Walter Williams has been considered very “libertarian” in his thinking and his writing, although a conservative libertarian. He has been great in his essays raking the political correctness crowd and the college hystericals over the coals, and his books Up from the Projects and Race and Economics should be read by everyone, especially the youngins in college if they want to get a dose of reality in life.
However, when it comes to nationalism and immigration it seems he is less libertarian and, unfortunately, extremely collectivist, and his latest article on that subject is no exception. So, I feel I must fisk Dr. Williams on this one, because clarification of the issues, ideas and principles is necessary here.
First, Williams asks,
How many Norwegians have illegally entered our nation, committed crimes and burdened our prison and welfare systems? I might ask the same question about Finnish, Swedish, Welsh, Icelanders, Greenlanders and New Zealanders.
How many U.S. citizens who are here legally commit crimes against others? And who has committed more crimes against the American people, immigrants or the government in Washington (and the bureaucrats of the state and city governments)? (Answer: It’s governments, no contest.)
The bulk of our immigration problem is with people who enter our country criminally from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. It’s illegal immigrants from those countries who have committed crimes and burdened our criminal justice and welfare systems.
No, the bulk of our immigration problem is that immigrants from those “undesirable” countries are brought in under the control of government bureaucrats in Washington. The bureaucrats have no incentive to strive for better outcomes in their policies because government bureaucrats are not accountable. They have a monopoly in their control over immigration, and monopolists are not accountable.
In the debate about illegal immigration, there are questions that are not explicitly asked but can be answered with a straight “yes” or “no”: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country? Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?
“Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.?” This is not a “yes” or “no” question. Everyone has a right to live wherever one finds it to be a better place for oneself and one’s family, as long as one doesn’t violate the persons or property of others. I know, some people have the mistaken belief that the U.S. territory is “our” property, and outsiders entering the territory sans authorization are “trespassing.” Nope. The territory contains many, many parcels of private property. The owners of the private property have the ultimate right to decide who enters and who does not enter their private property, not the community, and not the government. This applies to people’s homes, their businesses, churches, and so on.
“Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country?” Again, not a “yes” or “no” question. Many people believe that Americans as a group, by majority rule, have a right to decide those things, and that the government has the authority (constitutional or moral) to implement those decisions, regardless of a private property owner or employer’s decision to invite someone. If the collectivists’ vision were the case (as it currently is now), then we don’t really have private property rights, and the majority of the territory’s population and the government really are the ultimate decision makers of who may enter private property.
“Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?” Why is there “U.S. border control”? That’s referring to U.S. government border control, which is a police state now. A “100-mile Constitution-free zone”!
And then Williams gets into the cultural aspects of the problems of today:
People who came here in the 19th century and most of the 20th century came here to learn our language, learn our customs and become Americans. Years ago, there was a guarantee that immigrants came here to work, because there was no welfare system; they worked, begged or starved. Today, there is no such assurance. Because of our welfare state, immigrants can come here and live off taxpaying Americans.
Then get rid of the welfare state! THAT’s the answer to that problem. It’s the welfare state that FDR and LBJ (and Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, et al., ad nauseam) have forced on us. Dr. Williams has many times written in his articles that it is immoral to take earnings from one person to give to another, by force. Why doesn’t he say outright here that involuntary contracts and theft (i.e. taxation), Social Security, Medicare and all their spin-offs should be abolished?
There is another difference between today and yesteryear. Today, Americans are taught multiculturalism throughout their primary, secondary and college education. They are taught that one culture is no better or worse than another. To believe otherwise is criticized at best as Eurocentrism and at worst as racism.
Well, that’s because governments in the U.S., federal, state and local government, control education in America! Get the government out of education, completely! And THAT’s the answer to that problem, this “multiculturalism” crapola. You think that an all-private schools system, without any government handouts and without the imposition of monopolistic government bureaucrats’ sick, irrational, kooky claptrap would survive in an educational free market?
Very unfortunate for our nation is that we have political groups that seek to use illegal immigration for their own benefit. They’ve created sanctuary cities and states that openly harbor criminals — people who have broken our laws.
That’s because “sanctuary cities” are run by city governments — THAT’s the problem! Bureaucrats should not be empowered to get involved in bringing in foreigners, unless those actual bureaucrats invite the foreign visitors or workers to live in their homes, the bureaucrats‘ own homes, and they pay for their visitors, not the taxpayers. Sadly, government bureaucrats mainly just want to have as much welfare parasites (and voters) brought in, because getting reelected and expanding their tax-funded racket is what bureaucrats really care about.
And also, it’s not really about “legal” vs. “illegal” with many of today’s anti-immigration conservatives, unfortunately. A lot of this anti-immigration stuff is just coming from a collectivist, nationalist anti-foreigner mentality. “We are all one ‘family,’ and we don’t want ‘them’ invading ‘our’ home,” and all that. I’m hearing that on a constant, daily basis from the conservative talk radio personalities and their dittohead followers calling in.
This immigration stuff is mainly to do with a collectivist nationalism, which is not what “America” is all about. America was all about individualism and private property, NOT collectivism and collective ownership of a territory that overrules the will of the private property owner.
And “America” is also not about central planning as well. Most of the early Americans who founded the country would not have agreed to empowering central planning bureaucrats to have authority over controlling immigration matters. Leave those matters up to Americans themselves, not the government.