Hi, We’re The Sun and We’re Giant Racists

On Tuesday, The Sun newspaper chain greeted us with this lovely cover:

BbIBNpmCAAAezKFWhat, you may ask, is about Madi? Madi is sick and the costs of her medication are astronomical. The Sun in its relentless drive to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable has taken aim at the people who are causing Madi such pain: refugees. It’s those damned refugees, you see, who are gobbling up all the politicians time as they attempt to use up all of our health care, and that leaves nothing for Madi.

The Ontario provincial government, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne, are lobbying the government to coddle refugees while good ol’ Canadians, like Madi, are left to rot.

Here is, in part, what The Sun‘s Christina Blizzard writes:

We can’t even afford life-saving drugs for a child who has lived in this province all her life. Whose family has paid taxes for generations.

But in a foot-stamping, blame-the-feds act of cynicism, apparently we have enough money to pay for health care for refugee claimants.

When I came here, I was just glad to be accepted into a country that is full of so much hope and promise. This is the land that was built on the sweat of can-do people who came looking for work — not handouts.

At a time when our health-care system is failing children like Madi, there’s no way we should be expanding coverage for refugee claimants.

This is just red meat for racists. There’s absolutely no substance to it. Shall we walk through everything that is wrong The Sun‘s article?

  • OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan) doesn’t cover prescription drugs (other than when you’re hospitalized). It never has. Nothing has been changed to favour refugees over sweet Canadian girls like Madi. The province may cover the cost of drugs sometimes, but not always.
  • It’s all a false choice. They could easily say that the province is choosing to pave highways instead of helping Madi, or building schools instead of helping Madi, or providing chemotherapy for cancer patients instead of helping Madi.
  • Regardless, Ontario is lobbying for federal money to pay for refugee health coverage. If they’re successful, that won’t change how much money Ontario has to spend (or not spend) on Madi’s treatment.
  • Ms. Blizzard has decided that these refugees are uppity foreigners who don’t know their place… not like when she came here (though she doesn’t make clear whether or not she was a refugee).
  • The Sun is continuing its attacks on refugees. In response to a mild influx of Tamil refugees a few years ago, The Sun declared, “lock and load would be our approach“. That’s right; in the debate over refugee treatment, the editors of The Sun come down on the side of murder.

The plight of poor Madi is heartbreaking. So is the plight of countless refugees forced to flee their country, hoping to find a bit of hope and safety in Canada. It’s sickening that The Sun and Christina Blizzard use the former to provide coverage for their hateful attack on the latter.

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49 thoughts on “Hi, We’re The Sun and We’re Giant Racists

  1. I’m not sure I understand your problem with the Sun coverage. Those other people are refugees, not attractive white blond girls.

    It those refugees wanted healthcare, they should have made better decisions when they were choosing their genes. They have no one to blame but themselves.

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    • You’re correct that this is, explicitly, xenophobia, but with their history, The Sun has lost any benefit of the doubt with me. Notice that they have never advocated shooting white American war resisters, just Tamils.

      Further, the title is crafted for the message that they transmit, and if you read the comments, there’s a ton of racism going on (hence my “red meat for racists” comment). Also, as far as the title goes, “Racists” has a better flow than “Xenophobic Bastards”… actually, maybe that would have been better.

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  2. While there is a certain “tinge” here, one underlying point, which is entirely valid political point, is that Canada or Ontario or whoever should not be accepting refugees and that strife in some other country does not automatically mean others should help them.

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    • I heartily disagree. First off, there’s far more than a tinge, considering how incredibly dishonest the whole thing is, and The Sun’s track record.

      Further, the underlying point is not refugee policy. That is a completely separate policy. In fact, it is a federal matter while health care is a provincial matter. Playing the two off of each other is just trying to use a sick little girl to score cheap political points.

      To suggest that Canada shouldn’t be accepting refugees is absurd. We have the means and the infrastructure. Despite this government’s hostility towards refugees, there’s still no political will to completely stop accepting refugees. (And, really, the only argument for helping Madi by not helping refugees is, at its core, xenophobic.)

      But, again, even if that was the optimal refugee policy, it still has nothing whatsoever to do with OHIP’s long-standing policy of not paying for prescription drugs.

      Finally, it’s hard to believe that The Sun even really cares too much about Madi’s plight, or that they really want the government to help her. The Sun is not supportive of socialized health care. They don’t want the government paying for anyone’s health care. But more than that, they don’t want us to help those people.

