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March 25, 2009

The New Republic: I can't believe it's not StormFront

Where would you guess this litany of offensive anti-Mexican stereotypes originated? StormFront? The Weekly Standard?

Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Mexican-American relations, not because the U.S. had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy country has as its abutter a Latin society with all of its characteristic deficiencies:  congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Catholic dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict.  Then, there is the Mexican diaspora in America, hard-working and patriotic but mired in its untold numbers of illegals, about whom no one can talk with candor. [The Spine]

Actually, it was Marty Peretz the publisher of the New Republic, writing on TNR's blog yesterday. What an embarrassment he is.

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Comments

Why wouldn't Marty be your first guess?

The sheer pomposity should have been a giveaway.

Thanks for the finger point at Perez. I suppose given the current signals from Obama's administration we are going to see more friction with Mexico. For example Obama says he'll move troops to the border if needed, and Mexico says no foreign troops on their soil back at Obama.

Peretz, sorry for miss spelling.

Mr Perez has a study in congenital corruption in present day Wall St. Perhaps the 'players' involved have revealed themselves to him in a dream as Mexicans.

My mother lived in Mexico for about 5 years before she died last January. She loved it and loved the people in the small town she lived in. This a woman that helped start a intentional community in the 60's. One of the few that still survives to this day. Life long democratic voter, worked on campaigns in the 90's and early 00's.

She, in our conversations, said everything from the quote about more than once. Yes taken as individuals there are a lot of nice and good people in Mexico. Unfortunately government and big money (same thing there) is corrupt from top to bottom.

They had to set up a separate police force for the interstate highways system because the city, county, state and federal police were all setting up roadblocks to collect "tolls" on it. Now only the people that get to do this are the Highway cops and the Military.

She lived in a little town of maybe 1000 people. The state or the fed's gave the mayor money to run water to all the houses. He ran water to half the houses and did not buy the water meters so that he could make of the bills he gave people. Then the state ran a 12 inch water line in from the highway. The first time the workers back filled the whole trench with 24 inch rocks smashing the pipe so that the company owner could bill the state do "repair" (rebuild) the pipeline after he got paid to put it in the first time.

She loved the place and helped support the women of the town in getting rental customers for the Techo's (rental apartments/condos) the women built on top of their own houses. Even at the level is was corrupt in that all the women kept two books, one for them and one for the tax men (state and federal)

I wonder if Peretz is willing to say the same about Singapore, which has tropical working habits, authoritarian government, stifling social mores, and unacknowledged racial friction. Is it doomed to be a failed state? How about Israel, which is corrupt and militaristic, and has a large population that proudly lives off the dole?

Years ago one might have heard something like the following in Chicago or New York:

“Well, I am extremely pessimistic about Southern-Northern relations, not because the North had done anything specifically wrong to our southern neighbor but because a (now not quite so) wealthy region has as its abutter a rebel society with all of its characteristic deficiencies:  congenital corruption, authoritarian government, anarchic politics, near-tropical work habits, stifling social mores, Baptist dogma with the usual unacknowledged compromises, an anarchic counter-culture and increasingly violent modes of conflict.  Then, there is the Dixie diaspora in the North, hard-working and patriotic but mired in its untold numbers of negros, about whom no one can talk with candor.”

Cfrost: it wasn't years ago. It only ended last October, when it was clear Obama was going to win. Post-2004 Democrats advocated seceding from the US and joining Canada; post-2008 Republicans portray Obama as an ape.

Lindsay: going back to Peretz's article, I have to say that observations of that form are fairly common among people who deal with undeveloped parts of the world. Americans used to say that about Japan, even people who had spent many years there and were sympathetic toward the Japanese. Orwell, hardly a colonialist, thought European colonies would never develop on their own, and advocated a united European-African-Indian government as a solution. More recently, you see a lot of people try to explain why Africa is poor, typically invoking issues that were just as true for India right up until 1991; if anything, foreign aid proponents, like Paul Collier do that the most, while aid skeptics, like William Easterly, are more sober.

As a Stormfront member in good standing, I would have to say that your citation isn't representative of the average Stormfront post on the problems of Mexico. I invite you to stop by, rummage around a little and find a post more to your liking:)

Gotta love a guy who see's anti-semitism in not just the somewhat tangentially related criticism of Israel, but in the philosophy of Neo-conservatism (perhaps this wasn't Peretz but I believe this defense by distraction originated at the New Republic and I know Beinart didn't voice it) being blithely unaware of his own prejudices.

Poor Peretz, thinking he was in Mexico when he was in New Orleans.

Jokes aside, Peretz is a continuing embarrassment to liberals only to the extent that he is confused with one.

This is not to paper over the serious economic and development challenges in Mexico. At the end of the Korean War, Mexico had a higher PCI and living standard than South Korea. Now South Korea is far more developed and prosperous, despite being in a much worse neighborhood (the Army of the DPRK and the DMZ on its border as opposed to rich thirsty college students from UCSD, UTEP, etc.)

Aeroman, the way the thread you link to comes off to me, a couple of echo chamber idiots are attacking Jon Chait for not letting them have their fun with Peretz. If the echo chamber idiots weren't named Brad DeLong and Katha Pollitt it'd be no different from any average comment thread on any average blog.

There are lots of ways to look at it, I guess! I don't really see how Chait wasn't "letting them" do anything, though, so much as he was just whining in an especially embarrassing way about the fact that writing for The In-Flight Magazine for Air Force One isn't exactly the lifelong grant of merit-independent influence and respect that it used to be.

He did; but the main point he raised, that they attack people who aren't on the list because they can, is valid. Most of the attacks weren't even on the merit of what Peretz said, or even on the fact that Peretz said it - they were generic attacks on TNR. For example, DeLong's main complaint was "They ran an article that opposed universal health care," though he offered no argument why said article was wrong.

Nate Silver described these people best. He wrote this about Republican talk radio hosts, but Democratic pundits are no different, and DeLong is the best example. Silver said, "It's not that they have forgotten how to persuade - it's that they've forgotten the need for persuasion."

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