Immigration

Unjust Immigration Law Is Not Law

Law's for man

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So President Obama is going to defer deportation of five million people without government papers, mostly parents of children whom the government deems citizens or legal permanent residents. Under his executive order, most will get permission to work. Obama will also increase the number of "dreamers" — children brought here illegally by their parents and raised in the United States — who will be made safe from deportation.

What's wrong with this picture?

I can think of a few things. Why only 5 million? The government estimates that over 11 million persons live in the United States without its "permission." Obama presumably is focusing on the 5 million because he does not want to see them forcibly separated from their children. Good for him. That's a worthy motive and objective. So why didn't he do this years ago? Many families were split up while he dithered and played politics, falsely claiming he had no executive authority to defer deportations.

Moreover, his order does not apply to the parents of the "dreamers," so he reserves the power to break up those families. Shame, Mr. Obama. All persons without papers should be protected from deportation, for reasons I will soon make clear if they are not clear already.

Also, the deferral of deportations is only temporary. But I guess we can't blame him for the fact that the next president could vacate his executive order and deport these innocent people.

Another thing wrong is that Obama thinks permission to work is his to bestow. In terms of natural law and objective morality, no one needs permission to engage in production and free exchange. Governments maintain elaborate machinery to keep people from doing those things without permission (licenses and permits), and they have the guns to enforce it. But this power is illegitimate. It doesn't matter that a majority of the people's misrepresentatives say otherwise.

It's admirable that Obama will remove this one barrier to industriousness. I guess he's doing what he can under the circumstances, but of course he does not favor repeal of the entire rotten immigration apparatus that makes special permission necessary.

We know he would not favor wholesale repeal because he says his order will also increase "border security." "Border security" is a term that camouflages the gross violation of individual rights entailed by immigration control. Like his political opponents, Obama is a control freak, even if occasionally he supports loosening control.

Most people have a different list of complaints against Obama's executive order. Republicans and even some Democrats oppose Obama's unilateral action. It's not so much the content of the order, they say, but the process. The legislature is supposed to legislate, and the executive is supposed to execute, so they accuse Obama of unconstitutionally legislating and failing to execute. They remind us that Obama previously said he has no authority to do what he's now doing. Administration people say he is guilty of no contradiction because what he's doing today is different from what he said he had no authority to do three years ago. His political opponents respond with the equivalent of: "Flapdoodle." (Why do Republicans and conservatives have no problem with unilateral executive authority to murder people?)

I discount everything both sides are saying. In politics people say — usually with great conviction — whatever is expedient. Time horizons are short, and they have little incentive to strive for consistency, which they surely regard as the "hobgoblin of little minds."

I also wouldn't be too concerned with "process." The language of every law, including the Constitution, is subject to human interpretation, and therefore the rule of law in any political system we observe today is really the law of men and women. As I've written before,

It's not as if the proper interpretation (whatever that may be) can be hardwired somehow to guarantee that legislators, presidents, and judges will act in certain ways, or that the public will demand it. At every point people will be making the interpretive decisions, including the decision over which interpretation is right.

And as Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, "Any interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and cannot give it any support."

In "The Myth of the Rule of Law," legal philosopher and libertarian John Hasnas argues that since no legal language is exempt from interpretation, law can't be determinate. Another legal scholar and libertarian, Randy Barnett, agrees, at least to some extent. He calls law "underdeterminate."

Predictably, then, as Hasnas writes, there is inevitably a host of

incompatible, contradictory rules and principles…. This means that a logically sound argument can be found for any legal conclusion…. Because the law is made up of contradictory rules that can generate any conclusion, what conclusion one finds will be determined by what conclusion one looks for, i.e., by the hypothesis one decides to test. This will invariably be the one that intuitively "feels" right, the one that is most congruent with one's antecedent, underlying political and moral beliefs. Thus, legal conclusions are always determined by the normative assumptions of the decisionmaker.… [I]t is impossible to reach an objective decision based solely on the law. This is because the law is always open to interpretation and there is no such thing as a normatively neutral interpretation. The way one interprets the rules of law is always determined by one's underlying moral and political beliefs.

"The fact is that there is no such thing as a government of law and not people," Hasnas concludes. "The law is an amalgam of contradictory rules and counter-rules expressed in inherently vague language that can yield a legitimate legal argument for any desired conclusion." (Also see Hasnas's "The Depoliticization of Law" [PDF].)

No wonder that one day Obama can find no authority to defer deportation and loads of authority the next. (Although, my friend the libertarian columnist Shikha Dalmia says his current position is has a strong basis in the immigration law. So does Cato's Ilya Somin.) No wonder Obama's Republican opponents can insist they are right.

Rather than fall into that thicket, let's get Lysander Spooner on them all. What counts is liberty, and lex iniusta non est lex — an unjust law is not a law. As Spooner wrote Grover Cleveland in 1886,

Let me then remind you that justice is an immutable, natural principle; and not anything that can be made, unmade, or altered by any human power.… It is also, at all times, and in all places, the supreme law. And being everywhere and always the supreme law, it is necessarily everywhere and always the only law.

So if a president unilaterally acts to protect someone's liberty, I say bravo, because he is acting according to the natural law. And if a president acts, whether unilaterally or in concert with Congress, to violate liberty, then that president is in violation of the natural law and the people should respond accordingly.

Government interference with the right to move is a violation of the natural law and of individual liberty. It does not matter that such interference was enacted by a majority of both congressional chambers and signed by a president. It is illegal, and even an isolated refusal on the part of a president to enforce an unjust "law" is to be applauded.

(I hope no one thinks the principle of trespass furnishes justification for government control of immigration. The claim that free immigration constitutes "forced association" is nonsense. In a freed society, newcomers would be welcome on the property of many people looking for fellowship, customers, tenants, and services, as well as on nonstate public property.)

I know better than to think that Obama's executive order is the start of something big. But that is no reason not to rejoice. Because of his action, some human beings won't be torn from their children by jackbooted immigration thugs. I can't see how that's not a good thing.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Let’s give people *more* of an incentive and sponge off the welfare state.

    Come to the US of A, pump out a kid, and you won’t have to worry about being deported or being able to work while we hand you the hard earned dollars of others, many of whom actually when through the proper channels to get here!

    1. Why not oppose the welfare state rather than freedom of movement and association which you think might lead to more welfare state?

      1. I do oppose the welfare state, but it’s not exactly going anywhere. But I also don’t buy the libertarian angle of essentially not having a border. It’s something that sounds good in theory but fails miserably in practice.

        1. Not many libertarians want no border, most still think security or disease risks should be policed.

          1. Freedom of movement – a phrase that you used in your previous post – implies no border.

              1. Yes it does.

                1. No it doesn’t. You are a dumb-dumb.

                  1. Francisco can come up with a better argument than “You are a dumb-dumb.” I just know he can. Don’t let us down, Francisco. Show us you can do it.

              2. Francisco d’Anconia: Please explain. If everyone has a right to come and go as they please how can there be no borders? The existence of borders, with the implication that they can be enforced, seems to be inconsistent with Freedom of movement as espoused by Richman.

                1. I suppose there is no free enterprise either because there are regulations of some sort always in place?

                2. Francisco d’Anconia: Please explain.

                  Borders are the boundaries, inside which, a particular government exists. E.G inside this geographic space, the Constitution of the United States applies. You may certainly come and go as you please and still have a border defining sovereign territory of a nation-state. See, well, ALL OF EUROPE.

                  1. If Europe bordered on the third world they’d build a fence to try to keep them out. See for example, the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean.

                3. If everyone has a right to come and go as they please how can there be no borders?

                  If everyone has a right to import and export goods as they please how can there be no borders?

                  Borders mark the extent of government laws and enforcement. There is nothing necessary to the concept of borders that requires that they mark the extent of free migration or free trade.

          2. “…most still think security or disease risks should be policed.”

            As we have seen by the horror expressed at the notion of quarantining people exposed to Ebola, I have no confidence that is true.

        2. I do oppose the welfare state, but it’s not exactly going anywhere.

          Then neither is illegal immigration.

          It’s something that sounds good in theory but fails miserably in practice.

          Yeah, Europeans are flooding into the welfare states of Italy and Greece.

          1. 3rd world countries have people flooding into Europe and taking advantage of the welfare state.

          2. Italy and Greece are not effective welfare states because they don’t have the resources to make good on their welfare state promises. Immigrants are flooding into the welfare states that have the most promise of providing welfare, such as Germany.

            1. The primary economic issue hindering Europe is deeply flawed monetary policy. That doesn’t have a thing to do with immigrants.

            2. Italy and Greece are not effective welfare states

              Please provide examples of effective welfare states.

              The problem with socialism, is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.- A hit British chick

            3. “they don’t have the resources to make good on their welfare state promises.”

              Define ‘resources.’ Capital? Money? People?

              Because Italy is NOT Greece.

              Also, Italy has what’s considered among the best health care systems in the world.

              I don’t understand how Italy can be compared on ANY level to Greece.

              France okay.

              1. Also – a G7 economy with an industrial and manufacturing base equal to any of the other three power economies in Europe.

                In this way, it’s wrong to lump Italy with Greece or even Spain.

                1. I think it would have been more appropriate to say Spain and Greece. Or Portugal. Those countries have far more severe problems when you look at their welfare programs relative to their economies.

                  Sorry for the three posts.

                  1. Man, my last one. Promise.

                    FDA overall point stands: No (generous) welfare state can survive over the long-term. The thing about places like Italy (and yes, here we can include Greece but France as well) it’s much harder to collect taxes since people evade them quite a bit.

                    So if anything, an argument can be made, as I think Fairbanks may have inferred, they’re just bad at efficiently running it. But I’m noticing people are going to Italy and staying there just like in Germany – and this is putting a strain on their economy.

                    I’m just basing it on my observations reading their news. I could be wrong.

                    In any event, I don’t see how it’s any different than most Western countries from Sweden to Canada to the UK.

          3. We could easily do something about illegal immigration. We choose not to because various interests benefit from it. Suicidal libertarians also help keep it going.

      2. This is nothing more than the “If we aren’t going to fix everything, we shouldn’t fix anything” argument. Yes, we should dismantle the welfare state. Not possible right now. You wanna hug your impossible principles tightly wile we all sink? Fine. Fuck you.

        We,mjust maybe, CAN, keep an avalanch of parasites from coming over the border, to be welcomed with open arms by the Liberal Democrat paraisites that omagine themselves to be our betters. Getting rid of the welfare state isn’t possible.

        We should do what is possible.

        1. Nah, cosmotarianism is a suicide pact.

      3. Open borders in the presence of a welfare state very likely will serve to further entrench the welfare state (at best) so in opposing this extralegal move by the Obama administration one is in fact opposing the welfare state.

    2. i buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions most people aren’t aware of the almost I unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites the site that has the
      best deals is..============ w?w?w.w?a?l?l?e?t?w?i?k?i.c?o?m?

    3. Where did all these Republicans come from all of a sudden?

  2. OK, he gave a link to these 2011 remarks to Latino activists:

    ” Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress —

    “AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!

    “THE PRESIDENT: Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. (Laughter.) I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. (Laughter.) But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works.

    “AUDIENCE MEMBER: Change it!

