There is no lower bound on modern so-called conservatism. It’s not going to happen.
As an example, [Fox & Friends] aired two emergency calls from Spanish speakers each identified on-screen as “Immigrant.” In the first, a distressed male requests emergency assistance for his cousin, whom the man described as “turning blue.” Another call featured a man and woman explaining to the 911 operator that they have not had access to water in three days.[Host Brian Kilmeade] asked the deputy, “So those calls, you have to respond to, even though for the most part, when you get there you realize, they’re not even American citizens?”
As we watch the nice network host very grumpily contemplate the injury that must be being inflicted on America due to various non-citizens not breathing or slowly dying of thirst on our dime, keep in mind that is a contingent of viewers out there who believe absolutely that yes, we should let people calling 911 die if they cannot prove they are American citizens, and would happily tell you so on national television. There’s also a contingent that thinks you should die a preventable death if you do not have the right kind of health insurance or if your employer did not feel like giving you any, and who are willing to pipe up with that theory even during a presidential debate. There are people who bring their hands together to clap lustily when a candidate brags that they have personally presided over the efficient execution of a new record number of prisoners, and many would probably clap just as hard if a candidate announced that he had a plan to streamline things even further by simply executing all of those prisoners at once, say in some sort of gas chamber. There are groups now who parade around with loaded guns and declare that the elected leaders who oppose them are, for whatever scant reasons they can come up with, simply illegitimate; this notion of illegitimate rule has been absorbed into and is entrenched even our highest legislative chambers. All the various pieces are there to turn us into a nation of monsters, nationalistic feudalists who are are self-assured in our expansions of business rights and just as self-assured in our calculations of which actual living persons in the world, American or otherwise, have lost their last chance and need to be ignored or disposed of before they cost the rest of us any more cash.
We think of ourselves as exceptional, but we are a hair’s breadth from constructing internment camps for migrant children under the declaration that they are too disease-riddled to mingle with the rest of the population. There are increasingly aggressive responses to even the rumor that a few of those children might arrive nearby, and our top politicians are eager to get themselves photographed among military-garbed, heavily armed troops meant to stem the influx of foreigners who put America’s continued existence at risk merely by stepping onto our own soil. We have already established that we consider war crimes justifiable, so long as the reasons are deemed pure. We elect those that will patiently explain to us why the Bill of Rights no longer applies to some Americans. The thought that we would consider global humanitarian norms to constrain our own possible actions already stirs great anger among many of self-proclaimed “true” patriots.
This is just a friendly reminder as we watch the hosts on television ponder these things and watch the people with big, misspelled signs confront buses full of suspicious-looking children from nearby summer camps. There is no natural lower bound here, no fail-safe switch that ensures things will go to a certain point but never any further. And no matter how sweetly the nice people on television smile as they ponder the fate of the poor or the powerless or how assured the politicians sound as they explain the common sense of these things, whether it be the announcement that corporate religions trump personal faith, the existential dangers of the disease-riddled other in our midst, or whatever other new obvious truths are suddenly discovered as each year ticks on, it should rightly be terrifying.