Political Animal


January 31, 2013 10:31 AM The Randian Case for Restricting Immigration

By Ed Kilgore

You might figure a guy like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) would have to be a bit conflicted on the immigration issue. Give his father’s identity, he’s probably been exposed to every pro-immigration argument ever made. Libertarians are, by and large, pro-liberalized immigration for all the obvious reasons. But he represents Kentucky, and occupies the seat once held by Jim Bunning, whose big winning ad in his own first successful race featured a Hispanic voice thanking his opponent for a pro-NAFTA vote with: “Muchas gracias, Senor Baesler!”

So I find this Paul quote from an interview by Christian Right figure Bryan Fischer that appeared in Politico today especially interesting:

“You can’t have open borders in a welfare state. We’ve got a pretty significant welfare state, so it’s not just about normalizing the 11 or 12 million here, it’s whether or not while you’re doing that another 11 or 12 million come in, and I think that will bankrupt the country,” Paul said.
He continued: “So I am concerned, but I’m also open-minded enough to say that it is an issue that we do need to evolve on.

So Paul doesn’t seem to be as upset as many conservatives about the threats to the Rule of Law or the Traditional Culture of liberalized immigration, but instead is worried about the Taker faction getting new allies. It’ll be interesting to see how often and how loudly this argument is made.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on January 31, 2013 10:47 AM:

    Say what you will about Senator Bunning, and his Conservative hackery and lunacy, but the guy was one hell of a Baseball pitcher!

    I understand the Rand's HS had to tell him, that no, sorry, since he couldn't shoot well, he couldn't be the catcher on the Archery team.

    And I suspect that they regret that decision, to this very day.

  • jpeckjr on January 31, 2013 10:51 AM:

    "Welfare state" is a racist dog whistle. No proposal on immigration reform I've seen contemplates an "open border."

    The Obama Administration has dramatically increased border enforcement and deportations. And aftere his questioning of Sec. Clinton on Libya, Benghazi, and running arms to Turkey(!), it is clear Sen. Paul is not a reality-based person. I was going to say "thinker," but that would insult people with brains.

  • Just Dropping By on January 31, 2013 11:04 AM:

    There's a fairly strong strain of paleo-libertarians who oppose unrestricted immigration on the theory that a nation-state has the same right to exclude immigrants from its territory that a homeowner would have to exclude visitors from their house. Often times this is combined with the theory that immigrants are supposedly particularly likely to impose welfare/public services costs. That's who Paul is seeking to connect with in these remarks.

  • John on January 31, 2013 11:09 AM:

    I was going to point to what Just Dropping By said. While liberalized immigration is certainly something supported by the Reason set, I'm highly doubtful that the kind of paleo-conservative libertarianism of Ron Paul involves support for liberalizing immigration.

  • Robb on January 31, 2013 11:11 AM:

    If I recall right, Ron Paul is no libertarian when it came to immigration.

  • Tomm Undergod on January 31, 2013 11:33 AM:

    Once again this bankruptcy fetish. Somewhere, somehow, some time in the unspecified and yet uncreated future, whatever it is these swine dislike will always cause bankruptcy, even though it is a physical impossibility for the US to become bankrupt. Fail to pay its bills? Sure, and they are all for that. Fail to meet the needs of its citizens? No problem. But because Social Security may run out of money in a couple of decades, let's slash it and burn it Right Now! Why wait?

    Government is NOT the problem-- but incompetent government is. When health care costs us more and provides less than in other countries, when schools fail to educate, when bridges and tunnels and highways and aqueducts collapse, THAT does not harm trade, does not cost the economy, and flooding a third of Manhattan does not cost anything either, but keeping people from death and starvation, from madness, from living in a handy gutter somewhere-- that's free. There is no social cost for that any more than there is for sleeping children in South Central L.A. to be murdered in their beds because People-- creative, productive, consuming people-- are not a national resource.

    Interestingly, the same fearmongers who profit from guns at home and guns abroad can only get there by devaluing actual humans struggling to live their actual, post-partum lives. Replace their rights with corporate rights, replace their religion of peace with "Jesus wants you to carry and gun and btw hates fags and all the other people I hate in His Holy Name." It's all of a piece with rigged elections, voter suppression, and 24-Seven All Lies, All the Time Newspeak.

    And no, 'twas NOT "ever thus" any more than "they ALL do it." No they do not; no they did not. But that's like the lie that "you can't fight city hall." Sure you can. We've all seen it happen and we Are seeing it happen.

