Perceptions – Martha’s Vineyard and other things

We humans tend to – and love to – exaggerate. Especially when it concerns our enemies and rivals: in romance, business, war,… or politics.

The latest (and rather amusing, in a weird sort of way) example is found at Fox News. People upset about Florida shipping 50 border-jumpers by air to Martha’s Vineyard are comparing the action, and the Florida governor, to ethnic cleansing, the Holocaust, human trafficking, and more. The upset people are concerned that people are being “forced” to relocate to the Massachusetts island and feel great sympathy.

Now, I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard. I may have seen it once or twice from the air, and maybe from the mainland: I’ve been to New England a couple of times. I had not realized it was the extreme version of Alcatraz (which I have been too – and worked on) or Devil’s Island. Or that people like the many so-called woke and progressive commenters had that perception.

Perhaps the hideous living conditions which must exist there are a reason the island declared itself a sanctuary for illegal immigrants (which apparently is one reason for Florida relocating people there). I do know that Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island have been “sanctuaries” for immigrants – many in dire straits and fleeing religious, political, and economic hardships – for centuries. Starting with Puritans (pilgrims) and continuing to the many “Portegee” (Portuguese) immigrants I met in the area in the 1970s. I understand many Haitian refugees are in those States today. Offsetting the low birthrates of the indigenous liberal residents that are the degraded descendants of those pilgrims.

(See, even we here at TPOL can exaggerate about our political opponents. Although we try to do so in a humorous and not serious manner.)

Which brings us back to the point: it is easy – and fun! – to exaggerate the negative aspects of our opponents, and to denigrate (is that still a legal word?) their actions as evil and monstrous. Everyone is a fascist, a reborn Hitler, a child- and woman-molester. Even when those using those labels are often themselves acting like – or supporting – the very actions that they condemn: just in different ways.

As lovers of liberty, we need to be careful about how we label people and their actions. Perhaps it is wrong to ship border jumpers in wholesale lots by bus, train, or plane from the border States to localities which have publicly and proudly announced that they welcome and will shelter those people from the evil actions of the FedGov and even their State governments. But it is definitely wrong and stupid to compare these things to railcars full of ghetto Jews being hauled to Dachau or Sobibor. That exaggeration does not further efforts to promote and live in liberty.

Both of the old political parties and their partisans do it all the time. So do Libertarians. But we can make our points without taking such claims seriously. Again, we can be humorous, teasing about such things. But when you read the exaggerations in context about Martha’s Vineyard, the silly point-making gestures and proclamations of governors in Texas and Florida (and for that matter, California, Washington, and Michigan, to name a few others), it does seems as both they and their critics are serious: even if they don’t believe the claims, they want us to believe them.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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2 Responses to Perceptions – Martha’s Vineyard and other things

  1. Thomas L. Knapp says:

    A lot of people seem to fundamentally misunderstand what a “sanctuary” jurisdiction even is.

    What defines a “sanctuary” jurisdiction is that if someone is being held in jail or prison and his sentence ends, that jurisdiction will not continue to hold him prisoner without charge or trial, on behalf of ICE, without a warrant or judicial order based on probable cause to charge that person with a crime.

    “Sanctuary” is shorthand for “follows the US Constitution instead of urinating on it.”


    • TPOL Nathan says:

      Tom, I understand that is a legal definition and the point is very valid. But the general public/media/politician perception seems to treat it much differently: a place where people can seek refuge and will be provided shelter. That stems from the Law of Moses and “cities of refuge” as interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church which made (and once enforced) the idea that their church buildings/meeting houses, including Cathedrals and monasteries, were places of sanctuaries. Not sure about all jurisdictions, of course, but ones I am familiar with in Colorado and Utah seem to use that broader definition.


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