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  • Libertarian Immigration

    Posted by Shannon Love on June 10th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Hmmmm, perhaps sufficiently ruthless Libertarians should support unfettered immigration.

    From 2Blowhards:


    Immigration is a huge, huge mess. Here, public institutions — libraries, schools, etc. — are being duplicated by a parallel set of private institutions. Private libraries. Private security. Private schools. Gated communities with private roads. The list of once-public-now-private is endless. Replacing public with private is, essentially, the only recourse people have when their collective will is ignored. Because of uncontrolled immigration, citizens vote with their feet, leaving public institutions. And with their pocketbooks. It won’t be long when citizens “defund” so-called “public” institutions, and in doing so, diminish the reach of government.


    People vote for state provided services because for many people the State can provide the services better than the free market. Redistributionism often has little to do with it. (For example, the wealthy need a good road system as much or more than the poor do.) If the illegal immigration of large numbers of low skill workers into the country cripples the ability of the State to provide services, the political support for the welfare state will collapse. By giving it more clients than it can ever possibly handle, this state of affairs would kill the welfare state by choking it to death with cream.

    Of course, this could lead to a situation where we basically import the 3rd world into America with the “haves” living in compounds surrounded by a sea of shanty towns.

    I consider this a sub-optimum solution to say the least.

     

    6 Responses to “Libertarian Immigration”

    1. GUYK Says:

      Illegal immigration has to be brought under control eventually. It may well become the next political hot issue. The RINOs and DONKs both seem to have put the issue on back burner with maybe the exception of Hillary who may try to use immigration as a stepping stone to the oval office.

      I really do not see the heavily populated pro democrat states such as California and New York ever voting to slow down the move to socialism. But, once the movers and shakers leave the states (or just quit producing) the states will have no one left to tax and will be bankrupt.

      Most voters support taxes for infastructure and schools. Most will even support a social safty net to provide for those with the inability to provide for themselves. However, no matter what it is called, providing social services for anyone, let alone illegal immigrants, is income redistribution. The time will come when those who are footing the bill will rebel by either joining the looters or just ceasing to produce any more than they need to take care of themselves.

    2. Steve Says:

      GUYK, your second paragraph says it all.

      Taking Shannon’s example of “a good road system,” I recall from college economics that the original roads up and down the East Coast were toll-financed. This was a “pay-as-you-go,” private system that provided an expanding road network that took folks where they wanted to go. The network was maintained in proportion to the traffic that the transit-time and passability of each route attracted.

      By shifting to a tax-financed scheme, the federal and state governments have redistributed the costs of planning, building, maintaining and policing distant roads to national and state tax-payers; and away from the actual users of the roads. One effect is to make road-space available and affordable to all motorists regardless of their income. You could call it “transit welfare.”

      But there are ill effects, too. First, we gain an ever increasing government oversight organ. Every mile of new roads grows this organ. There is a concommittant increase in the reach of driving laws, like speed limits, and cell phone bans. And, of course, there is an attendant bureaucracy, from IRS agents to state patrol officers, that requires tax-funded pensions, subsidized health insurance, etc.

      Second, the federal government often uses the “Commerce Clause” in tandem with its “ownership” of our interstate free-way system to bend autonomous states to its will. This ploy undermines the “loose” federal system that I want my children to grow up in.

      Shannon quotes 2BlowHards: “It won’t be long when citizens “defund” so-called “public” institutions, and in doing so, diminish the reach of government.” I’d like us to imagine what would happen if we “defunded’ the Fed’s portion of our nation’s roads system.

      A couple immediate benefits:

      1. Federal “Interstate Commerce Clauses” that apply to government roadways may not apply to traffic on private ones.”

      2. Roads would proliferate and diversify in scenery, passability, and transit-time.

      3. Private roads contractors will perform better than government bureaus at every chore the roads business entails. The private market is an adamant teacher.

      It may be time to think seriously about challenging the government’s monopoly over the design, maintenance and policing of our transnational road-ways.
      -Steve

    3. mariana Says:

      “Immigration is a huge, huge mess. Here, public institutions — libraries, schools, etc. — are being duplicated by a parallel set of private institutions. Private libraries. Private security. Private schools. Gated communities with private roads. The list of once-public-now-private is endless. Replacing public with private is, essentially, the only recourse people have when their collective will is ignored. Because of uncontrolled immigration, citizens vote with their feet, leaving public institutions. And with their pocketbooks. It won’t be long when citizens “defund” so-called “public” institutions, and in doing so, diminish the reach of government.”

      The problem is that private schools, commmunities, police, etc are really only available to the upper middle class and rich. The vast majority of people are still losing out. The middle class and working class especially.

