"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
On the Border
Column by Mark Davis.
Exclusive to STR
Cruisin' down the center of a two way street
Wond'rin' who is really in the driver's seat
Mindin' my bus'ness along comes big brother
Says, "Son, you better get on one side or the other."
I'm out on the border, I'm walkin' the line
Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order
I'm try'n' to change this water to wine.
~ The Eagles
The issue of border control is wholly and completely a problem created by the state, perpetuated by the state and exploited by agents of the state for various cross-purposes. State borders represent the recognition between agents of states as to taxing jurisdictions. States vehemently defend their taxing authority borders against other competing taxing authorities that may wish to poach on their taxpayers (they even get the taxpayers to do the fighting and dying). But state agents not only don’t defend borders against invasions of new taxpayers, they openly encourage and invite new taxpayers when it benefits the state. Like many otherwise straightforward social issues easily solved by local interested parties, state agents purposely infuse complexity as a façade for its incompetence and immorality to reduce personal choices on such issues into a cascading matrix of compromises. So, a fundamental question for anyone who values individual liberty must be where to draw the line on personally supporting the state. Two related questions to consider include: does agreeing with any state action mean that you are supporting the state; and does being a libertarian require opposing every state action? Warning, personal value judgements ahead.
Getting along well with neighbors who practice the same traditions, customs and rituals--that is, people who live in the same culture--is hard enough for most people. Getting overwhelmed by masses of people who practice a completely different culture is always and everywhere disruptive to social harmony. A culture comes about and evolves traditions, customs and rituals for the purpose of social harmony. Social harmony is a good thing, in my view, and something most people generally appear to desire.
The most productive and successful cultures in the world have established themselves as destination locations for the poor, the tired and the wretched because they offer superior opportunities and/or benefits. Now the number of poor, tired and wretched is growing exponentially and these processes of social evolution are synthesizing over periods of years instead of over decades or even centuries. Further, immigrants are no longer primarily seeking better opportunities to work, but are now primarily seeking handouts based on a sense of entitlement. So where does that leave us libertarians and what can we do about it?
Individual influence over really big stuff, like international “situations,” disputes over valuable resources, world currency manipulations and other things that agents of the state attach so much importance to, appears to be insignificant in today’s populous and complex world in comparison to the growing challenges of day-to-day survival. The state is touted as the savior of all that is good even as its evil nature is nearly universally accepted, if not totally understood. One of these states actually has agents that claim it to be the “Policeman of the World!” while putting more of its own citizens in jail than any other state. The state perpetuating violence through endless meddling by intervening at home and throughout the world has “f*cked up beyond all recognition” (FUBAR) just about every culture on the planet. The only way to overcome this statist policy of wiping out cultural differences is to value our culture more than we value the state that seeks to eliminate it. That includes opposing state policies of forced immigration.
The state continues to wreak destruction on society, undermining the family, the church, local authorities, business associations, mutual aid societies, self-defense, education, free trade, free markets and just about every other kind of free association through regulations, taxes and threats of more taxes and regulations. Humans have many needs that can be better satisfied through voluntary cooperation with others; yet, security is often the primary concern of social organizations. This is why the state has been able to survive so long in spite of its inherent unsustainability and the self-destructive nature of state tyranny and exploitation. The more that agents of the state fail to provide what they have promised, while sucking more energy from the working man fueling the unrest that goes along with the day-to-day of crumbling empires, the closer we come to a crossroads of conscience.
As the social norms in a culture evolve into a more rigid institutional system of social organization, the principles of mutual consent and equal freedom are increasingly taken for granted. Leadership authority goes from being (1) a function of individuals choosing to follow other individuals who consistently perform respect-worthy actions and exhibit virtuous behavior when followed by small groups to (2) a function of geographical birth dictating allegiance from ever larger groups to follow agents of an institutional monopoly on the “legal” use of violence. It should be obvious, as we look at both history and the world today, that some cultures hold dear ideas that promote freedom and liberty, while others promote authoritarianism and tyranny. Tolerating those with different cultural beliefs is commendable and even courageous, but ignoring that there are others in cultures who wish to harm you is foolish and naïve. In any case, culture matters if one values liberty.
When the state has a policy of creating and then accepting mass waves of people who have expressed contempt for the people and culture ruled by the agents of that state, how can a rational person not oppose such a destructive state policy? If an uninvited army of violent young males were at the border demanding that you give them money, food, clothing, housing, an education, jobs and whatever else they may desire, or they will start raping and pillaging their way through your neighborhoods, would you consider this event a question of libertarian theory concerning “open borders”? Or would you support the state military in defending your home against these invaders?
Now, what if it is the state who created this group by attacking their homes in the name of protecting you, then used money taken from you to pay for the transportation costs to get them into your neighborhood and to provide food, clothing, shelter and spending money? Would you still consider the primary concern in this situation as to who is and is not a true libertarian based on some esoteric definition of “open borders”? This is not about sacrificing principle for the sake of being practical, it is about “not seeing the forest for the trees”; it is about not being turned into a dupe for the state because they have fraudulently preyed upon your elevated sense of justice and principle to undermine your culture and society. Step back and look at the big picture before rudely condemning others for misconceived petty heresies to libertarian principles based on personal value judgements on matters of survival. Certainly, assuming that there is some sort of libertarian litmus test in this quagmire begs credulity.
The “refugees” pouring into Europe and eventually into America are not needy widows and orphans, but mostly young, aggressive males who obviously are looking out only for themselves. Here are some examples showing this behavior. Europe is being invaded by an army of violent parasites that will soon occupy their homelands, and the states of Europe are promoting it because they need an influx of workers to prop up their failing socialist pyramid schemes. To argue from afar that Europeans should not defend their culture from this state-induced invasion of violent parasites because in a perfect world there would be no borders is embarrassing to libertarians. We should use these events as an example to show how the state is incompetent, unsustainable and even destructive to their own constituencies. This cultural suicide pact should be given as a reason to end the unholy marriage between the welfare state of the left and the warfare state of the right that take turns putting boots on our necks.
I support the elimination of the state, including opposing the contradictory policies of border control and forced immigration, using the bedrock libertarian principles of non-aggression and property rights. There is little argument among libertarians about these policies in theory, it is the real world where things get confrontational. Libertarians will continue to disagree over many matters as to the application of these principles in the real world, and debate on these issues, I believe, is what gives the liberty movement the best, most interesting forum for open debate on real political issues today. We should all be wary of falling into the trap of supporting state policies in the name of libertarian principles which, of course, works both ways in so many cases because the state maintains so many contradictory policies. But in the end, the state should remain the focus of our ire, not other sincere promoters of liberty with whom we have slight disagreements as to how to turn water into wine.