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2007-07-02

Immigration policy for "our" country

This morning somebody asked my opinion of an email about illegal immigration, which began as follows:

Our country is worth reading a 8 minute speech. It is our country and to those that disagree go home as our fences keep people out not in.


I disagree starting with this fundamental premise.

It is not "our" country. Any time you start arguing from a "we" I submit that it's a sign that your thinking is off. Perhaps only off a little, but sometimes off a lot.

This is not "our" country. Only limited parts of it are mine. A small chunk in Dallas/Fort Worth, to be exact. The rest of it belongs to someone else. Some of it belongs to you guys, most of it belongs to people who aren't involved here.

God only gave me dominion over my part.

When you quit saying that some of it is mine, some of it is yours, etc., and start saying that all of it is "ours," you're thinking collectively, socialistically, Communistically. We are not a commune.

And you've also usurped property rights. "Thou shalt not steal" says the Lord. But the 'patriot' blurs the lines of ownership, pretends we all own it collectively, and thus justifies himself in exercising ownership over the property of others. I don't think God is fooled by such justification.

Hopefully all of us here would scream bloody murder if a movement started in the country that said "The children belong to all of us. Therefore we will all vote on how they are to be raised. We will vote to outlaw spanking, we will vote to outlaw parents teaching religion to their children, we will vote to remove children from the homes and raise them in government centers where they can be taught to seek the greater good, to serve society as good people should. They are OUR children, and OUR children deserve the best." We would rightfully respond "They are most certainly NOT 'our' children. These two are MINE." And we would fight or flee in order to see that our children do not become the state's children.

Of course there's a gigantic power in this country that exercises dominion over the entire thing. And it even offers to let us have a say in how that dominion will be exercised, and to vote on who is going to take turns having the power. The gigantic power continually repeats the collectivist mantra: that we are all in this together, that it all belongs to all of us, that we all have the right (really those who happened to get the turn at power this term) to tell individuals what they may and may not do with what is theirs, or even to take away all or some of it, to make completely blameless actions into illegal acts.

But since I can't exercise dominion over what is not mine, I can't legitimately delegate such a right to that power. Of course, God commands me to submit to it, and so I do. Even when it is not just. Even when it exercises dominion over the little pieces of property God has given to me. But I won't exercise that dominion over others, and I won't authorize anyone as my agent to do so on my behalf.

So in the end, here's what I think about immigration: the entire thing can be easily resolved with property rights, and that's the only righteous way to resolve it.

Here's some links to articles where I've seen this view expressed, or similar views expressed, or have expressed the same myself.



It's wrong for me to tell someone they can't hire someone based on where they were born or happen to live. It's wrong for me to tell a property owner he can't sell or rent his property to certain people. It's wrong for me to take money and resources that don't belong to me to provide services to other people, whether they are "citizens" of "my" country, or not. It's wrong for me to exercise force against other people when they want to compete with me in whatever market/industry I participate in, rather than being industrious and adapting and finding another way to survive. It's my responsibility to provide for my family, by doing work that other people find valuable and will pay for, not by using force to prevent other men from fulfilling the same responsibility. It also so happens that economics teaches us that it is best for the economy if we do it God's way, rather than exercising such force.

What does the Bible say about immigration? Plenty. Look for "alien" and "stranger" in your Old Testament. You won't find a single statement that is encouraging to the view that God looks favorably on those who want to restrict immigration. That's my position.

9 comments:

wangotango said...

You must be on some heavy drugs to come up with that "space cadet" line of crap. Secure the border and stop all of the American tax payer supported "welfare programs" for "ILLEGAL MEXICANS".

Timotheus said...

Do you know a single property owner along the southern U.S. border who has given permission for immigrants to cross his or her land? And what restitution or remedy do you propose for those who have not given such permission, but immigrants trespassed anyway?

Thomas said...

In Property class in law school, you learn the first day that no one "owns" property. You only own a bundle of rights to it. For real property, substantial rights are retained by the government and from that perspective it would be quite accurate to reference it as "our" land.

2busymama said...

I agree, especially with the biblical hospitality reasoning. Keep writing.

voice said...

wangotango, I can see you are more interested in determining what's right on this by voting than by discussing what's right, because all you did was restate your opinion rather than offer any reasons for anyone to change their mind.

voice said...

timotheus, no I do not. I propose that such property owners be permitted to shoot such trespassers. Is that enough restitution and remedy?

People who want to get somewhere should bear the costs of doing so themselves. Using other people's land without permission is theft, and I believe it should be punished like any other theft. And if people have a vested interest in bringing in foreign workers, they should bear those costs themselves: they can pay to fly them in, or they can purchase land along the border.

A truly free market would probably actually cut down on a lot of immigration. And that which occurred would be much less offensive to those who are troubled by immigration, because it would be more purposeful, more economically beneficial to all concerned, and the costs would be borne by those directly involved (the immigrants and/or those having an interest in moving them) rather than socialized to the entire population through welfare and to specific people through such crimes as the theft of the use of their land.

voice said...

thomas, law school is teaching what the state has decided. The state has decided that people don't really own property and that the idea of property is a creation of the state, a right granted by the state for the benefit of society.

In reality property ownership is a naturally occurring relationship that occurs when people appropriate unused resources and mix their labor with them for their own benefit or that of others.

The state is claiming that it retains these rights. Except as provided for by agreement, however, claiming rights doesn't make you own those rights. When you claim rights over something somebody else owns, that is theft. Stealing.

I'm not sure if you are a Christian or not, but if you are, you should acknowledge that when God said "Thou shalt not steal," He personally was establishing that people do in fact own their property, or if not, He at least established that Bible believers should act as if other people do in fact own their property.

voice said...

2busymama, thank you. I have been much happier since my Biblical reasoning merged with my opinions on public policy, and I'm happy that I can share that reasoning with others and find agreement. I hope I can reinforce that reasoning by showing others how the idealistic/Biblical/ethical approach is also the most practical/beneficial.

Stan53 said...

Voice,
You might be interested to know that here in the land down under we don't actually own our land at all. We pay a "peppercorn" lease which entitles us to the use of 1.5 metres below our house and we can be required by the "guv'ment" to move our house after a period of 6 monbths from the time of advice.
Signed,
Stan53 author of A Scribe