The media barrage descending upon billionaire Presidential candidate Donald Trump for speaking too bluntly on non-legal immigrants reinforces the point (among other trends) that the summer of PC bullying continues. From historically insouciant campaigns to bring down the Confederate flag, to constitutionally bogus court decisions to force gay marriage on all the red states, down to calls to replace Andrew Jackson with Rosa Parks on the twenty dollar bill, the cultural left has been going at a full speed steamroller pace with one “go with this, or you’re racist” agenda item after another.
The Donald has simply pointed to incarceration statistics from ICE showing the illegal or undocumented immigrant population (5% of the general population) is committing 27% of the federal crimes. He has also noted data admitted by the General Accounting Office that 70% of the nation’s southern border is unsecure. Speaking only about last year, Breitbart reports that “thanks in part to deadly ‘sanctuary city’ policies, 347,000 convicted criminal immigrants remain at large in the U.S. — and illegal immigrants accounted for 37 percent of all federal sentences handed down in 2014.” Of course, the unscripted, self-obsessed tycoon has not let any handlers polish his attempt to raise this subject in a non-incendiary fashion, hence the furor over his impolitic bluntness in talking about Mexico “sending us” rapists, murderers and the like. He’s also not been shy about challenging a cultural Marxist media that would like to shame him back into conformity on this and other issues. Katy Tur’s encounters with him have been not exactly relaxing sniffs of lavender oil:
So Trump is currently making the neocons and GOP leaders squirm, but is not otherwise disagreeing with their interventionist, big government agenda. Trump really does think his rivals in the race are incompetent dummies and fools, who can’t get the job done, whereas he would bomb and knock enough heads around to get things done. He’s apparently an establishment water carrier in most other respects, which is why you see him picking fights with the frontrunners, to keep them in the news, not real pro-liberty contenders in the Republican race like Rand Paul.
Trump is both currying to and protecting himself from the statist establishment, as shown by his bipartisan contribution habits, and (at other points) by his paying that establishment off to leave his big business ventures alone. Yet look at how fast they’ve been trying to clobber him financially anyway, over his comments on immigration. Trump has a business empire that can be busted like a big piñata to suit the needs of the elite to control him and other tycoons who enter politics.
Trump has been as independent as he has mainly because a large fraction of his fortune is in real estate, thus not as subject to boycotts, endorsement withdrawals, naked short options and other maneuvers used to destroy wealthy outsiders. This may be a reason why Ross Perot kept just about all his money in municipal bonds across the 50 states. Despite the lousy low interest, it kept him from being threatened with sudden financial ruin if he spoke too much out of line. Most politicians, who have less or no money, are controlled even more completely with the prospect of total destruction if they stray from the mainstream, and establishment media sources are threatened with exclusion (no access to officials for interviews, press conferences, or leaked info) if they pursue the “wrong” stories or questions.
In this manner, the entire “mainstream” usually runs in smooth conformity, from the pols to the pundits, with everyone in between cowed into compliance. It becomes a one-two punch, of the candidates not wanting to touch certain aspects of the “no-no” issues, and the establishment media not wanting to raise them. Even bringing up measures to address the crimes of the deported would draw too much attention to the issue for elite comfort. The real reason much of the establishment is in an uproar over Trump is that he is discrediting Jeb Bush’s credibility (Trump is more charismatic, hitting issues the base cares about, and has deeper pockets) much more than they would like. Jeb is the selected sacrificial lamb who is designed to lose to Hillary in 2016, and they don’t want their pigeon replaced by somebody who might actually beat her.
Changing the Framework
Trump has changed the discussion framework (emphasizing the criminal aspects the PC and establishment side wanted to ignore), but not the policy debate (which is stilled geared around the “so when are we giving them amnesty” sense of inevitability). Trump himself appears to support the “pathway to citizenship” euphenism for amnesty when pressed on the subject, so he represents no real change on the substance. This confirms my view Trump is an establishment tool whose job in the race is to poison the well, by making a flawed or comical case for legitimate issues, like the negative aspects of illegal immigration, or meeting the constitutional criteria for President, so the media and candidates can dismiss dealing with them. If we had a liberty candidate who argued we had to end the NSA surveillance program because “the Martians may be listening in,” it would have the same effect.
