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Sad & Disappointed: Immigration

Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 2 months ago to Politics
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It is clear from the recent discussions that many people on this forum do not understand or care about freedom when it is their pet issue and are clearly not ready for a Gulch. The anti-reason, anti-objectivist positions followed three main threads.

1. Freedom: It is clear that many people do not understand that freedom is a set of ethical principles that apply to all people. It is clear that many of the people here seem to think their rights come from their government or being American. One absurd position being proposed by many was that somehow limiting someone’s right to travel is not limiting their freedom. Then we find the collectivist argument that government is nothing but a bunch of private people getting together and setting rules. These same people fail to recognize that this is exactly the argument for the welfare state. It also follows from these arguments that Kansas or some other state could stop people from other states from entering and in fact this is the goal of these people. Or we should be allowed to get together and agree to stone you to death, or sacrifice virgins.

Some people made the collectivist argument that somehow jobs are owned by the collective – this tribalist mentality is so despicable that I would support removing from the gulch anyone who made the argument twice.

What is particularly sad is when given a pro-freedom solution to immigration issues a number of people rejected it. The pro-freedom solution starts with something anyone who is allowed in the gulch should support, which is the elimination of welfare of all kinds including social security (overtime) and medicare. Next, it would eliminate all drug laws including the FDA. It would also of course enforce private property rights and be serious about crime. These changes would eliminate any legitimate concerns with immigrants entering the United States.

2. Eugenics/racism: It is amazing the number of people who tried to support their anti-freedom stance with the variations of the pseudo-science of eugenics. This puts them in the wonderful company of freedom lovers such Southern slave owners, racists more generally, the socialists of England in the early 1900s or earlier, Nazi Germany, and none other than Margaret Sanger

3. Logic: The opposite of the right to travel freely is imprisonment, no matter how big the prison or that sometimes the guards allow you outside or inside the walls. The inability to follow simple logic in this discussion was amazing. On the more innocent side was confusing immigration with citizenship. The two are not the same. Many people seemed to think that the requirement for IDs at the borders would not logically lead to IDs every time you travel. The Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue and yes they said you could be required to show ID for just walking down the street. That the need to monitor people at the border, will not lead to needing to monitor people everywhere. Oops that has already happened. That the need to monitor for terrorists will not mean the need to monitor everyone – again that has already happened. You cannot escape the logic of your positions. Require IDs for everyone else but not you. Monitoring for terrorists, but not you. Assuming other people are guilty until found innocent, but not you.

But what was perhaps the most chilling statement I heard was that we had to be practical, we had to deal with reality. Does this remind you of any conversation in Atlas Shrugged? The clear point of this statement is that being practical means abandoning reason, logic, and principles.

It was a VERY SAD week in the Gulch.


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  • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 2 months ago
    I rarely participate in discussion on immigration any longer. We do not have an immigration problem, we have a welfare problem.

    For 150 years we had open boarders. My own ancestry was here for 5 years before filing any kind of paper work with the government. During that time they started to work, built up cash, learned English (we came from Austria) and then applied for citizenship. By the time they were citizens they bought a small farm and built up from that. That was largely the order that things were done in, and it was fine.

    As you stated, the issue is that we have "free" expensive programs that attract the wrong kind of immigrants and that we attempt to control what products and services people have access too, period. Remove those and immigration is going to be resolved as well.

    Because of the flawed nature of looking at it as an immigration problem I do not think it possible to have a rational discussion around immigration. The premises of the cause of the problem is all wrong, and only incorrect conclusions can be drawn.
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 years, 2 months ago
      While we certainly have a welfare problem, the improvements in transportation and communications have vastly increased the pool of people who could practically immigrate here.

      Even setting aside welfare and the social network, we can't assume that 19th century immigration models will work the same.

      I don't actually know if we want to say "yall come", but I certainly know we shouldn't limit it to those who are willing to break the law.
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      • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 2 months ago
        WilliamShipley,

        No offense intended but the idea that 19th and 20th century models will not work today is BS. We can assume that the 19th and 20th century models will work. We can do so because Persia once followed a free model, as did the Greeks and the Romans during their periods of growth. It was only after they put controls in place that immigration became a problem.

        Remove welfare, remove regulatory control of what can be purchased and I add a third not mentioned above, remove regulatory control of how big a company can get and get government out of commerce (IE remove Sherman law and everything that is derived from it) and immigration would not be a problem.

