LP: Control Border to Stem “swine flu”

A Libertarian Party press release.

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Libertarians urge Obama to control border to stem “swine flu”

White House announces opposition to border enforcement in flu outbreak

WASHINGTON – America’s third largest party urged the White House Wednesday to more closely monitor crossings at the United States’ border with Mexico, and keep out persons infected with “swine flu.”

“The Libertarian Party Platform is clear, Libertarians support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee the Obama administration will not try to stop infected individuals from crossing the United States-Mexico border, claiming that since there are already isolated cases of the virus in the U.S, there is no need to try and stop widespread dissemination of the virus by newly-entered carriers in areas where it did not previously exist.

“I’m sure people across the United States appreciate the Obama White House announcing there is no need to stop the virus from being introduced to their community since it’s already in places like New York and Houston,” said Ferguson.

A Mexico City toddler who traveled to Texas with his family to visit relatives died in a Houston hospital Monday evening, the first confirmed death in the U.S. from swine flu.

“That is typical of the irresponsibility of the Obama White House,” said Ferguson.  “While doctors and hospitals should be focused on mitigating the virus here, as Secretary Napolitano stated, Barack Obama also has a responsibility to ensure infected people don’t flee into the United States and spread the virus here.”

“There is no reason to allow possibly infected people to cross the border.  They can wait until they are cleared as healthy,” said Ferguson.

Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, also urged federal officials to more closely monitor the border and keep out infected individuals who could further spread the disease in the United States.

“We can and should take steps to ensure neither a swine flu nor any other disease epidemic crosses into our territory by having our government commit to monitoring and restricting border crossings from Mexico,” Barr wrote in a column Wednesday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Of course, holding press conferences and telling people to wash their hands and cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze is politically less risky,” wrote Barr.

“The proper response is simple.  The government should use its rightful authority over the border to control entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to our health by spreading the virus into areas where it does not exist.  America’s doctors, hospitals and health care professionals – the best in the world – should then take the lead on eradicating the virus where it already exists,” said Ferguson.

For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Libertarian Party, please call Director of Communications Donny Ferguson at 703-200-3669 or 202-333-0008, x. 225, or email Donny.Ferguson@lp.org.

The Libertarian Party is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting http://www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

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138 thoughts on “LP: Control Border to Stem “swine flu”

  1. Gary Chartier

    What alternate universe have I entered? A party that’s supposed to be explicitly anti-statist is now urging the administration to emphasize . . . border security!?!? What could be more obviously statist? I’m shaking my head . . . .

  2. rah62

    Holy crap. So much for the LP being “Republican-Lite” – they’re now aiming for “More Republican Than Thou”.

  3. Michael H. Wilson

    I commented on this yesterday in another thread. Sad to say this release fails to pass the test as libertarian, nor is it based in good science. Closing the borders will not stop the spread of the flu.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    P.S. I should have said “…even going so far as to close the borders won’t stop the flu”.

  5. PTK

    In my view, I think monitoring the border isn’t going to do much with the swine flu, now that it is already here.

  6. libertariangirl

    Oh geez , no defending this one.
    Is Donny responsible for this one , it doesnt say .

    This is off the charts for being un-libertarian.

  7. Susan Hogarth Post author

    I’m horrified at the level of ignorance expressed here.

    Ferguson writes “…the Obama administration will not try to stop infected individuals from crossing the United States-Mexico border…”

    I’m not sure where he got that from.





    DHS has responded on numerous levels. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is monitoring incoming travelers to identify individuals experiencing symptoms entering the U.S. … At our land ports of entry and in our airports, CBP is continuing to implement protocols to direct incoming travelers who appear sick to separate rooms where they can be evaluated by local public health professionals.

    At this time all U.S. ports of entry are open and operating as normal with officers using risk based border screening.

    Ferguson writes:
    “I’m sure people across the United States appreciate the Obama White House announcing there is no need to stop the virus from being introduced to their community since it’s already in places like New York and Houston,” said Ferguson.

    Hyperbole much? What was -actually- said was that closing the borders was a non-starter in terms of controlling the disease, and would have HUGE costs in terms of commerce.

    Ferguson again:
    “There is no reason to allow possibly infected people to cross the border. They can wait until they are cleared as healthy,” said Ferguson.

    This is unmitigated stupidity. EVERYONE is ‘possibly infected’. Does the LP *really want* a five-day quarantine for EVERY SINGLE TRAVELER?

    This release should be retracted and buried quietly, and Ferguson should be reprimanded. We need better fact-checking and reasoning, not parroting of Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz xenophobia.

  8. George Phillies

    Also, I believe it does not work, namely people who are infected but not yet ill pass straight through.

    Mind you, the matching dog quarantine has kept rabies out of some islands, but this proposal won’t even work.

  9. Thane Eichenauer

    To me this press release points out the truth of the fact that there is no job the government does well. Of course the LP encouraging the US government to be more effective is no different than the Ralph Nader movement encouraging the US government to be more effect. And that is the comparison that leads me to wonder what is up with LP/Watergate.

  10. Chuck Moulton

    How about a press release on how the FDA has made the cost of researching vaccines uneconomical by over-regulation — due to the public choice problem overemphasis of type I errors and underemphasis of type II errors (victims killed by drugs erroneously approved are easily identifiable and sensationalized, whereas victims that could have been saved by drugs erroneously not approved are rarely talked about). It could also discuss how government subsidization of medical research crowds out private investment that would have been more likely to address large scale public health problems not yet on the political radar. A third issue would be anti-gouging laws (price controls) often imposed on lifesaving medicines and vaccines during crises which remove the incentive to produce and research them.

    Such a press release would be topical to Swine Flu and also remotely libertarian.

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    Today’s LP blog issue on Obama and rationing of healthcare also is poorly researched. Just off the top of my head something like 30% of all medicare dollars are spent by 5% of medicare patients in the last year of their lives.

    I for one would agree with Obama that there needs to be a discussion on how we deal with the issue of death in our culture. While I certainly don’t want some government functionary to make that decision for me I do know that under the present circumstances too many doctors do not follow the patients wishes. DNR orders are often ignored.

  12. sunshinebatman

    This is asinine… Ron Paul and others are pointed out that this threat is overblown… it’s being used as a pretext for increased militarization of the homeland… The LP should be putting out releases condemning forced vaccinations for BS scares like this… and condemning the fear factor generally.

  13. libertariangirl

    Does anyone have any oversite or editing rights at all when it comes to what Fergusen writes ? does he run his stuff by anyone at all?

    for christs sake , I dont even see how ANY Libertarians would think this release was a good idea

  14. Rich Vanier

    This is very Un-Libertarian. More people die everyday from the regular influenza than will ever die of Swine Flu.

  15. Joey

    How many of you lunatics that believe in open borders actually live in a border state?

    Shut the F up if you don’t live in a border state.

    The LP in Texas, especially, is just a tad bit different in some respects, especially when it comes to borders.

    I swear to God, this imagine-no-borders-of-the-LP stance is brain dead.

    Border “security” is a defense issue. You anarchists, thankfully, don’t carry a majority in the party anymore. Idiotic lunatics are what you guys are.

  16. Daniel Grow

    If it was April 1, and not May 1, it might be a sporting joke. Perhaps Donney has the swine affliction.

  17. Joey

    I will agree with sunshinebatman though that this is being way too overblown, but any non-anarchist can see that defending borders, boundaries, etc. are a legitimate function of police, citizen groups (i.e., militias) and the military.

    This erase-the-borders-because-it’s-only-a-state-drawn-line is going to give us a European Union.

    Sometimes the libertarians are just too damn extreme for me.

  18. Susan Hogarth Post author


    It’s not even an open/closed border issue. It’s an issue of extremely poor thinking and factchecking, combined with a really dangerous willingness of the LP staff to call for MORE government intervention than even the government!

    This is one of those cases where calling for more government intervention doesn’t even make sense to dedicated interventionists (hello, CDC is against it!) – there’s no WAY it makes sense from a Libertarian perspective.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Unfortunately, this is our fault, the we in question being the delegates who voted in favor of the new platform in Denver. That includes me, and I’m certainly seeing the error of my ways at the moment.

    The platform plank on Free Trade and Immigration is five sentences long. Four of those five sentences are balls-out libertarian. The fifth sentence was a concession to bellyaching on the part of the allegedly “mainstream” wing of the party.

    My own logic in accepting such concessions was that, being concessions of the “minor exception” type, they would be treated as such, and only pulled out in exceptional circumstances.

    Instead, they’re now being fraudulently sold to the public as “the Libertarian position.” LPHQ has done two releases on immigration in the last year. One of them was nominally pro-immigration-freedom but included the “exception” language. This one is entirely centered around the “exception” language.

    I apologize to my fellow Libertarians for my gullibility. I should have supported Restore ’04.

  20. Erik Geib


    I was born and raised in a border state (I lived in Texas the first 19 years of my life), and I have no problem with open borders. Please don’t try and speak on behalf of the 20+ million people living in Texas, nor should you claim to represent the 60+ million people technically living in border states.

    Your bigotry would be better served cheerleading for Republicans or the Constitution Party than critisizing Libertarians.

  21. Jill Stone

    Joey, you have offended me as well. I have spent all of my life 150 miles from the Mexican border, in California. I still believe in open borders. Don’t you dare speak for me.

  22. Rob Power

    I figured it out. Donny is actually a radical libertarian mole who infiltrated the LNC to put out such crazy FReeper nonsense that all of us in the different factions who are usually at each others’ throats could for once be unified — in our recognition that this press release is complete and utter BS. 🙂 Stuff like this makes Redpath & Co. look so bad that it could only have been done by someone intentionally trying to take down the current LNC administration.

    On that same note — Sullentrup’s a mole, too. His handling of the Wrights situation simply HAD to be an attempt to discredit the current leadership of the Party. Nothing else explains it.

  23. sunshinebatman

    Joey is right… border security is a legit issue… but swine flu is a retarded issue to demagogue borders on… LP should use it as a hook to push bodily integrity and anti-quarantine hysteria… THEY are already quarantining planes over this bullshit… what if they start quarantining sports stadiums? Will LNC still be bitching about mexicans while spectators are being forcefed tamiflu? wtf….

  24. Jim Davidson

    @21. Exactly correct, Susan.

    I would only add that this press release is another example of calling for more government intervention where no more is needed (or useful). It is not the first such LP HQ press release.

    How embarrassing. If only there were a libertarian party that didn’t take idiotic authoritarian positions on issues, use authoritarian tactics to attack its own national committee members, and pay staff idiotic sums of money to discredit libertarian ideas.

    At least the Boston Tea Party can never have paid staff.

  25. Alan Pyeatt

    Who are these IDIOTS and why are they impersonating Libertarians?

    Let’s see now, we have a flu virus that’s giving us less trouble than what we see with a typical winter cold season, and the LP is calling for MORE government intervention? Last year, roughly 36,000 people died of seasonal flu in the U.S. (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/story?id=7471341&page=1). But with only 16 deaths worldwide from swine flu so far, the University Interscholastic League is canceling athletic events all over Texas, people are being quarantined in their homes, Texas and California have both declared a state of emergency, Homeland Security has just issued guidelines for the DHS to impose quarantines… And as usual, politicians’ offers to save us are being fed by media hysteria.

    But instead of cooler heads prevailing, we Libertarians are stuck with the LNC’s demands for bigger government on the border. Never mind the disruption to commerce. Preventing food, medicine, and other necessities from crossing the border for a week or two won’t harm anybody, will it?

    Clearly, somebody on the LNC doesn’t share our Libertarian values.

    I trust this will serve as a wake-up call to those well-meaning LP members who allowed our party to be controlled by the advocates of a “Republican Light” strategy. It didn’t suddenly turn us into “players” in the 2008 elections, and now we’re in danger of losing our entire purpose.

    It’s time for us to look in the mirror and do a reality check: Is our children’s freedom more important than mainstream acceptance? And which path is our party on? Is our leadership taking us in the right direction, or not? And if not, what are we gonna do about it?

  26. Susan Hogarth Post author

    On that same note — Sullentrup’s a mole, too.

    Hey, I already called Sully. But you’re right, that seems the only possible explanation. I mean; seriously! Ferguson is calling for EVERYONE to be quarantined for *5 DAYS* (the flu incubation period) before entrance to the U.S. So much for truck shipments of goods! So much for business meetings! So much for scientific study travel! So much for privacy!

    So, yes, Donny’s a bright boy – obviously he’s trying to re-radicalize the LP by making the conservative faction look ridiculous.

  27. Susan Hogarth Post author


    This whole thing reminds me of the Iraq Exit Strategy. Remember that fiasco? I *did* so want to think that Ferguson was going to be at least *brighter* than that crew, but alas!

  28. George Phillies

    The exception clause came out shortly after the outbreak of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. For those of you who have forgotten, SARS differed from conventional flu in two modest respects, namely it was *more* infectious (as witness medical staff who got the disease after treating people under contagious quarantine conditions) and *the mortality rate among healthy people who got the disease was around a third*. For the elderly and the respiratorily challenged, such as the grossly obese, the situation was a bit more serious.

    There was one episode in North America, in Canada, not far from where my younger brother practices medicine in the US, and it was stopped only by the most rigorous of quarantines, by a very small margin. The Chinese Health authorities were in the same boat. The Canadian outbreak was as non-lethal as it was only because the Canadians had more ICU beds with respiratory support than they did people in need.

    The notion that the exception clause is likely to be abused is rather different from the question of whether or not there is a critical issue here.

  29. Arthur DiBianca

    Fortunately this press release didn’t get much coverage, as far as I can tell. I did see a reference in the UK a couple of days ago:

    “The American Libertarian Party advises Obama to close the US border with Mexico, despite a WHO determination that the move would do little to stem the spread of the virus that has now spread to more than 30 countries.”


  30. Shane Killian

    What? LIBERTARIANS wrote this???

    Geez, “controlling” the border to stop swine flu from coming in should work about as well as stopping drug trafficking or illegal immigration!

    That’s what the press release SHOULD have said.

  31. Libertyjack

    “Oh no! The sky is falling.” said Chicken Little as it rained. This is another example of hysteria on steroids creating another opportunity for the Nanny State alphabet soup entities, DHS, CDC,FDA etc., to grow through the theft of your life, liberty and property by feeding off the fears of the misinformed sheeple. Watch out, there is something going on behind this smokescreen!

  32. Eric Sundwall

    Anybody here ever consider the scourge of Canadians who hike in the Adirondacks ? They bring money for local tourism, seem healthy and always are courteous, except when driving. This is a serious threat to the Appalachia aspersions cast by former disgraced politicians from Gotham.

    If this menace is allowed to continue, trips to Montreal and Toronto for cheap prescriptions and beer could be seriously at risk.

  33. Jim Lesczynski

    We all live in border states. Each of the states (except Hawaii) borders at least one other state or country. New Jersey should close its border with New York at once to keep out all those infected New Yorkers!

    In case anyone at LPUS is reading this, that was a joke.

  34. Michael Seebeck

    I think somebody at national overdosed on the hysterics. Allan puts it into proper perspective.

    My first reaction to the swine flu was a WTF? followed by more research, a slight concern that it was bioterrorism (I’m still not totally convinced it wasn’t based on the genetics of the thing), followed by the recognition that this is a large amount of hype and little substance. After that 10 minutes passed, I returned to the CA convention business at hand, and life continued as normal as if nothing happened.

    The correct press release would have been for people to not rely on the government and to ignore the hype and practice common-sense hygiene, sanitation, and health measures and otherwise be cautious and let it play out like flu viruses typically do.

  35. robert capozzi

    I agree that this one strikes an off tone for me as well. While I agree with that platform’s wise stance on border crossing, this release feeds into hysteria, and is therefore contra-indicated, IMO.

    I am curious about Susan’s comment about relative “brightness.” Can you elaborate?

    Strikes me that it’s one thing to disagree with someone else’s take, another to base one’s assessment of intellect on the other’s opinion.

    Huge trap, IMO. Are all R and Ds “not bright” because we disagree with their views? Underestimating opponents is also contra-indicated.

