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Some Comments on the Immigration Issue

I have been wanting to write more on the immigration issue, but I think I’d rather concentrate on other matters. So, I am going to repost some past posts on that issue from the last two or three years, or excerpts of posts. These issues are more on a philosophical level here. But the bottom line is, do we want freedom in America, or do we want a police state? Right now it’s a police state with a “Constitution-free zone” along the borders and coasts (and all points between, quite frankly, thanks to the imbeciles and fascists in Washington).

So here are some of those past posts or excerpts:

In the post, Freedom Matters, I wrote:

In the article, titled “Culture Matters,” the writer Jim Cox compares the U.S. territory and its public or collective ownership to a condominium made up of several buildings with commonly owned areas, in which the condo owners “own the land between the 27 buildings and the pavement in common and own only our individual units separately.”

And he continues: “This is a very analogous situation to US citizens owning private property as well as public property via government. The condominium association has rules about people coming onto the common property.”

In Cox’s example, each condo owner buys one’s own unit with the rules of the condo association in mind.

Already Cox confuses private and public property. The entire territory of a country is not a commonly owned parcel of private property and can’t be compared to that.

Outside of each individually-owned unit, the property of the condo buildings and real estate is commonly owned by the condo owners. But it is still all private property.

In contrast, “public property” is supposedly publicly owned. Actually, as Jim Davies pointed out, public property is unowned. Either no one has actually legitimately homesteaded or honestly acquired it, or it was owned but the bureaucrats of the State have seized and occupy it.

Many individuals, groups and business owners own individual parcels of private property. But it’s more difficult to define who the actual owners of public property are. An intruder onto the condo property is trespassing onto private property. But if the “public” supposedly owns non-privately-owned public property, just which part of the public can be considered an owner or an “intruder”? “Citizens” or non-citizens? Taxpayers or non-taxpayers?

As I asked in this critique of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, what about non-taxpaying citizens, such as those who work but don’t earn enough to be required to pay income taxes? Are they less owners of the “public” property? Are they “intruders”? What about working, taxpaying non-citizens?

And what exactly is a “citizen”? As Carl Watner notes, a “citizen” is a “member of the State.” Other sources define citizen as someone who is legally recognized by the government. But who is the government to “recognize” or authorize someone as legitimate?

Sadly, statists look to the ruling government bureaucrats for validation. But just who exactly are the ruling bureaucrats, and what exactly is the State?

As Murray Rothbard has pointed out (.pdf) in his Anatomy of the State,

The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.

And, in his great treatise The Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard asserts,

Thus, the State is a coercive criminal organization that subsists by a regularized large-scale system of taxation-theft, and which gets away with it by engineering the support of the majority (not, again, of everyone) through securing an alliance with a group of opinion-moulding intellectuals whom it rewards with a share in its power and pelf.

But there is another vital aspect of the State that needs to be considered. There is one critical argument for the State that now comes into view: namely, the implicit argument that the State apparatus really and properly owns the territorial area over which it claims jurisdiction. The State, in short, arrogates to itself a monopoly of force, of ultimate decision-making power, over a given territorial area — larger or smaller depending on historical conditions, and on how much it has been able to wrest from other States.

If the State may be said to properly own its territory, then it is proper for it to make rules for anyone who presumes to live in that area. It can legitimately seize or control private property because there is no private property in its area, because it really owns the entire land surface. So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.

So what we have from Cox is the collectivist notion of a common ownership of a territory. He writes: “Until we can shift to a Private Property Society we are stuck with a government handling immigration.”

Unfortunately, “government handling immigration” is the police state that we have now. Bureaucrats empowering border control agents to violate due process rights, arrest innocent people who have not harmed anyone, arresting employers for not getting government permission to hire a worker, arresting workers who are peacefully making a living, an out-of-control “ICE” working to take citizenship away from naturalized citizens, storm troopers ripping whole families apart. All this because the people have gullibly empowered a centralized government to decide who is and who isn’t on the premises legitimately.

And Cox lists “negative cultural traits” of possible immigrants that people wouldn’t want to invite in. He neglects to mention, however, that it’s the government planners (that we are “stuck with”) who are responsible for bringing in the violent criminals he mentions.

But the collectivist-minded writer is putting ALL immigrants into one big group, the “undesirables,” the riffraff and the actual violent criminals, all lumped together with the peaceful people, the hard-working laborers, the honest folks.

Whatever happened to the individualism and free markets that used to be associated with libertarianism? Whatever happened to presumption of innocence? If you don’t suspect an individual of something, leave him alone.

And why would libertarians want bureaucrats to control markets, labor and employment? “We’re all socialists, now”?

Regarding the crime problem, the rapes and assaults, murders, etc., why are the anti-immigration crowd so bent on being dependent on centralized bureaucrats and government police for their protection from criminals? Why don’t they ever bring up the right of the people to keep and bear arms? They only seem to bring that up when the gun control debate is in the news.

When criminals know ahead of time that their prospective victims are armed there would be far fewer rapes, assaults and murders, and attempted rapes, assaults and murders. That would be the same with violent foreigners entering the territory, no?

Is the “culture” stuff actually more important to these immigration critics than their security? So instead of promoting the right of people to keep and bear arms and use the arms to protect themselves from actual criminals, the anti-immigration crowd are more concerned with promoting government-controlled social engineering.

And to say that someone not violating the person or property of another, who is peacefully exercising one’s freedom of movement to find a better life for himself and one’s family, is a “criminal,” is to not understand the libertarian non-aggression principle.

***

In the post, Walter Williams on Immigration: Very Collectivist-Minded, I wrote:

Walter Williams has been considered very “libertarian” in his thinking and his writing, although a conservative libertarian. He has been great in his essays raking the political correctness crowd and the college hystericals over the coals, and his books Up from the Projects and Race and Economics should be read by everyone, especially the youngins in college if they want to get a dose of reality in life.

However, when it comes to nationalism and immigration it seems he is less libertarian and, unfortunately, extremely collectivist, and his latest article on that subject is no exception. So, I feel I must fisk Dr. Williams on this one, because clarification of the issues, ideas and principles is necessary here.

First, Williams asks,

How many Norwegians have illegally entered our nation, committed crimes and burdened our prison and welfare systems? I might ask the same question about Finnish, Swedish, Welsh, Icelanders, Greenlanders and New Zealanders.

How many U.S. citizens who are here legally commit crimes against others? And who has committed more crimes against the American people, immigrants or the government in Washington (and the bureaucrats of the state and city governments)? (Answer: It’s governments, no contest.)

Williams continues:

The bulk of our immigration problem is with people who enter our country criminally from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. It’s illegal immigrants from those countries who have committed crimes and burdened our criminal justice and welfare systems.

No, the bulk of our immigration problem is that immigrants from those “undesirable” countries are brought in under the control of government bureaucrats in Washington. The bureaucrats have no incentive to strive for better outcomes in their policies because government bureaucrats are not accountable. They have a monopoly in their control over immigration, and monopolists are not accountable.

In the debate about illegal immigration, there are questions that are not explicitly asked but can be answered with a straight “yes” or “no”: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country? Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?

“Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.?” This is not a “yes” or “no” question. Everyone has a right to live wherever one finds it to be a better place for oneself and one’s family, as long as one doesn’t violate the persons or property of others. I know, some people have the mistaken belief that the U.S. territory is “our” property, and outsiders entering the territory sans authorization are “trespassing.” Nope. The territory contains many, many parcels of private property. The owners of the private property have the ultimate right to decide who enters and who does not enter their private property, not the community, and not the government. This applies to people’s homes, their businesses, churches, and so on.

“Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country?” Again, not a “yes” or “no” question. Many people believe that Americans as a group, by majority rule, have a right to decide those things, and that the government has the authority (constitutional or moral) to implement those decisions, regardless of a private property owner or employer’s decision to invite someone. If the collectivists’ vision were the case (as it currently is now), then we don’t really have private property rights, and the majority of the territory’s population and the government really are the ultimate decision makers of who may enter private property.

“Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?” Why is there “U.S. border control”? That’s referring to U.S. government border control, which is a police state now. A “100-mile Constitution-free zone”!

And then Williams gets into the cultural aspects of the problems of today:

People who came here in the 19th century and most of the 20th century came here to learn our language, learn our customs and become Americans. Years ago, there was a guarantee that immigrants came here to work, because there was no welfare system; they worked, begged or starved. Today, there is no such assurance. Because of our welfare state, immigrants can come here and live off taxpaying Americans.