      Someone from California please correct me if I’m wrong. From what I’ve read about California, the rich stay behind their gates and the middle class increasingly flees to the “inland empire” and to other states. If trends don’t change, you’ll have some rich people and a lot of really poor people. Both will resent each other because the wealthy don’t want to pay for the others and the poor resent their lot and their crappy schools, crappy police force, etc. The state will eventually go broke because business will flee the endless taxes and regulation. This is a recipe for social disaster. It’s a boon for socialists, not libertarians.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      mariana,

      Like many services, private schools, communities and other institutions once affordable only to the wealthy are increasingly falling into the range of the middle class. Moreover, in areas such as education, people will sacrifice and pay extra for an education of significantly higher quality. If the deterioration of public education continues, middle class parents will be faced with either funding their children’s education themselves or risk having them not getting the education they need to succeed.

      From what my friends in California tell me, the state is segregating strongly by income. You can really see the effect in the Bay area.

    5. Anonymous Says:

      This is off-point in terms of immigration but relates to Shannon’s point about the problems public institutions face when taxpayers no longer believe in them:

      Good schools & libraries & roads – I would like these to be public. I see these as ways to build a sense of community that unites classes, genders, ages & interests. But times are changing and our computers are becoming more and more our libraries. So accessibility to them is important and in the general interest (and why Pete Sessions is really, really wrong).

      But I don’t think it would be a bad thing if those institutions, strapped for cash by immigration and by the hemorrhaging of students, think of themselves as a service, designed to meet the students’ & the communities’ needs. (And most parents do not see indoctrination as a need.)

      The 2 Blowhards’ note from Kris from Arizona about private schools mentions private schools, but in many parts of the country, home schooling is growing at a rapid rate. This worries administrators faced with a smaller “customer base.” On Lehrer last night, Lee Hochberg did a piece on the superintendent of Myrtle Point, Washington, who bemoans the loss of revenue from the state as more students are home schooled. His argument is that they can’t do as good a job if they are teaching fewer students: “We’re missing $500,000; $5,000 a kid. It’s basically the difference between the quality of an excellent district versus the qualities of a not so good district.” So the marketplace comes into play: schools, finding they have alienated their customer base, are willing to do some market research & change.

      So, the superintendent goes to those homes, asking students & their parents what would draw them back. What they want are science courses that don’t teach evolution and English classes that teach the Bible as lit. But they are willing to settle for a school which

      offers this forensics class, also Tae Kwan Do, a Harry Potter class called “Hogwart’s Comes to Village,” and “Lego Robotics for Fun.” One hundred home schoolers from the Beaverton, Oregon district enrolled in these classes and the district received $132,000 from the state.

      Well, some of us might wonder why we as state taxpayers should subsidize these, but let’s follow Hochberg as he films a home visits.

      Of course, the Lehrer program emphasized what I suspect most of us see as a major drawback: while the English teacher was not unhappy about teaching the Bible as literature (the lack of any knowledge of the Bible does, indeed, make most of our students culturally illiterate), the science teacher, not surprisingly, did not believe that his classes would be improved by yielding to some of the parents’ views of science. One kind of illiteracy seems to be traded (compromised) for another. And biology is more important – students can, after all, read the Bible on their own; they are not likely to dissect frogs in the kitchen.

      Of course, the segment irritates libertarians: the assumption that the school district needs and deserves the money is one problem. (My home-schooled students often repeat their parents’ bitterness at paying school taxes for facilities their children aren’t using – that point of view was missing completely.)

      And the belief that only a large school can meet the needs of the students may be the way a superintendent, building turf and enlarging administrative costs, might like. I have my doubts that that compromises education nearly as much as trendy classes or diluted science would.

      A subtext seemed to be that people home school so their kids won’t learn about evolution. Well, that may be true. It has been my experience that that may well be a reason for some; for others it was because they really weren’t going to administer Ritalin to their fairly normal young son or they felt the gruel at the local school was too thin or. . . well the reasons are various.

      But all in all, professional educators have made their bed and I have little sympathy; it may be lumpy – but I’m not surprised they will compromise science for money.

      What I really fear is that an argument, using this segment as “proof,” that children should be forced to come to public school will be enacted. Home schooling arms us.

    6. Sandy P Says:

      Talk about immigration, via Lucianne:

      Archaeologists have discovered Europe’s oldest civilisation, a network of dozens of temples, 2,000 years older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. More than 150 gigantic monuments have been located beneath the fields and cities of modern-day Germany, Austria and Slovakia. They were built 7,000 years ago, between 4800BC and 4600BC. Their discovery, revealed today by The Independent, will revolutionise the study of prehistoric Europe