Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Archive for the ‘Immigration Issues’ Category

The Right to Migrate

Posted by Jerry on March 10, 2008

The right to migrate–that is, to move from one nation or society to another–is a derivative of the right to liberty and the right to own property wherever it is possible. Ultimately, all of these are derived from an individual’s right to his own life. Objectivism upholds a policy of open immigration for America–and not impractically so. It is impossible for a moral principle to be impractical in reality.

The Objective Standard–an Objectivist journal of culture and politics–has a new article on how the moral right to immigrate is not only consonant with individual rights but also fully and consistently practicable in reality. People wrongly associate issues like illegal immigration, over-population, competition in jobs and wages, cultural erosion, and so on as challenges to open immigration. What they do not realize is that these problems arise precisely because the U.S. government rampantly violates human rights by not permitting open immigration and instead legislating arbitrary immigration quotas and ethnic lotteries. 

The article in the Objective Standard explains in detail how current immigration policies give birth to greater security concerns and rights violations than a moral and objective immigration policy. Here is a particularly striking excerpt from the opening paragraphs of the article:

Morally speaking, if a person rationally judges that immigrating to America would be good for his life, he should immigrate; a rational morality holds that one should always act on one’s best judgment. But does a foreigner have a right to move to America? And should America welcome him? Yes, he does—and yes, she should.

And here’s another juicy bit from the article:

America’s border is not properly a barrier for the purpose of keeping foreigners out; it is properly a boundary designating the area in which the U.S. government must protect rights.

Posted in Culture, Economics, Immigration Issues, India, Objectivism, Philosophy, Political Issues, Rights and Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The Last Days of Europe

Posted by Jerry on June 21, 2007

Here’s an article reviewing the book The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent by Walter Laqueur. The book is about the decline of the great old European civilization. Unfortunately, judging from this review (and I may be wrong on this), it did not seem like the author of the book highlighted the major root cause of this decline, which is the abandonment of its Enlightenment roots in rational philosophy in exchange for everything from racist multiculturalism, socialism, collectivism, environmentalism, to cultural relativism.

The article briefly reviews three causes for the current disturbing trend in Europe. In my opinion, these causes actually occur later in the chain of causes leading to Europe’s descent into insignificance, with the root cause being laid down in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the philosophies of Hegel, Kant, Marx, and their progenies.

There are three threats to Europe’s future. The first comes from demographic decline. Europeans are simply not reproducing, for reasons that are unclear. They seem to care more about the ozone layer and carbon emissions than they do about the continuation of their own societies. Or perhaps bringing up children interferes with what they conceive to be the real business of life: taking lengthy annual holidays in exotic locations and other such pleasures.

I find this issue of demographic decline as strange–at the least–to be viewed as a cause of the decline of European civilization–unless, of course, we are speaking specifically about the *racial* classification of the general population. I don’t understand the need to lament the low number of racially white people unless we are giving the matter of biological race some kind of metaphysical importance, greater than the matter of European ideals, for example. In fact, raising the issue of race in a discussion of declining civilization almost echoes the kind of racism that the Nazis were concerned with when they decried the perceived adulteration and decline of the Aryan-German race.

Are we properly concerned with civilization as a matter of social and cultures norms, ideas, and philosophies, or as a matter of biological and physiological traits–like how many blue-eyed, blond-haired people do we have? I believe it is hardly lamentable that the number of whites are declining because–perhaps–there are more interracial offsprings from racially mixed romantic unions. It is more disturbing when whites (or whoever else) concede their rational and moral principles (that formed the bedrock of early European civilization–including the tradition of classical liberalism) in order to accommodate and respect the diversity and cultural relativism of new immigrants.

The second threat comes from the presence of a sizable and growing immigrant population, a large part of which is not necessarily interested in integration.

An immigrant population not interested in integration does pose a threat; a greater and more pernicious threat, however, is posed when the immigrant population decides not to integrate but disintegrate the host culture and penetrate the culture’s mores forcefully with their own fundamentalist ideologies. This is what the immigrant muslim communities in many of the European host nations are engaged in–they demand acquiescence and even certain practices from the host culture in accordance with their Islamic notions of morality.  

The third threat comes from the existence of the welfare state and the welfare-state mentality. A system of entitlements has been created that, however economically counterproductive, is politically difficult to dismantle: once privileges are granted, they assume the metaphysical status of immemorial and fundamental rights. The right of French train drivers to retire on full pension at the age of 50 is probably more important to them than the right of free speech.

This threat of welfare socialism, of course, takes its root in the anti-capitalist philosophies of the previous couple centuries despite the repeated and total defeat of this ideology in the arena of practical reality. 

While Europe mortgages its future to pay for such extravagances—the French public debt doubled in ten years under the supposedly conservative Chirac.

