We love it here in Libertyville. But we’re changing that to ‘Stalingrad’

Yes, enforcing the laws against illegal immigration might involve men with handcuffs leading away the nice lady who brings you chips and salsa at your favorite Mexican restaurant. I am not thoroughly happy with that prospect, since I agree it certainly seems young Maria is doing us no immediate harm, merely seeking a better life for herself and her kids, and I do enjoy the chips and salsa.

Nor am I happy with the prospect of my friends who “look Mexican” being stopped and asked to “show their papers.” (Though I don’t see why it would be unreasonable to start with the guys who hang around outside the rent-a-truck operations, looking for “day work” . . . or the folks mailing money to Mexico at the post office. How can it be constitutionally required that federal law enforcement agents have to pretend to be idiots?)

But while this might all argue for a restored “bracero” program, allowing willing workers from south of the border to come here, legally, for part of the year each year to do those alleged “jobs American won’t do,” that’s a far cry from saying Congress has no power or duty to establish an immigration policy, or that our police agencies should not try very hard to enforce those laws, or that we are “collectivist police state fascists” if we ask — given how many absurd laws WE’RE supposed to obey, right down to restrictions on the size of out toilet tanks and carrying mouthwash on airplanes and where we can smoke — why such thoroughly Constitutional laws are not rigorously enforced.

As I wrote last month to the Internet correspondent who declines to use his real name, and who I have thus dubbed “Buzz Spacecat”:

“Yes, I would prefer no ‘Social Slave number’ or ‘internal passport’ were necessary to go about my business. But if we WERE allowed to take one state of 50, and make it a Libertarian state, hasn’t it occurred to you that we’d have to require new immigrants to forswear socialism, under oath, and upon penalty of immediate exile, before granting them the right to vote? Otherwise, we’d be swarmed by socialists fleeing their own dysfunctional enclaves, who would immediately vote to tax their wealthier neighbors for their own sustenance, at which point we would have accomplished nothing at all.”

“No,” Buzz the armchair anarchist replied. “I don’t believe in using government to police political thought.”

And here, perhaps, we have the crux of the argument that asks whether any group of people has a right to “restrict immigration” into their midst, to “establish immigration policies” and then enforce them, using force or the threat of force (given that trespassers don’t generally respond to “firm letters of reprimand.”)

Surmise with me for a moment that the arrogant dolts in Washington City manage to tax-and-spend themselves to bankruptcy and impotence sooner rather than later, losing their power to enforce any edicts West of the Mississippi, except perhaps in some squealing islands of desperate socialist penury in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

(Rome no longer rules Hispania and Gaul. All empires fall. It’s just a question of when.)

A very rich friend of yours now telephones — under the scenario we’re imagining — and says, “I saw an opportunity, so I’m back from visiting my money in Panama/Austria/Thailand/Uruguay. I’ve bought half a million unoccupied acres from one of the surviving Indian nations up in the Pacific Northwest, land with enough rain to grow crops and river access to the Pacific so we can export anything we grow or manufacture. I’m looking for 30 families including a doctor, a dentist and a schoolmarm to move up there with me and start a town; I’ll sell you a few acres cheap.”

You agree. The settlement is filled with hand-picked, hard-working, entrepreneurial types who have already made a success in some trade or craft. Some succeed in growing and exporting crops, others at small manufacturing. By prior agreement, everyone gets to keep the fruits of his or her own labors, no income is seized or redistributed through “taxation.”

Word of your prosperity spreads. Soon 200 escapees from increasingly impoverished San Francisco or Los Angeles arrive, pitching tents on the outskirts of town. They do some part-time work for the existing storekeeper, the hashish farmer, the guy who owns and paves (and collects private tolls for the use of his) streets, etc.

But this doesn’t make them happy. Quite to the contrary, they start squawking loudly that their employers aren’t providing them with free health benefits, nor paying them a “fair living wage.” Worse than that, the doctor and the schoolmarm won’t provide them or their children with “free” medical care and schooling, insisting their small fees be paid in gold or silver on the barrelhead!

They’re outraged. They quickly organize an election, outvoting the initial settlers, electing a sheriff and a city council, which immediately hires a team of “professional tax assessors and collectors” from San Francisco or Seattle.

They contact the state capital, which lends support to their notion that a “proper public school” must be built, filled with unionized government functionaries including an “associate superintendent in charge of curriculum development” to explain how it’s racist to teach phonetic reading and why we will no longer “issue grades or test scores that foster an unnecessary sense of competition while damaging the self-esteem of the less advantaged students” . . . all to be supported by mandatory “graduated taxation of the rich.”

Your experiment in freedom, in allowing each individual to keep the fruits of his labors and live without taxation, has just collapsed, in less than two years.

How could this have been avoided?

You could have told the squatters to move along the morning after they arrived, informing them “All the land within five miles of our town is private” and that no more is for sale. You could have shot, killed and buried any who refused to listen up.

In the formulation of my friend Hans-Herman Hoppe, you simply leave the bum “nowhere to practice his bumhood.”

(It’s worth noting this can’t be done effectively in any system with “mixed public and private property,” which is the set-up we must deal with for the foreseeable future. This is why unwashed, smelly men have run most of the children out of a fair number of our urban public libraries.)

As a less rigorous option, you could inform would-be newcomers to your community that “We live here by a charter of self-sufficiency; to be allowed to settle here you must sign a sworn document that you will never urge or call for a ‘vote’ on taxation or collectivist redistribution, on pain of immediate exile.”

This is what Buzz the armchair anarchist told us above we would not be allowed to do, remember, since “I don’t believe in using government to police political thought.”

(Heck, even requiring office-holders to swear an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution” is an attempt, however ineffective, at “using government to police political thought” — isn’t it?)

No matter which method you choose to protect your hard-built community from overnight Californication, I would submit you have just created — as you must — an “immigration policy,” which would be pointless unless you intended to “enforce your immigration regulations,” at the point of a gun if necessary.

“Free immigration” by people who do not embrace our principles is not “moral” — it starts the clock ticking towards an end to anything that we in the west consider freedom and morality. This is what the European nations are on course to learn, as soon as the children of the fecund immigrants who believe Sharia law should be imposed on everyone come to outnumber the offspring of their European “hosts.” Or possibly sooner.

Small numbers who wish to adopt our ways may be successfully assimilated. But uninvited foreign invaders must be driven off. We are all descended from men who knew that — or from the slave widows of those who did not.

Far from being incompatible with living in freedom, I submit restricting who is allowed to join your community — either moving away from or exiling at gunpoint those who believe in socialist redistribution — is a VITAL COMPONENT of any plan to maintain basic freedoms and human rights.

Meantime, in the real world, do these armchair theorists really think there’s never going to be any popular backlash from the poor saps who are still expected to obey the laws and pay the taxes? Things sure must look different out there in Internetcloudcuckooland.

6 Comments to “We love it here in Libertyville. But we’re changing that to ‘Stalingrad’”

  1. Bill St. Clair Says:

    Your imagined problem only arises if you allow any voting mechanism other than unanimous consent, the only voting mechanism compatible with the Zero Aggression Principle.

  2. Julie Bare Says:

    This commentary provided opportunity for healthy dialogue within our family… and have saved it to share as talking point for discussion with friends next week end. Thought provoking… and helpful in clarifying what we’ve been thinking, but couldn’t quite put into appropriate perspective. Thanks!

  3. Jerry A. Pipes Says:

    Did the “initial settlers” in your scenario participate in the election? If so, why? Why did they lend it credibility, and tacitly agree to be bound by its outcome in this way? Further, when a sheriff they don’t recognize arrives with tax collectors in tow, why was this action not met with impromptu target practice? I believe these are the errors made by the settlers — not foregoing an immigration policy.

    The only workable alternative you mentioned is the five-mile no-mans-land, refusing the bums entrance in the first place. If you are going to go off and form your own country somewhere, it is important that the voting be done exclusively with dollars, not ballots.

  4. Starchild Says:


    Requiring would-be migrants to agree not to seek any changes in public policy not in accord with the Non-Aggression Principle seems to me like an immigration policy reasonably designed to protect liberty.

    If you hear of any governments actually taking such an approach to border control, please let me know.

    Until then, I will continue to oppose laws that discriminate on the basis of nationality, national origin, possession of “citizenship” documents, and all other “Papers, please?” type rules, as unjust statist manifestations of collectivism that treat people as members of groups rather than as individuals first and foremost.

  5. bob r Says:

    “They’re outraged. They quickly organize an election, outvoting the initial settlers, electing a sheriff and a city council, which immediately hires a team of “professional tax assessors and collectors” from San Francisco or Seattle.”

    Note that Vin did not say the initial settlers _participated_ in the vote or that they “allowed” it, only that they were outvoted. Happens to me _every_ time there is an election. As for why they wouldn’t use the “sheriff” and “tax collectors” for impromptu target practice: for exactly the same reason we (at least I) don’t do it now–being out numbered leads to bad outcomes. Of course, one can only be pushed so far before deciding that the result of “target practice” is the better outcome.

  6. Anton Sherwood Says:

    So if I understand the analogy you’re making: if the Potomac Regime turns libertarian but fails to keep Maria out, Maria will vote to restore socialism and, uh, the United Nations will come in to make sure her vote sticks?