L. Neil Smith's
Number 353, February 5, 2006

Google is helping the Chinese government
keep the Chinese people oppressed.

Not Quite Random Ponderings On Immigration and Abortion
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I recently had another of my online conversations with a fellow who would probably not object to being called a conservative. He sends me interesting articles. How he feels about the current crop of false conservatives presently running the country is something we haven't explored.

The topic of our exchange this time (one of the topics, anyway) was so-called illegal immigration, something I'm always enthusiastic about discussing. After several years of arguing the point with people who seem overly concerned about it (at least to me), I've been forced to some reluctant and unfortunate conclusions, not about so-called illegal immigration, but about those who seem overly concerned about it.

At least to me.

But more about that, later.

I've heard all kinds of arguments made against so-called illegal immigration, and so have you. So-called illegal immigrants are accused of causing everything from a veritable tsunami of crime, to mass rape, to soaking up all the nanny state goodies that our own home-grown welfare parasites want to keep all to themselves, to lowering property values.

There goes the neighborhood.


The fact is that people come here from other places because they believe they can improve their lives and the lives of their families. That's exactly the same reason that my ancestors (some of them not so remote) came here, and the same reason yours did, too, whether they came recently from South America, or some 15,000 years ago, from Siberia.

Typically, so-called illegal immigrants find jobs that nobody else will do, often under circumstances ("sweat shops") the authorities frown on. They work for something like eighteen months, learn English, get a green card, and matriculate into the general society where their energy and fresh point of view improve living in America for all of us.

The second most foolish thing I've ever seen written about this issue came from an individual for whom I once had a lot of respect. The claim—a disingenuous one, carefully tailored to appeal to libertarians—was that so-called illegal immigrants, by crossing the border without permission, are trespassing, violating our property rights.

There are lots of things wrong with that argument, beginning with its reprehensible failure to recognize the ambiguous ethical status of so-called public property, to its very deliberate confabulation of the government with the individuals—yes, I mean you and me—whom it oppresses.

I am absolutely the very last person to call anybody a racist, principally because I was often called a racist myself, early in my intellectual career, simply for upholding individual rights. But what bothers me most about all of these arguments about borders, open or closed, is the underlying bigotry that seems to motivate them—once you scrape off all the sugary frosting covering it up—as if the worst thing that could happen is that one of these mostly brown people coming into the country might want to marry your sister or your daughter.

The most foolish thing I've ever read on the topic is a claim that started the most recent discussion: "For every hundred babies born in New York City, women had seventy-four abortions in 2004." My response, from someone with absolutely no regard for New York City or most of those who live in it, was, "And this is bad news ... how?" "Millions of illegal aliens," he continued, "are flooding the U.S.A. because over fifty million potential workers have been murdered by abortionists."

Which implies, somehow, that more potential manual laborers get aborted than people who will pursue other careers. I wonder how they know.

It is perhaps true that millions of free human beings (or human beings who want to be free) are crossing what amounts to imaginary lines on the map whether that collection of thugs and perverts in funny hats and clown suits that we call "government" approves of it or not.

That it has anything to do with the phenomenon of abortion is the damn silliest thing I've ever read, and clearly demonstrates the final exhaustion, the intellectual and moral bankruptcy, of the conservative anti-abortion crowd, if they'll clutch at as feeble a straw as this one.

And by the way, you don't get to use the word "murder" for free, not on my watch. You can only "murder" a sapient being. Show me a differential equation, a symphony, a novel, a comic book, or even a limerick written by a fetus, and you may finally get my sympathy on this subject. But for now—and for the foreseeable future—I regard abortion as a freedom issue for women and those who care about them.

It is also the one issue (at least it was before Curious George III launched his War on Everything) that the enemies of liberty can count on best, every single time, to divide the general freedom movement.

But as always, I have digressed.

If the past 30,000 or 40,000 years demonstrate anything, it's that nothing, nobody can stop the movement of people across the face of a planet.

I'm a very great deal more concerned with what we communicate to immigrants once they get here, than with vainly trying to keep them out.

I've challenged the anti-immigrationists time after time, in half a dozen different publications, to find—or better yet, to invent—ways of conveying to newcomers the meaning, value, and promise (to name one example) of the Bill of Rights. I've even suggested a few different ways, myself. Time after time, these stalwart and valiant guardians of everthing American—except actually doing something—have lacked the cojones even to respond to me, let alone to take up this serious challenge. Like the great majority of socialists who call themselves conservatives, they'd much rather whine than do anything real.

Which is exactly how their movement got taken over by retreaded Trotskyites.

This is too bad, because it leaves new immigrants—who are going to continue to come here, whether you and I like it or not—firmly in the unclean hands of those, like the two "major" political parties, who are eager to inform them their lives belong to somebody else—to God, to the State, to their communities or families—and that the Bill of Rights is obsolete, just another "goddamned piece of paper", a contention that I've heard from the Left far more often than from the Right.

These leeches will tell them that free speech is indeed precious—so precious it must be rationed, that weapons ownership must be reserved to the militia, and that American institutions like the secure ownership of private property are elitist remnants of another age.

My wife's grandmother is an excellent case in point. Bertha was a genuine illegal alien, from Bohemia, who never cast a vote, but was nevertheless an enthusiastic mouthpiece for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his vile intellectual heirs for most of her adult life. It doesn't make a bit of difference whether the immigrants who come here are legal or not, or whether they're from eastern Europe, south of the border, or southeast Asia. What's important is what they are led to believe by those who are already here. In fact, it's allImmigrants are, and always have been, an enormous asset to our American culture. They come here mostly to share our opportunities. If we can help them to understand and share the political philosophy and ethical values that produced those opportunities in the first place, then it doesn't matter who they are, where they originally came from, or whether they complied with some arbitrary and historically futile law.

The simple truth is that the real enemy—theirs and ours—is, and has been, for ten thousand years, those who call themselves the State.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: http://payloadz.com/go/sip?id=137991. Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press www.bigheadpress.com has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at www.Amazon.com, or at BillOfRightsPress.com.

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