MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Are They Really Out to Get Me?

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2022

by Jeff Thomas

Freedom is not merely a vague historical idea, or an excuse to celebrate with firecrackers once a year; it’s a lifetime pursuit and should be taken on as such. The pilot in question has made an initial stab at it. Hopefully he, along with you, the reader, will make it a central facet of his life’s work.

Libertarians and others who seek to be left alone to run their own lives habitually ask themselves the above question regarding their government.

So, what’s the answer? Are they out to get you? Well, unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.” In fact, it’s “yes” and “no.”

The secret to understanding a government’s intentions is that there’s no unified overall objective, sentiment, or approach to dealing with the private sector. Quite the opposite. With any government, it couldn’t be more fragmented or dysfunctional.

At the very lowest level of any government is the civil service, which is, in any country, a catch-all for all those people who are so lacking in ability and imagination that they’d be unlikely to hold down a job in the private sector. Moreover, their level of motivation is likely to be so low that their dysfunction tends to coincide with extreme inefficiency.

To test this out, one only has to visit the local Department of Motor Vehicles, or a similar agency that does little except charge fees and waste time in order to provide you with a permit, which, were it not required, you could happily do without.

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The Transgender Debate Should Be about Women’s Freedom and Private Property Rights

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2022

Too many social issues advocate for government, instead of individual, action to advance their causes even when it might come back to bite them under future governments. To achieve their aims, gender-critical feminists should fight for less government power instead of relying on the government to protect them. The transgender debate should be left to society because when you ask the average person “should biological men be allowed in women’s toilets,” they would say no. Instead, if we leave it up to a politician who faces the pressure of various militant pressure groups like Stonewall or Mermaids, they might likely give a different answer.

https://mises.org/wire/transgender-debate-should-be-about-womens-freedom-and-private-property-rights

Jess Gill

The hot topic in British politics is whether it is appropriate for transgender-identified males to go into women’s only spaces such as toilets, changing rooms, and prisons. With J.K. Rowling as their figurehead, there has been a rise of women voicing their concerns about their safety and comfort if biological males enter spaces intended for biological females.

Several gender-critical groups have used the Equality Act 2010 as a basis for excluding transgender-identified males from single-sex spaces. For example, The Women’s Rights Network welcomed the Equality and Human Right Commission’s guidance, which clarified that there “are circumstances where a lawfully established separate or single-sex service provider can exclude, modify or limit access to their service for trans people.”

However, the gender-critical argument based on human rights and progressive legislation is philosophically weak and will not last. Allowing the state to define what a “protected characteristic” is and who is allowed to discriminate will only protect women’s freedoms until the next general election. The leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, has already given into the gender ideologues after refusing to answer questions such as “Can a woman have a penis?” or “Do only women have cervixes?” when confronted on the radio show LBC. The Labour Party seems to be dogmatic on the issue of transgender inclusion with the Labour MP, Rosie Duffield, receiving “obsessive harassment” after standing up for women’s spaces. In addition, influential LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) groups like Stonewall have been advocating for the Equality Act to make exemptions for transgender people in single-sex spaces. Extending the Equality Act to prohibit women’s only spaces to exclude biological men under the basis of “gender identity” will most likely be at the top of a Labour government’s legislative agenda. As the likelihood that the Conservatives will lose the next general election increases, the basis of women’s freedoms will probably go as well.

Instead of depending on the government’s subjectivity to protect women, gender-critical feminists should advocate for property rights as a bedrock of their campaign. Advocating for property rights means advocating for a person to be able to do as they wish with that property. Gender-critical feminists should use property rights as a basis for excluding biological men from women’s only spaces. Advocating for property rights would protect institutions that defend women’s spaces that would be punished by antidiscrimination laws. Giving businesses this autonomy would allow them to protect single-sex spaces by having the freedom to set the parameters of who’s allowed on their property.

