Day: January 13, 2018

Democrats Are All about Winning, Not Governing


It’s been said that we have two major governing parties in this country: the Democrats and the Republicans.  Each party has a different, broad-based approach to managing the country: the Democrats believe that government-created, taxpayer-funded programs – implemented from D.C. – are the best way to guide the country’s fortunes, while Republicans feel that market-based, individually oriented solutions work to the best advantage of the nation.

That’s a 30,000-ft generalized look at things, but it is widely accepted as true.

But it’s not true.  Just the opposite: It’s fundamentally false.  The Democrats are concerned primarily with winning political battles first and governing the country to the population’s benefit second.  A look at some of today’s higher-profile issues illustrates this quite clearly.  And this is not a peculiarity limited only to present-day circumstances.  The Democrats’ approach to both yesterday’s and tomorrow’s major issues are equally persuasive as to their “governing” priorities.

Today’s issues:

DACA and DREAMers – The Democrats pose as if this is the big humanitarian issue of our time.  “Through no fault of their own,” some 800,000 children were dragged across our border when their parents illegally immigrated to this country.  The DREAMers, as they’re so amusingly called, should not only be afforded amnesty and forgiveness according to the Democrats and allowed to stay in this country, but they should also be allowed to bring in their relatives as well (so-called chain migration).  But President Trump wants funding for his border wall, a central tenet of his campaign, as a condition to any compromise regarding the DREAMers.

The Democrats don’t really have humanitarian concerns, and thus they have no incentive or inclination to compromise.  Their primary motivations are growing their voting base with low-income government-dependent immigrants whose offspring will become automatic Democratic voters a few years from now and the desire to simply make President Trump look bad, as a typical “heartless, cold” Republican.  Anything that reduces illegal immigration (the wall) or lessens the future pool of Democratic voters (deporting the DREAMers or ending chain migration) will be opposed by the Democrats with a vengeance.  The “public good” has nothing to do with anything.  A political win for the Democrats is all that matters.

Tax Reform – The Democrats don’t care about the actual financial benefits that lower corporate taxes will deliver to the economy (such as greater investment by companies in plants and equipment, leading directly to increased employment), nor do they care about how much the average middle-class family will benefit from the extra hundreds of dollars of disposable income per month.  Democrats just want to further the cliché of rich Republicans getting huge undeserved tax breaks, while the average person suffers as a result.  Democrats simply want to sully the Republicans’ image in the eyes of the casually attentive voter.

Mueller and Collusion – The Democrats’ only goal here is to make Trump look bad, undermine his legitimacy as president, and keep his approval numbers low in advance of future elections.  The Democrats have no actual interest in the impact or influence foreign entities may have had on our voting process or on our electoral system.  If they did, they would be just as interested in the fact that Hillary Clinton maintained an illicit email server that contained unauthorized classified information and was hacked by Russians.  That is the very definition of reckless, illegal behavior by a candidate undermining the integrity of our election process.

But the Democrats aren’t interested in the “integrity of our election process.”  They’re interested in a political win, not in serving the public good.

Government Shutdown – This is merely an opportunity for Democrats to make Republicans look bad, knowing that the liberal media will always cast any ‘shutdown’ as being completely the fault of Republicans, regardless of the actual circumstances.  Although both sides are well aware that essential funding continues even during a so-called “shutdown,” Democrats will be quick to exploit an ignorant public with heart-wrenching advertisements of 90-year-old veterans on their once-in-a-lifetime trip to D.C. being turned away from the WWII Memorial or a small-town Boy Scout troop being unable to enter a national park.  All of this is intentionally orchestrated by Democrats, all to make Republicans look bad.  The “win” is all-important, after all, not the facts.

Those are just today’s high-profile topics.  One of yesterday’s was Hurricane Katrina.  The Democrats and the liberal media pounded President Bush incessantly for being insensitive to the plight of minorities for his supposed slow response to the crisis.  The Democrats’ primary concern was winning the battle of public perception by making a Republican look bad.  They were successful.  They “won.”  President Bush’s presidency took a hit from which it never recovered, becoming yet another reason why a Republican presidential win in 2008 was so unlikely, regardless of who the Democratic candidate was.

Tomorrow’s big issues may concern, for example, North Korea or Iran.  Democrats will undoubtedly use those circumstances to pile on with very public criticism of President Trump’s handling of the situation.  Far from the old dictum of “politics stops at the water’s edge,” the Democrats will be more concerned with twisting a confrontation with North Korea or Iran into political advantage for themselves than they will be in helping forge a favorable bipartisan outcome for the good of our country.

To be perfectly honest, the Republicans are far from lily-white (am I allowed to use that term anymore?) when it comes to maneuvering the political chess pieces to their advantage.

The Democrats are first and foremost about winning.  For them, governing comes in second – and too often, it’s a distant second.

It’s been said that we have two major governing parties in this country: the Democrats and the Republicans.  Each party has a different, broad-based approach to managing the country: the Democrats believe that government-created, taxpayer-funded programs – implemented from D.C. – are the best way to guide the country’s fortunes, while Republicans feel that market-based, individually oriented solutions work to the best advantage of the nation.

That’s a 30,000-ft generalized look at things, but it is widely accepted as true.

But it’s not true.  Just the opposite: It’s fundamentally false.  The Democrats are concerned primarily with winning political battles first and governing the country to the population’s benefit second.  A look at some of today’s higher-profile issues illustrates this quite clearly.  And this is not a peculiarity limited only to present-day circumstances.  The Democrats’ approach to both yesterday’s and tomorrow’s major issues are equally persuasive as to their “governing” priorities.

Today’s issues:

DACA and DREAMers – The Democrats pose as if this is the big humanitarian issue of our time.  “Through no fault of their own,” some 800,000 children were dragged across our border when their parents illegally immigrated to this country.  The DREAMers, as they’re so amusingly called, should not only be afforded amnesty and forgiveness according to the Democrats and allowed to stay in this country, but they should also be allowed to bring in their relatives as well (so-called chain migration).  But President Trump wants funding for his border wall, a central tenet of his campaign, as a condition to any compromise regarding the DREAMers.

The Democrats don’t really have humanitarian concerns, and thus they have no incentive or inclination to compromise.  Their primary motivations are growing their voting base with low-income government-dependent immigrants whose offspring will become automatic Democratic voters a few years from now and the desire to simply make President Trump look bad, as a typical “heartless, cold” Republican.  Anything that reduces illegal immigration (the wall) or lessens the future pool of Democratic voters (deporting the DREAMers or ending chain migration) will be opposed by the Democrats with a vengeance.  The “public good” has nothing to do with anything.  A political win for the Democrats is all that matters.

Tax Reform – The Democrats don’t care about the actual financial benefits that lower corporate taxes will deliver to the economy (such as greater investment by companies in plants and equipment, leading directly to increased employment), nor do they care about how much the average middle-class family will benefit from the extra hundreds of dollars of disposable income per month.  Democrats just want to further the cliché of rich Republicans getting huge undeserved tax breaks, while the average person suffers as a result.  Democrats simply want to sully the Republicans’ image in the eyes of the casually attentive voter.

Mueller and Collusion – The Democrats’ only goal here is to make Trump look bad, undermine his legitimacy as president, and keep his approval numbers low in advance of future elections.  The Democrats have no actual interest in the impact or influence foreign entities may have had on our voting process or on our electoral system.  If they did, they would be just as interested in the fact that Hillary Clinton maintained an illicit email server that contained unauthorized classified information and was hacked by Russians.  That is the very definition of reckless, illegal behavior by a candidate undermining the integrity of our election process.

But the Democrats aren’t interested in the “integrity of our election process.”  They’re interested in a political win, not in serving the public good.

Government Shutdown – This is merely an opportunity for Democrats to make Republicans look bad, knowing that the liberal media will always cast any ‘shutdown’ as being completely the fault of Republicans, regardless of the actual circumstances.  Although both sides are well aware that essential funding continues even during a so-called “shutdown,” Democrats will be quick to exploit an ignorant public with heart-wrenching advertisements of 90-year-old veterans on their once-in-a-lifetime trip to D.C. being turned away from the WWII Memorial or a small-town Boy Scout troop being unable to enter a national park.  All of this is intentionally orchestrated by Democrats, all to make Republicans look bad.  The “win” is all-important, after all, not the facts.

