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I disagree. That would be due to an improper distinction between interventionism and defensive/retaliatory action. The government is correct in cracking down on trespassers attempting to invade your property because you have the right to exclude people. But you don't have the right to force others to exclude people because you don't own the entire country as private property. Thus the reductio ad absurdum for international immigration restriction applies for interstate immigration restriction, interregional immigration restriction, interlocal immigration restriction, etc.

No one owns the entire country. It is right to exclude terrorists or other criminals, and people with infectious diseases from entering the country. That exclusion is not grounded in anyone owning entire country as private property. Therefore no restriction need be grounded upon anyone owning the entire country.

If we could isolate what principle does justify excluding criminals and people with infectious diseases from entering the country, then we could decide what other cases might be covered by the principle. Whatever that principle might be, a person who enters illegally is by that very fact a criminal and can be excluded.

The principle behind justified exclusion is preemptive force against people who are likely to resort to force themselves, or as in the case of the diseased are involuntarily dangerous. Most illegal entrants are not violent, but being willing to enter illegally constitutes some evidence of lawlessness, and so counts against the person. The standard of evidence is not the criminal court's "beyond a reasonable doubt", but "preponderance of the evidence" because being refused entry is not a punishment.

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It is not easy enough to argue on the meaning of the term license or the plaintiffs would done so and won. There is nothing at all unconventional about the Arizona business licensing process compared

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961):

During the trial:

Ernst Janning: There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. Above all, there was fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, and fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that - can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: 'Lift your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once these devils will be destroyed, your misery will be destroyed.'

It was the old, old story of the sacrifical lamb. What about those of us who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we take part?

Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. Hitler himself will be discarded... sooner or later. The country is in danger. We will march out of the shadows. We will go forward. Forward is the great password.

And history tells how well we succeeded, your honor. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied to us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said 'go ahead, take it, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland - remilitarize it - take all of Austria, take it!

And then one day we looked around and found that we were in an even more terrible danger. The ritual began in this courtoom swept over the land like a raging, roaring disease. What was going to be a passing phase had become the way of life. Your honor, I was content to sit silent during this trial. I was content to tend my roses. I was even content to let counsel try to save my name, until I realized that in order to save it, he would have to raise the specter again. You have seen him do it - he has done it here in this courtroom. He has suggested that the Third Reich worked for the benefit of people. He has suggested that we sterilized men for the welfare of the country. He has suggested that perhaps the old Jew did sleep with the sixteen year old girl, after all. Once more it is being done for love of country. It is not easy to tell the truth; but if there is to be any salvation for Germany, we who know our guilt must admit it... whatever the pain and humiliation.

After the trial:

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood...the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people.... I never knew it would come to that. You *must* believe it, *You must* believe it!

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it "came to that" the *first time* you sentenced a man to death you *knew* to be innocent.

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I agree about the distinction, but you are incorrect in thinking that the very act of breaking a law is different in any essential way from "writing your own laws."

It is. The second would involve me ignoring all all laws, and doing whatever I please, according to a personal code. But please, feel free to identify the common essential characteristic, if you made the claim. You can't just say it is not different in an essential way, and then move on to warning me about the dangers of doing it. Whatever a thing causes is not its essential trait.

If obeying the law means 'obey only those you believe are justified,' then what you lose is a nation of laws and gain is a nation of men. Many men all writing their own laws...Anarchy, in a word.

Anarchy means a state of lawlessness. I'm neither endorsing nor acting as if we are in a state of anarchy. In fact, as far as those laws which are designed to shield society from anarchy are concerned, I am obeying them to the letter, and I am advocating the same for others. So how exactly are my actions or words causing anarchy?

Some stop signs are more important than others but if everyone gets to decide which are worth stopping at they would be fairly ineffectual at stopping accidents. The same is true ...

Again, false analogy. Refusing to obey the rules of the road is violation of rights.

The same is true with this optional legal system which you are advocating. I fully realize that you could get away with breaking any number of laws...people do every day, but in principle they have rejected society(the rest of the law abiding people) as such, and become its enemy.

Straw man. I did not reject society or the laws designed to protect rights. I only rejected fascism, as should you. Submitting to fascism, or advocating for people to do so, does in fact constitute an acceptance of it, in principle.

But I am not anyone's enemy, since I am not taking up arms and fighting them. I will advocate against fascism, and ignore fascist laws whenever possible. And you're right, I am doing it on principle, just as I am upholding proper laws on principle.

