The Great Immigration Debate between Peter Brimelow and me that was held at the Heartland Institute’s recent anniversary dinner has now been posted on Heartland’s website. It is here. The theme of the debate was: “Immigration Policy for a Free Society: Open Borders vs. Controlled Borders.”
The video contains the entire evening’s activities, and the debate starts about 30 minutes into the program. I’d recommend viewing the entire video though, including libertarian comedian Tim Slagel’s hilarious routine, especially his explanation as to how Halloween can be used to teach children about taxation.
The primary argument I made in the debate was that the immigration crisis is actually nothing more than the failure of socialist central planning and interventionism. I presented this argument in my article “Borders, Socialism, and the Free Market” in the July 2008 issue of Freedom Daily.
Long ago, U.S. politicians and bureaucrats came up with a plan to limit the number of people who could legally enter the United States. Under the plan, each country would be allocated a certain number of approved immigrants. The central planners wanted nothing to do with “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” or “the wretched refuse of your teeming shore” or “your homeless, tempest-tossed,” who had previously been free to come to America. Instead, the planners wanted the well-to-do, the educated, people with money, the highly skilled, the well-dressed, and those who could speak English.
The only problem was that the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and the wretched refuse of those teeming shores, and the homeless, tempest-tossed didn’t give a hoot for that socialist central plan. They believed that their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, being inherent in all men and preexisting government, trumped the planners’ central plan. So, they came anyway … and they continued coming despite an ever-increasing array of severe and oppressive immigration interventions, decade after decade.
Today virtually all conservatives and liberals, and, alas, even some libertarians, remain ardent advocates of immigration central planning and ever-increasing immigration interventionism.
Of course, the central-planning and interventionist mindset is no different in the field of money and banking, as everyone is now being reminded. Liberals are gleeful over the socialist bailout of financial firms and the partial nationalization of banks. But it’s really funny to see how much more gleeful they are over the fact that conservatives are leading the charge toward more central planning and interventionism.
According to AFP, Cuba’s foreign minister just announced that Cuba’s President Raul Castro will never renounce socialism, an announcement that will surely warm the heart of every American liberal.
Unfortunately for the American people, however, it seems American conservatives and liberals are still not ready to renounce socialism either, even as their socialist policies continue to lead our nation in same destructive direction as Castro’s socialist policies have led Cuba.
Conservatives don’t even seem embarrassed over the fact that noted Latin American socialists like Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega are now referring to President Bush as “Comrade Bush” and calling him a “fellow traveler.”
President Nixon famously said, “We are all Keynesians now.” President Bush should one-up him by going down in history with an apt description of American conservatives and liberals, “We are all socialists now.”