An Open Letter to My Friends on the Right

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

by Jason Kuznicki. Inspired by this.

My friends,

For some time now the presidential race has focused on the place of the market in our society. The nomination of Paul Ryan for Vice President only sharpens that focus. I’m happy about that, whatever my other reservations might be about Mr. Ryan. Many of the left’s assumptions on economics deserve to be criticized, and I do hope you give the Obama administration the well-deserved hell it has coming.

You, my friends on the right, are entirely correct when you condemn Obama’s facile “you didn’t build that”-ism. Yes, we are all to some degree the products of our communities. As conservatives, you already know this. But “community” doesn’t equal “federal government,” and giving back to the community certainly doesn’t mean that the government gets to grow indefinitely. Particularly not when spending and debt are already at or near record levels.

You also affirm something the left goes out of its way to deny: The freedom of the marketplace is fundamental. Markets matter not just because they supply consumers’ needs better than any other arrangement yet devised — although they do. Markets matter because what we do in the market is an expression of who we are, both in our consumer preferences and in where and how we earn our livings. Markets are never perfect, never fully free, never fully efficient. But they are the theaters of our aspirations, our goals, and our deepest values. When liberals snobbishly put down workers’ or consumers’ choices in the market, this is what they are denigrating.

As the philosopher John Tomasi put it:

A society that denies people the chance to take up questions of long-term financial planning for themselves, or that restricts the ways in which individuals and families can respond to such questions, thereby diminishes the capacity of citizens to become fully responsible and independent agents. So too a society that limits the freedom of individuals to negotiate the specific terms of their employment, or that makes their ownership of productive property subject to calculations about social expediency, no matter how benevolent their intentions in doing so, thereby creates social conditions in which the moral powers of citizens can be exercised and developed only in a stunted way. (Free Market Fairness, pp 80-81)

Self-fashioning is the reason that market freedom matters, far beyond giving us full bellies, clean clothes, or shiny electronic toys. It’s the reason you can forgive Ayn Rand her atheism: She understood that markets are valuable for moral reasons. And so do you.

But so much for the easy part. My friends on the right, I find that you have failed in two ways.

The first is that you have mistaken mere wealth for market process. You praise the industrialist and the banker. Very well. Often they deserve it. But have you looked closely at the industrialists and the bankers just lately?

Among Ayn Rand’s villains, I don’t believe that a single one was poor. Every one of them was a member of the elite, and almost all of them were rich. They were people much like we know today, who maybe once upon a time set themselves apart through their own efforts. But at some point they committed a cardinal sin — they reached for the state to keep themselves on top. They made bad bets, then pleaded that they were too big to fail.

You’ve heard these things before: “You have to make certain sacrifices to the public welfare… We cannot permit the ruin of an establishment as vast as [GM, or Chrysler, or Citigroup, or Fannie Mae, or Morgan Stanley]… The country’s economy would not be able to stand a major dislocation at the present moment.”

That’s not from the recent financial crisis. It’s on page 902 of Atlas Shrugged. And really it’s everywhere in the book. Always in the mouths of the villains.

Often the biggest enemies of the market properly understood are precisely those who have made large fortunes—and who now want the government to shield them from all further risk. They are also trying their best this election cycle to portray themselves as your friends, and as friends of the market. You’ve spent way too much time listening to them and doing their bidding.

A politician who loves the market as a moral institution would be the very last one to do any favors for individual market actors. And I do mean any favors. I mean subsidies, tax breaks, eminent domain, no-bid contracts, and all forms of regulation that keep honest competition out. I mean our intellectual property system, which if conservatives had any tactical sense they’d already be attacking—cheap entertainment for the consumer, less cash for liberal Hollywood elites. What’s not to like?

Scrutinize your own side too. Take a hard look at cushy “privatization” deals that really just funnel power and money directly into private corporations’ hands. As a certain liberal recently observed, the way to privatize a prison isn’t to give imprisonment power to a corporation. It’s to stop imprisoning so many people, then sell off the property. About which more below.

And now for your second failing: The market has moral value because it is an arena of self-fashioning. But there are other arenas. They have value too, and they should be free for exactly the same reasons.

Everyone loves low taxes, even people on the left. I am almost convinced that you, my friends on the right, love low taxes for the right reasons. Taxes are always an imposition on our liberty; they always limit our self-fashioning. Taxes on consumption limit our ability to consume in ways that might otherwise define who we are. Taxes on investment limit our ability to plan for the future, to supply ourselves with order, security, and dignity — and in the process, to supply the same to others. Trace them far enough, and all taxes are restrictions on individual self-authorship.

But other restrictions exist. Many of them bite even harder.

Consider immigrants. In particular, if our free market is so great, why do you work so hard to exclude immigrants from it? Is the immigrant laborer less a moral self-fashioner than the Wall Street banker? I wouldn’t say so. He’s clearly at least as motivated. If the immigrant wants to make a life in America — why not let him?

Mr. Ryan recently proclaimed that the United States is the only nation founded on an idea. It’s a common conservative theme, and even if it’s not 100% accurate, I’m certainly sympathetic to it. But we are founded on an idea if and only if our borders remain open to all who share that idea. The moment we start checking for purity of blood, we become a tribalist nation-state just like so many others. Not founded on an idea, but on accidents of birth—and in fact standing squarely against the idea that all people should be the authors of their own lives.

Consider our surveillance state. Mass secret data collection has grown almost unchecked over the course of the last two administrations. What chance is there for dignity, for autonomy, for self-fashioning when the government may well be spying on almost everything we do? Are you really comfortable with the fact that the NSA keeps dossiers on virtually every American? If you balk at the imposition of taxes, should you not protest even more at having to live your life in a panopticon? That’s where we are headed, my friends. But you could change it—if only you wanted it as badly as you want low taxes.

Consider the Drug War. In the final analysis, it’s a war on the market process, at least for some goods. But it also appears purposefully designed to wreck individual lives and to make a mockery of the kind of self-fashioning that we so value in our defense of the market. Nothing kills self-authorship like being thrown into prison. Not business regulations, not high taxes, not even the demon weed itself.

Radley Balko’s blog chronicles the damage the Drug War is doing to our homes, families, communities, and law enforcement agencies. What do we have to show for it? Hundreds of thousands of arrests per year and an incarceration rate that is the envy of the unfree world. Tens of thousands murdered. Billions of dollars poured down the drain.

There is no good reason for the Drug War to keep happening, and it may soon be in your power to stop it. Please do, because Obama certainly won’t. You could own this issue if you wanted, and with it, the votes of the next generation.

My conservative friends, the very reasons why you love free markets and low taxes should bring you to love liberty in many other areas. That’s all I’m here to say, ultimately. I’m leaving aside issues where I don’t think you’re persuadable (foreign policy), or where I don’t think libertarianism has much to offer (abortion). I understand that some things just aren’t going to change, and I can live with that.

I also know that you have an election to win. I don’t expect you to turn against the candidates you’re about to nominate. You’re not going to drop everything and start reading Robert Nozick or Murray Rothbard. But a little Milton Friedman wouldn’t kill you, would it?

To lay out my own agenda — I would like to change the terms of the American political conversation. On the right. On the left. Everywhere. It’s thinkable, after all, that both left and right could become a little bit more libertarian. From where I sit, it seems like you on the right have no good reason not to, and I’ve tried my best here to say why, using terms that you have already made your own.

So what do you think?

Jason

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169 Responses to “An Open Letter to My Friends on the Right”

  1. #1 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    This might be touching if most people on the right actually believed it By their actions, the GOP denies the fundamental nature of markets just as much as the Democrats do. They only difference is the left is at least honest about their intentions.

  2. #2 |  ColRebSez | 

    I oppose the importation of immigrant labor because like it or not we live in a welfare state. Fifty percent of the legal immigrants in this country are on welfare. Bringing in low-wage workers depresses wages and puts the Americans already here on welfare. So the addition of more immigrants burdens us all.

    America as a nation exists for Americans. It exists only for Americans. If we admit a new member to our club — and that’s how we should look at it — it should be because we are sure that their admission will make us all better off. So in answer to the question, “If the immigrant wants to make a life in America — why not let him?”, the answer is: Because he’s not an American!

    I agree with most of the other things the author has to say.

  3. #3 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    Good essay. No quarrel with most of it except this:

    “In particular, if our free market is so great, why do you work so hard to exclude immigrants from it?”

    Immigrants or illegal immigrants? ‘No immigrants at all allowed!’ is not a conservative position I regularly encounter. However, most conservatives do think the state has the right to set and control the terms and quantities of immigration (of which ‘checking for purity of blood’ is a ridiculous straw-man description), and part and parcel of that would be to expel those immigrants not here legally according to those terms. To deny this is to deny one of the fundamental raisons d’etre of the state, which is not even a libertarian position, but more like an anarchist one.

  4. #4 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Exactly – Most of the right don’t believe in the free market at all. They’re Corperatists. Moreover, as a left winger, a mutualist, I hold the free market to be essential, and detest capitalism’s distortion of it in favor of the elites.

    There are lines drawn in the press which don’t in reality exist. I certainly don’t agree with everything you’ve posted (I prefer the state to have a more active role in permitting free association, as occurs in the Nordic countries, for instance), but in general, good article.

    The thing is…the Republican’s economic plan has a very clear conseqence. Exactly the same plan was tried in Japan in a past decade, and in Britain lately. Japan, with it’s tight social structure managed to end up stagnating, Britain has just plummeted down past Spain and Ireland and continues to fall. The much-trumpeted notion that having your own currency is a panacea is…nonsense, to put in mildly.

    (To be fair, and this is scary to be me a Brit, Ryan’s still a LOT more competent than most of the current British cabinet)

  5. #5 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @3 – Most of those immigrants are illegal because of high bars, ridiculous enforcement procedures and processing times.

    Not to mention the way America and now the UK structure their immigration…I have two standing job offers in America, but neither company (one large, one small) is willing to touch the American immigration process with a barge pole, because of the time and expense involved.

  6. #6 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @2

    This very blog has evidence against your empirical claims. Immigrants are not a significant burden on the welfare state; on the contrary, they enrich the communities they join and tend not to depress wages. Do some digging in the archives.

    @3

    Immigrants or illegal immigrants?

    That begs the question. Why should they be classified as illegal in the first place? I’m arguing that they shouldn’t be.

  7. #7 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Immigrants or illegal immigrants? ‘No immigrants at all allowed!’ is not a conservative position I regularly encounter.

    This is like saying that DC was only against illegal gun, pre-Heller. When pretty much all guns are illegal, it becomes a distinction in search of a difference. And at present, there is no way for the average foreign person to immigrate to the US. You can only come here if you already have family here or someone is willing to spends ridiculous amounts of money to get you here or you rich.

    However, most conservatives do think the state has the right to set and control the terms and quantities of immigration

    Does that apply to other freedoms? Either we have freedom of association or we don’t, and if someone comes here peacably, you have no right to interfere with them as they go about their business.

  8. #8 |  Legate Damar | 

    I will happily agree with you on the second item, but on the first, I submit this recent Agitator article:
    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/06/26/why-dont-you-need-us/

    There are plenty of CEOs who would love regulatory capture under any circumstances, and in doing so would validate your criticism. However, I have a hard time slagging them as a whole for doing such things when they’re actively punished by politicians for not doing it.

  9. #9 |  MH | 

    @2: Statism breeds statism; coercive solutions require more coercion to deal with the consequences of initial coercion. A kleptocratic welfare state naturally becomes hostile to new entrants (immigrants) who reduce the size of the pie for existing members. But the problems of economic collusion and zero-sum thinking are well known. Similarly, worrying that immigrants will depress wages ignores that companies will just outsource operations to low-wage foreign countries, taking jobs overseas. And the response to that, naturally, is enacting trade barriers, reducing commerce and making everyone worse off as goods become more expensive. If this mindset is left unchecked, it can lead to real war as states stop seeing themselves as interdependent. Your hostility to immigration is also bizarre in that, because a prospective immigrant is, by definition, not a citizen, rejecting him because he’s not a citizen absurdly assumes your own conclusion. Why not let him in? You want certainty that he will make America better off: but in freedom, there is no certainty, for immigrants or anyone else. Only trust that an open and free society is better in the long run.

  10. #10 |  Mairead | 

    What do I think? I think you’ve ignored reality in several places.

    I’ll mention just one: individuals who want wealth and power have a psychopathology. There is no upper bound to wealth and power, and so they can never be satisfied. Since they always have this gnawing need for More, they will do whatever they must in order to get it.

    This is in contrast to healthy people who have realistic desires. Twenty or twenty-five years ago on NPR in Boston one of the McDonald brothers was being interviewed. The interviewer walked him through their selling up to Kroc, and then asked him, given the immense wealth Kroc made after, whether he wasn’t sorry that he’d only got $2M as his share of the sale. The man’s bewilderment at the question was audible: “No. Why would I be? I’ve never had to work another day in my life!” That’s a healthy man -his desires were completely realistic. He didn’t care about wealth and power, he just wanted enough money to loaf the rest of his life.

    So when you chide those who manipulate government to get more, you’re ignoring reality. Of course they manipulate government. And they’ll never stop. And if they thought you were getting in their way, they’d squash you like a bug. Kill you, if need be. Underneath their $10K suits they’re as crazy as the proverbial sh*thouse rat.

    If you truly want a world where everyone is free, throw the Ryans overboard (or even commit them to a locked ward for a course of psychotherapy — not that it would work, but at least it would get them off the street and perhaps annoy them a bit).

    Work instead for a world in which no one has an advantage in law over anyone else. A world in which “connections” don’t matter. A world in which nobody gets special deals, nobody can own anyone else’s means of making their living, and nobody can get rich except by other people voluntarily giving them money for the products of their personal creativity and labor. No corporations. No wage slavery. No inherited wealth.

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I’m not a conservative. I’m nota a Liberal. I’m not a Libertarian. I’m a Crank.

    That said;

    • The War on Drugs is an idiocy that has gone on for entirely too long. I know that some people date it from Reagan, or from Nixon. They are totally off base. It dates to the spasm of foolishness that had us pass the Volstead Act, and in all that time it has shown no signs of working.

