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April 30, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Open Immigration

Any person travelling peacefully should be able to enter any country they want to. Any person who disagrees with this is either racist, or is revealing the cold heart that modern day state welfare has created.

If someone wants to travel to New Zealand – wants to make their life a little better – why not let them? If I want to invite a poor, unskilled person from the Ukraine to live with me, why won’t the Government let me? What’s their crime? What’s my crime? Some people don’t like this idea because they don’t like people of a different ethnicity, or culture. But even if this is the reason, they usually dress it up in far fancier language – such racism is unpalatable. The usual reason is something like, ‘We offer benefits to citizens, and if we allow people to come in then they will live off our good will and drain us of our resources’.

Instead, they suggest, we should design elaborate quota systems, so that only the wealthy, the skilled, and the educated can come in.

If welfare is designed to help those who are the worst off – the ‘most vulnerable’ – then why do we give it to the worst off New Zealanders when some people living elsewhere are considerably poorer? In fact, why do we give it to the comparatively wealthy, and deny the poorest even the ability to come here for the opportunities that a somewhat capitalist society offers? The fallacy is that welfare is designed to benefit those who are worst off – welfare programs are the driving force behind further restrictions on our liberty that disproportionately effect and harm the poorest.

That’s what a quota system is – a free ticket to the rich and educated from other countries, but one of the most harmful restrictions on the poor people of the world who are seeking better existences.

Now the obvious solution is the complete removal of the welfare state, which would pull the rug from under the feet of the racist immigration quota supporters. But apparently people always look for a ‘third way,’ – so we found it. Here it is: pass a law saying that any immigrant has no legal right to any welfare cheques, or ‘free’ healthcare, or ‘free’ education (remember that we prefer a system where we have one standard of citizenship with an equal right to the earnings of others – namely, no right whatsoever). Is there any doubt that the world’s poor, insofar as they could escape the horrors of the third world, would come here merely for a lower rate of governmental theft?

If you do have any doubt, take a look at the United States of America (which, by the way, was pretty awesome up until the ‘New Deal’.) The USA first introduced restrictions on immigration in 1875 – it barred convicts (pretty radical, huh?) It wasn’t until 1921 that it ever tried to restrict the numbers of immigrants (luckily, Milton Friedman’s parents got in before this, as well as his wife), and even these restrictions were extremely liberal compared to the modern restrictions. The world’s poor found in America a genuine free market – and they thrived on it. They shifted thousands of miles, they suffered hugely during travel – many died – but they came to reach a land where the Government was small, and the opportunity great.

There are a couple of concerns that people have. They think that people will steal their jobs – but we work to create wealth, and wealth is limitless. If someone ‘steals’ your job they’re merely freeing you up to make wealth in a different way. That’s what people don’t get when they think that machines will impoverish people – the machines merely make products cheaper, and allow those individuals to specialise in other areas.

And so long as immigrants fully support themselves, then the total wealth – as well as the average wealth – increases in real terms.

Another concern – and this extends to foreign ownership, as well – is that they’ll buy up “all our land.” Well, if it’s your land and you don’t want it bought up, don’t sell it. Demagogic politicians who want to restrict foreign ownership (i.e. the Greens) always have odd concepts of ownership – apparently all land is ‘ours’, but a portion of earned money is ‘the government’s’. Why should we stop individuals who want to sell land for a better price from doing so? What’s the problem if some Iraqis buy your neighbour’s house?

So next time you support the welfare system, realise that what you are really supporting forms the basis for the imposition of a gross restriction of freedom that denies the ability of millions of those who suffer in poverty from ameliorating their circumstances.

Realise that you care more about the poverty in Johnsonville than the poverty in Uganda – and realise that you’re suffering from the cold heart of welfarism.

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