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    • Do you have any sense of community? Your radical individualism is disturbing and immoral. Its an institutionalization of everybody for themselves and FYIGM. We might debate about the exact composition and requirements of group identity, communal responsibility, and more but most people on this blog believe that people exist in groups as well as individuals and that nothing is wrong for this.

      Letting countless people suffer because they are persecuted or because their country of origin is war torn or under a fierce authoritarian regime is immoral. It is murder. If we want to be non-hypocritical about democracy, rights, and being against government oppression than we should aid refugees.

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      • ,
        “but most people on this blog believe that people exist in groups as well as individuals and that nothing is wrong for this.”

        And IF that group, or a majority of that group, decides not to allow refugees in or to help people out in a crisis, that is their choice–you know “democracy”.

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      • James, normally I wouldn’t but Damon goes above and beyond what I understand is normal in Libertarian thought. His cosmology really does seem to be everybody for himself while I think that Libertarian philosophy does acknowledge some communal needs. I think that helping refugees would be a permissible government action since it is helping them resist unlawful force from their own governments, etc.

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      • Lee,

        If you’re trying to communicate or get your point through, it really doesn’t work; no more than calling a liberal socialist does. Because it ignores that what the libertarian objects to is the government doing things, not to people doing things for each other. So FYIGM indicates that you think libertarians are purely selfish, don’t give to charity, will never help others, would never pick up the tab for lunch, etc. That hasn’t been my experience with any of the libertarians I’ve personally known.* So you’re basing your entire estimate of their FYIGMness on whether they support particular public policies, and ignoring the entirety of their private actions, or assuming they are purely selfish in their private actions.

        In short, anytime you use it, libertarians will tune out and assume you’re going for cheap scores instead of serious discussion.
        ______________________________
        *Maybe hard-core Randians wouldn’t, but even most of the people I’ve known who came to libertarianism through Rand think it’s good to help push other people’s car out of the snow.

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      • If a Libertarian objects to governments doing things, how can they object to refugees? Should the government not let refugees in the country? Should it not keep them out of the country?

        If the government’s role is constrained but not eliminated such that enforcing geographic borders is still part of what it does, then you have to accept that making decisions about whom to admit across those borders is still government business, and while you may disagree with a particular decision regarding admission, you can’t object to the fact the government made it.

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      • Dragonfrog,

        If a Libertarian objects to governments doing things, how can they object to refugees?

        That’s my position. Damon differs. Amazingly, not all libertarians are clones.

        then you have to accept that making decisions about whom to admit across those borders is still government business, and while you may disagree with a particular decision regarding admission, you can’t object to the fact the government made it.

        I have to accept that? I can’t object to it? Like hell I do, and like hell I can’t. Governments make decisions about war, too, so I guess you liberals have to accept that preemptive invasions of other countries is part of that, and while you may disagree with a particular decision regarding preemptive invasions, you can’t object to the fact that the government made that decision.

        (Heh, like hell you do, and like hell you can’t, but that’s what your logic demands.)

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      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you with my tone. I realize of course just being a libertarian doesn’t mean all your political preferences can be made only on the basis of libertarianism.

        Let me try this again: I was responding to this sentence of yours: Because it ignores that what the libertarian objects to is the government doing things, not to people doing things for each other.

        I don’t see how one can hold that decisions about admission across borders are the territory of government (as, as you noted, Damon does and you don’t), and then object to the government’s having made and enforced a decision in what is their agreed legitimate domain. Of course, if you hold governments shouldn’t enforce border control then there is no basis I can see to objecting to particular people crossing borders. But if you do think the question of “shall we allow this person across the border” is a legitimate one, then (a) who but a government can enforce the answer? and (b) what rules should a government enforce that would keep out all refugees but let anyone in at all (or, alternately, why would you not want to let anyone in at all)?

        Of course you can think they made an incorrect decision – on the basis of libertarianism or any other political opinion you also hold.

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      • Dragonfrog,

        No worries. I’m not really as angry as I sound. I’m one of those folks who use swear words for adjectives as a matter of course.

        But I guess I don’t really get this:
        I don’t see how one can hold that decisions about admission across borders are the territory of government… and then object to the government’s having made and enforced a decision in what is their agreed legitimate domain.

        Of course you can think they made an incorrect decision – on the basis of libertarianism or any other political opinion you also hold.

        You’re obviously seeing a difference there that I’m not seeing. It looks like you’re saying we can’t object, but we can object.

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      • You can disagree with the decision made, and petition your elected representatives to do better next time – but you can’t object on principle to the fact of a decision having been made.

