Newt, I have always enjoyed listening to your speeches. I heard you on Satellite radio a couple of weeks ago in a rented car. I do not know what it is you said that set off this sh_t storm. But if we agree that the Federal Government has no legitimate role in providing health care or insurance then we are on the same page. But, I am also dead opposed to the Free Trade Orthodoxy that you seem to embrace.
Libertarian Zealots preach that Chinese slave-like labor is good for Americans, it provides us with cheaper products. Unfortunately these folks are so Libertarian that they believe the very foundation of Governments, i.e. the setting of physical borders between “us” and “them” is illiberal. But to do otherwise is to force American labor to compete with Chinese or even more exploited labor. I believe in a Liberty that is within borders. We would have more liberty if we were to sacrifice some liberty at the border. To the degree that libertarianism is not anarchy, we accept that there is a basic legitimate power which we have delegated to the government, in order to enjoy the bulk of our liberty in civil society. That minimal evil, Government, is most efficiently used to the public good by keeping most of the illiberality at the outer border.
Like a lever and fulcrum, any given amount of illiberality at the border, will be capable of performing more “work” than when diffused throughout the body politic. For example, Immigration, is most efficiently stopped at a strong impermeable membrane, at the border. Past the border, the Government feels it can deputize civilian employers into becoming unpaid Immigration officials. By avoiding the illiberality at the border, we create the situation where federal agents can casually claim the right to burst in on factories and slaughterhouses and demand ID cards.
WE need to control our borders in a rational way, a way that concentrates as much of the total imposition of the burdens of centripetal force there, rather than spread though the entire society. Drugs, legalized, or stopped. If we cannot do the former, then we do the latter. But, it is the insufficient attempt at controlling the border that empowers the now tyrannical War On Liberty in the name of War on Drugs! Between illegal immigration and illegal drug importation it is as if someone were deliberately constructing the raison d’être to impose internal dictatorship. The border must not be seen as a passive line in the dirt. Like a cell membrane, it is the site of a host of complex actions and reactions.
For the greater part of American history, one of the greatest recurring political debates in the Congress was on Trade Policy. It was expected that the myriad of special interests jostling one another would result in compromises and something most similar to “common interest” was discovered. There was a natural humility that no one claimed to know the Common Good! That has disappeared with the self-anointing of economists and other Specialists who believe they are gifted to know the Common Good, as they peer from their lofty height. Free Trade, is a trade policy. It ought not, and never had been a moral claim. It is one of an infinite number of trade policies that a sovereign nation may enact at its borders. The United States grew into the mightiest industrial economy in the history of the world behind stout Tariffs. In the post WW2 years there were indeed national interests that were furthered by a policy choice of Free Trade. In the aftermath of the war, the world lay smoldering except the USA. By opening our markets to the world, we were able to reap the benefits due a conquering nation, i.e. the importation of what once would have been unaffordable. It also served our Foreign Policy by kick staring Western Europe and Japan’s economies. The re-establishment of a middle class was rightly seen as the most important factor in the containment of Communism. Allowing access to our economy, the only truly functional economy in the post war years was a means of nudging the nations of the world to implement policies in favor of the USA. Such supreme power was a once -in-world history phenomenon. It is unimaginable to picture what a victory by the Axis powers would have looked like. I believe it would have been very bleak indeed for a world exploited by NAZIs and Samurai! But, that was an exceptional period of history. That moment has passed; perhaps at the time of the downfall of the USSR. But be that as it may, it passed. Free Trade is n o longer in our Best Interests. It is hollowing out our economy. It is moving us into a post-industrial world. The so-called service and intelligence processing industries have not risen to replace the high wages of the auto manufacturing industrial middle class whose grandchildren are left adrift at the high water mark of the Midwest and Great Lakes rustbelts.
We need to regain control of our border and make it work for us. The right to export into the United States ought to be considered a fantastic boon, and not a bowl of beans! How do we dare allow our corporations to produce everything overseas with cheap hazardous labor, in factories belching out toxic waste that dwarfs anything produced in the peak of our industrial age, to freely import their products back here? No!
We would solve virtually every one of our major problems by returning the creation of Trade Policy to the realm of politics where it belongs, and out of the realm of Political Philosophy where it now resides. We need to re-assert the right, the obligation, of Congress to legislate Trade Policy based upon self-interests jostling against one another. This will be the closest approximation to The Common Good that flawed human being can achieve.
Newt, if these border issues are not addressed, the presidential campaign in 2012 will sadly be about selecting the last president of the United States of America.