    “THE PRESIDENT: That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…..il-la-raza

    1. He’d just say he isn’t ‘changing the law’ but ‘providing a temporary deferment of enforcement under prosecutorial discretion.’ Libertarian legal scholars seem split on the accuracy of that.

      1. Obama is split, too – they 2011 version and the 2014 version.

        1. So you ignored or didn’t get the point.

          1. Wow.

            I had thought you’d backed off on the baseless insults and insinuations, but apparently I was overly optimistic.

            1. I just think in your need to be cute you might have missed something.

              1. I have no idea what you’re babbling about, but please don’t explain, I don’t need to explore the content of your head.

                1. “I have no idea”

                  You could’ve stopped there and saved us all time.

                  1. Go home and nurse your hangover.

                    1. Luke 4:23

          2. Or possibly he has a more difficult time polishing up that turd of illogic because Obama doesn’t star in his wet dreams.

            1. Which is why I condemned him in this very thread below. You’re priceless PM boy, never change!

              1. Ironically, you’ve lambasted John for making this same argument wrt Republican politicians.

                “I criticized Bush all the time!”

                You’re priceless Bo, never change.

                1. I don’t think all the money in the world could change Bo.

      2. Of course he’s changing the law. He’s going to provide work papers to people that have no right to work papers under the law. It doesn’t get more clear cut than that.

    2. He EVOLVED!

      1. Not even.

        He’s doning what community activists do. Rabble rousing and changing nothing.

  3. So Reason is for the (arguably) unconstitutional expansion of executive power and the bypassing of the legislature when it furthers on of their pet causes. Who knew?

    1. Process isn’t important (until it is). Only results matter (until we don’t like them).

      1. So they value extension of liberty over technical political philosophy? Yeah, clearly crazy.

        1. Those parts in parentheses kind of cover that. You can read them as if they were actually part of the same sentence in which they appear. “You” in the generic sense, of course. You, in particular, I’m not so sure.

          Note that libertarians aren’t unique in this regard. Every political movement that has ever existed or will ever exist lives and dies by those rules, to one extent or another. The “libertarian dictator” conundrum isn’t a new thought experiment.

          1. This reminds me of the states rights debate among libertarians . I can get thinking states rights is, in the long run, more favorable to liberty in the overall measurement. But sometimes fealty to states rights seems to displace the ostensible goal of liberty itself.

            1. Which is why we have the Bill of Rights. That is it’s entire purpose.

        2. The very mechanism being used here to extend liberty will be used to squash it if this is allowed to stand. It is not a possibility, it is a certainty.

          Anyone applauding Obumbles in this is being very short sighted.

          1. “The very mechanism being used here to extend liberty will be used to squash it if this is allowed to stand. ”

            Isn’t this demonstrably true of the ‘normal’ lawmaking process? How many liberty restricting measures were normally passed by Congress and signed by Presidents ?

          2. Obama isn’t expanding liberty.

            He’s verbalizing the policy that his administration has been following for years.

            It’s all hype.

            1. Actually he’s returning policy to about where it was under Bush. Obama upped the deportation effort and now backs off of it. If the Dems really wanted to make life uncomfortable for Repubs that might be a point they would make.

              1. Obama upped the deportation effort

                No he didn’t.

                He changed the classification for people detained at the border to deported.

    2. Sheldon Richmond supports a president acting unilaterally to protect liberty, based on lex iniusta non est lex (an unjust law is no law at all). I don’t have much of a problem with that in itself either, but the problem is when a president acts unilaterally to violate individual liberty. Precedent of unilateral action could be used by a tyrant.

      Of course, much debate with this particular issue in these threads centers around the possibility of newcomers taking more from welfare than they produce, thereby representing a net loss to liberty.

    3. “So Reason is for the (arguably) unconstitutional expansion of executive power and the bypassing of the legislature when it furthers on of their pet causes.”

      What’s wrong with that? Haven’t you ever seen Schoolhouse Rock?

      http://www.ijreview.com/2014/1…..on-orders/

      1. That was funny.

    4. So Reason is for the (arguably) unconstitutional expansion of executive power and the bypassing of the legislature when it furthers on of their pet causes. Who knew?

      I’ve suspected in for quite some time now, but I was pretty disappointed to be proven right.

      1. Richmans a prog. Ends always justify the means.

  4. Ok, hold it! If this is a variation of the tired, old, “I don’t have to obey a law I think is unjust” argument, we can just stop talking right now. At its best the law is supposed to exist to keep the strong from overwhelming the weak. To that end it has to apply equally to everybody, and to apply even when it os clear it doesn’t f*cking work, or it doesn’t get changed, and we’re back to depending on the benevolence of whoever happens to be wearing the crown at the moment.

    *spit*

    The mess immigration is in now is, in large part, because everybody has been selectively enforcing what laws exist for at least sixty years, and probably longer.

    Immigration law, as it stands, is almost certainly unjust, imoractical, and unenforable. But before actual reform can take place we need to make a commitment to enforcing SOMETHING.

    We cannot afford to pay governement benefits to the world (we cannot afford to pay gogernment bebefits to our own population). We cannot allow every malcontent with a grievance into t he country, unless you WANT us to end up ruling the middle east (*shudder*). We have to have some kind of control of the borders. And we have to have some laws we can actually try to enforce.

  5. If You Like Your End of US Combat Role in Afghanistan, You Can Keep It !

    “President Obama reversed course on his previous decision to end American troops’ combat role in Afghanistan by the end of the year. The classified order, the New York Times reports, will give American troops broader offensive capability in the country?including carrying out missions against the Taliban and broader support of the Afghan military?than first articulated by the President earlier this year.”

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slates…..sence.html

  6. Major Influenced on the Founders: Locke, Montesquieu and…Moses?

    “Christian conservatives win, children lose: Texas textbooks will teach public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/p…..ng-father/

    1. Absurd on it’s face. Clearly there is no overlap with Mosaic law and every modern Western legal system. There couldn’t be, because those legal systems definitely weren’t completely intertwined with a powerful church acting as a central state in and of itself for a dozen centuries or so.

      1. Way to hyperventilate and overstate . If you want to argue Moses was one of the four thinkers that most influenced our Founders, show your work.

        1. Here’s the thing about this. Many Founders were quite religious Christians and these people were undoubtedly ‘influenced’ in their lives by Christian figures. But when they developed the political system they did they did not draw on Moses, they drew on Locke, Cato, etc.

          I also think they picked Moses rather than say Jesus (who was more regularly invoked and named by dome Founders) for the reason of trying to meet Scalia’s ideas that you can favor the Big 3 monotheist faiths in general but not among them.

          1. Many Founders were quite religious Christians and these people were undoubtedly ‘influenced’ in their lives by Christian figures. But when they developed the political system they did they did not draw on Moses, they drew on Locke, Cato, etc.

            Mosaic law was so embedded into Western culture by that time due to the previous thousand years of goings-on in mainland Europe that it’s almost inextricable. That’s the point I was actually making. Until the Enlightenment there was weak or no separation between church and state, and the courts were functionaries of the church, sometimes directly and sometimes by proxy. That certainly crept into the American legal system just by way of the culture that produced it.

            Arguing over who did or didn’t influence “the founders”, and to what extent, is basically a “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin” proposition, because they weren’t a monolithic group, nor a particularly small one, even though we choose to focus on the relative handful who were thought leaders of their day and whose ideas saw the broadest adoption. I think you could probably argue that most major classical Western philosophers and religious figures were “influential” to the thinking that eventually produced the Enlightenment and the American experiment, by accident of history if nothing else.

            1. That tortures the concept ‘influenced the Founders’ which clearly refers to ‘influenced them in their political philosophy in creating our system of government.’ Locke, Montesquieu, etc., are all over that, their ideas keep piping up in Founders writings on our system and they’re explicitly recognized by them. Moses, to be charitable, would be a blip on the edge of the screen far from the top four. Only by special pleading does he get mentioned.

              1. Btw- I’m not opposed to teaching that America was largely a Christian nation in terms of demographics and the large majority’s choice of faith or that many Founders were devout Christians who wanted religion to play a role in our new nation, all things the Left freaks out about. But listing Moses among the four thinkers that influenced the Founders? That’s special pleading at best.

              2. That’s kind of the nature of dealing with such a subject though. It’s non-objective and interpretive. Which is why having state requirements is a bad idea. You have, for instance, two groups of Americans spaced approximately a generation apart, one of which views Christopher Columbus as a romantic and heroic explorer who blazed the trail to the Americas, and the other of which views Christopher Columbus as a rampaging genocidal maniac with Hitler’s morals, mercifully constrained by 15th century technology. Which narrative is the “correct” one to teach in school? Or should Columbus be taught in school at all? Is it even important? If so, at what grade level? Etc etc etc and on it goes.

                My only original point: it’s not inaccurate to say that Moses was (to one degree or another) “influential”, for some value of the term, in a very broad sense, on American law and legal thinking, mostly by way of the English law and European legal tradition from whence it sprung. Less charitably, the ubiquity of the church’s heavy hand in the adjudication and enforcement of law for the previous millennia more or less ensured that Mosaic law, mainly as seen through the lens of Christianity rather than the original Judaism, was a major influence on all of the legal systems that followed.

            2. @PM The problem is we don’t know exactly what is going to appear in the textbooks. If the textbooks suggested that Mosaic Law was the principal influence on the drafters of the Constitution rather than ideas from philosophers such as Locke or Montesquieu, would you think that was accurate?

              Mosaic law was so embedded into Western culture by that time due to the previous thousand years of goings-on in mainland Europe that it’s almost inextricable.

              What elements of Mosaic Law are you referring to specifically? In Europe after the adoption of Christianity there was largely no more stoning of adulterers or homosexuals. There were no dietary laws. In the Constitution homosexuals aren’t declared to be immoral to be stoned to death. People aren’t exhorted to avoid “unclean foods”. What elements or ideas from Mosaic Law were embedded in Western culture that made it into the Constitution? I’m not denying there aren’t; I just haven’t ever really explored this issue much.

              1. If the textbooks suggested that Mosaic Law was the principal influence on the drafters of the Constitution rather than ideas from philosophers such as Locke or Montesquieu, would you think that was accurate?

                That would be very incomplete, to be charitable. But from my reading I don’t think that’s what the state requires.

                What elements of Mosaic Law are you referring to specifically?

                The Mosaic law, in addition to the religious rites, also established a system of domestic law that has been influential on Judeo-Christian cultures. Laws regarding marriage, divorce, property, lending, civil vs criminal penalties, etc. It may be a stereotype, but it’s not entirely for nothing that so many lawyers happen to be Jewish.

                1. The Mosaic law, in addition to the religious rites, also established a system of domestic law that has been influential on Judeo-Christian cultures. Laws regarding marriage, divorce, property, lending, civil vs criminal penalties, etc.

                  The focus is on the Constitution. The Constitution does not deal with marriage, divorce, or specific laws of property and lending. Every-day criminal penalties for actions such as bribing, murder, adultery, working on the Sabbath, etc. are not contained in the Constitution either as they were in Mosaic Law. In state laws, there are such things of course. One could easily draw similarities to state laws on these matters and Mosaic Law, but I still don’t see the parallels between the Constitution and Mosaic Law, much less ones that are more important than philosophical ideas from Locke and Montesquieu.

