Machan/Mercer Exchange

Founding Fathers,Government,IMMIGRATION,libertarianism,The State

Tibor Machan posted a brief reply to “The Work Open-Border Libertarians Won’t Do” in the Comments Section of Barely a Blog. The meat of Machan’s reply:

“Refusing to extend welfare to illegal immigrants will amount to an arbitrary, indeed mean-minded policy based on nothing more than nationalism or even worse, such as preference for members of one’s own race or age group or some such nonsense.”

Machan’s line of reasoning proceeds from the premise that limiting the size and scope of the Welfare State no matter how is not necessary the most urgent—and hence the most ethical and moral—imperative. Rather, according to Tibor’s reasoning, given the reality of the Transfer State, apportioning welfare based on egalitarian, “fair,” and consistent criteria is the most pressing matter.

The premise of Machan’s reply seems to be that egalitarian treatment (of the world) is the proper purpose of policy. As a strict propertarian, I could not disagree more; As I see it, the imperative of policy is to limit theft, not extend its spoils fairly.

I also wonder about the worldview held by libertarians. The founders clearly recognized that some people were the responsibility of a limited, American, republican government; others not. What, after all, did John Quincy Adams mean when he counseled that America not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, but remain the well-wisher of the freedom and independence of all, but the champion and vindicator only of her own?

Machan’s reply, on the other hand, seems to suggest that “We Are the World”—that since we have the misfortune of laboring under the transfer state, we are obliged to extend its “benefits” to all who enter its orbit.