Sunday, July 31, 2016

Immigration restrictions are incompatible with libertarianism (and won't help it win)

The same so-called libertarian from my last post – who I will call Matt – wrote the following to one of his friends, trying to convince her to vote for Donald Trump.

“Trump is in no way a Libertarian. I have to make that clear first because any time I say why I support Trump people immediately "HOW CAN YOU CALL TRUMP A LIBERTARIAN!?"

He is not, I know that, however I believe pragmatism is useful, particularly when there is no actual other option. Gary Johnson is not a Libertarian, for many other reasons that abortion.

We are in a situation where leftists are trying to import as many democrat voters as possible because the intellectual argument for Communism and Socialism was lost a long time ago. There is a point of no return when socialist minorities gain too much population in this country and we are heading there, with Hillary in the office that will only increase.

Libertarians have the best arguments, we are in the right, but that doesn't matter when we are not playing on a level field. We need to stop immigration so that we can convince those who respect Western values to become Libertarian. Otherwise we will never be able to argue our case and our rights (including guns and free speech) will be voted away. That is the point of no return.

Furthermore, Trump is a cudgel that can be used for Libertarian purposes. The mainstream media has forever been the key player keeping Libertarian ideas out of the argument. Trump is a cudgel that can be used to bash down this media and destroy the power held by those who shut down an argument by saying "racist!" We already see this happening as Trump forces a discussion about immigration to be had, one that would never have been had otherwise. As the power of cultural marxism wanes under Trump, the ability for Libertarians to have honest discussions about things like social spending opens up.

Trump is also the least likely to keep war from starting, should Hillary win, war with Russia is almost unavoidable and I certainly don't want that. That would be disastrous and if you don't think this is likely you need to go listen to Putin's speeches. He is constantly begging our media to talk about the war Russia is being forced into. He constantly talks about how hawkish Clinton is and how she has broken many promises after the reset button and positioned America to go to war. This is massively important.

Lastly, Trump is an advocate for Western culture, which is objectively the best for any Libertarian.”


Here are four reasons why Matt’s argument is wrong.

1. Matt’s premise is that loosened immigration policies are antithetical to liberty; in fact, they are a prerequisite to liberty, because any restriction on immigration an unconscionable infringement of liberty.

Imagine I own a farm in Arizona – perhaps even one along the Mexican border – and that I wish to hire a Mexican to live and work there.  By what right does anyone prevent that agreement?  I have a right to do what I please with my property.  Both the Mexican and I have rights to contract with others.  For armed border guards to prevent our mutually voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange at gunpoint is a clearly unjustified initiation of force - especially to people like Matt, who call themselves anarchists, and presumably agree that all national borders are imaginary lines in the sand with no moral implications. Trump and those who agree with him have no greater moral right to decide who may live and work within the territorial United States than do any of the Mexicans he seeks to deport.

If the success of libertarian ideals depends on our willingness to perpetually violate those ideals, libertarianism is already doomed.  Thankfully, it doesn’t which leads me to reason number two.

2. Matt’s argument relies on collectivist generalizations which are not only false, but antithetical to the individualism upon which libertarianism relies.

Matt assumes that the people Donald Trump wants to keep out - Hispanics and Muslims seeking entry to the US – are inherently more prone to socialist ideologies, less respectful of Western values, or less likely to be convinced by “the best arguments.” This is completely baseless.  Hispanics are free-thinking individuals linked only by skin color, and Muslims are free-thinking individuals linked only by religion.  Like whites and Christians, each group is full of independent-minded people perfectly capable of forming and evolving their political beliefs based on their experiences, interests, and conversations. Cuban Americans are famously conservative, largely because they saw how bad things got under Castro; likewise, many of those who wish to immigrate to the US today are doing so precisely because they, too, wish to flee the horrors of Islamic theocracy or South American socialism.  Even within South America, the tide is turning against the left (see the departures of Kirchner and Rousseff, and the massive losses for Maduro in recent elections) and recent polling reveals Hispanics are open to voting Republican (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/poll-not-too-late-for-gop-to-compete-for-hispanic-vote-216587) – or at least, that they were before Trump.

By Matt’s logic, the left should be equally fearful of Mexicans, since they are predominantly pro-life Catholics.  The left is not “trying to import” anybody; immigrants come of their own volition.  It is right-wingers who are trying to prevent their coming, by means of violent force.  That is not what it means to have “a level playing ground,” especially for a libertarian.  To give up on trying to convince the people who disagree with you, in favor of a futile effort to capture and deport them, is the height of intellectual cowardice.

