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.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

You Can’t Be for Freedom and Border Control

Conservatives who lie awake nights worrying about “illegal immigration” reveal something unflattering about themselves. Isn’t it odd for people who claim to favor individual liberty and limited government to at the same time fret that people “cross our border” without government permission? Why would anyone need the government’s permission to cross an arbitrary political boundary?  What happened to natural rights? And why would self-proclaimed champions of the free market demand harsh penalties for employers who dare to hire people who haven’t first gotten permission from the government to live and work here? Employment is peaceful exchange. Where does the government get the moral authority to regulate exchange?

If one favors freedom, one favors freedom of movement. Does that mean I favor amnesty? No, it doesn’t. I oppose amnesty on two grounds.

First, amnesty presupposes wrongdoing and “illegal immigrants” have done nothing wrong; they are merely people without government papers—big deal. There is no duty to obey a “law” that conflicts with natural law.

Second, I do not think government officials should be forgiven for the injustice committed against people without government papers. Thus I oppose amnesty for those officials.


JOR said...

How many consevatives claim to be for individual liberty, anyway, and how often? Some do, sometimes, but no more often than proglodytes do. Far more often they'll indulge in a certain kind of "individualism" that amounts to hero-worship - a celebration of high-status individuals and an erasure of everyone else's individuality. While libertarians sometimes do this (it's pretty much the essence of Randian individualism), but almost any time conservatives are talking about individualism or individual liberty, this is what they mean. Perhaps a distinction between egoism (respect for dominance and status) and individualism (respect for autonomy and personhood) is in order.

August said...

I think what they are really worried about is infringement on their private property. The people actually living on the Rio Grande experience this directly and have the American government to contend with should they do very much at all to defend their property. For folks further away from the border, it is more abstract- probably some vague idea that they pay taxes so they somehow 'own' the country in a way foreigners do not, combined with the pure insanity of public property the government has foisted upon us over the years.
I do think most of the conservative anti-immigration stuff would go away if it was widely known that the immigrants were traveling to properties upon which they were welcomed.
But then, the state profits off this conflict like any other, so undoubtedly that is why the status quo is what it is, and why 'illegals' will grow as an American underclass.

JOR said...

The conservatives already know that immigrants are traveling to properties on which they're welcome. That's why so much of their border control policies are and will be aimed straight at the property owners who are doing the welcoming.

August said...

Conservatives do not know that. In fact, I don't know that, and I suspect the conservatives that I am describing can't really articulate what I am seeing them do. Since this particular immigration isn't legal, the immigrant can't tell us where he is going. In many cases, he may not even know where he is going.
He may be able to get a job and apartment once he gets here, but that doesn't suggest there were agreements in place before he traveled.

JOR said...

1) Why do agreements need to be in place before he traveled? What matters is that they find someplace to live and work consensually. Clearly we wouldn't even have a "problem" with immigration if there were not places for them stay and work. 2) Do you really think that this would get conservatives to back off instead of motivating them to go after the people doing the inviting (exactly the way they want to go after people who rent to/hire them now)?