In my blog post yesterday, I pointed out some of the questions that have long befuddled me in my life as a libertarian: Why is it that so many Americans continue to support America’s immigration-control system in the face of at least 80 years of manifest failure? Is there anything that could ever convince Americans that their immigration-control system will never work? If they were to be convinced that this system would never — and could never — work, would they abandon it in favor of open borders, the only immigration system that does work? Or would they continue to support it notwithstanding its continued and perpetual failure to achieve its goal?
In a larger sense, I think the answers to those questions might lie in the longtime commitment of 20th-century and 21st-century Americans to socialism. You see this unwavering commitment to socialism in such socialist programs as Social Security and Medicare. Despite the fact that these two programs, along with “defense” expenditures, are the principal factors heading the federal government into bankruptcy, most Americans, including some libertarians, simply will not let them go. That’s because they’re convinced that the nation would collapse without them. That’s what socialism has done to people’s minds. It is an insidious philosophy.
I could also point to public (i.e., government) schooling, which is the crown jewel of socialism at the state level. Despite its manifest failure to educate, as most everyone acknowledges, and the adverse effect it has had on students with its Army-lite system of regimentation, conformity, obedience, mandatory attendance, and taxation, most Americans, including many libertarians (who have committed their lives to supposedly improving the state’s schooling system with vouchers), simply will not let go of educational socialism.
It’s no different with America’s system of immigration controls, which, like Social Security, Medicare, and public schooling, is a classic socialist program. That’s because it is based on the socialist principle of central planning. Rejecting reliance on the freedom and the free market to regulate the flow of people across the international border, government officials instead plan, in a top-down manner, the movements of countless people in one of the most complex labor markets in history.
It simply cannot be done, not without perpetual crisis and chaos. Ludwig von Mises called it “planned chaos.” What better term to describe at least 80 years of life on the U.S.-Mexico border?
Unfortunately, immigration socialism has come with other traditional characteristics of socialism — death, suffering, and a massive immigration police state that encompasses warrantless searches, highway checkpoints, criminalization of hiring, transporting, harboring, and caring for illegal immigrants, violent raids on American businesses voluntarily and willingly hiring illegal immigrants, boarding of Greyhound buses to demand people’s papers, roving Border Patrol warrantless stops, a Berlin Wall, and, now, concertina wire intended to cut up and kill migrants.
Yet, none of it has worked. How can it work? It’s a socialist system. Socialism is an inherently defective paradigm. No one can make it work, not even libertarians. So, why do so many Americans, including some libertarians, continue to support an inherently defective system, especially when they know that there is a viable alternative that does work — one based on liberty and free markets, as demonstrated by the enormously large open-border system we have domestically here in the United States?
That’s one of the questions that has long befuddled me about the immigration issue. After more than 30 years pondering it, I still do not know the answer.