Gustavo Arellano is not that smart. He presents a case study into the victim mentality of La Raza. Arellano, if you don’t know him, is the former publisher and editor of OC Weekly in Southern California. I first read him in the Los Angeles Times in 2006 with a piece called “Raza Isn’t Racist” which was a snippety, neurotic, and anecdotal ode to the race-based ideology that has debilitated Latinos.
I was curious, then, why Arellano didn’t devote more time to delving into “Raza” as an ideal, considering the term was expressly designed as a “superior race” concept fostered by the “mixture of Spanish and Indian races.” It turns out, Arellano is a Chicano unconcerned with fact.
“Sending troops to the border not only violates American law,” Arellano now writes in response to President Trump’s decision to augment the Border Patrol with the military “it is the least politically savvy play the president could make.”
If Arellano was half as sharp as the Los Angeles Times assures us he is, he would know that sending troops to the border is within the scope of the president’s authority. Then again, anger can impede cognitive abilities.
“Those refugees need Marines to protect them from ICE agents,” says Arellano, seemingly unaware that it was the National Guard, not the Marines, up for deployment. There are no Naval or Marine Corps components of the National Guard, further, Marines would likely take offense to being conflated with Army. But as we have already established above, Arellano is not a man concerned with facts. If he were, Arellano would know that the military is supportive of Trump’s agenda, the Marines most of all. Details elude this payaso.
Arellano bemoans the cost of the border wall, with its price tag of around $15 billion, and for the sake of argument, I’ve seen doomsday estimates as high as $25 billion. Arellano writes, “I welcome news that Donald Trump wants to send in the troops. It’ll be far more cost-effective than a border wall.” Conversely, illegal immigration alone is slamming American taxpayers with a net cost of $115,894,597,664 per year. Don’t get me started on the cost of legal immigration—a far cry from the boon Arellano has built part of his career claiming it is.
Consider. Arellano thinks that it would be more “cost-effective” and more conducive to liberty for the president indefinitely to deploy the military (something Arellano initially and erroneously claimed was illegal) along the border; rather than to supply the one-time cost of building a border wall that would likely reduce the need for sentries, which would doubly reduce personnel costs and deflate that $116 billion annual cost on taxpayers. Chicano studies courses do not an economist make.
“Trump could’ve actually scored some points off of this situation and not put our national security at risk by trying to construct a modern-day (and likely equally successful) Maginot Line.” Thus, securing our borders actually jeopardizes national security, and this despite the fact that ICE is reportedly struggling to properly screen dangerous immigrants. Anyway, I think our wall will be less like the Maginot Line and more like Israel’s wall—the one that helped reduce illegal intrusions by 99 percent. Besides, the Maginot Line wasn’t so much a wall as it was a “glorified trench,” one that was structurally inconsistent and poorly guarded beyond its trenches and scattered barriers. But trenches and walls may as well be the same thing to Arellano, certainly this is confusing stuff to man whose speciality is reviewing taco trucks.
Arellano goes on to claim Trump is acting against “the Constitution,” “federal law,” and “the federal budget,” but based on the content of this column so far, I can’t shake the feeling Arellano is just looking at things in the office and saying that he’s concerned for them. Does Arellano really love those things or is he just saying so because he thinks it sounds astute?
If Trump were smart, he would’ve just shut up, let the migrants march and allowed Mexican authorities to do his dirty work. . . .
Again, Trump could’ve just remained mum, add more immigration judges to adjudicate each case (and about 80 percent of Hondurans who apply for asylum in the U.S. are normally denied) and washed himself clean of their decisions.
To be fair, I would argue that if Arellano were smart, he would’ve just shut up and let the Los Angeles Times continue showering him in undeserved praise. That said, Arellano presents us another fallacy with the bit about Hondurans.
If an asylum seeker is denied it does not mean he is deported. In fact, asylees have multiple opportunities to appeal in the event their requests for asylum are denied, and they are allowed to remain in the United States during the entire process. Add sanctuary policy to the mix and asylees have a very good chance of living and working (under the table) in the United States, even if their official application for asylum has been denied. If Arellano isn’t intellectually dishonest, he’s incapable of reading through his sources. This is the OC Weekly’s finest?
From here on, Arellano’s column devolves into a sloppy appeal to emotion, feigning patriotism, and treading inexorably toward something approaching reductio ad Hitlerum. Not even the man behind ¡Ask a Mexican! is immune to Godwin’s law.
