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Liberate Migration

“The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable.” — Frédéric Bastiat

It is long past time for sane people to recognize that immigration laws, borne of racism and bigotry and the fake science of eugenics, are bad laws; they are not respectable laws at all.

The conclusions of the “science” of eugenics have varied greatly. During its heyday, that “science” claimed that Jews, the Irish, and Asians were all mentally inferior. That fake “science” was enshrined in the form of immigration quotas.

Today’s neo-eugenicists now take it as given that Jews and Asians are intellectually superior. They have never explained how the “science” got it so wrong a century ago.

Immigration law is a prime example of Malum Prohibitum, an act prohibited not because it is wrong per se, but because of the whims of legislators. These laws deprive people of liberty for arbitrary reasons which are profoundly unjust, immoral, and impractical.

Racialism is Bogus

The Unwelcome Revival of Race Science is far longer than need be, and carries a certain amount of unnecessary political baggage, but nonetheless, there’s some gold among the dross.

Gist: racial theories are on the rise, particularly among today’s alt-right. To understand why the claims of race theorists are bogus, the author examines the data. A currently popular theory is that Ashkenazi Jews are particularly intelligent; but when tested in the 1920s, the data shows that they were less intelligent than other whites. This article does not mention it, but a prominent eugenicist of that era, Herbert Spencer Jennings, found that the Irish were particularly deficient. Asians of that era, similarly, scored badly on IQ tests.

Much has been made of twin research, but a confounding variable is that adopted twins usually go to families of similar socio-economic status; similar outcomes might be due to similar upbringing. When adopting families are very different in socioeconomic status, the data finds differences in measured IQ.

A most interesting result is the Flynn Effect. IQ tests have to be renormed every decade or so, because each succeeding generation achieves higher scores. By today’s norms, your grandparents had an IQ of only 70. Today’s “racialists” would argue that such morons as their own grandparents were therefore unfit for democracy, and perhaps should have been sterilized.

The entire edifice of ethno-nationalism is based upon shoddy science.

Now, I disagree with the Guardian as to their advocacy of a large welfare state. In particular, it is my belief that today’s schools tend to disadvantage minorities and those of low socioeconomic status; despite spending vast sums on their education, these schools tend to lead to horrible outcomes.

Those of low socioeconommic status who seek their own solutions – by working with their own children, teaching them at home or in co-ops, sending them to charter schools, and otherwise enriching their educational experience – tend to obtain superior results. Hence, I do not trust the political process to uplift those who are at the margins. I advocate educational freedom as in libre, not free as in free beer.

But as to the science, the Guardian and I are on the same page; racialism is a bogus construct, a zombie idea, and the sooner we consign it to oblivion, the better.

Unnecessary Wars

Pat Buchanan and I take opposite sides on some issues, particularly with his emphasis on “culture wars” and his aversion to immigration. Nonetheless, I must give a qualified recommendation for his book Hitler, Churchill, and the Unnecessary War.

Tl;dr version: both World War I and II were unnecessary. The Brits won the war but lost their empire; they overextended, ran up debt to unsustainable levels. The conclusion of WW II effectively made the world safe for Communism.

The United States of America appears to be heading down a similar slope, made slippery with the blood of millions of victims in the Middle East; the military forces are overextended, and debt is at its highest level ever, $20+ trillion and rising.

For a longer perspective, I recommend The Rise and Decline of the State , by Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld.

In this book, Creveld argues that the nation-state originated as and is optimized primarily as an engine of conquest. Militaristic expansion is designed-in. The nation-state has been going out of fashion, largely for two reasons: conquest is uneconomic compared to international commerce, and nations now fear atomic weapons.

Conquest is at best zero-sum; whatever we take, you lose; a vicious cycle.

By contrast, when commerce is shorn of coercion, it tends to be positive-sum; when we exchange voluntarily, both benefit thereby; the world is that much better off when we trade. This is a virtuous cycle.


Legislators, Know Thy Limits

A certain legislator wished to make his state great via technology. My reply:

Technology is hardly the forte of the legislature. There are fundamental differences between a body of random people whose sole qualification is the ability to get voted into office, and entrepreneurs, who risk their own skin in the game, rather than risking the lives and livelihood of millions of others.

Legislators need to absorb a few economic realities, beginning with Public Choice Theory and the Economic Calculation Problem. This might inoculate them from the virus of Magical Thinking.