        Way back to the top – “Canada (…) should not be accepting refugees” – I guess I’m not able to square that away with a libertarian position. Either the government has no business stopping people at its borders, or else it does but somehow there’s a libertarian way of turning away under threat of violence those who present themselves at the border, and letting in people desperate to escape violence is the anti-libertarian thing. I’m probably guilty of mixing your statements in with Damon’s to some extent.

        <snark>Of course, Canada is a libertarian’s nightmare, surely – refugees shouldn’t even enter into it, because the state shouldn’t be providing taxpayer funded medical care to anyone. Menacing swarthy refugees and adorable blonde Canadians be damned alike if they get sick and haven’t the means to fund their treatment.</snark>

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      • Well, at this point I’d have to let Damon speak for himself. But I think we could point to most people and find something that doesn’t perfectly square with the Platonic ideal of their ideology. I don’t see why libertarians should be held to any different standard (even though I disagree with his position).

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    • Canada or Ontario or whoever should not be accepting refugees

      As a libertarian, I believe in open borders. By what legitimate authority does a government deny any person the right to choose where they want to live?

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      • “By what legitimate authority does a government deny any person the right to choose where they want to live?”

        This wouldn’t be so confusing if, as a Libertarian, you considered “a government” to be a “legitimate authority.”

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      • I’m sure we’re in agreement that a legitmate authority is not an absolute authority. So the question remains, for any legitimate authority, what specific authorities does it legitimately have?

        This is a question asked regularly by liberals and conservatives, of course. It’s nothing new or insightful. But it’s also asked by libertarians, because while there are some who think government is wholly and absolutely illegitimate, most think it has some real of legitimacy–they would just constrain it to an extent that seems radical to liberals and conservatives.

        For myself, I’m not so radical as to deny all government legitimacy, but I am radical enough to think its legitimate authority does not extend to the exclusion of those who prefer to live with us than in their place of origin.

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      • I think we’d be in agreement on a lot of things, but we have much different paths to get there. I can’t say I believe in open borders, but I would feel comfortable saying I support porous borders. We’re a migratory species, and whether we’re fleeing from something or flocking to something, I think there should be as much freedom of movement as possible.

        But we do live in the modern world. And governments the world over have legitimate authority to set border policies, citizenship policies, and all kinds of other policies that people of all stripes, not just Libertarians, find objectionable for one reason or another. It’s in law and common practice. Whole bureaucracies are devoted to the endeavor.

        Are you sure it’s the legitimacy of the authority you’re questioning? Or is it more of an objection to how that authority is being used?

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      • I agree governments have legitimate authority to set borders through negotiation. There is value to borders, as they contain differing policy regimes. Not every place needs the same set of laws, and within some indeterminate bounds the people of a place ought to be able to choose policy regimes satisfactory to themselves, that wouldn’t be satisfactory to a different set of people living elsewhere.

        Are you sure it’s the legitimacy of the authority you’re questioning? Or is it more of an objection to how that authority is being used?

        It’s not such a simple division. If we’re talking about authority to set tax rates, I might object to the rate a government set without contesting their authority to do so. But 1) setting borders to define the reach of regulatory regimes, and 2) limiting the movement of people are not parts of a single policy; they are substantively different policy issues. It’s one thing to say, “If you move from Sonora to Arizona you must follow the policy regime of Arizona.” It’s another thing entirely to say, “You may not move from Sonora to Arizona, even though you are willing to follow the policy regime.” I don’t find that latter authoritu legitimate.

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      • By what legitimate authority does a government deny any person the right to choose where they want to live?

        It is inherent in the power of government.

        Also, of course Madi deserves help more than some refugee.

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      • With residency comes responsibility. If we place responsibilities on the government – and by extension the people – for people who live here, then we give them control over residency.

        In a libertarian world, this might not be an issue. If we were willing to let immigrants die on the steps of hospitals for inability to pay, it might not be an issue. If we were willing to let their children go unschooled, it might not be an issue. But the more we insist on for people who live here, the more restrictive it makes sense to become when it comes to who can live here.

        (This is leaving aside the social contract of nations and people argument, which I know Mr. Aitch rejects strongly – as do I in many context if not necessarily this one.)

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      • Of course if we don’t limit residency, then we might be a little more cautious about how much we take from each other to give to each other.

        But I don’t really want to pick, because you showed ScarletNumber how it’s done, and I applaud that regardless of whether I am personally persuade by the argument.

