Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.”     H. L. Mencken

February 16, 2007

Illegal Immigration And Gun Control

by Brad Warbiany

Let’s set up a little thought experiment, and think about how different people might react.

Scenario 1: Nathan awakes in the middle of the night, startled by a loud noise. He heads into the closet, grabs his pistol, and goes to investigate. He lives in Washington DC, and his firearm is completely unregistered. As he exits the bedroom, he sees an intruder armed with a crowbar, heading towards him. He shoots the intruder, killing him instantly. When the cops arrive, they cite him for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Scenario 2: Jose comes from Mexico, where he’s got two small children. His wife has passed away, and his children are being cared for in Mexico City by their elderly grandmother, who Jose also supports. Jose can’t legally emigrate to the US, but jumps the border to work two jobs, so he can feed his family and put his children through school. One day, as he’s working on the construction site, the INS shows up, demanding his paperwork. When he provides his fraudulent ID, they round him up for deportation.

Now, a lot can be explained by your reaction to these two scenarios. I’m going to sketch out a few possibilities. What do you think, am I on target?

Republican: Nathan is a hero. He deserves a medal, not legal threats. Those gun laws are horrible, and you should never punish a man for protecting his family. Jose, however, is a lawbreaker. He should be deported, for stealing our jobs and sucking up our welfare dollars!

Democrat: Jose is just doing what anyone would do in that situation. It’s not his fault that US immigration laws are so tough. He needs to take care of his family, not be deported. But Nathan? Couldn’t there have been a peaceful way out of that situation. His intruder wasn’t armed with a gun, didn’t Nathan have a baseball bat around? Why didn’t he fire a warning shot, or just call the police?

Libertarian: Good on ya, Nathan and Jose! An immoral law shouldn’t be followed. Ooh, hey, are those brownies? I’ve got a wicked case of the munchies!

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11 Comments

  1. Brad,

    You’re on the mark as stereotypes go, it’s true for many in the three parties, but it’s also untrue for many on those parties as well.

    Take for example pro-open borders and anti-gun Republicans, pro-gun and anti-open borders Democrats, and anti-open borders Libertarians.

    I see your point, but you could have made it better.

    Comment by Kevin — February 16, 2007 @ 10:32 pm
  2. Obviously, I didn’t so much paint with a broad brush; rather I poured the bucket out haphazardly.

    The point is not to look at the specifics of the parties, but how different parties can take the “it’s illegal therefore it’s wrong” and twist in horrendously different (and inconsistent) directions.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — February 16, 2007 @ 10:39 pm
  3. The “it’s illegal, therefore it’s wrong” is simply absurd. For example, it was illegal in the 1850s to harbor escaped slaves, but I think it was certainly moral to help them gain their freedom.

    Comment by Kevin — February 16, 2007 @ 10:55 pm
  4. You must be talking about Republican voters, not Republican politicians. The Republican politicians would fast-track an amnesty program to allow Jose to stay here, and put the INS agents in prison.

    Comment by Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report — February 17, 2007 @ 10:24 am
  5. NFL Commish Goodell Refuses Border Patrol Ad…

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, why did you refuse to allow the U.S. Border Patrol to advertise during the Super Bowl?…

    Trackback by Doug Ross @ Journal — February 17, 2007 @ 11:10 am
  6. Food For Thought: A Line In The Sand
    Confronting the Threat at The Southwestern Border
    Homeland Security Senator Mc Cauls Website
    Iraq’s Crossing
    http://www.house.gov/mccaul/

    Comment by wesley — February 17, 2007 @ 11:55 am
  7. Obviously, in the first scenario, Nathan is protecting his rights of life and property and therefore within his moral rights to use lethal force (I’m a firm believer in the “castle doctrine”. As John Locke would say, the intruder is committing an act of war against Nathan).

    Jose’s scenario is different. First of all, no one is threatening his life or property (though one could argue that his liberty is being threatened). Secondly, he is using a fake ID…probably someone else’s ID. ID theft is hardly a victimless crime. If Jose is using someone else’s ID, forget any of the immigration laws, he should be prosecuted for ID theft.

