The Case For Libertarian Nationalism, Part I: Immigration

 

416PwkXMKaLLibertarianism is often associated with cosmopolitan and dovish attitudes toward foreign policy and immigration. This is wholly understandable — indeed, justified — in that libertarians and libertarian organizations are disproportionally allergic to military intervention and state-imposed restriction of immigration, albeit not as much as their more vociferous critics often allege. That said, libertarians with these positions have misapplied their principles, and fail to account for both the practical need for a healthy nationalism and its consonance with liberty.

As a matter of principle, American political society — as well as that of other liberty-minded countries — is based on a social contract between the state and its citizens, in which the former provides the latter with some degree of safety from coercion and force. As such, the United States government exists for the benefit of its citizens, not those of other countries, and consequentially owes them a wholly different set of duties. Libertarianism does not speak directly to the relationship between the government of one sovereign people and those of another nation, other than that one should not unjustly harm the other. Foreigners have no more claim on our domestic policy than we have on theirs, and control over our borders and admittance into our polity are core responsibilities of that government.

While US immigration policy has a great many problems, the greatest is the matter of illegal immigration from third-world countries, particularly those of Latin America. The reason we have this problem is not simply that we have a porous border and poor enforcement of our laws, as the same applies to Canada. The third, equally important, factor is that the United States offers a degree of opportunity, safety, and liberty that vastly exceeds that available in Mexico, Guatemala, or the Caribbean in a way that cannot be compared to the (relatively) minor differences between the United States and Canada or Western Europe.

Why is this a problem? Because in an era of easy and inexpensive travel (and with a porous border), the incentives for one to emigrate from Latin America are less likely to be consonant with American interests than those of countries with comparable standards of living. A Canadian or Western European who wishes to immigrate to the United States does so because he desires to come to America specifically. In contrast, Latin Americans are far more likely — again, I am speaking in the broadest generalities — to be aiming to escape from the poverty or violence of their native country. It should go without saying that potential immigrants who seek the United States out of choice are different and, on average, likely superior to those who seek it out of need.

Once we have acknowledged principles and identified the main problem, we can discuss matters of practical policy. Stipulating that people may disagree over how many immigrants the US should admit — and that such a debate is a serious matter — a baseline policy should adopt the following items in the following order:

  • Control over the border with Mexico and the stricter enforcement of existing laws for all immigrants who either enter the country illegally or overstay visas;
  • The streamlining and simplification of our existing laws. Among the low-hanging fruit should be a reduction in refugee admittance, an end to chain immigration beyond immediate nuclear families, and reform of laws regarding birthright citizenship to children of non-permanent residents.
  • The adoption of policies — most notably free trade — that will encourage and help other countries to become freer and wealthier, so that their citizens can realize their ambitions in peace and liberty without having to leave their homes, culture, and language (unless they so desire).

Libertarians and conservatives sometimes — though not always — have different ideas about domestic policies, as they see the proper relationship between the state and its citizens in different ways. When it comes to how we see the relationship between our government and citizens of other countries, however, there’s little reason for our ideas to be in conflict.

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  1. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    +1

    • #1
  2. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: As a matter of principle, American political society — as well as that of other liberty-minded countries — is based on a social contract between the state and its citizens, in which the former provides the latter with some degree of safety from coercion and force.

    Does “as a matter of principle” mean “I assert without proof?”

    Look, I know pretty much everyone nods along with this because it gets them where they want to go and it’s a fools errand for me to suggest it’s in error, but a serious probing of where the social contract comes from leads to a lot of logical problems.

    When it really gets down to it, I don’t think people care whether the social contract theory actually holds together. The social contract idea too convenient. I think it’s a matter of “well, it seems to approximate reality pretty well, and everyone pretty much goes along with it, and I can imagine bad consequences if people stopped believing in it, so even if it’s not a real thing we should all pretend it is for the greater good.”

    But no one ever says that. Everyone that talks about the social contract acts like “something” actually happened (usually involving allusions to people “coming together”) long ago that bound people in the future and simply by not moving from the place they were born they are acquiescing to taxes, regulations, forced cake baking, and funding of boondoggles.

