Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A nonPC message to the immigrant haters.

I would like to address one type of argument which I have heard, mainly from conservatives and from some self-labeled “libertarians” who I think are closet conservatives. It is normally used against undocumented immigrants. It goes along the line that they are glad when decent individuals, who are not violating the rights of others, have been arrested because “they broke the law.”

Right-wingers and faux libertarians who use this line are hypocrites and hiding their true reasoning. How do I know this?

Members of the so-called Patriot movement, where such bigots reside in large numbers, get weepy about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence. They worship the Constitution as a god-given document. The Founding Fathers were criminals. The Declaration of Independence was an illegal rebellion The American Revolution was AGAINST the law. I’m glad they were criminals but they were criminals.

Yet they are thrilled about these illegal acts!

Consider one of the favorite sayings among the far Right -- “From my cold dead hands.” Remember when Charleston Heston held up that rifle and uttered those words. I would bet that 99% of the anti-immigrant Right cheered Heston for saying it. (And I am not making an argument for gun control, which I oppose.)

What does that statement mean? It is an act of defiance against legislation. The full context of that statement is that “They will get my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.” Unpack it a bit more. What does it mean to “get my gun”? This term was in specific reference to attempts to legislate gun control.

It is a statement that says: “If you pass laws to confiscate my gun I will fight you to the death. The only way you can take my gun, no matter what the law saws, is to kill me.” It is a promise to violate the law and the Right has political orgasms over the statement.

I know some so-called libertarians who use the “against-the-law” argument against immigrants and then applaud an activist who refuses to get a driver’s license. Which of those two laws is the bigger impostion on rights? They rally around activists who won’t pay their income taxes. In each case these individuals are violating legislation.

The Constitution specifically allows the legal confiscation of private property for “public” purposes. And while some such eminent domain cases have nothing to do with “public” use ,that doesn’t matter to most on the pro-property rights Right. If a homeowner, holds out in their home against the state, a large number of individuals on the political Right will applaud them and offer them support.

Frequently these people are staunch opponents of a law to the point that they justify breaking that law. They will offer material assistance to the lawbreakers. They will rally for them, petition on their behalf. Many of these selfsame moralists will themselves break the law. And they do so happily and with a certain amount of self-satisfaction.

Yet, when it comes to immigration, these people, who are practically ready to run up the black flag and start slitting political throats, suddenly become the Hall Monitors of the State. They want to be snitches for government or cheerleaders for the law. The term “fucking hypocrite” comes to mind.

The settled issue for any advocate of human decency and morality is that there are plenty of times when one has the right, nay the moral duty, to violate a law. The question is not whether this ought to be done but when. Anyone who blindly obeys all laws, no matter how repugnant or vicious, is not being moral but evading morality.

For the libertarian the position is simple. If an individual is not violating the rights of others they are not the proper object for legal attention. The function of law is to protect the life, liberty and property of each individual from criminals. And crimes are those actions which violate these things. If the State violates your life, your liberty or your property, then it is acting in a criminal manner and it is your right to disobey it in that regard. You are not morally obligated to cooperate with a criminal. You may choose to do so but you are not acting immorally if you disobey the State under these circumstances. That includes immigrants without bureaucratic permission slips.

I can see reasons for wanting to make sure that the individuals being admitted are not criminals or carrying bubonic plague. But the law does not spend much time about such things. The truth is that 99% of the immigration laws are meant to protect us from people who want to work and who pose no threat to anyone. The obstacles that the bigots and labor protectionists put in their way to legally immigrate strips them of legal options thus leaving only illegal options. Under such a regime I personally believe they have every right to break the law.

In addition I think there is a moral justification to help them do so. If I were to witness an immigration raid against peaceful workers, and if one of those immigrants was fleeing immigration authorities and I could hide them, I would do so. Happily!

I would not help the police arrest someone for smoking pot nor would I report someone merely for owning a firearm even if the law said that guns were illegal. I wouldn’t report you to the IRS nor would I willingly cooperate with IRS agents if they came looking for you. If I could warn you they were coming I would do so.

But beat your wife and expect the police on your doorstep and if need be I’d take a 2x4 to your head myself. If I’m in my car and see someone mugging an old lady on the street they can expect me to drive straight toward them and if I smash them against a brick wall and their life seeps out of them while they wait for the ambulance --- well tough! I won’t weep.

If you harm an innocent person you are my enemy, even if the law allows it! If you are peaceful, non-aggressive and violating the rights of no one you are my friend, even if your actions violate the law. I will do everything in my power to hinder my enemies and help my friends.

So you authoritarian “libertarians” who want to arrest immigrants. You are not libertarians. You are not friends of liberty just because you want to protect your own rights. Even the Nazis were adamant about protecting their own rights. Just because you have wet dreams over owning guns doesn’t make you a libertarians. I don’t give a damn if you hate the IRS -- if you still want to violate the liberty of peaceful workers then you are not a libertarian but an enemy of liberty. You are not quite the rapists or the robber but you aren’t that much different either. You are willing to use force against peaceful individuals and that makes you an immoral criminal in my books.

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