This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at Ego Blog.  Check it out!

Follow up to Yesterday’s Story

Here’s a nightmarish follow up to yesterday’s post Result of a “Tough” Border Policy.

The man told police the group had been kidnapped and killed by members of an the Zetas drug gang, known for extorting migrants.

He told officials the gunmen offered to pay the migrants 2,000 dollars a month to work as hitmen for them, and began shooting when they refused, according to a spokesman for the state prosecutor's office, who declined to be named.

Result of a “Tough” Border Policy?


The official said police believe the migrants were mostly from Central America — a population that has been increasingly targeted by drug gangs who demand money from U.S.-bound foreigners or who kidnap them to claim ransoms from relatives in the United States or their home countries.

Oh yeah, and the drug war isn’t working either.

(H/T to Santiago, my husband, for bringing this story to my attention.)

Funny, But Not Really

Yes, there are people this ignorant.  At least we can laugh at them.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at The Crucible.  Check it out!

Talk of Changing the 14th Amendment

Hat tip to Ryan Bell for directing me to this good article, Born in the USA Is What Makes Someone American by Eric Foner.  Here’s an excerpt:

For almost 150 years Americans have believed that anyone born here, whatever his or her origins, can be a good citizen. There is no reason to believe the children of illegal immigrants are any different.

Adopted as part of the effort to purge the nation of the legacy of slavery, birthright citizenship remains an eloquent statement about the nature of our society and a powerful force for immigrant assimilation. In a world where most countries limit access to citizenship via ethnicity, culture or religion, it sets our nation apart.

Personal Stuff

I am dealing with some issues in my personal life that are consuming quite a bit of my spare time.  As such, posting over the next few weeks could be minimal, if any.  Thanks!

Objectivist Roundup

Sorry this is late, but it’s over at  Check it out!

From a Good Friend

A good friend of mine sent me the following email.  I am reposting it here with his permission.  Thanks, Pablo! 

I thought you would enjoy this song by Argentinean singer Alberto Cortéz:

The translation is:

Don't call me 'foreigner' simply because I was born far away

Or because the land I came from has a different name

Don't call me foreigner because my mother's breast was different

Or because my childhood was couched by a different language of fairy-tales

Don't call me a foreigner , For we both had the light

of the love of a mother, in the songs and the kisses

With which we are dreamt equally by our mothers against their breasts.

Don't call me foreigner, nor think of where I come from,

But rather it is better to know where we're headed, where time is leading us

Don't call me foreigner, because your bread and your fire

calm my hunger and cold, and your roof shelters me

Don't call me foreigner, your wheat is like my wheat

Your hand is like mine, your fire like my fire

And hunger never warns of its coming, it simply changes owners.

And yet you call me a foreigner because I was brought by a different path,

Because I was born in another village, because I know different oceans

And one day I sailed from another port.. If they're always the same,

The waving handkerchiefs in farewell, and the blurry pupils of those

we leave behind, the friends that call us, and the kisses are always the same,

And the love of the one who dreams with the day of your return.

Don't call me a foreigner, we carry the same cry

The same old weariness that man has carried

from the depths of time, when there were no borders,

Before they came, those who divide and kill,

Who steal and lie, those who sell our dreams,

It is they who invented that word: Foreigner.

Don't call me a foreigner, it is a sad word,

It is a chilly word, it smells of oblivion and exile

Don't call me a foreigner: look at your child and mine

How they run hand in hand to the end of the path

Don't call me a foreigner- they know nothing of languages,

Of limits and flags, see how they float skywards

By a dovelike laugh that reunites them in flight

Don't call me a foreigner, think of your brother and mine

The body full of bullets kissing the ground in death

They were not foreigners: They always knew each other

Through the eternal liberty, and they died just as free.

Don't call me a foreigner, look well into my eyes

Far beyond the hatred, of envy and fear

And you will see that I am a Man: I cannot be a foreigner!

~Pablo Romero, Tenor

Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at  Check it out!

What We’re Up Against

I just had the following exchange with someone on Facebook.  This fellow is actually quite a nice guy, although he obviously has some mixed-premises.  He is exactly the sort of person I hope to target with this blog - people who seem reasonable and open to new ideas.

[Facebook Friend] You don't think that illegals are a problem? 3 years ago Florida had 345,000 illegals costing tax payers 720 million dollars in health care and other benefits. The state now has 845,000, but I can't tell you how much they cost because the state has quit keeping those numbers. But at previous rate with no adjustment for inflation it would be 1,763,478,260.87 dollars. That would pay for a lot of citizen health care.