Then get rid of the welfare state! THAT’s the answer to that problem. It’s the welfare state that FDR and LBJ (and Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, et al., ad nauseam) have forced on us. Dr. Williams has many times written in his articles that it is immoral to take earnings from one person to give to another, by force. Why doesn’t he say outright here that involuntary contracts and theft (i.e. taxation), Social Security, Medicare and all their spin-offs should be abolished?

There is another difference between today and yesteryear. Today, Americans are taught multiculturalism throughout their primary, secondary and college education. They are taught that one culture is no better or worse than another. To believe otherwise is criticized at best as Eurocentrism and at worst as racism.

Well, that’s because governments in the U.S., federal, state and local government, control education in America! Get the government out of education, completely! And THAT’s the answer to that problem, this “multiculturalism” crapola. You think that an all-private schools system, without any government handouts and without the imposition of monopolistic government bureaucrats’ sick, irrational, kooky claptrap would survive in an educational free market?

Very unfortunate for our nation is that we have political groups that seek to use illegal immigration for their own benefit. They’ve created sanctuary cities and states that openly harbor criminals — people who have broken our laws.

That’s because “sanctuary cities” are run by city governments — THAT’s the problem! Bureaucrats should not be empowered to get involved in bringing in foreigners, unless those actual bureaucrats invite the foreign visitors or workers to live in their homes, the bureaucrats‘ own homes, and they pay for their visitors, not the taxpayers. Sadly, government bureaucrats mainly just want to have as much welfare parasites (and voters) brought in, because getting reelected and expanding their tax-funded racket is what bureaucrats really care about.

And also, it’s not really about “legal” vs. “illegal” with many of today’s anti-immigration conservatives, unfortunately. A lot of this anti-immigration stuff is just coming from a collectivist, nationalist anti-foreigner mentality. “We are all one ‘family,’ and we don’t want ‘them’ invading ‘our’ home,” and all that. I’m hearing that on a constant, daily basis from the conservative talk radio personalities and their dittohead followers calling in.

This immigration stuff is mainly to do with a collectivist nationalism, which is not what “America” is all about. America was all about individualism and private property, NOT collectivism and collective ownership of a territory that overrules the will of the private property owner.

And “America” is also not about central planning as well. Most of the early Americans who founded the country would not have agreed to empowering central planning bureaucrats to have authority over controlling immigration matters. Leave those matters up to Americans themselves, not the government.

***

And finally, in Immigration and Private vs. Public Property, I critiqued a speech by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in which I wrote, among other things:

Unfortunately Hoppe gets into some confusion between private property and “public property,” and some of his “rights to exclusion” seem quite collectivist, in my view. He seems to advocate a public, collective right to exclusion, whereas the only legitimate right to exclusion is the private property owner’s right to exclusion, and the individual self-owner’s right to exclusion, and the right to inclusion as well.

For instance, Hoppe states: “In a fully privatized libertarian order there exists no such thing as a right to free immigration. Private property implies borders and the owner’s right to exclude at will.”

But he goes on to say that “’public property’ has borders as well.” Wait a minute, the “public property” borders he’s talking about are government-drawn borders, therefore they are not legitimate.

Hoppe states that public property “is not unowned. It is the property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners.”

I have some questions here, using the U.S. as an example. Just how did the taxpayers come to own such “public property”? Did they inherit the property? Was it by way of a voluntary contract? Or was such ownership imposed on them involuntarily along with the tax-thefts that were imposed on them involuntarily?

My answer is that, if there is any ownership at all of so-called public property, and he suggests the owners are the taxpayers, then of course such ownership is involuntary just as are the tax-thefts imposed on them. Therefore, such ownership is lacking in any moral justification.

Some further questions: Millions of undocumented workers’ presence and labor in the U.S. have not received proper bureaucrat-parasite authorization, but they have paid billions of dollars in federal taxes. And while some of their legitimate, honest earnings are withheld by employers to pay the feds the demanded booty, they are nevertheless ineligible for Social Security from those earnings. But they are “taxpayers.” Do they thus share in ownership of U.S. “public property”?

And also, do you divide ranks in “public property” ownership”? For instance, do very wealthy people have a higher percentage of ownership than lower-class workers, and thus have more ownership rights of control than the others? What if many wealthy progressive thinkers have a larger percentage of ownership/control, and want to have marijuana dispensaries, abortion clinics, etc. on “public property,” but a minority of the tax-payers disagree with that scheme? Is that legitimate?