I note more and more pundits are catching on to this “false flag” nature of Trump’s candidacy. Someone on FOX recently noted the same thing I’ve mentioned, that Trump takes a widely held position among conservatives (be it on Presidential qualifications, or on immigration) and contaminates it by making it seem ridiculous. Is he doing so deliberately? Probably, since the effect keeps rebounding to the mainstream media’s (MSM’s) benefit in each case. Trump’s purpose is thus to marginalize populist sentiments on these issues, making the world safe for the GOP moderates to dismiss them and advance the establishment agenda. He’s largely revived the Pat Buchanan agenda of the ’90’s, precisely in order to wreck it.
But in the meanwhile, on the surface at least, it’s fun watching somebody seem to stand up to mainstream framework makers. Trump handles or ‘trumps’ the PC immigration barrage by pushing back the junk of male and female media figures alike–whereas when Rand Paul happened to be aggressive with female interviewers early on, he gave the MSM an opening to say he was bullying women (even though it’s men writing basically all the leading questions they feed to the on-camera people of either sex). But there is definitely a need to be assertive in blasting the establishment’s PC framework on issues to smithereens, which is what Trump is hilariously doing.
Rand may yet be able to use Trump’s macho bluster to triangulate himself as a bold, but real statesman, if he plainly calls out the media on their over-reactions, while re-stating Trump’s views on immigration etc more reasonably. Rand has played the chess game to protect himself, but you can only castle the king once. He’s made compromising rhetorical and political gestures to cover himself long enough—post his Patriot Act victory, it’s time for him to go after the enemy.
But what is the reasonable pro-liberty path on this matter going forward? Are 3,000 mile border fences and mass deportation of at least 11 million illegals the answer, or even logistically feasible? Probably not. Is wholesale amnesty, or its polite code word “a pathway to citizenship” the answer? Certainly not, and it’s already been done in the past, leading to the greater wave of lawless immigration we are currently experiencing. Well, what about the practice of individual responsibility, on the part of the migrants, to do what’s right? Bingo. Basically, the issue is freedom of association, or liberty right of current citizens to set the rules of their consent for immigration to protect all parties, vs. illegal immigrants having forced access to American resources against the consent of native citizens.
There already is a pathway to citizenship, called the naturalization process. Immigrants should be able to transfer their citizenship freely, but they should follow the rules–just like people should be able to rent property freely, but they need to sign a lease, otherwise their occupancy is trespassing. It is the individual responsibility of those immigrants to themselves complete the process for obtaining legal citizenship or residency, not that of the government the citizens delegated to establish a “non-process,” or special “pathway” for them. Whether or not the state should or can logistically perform mass deportation, or put up border fences, it is still the responsibility of the migrating individuals to follow the naturalization process. This approach, combined with deportation of violent offenders, balances retaining free immigration (which supports the liberty interests of those who want to become citizens) with protecting the borders (which defends the liberty interests of current citizens).
Some ‘open borders’ libertarians (who sometimes express “there are no borders,” or there are no “illegals”) object to government regulating immigration, arguing that anything the government does with regard to immigration is a violation of property rights, since anything the government does requires funding, meaning the action requires confiscation of private property. But this is valid only if one presumes there is no legitimate way to fund government apart from confiscation, and/or think there is no legitimate function of government. That is a disputed view, which is too often presented as if it is self-evident. Supporters of this concept go as far as asserting it is the only “real” libertarian view about borders, which amounts to exclusively embracing anarchism, instead of minarchism as the libertarian approach to government.
In the end, the ‘open borders’ view doesn’t believe the people can legitimately delegate their rights to a civil government, and that the state can have no delegated self-defense basis for legally defining citizenship. My point is, this basis for an open borders position is thereby anarchism, not libertarian principle. A consistent libertarian approach would be at least as much concerned with the migrant’s violation of private property, not just the state’s. And it would focus on the responsibility of the migrant as to what to they should be doing, which the open approach does not.