It is no secret that political discourse has become truly ugly. Gone are the days when reasonable people could reasonably disagree about political issues.
One of the issues – perhaps the preeminent issue – on which opposing viewpoints are no longer tolerated is immigration. In many circles, those who favor limits on immigration and enforcement of immigration laws, are not merely deemed wrong or misguided. Such political views are now denounced as evil and those who express them are beyond the pale.
FAIR has been a prime target of these sorts of smear campaigns for many years. Scurrilous political attacks, relentlessly repeated, are part of an orchestrated effort not just to discredit a particular organization, but to marginalize the very notion that immigration laws have validity and should, therefore, be enforced.
In recent months, the campaign has moved to the next level by the network of groups seeking to eradicate immigration laws and U.S. sovereignty. These groups are now seeking to dictate to news media whose opinions should be reported and whose should not. They have not succeeded – FAIR and others in their crosshairs have unprecedented media access – but they are in it for the long haul.
If it’s any comfort, attacks against supporters of immigration limits in the United States are mild compared with the assault on political dissenters in Europe. In France, Marine Le Pen, the leader of a political party favoring more restrictive immigration, has been ordered by a court to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. (Disclaimer: FAIR has no association of any kind and does not endorse Le Pen’s National Rally Party.)
The proximate cause of the court’s order (which Le Pen has vowed to ignore) is that she tweeted graphic photos of the 2015 ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, and others of the decapitation of American journalist James Foley at the hands of his ISIS captors. The real reason is that, as Douglas Murray documents in his book, The Strange Death of Europe, opposition to the political establishment’s open immigration policies is being systematically quashed by the continent’s political elite.
But even more ominous is the manner in which that intolerance is now being expressed. The French court’s order of a psychiatric evaluation of Ms. Le Pen is eerily reminiscent of the most abusive policies of the defunct (we thought) Soviet Union. Initiated under Stalin, and continuing until Gorbachev ushered in the era of perestroika, the Soviet Union and its satellite states treated political dissent as a mental illness. Over the decades, countless individuals who did not strictly adhere to Party dogma found themselves condemned to mental institutions where they were subject to gross violations of their human rights.
It can be dangerous to draw parallels with events of the past (although the mass immigration advocates do it all the time), but there are unmistakable signs that more than our immigration laws are under threat.