    • Yes, the free market is better than any variant ever tried of top-down control. Not that we’ve ever had a truly free market. The issue with the banks frankly strikes me as a natural consequence of the political nitwittery that was the foundation of the housing bubble. When you tell an industry to do something stupid, or else (like loan money to people who very likely can’t pay it back) the ethical people will leave and be replaced by hotshots who think they can get theirs and get out before the ceiling comes down. The banks should have been allowed to fail. The people who thought that the government should arm-twist the lenders so that more minorities could get mortgages should be crucified along the reflecting pool in DC, too. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

    •My hope for the Surveillance State is based on a deep abiding cynicism about the interaction of people and technology. To err is human. To screw up 10,000 times a second requires a computer. As we are already seeing, the Authorities are not too happy when it is video of THEM they people are asking to see. Then there’s the issue of facial recognition. I’ve read the claims. I don’t believe them. Or, rather, I don’t believe that laboratory results will be replicated in the real world. It has been my observation that an awful lot of people look like each-other. Put facial recognition technology in the hands of work-averese GS clerks and I think you will see so many wrongful arrest suits that the government will drop it like a recruit getting rid of a live grenade.

    • I think the core of the immigration debate/squabble/mess is a fact that nobody wants to speak out loud, which makes it hard to solve anything. Mexico is a failed State. Mexico has been a failed State for as long as I’ve been alive, but recently it has been the kind of failed State where the puss leaks across borders. Up until the mid-20th century the standard solution to such a problem was invasion and conquest. It sometimes even worked, for certain values for ‘worked’. To the best of my knowledge, no replacement strategy ever has. To underline irritation factor; we could send the crooks who are currently mismanaging California to govern our new protectorate of Mexico, and improve the government in both places.

    *whew* I’m tired now. I’ll leave it at that until somebody has done me the favor of picking apart my appalling ignorance.

  12. #12 |  Radley Balko | 

    If you truly want a world where everyone is free, throw the Ryans overboard (or even commit them to a locked ward for a course of psychotherapy — not that it would work, but at least it would get them off the street and perhaps annoy them a bit).

    You’ll have to pardon me if I question the “Freedom for everyone!” sincerity of someone who would even half-assed suggest (I’m assuming it’s only half-assed) that in his ideal world, people with whom he has political disagreements should be involuntarily committed and forcibly subjected to psychiatric reprogramming.

    I think you’ve ignored reality in several places . . . .

    vs.

    Work instead for a world in which no one has an advantage in law over anyone else. A world in which “connections” don’t matter. A world in which nobody gets special deals, nobody can own anyone else’s means of making their living, and nobody can get rich except by other people voluntarily giving them money for the products of their personal creativity and labor. No corporations. No wage slavery. No inherited wealth.

    Holy cognitive dissonance, man.

  13. #13 |  ClubMedSux | 

    . . . but recently [Mexico] has been the kind of failed State where the puss leaks across borders.

    For fuck’s sake, have you ever met an immigrant? I don’t take offense to much but that’s embarrassingly dehumanizing. If I were in a failed state, and the state to the north of me could offer a better life for me and my family, I’d do everything I could to get there. You can categorize it any way you want, but I would say that’s somebody who’s gonna work their ass off, unlike many of the entitled native-born Americans I know.

    Also, it’s “pus,” not “puss.” You live in America; learn to properly speak (and write) the language.

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    . . . but recently it has been the kind of failed State where the puss leaks across borders.

    Really?

    I can’t even begin to contemplate the sort of mind that would write something like this. They don’t “leak” across the border. They risk their lives to cross it. Once they’re here, they work their asses off. When you see illegals lined up at a Home Depot, do you think they’re lining up for welfare checks? Food stamps? For a chance to rape your daughter?

    They’re lining up for the opportunity to work hard for a low wage.

    El Paso has the lowest crime rate of any big city in the U.S. It also has the highest percentage of illegal immigrants. Study after study has shown that Hispanic immigrants are integrating faster, less prone to criminality, and more quickly accumulating wealth then our previous immigrant waves from Europe.

    Pus? They’re fucking human beings. And the illegal immigrants I’ve known are a damned sight better human beings than the people who burn so much energy hating them.

  15. #15 |  Aresen | 

    @ Mairead

    I’ll mention just one: individuals who want wealth and power have a psychopathology. There is no upper bound to wealth and power, and so they can never be satisfied. Since they always have this gnawing need for More, they will do whatever they must in order to get it.

    Translation:

    “Anybody who doesn’t share my values is mad or evil.”

  16. #16 |  Windypundit | 

    Well said. Too many on the right express their faith that free markets are good without remembering why free markets are good. They want to reduce restrictions on industrialists and bankers, but they fail to recognize that the same principles should apply to drug users and prostitutes and immigrants and atheists. They seem to love the free market, but not so much the free part.

  17. #17 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @12 – Quite. Why can’t people stick to punishing actual crimes (including sociopath in economics)? Instead, both the left and right tend to resort lazy stereotyping (workshy, immigrants, etc.)

    Of course, I’m a gradualist and would start with a unified tax rate on all income and radically simplifying the tax code…

  18. #18 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Generally good blog entry that I generally agree with.

    The real answer is rediscovery of antitrust law. It is like Dorothy’s red shoes that she stole off that corpse. We have the means, but have forgotten how to use it (or, in the case of this blog entry, to mention it).

    “Oh, that Burgers!” ™

  19. #19 |  el coronado | 

    aaannnnd here we go again with the immigration thing. Bringing up once again, the questions that nobody ever seems to want to admit even *exist*, let alone try & answer.
    1) Are the ‘let ‘em all in ‘cuz it’s fair!’ crowd saying the US does not have a right to set immigration limits; control immigration as they see fit; and make their *legal* immigrants jump through whatever bureaucratic and social hoops they see fit, _just like every other nation in the world does_??
    2) Are y’all suggesting the US has some sort of *obligation* to allow everyone who can get here to come in, despite the fact no other nation is held to that standard?
    3) Since the bulk of illegal immigration here comes from Mexico, and everything that comes from Mexico is (apparently) a Good Thing, why don’t we just copy how Mexico deals with _their_ illegals? (hint: it’s quite harsh.) Why should Mexicans be allowed to crap all over their illegals, and still expect to be welcomed with open arms and food stamps here?

    Jason, ol’ sport, I submit you’re no more ‘Libertarian’; – even a ‘hayekian thick Libertarian’, whatever the hell that is – than our current President is. The question is, why are you – just like him – why are you hiding your obvious *real* political ideology behind the safe and warm skirts of Libertarianism? Why are you – just like our current president – why are you “ignoring reality”, as noted above? Why not just come right out and admit what you really think?

  20. #20 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    My dogs Jason! You are actually oozing yogurt through the Internet and onto my computer screen. Everyone who reads this today will walk with swagger. F— yeah!

  21. #21 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    ClubMedSux and Mr. Balko,

    Actually when I said that the pus was leaking across the border, I wasn’t talking about the illegals. I WAS talking about the cartel operatives, the ostentatiously corrupt Mexican officials whose behavior makes the border area worse, and so forth. The illegals are welcome, for all of me. My only complaint about the illegals is that by MAKING them illegals we are forcing them into a grey subculture where they can be exploited. THAT stinks. And that is another example of the ‘pus’ I’m talking about; if Mexico wasn’t a failed State people wouldn’t be desperate enough to place themselves at the huge disadvantage that illegals suffer from in this country.

    Sorry I wasn’t more precise in my first post.

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    And on re-rading my last post I seee that I’ve done it AGAIN;

    The illegals are not pus, but the grey subculture they have to live in and the desperation they carry from Mexico is. Neither is their fault. Much of it is OURS, but it is also a consequence of Mexico’s devolution into chaos.

    Now that I think about it, BTW, has Mexico EVER been decently governed? Certainly not by either the Aztecs or the Spaniards.

  23. #23 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Thanks for the clarification, C.S.P. I know you’re a crank, but that seemed a bit over-the-top, even for you. ;-)

  24. #24 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    ClubMedSux,

    Fair enough. I wasn’t at all clear. I just get so goddamned MAD at the way the Mexican people get routinely screwed over, first by their government and then by us. The ones I meet are hard-working, polite, cheerful, and astonishingly un-resentful of a Gringo (me). I notice that even the site like Moonbattery, that want to depict Hispanics as nasty, have to run the same photo over and over and over. Whether we can (not should, but CAN) pay them safety-net type benefits can be argued both ways. But they are not a problem, they are not even a symptom. They are a second order side effect of ignoring clear symptoms. And the sickness is in Mexico City.

    Sadly the sickness, the belief that the State can be mother, father, priest-confessor, and so forth, is one deeply imbedded in out own self-descibed intellectual class (call them the Western Ineffectuals), so we are an unlikely source for a cure.

    *sigh*

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    On the subject of immigrants, I would remind those who are opposed to immigration that a century and a half ago, the land West of the Mississippi was subjected to a flood of ne’er-do-wells, con men, criminals on the run, failed farmers, economic refugees and other riff-raff from the East and Europe.

    Today, of course, they are referred to “Heroic Pioneers.”

  26. #26 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    A different take on immigration:
    No one’s illegal.
    No more nation-states
    No more borders.
    I can’t fucking wait!
    -The International Noise Conspiracy

  27. #27 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    1) Are the ‘let ‘em all in ‘cuz it’s fair!’ crowd saying the US does not have a right to set immigration limits; control immigration as they see fit; and make their *legal* immigrants jump through whatever bureaucratic and social hoops they see fit, _just like every other nation in the world does_??

    I’ll let that crowd speak for themselves. I am not one of them.

    But I am of the crowd that says immigration restrictions are coercive. I don’t like coercion. When a willing buyer of labor and a willing seller of labor want to get together, I think it’s wrong for a third party to get in their way. Not because it violates the norm of fairness, but because it violates the libertarian ideal that coercion is only justified in response to coercion.

    2) Are y’all suggesting the US has some sort of *obligation* to allow everyone who can get here to come in, despite the fact no other nation is held to that standard?

    Why yes. Obligations to do nothing are the best sort of obligation, and the only kind a libertarian should really support without reservation in the political realm. If no other country does so, that’s irrelevant. No other country has quite our protections for freedom of speech or the right to bear arms, either.

    3) Since the bulk of illegal immigration here comes from Mexico, and everything that comes from Mexico is (apparently) a Good Thing, why don’t we just copy how Mexico deals with _their_ illegals? (hint: it’s quite harsh.) Why should Mexicans be allowed to crap all over their illegals, and still expect to be welcomed with open arms and food stamps here?

    I don’t even know where to begin. I didn’t say that everything that comes from Mexico is a good thing. Only that I don’t have a right to coerce Mexicans. Whether I like them or not.

  28. #28 |  egd | 

    Get rid of the minimum wage and welfare and I’ll support unlimited immigration (not open borders).

    As it stands, if we were to open our borders we would be telling the poverty-stricken around the world that they can come to the U.S. and enjoy a standard of living above what they could hope to achieve in their home country…without working a single day. And if they do choose to work, they can earn more in an hour than they would working all day in their home countries.

    I suspect many conservatives have the same vision of utopia as many libertarians. Conservatives simply tend to be a bit more realistic.

  29. #29 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @20

    Thanks… I think.

  30. #30 |  Fay | 

    That would all be lovely if our “friends on the right” actually wanted “a world where everyone is free.” Your most glaring omission to me, here, is the power of the Religious Right and their utter conviction that gay people and women and black people and Mexicans are simply not as equal as everyone else. Every single time there has been an expansion of freedom in this country, the Right has opposed that expansion, usually with the claim that God is on their side. Until the right gives up on social conservatism, I find their economic ideas completely tainted by that prejudice.

  31. #31 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @30

    I’m well aware of the limits of this post. It was in part an exercise in diplomacy.

  32. #32 |  Aresen | 

    Fay: Good points.

    OTOH, do keep in mind that “Friends on the Left” have historically been responsible for the WoD, eugenics, and too many moral panics to number (see Lenore’s post just before this one.)

    They have also fought against the Green Revolution and, recently, supported Jennie McCarthy’s anti-vaccine crusade. Their fight against GMO could condemn billions to starvation.

  33. #33 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    1) Are the ‘let ‘em all in ‘cuz it’s fair!’ crowd saying the US does not have a right to set immigration limits; control immigration as they see fit; and make their *legal* immigrants jump through whatever bureaucratic and social hoops they see fit, _just like every other nation in the world does_??

    Most other nations have socialized health care too. Does that make ObamaCare okay because its “just like every other nation in world”?

    2) Are y’all suggesting the US has some sort of *obligation* to allow everyone who can get here to come in, despite the fact no other nation is held to that standard?

    No, I’m suggesting that you, el coronado, have a personal obligation to leave other people the hell alone. That doesn’t change just because there’s a whole bunch of you instead of just one.

    3) Since the bulk of illegal immigration here comes from Mexico, and everything that comes from Mexico is (apparently) a Good Thing, why don’t we just copy how Mexico deals with _their_ illegals? (hint: it’s quite harsh.) Why should Mexicans be allowed to crap all over their illegals, and still expect to be welcomed with open arms and food stamps here?

    Mexico also has strict gun controls, much higher tax rates, etc. Just because Mexico is an out of control police state doesn’t justify us copying them.

  34. #34 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Sanctions against Cuba are, to put it mildly, not free market.

    I’ve been hearing a little about people who want to get their 401k’s into cash, but they can’t. (Or can’t without a large penalty?)

  35. #35 |  Felix | 

    Everyone seems to leave individuals out of the equation. There’s lots of talk of empowering freedom, but always in the name of the state. Why not empower individuals directly? Get rid of the state monopoly on criminal prosecution. As long as the government has a monopoly on such prosecutions, there will be corruption and favoritism and personal agendas.

    To make such a system work, where you or I could bring charges against Bank of America or Fannie Mae or police or politicians, you need accountability for false charges, and that means loser pays, without fail, with only review for inflated hourly rates or other such fraud, and juries need to be able to punish the accuser for false charges as easily as they punish the accused. A jury’s role must be to (a) find the truth, (b) punish all the guilty, and (c) ignore stupid laws. Bringing charges should be a bet, so to speak, that if you vexatiously bring false charges, you get the punishment your victim would have received.

    You also need to eliminate immunity. No police or judges or government employees of any sort should have immunity for any kind of crime, whether it be perjury, kidnapping, extortion, or ignorance of the law.