    I do think that some of us who want a stronger, fairer, immigration policy are getting a little ahead of ourselves. What good does it do to deport illegal aliens when they can re-cross the border? Before we deal with who is here now, we need to be serious about securing the border. Speaking of Mexico specifically, if we continue to allow illegal immigration to continue as it is, we will continue to enable Mexico to be the corrupt government it is. If the border is secured, perhaps the people of Mexico will demand change and force a revolution. There is no reason why Mexico cannot be the prosperous and free country America is.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — February 17, 2007 @ 2:04 pm
  8. Lets employ a thought experiment:

    Scenario 1: Ángel Maturino Reséndiz crosses the border for the umpteenth time and murders your mom with a blunt object because our nation refuses to secure our borders.

    Scenario 2: The child of your aforementioned Jose winds up becoming a high school drop-out and a gang member, a more common outcome for a Mexican-American than becoming a college-educated contributing member of our society, and spends his life in and out of prison, a pricey proposition for the taxpayer.

    Libertarian: Lets not talk about it. Lets pretend that illegal immigrants and their descendants are, or at least will someday, do just fine in American society. Lets pretend illegal immigration has no detrimental impact on American society. Lets stick our head in the sand. After all, why address the problems of reality when thought experiments are so much more fun?

    Comment by tommy — February 17, 2007 @ 3:03 pm
  9. tommy,

    Why don’t we jump further down the rabbit hole here…

    Scenario 1: Multiple federal workers in Oklahoma City are brutally blown to smithereens by a truck filled with explosives. It is later found that the perpetrator is white citizen Timothy McVeigh, another symptom that our nation hasn’t sufficiently become a police state to “promote safety”.

    Scenario 2: Tommy’s alcoholic son, raised to be a bigot like his father, gets fired from his job at the automotive assembly plant for verbally assaulting Jose’s son Juan, who actually works harder and volunteers for all the overtime that Tommy’s son refuses. Tommy’s son grows up, like his father, blaming every evil in the world on “those dirty Mexicans who shouldn’t be here anyway.”

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — February 17, 2007 @ 9:21 pm
  10. Scenario 1: Multiple federal workers in Oklahoma City are brutally blown to smithereens by a truck filled with explosives. It is later found that the perpetrator is white citizen Timothy McVeigh, another symptom that our nation hasn’t sufficiently become a police state to “promote safety”.

    We can’t do much about our own citizens prior to them committing crimes other than not expand our citizenship to populations that have high rates of criminality and low rates of educational and economic attainment generation after generation.

    Scenario 2: Tommy’s alcoholic son, raised to be a bigot like his father, gets fired from his job at the automotive assembly plant for verbally assaulting Jose’s son Juan, who actually works harder and volunteers for all the overtime that Tommy’s son refuses. Tommy’s son grows up, like his father, blaming every evil in the world on “those dirty Mexicans who shouldn’t be here anyway.”

    I’m white. Whites have only one-third the per capita incarceration rates for most classes of violent crimes that Hispanics do. Thus, it is much more likely that Jose’s son Juan will be assaulting my child than vice versa.

    Have anymore thought experiments to throw at me. At least both of my scenarios had some grounding in reality. Your examples, on the other hand, are great examples of pure libertarian fantasy.

    Comment by tommy — February 17, 2007 @ 10:28 pm
  11. Scenario 2: Tommy’s alcoholic son, raised to be a bigot like his father, gets fired from his job at the automotive assembly plant for verbally assaulting Jose’s son Juan, who actually works harder and volunteers for all the overtime that Tommy’s son refuses. Tommy’s son grows up, like his father, blaming every evil in the world on “those dirty Mexicans who shouldn’t be here anyway.”

    Did I mention that Hispanics have high rates of alcoholism and high rates of arrests for DUI offenses? Sorry, I should have brought that up in the last post.

    Comment by tommy — February 17, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

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