Thinking About Family Structure vs. Protective Stupidity
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From The New Yorker:

Trump’s Fearful State of the Union

By Amy Davidson Sorkin January 31, 2018

… What binds them together for Trump, it seems, is fear.

This fearfulness was noticeable, for example, when Trump spoke of immigration. Speaking of the visa-lottery system and what he called “chain migration”—that is, family reunification, one of the central plot elements in countless American stories—Trump said, “In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can just no longer afford.”… But shutting down family reunification, which has also been a means by which rootless newcomers become rooted, hardly seems like the bravest, or most American, of answers. Or is the issue not that this is the age of terrorism but the age of immigration from a new set of countries—ones whose people may not look the way that Trump thinks Americans should look but, rather, appear frightening to him?

One of Trump’s oddest phrases in the speech came when he was laying out the “pillars” of his proposed immigration deal. After listing protections for Dreamers, border security, and an end to the visa lottery, he said, “The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration.” How, one might ask, had family reunification ever hurt the nuclear family? Wasn’t the idea of reunification, indeed, about both America and immigrants valuing family? Not in Trump’s view: the definition of family was too broad, because it included “distant relatives” (only if you consider siblings and parents distant). If reunification were limited to spouses and children who are minors, Trump said, we would be able to “focus on the immediate family.” The threat to nuclear families, in other words, was brand erosion—a phenomenon that Trump might know about, considering how many buildings and marginal products he has put his name on over the years. But the idea of family does not need trademark protection; it is not something that needs to be hoarded, as if welcoming more members at the Thanksgiving table would turn the dinner into a down-market affair. (In a sense, Trump’s line echoes the argument that same-sex marriage was somehow a threat to the institution of marriage, rather than an affirmation of its everyday value.) Trump makes it sound as if, walking into any room, Americans ask the same question that might occur to him: Who are these people, and what do they want from me?

Those of us on the dissident right have been thinking hard about questions of family structure, because nothing socially constructs different societies more differently than questions like nuclear versus extended families, out-marriage vs. in-marriage.

But I suspect Ms. Davidson Sorkin isn’t just being deceitful here, but I bet she’s really never thought about these kind of HBD Chick questions about family structures. Orwell’s crimestop or protective stupidity is the most valued urge of the era: the lack of curiosity and the anger at those who are interested in important questions.

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