        The only reason to come here would be to work. Every single person who comes here to be productive and does so will, by so doing, increase the standard of living for everyone here. New York could be expanded in height to 130 stories instead of 46 and it could be filled with people doing all kinds of work.

        Detroit would not be a ghost town with a district of Arab Muslims who all ready control who goes in and out, and will one day kill those they disagree with but would become a center of production again.

        In a matter of years, not even a decade, The US would have 70% of the worlds economy again because the people we would attract would be people who earn what they get by the sweat of there own brow. Such people build economies up and for everyone of those that come. Our cities would become bigger, more industrious and prosperous. We would be able to support however many people came to the US under these circumstances and a large and larger percentage of the worlds wealth would be found in the US as a result, until other countries figured out the same thing and changed their systems accordingly.
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        • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 years, 2 months ago
          Note, I specifically did not say it wouldn't work. I said that it wouldn't work the same. There are far more people that could practically come here than was true in the past. There could be a large influx of people. And there isn't as much available useful space as there was. What effect that would have is an interesting question.

          Part of the problem is that everyone assumes an objective government. Setting aside how you implement that, and assume you can do so successfully. The other problem is that no form of government, no matter how logically structured, can survive if the majority of the people want "a new deal". They will simply ignore the old laws and make new ones.

          So, if you allow unlimited immigration you might find that the moochers take over again because there are more of them. No legal system will survive the people occupying the position ignoring the rules.
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          • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 2 months ago
            Note: I did not say there was not a problem, simply that immigration was not the problem and is not the problem. A nation that decides it can steal from one group to give to another is doomed to fail by comparison to one that does not do so.

            A counter argument that says the government will always steal from its people is not a counter argument. It simply says we are doomed because of the bad government.

            I really should not go here, but....

            If a wall is built, and you can come here to run drugs to make money or be killed at home. Come here to collect welfare or starve at home people will come for those reasons.

            All the wall will have done is cost millions and giving the illusory faking of reality that we are economically better off because people are being employed. It will look like the economy is growing, and the real cost will be, since they will pay for it with newly printed money, a reduction in the value of every dollar every other person makes at legitimate productive jobs. Even more criminal at the cost of billions in buying power from money people have spent a life time saving for their later years.

            Building a wall to keep them out is not only a joke for immigration controls but a high crime against the people of the USA in the area of economics.

            The true purpose of the immigration push is to create a "growing economy" with no real growth, but inflationary growth. This in effect increases taxation as we have a graduated income tax without having to pass a bill. There is no other reason to do it the way we are.

            If we really want to protect the boarder form immigrants, drug dealers and terror inflicting assess it is not hard. Write down a single one paragraph piece of regulation.

            Bill 666 Regulation Reform
            Article 1:
            Any border patrol agent will not be put under review for shooting and killing anyone not going over the border at a designated check point.

            Next an order from whomever is over the boarder rangers and a very public and very well propagated message. Shoot to kill, if you fail to kill shot again.

            When you create an environment of control, the only thing you can watch a boarder with is force and control. It would also happen to cost a few hundred a year for the bullets. To think that anything else will work in an environment of force and control is simply not rational thought.

            Edit: I need to clarify that I am not for the shooting method. I am stating that is the only way to control the boarder under the current control that is exercised by our government, it would have to come to that to control the boarder. I am for removing the controls and theft which would be resolving the root problem.
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  • Posted by  $  Technocracy 4 years, 2 months ago
    With the illegals issue DB is pointing out and offering a solution to a real problem.

    The lure of welfare to anyone is causing movement to America that is heavily distorted. Without the lure of welfare the cross border traffic would only be a fraction of what it is now. The position of many is that illegals come in for the largesse of welfare. DB proposes eliminating the welfare, either all at once or phasing in changes.

    Does that not change the equation for why people come?
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
      Eliminating welfare is the biggest part of the problem and solves most of the ancillary problems that welfare exacerbates. An up front payment for an anticipated percentage of benefits from access to the medical and educational systems would eliminate most of the other problems. The problem that neither of these solves is that a sufficient number of looters and moochers don't want the immigration problem solved, and in fact, have a vested interest in maintaining the current distortions.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
        Pushing for anti-freedom positions will not result in freedom (less looters). You are suggesting that the political problem can not be solved by sticking to objectivist (constitution, natural rights) positions.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
          If you disagree with my up front payment as being anti-freedom, then you fail to realize that value-for-value exchange in the immigration transaction should take precedence over freedom by an immigrant to travel anywhere. The key phrase in your argument is "travel freely", with emphasis on freely.