If we could isolate what principle does justify excluding criminals and people with infectious diseases from entering the country, then we could decide what other cases might be covered by the principle. Whatever that principle might be, a person who enters illegally is by that very fact a criminal and can be excluded.

The only principle I could identify is that people who are born on Mexican soil, and don't happen to have relatives born in the US, should be barred from entering. Does that still justify treating those who ignore laws built on the principle as criminals?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Government

"A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area." “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 107. [bold added]

"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws." “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 109. [bold added]

Law, Objective and Non-Objective

"All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it." “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 110. [bold added]

"The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures." [bold added]

Statism

"A statist is a man who believes that some men have the right to force, coerce, enslave, rob, and murder others. To be put into practice, this belief has to be implemented by the political doctrine that the government—the state—has the right to initiate the use of physical force against its citizens. How often force is to be used, against whom, to what extent, for what purpose and for whose benefit, are irrelevant questions. The basic principle and the ultimate results of all statist doctrines are the same: dictatorship and destruction. The rest is only a matter of time." “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 47.

'The ideological root of statism (or collectivism) is the tribal premise of primordial savages who, unable to conceive of individual rights, believed that the tribe is a supreme, omnipotent ruler, that it owns the lives of its members and may sacrifice them whenever it pleases to whatever it deems to be its own “good.”' “The Roots of War,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 36.

"The human characteristic required by statism is docility, which is the product of hopelessness and intellectual stagnation. Thinking men cannot be ruled; ambitious men do not stagnate." “Tax-Credits for Education,” The Ayn Rand Letter, I, 12, 1.

Edited by Trebor
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For a governmental entity, a border defines jurisdiction (...) For a private entity, a border defines ownership

That distinction is so fundamental and yet so little understood. If only a majority of people could grasp this...

Therefore, it follows, that one ought to generally keep within the rule of law, unless there is real good reason to do otherwise.

I would restate something that has been said before. The rule of law is primarily a restriction on government. An individual's assessment of whether he should follow a given law, advocate its repeal, secretly break it or flaunt his disobedience is unrelated to the primary objective of the rule of law: restraining government action to previously defined standards.

While a general disrespect for the law leads to proper laws being disrespected alongside immoral laws, this is a feedback mechanism - not a primary cause. A fully moral system of law will have no laws that can be morally broken. While some individuals will choose to break laws, they will be actual criminals and will have no sympathy from the citizenry.

As more and more immoral laws are put into effect, more and more people have ocasion to make the choice of breaking the law at some point - because that law is an impediment to their life and the risk of being caught is worth taking. This lawbreaker will usually have the sympathy of many or even most of the populace. For an example, drive on any freeway and observe the speed of the "flow". General respect for the law breaks down as the general morality of the law breaks down.

Moral law and respect for the law are cause and effect. You don't make the law any more moral by respecting it without question - you do make the law more respected by repealing immoral laws.

Edited by mrocktor
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The proper pupose of government is to protect individual rights by way of protecting individuals from the initiation of the use of force. All proper laws are aimed at protecting rights, NOT at violating rights.

A law that violates individual rights does not meet the requirements of proper law. Though such law may be objective in the sense that it is clear, knowable, understandable (one knows how one's rights are going to be violated, legally), it is not objective in the sense that it entails the initiation of the use of force in violation of rights.

What to do with respect to improper laws depends upon the context, but the individual does have a right to live free from the initiation of force by the government and others. If the government is violating his rights, that means that others are violating his rights.

Edit: And what mrocktor just said.

Edited by Trebor
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Both these positions seem to say: i.e. that keeping to the rule of law is an important consideration, but not primary. Therefore, it follows, that one ought to generally keep within the rule of law, unless there is real good reason to do otherwise. Would this be a good summary of what ~Sophia~ and JASKN are saying. If so, I see your point: i.e. that the rule-of-law is a value that one has to place on the scale of cost-benefit, along with various other values.
That is kind of what I meant. I do agree with following rule-of-law itself on a cost/benefit scale. But that is concerning whether changing the entire residing rule-of-law system is appropriate, or whether one should still try to change laws with current lawmaking procedures; that is, with reason, as Sophia mentioned.

I don't think I could tell when the point has been reached where laws could no longer be changed with reason. Is that when my own personal life is so clogged with law-fighting that I felt the need to advocate an overhaul of the system? Or is it when that point has been reached with the majority of the populace? 25%? I don't know.

