[DISCLOSURE: ANY REFERENCE TO “LIBERTARIANS FOR TRUMP” DOES NOT REFER TO ANY FORMAL LEGAL GROUP OR ASSOCIATION WITH THAT SAME NAME. NO POSITION OR POLICY STATEMENTS OUTLINED IN THIS PIECE REPRESENT, INTENDED OR OTHERWISE, ANY OF THEIR POSITION OR POLICY STATEMENTS. REFERENCES TO “LIBERTARIANS FOR TRUMP” ARE TO LIBERTARIANS, IN GENERAL, THAT SUPPORT DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.]
It is with grave disappointment that I report the continued defection of a radical libertarian sect, referring to themselves as “libertarians for Trump”, from the free trade, open border, individual liberty, less government, movement. They join the angry socialist conservative Republican and socialist liberal Democrat “Trumpsters” in an effort to propel The Donald to a 2016 Republican Party Presidential candidate nomination. Via lewrockwell.com, and under the banner “Open Borders Are Anti-Libertarian”, comes the following:
by: Bionic Mosquito
I am not going to review all of the material referred to in this piece, or the related interview and 10-page essay by Murray Rothbard, though I suggest you do so. While I wholeheartedly agree with the positions held by Rothbard, Hans Hoppe and Jörg Guido Hülsman, that in a libertarian society private property rights, including taxpayer-funded property, must be protected, that conclusion does not equate to an open border is anti-libertarian and a closed border is libertarian. State imposed borders are anti-libertarian. Private property is libertarian, and letting the owners of each property decide who enters is libertarian, regardless of how others in the nation or “culture” feel about it. In an ideal libertarian society, yes, all property would be private and each owner could decide for themselves. Unfortunately, our current world of government-owned, taxpayer-funded, property does not support this position. The only question remaining is; do we want to continue to expand the role of government in determining and enforcing borders, or would a free-market based, contractual, private property approach, serve citizens better?
Nation, Borders and Culture
If I own a piece of property and a restaurant, and place a sign out front that says, “Open for Business”, should I be able to invite in, or exclude, whomever I want? In what situation, does “nation”, “borders” or “culture” override individual liberty? Whom, exactly, in the community, will be the arbiter of these collective values and ideals, and who is responsible for policing for compliance? If we can agree that each individual property owner will decide for themselves, what they will or will not do with their property, we have a valid starting point from which to apply libertarian principles. If we cannot agree on this, you are starting from a position of third party authoritarianism. Being open to conduct business with whomever I please, like open borders, is not anti-libertarian. And, if we were to extend this line of reasoning beyond the supposed anti-libertarian border between Mexico and the United States, for example, we would need to examine the open border between Pennsylvania and Ohio. Or, how about between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota? Unfortunately, by invoking and acknowledging any state-drawn border, you legitimize and perpetuate state authority, not cripple it.
Portions of the Rothbard essay highlighted by Bionic Mosquito:
Libertarians tend to focus on two important units of analysis: the individual and the state. And yet, one of the most dramatic and significant events of our time has been the reemergence-with a bang-in the last five years of a third and much-neglected aspect of the real world, the “nation.”
The “nation,” of course, is not the same thing as the state, a difference that earlier libertarians and classical liberals such as Ludwig von Mises and Albert Jay Nock understood full well.
Contemporary libertarians often assume, mistakenly, that individuals are bound to each other only by the nexus of market exchange. They forget that everyone is necessarily born into a family, a language, and a culture.
…usually including an ethnic group, with specific values, cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions.
NATIONS BY CONSENT: DECOMPOSING THE NATION-STATE
Murray N. Rothbard, 1994
Rothbard, at the time, was referring to the break-up of the Soviet Union and state sanctioned and supported migration into highly concentrated ethnic and cultural communities, by individuals not sharing the same ethnicity or culture. Certainly, this is something that could have been written today, and remains highly relevant, particularly in the United States and Europe. But, with regards to the “nation”, a line of reasoning down this path can only lead to one group formed along familial, language or cultural ties, collectively discriminating against individuals or groups of “outsiders”. This is the antithesis of libertarianism. With regards to one’s own being or property, no one should be under any obligation to include undesirables, however they may determine that, in their lives. But, imposing those beliefs on others, formally or informally, is no different than that same imposition being promulgated and enforced by an established government.
…on rethinking immigration on the basis of the anarcho-capitalist model, it became clear to me that a totally privatized country would not have “open borders” at all. If every piece of land in a country were owned by some person, group, or corporation, this would mean that no immigrant could enter there unless invited to enter and allowed to rent, or purchase, property. A totally privatized country would be as “closed” as the particular inhabitants and property owners desire. It seems clear, then, that the regime of open borders that exists de facto in the U.S. really amounts to a compulsory opening by the central state, the state in charge of all streets and public land areas, and does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the proprietors.
NATIONS BY CONSENT: DECOMPOSING THE NATION-STATE
Murray N. Rothbard, 1994
If the ultimate fear is destruction of an existing culture, through state assistance, millions of Somalis, as an example, cross the border and vote in a pro-Somali government that suppresses the current inhabitants, the problem is not an “open border”, it is “public borders”. A complete conversion of all public lands to private and restoration of individual liberties would place the responsibility of every border in the hands of each owner. Governmental, state, local, or otherwise, borders, lose their meaning and no longer have relevance. So, do we advocate for the abolition of public borders? Or, do we beef up an existing government agency or create brand new levels of law enforcement to police government-drawn boundaries?
To discuss the application of libertarian theory in the real world – a world made up of humans that are born into a family and culture – without recognizing this reality is nonsensical. Theory without recognizing human realities is a bad theory.
Borders, Culture and Decentralization
Bionic Mosquito, 2016
While I certainly recognize that humans are born with inherent weaknesses, or “realities”, one potentially being non-acceptance of others, or a strong desire to limit economic competition, the correct application of libertarian theory in this area is to respect the freedom of others to pursue their own private interests, not build a 30-foot high wall along an entire state-drawn national or territorial border and invoke government-legislated laws that override the private property rights of land owners. In 1865, would it have been an acceptable libertarian position to confiscate private property and build a 30-foot high wall along the Mason-Dixon line to keep “unfair” freed slaves from migrating north for employment? Would it have been an acceptable libertarian position to force the South to build and pay for the wall? Would it have been acceptable to line the wall with armed taxpayer-funded, government-paid, law enforcement officials? How about a shoot-to-kill policy toward any job seeker caught climbing over that wall?
Does it concern anyone in the “libertarians for Trump” camp that these walls have been built in the past? Does it concern any of them that these walls were built under the auspice of protecting “the people”, but in practice served to prevent emigration or defection? (Photo: Berlin Wall)
This next photo is of someone trying to leave, not someone trying to get in! Let that sink in for a moment.
If I want to hire a person of Mexican citizenship to work in my business, in say Dallas, Texas, and invite him and others from Mexico to stay on my private property, no one has a right, in a libertarian society, to insert themselves in to the matter. The fact that an anti-open-border “libertarian”, union thug, or national socialist candidate for President of the Unites States, does not like what I am paying them, what country they are from, or that they will accept lower wages, or that they have different colored skin, or a different religion, should not enter in to the equation, let alone give them the right to build a wall or inflict bodily harm on anyone.
…if we proceed with the decomposition and decentralization of the modern centralizing and coercive nation-state, deconstructing that state into constituent nationalities and neighborhoods, we shall at one and the same time reduce the scope of government power, the scope and importance of voting and the extent of social conflict. The scope of private contract, and of voluntary consent, will be enhanced, and the brutal and repressive state will be gradually dissolved into a harmonious and increasingly prosperous social order.
NATIONS BY CONSENT: DECOMPOSING THE NATION-STATE
Murray N. Rothbard, 1994
As long as individuals maintain the right to control their own property, and individual rights override collective rights, I completely concur.
What do you call one bad decision, followed by another bad decision, then followed by yet another bad decision? Digging your own grave. How can we translate this to government? One bad policy, followed by another bad policy, followed by yet another bad policy. How many historical examples do we need? How many wars, famines, humanitarian and/or economic disasters must occur, before we realize that fixing one government induced problem, with a government solution, is not the correct path? Do we consider beefing up state law enforcement, violence and a massive prison population to be viable solutions to the illegality of agriculturally grown and produced “drugs”? No, making these “illegal” drugs legal is the solution. In addition to this not being an “open border” issue, I do not consider the “Mexican” or EU “illegal” immigrant issues to be solvable by government, force, or, “the law”.