          You have the right to travel freely. OK, to where? At whose expense? You are making the mistake of assuming that all immigrants will hold to Objectivist values. Many will not. That is the primary difference between a country and Galt's Gulch.

          If an immigrant comes to a new country that provides welfare, medical services to all, and public education to all, there must be an up front compensation, or the country's citizens are almost assuredly going to get the worse of the transaction in the long run. Individual cases of Objectivist immigration would be the exception, rather than the rule. Removing the welfare magnet is a necessary first step, but it is insufficient by itself. I would love to see the assumptions of "a free public education" and the idea of "a right to health care" removed in the United States. That sort of change will not happen, any more than welfare is likely to go away. It is time to write the United States' epitaph. Born 1776, contracted cancer in 1913, died of suicide in 2008 because she no longer wanted to take enough actions to sustain her own life. Some might argue that the US is still on life support. I won't disagree with that, but it has certainly been on life support since the TARP bailout.

          As for the "dealing with reality" final statement at the end of the opening to this thread, it does remind me of Atlas Shrugged. However, the analogy you made is not a good one. Those who are disagreeing with you by claiming that you should deal with reality are not endorsing the current American system. The analogy to James Taggart's claims that people had to deal with the current situation expected that those who agreed with Taggart would endorse the looters' reality. Those who are disagreeing with you, db, are saying that the current reality is so distorted that it is beyond repair.

          I am not suggesting that the political problem cannot be solved by sticking to Objectivist positions. I am stating it boldly that it cannot be solved that way. There are too many minds to convince that have vested interests in the problem not being solved. It is indeed a sad time. Shrugging and perhaps starting an Objectivist nanosociety are the only logical positions for an Objectivist right now.
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          • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 2 months ago
            Basically I agree Jbrenner.

            The root problem is we are not a free state any longer and have not been for a long time.

            I do think the only way to fix immigration is to return to principles of freedom (rule of law based on constitution and Natural Law for all, true capitalism...) I also agree it wont happen in this country without a revolution taking place.

            The only place I disagree is with timeline. The country contracted cancer when we decided that states were no longer a higher authority than federal government. The civil war was a war between having individual slaves to individuals or having a group of slaves to governments. By virtue of the federal government being greater then (and therefor in control of) states, it also meant that the people were now the property of the state.

            It took till 1890 and Sherman's law to start to see the cancer take form and by 1913 it was very evident. John D. was told in 1911 that he did not own his business nor did he have a right to be so successful. That was a big falling point and much like Atlas had he done then what Hank did at his trial, we would live in a different world.

            Anyway thanks for the post.
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          • -2
            Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
            What is perhaps the most chilling statement I heard was that we had to be practical, we had to deal with reality. Does this remind you of any conversation in Atlas Shrugged? The clear point of this statement is that being practical means abandoning reason, logic, and principles.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
              Of course, I agree with you and Kh, regarding Thompson's attempt to force Galt into compliance to deal with reality. However, we do have to realize what we are capable of changing vs. what we are not capable of changing. I can change some individuals' minds, but can I change enough minds to change the results of elections? That is unrealistic. When something looks remotely possible, I can be the most optimistic person out there. Unfortunately, this really is a sad time for Objectivists, because the sort of change we want does not seem remotely possible in any existing country.

              The point of the statement is not that reason, logic, and principles should be abandoned. They should not. However, worse yet, the point of what I said is that hope for a return to American values like non-intrusive government that stays within its fiscal means in America should be abandoned.

              President Zero ran on "hope and change". Most of us have neither hope nor change left.
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              • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
                Well it certainly will not occur if the republicans do not push for it. When they support government intrusions on liberty, such as the NSA or TSA, how can they then take a principled stand on say the GM bailout?
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
                  You just made my argument as to why I have left the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan once said that the Democrat Party left him. Well, the Republican Party left many of its former adherents, including me.
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        • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
          I'm assuming that by 'anti-freedom positions' you're referring to the up front payment that JBrenner suggested. I'm guessing that the suggestion means an ever decreasing payment until it disappears entirely at some future date. What objectivist solution are you offering in its place?
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          • Posted by khalling 4 years, 2 months ago
            Am I back in Rome?! OMG
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            • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
              I don't know...are you?