Those are just today’s high-profile topics.  One of yesterday’s was Hurricane Katrina.  The Democrats and the liberal media pounded President Bush incessantly for being insensitive to the plight of minorities for his supposed slow response to the crisis.  The Democrats’ primary concern was winning the battle of public perception by making a Republican look bad.  They were successful.  They “won.”  President Bush’s presidency took a hit from which it never recovered, becoming yet another reason why a Republican presidential win in 2008 was so unlikely, regardless of who the Democratic candidate was.

Tomorrow’s big issues may concern, for example, North Korea or Iran.  Democrats will undoubtedly use those circumstances to pile on with very public criticism of President Trump’s handling of the situation.  Far from the old dictum of “politics stops at the water’s edge,” the Democrats will be more concerned with twisting a confrontation with North Korea or Iran into political advantage for themselves than they will be in helping forge a favorable bipartisan outcome for the good of our country.

To be perfectly honest, the Republicans are far from lily-white (am I allowed to use that term anymore?) when it comes to maneuvering the political chess pieces to their advantage.

The Democrats are first and foremost about winning.  For them, governing comes in second – and too often, it’s a distant second.



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An Alternative to Federal Infrastructure Investment


President Donald Trump has proposed a trillion-dollar plan for infrastructure investment.  The plan calls for public-private partnerships in which the federal government invests several hundred billion dollars to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, with the bulk of the investment coming from the private sector.  The Trump administration maintains that for many years the nation has underinvested in infrastructure, particularly in surface transportation, and that massive new investments are now required to rebuild and expand infrastructure.  Trump argues that the injection of federal dollars into infrastructure development will jumpstart the economy and spur long-term economic growth. 

Most studies reveal that the current state of the nation’s infrastructure is poor, to say the least, and that rebuilding infrastructure will be extremely costly.  One estimate found that rebuilding the highway system alone will require nearly a trillion dollars in investment projects over the next two decades.  However, it is not clear that the federal government should undertake this infrastructure investment, because the federal government has a poor track record of effectively managing and completing such projects.  For example, a number of studies reveal that federal investments in surface transportation have been or continue to be allocated inefficiently, incurring costs that exceed benefits, and there are many studies showing how special interests steer federal dollars toward unworthy infrastructure projects.

In contrast to the federal government, state and local governments have a better track record for investing in infrastructure.  Research shows that state and local governments invest more efficiently in highways and mass transit compared to the federal government.  This is largely because state and local governments prioritize the most important transportation infrastructure projects and invest dollars in projects where benefits are likely to exceed the costs.  When state governments invest in projects that do incur losses – e.g., privatization of the Indiana interstate highway – they are more likely to stem losses and reallocate funds to other, more crucial projects.

A priori, it is not clear why state and local governments should allocate funds for infrastructure investments more efficiently than the federal government.  Elected officials who make these investment decisions at the state and local levels are subject to the same interest group pressures that influence federal investments.  Some scholars point to differences in the financing of infrastructure projects to explain the discrepancy.  State and local governments are more likely to privatize and rely on public-private partnerships in building highways and mass transit projects, and states have better utilized innovative, effective techniques when implementing tolling and mileage-based user fees.

By contrast, the federal government budget process is conducted in the absence of effective fiscal rules, such as those rules designed to reduce deficits.  These rules, if they exist at all, are often circumvented and suspended.  Deficits incurred in funding infrastructure projects are typically lumped together with the total deficits funded by borrowing.  This means that misallocation and inefficiency in infrastructure investments are not offset by decreased funding for other programs.  Those costs are passed along to citizens, who pay the taxes required to service debt.  Often, elected officials and citizens are not even aware of these inefficiencies due to the lack of transparency and accountability in federal infrastructure investments.  This problem is magnified by cost-sharing arrangements for infrastructure funded by matching federal and state grants.

At the state and local levels, fiscal rules are more effective constraints on budgeting and fiscal policy.  In every state and local government, fiscal rules mandate a balanced budget and limit debt, and in many states, those rules limit the growth in revenue and spending.  A few states have fiscal rules that approximate rules that have proven to be effective in limiting debt in fiscally prudent Organization for Economic Co-operation countries.  Colorado, for example, imposes a strict limit on the growth in revenue and spending at the state and local levels.  Surplus revenue above that limit must be rebated to taxpayers.  Citizen approval is required to increase taxes or debt through a referendum process.  Although the fiscal rules in place at the state and local levels are frequently circumvented and weakened by elected officials in response to interest group pressure, they have still proven to be effective constraints on government budgets.