How is it a libertarian position to restrict immigration? Oh, “the law”, you say? Oh, well as long as the law says so, then that settles the matter. Or, does it? It is “legal” for someone to emigrate from Nebraska to Texas, but not Mexico to Texas, so we deport the Mexican working on the oil rig, but the Cornhusker can stay? That, is a “libertarian” position? Oh, but Milton, you don’t understand. Mexicans don’t pay taxes in the United States! Mexicans are free-loaders! Most U.S. welfare and entitlement recipients, who by birth, are U.S. citizens, not only do not pay taxes, but the U.S. and state governments force current and future taxpayers to support them. If we are now using the payment of taxes to determine who stays and who goes, we have a lot bigger problem than you think we have! Government should not be determining legal or illegal residents no more than they should be determining legal or illegal drugs, or legal or illegal occupations, unless someone is harming another person. And, that does not include being “not fair” by providing labor services for less.
Along with a 100% private property solution, the obvious fix for the United States is to open a true free-trade and immigration zone with Mexico, and Canada for that matter. This is not a simple endeavor and occupational, wage, welfare, entitlement and other reforms would also be required. I do not consider bullying the independent nation of Mexico, border walls, capital controls, or asset forfeiture and confiscation (see below, all part of the Trump platform), acceptable alternatives, any more than I consider these actions appropriate if someone were to cross the border from Ohio to Pennsylvania. To Rothbard’s point, the lines between states or nations are arbitrary, and drawn by government. And, nations are not developed by the state from the top down, they are grown through personal relationships and human actions from the bottom up. In time, “the law” can no more hold down or control individuals subjective desires and customs that collectively make up a culture than they can control the desire to have sex or smoke marijuana.
Preserving the Nation (not the state)
In the United States, the current construction of arguments and purported solutions proposed by “libertarians for Trump” infer that the problem is outside our national territories or boundaries. Is it really outsiders that are destroying our nation? And, will keeping them out really make things better? Or, is the nation being destroyed from within? I believe an honest search for this answer can only lead to one conclusion; that the nation is being destroyed from within. The United States is not the only country facing this problem of our time. I believe, most acutely, the problem is in Europe, particularly visible and most advanced in Greece. Is the problem that the governments and citizens of other countries refuse to lend Greece any more money? If the problem is the international greedy bankers and greedy Germans, then build a wall around Greece and live happily ever after. Then what? Will decades of government and, frankly, voter repudiation of personal responsibility, thrift and delusional beliefs in Santa Claus be solved? I don’t think so. This won’t fix the U.S. either.
Let’s, specifically, look at Trump on the positions @ donaldjtrump.com.
Introduction: The provision of the Patriot Act, Section 326 – the “know your customer” provision, compelling financial institutions to demand identity documents before opening accounts or conducting financial transactions is a fundamental element of the outline below. That section authorized the executive branch to issue detailed regulations on the subject, found at 31 CFR 130.120-121. It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.
The Patriot Act is unconstitutional and has been rejected by libertarians from day one. How then, can we support a platform that invokes its use?
On day 1 promulgate a “proposed rule” (regulation) amending 31 CFR 130.121 to redefine applicable financial institutions to include money transfer companies like Western Union, and redefine “account” to include wire transfers. Also include in the proposed rule a requirement that no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States.
Capital controls, or any restrictions of capital flowing from one country to another, is a clear violation of economic liberty and libertarian principles. Again, along the same lines, I ask, how then can we support a platform that invokes such a provision?
On day 2 Mexico will immediately protest. They receive approximately $24 billion a year in remittances from Mexican nationals working in the United States. The majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens. It serves as de facto welfare for poor families in Mexico. There is no significant social safety net provided by the state in Mexico.
I fail to see the difference, or any moral high ground, in U.S. citizen welfare or entitlement recipients sponging off taxpayers and using the money in whatever way they would like including international travel, properties, or tax shelters, and a Mexican citizen sending money home to their family. As long as someone is investing or working for their money, they should be able to send it wherever they would like, and to whomever they please.
On day 3 tell Mexico that if the Mexican government will contribute the funds needed to the United States to pay for the wall, the Trump Administration will not promulgate the final rule, and the regulation will not go into effect.
Even if Mexico caved to this form of blackmail, the ill-will generated will serve as a platform for economic, political and military violence for decades to come.
Trade tariffs, or enforcement of existing trade rules: There is no doubt that Mexico is engaging in unfair subsidy behavior that has eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs, and which we are obligated to respond to; the impact of any tariffs on the price imports will be more than offset by the economic and income gains of increased production in the United States, in addition to revenue from any tariffs themselves. Mexico needs access to our markets much more than the reverse, so we have all the leverage and will win the negotiation. By definition, if you have a large trade deficit with a nation, it means they are selling far more to you than the reverse – thus they, not you, stand to lose from enforcing trade rules through tariffs (as has been done to save many U.S. industries in the past).
