Matt Taibbi is probably the brightest new star in the journalistic firmament: his description of Goldman Sachs as a
"great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money"
is clearly destined for immortality. I think a lot of his latest big piece Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail? Rolling Stone February 16 2011. Peter Brimelow was very taken with his account of JPMorganChase looting Birmingham, Alabama.
But even this fearless iconoclast can feel fear. In his latest blog Mailbag: Alan Greenspan, David Brooks and Bailouts Rolling Stone March 7 2011 Taibbi refused to discuss immigration:
I had one reader accuse me of being like "as bad as Glenn Beck" because of my "gleeful opprobrium" in avoiding the immigration question...Three things I try to avoid talking about publicly: Immigration, the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the CMKM Diamond penny-stock case. The instant you open your mouth about any of those things, you're f——*, almost no matter what you say. Anyway, I'll leave those minefields for others and move on to questions I actually can answer.
Taibbi's remarks stem from a long and very interesting exchange he did have the courage to put on his Rolling Stone blog of February 7 2011: Mailbag: Outsourcing, Immigration and the NFL's Love for the U.S.A.The sixth letter read in part:
Hi Matt, At heart, I'm a progressive and hold many "liberal" views on global warming, gun control, etc. I think the greatest problem we face is the control that the super elite hold over the country...
Now here's the thing. I am strongly against illegal immigration, which puts me at odds with most on the left. When I post on HuffPo, I get called a bigot, racist, Nazi, etc. for arguing for stronger laws addressing illegal immigrants. And by that I mean I support SB1070 and strengthening our Border Patrol. I realize that puts me in the company of a lot of right-wingers...But in my defense, there are a lot of progressive reasons to be against unfettered illegal immigration...For instance, the quality of our schools here has gone down over the past decade as more children of illegal immigrants enter them (30% of LAUSD students don't speak English)...A recent LA Times story stated that our county pays over a half billion a year on welfare for the children of illegal immigrants...Then there is the environmental impact of this increasing segment of our population... Anyway, I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on something that, on its surface, appears paradoxical (a person who contributes to both WWF and ALIPAC), but that seems ideologically consistent to me. Regards, David Treciak
David, I hate the immigration question. It's a deadly minefield of white guilt and political correctness. I try to stay out of it as much as possible.
The problem with immigration is that it's so totally tied up in class/income issues...I also live in a town that has a massive immigrant population and a decimated school system...My town also has a soaring crime rate and awful public services, which apparently wasn't the case not long ago. There's just no way for me to separate out these facts when I sit down to think about immigration...
I myself was a foreigner for ten years, in Russia, so I have a lot of built-up ideas about what it means to live in/move to a new country. So for instance, intellectually I think bilingual education is a mistake...I think having one language unifies a country and a culture...To me, learning the local language was a way of expressing respect for and love of the culture of my host country...So the bilingual services thing was initially sort of bewildering to me, i.e. why wouldn't you want to learn English, and why wouldn't you want your kids to learn?
...I also can't stand the hyperemotionalism surrounding the issue - it's made it impossible for anyone to talk about the problems you describe without being branded either a racist or anti-American (similar to the Israeli-Palestine issue, another thing I hate writing about, because someone's going to flip out no matter what you say). I mean, there's a lot going on that's just indefensible and crazy. I think I've said this before, but I know doctors here in New York who see an endless stream of 15- and 16 year-old girls flying in from places like the Dominican Republic specifically to get on Medicare and have their babies here. I'm pretty sure it's okay to not be happy about that as a taxpayer.
If I'm wrong about that, please write in and let me know.
Sadly, I predict we will hear no more from Matt Taibbi on Immigration.