Ron Paul: Activist Government Cannot Provide Liberty
By Daily Bell Staff - December 14, 2015

Larry Kudlow: I've Changed. This Is War. Seal the Borders. Stop the Visas … A hardline shift from an immigration reformer. I know this is not my usual position. But this is a war. Therefore I have come to believe there should be no immigration or visa waivers until the U.S. adopts a completely new system to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country. A wartime lockdown. And a big change in my thinking. ISIS and related Islamic terrorists are already here. More are coming. We must stop them. Until FBI director James Comey gives us the green light, I say seal the borders. – National Review

Dominant Social Theme: Shut the borders. Shut 'em down. That's the way to control terrorism.

Free-Market Analysis: As more and more incidents of terrorism afflict the West, we will probably see more articles like this one from Larry Kudlow, renouncing previous positions on immigration and calling for more severe actions.

Fortunately, Ron Paul has just published a column that can help us rebut Larry Kudlow's point of view. Paul points out that government programs do not deliver on their promise of security even as they reduce liberty and increase authoritarianism.

Another point ought to be made about such programs, which is that they also degrade the economy and reduce prosperity. The more difficult it is for businesses to function, the fewer jobs will be created. Entrepreneurial activity will suffer as well. Government can use various federal policies to enhance sociopolitical and cultural control, often in ways that are detrimental to free markets.

For instance, Kudlow wants to reduce and even "pause" immigration. But currently, governments in both the US and Europe are using immigration as a tool to reshape domestic culture.

Ideally, as we've long pointed out, a specific region would be composed of private property and thus government would not be in the position of creating an "immigration policy." People would immigrate based on landholder needs.

But such is not the case with today's immigration and thus immigration is very much the result of political policy. And there can be little doubt that the Obama administration is interested in using immigration to change the US's cultural texture.

In Europe it is much the same. Immigration is intended to vitiate culture and ensure that what we have called the "tribes of Europe" have less cohesion and thus less impact in slowing the expansion of the Union and its assumption of new powers.

There is another reason to pursue aggressive immigration if you want to reduce the impact of the private sector on the government policy. The EU has a North-South divide in which the "North" is a good deal more productive than the "South." It is perfectly possible that Brussels seeks to make Europe's North less efficient with the additional immigration and the social difficulties that can come in its wake.

Many in the US suspect something similar, with mass immigration from Latin America eroding wages, benefits and what's left of the clout of private (non government) unions. Certainly aggressive immigration can set communities against each other and raise the level of citizen polarization and suspicion.

For this reason, both in the US and Europe, the "central government" is not apt to close borders. Immigration provides government with a powerful tool for shaping society and one that politicians will forego only reluctantly.

Of course, Larry Kudlow surely understands that his suggestions will only be adopted reluctantly, if at all. But he makes it clear that he believes in his solution, regardless. He writes:

Here's what we must do: Completely reform the vetting process for immigrants and foreign visitors. Change the screening process. Come up with a new visa-application review process. Stop this nonsense of marriage-visa fraud. And in the meantime, seal the borders. I agree with Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, who argued many of these points in excellent detail on the National Review website on Friday.

… We are at war. That changes everything. Let me emphasize that my support for wartime immigration restrictions is not based on religion. I think Donald Trump made a big mistake here. Instead, I agree with this Rupert Murdoch tweet: "Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense."

Kudlow's approach would have its own economic impacts, making it more difficult for businesses to find qualified people abroad to work domestically and exposing industry to even more red tape. It would probably make the lives of existing immigrants more difficult.

Contrast Kudlow's approach with Ron Paul's latest column on immigration and security from terrorism, entitled "If You Want Security, Pursue Liberty." His point is that open, rather than closed, societies are better able to ensure the kind of safety that citizens desire and expect.

Ron Paul points out that Barack Obama's final year "will be marked by increased militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home." The president is demanding that anyone on the federal government's terrorist watch list be forbidden from purchasing a firearm. Ron Paul writes:

There has never been a mass shooter who was on the terrorist watch list, so this proposal will not increase security. However, it will decrease liberty. Federal officials can have an American citizen placed on the terrorist watch list based solely on their suspicions that the individual might be involved in terrorist activity.

Individuals placed on the list are not informed that they have been labeled as suspected terrorists, much less given an opportunity to challenge that designation, until a Transportation Security Administration agent stops them from boarding a plane. Individuals can be placed on the list if their Facebook or Twitter posts seem "suspicious" to a federal agent.

You can also be placed on the list if your behavior somehow suggests that you are a "representative" of a terrorist group (even if you have no associations with any terrorist organizations). Individuals can even be put on the list because the FBI wants to interview them about friends or family members!

