Sunday, August 6, 2017

Miller versus Acosta

Stephen Miller is a White House staffer in the entourage of Steve Bannon.

Jim Acosta is a CNN newsie born in the US whose father came here as a child of 11 from Cuba.

In general use, cosmopolitan, said of a person, usually means something like urbane, sophisticated, or familiar with all or much of the world, an antonym of parochial, insular, or unworldly.

But it can also be used to refer to one who regards himself as "a citizen of the world," a person who in some manner rejects loyalty to one's own particular nation, nationality, or country, or such loyalty construed in a particular way or understood to have certain specific implications.

Picking up on this usage, some advocates of ethnic nationalism have deplored and continue to deplore "rootless" or "disloyal cosmopolitanism," regarding it as contrary to a moral duty of loyalty to one's blood and soil.

Miller, like Bannon, is a white populist nationalist as regards American politics and an anti-EU populist nationalist as regards European politics, in both of which the ingredients of blood and soil are quite conspicuous, though sometimes unconvincingly disguised behind Renanism, itself an unconvincing and unhistoric theory of nationhood and nationalism that excludes the whole matter of blood.

In a White House press conference exchange about President Trump's proposed new immigration law, Miller and Acosta had an exchange.

Acosta then repeated his original question about whether immigrants would have to speak English before coming to the U.S., asking “Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”

Rather than addressing the question, Miller called Acosta’s comments offensive. 

“I am shocked at your statement, that you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English,” he said. 

“It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree. This is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world. Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English, outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?”

“That is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said,” he continued. 

“The notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.”

Miller concluded the debate by defending the White House’s proposed green card policy. 

“Insinuations like Jim made, trying to ascribe nefarious motives to a compassionate immigration measure designed to help newcomers and current arrivals alike, is wrong,” he said.

Acosta, of course, was not being literal when he asked, "Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”

Miller, taking him so, was just being a douche, though the utter stupidity of the all too familiar argument from the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty that Acosta attempted to sketchily reproduce against the immigration proposal Miller was discussing nearly excuses it.

Too, Acosta - anyway, as quoted - did not actually say the policy was racist, though that idea seems not to have been far from his intent; the guilty flee when no one pursueth.

But, anyway, it seems to me Miller's use of "cosmopolitan" made no sense, looking at its general meaning as well as at its more specific, political meaning.

No one seems to have noted that.

And, by the way, Acosta's reference to the poem at the statue's base was meant also to refer us to the age of mass immigration most familiar to Americans, the period from after the Civil War to the early 20th Century.

A period during which it seems most immigrants, by far, and including those from Europe, did not speak English when they arrived.

It is a mildly interesting question not only whether Acosta's, but whether Miller's, immigrant ancestors spoke English when they came.

Mine did not.

Update.

John Oliver - Stephen Miller’s ‘One Of The Most Revolting Humans I’ve Ever Seen’

Add Katrina Pierson.

Update.

Elsewhere in the discussion, Miller referred to it as "American Liberty Enlightening the World."

The statue's actual name is "Liberty Enlightening the World," and it is impossible to think Miller did not know that.

So, why did he lie?

OK, we know.

Because he's a right wing douche.

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