                  1. The constitution authorizes all federal law and establishes our entire court system, which was more what I was getting at. Having a set of written guidelines for the distribution and application of political power in and of itself is a Mosaic concept, though not uniquely. At a more basic level, features of the Mosaic law can be found in pretty much every Western legal system – things like standards of evidence and testimony, separation of civil and criminal offenses and the punishments for each, etc. There’s certainly some parallels in terms of the structure of authority as well. Lower courts subordinate to a multi-member high court with majority rules, appointment of judges, collection of taxes and rules for their distribution.

                    Like I said, these are all fairly generic things ubiquitous in the Western world for centuries, but they do have origins stretching back to Moses, and inherited through the later Christian church once it became a meta-state. I would say that Moses arguably influenced the founders in much the same way that you could say Plato had. I don’t think anybody should be required to teach either of those positions, of course, but I’d say they’re justifiable. From my reading, I don’t think anyone is required, nor has opted, to teach that Moses was more influential than the Enlightenment thinkers to the philosophy of the founders.

                    1. Are all of the features you mention unique to “Mosaic law”. My guess is that they are not.

                    2. They are not unique to Mosaic law, as I stated repeatedly above, although their presence in Western culture is largely a result of Mosaic law featuring in Christianity and working its way into the culture by force of the Western Christian church.

                      You could similarly say that Iran’s constitution was influenced by Mohammad, in that the source for much of its laws and traditions is the Quranic law, which is ubiquitous in the culture in which that constitution came to exist.

                    3. Like I said, these are all fairly generic things ubiquitous in the Western world for centuries, but they do have origins stretching back to Moses.

                      Are the principal origins Mosaic Law or other traditions that independently had certain similarities such as Greek or Roman law? Saying the ultimate origin was definitively Mosaic Law (I’m not suggesting you are) would be highly narrow and problematic. To go further and put these above Enlightenment era philosophy would be greatly unfortunate, as you have also said.

                      From my reading, I don’t think anyone is required, nor has opted, to teach that Moses was more influential than the Enlightenment thinkers to the philosophy of the founders.

                      That’s why this is all really up in the air at the moment. We don’t yet know really what the textbooks suggest. It is certainly possible that certain Christian conservatives intended to suggest that Mosaic Law was the ultimate, root source of the Constitution (more important than ideas from Enlightenment philosophers or other ancient cultures such as the Greeks and Romans), thus attempting to reinforce an idea that America is a nation chosen by God. I’m not saying this is the case, only that it is possible.

                      Additionally, I don’t imagine the textbooks would include the influences from other cultures on Mosaic Law.

                    4. Are the principal origins Mosaic Law or other traditions that independently had certain similarities such as Greek or Roman law?

                      I was typing a reply when this one came through. See above. I’m certainly no scholar on the issue, but the eventual subjugation, for lack of a better word, of the Christian church over Europe and the tight integration between canon and secular law, to the extent they were even considered separate at various points in history, makes me more inclined not to discount the religious influence.

                      Bear in mind, I’m not taking the position that Moses was a primary influence on the founders, merely suggesting it’s a defensible position to say that “Moses”, by way of Judeo-Christian social and legal tradition, was an influence on the founders. The only reason to care about this issue at all as far as I’m concerned is because it was mandated by the state. I don’t think any particular editorial stance for textbook writers or any particular curriculum for instructors should be mandated by the state. That’s a bigger problem than someone wanting to teach kids that James Madison was influenced by Moses. There’s a thousand other editorial stances dictated from on high as well, and you could have the same discussion regarding each of them.

                    5. Bear in mind, I’m not taking the position that Moses was a primary influence on the founders, merely suggesting it’s a defensible position to say that “Moses”, by way of Judeo-Christian social and legal tradition, was an influence on the founders.

                      That certainly seems reasonable to me too. We simply have to see if the textbooks go much further than that or not.

                    6. It is crystal clear that this is a seed to raise Biblical authority above what we inherited from those pagan Greeks and moreso Romans let alone those dangerously free thinking Enlightenment types.

                      It is the same crap argument that only God can be a source of morals.

        2. Way to hyperventilate and overstate

          Rather ironic considering you invented a scare quotation that doesn’t actually appear in your article or any of its sources.

          If you want to argue Moses was one of the four thinkers that most influenced our Founders, show your work.

          I don’t. That’s why I didn’t. Or even hint that I might.

          By the same token though, if you want to argue that Texas’ new curriculum literally teaches that Moses was one of four thinkers that most influenced America’s founders – and it sure seems like you do – you should see about finding some reference material.

          1. “Consider one high school government textbook. It lists four thinkers who influenced the Founding Fathers.

            “Three of those on the list make a lot of sense: John Locke, Montesquieu and Blackstone. Those are all either British philosophers or Enlightenment thinkers,” says Jennifer Graber, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin.

            She says that these three thinkers are all quoted in America’s founding documents. But, for Graber, the fourth person on the list raised a red flag: Moses.”

            http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/20…..-the-books

            1. If I may, PM wasn’t saying Moses was one of the four FFs.

              1. Yes, I get that, we are talking about ‘thinkers who influenced the Founding Fathers.’

                1. Perhaps, but his does present a fair point.

                  http://scholarship.law.upenn.e…..cholarship

              2. Mister Fantastic, The Thing, The Invisible Woman, and Moses?

                That would be weird.

            2. Consider one high school government textbook.

              Not exactly an overwhelming sample size.

              It lists four thinkers who influenced the Founding Fathers.

              Here again, kind of an injustice in itself, as it makes it seem like there was much less diversity of thought and influence than there actually was among the founders. That particular book made its editorial choice, and threw Moses in to meet state reqs. Boo for state reqs, on this and every other subject. As far as the editorial decision goes though, sadly that’s the nature of teaching history, even in the absence of any regulations or requirements. Considering the historical illiteracy of most kids coming out of high school, it’s probably not a cause for high concern though.

          2. If you want to argue Moses was one of the four thinkers that most influenced our Founders, show your work.

            I don’t. That’s why I didn’t. Or even hint that I might.

            PM, you did at least hint such a thing. This was Bo’s original post:

            Major Influenced [sic] on the Founders: Locke, Montesquieu and…Moses?

            “Christian conservatives win, children lose: Texas textbooks will teach public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.”

            To this you responded with a sarcastic comment:

            Absurd on it’s face. Clearly there is no overlap with Mosaic law and every modern Western legal system. There couldn’t be, because those legal systems definitely weren’t completely intertwined with a powerful church acting as a central state in and of itself for a dozen centuries or so.

            That’s it. You addressed Bo’s original post derisively, giving the impression that you were defending the content. I only mention this because I’ve seen you make posts in an obfuscated manner and then chide others for being confused by your actual positions and intentions. It’s rather curious.

            1. To this you responded with a sarcastic comment

              Correct. And that comment contained no suggestion that Moses was one of 4, and only 4, thinkers who influenced the founders. It rather explicitly said that Jewish law, by way of Western Christianity, is inseparably embedded into our Western traditions. The unstated point, which I presumed would be evident from the sarcasm, being that dismissing any suggestion of Mosaic influence on the founders (intentional or not) probably isn’t entirely correct either.

              I only mention this because I’ve seen you make posts in an obfuscated manner and then chide others for being confused by your actual positions and intentions. It’s rather curious.

              I would suggest that this is, at least in some part, caused by your interpretation as much as my comments, as I rarely have this problem with most of the other participants in the comment section at this site – even those with whom I disagree. You, like Bo, seem intent on finding some “SoCon” or religious hobgoblin lurking in every comment whether one exists or not, which leads you to reading defenses of some particular position into posts where I am not offering such a defense, but merely adding to the commentary or making a counter-point.

              1. [My comment] rather explicitly said that Jewish law, by way of Western Christianity, is inseparably embedded into our Western traditions.

                Which is entirely consistent with the purported idea from the article about the textbooks: that the “Major Influenced [sic] on the Founders: Locke, Montesquieu and…Moses?” Understanding the explicit statement from your post to defend that is an understandable thing to do.

                The unstated point, which I presumed would be evident from the sarcasm, being that dismissing any suggestion of Mosaic influence on the founders (intentional or not) probably isn’t entirely correct either.

                If one didn’t realize that was the (unstated) point, then I think you can understand why one would think you were hinting at Moses being in line with other thinkers based on your explicit point. I’m sorry that I wasn’t aware of your unstated point (I’m not trying to be sarcastic with that last comment).

                You, like Bo, seem intent on finding some “SoCon” or religious hobgoblin lurking in every comment whether one exists or not

                I’ve never met a hobgoblin. I am simply aware that there are people who have different views than I do, and I like to engage them to possibly strengthen or refine and modify my own. I was aware of your stated point, which was consistent with a defense of of the position in question. I was unaware of your unstated point, which belayed the fact that you were not offering a defense. That only seems reasonable.

                1. Possibly I’m not that good at sarcasm, I suppose. It’s also tougher to convey that sort of thing in an online format. It’s also the case that some of us in the commentariat here are more familiar with each other than others, and therefore have an easier time fleshing out our meanings and intentions that sometimes go unstated.

                  This isn’t the first time though that you’ve seemed to presume I am defending a religious position merely by being skeptical of the criticism of it. I’m not intending to obfuscate, you just seem to be looking for an argument that isn’t there based on a sort of binary view of the topic. One may reject an argument without automatically accepting its opposite, or discuss a theoretical defense of a position they do not themselves hold. The “devil’s advocate” approach to defending voluntary communism further down in this comment thread is a good example, and one that I’ve engaged in myself a number of times.

                  I think, as has happened in the past, we are basically in violent agreement on this one. If I was unclear, and obviously I was, then my fault.

                  1. I’m sure my interpretation of comments can be very bumbling, or just plain wrong as with Gilbert Martin below. (It’s also difficult to successfully manage a few different discussions.) I remember what you are referring to before about the discussion of slavery in the Bible. That’s why this time I didn’t automatically assume you went so far as personally accepting the idea as purported that Moses was of the same importance as other thinkers, which is why I didn’t get into that particular disagreement initially. That’s also why my first post was to specifically ask if you thought conveying Moses as the principal influence would be accurate at 9:59am (keeping in my mind we don’t know that the textbooks are really going that far). I also went ahead with your devil’s advocate discussion above because I was interested in hearing points along those lines. It is enjoyable to hear the intelligent things you have to say, PM.

    2. Yeah WTF. No mention of Marx as one of our founders?

      1. It is controversial, whether Groucho or Harpo was more influential so the debate is largely put to the side by historians

  7. Even if this action by the president is unconstitutional, this seems like a strange hill for libertarians to die on. The constitution is in tatters already and the system is so far beyond broken. This undermines the rule of law? What goddamn rule of law? The GOP screams “constitutional crisis” and “imperial presidency” over this immigration order, while the same president drops bombs on foreign nations without authorization from Congress and they can’t be bothered to give a fuck. Apologies if I’m not up in arms about an action which may be dubious constitutionally but which actually keeps some lives from being ruined and moves the scale a bit in the direction of liberty for once.

    1. A lot of people here, a curious number really, are more worried about what they see as the temporary advantage to the Democrat a Party than they are about free movement and association when it comes to immigration restrictions.

      1. A legitimate concern I see is that expanding welfare services to poor immigrants who would take more than they produce would be a net loss to freedom. The root problem would be welfare services, but the fact would remain that people would lose their freedoms having to pay in (or suffer the consequences of government debt) if many immigrants received more in welfare extracted from others than what they produced.

