Escalating the War on Freedom

A new anti-immigrant bill was recently approved by the Arizona state senate. The story is another example of how government laws create problems that governments will propose to solve with more infringements on freedom.

The freedom of movement, so long as you aren’t trespassing on legitimately-held property, is a fundamental human right. Governments restrict this freedom when they draw lines to designate their turf. They say (often as conqueror to conquered): “I control the people and resources on this side of the line, you control the people and resources on that side of the line.” In doing so they lock people into oppressive and impoverished social and economic circumstances.

Borders are gang turf boundaries, usually drawn by conquest and upheld through repressive measures. Those who cross lines drawn across the earth should not have to ask permission from the tyrants who created those lines.

The gang in charge of Arizona is escalating the oppression of border law.

According to, the new bill contains several provisions.

It “would create a new state misdemeanor crime for failing to carry alien registration documents” and “allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving their legal residence”.

So “Papers, please” is becoming a more acceptable phrase to adherents of political authority – and the cages and deprivation awaiting those who do not produce a permission slip are becoming more acceptable too. Certainly driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and other measures currently form an informal system of National ID – this measure just escalates the tyranny. And it will certainly encourage profiling and create a more hostile environment for people who appear Hispanic and poor.

The new law would also “allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders immigration enforcement”.

Fascism and other totalitarian movements have always encouraged participation, from the Hitler Youth, to the Maoist Cultural Revolution, to the East German snitch network. Those who want to rule do well to get a sizable segment of the population on their side to help them keep the rest of the population subdued.

The bill would “prohibit people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day labor services on street corners”.

I would imagine that obstructing traffic was already a finable offense, so this is really just a blow against freedom to gather in public places. Again, profiling and creating a hostile environment are the likely consequences.

And the bill would “make it illegal for people to knowingly transport illegal immigrants.”

So everyone offering a person a ride is supposed to check the documents of each person? Fascism is participatory.

Why the crackdown?

Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce, who is sponsoring the bill, said the measures are necessary to deal with rampant crime. He cited the murder of a local rancher by “a suspected illegal immigrant” and noted “We’re number two in the world in kidnapping.”

We should ask why Arizona might be facing a rising crime problem. The problem is government – especially the War on Drugs and immigration restrictions.

A lot of crime in the area appears to be related to human smuggling and the drug trade. Just like during alcohol prohibition, a desired good or service is being provided by unscrupulous characters with incentives toward violence and no oversight.

No person has the right to forbid another from ingesting whatever chemicals he chooses. And if there is a sufficient demand for drugs, people will attempt to supply them.

The economy in which the Mexican drug trade operates is populated mainly by violent gangs. There is little recourse between gang members besides violence and little protection besides what a gang can offer. So violence is encouraged by the massive profits that can only be had by those who fight off rival gangs, including governments. American bars and breweries offered safer products and ceased having shootouts when alcohol was re-legalized; we should expect little difference when marijuana and cocaine are re-legalized.

When people who are willing to endure difficult journeys for the possibility of a better life for themselves and their family are turned into outlaws, they are incentivized to commit actual crimes. Immigrants can’t just hop onto a bike and ride down the road to opportunity; they often must trespass or hire outlaws who have little oversight to their smuggling business. Barred from legal employment and on the run from authorities, an immigrant has more reason to engage in violent drug business or theft than they would if they were considered full human beings by society. And those who are involved in the illegal business of moving people across borders have little recourse when they are wronged – they can’t go to the cops, and few underground arbitration agencies exist.

A rational actor’s choices will be colored by the incentives present – this is a basic economic truth.

Government is incentivized to not examine root problems. The security-industrial complex is big business, and drug arrests make up a big part of that business. And authoritarian culture indoctrinates people with the belief that it is sinful to do what is illegal – as if laws were passed with virtuous intentions by virtuous people.

If you are worried about the welfare state not being able to support the mythical menace of illegal aliens, then abolish the welfare state from below with mutual aid arrangements and solidarity with tax-dodgers.

Those who govern cause suffering and strife. The solutions they propose to the problems they create are often more restrictions and more enforcement.

The freedom of Americans is bound up with the freedom of Mexicans. Unfortunately the experience of Oaxaca and the intentionally cruel system of immigrant detention in the United States show the lengths the state will go to hold onto its gang turf. Abolishing borders and creating an environment where no violent gangs are able to rule – regardless of whether or not they carry badges – is the way to a future of peace and liberty.

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory