Monday, March 28, 2016

Trump’s Wall versus Spain’s Wall: The Left Wing Hysteria about Trump’s Proposed Border Wall

There is a country called Spain. Many people probably do not know that Spain still has a few small strips of territory in North Africa called the “plazas de soberanía” (“places of sovereignty”), such as Ceuta and Melilla. I am not sure how attached the people of Spain are to these outposts in North Africa, but that is not the issue here.

In some of these places, the Spanish government has built walls or fences to protect its territories.

Here is a photo of the Melilla border fence between Morocco and Spain’s Melilla territory.

The law is the law. It is illegal for people to just immigrate into a different nation. Spain is neither fascist nor authoritarian nor racist for having its wall. It’s a plain common sense way to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

America’s problem with illegal immigration is far, far worse than Spain’s. It seems to be plain common sense that if America cannot police its border with Mexico, then some kind of wall is probably the only solution to the problem.

Yet people on the left are screaming hysterical abuse at the very idea. Apparently it’s racist; it’s fascist; it’s Nazism reborn.

But it’s none of these things. In reality, even Bernie Sanders knows that open borders and mass illegal immigration are terrible threats to America’s working class and real wages.

He’s well aware of the problem, as we see in the video below.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Bernie could ever really do anything effective to stop mass illegal immigration. Why? Because Bernie is too kind and too compassionate a man. And I mean that as a genuine compliment to Bernie Sanders, because I like him a lot.

Unfortunately, to really do something effective to stop open borders, Bernie – even as a democratic socialist – would have to build a wall or fence on America’s border with Mexico too, rather like Spain’s fences to protect its North African territories. This is a hard reality of life.

Left-wing people will do nothing but discredit themselves by ignoring reality.


  1. Bernie is not compassionate. Look at what he is willing to do to poor kids in bad schools at the behest of teachers' unions. Bernie, like all mush minded lefties, fakes compassion. You have cited another example here.

    Good post. I did not know about this fence.

    People also go nuts over his comment about closing some mosques. No one complains that the socialist president of France has done just that, closing about 150 of them I believe. The hypocrisy over Trump is thick.

    1. (1) "Bernie, like all mush minded lefties, fakes compassion."

      That is just untrue, Ken B. Does the man have no genuine compassion at all?

      "All conservatives, being all secretly racists, fake compassion." -- that is the kind of nonsense we hear from the left these days, especially all the insane regressive leftists. It's obviously nonsense.

      (2) yes, on François Hollande, you have a good point.

      Another ridiculous double standard here on the left too.

  2. I like Bernie's assertive rebuke here. I am not surprised Klein doesn't know this is a Libertarian idea.

  3. Drop by Murphy to see his (excellent) takedown of Callahan on the Turing test. I tried to leave a comment at Murphy's, we will see if he publishes it. I have upset Callahan so much he has blocked all comments. Hilarious. The man has no intellectual integrity at all. Check out rob's accurate summary of the usual interaction.

    1. Not sure why it's such an excellent takedown. It seems to me Gene Callahan's right here: the Turing test only tests simulated intelligence. The thing that simulates the intelligence (software) is as dead and unconscious as a washing machine.

      See John Searle on this:

      Searle, John R. 1982. “The Chinese Room Revisited,” The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 5: 345–348.

      Searle, John R. 1992. The Rediscovery of the Mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass and London.

      Have you never read the Chinese room argument? When I was an undergrad I did a cognitive science course. I tried to write a paper refuting Searle. Years later I revisited this issue and realised Searle is right.

      Real conscious intelligence like ours, as far we can see, requires wetware: biological brain chemistry and neurons and their processes.

      A true artificial intelligence will have to directly reproduce or replicate the biological processes in the brain that cause consciousness. Probably an “artificial” intelligence – in the sense of not being a normal human being – will need to have organic or biochemical structures in its “brain” in order for it to be fully and truly conscious.

      In any case, AI has become a kind of cult to my mind, e.g., Kurzweil and the whole "singularity" and "uploading our minds" cultist movement.

