Just because powerful people support a policy doesn’t make it a bad idea. But given his (appropriately) jaundiced view of Silicon Valley liberaltarianism overall, it’s striking how little skepticism Packer shows about Zuckerberg and Co.’s promise that on this issue, Silicon Valley’s self-interest just happens to finally align with equal opportunity and upward mobility and various other good things. Especially since it’s relatively easy to see mass immigration as a prime example of the phenomenon that Packer elsewhere find troubling — a post-1960s trend that’s made America more diverse and inclusive but also more stratified and less solidaristic. In which case, the elite, bipartisan support for accelerating current immigration trends looks like a prime example of the phenomenon Goldman describes in his response — the way the new upper class embraces the “more diversity, less solidarity” bargain because it serves their own self-interest, and any costs are absorbed by people further down the socioeconomic ladder.
The problem is, Douthat can only address declining social mobility in this narrow context of immigration, where there’s an out group to blame.
Douthat is a particularly galling partisan, because he knows better. In 2005, he and Reihan Salam called for Republicans to focus on “health care first”, “a serious effort to extend health insurance to all Americans”, praising RomneyCare. Once RomneyCare actually became a serious proposal, Douthat & Salam had to oppose it, because being a Republican means opposing whatever Democrats do, with harsh, apocalyptic rhetoric.
The problem with “solidarity” is that Douthat’s party exists solely to foment division. Continue reading