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Monday, July 12, 2010

Judge Andrew Napolitano v. Lou Dobbs on rights and illegal immigration

(UPDATE: Someone purporting to be Lou Dobbs chimes in in the comments. Do please take a look to see why I, and some early commenters, raised his ire.)

Who knew Lou Dobbs was a positivist?

Judge Andrew Napolitano, whose show "Freedom Watch" on Fox News is eminently watchable, asked Dobbs a few tough questions. What piqued my interest was Napolitano's persistent insistence that the rights and liberties Americans enjoy are the birthright of human beings in virtue of their humanity, rather than something they get because a bunch of politicians got together and decided to write it down on a piece of paper.

Dobbs agreed that foreigners are just as human as Americans are, but wasn't entirely sure what to make of Napolitano's claims about natural law. Maybe he was just confused about the distinction between the descriptive and the normative, between what is and what ought to be.

Maybe Dobbs takes issue with the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, which claims that all men are created equal (and not just American men), and that governments are instituted for the purpose of protecting individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It's interesting to note a little piece of trivia: The U.S. Constitution prohibits only two types of private action (everything else is a restriction on what the government can do. So please stop arguing that illegal immigrants, or foreigners in general, are not protected by the Constitution in the U.S. They most decidedly are, since the Constitution addresses itself to what the U.S. government is permitted to do within its jurisdiction). Those two actions? Individuals in the U.S. cannot own slaves (thirteenth amendment), and, for a time anyways, they had to put up with prohibition (eighteenth amendment). Happily, the latter was repealed. So, really, there's now only one thing in the Constitution addressing itself to what Americans can't do.

Getting back on track: the feisty exchange between Napolitano and Dobbs is especially interesting in the wake of two state legislatures openly considering Arizona's SB 1070 law, which makes it okay for police officers to ask foreigny-looking types for their papieren. Surprisingly, two Florida legislators (William Snyder and Mike Bennett, both Republican) are busy drafting a bill. Unsurprisingly, and unfortunately so, Mississippi is thinking of following suit as well:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 12, 2010 in American History, Libertarianism, U.S. politics | Permalink

Comments

In the US, Dobbs is considered a to be some stripe of conservative.

In Canada he'd be a New Democrat or in the Liberal Party.

Which only proves that the true ideological divide is between social democrats (right wing and left wing) on the one hand, and liberals (libertarians) on the other.

Everything else is just noise.

Posted by: JC | 2010-07-12 3:58:08 PM


JC must've pulled a couple muscles cramming together the matter-antimatter to set up that false dichotomy.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-07-12 6:54:46 PM


It all depends on how you slice it, Cytotoxic. If you're looking at liberty vs. statism, it's obvious where most of our existing political parties will fall on that scale.

Posted by: Bradley | 2010-07-12 8:26:06 PM


@Cytotoxic:

Conservatives, socialists and social democrats are all collectivists who believe in the State above all.

The defining, unifying philosophy of the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, NDP, and Green Party is social democracy.

Small-l liberalism, meanwhile, is the belief in freedom and individualism. Liberalism, the creed of the US Founding Fathers -- who said that, at best, government was a necessary "evil"-- is the natural antithesis to social democracy.

Dobbs' anti-immigration, "Buy American" jobs rhetoric is firmly within the conservative milieu.

And yet, he would get no argument from the union wing of the NDP.

Because the NDP is inherently conservative.

The only meaningful difference between the CPC and NDP is that CPC is more fascist and NDP is more socialist; both are social democratic parties.

Democracy is simply soft-socialism to begin with; democracy being the redistribution of decision-making power, where majorities can vote themselves the property of minorities.

In the democratic sense, the CPC's Reform origins make it actually more democratist than the NDP.

Dobbs would love the Reform Party's mob-mobilizing hyper-democracy AND the NDP's pro blue collar pose. This American conservative would be as at home in the CPC as he would the NDP.

Posted by: JC | 2010-07-12 10:51:57 PM


JC,

I've always personally thought the NDP were democratic mercantilists ;)

Posted by: Charles | 2010-07-13 5:49:00 AM


The author of this post tortured reason and reality to avoid the acknowlegment that American and Canadian rights have been won with blood over more than two centuries, and that there is no nation in the world that assures greater individual freedom than the United States.

