What I’m going to say about Chandran Kukathas’s latest book, Immigration and Freedom, does not constitute a book review. Think of it instead as a book alert. Even having read only the preface and a couple of chapters, I am confident it is a book that fans of liberty will be interested in. You can tell by the title.
The Biden administration has taken to frequently asserting its intention to return — versus the Trump administration’s departure therefrom — to something called a “rules-based international order.”
Louis XIV had hundreds of servants who prepared him dinner. Today, my supermarket offers me a buffet Louis XIV couldn’t imagine. Thanks to trade and property rights and markets, each of us lives as if we had more servants than kings. We also live longer.
When you walk around, you see no economy. It is not a thing like a machine, a building, or a vehicle. When we say economy, we mean individual persons acting in a series of continuing and more or less regular relationships that involve money in transformation of stuff from less-useful to more-useful forms, as consumers view things. Government officials don’t regulate an economy; they regulate individuals–us!–thereby interfering with our lives, liberties, purposes, and pursuit of happiness.
When discussion turns to how to make government “better,” however any particular person would conceive that condition, libertarians understand that we are in the fraught world of second-bests. In other words, because of the nature of the state, no solution that merely attempts to reform it will be or could be truly satisfying. The system will continue to feature exploitation, rent-seeking, public-choice and knowledge problems, and worse.
Now that we correctly understand Hsieh-Moretti’s results, let’s put them in context.
The last 25 years have delivered amazing economic and technological progress for humanity. *Political* progress, in contrast, is hard even to detect during this period.
In 1943, as collectivist policies were ascendant, an extraordinary thing happened. Three women published three books that year that would jolt Americans from their socialist stupor and remind them of the fundamental American values of individual liberty, limited government, free-market capitalism, and entrepreneurship. This Women’s History Month is an ideal time to reflect on how Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand helped to catalyze the 20th century libertarian movement.
As the Cato Institute’s David J. Bier notes, “Biden has been in office for less than a month. Many people keep saying ‘give him time.’ But what’s concerning isn’t that Biden hasn’t ‘gotten around to immigration yet.’ It’s that he has, and is intentionally choosing to perpetuate one of the worst immigration regimes in American history.”
Responsible people who have worthwhile principles have to accept that they have no right to violate others just because they have (or believe they have) a good goal in mind.