February 16, 2017

There is no immigration right

If someone can give you a thing, it is not a right. If it can be bought or sold it is not a right. A right is a natural ability to pursue a given path: a divine mandate if you prefer. You cannot purchase the right to worship the deity of your choice. No one can grant you the privilege of your political beliefs or speech. You have the natural and divine right to protect yourself and your family. You have the right to pursue happiness (this happiness is not guaranteed, you have the right to strive for it).

There can be no right to health insurance. Nor is there a divine or natural mandate for free housing or food. Thomas Paine was correct when he argued that if a right is given by a government, then it can be taken away by that same government. Then that thing is not a right, but a mere charter.

Let's try this a different way. Say you were transported into a strange land or world. The leaders of the place told you that since you are now in Liberaltopia you must pray five times a day to a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. There is no violence, just a firm insistence on prayer to a can of soup. Do you readily start paying homage to the red and white label merely  because your new neighbors suggested you do so or do you continue with your current religious belief (or non-belief)? No one can force you to adopt their religion. You may go through the outward motions, but your true inner beliefs will not change. This is because religion is a right.

If the same citizens said that it was their custom that you be beaten with a cane every morning after morning prayers, would you bare your back readily and willingly? Would you resist? The right to protect yourself is a natural right.

If the Liberaltopians set you up in a dwelling made of straw and you shared it with the family raccoon you might find it more comfortable to live in a brick house with a pool, but you would insist on living under a bridge unless you got your way? That is how you know it is not a right.

People from Liberaltopia have no natural right to come to Florida, or Texas, Ohio, or Indiana. They have no right for you to provide food or housing or a job. There is no right to free medical care or minimum wages. Those things are nice. They are generous gifts bestowed by society, the state or fellow citizens, but there is no right to have them. You may not come unbidden into my house, my city, my country. That is a privilege I may grant you, but you have no natural right to my stuff or my society.

Spend some time with the works of Locke, Hume, Jefferson, and Paine before you start lecturing me on immigration rights, or the right to not hear speech you disagree with, or whatever the right du jour might be. True rights can never be given nor taken away.

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