Ron Paul points out that the terrorist watch list is riddled with mistakes. Members of Homeland Security and even several members of Congress have been placed on the list. And getting off is very difficult.

Additionally, such lists give the IRS and FBI enormous power and anyone who looks at US history ought to be well aware that both agencies along with others have abused their power in the past.

There is no evidence, Ron Paul writes, that expanded government surveillance has prevented even one government attack. The French mass surveillance system is far more intrusive than the US one, but it didn't stop the recent mass attacks. It also didn't prevent guns from getting into the hands of "terrorists" – though it did ensure their victims were unarmed.

"Americans will have neither liberty nor security," he writes, "until they abandon the fantasy that the US government can provide economic security, personal security, and global security. "

The economic impacts of the kind of authoritarian moves that Obama is planning cannot be underestimated. The more government expands surveillance powers, the more it retards the ability of the private sector to function smoothly and efficiently. Red tape and regulations create further problems.

Additionally, the kind of immigration policies now being pursued in Europe and the US are having a negative impact as well. Kudlow, Trump and others certainly have a point that a reduction or even a pause in immigration might help the US's security situation, though it can also be said that government actions of any kind will not necessarily prove effective when faced with determined terrorism.

Within this context, Ron Paul's perspective that the US should stop its overseas adventurism is probably the most sensible approach of all. If one stops making enemies, then terrorism will subside. So far, the West's military adventurism seems to be expanding rather than contracting.

After Thoughts

Countries that utilize the power of government aggressively will reduce prosperity as well as security. Unfortunately, this is a trend in the West and one reason we suggest that those seeking other places to live look in regions outside of the West. Perhaps this trend will be reversed but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

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  • ZebBlanchard

    “Federal officials can have an American citizen placed on the terrorist watch list based solely on their suspicion that the individual might be involved in terrorist activity.”

    SPLC is the watchdog for DOJ on all things terrorist. They have branded veterans as potential domestic terrorists. Does this mean that veterans will all eventually end up on this list? One wonders what the scenario might be when it came time to confiscate the weapons of these thousands of “potential domestic terrorists”?

    • The list is useless. It simply provides a pretext for further government interference

      • Praetor

        Totally, useless.

    • Blank Reg

      They (Soviet Poverty Law Center) also branded everyone (like me) who gave the Ron Paul campaign money a potential domestic terrorist. Those people are insane.

    • john cummins

      and homeschoolers, and ron paulers, and prolifers, all were on their hit list

  • Howard Bernbaum

    While Ron Paul usually gives good advice, he is a Libertarian and believes in open borders despite the reality of actual conditions. The US warfare government ignited this radical Islamic movement and the reality is, there are terrorists who seek revenge. They have struck already and likely will do so again numbering many innocent victims as a result of our governments inability or unwillingness to provide homeland security.
    I agree immigration generally is good for a country in many ways. However thaat does not include folks whose speecialty is camel driving and/or killing innocent people. For the good of the country we should choose qualified ambitious folks who wwant to improve their lives and simultaneously improve their adopted country. Murder, as an ambition, is not acceptable.

    • Yes, well, we tend to like libertarians here at The Daily Bell. (BTW, he is not Libertarian; he is libertarian.)

      To the point, your position is that if the US shuts the border to “camel drivers” and leaves it open to “qualified ambitious folks” that will end blowback attacks in the US. Given the estimated million people on the US’s terrorist watch list and the utter lack of effectiveness of having that list, who will determine whether potential immigrants with to “improve their adopted country” or just murder Americans? Is there some government agency that you think will be able to effectively handle that task? (Is there a government agency that effectively handles ANY task?)

    • john cummins

      Howard, Ron Paul’s viewpoint on the borders is that of the forefathers. It is also the Biblical viewpoint. Listen and learn, 6 hours worth.

      • lulu

        Evidently the forefathers did not know everything nor were they dealing with people from a perspective so distinctly different both culturally and religiously. A biblical perspective is what we have mostly been taught to follow here in North America when it suits our Oligarchs. That does not make it Reasonable or correct and in particular in a different time and under completely different circumstances. At this moment of apparent volatility, regardless of how it has come to pass, correct action seems a ‘crap shoot’.