        The heart of the debate for lots of objectors centers around the problem of expanding access to welfare for poor immigrants. Whether it’s an accurate or legitimate concern is what needs to be discussed.

        1. Then the main criticism of the EO should be that it should bar receipt of any benefits (or at least stipulate payment of taxes and fines commensurate with such benefits)

          1. If people talk about the current EO as it is (especially here), then they may not accept it for those reasons. Perhaps the main question for anyone against the executive order is whether they would accept it if it did something along the lines of barring or severely restricting receipt of welfare benefits?

          2. Didn’t Obama make quite a point about these “undocumented workers” paying up on taxes as part of their registration and quasi-legal status?

            Typical progressive – we want your money!

      2. A lot of people here, a curious number really, are more worried about what they see as the temporary advantage to the Democrat a Party than they are about free movement and association when it comes to immigration restrictions.

        I’ve seen more concerns expressed regarding the potential for the same process to be used in cases where the outcome is less freedom. For a curious number of people, process actually matters because they understand how precedent works. It sort of comes down to whether you see Machiavelli as a cautionary tale or an instruction manual.

    2. Yes, this president is unquestionably a criminal who should have been impeached a while ago. Him declaring himself an emperor is just another item to add to the pretty long list of his crimes and usurpations.

    3. The GOP screams “constitutional crisis” and “imperial presidency” over this immigration order, while the same president drops bombs on foreign nations without authorization from Congress and they can’t be bothered to give a fuck.

      I couldn’t agree more. The stupid party is being set up to take it in the shorts if they pursue this.

      This action by the president it debatably, and I think is, COnstitutional. No one can claim that the executive doesn’t have the power to prioritize (if in fact that is all he’s doing). There is a VERY high probability they will lose on this, if and when it makes it to the SCOTUS.

      Completely disregarding the WPA, OTOH, is a fucking slam dunk. The difference? Republicans enjoy killing brown people. Same with NSA spying and the PA.

      The stupid party will be selectively outraged claiming unconstitutionality where there is none and ignoring it where it is blatant, discrediting ALL their future arguments on the matter.

      Fucking morons.

      1. discrediting ALL their future arguments

        You give the Republican base too much credit. Team loyalists will swallow whatever partisan pablum is put in front of them.

        1. Team loyalists will swallow whatever partisan pablum is put in front of them.

          That’s true enough. But what the stupid party doesn’t realize is, that its roles are shrinking and they cannot win elections by simply relying upon their base. They need to convince the fence sitters. And they do absolutely everything within their power to alienate such people.

          1. The Repubs aren’t about to diagnose any problems in their program having just had a very solid election season. The Dems should be and aren’t either. I think both parties fundamentally count on boring the shit out of most of the country so that all that matters is turning out to vote the bunch that are most supportive.

      2. The stupid party libertarians will be selectively outraged claiming unconstitutionality where there is none and ignoring it where it is blatant, discrediting ALL their future arguments on the matter.

  8. “And if a president acts, whether unilaterally or in concert with Congress, to violate liberty, then that president is in violation of the natural law and the people should respond accordingly”

    Yeah?

    Well there is a vast web of government laws and regulations at the federal, state and local level that violate those natural laws and there is no empirical proof that immigration laws are one iota more deserving of relief or non enforcement status than any of the rest of them.

    In fact there is no one capable of proving that government regulations that interfere in my ability to buy 100 watt incandescent light bulbs is one iota less an egregious violation of my freedom than laws that prevent someone else from moving into this country.

    1. So there are many laws that violate liberty and you’re upset about the derogation of one because ….? Shouldn’t you be happy that one was addressed but mad the others are not, rather than upset about the one being addressed?

  9. “Shouldn’t you be happy that one was addressed but mad the others are not, rather than upset about the one being addressed?”

    There’s no reason I should be happy that somebody else’s issue gets to jump to the head of the line before mine. As I said, there is no empirical reason as to why redressing any injustice they are concerned with is in any way more important than the one’s I’m concerned with.

    1. “There’s no reason I should be happy that somebody else’s issue gets to jump to the head of the line before mine.”

      So as long as one law that restricts your freedom remains in place, you refuse to celebrate the striking of any liberty restricting law that falls on someone other than you ?

      1. “…celebrate the striking of any liberty restricting law…”

        Don’t put your party hat on, no such thing has occurred.

    2. There’s no reason I should be happy that somebody else’s issue gets to jump to the head of the line before mine.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      1. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

        That is an irrelevant comment.

        1. I’m sorry. I misread your comment. I read it as though you were referring to immigrants jumping ahead in line in front of others.

          1. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is a saying that is a response to someone excusing a wrong done by themselves or someone else by claiming others have also committed wrongs.

            It has no bearing on the issue of whether any particular wrong done by government is any more worthy of redress by that government than any other wrong committed by that same government entity.

            Your are merely trying – and failing – to obfuscate.

            1. I’m saying I misread your comment and that my response was irrelevant. My eyes skipped over “issue” and read it as “someone else gets to jump to the head of the line” in the following:

              There’s no reason I should be happy that somebody else’s issue gets to jump to the head of the line before mine.

              I thought you were saying something along the lines of: “since other immigrants had to wait, they should wait too.” You didn’t say that, so my post was irrelevant. Sorry.

  10. “In a freed society, newcomers would be welcome on the property of many people looking for fellowship, customers, tenants, and services…”
    That has to be one of the most na?ve comments I’ve read on justifying illegal immigration and a huge assumption of cultural dynamics and civil liberties…and then this writer uses unsupported speculation and emotional tag lines (“Because of his action, some human beings won’t be torn from their children by jackbooted immigration thugs..”)to reaffirm his approval of the actions of a ‘jackbooted’ president bypassing the Peoples House of Representatives and making law contrary to the United States Constitution…

  11. “ok,well let in the chinks and nigs,but,no Irish”

  12. “The law is an amalgam of contradictory rules and counter-rules expressed in inherently vague language that can yield a legitimate legal argument for any desired conclusion.”

    Then why bother having it? All we need is to have the right people in charge, get the obstructionists out of the way and hit it hard enough. The dawning of Paradise is upon us!

    1. We’re always one law away from Utopia.

  13. “So as long as one law that restricts your freedom remains in place, you refuse to celebrate the striking of any liberty restricting law that falls on someone other than you ?”

    Yes.

    They are not one iota more deserving of relief in any way than I am and there is no reason they should get to go the head of the line. The laws regarding taxation and government spending violate the freedoms of far more people on an absolute basis than do immigration laws.

    Furthermore, there is no law that has been “struck” The executive branch has no authority to unilaterally strike laws. The claims in this article about there being no such thing as the rule of law, etc. are nonsense. If everything is subject to creative interpretation or reinterpretation, then there is no reason why anyone should ever accept and obey anyone else’s interpretation and should simply do whatever they decide they want to do on their own.

  14. Obama’s speech was complete bullshit.

    Check out the presidential memorandum to implement this ‘policy change’

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…..ant-visa-s

    It’s a whole lot of nothing.

    There is no change in policy. This is all just bullshit hype.

    1. But…but…that is so unlike him. Surely this is a mistake.

  15. Obama’s speech was complete bullshit.

    Check out the presidential memorandum to implement this ‘policy change’

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…..ant-visa-s

    It’s a whole lot of nothing.

    There is no change in policy. This is all just bullshit hype.

    1. This really need to be said twice. So the squirrels were right for once.

    2. There is no change in policy. This is all just bullshit hype.

      This. I read the bullet points that outline the “changes”. It’s much to do about nothing.

      The only thing Obama’s done is make it less likely we’ll get any kind of reform done by poisoning the well. Once they figure out the actual contents, Latinos are going to be disappointed.

  16. BTY ,comparing this to the emancipation proclamation is not a fair example.That only applied to the rebel states the Union was at war with.

    1. progs don’t get the details right,it’s not a argument for or against,just a correction in their example.

  17. an unjust law is not a law

    I contend that all laws are laws. Otherwise “law” is meaningless.

    1. That’s kind of what Lysander Spooner was going for though. He was an anarchist.

    2. I AM THE LAW!

    3. At the very least you would think the Chief LEO of the US which is what the president is would make an attempt to go througb the courts, which is what we do when we think laws are unconstitutional.

  18. my friend’s step-sister makes $70 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 8 months but last month her paycheck was $18402 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Visit this website….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

  19. Hi Sheldon,

    Thanks for the article. I agree with you that there should be no immigration laws and that if you are here to work or “engage in productive activity” then you shouldn’t have to deal with the po-po.

    My only quibble, other than the natural law goobledygook, is with the notion that we should “discount everything both sides are saying” why? On one side we have a political party that wants people to at least have a path towards citizenship and another that is willing to pander to nativism to get votes. I’m a libertarian socialist and take those notions very seriously. As such, I’m almost certainly destined to be disappointed in the degree to which these ideologies are expressed through policy. I am, though, willing to make distinctions between someone like Obama and Ted Cruz.

    1. I’m a libertarian socialist

      No, you aren’t, as those two terms are diametrically opposed. One abhors initiation of force, the other is nothing but initiation of force.

      You really are stupid, aren’t you?

      1. Didn’t you get paid by the government to shoot at Iraqi nationalists? I wouldn’t have joined the armed forces to defend this decayed plutocracy in the first place, but if I found myself in that position I would have told the general to go fuck himself.

        I mean, really, YOU are here to lecture me about who is and isn’t for limited government? I didn’t fight in a bullshit war for a couple of years to defend your best bud, Uncle Sam.

        1. Keyboard kommandos are so fucking badass. Tell me more about how you’d have told that motherfucker to just go fuck himself. Fuck yeah!

          On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like you’d make much of a revolutionary if you’re not willing to bust open some skulls. Of course, I’m sure you could be persuaded to fight for a just cause…

        2. Didn’t you get paid by the government to shoot at Iraqi nationalists?

          Yes, I did.

          I wouldn’t have joined the armed forces to defend this decayed plutocracy in the first place, but if I found myself in that position I would have told the general to go fuck himself.

          And what did you do to stop it? Did you get thrown in a rape cage in protest? No? Coward!

          I mean, really, YOU are here to lecture me about who is and isn’t for limited government? I didn’t fight in a bullshit war for a couple of years to defend your best bud, Uncle Sam.

          The military is a legitimate function of government, as it exists to protect the rights of the citizenry.

          Uncle Sam is not my best bud, moron. Liberty is. And I will lecture you on liberty, jackass, as you have no concept of the term.

    2. Doesn’t your website defend Stalin?

    3. libertarian socialist

      This term has no tangible meaning. Libertarianism, at heart, is voluntarism and respect for private property (I include one’s person as being one’s property.). Socialism, at heart, is coercion and absolute disrespect for private property.

      1. Devils advocate. There is certainly room within libertarianisn and even anarchism for groups of like minded individuals to (and this is the important part) voluntarily choose to live together in community property socialistic setting. It won’t last long but if people are free to come and go and they chise to be there in the first place under those terms then have at it.

        1. Chose. I’ll also add that I personally don’t think it a coincidence these historically communism has left a wake of dead bodies and misery and that socialism is always bound to fail.

