Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Commentary: 'The Weakest Argument For Throwing Undocumented Immigrants Out of the Country' by Robert Wenzel

At the post, Trump Vows Mass Immigration Arrests, Removals of Millions of Illegal Aliens’ Starting Next Week, a commenter writes:
If people are taxed, then they have partial ownership of government lands and they get to decide who is allowed on that land. Therefore when the illegals come in, the taxpayer may elect someone who will deal with the illegals as trespassers. This is the privilege that taxpayers get to enjoy if they are forced to pay taxes.
This is argument is wrong on multiple levels.

First the statement, "If people are taxed, then they have partial ownership of government lands and they get to decide who is allowed on that land." is a slippery version of the slogan "The government is here to help you."

Hell, even Ronald Reagan knew this was a scam:


The idea that the government should be expanded for any purpose should outrage any libertarian.

Where exactly do libertarians have "partial ownership of the government"?

Where exactly is the government listening to libertarians?

Only a beltarian would think this argument makes sense.

But further, the idea that all taxpayers do not want undocumented immigrants in the United States is delusional. What about the taxpaying apartment owners that rent to the undocumented? Aren't they paying taxes on their properties (and thus the illegals are indirectly)? What about employers who employ the undocumented aren't they paying at a minimum both property taxes and income taxes?

Just who the hell does this commenter think he is that he thinks he has the say on every property in the country as to who tax-paying property owners and tax-paying employers can invite on their property?

Does he realize that his claim "This is the privilege that taxpayers get to enjoy if they are forced to pay taxes." means the exact opposite of what he thinks it means?

In another comment Joshua Bennet summarized the situation correctly and powerfully:

It’s one thing I don’t understand about some libertarians that I hold in high regard.
We supposedly don’t believe in the State. But they want the State to curb immigration. So they are calling on State action. Unreal.
Do you Hate the State, or not?
But another commenter argues:
Sure. Until we dismantle the state in the proper order (and that is not open borders tomorrow), you can change the immigration laws. Or you can stand at the border and screen out the murderers, thieves, rapists, drunk drivers and free-loaders. Do you have time for that?
This commenter simply has no appreciation for how the free market works. He is calling for the shrinkage of the state "in the proper order" as if the government protects us now. It is silly to think that the government does this, in  Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person, I explain how it is not the government that protects us. Every city has safe areas and dangerous areas patrolled by the same city police.

It is the people in the areas that make it safe or unsafe.

Further, the idea that the undocumented are murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. is simply untrue (SEE: Does Undocumented Immigration Increase Violent Crime?). This is just buying into low-level Trump propaganda of the type that is as old as the masses themselves.

As Hayek put it in The Road To Serfdom:

It is in connection with the deliberate effort of the skillful demagogue to weld together a closely coherent and homogeneous body and supporters that...It seems to be almost a law of human nature that is easier for people to agree on negative programs--on the hatred of an in an enemy, on the envy of those better off -- than on any positive task. The contrast between the "we" and the "they," the common fight against those outside the group seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly unite together a group for common action. It is consequently always employed by those who seek not really support of a policy, but the unreserved legions of huge masses. From the point of view it has the great advantage of leaving them greater freedom of action than in on almost any positive program. The other enemy, whether they be internal like the "Jew" or the 'kulak" or external seems to be an indispensable requisite in the armory of a totalitarian leader.
 Hayek discussed the masses who fall for this stuff:
Is probably true that, in general, the higher education and intelligence of individuals become, the more their views and tastes are differentiated and the less likely they are to agree on a particular hierarchy of values. It is a corollary of this that if we wish to find a high degree of uniformity and similarity in outlook, we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive and "common" instincts and tastes prevail. This does not mean that the majority of people have low moral standards; it merely means that the largest group of people whose values are very similar are people with low standards. It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of people. If a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on  the values of life on all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes - - it will be those who form the "mass" in the derogatory sense of the term, the least original and the independent, who will be able to put the weight of the numbers behind their particular ideals.
The sooner we stop thinking in the massive aggregate, The United States of America, the better. The solution as far as immigration is concerned is simple: People who want to live, rent and employ immigrants should be allowed to do so. Those who do not want to be around immigrants should live where there are like-minded "thinkers" and no immigrants.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomicsand on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here. 

Editor's note: This article was originally run at Economic Policy Journal and has been republished with permission of its author.