Immigrants and Utilization: Why Social and Economic Value Shouldn’t Drive Immigration Policy

President Trump’s America First rhetoric is motivated by a stated desire to protect native-born citizens and advance their interests. But by doing so, he takes away from individuals the ability to define their interests for themselves. Immigration is often made palatable in terms of the value brought by new citizens to communities with established social and cultural traditions, as if immigration were an act of utility, benefitting primarily the community receiving an individual who, for…

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Tax Day and Buy American Conveniently Coincide to Highlight Executive Overreach

This year’s Tax Day was marked by a wave of populist furor directed against President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Meanwhile, retailers celebrate the anticipation of tax returns with a barrage of sales, marked to coincide with the anticipated cash with which consumers will be flushed. The disparity in these reactions is truly heinous. The former is protesting a political choice, perhaps a poor one from a messaging and transparency standpoint, to buck…

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How “America First” Rhetoric Reconfigures Classic Political Theory

It is one of the great ironies of modern politics that vague, colloquial conceptions of democracy understood simply as the moral authority of the people’s will promulgate the view that partisan ideological labels have meanings which fluctuate with different forms of self-identification in the polity. In other words, the semantics of modern ideology is rooted in a self-affirming loop of populist efficacy whereby the people’s conception of words matters because it is the people who…

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