          1. Choose. Christ. 3 trys

          2. You guys sure have read a lot of scary books about the ussr. I live in America so I’m more familiar with things like labor and it’s battle for decent working conditions, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement–all of which we’re spearheaded by dreaded commies.

            Did you grow up in Moscow or somewhere else in Russia?

            1. Nobody here besides you mentioned the USSR. If you’d like to get into a discussion about labor conditions and civil rights in socialist societies (or environmental issues, for that matter), that would be a whole lot of fun though. It sounds like, basically, you like being a “socialist” in a society that isn’t socialist, where you don’t have to live by your principles, and can still reserve the right to whinge about “the system” whilst you reap all of its advantages. I guess american hypocrite didn’t have quite the same ring to it?

        2. voluntarily choose to live together in community property

          Operative word. As I implied, voluntarism is key. I have no problem with people making a conscious decision to live with others in a socalistic setting. I have a problem with them wanting to use the government to force me to as well.

          if people are free to come and go

          My observation tells me that socialists do not wish for people to come and as they please. They want to dominate the lives of all. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” They expect all to participate and expect those who can to subsidize those who can’t or choose not to.

          1. I agree with you but I felt that the theoretical exception needed to be stated.

      2. You think left-wing libertarians care about private property? So, I pay the taxes that pay for the police to evict squatters off the summer home of an equities trader? Fuck that, slaver. Should we talk about patent enforcement now or some other time?

        1. You’re saying everyone should be free to gambol huh?

        2. You think left-wing libertarians care about private property?

          To the extent that isn’t a contradiction in terms, they sure do.

          So, I pay the taxes that pay for the police to evict squatters off the summer home of an equities trader?

          Cribbing your arguments from Tony is a bad move. They’ve not only been shredded to bits over and over again, but he presents them so stupidly that they even embarrass the idiots who actually agree with him. Go regroup and try again later.

      3. Libertarianism was born from divisions within the socialist movement. You can pick up nearly any libertarian newspaper or periodical from the 19th century and see that they called themselves socialists. Even people who were essentially anarcho-capitalists thought of themselves as socialists. Google “State Socialism and Anarchism” by Benjamin Tucker and give it read.

    4. Both parties are pandering. Obama is trying to shore up votes for the democrats for 2016–thats all. This action does nothing long term and may do nothing at all, in and of itself. But Obama’s speech makes this prosecutorial discretion sound as if it does something that many progressives and immigrants want. Thus pandering for votes. But you knew that.

  20. Why is it a violation of natural law to control borders? Is it a violation of natural law to control the border of your property?

    1. It forcibly prevents two people from associating with each other who want to associate with each other. It is preventing individuals from allowing immigrants onto their property to do business with them. Employers are prohibited from hiring interested workers, landlords are prohibited from renting to interested tenants, bus companies are prohibited from transiting willing riders, etc.

      1. It does no such thing. A sufficiently interested party is perfectly free to pursue their business with the aspiring immigrant in his own country.

        If the immigrant was being granted access to only the employers property, you might have a point. But admitting someone to the country de facto also grants them access to, at minimum, to other public resources, and has impacts on other parties as well.

        We might agree that your neighbor has the right to import a Bengal tiger and keep it on his property. If your neighbor decided that his right to have the tiger included the right to allow it to wander the streets of your neighborhood whenever it pleased, I suspect you would be somewhat less enthusiastic.

        1. A sufficiently interested party is perfectly free to pursue their business with the aspiring immigrant in his own country.

          It prohibits people from engaging in the peaceful activity they want to engage in. Illinois can’t bar people from Indiana and then justify it by saying people from Illinois can go to Indiana if they are sufficiently interested. If you think people get natural rights only if they’re Americans, then that’s a different issue.

          If the immigrant was being granted access to only the employers property, you might have a point. But admitting someone to the country de facto also grants them access to, at minimum, to other public resources, and has impacts on other parties as well.

          Should there be no immigration because of this? If your problem is with welfare, then say it.

          Additionally, almost any free market action has externalities. If someone starts working, they produce something a third party can use. If someone decides to stop working and retire early, third parties no longer have the benefits from that person working. Yet it is within that persons natural right to decide to work or not regardless of the externalities.

          We might agree that your neighbor has the right to import a Bengal tiger…

          Are you saying all people from other countries pose such danger as a tiger wandering the streets if they come to the U.S.? If not, then what’s your point? If the problem for you is welfare or criminal immigrants, then say it.

          1. It prohibits people from engaging in the peaceful activity they want to engage in.

            Throwing a cocktail party at Wal-Mart is a peaceful activity I might want to engage it. That does not oblige Wal-Mart to put up with it. Trust me, there are plenty of peaceful activities that will land you in a world of trouble, and quite justifiably so.

            Illinois can’t bar people from Indiana and then justify it by saying people from Illinois can go to Indiana if they are sufficiently interested.

            Illinois and Indiana are member states of the United States of America. In order to attain that status they had to meet and maintain certain qualifications. Part of those qualifications included agreement that residents could move freely between them. I am unaware of any such reciprocal agreements between the United States and other countries.

            If you think people get natural rights only if they’re Americans, then that’s a different issue.

            Unless you can produce the tablet Moses brought down from the mount documenting these “natural rights”, I submit no such thing exists.

            1. (cont.)

              Should there be no immigration because of this? If your problem is with welfare, then say it.

              I think that a very good case could be made that the US requires no further immigration, legal or otherwise.

              Putting that aside, the issue is one of qualification. Yes, one issue is welfare, but that is hardly the only one. While I have no objection to employers earning profits, I do not hold that employers should have sole discretion for qualifying new immigrants. The rest of us have to live with them, too.

              Additionally, almost any free market action has externalities.

              Yes, and we have huge bodies of law documenting which externalities we’re prepared to put up with and which ones we aren’t. Some externalities are unavoidable. Some we have an opportunity to evaluate as to whether the trade-off is worthwhile. This is an area where we have a choice, and no, I don’t think the trade-off is worthwhile.

              Are you saying all people from other countries pose such danger as a tiger wandering the streets if they come to the U.S.?

              What I’m saying is that private choices can have public consequences, and those consequences are of sufficient impact that some private choices are justifiably proscribed. Somehow, I’m not seeing flooding the country with hoards of illiterate peasants as beneficial to the public at large, no matter how beneficial it may be to a particular employer or employee.

              1. Throwing a cocktail party at Wal-Mart is a peaceful activity I might want to engage it. That does not oblige Wal-Mart to put up with it.

                It’s not an apt analogy for the situation. Here’s the apt analogy. Walmart and a group of patrons both want to have a cocktail party. The government prevents them from doing so. Freedom of association includes the freedom to choose who you do and don’t associate with.

                Unless you can produce the tablet Moses brought down from the mount documenting these “natural rights”, I submit no such thing exists.

                This is an important issue to the disagreement. Since you have opinions on right and wrong, you have some basis for that. That basis doesn’t have to be a basis on natural rights. However, I’m not very interested in discussing ethics, morality, or meta-ethics. But more interestingly…

                I think that a very good case could be made that the US requires no further immigration, legal or otherwise… The rest of us have to live with them, too.

                If, say, Alaska (or any state) seceded from the United States, would it suddenly be good not to allow migration out of that state to the rest of the United States? Would it suddenly be good to not allow migration of poor people? Why not try to limit the migration of poor people right now to your home state from other states?

                1. It’s not an apt analogy for the situation. Here’s the apt analogy. Walmart and a group of patrons both want to have a cocktail party. The government prevents them from doing so. Freedom of association includes the freedom to choose who you do and don’t associate with.

                  Again, the government is *not* dictating who may associate with whom. That someone is persona non grata in this country does not preclude your associating with them elsewhere. “Who” is not the operative concept here. “Where” is the operative concept.

                  If, say, Alaska (or any state) seceded from the United States, would it suddenly be good not to allow migration out of that state to the rest of the United States?

                  That would be dependent on circumstances. If Alaskans had developed a predilection for launching terrorist attacks against the other states, yeah, that’d be a really good idea.

              2. What I’m saying is that private choices can have public consequences, and those consequences are of sufficient impact that some private choices are justifiably proscribed.

                How do you determine which externalities to address or not? If the lone doctor in a small, remote town chooses to retire or move, those people face the consequences of not having a doctor. Should the town be able to decide whether to force the doctor to stay and work? If not, why not?

                1. How do you determine which externalities to address or not?

                  I think that’s why we have a political process in the first place, no? I don’t necessarily agree with all, or perhaps even most of the choices it makes. But I suspect I’d like it even less if no vetting process occurred at all.

                  If the lone doctor in a small, remote town chooses to retire or move, those people face the consequences of not having a doctor. Should the town be able to decide whether to force the doctor to stay and work? If not, why not?

                  You’re attempting to compare restriction to compulsion, which may be a blurry line, but one that definitely exists. Under current law, I’m not allowed to practice medicine. Fair enough, I have other options for earning a living. But if I were told I *must* practice medicine, that would preclude making any other choices. See the difference? In one case, I’m being denied *a* choice. In the other case, I’m denied all other choices.

  21. You have to love the way the article starts by begging the question.

    There’s no such thing as an “unjust immigration law”. Either a country has the right to set the conditions of entry or it doesn’t. The so-called “injustice” presupposes there’s an intrinsic right to immigrate here that’s being violated.

    There is no such right. A country is well within it’s prerogative to set any conditions on admittance it pleases, or to deny admittance entirely. Requiring immigrants to stand on the border and hop on one foot to gain admittance might be ridiculous, but it would hardly be unjust.

    I’m waiting for the articles on “unjust property rights” and “unjust employment laws”. The premise is no different: If someone is in lawful possession of something you want, they get to set the terms under which you will get it, or if you get it at all.

    1. So essentially you are arguing that there is no such thing as an “unjust law”? Can you not conceive of an unjust property rights system? This shouldn’t be too difficult if you subscribe to some sort of normative ethical theory.

      1. So essentially you are arguing that there is no such thing as an “unjust law”?

        I suppose that would that would depend on your definition of justice. Tell me the one you’re applying, and I’ll tell you.

        I’ll point out that the original definition of “justice” referred to appropriate application of judicial law to the facts of a case. By that definition, no, there isn’t any such thing as an “unjust” law, only the unjust application of it.

        Given that that use of the term is not currently operative, I won’t hold you to it.

        Can you not conceive of an unjust property rights system? This shouldn’t be too difficult if you subscribe to some sort of normative ethical theory.

        I’m sure that you could, and you’re welcome to be my guest. However, in a libertarian context, “property” is that which you control the use and disposal of. Injustice is usurping the right of the property owner to use and dispose of his property as he sees fit. So, unless we’re using a definition of “property” extraneous to libertarianism, it’s hard to see what your point is.

        1. So we agree property owners should be able to hire whom they choose?

          1. I certainly do! However that’s not the same thing as agreeing that the property owner is entitled to grant residency rights. They are not the same thing. My employer is an international corporation with business all over the world. That does not mean they have the right to grant me residency rights to China, South Africa, India or Hong Kong or anywhere else they happen to be doing business. If they happened to need someone in possession of those rights, then by definition I am not qualified to perform the job they need filled.

            You are certainly entitled to hire non-qualified applicants, but that does not entail a responsibility on the part of the law to qualify them on your behalf.

            1. Well, if you do hold there is “an intrinsic right” to freedom of movement and/or that it is beneficial to encourage more immigration than you may very well believe our current laws are unjust/wrong.

