17 Apr 2014

Some More Touchy-Feely Thoughts on Immigration

Immigration 29 Comments

In the comments of my previous post, Matt M. wrote:

Even if you’re a libertarian who is in favor of open borders, is there not some legitimacy towards pointing out the fact that someone like Harry Reid is arguing that the Bundy Ranch situation must be dealt with harshly because “everyone has to follow the law” is just fine with illegal immigrants not following the law?

First, I don’t describe my position as “open borders.” That would be like saying I’m “closed schools” if I’m against government funding of education.

Second, the poster that got 18,000+ shares on Facebook wasn’t merely saying, “Look at the hypocrisy here.” No, it actually said, “I wish my Federal Government would put this many resources on our Southern Border instead of on Cliven Bundy’s cattle ranch.”

So the poster was calling for the federal government to enforce the border. If you don’t see that, suppose instead it had said, “I wish my Federal Government would put this many resources into enforcing gun laws on the books, instead of on Cliven Bundy’s cattle ranch.” Such a poster would NOT have gotten 18,000+ shares.

Furthermore, if you go look at the Facebook comments that I posted underneath in my original post on this, people were routinely using the term “illegals.” Now in this context, what does that term mean?

(A) Rich people who don’t pay as much income tax as the IRS says they owe, even though this is illegal?

(B) People who drive faster than the speed limit, even though this is illegal?

(C) People who keep a gun in their house for defense, even though this is illegal in their area?

(D) Cliven Bundy who refuses to pay what the BLM says he owes, even though this is illegal?

(E) Cocaine dealers, even though this illegal?

(F) White Canadians who are working in the United States even though they do not have the right authorization to do so?

Of course not. It would be grammatically incorrect to refer to any of these people as “illegals.”

No, to be an “illegal,” you have to be a Mexican and the specific law that you are violating has to be immigration law. Even someone named Mohammed who is trying to blow up a plane isn’t an “illegal,” he’s a terrorist.

29 Responses to “Some More Touchy-Feely Thoughts on Immigration”

  1. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom)) says:

    “Such a poster would NOT have gotten 18,000+ shares.”

    Sure it would have, it would just be 18,000 MSNBC viewers instead of FOX News viewers.

    In any case, I don’t think you really answered my question. Is it not legitimate to point out that Harry Reid is acting hypocritically here?

    This specific Facebook post might ALSO represent some hypocrisy from the various neo-cons who demand strict enforcement of the border, but don’t want strict enforcement of grazing fees, gun control, and speed limits. I’m not saying this Facebook post is brilliant that it’s the best possible anti-government argument there is. You’re absolutely right that it’s full of questionable assumptions and likely rooted in xenophobia, if not outright racism.

    But all that being said, I still think there’s SOME value in pointing out that Congressional Democrats howling about the sanctity of law and order vis-a-vis the Bundy Ranch do not hold law and order to be sacred in other areas, and illegal immigration DOES happen to be one such area.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Sure it would have, it would just be 18,000 MSNBC viewers instead of FOX News viewers.

      No it wouldn’t have, because MSNBC viewers are (typically, I imagine) in favor of cracking down on a rich white rancher who doesn’t want to pay taxpayers for his use of their land.

      In any case, I don’t think you really answered my question. Is it not legitimate to point out that Harry Reid is acting hypocritically here?

      Yes, and it’s legitimate to point out that pizza tastes good. But those truths have nothing to do with what I’ve been posting about.

      • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom)) says:

        “Yes, and it’s legitimate to point out that pizza tastes good. But those truths have nothing to do with what I’ve been posting about.”

        OK, but you seem to be dismissing this image as completely and totally without any value or merit whatsoever. And I’m trying to say it isn’t that. It’s not excellent. It’s probably not going to convert anybody. I’m not saying this is the ideological equivalent of “I, Pencil” or “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” or something like that.

        But it does make at least one legitimate point, even if it does so in a crude and boorish way.

        And it’s just as legitimate for you to point out that the people making this point are probably acting hypocritically themselves. I’m not saying that you’re wrong and need to shut up or anything like that.

  2. Cody S says:

    To be fair, “illegal” is an accepted shortening of the term, “illegal immigrant”, and you ought to know that, Dr. M.

