For Immigration Answers, Look To Liberty

What should be done with the estimated 15 million people living in the United States without the legal right to be here? It seems most politicians and many Americans come down on one or the other extreme.

Many Republicans, including Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have the idea that they can round up 15 million people and ship them back to wherever they came from. Many Democrats, on the other hand, would grant them blanket amnesty, give them citizenship, and make sure as many as possible are fully signed up to the welfare ranks.

Has anyone thought for a moment about how difficult, expensive, disruptive and dangerous to our civil liberties it would be to turn over every stone in this country to search for someone who might not be here legally? How many billions of dollars would it cost? The government would likely introduce a national identification card in effort to determine who should be here and who should not. The cards would no doubt be equipped with biometric data to transmit to the government information about law-abiding American citizens that they have no right knowing.

But on the other hand, how many billions of dollars per year does it cost to provide federal, state, and local welfare and other benefits to individuals who are not legally in the United States?

The situation seems impossible, and it is true there are no easy answers. I have suggested in my book “Liberty Defined” that some status short of citizenship might be conferred on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps a “green card” with a notation indicating that the person is not eligible for welfare and not permitted to vote in the United States. I don’t think there is any doubt that many who come to this country illegally simply want to work and will take jobs that Americans refuse to take.

The fact is, in a more libertarian society, citizenship itself would not be all that highly prized. Immigration could be controlled to a degree using property rights instead of building walls and issuing a national ID card. One very important “right” currently granted by U.S. citizenship is the “right” to all the free stuff from the government. A more libertarian society would likely have a more restrictive immigration policy because entry into the U.S. would not be accompanied by guarantees of free things, and most property would be owned privately.

Similarly, the issue of birthright citizenship would be much less difficult if acquiring American citizenship by the fact of being born on U.S. soil did not grant the child the ability to take advantage of the welfare state. Remove the welfare magnet, and you will greatly reduce the incentive to give birth here in order to gain citizenship for the baby.

Congress has within its power the authority to clarify the 14th Amendment’s definition of citizenship by making it clear that it does not grant citizenship by birthright. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is very clear: Congress has the power, “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

This power has been used in the past to clarify birthright citizenship, including for the children of diplomats born on U.S. soil and foreign prisoners who may give birth while in jail. There is no reason Congress cannot provide further clarification of what the 14th Amendment means when it refers to “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.

It is our weak economy, caused to a great degree by the Federal Reserve system and the business cycles it constantly creates, that makes the immigration situation worse for us. Neither extreme position is correct because neither takes this into consideration. A move toward more liberty would be the first step toward a normal immigration policy.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Only Full-Blown Libertarianism Works

Many people think the Internal Revenue Service was violating civil liberties when it harassed tea party groups. After all, the groups were targeted because they wanted to exercise their civil liberty to challenge government policies. However, the specific issue in the IRS case was the groups’ application for tax-exempt status, which seems to be an aspect of economic liberty. In fact, the IRS case demonstrates that there is no meaningful distinction between civil and economic liberties. A true friend of the free society defends both civil and economic liberties.

Many “civil libertarians” who oppose government laws interfering in the personal choices of consenting adults support laws preventing consenting adults from working for below the minimum wage. Other civil libertarians support government programs forcing consenting adults to purchase health insurance. Many liberals who join libertarians in opposing the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping fail to protest Obamacare’s assault on medical privacy. Even worse are those “First Amendment defenders” who cheer on government actions preventing religious individuals from operating their businesses in accord with the teachings of their faith.

The hypocrisy of left-wing civil libertarians is matched by the hypocrisy of many “economic conservatives.” Too many conservatives combine opposition to high taxes and Obamacare with support for authoritarian measures aimed at stopping individuals from engaging in “immoral” behavior. These conservatives do not understand that using force to stop people from engaging in nonviolent activities that some consider immoral is just as wrong as using force to make people purchase health insurance. Obamacare and the drug war both violate individual rights, and neither has any place in a free society.

In a free society, individuals must respect the right of others to make their own choices free from government coercion. However they do not have to approve of those choices. Individuals are free to use peaceful persuasion to stop others from engaging in immoral or destructive behavior. They can also avoid associating with individuals or businesses whose actions they find immoral or simply distasteful.