Elected officials at the state and local levels should be required to make investment decisions as part of a budget process that’s constrained by fiscal rules.  Capital investments must be prioritized, along with other expenditures, to satisfy fiscal rules.  When this occurs, elected officials and citizens are aware of the tradeoffs in allocating funds to infrastructure investment versus other programs.  Any deficits incurred in funding infrastructure projects are offset with revenues that could have been used to provide other government services.  As a result, there is greater transparency and accountability for these investment decisions at the state and local levels.  Elected officials and their constituents are more aware of the opportunity costs incurred when infrastructure investments are misallocated or inefficient.  When fiscal rules require voter approval for tax and borrowing, citizens have direct control over how their tax dollars are spent.  Direct democracy results in more prudent fiscal policies in states such as Colorado, just as it does in Switzerland and other countries.

I propose an alternative to Trump’s plan for infrastructure investment.  To address the debt crisis, the federal government should declare a moratorium on new investments in infrastructure.  Expenditures for infrastructure, including expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund and the general fund, should be frozen at current levels.  This would allow funding to complete current infrastructure projects, but eliminate funding for new or proposed projects.

Funding and management for transportation infrastructure should then be transferred from the federal government to the states.  All taxes, fees, and revenues now collected by the federal government to finance transportation infrastructure should be collected and retained by the states.  The Highway Trust Fund should be eliminated.  Any savings from these reforms should be earmarked for debt reduction.

State and local governments should finance and manage the surface transportation system, free from federal laws and regulations.  State and local governments should have the freedom to set the level of taxes and fees, and to determine how those revenues are expended to fund surface transportation systems.  State and local governments could then set their own priorities in expending these funds for highways, interstates, and mass transit.  They could also determine how those funds would be expended for maintenance, rebuilding, and new construction.  Expenditures for transportation should become part of the budget process and subject to fiscal rules now in place in state and local governments.

Barry Poulson (think@heartland.org) is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

President Donald Trump has proposed a trillion-dollar plan for infrastructure investment.  The plan calls for public-private partnerships in which the federal government invests several hundred billion dollars to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, with the bulk of the investment coming from the private sector.  The Trump administration maintains that for many years the nation has underinvested in infrastructure, particularly in surface transportation, and that massive new investments are now required to rebuild and expand infrastructure.  Trump argues that the injection of federal dollars into infrastructure development will jumpstart the economy and spur long-term economic growth. 

Most studies reveal that the current state of the nation’s infrastructure is poor, to say the least, and that rebuilding infrastructure will be extremely costly.  One estimate found that rebuilding the highway system alone will require nearly a trillion dollars in investment projects over the next two decades.  However, it is not clear that the federal government should undertake this infrastructure investment, because the federal government has a poor track record of effectively managing and completing such projects.  For example, a number of studies reveal that federal investments in surface transportation have been or continue to be allocated inefficiently, incurring costs that exceed benefits, and there are many studies showing how special interests steer federal dollars toward unworthy infrastructure projects.

In contrast to the federal government, state and local governments have a better track record for investing in infrastructure.  Research shows that state and local governments invest more efficiently in highways and mass transit compared to the federal government.  This is largely because state and local governments prioritize the most important transportation infrastructure projects and invest dollars in projects where benefits are likely to exceed the costs.  When state governments invest in projects that do incur losses – e.g., privatization of the Indiana interstate highway – they are more likely to stem losses and reallocate funds to other, more crucial projects.

A priori, it is not clear why state and local governments should allocate funds for infrastructure investments more efficiently than the federal government.  Elected officials who make these investment decisions at the state and local levels are subject to the same interest group pressures that influence federal investments.  Some scholars point to differences in the financing of infrastructure projects to explain the discrepancy.  State and local governments are more likely to privatize and rely on public-private partnerships in building highways and mass transit projects, and states have better utilized innovative, effective techniques when implementing tolling and mileage-based user fees.