      See also my critique of Feser:

    2. Though "no way to determine the intelligence of anything else" is a step too far in that post.

  4. LK
    Imagine Searle's room first miniaturized. Say so that it fits in a human skull. Now imagine its operation sped up. Say so that it matches exactly the speed of a fluent Chinese speaker speaking. Still so sure the room doesn't speak Chinese?

    Apparently you , like Callahan, do get the point of the Turing test. It is not, how do we know machines think. It is how do we know anything thinks. We must better understand how we recognize and judge intelligence before we say foolish things like "machines can never think."

    Requires wetware? I was joking when I said you should write about phlogiston, but now I find you are some species of vitalist. Callahan denies intelligence evolved. I doubt you go that far, but then tell me, doesn't matter think? Are we not machines that think and that evolved without a creator? Isn't it completely bogus to say "it cannot think because it only represents the thought of the thinking being who made it?"

    1. (1) Ken B, these debates all stem from a shoddy fallacy of equivocation:

      (1) machines have intelligence and can think.
      (2) a Turing test can show whether a machine has intelligence or can think.
      Alright, but what do you mean by "intelligence" and "thinking"?

      Do you mean the conscious intelligence and thinking that I am experiencing right now?

      There is no rational reason to think software can think in this way.

      (2) "Requires wetware? I was joking when I said you should write about phlogiston, but now I find you are some species of vitalist"

      No, this is not supernationalism, Ken B. I am well aware that Callahan is a dualist. I reject dualism.

      The empirical evidence that the conscious thinking intelligence that humans have is a higher level emergent property from the brain is very strong indeed.

      There is nothing supernational about saying that, physically speaking, you need brain chemistry to produce a conscious intelligence mind.

      Can you actually reproduce the physical process of digestion in software and digest food? No, of course you cannot.

      I'll write you a post on this.

      (3) "Say so that it matches exactly the speed of a fluent Chinese speaker speaking. Still so sure the room doesn't speak Chinese? "

      Whether it can simulate speaking Chinese isn't the issue, Ken B.

      (4) "I doubt you go that far, but then tell me, doesn't matter think? "

      Yes, it thinks in the sense that a conscious human mind is an emergent property from brain processes.

      Philosophically speaking, the key to cracking the problem of human conscious intelligence is Karl Popper's pluralist ontology.

    2. Callahan isn't a dualist. He's an idealist.

    3. Callahan thinks thought and consciousness exist apart from and independent of any physical substrate such as a brain. He thinks Aquinas proved this.

    4. "Callahan isn't a dualist."

      Ah, perhaps I stand corrected. I still reject idealism, however. See my analysis here:

  5. Read Murphy's comment about the power cord.

    I complained that Callahan does not understand the Turing test. This travesty of it is his rebuttal.

  6. I'm a Spaniard, and I must say a couple of things about this. Those "walls" which are just metal fences that pretty easy to jump, they only work for delaying the ones trying to get in Spain so that border police can arrive and stop them, but many times, if they are already in the Spanish side, stopping them means arresting them and taking them to immigration centers where most of the times, they remain a couple of weeks to later be released with an order to be kicked out, which isn't really enforced. Constantly there are reports of hundreds of central Africans and moors trying to jump the fence at an specific spot, and police can only stop so many, the rest of them get in here, the fence does nothing. A while ago government put concertinas and barbed wires at the top, which would actually make the fence difficult to jump, and the leftists over here got crazy about it, they had to remove it, if there's a video an officer being a bit rough with the ones that are caught, the same. The idea of building a concrete wall that cannot be climbed like a fence seems to be the only way to stop this and not having trouble with concertinas or rough officers, they simply wouldn't be able to climb, yet the left rejects the idea and goes around calling a fascist. I guess it is better that anyone and everyone comes and all of the social programs and government help that left loves are forced to be cancelled or decay in quality, because our labour market like Sanders says about America, is already unable to absorb the people that live here.