Finally, circling back to the topic, in an earlier post, I said that even to the extent that I would adhere to immoral laws, I would not champion stricter enforcement of such laws. ~Sophia~ agreed. Why though? Wouldn't stricter enforcement reduce the extent of law-breaking and thus increase the overall rule of law, with its positive side-effects ?
I, at least, did not mean to advocate blind promotion of the rule-of-law, meaning that I would loudly vocalize disagreement with "putting teeth to" already existing bad laws, and the bad laws themselves. I may even break such laws with the hope of not getting caught, and with a separate cost/benefit analysis. The only principle that I see is that a system of law needs to be in place, and that to take the a la carte approach in principle, even only with bad laws, and then demand that the government follow one's own personal choices is to, by definition, throw out the system and replace it with one's own. If one does not demand that the government follow one's a la carte choices but instead accepts the consequences, that is still upholding the residing rule-of-law system, and not advocating a new one. One would do so with the hope or expectation of those bad laws changing in the near future, through the procedures of the current system. To me, a system is better than no system, until it is not better than no system, and then a new system needs to be put in place.

In the convoluted law system we live in now, I expect there to be constant law-breaking cost/benefit decisions with the general populace. As I said, I have no idea at this time when the law-per-law cost/benefit is to be trumped by the rule-of-law itself cost/benefit decision of whole system upheaval and re-doing.

Edited by JASKN
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Some of you directed some questions at me that merit responses.

Unfortunately I am going to be too busy to respond to them, perhaps for long enough that it would be a moot point to answer as this post seems to be moving fast and furious.

My place is suddenly receiving a lot of unexpected press so no time for online antics.

Just so you know I'm not trying to evade what were some good points made.

Hopefully will be back to arguing with ya'll soon.

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I'm pretty much in agreeance with the points made here. However, Mexico's current situation is a precarious one, and that precarious situation extends to all states currently on its border. The question is, whether the situation surrounding Mexico, the border, and the cartels hopping back and forth across the borders justifies the type of action that Arizona has taken. As both QuoVadis and I have touched on, there are some serious happenings going on in that area far beyond the normal shenanigans associated with the welfare state. Serious enough to warrant some type of action IMO, even though(if) this isn't the right one.

It is not the right one. It is a non sequitur to identify a free-ranging right of a nation to exclude anyone it wishes as the proper basis of retaliation against murder, trespass on private land, and other actual transgressions. To the extent that Arizona has identified a real problem, it has created a solution fundamentally unrelated to it.

If the immigration law were tailored to apply only to those who commit (or threaten to commit) actual wrongs, then that would be justifiable IMO. That law would be fundamentally different from the one enacted by Arizona.

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The rule of law is primarily a restriction on government.

It is the restriction on the use of force in social relationships. It is both by the 1) government vs. the individual and 2) between individuals. It is a mistake to ignore the significance of the second as you have done.

The second after all is the very reason why men do need a government in a first place.

An individual's assessment of whether he should follow a given law, advocate its repeal, secretly break it or flaunt his disobedience is unrelated to the primary objective of the rule of law: restraining government action to previously defined standards.

This follows based on your reasoning but it is false given my explanation above.

A fully moral system of law will have no laws that can be morally broken. While some individuals will choose to break laws, they will be actual criminals and will have no sympathy from the citizenry.

No disagreement there. It is however not the reality today that there is no conflict. This abnormal if you will situation exists.

You don't make the law any more moral by respecting it without question

No one here has claimed such a thing.

you do make the law more respected by repealing immoral laws.

This is true for you and me.

But an altruist won't respect the law more on that level when you repel the kind of laws me and you consider immoral. I live in today's real context. People of different moral views are around me and when I succeed at eliminating immoral laws I want them to obey that rule of law. The source of the of government’s authority is the consent of the governed.

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This is true for you and me.

But an altruist won't respect the law more on that level when you repel the kind of laws me and you consider immoral. I live in today's real context. People of different moral views are around me and when I succeed at eliminating immoral laws I want them to obey that rule of law. The source of the of government’s authority is the consent of the governed.

This all goes to Miss Rand's point: "The present state of the world is not the proof of philosophy’s impotence, but the proof of philosophy’s power. It is philosophy that has brought men to this state—it is only philosophy that can lead them out." Ayn Rand, "For the New Intellectual," For the New Intellectual, 50.