By contrast, the federal government budget process is conducted in the absence of effective fiscal rules, such as those rules designed to reduce deficits.  These rules, if they exist at all, are often circumvented and suspended.  Deficits incurred in funding infrastructure projects are typically lumped together with the total deficits funded by borrowing.  This means that misallocation and inefficiency in infrastructure investments are not offset by decreased funding for other programs.  Those costs are passed along to citizens, who pay the taxes required to service debt.  Often, elected officials and citizens are not even aware of these inefficiencies due to the lack of transparency and accountability in federal infrastructure investments.  This problem is magnified by cost-sharing arrangements for infrastructure funded by matching federal and state grants.

At the state and local levels, fiscal rules are more effective constraints on budgeting and fiscal policy.  In every state and local government, fiscal rules mandate a balanced budget and limit debt, and in many states, those rules limit the growth in revenue and spending.  A few states have fiscal rules that approximate rules that have proven to be effective in limiting debt in fiscally prudent Organization for Economic Co-operation countries.  Colorado, for example, imposes a strict limit on the growth in revenue and spending at the state and local levels.  Surplus revenue above that limit must be rebated to taxpayers.  Citizen approval is required to increase taxes or debt through a referendum process.  Although the fiscal rules in place at the state and local levels are frequently circumvented and weakened by elected officials in response to interest group pressure, they have still proven to be effective constraints on government budgets.

Elected officials at the state and local levels should be required to make investment decisions as part of a budget process that’s constrained by fiscal rules.  Capital investments must be prioritized, along with other expenditures, to satisfy fiscal rules.  When this occurs, elected officials and citizens are aware of the tradeoffs in allocating funds to infrastructure investment versus other programs.  Any deficits incurred in funding infrastructure projects are offset with revenues that could have been used to provide other government services.  As a result, there is greater transparency and accountability for these investment decisions at the state and local levels.  Elected officials and their constituents are more aware of the opportunity costs incurred when infrastructure investments are misallocated or inefficient.  When fiscal rules require voter approval for tax and borrowing, citizens have direct control over how their tax dollars are spent.  Direct democracy results in more prudent fiscal policies in states such as Colorado, just as it does in Switzerland and other countries.

I propose an alternative to Trump’s plan for infrastructure investment.  To address the debt crisis, the federal government should declare a moratorium on new investments in infrastructure.  Expenditures for infrastructure, including expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund and the general fund, should be frozen at current levels.  This would allow funding to complete current infrastructure projects, but eliminate funding for new or proposed projects.

Funding and management for transportation infrastructure should then be transferred from the federal government to the states.  All taxes, fees, and revenues now collected by the federal government to finance transportation infrastructure should be collected and retained by the states.  The Highway Trust Fund should be eliminated.  Any savings from these reforms should be earmarked for debt reduction.

State and local governments should finance and manage the surface transportation system, free from federal laws and regulations.  State and local governments should have the freedom to set the level of taxes and fees, and to determine how those revenues are expended to fund surface transportation systems.  State and local governments could then set their own priorities in expending these funds for highways, interstates, and mass transit.  They could also determine how those funds would be expended for maintenance, rebuilding, and new construction.  Expenditures for transportation should become part of the budget process and subject to fiscal rules now in place in state and local governments.

Barry Poulson (think@heartland.org) is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.



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Sex Obsession and Psychotherapism: The Culprit Is Not the Cure



Our modern sex mania comes at least in part from a phalanx of weirdos in the psych profession.



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Was Ayn Rand for Open Borders?


For over 30 years, I’ve been reading and re-reading Ayn Rand’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, and I don’t recall anything that suggests she was in favor of open borders.  Furthermore, Ayn Rand died in 1982 – she never witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, the steady stream of terrorist massacres throughout the great, historical cities of Europe and on American soil, or the large-scale invasion of so-called “refugees” into Europe.  Islam and immigration were not cultural or political issues during her lifetime.

So why am I even asking if Ayn Rand would have been for open borders?

After Ayn Rand’s death, her heir, Leonard Peikoff, formed the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI).  The most prominent of Objectivists followed Dr. Peikoff and are currently ensconced at the ARI today, advocating for open borders, seemingly in Ayn Rand’s name.

