Libertarian National Committee Region 7

Monday, March 9, 2009

Open borders?

Yesterday, I got an eMail that said “I cannot support the LP because of its “open borders” policy.”

I replied that "Since libertarians believe in freedom and Liberty for all people, "open borders" is an inviolable (IMO) part of our platform."

Later in the day, Hugs and I were shopping for a birthday gift for his 87 year old mother. He found “Ellis Island: An Illustrated History of the Immigrant Experience” at Powell's Books in Portland. While we drove back to Seattle, I looked through it.

The images, both graphic and verbal, are vivid – the farm laborer from Serbia, eyes wide to keep the tears from falling, who was sent back; the story of the little girl who had a rash on her face, and whose coat was marked with chalk to deny entry; the photos of tiny little children’s shoes: from China, Austria, Albania and Greece. Portraits and stories of thousands of people who risked death to travel in steerage; who, hungry, cold and proud, presented themselves for the humiliation and pain of the physical examinations at Ellis Island.

Stories about the monotonous, bland food, which, while filling and plentiful, was the “least common denominator” – that which offended most people the least. (Apparently, the Italians hated the oatmeal, and the Jews kept kosher, of course; and most of the other groups didn’t like the food of one group or another.)

This country was founded by people seeking refuge from religious oppression. For a century, it was filled by groups of people seeking relief from oppression, from poverty, and from war.

They came here, not seeking a handout, nor even a hand up, just the opportunity to work hard, to earn money, and to live free in a free land.

We started with a great experiment in freedom . . . "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”.

And what have we done with it? We’ve built a fence and slammed the gate, because “you’re too tired, too poor, and there are too many of you huddled outside the gate”.

The unintended consequence of our “we must help those less fortunate” policies have hurt the very people they were intended to help. The United States of America is no longer the refuge of oppressed people looking for opportunity.

As Ben Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him, “….. Sir, what have you given us”. Ben’s response was, “…… a ‘Republic’ ma’am, if you can keep it.”

And we’ve not kept it.

In the attempt to help people, we’ve created a situation where we now want to exclude those who most need help.

A Libertarian solution would be to end the welfare programs that people are afraid we can't afford to offer to anyone who can slip over our borders; and allow peaceful people to travel freely. Private charities could choose who they offered help to.

Because government is not the answer. Freedom works best.

1 comment:

jmills said...

I live in Washington State where we have a completely free and open border to the South (with Oregon) and to the East (with Idaho), but someone thinks we need barbed wire and walls to the North and West. Seems like the economic and social policies that justify free and open borders between all the 50 states, applies equally to states called Canada and Mexico (among others).