When Hoppe says that public property is the “property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners,” what about domestic non-taxpayers? What about “citizens” (non-foreigners) who do work for a living, but don’t make enough to be required to have to pay income taxes? Are they denied rights of exclusion or inclusion because of this? So in other words, those who don’t pay the feds anything in tax-thefts should have the same denied rights of access to public property as the foreigners/non-“citizens”?

And also, it seems here in Hoppe’s justification of taxpayers’ involuntary ownership of public property he apparently, at least for this topic, accepts the State’s existence. Although he does admit that “the State is a criminal organization,” but its inaction regarding border control “will lead to even more and much graver injustices, in particular to the domestic citizenry.” Does Hoppe here seem to abandon his description of so-called “fake libertarians” at the very beginning of the speech, in which he says a “fake libertarian” is one who “affirms or advocates” “the necessity of a State” or “of public or State property”?

Now back to Hoppe’s recent speech (as shown at the top), he states that “immigration must be by invitation only,” and that “immigrants must be productive people and hence, be barred from all domestic welfare payments.” But he gets into a lengthy discussion of his proposed rules that seem very central planning-like, in my view.

For instance, immigrants “or their inviting party must place a bond with the community in which they are to settle, and which is to be forfeited and lead to the immigrant’s deportation should he ever become a public burden.”

And with whom in the community will such a bond be placed? Who is to be in charge of that? What if a foreigner peacefully travels to the community and doesn’t give anyone a bond?

So are you saying that the immigrant is morally obligated to pay some third party some payment, without any voluntary, mutually-agreeable contract? What if he finds a room to rent or buys a home, who is it that owns the property? Does the individual landlord or property seller own the property, or does the community share in ownership of those properties? Is the entire community collectively owned by its inhabitants (regardless of separate private property parcels)?

It seems to me that Hoppe is suggesting that the community shares in ownership of property within the community. Not good.

In the just society, each property owner has full, 100% sovereignty over one’s property and its property title that he and only he may decide to whom to transfer, and he and only he may decide to whom to rent, and for whatever reason.

Hoppe continues: “As well, every immigrant, inviting party or employer should not only pay for the immigrant’s upkeep or salary, but must also pay the residential community for the additional wear and tear of its public facilities associated with the immigrant’s presence, so as to avoid the socialization of any and all costs incurred with his settlement.”

Who is going to decide how much “wear and tear” one immigrant has caused or might cause in the future? Who has the authority to charge the employer such a fee and decide how much to charge? Sounds very central-planning, if you ask me.

This all sounds very communal or “private club”-like to me, and seems to abandon the principles of private property and freedom of association. My neighbor doesn’t own my property and has no authority to dictate to me whom to let on my property, quite frankly.

And Hoppe continues: “Moreover, even before his admission, every potential immigrant invitee must be carefully screened and tested not only for his productivity but also for cultural affinity (or ‘good neighborliness’)…”

“Carefully screened”? By whom? The employer? Landlord? Prospective home seller? The community? Who will be in charge of this? Who owns the lives of the immigrants? Do they lose their self-ownership when moving to a new territory, even though they are peaceful and there’s no reason to think they might be a burden on the public? What if some family from a different area just moves into a home they’ve bought or rented and they don’t submit to screening, and there’s no reason to suspect them of not having “good neighborliness”? How about just letting property owners, businessmen and home sellers make those decisions, not by some some preset rules but by random events that take into account multiple, spontaneous factors? Whatever happened to Hoppe’s promotion of “Natural Order”?

So Hoppe’s “right of exclusion” seems to mean that the collective public may decide who gets in and who stays out. But how? By some sort of democratic vote? How else could a large group, such as U.S. taxpayers who supposedly own the public property, be able to come to a decision regarding who gets in and who stays out?

The true free market way is when an individual anywhere in the world who wants to make a better life for himself and his family travels to wherever he sees an opportunity, as long as he doesn’t violate the persons or property of another. He can rent a home or purchase one from a willing landlord or seller. And the property owner who rents out or sells a home is the owner, not his neighbors or the community.

I don’t see any moral obligation to pay the community some advance tribute, as the aforementioned family never entered into any contract with the “community,” only the employer, landlord or home seller, etc.

The end.

Published inCivil LibertiesImmigrationLibertarianismPrivate property