              We taxpayers are not really interested in being in the business of providing everything to everyone free of charge. JBrenner has come up with an idea that has merit, which has been declared 'anti-freedom' with no reasoning and no other proposal. Do you want to define it as buying your citizenship as in Ancient Rome? I tend to view it as an exchange of value. The status quo is a complete anathema to the central theme of Atlas Shrugged.
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              • Posted by khalling 4 years, 2 months ago
                focus on the problem then. let's get the right target. It is not-you must pay to be free. The target is welfare state. Get that and then shoot the hell out of it
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                • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
                  Groovy.

                  Practically speaking, where do you suggest we start?
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                  • Posted by khalling 4 years, 2 months ago
                    3 ways.
                    1. don't support Trump
                    2. Mike Rowe has an excellent program for training young people in skilled professions that require no college degree
                    3. disseminate philosophy. spend LOTS of your free time doing it. You invite people to dinner? have this conversation
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
                      I support all of your proposals here. SaltyDog's point of "What else?" is an important point. It poses the question of whether we can reasonably expect things to change if we do our parts. Most of us have done our parts for most of our lives, and all we have seen is the system getting worse, as SaltyDog said. Most of us are thoroughly frustrated.
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                    • Posted by XenokRoy 4 years, 2 months ago
                      Right now the only way to fight this fight is by influence and education.

                      I had a conversation with a member of my church over the weekend (We went target shooting on Saturday with a group of about 16 couples and there kids) and in that conversation the subject of immigration came up. The guy the conversation started with has a fairly conservative family in all ways but in social programs. IE he gets the need for guns and the fact that we should not regulate things, but sees welfare as good.

                      I stated we do not have a immigration problem.

                      I got rather blank looks from him and grabbed the attention of everyone adult there. As the conversation continued no one was shooting and everyone was listing to the two of us.

                      I asked, for 150 years we let people in with very little to no documentation. It was not a problem so you have to ask what has changed, the answer will help to find the root problem.

                      As we talked the point of terrorist being a new thing came up. I asked about the Barbary pirates of Thomas Jefferson's time. They were Muslim extremists who were attempting to use harassment of the shipping lanes as a means to bring the west down. Not new, in fact very old as old as the US.

                      Eventually the conversation came around to things like civil rights, welfare, social security.... and then the discussion got very interesting and nearly every adult who was there was participating.

                      At the end when they were getting quite and thinking about the impact of welfare on immigration I said, when you guys have mulled the impact of welfare on immigration I have another thought, that maybe we can discuss another time.

                      Think about the eventual end of a society willing initiate the kind of force welfare requires a government to initiate and where does the creep of such a system lead us to?

                      After that we went back to shooting targets. So far no one there has reached out to talk more but I am hoping that a few will.

                      This is the only effective weapon we have short of rebellion and that has likely bad outcome based on how often it has provided a worse government than rebellion has removed. If enough people learn and will act we can change what is to something better than what ever was, but more people have to understand it, understand the damage of what we are doing and learn the root cause of problems. Immigration is great subject to start that learning process on.

                      -XR
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                    • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
                      I should add that I don't financially support ANY candidate or party for ANY election. It's bad enough to that I'm forced to support these parasites with my tax dollars after Election Day...I'll be damned if I'll help the do it.
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                    • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
                      OK.

                      1) I don't support Trump.
                      2) I volunteer at the trade school, teaching kids how to be a machinist and how to build cars. I drive a classic muscle car that I completely restored...I know what I'm doing.
                      3) I've been espousing many of the tenets of objectivism for 30 years or more.

                      All that I've seen is the system getting worse.

                      What else?
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      You can find "the Welfare Queen" if you look, but that is not the statistical narrative. Immigrants come here to work. Do you work in an office building with a contract janitorial staff? Who cleans your restrooms? Do you eat fruits and vegetables grown in California.. or Michigan... or Washington? While those specifics are not dhalling's point, I believe that they remain salient.
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      • Posted by  $  Technocracy 4 years, 2 months ago
        -1 just because. The why would get me a vacation.

        Seriously? You want to take the position that ALL immigrants come here to work?

        There are moochers in every group, including people born here.

        Don't try and argue statistical narrative without solid numbers. Numbers that NOBODY has with proven accuracy.