Why is this of importance?  Because most influential conservatives today have been greatly influenced by Ayn Rand’s ideas, and so will future generations.  And it would be disturbing if her legacy is being hijacked by what Milo Yiannopoulos calls “social justice warriors” (SJWs), just as the SJWs have hijacked the universities, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the corporate news media, sports, advertising, etc.  Therefore, the question has to be asked: is Ayn Rand’s name being fraudulently used to promote open borders?  ARI Watch seems to believe so.

The most prominent establishment Objectivist after Leonard Peikoff may be Dr. Harry Binswanger.  On his website, HBL, this is what he writes about immigration: “[t]his is a defense of a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.  After a phase-in period, entry into the U.S. would be unrestricted, unregulated, and unscreened, exactly as is entry into Connecticut from New York.”

I don’t know in what world Dr. Binswanger is living if he believes that anyone should be able to enter the U.S. without inspection.  If Dr. Binswanger’s ideas were implemented in the real world, it would be raining nonstop flights from third-world countries into America, and America’s southern land border would be overflowing with populations from Central American countries.  There would be complete chaos, such as in the hospitals as people from around the world immigrated for free medical treatment – but that would be just the beginning.  If “unrestricted, unregulated, and unscreened” immigration would be allowed, in a matter of months, it would lead to widespread anarchy and crime.

Moreover, under what moral theory can Dr. Binswanger justify foreign nationals having the right to simply enter the United States without inspection?  How could the United States be a sovereign nation with open borders?  How could it survive?  How could it even be considered a nation?  Isn’t President Trump correct when he says: “A nation without borders is not a nation”?

Dr. Binswanger is not the only advocate for open borders within the Ayn Rand Institute.  Its chairman of the board, Dr. Yaron Brook, is also an open border advocate, and in his 11/05/2016 lecture, “Free Will and Free Borders,” he actually advocates for foreign nationals to enter the United States illegally.  After first stating (at the 10:40 mark) that “we have the dumbest, stupidest immigration laws in America today” and that “Donald Trump will probably even make them stupider,” Dr. Brook, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Israeli background, states the following:

Walls don’t actually prevent people from entering the country.  They can dig under, they can go over, they can go around[.] … Do you know that Mexicans now don’t need a visa to enter Canada?  Canada is allowing Mexicans to come to Canada with no visa?  What does that mean?  You buy an airplane ticket, which is less than paying a coyote, right?  And you go to Canada, and you cross the border.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.  Brook not only advocates for illegal immigration, but seems to worships it.  At the 15:43 mark, he states the following:

People talk about anchor babies. … Women who come to America to have a baby in America.  Wow!  Is my approach.  Here’s a pregnant woman willing to walk across a desert so that her child is born in freedom.  That’s an amazing choice[.] … And we want to say: Oh no!  Bad people!  This is what America was supposed to be about.  About taking your life seriously, pursuing happiness, pursuing freedom, making the most of your life.  Now you might say they come here and they take welfare, and they just come to have babies in order to get the welfare.  Really?  It’s just empirically not true[.] … You’re going to walk across the desert, you’re going to risk your life, and your baby’s life, to get a check from the government?  I don’t think so.  Something else is driving you[.] … Maybe when you get here, it is hard to find a job, because you know what?  We’ve declared you illegal so it’s really hard to find a job and you get on welfare for awhile.

Besides Dr. Brook having his facts wrong about welfare, I don’t think Ayn Rand would say “wow” to any of this.  I think there is a greater chance she would say “moochers” or “looters.”  I believe that as a patriotic American, Ayn Rand would have asked questions such as “What about the individual rights of the American citizens?  What about their right to national security and safety?  And why are productive Americans forced to pay for the medical expenses of illegal aliens?  Based on what moral code?”  Unfortunately, these questions were not asked or answered by Dr. Brook, nor by any other prominent Objectivist (see this tweet).  In the end, we can only assert: “Not in Ayn Rand’s name!”

Theo Willem is author of Promised You America and may be followed on Twitter.

For over 30 years, I’ve been reading and re-reading Ayn Rand’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, and I don’t recall anything that suggests she was in favor of open borders.  Furthermore, Ayn Rand died in 1982 – she never witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, the steady stream of terrorist massacres throughout the great, historical cities of Europe and on American soil, or the large-scale invasion of so-called “refugees” into Europe.  Islam and immigration were not cultural or political issues during her lifetime.

So why am I even asking if Ayn Rand would have been for open borders?

