Linda Ronstadt’s Distorted Views on History and Immigration

Singer Linda Ronstadt, who was promoting a documentary film about herself, was recently interviewed by two leftist media outlets, the U.S.-based Salonand the British Guardian. Her skewed, simplistic, and sometimes even slanderous assertions on history and immigration policy – including referring to Mexicans as the “new Jews” – would not be noteworthy if it were not for the fact that they are so widespread on the left side of the political spectrum. And famous people like Ronstadt often play a significant role in spreading the distorted narrative that somehow immigration enforcement equals the Third German Reich.

Speaking of her part-Mexican heritage (Ronstadt’s great-grandfather emigrated to Mexico from Germany during the 19th century) and Mexican music, the singer eagerly took swipes at the current president and his immigration policies, which she claims have been “encouraging resentment of people from Mexico.” Ronstadt denied that there was any southwestern border crisis or emergency in 2019 – even though the facts and numbers say otherwise – and asserted that “as soon as Trump came down that escalator and called Mexican[s]rapists, I said, ‘This is the new Hitler and Mexicans are the new Jews.’”

To be clear, the claim that Trump called all Mexicans “rapists” during his June 2015 announcement speech has been debunked long ago, including by left-leaning Politifact. And while Trump’s argument was admittedly awkwardly-phrased, the context of the actual speech shows that the then presidential candidate was attempting to convey that drug traffickers, rapists, and other criminals try to sneak into our country illegally – taking advantage of porous borders – along with run-of-the-mill economic migrants. Nevertheless, this has not prevented the opponents of secure borders and immigration enforcement from repeating the claim, or from making false historical analogies – like Ronstadt did with her “new Hitler, new Jews” claim.

Comparing Donald Trump’s comments about illegal border crossers from Mexico, and his subsequent policies to secure the southwestern border and stem unauthorized migration, to Hitler’s stigmatization of the Jews and the subsequent genocide during the Holocaust is wrong and offensive on many levels. The historical background explaining why was laid out in previous blogs (see here and here), but the bottom line is that the German National Socialists were actively hunting down all Jews, as they conquered most of Europe, and murdering them for racial reasons. That is very different from apprehending and detaining in decent conditions foreign nationals or all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds who violate our borders, and who are always free to leave detention and return to their homelands.

Calling every leader who defends his country’s national sovereignty and right to control their country’s borders and reduce illegal migration “Hitler” is a prime example of reductio ad Hitlerum(“reducing everything to Hitler”). The fallacy was coined not long after the Second World War by Leo Strauss – a German-Jewish political philosopher who left Germany shortly before Hitler’s rise to power – as a version of the much better-known reduction ad absurdum (“reducing to absurdity”) fallacy. But referring to a pro-enforcement president as the “new Hitler,” and to illegal aliens from Mexico as the “new Jews,” is not just absurd. It is outright dangerous because it trivializes and politicizes the horrendous crimes committed by the actual Nazis.

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