Why Don’t We Help “Our Own”?

I’ve come across the argument — yeah it’s sad to take kids from their parents and put them in cages giving them life-long psychological trauma, but ultimately — so what? Our responsibility is to our own citizens.

I think about the following story. A man has a big mansion on a several-acre property. One day while he is patrolling the grounds with his son in a golf-cart he comes across a terrified teenage woman with a baby. He decides to give them a room for the night and feed them before figuring out what the situation is and how to help her. The son is puzzled. Why are we spending money on food for them? Why not put the baby in a cage and the mother in a separate cage, perhaps with a live video feed that says “This is what happens to trespassers?” Why don’t we take care of our own family? Why not save the money that you are spending on these two for my education?

The father answer: I am spending that money on your education.

And I am taking care of you.

Because my chief duty to you as a father is for you to grow up in a family that cares about love and compassion. I give you food and a roof over your head, but more importantly I teach you what is important about life. The most important thing I can teach you is that all human beings are part of one family. If I teach you anything different I am robbing you of something much more valuable than this fancy mansion, these grounds, and this golf cart.

If we raise our children in a country in which the government inflicts deliberate, irreversible psychological trauma on children who are not citizens we are stealing from them and impoverishing them.


4 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Help “Our Own”?

  1. I think we agree on the principles involved: a government should act to protect the interests of its own citizens and legal residents, subject to a Nozick-y side constraint that it must not impose needless harm or suffering on other people.

    It does seem that the facts of the situation are less black-and-white than initially portrayed by the news media. At least we’re moving in the right direction, since the government will no longer separate children from parents while the parents’ legal situations are adjudicated. It’s an imperfect solution, but I don’t know of a perfect one. If anyone else does, I’m all ears.


  2. to me the facts are black and white — the government deliberately inflicted irreparable psychological harm on children as a way to play to anti-immigrant hysteria, then lied about it in a series of self-contradictory lies. Thank God the news media reported it!

  3. pbasch says:

    It’s perfectly clear why the policy was put in place. It’s purpose is degrade the dehumanized brown “other” to excite the Trumpist base. I think the hope is that the Liberal outrage would further excite the Trumpist base, leading to a virtuous (for Trump) cycle in which his base would be excited in two ways – further degradation of poor browns and angry outrage on the part of Liberals. If they could have gotten some left-wing college students to protest and say something outrageous and pull media focus, that would have helped Trump. Luckily that didn’t happen.

  4. I think it isn’t a system that’s there for people, it’s where people are there for the system. Illegal immigrants are a monkey wrench in that system, but certain demographics who think the system is for their benefit think immigrants are a sort of attack on those demographics way of life. They are wrong about the system being for their benefit, but are right about it ending up being an attack (oh, controversy!), since the system doesn’t want to support more humans when that doesn’t benefit it – that’d be the sort of thing a system for the benefit of people would do. So I think the notion of refugees being a burden is technically correct. When you’re in a dreadful system what is humanitarian becomes disruptive and destructive instead. But hey, we want to wake up in a happy system and it’s just them mean ol’ political faction X people that are at fault! This sort of distraction away from the cancer and instead keeping the attention merely on the symptoms is ideal for keeping that cancer in place.

    That and we’re just not wired to think of being in a system – we evolved in small groups of 200 or so where the system was minor and overtly very human rather than mechanistic. So we always think our problems come from other humans. We blame the players rather than blame the game.

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