There’s a piece by Nick Gillespie of Reason entitled, “Steve Bannon’s ‘Economic Nationalism’ vs Libertarian Globalism is the battleground of 21st Century Politics”, which as a person who subscribes to the philosophy of liberty, limited government, and the protection of individual rights, I found that it needed a response from a more “nationalist” point of view.
In it, he begins with a glowing review of a documentary hit piece on Steve Bannon and his adventures around the world helping to spread the ideals of nationalism (those who put the interests of their nation and their people first before the interests of others), but delves into the question of what really differentiates nationalists and globalists:
The real question is whether it will become harder or easier for people to cross borders.
Libertarians believe rights exists without any government saying they do, which is true. Individual rights do not exist as gifts from government.
However, in order for liberties and individual rights to be enjoyed freely, they need the protection of government, which is a bit of an oxymoron given that governments are mainly who we need the protection from. But we also need protection from the majority, people who would violate your individual rights because there’s more of them than there are of you, and our fore fathers attempted to devise a solution to this oxymoron, imperfectly as it is, to protect us from government and mob rule by limiting, dividing, and delegating power, and recognizing individual rights. To keep it, however, requires a people and representatives who believe in these principles.
What happens though when libertarians who believe in individual rights, like the right to travel and move freely, want to open the borders of a country (that imperfectly tries to protect its people from mob rule) to more mob?
In the 21st century, libertarians are going to have make common cause with the globalists of all parties, with the people whose core value is the right of individuals to move freely around the planet.
While he attempts to justify open borders as a libertarian cause to promote individual rights, in reality this first requires the destruction of sovereign, homogenous nations – including ones that imperfectly try to protect individual rights. This seems more like open border globalists using the philosophy of liberty as a Trojan Horse against nations, specifically America. My philosophy doesn’t include nor accept its suicide, nor the destruction of other nations or cultures.
He goes on to create an unpleasant caricature of Bannon in order to delegitimize any worldview that includes the concept of what it means to be a nation:
Bannon’s vision is of a world of distinct nations and cultures that might be defined by any number of factors, including race and ethnicity, but also a common history, religious values, or shared geography.
That is literally what defines a nation, Nick, not just “Steve Bannon”. What defines Japan? A country comprised of 98.5% ethnically Japanese people with a common history, tradition, culture, heritage, language, and geography. What defines Sweden? Swedes, their shared beliefs, and geography. What used to describe America until 1965 when the doors were flung open? 88% mostly northern and western European descent, their shared beliefs, and geography. Whatever boogeyman you try to make of Bannon, if he speaks the definition of what it means to be a nation, it doesn’t delegitimize what it means to be a nation. The only person here who has some utopian vision of the world is the person who’s advocating for something different that doesn’t exist. Nations are more than a land mass you might want to live on.
He then attempts to say that a nation having borders and any immigration policy leads to the loss of individual rights:
[Limiting the flow of people and goods over borders]… strongly impl[ies] a collective identity that will limit interest in individual rights, inciting yet more populist policies.
Including “goods” in there was a nice slight of hand, but it didn’t get passed me. We’re not talking about trade, we’re talking about immigration, and your article is advocating for open borders.
And why can’t Americans or any other nation of people have a collective identity? Why do you believe that if people have a common or shared “anything” immediately means the rights of an individual are limited or negated?
Why do you believe allowing massive amounts of people in who have no cultural connection to western civilization -which includes the protection of individual rights – will lead to the protection of individual rights? How can you secure the blessings of liberty when you leave the doors wide open to a world hostile to liberty? Show me one survey about the beliefs of the populations of the world and how they feel about protecting the rights of others that’ll make me believe open borders will protect our liberties and individual rights. Because I can show you California.
The world believes in America’s money and benefits (yes, the “Schrodinger’s Immigrant” you mocked us for in your article, simultaneously taking jobs for less pay while they and/or their family accept taxpayer funded benefits – it’s a thing, I work in the public and see it every day), but not the other perks of western civilization – like liberty and the protection of individual rights. Look at California, big on money and immigrants (legal, illegal, doesn’t matter when discussing open borders), small on liberty and protecting individual rights. They vote for legislators who increase their benefits and deprive us of our liberties. They vote for executives who enforce those laws, who appoint judges who then uphold those laws. The “magic parchment” doesn’t protect our liberty and individual rights – we’re all supposed to. There’s already too many Americans who don’t believe in protecting liberty and individual rights; there’s literally no basis to believe an open border policy will better this situation.
Speaking of Schrodinger’s Immigrant, he offered one of his own that I now get to mock: that “emotionally-driven nationalists” need to be “explained to” that open border globalism that will flood the market with labor is a good thing because it will simultaneously lower unemployment AND increase wages:
cities that welcome immigrants experience increased wages and lower unemployment
So if labor is a commodity, and you increase the amount of a commodity, the price of that commodity goes up? I thought libertarians were supposed to be economically literate.
If there’s work available, and there’s not enough labor commodity, businesses have to compete for labor and the price of labor goes up (increased wages). Conversely, if you import a massive amount of labor, the price of labor goes down (lower wages), and there’s a bunch of people standing around not working (the unemployed). But if it’s immigrants, the laws of economics apparently go out the window.
Not to worry, Milton Friedman said you can’t have open borders and a welfare state, and good thing there isn’t a welfare state teat anymore for the unemployed masses to suckle from.
Notice though, the article he references is about immigrant entrepreneurs, a specific group of people, the few and far between, the creme de la creme that we scrape off for America and leave the countries they came from with one less job creator or one less person who could influence their politics and policies for the better, otherwise creating a “brain drain” from their home countries and further justifying the “need” to bring the rest of their brethren with them. And that’s who’ll come flooding in under this globalist open border policy.
And finally, his “The World is a Rainbow” conclusion:
We need to update our arguments about why individuals are ultimately more important than groups, and about why empowering individuals creates a richer, freer, and ultimately more socially cohesive world. We need to show that there is no inherent tension between being a citizen of the world and a proud son or daughter of one’s country, region, and hometown.
You forgot to include, “Diversity is our strength!” How can anyone be proud of “one’s own country, region, or hometown” if there’s nothing unique about it nor anything that binds it together, no “collective identity” if you will? What “country, region, or hometown” if it’s comprised of vastly different people with different languages, identities, ethnicities, cultures, religions, heritage, and traditions, in which study after study shows inherent tension and lack of social cohesion always occurs under these conditions, and is then nothing more than a land mass you happen to live on with people you don’t want to be around and who don’t want to be around you? Multiculturalism has always been a fraud propped up by propaganda and repetition of bumpersticker slogans.
Libertarian globalists conflate protecting individual rights with a rejection of all things “non-self”, as if people’s common identity, ethnicity, language, heritage, culture, religion, traditions, communities, and nations don’t matter, aren’t important, or don’t mean anything – and apparently should be done away with.
Liberty and the protection of individual rights is unique to us specifically because it is who we collectively are and because we are a sovereign nation. If the rest of the world wants liberty and the protection of individual rights, they can vote for it or pick up a gun and earn it like our fore fathers did for themselves and for us, their posterity.
What our fore fathers earned for us through their blood and sought to protect is not yours – nor the Globalists of all parties – to just give away. The rest of the world is not our responsibility, and as a non interventionist libertarian, I’d think you’d understand that. But if you personally think they need help, help them help themselves in their own countries.
Nationalism vs Globalism may indeed be the battleground of the 21st Century, but if your 21st Century solution destroys the sovereign, homogenous nations of the world, this libertarian sides with the nationalists of all parties. I would never impose that on any nation or people – especially my own.