On the Border

Column by Mark Davis.

Exclusive to STR

Cruisin' down the center of a two way street
Wond'rin' who is really in the driver's seat
Mindin' my bus'ness along comes big brother
Says, "Son, you better get on one side or the other."

I'm out on the border, I'm walkin' the line
Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order
I'm try'n' to change this water to wine.
~ The Eagles

The issue of border control is wholly and completely a problem created by the state, perpetuated by the state and exploited by agents of the state for various cross-purposes. State borders represent the recognition between agents of states as to taxing jurisdictions. States vehemently defend their taxing authority borders against other competing taxing authorities that may wish to poach on their taxpayers (they even get the taxpayers to do the fighting and dying). But state agents not only don’t defend borders against invasions of new taxpayers, they openly encourage and invite new taxpayers when it benefits the state. Like many otherwise straightforward social issues easily solved by local interested parties, state agents purposely infuse complexity as a façade for its incompetence and immorality to reduce personal choices on such issues into a cascading matrix of compromises. So, a fundamental question for anyone who values individual liberty must be where to draw the line on personally supporting the state. Two related questions to consider include: does agreeing with any state action mean that you are supporting the state; and does being a libertarian require opposing every state action? Warning, personal value judgements ahead.

Getting along well with neighbors who practice the same traditions, customs and rituals--that is, people who live in the same culture--is hard enough for most people. Getting overwhelmed by masses of people who practice a completely different culture is always and everywhere disruptive to social harmony. A culture comes about and evolves traditions, customs and rituals for the purpose of social harmony. Social harmony is a good thing, in my view, and something most people generally appear to desire.

The most productive and successful cultures in the world have established themselves as destination locations for the poor, the tired and the wretched because they offer superior opportunities and/or benefits. Now the number of poor, tired and wretched is growing exponentially and these processes of social evolution are synthesizing over periods of years instead of over decades or even centuries. Further, immigrants are no longer primarily seeking better opportunities to work, but are now primarily seeking handouts based on a sense of entitlement. So where does that leave us libertarians and what can we do about it?

Individual influence over really big stuff, like international “situations,” disputes over valuable resources, world currency manipulations and other things that agents of the state attach so much importance to, appears to be insignificant in today’s populous and complex world in comparison to the growing challenges of day-to-day survival. The state is touted as the savior of all that is good even as its evil nature is nearly universally accepted, if not totally understood. One of these states actually has agents that claim it to be the “Policeman of the World!” while putting more of its own citizens in jail than any other state. The state perpetuating violence through endless meddling by intervening at home and throughout the world has “f*cked up beyond all recognition” (FUBAR) just about every culture on the planet. The only way to overcome this statist policy of wiping out cultural differences is to value our culture more than we value the state that seeks to eliminate it. That includes opposing state policies of forced immigration.

The state continues to wreak destruction on society, undermining the family, the church, local authorities, business associations, mutual aid societies, self-defense, education, free trade, free markets and just about every other kind of free association through regulations, taxes and threats of more taxes and regulations. Humans have many needs that can be better satisfied through voluntary cooperation with others; yet, security is often the primary concern of social organizations. This is why the state has been able to survive so long in spite of its inherent unsustainability and the self-destructive nature of state tyranny and exploitation. The more that agents of the state fail to provide what they have promised, while sucking more energy from the working man fueling the unrest that goes along with the day-to-day of crumbling empires, the closer we come to a crossroads of conscience.

As the social norms in a culture evolve into a more rigid institutional system of social organization, the principles of mutual consent and equal freedom are increasingly taken for granted. Leadership authority goes from being (1) a function of individuals choosing to follow other individuals who consistently perform respect-worthy actions and exhibit virtuous behavior when followed by small groups to (2) a function of geographical birth dictating allegiance from ever larger groups to follow agents of an institutional monopoly on the “legal” use of violence. It should be obvious, as we look at both history and the world today, that some cultures hold dear ideas that promote freedom and liberty, while others promote authoritarianism and tyranny. Tolerating those with different cultural beliefs is commendable and even courageous, but ignoring that there are others in cultures who wish to harm you is foolish and naïve. In any case, culture matters if one values liberty.