    And to suggest that in order to have roads and protection means we also need to put up with unlimited micromanagement of our lives is a reductio ad absurdum.

    • #2
  3. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Can one be both a true libertarian and a nationalistic patriot? No.

    Many have tried to square the circle, but fundamentally, libertarians rely on rule of law and nations rely on relative power.  BTW, one cannot also be a true communist and a nationalistic patriot, but the rationalizations are easier.

    If the nation is threatened, how much will a libertarian compromise? Rand Paul or Jack Bauer?  We need both, at times.

    Number one job of the President- defend the United States. Give me Jack Bauer over a libertarian or whatever we have right now.

    • #3
  4. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    TKC1101:Can one be both a true libertarian and a nationalistic patriot? No.

    Many have tried to square the circle, but fundamentally, libertarians rely on rule of law and nations rely on relative power.

    I wholly agree with the bolded statement but not conclusion you draw from it. Again, libertarianism is about the relationship of citizens and the state within a single, civilized polity. The world at large is much does not exist in such a polity and is — in many places — much closer to a state of nature.

    So, in your terms, an American president would ideally be more like Rand Paul* on domestic policy and Jack Bauer** on foreign policy.

    * Confession 1: I like Rand as a senator, but he’s far down my list for president.

    ** Confession 2: I have never watched a full episode of 24.

    • #4
  5. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    TKC1101:Can one be both a true libertarian and a nationalistic patriot? No.

    I’m afraid I agree with this. It’s trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want all the goodness of logical libertarian philosophy without that messy universal application.

    At best that’s “compartmentalized” or “localized” libertarianism, which is still awesome as far as it goes, but it’s also contrived. That’s fine if you mostly interested in maximization of your own personal fulfillment, but it’s less likely to be timeless universal truth.

    • #5
  6. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Mike H:…..But no one ever says that. Everyone that talks about the social contract acts like “something” actually happened (usually involving allusions to people “coming together”) long ago that bound people in the future and simply by not moving from the place they were born they are acquiescing to taxes, regulations, forced cake baking, and funding of boondoggles.

    ….

    Mike, this “something” to which you refer isn’t some illusory abstraction. In our case it’s called political incorporation. Actual charters were formed followed by changes and re-writes and revolutions and new charters and more re-writes. This is a real thing.

    Yes, it’s true, no one ever asked you for your permission. However, your forbears decided for you in your absence. That you are born into something doesn’t make it illegitimate. There’s no alternative, in fact. Now that’t you’re old enough to choose, you can choose, as we’ve discussed before. I get it: you don’t like your choices, but you have a choice nonetheless.

    • #6
  7. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    I’ve become skeptical of appeals to nationalism.  Too often they’re just cover for accepting and supporting state power.

    • #7
  8. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Ed G.:

    Mike H:…..But no one ever says that. Everyone that talks about the social contract acts like “something” actually happened (usually involving allusions to people “coming together”) long ago that bound people in the future and simply by not moving from the place they were born they are acquiescing to taxes, regulations, forced cake baking, and funding of boondoggles.

    ….

    Mike, this “something” to which you refer isn’t some illusory abstraction. In our case it’s called political incorporation. Actual charters were formed followed by changes and re-writes and revolutions and new charters and more re-writes. This is a real thing.

    But what made those charters legitimate? What is the secret sauce that allowed those people to decide even for their contemporaries who weren’t even aware it was going on? Far fewer than a majority of people were allowed to be involved. So what lets Joe and Jack down the street make a system for everyone besides force and inertia?

    I get it: you don’t like your choices, but you have a choice nonetheless.

    It’s not about how I feel about the choices. It’s that they are fundamentally flawed independent of their merit. Having a choice doesn’t make it legitimate.

    • #8
  9. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    Fred Cole:I’ve become skeptical of appeals to nationalism. Too often they’re just cover for accepting and supporting state power.

    So what is your opinion on sovereignty and when it is justified for one sovereign nation to step all over another sovereign nations authority in that nations borders? Also how does this dynamic change when you have an authoritarian government verse a representative government?