In any case, libertarianism is not a right wing ideology, and “leftists” are not its enemy.  Our enemies are authoritarianism and collectivism.  These mindsets come in both left- and right-wing flavors, and Trump’s immigration policies rely on both of them.

The entire point of libertarianism is that we treat everyone as an individual, and that each individual has rights which cannot be taken away by the actions of a group. When you clump entire races of people together, associate them with hated ideological boogeymen, and use that association to justify restricting their freedom of movement and right to contract, you completely ignore that principle.

3. The particular generalizations Matt’s argument relies upon happen to be racist.

What Matt is essentially saying here is this:

“I’m no racist – I don’t hate Hispanics at all!  I just hate socialism – and by the way, Hispanics are socialist.”

“I’m not Islamaphobic – I don’t hate Muslims at all!  I just hate fascism – and by the way, Muslims are fascist.”

You see why that doesn’t work?  To say that “the best arguments” cannot win unless we exclude a certain group of people from the electorate is inherently demeaning towards that group of people, because it insinuates they lack the cognitive facilities necessary to discern which arguments are the best.

In our last conversation, Matt wrote that we need to restrict Hispanic immigration so we can “convince people in America,” because unlike Hispanics, they “generally have a respect for the ideals of equality under the law, liberty, innocence until proof of guilt etc.” The irony is that in making this argument, he advocates restricting freedom of movement for some people more than others, due to an unproven presumption of socialistic tendencies, thereby violating ALL THREE OF THOSE IDEALS!

It is true that South America has a lot of socialist leaning governments.  You know what other continent also has a lot of those?  Fucking Europe!  And yet, I don’t hear any Donald Trump supporters proposing a moratorium on all Spaniards and Italians who want to immigrate to the US.  Imagine my surprise.

To Matt – I am not smearing you.  I’ve said more racially inflammatory things in my day than you have here, and making bad arguments doesn’t make you a bad person.  Nor am I sidestepping the debate – I got five paragraphs deep in the debate before I even brought it up.  But it isn’t “shutting down an argument” to call racism by its name, and what you’ve written here is merely a fancy, dressed up version.

Finally, even if you disagree with everything I’ve written so far about immigration and race, it’s irrelevant in the larger picture.

4. Whatever contributions toward the cause of liberty you imagine a tighter immigration policy would yield are far, far outweighed by the damage a Donald Trump presidency would inflict in other areas.

Donald Trump does not espouse one single libertarian policy proposal.  Besides the immigration stances I’ve already discussed, his most prominent policy position is trade-protectionism, which is the literal antithesis of free trade.  He has no discernable foreign policy besides being “tough” on everybody, because “China is killing us.”  He enthusiastically supports torture, and has supported extrajudicial killings of the family members of suspected terrorists.  He has expressed support for liberal campaign finance reform. His tax plan is a mathematical impossibility.  He has not one iota of government experience.  He has praised the internment camps, praised FDR, praised Putin.  He has threatened to punish Apple and Amazon for not coughing up information.  He has threatened to censor The Washington Post.  He has floated the idea of a registry wherein all Muslims in the country would have to check in with government officials to track their whereabouts.  He has openly admitted that he will ignore the constitution when he deems it necessary.


Were he elected, our esteem as a nation in the eyes of the world would plummet.  He would be the most effective propaganda tool against democracy in the Middle East you could fathom.  Terrorist recruitment rates would increase even faster than they are now. Every State of the Union Address or major speech at some global conference would be the same uneducated, conceited, rambling stream-of-consciousness nonsense about how awesome he is as a person that it’s been so far in this campaign, and I don’t know how anyone can listen to that without being horrifically embarrassed.  He would make us into the laughingstock of the world.

If America falls, it will not be from invasion at the hands of an external power, but from irreconcilable internal discord.  Hillary Clinton is no saint, and her hawkishness on foreign policy frightens me too.  But I can say with extreme confidence that if she is elected in 2016, the country will survive as one unified nation for long enough to have another election in 2020.  I am much less confident that the same is true should Donald Trump win.  Racial tensions are already at a boiling point; were he elected, they would absolutely explode.  He may not destroy the country outright, but he would test the strength of its seams, and he sure as hell wouldn’t make it anything resembling “great.” Vote for Gary Johnson if you can, and Hillary if you must, but please don’t make my nightmare a reality.

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