your imagination. Trump is not asking for wall money instead of something Congress is willing to pass, but in addition to everything else Congress is willing to pass. (3) Furthermore, as I pointed out elsewhere, the cost of the healthcare alone would be $3.300 trillion per year, and the cost of healthcare plus the wall is $3.305 trillion. The wall is so insignificant in comparison to other budget items that, practically speaking, you’d never know the difference.

            Listen, I’m on your side in opposing the wall, and if you want to say Trump is immoral, or his reasons are immoral, I’m with you. But a barrier to fortify a national border is just what human beings do.

            Of course the Democrats pander to the Latino vote. There is no other possible way to justify the crazed rhetoric of creating a barrier for a national border “immoral.” As to your point that there are politicians who act in the interest of our country as opposed to their own job security. Well, I’m sure there may be some left, but they don’t get a second term except in very rare circumstances. Bernie Sanders is probably completely sincere and would take defeat before giving up his ideals, but for the most part, those guys died with Tip O’Neill. Maybe some of the fresh young blood in the House will change that, but I’ve had hope before, and it has failed.

            Finally. Calling a border wall “immoral” is the kind of thing that will get people like Trump elected. A lot of people want the wall, especially in the border states. You just can’t call people immoral or deplorable because they disagree with you. That not only panders to your base, but gets people from the opposite base off their asses on election day. The way to dispute items like a wall is with the facts that matter to all taxpayers. Beto did an excellent job of describing the problems in creating such a wall along the Rio Grande. After all, it might even require more border guards than we use now, and may even allow more people to claim asylum or create anchor babies.

            I have to say, though, that the arguments against building a wall beside the Rio Grande are much stronger than the arguments against building a solid one across the land border.

          5. (Again there’s no “reply” link to the latest posts in the thread, so I’m stuck replying to an earlier one. Apologies.)

            I won’t belabor the points since we’re both pretty entrenched in our positions and repeating our previous points. I’ll just clarify a couple things:

            * You conceded with the Jefferson Davis statue example that one of the downsides is that it “may encourage racism among white nationalists,” but you refused to concede the similar point with regard to the wall, instead engaging in special pleading by saying it’s intended to do good (as if that were a get out of jail free card). While I concede that it’s intended to do good, I’ll also note that it’s the white-nationalist version of what’s good, in response to the white-nationalist version of what the problem is, delivered by Trump in order to appease the base that voted for him. Do you not also see that building the wall also encourages the same racism?

            * I’d suggest that if Trump were looking to solve the problem, he should do it in an effective manner. Even you noted that we don’t know how many people are NOT getting caught — what makes you think the number is much larger? What’s the size of the problem, and what’s the most effective approach to a solution? I prefer my policies to be empirical and fact-based.

            * The “drop in the bucket” comment doesn’t hold water either. As evidence for this, pick ANY good thing that isn’t being funded due to a lack of money. There are lots of great examples. Nor is space exploration a refutation of this point — the downstream payback from basic research and discovery is huge. Nor is “anything that’s not healthcare” — just because we don’t throw all our money at the #1 priority, it doesn’t imply that we should therefore throw it at solutions that won’t actually accomplish anything.

            Was going to type a few hundred more words, then remembered I’m trying to wind this down. 🙂

          6. The Jefferson Davis statue has no positives, either symbolic or practical, and may have symbolic negatives.

            The wall has genuine practical positives, and may have symbolic negatives.

            To create something that may give offense and provides no societal benefit to me to fit the definition of immoral. But the wall has IN THEORY an important justification. Don’t lose sight of the fact that 300,000 people per year are caught entering the USA illegally. (Again, we have no idea how many are successful. Because they are successful. There must be plenty of successful ones, however. The estimates I have seen typically guess around 10 million undocumented aliens residing in the USA. And they aren’t all overstays on student Visas.)

            As for empirical and fact based – remember there is a vast expense to catching and detaining the 300,000+ who are captured trying to enter the USA illegally between ports of entry. That’s a real number. Nearly a thousand per day. The wall could begin to pay for itself by preventing a high percentage of those – even if it prevented no successful ones. Again, that’s part of what it is intended to do. Whether it actually would is another question.

            The financial payback from the wall can be substantial – or at least it would be IF it were indeed to accomplish what it is designed to do. But again, that “IF” that is not a matter of morality, but of effectiveness. If the wall could somehow prevent 75% of those who try to enter illegally from trying, and also prevent 75% of those who succeed from succeeding, the payback would be enormous. If I thought the wall would do that, I would support it without reservations. But again, if I say I would support a border strategy if successful but not the same one if unsuccessful, my argument therefore has nothing to do with morality. It is again, simply a matter of effectiveness.