    I think most people who use the term “illegal immigrant” would be perfectly fine calling a drug dealer an “illegal pharmacist”, or tax frauds, “illegal taxpayers”, though “tax fraud” is pretty to-the-point.

    Are you cool with the term, “tax fraud,” Bob? Or is that offensive?

    More to the point, grammatically a “tax fraud” is a person who falsely pretends to be a tax, or who falsely pretends to tax something. The correct term is a “tax payment fraud.” Strangely, though, people seem to understand the term to mean what it does, despite a grammatically incorrect truncation. Imagine that.

    Should we just call people who don’t pay their taxes “uncredited taxpayers,” in the hope that the world is magically a better place because we don’t talk about how disobedience of the law is also called crime?

    Tax frauds only avoid paying taxes to provide good educations and healthcare to their families, Bob. Tax fraud is an act of love.

    Also, speeding is not a crime. Speeding without paying the government for the privilege, or in excess of a regulated number of times, is a crime. Residency inside the US without the legal permission to do so is a crime.

    • Gamble says:

      though “tax fraud” is pretty to-the-point.

      “Citizenship fraud”

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Tax frauds only avoid paying taxes to provide good educations and healthcare to their families, Bob. Tax fraud is an act of love.

      Cody S., besides the annoying fact that you ignored my Canadian “illegal” point, you seem to think I am fine with people using the term “tax fraud” or “tax cheat.” I wouldn’t bet my life on it, but I don’t think I’ve ever used those terms, and if I did, I probably put quotation marks around them to denote that they are loaded terms.

    • guest says:

      No, to be an “illegal,” you have to be a Mexican and the specific law that you are violating has to be immigration law.

      As Cody S. noted, this term is context sensitive.

      I used to be a Neocon, and we knew that other races could enter the country “illegally”.

      But given that there is a disproportionate and overt attempt to do so from free-market-hating race-based groups (think “La Raza”) which originate in Latin countries south of our border, and who’s stated goal – in concert with the Lefties in government – is to change the voting demographic to welfare recipients, the squeeky wheel really gets the oil, here.

      This is why, from this perspective, it is not racist to profile Mexicans on the southern border: That’s the place from where most of these kinds of “illegal immigrants” come.

      We are just as willing to call anyone who enters our country illegally, regardless of race, an “illegal”.

      And if we really thought about it, we would actually understand “illegal immigrant” to be a euphemism for “tresspasser”, from our perspective (“former perspective”, in my case).

      You have to understand that we are not yet able to see that property cannot be owned collectively, so, from our perspective, since “we own this land”, we get to decide who does or doesn’t get to be here for any reason at all – even for racist reasons, if we want; Although, for the vast majority of us, racism is not our motivation.

      We like people of any color and background, so long as they’re willing to champion free markets, which was the stated goal of America’s founding.

      • Tel says:

        I would put it that the situation is a lot more complex than that.

        Many immigrants do work hard, don’t expect welfare and are socially conservative (especially from Mexico where most of them are staunch Catholics). The conservative movement was happy to support illegal immigration on certain terms:

        * they were not able to register for any government services
        * they worked below minimum wage
        * they never became accepted as citizens so the process could continue.

        In my opinion you have yet to deliver any convincing reason why property cannot be owned collectively, and there are many real examples that contradict you. Possibly it bothers you that property might be owned collectively, or you wish it were otherwise, but that doesn’t change anything.

        I do think that government has a duty to keep borders secure. However what happened in the USA is that successive governments turned a blind eye to what they knew was illegal immigration (i.e. they deliberately and deceptively failed their duty) and then after the fact tried to pretend this situation just happened along and no one could have guessed. That leaves the difficult humanitarian situation of what to do with families who have lived illegally for more than a generation and can no longer be accepted back where they came from.

        I also agree that the racism motivation is entirely a Democrat party beatup, and those guys drink their own bath water so neither assurance nor evidence will change their minds. That said, racism or no racism, the GOP can’t wash hands and act innocent over this problem, nor can they pretend no such problem exists.

  3. David R. Henderson says:

    Bob, If you don’t describe position as “open borders,” how do you describe it? Not a gotcha question because I’m struggling with the words to describe my position, which is likely very close to yours.

    • Dan (DD5) says:

      How about just “No Borders!”

