Email from John Jay Myers to firstname.lastname@example.org. John Jay Myers is a candidate for the Libertarian National Party Chair and currently running for United States Congress against Pete Sessions in Texas 32nd District.
IPR takes no position on LNC races.
Many Americans are looking to the Libertarian Party for answers, and it is important that the answers we give do not depend on the fantasy of a “Libertarian society” to work. We do not live in a Libertarian society. We live in a society where many abuses of government power interact to create complex problems that affect all Americans. It is not sufficient to speak of our solutions using the oversimplified and polarized catch phrases of the modern left/right political spectrum. Libertarians must remain faithful to their principles of limited government and free markets, while at the same time explaining how we can get there from where we are now.
As a candidate for both United States Congress and LNC Chair, it would be much easier for me to quietly ignore one of the most complex and challenging topics in politics: immigration. This topic is perhaps one of the most divisive issues, even within the Libertarian Party. Nevertheless, I believe it is also an opportunity for us to show our courage by taking this issue head on, and demonstrating how reduced government intervention and sound economic principles can tackle even the most difficult of problems in a fair, just, and practical way.
There are many in this country that propose sealing the borders because immigrants take American jobs and drain the American economy. They also cite drug related violence and the threat of terrorism as additional reasons to aggressively defend our borders. The problem with this very divisive solution is that it ignores the economic perversions that our government has created that are the real causes of our problems. Let us now review some of the government laws and programs that create the distorted incentives that are at the core of the problem.
War on Drugs
We have all heard about increasing drug-related violence in Mexico and the knee-jerk reaction has again been “close the border”. Now, there is no question that drugs are horrible, but, like we saw with alcohol, prohibition will only push the sale of those products into a black market. The insane profits of this black market create rich incentives for killers and gang members to dominate the drug trade. Buying and selling these substances legally will reduce those incentives. After all, why would you commit violence for drugs when the local tobacconist will sell them at a reasonable price in controlled conditions? And who knows, it just might create some positive economic activity while allowing our law enforcement agencies to focus on truly harmful crimes.
There will always be those who choose to turn to thievery and violence, but taking away the powerful profit motive by repealing prohibition will go a long way to bringing much needed peace to both Mexico and our cities here in America.
Free and peaceful people deserve an opportunity to pursue the American dream, but our system of welfare and entitlements is the American nightmare that is killing us. If you open up a buffet and put a sign on the front that says “free food all you can eat”, you really have only yourself to blame when the restaurant fills with people. These welfare systems are already based upon the unjust ideas of taxation and wealth transfer, but they are also bankrupting this nation, even without immigrants. Ending the welfare state will be fiscally responsible and will make sure that no one comes to this country just to milk the system. We should welcome productive workers into our country because every new worker is a new consumer of goods and services. To think otherwise would suggest that having no people in your country would somehow make a strong economy. That’s ridiculous. Positive economic activity is self-perpetuating and should be encouraged. But let’s not offer a free buffet and then complain when it starts to cost too much.
War on Terror
I have been against occupying foreign countries from the beginning, but these wars relate to border security as well. As long as we continue fighting to fix someone else’s country, we inspire new terrorists all the time by forcing death upon their villages and homes. The latest terrorist attempt was done by someone that plainly said he was retaliating against drone attacks in his country. We were absolutely justified in trying to hunt down and kill bin Laden and his gang after 9/11, but taking over not one, but two countries was mistake. We cannot afford to be the world’s police, and we open ourselves up as a perpetual target by doing so. We have a long history of coerced intervention in foreign countries, even before 9/11, and it has to stop or we definitely will have someone cross our undefended borders in an attempt to attack us. The safest way to prevent terrorism, reduce deficits, and defend ourselves is to end wars and foreign military adventures. If we bring the troops home, we will have the resources available to defend ourselves from any violent incursion along our own border as well.
Finally, we should make the process easy for peaceful, productive people to enter this country. It is important that we know who is here, but the process should be so inexpensive and simple that there is no incentive for anyone to cross illegally. It should be so easy that there must be something seriously wrong with you if you try to cross illegally (i.e. you’re a criminal or terrorist). The fact is that as the American population becomes older and more well educated, our economy demands new sources of unskilled labor, which immigrants can provide. We just need to take down the barriers and eliminate the quotas that prevent people from coming and working. We need not fear people that want to contribute.
The bottom line is that immigration is not the threat to our economy that some make it out to be; government is the real threat to our economy. Minimum wage laws, failed monetary control, government subsidies, spending programs, and a ballooning national debt do far more harm to our economy than immigrants. Every tax and wealth redistribution scheme robs from our prosperity and every regulation or price fixing creates every incentive to violate the law. Libertarians believe in the free movement of labor and capital in a free market, and there should be no problem allowing productive and non-violent people into our country. Furthermore, non-productive or violent people would be greatly reduced as their incentives for mooching off a free-lunch system or engaging in a black market would be eliminated.
Make no mistake, “close the border” is not the solution. Of course we have a right to defend our nation from invasion, but militarizing the border would be costly beyond belief and will only provide further profit motive to gangs and violent criminals. We must address all of the causes of our immigration problem, or we will surely succumb to the taxation and oppression of a police state. End the war on drugs, bring the troops home, eliminate the welfare state, and openly welcome productive people into this country. Together these are the keys to addressing the problem of immigration.
John Jay Myers
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