  36. #36 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    Why should they be classified as illegal in the first place? I’m arguing that they shouldn’t be.

    By ‘they’ I gather you mean ‘everyone’. I.e., immigration should be totally uncontrolled in any way.

    Like I said, this is an anarchist position as it denies a fundamental power of (any) state’s government. So it should not surprise you that conservatives do not support it. Best,

  37. #37 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    @Jason (#9). You are welcome.

  38. #38 |  Kazzy | 

    Shit, Jason, great piece.
    Not too much to add other than that, but I think this effectively lays out A libertarian approach that is appropriately specific, nuanced, and (most/best of all) principled.

  39. #39 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    By ‘they’ I gather you mean ‘everyone’. I.e., immigration should be totally uncontrolled in any way.

    I’m not saying just leave the borders wide open so anyone can wonder in and out as they please. But as much the nativists try to conflate the few, border control and immigration policy are two largely unrelated issues. We have a right to know who is coming in and why, but unless we have reson to believe you’re up to something criminal, you should be allowed to come in.

    The burden should be on the state to show why you must be kept out, not on you to show why you should be let in.

  40. #40 |  Brandon | 

    #10 Mairead, Radley pointed out the most glaring of the many fallacies in your mindless screed, but this one just bothers me: “No inherited wealth.”

    Why? Is the wealth I earn not mine to give to whom I will? Do I not have the right to create a better life for my children than I have had? Who would get my wealth upon my death, if not my chosen heirs? I can only assume that you would have it pass to the state, so I ask: To what end? Will the state keep control of it, eventually amassing all the wealth in the country? Or will it redistribute it how it sees fit? Why would the state have that ability and not the legitimate owners of that wealth? Have you ever actually put any thought into this beyond “those evil rich people have more than me?” Because it really seems like you just regurgitated this crap from someone else with no consideration of what it actually meant. If you think someone’s wealth is ill-gotten, fine, deal with that specific case, but you cannot assume that everyone with wealth acquired it by immoral or illegal means, because they didn’t. And you don’t have the right to take another person’s property just because you don’t think it’s “fair.”

  41. #41 |  Jamie | 

    Just wanted to step in and mention that the lefties have a point: there is no such thing as an illegal human. The state that excludes is the state that owns.

    Libertarians, especially, should be aware of the idea of freedom of movement. “But welfare!” is not an excuse for xenophobia.

  42. #42 |  Elliot | 

    It’s the reason you can forgive Ayn Rand her atheism…

    Forgive? It was one of the things she got correct and which most Americans get wrong. If anyone deserves criticism, it’s the people who teach children that imaginary things exist and that they will literally burn for eternity if they don’t worship something they will never perceive, and that anyone who is born with the “wrong” sexual orientation is an abomination.

  43. #43 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    border control and immigration policy are two largely unrelated issues

    Hmm. They seem quite related to me. In any event,

    unless we have reson to believe you’re up to something criminal, you should be allowed to come in. The burden should be on the state to show why you must be kept out, not on you to show why you should be let in.

    I understand that this is the most-common libertarian view. Meanwhile, it is not the conservative view. (Or if you like, a conservative might say that the state satisfactorily meets that burden by saying ‘we’ve already let in X people, which we through our elected representatives decided was the max, and you would be X+1.)

    Obviously, (many/most) libertarians disagree with the state’s right to say that. So, it’s a disagreement, c’est la vie. But the above ‘open letter’ tried to paint the conservative approach as some sort of inconsistency requiring correction. It isn’t, unless supporting the existence of government at all is an inconsistency.

  44. #44 |  Fay | 

    @31 Jason: I gotcha. I just think it’s kinda disingenuous to discuss the American Right and leave out the twisted driving force behind it… which IMO, is not the “free market” at all, but a twisted view of a specific interpretation of a specific religion.

    @32 Arensen: Points taken. But this isn’t an open letter to the “left.” ;) And I’d disagree on the Nixon-initiated WoD, but whatever, I’m well aware of the misguided lefty support for it, and with you on the GMO stuff, etc.

    I just get irritated when the Right acts like they are the sole champions of freedom, unless of course it’s freedom to marry a person of the same sex, decide what happens inside my body, live life without fear of getting bombed by the US “pre-emptively,” exercise a religion that’s not fundamentalist Christianity (or no religion at all), etc. etc.

  45. #45 |  Master of Disaster | 

    When I was young I was very conservative, and wondered why so many of my very intelligent friends were liberals. Many years later, with a lot of miles behind me, I too am now a liberal. I wish there was a Pragmatic Party, led by compassionate but realistic people.

    I disagree with your enthusiasm for Paul Ryan; he truly is a zombie-eyed granny killer. And Mittens? Draft-dodging in France instead of serving in our military, then got rich chop-shopping US businesses and eliminating US jobs, off-shored his money in the Cayman Islands, and now he tells us to “Believe in America.” Bulls**t.

    And both of them are avid supporters of the war on drugs and the police state.

  46. #46 |  johnl | 

    There isn’t a lot of resistance on the right to immigration of skiled workers, just unskilled workers. An extra farmworker from Mexico can help make farms more efficient, and lower food costs, and provide other benefits to the economy. But he’s never going to pay enough in taxes to pay for is kids education. This is what people object to.

    The situation is actually worse than it was before the first round of immigration reform, when the border was so porus that workers came and left as they pleased and often left their families in Mexico where they could be maintained better on their incomes. GWB’s plan to increase visas for workers only would have provided the benefits of an open border for workers. The market would have provided incentives for their families to return to their home countries. It’s a shame that plan died but its failure can’t be blamed exclusively on the right.

  47. #47 |  el coronado | 

    @ Stormy Dragon –

    Interesting. In yr comment #33, you pontificate that the US – and me! – does NOT have to allow unlimited illegal immigration, wide-open borders, etc., We – and me! – just have to “leave them the hell alone” once they (illegally) get here.

    Ahhh, but then along comes comment #39! Since another argument has arisen, it’s time to change the response to deal with this _new_ impudence! Here, you now tell us that, “I’m not saying leave the borders wide open”….how nice!… but just a second later, you change your mind yet again. “don’t leave the borders wide open”, [but] [anyone except criminals] “should be allowed to come in.” So WTF are you saying? ‘We should control immigration & defend our borders, but we should let anyone in who wants in – except criminals, but we’ll just take their word for it – and not everyone can just wander in & out as they please, but the rightwingers have a personal obligation to leave them alone.’ That’s some *seriously* Bidenesque “logic” there, bubba.

    Tellingly, you then conveniently neglect to mention whether all those folks you think should be allowed to “come in” should be allowed to STAY. Collect food stamps & taxpayer-provided housing & medical services, all that. IOW, you’re doing Jason’s little bait-n-switch trick. (Still looking for substantive criticism of Team Blue, Jason. Surely there’s *something* they do/stand for that a “Libertarian” can find fault with, isn’t there?) Why do you left-wing statists always try & sell yourselves as Libertarian? Do you think you’re fooling anyone? Do you really think putting a dress on your ideological pig is actually gonna close a sale??

  48. #48 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I just think it’s kinda disingenuous to discuss the American Right and leave out the twisted driving force behind it… which IMO, is not the “free market” at all, but a twisted view of a specific interpretation of a specific religion.

    Are you sure religion is the “twisted driving force”? Personally, I think that they’re twisting the religion to fit their worldview and not the other way around. I know plenty of left-wing Christians who do the same thing in the other direction (see, e.g., this). Take religion out of the equation and I suspect that these folks would embrace the same policies… they’d just embrace them under a different banner (such as nationalism).

  49. #49 |  Miranda | 

    #19, When referring to people, use nouns. “Illegal” is not a noun and is only used as one to dehumanize immigrants.

    #23, claiming that The Left has embraced anti-vaxer nonsense is like saying The Right has embraced truthers. The Left doesn’t embrace that. A bunch of far-left loons do.

  50. #50 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @32 – Blaming the left for your sins again? There are plenty of moralists on the right, and by refusing to admit they exist, you’re essentially trying to hide them behind a curtain (and thus are just as much to blame…).

    @41 – Quite. It’s not at all unreasonable to ask people to contribute before they have access to public services. This seems to get missed in the armwaving some of the right do.

    (Although my favorite is “but the refugees are not working”…well no, they’re not ALLOWED to work until their case is resolved)

  51. #51 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @42

    As it happens, I agree with Rand about atheism. I’m an atheist too. Most conservatives clearly are not, and I was addressing them.

    @46

    In this post, I condemned Team Blue for high taxes, collectivist economic policies, spending and debt, the surveillance state, and the drug war.

    In other words, I was a lot harsher on them than I was on your team.

  52. #52 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    OK, I realize that I’m throwing raw meat in the shark tank here, but speaking as an agnostic (I don’t know, and I don’t think you do either) I have to say that historically Protestant Christianity has produced societies that are closer to fit to live in than any other worldview that I know of. Catholicism is a religion of Nobles for Peasants. Atheism talks a good game but the minute you take your eyes off it it dives headlong into eugenics, social engineering on the point to an AK, and similar hobbies. Buddhism sounds swell, but the societies it produces have an appalling way of treating their common folk like livestock (I’m looking at YOU China). Don’t even get me STARTED on the Hindu caste system.

    As for Islam, one of the rampant idiocies that I have scant patience for is the Liberal Left’s pointing to various Gay issues and claiming that how they are treated puts us on all fours with various Islamic Extremist societies.

    WE are debating whether to publicly recognize Gay Marriage. THEY are debating whether homosexuals should be thrown from the minaret of the local mosque, stoned to death, or burned alive. If you consider these two debates to be morally equivalent, then you are a pillock.

  53. #53 |  Lenore Skenazy | 

    “It’s thinkable, after all, that both left and right could become a little bit more libertarian.”

    I’d embroider that on a pillow (if I could embroider). It’s my new motto because it says what I’ve been gradually coming to see for myself. Throwing fewer people in jail, giving less power to the police and prosecutors, plugging loopholes while cutting red tape, NOT criminalizing personal choices that do no harm to others (especially parenting choices!) — these are all things I very much believe in. And until now, I kept thinking, “It’s strange I’m going from the left to the right.” But I actually think I’m just going Libertarian. – L.

  54. #54 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    “don’t leave the borders wide open”, [but] [anyone except criminals] “should be allowed to come in.” So WTF are you saying?

    I keep my front door locked, yet I still answer it when people ring the doorbell.

    Collect food stamps & taxpayer-provided housing & medical services, all that.

    I’m not in favor of food stamps, government housing, socializaed medicine, etc. for anyone. But two wrongs don’t make a right–it seems highly odd you’re using the requirements of sustaining a policy you claim to oppose to begin with as justification for doing further harm to the liberty of other human beings. As I see it, the fact free immigration would make the welfare state collapse is an added benefit of increased immigration, not a reason to prevent it.

    Why do you left-wing statists always try & sell yourselves as Libertarian? Do you think you’re fooling anyone?

    And this is the sort of blindly tribal thinking that explains why I’m no longer a republican. Really? Anyone who disagrees with you on immigration policy must be a left wing statist?

  55. #55 |  Jess | 

    Bravo, Jason!

    A hint for those who worry about the hordes of primitives massing on our borders, salivating at any chance at our sweet, sweet entitlement payments: your racism (or if you prefer, some other psychological motivator, like schizophrenia?) tells you that the world is like that, but it’s not actually like that.

    Immigrants in general are much more likely than citizens to obey (non-immigration-related) laws, work hard, start businesses, raise functional families, eschew government support, go to church, and otherwise embody conservative ideals. If you had read the literature, paid attention to your community, or even genuinely gotten to know some immigrants, you would already know that. Most of the criminality that does exist in immigrant communities would end simultaneously with our disastrous drug prohibition.

    “Illegal” immigrants, in particular, don’t cost taxpayers what legal immigrants and citizens cost, while they pay most every tax that we do. They have no claim to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while the payroll and income taxes allocated to their stolen SS numbers roll into the treasury anyway. (Sure some of them get paid under the table, but so do many citizens [especially those receiving government support] and at least “illegal” immigrants have the excuse that they don’t want to be deported.) They receive unemployment, disability, and similar compensation at lower rates than citizens. The portion of their rent money that goes to property taxes is the same as that of ours. They pay the same sales taxes.

    You probably want to account immigration enforcement against “illegal” immigrants, but that is better considered as a make-work program for LEOs, and if it didn’t exist we’d probably have even more drug warriors on the payroll. Immigration enforcement expenses would vanish with a more sane immigration policy, in precisely the same way that drug enforcement expenses would vanish with a more sane drug policy. We could point to many other similar (if smaller) policy/cost dynamics.

  56. #56 |  Master of Disaster | 

    My previous comment did not directly respond to your idea of bringing more libertarianism to public life, both on the right and the left.

    I do support this in the sense that I am in favor of more individual liberty, freedom and voluntary association. However, our public debate about government’s role has been shaped by years of Republican diatribe about “taxes” and “deficits” much of which is nonsense. The Republican agenda is to increase the wealth of the elite at the expense of the rest of us. The Federal government, in terms of employees, is about the same size as it was 30 years ago. The current budget deficit was caused by the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Bush-era tax cuts; without these, the federal budget would have been roughly in balance through at least 2020. For some cogent arguments about the utility of government see http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=30&p=4
    So yes, we do need more liberty and freedom, but this cannot be a result of somehow shrinking the role of government in society. In fact, I believe that would result in less freedom. As an example, a lot of conservatives are going ape over the so-called death panels in Obamacare. In case no has noticed, if you are enrolled in a private health plan or HMO, you are already subject to a death panel of the plan’s employees who decide what kind of care or treatment they are willing to pay for. HMO staff have a vested interest in paying as little as possible, but government employees are not going to be penalized for approving expensive care.

  57. #57 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Buddhism sounds swell, but the societies it produces have an appalling way of treating their common folk like livestock (I’m looking at YOU China).

    While buddhism is the most common religion in China, only about 8% of chinese are buddhists, so it’s kinda odd to describe them as a buddhist society. In terms of cultural dominance, they’d be more accurately described as a Confucian society (that’s not strictly a religion, but it serves the same general social functions as one).

  58. #58 |  Deoxy | 

    Borders:

    So, you personally let anyone who wants to come onto your property, right? That’s exactly equivalent – this country is owned by the citizens, and they, through their representatives, have every libertarian right to tell those who are NOT co-owners with them not to come in.