              1. I certainly hold that you have an intrinsic right of exit from a situation you find disagreeable.

                I certainly do not hold that that creates an obligation on the part of other parties or entities to grant you a right of entrance.

  22. I hate these debates, it reminds me of the reasons libertarians are never taken seriously.

    A group that wants to put the cart before the horse.

    Sorry, open borders does not work until the rest of the libertarian ideology is in place.

    Open borders is the very last issue we need to address. Learn how to prioritize, more importantly, figure out which issues are going to be counter-productive, else we’ll continue being that loony 2% pie in the sky-ers.

    You see this mindset constantly: If this is how it should be in libertopia, this is how it should be NOW.

    NOT THE CASE. Learn to use your heads and stop being lazy ideologues like a common progressive or socon, you should be better than that.

    1. Richman is a progressive, notva libertarian so there is that. I mean that absolutely not in a vauge purity test way.

      1. It is not just Richman, sadly. I realize there are many of us who understand this, and I don’t mean to demean everyone, just the people who cannot see the obvious problems with such a policy while they are blinded by their zealotry.

        At best, our current immigration system is a means to create more people on the bottom to feed our Ponzi scheme. At worst, it is a method for those in power to garner votes that will be counter-productive to not only libertarian ideology, but our freedoms and natural rights as a whole.

      2. Richman is a progressive, notva libertarian so there is that.

        The practical difference between a progressive and a libertarian seems to be growing smaller by the day. I suspect the idea that modern liberalism is not a corruption of classical liberalism, but it’s inevitable conclusion, has more than a little truth to it.

      3. Richman is a progressive

        Ima call bullshit on that JB. SR’s opinion on this is derived directly from libertarian principle. Progressives have no principles.

        1. Richman is an illogical libertarian zealot.

          In this way, he is very similar to a progressive. He is intellectually lazy, perhaps even stupid, so he falls back on blind ideology when he cannot think for himself.

          In this way, he is very similar to a progressive. I like my fellow libertarians because they do not often follow this same path, but in the case of this issue, and a few others, I find that they often do. I expect better from us than that, as I know that on the whole, we are a much more intelligent group, and that type of thinking should be below us.

          1. Please explain how some of us are putting the “cart before the horse” by advocating for a less restrictive immigration regime?

            1. I have already.

              People like you are like treasure hunters, rushing straight for the gold, without first disarming the booby traps.

              1. Or we just think you misunderstand what sets off the “booby traps”. Also, did you explain in this thread?

                1. So you’re making the claim that there are no consequences of opening the borders? You think that opening borders will automatically mean more liberty and respect for the rights of man?

                  You make this claim knowing full well the power of the vote to remove your liberties?

                  And yes, scroll down a few.

                  “Welfare is not the issue, the issue is that people can vote to steal, and vote to violate the rights of others.

                  It is obvious to all with an iota of understanding of the issue that our current immigration policy heavily favors those who would do so, or those whose offspring would be influenced by current culture to do so.”

                  Take care of those booby traps, and we can talk about open borders. I would honestly love to have them, I’d love to have a more open immigration policy, but it simply does not make sense with the current system we have in place. If you can’t see that, I’m not sure I can help you. Goals cannot always be met by rushing headlong into them, you must first often take care of other issues before your goal is realistic or even helpful.

                  1. Of course, there will be consequences. I am simply of the opinion that the positives will outweigh the negatives if we streamline our immigration system and allow more immigrants in. I’d also prefer to see some international consensus and cooperation on the issue of immigration just as we are beginning to see with the trade of goods.

                    I make this claim knowing full well that we should treat immigrants as individuals with their own unique goals and preferences.

                  2. Paul, your comments make the most sense of anyone on this thread. Thanks.

        2. “SR’s opinion on this”

          Which opinion? His pro-immigration opinion? Which we can debate the specifics of but I certainly have no issue with. Or his pro-totalitarian opinion? ‘Cause if it’s the latter I think you mught be confused.

  23. The argument that if you’re worried about welfare, you should only worry about welfare, which Bo brings up earlier in the thread, comes up a lot in these debates. The main problem with it is the assumption that the welfare state is just as easy to dismantle with, say, 10 people collecting it as 10 million. If you don’t understand how unrealistic that is, then you don’t understand the first thing about the Democrats, which is that they’re modus operandi is getting so many people hooked on their programs, that anyone against said programs can be depicted as being against the people who count on them. See: pensioners, teachers, single mothers, unions, poor minorities. This is not just about illegal immigrant votes. It’s also about getting a bigger class of people dependent on everything Democrats want in order to make it easier to portray anyone against it as racist xenophobes.

    1. If it were only about welfare, I would be fine with it, as the worst thing it would do is implode our welfare system. The problem comes from the fact that these same people can and in all likelihood will vote to steal more of our money to keep the welfare system going.

      Welfare is not the issue, the issue is that people can vote to steal, and vote to violate the rights of others.

      It is obvious to all with an iota of understanding of the issue that our current immigration policy heavily favors those who would do so, or those whose offspring would be influenced by current culture to do so.

      1. There are only a tiny fraction of these immigrants flooding across our border who want to get an education and contribute to the future job market of people who actually pay taxes. Most of them do not even want to learn English, they just want to make money and send all of it they can back to their countries.

        Obama talks about them paying taxes. Yeah, they will pay state sales tax like everyone else, but tell me how they are going to pay any federal income taxes on the pay from unskilled labor? Won’t they get back more than they will pay in because of their level of income?

        1. Do you have any polls or survey data that confirm the majority of these immigrants possess such attitudes?

          That should be established before we progress further.

          1. http://cis.org/sites/cis.org/f…..le-t33.jpg

            Again, I don’t think welfare is necessarily the case, but please use your google, it is pretty much common knowledge.

            1. That wasn’t what I was asking for

              http://www.cato.org/blog/immig…..heap-labor

              We can all post data and the CIS is suspect in my view.

                1. If you’re actually interested in the political attitudes of immigrants, here is some data from Pew (if it helps bolster their credibility, and I suspect it might, they’re ideologically aligned more with you than Hyperion or PaulW)

                  http://www.pewhispanic.org/201…..government

                  http://www.pewresearch.org/fac…..democrats/

                  1. Thank you for the links, but I was actually looking for Hyperion to substantiate this claim with data:

                    There are only a tiny fraction of these immigrants flooding across our border who want to get an education and contribute to the future job market of people who actually pay taxes. Most of them do not even want to learn English, they just want to make money and send all of it they can back to their countries.

                    1. I doubt any study has ever been conducted asking those questions as such. I just figured for both of you, those links might be helpful to extrapolate from.

                      In addition, remittances do, indeed, make up a significant portion of many Latin American countries’ GDP, although saying that’s the sole reason that most immigrants want to work in America is comically absurd unless Latin America has achieved the New Soviet Man.

    2. The problem is, is that Democrats love welfare because it increases their voter base.

      The GOP will talk about doing something about it, but they won’t because they are afraid to be labeled as hating the poor. The Democrats increase it when they are in power and the GOP does nothing about it when they are in power.

      I saw a poll recently that showed around 30% of people in the 18 – 24 age group saying that they do not even want a job. If that’s accurate you wind up with an economy where a majority of people are on government assistance.

      So basically what we are looking at is an eventual economic collapse where the money going out exceeds the entire income of the country. Fun times ahead.

      1. Sadly true, unless there is a revolution in thinking. I still have a glimmer of hope.

        1. The USA will probably eventually split up into several different nation states. I don’t see anyway it survives this for much longer.

            1. I didn’t say it was bad or good.

            2. Well, no, if you don’t mind the embarassment of having to admit you so thoroughly fucked up a once great country that the only way to keep the peace is to dismantle it, then I suppose you’re swimming in cream.

    3. Right now the economics of immigration are crazy bad. Mass immigration made sense when GDP was growing at 7-10% during the industrial revolution and other periods of explosive economic expansion. The US needed low skilled labor and could easily absorb immigrants and provide a path to social and economic mobility. We’re not doing that now. We’ve got a low skill labor glut, no growth, and immigrants aren’t moving up but staying poor.

      Joel Kotkin has a good article here:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/a…..nesty.html

      1. Re: Lady Bertrum,

        Right now the economics of immigration are crazy bad.

        For those ignorant of economics and thus easily swayed by facile arguments, yes.

        Mass immigration made sense when GDP was growing at 7-10% during the industrial revolution and other periods of explosive economic expansion.

        The first thing learned when studying economics is not to confuse cause and effect. Immigration increases the Division of Labor and Specialization, two economically-important phenomena. Do you REALLY think that it was GDP that begat immigration and not THE OTHER WAY AROUND?

        We’ve got a low skill labor glut,

        No, we don’t. The U.S. is suffering a dislocation problem due to the perverse incentives from government, but that does not mean the demand for low-skilled labor suddenly went away.

        and immigrants aren’t moving up but staying poor.

        That’s not true either. Your assertion doesn’t enjoy the benefit of being logical. People who came here and are working are already BETTER OFF than where they came from, so for starters that’s an increase in their level of wealth.

        1. People who came here and are working are already BETTER OFF than where they came from

          That would depend on their wages and purchasing power relative to where they came from. It’s possible to emigrate and end up economically worse off for it. That’s not an impossibility.

          In terms of economic mobility, this is a pretty good piece that discusses the subject.

          1. Re: PM,

            That would depend on their wages and purchasing power relative to where they came from.

            You mean it would depend on their Opportunity Cost?

            NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!

            It’s possible to emigrate and end up economically worse off for it. That’s not an impossibility.

            And people who face such a fact tend to move back where they came from.

            So how long are you going to be going in circles with this, PM? I have to go to take my kids see Santa.

            1. NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!

              Your hearty agreement is a little surprising considering that’s in complete contradiction to what you just said previously:

              People who came here and are working are already BETTER OFF than where they came from, so for starters that’s an increase in their level of wealth.

              Often they are, sometimes they aren’t. I guess you must have misspoke since you seem to agree now that immigrants are not necessarily better off or wealthier in their adopted country than the one they came from.

              And people who face such a fact tend to move back where they came from.

              I’d be pretty surprised if that’s the case for legal immigrants due to the significant sunk costs and personal investment involved in emigrating. People also have non-economic incentives that might make their adopted country more attractive than their home country even if they are economically worse off or less wealthy overall.

              So how long are you going to be going in circles with this, PM?

              I’m not sure we’ve actually been in a circle, since you’re now taking a different position than the one you took previously. But I appreciate you clarifying your previous statement. You seem pretty perturbed for some reason, so that visit to the jolly old fat guy wouldn’t be time wasted. Enjoy.

        2. For those ignorant of economics and thus easily swayed by facile arguments, yes.

          The nice thing about economics is that it’s like the 4×4’s of political ideology. No matter what your position, you can find an economist to prop it up. I’ll see your von Mises and raise you a Marx and a Krugman, with Nobel Prizes all around!

          See here as Peter Schaeffer schools Tyler Cowen on why low-skill immigration is a net loss to the economy.

    4. Re: lap83,

      The main problem with it is the assumption that the welfare state is just as easy to dismantle with, say, 10 people collecting it as 10 million.

      If you know the problem is the welfare system, why would you want to make things worse by limiting immigration? Immigrants are still the most productive people in America.