  36. Michael Seebeck

    Robert, all R and Ds are “not bright” for various reasons, first and foremost being they overdose on their party Kool-Aid and embrace statism. 😀

  37. robert capozzi

    ms, I’d agree that embracing statism is “deeply misguided.” I don’t, and my IQ tests are reasonably high. I’ve met socialists, Rs and Ds who have MUCH higher IQs than I do. I’d venture to say that Ls may on average have high IQs, but that doesn’t mean that ALL Ls have higher IQs than ALL Rs, Ds and Ss.

  38. Michael H. Wilson

    Having a high IQ is one thing, but having common sense is another.

  39. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Knapp called it first.

    On his Facebook page, Donny Ferguson responded to some concerns expressed there by writing:

    The release directly quotes the Platform. Libertarians believe we should control entry into our country of those who threaten our health and safety.

    My reply:
    Yes, it does. But BEFORE that it spends three sentences explaining that *in general* freedom of movement is the best policy. “We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.”

    What about this ‘crisis’ do you think invokes this last sentence at the explicit expense of the first three? Mexicans (and Canadians, and Brits, and…) almost certainly bring more HIV than H1N1 into the US – do we quarantine them for HIV as well? The common cold? Why is THIS case so dire in your mind, when other, more damaging diseases, are not? Have you just bought the hype, or do you know something I don’t about this disease?

    And what policy are you advocating? it sounds like you’re advocating a literal pre-border quarantine. True?

    When *bureaucrats* are advocating less government intervention than *Libertarians*, don’t you think there might be some problem?

    I urge you to reconsider this release, and to quietly kill it.

  40. John C

    But the swine flu has killed 16 people in Mexico and possibly might just be only one step away from pandemic status. HIV and the common cold have nothing on this.

  41. robert capozzi

    mhw, exactly! of course, common sense is not measureable. it may well be that this release is sub-optimal (I think so), but I can’t say — as Susan does — that the author isn’t bright. In fact, I find him to be bright, I just find it unwise to suggest that another isn’t bright because one (somewhat, in this case) disagrees with an author.

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    There aren’t any circumstances under which I’d find this release a good idea, but I could find it an understandable idea if if was one of several recent LP press releases, most of which emphasized the main part of the platform plank instead of only referencing the “exception” clause at the end of that plank.

    Earlier this week, ICE issued new rules for its thugs vis a vis their practice of abducting workers en masse, declaring that henceforth the emphasis would move away from those mass abductions and toward arresting employers who decline to work as unpaid ICE agents. Not peep from LPHQ about that.

    Nothing from LPHQ about the recently released statistics claiming that dozens, possibly hundreds, of American citizens have been abducted as “illegal immigrants,” and some even “accidentally” deported, in the last year.

    Nothing from LPHQ about the recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center on the fact that 75% of the children of “illegal immigrants” are US citizens who will end up in tax-funded foster care, etc. if their parents are abducted and deported instead of being allowed to continue peacefully living and working in the US.

    Nothing from LPHQ about Obama’s upcoming immigration reform proposal as reported on by the New York Times.

    Nothing from LPHQ about the Amnesty International report which claims that more than 400,000 people have been abducted by ICE for alleged immigration violations in the last year.

    Nothing from LPHQ about Cardinal George’s call on the Obama administration to end the ICE abduction raids.

    Nothing about Bush’s disgusting commutation of the sentences of those murderous thugs, Ramos and Compean.

    The last time LPHQ said anything about immigration at all was last August, and even in that relatively pro-freedom release they managed to work in a positive mention of the big-government “exceptions” clause in the platform.

    Nine months later, with not so much as a single mention of immigration in between, LPHQ goes berserker big-government, citing nothing BUT that “exceptions” clause, over a non-existent pandemic.

  43. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert to quote a phrase from years ago, maybe the Vietnam era was when I heard it first; “the smartest guy in the room isn’t always right”.

    And Tom you bring up some damn good issues.


  44. robert capozzi

    tk, yes, I see your point. selectivity is inherent in politics, and this release ain’t the optimal selection, IMO.

  45. Michael H. Wilson

    And let me be clear on one thing. I have no idea what Mr. Ferguson’s work load is like and while I find the release not to my liking I would need much more info to criticize him personally. Maybe he punched it out in a rush at someone else’s demand.

    Boy that’s waffling on my part. Kiss Ass that I am.

    But this shows why we need a small group to get these things out. Some way better to hash these things out before they go out.

  46. Leymann Feldenstein

    So when can we expect an LP press release to close down the bath houses for spreading AIDS?

  47. Cork

    This is really the last straw, as far as I’m concerned. The LP is a joke, and it should just die SAP. It has corrupted the meaning of the word “libertarian.” The LP has proven right everyone who ever argued that “Libertarians are just pot-smoking Republicans”–except now we don’t even have the pot-smoking! Unbelievable.

  48. mdh

    How about an LNC press release asking the government to provide welfare for individuals and corporations to keep people from being poor. After all, if we’re throwing away our principles, a little feel-good welfare-state-ism never hurt anyone. Wins lots of elections, even.

  49. mdh

    We most certainly do have the pot smoking. Trust me. 😉

    I find this release silly to the point of absurdity. I really wish we’d see some releases that were actually worthwhile and would build the party. I may have to start making my own from the LPWV.

  50. Michael Seebeck

    Tom, I think the immigration questions you raise are really beside the point here. The problems with the release is that A) It doesn’t promote a rational solution, and B) it scapegoats immigrants for no good reason.

    See again my last paragraph @40.

  51. Thomas L. Knapp


    I agree with the two problems you identify with the release, BUT I don’t think my questions are beside the point.

    Immigration is a major American public policy issue. Not only has LPHQ addressed immigration only twice in the last year, but 1.x of the two times LPHQ has addressed immigration, it’s addressed it from the exception in the LP platform rather than the rule of the LP platform.

    That’s a problem in and of itself, and would remain a problem even absent the other problems you identify.

  52. G.E.

    Wow. I’m taking my daughter to the zoo. I feel sorry for you people who haven’t the good sense to abandon the LP to the neocons who control it and don’t want you there. Time is a non-renewable resource, and you people are wasting it. You’ll regret it.

  53. mdh

    GE, I can only wonder if the small-government Republicans in the GOP once said the same thing… If we’re ever to have a voice, we can’t stop giving up parties when they get big enough to attract people who are doing what we feel are the wrong things. That’s just silly and an even bigger waste of time.

    Unless you advocate some non-political means for revolution. Personally, I like politics.

  54. robert capozzi

    ge, yes, if one doesn’t feel a party largely represents their views on most things most of the time, it does seem contra-indicated to provide it support.

    OTOH, to expect a party — esp a third party — to be consequential due to one’s support or non-support seems like a set up for failure. all politics, hobbies, work, friendships could be construed as a waste of time in that sense. utility is derived from a complex and sometimes vague sense of doing virtuous things and steering clear of contra-indicated behavior.

    I enjoy the forum the LP provides me, despite its not being perfectly TAAAList or esp consequential at this time. Might change; might not. I do take some satisfaction that it no longer advocates the “right” to private nukes…counting my blessings!

    so, I’ll take your sage counsel under advisement.

  55. Alan Pyeatt

    G.E., I’ve been an LP member since 1981. There is no other political party that represents my views. The fact that it has been co-opted by a bunch of neocons does NOT incline me to throw in the towel. I just don’t have that kind of “quitter” instinct.

    In fact, seeing what has been happening to “The Party of Principle” in the last few years pissed me off to the point that I decided to become far more active. If we go down to the forces of fascism, at least I will have the peace of mind that I went down swinging. I will never regret that. Quitting, on the other hand…

    Since you’ve chosen to post on this thread, maybe you still have something invested in the LP? Like your hopes for protecting your own freedom, and maybe that of your daughter?

    We can throw in the towel, or we can stand our ground and fight. Your choice.

  56. Jim Davidson

    Alan @30 “canceling athletic events all over Texas…”

    So at least some good is coming of this “crisis.” lol

    Alan @66 What makes you think the LP represents your views? The national headquarters staff seems determined to do otherwise.

    You might check out bostontea.us for an alternative that Tom Knapp got started a few years ago.