    I really, COMPLETELY don’t understand how libertarians have a problem with that.

    Sure, I would agree that current immigration law is completely inconsistent and, in many areas, downright psychotic, not to mention strongly encouraging bad actors, bad faith, and bad behaviour, but you’re arguing against the concept of immigration control at all, and that’s completely inconsistent with libertarian principles.

    Bail-outs and other market distortions:

    Politicians, right and left, love bailouts and all other forms of giving favors (and thus market distortions). Attributing this to “the right” is thus a bit unfair, IMO. I will admit that it’s a bit of a mixed bag, much more than it should be, but certainly, the auto and bank bailouts were not popular with the rank and file on the right.

    War on Drugs, prostitution, etc:

  59. #59 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Stormy Dragon;

    Then Confucianism has much to answer for, too. Seriously, I have gradually come to the realization that as awful as the Communist government of China is, it is simply part of a continuity of ostentatiously sh*tty governments going back thousands of years.

  60. #60 |  bacchys | 

    An interesting OP and an interesting discussion. Funny how those two things seem to go together so often!

    On immigration, We, the People, the sovereign of this Republic certainly have the right to determine who comes into our demesne. We were no different in that than any property owner. If libertarianism means I can’t control my own property, it’s become meaningless.

    It is certainly arguable that we need to reform immigration law to make it easier for workers and employers to get together. That doesn’t mean, imo, that we have to allow the domestic labour market to be undercut and distorted by a massive influx of workers or ignore the potential health risks of uncontrolled immigration.

  61. #61 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Deoxy,

    Personally, I have no philosophical problem with those who want to actually enforce the immigration laws we have. I think they would soon decide to change those laws, but that’s how the game is supposed to be played. The ones that give me the itch are those who want to simply NOT ENFORCE the laws; in other words, to allow people to come in, but trap them in a legal limbo that puts them at an exploitable disadvantage.

  62. #62 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    this country is owned by the citizens, and they, through their representatives, have every libertarian right to tell those who are NOT co-owners with them not to come in.

    You do realize this is basically Marxism? The idea that society is collectively owned and individuals within need approval of the entire group to do anything?

  63. #63 |  el coronado | 

    in re #61 –

    IOW, leftists and the leftists who masquerade as “Libertarians”.

  64. #64 |  Charlie O | 

    @2 ColRebSez:

    “Fifty percent of the legal immigrants in this country are on welfare.”

    You’re so full of shit, you’re stinking up the place. It took me exactly two seconds of Googling to find this from Cato:
    Evidence Shows Immigrants Come to Work, Not to Collect Welfare http://www.cato.org/pubs/irb/irb_august2010.pdf

    Pull you head out of your ass. It’s hard to see in there.

  65. #65 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @62

    Precisely. This country isn’t collectively owned by the state or by our representatives.

    It’s funny to think that conservatives would flip out if Obama got on TV and said it. But then, they say it themselves when it’s a question of letting peaceful, law-abiding immigrants come and work here.

  66. #66 |  Rick H. | 

    Are the ‘let ‘em all in ‘cuz it’s fair!’ crowd saying the US does not have a right to set immigration limits

    most conservatives do think the state has the right to set and control the terms

    Are y’all suggesting the US has some sort of *obligation* to allow

    Obviously, (many/most) libertarians disagree with the state’s right to say that

    Governments don’t have rights. They have authority to make people do things (ultimately, at gunpoint). Sorry to nitpick, but the whole notion of individual “rights” crumbles a bit more every time someone uses that term to anthropomorphize the State.

  67. #67 |  el coronado | 

    #45 –

    You’re either an brilliant satirist, or off your meds. You dream of a Progressive Party consisting of “compassionate but realistic people”. Then, not one sentence later, you compassionately and realistically inform us all that Ryan is “truly a zombie-eyed granny killer.”

    I bet you’re a hoot at parties.

  68. #68 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #57 Stormy Dragon:
    Good point on Buddhism not being to blame for China’s woes. The Chinese state is definitely coming from a more Confucian (in other words, legalistic and hierarchal) angle, which has been mixed with State Socialism over the years. China appears to be moving in a neo-liberal direction currently. But the “Cultural Revolution” was definitely not kind to Buddhism or Taoism, which is an indigenous Chinese spiritual tradition.

    Too bad China (and other countries) aren’t more in tune with the philosophy of the Tao. For instance, consider chapter 57 of “Tao Te Ching”:

    “When there are more restrictions in the world
    The people become more impoverished
    When people have many sharp weapons
    The country becomes more chaotic
    When people have many clever tricks
    More strange things occur
    The more laws are posted
    The more robbers and thieves there are”

    – Lao Tzu

  69. #69 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    this is basically Marxism

    Is it ‘basically Marxism’ to have an army or coast guard? If not, on what libertarian grounds does the government presume to protect ‘our’ borders using armed forces?

    Note: I believe some libertarians would answer Yes, it is, and No, the government has no such grounds. That’s fine. But those libertarians should not be surprised or confused by the fact that conservatives genuinely and sincerely disagree with them, on that – or on immigration.

  70. #70 |  Deoxy | 

    Oops – bumped submit – continuing on:

    War on Drugs, prostitution, etc:

    These are areas where many on “the Right” have an odd faith in the government they are mostly missing elsewhere (for good reason).

    I can certainly understand the desire to restrict drug usage – our freedoms depend upon our ability to reason and understand the consequences of our actions, and drugs impair both of those things.

    That said, I have no faith in the government to do these things properly, much less well. The government “cure” is worse than the disease.

    Prostitution is the same – attempting to enforce moral behaviour that has no victims is, essentially, impossible.

    That said, the WoD has been equally popular on both sides of the aisle.

    Surveillance state:

    There’s no stopping the surveillance, either state or private. Technology is making it so.

    The best thing to do is take the offensive – make it legal, but in ways that are extremely difficult to abuse.

    Ideally, yes, we should restrict it. Realistically, we can’t.

    Your most glaring omission to me, here, is the power of the Religious Right and their utter conviction that gay people and women and black people and Mexicans are simply not as equal as everyone else.

    Funny thing, really: which party is the party of racism? Historically and currently, that would be the Democrats.

    (That’s not to say the Republicans, or the right in general, is pure as snow or anything… but which side is the worse offender runs pretty much directly counter to your complaint.)

    On the homosexual side of things, there’s some strong disagreement about what “freedom” you are talking about. Freedom to do what you want in the bedroom with whoever you want? Most of the Right simply wants the government out of it.

    Rewrite our basic units of community to benefit less than 3% of the population? Not so much.

    This is the real problem – it’s that anything less than celebrating it is considered “not treating them equally”. Again, which group is violating the libertarian principles, here?

    decide what happens inside my body

    and decide to kill the poor innocent person who happens to be there, through no fault of their own.

    There’s nothing inherently against libertarian principle in being against abortion… if you believe human life has already begun.

    In fact, IF life has already begun, then there is a strong libertarian argument AGAINST allowing abortion: if you push someone in the pool, and they drown, it’s your fault. If you make someone completely dependent on you for their life, through no fault of their own, then you are responsible for them.

    A fetus is entirely dependent on the mother for life. Unless she was raped, she is responsible for that situation (yes, and the father, too). The fetus did not perform any act (as it was not yet a moral actor) to arrive in that situation – the mother and father did. They are responsible. To kill the fetus would thus be murder.

    It all goes back to “when does life begin”. Determine that, and the libertarian morality follows.

  71. #71 |  Jamie | 

    Where did Sonic Charmer’s ancestors come from? When?

    Simple question.

  72. #72 |  Deoxy | 

    This country isn’t collectively owned by the state or by our representatives.

    You do realize this is basically Marxism? The idea that society is collectively owned and individuals within need approval of the entire group to do anything?

    Then what is citizenship, and why do I pay taxes? Who DOES own the non-private property?

    In a monarchy, the kind does.

    In a dictatorship, the dictator does.

    In Marxism, as actually practiced everywhere it’s been practiced, there’s a dictator (with a nicer-sounding title) – see “dictatorship”.

    In fact, only in a country that is democratic in control can it reasonably be claimed that “the people” own the public property and the government, generally – they have the authority.

    In what way do prisoners citizens of marxist or other socialist countries have any authority at all over their government? The dictator simply claims to be acting in their interest, but do we hold them responsible for their government, or do we generally view them as victims of their government?

    And “individuals within need approval of the entire group to do anything” – no, only with public property. They are free to do as they wish with their own property. Public property is just that – collectively owned by “the public”, and what you can do on it is controlled by the rights partially enumerated by the Constitution and the powers granted in the Constitution to the government to act on the people’s behalf (through their elected representatives).

    Yeah, that’s SO much like Marxism… except for the private ownership part, and the actual authority of the people (through voting for who has the direct power) parts.

    he ones that give me the itch are those who want to simply NOT ENFORCE the laws; in other words, to allow people to come in, but trap them in a legal limbo that puts them at an exploitable disadvantage.

    I completely agree with this – the remedy to most bad laws is to thoroughly and evenly enforce them.

  73. #73 |  Fay | 

    Actually Deoxy, it all goes back to “who owns my body?” Even though that might be a poor innocent person inside there, it is still inside another human person’s body. And therefore should be up to no one else what happens to that person. If an innocent person became attached to YOUR body and said “hey, if you don’t let me stay here for 9 months, I’ll die,” would you have to let him? Of course not. To me this goes back to female autonomy, which historically was a pretty foreign concept to most (male) people until women’s suffrage started catching on. If it’s murder, it’s murder in self-defense; and the alternative is what, exactly? Forced pregnancy? An even larger prison-industrial complex to house all those women?

    And then, there is the underground/black market/prohibition argument. Women have been aborting babies since the beginning of time. Drive it underground and you make it far more dangerous. The country where the abortion rate is the lowest? The Netherlands. Where everything is legal (yes, I’m exaggerating here) and they hand out condoms like candy. The “pro-life” movement is therefore really more about the control and subjugation of women… the ones who actually deal with the little innocent person inside their own bodies. This is why the abortion RATE doesn’t change much in countries where abortion is criminalized; the only thing that changes drastically is that more women die or are maimed seeking abortions. Sound familiar? It always amazes me that someone can be against the drug war, but against legal abortion…

    However, in typing that I’ve realized something: Being against abortion is not the same thing as being in favor of criminalizing abortion. Perhaps I should give you the benefit of the doubt there. No one is FOR abortion. But I am firmly against making it illegal, for all of the above reasons… prohibition doesn’t work, if you’re trying to prohibit something that is part of human nature. If you really want to reduce the RATE of abortions, start by… reducing the power of the Religious Right, and openly confronting and discussing sex and its consequences, rather than using shame as the primary tool.

    Of course, I also do not believe a fetus is a person, but whatever. I suppose we should try to keep this from becoming an abortion thread.

    It all goes back to “who is a person?” Determine that women are also people, and the libertarian morality follows.

  74. #74 |  Brandon | 

    #69, the Army and the Coast Guard are supposed to protect American Citizens’ rights from being violated by foreign invaders, not keep people off our lawn. There is a huge difference between defending the country from another nation’s army and keeping individuals from coming into the country to fulfill a contract made with an American citizen. The libertarians in the real world understand that, and have considered it, even if the ones in your head haven’t.

  75. #75 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @74

    Nailed it. If the Coast Guard repels the person I want to do business with, then it’s not vindicating my rights anymore. It’s violating my rights.

  76. #76 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    On immigration, We, the People, the sovereign of this Republic certainly have the right to determine who comes into our demesne. We were no different in that than any property owner. If libertarianism means I can’t control my own property, it’s become meaningless.

    Yes, and that includes the right to bring as many mexicans onto my property as I like without getting approval from you and el coronado. Your “our demnses” elids over the fact that this country is collectively owned, and that you’re not protecting your property rights, but asserting the power to infringe on the rights of other property owners.

  77. #77 |  johnl | 

    @51 It doesn’t matter that you hit the left harder than “my side”, your ctiricism of the right on immigration is goofy. Everyone knows immigrants come here to work, but they bring with them the cost of educating their children at expensive USA public schools. That’s in the low six figures per child, and an unskilled laborer is never going to be able to pay that in taxes. It’s not about “welfare”, it’s the education that’s unaffordable.

  78. #78 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    “over the fact this country is _not_ collectively owner” even.

  79. #79 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    There are currently 76 million children (0-17) in the US. Of them only 3.1 million have an illegal immigrant parent. The idea immigration is one of the major drivers of the cost of our public school systems is a myth brought out by nativists to rationalize their xenophobia.

  80. #80 |  el coronado | 

    Ahhh, so now opposition to massive illegal immigration is “xenophobia”. Hmmm. Now what political party uses that sort of scare-word bait-n-switch to frame a debate again?

  81. #81 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    It seems there’s an assumption that all instances of immigration necessarily are paired with a ‘contract made’ or ‘business with’ some American citizen(s). Where does this notion come from? I’m unaware of any necessary or logical linkage.

    I guess I could respond that illegal immigrants are, if only by definition, foreign invaders, and that the Americans’ rights that they are ‘violating’ are their rights to, through their government, control their own borders via immigration laws. Thus bringing it well within government purview by such standards.

    I gather that you do not think Americans (or anyone) have that right. If that’s what I thought, I’d have to oppose governments full-stop, since to me having and enforcing borders are part and parcel of what it means to have/be a government.

  82. #82 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    I completely agree with this – the remedy to most bad laws is to thoroughly and evenly enforce them.

    “Lex iniusta non est lex” — St. Augustine

  83. #83 |  Jess | 

    If it’s valid to exclude those who pay less than their share for the upkeep of state indoctrination and they-can’t-do-so-they-teach employment centers, when do we start deporting poor Americans?

  84. #84 |  Jess | 

    …Americans’ rights that they are ‘violating’ are their rights to, through their government, control their own borders via immigration laws.

    When conservatives insist on these bizarre notions of “positive rights” and “collective rights”, libertarians and others of us who value freedom have no response. Remind me because I’ve forgotten, what’s the difference between conservatives and Marxists?

  85. #85 |  johnl | 

    Stormy it’s stupid to say that people who disagree with you do so for reasons other than what they state. Raising the cost of education by 4%, nationally, is not OK. Remember that schools are mainly not federally funded, so for states where illegal immigrants are living, the cost is going to be greater than the average.