Proper, moral, laws do not initiate force, do not violate individual rights; they protect them. When proper laws are obeyed and enforced, no one's rights are violated, everyone's rights are respected and protected. In demanding, by force of law, that citizens obey the law, proper, rights-respecting, law, no one is forced to do anything but abstain from initiating force against other individuals.

That's not true with laws that flow from altruism.

The problem is convincing others of this. Our hope lies in the fact that all those who need to learn this are in fact individual, living human beings with the same requirement that their rights be recognized.

What a mess!

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It is. The second would involve me ignoring all all laws, and doing whatever I please, according to a personal code. But please, feel free to identify the common essential characteristic, if you made the claim. You can't just say it is not different in an essential way, and then move on to warning me about the dangers of doing it. Whatever a thing causes is not its essential trait.

Laws are created by law makers, who, are granted this monopolistic charge by the consent of those they govern. You, Jake Ellison, making his own personal decision about what laws are moral and ought to be followed necessarily means that everyone else is right to do the same regardless of how well they reason or base their law preferences on individual liberties. You cannot justly say 'that I will only follow the laws that I agree with but others must follow them all,' unless you were literally responsible for the creation of the law. Choosing to regard or not regard laws at will means that you are not bound by the law of the nation where you reside, which means that you exist in a state of anarchy or state of war with regard to the government. Necessarily, disobeying ANY laws of a government is an act of defiance of their authority. Occasionally, "in the course of human events," this becomes necessary, but usually it is not.

Anarchy means a state of lawlessness. I'm neither endorsing nor acting as if we are in a state of anarchy. In fact, as far as those laws which are designed to shield society from anarchy are concerned, I am obeying them to the letter, and I am advocating the same for others. So how exactly are my actions or words causing anarchy?

You really are not. The fact that you personally see some laws as conducive to shielding society from anarchy doesn't mean, necessarily that they do or do not. I do not believe that we are looking at the same level of abstraction with this. You keep insisting that, basically, you only break bad laws. The morality of a law is incredibly important in the process of making, altering, and abolishing laws, but almost totally irrelevant in the context of your behavior under the law.

For example, I could make a case that the increased violence at the border by the drug cartels implies that Mexico has become, in parts of their territory at least, a failed state. As such, the US could properly consider ourselves to be in a state of war, not with the mexican government itself, but with the drug regimes who control their northern territories. Because if this security issue, not only is it proper for our government to stop everyone near this de facto war zone, but to even shoot on site any illegal crossings. I personally don't believe we are at that point, YET, but we are heading that way fairly quickly. Is it a violation of rights? Sure, in a normal context, but not a state of war or civil disobedience.

A states primary goal has to be survival or it won't exist to preserve rights at all. That means to protect itself internally from those who break the law and externally at it's borders. If people choose freely to obey only the laws they agree with or if borders are not regulated, it is not carrying out its job of preserving the rights of those in its territory(and only those in its territory). The government uses laws to protect rights. Law and law enforcement is the tangible way this occurs. In short, the essential principal in anarchy is disregard for the law. No exceptions. Occasional disregard for the law is only less anarchy. They are the same in essentials. In the same way that income tax is the elimination of your rights. It's not the elimination of all of them, but it does eliminate, at the least your right to property and some of your right to liberty.

Again, false analogy. Refusing to obey the rules of the road is violation of rights.
In your opinion; Not mine. There are many stop signs I have come across which I could ignore and be certain of putting no one at risk. I'm not daft. I know which signs are safe to run and which aren't. I'm only going to run the ones that will demonstrably not "violate anyone else's rights."

Straw man. I did not reject society or the laws designed to protect rights. I only rejected fascism, as should you. Submitting to fascism, or advocating for people to do so, does in fact constitute an acceptance of it, in principle.

Fair enough. To be more precise, it is a rejection of the US government and all those who attempt to obey it's laws. In breaking them, you become their enemy, though not society's generally.

But I am not anyone's enemy, since I am not taking up arms and fighting them. I will advocate against fascism, and ignore fascist laws whenever possible. And you're right, I am doing it on principle, just as I am upholding proper laws on principle.

In this I have no major argumentative disagreement with you so long as you also advocate cheating on your taxes, defrauding welfare programs, operating businesses without licensing and all other means of action possible against the government. I take it as an admission, though, that in your opinion, reasoned argument within our government is no longer feasible and that only violence and law breaking are going to elicit change for the better. Is that accurate?

