Sep 11, 2006

Libertarians: Hold Fast

As the campaigns for power heat up this fall, a variety of populist pundits and candidates will continue to beat the drums of fear and war. As "Internet 2.0" is to the various hype-masters of Internet enthusiasts, so is immigration for the Republicans. On the "left" a plethora of democratic politicians who voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will either tout their anti-war "credentials", claim that they were duped by the administration, or let us know their favorite "exit-strategy."

As libertarians, we get to vote for our favorite libertarian candidates knowing that they probably will not win. However, in doing so, we'll gain satisfaction knowing we didn't give approval to anyone representing the largest freedom-hating organizations in America, Congress and the Executive branches of Federal and State governments.

The aftermath of 9.11 has seen libertarians divided to some degree. I witnessed some online friends whom I thought were libertarians favor the wars in Afghanistan and and Iraq. I have also seen libertarians such as Ron Paul come out against "illegal" immigration.

Personally, I have little respect for any so-called libertarian who supports giving the government more power no matter how good the reasons may sound. I don't think I'm alone. But being on the other side of both of these debates hasn't been easy either.

Libertarians have had a number of detractors on the matter of immigration. The Libertarian Party's platform used to advocate "open borders." Sadly, those who recently hijacked the party have changed the immigration plank in complete disregard for libertarian ideals. All we need now is for Pat Buchanan to announce his intent to run as a libertarian and the destruction of the Party will be assured as it was when he ruined the Reform Party.

To those who continuously bash "illegals", their reasoning demands that a person coming into the United States show the pre-requisite "reasonable" legal documents and subject themselves to searches, giving up their rights to privacy and to travel freely. If they refuse to do this, then they are "illegal".

Because they are not citizens, we are supposed to stand for this.

What of our rights? What just law can demand an obligation to hire only naturalized citizens in our businesses or private homes? Recently, the city of council Hazelton, PA, passed ordinances which fine landlords one thousand dollars per day anyone who rents to an "illegal" alien and make English their "official" language.

"What I'm doing here is protecting the legal taxpayer of any race," said the dapper 50-year-old mayor, sweeping his hands toward the working-class city outside. "And I will get rid of the illegal people. It's this simple: They must leave ."
The Mayor's efforts are already "paying off" - proving that as usual, government is the problem rather than the solution.
The law doesn't take effect for another month. But the Republican mayor already sees progress. "I see illegal immigrants picking up and leaving -- some Mexican restaurants say business is off 75 percent," Barletta says. "The message is out there."
There is no reason for any libertarian to avoid, or apologize for, opposition to solution(s) in current fashion. All of the proposed solutions punish both citizens and immigrants alike.

The war on illegal immigration is as full of hyperbolic vapidity as is the war on terrorism. We will hear any number of arguments for protecting our borders. "We need a Fence" is among the scariest to anyone old enough to remember the Berlin Wall. Those who support this are apparently able only to see one side of the issue and, coincidentally, one side of a wall. If you have come into casual contact with walls and have even the slightest cognizant ability, you recognize that a wall has two sides. A wall keeps people in at the same time it keeps people out. The number of folks who have jumped on the bandwagon is frightening.

Far from being a slippery slope, the problems inherent in branding anyone without a proper set of documents on their person, illegal, are already upon us. The powers that be are already punishing "legal" persons in the name of safety.

It would be a pity if those libertarians of influence whom are left, play the populists in order to seek expansion of their own influence. It was the dogged devotion to the ideals of liberty which swayed me to become a libertarian and it is that same devotion which will win over those inclined to reason. Those who have jumped on bandwagons have discredited themselves. Think about it. All arguments against the libertarian philosophy are rooted in a fear of liberty itself!

"Why, think of how many terrorists could enter the country with 'open borders'!" "What would happen if everyone owned guns?!!" "What would happen if just anyone had children." "If we didn't outlaw plastic forks on airplanes, there'd be so many more terrorist attacks!" If you're talking about the issue with others, try these counter arguments on for size.
  • A border is not a property boundary except by coincidence. It is a demarcation of legal jurisdiction.
  • The constitution does not state that liberties are reserved to citizens. Quite the contrary, the first, fourth and fifth amendments use the words "people" and "persons."
  • Walls have two sides and prohibit crossing from either side equally well.
  • The right to travel freely, without molestation or perturbance is well established common law.
  • Rights are not established by geography but by birth. A Mexican is presumably born with the same rights as any other American.
  • No passage in the constitution gives Congress any legal jurisdiction over foreign travel. The only passage that relates is Congress' power to write the statutes determining citizenship.
The LP has completely gone mad, but I do hope that the real libertarians will hold fast. In the long run, it will be our saving grace. There may be no more "Party of Principle" but the individuals who count themselves as libertarians can keep to theirs.

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