Your commentariat didn't listen to my statements, or didn't understand them. They obviously find the Canadian trade surplus with America to be greatly supportive of their politics and fascination with irrelevant, and grossly misplaced, labels. I am an American independent traditional conservative, and immensely taken with the idea that the American democratic constitutional republic is worth preserving.

Posted by: lou dobbs | 2010-07-14 4:01:21 AM


Just in case that's the real Lou Dobbs (and the IP address does suggest it's possible):

I acknowledge that American rights were won with blood, in the war of Independence.

Canadian rights were not won with blood in any war, although it's possible that the Upper & Lower Canadian rebellions, as well as the Louis Riel-led rebellions, promoted the cause of greater individual rights. But the British North America Act and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms were passed and approved without war.

It's possible that those rights were being *defended* in two or three of the many wars fought between 1776 and now.

Canada assures greater individual freedom than does the United States. In my opinion, so do the Netherlands and Switzerland. The recent anti-immigrant, anti-free trade sentiment on the right, and pro-government-run health care and stimulus spending on the left, threatens to lower America's relative standing on individual freedoms even more.

We have a real disagreement here, but you do have my apologies if I misrepresented your views, or failed to capture what, according to you, really matters in this debate.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 8:54:34 AM


Jaws:

Can you provide evidence the ‘right' is against lawful immigration?

Since a good percentage of Americans came to the country through legal means after applying, being processed and being accepted with open arms, I somehow doubt most Americans are ‘anti-immigrant' as you purport.

But then, I've been wrong before.

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-14 9:54:20 AM


Perhaps you're right, set you free. I am being uncharitable.

In my defense, don't you think "anti-immigrant" is at least a reasonable conclusion from a combination of the following views:

1) Opposition to illegal immigration
2) Desire to decrease legal immigration
3) Desire to make becoming a citizen much more difficult
4) Insisting that immigrants carry their status papers

I'm calling it "anti-immigrant" because, in spite of what is said or how it's cloaked, I think anti-immigrant views motivate a lot of these positions.

But I agree with you, set you free, that this might be too broad a brush to paint "the right" with. I'll try to be more careful in future.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 10:04:36 AM


Jaws:

OK, let's dig a bit deeper on your second assertion.

In an economy that has an unofficial unemployment rate of around 17% (8 million), what benefit would accrue to the US economy to increase the labour force?

A moratorium on immigration, in those circumstances, would allow American citizens first shot at the jobs once the economy starts humming after the mid-term elections.

I'm quite willing to be prove wrong.

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-14 10:42:16 AM


Well, the truth about the "pro-legal immigration" folks is that they tend to hold ridiculous views ranging from having a moratorium on all immigration until all illegals are deported, to limiting legal immigration to a hair-thin spectrum of eligibility with which almost nobody will qualify.

The truth about the American immigration story, as both you and I Pete can attest to -- as we've both been/are immigrants to the US -- is that immigrating to the United States is nearly impossible.

It's a little easier from Canada, with things like the Trade NAFTA visas -- which are only temporary permits, with no dual-intent allowed.

The US generally only welcomes three groups of people: family members of US citizens, highly-qualified professionals (who are not old and do not have dependents), and very rich or famous people.

In the highly-qualified professional class, it's nearly impossible for a great many people -- even highly-qualified people to meet the qualification requirements, if they can get a Department of Labour certification, and if they're lucky enough to win that years H1-B lottery.

The US immigration laws set out a schedule of required qualifications for various positions. For instance, a computer engineer position may require a 4-year University Diploma. Many universities around the world give the equivalent diploma in 3-years. If you're one of these people: too bad, the US does not want you. If that prospective employer really wants that person: too fucking bad! Find someone "more qualified" or an American citizen to do the job.

That's the kind of immigration system that these illegal immigrants are up against. If highly qualified professionals get turned away because their degree took one year less to achieve, then you can be pretty much assured that most of these illegal immigrations have approximate ZERO chance of qualifying for "legal immigration".

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 10:49:28 AM


I left out one category, which is probably the easiest of all which is the L1 Visa -- an executive transfer visa; an American company can transfer executive employees from foreign countries to the US will relative ease, including their family.

If you're in that position, then you've found the second easiest way of immigrating to the United States -- behind having an immediate family member sponsor you.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 10:53:40 AM


A moratorium on immigration, in those circumstances, would allow American citizens first shot at the jobs once the economy starts humming after the mid-term elections.

Why is it that conservatives apply very socialist thinking to immigration?

It's not okay to put on price controls, or supply controls for goods and services. But it's okay to do it with people!

What's funny about this, is the economic consensus is that the free flow of people improves economic efficiency. It allows a country to tap a larger pool of both talent and labour. Placing a moratorium on immigration does not "help" put the US back on it's feet.

This is starting from the perspective that immigration is a drag on the economy in the first place. Which it isn't. Any argument predicated on that assertion if fallacious.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 10:59:39 AM


I'm not sure if you'll be persuaded, set you free, since there are plenty of studies. But I have a strong preference for studies coming out the Cato Institute, and this one seems to bold well for the claim that immigration has a modestly positive effect on unemployment.

An excerpt:

Increased immigration has a modest adverse effect on the wages of the immigrants themselves and on the wages of earlier waves of immigrants, but it has only a modest effect on the wages of the young black and Hispanic Americans who are likely to be the next closest substitutes (LaLonde and Topel). Neither the employment nor the wages of less educated black and white natives worsened noticeably in cities where immigrant shares of the population rose in the 1970s. On the positive side, there is some evidence that, in cities with more immigrants, employment grew more rapidly or declined more slowly in low-wage industries where immigrants tended to find jobs and that less skilled natives moved into better jobs (Altonji and Card). The broad implication is that immigrants have been absorbed into the American labor market with little adverse effect on natives. (Abowd and Freeman 1992, 22)

I also don't know how you feel about this, but it matters to me a great deal that it improves the lives of the immigrants to be able to live in countries like Canada and the U.S. And those benefits are extraordinary, and certainly do help to compensate (or swamp) any potential losses by the natives.

I will agree that the U.S. and Canadian governments primary responsibility is to look out for the interests of their constituents (that is, citizens). That's part of their job description. So I do take seriously, when I've got my government policy setting hat on, the suggestion that this or that policy may be better or worse for citizens of Canada (discounting tremendously the impact of a certain policy on non-citizens/residents).

Separately, I've often wondered why people think there's a difference that matters between a free flow of goods, and a free flow of individuals. If freer trade is good, why is freer immigration bad? It strikes me as bad economics to support free trade and oppose immigration.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 11:02:07 AM


Has it ever occurred to anyone, that Canada -- the strongest economy in the G8, relatively speaking -- has the largest immigration inflow of all eight countries?

Has it ever occurred to anyone, that Canada, with it's liberal immigration policies, is benefiting -- at least partly -- from the competitive advantage of having broader access to global labour?

In fact: Microsoft, Oracle, Electronic Arts have all explicitly increased their presence in Canada for this very reason. It's easier to get people from all over the world a visa to come to Canada, to work for them.

This trend has accelerated in recent years. And the trend his benefited Canada as a whole.

There are no good economic arguments against immigration. There are really only social ones. And what it usually comes down to, when you peel back all the layers of the onion is simple: racism.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:03:43 AM


Mike:

What societal benefit accrues from a larger pool of unemployed workers?

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-14 11:03:56 AM


Separately, I've often wondered why people think there's a difference that matters between a free flow of goods, and a free flow of individuals. If freer trade is good, why is freer immigration bad? It strikes me as bad economics to support free trade and oppose immigration.

Pete, I know you like to be generous with people's views on this. But both you and I know that what it comes down to at the end of the day is people want to have their: white, middle-class, Anglo-Saxon, Christian society.

They don't care about the economic arguments. They'll carry forward any argument that seems plausible enough to them to defend their position. The incomplete-thought economic arguments against immigration are simply part and parcel of this.

Most of these people are anti-union, because the unions put unfair restrictions on companies to set their own labour costs. But then they adopt the opposite argument when it comes to talking about the country as a whole.

The reason is simple: they are not seeking a consistent economic argument. They're seeking a whiter society, with less people speaking with fhurren accents, worshipping false gods, and wearing "towels" on their heads.

That's all there is to it. They'll dismiss any economic argument you throw at them, or if you manage to convince them of the validity of the economic arguments, some will simply break down and say "there's more to life than money' -- I've had that happen.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:10:12 AM


As Mike indicated, it is very difficult to enter the U.S. I consider anyone who agrees with the current immigration policy to basically be anti-immigration.

It also doesn't help that whenever the argument is presented to open the boarders, the supporters of the current policy use the fact that illegal immigrants are "criminals" (when their only crime usually is to not respect the overly stringent immigration laws) as an argument to not open up boarders. Other circular argumentation usually includes the fact that illegals sneak past the border and damage private property (which they would not need to do if the borders were more open).

The argument that immigration laws should not be liberalized because of the current recession is very convenient given the fact that most supporters of the U.S.'s current system held the same views when the economy was supposedly growing. Furthermore, it is based on the assumption that immigrants come into the U.S. to not work - which I find hard to believe. If immigrants to come to the U.S. to work, then the argument does not hold. Although immigrants do increase the supply of labour, they also increase the demand for labour by spending and investing. This line of reasoning resembles arguments I've heard from conservatives who say women entering the workforce is the prime reason for stagnant incomes in N.A. over the past 50 years. The argument does not hold for the same reason I indicated above.

Posted by: Charles | 2010-07-14 11:10:51 AM


So, really, there's now only one thing in the Constitution addressing itself to what Americans can't do.

Actually, there are two. Americans cannot deprive others of those "natural rights," and therein lies the rub. Since overpopulation and dwindling resources is everyone's problem, illegal immigrants are affecting the right of American citizens to pursue happiness. Furthermore, the US Constitution was never meant to dismantle the concept of the nation state, or national sovereignty; indeed, it provides for the protection of said sovereignty, quite clearly.

The United States has the right to root out intruders and toss them, especially if the voters agree and the Constitution does not object. The Constitution forbids only unreasonable search and seizure, not search and seizure, period.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 11:14:25 AM


Jaws:

In an atmosphere of lower employment levels, which segment of the populace can most afford to buy the goods?

immigration has become a necessity mainly due to future entitlement programs and the stress the soon-to-be-retiring baby boomers will place on the treasury.

Right now, it's either wealth redistribution through extending unemployment benefits past 99 weeks or by the state taking on more debt.

Both have to be paid somehow ... and it usually falls upon the productive workers of the society.

Sounds like a helluva idea to bring in an even bigger work force without the prospects of jobs, doesn't it?

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-14 11:15:12 AM


What societal benefit accrues from a larger pool of unemployed workers?

This is a loaded question. It makes the assumption, which I do not hold, that any immigrants coming to the US will be unemployed. Which is nonsense.

A lot of unemployment is created by the relative labour immobility in the United States which is an artifact of the high home ownership in the US. This is sometimes known as the "housing trap".

People often get stuck in areas of the country where their skills are not in demand, but they also can't sell their house to move to somewhere where the are, because of a poor real estate market that ties them down.

New immigrants are usually renters, and highly mobile, and certainly willing to move to wherever the jobs are. Which have the effect of improving the economy by boosting productivity and creating more jobs.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:15:18 AM


Sounds like a helluva idea to bring in an even bigger work force without the prospects of jobs, doesn't it?

But you're asserting the "fixed-pie economic theory" that unions often espouse to protect their "high paying jobs"; the idea that one job for someone is one job less for someone else.

if this type of thinking were true, then the unemployment rate should rise proportional to rise in population ever year. The economy should never grow, and a smaller and smaller percentage of the population should have all the jobs.

Your whole basis of argument is bullshit right from starting point.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:18:00 AM


Separately, I've often wondered why people think there's a difference that matters between a free flow of goods, and a free flow of individuals. If freer trade is good, why is freer immigration bad? It strikes me as bad economics to support free trade and oppose immigration.

Because people, unlike running shoes, require food, water, shelter, utilities, education, medical care, and recreation, with all the attendant space, resources, and expenditure those things require. Given their choice, half of Mexicans would gladly troop north. You don't need a crystal ball to see the demographic and social chaos that would cause, do you? Especially given how many of them are completely unqualified to work in an increasingly sophisticated information and service economy?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 11:18:00 AM


Because people, unlike running shoes, require food, water, shelter, utilities, education, medical care, and recreation, with all the attendant space, resources, and expenditure those things require.

Most people, even relatively uneducated people, are capable of providing more productive output than their consumption. And on balance, this means they would ultimately contribute to the overall economy.

Most immigrants are not a drag on the economy. And they're statistically less likely to be, than domestically born persons.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:22:03 AM


Has it ever occurred to anyone, that Canada -- the strongest economy in the G8, relatively speaking -- has the largest immigration inflow of all eight countries?

Yes, thanks in large part to sound economic practices.

Has it ever occurred to anyone, that Canada, with it's liberal immigration policies, is benefiting -- at least partly -- from the competitive advantage of having broader access to global labour?

No, because traditionally our unemployment rate has been about double America's. That means we already have a surplus of workers.