    To me the default stance should always be that of respecting the sovereignty within a representative government since it is a natural right for a people to govern themselves and take responsibility for their own actions. The burden of proof needs to be on the party that is going to violate a sovereign’s authority.

    Now if the nation is an authoritarian nation that is a completely different story. The argument can easily be made that an existing sovereignty of a nation is not valid because the people are not in control of the authority that sovereign entity can project on the international stage and domestically.

    So lastly what is the burden of proof you think a sovereign nations needs to show in order to use their power to violate the sovereignty of another?

    Your answer to this really gives important background on why you have a specific immigration stance.

    • #9
  10. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Mike H:

    Ed G.:

    Mike H:…..But no one ever says that. Everyone that talks about the social contract acts like “something” actually happened (usually involving allusions to people “coming together”) long ago that bound people in the future and simply by not moving from the place they were born they are acquiescing to taxes, regulations, forced cake baking, and funding of boondoggles.

    ….

    Mike, this “something” to which you refer isn’t some illusory abstraction. In our case it’s called political incorporation. Actual charters were formed followed by changes and re-writes and revolutions and new charters and more re-writes. This is a real thing.

    But what made those charters legitimate? What is the secret sauce that allowed those people to decide even for their contemporaries who weren’t even aware it was going on? Far fewer than a majority of people were allowed to be involved. …

    Depends on the charter. Some were imposed. Some were voluntary (think the American colonies). However, in our federal system I can’t think of any groups who remain disenfranchised. Which means that they have the ability to convince others that the charter needs to be changed.

    Otherwise, is your beef that we haven’t yet found a system on which there is literal universal agreement? Or that we haven’t yet found a way to secure the consent of all possible future participants prior to forming a system?

    • #10
  11. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Ed G.:

    Otherwise, is your beef that we haven’t yet found a system on which there is literal universal agreement? Or that we haven’t yet found a way to secure the consent of all possible future participants prior to forming a system?

    My problem are things like believing the government ever legitimately obtained ownership of the land. You can’t get a group of people together and say, “we’ve decided that we now have some rights over your land, sorry you’re outvoted.” “And, look we’ve even created an official document that outlines your rights in determining what we as a collective can do on your land.”

    Getting to a legitimate government requires the violation of our common sense of right and wrong. A government could be theoretically acceptable if it’s the only way to avoid chaos, but that’s not the same as saying it was created in a morally correct fashion or that it has the ability to do things it would be unacceptable for a normal person to do.

    • #11
  12. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Alright. Sorry for diverting from the topic of your post, Tom. Back on topic: what would you say to the same reasoning as applied to non-free trade policies like tariffs and such?

    • #12
  13. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Mike H:

    Ed G.:

    Otherwise, is your beef that we haven’t yet found a system on which there is literal universal agreement? Or that we haven’t yet found a way to secure the consent of all possible future participants prior to forming a system?

    My problem are things like believing the government ever legitimately obtained ownership of the land. You can’t get a group of people together and say, “we’ve decided that we now have some rights over your land, sorry you’re outvoted.” “And, look we’ve even created an official document that outlines your rights in determining what we as a collective can do on your land.”

    ….

    Ah, so your beef is that we haven’t yet found a system on which there is literal universal agreement.

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    This is the best discussion I’ve found on Ricochet in the last several weeks.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    BTW, is there a distinction between a libertarian and a true libertarian?  Or is it like communism, where you have to go all in or it doesn’t work?

    On Twitter I describe myself as a social conservative, fiscal libertarian, and anthropological liberal.  I don’t think I want to be a “true” any one of those things.

    • #15
  16. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Hmmm. Very nice post, Tom. Thanks!

    My question concerns some of the stuff you wrote after, oh, the middle of the second paragraph.

    (Really, if Henny Youngman were alive and blogged for Ricochet he would start:

    “Take my wife…pl…”

    Ricochetti:

    “On what grounds should we take her?”

    “Are you saying we should really do so or is this a counterfactual?”

    “How do we know she is, as you say, your wife? Aren’t we owed an explanation of the circumstances first?!?”)

    But I digress.

    Just one point: you suggest that free trade has the salutary effect of improving the economies of, say, Latin America and thereby reducing the drive to enter our country illegally. But one of my colleagues from Mexico (who is essentially a Communist) argues that NAFTA was a plot of American agribusiness and it willfully destroyed the lives of certain farmers in Mexico. Therefore, it is America’s obligation to accept these people as citizens. (This serves to explain why countries like Mexico can continue to impose serious consequences on citizens of other Latin American countries when they invade Mexico but the U.S. does not have that right).

    I agree, of course, that in the long run free trade will make them better off. But don’t you think it is at least as crucial that those governments be weaned off of collectivism and corruption?

    • #16
  17. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    The Reticulator:BTW, is there a distinction between a libertarian and a true libertarian? Or is it like communism, where you have to go all in or it doesn’t work?

    On Twitter I describe myself as a social conservative, fiscal libertarian, and anthropological liberal. I don’t think I want to be a “true” any one of those things.

    Like most theories/philosophies, there are different levels and angles that people take to arrive at libertarianism. So, “true libertarian” is going to mean different things to different people. But there being a radical/extreme version doesn’t mean that weaker versions are disqualified. I see “true libertarianism” as the logical extension of common sense moral intuitions. It leads to surprising results, but starts from strikingly uncontroversial premises. Other’s take it as the consistent application of the “non-aggression principle,” but as with most simple axiomatic philosophies, it tends to leads to unconvincing “bullet biting.” This more simple version gets you to the same place more often than not, but it is ultimately unsatisfying in some cases.

    • #17
  18. user_88846 Member
    user_88846
    @MikeHubbard

    I think John Derbyshire covered this ground already:

    A liberal, in the current sense of the term, is a person who favors a massive welfare state, expansive and intrusive government, high taxation, preferential allocation of social goods to designated “victim” groups, and deference to international bureaucracies in matters of foreign policy.

    It is not difficult to see why such a person would favor lax policies towards both legal and illegal immigration. Immigration, legal or otherwise, concerns the crossing of borders, and a liberal regards borders, along with all other manifestations of the nation-state, with distaste. “International” trumps “national” in every context. The preferences a citizen might have for his own countrymen over foreigners, for his own language over other tongues, for his own traditions and folkways over imported ones, are all, in the minds of a modern liberal, manifestations of ugly, primitive, and outdated notions — nativism, xenophobia, racism. The liberal proudly declares himself a citizen of the world, and looks with scorn and contempt on those narrow souls who limit their citizenly affections to just one nation. . . .

    As to why I think libertarians are nuts to favor mass uncontrolled immigration from the Third World: I think they are nuts because their enthusiasm on this matter is suicidal to their cause. Their ideological passion is blinding them to a rather obvious fact: that libertarianism is a peculiarly American doctrine, with very little appeal to the huddled masses of the Third World. If libertarianism implies mass Third World immigration, then it is self-destroying. Libertarianism is simply not attractive either to illiterate peasants from mercantilist Latin American states, or to East Asians with traditions of imperial-bureaucratic paternalism, or to the products of Middle Eastern Muslim theocracies.

    There are a number of responses a libertarian might make to that. Not included in those responses, I think, given the current state of our national affairs, is the argument that Providence has inscribed a yearning for liberty on every human heart.

    A libertarian might, though, say that while libertarianism could indeed be a hard sell to immigrants from very illiberal political traditions, it will appeal to their Americanized children, to the second generation. Possibly so. Even setting aside the great strengthening of the welfare state caused by the preferences of that first generation, though, to sell libertarianism to the second generation would need a tremendous missionary effort. According to Brink Lindsey, only thirteen percent of Americans currently lean libertarian. If decades of libertarian proselytizing have only achieved that much success with a population rooted in the traditions of Pericles and Magna Carta, of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, how well should libertarians expect to do with the political descendants of emperors and caliphs, of Toussaint L’Ouverture and Mao Tse-tung?

    Derb called for Libertarianism in One Country, and I think he was on to something.

    • #18
  19. Zoon Politikon Inactive
    Zoon Politikon
    @KristianStout

    As a matter of principle, American political society — as well as that of other liberty-minded countries — is based on a social contract between the state and its citizens, in which the former provides the latter with some degree of safety from coercion and force.

    As noted in many comments above, there are strains of libertarian thinking that believe the social compact theory that justifies the state is just not true.   The reasoning is that you cannot force a service upon someone without their explicit consent and then extract payment, even if the imposed service is a good one. Further, merely being born into a geographic territory does not necessarily give rights to an organization to coerce membership.

    I, however, tend to be more of a classical liberal. While I find the construct of the social compact useful as a heuristic, I tend to agree with the more hard-core libertarians that it isn’t obviously true.  Instead, I tend to take a Jeffersonian approach to my dedication to liberty – in my heart I am a pure lover of liberty, in my speech I am voluptuous in my advocacy for liberties, in my actions I am pragmatic and willing to compromise.   I am OK with being a dedicated libertarian in thought, and a pragmatic classical liberal in action.  Life is messy affair, and maturity means learning how best to manage the mess.

    I might not be able to stitch together a philosophical justification for taxation, or a philosophical justification for the state to use force on my behalf and against my fellow citizens, but I refuse to resort to intellectual fig leaves like the social compact or the Rousseauian concept of society as a greater entity unto itself.

    Instead, I will accept the fact that the basic state of mankind is to be compelled by force – whether natural or manmade – and I am willing to trade up for the most tolerable forms of force until, perhaps one day, we might be able to realize a state of total freedom ( a possibility I won’t rule out).

    I tend to associate my view of libertarianism/classical liberalism with Hayek and Thomas Jefferson, and resist strenuously the more absolute flavors of libertarianism that try to drag the conversation into anarchistic utopianism. In theory, I find the absolutist strains of libertarianism indistinguishable from Marxist utopianism (though in practice, they are very, very different).

    So, how to apply my form of”pragmatic libertarianism” to your points:

    Control over the border with Mexico and the stricter enforcement of existing laws for all immigrants who either enter the country illegally or overstay visas

    Although I would love a purely voluntary society, I am willing to accept that there are people willing to use force on my behalf in the geographic space I occupy.  I happen to have a whole host of sentimental and practical reasons for loving the American system of government as against all other forms of government.  I think it is worthwhile and good to protect, and that it is worthwhile and good to promote around the world.  We aren’t perfect, but we more than deserve to exist, and really are the shining city on the hill.

    So in that context, protecting the cultural and institutional values of our society is highly important.  Although I would love a perfectly free world, I don’t see such a world arising any time soon. That means we need to jealously protect the pro-freedom institutions that we have been able to cobble together. Enforcement of rational immigration policies is going to figure in here, because it, by definition, protects the composition of the polity.

    I might want to reform many of our immigration laws, but in the “pragmatic libertarian” context I just laid out, it is eminently reasonable to both care about immigration policy and want to make sure the laws we pass around such policies are vigorously enforced.  If a law is not the right one, we should reform it or abolish it — but merely being libertarian does not mean you should ignore such laws.  One of the most important tenets of my flavor of libertarianism is adherence to the rule of law.

    The streamlining and simplification of our existing laws. Among the low-hanging fruit should be a reduction in refugee admittance, an end to chain immigration beyond immediate nuclear families, and reform of laws regarding birthright citizenship to children of non-permanent residents.

    Being pragmatic, I would need to look at these on a case-by-case basis. However, initially I would be very interested in looking at a reform to laws that facilitate chain immigration and birthright citizenship.  With that said, I will say I superficially looked into this a few years ago and found there was no easy answer.

    Practically, what does it look like to NOT have birthright citizenship? Does that mean that everyone now needs to carry papers affirming the heritage of their parents? I lost my social security card once, what happens if i lose my parents “certificate of authenticity?” Can I be deported to one of the countries my ancestors originally came from?  I find the idea of reforming birthright citizenship very appealing, but I’m skeptical that it could work out in practice.

    The adoption of policies — most notably free trade — that will encourage and help other countries to become freer and wealthier, so that their citizens can realize their ambitions in peace and liberty without having to leave their homes, culture, and language (unless they so desire).

