28 May 2010

On That Arizona Law…

Immigration 8 Comments

OK I have tried not to weigh in on this, because what could I add that has not been said? I just have two points:

#1. I am NOT saying if someone supports the Arizona law, it’s because the person is a closet racist. I live in Nashville, and I have no idea what the people living on the border are experiencing. I think the Arizona law is not the right solution to the problems down there, but I am not judging the character or motives of the people supporting this law.

Having said that, what DOES strike me as absolutely ridiculous is the way radio talk show guys (in particular Glenn Beck and Michael Savage) are defending the law. Their primary technique is to ask critics who call up, “Have you actually read the Arizona law?” and they play soundbites from major politicians who admit they haven’t read it. Then they will go through and read the parts of the law that rule out racial profiling etc.

Give me a break. Did cynics of ObamaCare have to read the whole thing to know it was rotten? If there was a provision in there saying, “Government funds shall not be used to fund abortions,” was that the end of the matter? What if there was a provision saying, “No one shall lose his current health care as a consequence of this section”? Give me a break.

#2. BTW “Kane” has a sweet LRC article on this topic:

While our system of property rights is already imperfect, the current immigration policy leads to even greater infringements on these rights. For example, if one owns property on or near the border, the government may claim the authority to build a fence or a wall on one’s property, and government agents may come and go as they please without the property owner’s permission.

These problems remain even if we move away from the border. For example, if the government suspects that I am employing undocumented workers, it claims the authority to raid my business – to enter my property without my permission – with armed agents.

If one truly owns one’s property, how is it that the government can control who is allowed on this property in opposition to the wishes of the property owner? In other words, why should my friend from Mexico beg for permission to enter the country in order to have dinner with me? Shouldn’t free people be able to associate or not associate with whomever they wish so long as those interactions are voluntary, consensual, and do not harm a third party?

In the contemporary world of immigration politics, property rights and the freedom of association are trumped by the omnipotent State. Is the State some sort of god before whom we must plead to recognize us as “official” persons? After all, that is the crux of the immigration question – must the individuals coming to America have the sanction of the State? As the State continues to lose legitimacy in the eyes of so many in the liberty movement, one wonders why many of these same folks still demand that individuals who peacefully come to this country seek the State’s approval above all else. After all, it is the State that determines who is “legal” and “illegal.”

As the United States continues its war on immigration, the government is building the infrastructure for a police state – internal checkpoints, national ID cards, work permits. When we wake up in that police state, will the anti-immigration crowd cry: “But I didn’t mean this!”

8 Responses to “On That Arizona Law…”

  1. Leo says:

    The problem is the government is not willing to give up the welfare state and is unable to support this influx of people. This law is just an attempt to keep the welfare state soluble for a little longer.

  2. Roger says:

    I feel like for some people the welfare state is an excuse to hide behind their lack of enthusiasm for people coming here and “taking their jobs.” I don’t feel that there is any logical or reasonable argument for keeping people out of the country (beyond disease and criminal record). We know our current entitlement system is unsustainable. Perhaps those who agree with the law are not racist but they most certainly are nationalist. In my eyes there is not much of a difference.

  3. Silas Barta says:

    Wow, in the bolded section, Kane’s been saying what I’ve been saying for about ten years now (remember the ASC days?). I wondered back then if any of the anti-immigration LRC folk ever actually had to apply for a job and then find out (as I did) they have to go get a new Social Security card at a government office, just because of laws grounded in fear of teh immigrantszorz! Seriously, how can you miss that allowing the government in “just this one area” gets its foot in the police state door?

    How did that paragraph from Kane even make it onto LRC, since they were so ignorant of it the whole time.

    (Disclaimer I will concede, there is a point at which immigration can be so significant that it does in fact the destroy the very institutions that make the country worth immigrating to.)

  4. Cody says:

    Dr. Murphy,

    I am sure the IRS can /say/ they aren’t going to audit minorities more than caucasians, but “give me a break.”

    We all know that (insert criminal statute here) is going to result in racist police behavior, because the officers who are enforcing (criminal statute) are racists.

    If the problem is not that the law is racist, but that the people enforcing it are racists, why argue against the law?

    I mean, seriously, the taxpayers are paying to arm, train, and payroll these racists.

    And if they are going to enforce existing federal regulations on immigration in a racist manner, which federal or state regulations are they currently enforcing with complete objectivity?

    In which case, why isn’t your post,

    “Of course I am against the Arizona law; as /it is a law/, and such are but the tools of a racist police state.”

    That would be short enough that you wouldn’t even /need/ a break!

    • bobmurphy says:


    • bobmurphy says:

      Cody I tried rereading your post to see if I could figure out your point. Are you saying something like this?

      “What’s your deal Murphy, is the law bad or isn’t it? If it’s a bad law, then complain on those grounds. If the law is OK per se, then the fact that it is applied to minorities is a silly complaint. Boo hoo you sound like a whiny liberal.”

      Is that about right?

      Anyway, my point isn’t even to argue about the law; like I said, others have brought up the obvious points about it. I am merely noting the utter stupidity and hypocrisy of the main defenses being brought to bear by Glenn Beck & Friends.

      For example, suppose Glenn Beck started criticizing people saying terrorists needed lawyers by arguing, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe these liberals. Everyone knows that the Constitution is an old document that has nothing to do with how our current policies should be implemented.”

      Regardless of the specifics of the argument, can you agree that if Glenn Beck said THAT, it would be crazy?

      So in the same token, I cannot believe that the people who flipped out over ObamaCare because of key passages in it, and their warnings of death panels etc. even though obviously the legislation had measly language saying everyone would be fine, are now “proving” that the Arizona law won’t lead to racial profiling, because it explicitly says it shall not be used for racial profiling.

  5. Teqzilla says:

    The importance difference is that the health care bill was 1000’s of pages and the arizona law can be read in a few minutes. To make public statements about the law without taking the 5-10 minutes required to read it suggests an indifference to the accuracy of those statements.

  6. Cody says:

    Dr, Murphy,

    I do see your point. I suppose taking my idea further and saying,

    “If you are going to make the argument that private property rights are infringed in demanding proof of citizenship, then can’t we just jump forward and say that private property rights should preclude any but purely voluntary taxation, and that restrictive state institutions like, oh, the EPA, the IRS, the FCC, et al, are based in unconstitutional hokum?”

    …might show that I am certainly not accusing you of inconsistency, but rather a sort of expository excess.

    Because you do, in some ways, (unless I have been reading wrong,) argue along all those lines at times.

    My point isn’t that you sound like a liberal, but rather that as an austro-libertarian, the second half of the above paragraph is probably mundane…

    My point is that, as an A-L, where all of the above positions /are/ mundane, your support of the enforcement of immigration law is as likely as your support of the enforcement of mandatory tax law, i.e. “nope”.

    And now, /I/ am guilty of expository excess…