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It may come as a complete surprise to some, but I got into a political discussion with my dad’s oldest friend (we’re talkin’ since 8th grade) last night at my mom’s 65th birthday party. Yea…about the immigration deal, protectionism and such.

This morning, I’ve got an email that references the conversation, along with a reference to this post by Michelle Malkin, who I just about can’t stomach reading or listening to in radio interviews, any longer.

So, I reply:

Uh huh. And those clean-cut, middle-class-looking high-school students in Whittier, CA are what? Huh? Do you suppose they’re American citizens or "illegals?"

Look, I’m not particularly fond of seeing such a symbol tarnished in such a way either. I also suspect that the American Flag symbolizes something entirely different for me than it does for most–particularly judging by what I’m hearing lately. For me, it symbolizes freedom. It symbolizes a Declaration of Independence. It symbolizes freedom from oppressive governments like King George’s and King Bush’s. It symbolizes an ideal–an ideal premised upon the unalienable rights of individuals–rights that render all man-made law either moot, or an assault upon freedom and individualism.

It has never, to me, symbolized anything having to do with a state, a government, a border, a law, democracy, republicanism, federalism, constitutionalism, or any other such nonsense.

But the way I see self-proclaimed "Americans" behaving these days…

…I can’t help but think that turning the flag upside-down is strangely appropriate–in spite of my certainty that the video-gaming, main-street-cruisin’ kids doing it are just as clueless and stupid as just about all kids at their age.

See this post by a friend of mine:

More, from me and others:,0329-Binswanger.shtm

I can go on all day. See, I’ve been thinking about all this kind of stuff–daily and deeply–for going on 15 years. It didn’t suddenly pop onto my radar screen.

It’s very simple. There’s only one way to prevent a peaceful, honest, hard-working immigrant who desires to come to America and trade his labor for other things in a struggle to better his life. First is to systematically demonize him. He’s an "illegal." He’s "stealing" "our" jobs. Second is to stop him by force: guns, fists, imprisonment, deportation, etc.

America ought to be ashamed of itself.

From the last of the list of the links, above:

    "One doesn’t have to be a resident of any particular country to have a moral entitlement to be secure from governmental coercion against one’s life, liberty, and property. In the words of the Declaration of Independence, government is instituted ‘to secure these rights’–to protect them against their violation by force or fraud."


    "It is not a criminal act to buy or rent a home here in which to reside. Paying for housing is not a coercive act–whether the buyer is an American or a foreigner. No one’s rights are violated when a Mexican, or Canadian, or Senegalese rents an apartment from an American owner and moves into the housing he is paying for. And what about the rights of those American citizens who want to sell or rent their property to the highest bidders? Or the American businesses that want to hire the lowest cost workers? It is morally indefensible for our government to violate their right to do so, just because the person is a foreigner."

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  1. Jonathan Murray on April 16, 2006 at 20:57

    "a peaceful, honest, hard-working immigrant who desires to come to America"

    Your entire argument is falsified when you call a law-breaker "honest". An honest immigrant utilizes the systems in place to apply for legal entry into this country.

    An illegal immigrant is a law-breaker.

    There is no middle ground.

  2. Billy Beck on April 17, 2006 at 05:42

    That law is wrong, and wrong laws must be broken.

  3. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2006 at 08:52

    Billy being succinct and widely integrated, as usual. You would do well, Jonathan, to reflect on the imperative contained within his single sentence.

  4. wally on April 18, 2006 at 00:08

    Your right we should be ashmaned of ourselves. and for Katrina too. I dont like the republicans anymore. they inspire hate for our own, but let scum like Iran breathe.

  5. Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2006 at 09:03


    That's quite a mix of things. I suppose the only way to tie them together is under a common premise of entitlement.

    Immigrants are entitled to social services. Katrina victims are entitled to disaster relief. Americans at large are entitled to be taken care of before those in other countries.

    If you remove that premise, what do you have? Suppose nobody has a right to take from me and you–or anyone else–without our say-so. Note: I'm not saying there's anything wrong with giving immigrants a helping start. Not saying there's anything wrong with massive relief efforts for victims of natural disaster. Not saying there's anything wrong with various forms of assistance for Americans at large, or "taking care of our own," first.

    But stealing from me, you and ever other productive person renders all of those things as no better than the spoils of theft–not the charity from good and kind people it should be.

    I don't have a right to stop an immigrant from crossing a line on a map–except as it concerns my own property; which means: I also don't have a right to steal your property or anyone else's to help them. I don't have a right to stop you or anyone else from giving your last nickel to help a disaster victim, but I have no right to compel you to "give" a single nickel either, and no one has a right to compel me.

    Taxation under threat of force tarnishes, ruins and embitters everything that American charity–the greatest in the history of the world–was supposed to be.

    Theft is always stupid. It's a shortcut that undercuts the benevolent humanity underlying all charity.

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