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Under that definition, I would advocate "anti-rule of law".
I assume that's close to the definition Moose is assuming. It is the classical "Tory" position: obey all laws, as they are, and work within the system to change any laws you do not like. To do otherwise is to advocate anarchy. [Not my view, but I'm trying to represent the respect-for-law/rule-of-law view.]

My question about examples of laws that might be broken was aimed at those who support the rule-of-law position. I want to understand what context they assume by understanding what context would be outside their principle.

In past discussions on this topic, rule-of-law advocates have said that places like the Soviet Union would be exempt; their principle assumes the context of a somewhat free society. That's why I wanted to start with the U.S. and understand what the rule-of-law side would say.

Moose: I am not sure if you want the thread to focus on rule-of-law or on illegal immigration. I think we already have a few of the latter, but it's up to you. My personal preference is to address the Martha Stewart situation, drugs, and other such things as well.

However, even if one could make a case that people ought to obey the law, it does not follow that illegals should be thrown out. Finally, I think the right-wingers have adopted the rule-of-law position from political expediency, not from conviction about its primacy over the right of immigration. However, that's a discussion-of-the-moment; the more important question is the one you asked about rule-of-law as such.

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And like their other powers, their power to police the border must be kept limited by the proper function of that power. In this case, stopping poor Mexican immigrants because they are coming and tak

I think drug laws, etc. are a different situation. If you violate a drug law in your own home, then it is not obvious to everyone that the government is not enforcing its own laws. There's really just not a conceivable way of doing it.

In the case of immigration, however, it is so blatantly obvious that the government does absolutely nothing to enforce its own laws. Yes, I do think that this can lead to anarchy. People see that the government won't enforce its own laws and, as a result, start deciding for themselves which laws they want to obey. If everyone were perfectly rational and would only break immoral laws, then fine. But we all know that not everyone is rational and people would break all sorts of laws if given the excuse to do so.

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In the case of immigration, however, it is so blatantly obvious that the government does absolutely nothing to enforce its own laws.
This is so utterly false as to be stunning. I take it that you are not personally acquainted with someone who was arrested, incarcerated and deported for being in the US illegally. Over 100,000 people are forcibly removed from the US by government agents every year for not being in the country legally. If you really think that the government does nothing to enforce those laws, then I don't see how you could possibly think that the government does anything to enforce laws against theft, either.
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I think drug laws, etc. are a different situation. If you violate a drug law in your own home, then it is not obvious to everyone that the government is not enforcing its own laws. There's really just not a conceivable way of doing it.

Most people I know have used drugs or have downloaded music illegally, and with one exception, none have had legal problems. It seems obvious to me (and most other people I presume) that these laws arent being widely enforced,

Edited by Hal
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Moose, So, in principle you are saying this: don't follow immoral laws because they are the law; but, follow them if breaking them would tempt others to break laws as well.

I'd like to concretize this, with some examples.

1) On a tax form, I can claim a certain $ amount as deductions to charity. If I put down large amounts, I need to have proof. However, a small amount is accepted by the authorities without proof. If I assume that taxes are immoral, then -- according to the "break but don't tell" reasoning -- it would be fine to lie to the extent I can get away with it, but it would be wrong to tell my buddy that I did so, because then he would lie on his form too.

The tax example is a little complicated, because one might make the argument that any money "held back" does affect others etc. So, let's take the drug example.

2) Suppose a person does a bit of drugs, and suppose it is illegal for him to do so, but he does it at home and has little chance of being caught. In the typical case his drug-use does support other more visible law-breaking (by sellers of drugs). So, let's assume that he grows or makes his own drugs. So, it is truly a enterprise that involves no others.

All is fine and dandy, by the principle of "break-don't-tell". Now, stir things up and assume the following: a friend mentions that he'd like to do drugs, but is afraid of being caught; this drug-user then tells his friend what he does, and explains how easy it is for him to do so too. Now, ask yourself two questions:

2a) Is it more likely that his friend will break the law too and use drugs? I say the answer is "yes".

2b) Is it more likely that the friend will become a burglar, a bank-robber, and so on? I say the answer is "no".