Europe, once the home of a dynamic civilization that energized the rest of the world, declining into a kind of genteel theme park—if it’s lucky.

Posted in Culture, Economics, General Work/Life, Immigration Issues, Philosophy, Political Issues, The Best of Leitmotif, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Atlas Shrugs in India

Posted by Jerry on October 29, 2006

It appears that the Atlases of India might be shrugging, and that they might be setting up their “Gulch” in Vancouver, Canada! I learned of this apparent “shrugging” movement while reading Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City. In it, Mehta says:

… the New Quit India Movement… is a group of some fifty Bombay luminaries: dancers, actors, diplomats, and so on, loosely coordinated by a Parsi hairdresser who is in charge of some of the city’s most famous heads, and she has invited Vinod and Anu [Bollywood producer/director and his wife] to join the exodus. They have resolved to emigrate en masse to Canada: to Vancouver. To this end, they have meetings, where they bring in experts to conduct lectures on how to get abroad and how to live there. They are all rich and can afford the 200,000 dollars it costs to get Canadian papers. The New Quit India Movement dreams of travelling in a social bubble halfway across the world, where they can recreate Malabar Hill and Pali Hill in a more salubrious environment.

O, when will Gault–or, this Parsi hairdresser–come up to my door. My shoulders are itching to shrug!

Posted in Immigration Issues, India, Mumbai | 1 Comment »

Immigration, updated

Posted by Jerry on March 28, 2006

For obvious reasons, I have much interest in this nation’s current struggle with immigration and its laws. For some time, I struggled with the issue of the morality of open immigration and the problem of national security – I thought, like much of the rest of this country, those two issues were in conflict with each other.

However, with my more recent exposure to ARI scholars like Dr. Brook and Dr. Ghate, with whom I had personal conversations regarding this issue, and also my earlier discussions of this matter on Noodlefood, I am able to see clearly that we do not need to compromise on security for our liberty – but that pre-emptive and proactive measures must be taken to provide full security *for* our liberties.

I decided to link to some of my earlier posts (the ones I wrote before I spoke to the ARI scholars or at Noodlefood) because my position still remains the same, and hopefully, this nation can move towards a more enlightened immigration system that respects human rights with providing full security for people to freely exercise those rights.

1) Immigration: Private Property or Freedom of Movement

2) Immigration, contd.

3) Import Workers of Export Jobs

Breaking an immoral law is not an illegal act. Immoral laws should be broken. The immigrants who broke the immoral laws of this country and have arrived here – some arriving more than 20 years ago – have done nothing illegal, but infact have acted bravely, ruthlessly in the pursuit of their human rights, and have refused to morally sanction the oppressiveness of the current laws.

They have acted in the same spirit as the first members of the black civil-rights movement – the people who dared to break the immorality of segregationist and racist laws and stood up to forge a groundwork for the establishment of proper, ethical and moral laws consistent with the value of human life as the standard, and the exercise of human rights as a guarantee, without regard for accidental qualities of birth, race, or ethnicity.

America is the only country by far that understands what a human being truly is, respects it, and protects it with a body of laws that guarantees rights proper to the living of a human being. Therefore, attaining American citizenship is not a permission to belong to an ethnic or national identity called “American”, but to enjoy the status of the ideological and intellectual identity afforded by “Americanism” – the ideology that humans are guaranteed fundamental rights consistent with their nature as rational, conceptual, and volitional beings – an ideology that forms the foundation of this country.

To be an American citizen is not to say “I am an American”, but to say “I am human” and to fully know and understand what “human” means and what its implications are in living life.

Therefore, attaining American citizenship is to gain the opportunity to live among people who accept the fundamentality of individual human rights and to avail the services of a representative government borne out of rational principles, to protect rational human beings who are engaged in the pursuit of their own rational human happiness – an American government for an American people.

The American identity is a body of principles that form an integrated concept called “Americanism”. American citizenship is the proud public statement of one’s voluntary acceptance of that body of principles, required to be recognized and respected by everyone else.

American citizenship should not be merely considered an accidental identity thrust upon every new individual born into this country. Americanism is primarily an intellectual, philosophical identity, which must be accepted voluntarily. An accidental birth in America does not guarantee that the individual will accept and value the American values that his citizenship allows him to enjoy (take the eg. of the young American-born citizen who went to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against the very values and virtues of Americanism that he was priviledged to enjoy due to the accidental incident of his birth in America).

I admire and applaud the hundreds of thousands of mostly hispanic/latino immigrants (and every other individual) who marched out on the streets in peaceful protest to demand what should rightfully belong to them. At the same time, I am saddened by the lack of similar courage among most of the members of other ethnic immigrants in this country, many of whom are similarly undocumented. Many of the non-hispanic immigrants seem to furtively exploit the possible advantages that might be brought about due to the efforts of the hispanic immigrants, while still trying to hide in the shadows of anonymity, and perpetuating the prejudicial association of “illegal” predominantly with “latino/hispanic” immigrants.

