Uncle Sam, Don’t Build This Wall!

I am watching the National Geographic Channel program ‘The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us: ‘Tear Down These Walls’. As the title alludes, it includes Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I was not a great fan of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, but he did say some inspiring things, & for me, this was the best, & not just his, but our best. I was born & grew up within the previously Mexican territory known as Los Angeles. As a child I remember being taught to be proud of the Mexican contribution to our California culture. I think it was in part because of my mother’s dark skinned father, John Burnell Rutledge, who spoke fluent Spanish & was the son of a border patrolman in south Texas in the late 1800s. He was proud to be a direct descendant of Edward Rutledge, a Revolutionary war governor of South Carolina & signatory to the Declaration of Independence. Little was said of my great grandmother, but I suspect she was of ‘Mexican’ heritage. Because of these cultural influences, I elected to take a Spanish language class when it was offered at my intermediate school in Seal Beach, CA. After 1 hour a week for 2 school years I was proud to have a foothold in my land’s colonial language as well as its culture. I have subsequently taken Spanish languages courses to more fully engage my heritage. A current political argument is about how the United States should deal with illegal immigrants. Purportedly the great masses of U.S. immigrants, both legal & illegal, are Latino. The great majority of these Latinos come from countries to the south of the U.S. It has been said that a fence should be built along the southern U.S. border to prevent these people, …

Ken Schoolland – Migration, Liberty & Prosperity

“It’s my passion,” said Ken Schoolland, speaking at the World Conference on Market Liberalization in Bali 2015 about the topic of migration, “This is where my passion is.” Professor Ken Schoolland, economist, gave a lecture about the importance of open migration as a humanitarian cause. “People throughout history — pre-history, through human existance, have been moving around the planet.  It’s part of our DNA, you might say, as Shin Dong-hyuk said today.  Yes!  It is all of our nature to leave behind starvation, drought, death, disease, and tyranny, and to move to places that offer greater opportunity for ourselves and our families to live a better life, and a freer life for our children.” Professor Schoolland gave many examples of the practical, humanitarian, and ethical reasons for open migration. “Ultimately, I say, openness to migration — much as it was 150 years ago when American companies could roam the world offering contracts to laborers to come work in factories and fields and so on, we wouldn’t find companies moving abroad, we’d find companies moving back because we’d have all the abundance of labor.”   “We’d have the riches of arms, legs and brains of some of the most industrious people in the world.  It is practical, I believe.” “I believe it is humanitarian.  Much better than just letting people die.” “And ultimately, it is ethical.  Because it is treating other people as I would want them to treat me if I was in their shoes.”   To watch the full speech, click below:   Ken Schoolland is a professor of economics at Hawaii Pacific University, and the author of “The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: a Free Market Odyssey”.  He is also President of the International Society for Individual Liberty

What’s the Difference Between a State Border, and a Country Border?

I was driving fast, about 60 miles per hour, and I wasn’t planning on slowing down.  I didn’t have a passport, my driver’s license was expired, and I was approaching the border.  This might have been a dangerous situation, except that the border I was crossing was between Minnesota and South Dakota – a border that’s so open, all that exists is a sign that says, “Welcome to South Dakota”. What’s the difference between a state border, and a country border? If you ask most people, there’s a big difference.  Crossing a country’s border could screw up their economy!  We might give them terrible diseases, or use up all their welfare.  Murderers might be able to get across the border, and cause all kinds of terror. But, somehow when we cross the border between states (at least in the United States), most people don’t think about any these nightmare scenarios.  When I moved to Hawaii, no one was afraid that I was going to steal their job.  No one was afraid that I was going to give them a disease, or use up all the welfare.  Isn’t it odd then, that people should be so worried about people crossing a country’s borders, as opposed to a state’s borders? Of course, this is maybe because when I move to a state, many people realize that I’m benefiting the state in many ways.  Many people would LOVE to have me move to their state instead.  But this same logic should also work for international immigration.  Studies show that in general, people who immigrate are actually GOOD for the economy.  They grow the economic pie for everyone.  They create a demand for housing, which causes a boom in the real estate market, and so on. In fact, research at the Center for Global Development …

Doug Casey on Opting-Out: from the state, formal education, and standard employment

Today we are launching a series on “Opting Out” of the system, where we will explore actionable methods of enhancing our individual liberty. To start the series off, we have with us today Doug Casey, the Chairman of Casey Research, who is not only a highly regarded authority in investment, but also in “internationalization”, which he believes is key to protecting oneself, as it keeps one from being dependent on any single government. His latest book Right on the Money, written together with Louis James, one of ISIL’s directors, has come out recently to give readers actionable advice on building and safeguarding their wealth. (Interview conducted on 28 Feb, 2014) Kenli Schoolland [KS]: Hi Doug, it’s great to have you with us. Doug Casey [DC]: Likewise, Kenli, thank you. I guess you’re in London as we speak? KS: Yes, how about yourself? DC: I’m in Punta del Este, Uruguay, which is a fashionable international beach resort in the backward little socialist country of Uruguay. It’s actually quite pleasant. But then I spent a couple of weeks in the Congo between wars and thought that was quite pleasant too. So perhaps I’m not as discriminating as some… KS: Sounds very nice. How do you choose your locations? Is there a trade off between sunshine and socialist governments? DC: Actually it’s hard to find a non-socialist, non-fascist or non-statist/collectivist/ progressive government anywhere in the world today. There’s almost no place you can go to escape them. They cover the face of the earth like a skin disease. And they’re all becoming more virulent and aggressive, which is disturbing. KS: So you might as well take it with sunshine? DC: Governments that are located in tropical areas do tend to be more overtly socialist, they’re mostly undisguised kleptocracies… that’s the bad news. The good news is that they also tend to …