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The Latest Media Assault on Freedom

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2022

When did Washington reporters became qualified to serve as Grand Inquisitors for Democracy, casting judgment on every politician and proposal? Most reporters have the same level of intellectual curiosity as the average lottery ticket buyer. Reporters react to the word “bipartisan” like cocaine addicts desperate for another political virtue signal.

by James Bovard

Prominent journalists are calling for the media to champion a “pro-democracy” bias in how they portray politicians and government agencies. But tub-thumping for democracy — or at least for politicians who claim to be pro-democracy — is a poor substitute for exposing the proliferation of government abuses. Freedom will be the victim if journalists grasp a new pretext to portray government as a trustworthy savior.The press should vigorously investigate and expose federal crimes regardless of who is president.
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In January, Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon called for a “pro-democracy media,” vigorously describing “long-standing Republican tactics such as aggressive gerrymandering as … dangers to democracy.” Bacon frets because “gun-shy editors” fail to denounce Republican “radicalism” in banner headlines. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared, “That American democracy is teetering is unquestionable” due to pro-Trump Republicans, requiring a “new pro-democracy emphasis” to be “articulated clearly — and fearlessly — to readers and viewers.” Post columnist Brian Klaas admits that “the media adopting a pro-democracy bias … effectively means being pro-Democratic [Party],” but there is no alternative except to “unequivocally and unapologetically condemn” Republicans.

What could possibly go wrong from journalists pretending that only one political party threatens Americans’ rights and liberties? Demonizing one political party tacitly saints their opponents. But both Republicans and Democrats have a long record of unleashing federal agencies and ignoring the subsequent constitutional carnage.

Urging the media to become “pro-democracy” is reminiscent of a corporation that is almost bankrupt and gambles everything on a desperate “Hail Mary” pass. A June 2021 survey by the Reuters Institute reported that only 29 percent of Americans trusted the news media — the lowest rating of any of the 46 nations surveyed. A Gallup poll last year revealed that “86 percent of Americans believed the media was politically biased.” Practically the only folks who don’t recognize the bias are the people who share the media’s slant.

The media-Democrat alliance

How does “pro-democracy” reporting work in practice? Journalists provide readers with a catechism specifying correct beliefs rather than providing facts by which citizens can reach their own conclusions. But the Washington press corps was aptly described decades ago as “stenographers with amnesia.” The political “philosophy” of most reporters does not go beyond “Orange Man Bad.”

Many journalists love to slap a halo over politicians and then bask in the reflective glow. In 2020 and 2021, many of the top media outlets hailed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being far more repressive with his COVID policies than President Donald Trump advocated. A laudatory New Yorker profile, entitled “Andrew Cuomo, King of New York,” explained that Cuomo and his aides saw the battle over COVID policy as “between people who believe government can be a force for good and those who think otherwise.” For many liberals and much of the nation’s media, placing people under house arrest, padlocking schools, bankrupting business, and causing two million people to lose their jobs vindicated government as “a force for good.”

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace declared that Cuomo is “everything Trump isn’t: honest, direct, brave.” Entertainment Weekly hailed Cuomo as “the hero that America never realized it needed until he was on our television screens every night.” As National Review noted, local reporters failed to ask questions on his nursing home edict (which forced nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients) “for months, as the governor held his much-praised daily press briefings about the pandemic. There were literally hundreds of hours of Cuomo press conferences in the first half of 2020 where not a single question was asked about nursing homes.”

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Human or Sheep?

Posted by M. C. on April 29, 2022

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Using War to Assault Freedom

Posted by M. C. on April 21, 2022

War is the health of the state and the graveyard of liberty. The drug war was a disaster for freedom. The war in Ukraine will be so as well, only if we permit it.

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Most judges and lawyers agree that the war on drugs in the past 50 years has seriously diminished the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Now a small group of legal academics is arguing that the war in Ukraine should be used to diminish property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment was written to guarantee that the government may only search and seize persons, houses, papers and effects pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge after the presentation under oath of evidence demonstrating that the place to be searched more likely than not contains evidence of crime. And the warrant itself must specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

These requirements — the work of James Madison, who was the scrivener of the Constitution in 1787 and the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — were intended to have two effects.

The first effect was to uphold the quintessentially American right to be left alone. The second was to compel the government to focus its law enforcement personnel and assets on crimes for which there is probable cause, not fishing expeditions or hunches.

Madison’s language prohibited absolutely the use of general warrants, a favorite tool of the British government against the colonists. General warrants were based on whatever the government wanted or claimed it needed.

The colonists were tormented by, and driven to revolution over, general warrants, as they authorized British agents to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. Surely, the dreadful colonial experience with general warrants was a driving force behind the wording and ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

Sadly, during the war on drugs, prosecutors and police persuaded judges to craft “emergency” exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. These included allowing police to look for whatever they wanted in cars and homes, and using the CIA for warrantless surveillance, lest the drugs supposedly being sought be destroyed before capture.