Posted in Immigration Issues, Philosophy, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif | 2 Comments »

My Invisible World

Posted by Jerry on January 24, 2006

I am not a “one world-er”. I despise the concept of drowning individuality into the masses of collectivism. I do not wish to see the countries of this world consolidating power and creating monolithic institutions of governance over all.

And similarly, I do not wish to see countries that carve their boundaries in the hearts and minds of people. I do not want governments telling their people where to travel, who to live with, who to fall in love with, where to buy from, and who to sell to.

I am shocked at how our governments even dare to prescribe the kinds of relationships individuals can have with one-another. I am appalled by the brazen interference of the government in my decision to have a family or a relationship across political boundaries.

I believe that the only reason we have let governments become so viciously powerful and have anesthetized ourselves to their interference in our lives is because collectivism and the acceptance of the majoritarian opinion is considered valid, ‘democratic’, and even morally fair.

Just as in our private lives, we have tended to accept the collectivist opinions of our culture, our tribe, our religion, our tradition, our race, our sexual orientation, our class, our nationality, our ethnicity, our status, our society – we accept and become obedient to these collectivist forces in our lives and so, extrapolating that to the geo-political scale, we find it only logical that we become obedient to what our government tells us to do – regardless of whether that is even the proper role of the government. We are so used to subsuming our individuality to larger collective voices that we now think it is only proper to be obedient to these masses, and we sometimes even actively seek to identify ourselves with it.

In our lives, we listen to our parents about who to marry or what career to choose, we look to our race to decide who to select as a romantic partner, we look to our priests and religious leaders to tell us what to believe and what is moral, we observe the trends of our socio-economic class to decide which clubs to join and who to be affiliated with, we look to our traditions to decide how to act and what to celebrate – all these are instances of our collectivist desires to seek our personal identity in things above and beyond ourselves.

It stands to reason then that these same collectivist tendencies allow us to stand by the roadside nonchalantly as the government (the collective replacement of the race, or the tribe, or the religious leaders) decides to pass law after law, dictating how we live our private lives.

Ban smoking. Ban gambling. Ban drugs. Don’t ban alcohol. Ban foie gras in restaurants. Ban mowing your lawns on Sunday. Cannot bring your lover from Brazil to the US just because you love them, etc. etc.

I want a world where the government is invisible. I want to live in a world where there are no nation-states interacting or trading with each other, but individuals – only individuals – from different countries freely trading and interacting with each other. A world of invisible boundaries and invisible governments. A world of individuals who seek no higher identity above their own selves.

Wishful thinking? Yes.

Posted in Culture, General Work/Life, Immigration Issues, My Theories and Ideas, Philosophy, Political Issues, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

“Import Workers or Export Jobs”

Posted by Jerry on January 10, 2006

Robert Murphy, an economist from the Austrian tradition, has written a very good article in defense of free trade and open markets that very neatly exposes the underlying tribal and primitive mentality gaining popular support in today’s global economic culture.

Critics of free-trade, immigration, and profit-driven businesses use terms like “outsourcing”, “predatory business tactics”, etc. to make their case for more and more restrictive socio-economic policies. Murphy correctly points out that these socialist policies wrongly divide the human endeavor of production and trade in to a “us versus them” scenario. The intellectual and technological advancement of China and India are perceived as a threat to the American economy. Immigrant workers are perceived as threatening the jobs that American workers are “entitled” to.

Murphy makes a very enlightening statement by pointing out that “Indeed, to ask whether it is fair to allow workers to seek a better life for themselves implies downright slavery—that they are “our” workers and can only be allowed to migrate with our permission.”

My own moral arguments for immigration rights rest upon Murphy’s statement that I implicitly accepted as the premise. Freedom of mobility is an implied requirement to secure the right to gain ownership of property, which consequently rests upon every human’s right to life and survival as they see fit.

I cannot recommend Murphy’s article highly enough.

Posted in Immigration Issues, Philosophy, Political Issues, The Best of Leitmotif | 3 Comments »

Immigration, contd.

Posted by Jerry on December 12, 2005

They come and take our jobs away, they lower the wage rates for employment, they crowd the cities and stretch public resources, there are fewer resources and an increasing number of players competing for those resources.

“Our jobs”? Is anybody entitled to a job? If there is any entitlement, shouldn’t that be based on meritocracy? If I own a business with jobs to give away, I will certainly want the best that I can buy with the lowest amount of wages I can give out. It’s a labor market just like any other consumer market.
Should jobs go defacto to Americans by virtue of their citizenship, even if they are not as good as the immigrant with a better work ethic, more qualifications, higher suitability, fewer demands? Yes because this is America. These are American jobs. It’s the ownership rights of citizens to demand that their American businessman counterparts choose Americans first over non-Americans.
But does that make good business and economic sense? Why does Microsoft employ a majority of their workforce from abroad? Should patriotism, or collective ownership rights take primacy over individual capabilities, merits, differences?
What’s the difference between Communism and the concept of collective ownership of American assets? Merely a logical extension? Or a real and practical imitation?