In fact: Microsoft, Oracle, Electronic Arts have all explicitly increased their presence in Canada for this very reason. It's easier to get people from all over the world a visa to come to Canada, to work for them.

How is taking a job away from a Canadian and giving it to someone who will work for half the wage good for Canada? What happens to the Canadian who gets laid off? It is widely known that immigrants are less likely to use welfare than native Canadians. Might this be one of the reasons why? Why else do you think Microsoft hires foreign workers when locals would line up for the same jobs?

This trend has accelerated in recent years. And the trend his benefited Canada as a whole.

This is the part where you tell us how it has benefited Canada as a whole.

There are no good economic arguments against immigration. There are really only social ones. And what it usually comes down to, when you peel back all the layers of the onion is simple: racism.

Actually, it comes down to Malthusian arithmetic. More people require more food, more water, more shelter, more space, more schools, more hospitals, more recreation space, more everything. And those things will be harder to provide if the new arrivals are paying less in taxes because they're paid lower wages. That's a very convincing economic argument that has nothing at all to do with racism.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 11:24:05 AM


Shane,

You talk with more socialist-speak. That Canadians are somehow entitled to jobs, etc.

And how does employing someone create more jobs? Its pretty simple, Shane. Most people are employed in the first place, because doing so improves the productive output of the employer. The wages of that person, in turn, flow into the economy through investment and consumption, which adds to increased consumer demand and increased capital.

Treating employment like a zero-sum game shows you're economically illiterate.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:30:11 AM


We're not even speaking the same language, Shane, since I think Malthus is entirely wrong, and I'm not a we're-running-out-of-stuff environmentalist. So we'll have to agree to disagree.

set you free... I thought I linked to a study that purported to show a modestly positive effect on the unemployment rate with immigration. I have a hard time squaring the conclusions of the study with this claim: "Sounds like a helluva idea to bring in an even bigger work force without the prospects of jobs, doesn't it?"

(Also, Shane & set you free, would you support policies targeted at reducing the number of babies Canadians have? I mean non-draconian policies, like a higher tax, say, for every baby that you have.)

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 11:45:34 AM


(Also, Shane & set you free, would you support policies targeted at reducing the number of babies Canadians have? I mean non-draconian policies, like a higher tax, say, for every baby that you have.

Brace yourself for pretzel logic!

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 11:52:40 AM


You talk with more socialist-speak. That Canadians are somehow entitled to jobs, etc.

They are entitled to expect that the laws they request, including those with respect to immigration, will be passed via their duly elected representatives (provided they don't contradict the Charter), and to expect that those wishes will not be run roughshod over by an unelected philosopher-king with only his personal beliefs as a guideline.

And how does employing someone create more jobs?

I never said employing people didn't create jobs. Where did you get this from?

Treating employment like a zero-sum game shows you're economically illiterate.

You can't compare habitat to economics. Habitat and resources are finite, and the infrastructure the Canadian lifestyle requires is orders of magnitude more complex than the infrastructure the average Chinese or Indian citizen requires.

That really was a rather pitiful effort, Mike. It didn't even try to address the many points I made. On the contrary, it was a hastily thrown together potshot based on little more than moral outrage, and it shows. Give it another shot, would you?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:05:05 PM


We're not even speaking the same language, Shane, since I think Malthus is entirely wrong, and I'm not a we're-running-out-of-stuff environmentalist. So we'll have to agree to disagree.

Whether or not you agree with Malthus specifically, it takes no genius of mathematics to discern that a given habitat can only support so many individuals. Population crashes have happened several times in human history, most notably after the end of the Medieval Warm Period. And leave yourself out of your arguments; whether or not we're running out of stuff, or someone is right or wrong, does not depend on whether you believe it, or whether it comes from a source you approve, and certainly doesn't mean I can't use it.

set you free... I thought I linked to a study that purported to show a modestly positive effect on the unemployment rate with immigration.

ONE study. And you freely admit to cherry-picking your sources. Come on, P.M.; you can do better than this.

Also, Shane & set you free, would you support policies targeted at reducing the number of babies Canadians have? I mean non-draconian policies, like a higher tax, say, for every baby that you have.

Canada's native birthrate is already below replacement, P.M., so unless your objective is to import even more cheap labour, I don't see what benefit this would have, Mathusianistically speaking.

