Phil Coates and Bill Nevin -- Thanks for your comments! You bring a thoughtful approach to a thread that started not with a mature discussion of immigration questions but with dishonest accusations. I'll add some philosophical points that differentiate many libertarians from Objectivists.
1) We Objectivists understand that a free society, with limited government, can only be sustained in a culture based on a moral code of rational self-interest.
2) The values of a culture are not "out there" or in disembodied abstractions. They exist only in the assumptions, expectations, beliefs, priorities, moral sensibilities, emotions and moral habits, reinforced through practice and interactions with others, of real flesh and blood individuals that are share with others.
3) To understand why we don't have a free society with very limited government is to understand these values and how they are manifest and maintained in the culture and various institutions which, of course, help determine how individuals vote, what political appeals work on them, and what sort of limits on liberty individuals are willing to tolerate.
4) Thus, while I have written a lot about America as a country founded by immigrants and about the strengths they -- including my own Italian family members -- bring to this country as they pursue their self-interest, it is legitimate to ask "What are the effects of a completely open border on the culture of freedom?" A century ago many Americans said that Italians and other Catholics would bring an authoritarian, alien influence into this country. While the concern was legitimate, it was also mistaken.
I suspect that other countries with poorer track records of assimilating immigrants and with lot of immigrants from Muslim countries have more serious problems than we do in terms of the effects of immigrants on culture, especially political culture, the Netherlands, for example. (See my recent piece that deals with this matter and was posted on SOLO: http://solohq.com/Spirit/News/1005.shtml .)
5) The values of immigrants are important. As I've written for those who will but read, before the welfare state immigrants were a self-selected group of just the people we'd want in this country. a) They were dissatisfied with lives of poverty or repression in their own countries. b) They realized they had to get off their butts and do something to change the situation. c) They had to use their wits and their brains to figure out how to get here, find jobs, etc. And d) they were risk-takers because the alternative was to abandon all hope.
While it's preferable that the government not run schools at all, it's better to have government schools not promote multicultural crap that indoctrinates individuals -- immigrants and natives -- to think of themselves not as individuals but as members of accidental groups, that teaches them to think for themselves rather than to swallow the leftist victimhood, envy-based vitriol. It would be far better if governments not have every manner of program based on ethnic entitlement, quotas and the like that teach individuals to think of themselves as barnyard animals rather than unique individuals. Immigrants, because they are initially outsides, are especially vulnerable to this poison.
Ultimately it's through private efforts that the cultural should be changed but we at least want the governments to do no harm so that they don't kill what makes immigrates so welcomed.
6) Today it is legitimate also to ask about the affects of immigration in light of the fact that we have a paternalistic welfare state that encourages individuals, native born or foreign, to abrogate responsibility for their own lives while foisting the costs of irresponsibility on productive individuals and that fosters in adults envy and the moral habits of petulant children. (Phil's point about the horrific situation in black communities in this country points to this fact as well as to the need for a moral and cultural challenge as a means to change the political reality.)
Clearly the combination of a good thing -- immigrants coming to this country for economic opportunity and civil liberties -- with a bad thing, the welfare state, has lead to the shutting of hospitals, higher welfare bills and the like. These are real problems. We should not pretend they don't exist. This doesn't mean we're anti-immigrant; it does mean we're Objectivist realists.
7) There are legitimate security concerns about the border as well. Let's not forget that Germany and the Soviet Union, America's nation-state enemies in the past, maintained their largest embassies in Mexico because they understood that any trouble they could create between us and our neighbor to the south was to their advantage. Terrorists today understand that Mexico is a potential gateway into the United States.
Thus I thank Bill and Phil for their remarks and hope that in the more considered and mature parts of this threat, these Objectivist insights will come into play.
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 11/23, 2:08pm)
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 11/23, 2:11pm)
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 11/23, 4:44pm)