    I would be on board for pro-free trade policies – this is an easy win among nearly any libertarian sub-group.  Trade should absolutely be freer around the world.  I put a caveat on this though: when you deal with restrictive regimes who severely distort their economies through protectionist measures, you create an uneven playing field that can unfairly harm American businesses.  Far be it from me to ever advocate for protectionist measures here, but it is a serious concern and needs to be very carefully reviewed (again on a case-by-case basis).

    • #19
  20. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Michael Stopa:I agree, of course, that in the long run free trade will make them better off. But don’t you think it is at least as crucial that those governments be weaned off of collectivism and corruption?

    Yes, absolutely. Obviously, we’ve less control over that, but I wholly agree that that is at least as important.

    • #20
  21. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Mike Hubbard:I think John Derbyshire covered this ground already…

    Indeed, and I should have — and do so now — credited Derbyshire as the inspiration for this post.

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Kristian Stout:

    I, however, tend to be more of a classical liberal. While I find the construct of the social compact useful as a heuristic, I tend to agree with the more hard-core libertarians that it isn’t obviously true. Instead, I tend to take a Jeffersonian approach to my dedication to liberty – in my heart I am a pure lover of liberty, in my speech I am voluptuous in my advocacy for liberties, in my actions I am pragmatic and willing to compromise. I am OK with being a dedicated libertarian in thought, and a pragmatic classical liberal in action. Life is messy affair, and maturity means learning how best to manage the mess.

    Instead, I will accept the fact that the basic state of mankind is to be compelled by force – whether natural or manmade – and I am willing to trade up for the most tolerable forms of force until, perhaps one day, we might be able to realize a state of total freedom ( a possibility I won’t rule out).

    There’s not a lot of daylight between us on this.

    I agree the social compact is a bit of a myth and that the current role of the state evolved much more by emergence and trial-and-error than by conscious choice. That said, given that the United States has a specific founding date, with popularly-ratified documents defining roles and responsibilities, it’s a bit more than that, too.

    Kristian Stout:

    Practically, what does it look like to NOT have birthright citizenship? Does that mean that everyone now needs to carry papers affirming the heritage of their parents? I lost my social security card once, what happens if i lose my parents “certificate of authenticity?” Can I be deported to one of the countries my ancestors originally came from? I find the idea of reforming birthright citizenship very appealing, but I’m skeptical that it could work out in practice.

    I said reform, not abolition! Specifically, that babies should not be granted US citizenship if neither of their parents are legal US residents or citizens.

    One should not be allowed to claim citizenship simply because one’s mother was in the United States when she gave birth to you.

    • #22
  23. Zoon Politikon Inactive
    Zoon Politikon
    @KristianStout

    I said reform, not abolition! Specifically, that babies should not be granted US citizenship if neither of their parents are legal US residents or citizens.

    One should not be allowed to claim citizenship simply because one’s mother was in the United States when she gave birth to you.

    I take your point, but you dodged my question. Think about the practicality of the situation — do we need to all go around carrying papers of authenticity regarding our parents’ birth? How do you prove this? in principle I completely agree with you, i just cant get past how we do this without requiring people to bear (and never lose) papers regarding their origin. Also, imagine the bureaucracy that would be needed to manage this!

    • #23
  24. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Kristian Stout:

    I take your point, but you dodged my question. Think about the practicality of the situation — do we need to all go around carrying papers of authenticity regarding our parents’ birth? How do you prove this? in principle I completely agree with you, i just cant get past how we do this without requiring people to bear (and never lose) papers regarding their origin. Also, imagine the bureaucracy that would be needed to manage this!

    I think you’re misunderstanding me. What I’m suggesting is that your birth certificate would should indicate your parents’ nationality, as documented by proper photo id. If either of your parents are US citizens or permanent legal residents, you’re a citizen just as now. The birth certificate would then indicate that the child is a US citizen.

    (Stipulation: I don’t have kids; if I’m envisioning this process incorrectly, someone please correct me).

    If neither of your parents are citizens or legal residents, then the child’s birth certificate indicates whatever nationality is appropriate, or that the matter could not be documented.

    So the only people who would need additional documentation (if any) are the parents at the time of birth.