When the state has a policy of creating and then accepting mass waves of people who have expressed contempt for the people and culture ruled by the agents of that state, how can a rational person not oppose such a destructive state policy? If an uninvited army of violent young males were at the border demanding that you give them money, food, clothing, housing, an education, jobs and whatever else they may desire, or they will start raping and pillaging their way through your neighborhoods, would you consider this event a question of libertarian theory concerning “open borders”? Or would you support the state military in defending your home against these invaders?

Now, what if it is the state who created this group by attacking their homes in the name of protecting you, then used money taken from you to pay for the transportation costs to get them into your neighborhood and to provide food, clothing, shelter and spending money? Would you still consider the primary concern in this situation as to who is and is not a true libertarian based on some esoteric definition of “open borders”? This is not about sacrificing principle for the sake of being practical, it is about “not seeing the forest for the trees”; it is about not being turned into a dupe for the state because they have fraudulently preyed upon your elevated sense of justice and principle to undermine your culture and society. Step back and look at the big picture before rudely condemning others for misconceived petty heresies to libertarian principles based on personal value judgements on matters of survival. Certainly, assuming that there is some sort of libertarian litmus test in this quagmire begs credulity.

The “refugees” pouring into Europe and eventually into America are not needy widows and orphans, but mostly young, aggressive males who obviously are looking out only for themselves. Here are some examples showing this behavior. Europe is being invaded by an army of violent parasites that will soon occupy their homelands, and the states of Europe are promoting it because they need an influx of workers to prop up their failing socialist pyramid schemes. To argue from afar that Europeans should not defend their culture from this state-induced invasion of violent parasites because in a perfect world there would be no borders is embarrassing to libertarians. We should use these events as an example to show how the state is incompetent, unsustainable and even destructive to their own constituencies. This cultural suicide pact should be given as a reason to end the unholy marriage between the welfare state of the left and the warfare state of the right that take turns putting boots on our necks.

I support the elimination of the state, including opposing the contradictory policies of border control and forced immigration, using the bedrock libertarian principles of non-aggression and property rights. There is little argument among libertarians about these policies in theory, it is the real world where things get confrontational. Libertarians will continue to disagree over many matters as to the application of these principles in the real world, and debate on these issues, I believe, is what gives the liberty movement the best, most interesting forum for open debate on real political issues today. We should all be wary of falling into the trap of supporting state policies in the name of libertarian principles which, of course, works both ways in so many cases because the state maintains so many contradictory policies. But in the end, the state should remain the focus of our ire, not other sincere promoters of liberty with whom we have slight disagreements as to how to turn water into wine.

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Mark Davis's picture
Columns on STR: 65

Mark Davis is a husband, father and real estate analyst/investor enjoying the freedoms we still have in Longwood, Florida.


Samarami's picture

Nice to see your writing again, Mark! I've been working, busy, steering clear of forums lately. But this essay works in nicely with one that you wrote here over 11 years ago now. I've quoted it countless times at various comment venues:

    "Working within the system
    means to become a part of the system.
    When you go into the voting booth,
    the only meaningful significance
    that your action will have
    is to show that one more person
    supports the state".

    ~Mark Davis

    From Be Free, by Mark Davis July 10, 2005.


The above published not long after I had finally taken the bait and swallowed the hook of anarchy -- which I'll carry to my grave. No dilutions from pure anarchy make any sense to me any more. "Borders" are but fictitious lines in the sand.

There is another quote I submit regularly, written by David Calderwood over at Lew Rockwell six or seven years ago:

There's not a lot any of us can do about the existence of that mindless abstraction we refer to as "the state", or "government" -- other than to whine, gripe and complain (which I submit augments the perceived "power" of those wily psychopaths).

Oh, yes -- we can abstain from beans. It might seem a small step. But it is a step. Sam

Mark Davis's picture

Abstaining from beans is the only peaceful form of protest we have left. Withdrawing support for the system is spreading slowly. In the meantime I'll keep whining and complaining in an effort to speed up this trend of withdrawing support.

