Conservative media erupted in cheers when it was announced that David Brat, a Tea Party favorite with only about $100,000 in his campaign, beat out the incumbent, Representative Eric Cantor - and did so, handedly. It sent shockwaves throughout the Right, following months after the media and members of both parties had kept repeating that the Tea Party was dead. The National Journal even titled an article, “The Tea Party is Over", back in March.
Brat’s win has been attributed by many to his stance on immigration. Conservative big names such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter have all expressed their support for Brat after months of ominously warning about the dangers of illegal immigration. Coulter even expressed her disagreement in a speech at CPAC, where she said, “[S]omething I think people haven’t really noticed — well, certainly they’ve noticed on MSNBC where they are celebrating the browning of America, but if you don’t celebrate it you’re a racist — it is going to be people who are not from America who are going to be in theory funding older white people who are getting to their Social Security, Medicare age. I don’t think that can last.” Currently the home page of National Review Online boasts an article titled “Ingraham’s Insurrection” where Eliana Johnson gives radio persona and Bill O’Reilly’s frequent guest host, Laura Ingraham, a lot of credit for rallying conservatives against immigration reform, including the so-called “Gang of Eight Bill”.
It would seem, according to these ladies and everyone who sings from their hymnals, that the fate of America rests on securing the border from lazy, slothful, moocher Mexicans who sneak into the United States the way the Hamburglar sneaks into McDonald’s to steal burgers. But in truth, the cry for “No Amnesty” is precisely what it professes to oppose: a call for amnesty, not for immigrants, but for people on the right who wish to evade the reality of the disastrous policies that have led to the swelling of the welfare state (even without illegal immigrants on the dole).
“They’re stealing our jobs!” “They’re going to be on welfare!” “We’re paying for their education!” “They broke our laws!” These are the cries that echo whenever the subject of immigration comes up, all throughout conservative social media and on the airwaves every day. At the root of these cries, however, there are huge errors being made. Let’s look at some of them.
People say, “They’re taking jobs away from American citizens!” One must ask, “Whose jobs are they?” They do not belong to American workers. They belong to employers, who have a moral right to hire and fire the people they rationally decide they must. Business owners want to stay in business to continue creating value and reaping their just profits from their efforts. Why are there some who hire illegal immigrants? Let’s ask the true question here: why aren’t they hiring American workers? Answer: they’re more expensive than immigrant workers. Why? Because immigration workers aren’t subject to immoral minimum wage laws that price American workers out of market. Business owners, when costs go up, must cover the costs in one of three ways: by raising the price of the goods they produce (which could hurt sales), by using cheaper materials to produce their goods (which could result in poor quality products, and damage the business’ reputation), or by cutting costs (and payroll is a cost, mind you). Which one of those three would you likely pick?
Others complain about immigrants being on welfare, taking Medicare and Social Security. Of course, these programs are immoral on their face because they enslave younger generations by forcing them to pay for the care of the preceding generations. Any government redistribution program is immoral because it deals with stolen money (since taxpayer funds are seized against the will of the citizens, though we are always told “it’s for you, too!”), but these programs are especially rotten because of the rotten premise of altruism that lurks underneath it. “You should be willing to pay for the care of elderly people, even if it means losing more of your money to taxes. It’s your duty!”
Funny enough, many conservatives seem to vaguely understand that this set up is immoral but cannot bring themselves to call for a complete elimination of the welfare state. Instead, they want to control who can be on welfare in America and who can’t. This may seem a practical approach, but without the moral condemnation of the welfare state, conservatives continue to evade the moral responsibility of protecting individual rights. Even their cries for “no amnesty” belies their true intentions; they seek punishment for illegal immigrants in an attempt to evade the recognition that they seek amnesty from the knowledge that they are afraid to condemn the truly immoral welfare state and call for its elimination.
One of the more incredible complaints is that American citizens are forced to pay for the education of children of illegal immigrants. With this complaint, they evade the fact that they are paying for everyone’s children to get an education in the government school system. Even if you homeschool your own children, your taxes pay for the indoctrination of other children. These people should focus their ire on where it belongs: the intrusion of government into education, via the government (“public”) schools. No criticism of paying for immigrant children carries any weight unless one understands the moral offense of paying for anyone else’s children’s education. Singles and childless couples are paying for the education of other people’s kids. If one doesn’t address this injustice, one has no right to complain about paying for immigrant children.
The main line of attack comes from those who complain, “They broke the law! They should be punished!” This contains a complete misunderstanding of what law is supposed to be in a free society.
The legitimacy of a law depends upon the legitimacy of the government that drafts it. This begs the question: what determines the legitimacy of a government? To put the point a bit crudely, a legitimate government is one that is based on the protection of individual rights. Therefore, its laws must reflect that standard. Any law that infringes on one’s rights (such as gun control laws or gay marriage bans) is therefore illegitimate.
Note that the concept of rights, hierarchically speaking, precedes the concept of “government”. Government is meant to protect rights, which implies that the concept of “rights” must come first - meaning man has rights, and as a result, government’s only legitimate function is to protect those rights. Those who say that illegal immigrants are not “covered by the Constitution” or “do not share the rights that citizens have” are reversing cause and effect. Rights do not come from government, and they are not mystical entities in some etherial realm. Rights are recognitions of man’s existence as a being with a specific nature, a rational animal who must choose to sustain his own life. They are moral principles that sanction man’s freedom to act in a social context.
Immigrants, legally here or not, still fit the description of man. They must still act on the independent, rational judgment of their mind and pursue their self-interested happiness on their own volition. The idea that rights do not exist for one group of people merely because another group chooses not to recognize them does not make the former any less comprised of Man, any less comprised of rational beings who must act of their own volition to sustain and enhance their lives as their nature demands.
The outcry against “amnesty” is the conservative rebellion against the reality of the situation: they still accept the rotten altruistic beliefs that the collectivists on the left hold, right down to their sometimes irrational defense of entitlements. Illegal immigrants are only the scape goat for their misplaced rage, a rage not against illegal activity, but against the subconscious knowledge that they are just as morally culpable as the left when it comes to the current situation. Conservatives must attack the true immorality at the root of this conflict - a government that is operating outside of its proper size and scope and is violating the rights of workers, business owners, and immigrants…and does so with their implicit sanction.