Many civil and economic libertarians also mistakenly believe that they can defend liberty while supporting an imperialist foreign policy. It is impossible to be a true civil libertarian, or a true fiscal conservative, and support the warfare state.

America’s imperialist foreign policy is the underlying justification for the rise of the modern surveillance state, and the reason Americans cannot board an airplane without being harassed and humiliated by the Transportation Security Administration. The warfare state is also the justification for the government’s greatest infringement on personal liberties: the military draft.

The United States government’s militaristic foreign policy costs taxpayers over $1 trillion a year. The costs of empire are major drivers of the American debt. Yet many of the most fervent opponents of domestic spending oppose even minuscule cuts to the defense budget. The government’s budget will never be balanced until conservatives give up their love affair with the welfare state and military Keynesianism.

Scholars, commentators, and other public figures who defend liberty in some areas and authoritarianism in other areas — or combine a defense of economic or civil liberty with a defense of the warfare state — undermine the case for the liberties they claim to cherish. Restoring the link between economic liberty, civil liberty, and peace is a vital task for those seeking to restore a society of liberty, peace, and prosperity. I examine the link between an interventionist foreign policy and a loss of our civil and economy liberties in my new book Swords into Plowshares. You can purchase a copy of Swords into Plowshares here

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute.

This commentary originally appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Real Education Reform Leaves The Government Behind

Among the items awaiting Congress when it returns from its August break is reconciling competing House and Senate bills reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. These bills passed early this spring. Each bill is being marketed as a huge step toward restoring state and local control over education. However, an examination of both bills shows that both provide local schools with only limited relief from a few federal mandates.

The biggest problem with these so-called reform bills is that they do not significantly reduce federal education spending. Congress and the executive branch use the promise of “free” money — which they have taken from the American taxpayer — to convince state and local governments to allow the federal government to control the classrooms. The only way to protect American schoolchildren from schemes like Common Core is to repeal, not replace, the federal Department of Education.

Restoring local control over education would be a good step toward restoring constitutional government. However, simply replacing federal bureaucrats with state, or even local, bureaucrats will not create an education system capable of leaving no child behind.

The key to real education reform is to give parents control over education by giving them control over the education dollar. When parents control the education dollar, schools must be responsive to parental demands that children receive a quality education that meets their unique needs. Therefore, if Congress was serious about improving education, it would defund the warfare-welfare state, which would then allow dramatically reduced taxes. Congress could also end the Federal Reserve, thus freeing middle and working class Americans from the regressive inflation tax.

In order to make parental control meaningful, parents must be able to choose from a variety of education alternatives. Thus, private schools, religious schools, and homeschools must be allowed to compete in a free market without government interference. This would allow parents to choose an appropriate education for their child.

The growing popularity of homeschooling has already created a thriving market in homeschooling curricula. Working with a team of scholars, I have developed my own homeschooling curriculum. My homeschooling curriculum provides students with a rigorous education in history, math, English, foreign languages, and other subjects. The curriculum is designed to benefit both college-bound students and those interested in pursuing other educational or career opportunities.

The curriculum features three tracks: natural science/math, social sciences/humanities, and business. Students may also take courses in personal finance and public speaking. The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. Unlike the curricula in too many government-run schools, my curriculum never sacrifices education quality to ideological indoctrination.

The curriculum is free for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Families with a student above the fifth grade pay $250 a year, plus $50 per course.

I am offering three special deals to allow parents to see if my curriculum is right for their child. One is an academic boot camp, designed especially for college-bound students. This is a six-week course that should help students raise their grade point average by at least a full point.

The curriculum is also offering special courses in phonics and mathematics for preschoolers. Both courses consist of 40 video-based lessons designed to teach children basic math and reading in two months.

If you are a parent searching for an appropriate homeschool curriculum for your child, please consider enrolling your child in my academic boot camp, my preschool mathematics program, or my preschool phonics program. Go to ronpaulcurriculum.com for more information.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute.

This commentary originally appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Politics Is Not The Path To Pro-Life Victory

During my time in Congress, I regularly introduced legislation forbidding organizations that perform abortions from receiving federal funding. The U.S. Government should not force taxpayers to subsidize an activity they believe is murder. Thus, while I was horrified by the recently released videos showing Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing selling the organs of aborted babies, I am glad that the reaction to these videos has renewed efforts to end federal funding of abortion.

