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A National Homeland Destroys Liberty and Private Property


One of the favorite arguments that proponents of immigration controls use to justify their position is the national-homeland concept. They say that America is a national homeland and, therefore, that the federal government legitimately wields the omnipotent power to determine who enters the nation and who doesn’t. Comparing the nation to a private homeowner, they assert that since a private homeowner doesn’t leave his door open for the world to enter, neither should the federal government leave the door to the nation open either.

There are two big problems, however, with the national-homeland argument.

First, America isn’t a national homeland. That’s what Nazi Germany was. America is instead a nation based on the concepts of individual liberty and private-property rights.

Second, freedom and private-property rights are both destroyed by the concept of a national homeland.

In a society based on individual liberty and private-property rights, I have the right to invite anyone I want into my home. That’s because it is my home, not society’s, not the government’s, and not anyone else’s. That is what freedom of association is all about — the right to associate with anyone one wants, even if everyone else doesn’t like it.

That’s what the old saying, “A man’s home is his castle” is all about. It means that a person is free to do whatever he wants in his own home, so long as his actions are peaceful and consensual. (In other words, a person isn’t free to murder someone in his home.)

Thus, under principles of freedom and private property, a person has the fundamental right to invite a Guatemalan, Mexican, Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Egyptian, or Englishman into his home. No one, including his neighbor or a government official, wields the legitimate authority to use force to prevent him from associating with anyone he wants in his own home. Again, that’s because his home is his castle. He owns it. It belongs to him.

Does this mean that such invited guests have the right to walk invited into a neighbor’s home? Of course not. The neighbor’s home belongs to him. If he doesn’t want such people to walk into his home, he has the right to exclude them. But he has no right to interfere with other people’s decisions to invite whomever they want into their home.

The same holds true with respect to a person’s business. It belongs to him, not to society, government, or anyone else. As such, a business owner has the right to invite anyone he wants to work there. That’s because it’s his business — his private property — his castle too. If he chooses to hire Guatemalans, Mexicans, or other foreign citizens, that is his right. That’s because it’s his money and his business. Who he hires is his business.

The national-homeland argument holds that the state can prohibit people from crossing the international border to prevent them from going to the home or business of an American citizen. Thus, the national-homeland concept destroys the rights of individual liberty and private property.

And here is the kicker: Once a nation goes down the national-homeland road, there is no stopping. Once the state is considered in charge of the national homeland, then the state effectively wields omnipotent control over the entire homeland, just as it did in Nazi Germany. How can any business owner complain about government control over his business, including through minimum-wage laws, OSHA regulations, and all the rest? How can he complain about government control over activities within his home, such as ingestion of drugs? As the German people learned, under the national-homeland concept the government ends up wielding omnipotent control over people’s lives, property, and economic activities, even if legal titles to  homes and businesses are nominally left in the names of homeowners and business owners.

Our American ancestors clearly understood this principle, which is why the United States had a system of open immigration for more than 100 years after the country was founded. They understood that a system of individual liberty and private-property rights is irreconcilable with the concept of a national homeland controlled by an all-powerful federal government. With the horrible exception of slavery and smaller exceptions, such as tariffs, they chose a society based on freedom and private property rather than one based on the concept of a national homeland.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.