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A Congressman’s Strained Attempt at Logic

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No one really expects too much out of a congressman these days, especially a member of the House of Representatives. But the bar was lowered even more after Virgil Goode's dramatic self-unveiling last month as a stolid bigot. Mr. Goode is the Republican representative from Virginia who, a month after Keith Ellison's election, sounded the alarm concerning the impending Muslim take-over of Congress if Americans do not "wake up" and adopt a stricter stance on immigration.

Rather than easing tensions, say in the vein of former President Gerald Ford, Mr. Goode has now attempted some sort of explanation for his words, in the form of an open letter to USA Today entitled "Save Judeo-Christian values." The result is a painful stab at logic that only Joseph McCarthy could love.

The first thing Mr. Goode attempts to do is erase any idea that he may be bigoted. "My letter did not call for a religious test for prospective members of Congress, as some have charged," he writes. You see, Mr. Goode is not bigoted in the same way millions of people are not racist. He calls for no test, no governmental controls, no overt segregation. It's just that, well, he's uneasy….

"Immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally," he says. That fact is coupled with, "Diversity visas, a program initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low U.S. immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 a year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East."

A) Immigration is an important issue. B) For example we have 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. C) Did you know 50,000 people are coming in, some of them from the middle east, on diversity visas? D) Obviously those people are part of the problem and must be stopped.

In other words: to help solve for A we have to fix C by doing D. Ah, the gears are really turning in Mr. Goode's head. But wait, C is neither related to A nor B. You're led to think that diversity visas are related to the aforementioned immigration problem. Unfortunately, diversity visas issue green cards which are perfectly legal. You may remember this type of obtuse parallelism from any speech the White House ever gave about Iraq. A) Terrorism is evil. B) 9/11 is the result of terrorism. C) Iraq is evil. D) we need to invade Iraq to prevent another 9/11.

What we learned in Iraq is that when problem A and problem B are unrelated, solving problem B does not also solve problem A.  Mr. Goode has not received this memo. It is no secret that this country has a hard time with math and science, but I think even this seems within the grasp of a congressman. But perhaps Mr. Goode is much more interested in keeping non-Christians out of congress than he is about solving any immigration problem.

"I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration, and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world."

This is the part where the wheels come off. He's saying we should attempt to stop people from molding the United States into the image of their religion, by keeping those people out of the country, so that the United States can be further molded into a Judeo-Christian image. Yes, let's prevent Islam from possibly hijacking the country by surrendering it to Christianity. Wonderful idea. I understand he's just a congressman but what kind of logic is that? Leaders like him, a tiring embarrassment, do far more damage to this country than diversity visas ever will.

All of this smacks of McCarthyism. And all of this is really the result of Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota being elected to congress. Ellison's election and announcement that he will use the Quran at his swearing in ceremony should have been a showcase for the American ideal that all men are created equal and have an equal chance in this country. Instead, people like Virgil Goode have seized it to personify their own fears and insecurities. What comes out is not the embracing of the high and difficult ideals of our Republic, but a warped and frustrated discharge served to you with a little logic and an American flag.

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  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And Congressman Ellison was born in the US. He is not even an immigrant.

    What is worrisome is that Mr. Goode may in fact not be so stupid – he may be skillfully playing to the prejudices of [some of] his constituents. I haven’t seen any coverage of how they might be reacting to his godawful proclamations.

  • jrango2000

    Not at all surprising that a man who would have been a racist/bigot dixiecrat in 1965 is a racist/ bigot republican in 2006. More red meat for the new masters of the republican party.

  • Fred K

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that’s what he’s doing. It could probably be said he is simply representing his constituents at-large, which, of course, is his job. Still, I feel the reasoning represented in his letter is completely illogical and void of principle.

  • Aidan Hauer

    If there are people like that in America, than it sure is a scary place. Please get rid of him for your own good.

  • Baronius

    Fred, I find your logic just as difficult to follow. Unles you consider McCarthyism to be a synonym for “bad”.

  • SHARK

    Goode is right about immigration, but for the wrong reasons.

  • Fred

    Yeah, I think McCarthyism was pretty bad. I’ve always been a little crazy though.