The effect of this was to destroy a fundamental liberty in deference to easing police work; that’s the definition of a police state. The courts effectively ruled that somehow the Constitution prefers liberty — rather than evidence of crimes — to be destroyed.

The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty and property of all persons from destruction or aggression by the government without due process of law. Due process requires a jury trial at which the government must prove fault.

Thus, property cannot be seized temporarily or taken permanently without either a search warrant or a jury trial.

Now back to the war in Ukraine.

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10 Reasons that Freedom is Good

Posted by M. C. on March 31, 2022

If you want to restrict people’s freedom to take a given action, the onus isn’t on them to give reasons that said action is likely to have a net positive result, the onus is on you to give overwhelming reason for us to: (1) take a decision away from the person who is most able and willing to decide well, ….

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/10-reasons-that-freedom-is-good/

by Danny Duchamp

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Advocates of freedom are often called upon to explain why people should be given specific freedoms. Why should people be free to work for less than $7 an hour? Why should people be free to leave their homes during a pandemic? Why should people be free to take drugs?

These questions are asked as though until we can prove that an action would provide a net societal benefit, we should not be allowed to take that action. This is exactly backwards. Any restriction upon freedom should require an overwhelming case that it would prevent enormous harm before we consider adopting it.

In order to defend this, I will provide ten reasons that freedom is generally good.

Freedom here is defined simply as the ability to make your own decisions. If you control what you do, then you are free. If someone else forcibly controls what you do, then you are not free—you are being coerced.

  1. People are more willing to make good decisions for themselves.

Imagine someone who feeds you when you are hungry, clothes you when you are naked and amuses you when you are bored. Imagine this person does so every waking moment of your life. This person would be absurdly altruistic towards you. Even your parents were occasionally too tired to amuse their bored baby.

However, this person does exist and he is you. This shows that nobody is as willing to make decisions in your favor as you.

You might think that people’s selfishness is a reason that they should not be free. However, the alternative to freedom is control by someone else. We just established, someone else will be less willing to make good decisions for you than you are. Therefore, if we want good things to happen to people, then we should want those who care most about them to make their decisions—themselves.

  1. People are more able to make good decisions for themselves.See the rest here

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Biden’s Rules-Based Order

Posted by M. C. on March 28, 2022

By Stephen Cox

On March 26, in a speech in Poland, President Biden attempted to be inspiring, and as usual when he does that, he emitted string after string of platitudes.  It was the kind of thing that political speechwriters create in their sleep.  But Americans should be careful not to nod off.  Clichés can be very dangerous, just because they are clichés—the stuff that everyone is supposed to know and believe.

I invite your attention to the passage of Biden’s speech in which he tried to say how a free society differs from an unfree one.  He claimed that at some time in the mythic past

we emerged anew in the great battle for freedom. A battle between democracy and autocracy. Between liberty and repression. Between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force. In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves of [sic] a long fight ahead.

And so on.  But notice how the synonyms line up.  The synonyms for lack of freedom are autocracy, repression, and “brute force”; the synonyms for freedom are democracy, liberty, and “a rules-based order.”

Now, hold on.  In our world, the most brutally forceful regimes happen to be rules-based orders, regimes that are filled with rules.  Chock-full of rules.  And freedom and liberty are so far from being synonymous with “rules” that their very definition is, well, the absence of restraints, commands, and rules.  Freedom is the ability to do what you want, not the obligation to follow somebody’s rule.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence had no idea that rules were the foundation of the “new order of the ages” they were creating. Their idea was a rights-based society.  The document says that clearly.  It says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”  So rights come first, last, and all the time.  Rules and governments, if you insist on having them, are justified only in support of rights.

With this in mind, we can see that almost all of the real order that exists in the world—the order we see in families, businesses, churches, and social organizations of every kind—results from free people working together with respect for one another’s rights.  This is the spontaneous order of which great economists have written.  And we can see that almost all of the inconvenience, poverty, distress, and terror in the world are created by people who have a libido for imposing rules. Hitler and Stalin were deeply attached to rules and rules-based order.  And so are the bureaucratic tyrants who have destroyed so much of the world during the past two years of the New Order of Covid.

If there were anything that could make Biden’s idea about freedom and rules look even worse, it would be the reflection that his speech, like his presidency, was the product of vague amorphous movements among vague amorphous organs of the governing class.  The speech says what the members of the governing class believe, what they believe so deeply and automatically that to them his daringly false statements about the relation of liberty to order are just random clichés, mere throw-away lines.  Yet these are the clichés by which the rest of us are supposed to order our lives.

Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego.  He is the author of many books and is the editor of Liberty magazine, available at https://libertyunbound.com/.

Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego.  He is the author of many books and is the editor of Liberty magazine, available at https://libertyunbound.com/.

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Endless Wars Are the Enemy of Freedom

Posted by M. C. on March 8, 2022

The growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad bodes ill for the constitutional principles which form the basis of the American experiment in freedom.

As author Aldous Huxley warned: “Liberty cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government.”

by John W. Whitehead

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison

War is the enemy of freedom.

As long as America’s politicians continue to involve us in wars that bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse, “we the people” will find ourselves in a perpetual state of tyranny.

It’s time for the U.S. government to stop policing the globe.

This latest crisis—America’s part in the showdown between Russia and the Ukraine—has conveniently followed on the heels of a long line of other crises, manufactured or otherwise, which have occurred like clockwork in order to keep Americans distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from the government’s steady encroachments on our freedoms.

And so it continues in its Orwellian fashion.

Two years after COVID-19 shifted the world into a state of global authoritarianism, just as the people’s tolerance for heavy-handed mandates seems to have finally worn thin, we are being prepped for the next distraction and the next drain on our economy.

Yet policing the globe and waging endless wars abroad isn’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, it’s certainly not making America great again, and it’s undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

Indeed, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and the U.S. government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

What most Americans—brainwashed into believing that patriotism means supporting the war machine—fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with propping up a military industrial complex that continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

Consider: We are a military culture engaged in continuous warfare. We have been a nation at war for most of our existence. We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

We are also being fed a steady diet of violence through our entertainment, news and politics.

All of the military equipment featured in blockbuster movies is provided—at taxpayer expense—in exchange for carefully placed promotional spots.

Back when I was a boy growing up in the 1950s, almost every classic sci fi movie ended with the heroic American military saving the day, whether it was battle tanks in Invaders from Mars (1953) or military roadblocks in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

What I didn’t know then as a schoolboy was the extent to which the Pentagon was paying to be cast as America’s savior. By the time my own kids were growing up, it was Jerry Bruckheimer’s blockbuster film Top Guncreated with Pentagon assistance and equipment—that boosted civic pride in the military.

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Trudeau Explains He Just Needs Two Weeks To Slow The Spread Of Freedom | The Babylon Bee

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2022

https://babylonbee.com/news/trudeau-explains-he-just-needs-two-weeks-to-slow-the-spread-of-freedom

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau has faced heavy criticism this week after allowing a strain of Freedom to spread through the Great White North. The Canadian Prime Minister addressed the nation on Tuesday to calm the fears of his adoring constituents, informing them he needed just two weeks to slow the spread of “world-annihilating freedom.”

“We have survived COVID-19 thanks to my leadership,” said Trudeau in a prepared statement. “Now, I’m calling on all Canadians to hang in there a little longer as we face this new threat of Canadians thinking they should be allowed to have liberty. I just need two weeks to slow the spread of the virulent freedom surging through our populace.”

Trudeau then signed an executive order to forcibly lock everyone in their homes for two weeks. Everyone will be required to wear enough masks to completely muffle the sounds of their voices so that freedom can’t spread from person to person.

Chants of “two weeks to slow the spread” rang out through the House of Commons and Trudeau was hoisted upon the shoulders of two elderly government officials as applause filled the chamber.

A survey conducted this morning reveals 78% of Canadians disapprove of Trudeau’s messaging but figure he knows what he’s doing. Unfortunately, sources on the ground say freedom is still spreading through unfettered “honks.” 

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Freedom Is a Stabilizing Influence – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on February 5, 2022

Free to try, and fail, Americans prospered, building a country that became the envy of the world. Economic barriers and restrictions on movement between the states were forbidden, making the United States the largest free-trade zone since the Roman Empire. There were no feudal obligations or status; no military conscription (except during the Civil War); no income tax or Social Security tax; no licensing laws or monopoly privileges to protect favored interests

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/freedom-is-a-stabilizing-influence/

by Scott McPherson

The nativists at Breitbart are sounding the alarm. “Reports: U.S. Society Grows More Divided Amid Diversity” was a headline at Breitbart on January 28. The reports noted come from the Associated Press and the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. Both suggest a growing divide between different people in the United States, and apparently foreigners are to blame.Freedom was the crucible for generations of diverse peoples, raising productivity, wages, and living standards to levels never before seen in all of human history.
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According to the Breitbart story, “the AP report comes as academics admit that the United States is being politically divided by the ‘demographic shift’ caused by immigration of global migrants into an otherwise stable society.” In other words, things would be great if poor people from other countries just stopped trying to improve their lot in life by emigrating here. The Carnegie Foundation claims that the United States is “perniciously polarized” and “especially susceptible to polarization” through “the durability of identify politics in a racially and ethnically diverse democracy.”