This certainly hasn't been your finest hour, nor Mike's. You cheerfully confess to being biased, and Mike's been downright snarky. No pretzel logic here, friends; just someone who doesn't carry as much emotional and ideological baggage on the topic.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:14:26 PM


Shane.

So you're an environmentalist now? Do you support population control?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 12:23:14 PM


I'm a conservationist, not an environmentalist. And you still haven't addressed the points I raised. Shall I crown myself now, and save you the trouble? Or is there more to your debate than creeping towards Godwin's Law?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:25:50 PM


I'm a conservationist, not an environmentalist. And you still haven't addressed the points I raised. Shall I crown myself now, and save you the trouble? Or is there more to your debate than creeping towards Godwin's Law?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:28:27 PM


P.M.,

Here is another excellent Cato article. Not sure if it's the same one you presented ...

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10438

It clearly shows that, economically, immigration is a good thing.

Posted by: Charles | 2010-07-14 12:29:30 PM


And to answer your question, Mike, I do support population control to the extent of culling from the gene pool whoever coded this server.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:30:25 PM


Shane,

No. I'm just trying to confirm what position you're actually arguing. You haven't proven anything. I've put forward cogent, and articulated economic arguments that you've simply dismissed out of hand by sticking to your limited space, limited resources schtick.

I think the point that Peter and I have a problem with, is it would seem that these positions do not square with other positions you may hold.

Should government control the allocation and distribution of limited resources?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 12:34:25 PM


One study vs. zero studies.

We've had this conversation before: I use "I" and "my opinion" and "I believe" to express explicitly what you express implicitly. When you say "x is the case," it is understood that you mean "I believe that x is the case."

That's analytically true.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 12:35:34 PM


The argument that immigrants steal jobs is not supported by data or economic theory. Immigrants may place short term pressure on overall incomes, but long term, as they spend and invest, the demand for labour will increase and drag incomes upward.

Furthermore, the whole "resources are finite" bit ignores two things: 1) the price system which effectively coordinates supply and demand; and 2) productivity and efficiency improvements.

Posted by: Charles | 2010-07-14 12:39:52 PM


I'm not impressed. This study takes the as-yet-unproven libertarian view that all regulation is bad and that great benefits can be had by putting the criminal out of business by making his illegal enterprise legal.

Its methodology is filled with questionable and even ridiculous assumptions, such as the idea that restricting the inflow of SPECIFICALLY illegal immigrants (as opposed to all immigrants) "biases the occupational mix of employment" towards low-paying jobs. Who here would take a low-paying job over a high-paying one if both were available and he had the skills for both? The study does not attempt to address this, nor does it address any of the issues I raised.

Cato is simply applying the same simplistic and ideology-driven reasoning to immigrants as it does to drugs. I'm sure the illegals will be flattered by the comparison.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:41:34 PM


Wow! I was just called a racist by Mike Brock. At least that's my impression, since I admit to having a 'social' problem with unfettered immigration.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2010-07-14 12:45:48 PM


Shane,

I thought you didn't fancy yourself someone who argued from fallacy. Yet you're so callously presenting a plain fallacy by begging the question, appealing to consequences, and presenting loaded questions.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 12:45:59 PM


Hitler

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-14 12:49:18 PM


No. I'm just trying to confirm what position you're actually arguing.

No, you decided already, and went straight on the attack without confirmation. And now look at all the silly things you have said.

You haven't proven anything.

I need to prove that new arrivals need food, shelter, water, space, utilities, employment, education, and so on, and that building all of that will be harder if the average wage is lower? Do I need to prove that water is wet, too?

I've put forward cogent, and articulated economic arguments that you've simply dismissed out of hand by sticking to your limited space, limited resources schtick.

You've put forth mockery, derision, accusations of racism, and arguments that, unlike mine, are not self-evident truths, and have made no attempt to prove them. You've said that Microsoft's importation of cheap labour helps Canada, but don't say how (even when asked). You pose open-ended questions such as, "Has it ever occurred..." which prove nothing. And their very tone (along with your subsequent sneers) suggests an emotional investment in this topic which can't help but cloud your judgement.

I think the point that Peter and I have a problem with, is it would seem that these positions do not square with other positions you may hold.

In what way?

Should government control the allocation and distribution of limited resources?

It already does. And the real question you've all managed to bury under mountains of economic technobabble is, "Does the United States have the right to exercise its sovereignty?"

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 12:52:46 PM


One study vs. zero studies.

