by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonah Goldberg‘s latest column at National Review Online explores another liberal double standard.
When is it outrageous to amend the Constitution?
Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination, wants to overturn the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship. Whether out of panic or sincerity, a number of other Republican candidates have joined the bandwagon. This is probably good politics for the GOP nomination and almost certainly bad politics for the general election. I am inclined against the idea as a matter of public policy, because the costs would outweigh the benefits. But I am far from convinced it is something to be outraged about.
It’s funny: On countless public policy issues, liberals are obsessed with comparing America to European countries. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders routinely points out that Europeans have far more lavish welfare policies, including various forms of government-provided health care. President Obama loves to point to the gun-control policies of other industrialized nations. “Why can’t we just be more like (insert more left-wing European country)?” is the standard-issue rhetorical gimmick for cosmopolitan and sophisticated liberal policy wonks.
Except when it’s not. No European country grants automatic citizenship to any person born on its soil. And yet, we are told that undoing this right would be a barbaric and retrograde reversal.