Now Playing at Reason.tv: Dick Armey on Illegal Immigrants: "Bless their hearts"

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At last fall's Reason in DC conference (October 26-27), former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) talked about how champions of free markets need to focus on for smaller and better government.

In this excerpt from his talk, Armey, now the head of Freedomworks, a nonprofit that promotes "lower taxes, less government, more freedom," takes a bold stand for one of the most pilloried populations in these United States: Illegal immigrants who come here to make a better life for their children and themselves.

"The biggest immigration problem we got in America is a government that's not doing its job," says Armey. "I don't like illegal immigration, but I'll tell you something: I don't run stop lights. But you put me out on the road at two o'clock in the morning on the way to the all-night drugstore to get medicine for my babies, and you give me a stop light that is stuck on red, and no traffic in sight, and I'm gonna go through that red light."

Click below to listen to the full excerpt (approximately three-and-a-half minutes).

NEXT: Dick Armey on Illegal Immigrants: "Bless Their Hearts"

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  1. Would this guy be given any sort of leadership position by the GOP if he were still in Congress today? I highly doubt it.

  2. He and Dick Swett should have a cage match to decide who has the best Congressman name.

  3. He and Dick Swett should have a cage match to decide who has the best Congressman name.

    And when it’s over, Dick Pound can test them to make sure they didn’t take any illegal substances.

  4. He and Dick Swett should have a cage match to decide who has the best Congressman name.

    And when it’s over, Dick Pound can test them to make sure they didn’t take any illegal substances.

    Dick Trickle still wins, even though he’s not a congresscritter.

  5. Would this guy be given any sort of leadership position by the GOP if he were still in Congress today? I highly doubt it.

    You’re probably right, although he did have a pretty significant leadership role when he was in Congress.

  6. For some reason I used to think Dick Armey and Barney Frank were the same guy.

  7. Man I miss the good old days of Gingrich and Armey in the House. Take away impeachment and they had a damn good record. And they were miles better than the two tools who replaced them (Hastert and Delay). I hate both of those pigfuckers.

  8. One day Christopher Hitchens, the next day Dick Armey. I daresay that the folks who run Reason have lost their ever-lovin’ minds.

    How about some actual *libertarians* for a change?

  9. It always shocks me how few people are willing to talk about reforming the legal system of immigration; I feel like if there’s one thing that should be ucontroversial it’s that immigrants’ first image of the United States shouldn’t be a line of rude bureaucrats charging them to wait on paperwork.

  10. rah62,
    I think republicans with libertarian-leaning ideas is a perfectly relevant thing for a libertarian magazine to report on.

  11. How about some actual *libertarians* for a change?

    I think that showing that people who are considered mainstream to others share significant opinions with libertarians is a good thing.

    If we want libertarian ideas to expand from the 1-2% of the populace that are hardcore libertarians to the 10-15% of the populace who are libertarian leaning and then beyond into policy-moving numbers, we have to bring out libertarian thinking found in nonlibertarians.

  12. How about some actual *libertarians* for a change?

    Yeah, quit posting links about guys who run organizations promoting ”
    lower taxes, less government, more freedom”.

  13. How about some actual *libertarians* for a change?

    Drink!

  14. I understand that Dick Hurtz is in favor of keeping immigrants with VD out.

  15. It’s the sad truth that it’s all too easy to extol the virtues of liberty when you’re freed from concerns of political expediency.

  16. Florida had (has? – not sure) a state house representative named Dick Locke. That’s a wrestling move you don’t want to get caught in.

  17. Probably better than a dick breaker. Or a dick splitter. Or a dick twister. Or a dick smasher. Dick shredder. Yes, I could go on.

  18. Dick Armey’s congressional career was highlighted by his consistent and most earnest support for freedom of enterprise and limited government. He also opposed, and voted against, the provisions in the Patriot Act that attacked civil liberties.

  19. …He also publicly regretted some of his votes in favor of some provisions of the Patriot Act.

  20. rah62 | February 26, 2008, 4:23pm | #

    How about some actual *libertarians* for a change?

    You’re going to have to ask Donderoooooooooo to vet us a few first.

  21. I can understand Dicks stop light analogy and if I was driving late at night, nearly out of gas and came upon the only gas station for miles around but it was closed. Then I’m gonna break into the station and get the pump key so I can get some gas. NOT!!! Just pointing out how Dick is trying to trick us. We need to be fair and send the illegal’s to the back of the line.

