Drawing the line

One way or another things are heating up with illegal immigraion, and I don't like the direction

One of the things that keeps coming up when libertarians discuss the illegal immigration mess is the issue of coercion.

One problem is that we get caught up in the "rights" of the illegals. The question goes something like this. Do we have the right to deprive them of a better life?

This is inexorably tied into the whole issue of progressive government and what "rights" people should have.

My take is that your rights should not cost me my property.

Obviously this goes beyond the issue of "illegal rights" to the "rights" of citizens. This gives a glimpse of the problem. If there were not social benefits disguised as rights then the problem with illegals would mostly vanish.

I believe that people have a right to life and liberty. I do not believe that people have a right to guaranteed benefits paid for by the public purse. Honestly, I do not believe there should be a public purse. The only way to fill such a fund is by extortion in the name of the public good, and it will only be spent in ways that bring the maximum political gains to the decision makers.

And if democracy doesn't first protect individual rights, then the "common good" is just another way of saying that people are at the mercy of the very next vote.

Patri Freeman talked about this over at Catallarchy.

Here is the obvious thought experiment: Suppose that I live on an island controlled by powerful robots. The robots are whimsical, and have mandated a democratic system where they enforce whatever rules the humans vote on. There are currently 5 of us on the island, 3 of whom are libertarians, and 2 of whom are communists. A communist couple wants to move in, and the matter is put to a vote. Do you vote to stop them?

If you truly believe that my point is absurd, and that future political consequences like increased democratic coercion are irrelevant, then you will be adamant about letting the communists move in to destroy your freedom. Is that how you actually feel?

Do other people have a right to exploit us if we do not wish to be exploited? Even if we allow them here and excuse them from following our laws?

Is there something other than an armed response that could settle this? I will tell you, as far as I can tell there is a very real risk that the United States will end up annexing Mexico before all this is over, and that is becoming more likely every day.

— NeoWayland

Posted: Tue - May 30, 2006 at 04:29 AM  Tag

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