Invoking the fate of the doomed M.S. St. Louis, a “ship filled with nearly 1,000 European Jewish refugees,” that tragically saw a quarter of its passengers eventually killed in Nazi concentration camps, Arellano implies that the United States cannot enforce immigration laws, because doing so would be tantamount—inadvertently or otherwise—to aiding Nazis in their persecution of Jews. This Nazi-themed guilt by association is a fallacy of irrelevance, something coined by Leo Strauss, a Jew:
Unfortunately, it does not go without saying that in our examination we must avoid the fallacy that in the last decades has frequently been used as a substitute for the reductio ad absurdum: the reductio ad Hitlerum.
“Hitler was against open borders, Trump is against open borders, therefore Trump is a Nazi or X policy of his would somehow abet Nazism.”
Arellano plays this card often, because he’s incapable of making arguments not structurally dependent on logical fallacies, and resorts to threats when all else fails.
If Arellano were smart, he would know Americans didn’t discover concentration camps until 1945, therefore Americans couldn’t have known what Nazis were doing. If Arellano were smart, he would known it is just as easy to make the argument that immigration policy prevented the immigration of Hitler, or thousands of Fascists, Nazis, and other totalitarians from abroad. If Arellano were smart, he would’ve just shut up, but this Chicano just ain’t that smart.
Arellano saves his diminishing supply of intellectual gas for the closing, and I’m glad he did. Trump is, Arellano writes, “trying to keep desperate and poor women and children from entering this country to escape the violence that our own foreign policies set in motion.” “If any of those in the caravan get sent back and die at the hands of the people they traveled so far to escape, the blood will be on Trump’s hands.”
If Arellano spent less time immersed in Chicano Studies, he would know it wasn’t the United States that put Central Americans on the march for Liberación Nacional which kicked off the Central American crisis. That was the Soviets’ doing, or at least they fanned the ideological flames that saw socialist and communist tendencies take root. In Moscow’s Third World Strategy, Alvin Z. Rubinstein writes, “the Soviets have intervened to preserve and strengthen regimes that are anti-American . . . It is this that has prompted Moscow . . . to bestow the designation of ‘progressive’ on the regimes.”
Arellano is half-right. The United States did get its hands dirty in Central America, but it did so in response to Soviet imperialism, what Khrushchev called “forward policy,” and that Central Americans were all too willing and naïve to accept without question. Rubinstein writes:
In the struggle for independence of subjugated peoples, Soviet doctrine has upheld the right of recourse to violent means in uprisings against colonialism and imperialism, in what are generally called wars of national liberation. . . . [Moscow] conveys approval of what [it] sees as an ongoing struggle against either internal or external imperialist forces. . . . the efforts of a country to break the remaining economic and political bonds tying it to the West.
Of course, it’s much easier to overlook the nuance of geopolitics and point your finger at the gringo, but only the American gringo, because they’ll proffer welfare and affirmative action in contrition. That’s easier anyway, because Arellano and La Raza don’t have to face the fact that their march for socialismo democrático was a sham from the outset, it was never meant to answer the wishes of Latin Americans for better lives and greater freedoms. National liberation peddled by Marxists simply took advantage of those aspirations and used them as a vehicle for ideological warfare against the West. But that’s too painful for Arellano and La Raza to embrace; these are very prideful people after all.
I’m sure Arellano would by now make a half-wit allusion to something a “dependency” theorist once said about capitalist-Anglo-Saxon-Celtic exploitation of the Third World. But I get the feeling Arellano would struggle to explain why it was that development, expanding education, increases in per capita GNP, and declining infant mortality rates were occurring in the Third World despite gringo influence. Historical sociologist Ricardo Duchesne writes:
It came as a surprise to dependency theorists when the Marxist Bill Warren (1973) observed that capitalist development, not “underdevelopment,” had been taking place through the 1960s in the [Third World] as a result of foreign investments.
If any harm comes to these immigrants now set on illegally crossing our border, it will be their own fault. Likewise, harm that came to early American settlers was entirely the result of the risks they took. The difference in mentalities here is at the heart of the social and cultural problems of Latinos mired in identity politics. A deep, psychic inability to cope and propensity to deflect characterizes La Raza.
There was a time when assimilation into the dominant European-American culture was a staple on the road to improving Latino socioeconomic station. Genuine patriotism was encouraged, any allegiance outside the United States was vehemently eschewed, and George Washington’s Prayer was at one point the official prayer of the League of United Latin American Citizens—before they sold out to La Raza.
Today, we are left with the faux patriotism and cretinous jabs of men like Gustavo Arellano, who confuse their gift for cataloging exceptional taco joints with intellectualism. Then again, if Arellano represents La Raza’s peak intellectual firepower, perhaps there is hope to retake California after all.
Photo credit: Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images