"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
As Usual, Americans Worry About the Wrong Things
As Usual, Americans Worry About the Wrong Things
by Mike Waite
Exclusive to STR What are we to make of the latest uproar about illegal immigration? Are we to presume that "our" political agents are finally going to do something about what many have been grousing about for years now? I very much doubt it.We shouldn't take seriously the idea that the state has any desire to do us any favors. The notion that it is there to do what's good for the country is a naive attitude we should have discarded long ago. Anyone who pays attention soon realizes the futility of expecting it to act in our best interest. It acts exclusively in its own interest.But the media are full of enthusiastic chatter about how new laws would fix things. All they would do is destroy what's left of what makes America good. Do folks really want to live in a garrison state surrounded by walls? With a system of internal passports to be presented to surly security thugs on demand? To have employment subjected to official inspection and veto? Their earnestness is understandable but sadly misplaced. In a better world, people would realize the problem cannot be solved by making laws but by repealing them.Therefor the details of the latest government proposal are unimportant as they only serve to distract us from understanding a number of salient points. The first of these is that all the problems associated with illegal immigration were caused by the government in the first place. Those problems then provided the state with opportunities to increase its power in order to attempt to solve those problems which somehow never seemed to get better. They just created more and better problems to address and more and better opportunities for the state to expand its power at the expense of our liberties and our wallets. In a country where the people so innocently trust their government, it's the perfect crime.This endless cycle of exploitation isn't just about illegal immigration. Whenever folks get riled about something, politicians see another opportunity to grow the government, line their pockets and those of their patrons, and generally enhance their careers. They know what they're doing even if we don't.Is this too much highfalutin theorizing? Then let's look at some concrete examples.One of the main complaints we hear is that illegal immigrants are crowding our public schools. We pay taxes so they can get schooled and that's not fair. Folks have lost sight of the plain fact that government has no business being involved in education at all. Period. And, it's already not fair that those of us with no kids in government schools still get taxed to pay for it. Hypocrisy much? No one should be forced to pay for other people's schooling.Then there's the issue of our hospitals and their emergency facilities being used for free by indigent aliens. The rest of us pay higher prices to cover those expenses. Well that wouldn't be a problem if the government didn't force hospitals to treat them for free. Medical facilities are a business and no one should be forced to pay for other people's medical care.Some are convinced that illegal aliens are taking away our jobs. Whether or not that's true, folks need to understand that government depredation of the economy is a far worse problem. With its systematic plundering of our incomes through confiscatory taxation, inflation of the money supply, and its gross interference with capital accumulation, far more employment is destroyed or prevented than any conceivable amount of immigration ever could.What about the strain on the welfare system and law enforcement? Well, beyond the fact that government has no business running a welfare boondoggle, illegal immigration only became a problem when the state made it clear to the world that services, both public and private, could not be denied to anyone based on their immigration status. So the flood poured in. The state then made it perfectly clear that no effort to impede the flow will be tolerated. Even property owners, American citizens mind you, may not use force to protect their own property from trespass and insult by hordes of immigrants tramping across. If Americans try to protect their own property, the state threatens them with violence.The state has laid out a feast before the eyes of the world and then rung a dinner bell. "Come and get it!" And so they come. Obviously the state wants a flood of illegal immigration. It is simply not rational to expect the government to solve a problem that it has itself created, and clearly wants to continue.The only way to end the problems illegal immigration cause is not to further curtail what little remains of our liberty, but to put an end to the government programs that serve as enablers and incentives to come here and cause problems. The entire welfare apparatus and public school system funded by taxation ought to be scrapped not only because they draw undesirables but because it is not moral to fund programs with stolen money. Preventing landowners from effectively defending their property is intolerable in a country that thinks of itself as free. Requiring hospitals to treat all who appear on their doorstep without the ability to pay so that others can feel good about themselves by being generous with other people's resources has no place in a society that claims to respect private property.If these and other absurd and immoral outrages were ended, so would problematic immigration. Only responsible immigrants would come, and they would benefit us all. The problems that illegal immigration cause are not the result of a porous border, but the easily predictable consequences of the system of property theft and forced transfer to those to whom it does not belong, the denial of landowner rights, and the forcing of people to associate with those with whom they would rather not.So whenever folks clamor for the government to do something about some newly perceived social pathology, they ought to take a moment to see with cold, clear eyes just what government is all about. Its functionaries have their own agendas to promote and their own careers to advance. To the state, every crisis is simply another opportunity to seize more power. It seeks not to solve problems, but to exploit them, and us.