  86. #86 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    I guess I could respond that illegal immigrants are, if only by definition, foreign invaders, and that the Americans’ rights that they are ‘violating’ are their rights to, through their government, control their own borders via immigration laws. Thus bringing it well within government purview by such standards.

    And how is this different from any other statist’s special pleading that “the people” have a right to control others so they can induldge their desire for X?

  87. #87 |  johnl | 

    Jess I thought we were talking about the right, not libertarians. There is an old tradition in the GOP of being the “tax collector for the welfare state”. The GOP is the party that tries to make socialism practical. While libertarians would prefer to end the welfare state to allow for more personal freedom, that idea is not on the table, politically.

  88. #88 |  Jess | 

    johnl, it’s stupid to believe stupid things. Which of the following do you believe?

    * “Illegal” immigrants don’t pay property taxes. (Only homeless people don’t pay property taxes. Everyone else pays directly or through her landlord.)

    * The cost of publicly-provided education has anything to with the number of students. (It’s more closely related to the number of administrators, support staff, and retired teachers the system is supporting.)

    * The cost of publicly-provided education has anything to do with the quality of that education. (!)

    * When considered over the course of her lifetime, an immigrant’s child is less valuable to American society than a natural-born citizen’s child. (Immigrants’ children are more likely to work hard, succeed, and not require government support.)

    * “4%” came from anywhere other than a cynical PR hack’s orifice.

    Take your pick!

  89. #89 |  Jess | 

    Sorry, johnl, I may have misunderstood you.

  90. #90 |  Miroker | 

    Someone must be on drugs since we now know that we “can certainly understand the desire to restrict drug usage – our freedoms depend upon our ability to reason and understand the consequences of our actions, and drugs impair both of those things.”

    And that leads to saying that it is a “Funny thing, really: which party is the party of racism? Historically and currently, that would be the Democrats.”

    I might agree with the “historically” part, but as above, you have to be on drugs to believe that currently is correct, given all the anti-minority rhetoric coming from the supposed party of non racism otherwise known as the GOP.

  91. #91 |  Marshall | 

    @ #19 el coronado:

    Why are you implying a pro-immigration stance means Jason is a fake libertarian? Anywhere from strongly liberalized immigration up to open borders are plain vanilla libertarian stances. I’m not saying you can’t be a libertarian if you don’t hold those positions, but to claim someone is [i]not[/i] libertarian for holding a really basic libertarian position on immigration is something else. It says more about your own biases than it does anything about Jason.

  92. #92 |  Beniamino | 

    @ Brandon, # 74

    How many “illegal” / “undocumented” immigrants actually arrive in the U.S. pursuant to a contract with a U.S. citizen? Do you have any actual data with respect to that issue? Because if the answer (you know, the “real” answer, as opposed to the one in your head) is “approximately zero,” you might want to devise a different argument.

  93. #93 |  Jess | 

    Well they’re looking for work, Beni. I hope I don’t need to bring a lawyer with me to the Home Depot parking lot.

  94. #94 |  johnl | 

    @88, Jess, I’ll go with B, the cost of of public education is proportional to the number of students. If anything, larger systems are more top heavy. But linear is a good approximation.

  95. #95 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    When conservatives insist on these bizarre notions of “positive rights” and “collective rights”,[...and similar responses]

    If self-defense, in the form of ‘governments are instituted among men and one of the things they do is defend their borders’, is a ‘positive right’ or ‘collective right’, then guilty as charged, I suppose. Alternatively, if you don’t endorse the state’s ability to defend borders, let me know, and along the way could you explain it, because I can’t imagine what it means. Thanks,

  96. #96 |  Daryl Davis | 

    Forgive me for responding to an open letter to your Friends on the Right: I’m not a Conservative; and we haven’t been introduced. But I wanted to second most of the points in your letter, adding only that free markets, though they may well afford citizens the greatest freedom to “self-fashion,” are not thus “self-exonerated” from every consequent type and degree of individual expression: What one does with this freedom is still subject both to social judgment and condemnation, of course, and even governmental intervention in the extreme.

    http://whatdirectdemocracymightbe.wordpress.com/of-morality/

    http://whatdirectdemocracymightbe.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/economic-liberties-in-direct-democracy/

  97. #97 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Well written and argued Jason, but ultimately I fear you are just pissing in the wind.

  98. #98 |  “An Open Letter to my Friends on the Right”, Jason Kuznicki | Unapologetic Skepticism | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2012/08/15/an-open-letter-to-my-friends-on-the-right/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  99. #99 |  Jess | 

    johnl, one interpretation of this table might be that the relationship is superlinear (since student population has risen slightly while the cost has exploded), but a more likely interpretation is that public education is a mess. The public schools had no idea what to do with the last additional thousand dollars they got per student, so let’s give them another additional thousand to see if they can figure it out this time. Immigrant children are not driving this, the inexorable illogic of government-provided service is. It’s destroying health care too!

  100. #100 |  Jess | 

    Sonic, you attempt to evoke the Declaration of Independence, but you really ought to read it first. Governments are to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (All three rights are, as all properly considered rights are, negative and individual.) Open immigration threatens none of those things; in fact it secures those for those who immigrate here. “Borders” aren’t mentioned in the Declaration. However, one of the many complaints about George III is the following:

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    In other words, the founders wanted more immigrants. They would be confused by your unAmerican opposition to immigration.

  101. #101 |  ColRebSez | 

    Charlie O,

    Here is the link to my statistic that 50 percent of immigrants are on welfare. Actually it’s 43 percent of immigrants who have been here 20 years are on welfare. Obviously we need to be very selective about who we allow into the country. And why your link says immigrants are not coming to the U.S. to get on welfare, that where after a number of years almost half end up.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/8/slow-path-to-progress-for-us-immigrants/?page=all

  102. #102 |  Radley Balko | 

    C. S. P. Schofield:

    Thanks for clarifying. Apologies for misreading you. Dehumanizing immigrants is a pet peeve.

    I would add that many of your complaints about Mexico–the cartels, the violence, the corruption–are products of a drug policy we push on them. That isn’t to say that without the drug war, Mexico would transform into a liberal society. But it would certainly be a more liberal one.

  103. #103 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    Open immigration threatens none of those things….“Borders” aren’t mentioned in the Declaration

    A foreign army infiltrating across the border, by itself, also threatens none of those things. Yet we, even most good libertarians, are comfortable with our government attempting to prevent its doing so, via coercion. Or are we? You tell me.

  104. #104 |  Jess | 

    OK Sonic, don’t make your trolling so obvious. Invading armies don’t threaten life and liberty? I’m sure some people would disagree with that, like say the occupants of every invaded territory ever in history.

  105. #105 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Alternatively, if you don’t endorse the state’s ability to defend borders, let me know, and along the way could you explain it, because I can’t imagine what it means.

    Alternatively, we do endorse the state’s ability to defend borders, we just don’t consider migrant labor to be an act of violence which requires a defense.

  106. #106 |  Sonic Charmer | 

    Invading armies don’t threaten life and liberty?

    Not until they actually do something, no. Right? I’m just taking the arguments here to heart.

    I’m sure some people would disagree with that

    Indeed! Similarly, some people would disagree with the idea that immigration unrestricted in any way by the government threatens no one’s rights. So, that’s what this is a disagreement about.

    Alternatively, we do endorse the state’s ability to defend borders, we just don’t consider migrant labor to be an act of violence which requires a defense.

    Understanding that you mean ‘migrant labor’ as a euphemism for ‘illegal immigration’, then yes, I agree, you don’t consider that an act of violence which requires a defense. Meanwhile, some do. So that’s where we are.

  107. #107 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Radley Balko,

    No apology necessary. I too would hope that an end to the Drug War might improve Mexican society, but the history of the territory doesn’t fill me with confidence. This is one of the cases that interest me as a historian; across the border we have a society based first in bloodthirsty paganism, then on Catholicism, and most recently on Socialist social theory. It has never been well ruled, it has always hosted ostentatious levels of corruption, and it has always been a place where if the common man wants to get ahead he pretty much HAS to break the law, which means that the Law is not respectable.

    - That, BTW, is one of the reasons I won’t damn the illegals for breaking OUR immigration laws; A) They have no reason to respect the Law and B) We aren’t serious about enforcing it anyway.

  108. #108 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    ColRebSez:

    If you look into the details of that report, you discover that their definition of “recieving welfare” includes things like subsidized school lunches. By that definition, pretty much any family with a school aged child is a welfare recipient because the federal government is kicking a few bucks a week into the lunch they eat at school. They’re also counting things like EITC elligibility.

  109. #109 |  BethanyAnne | 

    @99. I looked at the study from the article you linked. It’s … interesting. Looks like they had to add US citizen children of immigrants in with actual immigrants to get their numbers. Well, in some reports they did that. Fiddling with numbers like that shouldn’t produce useful data, and I don’t think it did in this study.

  110. #110 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Understanding that you mean ‘migrant labor’ as a euphemism for ‘illegal immigration’, then yes, I agree, you don’t consider that an act of violence which requires a defense. Meanwhile, some do.

    Some consider non-union labor an act of violence which requires a defense. I’m not particularly concerned with how statists rationalize their desire to infringe on the liberty of others.

  111. #111 |  el coronado | 

    @#91, Marshall –

    OK, fair questions. I gotta get to work soon, but I’ll try for a fair response. Why do I “imply that a pro-immigration stance means Jason is a fake Libertarian”?

    1) First & foremost, when Jason writes “immigration”, he means “illegal immigration”. He just doesn’t *say* that.

    2) My assessment of his pseudolibertarianism comes from what I’ve seen of his ‘body’ of work here on this site. More specifically, an “open letter to the right”, full of blanket criticisms and exaggerations, is clearly indicative of a *left*ward political stance. This has been gone into before, but I’m pretty sure that the right is more open to actual Libertarianism that the left is. How so?

    2a) thusly: I, like everybody else, think I’m a pure-as-driven-snow Libertarian. I think that any adult should be able to walk into a drugstore and purchase pure China White heroin, if he so desires. And own a belt-fed .50-cal Ma Deuce. And anti-tank weapons. And walk around with a full-auto AK-47 and 5 spare mags. And drive around without a license plate, since having one doesn’t have any impact on the performance of the vehicle. And board an airplane armed, if he so desires. And say anything he likes about women, gays, moslems, and minorities – and pay his employees/work for any salary he chooses to. Open a business without needing 9000 useless “permits” to do so. And not have to pay one cent into Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, or have to have ANY car/health/life insurance so long as he understands he’s entirely on his own should the SHTF. And pay no income tax, but all his roads are toll roads. No school taxes, but sending the kids to school means paying for ‘em up front. Immigration? Open Borders? Fine: but not one cent in welfare, food stamps, or medical care for the illegals. They pay for it like everybody else. And they can’t send their kids to school unless they pay up front. And then only _after_ demonstrating a proficiency in English: the language of the realm. If they get busted for criminal activity while here, they pay for their food & board by being on a chain gang. And yes, I mean every word of it.

    3) Now all that will admittedly send *both* parties to their fainting chairs with the vapors. But one party will hate EVERY notion I listed, and one party will only hate SOME. I submit the left hates ANY notion that their mandatory social engineering programs might be opted out of; or that folks would have to take complete responsibility for their actions. (Don’t bother telling me the left is OK with drugs. Obama’s shutting down weed stores & seizing money/cars/houses just as fast as he can, and his fellow democrats stay silent.) So yay for the right: slightly less hostile to Libertarianism than the other guys!!

    4) Jason self-identified as a liberal his first day here. When criticizing un-libertarian presidents, he conveniently left out/minimized the very worst offenders – all of whom happened to be democrats. Worse, his whole current premise that “the right hates immigration” is based on a steaming load of bait-n-switch. Last I checked, no – or damn few – republicans had ever said “we don’t wan’ no steenking immigrants!!” They’re against **illegal** immigrants, and the huge costs associated with them. (and before someone tries to tell me ‘it ain’t that bad’, save yr breath. I was born & raised in a city located exactly on the Mexican border. I’ve forgotten more about this stuff than you’ll ever know.)
    5) to recap – Leftism is inherently anathema to libertarianism: every leftwing/”progressive” program (Income Tax, Social Security, Medicare, EPA emissions standards….) introduced always seem to be “mandatory”, and “permanent”, and “ever-expanding”. Ever notice that?

    5a) Jason self-identifies as a liberal/leftist. He singles out the right for criticism, then markedly tones down that criticism when it’s the left’s turn. He boldly holds the right accountable for….let’s see now….the modern Corporate State, rigged markets, Ayn Rand, the NSA Surveillance State, the drug war, etc. etc. Yet last I checked, his beloved Left embraces each of those atrocities just as much as the right – maybe even more, except maybe for poor dead Ayn. Hell, the CIA and NSA *came into existence* in the freakin’ _Truman_ (D., Mo.) administration! (As for Obama, kindly note these stats. Total number of days Jon Corzine has spent in criminal court or jail: Zero. Biggest contributors by far: Wall St. Huge increase in use of spy/killer drones, even in the US? Hell, yeah!)

    5b) But still the Left….. gets a pass. Lastly, worst, in classic Liberal fashion, he plays hide the pea with the issue of LEGAL immigration, and tries to make it apply to ILLEGAL immigration – something totally different. So! “Why is Jason a fake Libertarian?” Looks like a duck….quacks like a duck….my money’s on “duck”.

    6) I think the guy’s just a hardcore left-winger who wants a very few restrictions he doesn’t like to go away. That’s not libertarian, that’s just politics. OK, fine. Takes all kinds. So why the need to rebrand himself? Isn’t that, like, dishonest??

    Whew. I need a vacation.

  112. #112 |  Deoxy | 

    If an innocent person became attached to YOUR body and said “hey, if you don’t let me stay here for 9 months, I’ll die,” would you have to let him?

    If I surgically implanted said person there against said person’s will, then yes, I would be morally obligated to. To do otherwise would be MURDER.

    Determine that women are also people, and the libertarian morality follows.

    I already did. People who are morally responsible for their own actions. That is, not children. Can you get that far? Or are only men responsible?

    If it’s murder, it’s murder in self-defense

    Actually, the fetus is the one acting in self-defense. The woman is the moral actor (and the man, yes), the fetus is the one being put into jeopardy through no fault of his or her own.

    This is why the abortion RATE doesn’t change much in countries where abortion is criminalized

    It’s also why candy rains from the sky. See, I can make up stuff to suit my whims, too!

    the only thing that changes drastically is that more women die or are maimed seeking abortions.

    have you ever bothered to look up the evidence on that claim? You don’t have to answer, because spouting off like that shows you haven’t.

    And you also clearly haven’t looked into the actual medical dangers of abortion. Goes against the talking points, you know.

    If you really want to reduce the RATE of abortions, start by… reducing the power of the Religious Right, and openly confronting and discussing sex and its consequences, rather than using shame as the primary tool.

    Yeah, because we all know how using contraception-based sex ed has worked everywhere in the states it has been tried…

    STD and pregnancy rates go up.

    You’ve made it very clear that you hate Christians. That’s very sad to me, not to mention how the tolerant left is so amazingly hypocritical on the point of tolerance (tolerating everyone except for the people they don’t want to tolerate), but beyond that, it also seems to damage your ability to argue rationally. I hope you are able to overcome that someday.

  113. #113 |  Susan | 

    I’d like to correct a glaring, monstrous error that some commenters are making: that illegals get government benefits.

    Impossible. As someone who has gotten disability, food stamps, and Medicaid in her lifetime, let me tell you that you need a valid ID to receive these benefits. Illegals don’t have valid ID (fake ID will not work to get benefits). The Powers That Be will not allow illegals in unless they work their asses off to the bone. The minute they stop working their asses of is the minute they are deported.

    So, you gotta be a US Citizen like myself, or a legal immigrant to receive benefits. Stop deluding yourself otherwise.

  114. #114 |  Mairead | 

    Radley in 12 wrote You’ll have to pardon me if I question the “Freedom for everyone!” sincerity of someone who would even half-assed suggest (I’m assuming it’s only half-assed) that in his ideal world, people with whom he has political disagreements should be involuntarily committed and forcibly subjected to psychiatric reprogramming.

    Nope. You’re on a hiding to nowhere when you question my sincerity. Question whatever else you like, if you can make a case, but don’t bother to try to impeach my sincerity.

    I’d have to talk with Ryan for a few hours to narrow it down, but it’s pretty obvious from his behavior and ideas that he falls into one of three categories: psychopath, criminal, or psychotic, in that order.

    No society that wants freedom for all can tolerate affording it to someone who will use his freedom to destroy the freedom of others. That should be common sense! If you want to live in a democracy, you don’t elect a Hitler. Ryan very obviously wants to destroy the freedom of all but a privileged few.

    Who has more freedom, the person who is all alone in the world and therefore must spend hir days hunting for food and hir nights up a tree trying to eat it while it’s still wriggling, or the one who lives as a valued member of a group and can spend hir days pretty much doing what se likes because se both gives to the common wealth of the group and gets what se needs from it?

    That’s such a no-brainer that even goatherder scripture has it covered: “Woe to him who is alone and falleth, for he hath not another to help him up”

    If we want a libertarian society for all, the only way to get there is to really understand what John Rawls was talking about: equality and mutuality equals freedom.

    Of course, for those whose idea of a libertarian society is actually an oligarchy with them as one of the oligarchs, Rawls’s ideas obviously wouldn’t appeal.

    But I do actually want a world of freedom for all who want a world of freedom for all.

  115. #115 |  Jess | 

    Mairead, that seems very insincere.

  116. #116 |  Susan | 

    Also, illegals cannot receive benefits because they need to show proof of income. Since they are paid in cash, they cannot show proof of income.

  117. #117 |  Deoxy | 

    There are currently 76 million children (0-17) in the US. Of them only 3.1 million have an illegal immigrant parent.

    OK, 3.1 / 76 = 4%

    National education spending: $596.6 billion in 2007–08
    from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66

    4% of 600,000,000,000 = $24 billion a year.

    Meh, only $24 billion a year. Pocket change. /sarc

    I completely agree with this – the remedy to most bad laws is to thoroughly and evenly enforce them.

    “Lex iniusta non est lex” — St. Augustine

    The point was that enforcing a bad law evenly and thoroughly will enforce it also against those who have the power and/or will to get things changed.

    We often complain here about how the police get away with doing stuff to the poor, that if only that sort of stuff happened to (fill in the blank, prosecutors, judges, etc), it would stop right quick…

    Same thing – the fastest way to get a bad law changed is to enforce against those currently in power.

    Also, evenly enforcing the law is more just than unevenly enforcing it, so even just enforcing an unjust law evenly decreases the total injustice being done.

    (Yes, yes, any at all is bad. Let me know when you found Utopia so I can run away very, very fast before it kills everyone in the general vicinity, like utopias always do, OK?)

    Anywhere from strongly liberalized immigration up to open borders are plain vanilla libertarian stances.

    Which is something that is severely dissonant with the rest of libertarian claims, so I really don’t understand it.

    Even if you don’t go for the “the people own the government” bit, then surely you can at least see that the citizens would be equivalent to members of club, and the club leadership (selected by membership vote) would have the right to set policy for whether non-club members can use club property, right?

    That’s what it is. Argue all you want about the specifics of how many people we can let in (I personally think the current immigration law is stupid), but to claim that it simply isn’t RIGHT to not let them in is… well, in direct opposition to everything libertarians claim about property anywhere else.

    Or are you claiming that public land has NO ownership associated with it at all? That would at least be consistent… insane, mind you, but consistent.

  118. #118 |  Maireadq | 

    Brandon in 40 wrote: #10 Mairead, Radley pointed out the most glaring of the many fallacies in your mindless screed, but this one just bothers me: “No inherited wealth.”

    Why? Is the wealth I earn not mine to give to whom I will? Do I not have the right to create a better life for my children than I have had?

    It depends completely on what kind of society you want.

    If you really want a libertarian one where everyone is on as even a footing as can be managed, then that must apply to your kids too.

    If what you really want is a society in which how well you get on is a matter of luck rather than how much you contribute, then sure, obviously you want to make sure your kids have a better chance than other kids do. You could even call that a libertarian society, just like other call theirs “people’s democratic republic”.

    (And no, I’m not regurgitating stuff that I don’t understand. I’m 72 and, having grown up in poverty, disorder, and foster homes because of my parents’ bad luck -they became incurably ill when I was very young- have been thinking about the ideal society for about 60 years. It’s why I’m a libertarian, not a Libertarian)

  119. #119 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Deoxy,

    Because you are (or appear to be) Pro-Life, AND have what I think are good arguments, I want to bounce something off of you.

    I believe that a fetus is NOT a human being (I know a few people who haven’t reached that status by their majority). But I also believe that I cannot prove my belief to be true, AND that nobody can prove it wrong either. I am, in consequence, mildly in favor of legal abortion.

    Now, I also think that I am going to live to see abortion broadly outlawed once again.

    I think that both Partial Birth Abortions and opposition to Parental Notification laws are political losers. I consider it more or less inevitable that laws banning PBAs and mandating Parental Notification will be widespread before long. I also think that the kind of people who are Pro-Choice activists are the kind of people who will work to circumvent such laws, with very little appreciation of the probably political consequences. I consider it inevitable that such people will be caught in a series of incidents involving moving young women and minor children across State lines to circumvent State laws on abortion in which the patient is badly hurt or dies. And I think it highly likely that these incidents will create an atmosphere in which most States will outlaw abortion entirely.

    What do you think of that line of speculation?

  120. #120 |  Mairead | 

    How very annoying. I just responded to Brandon (40) but my post seems to have disappeared.

  121. #121 |  Deoxy | 

    Sorry for the one missed end-blockquote in the previous post.

    No society that wants freedom for all can tolerate affording it to someone who will use his freedom to destroy the freedom of others. That should be common sense!

    So, I take it you want all Muslims deported or locked up? That’s exactly where that leads to, and it’s exactly the point the majority of those suggesting heightened scrutiny (or more) to Muslims make.

    You’re not one of those, are you?

    Just like the way the left preaches tolerance… and then doesn’t tolerate the people they claim are intolerant. Yeah – it’s about like that.

    Susan:

    Um, yeah. No such thing as fraud. It doesn’t exist. And what color is the sky in your world?

    Yes, ID is required. Yes, it would be fraudulent to get benefits fraudulently.

    Yes, it still happens. I’ve seen it personally.

    But thanks for the laugh.

    (On an even more direct point, many benefits programs for children don’t check any of that stuff, intentionally – don’t want to punish the children for the parents’ crimes, and all that.)

  122. #122 |  Mairead | 

    Jess at 100 wrote: In other words, the founders wanted more immigrants. They would be confused by your unAmerican opposition to immigration.

    They also wanted to kill the aboriginals.

    As usual, the oligarchs wanted cheap labor, which seems to me to make them poor models for whether unlimited immigration is good.

    I’ll also pose the question to those who do want unlimited immigration: why privilege those who can come here on foot? If limitless immigration is good, why not send to Africa, Asia, and Oceania -even Europe- for the millions who would no doubt jump at the chance to come here. I’m sure we could quintuple the US population in no time at all.

  123. #123 |  Jess | 

    Mairead, if you want to charter some ships, do so in good conscience. I won’t complain about it.

  124. #124 |  Jamie | 

    Well, it seems evident that we don’t have a come-to-Jesus moment between the wingers and the libertarians.

    Glad we got that sorted.

  125. #125 |  johnl | 

    Something to remember is that *nobody* advocates illegal immigration. Defenders of the current system believe that it should be illegal for unskilled workers to come to the USA, and wish that the laws worked. Open borders advocates want more *legal* avenues open for unskilled laborers.

    So to Susan in 116, under the assumption that we allow unskilled immigrants, then they would be eligible for public assistance, because they would be legal.

  126. #126 |  supercat | 

    One point that I haven’t seen mentioned here, nor much in general: in order for society to function effectively, it is generally necessary for individuals to have exactly one identity, and for individuals to be generally unable to change it. Individuals who are born in the U.S. or are here legally as temporary or permanent aliens have a confirmable and unchanging identity. If such a person gets in a car accident and either presents their identification to the police at the scene, or if they drive off but their license plate number is observed or photographed, the person can be held accountable for any damage they caused. If an illegal alien gets in a car accident, there generally will in many cases not be any way to attach an identity to them and ensure they are held accountable (or if there is, I don’t know it).

    I would like for an open-borders advocate to indicate by what means governments and individuals in the U.S. should hold accountable an individual who cannot identify himself in a form that’s recognized by the government of the U.S. or the states thereof? Legal aliens would have had the government register their identity when they enter, but illegal aliens would not. By what means, then, could one ensure that an illegal alien who gets in trouble wouldn’t simply change his identity and ‘vanish’?

  127. #127 |  johnl | 

    Again, to supercat, if open borders advocates had their way, there wouldn’t be undocumented aliens, because they would be provided documents. People don’t live outside the law because they can’t be bothered to matriculate with ICS. It’s because it’s impossible for most people to immigrate legally to the USA that many come illegally.

    Life as a ghost is very expensive.

  128. #128 |  Jamie | 

    Put another way, “illegal” people are breaking the law because of how the law is defined. If you accept that people should be free to live where they want, then you should support not making arbitrary rules about where people can live.

  129. #129 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Bob Wenzel of Economic Policy journal has put out a nice list of fallacies that is Paul Ryan and his supposed “libertarian streak”. I get a kick on how huffy and puffy it makes conservatives that I “debate” that Romney/Paul is no different from Obama/Biden.

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/08/the-truth-about-paul-ryan-wenzel-cuts.html

  130. #130 |  Brent Royal-Gordon | 

    2) Are y’all suggesting the US has some sort of *obligation* to allow everyone who can get here to come in, despite the fact no other nation is held to that standard?

    Certainly. The United States aspires to hold itself to a higher standard than other nations. Other states may restrict speech, but we chose to free it. Other states may establish official religions, but we chose to be secular. And other states may restrict immigration, but we chose, once, to throw open our doors to all:

    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Sometimes we stray from our principles, and each day we do, the American experiment inches closer to failure. But the fact that other nations choose to do something doesn’t mean it’s proper for us to do so as well. We chose to be better than them.

  131. #131 |  Tim in Ohio | 

    Opening borders would simply allow all the world’s poverty stricken populace to flood into the US and live the easy life via American entitlements. Once the plane tickets equaling several years of their income magically appeared in their laps.

    Realism.

  132. #132 |  Mairead | 

    Deoxy at 120 So, I take it you want all Muslims deported or locked up? That’s exactly where that leads to, and it’s exactly the point the majority of those suggesting heightened scrutiny (or more) to Muslims make.

    Those who want to import Sharia, yeah. Not the rest.

    The arguments in favor of any form of sociopolitical organisation other than actual libertarian democracy always boil down to “because I deserve to be one of the rulers”. To those who want the pseudo-security of childhood, or who want to be a powerful parent, those arguments appeal. To those who simply want to live in community as adults, they don’t.

  133. #133 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    johnl,

    “Something to remember is that *nobody* advocates illegal immigration.”

    Hogwash. Various panderers have established or called for “sanctuary” cities, in which the existing laws are not enforced. This lures illegal immigrants to the area without actually doing anything ethical about their status; it is purely a measure to make certain kinds of people feel good about how tolerant they are, and accomplishes nothing useful. It is, to put it bluntly, despicable.

    Other have called for an amnesty. Not a change in the laws, just a ‘one time’ gesture, pretty much insuring that there will be a rush of illegals who may or may not qualify for the amnesty … and those that don’t will be in legal limbo.

    Such people may not think that they are advocating illegal immigration, but that is the effect that their advocacy will have.

  134. #134 |  Mairead | 

    Since my original response to Brandon at 40 seems to have vanished forever, I’ll try again.

    #10 Mairead, Radley pointed out the most glaring of the many fallacies in your mindless screed, but this one just bothers me: “No inherited wealth.”

    Why? Is the wealth I earn not mine to give to whom I will? Do I not have the right to create a better life for my children than I have had? Who would get my wealth upon my death, if not my chosen heirs?

    It depends on what kind of world you want.

    If you want a libertarian one where everyone starts out on as even a footing as humanly possible, then yes that means your kids have to do that too.

