Monday, August 23, 2010

You Can't Have the Time Back

Stories like this break my heart. As bad as most government regulation and interference is, perhaps the form in which it takes the greatest human toll is through our immigration policy. How many other lives are destroyed by our not opening the borders?


Blogger Galileo Blogs said...

A small example, comparable in kind, but not in degree, was a group of Cubans that re-engineered one of the old 1950s cars present in Cuba to float. They attached a propeller to the drive shaft and literally drove their way across open water to Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard encountered the car and sunk it. They imprisoned the Cubans and returned them to Cuba.

There is something so ugly in this story, but the story of the young robotics champion takes the cake.

This is the ugly face of restricting immigration. Another face might be any one of us, since all of us (including the American Indians thousands of years ago) were immigrants to this land.

America is great in part because we are a magnet for the best and brightest from around the world. We have turned off that magnet. How much longer will we remain a place worth living in?

5:23 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Very well said Galileo. I couldn't agree more. And thanks for sharing another tragic story ... people need to know the concrete consequences of our immoral policy.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

In my view, the main reason people are against open immigration is the terribly false notion that national security demands closed borders and a literal fence. Most people won't put words to supporting a fence but the more consistent anti-open-immigration activists (mostly traditional religious conservatives) put the fence front and center.

Even after devouring Ayn Rand's writings and Objectivist literature and talks on foreign policy, it still took me awhile to grasp what to do about borders. It's not obvious what to do.

Professor John Lewis' talk, which I've mentioned before elsewhere, "The Failure of the Homeland Defense: Lessons from History," was the most helpful on this issue. And his new book "Nothing Less Than Victory" is probably even more insightful.

We need to focus on explaining to Americans that no fence no matter how tall and thick, no amount of domestic government monitoring of people, no amount of gun controls, etc., will keep people safe as long as people want to murder.

We need police, to fight self-assertive wars with overwhelming force when necessary, bans on carrying rocket launchers and certain large assault weapons in public, perhaps a waiting period or mental health check for gun purchases (though this still might be best left to private gun sellers' judgement), official border checkpoints, etc., but the only full solution for security is to convince people to not want to murder, to want to live selfishly and peacefully.

The largest fence in the world does nothing to prevent foreign or domestic criminals who are committed to murder.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi Jason,

Your observations might be true regarding opponents, but in my mind the battle has to be fought on allowing and empowering the positive, not in trying to head-off evil. That's the mistaken premise behind much of the regulatory state and it needs to be challenged.

Just as justice demands primary emphasis on recognizing the good, so public policy must primarily be formulated to make life for the good and the innocent possible. Dealing with criminals is a secondary issue.

There's much to say about this, and in fact I hope to write something on it as it relates to the premises underlying the regulatory state at some time in the not too distant future.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I fully agree that the emphasis should be on the good and the positive requirements of man's life, which is why I love Rand's quote in the corner of your blog about dealing with ideas by "proclaiming a full, consistent and radical [positive] alternative."

One still has to explain evil, but focus more on how it prevents the good from actualizing. So, we don't say murder is not an issue or that police are unnecessary, but that man needs certain freedoms to survive even though some will take advantage of them and even some get away with harmful acts.

Certainly focusing on philosophically empowering people to grasp the goodness of self-interest and to understand the nature of productive work and romantic love and a proper theory of art, etc., is key, but criticizing and explaining flawed ideas (while offering that radical, positive alternative)--such as explaining why closed immigration and a fence do not work--is still part of the process.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Mo said...

amit does this mean that something like say drunk driving should be addressed, given its negative effects on other motorists

3:46 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Jason - I agree with what you say. My point was only that the immigration debate is framed (probably due to the religious mentality you mentioned in your first comment) in terms of preventing potential crime and welfare abuse, instead of centering on the positives that man can achieve, and that most free men do achieve. To win the debate then, we have to re-frame it.

Mo- I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. For drunk-driving or any other crime, there has to be positive evidence that a crime has been, or will imminently be committed. You couldn't have laws, echoing the immigration position, which would simply say: everyone has to stay off the roads in case they're drunk.

Now in a free society, roads would be privately owned, so owners could impose criteria that went beyond what police could rightfully do, but I think that's a different issue.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Mo said...

oh my question was in response to this quote:

Just as justice demands primary emphasis on recognizing the good, so public policy must primarily be formulated to make life for the good and the innocent possible. Dealing with criminals is a secondary issue.

does this imply then that its ok to target drink-driving?

7:51 PM  

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