It cannot be denied that considerable effort is employed to push people into warring tribes, based on superficial differences of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or the politics of envy that vilifies the prosperous and productive. But handwringers on the right who fret about immigration misdiagnose the problem. A quarter of Republican voters, according to a recent YouGov poll, think their candidates should prioritize “securing the border,” compared to 5 percent who want tax cuts. Only 8 percent of the “law and order” party cares most about rising crime. Leftists, finding in every perceived problem the catalyst for another government program (like secret, government-funded flights of immigrants to locations around the country and generous welfare handouts), fuel the fire.

The first issue that ought to be addressed is the very notion that the United States is a democracy. The word never appears in our Constitution or its political antecedent, the Declaration of Independence. Early American statesmen warned against democracy and had no use for it as a system of government. The failure of the political right and left to uphold the principles of our constitutional republic politicizes everything and polarizes everyone. A return to limited, constitutional government would do more to stabilize our society than any border wall.

The diversity found on this continent throughout the history of European settlement is beyond comparison. People with different languages, customs, and religions found their way from Great Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and elsewhere, laying the foundation of a thriving society. Dreams of personal liberty, security against religious and ethnic persecution, and the opportunity to own land drove millions of people to leave everything behind, most likely forever. No officious bureaucrats, “swarms of Officers,” harried the people. These colonists were poor, insular, and provincial, to be sure, but the cold, stark reality of hacking their lives from a forbidding wilderness was foremost in their minds. Through the cold, stark reality of a North American winter, and the brutal summer heat and biting insects, these different people from many cultures built cities, towns, and villages from the Atlantic seaboard to the foot of the Appalachian mountains, their independent spirits, ironically, binding them closer to each other even as they became estranged from their home countries. They rejected the ancien regime in their hearts if not yet in form.

When the lone remaining colonial power in the region, Great Britain, began to exercise arbitrary authority over these people in the 1760s, tensions increased until they reached a literal breaking point. War brought political independence and a new country uniting all, in several states, under a federal government. The Constitution of 1787, which became the law of the land in 1789, ushered in a new age. Political stability was provided by a written document to restrain this new government, specifically limiting and enumerating its powers and including a Bill of Rights. Radical notions like equality before the law, individual rights, and reverance for private property and freedom of contract would take root and grow, and the result was an explosion of effort and ever-expanding opportunities.

Free to try, and fail, Americans prospered, building a country that became the envy of the world. Economic barriers and restrictions on movement between the states were forbidden, making the United States the largest free-trade zone since the Roman Empire. There were no feudal obligations or status; no military conscription (except during the Civil War); no income tax or Social Security tax; no licensing laws or monopoly privileges to protect favored interests; no regulations dictating working hours or a minimum wage; no free housing or government healthcare or food stamps; no war on drugs or restrictions on gun ownership. General education and literacy rates were quite high, despite the absence of a large and expensive public school system. Teachers were often itinerant, and certainly not unionized. Foreign visitors marveled at the motivation and cooperation of Americans and how little interaction they had with their government.

A glaring exception was slavery. This evil institution was allowed to continue for nearly eight decades. It was abolished in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment and the last obstacle to fulfilling the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal, was finally removed.

To this land, the poorest and most ignorant of the world would flock. By the millions they came, in wave after wave, from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Eastern Europe, and the Orient. Throughout the 19th century, they came relentlessly, escaping centuries of persecution, religious intolerance, and economic stagnation. Except for occasional and short periods, there were no restrictions placed on newcomers. From the end of the Mexican War in 1848 until 1920, there were no immigration restrictions at all. In a January 29 piece for RedState, the writer Bonchie said that “a country cannot sustain itself with the rule of law being so ignored and its borders so flaunted,” but during a century of open immigration, the population and economy of the United States flourished. The arts and humanities thrived. Freedom was the crucible for generations of diverse peoples, raising productivity, wages, and living standards to levels never before seen in all of human history. What we need is a return to the principles that made such a revolution possible.

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