    But if what you really want is one where “some are more equal than others”, then naturally you want your kids to be among the special-advantages group. You could even call it a libertarian society just as others call theirs a “democratic people’s republic”.

    As to where your wealth would go when you die, in a libertarian world it would go to improve a school, fund a clinic, or some other use in the community that enabled you to safely make that wealth.

    Have you ever actually put any thought into this beyond “those evil rich people have more than me?” Because it really seems like you just regurgitated this crap from someone else with no consideration of what it actually meant

    No, I’m not just regurgitating something I don’t understand. I grew up in poverty, disorder, and foster homes because my parents had the absolutely rotten luck to become incurably ill when I was a small child. Now 72, I’ve spent the past 60 years thinking about the purpose of community and what makes a community good or bad. Real libertarian democracy is the best that humans can do (it’s also, interestingly, the earliest form of human community).

  135. #135 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Easiest solution to the “illegal immigration” problem is to get rid of the welfare state. Of course when you try to advocate such an idea those same people scream even louder.

  136. #136 |  Doexy | 

    Deoxy, honey, you’ve made very clear that a) you have no idea what Christianity is even about, and that b) you hate women and don’t give one crap what they might want or need. Also that c) you have no clue about the history of abortion or the treatment of women in this world, by Christians and non-Christians alike.

    Yes, there are plenty of links and studies to support my assertions about abortion rates. And sex education. (Because abstinence education really works well? Right. Now who’s making stuff up?) I guess I gave you too much benefit of the doubt there. Go ahead, look it up. Better yet, just live in the real world instead of whatever made-up bubble you live in.

    I also notice you didn’t address the prohibition / black market argument at all, nor the issue of how you would punish those awful, awful women who seek abortions. Talk about hypocritical. Freedom through forced pregnancy! Nice.

    I don’t have to tolerate bigotry. Nor do I have to tolerate state ownership of my womb. My life, my body are sacred too. More importantly, the laws of a secular democratic republic shouldn’t be based on one interpretation of one religion, which also handily says women are inferior to men in all aspects.

    Your ad hominems tell me a lot. Thanks.

  137. #137 |  Fay | 

    Oops. That last comment was from me, and I managed to put a misspelled “Deoxy” in the Name field. My apologies.

  138. #138 |  Fay | 

    Oh well… hung up in moderation-land. Probably for the best. Deoxy, honey: do your own research. The facts are out there. You might be surprised. Although I doubt actual history or facts will do anything to sway you.

    Criminalizing abortion kills women. If you’re comfortable with that, and you think I’M the intolerant one who hates Christianity… you got way bigger problems than me, sir (or ma’am). Your ad hominems were quite educational about you, though. Thanks.

  139. #139 |  Mairead | 

    Have you noticed, Fay, that it’s usually the guys who see nothing wrong with the idea of women being second-class citizens?

  140. #140 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mairead,

    By the same token, it’s usually Gals who see nothing wrong with the government keeping a guy on the hook for child support of a child he didn’t father or ever have a relationship with?

    We could play this game forever. Y’know; “Well that’s just how Guys think.” “Well, you know how women are.”

    It degrades rapidly into caricature and idiocy. Let’s not.

  141. #141 |  Deoxy | 

    Deoxy, honey, you’ve made very clear that a) you have no idea what Christianity is even about, and that b) you hate women and don’t give one crap what they might want or need. Also that c) you have no clue about the history of abortion or the treatment of women in this world, by Christians and non-Christians alike.

    a) Thank you, oh tolerant and wise liberal, for telling me about my own beliefs, which you know more about than me, even though you hate them. /sarc

    b) I love women. Including those not yet born. Somehow, no one ever mentions those women. Or that women are aborted at a far higher rate than men.

    c) I’ve done quite a bit of research on the treatment of women, actually – unless you’re an academic, the odds are very poor that you would have done more than me. “The facts are out there” – yes, they are. I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort tracking them down. You should, too. It’s not hard… but it is somewhat time consuming.

    Go ahead, look it up. Better yet, just live in the real world instead of whatever made-up bubble you live in.

    I DID. I stated that plainly more than once. You are simply believing the talking points that you’ve been given. Go do the research you are claiming I haven’t, then get back to me.

    I also notice you didn’t address the prohibition / black market argument at all, nor the issue of how you would punish those awful, awful women who seek abortions.

    The issue of the black market is much MUCH smaller than abortion advocates have claimed – not quite vanishingly small, but close.

    How to punish them is indeed a good bit harder; the morality of it is easy. Like drug abuse, the government cure may be worse than the disease. That doesn’t change the moral position.

    Freedom through forced pregnancy! Nice.

    Infantizing all women everywhere as unable to make their own choices or be responsible for them! Nice.

    Seriously, barring rape, no one is forcing pregnancy. That line is a plain and simple lie.

    I don’t have to tolerate bigotry.

    Then you aren’t a tolerant person. I tolerate bigotry all the time – the other alternative is to tolerate nothing that I don’t agree with (or at least very little).

    More importantly, the laws of a secular democratic republic shouldn’t be based on one interpretation of one religion, which also handily says women are inferior to men in all aspects.

    Actually, if you’ll notice, I was extremely careful NOT to use any Christian values at all in my argument. There are exactly 2 pieces of information necessary: is the fetus a person, and is killing someone not in self-defense murder.

    It’s NOT self-defense against the fetus because the fetus is there through the mother’s action, not its own.

    That leaves only the question of personhood. If you don’t think the fetus is a person, then you don’t think it’s murder, and that is a libertarian position. That’s fine.

    But the flip side is that, if it is a person, the libertarian position would be that abortion is murder. In the case of rape, that murder can be laid at the feet of the rapist, so yes, the woman would be morally in the clear.

    Also, as to “women are inferior to men in all aspects”, again, you seem to have a problem with Christianity, but part of that problem is simply being ignorant of what it actually teaches.

    Certainly the history of the church has examples of mistreatment of women… just as the rest of history is full of it, as you yourself pointed out. But other groups are apparently forgiven for that now, or something?

    Your ad hominems tell me a lot. Thanks.

    As best I can tell, you’re the one making the vast majority of the ad hominems, here. I pointed out that you hate Christians and Christianity, and I made the observation that this appears to be interfering with your ability to reason rationally – that second point could be said to be ad hominem.

    You’ve called me a bigot.
    You’ve repeatedly and often gratuitously insulted what you infer is my religion.
    You’ve said I hate women.
    You’ve claimed that I don’t consider women people.

    I’ve carefully laid out an argument. You’ve repeatedly insulted me.

    And for that, *I* am the one making ad hominems?

    I repeat my previous observation: your hatred is interfering with your ability to argue rationally.

  142. #142 |  Mairead | 

    CSPS at 140 wrote By the same token, it’s usually Gals who see nothing wrong with the government keeping a guy on the hook for child support of a child he didn’t father or ever have a relationship with?

    D’you know, altho I’ve known plenty men who’ve been really adamant about the “need” to control women, I have never known anyone, of either flavor, who’s okay or even neutral about the cases you’re talking about. Everyone I’ve known thinks they’re absolutely outrageous. The only people I’ve ever even heard of who think such decisions are okay are those few judges, who in my opinion should be impeached and struck off for gross abuse of authority.

    How many pointers can you offer to statements by women who claim such egregious decisions are fair? Any?

  143. #143 |  Deoxy | 

    C. S. P. Schofield:

    Because you are (or appear to be) Pro-Life, AND have what I think are good arguments, I want to bounce something off of you.

    Sorry, didn’t notice this post of yours yesterday.

    As to your scenario… hmmm.

    Before Roe v Wade imposed an edict from on high (with an actual decision even its supporters generally admit was badly reasoned, just as a bonus), the state of abortion law among the states was in flux – how it would have turned out is unknowable, but it appeared to be heading towards a situation with some level of abortion allowed in most states, but which level being varied.

    The battle lines drawn by that decision make it hard to make predictions about these sorts of developments.

    However, politically, your scenario seems at least plausible – there are certainly plenty of examples of things like this:

    I also think that the kind of people who are Pro-Choice activists are the kind of people who will work to circumvent such laws, with very little appreciation of the probably political consequences.

    The difficulty lies in the SCOTUS decision and litmus test of supporting it that the Democrats require to confirm SCOTUS justice. The States simply CAN’T place any broad restrictions on abortion, due to that.

    I consider it inevitable that such people will be caught in a series of incidents involving moving young women and minor children across State lines to circumvent State laws on abortion in which the patient is badly hurt or dies.

    Considering that such things have happened even now, with women left on hospital doorsteps before they die, and nothing comes of it, it’s hard to see that being all that much worse.

    Once you clear the RvW hurdle somehow, such that some reasonable restrictions can be applied, then yes, your scenario becomes plausible.

    As it happens (FAY, this is partially for you), I personally think the “first term” part of the R v W decision, though poorly reasoned in that decision, is about right – somewhere right around there, the stats used to determine whether someone has died (brainwaves, etc) are all in place. Before that point, there is a good argument that the fetus is, legally, “dead” – not yet alive. Afterward, by the standards we use to determine if someone is alive, the fetus is indeed alive. The difficulty with that particular standard is lack of a “bright line”.

    But really, fertilization and even implantation both fail naturally so often as to be untenable.

    But birth is just an awful standard – I have a friend who is over the age of 30 who was born very early, weighing just about 1 pound. 30+ years ago, surviving at that age was very unusual, but it still happened, and that was months before a normal birth would have occurred.

    So yeah, the actual practicalities of it are messy and difficult.

  144. #144 |  Fay | 

    “Like drug abuse, the government cure may be worse than the disease.”

    Hey, at least we seem to agree there. ;)

  145. #145 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @111

    I advocate legalizing illegal immigration. So in that sense, I’m guilty as charged. What would I do with illegal immigrants? I would make them legal, because I’d make it legal to come and live here.

    I also advocate legalizing illegal drugs, legalizing illegal prostitution, and legalizing all other currently illegal capitalist acts between consenting adults.

    I’d happily dismantle the welfare state, cut defense spending at least in half, and institute a flat income tax.

    If that makes me a “leftist,” please let me know: Where can you find a single other leftist who even roughly agrees with me?

    I said in my first post my reflexes tend to be with the left, particularly on cultural issues. I have zero patience for cultural/social conservatives. But I am not anything one could ordinarily call a leftist in standard American political discourse.

  146. #146 |  Work and Meaning | The Agitator | 

    [...] When I wrote that post yesterday, I knew one thing would especially irk the left. I almost called attention to it in the text, but then I remembered I was supposed to be writing for the right. I’ll address it here instead: Markets are never perfect, never fully free, never fully efficient. But they are the theaters of our aspirations, our goals, and our deepest values. When liberals snobbishly put down workers’ or consumers’ choices in the market, this is what they are denigrating. [...]

  147. #147 |  James D | 

    Wow religion, immigration, welfare, and abortion all rolled into one thread … this could last for months.

    I’d love to jump in but I think this far down, no one would read it anyways ….

  148. #148 |  Personanongrata | 

    “There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.” ~ John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

    It is my sincerest hope that as the fiscal situation in the US devolves further (hubristic US attempt to sustain Pax Americana) and the delusions of “bread and circus” evaporate the people inhabiting this section of North America (AK, HI too) will look past their petty and sophomoric differences and cast off the repressive-yoke which collectively binds them to the criminal-state and to hold the depraved tyrants and their sycophants who are most responsible for the US’s decent into 3rd world banana republic status to account.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    We (human-beings) all have so much more in common than the “issues” that are deftly used to so easily divide us. Our divisiveness only makes the criminals jobs easier in controlling us and as any bathtub-admiral knows:

    Together we stand, divided we fall.

    When the diktats of the criminal state are boiled down to their true essence all we are left with are various artifical systems of control put in place by criminals seeking to deny humans their natural law rights and to accumulate power in the hands of the conspiringly connected few (tyrants) at the expense of the many.

  149. #149 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Deoxy,

    I agree that the SCOTUS decision makes it harder for the States to ban abortion. But not impossible; get enough public outrage going and SCOTUS will cease to be much of a stumbling block. And that is where Parental Notification becomes crucial. Half a dozen cases of minors being smuggled across state lines and subsequently dying or, worse, committing suicide and there will be a Crusade, and Crusades have a way of trampling things flat.

    What it really comes to, so far as I can see, is that Partial Birth Abortion and opposition to Parental Notification are political poison. One cannot hold those positions and maintain the high moral ground in the minds of the citizenry. Unless the Pro-Choice people are prepared to abandon both, they are going to lose the political clout that allows them to hold onto the political clout necessary to keep Pro-Life Justices off the supreme court.

    They would almost be better off standing as Orange candidates in the Irish Free State.

    The thing that bothers me most about the Pro-Choice side’s opposition to Parental Notification is that I cannot imagine a situation where getting a minor a secret abortion would be a good thing, in which taking her before a judge and having her made an emancipated infant or a ward of the court would not be a better solution. A LOT better.

    BTW; thanks for your thoughtful reply. It was everything I had hoped it would be.

  150. #150 |  An Open Letter to My Friends on the Right | Paul M. Jones | 

    [...] emphasis is mine. Via An Open Letter to My Friends on the Right | The Agitator. This entry was posted in Liberty, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. ← Drinking at work: [...]

  151. #151 |  supercat | 

    #127 | johnl | “Again, to supercat, if open borders advocates had their way, there wouldn’t be undocumented aliens, because they would be provided documents.”

    Perhaps, though given the passive-aggressive behavior of the INS/ICE, I wouldn’t count on it. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, for example, the INS announced that it was beginning deportation proceedings against a woman who was in the country on her husband’s work visa; she and her husband were in the process of becoming citizens, and were well on the way when her husband was killed in the World Trade Center. Since her husband’s work visa was no longer valid (as a consequence of his being buried under tons of rubble), it no longer allowed her to remain in the country and the INS thus considered her a priority candidate for deportation.

    Even if the INS was instructed to grant identification documents to people as fast as their home governments could act to confirm their identity and backgrounds, I suspect the bureaucrats would drag their feet if nothing else so they could get out of doing all the necessary paperwork.

