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Emotion clouds thinking on immigration, other issues

  • Emotion clouds thinking on immigration, other issues

  • 21 April 2006 by 0 Comments

Emotion clouds thinking on immigration, other issues
By Richard Larsen
Published 4/21/06 – Idaho State Journal

A joke told at the weekend recognition of Congressman Butch Otter as Statesman of the Year by Pi Sigma Alpha, gave me pause to consider some of the emotional elements associated with the ongoing debate regarding immigrants and illegal aliens.

As the joke goes, in its abbreviated form, a man had a choice in donors for a heart transplant. Instead of choosing a young liberal heart, the recipient chose an older heart from a man identified as a conservative. His reason for choosing the older heart was that he knew it hadn’t been used before.

While the joke is perhaps mildly humorous, it plays on a stereotypical classification of conservatives both erroneous and fallacious. At the heart of the issue (pun fully intended!) is feelings.

I don’t think anyone can watch the demonstrations ostensibly conducted in behalf of immigration without feeling some anger at how they have been hijacked by anti-American, Marxist organizations like the World Workers Party. Believe me, their motives are ulterior and not in the best interest of the U.S.

However, those of us who have known illegal aliens who just want to improve their lot in life by coming to America can’t help but have the heart-strings tugged. The aphorism of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” reminds us of our own immigrant roots. We want all people to enjoy the same socio-economic levels of relative prosperity we are blessed with.

When we embark on these emotive journeys, however, we can’t leave logic at the dock. The last time I read the Constitution, it didn’t say anything about “feelings,” but it sure said a lot about the rule of law in this Republic. Our “feel good” intentions must be tempered by the rule of law so as to not sacrifice order for chaos and lawlessness.

That’s not to say that we have to be completely heartless, as in the aforementioned joke, but our altruism must be tempered by reason. Just as we can’t give more to charities individually than we can afford, we simply can’t afford collectively all the huddled masses wanting to enter our country illegally.

Things run in cycles: weather, global warming, global cooling, propagation and politics to name a few . The political cycle we’re now in seems dominated by emotion rather than reason.

When emotion rules, knee-jerk reactions abound, and it rarely leads to correct logical conclusions. One could easily argue that even though the U.S. had a regime change policy in place dating back to the Clinton administration, the emotion of 9-11 may have provided the stimulus to topple Saddam prematurely.

The fear we associate with Islamic extremists aborted what logically would have been a positive and mutually beneficial Dubai World Ports purchase of operations in six of our ports earlier this year. Emotion clouded the publics’ collective judgment causing a knee-jerk reaction of sufficient magnitude as to prevent otherwise sentient people from examining the case objectively.

The over simplification brought on by emotive reaction causes one to view the tax cuts of the Bush administration as inequitable even though the percentage of tax reduction for the wealthy was much less than it was for low-income or middle class tax payers. When rationally reviewed, the stimulus provided to the economy was precisely what was needed, and continues to be needed. But the emotional response was parroted in the phrase “tax cuts for the wealthy,” echoed ad nauseam by those desiring to at least appear more democratic.

In our current climate of immigration discussion, objectivity and reason must prevail over emotion. Don’t let the mainstream media obfuscate the real issue: illegal immigration. Immigration is good when controlled. However it’s not good when we’re virtually inundated with illegal aliens.

Most of our politicians engage in the process of emotionalizing issues. A few weeks ago New York Senator Hillary Clinton commented on the initial Senate immigration bill which made it illegal for employers to hire illegal aliens. In her response, Senator Clinton said that the “bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan, uhhhh, and probably even, uhh, Jesus himself.” Aside from her obvious political motives in making such a comment, it serves as a classic example of appealing to emotion versus logic.

When emotion rules, we over-generalize, leap to illogical conclusions, and conveniently overlook critical details. When reason dominates, our thinking is clearer, we “connect the dots,” and logically deduce problems to more rational conclusions. Something we all should do more of.

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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