If you disagree, I'd like to hear your reasoning. If you agree, then it would imply that we need to further refine and limit the argument that "visible law-breaking instigates further law-breaking".

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It is the classical "Tory" position: obey all laws, as they are, and work within the system to change any laws you do not like. To do otherwise is to advocate anarchy.
Very nice summary of rule-of-law.

People see that the government won't enforce its own laws and, as a result, start deciding for themselves which laws they want to obey. If everyone were perfectly rational and would only break immoral laws, then fine. But we all know that not everyone is rational and people would break all sorts of laws if given the excuse to do so.
Hmm. I'm somewhat against this rule-of-law idea, but I'm not totally convinced. A (related?) question for all:

Suppose I am (falsely) accused, and subsequently convicted, of murder. If I have a chance to escape, whether to prove my innocence or simply to get my deserved freedom, ought I not escape, and are there consequences (of influencing others to violate judicial verdicts?) that should be taken into consideration as Moose suggests?

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^^I think the answer to this depends on the nature of the government you live under. In the US, or other Western country with a relatively fair legal system, you should work within the system to appeal your conviction and prove your innocence. If you are in a corrupt or dictatorial country with no chance of fair treatment, I think it would be moral to escape if possible.

As for rule of law, the problem in our society is that the choice is between following all laws as written, or acting, at least slightly, as an anarchist. As the speeding example shows, most of us choose to be partial anarchists. Neither situation--slavish obedience even to bad laws, or widespread civil disobedience--is very good.

From Harry Binswanger's article, Open Immigration

Good article, and I agree with it. This point is why I think we need to be tough on illegal immigrants:

"Entry into the U.S. should ultimately be free for any foreigner, with the exception of criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious diseases."

We need to be able to screen who enters to make sure they are not criminals or terrorists. (The disease issue is fairly minor.) So regardless of our immigration policy, we still need to protect our borders so people cannot just come in whenever they feel like it, with no scrutiny or background checks.

There is another issue that Dr Binswanger does not address: open immigration could flood the US with people who do not share US values. Europe is already having this problem with Muslim immigrants.

Edited by Godless Capitalist
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In the US, or other Western country with a relatively fair legal system, you should work within the system to appeal your conviction and prove your innocence.
Why? For instance, I'd be interested in your answer to the drug-related example that I posed, a couple of posts above.
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I have always had trouble with these kind of issues. Essentially, for me, it boils down to conflict of interest between men created entirely by government economic intervention.

On the one hand immigration is fine because in our perfect capitalist country other people coming here to produce wealth can only increase my standard of living as they buy sell and trade. On the other hand its certainly not in my best interests to allow open immigration because the actuality created by our rampant socialism makes it antithetical to my best interests. The state of california alone spend $5 billion a year on heallth care and $8 Billion a year on free education for illegal immigrants. This of course excludes the amount the federal government spends as well as all the other states. Also any other programs such as food stamps and what not are exclueded. One not aquainted with the circumstance first hand might conjecture that this isn't an actual cost since they pay taxes too. The thing is, they don't-at least not significantly. In construction the circumstance is so well known that it's almost a complete joke. At roofing companies I've worked for, when mid january rolls around you can find a whole basket full of w-2's in the dumpster. They don't file because they don't have too since most are operating with fake ID's. They claim 9 dependents so that virtually nothing is taken out of their check each week. One fellow had his social security number come up as invalid. He said "ok...I be right back, okay?" !*20 MINUTES*! Later he came back with a new drivers license and sociali security card on which Paco was now spelled P-A-C-C-O. After that he was fine.

As a result of this process I have to shell out more every year to balance out this increasing free rider problem. On top of this, because they are not coming here and opening businesses and investing money to increase the wealth of this country, they are have a significant impact on the availability of jobs. Importing 20 million people puts a profound downward pressure on wages when they are not creating new jobs by investment. As a testament to this fact, I have worked in the same profession in Texas, Colorado, and Wisonsin. The same Job that pays $8 an hour in texas, pays $20/hour in colorado and $30/ hour in wisconsin. And lest you think that your safe from this pressure by not having a job in construction or strawberry picking, consider the fact that any legitamate tax paying sort not able to exist and pay uncle scam on $8/ hour has a good incentive to move into work as a salesman or a graphic design artist. And those folks have a good reason to become engineers and lawyers. An increase of labor of this nature has far reaching and unobvious consequences.