        It has been proven that some work and some draw welfare. Nobody has good numbers on the percentage of each.
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    • Posted by ycandrea 4 years, 2 months ago
      Not to mention that we would want that fraction who aren't coming for welfare. They would be an excellent addition to our country and maybe instill some old fashion appreciation of capitalism. Afterall, it is the immigrants who helped make this country great.
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    • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
      Not really, Tech, although it's certainly part of it. The problems of welfare itself would exist with or without illegal immigration. Personally, I don't have a dog in the fight, as by the time "they take over" I'll be long dead. My personal objection relates to why someone feels that it's acceptable behavior take ANYTHING that I've created and worked for and give it so someone else for...just because. I've long advocated for at least reform of welfare...and now we've got healthcare, housing allowances, day care subsidies, etc.
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      • Posted by  $  Technocracy 4 years, 2 months ago
        Eliminating the lure of welfare would solve many problems, the illegal flood one of the ones among them.

        I don't like welfare either, or Social Security.
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        • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
          Regarding Social Security, well, I can't really think of a better organized system of theft. As it is, many of those entering the States and going to work are working under false Social Security numbers. So if anything, they're paying into a system from which they will never be able to receive a benefit. The net result will be the SS coffers will be padded.

          Go figure.
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        • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
          It would help, certainly, but I don't see it as solving the problem.

          If reports are to be believed, there are significant numbers of people crossing the borders smuggling ilicit narcotics into the country. (Should they be illegal in the first place? Are they only illegal because government isn't collecting taxes on them? That's a whole 'nother discussion for another time.) Suffice it to say that whatever the reason that they're crossing the border, innocent people who want nothing more than to live in peace are being murdered. Now in terms of numbers, it might not be significant. But in a situation like that, one is far too many.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
            That is why I said we need the pro-freedom plank of getting rid of the drug laws.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
              Getting rid of drug laws and welfare is the correct first step. Implementation on a state or smaller level might be possible in my lifetime. I'm curious about how marijuana legalization has worked (or not) in Colorado and Washington. As I remember, you used to be from CO. Do you mind educating us on the success or failure of that endeavor? My only apprehension about drug legalization is that I would bear the cost of drug users' access of the medical care system. If that gets addressed at the same time as drug legalization, then I think it can work. If it doesn't get addressed simultaneously, then your state potentially sets itself up as a magnet for mooching drug users.
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              • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
                My knowledge is somewhat limited. The price did not fall much because taxes and regulations. I have not heard of any rash of MJ related car accidents or other problems It would be interesting to look at crime statistics,but I do not have them. You also have to remember that MJ is still illegal because of federal law, so I do not think it is much of a test.
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
                  My knowledge on unintended consequences of marijuana legalization is also limited, and I agree with you that CO and WA's legalization isn't the best test case because of the federal law. I am definitely in favor of drug legalization, even though my only experience with illegal drugs was smelling MJ on a high school band exchange trip. I just don't want to be expected to pay for drug users' later medical expenses.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
        Confused - this is about immigration.
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        • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
          Yes. It's in reference to a point you brought up in the initial post, and has branched out relative to that. Hence the discussion of welfare.

          The balance of my original post was if the collective known as the Gulch is dictating what members can think and believe, how does that differ from what we're trying to escape from?
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          • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
            NO, I am saying that i have no interest is such a forum. I don't learn anything about physics arguing with astrologers. The people in the gulch do not learn anything by having tor read anti-freedom spammers Your right to speech does not include the ability to come into my house and spew anti-freedom nonsense.
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            • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
              Just so we're clear, my asking you about a position that you've taken is coming into 'your house and spewing anti-freedom nonsense'? And THAT is your considered, logical, reasoned response?
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  • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
    Excellent post. I submit that not all who disagree with you here are intentionally disavowing Freedom or Logic. Or at least I am not. I have not thought through these issues as much as you have. Give me time, because I do want to understand.

    Incidentally, in one of the other posts, I did ask a few very basic questions, which nobody answered. You merely commented on my ignorance, and gave me some books to read.

    I come here to learn. Occasionally I have something productive to contribute. I think even my questions can lead to constructive conversation. But when I post, I hope people will correct me (or answer me), because I want to learn.

    You criticize those who limit someone's right to travel. Doesn't anybody who believes in private property limit another man's right to travel on it? Just because an owner of private property may decide to not allow strangers to trespass, that does not violate the freedom of another man (who simply goes around). Does it? If the answer is that it does, please say so. Otherwise, I will continue and draw the implication of the parallel to nations. Just because one nation decides to close its borders to immigrants does not deny the freedom of another man to travel (just travel somewhere else).
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      You criticize those who limit someone's right to travel. Doesn't anybody who believes in private property limit another man's right to travel on it?