    I think immigration is an important issue to be discussed. But is the country in danger now that we have one Muslim in congress? If more get elected are we in trouble? Are they less fit to represent because of their religion? Isn’t that what Mr. Goode is saying? It seems outrageous to say that all people are created equal, some are just more equal than others.

  • Tom Shuford

    Whatever one might think of Representative Virgil Goode’s comments, the hard truth is that diversity as a social good has limits. To quote the Oct. 8 Financial Times:

    “A bleak picture of the corrosive effects of ethnic diversity has been revealed in research by Harvard University’s Robert Putnam, one of the world’s most influential political scientists. His research shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone – from their next-door neighbor to the mayor …”*

    Putnam: “…in the presence of diversity, we hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.”

    “Prof. Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, ‘the most diverse human habitation in human history’ … When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust.”

    Will younger generations inherit a multicultural world of tolerance and freedom — or a balkanized dystopia?

    *Financial Times of London Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity October 08, 2006
    Alternate Link:

  • Fred

    That’s an excellent article and a good point.

    “In an oblique criticism of Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, who revealed last week he prefers Muslim women not to wear a full veil, Prof Putnam said: ‘What we shouldn’t do is to say that they [immigrants] should be more like us. We should construct a new us.’”

    We should construct a new us. I like that. Diversity, for better or worse, is here. The world’s population doubles every 35 years. Keith Ellison and others are here to stay. Are they going to be marginalized because we want to turtle up?

    Mr. Goode talks about America being a beacon to “freedom loving persons around the world”. Well, here’s our chance to prove it.

  • Baronius

    Fred, I don’t know if you’re being ironic or you missed the point I was trying to make. So let me put it more clearly.

    a) Goode is wrong.
    b) McCarthy was wrong.
    c) Goode smacks of McCarthyism.

    A and B don’t prove C. McCarthy opposed people on the basis of their politics; Goode opposes people on the basis of religion. McCarthy used the power of his office to intimidate; I don’t know that Goode has done that. McCarthy didn’t have anything to say about immigration. The only similarity is that they’re strident. So is Charlie Rangel; but I’d never think of calling him a McCarthyite.

  • Fred

    Well, by saying Goode’s views smack of McCarthyism I don’t think I was making an A and B prove C argument.
    I was saying, in that sense, that A = B. Discriminating against people based on philosophy (McCarthy) or religion (Goode) seems pretty un-American and seem to violate the same principle. They have just manifested themselves in different ways.

  • Dan

    I guess the issue with immigration comes down to this:

    If you like the types of societies that muslims, and other 2nd and 3rd worlders have created in the places they have fled from, then you’ll like them coming here and maintaining their distinctivesness amid accusatory denegrations of traditional Americans as fearful and bigoted for not embracing the supposed “strength” of diversity.

    Personally, I’m not on-board. I think It’s a show of dis-respect for Ellison to break with tradition. If he were thoughtful, and respectful, it would have been a good PR move to use both Koran, and Bible, in his oath.

    McCarthy was vindicated. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, heretofor secret documents revealed that this country was crawling with spy’s. McCarthy nailed a few, but he missed many more. Unofficially, he remains a witch hunter. That’s because most of you are ignorant, and succumb to the bias of main stream media. Also it’s old news. It’s not relevant now, and the term “McCarthyism” is useful for subversive morons to bandy about as if they were victims.

  • Clavos

    If Ellison swears on the bible, a book in which he doesn’t believe, then his oath is meaningless.

    If he swears on the qu’ran he, alienates half (or more) of the country, and most (if not all) of them will consider his oath meaningless anyway.

    What if he were an atheist? Swearing on the bible, or any other holy book, would be equally meaningless.

    A better solution would be for him (and for that matter, ALL officials henceforth) to take the oath on the constitution, the very document which he will be swearing to uphold, and a document which has meaning to all Americans, regardless of their faith.

    End of controversy.

  • Jason

    You do realize that they do not swear on any book, right?

    That all this talk about swearing on a book is fluff for photo-ops … right?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Yes, Jason is correct…there is no official, individual swearing in of members of Congress.

    But if we insist on boring old facts, we might have to deny people like Dan their fun in writing amazingly ignorant and irrelevant nonsense. To repeat, Dan, Rep. Ellison is not an immigrant. There really are native-born Americans whose religion is Islam. This does not mean that they conform to your uninformed caricatures of what they believe. Or to your very bad spelling.