I do not support enforcement of existing trade rules, I support abolishing them, completely. The fact is that by moving further away from free trade with Mexico, or any other trade partner, the United States would lose far more in wealth than it would ever gain.
Cancelling visas: Immigration is a privilege, not a right. Mexico is totally dependent on the United States as a release valve for its own poverty – our approvals of hundreds of thousands of visas to their nationals every year is one of our greatest leverage points. We also have leverage through business and tourist visas for important people in the Mexican economy. Keep in mind, the United States has already taken in 4X more migrants than any other country on planet earth, producing lower wages and higher unemployment for our own citizens and recent migrants.
Immigration is a privilege, not a right? At the risk of repeating myself one to many times, this is a libertarian principle we are supposed to support? Natural law would support the right of any individual to pursue their happiness and economic interests, in any area or territory in which they are invited. The fact that some government or candidate for President wishes to, or has restricted those rights endowed, is no reason to cast aside our principles for political purposes.
Visa fees: Even a small increase in visa fees would pay for the wall. This includes fees on border crossing cards, of which more than 1 million are issued a year. The border-crossing card is also one of the greatest sources of illegal immigration into the United States, via overstays. Mexico is also the single largest recipient of U.S. green cards, which confer a path to U.S. citizenship. Again, we have the leverage so Mexico will back down.
Higher government taxes, Visa Fees, are a supportable libertarian position? I have an idea; fire the government employees processing all of these applications and return the cost of their salaries to the taxpayers. Under a regime of 100% private property, each owner can decide who they wish to have on their property, they can charge them a fee if they wish and would be responsible for security within that property.
Conclusion: Mexico has taken advantage of us in another way as well: gangs, drug traffickers and cartels have freely exploited our open borders and committed vast numbers of crimes inside the United States. The United States has borne the extraordinary daily cost of this criminal activity, including the cost of trials and incarcerations. Not to mention the even greater human cost. We have the moral high ground here, and all the leverage. It is time we use it in order to Make America Great Again.
As evidenced by the end of Prohibition in 1933, the historical facts are overwhelming. By legalizing drugs, the amount of crime, violence and cross-border traffic for nefarious reasons would plummet to almost zero and would also completely eliminate the related costs of trials and incarcerations. Eliminating, by the way, cigarette taxes in New York, would also end (cigarette) “trafficking” crimes emanating from North Carolina. Just saying. And, Mexico has taken advantage of us? The United States is a victim of Mexico? The whole victim mentality espoused by Donald Trump and his gang of nationalist libertarian supporters is embarrassing. Private property, decriminalization and termination of the socialist/welfare/entitlement state would lead to a far more productive, peaceful and prosperous society. Something the Trump platform cannot, and will never, accomplish.
“Libertarians for Trump”, is clearly not about fighting for libertarian principles, but instead, a fight against anyone that is part of the so-called “establishment”. And, as we close, and in the spirit of anti-establishment-ness, it would only make sense to glorify Trump in his anti-establishment battles. First, showing incredible courage and bravery as the face of anti-establishment-ness:
It’s gory, I know, but in defiance of a bunch of FCC laws, I’m sure (because the law is important because without the law people would do whatever they wanted!), more “anti-establishment” warfare (WARNING: not for children over 50):
What’s next? After The Wall? From the “libertarians for Trump” crowd? Let me paint a picture of their ideal America.
Day 1: In addition to gunning down “illegal” Mexican, Canadian, Middle Eastern and Asian unarmed “invaders”, of course we will need to go through the arduous and messy but required task of targeting every non-American-looking subversive for their papers. Failure to comply or produce said papers will result in a prompt gun butt to the forehead, a flurry of punches and kicks, a boot to the back of the head and then shipment “back to where they came from!”.
Day 2: We have to get those $75,000 per year assembly line jobs back in the northeast and mid-west, union country. Oh wait, correction, them’s there 1977 dollars. In order to keep pace with inflation those 99.9% white-male positions will now command $250,000 per year plus taxpayer guaranteed unlimited free healthcare.
Day 3: If you are not part of the union, you are a “scab”. If you dare attempt to cross any picket line to work for less than union members care to work for that is unfair and gives said union members license to kick the shit out of you while their police buddies look the other way. Of course, they will be busy shooting at them “illegals”.
Day 4: Puff chest out!
Day 5: Can’t forget to get rid of those damn Jew bankers!
Day 6: Shoot to kill non-believers, aka defectors!
Day 7: Repeat Day 4!
Welcome to more, and bigger, government and, Lets Make America Great, Again!