  22. Alan: One might even suspect that the point of the analogy was to differentiate between harmful crimes like theft and harmless crimes like running red lights at night while being careful about other traffic.

    Dick Armey was also the guy who killed a bill in 2002-2003 that was designed to set up a program of civilian informers in America who would call in “suspicious” activities of their neighbors. I can’t recall the name of the program.

  23. “full excerpt”?

  24. Alan: this suit is black not.

  25. Back in 2005, Dick Armey was trying to raise a few million to promote Bush’s scheme. More here, and in 2006 he was still pushing the same old scheme.

    P.S. “Libertarianism” away!

  26. Alan,

    As Michael B Sullivan pointed out, your analogy does not serve a meritorious refutation to Dick Armey’s analogy. Just as running a stop light that is stuck on red with no traffic in sight at 2am is a victimless crime, so is seeking and securing employment-Not so with your breaking into a gas station analogy.

  27. Pro-immigration Republicans frame the issue so much better than the Democrats.

    Grover Norquist recently said, “People don’t like it when you deport their mother, go figure.”

  28. I don’t think he would have looked too good if I’d been the audience. I’d point out that allowing millions of people to run red lights indicates a serious problem, and his solution of allowing millions to run red lights is not good public policy for anyone.

    I’d also point out that MassiveIllegalImmigration has a much more serious impact on a wide range of issues than a few people running red lights. For instance, I’d point out that it’s an indicator of MassiveGovernmentCorruption.

    I’d also point out all the companies that want to profit from fixing the duration of the lights. Then I’d ask him whether he’s getting any money from them.

  29. Click ‘n’ Learn:

    “Libertarianism” away!

    Showing that Armey supported the Bush plan on immigration is hardly a strong attack on Armey’s claim to libertarianism.

  30. Click ‘n’ Learn:

    don’t think he would have looked too good if I’d been the audience. I’d point out that allowing millions of people to run red lights indicates a serious problem, and his solution of allowing millions to run red lights is not good public policy for anyone.

    You woulda made a fool out of yourself. You’re taking the analogy beyond the scope of it’s logical applicability.

  31. Break the laws you don’t like. It’s inspiring wisdom like this that (thankfully) keeps libertarianism from being taken seriously.

  32. Break the laws you don’t like. It’s inspiring wisdom like this that (thankfully) keeps libertarianism from being taken seriously.

    Maybe my estimate of the proportion of the population who are libertarians is way too low. After all, at least 95% of the people around where I live break the speed limit laws.

  33. It really bothers me when people who come here to improve their lives and those of their families, and who break no laws other than the one that says they can’t BE here (and the domino laws, such as, if you can’t BE here, you can’t WORK here, either, etc.), are treated as less than human by people who routinely drive over the speed limit — a practice that actually DOES result in maiming and deaths on our highways. If everyone must obey the law, then everyone needs to obey it all the time, no exceptions. I actually believe that, but I admit that this is a ludicrously unattainable goal in modern times of the mega-state.

    In the America of today, pretty much everyone is breaking SOME kind of law all the time — some deliberately and some inadvertently. For the most part, we need to keep on the books only those laws that deal with true crime: when one person injures another, unjustly coerces another, or damages another’s property.

    Who is injured, coerced, or damaged by someone else coming across the border to make a better living?

    Seriously, in order for the laws to be respected, they need to be respectable, and we need to have a lot fewer of them. Too many laws, too much micromanagement by the law, and too many “just because we say so” laws all breed contempt for the law, in citizen and “illegal” immigrant alike. Look in the mirror and say with a straight face that this isn’t true.

    Punish and/or kick out the criminals. Deny welfare benefits, healthcare, and school attendance to people who haven’t followed some government legitimization process, if you must. But otherwise, leave people alone! What people don’t seem to get is that, by putting in place the mechanisms and infrastructure to reliably keep people from coming IN (or being able to stay), they also put in place the mechanisms and infrastructure that will reliably keep THEM from going OUT. Just because some ruler hasn’t hit upon that idea yet means nothing. Once the tools are available, it’s just a matter of time.

  34. unhyphenatedconservative:

    It’s inspiring wisdom like this that (thankfully) keeps libertarianism from being taken seriously.

    Please note that Reagan said…

    “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism…. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/29318.html

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