  57. Gary Donoyan

    G.E. writes:

    “I feel sorry for you people who haven’t the good sense to abandon the LP to the neocons who control it and don’t want you there.”

    All it takes is a little light. Done. See you in St. Louis.

  58. Sam Sloan

    Donny Ferguson needs to be removed immediately and publicly as Libertarian National Committee Communications Director.

    This “press release” is exactly the opposite of what Libertarians stand for.

    Sam Sloan

  59. John C

    I tend to agree with GE. All the criticism of his comment seems to be made under the assumption that one should be a member of a political party or involved in politics at all, which is ridiculous. There are many non-political ways that individuals can actually DO freedom for themselves and their families as well as other individuals in society. I suspect that whatever GE does with his time is a Hell of a lot more effective and protective of his daughter’s freedom than spending any amount of time or energy in politics.

  60. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Time is a non-renewable resource, and you people are wasting it. You’ll regret it.

    Do you regret the time you spent active in the LP? Do you regret the time you still spend following and discussing it?

  61. G.E.

    Susan – No, I don’t regret the time I spent in the LP. I had fun. But I knew when it was time to throw in the towel. I didn’t time things exactly right, I guess — I should have quit as soon as Barr won the nomination. Do I regret the time from that point on that I remained involved in the petty and pointless LP squabbles, etc.? Yes, I do.

    Do I regret the time I still spend following and discussing it? If you haven’t noticed, that’s down a LOT. I check in from time to time to see what some of my friends are up to. I still have an emotional investment in IPR, which I founded if you recall. Now it’s the undisputed third-party politics site — and I’m proud of that. So do I regret whatever time I STILL spend following the LP and IPR? No. Because it’s not excessive. Do I regret the time I DID spend, post-Barr nomination? Yes.

    John C – Thank you. Yes, I do think what I’m doing now is more protective of my daughter’s freedom than working with the LP. My career has blossomed, I’ve started reading way more, and I have a LOT more time to spend with her.

    Alan – There is a time to throw in the towel. We stood our ground. We fought. We lost. Give up. Or we can be like the U.S. in Vietnam (or Iraq) and not know when to quit.

    Capozzi – We agree. For once. Your side won. Good game. You cheated like whores, but you won. GFY.

    mdh – When were there ever small-government types in the GOP? Or true libertarians in the LP? The original pledge is a renouncement of anarchism and a duplicitous surrender to state oppression. Yes, I do favor anti-political methods. I don’t think the political system has much life in it. And I don’t think the state can be reformed, tamed, or abolished via elections. The LP might still be useful for spreading education, if people like Susan Hogarth were in charge of it, but they’re not. And the cost-benefit analysis and risk-reward ratio tells me that it’s not worth it to fight any longer. I’ll be happy to jump back on the bandwagon if you score some improbable victories.

  62. Michael Seebeck

    Tom, I say it’s besides the point because it’s being used as a strawman here. A separate release on immigration may be in order, but it’s really unrelated to the flu business.

  63. Bonnie S

    Alan Pyeatt and Thomas Knapp and Susan Hogarth have said much of what I’m thinking.

    I just have to add, re: “The government should use its rightful authority over the border to control entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to our health by spreading the virus into areas where it does not exist.”

    Weren’t most of the people bringing the flu into our country spring breakers and other US nationals? Just like the Ds and Rs to not let the facts get in the way of calling for larger gov’t.

  64. a different paul

    Huh, just read Donny Ferguson’s release on this. I’m guessing the LP has changed, or maybe my understanding of it is wrong, because I figured the LP would have gone the other way on this one.

  65. a different paul

    By the way, controlling the border is a big job that takes a lot of government infrastructure. In fact it would take a lot more than this country has thus far devoted to it.

    So basically is this the LP advocating an expansion of government?

  66. Robert Capozzi

    different, my take is “no.” national defense and border control are not expected to be perfect, but rather judicious. having those functions doesn’t imply an “expansion” at all. a “shift” would be more like it.

  67. a different paul

    Robert, I think controlling the border means shutting down the crossings everywhere – especially if you’re talking about it in the context of controlling the expansion of a virus – and that’s a lot of space to watch.

  68. Bryan

    Barr was referring to enforcing the laws that are already on the books, not creating new ones. If you are opposed to these laws…fine…work to repeal/reverse/overturn them…but they are there and should be enforced…(Before you go off the deep end read the rest)

    If we continue to allow (relatively) open borders, not stopping those who are ill… They will seek care in our hospital ER’s, and the way our system works…they must care for them…legal or not. Our tax dollars are going for the treatment of these people (I don’t care if they come from Mex., Can., or any other country). Most of you who are vehemently opposed to closed borders would agree that TAX money should not be used for this purpose…BUT IT IS! I don’t see how you can defend part of your argument without this inequity being addressed first.

    IMO…The “ramping” up of the “swine” flu is nothing more than a ploy by the current administration…according to them we must think “globally” about “crises”… Is this the “first step” to convince American’s that we must “work with Mexico” in these trying times…of course this will make ANTI-gun legislation that much easier to enact…to show our “global” goodwill??? This isn’t a conspiracy theory…this is just good politics and propaganda….

  69. Susan Hogarth Post author

    If we continue to allow (relatively) open borders, not stopping those who are ill…

    Diseases have incubation periods. There’s no practical way to keep diseased people from crossing borders pre-symptom.

  70. Bryan

    LJ…no the gov. should do nothing…including paying for the medical treatment of “illegal” aliens…

    SH…I’m not a moron…but if someone is showing signs…why not stop them from entry…see above

  71. Rocky Eades

    @ #81 – Bryan, I’m not sure how you arrive at the relative value of freedom from taxation vs freedom of movement/free trade (and all the other freedoms associated with those two).

    For the life of me, I just can’t get the scale to tip in the same direction you do. It just kinda hangs there, not assigning any more value to one set of freedoms than to the other.

  72. Bryan

    I see I’m catching flack for my immigration opinion. It’s rather ironic, for I am all for open borders…BUT…I do believe in the “state”. There are limits.

    Also, until our entire system undergoes dramatic change, we must play the cards we are dealt.

    Right now OUR government sees it’s self as the “protector of the universe”. We are spending OUR money to “combat” the dreaded swine flu…We are spending OUR money taking care of any “illegal” aliens that are in our country.

    Almost all of the “victims” of the dreaded swine flu are Mexican. The only death that has occurred in the US is a Mexican national. The US has 39,000 deaths, and over 200,000 hospitalizations every year due to “the flu”. The way I see it…their disease…their problem…Why are we…at the highest levels of gov… spending $Tens of Millions$ to “face this crisis”?

    Who are the anarchist’s here…help me out…

  73. a different paul

    Robert: “Yours is a literal take, I’d suggest hyper literal.”

    Maybe I misunderstood Ferguson’s point, but if you aren’t shutting down every inch of a very long border, how is that supposed to stop the spread of this particular flu?

  74. Gene Trosper

    As the chairman of the Riverside County Libertarian Party, I am not only ashamed because of this press release, but I will explicitly disavow the position outlined in that release if contacted by the media.

  75. Alexander S. Peak

    Nothing in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government the authority to regulate human migration. Said section mentions “Naturalization,” but not immigration. At most, the U.S. can declare person with Swine flu “non-citizens,” but it has no authority to expell them or to prevent them from entering, no matter how “good” or “bad” one might think it is to enact these policies.

    The only mention of migration, I believe, in the entire Constitution deals with the importation of slaves. Since slavery is illegal as per the 13th amendment, this cannot be used to excuse the regulation of human migration. It remains unconstitutional for the federal government to be involved in any way with the regulation of human migration.

    If Mr. Ferguson truly wants the federal government to be involved in this area, it behoves him to support a constitutional amendment granting to the federal government the authority to centrally plan human migration. I would oppose such an amendment, as would all free-marketeers, but that’s what he would have to do so as not to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    Instead, he urges the U.S. executive to seize unconstitutional power over human migration. He’s urging the president to become even more of a monarch, even more of a tyrant, one who doesn’t even have the decency to constrain himself to the precepts of the U.S. Constitution.