“They lower wages for employment”. Low costs of production mean higher profits for businessmen and companies — who, we oftentimes forget — are consumers themselves, also investors, risk-takers, etc.
Companies, stockholders, CEO’s get richer with higher profits. Consequently, their spending margins increase on a variety of things. Typically, the more one earns, the more one begins to spend. Profit-making is a right of every business — that is the sole purpose for which they exist.
The effects of higher profits and higher spending should invariably ripple across the entire market at some point.
Wages for employment should be based organically on such market forces — not on some perceived entitlement demanded by Unions and other idiots.
Case in eg.: Union of Auto Makers trying to fight to hold on to their “entitlement” wages of $115,000 annually, which have now been brought down to about $89,000 annually. Apparently, this major slash in their wages as auto-makers are forcing them to live “meager” lives! Ofcourse, the ripple effect of such entitlement mentality — GM is on its way to bankruptcy. Detriot is a ghosttown with the only industry keeping it afloat (the automotive industry) now caught up in heckling with Unions.

They crowd the cities and stretch thin public resources.

That is a cyclical argument. That is the very result of the inhumane and immoral immigration policies. Those laws themselves have created the situation where the new immigrants cannot find cover, comfort and solace unless they are surrounded by clans of their own members — in ghettos, nonetheless. The one’s that wish to leave, that wish to move up in education and careers, cannot because they do not have the legal and societal permissibilities like an SSN, or recourse to citizen aid, driver’s licenses, etc.
They visit ER’s because they cannot get legitimate health insurance under current laws.
This entire argument is cyclical… there’s no need for me to delve into them anymore.

Increasing number of players competing for resources

You’re living in a fools land if you expect to not compete for resources that always have been limited and are steadily decreasing. The only rational and intelligent solution is to accelerate human acheivement in technology and production, to produce and create new resources or new and efficient methods of gaining/using/spending them. Trying to adopt some kind of population control simply reduces your chances of getting more brains to work on social challenges. Also, population control clearly does NOTHING to produce or create anything new. It may merely slow down the rate at which resources deplete, but it does not change the status quo.

Moreover, increased competition for resources also helps to reveal inefficient systems. They help identify and eliminate waste, unwanted loads, unharmonious systems… the “flowchart” gets streamlined when the pressure to minimize waste is high.

Posted in Immigration Issues, Rights and Morality, The Best of Leitmotif | 5 Comments »

Immigration: Private Property or Freedom of Movement

Posted by Jerry on December 12, 2005

Need to throw these thoughts out… for further analysis:

Private property – arising out of self-autonomy – fundamental in nature

Private property implies a method or means of gaining and owning such property… the method or means have to be legitimate inorder to fit the definition of property — property is that which is rightfully owned — what is the legal definition of property?

If the means and method of gaining property is itself illegitimate, then the property owned through the use of that method is also illegitimate.

In other words, if I kill a man who I know will outbid me at an auction so that I can be the highest bidder, then that which I have rightfully owned by bidding becomes illegal property because I committed illegal activities to get it. (Right? I don't know. Maybe. Are there any caveats?)

So, if an immigrant enter illegally and then owns property in gainful employment, would all of that property then also be illegal and subject to seizure by the state?

No. It can't be. There must be a separation between means and ends. Production is not the same thing as the product, and a cause is not on the same moral, ethical platform as the effect.

Illegal immigration is illegal only because of a whimsical fiat by the most populous voices. It was not illegal for the early puritan immigrants to enter American, since there were no such laws. Can laws be randomly made to dictate anything based upon the whim and fancy of the contemporary society? Clearly no.

However, today America as a collective group of citizens own "America" the land. Hence, illegal immigration could be a violation of the property rights of the citizens as a collective whole, who own America. Any illegitimate movement would be encroaching upon the private property of Americans.

Right? No. It can't be.
How does one become American? The overwhelming majority of the first "Americans" were not born here… they moved here. Hence, American citizenship is open to some immigrants — or atleast was open to some of them at one time. If collective ownership requires one to be American, then…. ugh, I'm getting muddled.

Owning "America" the land as a collective whole cannot be possible. Why not? There's something wrong. The collective whole needs to have legitimate right to claim that status. Citizenship. But immigrants also can and have become citizens. So, they can claim that ownership too. But, collectivist talks and perspectives just don't work… because they typically collapse in disagreement and in the suppression of minority voices.

Posted in Immigration Issues, Rights and Morality | 1 Comment »

 
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