One cannot claim to be a champion of liberty and limited [power of government] while calling for measures to prevent people without papers from finding work and making a home in the United States. . . . Donald Trump makes the most noise about ‘illegal immigration,’ which is merely government-speak for people coming here without the permission of politicians and bureaucrats. . . . So if all people are created equal, why should some have to carry government papers just because they were born on the other side of an arbitrary line on a map. . . . Trump and his rivals insist that if government does not enforce the borders we have no country. Perhaps, but so what? As Patrick Henry said when asserting the rights of Americans before the American Revolution: ‘If this be treason, make the most of it.” – Reason, Justice, Not Amnesty, for ‘Illegal’ Immigrants, Sheldon Richman, 2/7/16
Fact Check: Reason is a flagship magazine of the libertarian movement which unreasonably maintains that humans are (or at least should be) atomized beings with no higher aspirations than self-interest. Ayn Rand, a prominent theorist of libertarians, proclaimed that selfishness is a “virtue,” and that loyalty to anything beyond self is “collectivism”—which is oppressive evil and destructive to self.
Although Rand apparently didn’t come to the following conclusion, quite a number of libertarians have: namely, that loyalty to country—patriotism—is collectivism. And given Rand’s premises, this is an entirely logical conclusion. But it is one totally at odds with human nature as revealed through history. Commonly we find our individual fulfillment in allegiances and loyalties to collective entities beyond ourselves—to our families, our communities, and our nations just to name a few.
As Americans we have loyalty to our country and its defining characteristics. Our border is not an arbitrary line but a defining marker of who we are and where we are. Furthermore, it is not a whim of “politicians and bureaucrats” to enforce our borders and protect our national identity, but rather it is the expressed will of the American people through democratic decision-making. Interestingly, even Richman seems to have an inkling of this understanding when he endorses Patrick Henry’s statement about the “rights of Americans.”
In any case, as Richman speaks of liberty he would deny Americans the liberty to decide what kind of society we want to have. And ironically he would destroy the kind of minimal-government society that libertarians claim they seek. Mass immigration has brought us many people who have little understanding of rule of law and limited government, and their numbers are overwhelming our powers of assimilation. As time goes on, they will start imposing their preferences as they vote.
Richman quotes the phrase “all men are created equal” from the Declaration of Independence to suggest that all men are interchangeable and that we cannot prefer any human to any other. That, of course, is absurd. It’s like telling parents that they must love all children in the world as much as their own children. Similarly, Americans are under no moral obligation to put the interests of foreigners ahead of their countrymen.
That definitely was what Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, believed. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, he warned of the dangers of mass immigration, stating that “[Immigrants] will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, or if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbridled licentiousness, passing, as usual from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty.”
Libertarianism doesn’t abide in the real world, but it is most useful to worldly interests. Specifically, it gives justification to unscrupulous businessmen who want open borders to obtain an endless supply of cheap labor. Libertarians call this “free enterprise,” but it is not free at all to taxpayers who have to provide welfare to this low-wage workforce.
Selfishness and promotion of greed are prominent moral failings of the libertarian creed. And another one is treason—which Richman and Reason blatantly admit. Loyal Americans should make the most of that understanding.