Just a bigoted state [update 4]
And so she was.
Cross the Atlantic now to Arizona, where a bigoted state now requires everyone to carry around their birth certificate, just so they aren’t mistaken for someone who’s living and working in the state without big-government’s blessing.
If Gordon Brown’s apology for his momentary rush of honesty was the shot heard still being heard around the British electorate, then Arizona’s attack on personal liberty is the shot against individual freedom that’s being heard right around the world. It’s a reminder that it’s not just the left side of the aisle that are big-government bullies--and a reminder too that neither side has a monopoly on taking advantage of those stateless souls who leave their homes in search of a better life.Just so we’re clear, This Is What Arizona Republicans Want America to Be Like—a place where people of a certain race can be
The police-state crackdown is bad enough. But what it’s demonstrated all too clearly is that for many people apparently committed to individual liberty and small government are anything but. Scratch the surface of too many small-government conservatives, and what you find there is nothing more than stinking, ill-informed authoritarian racism. (Just one reason I’ve taken the likes of Andrew Bolt off my blog roll).
I say ill-informed, because it’s the only possible defence people like Bolt might have for being bigoted men and women themselves.
Because the facts confound the bigots. The fact is that in a free society, more people are a boon, not a burden.
That as author Robert Heinlein suggested, successful immigrants demonstrate just by their choice and gumption in choosing a new life that they are worthy of respect.
And as James Kilbourne says, “God damn you if the only two words you can find to put together when talking about people who leave their homelands to seek a better life for themselves and their families are ‘illegal aliens.’”
The fact is—and let me say it again just to stress the point—that in a free society, more people are a boon, not a burden. You think that’s hyperbole? Well, it’s not. Look at the American experience—the country’s wealth was built upon open immigration—on the melting pot that was the result of the open immigration of the nineteenth-century. But even in more oppressive times of today, the facts are clear that that the freer the country, the more immigration is a boon for everybody—and that immigrants themselves are overwhelmingly more productive and better behaved than most of the bigots are.
Just consider the litany of facts the bigots need to contend with regarding American immigration:
- The runaround needed to immigrate legally to the US is one prime reason so many do it illegally.
- 'Illegals' are not milking the government; if anything it is the other way around. The National Research Council found for example that most immigrant families "contribute an average of $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume over their lifetimes."
- Immigrants generally earn more than they receive.
- More than 60% of illegal immigrants pay income tax, and two-thirds kick in to Social Security (and most get nothing back).
- Immigrants help sustain economic growth and cultural dynamism.
- Immigrants "are generally less involved in crime than similarly situated groups," and crime rates in border towns "are lower than those of comparable non-border cities."
- Crime rates in the highest-immigration states have been trending significantly downward.
- Even economists who favour restrictive immigration policies admit low-skilled immigrants are a net plus to the economy.
- Unemployment is low and crime is down everywhere, especially in places teeming with immigrants.
- Immigration gives you the benefits of geniuses who were born elsewhere. Google, Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems were all founded by immigrants.
- Immigrants are more likely than 'natives' to be self-employed.
- Immigrants tend to create their own work -- when they're allowed to.
- The power and reach of Spanish-language media in L.A. for example shows supply of productive people creating its own demand.
- Immigrant labour makes work easier for all of us, and brings new skills to the table.
- Immigrants and low-skilled American workers fill very different roles in the economy.
- Immigrant labour makes all businesses easier to start, thus spurring 'native' creativity.
- "Some argue that we should employ a more restrictive policy that allows in only immigrants with 'needed' skills. But this assumes the government can read economic tea leaves." - Tyler Cowen and Daniel M. Rothschild
- New arrivals, by producing more goods and services, keep prices down across the economy -- the net gain to US from immigration is about $7 billion a year.
- There's no reason that the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NZ's own free trade agreements) shouldn't apply equally to people as to widgets.
- Even in the halls of Congress, economic arguments against immigration are losing their aura of truthfulness, so pro-enforcement types are focussing on “national security.”
- "The only way to actually prevent terrorists from slipping in is to legalize as much 'illegal immigration' as possible. If one is looking for a needle in a haystack, as the saying goes, one has a hell of job. Finding that needle on a relatively clean floor, however, presents an achievable goal." - James Valliant
- Immigration is good for the immigrants themselves. . . .
- How about a little common sense on immigration - Tony Snow
- Immigration plus Welfare State equals Police State - George Reisman
- Immigration and the Welfare State - the real root of the problem - Brian Doherty
- Who's milking who? - illegal aliens pay more in taxes than they impose in costs - Shikha Dalmia
- Don't bad-mouth unskilled immigrants - Tyler Cowen & Daniel M. Rothschild
- Exploitation or expulsion - illegal immigrants in a double bind - Jesse Walker
- Fighting terrorism requires legalizing immigration - James Valliant
- Worse than a wall - Kerry Howley
- A legacy of the unforeseen - Carolyn Lochhead
- Breathe free, huddled masses - Cathy Young
- Open the borders - why should citizens of NAFTA countries need visas at all - Tim Cavanagh
- Bush's border bravado - non-militarized solutions to a non-problem - Nick Gillespie
- Open immigration, Si! Open borders, No! - Sixth Column
- Stand in Line . . . and Wait! – Not PC
- Immigration and Individual Rights – Craig Biddle
- The solution to 'illegal immigration' - Harry Binswanger
- Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights: The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration - Harry Binswanger
“The philosophy of individual rights and capitalism implies that foreigners have a right to come and to live and work here, i.e., to immigrate into the United States. The land of the United States is owned by individuals and voluntary associations of individuals, such as private business firms. It is not owned by the United States government or by the American people acting as a collective; indeed many of the owners of land in the United States are not Americans, but foreign nationals, including foreign investors. “The private owners of land have the right to use or sell or rent their land for any peaceful purpose. This includes employing immigrants and selling them food and clothing and all other goods, and selling or renting housing to them. If individual private landowners are willing to accept the presence of immigrants on their property as employees, customers, or tenants, that should be all that is required for the immigrants to be present. Anyone else who attempts to determine the presence of absence of immigrants is simply an interfering busybody ready to use a gun or club to impose his will.The fact remains that the only possibly human objection that well-informed people might have to open immigration is that immigration is a drain on the Welfare State. That they object to being forced to pay for people they’ve never met. This much is understandable. (That is the dark truth at the heart of the whole Welfare State—far from offering charity, it sets man against men.) Again, George Reisman makes the argument: in summary, that Immigration Plus Welfare State Equal Police State.
“Illegal immigrants are overwhelming the resources of the Welfare State: government–funded hospital emergency rooms are filled with them; public schools are filled with their children. On the basis of such complaints, many people are angry and want to close the border to new illegal immigrants and deport those who are already here. “They want to keep new illegal immigrants out with fences along the border. It is not clear whether the fences would contain intermittent watchtowers with searchlights and machine guns. The illegal immigrants who are already here would be ferreted out by threatening anyone who employed them with severe penalties and making it a criminal offense not to report them. “This is a classic illustration of Mises’s principle that prior government intervention into the economic system breeds later intervention. Here the application of his principle is, start with the Welfare State, end with the Police State. A police state is what is required effectively to stop substantial illegal immigration that has become a major burden because of the Welfare State.”And Tibor Machan makes a similar argument, that the biggest problem with the welfare state is not that it might lead to even greater control by government, but that in providing a pseudo-moral argument to treat other human beings like cattle, it habituates people to the sort of easy brutality seen now in Arizona, and in sundry other cases of inhumanity.
But far from being a reason to abandon open immigration, the problems that state-enforced welfare cause for open immigration are reason instead to abandon the short-lived anti-human experiment that is the Welfare State.
“The philosophy of individual rights and capitalism implies that the immigrants do not have a right to be supported at public expense, which is a violation of the rights of the taxpayers. Of course, it is no less a violation of the rights of the taxpayers when native-born individuals are supported at public expense. The immigrants are singled out for criticism based on the allegation that they in particular are making the burden intolerable.And they could be reduced too by the simple and easily-introduced expedient of allowing existing citizens to sponsor and take financial and legal responsibility for new citizens.
“The implementation of the rights both of the immigrants and of the taxpayers requires the abolition of the Welfare State. Ending the Welfare State will end any problem of immigrants being a public burden.
“Of course, ending the Welfare State is much easier said than done, and it is almost certainly not going to be eliminated even in order to avoid the environment of a police state.
“But the burdens of the Welfare State and the consequent resentment against immigrants could at the very least be substantially reduced by means of some relatively simple, common-sense reforms in the direction of greater economic freedom. . . .”
But this would require a basic humanity that too many of the bigots seem to lack.
In the meantime then, you want an immediate solution to the 'problem of illegal immigration? Then here it is":
“The problem of ‘illegal’ immigration can be solved at the stroke of a pen: legalize immigration. Screen all you want (though I want damn little), but remove the quotas. Phase them out over a 5- or 10-year period. Grant immediate, unconditional amnesty to all ‘illegal’ immigrants.”
There endeth the problem.
UPDATE 1: More good anti-bigoted commentary here [hat tip Thrutch]:
- THE NEW CLARION: The Rights of Man, the Privileges of Citizen
This is the end-of-road for conservative anti-immigrationists: the selective degradation of the liberty to live in a particular place from a right to a “privilege”. As a hostile commenter put it sarcastically…
“Nothing says freedom from government interference like ‘show me your papers.’ Of course, limited government only applies to people who are real Americans, not to Mexicans.”
Let us examine the conservatives’ trip down the anti-immigration road, and see how it ended there — and what it means for conservatism’s purported fealty to Americanism….
Read on to see many more anti-immigration shibboleths summarily dispatched.
- PAJAMAS MEDIA: Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom: Welfare State Is Draw for Illegals
While I commiserate with Arizona voters [says Gus Van Horn] public services are the problem, not ‘illegals.’
…SB 1070 is wrong for Arizona for reasons far beyond civil rights issues.
SB 1070 deserves only one fundamental criticism: It would fail to protect the individual rights of American citizens — even if it hermetically sealed our borders and the police never touched a single American hair in the process of enforcing it. This is because the biggest headaches attributed to illegal immigration are not caused by it at all…
UPDATE 2: I’m starting a list. And in ‘tribute’ to Gordon, I’m calling it “Just Some Bigoted Arseholes.”
To which you can add Silent Running, run by a New Zealand blogger advertising “strong right-wing views” on his banner, who thinks “Mexico is polluting us”; Cactus Kate, who has “sanctimonious” on her banner (and bigotry in her waters); and Crusader Rabbit, who has “liberty” on his banner, and black thoughts about Mexican crowds being “a target-rich environment” in his heart …
UPDATE 3: Says an editorial in the Arizona Republic:
“We need leaders.
“The federal government is abdicating its duty on the border.
“Arizona politicians are pandering to public fear.
“The result is a state law that intimidates Latinos while doing nothing to curb illegal immigration.
This represents years of failure. Years of politicians taking the easy way and allowing the debate to descend into chaos…
“Comprehensive [immigration] reform will make the border safer. When migrant labor is channeled through the legal ports of entry, the Border Patrol can focus on catching drug smugglers and other criminals instead of chasing busboys across the desert.
“Real leaders will have the courage to say that.”
UPDATE 4: Reason magazine, whose superb 2006 issue on immigration was the source of many of those linked articles above, has four online articles on the current melee that deserve the attention of everyone not already blinded by bigotry:
- Immigration Isn't the Problem, David Harsanyi, May 3, 2010
“For the most part, the controversy we face isn't about immigration at all. It's about the systematic failure of federal government to enforce the law or offer rational policy. There's a difference…
“The uplifting tale of the hard-boiled immigrant, dipping his or her sweaty hands into the well of the American dream, is one thing. Today we find ourselves in an unsustainable and rapidly growing welfare state. Can we afford to allow millions more to partake?
“When Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist Milton Friedman was asked about unlimited immigration in 1999, he stated that ‘it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both.’”
- Mysteries of an Immigration Law, Steve Chapman, April 29, 2010
“The worst-case scenario is that Hispanics will face possible police harassment anytime they venture out of the house. Not to worry, says Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who helped draft the text.
“He told The Washington Examiner that cops can ask for immigration information only when they have ‘lawful contact’ with someone—when ‘the officer is already engaged in some detention of an individual because he's violated some other law.’
“In fact, the law doesn't define the crucial term. One of the dictionary definitions of ‘contact’ is ‘immediate proximity,’ which suggests that anytime a possible illegal immigrant comes in sight of a cop, the cop has a legal duty to check her papers.”
- How Immigration Crackdowns Backfire, Steve Chapman, April 22, 2010
“It's no surprise that Arizonans resent the recent influx of unauthorized foreigners, some of them criminals. But there is less here than meets the eye.
“The state has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants. But contrary to myth, they have not brought an epidemic of murder and mayhem with them. Surprise of surprises, the state has gotten safer.
“Over the last decade, the violent crime rate has dropped by 19 percent, while property crime is down by 20 percent. Crime has also declined in the rest of the country, but not as fast as in Arizona…”
- Don't Let Obama Touch Immigration Reform, Shikha Dalmia, April 13, 2010
”America's immigration system is badly broken and in desperate need of fixing. And that is precisely why President Barack Obama should not be allowed to touch it.”
- Immigration & Crime, Steve Chapman, February 22, 2010
“From listening to the more vigorous critics of illegal immigration, our porous borders are a grave threat to safety. Not only can foreign terrorists sneak in to target us, but the most vicious criminals are free to walk in and inflict their worst on innocent Americans.
“In xenophobic circles, this prospect induces stark terror. Fox News' Glenn Beck has decried an ‘illegal immigrant crime wave.’ A contributor to Patrick Buchanan's website asserts, ‘Every day, in the United States, thousands of illegal aliens unleash a reign of terror on Americans.’
“Sure they do. And I'm Penelope Cruz…
“A 2007 report by the Immigration Policy Center noted that "for every ethnic group, without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated. This holds true especially for the Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans who make up the bulk of the undocumented population…
“[Ron] Unz points out that in the five most heavily Hispanic cities in the country, violent crime is "10 percent below the national urban average and the homicide rate 40 percent lower." In Los Angeles, which is half Hispanic and easily accessible to those sneaking over the southern border, the murder rate has plummeted to levels unseen since the tranquil years of the early 1960s.
“This is not really hard to understand. Today, as ever, most foreigners who make the sacrifice of leaving home and starting over in a strange land do so not to mug grandmothers or molest children, but to find work that will give them a better life. Coming here illegally does not alter that basic motivation.
“In other words, they want to become full-fledged Americans, and they're succeeding. Is there something scary about that?”
Well, is there?