Or, as a shortcut, ponder the legend of King Cnut, whose courtiers believed him capable of anything; he bade them carry his throne chair to the beach, and there commanded the tides to desist, so that his courtiers might understand that even the king’s powers had limits.

Legislators cannot transcend the laws of physics, nor of economics.

No Such Thing As Free School

Remember the saying? There’s no such thing as a free lunch? This is true for all “free” goods provided by the government. First off, obviously, taxpayers cover the costs. Second, government is seldom or never the most efficient provider of services.

But most importantly, “free” school (the topic of this article) comes packaged with a bundle of problems. Someone else, not you, gets to decide which hours children should attend school; which subjects should be taught; and what the content of those subjects might be. Some one else decides which spin of history and economics and philosophy shall be taught.

It should come as no surprise that, when the government teaches, it happens to teach that government is a positive good, and that without government, there’d be no roads, and we’d all be at the mercy of war lords and other horrible creatures. So shut up, submit, pay your taxes and follow the rules.

We are discovering, however, that many things which were presumed to need government intervention, do not. Parents are teaching their children at home and in co-ops, independent of government. In India, millions of parents are spurning government schools, in favor of parent-funded government-free schools. Millions of customers use ride-sharing services, breaking the stranglehold of licensed taxicab drivers. People are using Bitcoin to transact business. In a myriad of ways, people are discovering that government isn’t free; that freedom works better and at lower cost.

Patriotism and the Pledge

Patriots ought to ask, as I do, what sort of country we wish to be patriotic about. Do we want to emulate North Korea and Communist China, with their mandatory displays of patriotism? What is it about this country (the U. S. of A.) that we most admire?

For me, it’s the ideal of freedom, however much the government itself may abuse that ideal. This meme sums up my feelings about the recent flap about flags and songs. On what side do we wish to stand? As for me, I stand for freedom itself, not for the symbol.



Nativism Self-implodes

I’ve opposed nativist know-nothings for decades, for many reasons. Their theory of wall-building-as-panacea rests on many shifting assertions, including the belief that immigrants necessarily vote for more government, and/or necessarily vote Democrat.

Both parts of that theory have always seemed suspect to me. In addition, the last claim – that immigrants tend to vote Democrat – seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you spend a great deal of time advertising your dislike of immigrants, are they supposed to happily rush to endorse your pogrom, excuse me, program?

Alex Nowrasteh tackles this fallacious marketing strategy in his commentary Saving the GOP from Modern Know-Nothingism

California’s Gov. Pete Wilson took another path. Facing a tough re-election campaign in 1994, the Republican decided to blame illegal immigrants for all of the state’s troubles. The result was that he and the rest of the state GOP were perceived as blaming all immigrants for California’s woes. Mr. Wilson won re-election but doomed the GOP for decades in that state.

Against Intellectual Property

This will raise the ire of some libertarians, but I can see no merit in arguments that a copy of the product of one’s mental effort is “property.”

Suppose I make a clay pot. Assuming that the clay was mine, and the tools were mine or were legitimately in my hands, and I had no prior commitment to produce the pot for others, that pot is mine.

If a replicator then makes an exact duplicate, the pot belongs to whoever owns the replicator, just as a copy machine produces copies of paper documents. So-called IP laws seek to claim property in copies and even sort-of-vaguely-like “copies” of the arrangement of bits, blobs of ink, or physical stuff. If taken to extreme, you would owe royalties to the first creators of every word you utter, in perpetuity.

There’s a lot to be said on this topic. Recommended reading list:

The Case Against Intellectual Property

Against Intellectual Property 

The Case Against Patents

Border Collectivization

Government borders are categorically different from private borders. When you and I separately define the borders of our individual properties, we define them for ourselves only. You and I may allow or exclude whomever we please. We may make different choices for ourselves, but may not impose those choices on each other.

National immigration controls take that choice away from us. They collectivize not only the external border, but every private border within; they deprive every property holder of autonomy. They also threaten to physically break down our private borders, and to shoot our pets, children, and ourselves, if anyone so much as alleges that immigration controls have been violated.

If you wish to compare a front door to a national border, the proper comparison is this: do you want your front door to be broken down by ICE agents whenever a vengeful neighbor makes a phone call? Because that is the natural consequence of immigration controls.