[Me] That doesn't sound like an immigration problem. That sounds like a welfare state problem. I shouldn't be forced to pay for anyone else's health care, period.

Why don’t people see the real problem?  The problem is not that people are immigrating here, the problem is that we are living in a fascist state that is moving closer to full blown socialism each day.  Socialism doesn’t work.  It’s be tried over and over again and evidence of the failures are all around us.  (See U.S.S.R., North Korea, China and Venezuela for a few examples.)

Furthermore, it is completely wrong for anyone to use force against me.  I have a right to my life, liberty and the pursuit of my own happiness.  It is wrong and improper for the government to steal my property (in this case, my income) and give it to others, for any reason.  Furthermore, it’s just as wrong to make me pay for an illegal (or legal) immigrant’s health care as it is to force me to pay for a citizen’s health care.  Stealing is wrong regardless of the recipient of the looted goods.

L'Expatrié, c'est moi

This post is from Jason Lockwood’s blog, A Life of Valuing and is posted here with his permission.  Thanks, Jason!

Over lunch with my French co-worker and his Swedish wife, the three of us agreed that the expatriate life renders us unusual by definition. Not only do we constantly evaluate the countries we choose to live in, but also our own countries of birth. The expatriate observes the world in a semi-detached state that non-expatriates don't even consider. We have eaten good food and bad, sometimes learnt strange languages and, most importantly, befriended other globetrotters.

I have often wondered if one can identify the expatriate by his mannerisms or hybrid styles. Australians know immediately that I come from somewhere in North America, but they can never quite place my accent. I say 'zed' and 'lift' and bit by bit my pronunciation is taking on slight local characteristics. Additionally, on return visits to the United States, I get the odd looks from my compatriots who think I sound Australian. I don't, but neither do I sound like the Milwaukee boy of my upbringing. I sound other.

Interestingly, my French co-worker was flummoxed to hear my full on Québécois accent in French. He knew I spoke French, but out of courtesy for other colleagues in the office, we normally speak English together. His surprise highlighted a theory of mine that it is easier to alter one's accent in a second language than it is in one's first language. I reckoned that the extra effort one makes in a second language forces the speaker to pay close attention to the nuance of accent and intonation. That is definitely true for me, as I originally learnt to speak French in Belgium when I was a teenager. After a year at university in Québec City, however, I had shifted completely to a French-Canadian accent.

Naturally, as globetrotters, the conversation turned to the bureaucracy of immigration in the various countries we'd lived in: the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, Sweden, Slovakia and now Australia. We mused at the friendliness - or its lack - amongst customs officials the world over. Australian customs moves quickly and the officials are nearly always friendly and efficient.

Not so in the United States or Canada. Europe can be a mixed bag, depending on the nationality. My co-worker's wife noted that red tape in Sweden is cut and dried, whereas in France it can be horribly inconsistent and pedantic. In Sweden you get the stamp or you don't, whereas in France it depends on the mood or temperament of the official.

All these topics got me thinking about the principles of freedom and capitalism, though the conversations did not turn to political philosophy. As I have noted in previous articles, I avoid overt conversations about politics because the context of knowledge varies so much as to make such discussions either too emotional or too disconnected from reality.

As an observer of the world, I thought of politics because I notice that the degree of freedom in a given country will give one a clue about the ease of movement within it. The United States has been heading towards some kind of totalitarian state for many decades, so consequently the ability to migrate there has become byzantine and lacks coherence. Not surprisingly, immigration has become a bugbear in a country with an ever-growing state. Australia, whilst hardly a completely free country, proves nevertheless more hospitable to foreigners seeking to live here. The rules are clear cut and, though more restrictive than I advocate, relatively easy to grasp.

Many people in the West today struggle with the virtue of immigration. I call it a virtue because people who choose to uproot themselves to go make their way in a completely new country are among the most productive in the world. By and large, immigrants seek self-improvement, not free handouts. If I had my choice, when I become a permanent resident of Australia, I would happily forgo all the so-called state benefits in favour of a lower tax burden. Alas, that option does not exist. It should.

In the end, expatriates are the engine of dynamic countries like Australia. They remind native-born Australians by their very presence that the country is worth the long haul flights and the great distances from loved ones back home. If I had my druthers, I would create a special passport for people who have the pluck and courage to change countries like some people change clothes.

Posted by Jason Lockwood