    In short, it appears that Mr. Ferguson holds the U.S. Constitution in the same regard as Mr. Bush, and supports having more “energy” in the executive, as the monarchist Alexander Hamilton supported. Mr. Ferguson, therefore, is not a libertarian. I recommend that Mr. Ferguson and all other LINOs step down.

    Harry Browne is rolling in his grave.

    Alex Peak

  76. Jim Davidson


    L. Neil Smith addresses this particularly egregious example of neo-con LINO idiocy.

    Excerpt: “Such a message, urging that the government attempt to control the right of individuals to travel, is not only impractical—how long does each virus test take, as the traffic backs up to Durango and Baja California Sur while Americans are allegedly already spreading the virus among themselves?—it is wholly inconsistent with the Zero Aggression Principle which is the heart and soul, the very definition of libertarianism, but which the current LP leadership rejects because (quite properly) it ties their hands and hampers them in their desire to surrender principle for what they sadly and mistakenly imagine is electability.”

    The whole essay may be reprinted with his permission which is granted in-line.

  77. sunshinebatman

    Article 1, Section 9, clause 1. The Congress has had the power to limit migration since 1808.

  78. Jim Davidson

    “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the
    States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
    the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a
    Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars
    for each Person.”

    Where is the power you claim, Sunshinebatman?

  79. Jim Davidson

    This clause you cite, which I bothered to put in its entirety above, says Congress may prohibit migration. Not limit it, not regulate it, not deny admission to those who may be suspected of having swine flu.

    You’ll find the clause indicated is about importing slaves. Legislative intent also denies the power you assert.

    I suspect that you are an apologist for a huge federal government with no limits at all.

  80. sunshinebatman

    “Denying admission” to the country is the same thing as “prohibiting migration.” You’re tying yourself in knots to promote this delusion.

    The clause is indeed about importing slaves; but one will find it is also about MIGRATION. Importation and “migration” are two different words with two different meanings. Free people migrate. This is a concise document; no word is used sparingly.

    & Your paranoid suspicions are as poor as your reading comprehension.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    Again, I found this release ill advised.

    BUT: I find the pre-08 complete open borders argument weak. Ideally, perhaps the Constitution should be tweaked to say “naturalization and visitation” or some such. Or perhaps the idea of “domestic tranquility” or “the common defense and general welfare of the United States” should be expanded in the text of the Constitution somewhere.

    As a practical matter, the Feds control the borders now. If they didn’t, the States would. Screening for inherently dangerous people — the contagious or terrorists, for ex. — seems prudent to me, consistent with the idea of the “general welfare,” granting that that phrase is somewhat vague. Procedures and laws to enact that seem open for interpretation.

    If that makes me a LINO, so be it. Maybe that means I won’t get into L Heaven! 😉

    But, I wonder: Does everyone walk around with “rebar” in L Heaven? Doesn’t sound esp. pleasant to me! 😉

  82. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Bryan writes SH…I’m not a moron…but if someone is showing signs…why not stop them from entry…see above

    Here’s the funny thing: this is CURRENTLY the policy implemented by the USG. This is why the press release was such a bad idea – now the LP is on record saying that the Obama administration isn’t using the power of government *enough*.

    It’s unclear to me what more Ferguson is saying the LP wants. Does he want the USG to impose a five-day border quarantine (waiting period)? And if so, does he want similar waiting periods to reveal other diseases? Does he just want the border shut altogether? Would he have prohibited ill *Americans* from returning?

    The press release has all the negatives of a vaguely-worded call for government to ‘do something!’, while committing to no specifics. It appears to have been written not based on facts, but on scare-mongering polemics from the likes of Michael Savage.

    And speaking of Savage, Root’s response is, if possible, more intellectually muddled and hysterical than Ferguson’s:


    In the space of two paragraphs, he first alleges that the flu scare is an Obama distraction from serious economic issues, and then *immediately* proceeds to complain that the administration isn’t taking the ‘threat’ seriously enough. So – is it a serious threat or a distraction, Wayne? Make up your mind!

    It’s vexing that such people can sell themselves as the ‘mouthpiece’ of the LP.

    Oh, and he also misrepresents (grossly; comically; Limbaughesquely, if I may coin a word) the administration position. Spin can be effective – hyperbole makes you an obvious and pathetic clown.

  83. Susan Hogarth Post author

    I am awaiting the LP’s “Afghanistan Exit Strategy”.

    I expect it’ll come well after calls for real disengagement are widespread, and consist of a call to remove troops from Afghanistan and send them to Mexico to assist with the Drug War.


  84. robert capozzi

    Susan, I couldn’t agree more that hyperbole’s contra-indicated and credibility destroying.

    You have the makings of a TAAAList, as this is a central premise of this rapidly growing sub-school of Lism! 😉

  85. robert capozzi

    SH, now would be an excellent time, then, to hear your case against TAAALism, as I find it the most clear-minded, realistic appraoch to L politics, which has evolved into a high time preference game, yes?

  86. Steven R Linnabary

    Root spoke at this weekend’s Ohio LP conference. Toward the end of his speech, he said something to the effect “if we are going to save Social Security, we will have to get a handle on immigration” (probably not his exact words, the YouTube isn’t up yet)!!

    Two thoughts immediately came to mind, 1.) since when did Libertarians want to “save Social Security”? 2.) Social Security is a pyramid scheme. Like any pyramid scam, it requires a constantly growing number of people paying into it.


  87. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “As a practical matter, the Feds control the borders now.”

    According to NOAA, the US has 95,500 miles of border and coastline, but let’s just give the “secure the borders” whackjobs the benefit of doubt and pretend that the Mexican border is the only “problem” area. That border is 1,969 miles long.

    There are 17,499 Border Patrol agents (according to US Customs and Border Protection’s “Snapshot: A Summary of CBP Facts and Figures,” undated, but recent enough that it lists Napolitano as head of DHS).

    168 hours in a week. Assuming 40-hour work weeks and 8-hour shifts, nobody off sick, nobody on vacation, nobody back at the office filling out paperwork, that would come to 1,388 Border Patrol personnel on duty at the border at any given time … 1.4 per mile of US-Mexico border, if every man jack in the US Border Patrol is assigned to that border.

    Anyone who think the feds “control the border” — or can control the border is out of his goddamn mind.

  88. Susan Hogarth Post author

    Sorry, Bob. I only have a limited time to point out muddled thinking, and today Wayne Root and Donny Ferguson got all of it. Some other time, perhaps.

  89. robert capozzi

    tk, The Rain Man may have been literally correct when he recited statistics about plane crashes, yet he seemed the insane one in the scene where he said he’d only fly Qantas.

    So, you may be semantically correct…perhaps the better term is monitor or check the border. I’m not sure what your linguistic precision gets you, because I find it unimaginable that virtually all Americans would stand for unchecked borders. On this, I’d agree the vast majority are exercising prudence.

  90. robert capozzi

    Oh, Susan, one can dream. I’m so looking forward to your opus in which you skewer all non-absolutist thought once and for all. 😉

  91. robert capozzi

    SL, if Root said that, that’d be odd. If anything, immigration should be encouraged to “save” SS from insolvency.

  92. Thomas L. Knapp


    A liberalized immigration policy would give the feds more “control” of the border.

    If anyone who was not (insert specific, reasonable exclusionary criteria here — known terrorist, hacking up a tubercular lung at the desk, etc.) could just walk through customs to go take that job at the poultry plant, then the (excluded persons) would be the only ones trying to crawl across in the middle of the desert at 3am, which would make it a lot easier to detect them.

    As it is, lowball estimates of “illegal immigration” across the US-Mexico border run above 1 million annually. That’s more than 2,700 per day, each with 1,969 miles of border to choose a crossing point from. The (excluded persons) probably don’t amount to 1% of that.

  93. robert capozzi

    tk, I’m for liberalized immigration, so I’m not sure what your point is.

  94. Thomas L. Knapp


    My points are:

    – That the feds do not “control the border;” and

    – That a liberalized (or, more to the point, libertarianized) immigration policy would give them more, not less, “control” over the border.

  95. Darryl W. Perry

    One problem that I see with the “border” (i.e. immigration in general) is the lack of uniformity in Immigration Laws. There are different sets of rules and laws depending on where the person is coming from.
    Cuba has the “wet foot/dry foot” rule;
    Iraq has a “refugee” rule;
    other countries have “quotas” and other limits – the point being, there should be ONE Immigration Law, not hundreds!

