Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Immigration and Welfare

Libertarian-leaning folks who oppose free immigration often point to the welfare state as the reason for opposing what looks to me like the consistent libertarian on the borders question. But they also invoke national sovereignty as a reason for wanting the government to control "the borders." Question: if the welfare state went away, how many of these people would really favor open borders?

My guess: none to not many.


steven said...

It's funny, Sheldon, I just had an email exchange with Ilana Mercer where I asked her if she would be in favor of open borders if the welfare state was eliminated. Her answer was no, and that I would find out why if I read her articles about immigration. I'm reading her articles as I get the time, but I haven't found any satisfactory answers so far.

Sheldon Richman said...

This confirms my suspicion. I believe that in perhaps most cases, the welfare-state explanation is nothing but a smokescreen, a libertarian facade for a non-libertarian position. Thanks, Steven.

steven said...

I did find one article containing some very satisfactory answers, but not in Ilana Mercer's collection. It was your article, Sheldon, in The Daily Pennsylvanian, dated 06/15/06, titled "Independent Migrants Have Rights, Too." A very fine article, indeed.

Thomas Bell said...

I believe in open borders (I want freedom in general, including freedom to travel, including freedom to travel across borders without restrictions). But I also believe in national sovereignty. National sovereignty and free immigration are two separate things. National sovereignty to me means America and its founding documents are supreme (i.e., no UN, no NAFTA, no CAFTA, no WTO, et al). It has nothing to do with free immigration and open borders, unlike the xenophobes who claim to be libertarians out there. Tell me if I am mistaken.

Sheldon Richman said...

I don't like trade agreements because I favor unconditional free trade. But the UN, NAFTA, and CAFTA have no effect on national sovereignty. Those organizations cannot make law for Americans or strike down laws. Why do you think they affect sovereignty? (Whether they do or not, my focus is individual sovereignty.)

Thomas Bell said...

UN, CAFTA, NAFTA, etc. are international organizations, and yes, they will make rules for America to follow, whether or not their rules are valid. For example, from Korea foward, every war the United States was in, we followed the UN sanctions; we don't ask Congress to declare it. That is wrong!

As for individual sovereignty, when you read the Constitution, "We the People" (i.e., individuals) are soveriegn. We the People ordained and established the Constitution, and the Constitution vested certain powers to different branches of government. In other words, the government is inferior to the people--the government is our public servants, not our public masters.

Now, do you believe the government sees our relationship in the way I see it? Do they recognize the Constitution? Not a chance! And so we are headed for a complete meltdown. And it is the same if we continue to follow the Articles of Confederation.

Sheldon Richman said...

Thomas, those organizations have no way to compel the U.S. government to do anything. If a president or Congress abides by UN resolutions, it's because they choose to. There is no loss of sovereignty.

Don't get me wrong. I oppose those organizations. But the reason to oppose them has nothing to do with loss of sovereignty.

For reasons I've written about at length at fee.org, the Articles of Confederation were far superior to the Constitution, which was a counter-revolution in American history. As Spooner wrote, either it authorized the government we have or it was powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

Thomas Bell said...

You are right; after reading your TGIF columns, especially 1-2 weeks ago about Amendment 10 and the word "expessly", the Articles are superior, except for monetary policy. But human nature is superior than either, and human nature tends to be lazy and gives up our rights to government. Although this constitution is a "make-believe" constitution, I believe Texas Constitution 2000 is the best constitution I know, because it eleminates the legislative branch (i.e., law is only from Art. 3 of this constitution), and there is no amendments, so the people can't mess it up. But Texas has to succeed from the US first, and it's never going to happen. However, if Ron Paul doesn't make it to the White House (and I want him to make it), and the Lakota tribe continue to do what they are doing now, maybe Texas will copy Lakota.

Jimi G said...

That Lakota thing is interesting! I can't wait to see how long they can hold out until they're Wacoed.

I'm against open borders because Mexicans smell funny, talk funny, and are way too easy to get along with, which inevitably provides me with easy access to cheap, high quality reefer. Really puts a crimp in my style. So, yes, they must be kept out at all costs.

[Sheldon, if you're considering banning me from your forum, please don't -- I'm just trying to bring some humor to these heavy, heavy topics man. Thanks and Happy New Year!]

Sheldon Richman said...

I've never banned anyone, jimi g. But please don't smoke reefer here. I don't want to be raided. :)

Jimi G said...

You da man!

Happy New Year to all anarchists worldwide!