Protests against President Donald Trump, some peaceful and others destructive, continue to be celebrated by the media.
The most recent ones are protests against Trump’s travel restrictions on several countries dominated or infiltrated by radical Islam. The courts ruled that Trump’s travel restrictions do not meet legal requirements. However, street protesters claim that Trump’s travel restrictions are anti-Islam, or racist, or pro-fascist or pro-Nazi, or all of above.
For analysis of such claims let’s go to recent history.
Throughout the Cold War (1946-1988), the United States had entry restrictions on refugees from communist countries. Refugees were white, Christians, anti-socialists and politically incorrect. The vetting process of issuing visas was time intensive and averaged about two years.
Candidates for visas had to prove they were not members of the communist party or any communist-dominated organization. In addition, each and every candidate had to have a sponsor to guarantee the candidate would not be on welfare programs.
Unlike the refugees and street protesters today, the immigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as the American public, appreciated this vetting process. Most of refugees considered the entry to be a privilege rather than a right. No one wanted a few “comrades” to slip into the United States.
Moreover, the refugees from communism adjusted to the life in America. For example, the entire order of the Cistercian Priests came from Hungary to Dallas in 1956. Within two years, they started a college prep school, which is one of the best in the region.
Throughout the Cold War years, no public protests against restrictions on the entry of refugees from the East occurred and no claims were heard of travel restrictions being anti-Christian or anti-white, or anti-Russian, or anti-Polish, etc.
Entry restrictions from communist-controlled countries yesterday and those at risk for radical Islam today have the same objective: to protect U.S. citizens from terrorism and to safeguard our formal and informal institutions from alien doctrines. Still, we observe a difference in public reaction.
I conjecture that the rise of political correctness in the U.S. is a major cause of those differences. Political correctness has roots in the three movements that dominated Europe in the last century: communism, fascism and Nazism. Like those movements, political correctness tolerates no disagreements and shows disdain for the rule of law.
From communism, political correctness absorbed the usefulness of naming all people who hold different political and social views as fascists. Indeed, a major trait of public protesters is the character assassination of those who disagree with them. From fascism, political correctness learned the importance of incorporating all pro-collectivist groups, by force if necessary, into a rule by men.
Thanks to political correctness, the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have hijacked the party of Truman and JFK.
Svetozar Pejovich is a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University.