  96. Michael H. Wilson

    There is a report out that a genetic variant of this flu actually developed on a farm in the U.S.

    If that’s the case and a thousands die or just get ill how do we hold someone responsible in a Libertarian world? And what do you do when we know damn well that the conditions on many of these place bred infections? Who should and how do we hold people responsible when their actions, or inactions may harm thousands? Is common law enough?

  97. pdsa

    First; I am heartened by the number of libertarians who posted responses to this LP National fatuity. Open Borders is NOT a National Security issue, it is a basic human liberty. Those who attempt to distort this as a National Security issue would be wise to consider a famous quote by The Father of the US Constitution:
    “Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.”James Madison

    Joey, I am left wondering just WTF you consider to be a border state? A US border state is any state with a border that touches Canada, The Pacific Ocean, The Atlantic Ocean, The Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico. The way you framed “border state” seems to imply you believe they are only California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, or bluntly; the states that share a border with Mexico. The underlying racism and asinine attempt to paint libertarians who support Open Borders as “anarchists” is appalling from one who claims to be a libertarian.

    I would advise anyone who believes that H1N1 is an artifact of Mexican filth and squalor to watch a CNN video report by Sanjay Gupta from a small Mexican village on April 29, 2009, where Gupta believes he located patient zero for H1N1. The town has an American Corporate factory pig farm in it, and in a written statement issued in response to CNN, the corporation basically admitted they indiscriminately use anti-virals on their livestock. An American-based collectivist business entity has built a factory pig farm in a depressed area of Mexico, while Mexican labor is locked behind closed borders, forced to accept less than fair value compensation for the product of their work. The corporation is able to act irresponsibly, knowing damn well that they won’t be held to the true liability costs of their business decisions.

    Lastly, I’ll end with an excerpt of that well-known American anarchist, Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, and recommend substantially less browsing time being spent over at VDare:
    “This involves the great question as to the right of expatriation, upon which so much has been said in this cause. Perhaps it is not necessary it should be explicitly decided on this occasion; but I shall freely express my sentiments on the subject. That a man ought not to be a slave; that he should not be confined against his will to a particular spot, because he happened to draw his first breath upon it; that he should not be compelled to continue in a society to which he is accidentally attached, when he can better his situation elsewhere, much less when he must starve in one country, and may live comfortably in another: are positions which I hold as strongly as any man, and they are such as most nations in the world appear clearly to recognize.” – – Justice James Iredell in Talbot v. Janson, 1795

  98. Bryan

    Has anyone else read this 18th century legalese?

    Talbot v. Janson, was about emigration, dual citizenship, and the obligations of this citizenship. It is rather ironic that so many “stateless” believers hold up this one paragraph, while never pointing out the entire decision, including the fact that it in essence states that one can be under the rules and regs of 2 countries…

    Iredell also said…

    I therefore, must say, there is no evidence to satisfy me, that he ceased to be an American citizen, so as to be absolved from the duties he owed to his own country; and among others, that duty of not cruising against the Dutch, in violation of the law of nations, generally, and of the treaty with Holland, in particular.

  99. Alexander S. Peak

    sunshinebatman writes, “Article 1, Section 9, clause 1. The Congress has had the power to limit migration since 1808.”

    No. That clause simply says that there can be no limit prior to 1808. It does nothing to grant to Congress the power to regulate migration after 1808. It would have to specifically say that Congress shall have this power after 1808, and it does not.

    Even if it could be argued that that clause grants the federal state some power over migration, that power would be strictly limited to charging a fee to would-be immigrants, a fee not exceeding $10.

    Mr. Capozzi, I’ll let Jefferson speak for me on the general welfare clause:

    “‘to lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the U.S.’ that is to say ‘to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.’ for the laying of taxes is the power and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. they are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. in like manner they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. to consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the ?rst, but as giving a distinct & independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding & subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. it would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the U.S. and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they pleased.”

    This is from Opinion against the Constitutionality of a National Bank (February 15, 1791).

    Respectfully yours,
    Alex Peak

  100. sunshinebatman

    Backwards, Peak. The $10/head tax was the pre-1808 limit of Congressional power over importation; afterwards, Congress is able to prohibit persons from migrating.

  101. Thomas L. Knapp

    Backwards, sunshinebatman. The fact that a specific limitation expired doesn’t mean that a non-specific new federal power was magically created.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    ap, Jefferson was one guy with an opinion. I generally agree with his opinions, but not always.

    TAAALism isn’t Constitutionalism, for TAAALism is more “radical.” So, I ask more basic questions. It goes something like this:

    1) Is it wise for a nation to check visitors to reasonably assure that they are not contagious or violent? Yes.

    2) Does the Constitution literally allow for such government functions? Maybe

    3) Should the Constitution be changed to allow for such government functions? Yes, if possible.

    4) Does the government and the prevailing interpretation of the Constitution check for visitors who pose a threat to the general welfare? Yes.

    5) All things considered, am I OK with that function? Yes.

    6) Could that function be performed better? Yes.

    7) Does my comfort with that checking function make me a statist? No, since I view that function as one of the few I tolerate as a means to maintain peace and domestic tranquility.

  103. Robert Capozzi

    ap, btw, checking the border seems very consistent with “but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.” Turning back the contagious or terrorists seems to me to provide for the Union’s welfare.

    I’d be real surprised if Jefferson were asked: If we could screen for visitors who were in fact British troops, would the Constitution allow that?, I suspect he’d say Yes. We’ll never know, of course.

  104. pdsa

    What a dodge Bryan. I am however, greatly amused with your artfully hued anarchist derogation paint brush, implying what I asserted in the previous comment indicated I am a “stateless believer”. Your supercilious denigration, “18th century legalese” is a droll diversion. Does your haughty lack of esteem for “18th century legalese” also extend to the U.S. Constitution, and the Original Intents of The Nation’s Founders, or are you simply unable to comprehend why Talbot’s claim of French naturalisation was denied in this decision, and this is why you dodged the whole premise of A Natural Right To Expatriation?

    I offered the citation from Talbot v Janson, because it was a SCOTUS decision in 1795; or three years prior to The Alien and Sedition Acts. Another reason I cited it is because Justice Iredell was able to strike at the very heart of the issue concisely, with words that still ring true and are easy to understand over 200 years later. Where is the legalese in it? I can also offer Jefferson citations:

    A foreigner of any nation, not in open war with us, becomes naturalized by removing to the State to reside, and taking an oath of fidelity; and thereupon acquires every right of a native citizen; and citizens may divest themselves of that character, by declaring, by solemn deed, or in open court, that they mean to expatriate themselves, and no longer to be citizens of this State.

    Thomas Jeferson, “Notes On Virginia”: QUERY XIV. “Laws” The administration of justice and description of the laws?
    My opinion on the right of Expatriation has been, so long ago as the year 1776, consigned to record in the act of the Virginia code, drawn by myself, recognizing the right expressly, and prescribing the mode of exercising it. The evidence of this natural right, like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of kings. If he has made it a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, he has left him free in the choice of place as well as mode; and we may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce the map on which Nature has traced, for each individual, the geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of happiness. It certainly does not exist in his mind. Where, then, is it? I believe, too, I might safely affirm, that there is not another nation, civilized or savage, which has ever denied this natural right. I doubt if there is another which refuses its exercise.

    Thomas Jefferson, Letter To Doctor John Manners, June 12, 1817

    Talbot was denied his claim of expatriation, and French Naturalisation in Talbot v. Janson, because it seemed evident that he had renoubced his Virginia citizenship, and became a naturalised French citizen, as a part of a criminal conspiracy with Edward Ballard, who also claimed to have expatriated himself, yet was not able to offer any evidence that he had taken any affirmative steps to become a French Citizen. Expatriation is a natural Right, but it cannot be rightfully asserted in every circumstance. In this instance, expatriation was a ruse, intended to cover for acts of piracy, using a sketchy French Letter of Marquis against Dutch vessels. Expatriation over to an enemy state during wartime is still a treasonous act.