So the obvious answer is to eliminate "free stuff" here. Then you can legitamately have open borders. We for all practical purposes have open borders now and it does nothing for us but ensure that this will be the first generation in american history to have a lower standard of living then their parents. So in the meantime I'm not going to support something detrimental to my life.

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^^Agree. Open immigration should not even be considered until governments stop handing out free services like education and health care.

Why? For instance, I'd be interested in your answer to the drug-related example that I posed, a couple of posts above.

Why work within the system? Because what is important is not just your innocence, but that your innocence can be demonstrated by some open and objective process. If everyone just does what they think is right, and ignores the objective legal system, the result is anarchy (even if each person's judgement is in fact rational).

On the drugs question, I generally agree with you. The friend might break the drug laws, but is no more likely to break other laws.

Edited by Godless Capitalist
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On the drugs question, I generally agree with you. The friend might break the drug laws, but is no more likely to break other laws.
If so, breaking an immoral law does not lead to generalized anarchy in practice.

From the drug example, would it not follow, rather, that ignoring an immoral law might encourage people to break that particular immigration law and those related to it. I wouldn't even go so far as to extend it that to all immigration laws. The immigration law is ineffective specifically as relates to the U.S. - Mexican border. Those who break it demonstrate that it can be broken and -- by so doing -- encourage others to break it too.

I don't consider Mexican immigration to be causing a significant problem to the US or to tax-payers -- until someone presents evidence to the contrary. All this hullabaloo is pretty surprising when there is little to show that a problem exists. Nevertheless, to the extent a fix is required, it needs to be applied specifically to immigrants who come across the Mexican border. Since the laws are grossly immoral, any attempt to fix it merely by enforcing existing laws, without any attempt to change them for the better is to fall prey to a classic statist spiral where additional law gets one's support because it protects you from the previous law.

Edited by softwareNerd
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"The state of california alone spend $5 billion a year on heallth care and $8 Billion a year on free education for illegal immigrants."

On the other hand you don't have to pay 30 dollars for a package of strawberries or a 10 dollar service charge to eat at McDonnalds. If you want to evaluate the "economic impact" of immigration you have to look at it from all sides.

A simple bill allowing *anyone* to immigrate to the USA as long as the person is:

1- not a terrorist

2- not a criminal

3- healthy

4- willing to give up the "right" to wellfare (with a proportional tax reduction? Hell people would emmigrate and re-immigrate to get that hehe)

would end the border trouble (only a criminal or terrorist would attempt to gain entry illegally, so one could be much more "assertive" in border patrolling) and would be a boon to the economy.

mrocktor

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I don't consider Mexican immigration to be causing a significant problem to the US or to tax-payers -- until someone presents evidence to the contrary. All this hullabaloo is pretty surprising when there is little to show that a problem exists.

www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html

Here's evidence to the contrary. Although I would like to point out that it is probably superfluos since you can inductively know from a single example that if you provide free services to poor uneducated people, those free services will be used.

And personally I consider that article to be quite lowball as it excludes state, county, and town costs as well as the cost of children born here to illegal immigrants that have legal status. Also, it obviously cannot track all of the instances of fraudulent citizenship which I know exist from extensive first hand experience in the constuction industry. So I consider anything that costs billions of dollars to be 'significant'. I estimate that my personal part of paying for this insignificant problem to be, according to their low estimates, in the $100-$300 dollar range. With amnesty it would triple.

I firmly believe that if you eliminate social programs, this issue of illegal immigration would, by and large, dissappear. In the mean time, since I have to pay for these social programs, I'd rather pay less then more.

Edited by aequalsa
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"The state of california alone spend $5 billion a year on heallth care and $8 Billion a year on free education for illegal immigrants."

On the other hand you don't have to pay 30 dollars for a package of strawberries or a 10 dollar service charge to eat at McDonnalds. If you want to evaluate the "economic impact" of immigration you have to look at it from all sides.

First I highly doubt the difference in cost would be quite that high. Mcdonalds had, and still does have in some areas,the same low prices for value meals where there are teenagers working in them for $6/ hour instead of illegal immigrants.

But secondly and most importantly, if they do cost more, it is because they should cost more. That's what markets do. If these items are significantly cheaper now, it's because they are subsidized for all practical purposes. Not unlike wal-mart who provides it's underpaid employees with documentation to access government free stuff. I personally would rather pay higher prices directly for items I buy then have the costs taken from me indirectly and through the use of force. Especially when you consider the fact that anytime the government does something it costs a minimum of 10X's what it would cost in the market.

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mRocktor is right in pointing out, when someone does not pay taxes, in effect his customers pay less taxes.

I don't think it's reasonable to assume that taxes will come down if all the illegals are sent home. In fact, I think it is a mistake to try to draw a connection between the general tax-level and the general services that the government provides. The link is not a simple mathematical one. In fact, it often works the other way around. Politicians figure out how much they can take from the public -- how much pain can be applied -- and then they figure out how to spend it.

Nevertheless, this -- the burden on the state -- is the single legimitate argument against Mexican immigration. From what I can tell the rule-of-law argument is lacking in substance.

In my experience, there are many young, single men who leave their families behind in Mexico and come across to work in the U.S. These men probably use zero health care and schooling. I wouldn't support any law that ignores this, and simply treats all Mexicans as a single, monolithic class. Even if such a law -- on balance -- were to save me a few hundreds in tax (which I doubt), and even if such a law did not increase the amount I have to spend on various services which such illegals do (which I also doubt) -- I would not support it, because that is no way to negotiate.

The extreme right has blown this issue all out of proportion, creating a sense of crisis. If they get what they want, they will never come back to the table to give the "non-dependent" immigrants what is rightfully theirs.

The best thing that may come out of this whole episode is that California is pushed more solidly into the Democrat camp. Hopefully, a few other states too. We're going to need that in the years to come.

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In my experience, there are many young, single men who leave their families behind in Mexico and come across to work in the U.S. These men probably use zero health care and schooling.

I think, it's safe to say that at least 80-90% of immigrants fit that profile - whether they're from South America, Africa, Asia or Europe (myself included).

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I think, it's safe to say that at least 80-90% of immigrants fit that profile - whether they're from South America, Africa, Asia or Europe (myself included).
I've searched for information about the the age/sex distribution of people detained along the Mexican border, but have not found any. There are some countries (particularly the middle-eastern ones) that allow immigrants who come to work, but do not allow their families in. I think a variation of some such scheme is politically viable in the US.
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"I've searched for information about the the age/sex distribution of people detained along the Mexican border, but have not found any. There are some countries (particularly the middle-eastern ones) that allow immigrants who come to work, but do not allow their families in. I think a variation of some such scheme is politically viable in the US. "-softwarenerd

Following is some statistical evidence regarding demographics of illegal immigrants. Although, once again I think it to be unneccessary since induction gets us there faster. We already know that California spends several billion a year on illegal immigrants free education alone. From that it is fair to also believe that other states spend a good deal on their education-especially border states. So if the government is spending a good deal of our money on their primary education, I would think it safe to assume that some significant percentage of them must be women and children.

Regarding the complexity of tracing the spending on illegal immigrants I disagree completely. The same could be said of any government program. Since I can't directly trace the dollars from my account to theirs, I shouldn't worry about it? Sorry, but i do. Because here is the simple truth of the matter. They consume far more then they pay in taxes. I pay far more then I consume. Ergo, transfer of wealth by gunpoint. That seems like pretty simple math to me. Whether or not they spend it on other programs has no bearing on this matter. I am opposed to ALL socialism. The fact of the matter is, the reasons it gets re-spent is because some people accept the handouts and some people agree to pay. I am guilty of the second part but only because I get a gun in my face if I don't. People who accept free stuff are under no such compulsion.

"Some of the demographic information may surprise people who think the illegal immigrant population consists largely of single young men.