  • natural human

    Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan
    google it

  • All these fine ideas don’t address the scale and depth of deception that is operating the perceptions, choices and reactions of our times. For better or worse it is mind breaking – or at least the breakdown of the current personality construct. If we let fear bait us into reaction, we trade liberty for an evaporation. There’s a consciousness level beneath the surface reality. There cant be any real freedom in a surface reality that is divorced from its own consciousness – only a passing show. However, the old paradigm usurps consciousness of wholeness of being for the prevailing of power over one’s being – not unlike a parasite passing off as your own thinking, emotions and interpreter of experience.
    If people cant tell the difference, do they deserve an educational awakening? That’s not the point. The point is that I don’t care to cultivate and strengthen hateful cynicism in myself by accepting and validating it in others. There is an awareness now that perceptions are manipulated and ‘consent’ engineered, but the same territory will yield positive and life-affirming insight if it is not merely exploited and plundered as leverage for undermining the Life in others so as to seem to have or use power taken from them.
    But because such power is almost the only ‘game’ we know, our minds are predicated upon it – and the sacrifice it demands and makes religion of, IS the loss of power in the attempt to ‘get it’ from a place of fearfully defined sense of self-lack.
    Therefore uncovering and embodying a true consciousness responsibility is not already asserting a competing ‘identity’ – but discerns the true nature of the event or relationship it is engaging in.
    It may seem a truism to say you are free to be who you are – but it is a true evolutionary act when we move past old conditioning to awaken fresh insight.
    Freedom of the mind exclusively identified in the body is not freedom – but the usurping of liberty under the guise of ‘control’ and ‘protection’ from ‘out of control’ that is all to easily ‘false-flagged’ in projected blame by which the ego sense of Self believes it has escaped consequence for action – and has thus become self-determining in his own right. And suffers to be subjected to this power he thought he wanted – to be Over Life and use it for private gratification. What goes around, comes around.
    But there is always another way of looking at anything – where there is the willingness to receive a fresh take in place of a mis take.
    The winter geese are flying over…a reality check 😉

  • Praetor

    Governments are the enemy, governments views all citizens as enemy combatants. Governments are at war with the people, governments are fighting for their survival, and use every means at their disposal to survive. Governments are a non-productive entity and of no value. We the people produce and construct, the governments reduce the productive capabilities of the people and destruct that which is constructed, they steal the production of its citizens and apply it to non-productive ventures that continually needs more funding from it citizens. Governments are the greatest mass killers on earth. Governments have no value of any kind and most be put back in the cave from where it came. We are all on the governments ‘watch list’, that is the only thing they produce. ‘NAZI’s’. Government a negative in positive world!!!

    • john cummins

      Reminds me of the organization PAT, parents as teachers, from Missouri (where else?), that places ALL children entering into k-12 state schools into 1 of 12 categories of mentally ill, the 12th being miscellaneous. IOW, ALL Children enter government schools mentally ill.

  • Blank Reg

    Trump is crazy as a fox. Turns out 63% of latino voters don’t want Muslim refugees here, either. So now he’ll get them back in his corner out of Fear of the Other, and forget all that he said about a Wall. And Kudlow is playing right into his hands.

  • Jim Kluttz

    DB: “Immigration provides government with a powerful tool for shaping society and one that politicians will forego only reluctantly.”

    See the definition of hubris. How government thinks it can control the shaping of society through immigration is beyond me. Most importantly how can mixing in a civilization having a completely different set of laws and a completely different underlying motivation be controlled? These sadly misinformed governments will eventually and inexorably be thrown out of power and made second class citizens along with the rest of us. What are they (western governments thinking)?

    And while I’m on the subject, the west itself, after inventing one idiotic idea after another, including but not limited to Keynesianism, communism, fascism, populism, Peronism, national socialism, socialism, regulatory democracy, puritanism, government schools, etc., has proven that it has no reality based underlying principles and/or motivations. This is the mark of a loser.

  • I see the terrorist threat being the manufactured excuse simply to set-up the systems of authoritarian control which, when complete and fully in place, will be instantly turned inwards against the indigenous population to stifle descent and police a highly punitive tax and fines system.

  • Bruce C.

    I haven’t retired yet but if I were I would work to put FBI and CIA agents on the suspected terrorist lists. Make them deal with the mire too. “You reap what you sow” and I’m the last guy who will ever try to circumvent that kind of sweet justice.

    That said, I think whoever wrote this article is naive to think that just stopping US overseas adventurism will stop domestic terrorism. Islam is a really stupid and perverse political system (not a religion). But even if you don’t want to accept that for whatever reason then realize that the Islamic “religion” is imperialistic to say the least.

    The “Native” American Indians struggled with the imperialism of the “European white men” and now the later is getting an aspect of the same from “Middle Eastern brown men.”

    I disagree with R. Paul that an activist government necessarily precludes liberty for et al. Where does this idea come from that individual’s beliefs don’t matter, especially religious ones, that are based only on faith? Islam is an awful belief system. (Christianity/Judaism is an embarrassment too but it’s not THAT stupid.) Excluding Muslims is like excluding retards (no offense to the truly handicapped).