    The doctrine of expatriation, or the right of a citizen formally to renounce allegiance to his country, and assume citizenship in a country of his adoption, is one that has been steadily advocated by the American people from the foundation of their government. It was one of the principal causes of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

    Perhaps no better exposition of the American view can be found than in that section of the Revised Statutes of the United States which declares the right as follows (Section 1999):

    “Whereas the right of expatriation is a natural inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and whereas in recognition of this principle this government has freely received emigrants from all nations, and invested them with the rights of citizenship; and whereas it is claimed that such American citizens, with their descendants, are subjects of foreign states, owing allegiance to the governments thereof; and whereas it is necessary to the maintenance of public peace that this claim of foreign allegiance should be promptly and finally disavowed: therefore any declaration, restriction, opinion, order, or decision of any officer of the United States which denies, restricts, impairs, or questions the right of expatriation, is declared inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Republic.”

    Wise, John S. 1906. A treatise on American citizenship. Studies in constitutional law. Northport, Long Island, N.Y.: Edward Thompson company.

  105. pdsa

    Robert Capozzi – read the first Jefferson citation I offered above. It seems that we do indeed know that Jefferson did not believe citizens of a nation that America was at war with, could legitimately exercise their Right to Expatriation.

    The government also has the right to define conditions for naturalisation, although onerous conditions, applied to friendly aliens, who only desire a better life, is Un-American at its very foundations, and International Borders, which are a sieve to capital freely flowing from collectivist business entities, yet serve to barricade labor behind them, are antithetical to free-markets.

  106. Bryan


    A Natural Right to Expatriation…I totally agree, as long as it is not done for fraudulent purposes, or with the intent of otherwise evading obligations they may have within the country they are leaving.

    You mentioned Mexican labor in the comment I responded to…I feel they have every right to seek a better life within or outside Mexico. (I say this in a general sense, because I am not familiar with Mexican expatriation laws.)

    Although I agree with their right to leave, the country they plan to immigrate to will dictate whether they are “allowed” in, and what the procedures are for naturalization and citizenship.

    If they immigrate to the US, they are making the …decision… to come here. There are procedures in place that allow for immigration, if they bypass these procedures and come in illegally, then they are subject to deportation. It is a choice they made…

    The Free-Market, and Freedom of Movement go hand-in-hand. However, I see a difference between freedom of movement and immigration. As I see it there are circumstances that would call for restricting entry or monitoring movement of “non-resident” persons in the US.

    You cited Talbot v. Janson for the same reason I have seen others post it before…you like the quote…And as long as nobody comments on it, very few notice that it is from a decision on expatriation. Countries have the right to determine immigration law within their boundaries, and this includes the US.

  107. Thomas L. Knapp


    Whether or not countries (actually, governments) have the “right” to determine immigration laws within their boundaries is irrelevant. The fact remains that the US Constitution denies this government that power.

  108. sunshinebatman


    Section 9 list the limits of the powers enumerated in Section 8. E.g., Congress may set laws to punish counterfeiting, but counterfeiters can’t be held without a habeas hearing, etc.

    They wouldn’t have needed to limit the power of the Congress vis-a-vis Migration in Section 9 if it wasn’t first granted to the Congress in Section 8.

    The primary section 8 enumeration at issue here is the reference to the Laws of Nations (and tertiarily that regarding Defence.)

    The Laws of Nations include how a nation deals with foreign states and foreign nationals; such as granting asylum, granting residency; and is inclusive of Migration.

    Before the Constitution, each of the 13 states, as “free and independent States” as per the Declaration, had the power to regulate such dealings under the Laws of Nations. Section 8 granted those powers to the feds, save the significant, though temporary, limit on Migration and slave Importation. (Earlier drafts had that reservation of power to the 13 states without an end date.)

    The Framers had a Lockean natural-law understanding of the proper interaction among not just persons, but also nations.

    You should probably consult the Vattel text “The Laws of Nations,” to clarify your muddled thinking on these matters. This was a, if not the, primary reference text used during the Constitutional Convention.

    Hope this helps.

  109. pdsa

    sunshinebatman, your analysis contradicts:
    Joseph Story, “Commentaries On The Constitution of The United States”, 1833:



    § 1097. The next clause is, that congress “shall have power to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

    § 1098. The propriety of confiding the power to establish an uniform rule of naturalization to the national government seems not to have occasioned any doubt or controversy in the convention. For aught that appears on the journals, it was conceded without objection. Under the confederation, the states possessed the sole authority to exercise the power; and the dissimilarity of the system in different states was generally admitted, as a prominent defect, and laid the foundation of many delicate and intricate questions. As the free inhabitants of each state were entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in all the other states, it followed, that a single state possessed the power of forcing into every other state, with the enjoyment of every immunity and privilege, any alien, whom it might choose to incorporate into its own society, however repugnant such admission might be to their polity, conveniences, and even prejudices. In effect every state possessed the power of naturalizing aliens in every other state; a power as mischievous in its nature, as it was indiscreet in its actual exercise. In one state, residence for a short time might, and did confer the rights of citizenship. In others, qualifications of greater importance were required. An alien, therefore, incapacitated for the possession of certain rights by the laws of the latter, might, by a previous residence and naturalization in the former, elude at pleasure all their salutary regulations for self-protection. Thus the laws of a single state were preposterously rendered paramount to the laws of all the others, even within their own jurisdiction. And it has been remarked with equal truth and justice, that it was owing to mere casualty, that the exercise of this power under the confederation did not involve the Union in the most serious embarrassments. There is great wisdom, therefore, in confiding to the national government the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United States. It is of the deepest interest to the whole Union to know, who are entitled to enjoy the rights of citizens in each state, since they thereby, in effect, become entitled to the rights of citizens in all the states. If aliens might be admitted indiscriminately to enjoy all the rights of citizens at the will of a single state, the Union might itself be endangered by an influx of foreigners, hostile to its institutions, ignorant of its powers, and incapable of a due estimate of its privileges.

    § 1099. It follows, from the very nature of the power, that to be useful, it must be exclusive; for a concurrent power in the states would bring back all the evils and embarrassments, which the uniform rule of the constitution was designed to remedy. And, accordingly, though there was a momentary hesitation, when the constitution first went into operation, whether the power might not still be exercised by the states, subject only to the control of congress, so far as the legislation of the latter extended, as the supreme law; yet the power is now firmly established to be exclusive. The Federalist, indeed, introduced this very case, as entirely clear, to illustrate the doctrine of an exclusive power by implication, arising from the repugnancy of a similar power in the states. “This power must necessarily be exclusive,” say the authors; “because, if each state had power to prescribe a distinct rule, there could be no uniform rule.”



    § 1325. HAVING finished this review of the powers of congress, the order of the subject next conducts us to the prohibitions and [l]imitations upon these powers, which are contained in the ninth section of the first article. Some of these have already been under discussion, and therefore will be pretermitted.

    § 1326. The first clause is as follows: “The migration, or importation of such persons, as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the congress, prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax, or duty, may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.”

    § 1327. The corresponding clause of the first draft of the constitution was in these words: “No tax, or duty, shall be laid, &c. on the migration, or importation of such persons, as the several states shall think proper to admit; nor shall such migration, or importation be prohibited.” In this form it is obvious, that the migration and importation of slaves, which was the sole object of the clause, was in effect perpetuated, so long, as any state should choose to allow the traffic. The subject was afterwards referred to a committee, who reported the clause substantially in its present shape; except that the limitation was the year one thousand eight hundred, instead of one thousand eight hundred and eight. The latter amendment was substituted by the vote of seven states against four; and as thus amended, the clause was adopted by the like vote of the same states.