Reflections on Kazakhstan: Ideas & Performance

I’ve traveled a lot, but never to such an exotic destination as Kazakhstan. The country and the people are a mix of everything Asia—Russian, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian, modern, prosperous, intellectual, traditional, proud, friendly, and aware. I landed on the vast steppes of Astana, the amazingly glamorous new capitol fueled by vast new oil riches of the Caspian Sea. And departed from Almaty, the old capitol nestled at the foot of spectacular snow-capped peaks that skirt the ancient Silk Road. Through the auspices of Pavel Kotyshev, Executive Director of the Institute for Development and Economic Affairs (IDEA), and the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (DAMU), I was fortunate to have been invited to join 10,000 other participants at the Astana Economic Forum & the UN World Anti-Crisis Conference. It was truly a gala affair. I am grateful to Aigerim Zhumadilova, Galiya Zholdybayeva, and all wonderful folks at DAMU for their extraordinary hospitality. If you are looking for a man of action to promote entrepreneurship and the ideals of liberty in Central Asia, Pavel Koktyshev is the star. Pavel is efficient and capable, he is a superior intellect, and he is good friends with everyone. At every turn, there were people and projects familiar to him. Why such global events in Central Asia? I think the preeminent purpose was to showcase the strategic prominence of Kazakh oil and the leadership of President (for life), Nursultan Nazarbayev (above left). On a tour of a local park I found this quote from the national constitution: “The Republic of Kazakhstan proclaims itself a democratic, secular, legal and social state whose highest values are an individual, his life, rights and freedoms.” This was surely music to a libertarian’s ears. Yet, one could wonder if this was a reference in practice to the natural rights of all—or to one individual …

The Mariel Boatlift: Voting With Boats

It is said that freedom always wins when people are allowed to vote with their feet…they move from locations of high tyranny to places of relative freedom—always in very great numbers. 34 years ago today, on April 20, 1980, Fidel Castro announced that any Cubans who wanted to leave could do so without punishment from the port town of Mariel. In the clearest possible expression of their hatred of Castro’s rule, Cubans voted by boat. More than a hundred thousand took to rickety, makeshift vessels in what came to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. Americans in Miami grabbed whatever boats they could find to reunite with friends and relatives across the channel. Braving hurricane winds, exposure at sea, pirates and sharks, desperate refugees crowded aboard anything that floated, regardless of seaworthiness, because freedom seemed so worth it. At first the U.S. government of Jimmy Carter lived up to the ideals of the Statute of Liberty and embraced these refugees. The U.S. Coast Guard didn’t actually go to the port of Mariel to provide safe transportation for those eager to leave, but the U.S. armed services did a commendable job of rescuing many of those who became stranded on the high seas. After all, the U.S. had sanctioned Cuba for 20 years, condemning Castro’s regime for the brutality of his communist dictatorship, for the forced economic squalor and repression of free speech and civil liberties. The U.S. had even attempted to overthrow or assassinate Castro. So why wouldn’t Americans at least welcome those who tried to flee Cuba? Then the mood turned against refugees when it was rumored that Castro’s trick was to release “undesirables” from prisons and mental hospitals, sending them all to America. Jimmy Carter, in an election year, then agreed with Castro that they would both put …

Why Open Immigration?

By Ken Schoolland A speech delivered at the world conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – July 29, 2002) I am not the kind of guy who relishes confrontation. I get nervous when I espouse ideas that are so controversial that people get angry. I imagine that many of you know the feeling, since it’s common fare for champions of liberty. We encounter this kind of confrontation not only with strangers, but also with family members, with co-workers, even with the best of friends. Some people love the confrontation. They thrive on it. But others, like myself, take it uneasily. So here we are, a room full of freedom lovers, where it is safe to cheer for freedom and to denounce repression. Yet even in such a room of fellow travelers, there is one topic that is sure to stir up anxiety and even hostility. That’s the topic of “immigration.” Immigration can divide a room faster than almost any other topic. So when I get nervous about addressing a group on the topic of immigration, I take courage from immigrants, themselves. COURAGE I think of the amazing courage that it takes to flee oppression, to leave behind everything that is familiar, and to chance the hostility of a completely alien culture in order to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life. When I think of that courage, I am greatly emboldened. How much easier it is to speak to a friendly audience, than to risk one’s life in a rickety boat facing storms, pirates, and sharks. Or to risk one’s life by crawling under fences and trudging for hours or days without water across a desert in temperatures of 120°. I can’t fault those who try. I admire them. It’s probably what some of my …