    Gun rights trump the right to sit in class safely and emerge both educated AND alive. Corporate rights to rig elections in secret trump the rights of individuals to choose their own government in a fair process. (What a silly idea!) And the right to inflict Your religion on me-- in my bedroom, in my doctor's office-- is also paramount. Certainly the life of a blastocyst means medical professionals should be gunned down lest they prevent the cloud ghost from creating a potential murder victim....

    Somehow, it all comes down to Them keeping Their money, stolen from us, lest the future bring the dreaded curse of all curses, the impossibly polka-dotted invisible unicorn of the bankruptcy of the United States of America. Just as if financial bankruptcy were the only kind that matters.

    And btw, has it occurred to anyone else that the gun lobby is dominated by corporate gun mfgrs of massacre weapons-- the same people who promote the Forever War, which is no longer the extension of diplomacy by other means because Force Majeur is now the first step and diplomacy the last, in the same way that patriotism is now, and has been for at least half a century, the First refuge of a scoundrel?

    My Bible tells me that Good Works are commanded, but I guess if we all get together to organize in a way that lets our government do those Good Works efficiently, that's Satanic empathy and vile compassion-- the kind of wickedly liberal values that encourage us all to maximize our participation together during the scant three score and ten we are allotted. But that comes from the same source that suggests to some people they should give away all their worldly goods when it is obvious the correct interpretation of the Book is to do anything and everything, whatever it takes, to keep hold of it all rather than commit the greatest of sins-- bankruptcy. Hence, perhaps, The Bailout and unindicted banksters. You and I may become bankrupt, the "the rich are different" and must not be forced into such humiliation, the very threat of which is punishment enough.

    Curious that actual main

  • Tomm Undergod on January 31, 2013 11:35 AM:

    The prev. free-form rant got abruptly terminated, perhaps none too soon, but it was meant to conclude thusly:

    Curious that actual mainstream religion, like mainstream GOP dead-enders, have let minions from the Father of Lies take over and attempt to reverse the course of history. What with all this massive failure to be "good stewards" of what our ancestors and their gods left to our care, the rocks and rills, the woods and templed hills, the glaciers and permafrost... perhaps when that guy said-- as Bill and Ted put it-- be excellent to one another, we were not getting some random guideline, but the fundamental rule not only for progress, but the very survival of the species.
    Yet here we all are, everything replaced by a bankruptcy fetish. And with good reason: Jesus wept!

  • rea on January 31, 2013 11:40 AM:

    Say what you will about Senator Bunning, and his Conservative hackery and lunacy, but the guy was one hell of a Baseball pitcher!

    Blew the pennant race in '64, though.

  • c u n d gulag on January 31, 2013 12:19 PM:

    I'm no great fan of Bunning (no fan at all, of him as a Senator), but that wasn't really his fault.

    The Manager, Gene Mauch, panicked, over-used his starters, and gave the Cards their opening.

  • Kathryn on January 31, 2013 2:01 PM:

    Bravo Tomm Undergod!

  • LBJ on January 31, 2013 2:11 PM:

    Well, one could make the argument that by importing poverty from Mexico for the last thirty years we negated many of the benefits from the Great Society programs we thought we would achieve when they were first enacted.

  • Doug on January 31, 2013 4:27 PM:

    As long as ANY immigrant, illegal or legal, has a job and pays the requisite taxes, they should be eligible for SS/Medicare/Medicaid.
    I can't recall the last time, if ever, when there was scandal about someone improperly receiving SS. SSI HAS had scandals yes, but SSI is based on an entirely different set of requirements than SS and, because of those differences is more open to cheating.
    The only Medicare fraud I've EVER read about involved US citizens making fictitious claims. I believe a present Governor was involved in the largest fraud scheme yet discovered.
    A Republican, of course...

  • HMDK on January 31, 2013 11:27 PM:

    "LBJ on January 31, 2013 2:11 PM:

    Well, one could make the argument that by importing poverty from Mexico for the last thirty years we negated many of the benefits from the Great Society programs we thought we would achieve when they were first enacted."

    Yes, one could, indeed.
    But one would be an abject idiot. Like one was when he decided to bomb away. Other stupid arguments you care to make? Or arguments not that stupidly put, at least?

  • Gabeatmonee on February 21, 2013 7:03 AM: