Predictably, Trump made an undiplomatic description of certain people and countries and, just as predictably, people on the Left have objected to his comments. And, just as predictably, Trump defenders have appeared with cries of “political correctness.”
However, the problem with Trump’s comments is not the profanity or disparaging of certain countries, as undiplomatic as they may be. The problem is much older:
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.
Given the context of Mr Trump’s comments, that he was questioning the wisdom of having immigrants from “shithole” countries, Mr Trump makes exactly the mistake Bastiat discusses: he confused people for the government. The countries may, in fact, be shitholes (however one defines that), but the people aren’t necessarily so. We are not our government; we are individuals. And, as I have written elsewhere, the institutions under which we live matter a whole lot.
In their rush to criticize Trump, the Left has made similar errors. They have focused on defences of the targeted nations or of blanket cries of “racism.” They’ve ignored the individual aspect of immigration (no surprise given the Left’s overt infatuation with socialism).
Similarly, in their rush to defend Trump, many of his supporters miss the context and point of Trump’s comment. They wonder why Trump can’t call a country a shithole, citing concerns about political correctness. But they too make the mistake of confusing the government and the society.
In short, Trump, his defenders, and his detractors on the Left all show their socialist leanings, and subsequent fallacious thinking, with this flap over shithole and immigration.