      No.

      You are confusing a government with private property rights A government has no rights. Your response shows that you think of a country or a government as a collective with rights - that is not freedom, that is what gives you the welfare state, the NSA, the TSA, etc.
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      • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
        "No." That surprises me. So, to clarify, you say that I, as an owner of private property, may not limit the right of another man to trespass?

        I agree with you that the Government has no rights. It does have duties, though, one of which is to defend our rights. Right? Shouldn't the Government at least know who is crossing our borders, as a first step to protecting us?
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        • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 2 months ago
          A proper government has no duty to 'defend' rights, it only has the duty to apply retaliatory force in order to bring the offender of someone else's rights before a court and then apply more force to make the offender give restitution and/or not offend again. The individual only, has the right of self defense. That same government has the duty to stop foreign attack through it's armed forces and it's threat of retaliation or war.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
            Excellent. A person walking across a border has not violated anyone's rights. And the collectivist idea of property confuse both what a government is and what property rights are.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
              Even though db and I have disagreed on several topics recently, I am giving him a +1 because this did not deserve a downvote.
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              • Posted by khalling 4 years, 2 months ago
                we'll disagree again. I'm on several forums where O's are disagreeing on this important issue. I think we come from a unique perspective where the concepts are tested, but I would agree that AJ does as well. from the opposite. Maybe you as well. That is why we have principles. I stick to them even when it is inconvenient.
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
                  I stick to my principles as well, as does everyone I have seen in this forum. The question really is whether or not the plan of action a) has a reasonable probability of success, and b) will be worthwhile if it does succeed. It is a valid question to ask whether removal of the welfare system by itself is sufficient to achieve our mutual objectives. I do not easily see a situation where the welfare system would be eliminated. Moreover, even if the welfare system were eliminated, I can see it as quite possible that the remaining system would still have enough distortions such that living in that system would require more compromises than I am willing to make. Reforming just the welfare system would be like putting a stent into someone's aorta. It would be a lifesaving procedure, but without also removing the access to "free healthcare" and "free public education", the patient would still die soon enough from cancer.

                  Thus I am going to turn your argument on its head. Trying to eliminate the welfare system by itself is a kind of "pragmatic solution". A truly Objectivist approach would be to start Atlantis from scratch.
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                  • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 2 months ago
                    j, your a and b are pragmaticism, not Objectivism. You're trying to argue from the tail to the head. Either all individual men are free or none are, and regardless of what has happened in the past, selectivity by birthplace cannot be a determining factor--only the willingness to live as a free man and to be supported in that choice by other free men.
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                    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
                      I can agree that my a and b are an argument from pragmatism. However, the points still stand. The suggestion that putting forth a great effort toward something that has little probability of success and probably won't make enough of a difference as to make the amount of compromising of my values equals a colossal waste of time. Shrugging is the better option.

                      As for all men or free or none are, you are correct. Right now no person is truly free. That is precisely why I have said that the better answers are either to shrug individually or to start our own physical Gulch.
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            • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
              You mention confusing "what property rights are." I am still confused by your answer above. Do I have the right to keep someone from trespassing on my privately owned land? Above, you seem to say No. I asked for clarification on that, because that seems to me to be a denial of my private property rights. And yet if the answer is Yes, that does limit a man's "right to travel," namely it limits his right to travel on my land.
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              • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 2 months ago
                You have the natural right to protect your own property. You do not have the right to protect or dictate the conditions of anyone else's property, nor so called public property.

                You don't want anyone else on your property, put up a sign on your property, don't assume that everyone else feels the same.
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                • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
                  Okay, that answers my question (though I still don't know if DH agrees). So I do have the right to say No Trespassing. So does every private property owner. Not every property owner feels this way. But the point is that visitors come on to my land by my voluntary permission, not by the demand of a right due to them. The "right to travel" is limited. If this right is acceptably limited in this way, it is parallel to nations who say No Trespassing. We may disagree that nations should do this or even have a right to do this, but my point is that it doesn't violate man's "right to travel" any more than a private property owner who legitimately says No Trespassing.
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                  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
                    Yes I agree with Zen. In addition, the US has public through fares - The government violates people's rights by stopping them even at a border. Also if we get rid of the fiction of public property, there are large tracks of unowned land. Also those lands in which people just hold grazing rights, they have not right to stop someone from traveling on that land.
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                    • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
                      So it is clear that one of the key distinctions here is the notion of "public ownership." You saying there is no such thing; I'm becoming sympathetic to that view. And if you are right, it would be morally wrong to infringe on a law-abiding citizen's right to free travel. I see that.

                      I think the hang up in my mind has been the concept that some land is just not owned by anyone. It seems to me that means it is free for someone to simply claim ownership. I'm learning from other threads the distinction between ownership of land, versus mere control over land. So the USA controls the Grand Canyon (and most roads, etc.), but nobody owns it in any technical sense.

                      I'm still not sure if these "public lands" are a good idea. Should they all be privatized? And if so, how? If not, should they be preserved or increased? And how?
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          • Posted by nsnelson 4 years, 2 months ago
            I think this concept is paradigmatic. It is a relatively new one to me, though, and I still have baggage holding me back. Makes me think of the advice given to Dagny: "If any part of your uncertainty is a conflict between your heart and your mind – follow your mind."

            It bothers me that we have to wait for someone to violate the rights of another (sometimes causing loss of life) before we can penalize them. Even more on a national scale. But I know the alternative leads to a militarized police state that destroys liberty. Still, is there any place for laws that penalize reckless endangerment, or to take action upon discovery of evidence of a plot to violate rights?

            But even granting that liberty should not be restrained unless someone's rights are being violated, wouldn't you affirm that we shouldn't allow criminals wanted by the law to roam freely through our country? Yet what will prevent foreign criminals from doing that if we don't know the people immigrating here?
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 2 months ago
    It is precisely because I care about freedom that I disagree with you on this topic.

    I know what Ayn Rand's and the ARI's position on immigration are.
    Their perspective is purely based on the position of the immigrant, and completely neglects the desires of the citizenry through their duly elected government. As an example, Ayn Rand committed perjury to land a tourist visa, as documented by Shikha Dalmia in Reason. http://reason.com/archives/2012/02/14...
    That may have been moral in her eyes, but can it be viewed as moral in the eyes of the country she was immigrating to? I can even admit that I probably would have done the same thing in her position. However, while Rand herself turned out to be quite a boon for America, her case proves that the country must be cautious when admitting visitors.

    An anti-Objectivist position is to claim that a visitor gets access to the privileges and prosperity of the country that they are immigrating without having to pay anything. Implicit in that position is that citizens of the country are expected to live for the sake of other men (visitors), which is fundamentally contradictory to Galt's oath.

    Also implicit in this argument is that while individual visitors have rights, other individual (citizens) cannot delegate authority to a limited government to act on their behalf in immigration decisions. Or do I have to go to the border and consider each case on an individual basis myself, to the neglect of other productive activities?
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      There is not a logical pro-freedom position
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      • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
        The delicious irony of this of course is that censorship is perhaps the most anti-freedom concept existing.
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        • Posted by khalling 4 years, 2 months ago
          Nobody is stopping you from making your own post. Please do. Don 't take this personally because we always react strongly when people actively advocate for less freedom over some perceived safety. There is much we agree on and aI have to say I 'm surprised where you come down on this issue. You can 't be shocked where Dale and I come down. We are bound by those pesky principles of Objectivism. :)
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  • Posted by fosterj717 4 years, 2 months ago
    Interesting thread! I have not commented on this thread as of yet therefore, I have not been neither attacked nor commended for my views.

    Perhaps I am looking at "Objectivist" point of view a bit naively and simplistically however let me take a stab at it anyway.

    Correct me if I am wrong, John Galt's credo seems to be short and to the point. The two main points as I see it being that "I do not want to serve anyone nor do I want anyone to serve me and I refuse to produce anything that will be taken from me and the fruits of my labor and given to those who do not produce and do not deserve". Simple! and to the point!

