March 04, 2004

Free Borders Foolishness

At some level, even Libertarians recognize that borders are necessary to preserve societal identity. This is why the LP doesn't generally permit outsiders to vote in their primaries nor does it endorse the practice of multiple-party endorsement (also known as cross-endorsement). The Libertarian Party, with its ideology of free movement of people across borders, instinctively knows that if it practiced what it preached, it would get swamped and lose its ideological identity. It would continue as a corporation but it would be subject to takeover.

The same is true for states and is the bottom line on decent, non-xenophobic immigration restrictionism. For the restrictionist who is not motivated by bigotry, the problem has to come down to whether these immigrants will gain the ability to swamp natives and destroy the society that currently exists. For the United States, this is a real problem because traditionally it has been very easy to become a voting citizen and there is little that cannot be changed in US law with a persistent enough majority.

The reason that people come to the United States is that they want a better life than they can realistically get for themselves or their children (the latter is more common than you might think). Very often though, immigrants bring with them the seeds of cultural, economic, and political attitudes that made their own country such a mess and, given a quick vote and no change in attitude, they will vote that way. They don't generally intend to destroy the society they have sacrificed much to join but that's the way they vote.

This isn't just a theoretical exercise for me. I know plenty of immigrants who seriously do not understand the US. They do so in different ways. Some are fearful of 'the jews', others of economic exploitation, others just are really unhappy with US culture and all its liberties. It varies widely and I will betray no confidences.

With time and assimilation, such attitudes soften, often completely reversing. The american experience often changes opinions as observation convinces people that though they may not understand it, all these crazy innovations that shouldn't work, do work and they work better than back in the old country.

Mexico may be lobbying for an amnesty or more guest workers but they'd get an awfully lot further if they took the bold step of saying that mexican ethnic migrants, temporary or permanent, would do very well to learn the way they do things up north and ask that assimilation assistance and even enhanced assimilation requirements be paired with increased mexican immigration.

Posted by TMLutas at March 4, 2004 01:58 PM