    § 1328. It is to the honour of America, that she should have set the first example of interdicting and abolishing the slave-trade, in modern times. It is well known, that it constituted a grievance, of which some of the colonies complained before the revolution, that the introduction of slaves was encouraged by the crown, and that prohibitory laws were negatived. It was doubtless to have been wished, that the power of prohibiting the importation of slaves had been allowed to be put into immediate operation, and had not been postponed for twenty years. But it is not difficult to account, either for this restriction, or for the manner, in which it is expressed. It ought to be considered, as a great point gained in favour of humanity, that a period of twenty years might for ever terminate, within the United States, a traffic, which has so long, and so loudly upbraided the barbarism of modern policy. Even within this period, it might receive a very considerable discouragement, by curtailing the traffic between foreign countries; and it might even be totally abolished by the concurrence of a few states. “Happy,” it was then added by the Federalist, “would it be for the unfortunate Africans, if an equal prospect lay before them of being redeemed from the oppressions of their European brethren.” Let it be remembered, that at this period this horrible traffic was carried on with the encouragement and support of every civilized nation of Europe; and by none with more eagerness and enterprize, than by the parent country. America stood forth alone, uncheered and unaided, in stamping ignominy upon this traffic on the very face of her constitution of government, although there were strong temptations of interest to draw her aside from the performance of this great moral duty.

    § 1329. Yet attempts were made to pervert this clause into an objection against the constitution, by representing it on one side, as a criminal toleration of an illicit practice; and on another, as calculated to prevent voluntary and beneficial emigrations to America. Nothing, perhaps, can better exemplify the spirit and manner, in which the opposition to the constitution was conducted, than this fact. It was notorious, that the postponement of an immediate abolition was indispensable to secure the adoption of the constitution. It was a necessary sacrifice to the prejudices and interests of a portion of the Southern states. The glory of the achievement is scarcely lessened by its having been gradual, and by steps silent, but irresistible.

    § 1330. Congress lost no time in interdicting the traffic, as far as their power extended, by a prohibition of American citizens carrying it on between foreign countries. And as soon, as the stipulated period of twenty years had expired, congress, by a prospective legislation to meet the exigency, abolished the whole traffic in every direction to citizens and residents. Mild and moderate laws were, however, found insufficient for the purpose of putting an end to the practice; and at length congress found it necessary to declare the slave-trade to be a piracy, and to punish it with death. Thus it has been elevated in the catalogue of crimes to this ‘bad eminence’ of guilt; and has now annexed to it the infamy, as well as the retributive justice, which belongs to an offence equally against the laws of God and man, the dictates of humanity, and the solemn precepts of religion. Other civilized nations are now alive to this great duty; and by the noble exertions of the British government, there is now every reason to believe, that the African slave-trade will soon become extinct; and thus another triumph of virtue would be obtained over brutal violence and unfeeling cruelty.

    § 1331. This clause of the constitution, respecting the importation of slaves, is manifestly an exception from the power of regulating commerce. Migration seems appropriately to apply to voluntary arrivals, as importation does to involuntary arrivals; and so far, as an exception from a power proves its existence, this proves, that the power to regulate commerce applies equally to the regulation of vessels employed in transporting men, who pass from place to place voluntarily, as to those, who pass involuntarily.


  110. Jim Davidson

    Denies. You might want to acquaint yourself with the 10th Amendment. Powers not delegated to the national government are denied to it and reserved for the several states or the people.

  111. Bryan

    I am familiar with the 10th Amendment.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that immigration should be a states right, as I don’t see it being a right I or any other American citizen can lose. (If you already live here, and are a citizen, immigration into America wouldn’t apply.)

    The reason behind naturalization being included in the Constitution was to make uniform laws, as each state at that time had their own law.

    With naturalization being a federal issue, it seems illogical to separate immigration, and allow individual states to make (or not make) their own laws regarding it. Do you really believe that allowing states to dictate immigration policy would result in a step forward to the view you hold? Or in today’s political/cultural climate, would it result in 3 steps back from your position?

  112. Peter Wilkie

    How about some more tutorial:

    Don’t the states still have the duty and the power to APPLY the rules set by the Union? Or iff the Union has that power, or duty, when and how did it come by it?

    And don’t I still have to be first a citizen of one of the several states before I can be considered a citizen of the union of states?

  113. Bryan


    If a law or other “order” is unconstitutional then states can disregard, pending a SCoUS ruling. (And you know the US would challenge)

  114. pdsa

    Peter WilkieDon’t the states still have the duty and the power to APPLY the rules set by the Union? Or if the Union has that power, or duty, when and how did it come by it?

    An odd way of stating the question; and I am unsure exactly what you mean by “rules set by the Union”. As long as a Congressional Act falls within the purview of The Legislative Powers delineated in Article. I; The Act predominates over Actions of Individual States. Generally, the delineated Legislative Powers are found in US Constitution; Article I; Section 8. Article I; Section. 9; directly prohibits some actions by the Federal Legislative Branch, and Section 10 expresses a few default prohibitions to individual state acts. US Constitution; Article IV; delineates a few rights that default to individual states; and in Article VI; are found a couple of duties directed at individual state actors.

    Some of the Constitutional Amendments need also be considered; the most significant of them: The Fourteenth Amendment; Section 1. Since the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment; Federal Courts have decided that individual rights, which once only applied to Acts of The Federal Government have been substantiated, and apply to Acts of Individual States also. Just last April 29, 2009, for the first time, a Federal Appellate court incorporated the 2nd Amendment as a bar against individual state acts using the due process clause of the 14th amendment. Ironically, the case was decided in the oft-derided as too liberal Ninth Circuit in Nordyke v. King:
    We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.

    I await with great amused expectations for the right-wing’s lamentations arising about the activist court’s legislating from the bench in this case, but I won’t be holding my breath, and instead truly expect silence from the moral relativists.

    Peter Wilkie – don’t I still have to be first a citizen of one of the several states before I can be considered a citizen of the union of states?

    US Constitution; Fourteenth Amendment; Section 1; reverses that ordering. You are a US citizen first; and that is what makes you a citizen of the State wherein you reside:
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  115. sunshinebatman

    re 130, I don’t see anything contradictory. If anything, his concluding point that “Migration seems appropriately to apply to voluntary arrivals” seems to fundamentally confirm.

  116. Jim Davidson

    @132 I believe in a smaller government on all issues and at all levels. I do not believe that a wall high enough to keep Mexicans out is a good idea.

    Indeed, if you disgusting Americans build your iron curtain, it will be used to seal your fates. It is just as idiotic now as it was when the Soviets built the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain.

    You think a government, your government now, today, which is willing to torture at least four dozen men to death is going to let you travel around on a whim? Your government slaughters people all over the world, captures people, and, without decency, due process, or trial, tortures them to death.

    And what are you doing about it?

  117. Bryan

    Third paragraph first…I have for years (the beginning) been opposed to the Iraq invasion and occupation. I hope that the Bush admin from top to bottom will be held accountable through war crime tribunals, for their actions. And frankly, unless the BObama admin doesn’t get things going the right way, they will have to be held accountable too. How this limits my travel, not really clear, anywhere in the US is possible, outside the US generally faces the rules and regs of the country I may be going to.

    The rest of the comment, I have to take as a whole, and this is where I will face opposition from radical LP’s and anarchists. I see a difference between visiting the US for work, education, or vacation/travel…coming to the US with the intent of living here… and coming to the US for living and becoming a citizen. All of which are done quite legally. And then you have those who come to the US without going through the “proper channels”.

    I agree that free-movement is necessary with a free-market. But there is a difference between “visiting” a country for commerce and “moving” to a country to take advantage of what may be available.

    The system that we live under NOW, demands that hospitals care for “illegals” and to the best of my knowledge are not required/requested to report them. This drives up my medical costs and when supported by the government spends my tax dollars.

    “Illegals” attend schools that my tax dollars pay for. There is a bill that will allow “illegals” to obtain grants for college. Is this “fair” for ordinary citizens who happened to be born in the US?

    This is just two issues. If “totally open borders” were to be allowed, who is going to take care of the masses from Mexico AND Canada, who see a better way of sponging off the government by moving here???

    Until economic issues are dealt with, I don’t see how they can be cut away from the social/freedom of movement issue.

    What am I going to do about it?

    I am working with the LP at the local, state and national level to bring sanity to our system. I too am a proponent of smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom…but it has to be done in a logical order. One step at a time. And no matter what the topic is, the “sub-topics” must be addressed as well.

    We didn’t get into our current mess in one or two decades, and it will take that much or longer to get out of it…but if I get a mind set that it can’t be done, or attempt to “jump” to my ends without facing the obstacles that must be cleared first, then I am doomed to failure….and so are you..

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