Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quote of the Day--on Immigration and Government

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. -- Robert Orben


Today's quote dovetails nicely with an article I read yesterday over at Yearning to Breathe Free: Immigration, Positive Law, and Liberty. Jason writes, in part:

As far as who constitutes an "illegal" immigrant, I think James is wrong for a variety of reasons. To say something is illegal is to reference some sort of legal framework as a starting point. If one is referring to the concept of natural law, then the idea of immigration being "illegal" becomes an absurdity. If we are to accept the idea that we are endowed with natural rights (i.e. From our Creator, or as essential component of our natures, or whichever view you are inclined to take) then certainly moving from point A to point B falls into this category. This applies whether someone is moving from Main Street to Park Avenue, from Ohio to Indiana, and yes, even from Mexico to the United States.

Ahh…but moving from Mexico to the US is different, someone might say. The reason is that the government of the US has made a law saying that you need to get permission first before crossing into the territory claimed by that government as its turf. This is what’s known as “positive law”, or law that is essentially decreed to be so by the political class. It is this view of “the law” that James and other Anti-Immigrants hold up as their standard for gauging one’s “legal” status. If you behave in a way that is contrary to the wishes of some other people who also claim the right to use violent force to achieve their goals (we’ll call them politicians, or the State), then you are violating the law, and should be punished. Morality and justice are functions of the arbitrary dictates of those with power. Literally, might makes right.


I have to say that I stand on the side of the libertarians who believe in having open borders. There are those who don't, as well. N. Stephen Kinsella writes:

And since it is impossible for the state to adopt a rule that perfectly satisfies all citizens – this is one problem with having public property in the first place – then, other things being equal, a rule that is favored by the overwhelming majority may be viewed as providing "more" overall restitution than one that is favored only by a few people.

Given these considerations, it seems obvious to me that, just as my neighborhood pool discriminates against outsiders, and just as a private pool also does this, so the state owner-caretaker of federal property might also establish rules that discriminate against some immigrants. It is obvious that the overwhelming majority of citizens do not want open borders; which means almost every American taxpayer would prefer that public property not be open to everyone. It is also clear that given federal anti-discrimination laws, providing unlimited access to public roads is tantamount to forced integration, has Hoppe has argued (1, 2). This cost is yet another reason why most Americans would prefer not to have public property open to all with no discrimination or restrictions. Given that values are subjective, using property to cater to the subjective preferences of the vast majority would seem to be one way of achieving a more substantial degree of restitution.


I can understand the argument as it is put forth in the above article, but if there is no federal government, no state, then the only borders to protect are those you personally own. I can't say that I'm an anarcho-libertarian (yet). But for argument's sake, we'll take that stance. Here's a quote from Rothbard which emphasizes the view:

"I define anarchist society as one where there is no legal possibility for coercive aggression against the person or property of any individual. Anarchists oppose the State because it has its very being in such aggression, namely, the expropriation of private property through taxation, the coercive exclusion of other providers of defense service from its territory, and all of the other depredations and coercions that are built upon these twin foci of invasions of individual rights." -Murray Rothbard in Society and State


The United States wouldn't really be, anymore, under anarchy. Everything would fall under personal or corporate ownership. There wouldn't be an artificially-created border between us and Mexico or Canada. Just as Jason explained above, going from Mexico to Texas would be the same as going from Texas to New Mexico now. The same goes for leaving the continent--NY to London, no passports, no visas.

We're certainly not ready to just open the borders, because we are nowhere near anarchy. And most people associate the word "anarchy" with, probably, hedonism or wild lawlessness. But that's not really what anarchy is about. Individuals would own their property, and wish to defend it. Corporations the same.

Here's a great animated video on the Philosophy of Liberty from the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL). It's worth watching.

What I like about the idea of anarchy is that it fits well with what I've come to adopt as my own principles, which I first read in Peter McWilliams' book Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do (some of which you can read online). They are (paraphrased because I can't find the exact words):

  • Do not harm another person or their property
  • Keep all your promises (which includes either verbal or written, as in contracts, etc.)


Neal Boortz may have written something similar in Somebody's Gotta Say It, but I can't find a reference to it online. If we must have government, then if these were the only laws, I think that would about cover it. I think that at this point my political views are more aligned with voluntaryism. Here's a little bit about it from Wikipedia:

According to Brian Doherty, Herbert "saw his anarchistic libertarianism as the final apotheosis of everything good in the human moral sense, a world in which force and violence can be used for nothing other than protecting 'self-ownership'—the root of all human rights."[2]


Thus, Herbert established various principles of voluntaryism and Free Life, including:

  • The Self-Owner Is Owner of His Own Mind and Body and His Own Property
  • No Peaceful Nonaggressive Citizen Can Be Submitted to the Control of Others, Apart from His Own Consent
  • The Moral Rights of a Delegated Body, Such as a Government, Can Never Be Greater than the Moral Rights of the Individuals Who Delegated to It Its Power. Force Can Only Be Used (Whether by an Individual or by a Government Makes No Difference) for Defensive Purposes—Never for Aggressive Purposes
  • Voluntaryists Believe in Government, Strictly Limited as Regards Its Authority; and See in It, So Limited, a True Organ of Society[6]


I didn't know this term existed until I started researching various forms of libertarianism!

But aside from all that, I would really be happy if we just tried sticking to the Constitution for a change. Wouldn't you? At least it would be a start. (Or would that be a do-over?)

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1 comments:

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Although I have libertarian leanings, I guess I am not really a libertarian in all things, or at least, I am not an anarchist (even in the political sense).

I suspect that we must needs have a nation state in order to protect the rights of the citizens and that this is a legitimate function of the state. And I think that as long as we have a nation-state, we will need to protect our borders because there are those willing to cross them in order to destroy what we have. And we have an obligation to our nation and our citizens first.

This is probably not terribly coherent, but just imagine for a moment what open borders and anarchy might mean when there are those out there who would rather take away our rights than live by them.

Oh, and I would say that I am another homeschooler against Huckabee--except that since I am not a Republican, it means little right now as I cannot vote in the primary.

Anyway, I had fun thinking about this issue. Thanks.