The Confusion Around Shithole

Predictably, Trump made an undiplomatic description of certain people and countries and, just as predictably, people on the Left have objected to his comments.  And, just as predictably, Trump defenders have appeared with cries of “political correctness.”

However, the problem with Trump’s comments is not the profanity or disparaging of certain countries, as undiplomatic as they may be.  The problem is much older:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.

Given the context of Mr Trump’s comments, that he was questioning the wisdom of having immigrants from “shithole” countries, Mr Trump makes exactly the mistake Bastiat discusses: he confused people for the government.  The countries may, in fact, be shitholes (however one defines that), but the people aren’t necessarily so.  We are not our government; we are individuals.  And, as I have written elsewhere, the institutions under which we live matter a whole lot.

In their rush to criticize Trump, the Left has made similar errors.  They have focused on defences of the targeted nations or of blanket cries of “racism.”  They’ve ignored the individual aspect of immigration (no surprise given the Left’s overt infatuation with socialism).

Similarly, in their rush to defend Trump, many of his supporters miss the context and point of Trump’s comment.  They wonder why Trump can’t call a country a shithole, citing concerns about political correctness.  But they too make the mistake of confusing the government and the society.

In short, Trump, his defenders, and his detractors on the Left all show their socialist leanings, and subsequent fallacious thinking, with this flap over shithole and immigration.

6 thoughts on “The Confusion Around Shithole

  1. As long as immigration is conducted by country or ethnic group, you will necessarily be forced to evaluate people based on the shithole index associated with their origin. I would much rather give admittance to a highly productive person from Haiti than a derelict from Switzerland. However if the only criterion in play is country of origin, I’ll choose the random Swiss over the random Haitian.


    • Sam,

      >—-“However if the only criterion in play is country of origin, I’ll choose the random Swiss over the random Haitian.”

      The reason that “the only criterion in play is country of origin” is that that is the criterion Trump wants to use and has eagerly chosen to use. The point is the he WANTS a collective approach, not an individual approach to the question.

      By the way, more Americans are choosing to emigrate to Norway than the other way around.


    • Sam, your chances of getting more than you bargained for is much higher with a Haitian than with a Swiss. with a Swiss immigrant it’s probably safe to assume that “what you see is what you get”. A Haitian immigrant is likely to become much more than what you initially see when given the opportunity.


  2. There was also the fact that the comment was also made in the context of the Temporary Protected Status program.Those who support open borders, well, all I can say with respect to that is that the position is at least consistent. Nevertheless, if we presume that the debate exists in the context of limited immigration, then we need to discuss why programs like the Temporary Protected Status apply to immigrants from El Salvador nearly 20 years after an earthquake struck El Salvador. In other words, either El Salvador is, literally, a s-hole and the immigrants deserve this status under law, or, its NOT, in which case their immigration status should rightfully be revoked.

    Nevertheless is Trump had merely stopped there, his statements would have exhibited merely a general lack of presidential decorum. In fact, the statement is kind’ve sort’ve true, these countries DO leave a lot to be desired.

    That being said, no matter how you slice it, Trump’s subsequent references to Norway clearly exhibit a less than open mindset with respect to race. Once he does that, if you want to say that evinces a racist mindset, I would have to agree.


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