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Laws are created by law makers, who, are granted this monopolistic charge by the consent of those they govern.

The consent of the governed to do what? To violate their rights? No such thing. Consent to the violation of one's rights is a contradiction; can't be done. Rights are inalienable.

For example, I could make a case that the increased violence at the border by the drug cartels implies that Mexico has become, in parts of their territory at least, a failed state. As such, the US could properly consider ourselves to be in a state of war, not with the mexican government itself, but with the drug regimes who control their northern territories. Because if this security issue, not only is it proper for our government to stop everyone near this de facto war zone, but to even shoot on site any illegal crossings. I personally don't believe we are at that point, YET, but we are heading that way fairly quickly. Is it a violation of rights? Sure, in a normal context, but not a state of war or civil disobedience.

The chickens do come home to roost.

A states primary goal has to be survival or it won't exist to preserve rights at all. That means to protect itself internally from those who break the law and externally at it's borders.[bold added]

With that, "a states primary goal has to be survival" you have surrender individual rights completely. You have placed the state above the individual. The states primary goal is to protect individual rights. You have flip morality on its head.

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The consent of the governed to do what? To violate their rights? No such thing. Consent to the violation of one's rights is a contradiction; can't be done. Rights are inalienable.

No, no, no. The consent of the govern to write and enforce laws that they will obey. Meaning they give up their right to enforce their own laws. To never judge, retaliate or punish others but to leave that process to an objective uninvolved agent-the government. To operate within the confines of the law(within the context of reasoned discussion) to ameliorate injustice they perceive.

The chickens do come home to roost.

Are you saying that US citizens deserve to be kidnapped in Arizona for some reason?

With that, "a states primary goal has to be survival" you have surrender individual rights completely. You have placed the state above the individual. The states primary goal is to protect individual rights. You have flip morality on its head.

No, it's a realist perspective regarding application and process. Individual rights come way before that.

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You really are not. The fact that you personally see some laws as conducive to shielding society from anarchy doesn't mean, necessarily that they do or do not.

Great. If we're back to not acknowledging the difference between laws that protect individual rights and laws that don't, then I'm out.

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Great. If we're back to not acknowledging the difference between laws that protect individual rights and laws that don't, then I'm out.

I've acknowledged that more than half a dozen times and repeatedly pointed out at what level of analysis it is relevant and what level it is not. But just the same I'm not real interested in repeating myself when you ignore most of my arguments or teaching a basic civics class, so adieu, Mr. Ellison.

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No, no, no. The consent of the govern to write and enforce laws that they will obey. Meaning they give up their right to enforce their own laws. To never judge, retaliate or punish others but to leave that process to an objective uninvolved agent-the government. To operate within the confines of the law(within the context of reasoned discussion) to ameliorate injustice they perceive.

The meaning of the phrase "the consent of the governed" is the consent of the individual to delegate his own right of self-defense to the government so that the use of retalitory force is under objective control. It is not a consent of obedience to laws that violate one's rights.

Certainly, if and when the government does violate rights, then some or all are forced to obey laws that violate their rights. That's obedience, not consent. Obedience at the point of a gun. Should they obey? They have no choice; they are forced to obey. Force and consent are mutually exclusive; rape and consensual intecourse are mutually exclusive.

Every individual, in a sense, is hiring the government to act as their agent in self-defense, not to violate the rights of others, and not to have their own rights violated.

Individuals Rights: '“Rights” are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.' “Man’s Rights,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 92. [Emphasis added]

Are you saying that US citizens deserve to be kidnapped in Arizona for some reason?

I'm saying that if you sanction the violation of the rights of others, you are cutting your own throat. What principle are you going to invoke when others initiate force against you? The principle of individual rights? How can you do that if you have rejected that principle.

No, it's a realist perspective regarding application and process. Individual rights come way before that.
It is as valid a perspective as "too big to fail" with respect to businesses. You used the word "primary," saying that a "states primary goal has to be survival or it won't exist to preserve rights at all." The reverse is true: If a state doen't preserve rights, it will self-destruct. "Primary" is not the same as important. Primary means above anything else. In this case, if the primary purpose of the state is its survival, then individual rights are subordinate to that primary purpose, and therefore cease to exist, replaced by permissions from the state. Edited by Trebor
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I'm saying that if you sanction the violation of the rights of others, you are cutting your own throat. What principle are you going to invoke when others initiate force against you? The principle of individual rights? How can you do that if you have rejected that principle.
I think the crux of the disagreement between the two sides in this thread is this: when to violate bad laws -- immigration laws, as it relates to this thread, but also more broadly any bad laws. I don't think anyone here is advocating a violation of individual rights, in principle at least, by a government.