    Also, another issue that I’ve not heard discussed much: many of the people who covertly enter this country are emigrating from countries which themselves have immigration policies which are even stricter than those of the U.S. I believe that when dealing with others (whether at the personal or national level), one should treat them *slightly* better than one is treated by them. A policy of treating others well without regard for how one is treated by them will not encourage reciprocal good treatment, but rather abuse. If other countries wish for the U.S. to open our borders to them, then they should likewise open their borders do us. If they won’t open their borders, why should we?

  152. #152 |  el coronado | 

    #148, PNG –

    Wow. You managed to combine the US Constitution and ‘The Matrix’ in one short comment. That was pretty cool. Who knows? Maybe that’s the angle we need to get the word out.

  153. #153 |  Criticizing the Right « Notes On Liberty | 

    [...] You can read the rest here. [...]

  154. #154 |  Susan | 

    #135

    Illegals CANNOT get welfare, so ending welfare will have NO effect on illegal immgration. As a New Yorker, you ought to know these facts. Don’t get out much?

  155. #155 |  Deoxy | 

    Illegals CANNOT get welfare

    You know, it’s illegal to murder anyone, too. And thus, it NEVER happens!

    Giggle.

    Seriously, the reason people keep ignoring this incredible point of yours is that it’s about as useful as “gun free zones” – sure, I was going to go shoot people, but since having a gun there is illegal, I guess I won’t….

    Yeah. We know it’s against the law for illegal immigrants to get benefits… but it’s also against the law for them to work. In fact, it’s against the law for them to be even be here in the first place!

    So yeah, it’s illegal for them to get benefits. Guess what? It still happens. A lot.

    (And actually, that’s giving you a huge freebie. A significant chunk of the benefits they receive are things that it is illegal NOT to give them – ER visits, for instance. Show up with need, get service. No check of any kind is done. So yeah, really, you’re making an idiot of yourself.)

  156. #156 |  Deoxy | 

    Half a dozen cases of minors being smuggled across state lines

    This already happens.

    One cannot hold those positions and maintain the high moral ground in the minds of the citizenry.

    Only if the citizens are paying attention. Whenever the light shines on these things, yes, they are losers (PBA more than PN), but the activists simply lie lie lie, bide their time, wait for the hubbub to die down, and go right back to it.

    The citizens have other things to worry about, and a few activists being morally despicable simply doesn’t keep their attention long enough to get that far.

    At least, it hasn’t happened yet. Not sure what it will take to actually make it happen…

  157. #157 |  Danny | 

    Hey, Deoxy, I don’t think you have to register at a government office to work under the table or to commit murder. Sorry to have to throw a little annoying internet meme at you but, if you say it “happens a lot” …. CITATION NEEDED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  158. #158 |  Cheryl | 

    This has been a fascinating comment thread. I describe myself as fiscally Republican and socially Democrat. I wish I could find a candidate as well balanced as me. (ha). But, ultimately, it comes down to what I feel is a well planned attack on women’s rights in this country…I feel a sense of doom that I have never felt in my 50 years on this rock. It goes beyond abortion, beyond birth control, beyond wage equality (which I will never see in my lifetime, sadly). I am gainfully employed, most of my friends and family are as well, I am doing ok financially and ultimately, when it comes down to it, that’s my final, gut check barometer at the polls–how is my personal life? I live in a predominantly Muslim community in Michigan, I feel safe and at no danger of being put under Sharia law. (Those of you who really feel this is an actual danger should go back underground to your apocalypse shelters and put on your tinfoil hats) But in that same state, female legislators were censored for saying vagina. If the Romney/Ryan teams is elected, I firmly believe that my daughter, who is 16, will find it harder to get coverage for birth control, not have access to safe abortion providers and should Ryan find the support to get all of his initiatives passed, she won’t be able to access the preventative (mammograms, cancer screenings, etc. ) health care she might need someday if she isn’t able to pay for it out of pocket.

    That’s my gut. Telling me to go vote for Obama. Because at this point, it’s all about voting AGAINST someone.

  159. #159 |  Deoxy | 

    Citation needed… really? Are you serious?!?

    At any workplace that doesn’t pay cash under the table, you have to have a SSN to get the job, and usually ID as well – that is, some large percentage of them already have fake IDs (and PAY TAXES under those SSNs, too, actually, in many cases).

    But they couldn’t be using those for benefits, oh no.

    Anyway, you want citations – ok, here’s some:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/business/05immigration.html?_r=1&ex=1270353600&en=78c87ac4641dc383&ei=5090

    “Our assumption is that about three-quarters of other-than-legal immigrants pay payroll taxes,” said Stephen C. Goss, Social Security’s chief actuary, using the agency’s term for illegal immigration.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_immigrants_in_the_United_States
    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/87xx/doc8711/12-6-Immigration.pdf

    During 2007, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reviewed 29 reports published over 15 years on the impact of unauthorized immigrants on the budgets of state and local governments. While cautioning that the reports are not a suitable basis for developing an aggregate national effect across all states, they concluded that:[33]

    * State and local governments incur costs for providing services to unauthorized immigrants and have limited options for avoiding or minimizing those costs;
    * The amount that state and local governments spend on services for unauthorized immigrants represents a small percentage of the total amount spent by those governments to provide such services to residents in their jurisdictions;
    * The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants, although the impact is most likely modest; and
    * Federal aid programs offer resources to state and local governments that provide services to unauthorized immigrants, but those funds do not fully cover the costs incurred by those governments.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_to_the_United_States

    Illegal hiring has not been prosecuted aggressively in recent years: between 1999 and 2003, according to The Washington Post, “work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.[56] Major employers of illegal immigrants have included:

    * Wal-Mart. In 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle a federal investigation that found hundreds of illegal immigrants were hired by Wal-Mart’s cleaning contractors.[57]

    * Swift & Co.. In December 2006, in the largest such crackdown in American history, U.S. federal immigration authorities raided Swift & Co. meat-processing plants in six U.S. states, arresting about 1,300 illegal immigrant employees.[58]

    * Tyson Foods. This company has also been accused of actively importing illegal labor for its chicken packing plants; however, the jury acquitted the company after evidence was presented that Tyson went beyond mandated government requirements in demanding documentation for its employees.[59]

    * Gebbers Farms. In December 2009, US immigration authorities forced this Brewster, Washington farm known for its fruit orchards to fire more than 500 illegal workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico. Some were working with false social security cards and other false identification.[60]

    All of these places would require ID/SN to go to work.

    So, fake IDs/SSNs are common. What is required for social services? ID and SSN, if that much.

    So yeah, it is pretty easy, and the CBO (generally called “non-partisan” by both sides of the aisle in any debate I’ve seen) says they cost more than they put in in taxes.

    I’ve now given citations for something painfully obvious. You claim something much less obvious…. where are YOUR citations for otherwise?

  160. #160 |  Deoxy | 

    But in that same state, female legislators were censored for saying vagina. If the Romney/Ryan teams is elected, I firmly believe that my daughter, who is 16, will find it harder to get coverage for birth control, not have access to safe abortion providers and should Ryan find the support to get all of his initiatives passed, she won’t be able to access the preventative (mammograms, cancer screenings, etc. ) health care she might need someday if she isn’t able to pay for it out of pocket.

    That’s my gut. Telling me to go vote for Obama.

    OK, the reasons you cite actually work exactly backwards of what you just said they told you.

    ObamaCare (and socialized medicine in almost every country it has ever been tried) is what will limit access to stuff, not the free market. heck what kinds of screenings have suddenly become “not recommended” just since ObamaCare passed!

    The “birth control” thing was a transparent Democrat talking point, which they abandoned several months ago now. Dude, the pill costs $9 a month. Condoms are cheaper than that. That’s just silliness.

  161. #161 |  el coronado | 

    Cheryl, glad to hear you feel safe living in a predominantly moslem area of MI – Dearborn? – and feel no animosity, pressure, increasing push for sharia, all that. But what if your personal experience is an outlier on the ol’ Bell Chart?

    Because _elsewhere_ on the Bell Chart/Probability Curve, gringos living in or near London’s Finsbury Park; or the banlieu’s of suburban Paris; or anywhere in southern Sweden are reporting radically *different* experiences. The MSM won’t report this, (ever wonder why?), but it’s googleable: Malmo, Sweden, is pretty much the rape capitol of the world. Seems the young, almost-always-moslem peaceloving ‘immigrants’ are reaping the blonde infidel Swedish lasses there SO much that they (the women) have taken to dying their hair black to avoid be targeted. Naturally, it goes without saying the moslem areas of Malomo are no-go areas to everyone not a member of the peaceful faith: including the cops & firefighters. Ever wonder why?

    All your other political ideas aside, if your biggest worry is “a well-planned attack on women’s rights”, why not take a look at where it’s needed most? Focus on who it is doing the attacking, instead of worrying how the eebil Mormon & Catholic conservatives are gonna stamp out ubiquitous dirt-cheap condoms; or a Pill that now runs $10 a month?

  162. #162 |  el coronado | 

    “raping”, dammit.

  163. #163 |  JGLarner | 

    DEOXY:

    ObamaCare (and socialized medicine in almost every country it has ever been tried) is what will limit access to stuff, not the free market.

    And yet, somehow, the citizens of EVERY SINGLE DEMOCRACY THAT HAS SOCIALIZED MEDICINE live longer, healthier lives than Americans do, and have lower rates of infant mortality (according to the CIA World Factbook.) Even the UK, which, unlike most countries that have some form of national health insurance (like Canada) actually does have government-run healthcare. Take it from me; I grew up in Canada. The right-wing and libertarian attacks on socialized medicine have absolutely no basis in reality.

    And rationing? Seriously? You’re going to make that argument? You don’t think that private insurers cutting people off their plans, or denying necessary treatment on the basis of cost, constitutes rationing? You want to give rationing powers to private corporations, seeking their own private good; but not to governments, seeking public good?

  164. #164 |  JGLarner | 

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-larner/its-the-tea-party-people-_b_700936.html

  165. #165 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Cheryl,

    you desperately, DESPERATELY need to do a little bit of research on the gap between what Liberals say they want and what their policies actually DO. I fully understand how you can be deeply uncomfortable with the religious Right, but you should be at least as uncomfortable with the Dogmatic Left. As a political movement Feminism has become a caricature of itself. Liberal academia is almost completely divorced from reality. In many ways the political Left is as much a stew of prejudice, dogma, and stupidity as your worst nightmare about Jerry “God’s Clown” Falwell.

    Put it this way; the Religious Right thinks abortion is immoral and unwed mothers should be made to bear their bastard children and put them up for adoption. Despite what the Left wants you to believe, the Islamic extremists think that women are immoral, and want to stone unwed mothers to death. This is cold fact, backed up by any moderately diligent search. Anybody who is telling you otherwise is either lying or living in a fool’s paradise.

  166. #166 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @160 – The far right thugs are the cause, yes. White thugs. Malmo’s mayor basically asked them to come, and they did. You’d fit in just fine.

    And because white thugs are no longer welcome to rape Muslims. Odd that!

    @162 – And you use this to call a Jihad onto every Muslim, right.

  167. #167 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @159 – Overtreatment in America is a HUGE problem.

  168. #168 |  | Nobody's Business | 

    [...] addthis_share = [];}Over at The Agitator, guest blogger Jason Kuznicki has a terrific post titled “An Open Letter to My Friends on the Right,” in which he tries to explain how the right wing gets freedom [...]

  169. #169 |  Deoxy | 

    And yet, somehow, the citizens of EVERY SINGLE DEMOCRACY THAT HAS SOCIALIZED MEDICINE live longer, healthier lives than Americans do, and have lower rates of infant mortality (according to the CIA World Factbook.)

    The asiest example of the fallacy here is infant mortality: when a child is born 4 months premature and dies an hour after birth, only the US counts that as an infant death. Those stats count different things.

    The rest are very similar. You want to talk about health and how long people live? Especially in regards to health care? Let’s look at cancer survival rates.

    Oh wait, let’s not… because the US clobbers everyone there, and ti make the other countries look bad.

    OK, let’s look at any other specific category… Hmm, what can we find that doesn’t make socialized medicine look bad?

    Broken arms! Yes, a broken limb (assuming it’s nothing complicated) is a good thing to judge against. Simple wounds needing stitches are good, too.

    Average life expectancy involves a GREAT many things. Health care is only one part of that.

    And when you look at the specifics, the US is on top – it’s not close. To be fair, yes we also cost the most*… but there’s a reason wealthy people from countries with socialized medicine come to the US for treatment.

    *Also, to be fair, in part we cost the most because we are bearing the lion’s share of the R&D burden for the whole world, particularly in drugs, but also in other areas.

    ake it from me; I grew up in Canada.

    The same Canada who recently had one of their high-ranking officials attempt to get his healthcare in the US without anybody in Canada finding out? The same one where there are enormous wait times for things that people come south of the border and get the same week, or even day?

    Yes, I’m familiar with Canada (got relatives there), and it’s one of the better ones… but everything I just said still applies, even there. The US bearing the R&D burden particular applies.

    And rationing? Seriously? You’re going to make that argument? You don’t think that private insurers cutting people off their plans, or denying necessary treatment on the basis of cost, constitutes rationing? You want to give rationing powers to private corporations, seeking their own private good; but not to governments, seeking public good?

    Yes, I absolutely DO want to make that argument!

    An insurance company not covering something they said they wouldn’t cover (or even something they said they would, which you should be able to sue for breach of contract for – yes, I know that’s harder in actual practice than it should be) is absolutely NOTHING like the government simply not allowing you to have something.

    The morality of those things is night and day different; the actual outcome in almost every country it has been tried in so far is even more different than that.

    “Rationing” is when the government (or other authority figure) won’t give you something. What you’re complaining about the insurance companies is the opposite of that – they won’t sell you something at below price. That’s the market at work.

    Also, even when the insurance company won’t pay for it, you can at least pay for it yourself – the limit is money, rather than being allowed to (many of the less well-run socialized systems actually forbid private purchase at all).

    The history of governments acting for the “public good” is governments acting for the good of the members of that government, and F*** the rest of the public. Even wonderful Canada has that problem – what are the average wait times for procedures for public employees (especially the the higher one goes) compared to non-public employees?

    THAT is what you are, in practice, advocating.

    I want the most people to get the most care, and only a handful of the socialized medicine systems ever actually implemented get anywhere close to how well we are doing it. “That’s because the right people weren’t in charge”, or whatever, doesn’t work with communism, and it doesn’t work with socialized medicine, either.

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