            I take it from your counter position that you would oppose the wall even if it kept every single person from crossing or even trying to cross the border illegally.

          7. Crap, one more point — one problem here is that you’re using a pretty cherry-picked definition of morality and arguing that Pelosi’s statement doesn’t conform to morality as you define it (leaving off the “as you define it” part). In particular, you’re clinging to descriptive morality and ignoring normative morality.

          8. As I’m sure you know, normative morality is just a more clinical way of saying “people’s subjective opinions.” My immoral and your immoral and Larry Flynt’s immoral are different. I doubt that the overwhelming consensus of the human race is that border walls SHOULD be immoral. I understand that seems to be your opinion. I could never tell you that your concept of morality is wrong, because that varies by individual, but I have a pretty good idea of what the general human attitude would be, and it is not that border walls should be banned. But I do know that harmless national barriers are a standard accepted part of human behavior, and therefore are certainly not considered “immoral,” but simply part of everyday life.

            If my definition of morality (the only one I could find in a dictionary that is not based on imaginary beings) is arbitrary, what is your suggestion?

  2. …and THAT is why American politics are a lost cause for the foreseeable future: nobody wants to find a viable, practical solution to anything; they just want to crank up the rhetoric higher to fire up the looniest of their base.

    Charging the military with fortifying our southern border as if Mexico is amassing tanks on the other side of the Rio Grande is fucking stupid. Asserting anyone & everyone has a right to cross that same border at will (which is what you are, in fact, asserting if you claim making people enter through a gate in a documented fashion is “immoral”) is equally fucking stupid.

    It shouldn’t be that difficult to realize that both a) people illegally entering the country willy-nilly isn’t good, sustainable, nor safe policy, and b) if you build a 20-foot wall, somebody will just build a 21-foot ladder. There is absolutely nothing stopping anyone in D.C. from starting with those two self-evident premises and working on a solution from there.

    But, nooooo, our government has turned into professional wrestling now. Whereas you used to have a bunch of folks screaming promos for 1 hour each week in an attempt to sell tickets, now it’s a bunch of people on Fox and MSNBC cutting promos all day, every day in attempt to get people to rally on social media and vote for them.

    1. “Asserting anyone & everyone has a right to cross that same border at will…”

      Then it’s a good thing that virtually no one, outside of idiotic Fox News commentators spouting right-wing talking points, is saying this. Believe it or not, one can simultaneously be in favor of border controls while understanding that a border wall is a complete waste of time & money, designed only to pander to xenophobic fears.

      1. Here’s the thing:

        As already asserted, something being a waste of time and money alone doesn’t qualify it as “immoral” by any previously accepted definition. It we’re going to start expanding the definition of right and wrong so far as to include the misguided use of public money and effort, literally anything the government does could be labeled immoral depending on what one does or doesn’t consider a worthwhile investment as a matter of personal politics. What’s next if we’re going that route, claiming NASA is immoral because it takes up resources that could be diverted toward Medicare and HUD?

        lf calling a wall “immoral” *isn’t* implying an obligation for us to allow anyone to cross the border as they wish (which, if a wall functioning as intended were possible to build, is literally the ONLY thing it would prevent), then it is instead an exercise in hyperbole and verbal gymnastics…which again does nothing to encourage a productive dialogue.

        Simply saying, “The wall is not practical, could never work as intended if built, and Trump isn’t being truthful about its necessity” is always an option, but I suppose that doesn’t make for a snazzy sound bite people that’ll stir people up and instantly make them want to re-Tweet it, and unfortnately, that’s how American politics works now.

  3. I don’t like to argue with Uncle Scoopy, because after years of reading his posts, I know that he is smarter and more knowledgeable than I am. Of course, having said that, I am now going to argue with him.

    I think the Berlin Wall was considered immoral, and not just because it was an actively defended part of a kill zone. It was considered immoral because it was part of an effort to deny people freedom, and in some cases, to keep them from fleeing prison and death for thinking or BEING the wrong thing.

    Yes, no inanimate object possesses morality. That just reminds of a Woody Allen joke, where when a women he is trying to get into bed says “Sex without love is a meaningless act”, the Woodman replies “Yeah, but as meaningless acts go, its one of the best”. Assault rifles have pretty much no moral use in non-military, non-police hands. Neither does plutonium, or nerve gas, but they are all inanimate objects.

    Trump’s wall would be a thing built for a bad purpose, for reasons that are lies, and to keep at least some people from sanctuary. Maybe it isn’t immoral in some nit-picking sense but it would be wrong to build it.