    McCarthy overreached, exaggerated, and lied. He ruined the lives and careers of many, many people who were not spies. We live in a free democracy, and it is not illegal to be a socialist or a communist here.

    But McCarthy’s committee destroyed people just by accusing them or smearing them with innuendo or claiming that they were associated with communism many years before. Most of the accusations remained unproven. Proof and truth were not his main interests…publicity was.

  • Dan

    handyguy: “Yes, Jason is correct…there is no official, individual swearing in of members of Congress.

    But if we insist on boring old facts, we might have to deny people like Dan their fun in writing amazingly ignorant and irrelevant nonsense.”

    Speaking of “irrelevant nonsense”, Virgil Goode was reacting to media reports that Ellison said that he would swear on the Quran. Doesn’t matter what the official ceremony consists of. It’s Irrelevant! Perhaps Ellison will need to await another opportunity to snub traditional Christian Americans.

    As for the “we” who might like to deny Dan his fun of writing “amazingly ignorant” stuff, You and your rectal rodent friend might first look in to where I ever identified Ellison as an “immigrant”.

    No, it’s not illegal to be a socialist or a communist here. But espionage is. McCarthy exposed a lot of that. Not that he didn’t over-reach somewhat. Some got caught up for simply being recruited. But time and declassification has been favorable to McCarthy. Anyone that’s interested can look these things up. You might want to start with the “Venona papers”.

    Anyone who’s not interested can stupidly mouth “McCarthyism” and cement their ignorance.

  • Clavos

    That all this talk about swearing on a book is fluff for photo-ops

    Yeah, well Ellison took his photo op tonight.

    I still say none of ‘em should use any religious book.

    Religious books have no place in government ceremonies.

  • Zedd

    Dan Sez: If you like the types of societies that muslims, and other 2nd and 3rd worlders have created in the places they have fled from, then you’ll like them coming here and maintaining their distinctivesness amid accusatory denegrations of traditional Americans as fearful and bigoted for not embracing the supposed “strength” of diversity.

    That is a really unthought through statement now isn’t it.

    Are you saying that people immigrate to the US to live the same way that they lived in their countries of origin? Most Europeans came from dirty smelly slums Einstine. They were hungry and poor remeber?

    Your dumb, bigoted, laughable notions are fading away from our society. Sorry.

  • Zedd

    No, Goode is dumb.

    No intelligent person would put their dignity on the line to that extent. He thinks he is right and that he is being profound.

    How can he be a lawmaker and not understand that “we” don’t have Christian values, we have LAWS.

    By the way, what are Christian values???

  • nancy

    Good question. A friend’s mother constantly exhorts us to “eat like Christians” – which never fails to make me wonder how exactly she thinks Christians eat that is different from anybody else? Alas, I lack the courage to question her on that. She’s old, but ferocious when roused.

  • Dan

    nancy, Your friends mother most likely was exhorting you to eat in a well mannered way that is pleasant and respectful to others at the table with you. I think your decision to not challenge her on it, whether by lack of courage, or respectful courtesy, was wise, particularly if she’s the one feeding you.

    Zed says: “That is a really unthought through statement now isn’t it.”

    No.

    Zed says: “Are you saying that people immigrate to the US to live the same way that they lived in their countries of origin? Most Europeans came from dirty smelly slums Einstine. They were hungry and poor remeber?”

    A few were. Not many though. Many more came to escape political persecution. Most notably, “Einstine”. Earlier immigration policy was tighter. Before the insane notion that diversity was some sort of “strength”, the architects of America’s earlier immigration policies intended to keep America white and culturally cohesive. Immigrants with skills were more valued.

    I personally don’t feel enriched by current immigration policies. I’m not certain that a majority of non-european people are capable of maintaining a desirable civilization that is based on meritocracy, freedom, and respect for others individual liberties. There certainly is not that much evidence of it.

    Currently it is European, Western societies that are being flooded with non-euro’s. Curiously, instead of enrichment, they bring grievance. Instead of assimilation, they come defiant.

    Far from being dumb or bigoted, Virgil Goode is correct, couragous, and honest. You’ll see more people like him as the effects of insane immigration policy become more undeniable.