My experience in Congress does not leave me optimistic that federal funding of Planned Parenthood will be ended this year, however. This is not just because the current U.S. president is pro-abortion. When I started my efforts to end taxpayer support of abortion, I was shocked to find out how many Republicans, including some self-described “pro-life” leaders, were unsupportive of, and sometimes hostile to, my efforts.

Most pro-life politicians preferred to add language to funding bills prohibiting federal funds from being used for abortions, rather than denying federal funds to abortion providers. This approach does not stop U.S. taxpayers from subsidizing abortions. The reason is that money is fungible. Giving Planned Parenthood $100 to use for non-abortion activities allows it to spend an additional $100 of its non-government funds on abortion.

Foreign interventionists in both parties were particularly hostile to my efforts to eliminate federal funding for international organizations that performed or promoted abortions. This is a foolish policy that gives people around the globe another reason to resent the U.S. government.

Planned Parenthood may have abandoned the explicitly racist and eugenic views of its founder, Margaret Sanger, but the majority of its abortion “services” are still provided to lower-income and minority women. Every day, nearly 2,000 African-American babies lose their lives to abortion, a rate five times higher than the Caucasian abortion rates.

I support the ‘black lives matter’ movement. I have long advocated an end to the drug war, police militarization, and other threats to liberty that disproportionately victimize African-Americans. However, I wish some of the ‘black lives matter’ movement’s passion and energy was directed to ending abortion. Unborn black lives also matter.

The federal government has no constitutional authority to permit, fund, or even outlaw abortion. Therefore, efforts to make abortion a federal crime are just as unconstitutional as efforts to prohibit states from outlawing abortion. A Congress that truly cared about the Constitution would end all federal funding for abortion and pass legislation restricting federal jurisdiction over abortion, thus returning the issue to the states.

While passing legislation may help limit abortion, the pro-life movement will never succeed unless it changes people’s attitudes toward the unborn. This is why crisis pregnancy centers, which provide care and compassion to women facing unplanned pregnancies, have done more to advance the pro-life cause then any politician. By showing women they have viable alternatives to abortion, these centers have saved many lives.

One factor hindering the anti-abortion movement’s ability to change people’s minds is that too many abortion opponents also support a militaristic foreign policy. These pro-lifers undercut their moral credibility as advocates for unborn American lives when they display a callous indifference to the lives of Iraqi, Iranian, and Afghan children.

Libertarians who support abortion should ask themselves how they can expect a government that does not respect the unborn’s right to life to respect their property rights. Therefore, all those who wish to create a society of liberty, peace, and prosperity should join me in advocating for a consistent ethic of life and liberty that respects the rights of all persons, born and unborn.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Do We Really Need To Bring Back Internment Camps?

Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the U.S. bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”

He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!

Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004, and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution. Unfortunately in the current presidential race, Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.

These statements and others like them most likely reflect the frustration felt in Washington over a 15 year war on terror where there has been no victory and where we actually seem worse off than when we started. The real problem is they will argue and bicker over changing tactics, but their interventionist strategy remains the same.

Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told al-Jazeera this week that US drones create more terrorists than they kill. He said: “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Still, Washington pursues the same strategy while expecting different results.

It is probably almost inevitable that the warhawks will turn their anger inward, toward Americans who are sick of the endless and costly wars. The U.S. loss of the Vietnam war is still blamed by many on the protesters at home rather than on the foolishness of the war based on a lie in the first place.

Let’s hope these threats from Clark and Trump are not a trial balloon leading to a clampdown on our liberties. There are a few reasons we should be concerned. Last week, the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow the Secretary of State to unilaterally cancel an American citizen’s passport if he determines that person has “aided” or “abetted” a terrorist organization. And as of this writing, the Senate is debating a highway funding bill that would allow the Secretary of State to cancel the passport of any American who owes too much money to the IRS.

Canceling a passport means removing the right to travel, which is a kind of virtual internment camp. The person would find his movements restricted, either being prevented from leaving or entering the United States. Neither of these measures involves any due process or possibility of appeal, and the government’s evidence supporting the action can be kept secret.

We should demand an end to these foolish wars that even the experts admit are making matters worse. Of course we need a strong defense, but we should not provoke the hatred of others through drones, bombs, or pushing regime change overseas. And we must protect our civil liberties here at home from government elites who increasingly view us as the enemy.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth