Libertarian argument against the Drug War
Anyone listening to Conversations from the Capitol, the Republican Party talk show airing Saturdays on KKFT 99.1 FM on July 19, would have thought it was a war room led by “Bill the Butcher,” the knife-wielding anti-Irish gang leader of the Five Points in Martin Scorcese’s brilliant movie Gangs of New York. The broadcast echoed Bill’s call to preserve native soil against those who “crawled off a boat laden with lice,” now shamelessly aimed against the unaccompanied minor crusade for sanctuary.
The Republican Party was created in those turbulent decades of the 19th century that spawned Bill the Butcher from different factions, including the anti-slavery abolitionists who gave the party a noble cause. Another faction was not so noble: the nativist Know Nothings, so called because whenever an act of violence was perpetrated on an immigrant they claimed to “know nothing.” The modern version uses the violence of the state to demonize those coming to our nominally free country to make a living, or in the case of these children, to seek refuge from fear of rape, violence and death.
Make no mistake: The Party of Lincoln has blood on its hands, as does the Party of Jefferson, because their failed bipartisan War on Drugs is the major reason these children travel through jungles and deserts guided by mercenary “coyotes” to come to the U.S. They turn themselves in immediately and hope to attain refugee status. Because Americans enjoy the forbidden pleasures of drug-induced highs fueled by tropical plants like coca and cannabis, the failed U.S. policy of military drug interdiction has led to the growth of vicious gangs and cartels. These lawless forces, like the Middle Eastern terrorists we also insist on futilely fighting, have no state-imposed boundaries. Since we have been cracking down on cartels in Mexico, many have simply changed their routes to bring the contraband through the corruptly governed Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, turning those poor countries into hell holes of murder and rape.
But to many Republicans, these children are not refugees, but an invading army of teddy bear-wielding existential threats. These children are being called invaders, gang members, they are scabies-infested, disease-laden parasites whose impure little bodies threaten to pollute our native blood streams in a real life zombie apocalypse.
This notion that immigrants are infested by disease is an old one, as nativists have associated the Irish with cholera, the Italians with polio, the Chinese with the plague, and Jews with tuberculosis. Yet somehow the history books are silent about the devastating infestations these wretched fiends undoubtedly caused. Even the usually moderate GOP Washoe County chair Tom Taber solemnly intoned on the show that scabies are a serious threat to public health!
The reality is almost all of these kids are vaccinated and healthy. Most of these children are not immediate welfare burdens, as they are joining family already here. Certainly there are concerns about strains to local budgets, but that is where churches and other charitable organizations have an important role to play in sheltering those who do not have immediate familial support.
Our immigration system is broken and more government intervention only makes things worse. Democrats’ craven desire to make immigrants loyal party voters and Republican insistence that “they broke the law” without realistic attempts to change the law have resulted in failed public policy that lurches from one crisis to the next. It is well past time to create a new free market, private property-based immigration system.