After Ayn Rand’s death, her heir, Leonard Peikoff, formed the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI).  The most prominent of Objectivists followed Dr. Peikoff and are currently ensconced at the ARI today, advocating for open borders, seemingly in Ayn Rand’s name.

Why is this of importance?  Because most influential conservatives today have been greatly influenced by Ayn Rand’s ideas, and so will future generations.  And it would be disturbing if her legacy is being hijacked by what Milo Yiannopoulos calls “social justice warriors” (SJWs), just as the SJWs have hijacked the universities, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the corporate news media, sports, advertising, etc.  Therefore, the question has to be asked: is Ayn Rand’s name being fraudulently used to promote open borders?  ARI Watch seems to believe so.

The most prominent establishment Objectivist after Leonard Peikoff may be Dr. Harry Binswanger.  On his website, HBL, this is what he writes about immigration: “[t]his is a defense of a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.  After a phase-in period, entry into the U.S. would be unrestricted, unregulated, and unscreened, exactly as is entry into Connecticut from New York.”

I don’t know in what world Dr. Binswanger is living if he believes that anyone should be able to enter the U.S. without inspection.  If Dr. Binswanger’s ideas were implemented in the real world, it would be raining nonstop flights from third-world countries into America, and America’s southern land border would be overflowing with populations from Central American countries.  There would be complete chaos, such as in the hospitals as people from around the world immigrated for free medical treatment – but that would be just the beginning.  If “unrestricted, unregulated, and unscreened” immigration would be allowed, in a matter of months, it would lead to widespread anarchy and crime.

Moreover, under what moral theory can Dr. Binswanger justify foreign nationals having the right to simply enter the United States without inspection?  How could the United States be a sovereign nation with open borders?  How could it survive?  How could it even be considered a nation?  Isn’t President Trump correct when he says: “A nation without borders is not a nation”?

Dr. Binswanger is not the only advocate for open borders within the Ayn Rand Institute.  Its chairman of the board, Dr. Yaron Brook, is also an open border advocate, and in his 11/05/2016 lecture, “Free Will and Free Borders,” he actually advocates for foreign nationals to enter the United States illegally.  After first stating (at the 10:40 mark) that “we have the dumbest, stupidest immigration laws in America today” and that “Donald Trump will probably even make them stupider,” Dr. Brook, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Israeli background, states the following:

Walls don’t actually prevent people from entering the country.  They can dig under, they can go over, they can go around[.] … Do you know that Mexicans now don’t need a visa to enter Canada?  Canada is allowing Mexicans to come to Canada with no visa?  What does that mean?  You buy an airplane ticket, which is less than paying a coyote, right?  And you go to Canada, and you cross the border.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.  Brook not only advocates for illegal immigration, but seems to worships it.  At the 15:43 mark, he states the following:

People talk about anchor babies. … Women who come to America to have a baby in America.  Wow!  Is my approach.  Here’s a pregnant woman willing to walk across a desert so that her child is born in freedom.  That’s an amazing choice[.] … And we want to say: Oh no!  Bad people!  This is what America was supposed to be about.  About taking your life seriously, pursuing happiness, pursuing freedom, making the most of your life.  Now you might say they come here and they take welfare, and they just come to have babies in order to get the welfare.  Really?  It’s just empirically not true[.] … You’re going to walk across the desert, you’re going to risk your life, and your baby’s life, to get a check from the government?  I don’t think so.  Something else is driving you[.] … Maybe when you get here, it is hard to find a job, because you know what?  We’ve declared you illegal so it’s really hard to find a job and you get on welfare for awhile.

Besides Dr. Brook having his facts wrong about welfare, I don’t think Ayn Rand would say “wow” to any of this.  I think there is a greater chance she would say “moochers” or “looters.”  I believe that as a patriotic American, Ayn Rand would have asked questions such as “What about the individual rights of the American citizens?  What about their right to national security and safety?  And why are productive Americans forced to pay for the medical expenses of illegal aliens?  Based on what moral code?”  Unfortunately, these questions were not asked or answered by Dr. Brook, nor by any other prominent Objectivist (see this tweet).  In the end, we can only assert: “Not in Ayn Rand’s name!”

Theo Willem is author of Promised You America and may be followed on Twitter.



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