    Why does it seem to be made more complicated than that? It does not talk about any of the topics that seem to be thrown into the mix today that are more topical however the do fit into the classic Objectivist worldview I believe.
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  • Posted by BrettRocketSci 4 years, 2 months ago
    Thanks for the provocative post to help recalibrate us, DB! We have a huge challenge here, IMO, because the USA has become such a perverted and twisted form of a mixed economy with Orwellian double-speak that it's extremely difficult to keep a clear and consistent set of concepts and definitions about these topics. Individuals should be free to travel and pursue their self-interest, yes. But in order to protect the rights of its citizens, doesn't a country's government deserve to know the identity and some background of everyone entering its border? Keeping known criminals out of a law-abiding land shouldn't be such a big debate.
    But what happens when the government has ceased to be a rational and consistent defender of its own laws? When many of the laws are anti-freedom? Is immigration the problem we should be trying to unwind from the messy hairball of our society, or is it impossible to tackle and solve coherently while so many other fundamental flaws exist within the country itself? As many wise people have advised before us, I believe our greatest threat--and therefore the greatest focus of our attention--should be the enemies within.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      Bret it is possible I misread your post - i appologize. I think immigration is a perfect chance to point out the anti-freedom policies in the US. It is nice to have a unifying them such as immigration. It shows the problems of welfare in human terms, it shows the problem of the war against drugs in human terms. So I think it provides a rare chance in politics to distinguish oneself from the pack and from the socialists.
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      • Posted by BrettRocketSci 4 years, 2 months ago
        Thanks DB. Ok, those are good points. But the fact that immigration so quickly pulls in the relationship to illegal drugs and the welfare state--that's where I was questioning the value and efficacy of tackling the issue. In isolation, at least. Based on your reply, however, I do see more value in it. But only if we take the offense to bring it back to primary principles and show how we can't really solve this problem until we unwrap and systemically fix the entire mixed economy. That's a noble and worthy objective, but I don't see as much of that discussion happening here either. :-/ That was a goal of your first post, I take it? If so, thank you! We need more of it.
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  • Posted by  $  Technocracy 4 years, 2 months ago
    I did not read most of those conversations either, they were less discussions than multiple monologues.

    As to the "we have to deal with reality" the problem with that statement is that everyone perceives reality differently. One of the reasons for the discord in the first place, is we do not agree on what reality IS.
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    • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
      Good Heavens! Is Mr. Clinton here? LOL

      I think you're right, Tech. That, in my opinion, is what makes discussions between civilized people interesting. Even in the volatile world of politics it's interesting to try to see the issues though the eyes of your opposition. You might not agree, but it's always important to review what you know, as Mr. Holmes would say.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 4 years, 2 months ago
    +1 db. I have had such a hard time knowing my position on this. I grew up around Sacramento, Ca which is farm country. I worked in orchards and tomatoe fields in my teens to earn money during the summer months. I worked along side Mexican workers all the time and had a lot of respect for their hard work and endurance. But then as I watched the influx of so many people at our boarders and the changes happening in our country, it worried me. I have always felt it was wrong to allow welfare and public education to those who are not citizens. You have given me clarity, but sadly, I do not believe anything can help our country now. I have not given up on my own little world out here in Oregon and will do all I can to live by my values and be happy.
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  • Posted by conscious1978 4 years, 2 months ago
    You mean when 'rights' were being tossed around like beach balls at the end of summer Pragmatists Gone Wild party...yeah, elitism doesn't just occur on the Left.
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  • Posted by SaltyDog 4 years, 2 months ago
    I'm not at all sure that you're thinking it through, DB.

    I think that most of the people in America are upset about illegal immigrants coming in are not upset about that alone...it's the fact that the powers-that-be are providing them with property that belongs to others. There are, of course, those who simply don't want (fill in the race of your choice) in "their" neighborhoods, but I believe those are a small minority. So effectively the discussion is more about property rights than anything.

    Further, if we are to dictate what those in the Gulch 'must' believe or be expelled, are we not abandoning logic and principles, and becoming what we protest?
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      No we are not. If you want an irrational free for all go to breitbart or huffington post.
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 years, 2 months ago
        So what you are saying is that if someone doesn't agree they can't come to the 'virtual' gulch.

        But if there were a real, physical, Gulch, then anyone in the world who wanted to come could do so whether they agreed with the inhabitants or not?
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
          Good question, but it was covered in the initial post. The real Valley was actually a private enterprise. The United States of America is not.
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          • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 years, 2 months ago
            The problem is this: if a single person owns the valley (and any external governments ignore them), they can do anything they want. Everyone else gets to rent from them and follow their rules.

            This is not particularly attractive unless you get to be the person. Once you have a number of different people who own parts of the valley they have to work out how to handle their interactions. It might be that some person's property is entirely surrounded by other people's -- actually that's quite likely, so now you need a system of easements.

            Sooner or later you find out you have a government, because a government starts as a number of people getting together and setting rules.
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