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      • Will,

        I suppose in principle it’s legitimate to require some evidence of commitment to a place before allowing them to benefit from some of the state’s expenditures, at least those that are pretty clearly welfare and not related to, say, public health.

        I would also note that one of the legitimate purposes of government, as I see it, is to maintain public order (without constraining individual liberty too much). Suddenly throwing open the borders of a country like the U.S. when it is so close to a number of countries with such a lower standard of living could result in a truly violent backlash. In fact we’ve seen some low levels of violent backlash at our current immigration rates, although some of that may be a consequence of the illegality of immigration pushing immigrants into crossing in areas where they are trespassing on private property, so that it’s the illegality itself that’s causing some of the violence. So some limit may be legitimate, but for the purpose of public order rather than for exclusion.

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      • Good discussion going on here. My own .02: James wrote

        So some limit may be legitimate, but for the purpose of public order rather than for exclusion.

        That’s a good point. The weird thing, tho, is that no one ever justifies anti-immigration laws on a principle exclusion. They argue from some other criterion: jobs, crime, free-riders, The Law!, or even – albeit indirectly, it seems to me – public order.

        The tricky part is teasing out the “good” reasons for exclusion from the “bad” ones. That’s hard to do.

        And one other thing (not meant as a criticism of the public order criterion) is this: if groups of individuals determine that *they* will create civil unrest if these “other guys* are allowed in, then they’ve created the exact type of public order crisis that could otherwise justify anti-immigration laws. And as an example Arizona comes quickly to mind.

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      • Color me unimpressed

        It isn’t my responsibility to “impress” you. If you don’t want answers to your questions, don’t ask them. #shrug

        Also, you are the one who invented the right of “any person .. to choose where they [sic] want to live” out of whole cloth.

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      • Scarlett,

        An assertion isn’t an answer. And it was the respobse that didn’t impress me, not you personally (I know too little about you to say anything either way about you petsonally).

        And, no, I didn’t invent my position out of whole cloth; it’s a natural outgrowth of the emphasis on individual liberty. As Jefferson wrote, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights: to deny someone the right to move from where those rights are violated to a place where they can exercise and enjoy those rights is, at least arguably, a violation of those rights. “Liberty for me, not for thee” is a negation of the idea that everyone is equally deserving of liberty.

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  3. I don’t disagree with what you are saying but can I add that I find it odd that the Ontario Health Insurance Plan does not cover prescription drugs? Prescription drugs can get really expensive and are usually what drive health care costs up.

    Is this normal for Canadian health insurance? Do the plans in other provinces cover prescription drugs? What do people in Ontario do to get coverage for prescriptions especially expensive ones?

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    • ND, I’ve always thought it odd that we say we have universal health care, but it doesn’t cover drugs (or dental or some other stuff). I don’t think other provinces cover it–as you say, it’s damned expensive–but I could be wrong on that.

      Most people (I imagine) get their coverage through work. That’s how I get mine. There are also government assistance programs for the needy and the elderly.

      We also have IP laws and pricing that is a little more customer-friendly…though that is changing a bit as a result of a new EU trade deal.

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  4. Let me preface this by saying two things. One, this is textbook white nationalism. The problems with this girl’s health coverage and the issue of refugees most likely have not much at all to do with each other. Two, I have fairly cosmopolitan preferences, so while I have some modicum of patriotism I do not automatically privilege the wants of fellow citizens over the wants of non-citizens.

    However, there is certainly an argument to be made that if the state lays claim to my obedience and makes a claim on some portion of my economic activity in the form of taxation, then I ought to be first in line in receiving the benefits of that state. Can you make that argument ethically? Why or why not?

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    • Of course you can, under the same concept that “if the gov’t gives you money, it damn well can tell you how you can use the money, and if you don’t, they can turn off the money supply.

      Is that ethical? When you’re dealing with gov’t, ethics really don’t apply…but it’s certainly consistent.

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    • However, there is certainly an argument to be made that if the state lays claim to my obedience and makes a claim on some portion of my economic activity in the form of taxation, then I ought to be first in line in receiving the benefits of that state. Can you make that argument ethically

      Well, the reason why it makes sense to submit to the state is because it provides various goodies. In fact, since obedience to the state is predicated on it providing an adequate amount of goodies (whether this be the protection of various negative liberties, provision of public goods or even welfare) and the payment of taxes is necessary for the provision of those goods that basic social institutions are required to provide in order for the society to count as just and furthermore obedience is required for a stable social order.

      That said, its not like refugees do not obey the state. Presumably if they are there, they obey the same laws as everyone else and work the same as everyone else.

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