Glock27's picture

I may have missed some points in your narrative, but overall it is an issue which has been scaring me mostly for my children and grandchildren because my life span is drawing nigh.
I have been railed against in the past for a support of boarders, and now the results are being made manifest by the European nations in that they are experiencing a psychopathology once doubted would have been believed. Today reflects the Jewish attitude during WWII when the Nazis swooped in upon the Jews and initialized the death camps. For many of them they could not believe it was real, it was a mistake and too many of this nation are being just as blind.
I believe boundaries were established long before the United States came into existence, obviously, but even before European states began to emerge, even before the initializing of the Roman empire. It is my view point that the old philosophies must reorganize. Watching the video is a nightmare, one that I have no doubt will come into the boundres of the United States and is a warning to all who hold to the ideology of freedom and liberty will be forced to alter--if not for self, then for family and friends.
Are we to permit these parasites to settle in the lands of this nation, suck us dry, demanding goods be paid out to them? Are we to be made defenseless against their tactics of slaughter of infidels? Are the people of this nation to be forced into paying for their housing, clothes, medical treatment? Are Americans to tolerate the rape of women and children, and are the men to be subjugated to watching the heads of their loved ones being removed with a dull sword?
I may have missed all the points in your article Mark, but the theme which bore its hydra head was extremism and the results of extremist ideology. Radical Islamist have absolutely no concern for Anarchist, libertarians, voluntarist, or other groups supporting ideologies found on STR.
I once called myself one of these names at one time or another, but I have come to see myself more of a survivalist, one who will do what is needed and necessary to assure natural rights and laws are the foundation of this nation.
My perspective now is that no one is safe and everyone must in some manner prepare for the coming storm whether from the pathocracy this nation has evolved into or radical Islamic terrorist.
Assist me, in a polite manner, on how any of these aforementioned ideologies will bear any fruit in the coming times. The elder philosophers as Bastiat, Lysander and others may inarguably be accurate, but could they have even predicted the mess that has arrived?

Mark Davis's picture

Open borders is not an option on the table in a statist world, so debating "open borders" vs. "closed borders" is a futile exercise. We can agree that eliminating the state would eliminate state borders, which is wonderful, but a purely theoretical exercise. In the existing statist "real world", the debate is do you support the state forcing its native population to accept the immigration of groups chosen by agents of the state or not. I'm all for individuals freely moving about without being molested by state border police, but I can still oppose the state imposed policy of bringing in thousands of uninvited people that are hostile to my culture and want to be supported by money stolen from me.
Survival should be the primary concern of people today. The state is loosing credibility and the empire is crumbling; these trends will continue. Things will likely get worse before they get better.

Tony Pivetta's picture

Property rights should be no less sacrosanct to libertarians than rights to migrate. No, government has no business enforcing national borders, thereby infringing on migration. Neither does it have any business subsidizing migration, thereby infringing on property and association rights. Government has no business existing at all. 
The fact remains, government has subsidized migration. It has forcibly injected hostile and alien cultures into the West. The West is best for a reason. Freedom has civilizational antecedents.
Free people enjoy the right to associate, which necessarily includes the right to disassociate. This means the right to shun outsiders: for good reason, for bad reason, for no reason. In trashing that right, government has created a tragedy of the commons. There's nothing libertarian about that. 
Hats off to you, Mark! You've provided left-libertarian Rooters a dose of leavening all their own. 

KenK's picture

 A "dose of leavening all their own.'' What's that mean?

Tony Pivetta's picture

Immigration enthusiasts have made the claim that exotic peoples can provide "leavening" to homogenous cultures. Europeans are getting a dose of that leavening, good and hard, from the Mohammedan hordes now swarming them. 

D. Saul Weiner's picture

Even when the U.S. had basically an open immigration policy, there were certain restrictions in place. I believe that criminals were turned away. This seems reasonable (provided, of course, that we are talking about real crimes here and not State-concocted ones). In principle, turning away people who do not respect our basic standards of conduct is really no different.

Imagine if the Free State Project came to fruition and New Hampshire became a (relatively) free, prosperous domain. Suppose further that statists soon flocked there to take advantage of the improved environment, but also wanted to bring their statism with them. Naturally, it would not remain free for very long. This has happened to other states that had been reasonably well-run at one point. Maybe such folks should be allowed work permits to live there, but not be allowed to become citizens of the Free state.