Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Criminal Culture of Immigrants

Yesterday Jake asked about how murderers and rapists would be kept out under my utopian open-border proposals. I may be mistaken, but I'm hearing two things in the question. First, "the government" is keeping murderers and rapists out right now, and second, if we abolish government border police, we will have no way to deal with criminals who come from south of the border.

It's always good to remember that if I were elected, I would be the only Libertarian in Congress. That's 434-1. Republican Ron Paul votes libertarian, so ideologically the vote is 432-2. A libertarian society will not come about overnight. (Even Ron Paul is not as open-borders as I am.) For the next few years the government will still be in the business of granting visas and naturalizing new citizens, and murderers will kept out.

Or at least most murderers will be kept out; murderers with friends in high places or with buckets of drug money will still get through.

Then again, one wonders if any murderers are now being kept out by the government.

So perhaps the government is not keeping murderers and rapists out after all. One writer has moved from worrying about those who call themselves "Mexican-American" to those who call themselves "gang-American."

Perhaps we would be better off not depending on "the government" to deal with murderers. We must move in the direction of consistency. We should be true to our best assumptions. We have two alternatives: move toward (1) Christian libertarianism or move toward (2) statism. Statism says build a Berlin Wall around America. Turn America into a police state. The Christian answer was seen in the voluntary associations of the past, who met immigrants at the docks and converted them from criminals to Americans. This is the true "culture war," an offensive missionary-minded war, not a defensive statist war.

As Rushdoony pointed out in that essay, Europe literally emptied out their prisons and shipped their criminal class across the Atlantic to the new world. But America did not become a criminal distopia. Voluntary associations preserved the godly character of the nation by evangelizing and converting the immigrants into Christians and Americans. In the 20th century, government stepped in to replace private charities, and America's Christian culture went into freefall.

The government is not keeping the murderers and rapists out. So the question is, do we want to strengthen the government so that it does, or should we create new solutions in a libertarian context?

I frankly don't want a government powerful enough and a Berlin Wall high enough to keep every murderer and rapist in the world out of America. America's Founding Fathers clearly opposed such a strong-arm state.

The Biblical promise is that all nations will be attracted to the prosperity and healthy culture of a Christian nation. Even if the immigrants aren't truly converted, they will act like it in order to assimilate and benefit from participation in a Christian capitalist economy.

We are dealing with a cultural problem, not a border problem. We can't build a Berlin Wall all around the U.S. Gang turf is usually "public" areas within the U.S. By "public" I mean not privately-owned, or not governed by private property owners who see themselves as soldiers in a culture war, but regulated by government, rent checks paid by the government, or lacking the influence of voluntary associations. "The City" tends to be anonymous and impersonal. "The Ghetto" is the creation of a government that tells private voluntary associations that "poverty is OUR job, not yours," and zones immigrants away from growing and healthy economic and cultural influences. In a Christian libertarian utopia there would be fewer zones of anonymous isolation, where gangs are now multiplying like a petri dish.

Where should we invest our energy and talents? In creating that libertarian utopia, or in strengthening the state to protect the status quo?

We should move in the direction of that "libertarian utopia" because the economic advantages of millions of hard-working immigrants vastly outweighs the harms of a handful of murderers. That may sound greedy and callous, but if you think about it, it's true. We can turn America into a police state to keep one murderer out, and then the standard of living of millions is dramatically reduced. If we open the borders and the murderer gets in, the statistical probability of YOU being murdered is very small, but you and millions of other people gain better lives through new jobs, specialization, and the effects of competition and the division of labor.

We should also move toward that "libertarian utopia" because it's the right thing to do, and we have no right to pray "God bless America" if we're not doing the right thing. A bureaucrat in Washington D.C. has no ethical or moral right to tell Jones in L.A. that he cannot hire Gonzales, or cannot rent to Garcia. These are basic God-given rights which Washington D.C. has no right to alienate, either from Jones or Garcia.

There are no immigration laws between Missouri and Oklahoma. How do we here in in Missouri keep murderers from Oklahoma out? Are fences and border cops economically justified? Are Mexican immigrants statistically more likely to be criminals than Oklahoma fascists? Is there evidence that people who want to come to America from Mexico are more criminal than people who were born in the American welfare-state? If America were more libertarian, how would all this change? What kind of immigrants would a Christian libertarian America attract? What kind of Americans could immigrants become if they were met at the border and welcomed by Christian libertarians? I say let the murderers in, and conquer them with the weapons of faith.

1 comment:

Jake Porter said...

"I may be mistaken, but I'm hearing two things in the question. First, "the government" is keeping murderers and rapists out right now, and second, if we abolish government border police, we will have no way to deal with criminals who come from south of the border."

No, I know the government is not keeping murders and rapists out of the country. They are currently too concerned with using the Patriot Act and spying on Americans.

Also, I realize that people who want to come to America should be allowed to come here. When welfare and all the "free" (taxpayer) handouts are abolished, many bad immigrants would have no interest in moving because there is no free reward. The good immigrants like the ones I worked with for a few days this summer would still come because they want to work and live in America.