About 36 percent, or 2.3 million, of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants are single men with no children; another 12 percent, or 740,000, are single women with no children. About 540,000, or 9 percent, are couples without kids. According to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of census data, the other 41 percent or so break down into an assortment of "mixed status" families where parents aren't here legally. "

http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=19460

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I have no idea what you mean by "induction", above. Regardless, it does not matter if 1 million, 2 million or 4 miilion of the Mexicans are single men who do not use any significant amount of government services. All that matters is that they are an easily identifiable group and that there is no excuse to keep them out.

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I have no idea what you mean by "induction", above. Regardless, it does not matter if 1 million, 2 million or 4 miilion of the Mexicans are single men who do not use any significant amount of government services. All that matters is that they are an easily identifiable group and that there is no excuse to keep them out.

By induction, I mean that one can learn new specific knowledege about reality from a few examples when those examples are viewed in their context. When causal relationships are apparent, in other words, you can infer that objects in a similiar genus will react in a similiar way to the same affecting objects.

I suppose this will require more research on my part, but I would think, that single men use hospitals and other free services as much as women do. Especially older men. Schools are not the only free social program we provide. We are far more socialist then that here. Medicine, subsidized housing, food stamps, emergency rooms,and prisons(illegal immigrants make up 31% of the population of federal prisons), just to name a few. To really limit it by class in an effective way you would have to limit it to men betwen the ages of say 18-45 with no pre-existing medical conditions, and an agreement to not use said free services while here. I just don't see that as realistic since most don't have an interest in following our laws in the first place-thus the name "illegal immigrant". It's basically saying we want people who pay more in taxes then they use in services.

So this brings me back to my original point. To solve this problem you have to eliminate socialism. Then, fewer people will want to come here and the ones who do will, for the most part, come for the right reasons.

As it stands, this will be a continual drain on the legal people here. Opening borders now in the way you suggest will only exascerbate the problem. You just cant reasonably expect to open the borders to a group who as a whole consumes more then they produce and not have consequences for it. This is precisely the reason that socialism doesn't work. It always attracts the looters and moochers while pushing away entreprenuers.

I cannot move to most of europe(I can live there and spend money-just cant work) for the very same reason. Unlike us, they apparently realize they can't absorb the kind of drain that hordes of poverty stricken illiterate masses that our policies draw. They limit immigration by only allowing in people with certain types of degrees in fields where they need more of them(computers,finance,etc) If you do wish to put parameters on who we allow in, that would make a good deal more sense. We'll take as many computer engineers as they can send our way.

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If we presume that we can control all immigration, then we can presume that we can control a sub-portion of it. The current work-permit program does this by working via an employer, not via the immigrant. That way, it is easier to monitor the fact that a person is working. The folks who are trying to convince us that immigration of poor people is a big problem are just not interested in solving it in a rational and just manner. Some of them are fearful of jobs being taken away, others of culture being eroded.

A good immigration bill would:

  • lay down a means for people to come here and work, at some level of ability to support themselves
  • create effective eligibility requirements for government services
  • enforce border control

If one removes the ulterior motives from either side (one side wants only shut borders, the other wants rules so lax that anyone could break them), the solution is not all that difficult.

President Clinton, and the legislature during his time, demonstrated that simple changes in welfare programs can result in large positve changes. The political will to make such changes does exist. It is merely a question of spending the intellectual energy in the right place.

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Medicine, subsidized housing, food stamps, emergency rooms

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits.

So this brings me back to my original point. To solve this problem you have to eliminate socialism. Then, fewer people will want to come here and the ones who do will, for the most part, come for the right reasons.
People come to the USA because there's litte socialism here - they come here exclusively to work (look up statistics on illegal immigrants employment rate). This is in stark contrast with Europe, where Muslim population is basically living off welfare.

I cannot move to most of europe (I can live there and spend money - just cant work) for the very same reason.

Not true - I don't know why would you want to move to Europe in the first place, but if you wanted to, you'd have very little trouble obtaining work permit, especially coming from the USA. It's the other way around that's almost impossible to accomplish.

They limit immigration by only allowing in people with certain types of degrees in fields where they need more of them(computers,finance,etc) If you do wish to put parameters on who we allow in, that would make a good deal more sense. We'll take as many computer engineers as they can send our way.

Newsflash - it's been done in the US for decades. Read up on H1-B visas. That's pretty much the only legal way (other than marriage), that you can eventually become a citizen.

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