Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Immigration Question (Butler Shaffer)

Butler Shaffer says the immigration issue is really all about private property rights:

There are a number of watershed issues that help to define the meaning of liberty. How one responds to the practice of warfare is one such question. Individuals may disagree as to whether engaging in political action is a justifiable way of reducing or eliminating state power, yet, each may still be regarded as an advocate of liberty. War, however, constitutes a threshold, the crossing of which places a defender of such practices beyond even the most generous definition of libertarian. If "liberty" means anything, it consists of an unqualified respect for individual claims to immunity from coercion. The war system insists upon a mass dismissal of such claims, characterizing their adherents as "traitors" to the alleged "greater good" of the state.

There is another issue which, while not as fundamental to the life-and-death implications of warfare, nonetheless goes to the essence of the meaning of individual liberty: the freedom of people to move from one location on the planet to another without getting the permission of the state. This is the question that underlies current discussions on the so-called "immigration problem."

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