If it's no better than the one Charles linked to, I will not be overcome with consternation. Global warming has lots of studies behind it, but the oceans have not risen and many of the major summits on the subject have been snowbound. The irony is incalculable.

When you say "x is the case," it is understood that you mean "I believe that x is the case."
That's analytically true.

False. What is, is, regardless of opinion, interpretation, perception, or belief. It's true that I don't preface my personal convictions with "I believe" every single time, but if I say, "there is an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico," it's not a matter of belief. That goopy stuff will still be there now matter how hard you wish it away.

In any case, personalizing your arguments weakens them from a stylistic perspective, as does dismissing arguments out of hand on the basis of a personal belief that you offer no proof to support. Since the libertarian goal is to convince society that their beliefs are true, and given their dismal record of success so far, I should think you'd be open to suggestions for improvement in delivery.

If, on the other hand, you get defensive, dismiss counterarguments, evade questioning, and indicate you will consider arguments only from known partisan organizations, you will continue to enjoy the success that's distinguished your efforts thus far. How many seats in Parliament is that again?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 1:03:19 PM


I thought you didn't fancy yourself someone who argued from fallacy.

I argue from results and have never pretended otherwise, Mike. I only call you on your fallacies because they're so important to you.

And you STILL haven't answered the questions I asked. Granted, I criticize technique, but I also answer questions and present counterarguments. You haven't been as forthcoming in that area today. At least P.M. said why he refused to answer, even though his explanations were ultimately unconvincing.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 1:06:18 PM


P.S. What are your questions of "Has it ever occurred to you that..." if not loaded?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 1:08:29 PM


Shane,

Your argument is begging the question, and it's why I don't answer it. Of course immigrants need all of those things. But it's not self-evident that those things are in short-supply. North America is certainly not in short-supply of space to put people. Nor is it in short supply of fresh water (70% of the global supply is in this country).

Our argument is that immigrants improve the overal productivity of the economy, which improves access to resources, and the better utilizations of such.

The entire development of North America since it was initially settled bears this out.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-14 1:10:13 PM


Global warming has lots of studies behind it, but the oceans have not risen and many of the major summits on the subject have been snowbound. The irony is incalculable.

Then why ask for studies at all? Seems disingenuous if you're going to respond like this.

False. What is, is, regardless of opinion, interpretation, perception, or belief.

Yes. You misunderstood my point.

In any case, personalizing your arguments weakens them from a stylistic perspective

I disagree.

Since the libertarian goal is to convince society that their beliefs are true, and given their dismal record of success so far, I should think you'd be open to suggestions for improvement in delivery.

I wonder where you got this impression? The goal is small government. Beliefs may be a necessary condition for this outcome, but beliefs would only count as a means, not the goal.

If, on the other hand, you get defensive, dismiss counterarguments, evade questioning, and indicate you will consider arguments only from known partisan organizations, you will continue to enjoy the success that's distinguished your efforts thus far. How many seats in Parliament is that again?

At least three seats for sure.

But I admit that there are many, many Malthusians in the NDP caucus.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2010-07-14 1:12:08 PM


Your argument is begging the question, and it's why I don't answer it.

Pointing out what everyone already knows because they are self-evident truths (more people need more stuff) is begging the question?

Of course immigrants need all of those things. But it's not self-evident that those things are in short-supply. North America is certainly not in short-supply of space to put people.

It's evident that they do not now exist, and will have to be constructed. The number of unoccupied structures in Canada is remarkably small.

Nor is it in short supply of fresh water (70% of the global supply is in this country.

But unless they're willing to walk several thousand kilometres with buckets every day (in both directions), delivering that water to them will require upgrades to the water supply.

Our argument is that immigrants improve the overal productivity of the economy, which improves access to resources, and the better utilizations of such.

And children born and raised here don't?

The entire development of North America since it was initially settled bears this out.

Only until it was fully settled. Existing conurbations are being added to, but I'm not aware of any new ones. Where population centres are located is decided by a complex set of factors, such as climate, accessibility, resources, and so on. Most of the suitable sites are already taken. Your arguments consider none of these things.

Frankly, I'm minded to think that the reason you two dismiss these concerns so peremptorily is because neither of you thought of them and don't have any scripted answers ready.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-14 1:20:28 PM


Fair enough Shane. No study is perfect - especially in economics. Why don't you provide us with a study that shows that immigration is harmful?

Posted by: Charles | 2010-07-14 1:25:32 PM



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