      1. Please explain how an on average less educated and skilled worker is more productive?

        Seems like you just pulled that out of your ass.

        1. Re: PaulW,

          Please explain how an on average less educated and skilled worker is more productive?

          Because THEY SHOW UP TO WORK.

          Is that a good enough answer for you, or do you still want to revel in the myth of the work ethic of the average American citizen?

          1. …or do you still want to revel in the myth of the work ethic of the average American citizen?

            The myth of the noble messican doing 16-hour-a-day jobs that no one else would ever even consider doing is no less a canard.

            I would presume by your response that you have no data to corroborate your contention. FWIW, productivity across the entire economy is up double digits by most measures. I doubt national origin has much of anything to do with it.

            1. Re: PM,

              The myth of the noble messican doing 16-hour-a-day jobs that no one else would ever even consider doing is no less a canard.

              I completely agree – what you SAID is a canard.

              I only point out the obvious: THEY SHOW UP FOR WORK.

              I would presume by your response that you have no data to corroborate your contention.

              For you, PM, I have TWO:

              http://blogs.wsj.com/economics…..tudy-says/

              http://economistsview.typepad……ivity.html

              1. I only point out the obvious: THEY SHOW UP FOR WORK.

                I’m not sure what that means in and of itself. While it’s a diminishing percentage, the majority of adults in America show up for work. That’s not how “productivity” as an economic metric is measured.

                And neither of your references, while interesting reading, actually supports your statement that:

                Immigrants are still the most productive people in America.

                One finds that H1-B and J-1 visa holders, a small and very select class of immigrants, are more productive than native-born workers. This isn’t entirely surprising given the significant barriers to obtaining those visas – they go to fairly elite candidates.

                The other finds a positive correlation between immigration and overall productivity in the national economy, which it actually attributes to native workers seeking employment in communication-intensive occupations with better wages and higher productivity rather than the manual labor occupations held more often by new immigrants:

                In states with a heavy concentration of less-educated immigrants, U.S.-born workers have migrated toward more communication-intensive occupations. Those jobs pay higher wages than manual jobs, so such a mechanism has stimulated the productivity of workers born in the United States and generated new employment opportunities.

                (cont’d)

                1. It doesn’t even make a comparison between immigrant and native workers, but the implication is that the productivity gains realized from immigration are actually had by the native population moving into better jobs, which is almost the opposite of your argument.

                  I’m not trying to antagonize you, I just hate the argument-by-cliche that immigration issues tend to devolve into.

          2. Because THEY SHOW UP TO WORK.

            CA has high levels of poor immigrants and the highest level of welfare usage and has had an unemployment rate above the national average for more than 240 straight months.

      2. Low wage immigrants are often very hardworking; there’s no doubt about that. But whether their productivity outweighs the drain on others for subsidizing them, and their children, is an open question.

        There are also considerations of Balkanization (especially in this era of identity politics and an education system that seems aimed to divide, rather than assimilate) and the question of whether or not those new immigrants will use their newfound political muscle to contribute to even more welfare-statism imposed on the rest of us.

        1. Re: Kure’i,

          But whether their productivity outweighs the drain on others for subsidizing them, and their children, is an open question.

          Who is talking about subsidizing them? I’ve always taken that argument as a red herring. You don’t need to completely get rid of the welfare state, the state can simply deny benefits to non-citizens (like they do right now with legal permanent residents). As for education, federal and state law mandates that all children are sent to child prisons from 8 to 3 to get indoctrinated in statolatry, so what are immigrants going to to, say “no”? Have you seen what happens to those that refuse to give their children to the State?

          1. The state doesn’t deny benefits to PRs. It denies them to those with non-immigrant visas — and not all of them. (For example, a beneficiary of an approved I-360 can receive some benefits, even though that person is out-of-status. But forgive me, I’m the confused one, so I’ll skip the details.)

            Here’s what I’m talking about: I filed for DACA for one former client. His mother, who was undocumented, did work very hard. But she also had, in addition to my client, 4 US Citizen children. Each one, as a US Citizen, was entitled to a host of low-income benefits. We all subsidize every person who comes into the country without any skills, works for next to nothing, and decides to have a litter of children that they cannot hope to support by themselves.

            So, whether or not you are talking about subsidizing them, we all are. And no, I’m no more excited about subsidizing anyone else’s kids, either. But why add millions more to the eternally dependent underclass that seems to be growing both in terms of political power and as a way of life nowdays?

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  25. As someone who practiced immigration law for a number of years, I’ve long thought that anyone with an absolutist position on this issue, given the realities present, is either ignorant, hopelessly partisan, or totally unrealistic. This article does nothing to squelch such an assumption.

    And no, resorting to the murky recesses of deep Legal Realism doesn’t magically make meaning disappear.

    1. Why would we want to be sensible and promote a position that values freedom of movement while at the same time acknowledging both the rule of law and the pragmatics of economics? That would be way to damn non-idealogical for libertarians like Sheldon.

    2. Re: Kure’i,

      I’ve long thought that anyone with an absolutist position on this issue, given the realities present, is either ignorant, hopelessly partisan, or totally unrealistic.

      Which absolutist position are you talking about?

      1. I was mainly referencing either the “totally open borders” or the “deport them all” camps. I suppose there may be others; but mostly those two.

        While I’m sympathetic to the idea of letting people go wherever they want, and believe that is the ideal situation, since we live in a welfare state that is not going anywhere soon, absorbing huge numbers of low wage, unskilled people into a political climate filled with identity politics, progressive taxation, and class envy is not something to be taken lightly.

        1. Re: Kure’i,

          I was mainly referencing either the “totally open borders” or the “deport them all” camps. I suppose there may be others; but mostly those two.

          I gathered you were confused. This country HAS open borders. Unless people start building a moat over the Canadian or Mexican border, those borders are open. People who argue for open immigration due so not because of an absolutist position but out of consistency with their advocacy for personal liberty.

          Instead, those that talk about closed borders and “deport them all” are not holding absolutist positions, they’re simply being insane. None of those things are physically possible.

          absorbing huge numbers of low wage, unskilled people into a political climate filled with identity politics, progressive taxation, and class envy is not something to be taken lightly.

          And in the meantime, what? Let things be not done? Tell businesses to go fuck themselves or to see if they can get a welfare homeboy to work the fields?

          1. If you think the country has open borders, then I invite you to visit any immigration court in the country and report what’s happening there. I’d invite you to visit your local ICE field office. And I’d ask why any immigration reform is needed, and why people are “living in the shadows” if we already have open borders?

            If we already have open borders, I’m wondering if you think the libertarian position on this issue has been achieved?

            1. Re: Kure’i,

              If you think the country has open borders, then I invite you to visit any immigration court

              What the State does to extort money or fear from people is inconsequential to the fact that the border has no physical wall. Anybody can enter either through the South or the North. Stop fooling yourself.

              If we already have open borders, I’m wondering if you think the libertarian position on this issue has been achieved?

              Not yet – there is still a State that harasses businesses and regular Americans whose last name happens to sound Latin American.

              1. Please–that State harasses most of us the same way–an equal opportunity harasser.

              2. Ah, so it sounds like it’s you who is confused. Or at least conflating a de facto porous border with a legal framework that doesn’t accept it as such. Two different things.

                What you seem to be saying is: “We have laws against entering without inspection, but people do it, therefore we have open borders.” That makes about as much sense as, “We have laws against speeding, but people speed every day, therefore we have no speed limit.” Right?

                “What the State does to extort money or fear from people is inconsequential to the fact that the border has no physical wall. Anybody can enter either through the South or the North. Stop fooling yourself.”

                What the State does to extort money or fear from people is inconsequential to the fact that individuals can pay no taxes, sell whatever drugs they want, or open a casino if they choose to. Stop fooling yourself. Right? Because people can choose to do these things, the state’s activity is inconsequential to that fact. Is this really your position?

                I have a former client who snuck across the “open” border back in 1999. She has to report to ICE next week. I’ll remind her that the border was open, and that what ICE is doing is inconsequential to her desire to cross it at will.

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  27. Re: Lady Bertrum,

    Right now the economics of immigration are crazy bad.

    For those ignorant of economics and thus easily swayed by facile arguments, yes.

    Mass immigration made sense when GDP was growing at 7-10% during the industrial revolution and other periods of explosive economic expansion.

    The first thing learned when studying economics is not to confuse cause and effect. Immigration increases the Division of Labor and Specialization, two economically-important phenomena. Do you REALLY think that it was GDP that begat immigration and not THE OTHER WAY AROUND?

    We’ve got a low skill labor glut,

    No, we don’t. The U.S. is suffering a dislocation problem due to the perverse incentives from government, but that does not mean the demand for low-skilled labor suddenly went away.

    and immigrants aren’t moving up but staying poor.

    That’s not true either. Your assertion doesn’t enjoy the benefit of being logical. People who came here and are working are already BETTER OFF than where they came from, so for starters that’s an increase in their level of wealth.

  28. Hard to find a more lengthy series of misleading and innaccurate claims
    than this. It is also immature to claim that laws are either “just” or “unjust.” And the fact that laws are open to differing interpretations says nothing – often that is from a desire to not be too specific, since circumstances differ, a fact that this writer foolishly claims invalidates a law. I think Sheldon needs to avoid philosophy of law or claims to personally know, without doubt, when a a law is “unjust.”
    His ridiculous image of “jackbooted immigration officers” and pathetically “innocent” immigrants, whom we should welcome by the millions so they can increase our crime rate exponentially and take our jobs somehow is not going to gain any traction with those who are going to have to lose jobs and pay extra taxes to support these job thieves.

    1. Re: Arthur45,

      It is also immature to claim that laws are either “just” or “unjust.”

      So a law that forbids you to swear on Sundays should not be questioned? It would be immature to do so.

      Or a law that forbids people from keeping a firearm in their homes. Would it be immature to question the justice in that law?

      I just want to know where you draw the line, or if your contention is conveniently pliable as expediency dictates.

      and take our jobs

      They’re not “our” jobs, you communist. Jobs belong to the EMPLOYERS. It is THEIR money, not YOURS.

  29. So who gets to say whether a law is just or unjust? Elizabeth Warren? Mike Huckabee? Whoopi Goldberg?

    1. Re: Homple,

      So who gets to say whether a law is just or unjust?

      Morality and ethics. A Law that contravenes moral or ethical principles like the Non Aggression Principle CANNOT be just.

      A law that goes against the right to contract with whoever you want, the right of free association and the right to freely move, cannot be just. You don’t need Whoopi Goldberg to tell you that.

      1. I’ve heard many people give me widely different versions of what they believe to be morality and ethics. Who decides?

        1. Re: Homple,

          I’ve heard many people give me widely different versions of what they believe to be morality and ethics. Who decides?

          YOU decide. Moral principles do not exist to limit others when it comes to you but to limit YOU when it comes to others. In other words: our rights are negative. YOU have NO right to limit another person’s freedom, just like no one else has a right to limit yours. A law that contravenes that principle is ipso facto IMMORAL and thus UNJUST.

          Again – YOU decide. If you wait for others to decide for YOU, then I suggest you hide under your bed because there are 7 billion souls in this world with different interests.

          1. “…there are 7 billion souls in this world with different interests.”

            There are indeed, and many of them feel fully morally justified in taking my stuff. Expanding the welfare state, which complete freedom of movement would inevitably do, takes even more of my stuff.