      • JCNU says:

        Sounds good

        How about “I do not care what statist Republicans and unions say”

        “Moral Borders”

        “Anti Tea Party Statistism”

        “Pro Consistent Tea & Republican Party”

        “Free Exchange Imigration”

      • Dan says:

        I’d amend that to “no State borders”.

        • Dan (DD5) says:

          You are right. But “borders” is redundant now. You can’t have a state without borders. So it’s just “no State”.

          • Tel says:

            You can’t have any property without borders.

            As Bob mentioned, he believes it is perfectly legitimate for individuals to defend the borders of their own property, just does not believe that groups of individuals should make agreements such that they defend a larger border by working as a team.

            Thing is, when push comes to shove, the big team wins the firefight, and that’s why people join up into such groups in the first place. Think about it.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I’m not sure David R. Henderson.

      • Andrew' says:

        Ummm…collaboration paper?

        Do I have to do everything around this place?

  4. Andrew_FL says:

    No the White Canadians are illegals to.

    “My opponents are just bigots” does not become an appealing argument when you use it.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Andrew_FL wrote:

      No the White Canadians are illegals to.

      No they’re not Andrew. They would only be ironically, as in when the mischievous von Pepe in grad school would refer to Israel Kirzner as an “African American.” (Kirzner is from South Africa.)

      I guarantee you, the people on that Facebook thread using the term “illegals” were picturing Mexicans. That’s why the call was to enforce the southern border, after all.

      I’m not saying everybody who is for “border enforcement” is a racist, and I’m not saying the guys on that thread have Klan hoods hanging in their closet. But let’s stop being coy (like Cody S. above) and pretending that I’m imagining things.

      • Andrew' says:

        But is that because if as many came from Canada as might come from Mexico the place would be empty?

        Or is it because noone knows of any problems associated with Canadian immigration…other than that they enforce the immigration rules against Canadians.

      • Andrew_FL says:

        No, what you believe is in the heads of a particular group of people doesn’t determine what the definition of the term is. The actual definition includes White Canadians, and for that matter Europeans, Africans, Asians, or anyone else who is in violation of immigration law.

        So yes, they *are*. That’s what the term actually means.

        • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom)) says:

          Although the fact that the overwhelming majority of illegals ARE in fact Mexican is probably of some relevance here.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          OK Andrew, so I’m nuts if I say, “African American means black the way it is being used today in American political discourse.” Anybody who thinks discussions of “African American” are actually about people with black skin is wrong.

          • Gamble says:

            I still don’t understand any of it. I always thought the word American mean you were a salad who came from salads and you live in a salad bowl with other salads.

            Man o man if we all started the annoying habit of prefacing America with all of our ancestors.

            Man my list would take 5 minutes before I could even say hello to you.

            I think the Bible scorns those who get hung up on genealogies, etc…

          • Andrew_FL says:

            Bob, I scorn people who misuse words. I would think we could make common cause on that, yes?

  5. Wonks Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if you watch the show “The Americans”, but the protagonists (and the secret KGB program they’re under) are called “the illegals”. That’s to distinguish them from the Russians in the rezidentura, who are authorized to be in the U.S pretending to be diplomats rather than the spies everyone knows they are.

  6. Cody S says:

    It is certainly fair to call my arguments above “coy”.

    Consider, though, Bob, that you’re on a semantic road that does not end. If everyone in the world says, “Well, darn, Bob’s right. ‘Illegal’ is the wrong term, and clearly has a racial connotation. We must stop anyone from using it!”, and they made the use of the term …a crime. (See what I did there?)

    Then, tomorrow, the whole world mandates that everyone refer to citizenship frauds, or undocumented workers, or unnationalized nationals or whatever (including the pasty ones) with the same non-connotative term like ‘schwelps’ or ‘bermangarra’ or ‘dubroznies’.

    It’ll be a couple months until you come back to us talking about how when we say ‘dubroznies’, we are only talking about the tan ones, and how our current word for criminal aliens just shows how completely racist we are.

    Maybe we ought to make one lexicon compulsory for racists, and another for non-racists. That’d solve it.

  7. Cody S says:

    I was trying to think of the name, and it just came to me as I hit Submit.

    I’d rather be coy than Sisyphean.

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