One side seems to say that as soon as a bad law is enacted, that is the exact moment it is moral to break it. The other side, which I am on, seems to say that breaking a law is not moral because it negates the entire system of law itself -- "Law" meaning the whole system under which people voluntarily submit in order to have a third party protect their rights against the force of others, even if that system temporarily has unjust, immoral laws which do not protect rights and even violate them. This second side believes that if one does not use the current government to straighten itself out, one is declaring that the current government/system of law is totally unjust and needs replaced.

Still a third side (softwareNerd?) seems to be saying that bad laws may be broken depending on their overall effect on the country and what kind of influence they have on others to also break laws (good or bad), but that you had better do a cost/benefit analysis for yourself first, as principled as you can make it, and that there may be no great way to draw the lines (that is, to draw a principle).

Is there someone in this thread who takes a different side than those listed? If anyone fits well into those sides, would you care to address those few differences to your side in order to justify your argument as clearly as you can (unless you feel you already have, of course)?

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Is there someone in this thread who takes a different side than those listed?
That appears exhaustive as far as the "rule of law" argument goes. On immigration, I think that some in the thread (Maximus?) would argue that actual U.S. immigration law is not as immoral as others make it out to be.

Generally, I see two variants of this (the law is not all bad) argument: the first is that immigration laws ought to keep a certain "balance" of population. There are hints of this in some arguments made here, but no clear-cut defense. The second is that the current immigration laws are sensible in our context.

In fact, I think that last is the strongest argument against open immigration. I think it is a far stronger argument than the rule-of-law argument when it comes to clamping down on illegal immigrants.

Though I disagree, I think it is easy to understand the argument, which goes as follows: in our mixed economy, it is common to have laws breed other laws. Removing one without doing something about another can make things worse. For instance, imagine we were a decade in the past, and that the bodies that regulate Cable removed all rules controlling cable-rates, but kept the rules enforcing cable monopolies. Or, more relevant today, imagine that the FDIC was kept in place, guaranteeing bank deposits, but all government controls were removed on how banks could deploy those deposits.

In the same vein, some people argue that in the context of what changes in welfare etc. are politically possible today (even at the most optimistic) rather strict restrictions on immigration must be kept in place, and most current ones enforced.

BTW, this is not the argument that the typical GOP folks make. If they did, we'd be well on our way to radically good change. Rather it is an argument that many Objectivists and libertarians make, and I think it is the best of all the arguments for keeping restrictions in place, and trying to enforce most of them. I disagree; I think any change to immigration law or enforcement is only good if it has elements of progress, not simply of enforcement or further tightening. In addition, at the Federal level, only such a bill -- that gives something to both sides -- has a chance of becoming law.

Edited by softwareNerd
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The only principle I could identify is that people who are born on Mexican soil, and don't happen to have relatives born in the US, should be barred from entering. Does that still justify treating those who ignore laws built on the principle as criminals?

Excluding criminals and people with infectious diseases is something Binswanger approves of in his article on immigration. He also argues that foreigners should not be excluded simply for being foreign. Evading a justifiable criminal background check and medical exam would itself be wrong. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

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The only principle I could identify is that people who are born on Mexican soil, and don't happen to have relatives born in the US, should be barred from entering. Does that still justify treating those who ignore laws built on the principle as criminals?

Excluding criminals and people with infectious diseases is something Binswanger approves of in his article on immigration. He also argues that foreigners should not be excluded simply for being foreign. Evading a justifiable criminal background check and medical exam would itself be wrong. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

I agree. I think I should've read a little further back into the thread, I thought you were referring to the current illegal immigrants in Arizona. But your statement does not actually imply they are criminals, that was my mistake.

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I agree with what you are saying here Grames, because that action entails defensive/retaliatory force (in regards to the outlaws and diseased attempting to gain passage.) However, the original comment tbat was made involving the reductio ad absurdum was in reference to interventionism (in regards to requiring educational backgrounds or "merit based" entry.) So, while it is your right to discriminate in such ways on your property, it is not your right to discriminate in such ways for other owners via government force. (So the reductio ad absurdum for interregional and interlocal restrictions holds.)

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