The Wisdom to Know the Difference
by Vedran Vuk
by Vedran Vuk
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr, a staunch communist, could have followed the words of his prayer more closely, being especially mindful of "accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it"
Libertarians, split in the fierce debate over immigration, should examine this prayer as well. The opening lines say it best, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
One of the main complaints about immigration is the expected drain on social services — health care, welfare, etc. — by an increase in the impoverished population. The real problem is quite clear to me.
The real problem is not immigration but socialist policy. Immigrants are just one variable in a score of things that can go wrong with these programs. Suppose that we have another baby boom generation? Or what if a major recession hits and suddenly we have to give twice as many people unemployment insurance and TANF?
These programs are inherently flawed. Increased immigration is just one variable causing disruption in the original central plan. But it is not a single variable that must shoulder blame, but the entire equation.
All socialist programs face issues beyond our control. For example, can we control the number of children born in order to preserve Social Security? Obviously not.
In the same sense, we will not eliminate naturally occurring migrations of people. Our chances of actually stopping people from coming to the U.S. are as futile as trying to control the tides of the ocean.
Redistributionist policies, not immigration, are the problem. So let us accept the things we cannot change and gain the courage to change the things we can. Government laws and programs have been created by man and can be destroyed by man.
The spirit of progress in every person's soul cannot be broken. The spirit of an immigrant who crosses oceans, passes through desert, and works for subsistence wages will not and cannot be eradicated. It is intrinsically the nature of a man to improve his lot. Immigrants will no doubt still enter the country despite obstacles they may encounter. Attempts to curtail their entrance will create even greater incentives to cross the border.
The proposed solution to the immigration problem is outright insane: a wall with Mexico! It offers to stop government expenditure with more government expenditure. I'm not sure how some of these people are doing their math. One government expenditure plus another government expenditure does not equal zero government expenditure. Aside from the cost of building the wall, think of the guards that we would have to employ. Some recommend the military for the role. Of course! Let's pick the most money-saving division of the government to stop those darn immigrants. Defense officials can't even use the bathroom without spending a million or two.
Do we really think a wall is going to stop this problem? Desperate illegal immigrants are quite creative. They'll get here somehow.
Imagine this scenario. What if there was a huge protest at the wall, perhaps in Tijuana or Juarez? Yes, on the Mexican side-much like the protest we have already seen in the U.S. What would the U.S. do once a hundred thousand Mexicans are protesting at the wall? What are they going to do when a few start trying to climb the walls? Are we going to bring in the riot police? And what¹s going to happen when Mexicans in the U.S. see images of us beating down protesters at the wall? Mexicans in the U.S. will make the Rodney King riots look like a day in the park! If the wall is built, this will happen, mark my words. If you build physical barriers, you invite confrontation"
Libertarians are sacrificing their principles. If you want to compromise with state power, go vote Republican. Libertarians constantly say that the solution to a government-created problem is not more government. Yet this is exactly what many are suggesting!
We have the wisdom to know the difference in this situation. We know that force, coercion, and government is not the true way. This whole affair of stopping immigration reeks of expanding government power mixed with the stench of putrid nationalism. Libertarians are supposed to be people with principles. Let's stick to them.
September 18, 2006
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