    • #24
  25. Zoon Politikon Inactive
    Zoon Politikon
    @KristianStout

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Kristian Stout:

    I take your point, but you dodged my question. Think about the practicality of the situation — do we need to all go around carrying papers of authenticity regarding our parents’ birth? How do you prove this? in principle I completely agree with you, i just cant get past how we do this without requiring people to bear (and never lose) papers regarding their origin. Also, imagine the bureaucracy that would be needed to manage this!

    I think you’re misunderstanding me. What I’m suggesting is that your birth certificate would should indicate your parents’ nationality, as documented by proper photo id. If either of your parents are US citizens or permanent legal residents, you’re a citizen just as now. The birth certificate would then indicate that the child is a US citizen.

    (Stipulation: I don’t have kids; if I’m envisioning this process incorrectly, someone please correct me).

    If neither of your parents are citizens or legal residents, then the child’s birth certificate indicates whatever nationality its nationality is, or that the matter could not be documented.

    So the only people who would need additional documentation (if any) are the parents at the time of birth.

    ok — i like this a little better. Again I am on your side, I just haven’t seen the total picture of how it would work.  But now, when you are born, does that mean your parents have to submit an original of THEIR birth certificate to the state in order to obtain yours ?  obviously it would need to be an original with the raised seal, otherwise it would be trivially easy to game the system.  so would they now need to report to a government agency in person to obtain it?  When my kids were born we just filled out a form in the hospital and they sent us a birth certificate later on.

    Would there exist doctrines that protect grandchildren if it comes out that grandparents falsified their own birth certificates? Could you have a whole family suddenly be deemed deportable if an ancestor had false documents ?

    • #25
  26. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Kristian Stout:

    ok — i like this a little better. Again I am on your side, I just haven’t seen the total picture of how it would work. But now, when you are born, does that mean your parents have to submit an original of THEIR birth certificate to the state in order to obtain yours?

    No, just a passport or other approved ID. Heck, a drivers license in any state that doesn’t make a policy of issuing them to illegals should do just fine.

    Kristian Stout:

    Would there exist doctrines that protect grandchildren if it comes out that grandparents falsified their own birth certificates? Could you have a whole family suddenly be deemed deportable if an ancestor had false documents ?

    I think a simple and humane standard would simply be “your parents were citizens  or legal residents at the time of your birth.”

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I think that all nations are sovereign, but some are more sovereign than others.

    The basic issue with Liberalism and Libertarianism is the idea that somehow, all nations are equally sovereign. That is poppycock.

    Luxembourg exists at the sufferance of more powerful nations. Same for most of the lessor powers. Could Mexico stop the US from just seizing its oil because we can? No. We have the power (not the will or desire) to make Mexico submit to our will, or not have any people left. (Not I am NOT advocating this, just making a point about power).

    Frankly, the only real limit on American power are the American people and the fact we are not an Empire, but a Commercial Republic.

    However, American sovereignty is based on our relative power to everyone else, and it is absurd. We only fall if we choose decline. 

    So, the whole idea that all nations are equal in some natural law is just stupid.

    • #27
  28. user_139005 Member
    user_139005
    @MichaelMinnott

    I concur with what you say, especially regarding reform of our immigration policy. Derbyshire hit the nail on the head, “libertarianism in one nation.”

    • #28
  29. Owen Findy Member
    Owen Findy
    @OwenFindy

    Kristian Stout:

    …in my heart I am a pure lover of liberty, in my speech I am voluptuous in my advocacy for liberties, in my actions I am pragmatic and willing to compromise.

    Beautifully put.

    • #29
  30. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Owen Findy:

    Kristian Stout:

    …in my heart I am a pure lover of liberty, in my speech I am voluptuous in my advocacy for liberties, in my actions I am pragmatic and willing to compromise.

    Beautifully put.

    Really? I mean, compromise when that leads to maximizing liberty, right? That’s not really compromise. That’s just being the best advocate of liberty.

    You’re not going to go out of your way to be more pragmatic than you have to. Pragmatism isn’t a virtue unless it leads to a reduction in injustice. That’s just good sense.

    • #30

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