            I’ll accept open borders here when I can use my supposed freedom of movement to go anywhere else I want to with my savings intact. Let me know when you arrange that.

            1. Re: Homple,

              There are indeed, and many of them feel fully morally justified in taking my stuff.

              Who cares what they feel? They are not justified.

              I’ll accept open borders here when I can use my supposed freedom of movement to go anywhere else I want to with my savings intact.

              You’re baking at the wrong enemy.

      2. I keep asking, whose morals and ethics and the answer I get from everyone is “My ideas of course, you reprobate”.

        1. Re: Homple,

          I keep asking, whose morals and ethics and the answer I get from everyone is “My ideas of course, you reprobate”.

          I already told you: YOU decide. Using your own reason, you deduce the UNIVERSALITY of a principle or rule. If a principle makes sense or by applying it you do not commit a perfunctory contradiction (for instance saying: “I have no right to free speech” when you just spoke), then that principle is universal. For instance: I have the right to my life. That is a universal principle, since it applies to all humans. Saying “I have a right to an American job because I am an American” would mean you have a right to something that belongs to SOMEONE ELSE – an employer – by virtue of some casual characteristic. That rule cannot be universal.

          It it up to YOU to accept the universality of moral or ethical principles. Don’t suddenly shy away from this responsibility because Top Men.

          1. I’m all for free movement of those who work to fully support themselves and anyone they bring with them. We have enough people already sucking up money extracted from me at gunpoint without expanding their numbers, which open borders would inevitably cause.

          2. The problem is that not everyone’s moral or ethical system revolves around individual negative rights. A law that an individualist libertarian rejects as immoral may be seen as the height of morality to a Marxist. Appealing to the universality of your conception of negative rights in that situation isn’t going to win you the argument. They’re intractable, irreconcilable positions. And through the miracle of democracy, if enough people disagree with you on the justness or unjustness of a law, the practical result is that you’re fucked. You may be right, they may be wrong, but they’ve got the guns. For better or (more often) worse, we don’t live in an ancap world.

  30. “We’re not anarchists” – libertarians

    Apparently some of them sort of are, when it comes to immigration.

    I think libertarians know that they’re beat on the ACTUAL law on this issue. The constitution does not grant foreign nationals the right to stay here without government permission. Obama had no issues with deporting over 200,000 people who were caught RIGHT at the border.

    So they bring up the concept of “natural rights”, which should be subsumed under the real law in some ways, but if we real want to discuss it –

    I should have a natural right not to be murdered or injured by a dangerous minority (numbers, not race) who have other motives for being here. I have a right not to contract deadly disease from another person, even if the disease isn’t an epidemic. A victim of a crime has the natural right to justice, and should not worry about the accused fleeing to another country and into the arms of a potential employer who doesn’t know anything.

    Why can’t people just drive a car as long they’re willing to pay the carmaker and can demonstrate that they know how to operate it? No license or government intervention involved? Don’t I have a natural right to travel? The answer is obvious.

    Let’s say someone wants to work 3 dollars an hour for another person. No coercion. OK, that’s fine. But you still have other INALIENABLE rights, and you have to respect the rights of others. To protect them, the government should know where and who you are.

    1. Re: XM,

      The constitution does not grant foreign nationals the right to stay here without government permission.

      The Constitution does not say it is the government who gets to decide either way. The Constitution only allows government to grant CITIZENSHIP, which is NOT the same as permission to stay.

      1. “The Constitution does not say it is the government who gets to decide either way. The Constitution only allows government to grant CITIZENSHIP, which is NOT the same as permission to stay.”

        Fair point. I raised the issue because so many activist treat immigration and amnesty as a “civil rights” issue. The constitution allows the government to set immigration laws and borders.

        I don’t think our immigration laws allow for open borders, and there’s nothing specific in the constitution (amendments) that grants foreign nationals the right to skip the INS and settle in.

    2. “We’re not anarchists” – libertarians

      Apparently some of them sort of are, when it comes to immigration.

      Many are anarchists, though the word has a much more benign meaning than it does on the bomb-throwing, bearded, unwashed left. Libertarian anarchists are usually married, suburban, and sometimes wear bowties. Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism is a good primer for libertarian history.

      Minarchists, ancaps, and most constitutionalists support open borders, the latter at least wrt the federal government’s legitimate powers. Only those who subscribe to some version of the Living Constitution, knowingly or otherwise, would think that the Constitution grants the fedgov a legitimate authority to dictate who may or may not enter the borders of a particular state or piece of private property.

      Ilya Somin: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..le-of-law/

      If you believe that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with its original meaning, and that nonoriginalist Supreme Court decisions should be overruled or at least viewed with suspicion, then you should welcome the use of presidential discretion to cut back on enforcement of laws that themselves go against the original meaning.

      Obama is doing this solely to prop up the Democratic Party, but closing the borders is as unconstitutional as anything else the federal government does.

  31. The problem with the libertarian vision on open borders is that it assumes a static process, static rules and static institutions.

    If we imagine rules and process are static, then immigration is essentially equivalent to free-trade. People come in, they play by the rules, and overall they benefit the economy and society (just like with free trade). With static rules, free trade and open borders are essentially economically equivalent.

    However, this completely ignores the possibility that if enough people come in with values and beliefs different than the existing population, they can gain political power and they can CHANGE the rules (and this is why immigration is NOT equivalent to free trade). Culture is important. [See Nassim Taleb’s example of this phenomenon with Lebanon in his book “Black Swan”]

    Imagine the US had open borders and those that came could immediately vote. Could there be downsides to this? Or, if some might argue that culture is irrelevant, then why are there economic differences between countries at all? Is it just luck and resources, or does ‘culture’ matter?

    1. You can potentially solve that problem by allowing people to enter, but not to be involved in the political process. But then you open yourself to criticism for creating and exploiting a permanent underclass. And the underclass itself is liable to get pissed off enough to cause a lot of social problems. In the long term it’s not a practicable solution.

      1. Completely agree.

    2. Yes, the reality is a lot more complicated than the ideologues admit because of the fact that our republic is becoming increasingly majoritarian over time.

      If we lived in a truly capitalistic society, then sure, fine. But we don’t. So it’s silly to pretend that the right to move and travel freely exists in some kind of bubble where it doesn’t intersect with anything else in the political situation.

      Does anyone think allowing 100 million hardcore communists (or Islamists, or whatever — it’s a hypothetical, so take your pick) into our political system would not result in the immediate, or at least eventual, curtailment of rights? Would demanding their absolute freedom of movement be in the long term interests of liberty? To me it seems very shortsighted to proclaim this right, in a context where our rights are already seriously compromised.

      1. Yes exactly. It’s silly not to acknowledge that love of freedom and individualism are views only held by a minority of the world’s population. Any individualist and freedom loving society that completely opens it’s borders is probably committing cultural suicide.

        1. That’s true for an unbounded state, whether it’s democratically elected or not.

          If you have a massive technocratic welfare state like the federal government, you can’t afford to open the borders politically or eventually economically. But the problem is the massive government, not immigration, which is always a net boon in even a modestly hobbled market economy.

          It’s the same old song: one terrible government policy can only be remedied by another. And being realistic, there is no outcome where this doesn’t end in a bust of one kind or another.

          1. It feels like you missed my point. This is a fundamental libertarian paradox in my opinion.

            A theoretically libertarian society has open borders, which means that people who do not value freedom and individualism are free to come in and change the society to no longer be libertarian. There is no way to prevent this.

            If open borders are an absolute for libertarianism than libertarianism is fundamentally unstable.

            1. A theoretically libertarian society has open borders, which means that people who do not value freedom and individualism are free to come in and change the society to no longer be libertarian.

              A propertarian/libertarian society doesn’t have open borders in the sense we’re using the word today; it has private borders. There might be some broader “right to roam” cultural emergent within it that allows limited movement across the property of others, but it’s fundamentally a society of unimpeachable property rights. You can’t change those by voting, as there’s nothing about defending or destroying rights via the democratic process that’s libertarian.

              The phrase open borders only makes sense in a statist paradigm like the one we have now, and it’s an intractable problem in a welfare state where politicians have a huge incentive to find more potential voters to pay.

              1. What you seem to be describing is ‘borders on steroids’. Borders as strict and as numerous as doors on houses. You’d need 100 passports in your pocket just to cross all the private property boundaries to buy some food from the corner grocery store.

                You are right, the phrase “open borders” would indeed be a meaningless concept in such as system.

                In practice such a system would never exist. In practice, like minded people would get together and create “open roaming zones”. In practice they would be require some sort of decision making process to resolve common concerns/needs. In practice, these people would probably never be stupid enough to actively let people with strongly conflicting values and ideals into their community, give them voting power, and let them stay indefinitely. If they did, we would expect the community to quickly fall apart and disputes to resolved through violence.

  32. No apostrophe in Laws. Who edits this publications, anyway?

    Second, and more important, what’s “unjust” about our immigration laws? A discourse on the theory of law is not really germane, unless you are planning to eliminate all of our law and let us start the perfect libertarian state in its place. In that case, open borders wouldn’t be much of an issue. But for the time being, the law on the books is no more Byzantine than the Medicare law; it’s just never been enforced.

    Third, if you really think that Obama is going to enforce it, you’re delusional. Just as his trumpeted “enforcement” consists primarily of recategorizing people turned away at the border as “deportations.”

    I am gobsmacked at the reaction of the media to this farce. Most of the illegal immigrants and their advocates understand the fact that this initiative is illusory–temporary amnesty for a portion of their number, with no benefits. But liberals like Bill Maher act as if Obama smacked down the opposition and did something consequential.

  33. So if a president unilaterally acts to protect someone’s liberty, I say bravo, because he is acting according to the natural law.

    So POTUS can do whatever he wants as long as you agree with it? So libertarians are just the same as Democrats and Republicans.

    1. I’ve probably said it too many times already, but I’ll say it again – it’s the same shit sandwich, just with a different selection of sides.

    2. This is just a sugar-coated “the end justifies the means” justification.

      It further pushing the boundaries towards unilateral action that bypasses the intended system of ‘checks and balances’ of US democracy.

      Liberal minded individuals should be very concerned about how this will be abused in the future (and most likely not in a direction they like next time either).

  34. *publication

  35. Someone ought to tell the author that usurping power is also unjust. If the president is going outside the scope of the law, he is usurping the power to create laws from the people and that is very wrong. Furthermore the author tries to use the expediency argument which is the tired excuse of tyrants and dictators. Such an argument should be rejected out of hand by anyone that truly supports the idea of liberty.
    The author also ought to be told that two wrongs do not make a right, if the constitution is trampled upon by a former administration then that wrong must be rectified by addressing the unconstitutionality of the act. Not by trampling the constitution a second time. If the first act is not redressed then the precedent stands and the second act only provides more precedent for violating the constitution. This is often the result of people using expediency and why such expediency should have no place in our government.

    1. The legal interpretation argument is also a load of bullshit. laws can actually be written quite precisely and even simply. Vagueness is introduced by people that wish to “interpret” things in a manner that suits them because it is expedient to do so. An individual has no right to “interpret” that which was written by the aggregate. I think the best example of this is the second amendment, somehow “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” has been misconstrued to allow all sorts of infringing, again all in the name of expediency.

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