    1. At least in the US, the whole "illegal immigrants come into our country and abuse our social programs" line is false.

      You need several forms of government-issued ID, a social security number, and sometimes even tax records to use even basic social programs.

      Illegals do not have these things. So whatever problems you attribute to illegal immigration, the decay of social programs is not one of them.

      Another thing--police brutality is a problem in the U.S., so saying "the Left criticizes police officers when they get rough with suspected illegal immigrants; idiots!" *does* smack of fascism, as it amounts to "Police brutality is fine as long as we're not the ones being harassed." (LK is right that it's not fascist to say our immigration laws should be enforced; but that's not what you said. You said it's silly of the left to care about police brutality directed toward a hated minority.)

      That is fascism in a nutshell. The political leadership live detached from the common folk, who are pushed around and abused by an authoritarian police state. It's Mussolini's wet dream, and guess how he established his rule? That's right, by appealing to his people's xenophobia and portraying their problems as the result of foreigners and dissidents. That was also a huge aspect of Nazism.

      Not saying your a Nazi or fascist, just saying your rhetoric indicates you are vulnerable to fascist ideas.

    2. Won't preventing more illegal immigration by a wall decrease policy brutality if they have less illegals to deal with?

  7. And this may not have to do much with the topic, but I'd like to point out something that Spanish left is always talking about, and in the States goes the same way with Native Americans. Ceuta and Melilla aren't colonies, they were part of the desert northern Morocco is and served as headquarters for Berber pirates. They were occupied during the 15th century to combat North African pirates and turks along with many other spots that were abandoned over the years, but they were not part of any actual country at the time, let alone a country that still exists today and can claim any sovereignity over them. Not to mention that people living there are Spanish, not the pirate natives that might have been kicked out 6 centuries ago. Thus the argument left swings around saying that we occupied their lands so now we must let them in is nonsense.

  8. I don't think Trump would be the new Hitler, and I'm not in favor of completely open borders, but Trump is still worrying to me. One problem is that he wants Mexico to pay for his wall. I haven't seen how he would do this effectively, though I'm happy to be proved wrong. He also intends to deport millions of people, which several sources say would be a strain economically:

    His complete ban on Muslims entering the USA also seems unrealistic. I'm as much against Islamic extremism as anyone here, but this seems reckless.

    He seems very much like an opportunist above all, saying whatever he thinks will gain him power at the time. His position on healthcare, which keeps shifting around, is just one example. His views on torture are also worrying, saying we should go further than waterboarding. He's also a climate change denier. I'm going off topic here, but my point is that I don't think we can count on knowing exactly what he will do.

  9. Trump's wall is pure BS, and he should be called on it.

    No provisions for a wall are in his budget, and the costs for construction and maintenance would be huge, easily ten figures or more.

    And anyone who even believes for a millisecond that Mexico is going to pay for a huge, costly wall on their Northern border that they don't want needs a reality check. Trump's response that he'll force Mexico to do it by starting a trade war and pulling out of NAFTA is complete and total nonsense, and he knows it.

    He's not a fascist; Trump's just a nefarious bullshitter. It's sad that people turn off their bullshit detectors when it comes to certain issues. They play right into the hands of mephistophelian demagogues like Trump or Cruz.

    1. (1) So you think no wall could ever be a common sense solution to the problem of illegal immigration into the US?

      If Bernie proposed one, you would argue it would be pointless?

      (2) "costs for construction and maintenance would be huge,"

      Wouldn't its construction be a big Keynesian stimulus for the US economy if it was done by deficit finance?

    2. Why would the wall be so costly, net? Reduces the need for guards and patrols, reduces the costs attendant on illegal immigration, including fewer deportations.
      Walls are cheap.

  10. I do find it quite hypocritical of Europeans that they criticize Americans for having xenophobic or racist candidates, when European countries have genuinely racist and xenophobic candidates who win elections and have major influence in European parliaments.

    As opposed to a couple of American candidates who do not even necessarily win.

  11. An example of how a neoliberal economist is using the consequences of mass migration to argue for a deregulated labor market:

  12. Why is it nonsense?