    And as to whether it is chump change to the USA, since when do we need to humor our presidents to the tune of $5 billion? (I ask that question, and now I realize the answer is probably “Since 1965, or whatever year the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed.” America has been on a bad course for DECADES.)

    1. Immorality is the violation of humanity’s moral laws, norms or standards.

      Building a national border to keep others out is well within the norm of accepted human behavior, therefore the creation of it is not immoral (by definition).

      Building a national border to keep your own citizens IN is not within the accepted norms, therefore the creation of it is immoral by definition.

      (Now if the national border to keep others out involves land mines and vicious dogs and guards shooting people who approach, then obviously that would be outside the normal range of accepted human behavior, and therefore the creation of such a border would be immoral.)

  4. I don’t have a powerful opinion about it; I just think that if a wall gets built, eventually there will be someone, someday, who dramatically exclaims “Tear down that wall!” in a Reagan-style manner, and it will start to come down on that day. And people the world over will be cheering because it’s associated with Trump, distancing, racism, and other negative things. That eventuality just seems inevitable to me. So I’m thinking, why spend an ENORMOUS amount of money on it. Why keep the government shut down until it’s built – which will shortly deprive food-stampers of their food, and other horrible consequences – when it will almost certainly be torn down in the not-too-distant future as a symbol of all that was wrong with electing a heartless, divisive businessman as Pres., or whatever human cause or political motive it’s torn down for. It’s too much time, energy & money to put into something that likely won’t achieve its intended purpose on any significant level, and will take too long & too much to finish. When Roger Waters, of all people, doesn’t want a wall built, then something is likely wrong with the complexities & realities of the idea.

  5. What is absolutely crazy is that Trump has turned into Marie Antoinette when he talks about these government employees who aren’t getting paid. Oh, yes, they are happy to starve because they think the wall is important. And then he talks about waiting it out for months, even years. And those federal employees? If they have no bread – let them eat cake!

    There really is something wrong with that man. I know Mike Pence is kind of a boring, dumb guy with zero charisma – but that’s starting to sound pretty good.

    1. Yep, good in a Gerald Ford kinda way. Pence’s 1st speech: “Our long national nightmare is over.”

    2. …and Pence would probably pardon Trump, on the grounds that the country has been through enough, but banish him to San Clemente. I can even picture Pence stumbling down airplane steps. And if Squeaky Fromme is still alive then he’d be in some danger.

  6. The immorality of the wall is three-fold.

    First, there is no actual reason to believe the wall will deter anyone from attempting to cross the border illegally. The wall will simply create another obstacle, making what is already a dangerous crossing through very hostile terrain (I live in southern NM) even more dangerous. While not the same as land mines or vicious dogs, it seems likely that more people will die, and that does have a moral consequence.

    Second, even if the wall somehow proved to be effective (for instance, if I’m the only who is aware of the existence of ropes, ladders and shovels), you are right in stating that it simply isn’t practical to build a wall across the entire southern border. This means that people attempting to cross the border illegally would be forced to head to those areas where there is no wall, which again, makes a dangerous crossing more dangerous. More people will die.

    Third, why is no one talking about a wall across the border with Canada? If securing our borders is so crucial, don’t we need a wall there too? Or do we just need a wall to keep brown people out… Prejudice is immoral.

  7. Reason 1: pure speculation. It may even cause fewer people to be injured and die because (1) fewer will try the trip with a 30-foot wall in the way (2) those that try and cannot cross it will not be traversing the dangerous American portion of the trip. We just don’t know.

    Reason 2: (a) There is no logical connection between “more people will head to the areas where there is no wall” and “more people will die.” (b) Even if the assumptions did lead to the conclusion, it really makes no difference, because there is no reason to believe the assumptions are true in the first place. Maybe they will head to the non-wall areas, or maybe they will figure those areas will be the best guarded, and it would be a better bet to climb the wall in a remote area, or maybe they will just figure there is too little chance of success and never try in the first place. We don’t know. (c) The entire point is off-topic. You are arguing about the flaws in an interrupted wall. Pelosi’s argument is that Trump’s vision – a wall spanning the expanse of the entire southern border – is immoral. She has not opined about an interrupted wall.

    Reason 3: purely practical, not moral. The government captures and detains about 300,000 people per year who cross the southern border illegally, as compared to about 100 per year from the Northern border. (We can’t really say how many others were successful in either case, so we use the number we catch as a surrogate number.)

    Again, there is no moral component to building a simple harmless barrier as a national border. It is an accepted facet of human geopolitics and, being the norm, cannot be immoral by definition.

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