President Trump last week announced his intention to impose a 5 percent tariff, effective June 10, on all Mexican imports. The president’s move is a response to Mexico’s apparent unwillingness or inability to stop the flow of illegal immigration from its side of the border into ours.
The official statement from the White House is the gauntlet that Trump supporters have long expected the president to throw down:
If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the Tariffs will be removed. If the crisis persists, however, the Tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019. Similarly, if Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019. Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.
From non-deplorables, however, the outrage was as predictable as it was swift, from the Left and milquetoast Right. But the apoplexy of David J. Bier, a fellow of the Cato Institute, was especially hysterical.
“Mexico should show Trump what actual non-cooperation looks like,” Bier wrote on Twitter. “Immediately stop all immigration enforcement, issue travel visas to all Central Americans, refuse to admit Central Americans returned to Mexico under MPP, and stop preventing asylees from reaching US ports of entry.”
Not only do we have troops at the border now, but on the same day Bier called on Mexico to open the floodgates from Central America, a U.S. Marine fired his weapon while on duty along the southern border. The Marine reported he had been attacked inside his vehicle by three people. Around the same time, a mob of angry Hondurans attacked the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa. Technically, this was an act of war. Bier doesn’t seem to mind.
Nevertheless, Bier’s reaction is what we have come to expect from the libertarian-right.
I would happily pay more for my delectable Honduran cigars if it meant avoiding the tragedy of the nanny next door being raped and murdered by a Honduran present in the United States unlawfully. But no such sense of solidarity with their fellow citizens appears forthcoming from the smooth brains at Cato.
Then again, maybe the fairy ring on 1000 Massachusetts Avenue is too smart for their, and our, own good. “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason,” as G. K. Chesterton put it, but “the man who has lost everything except his reason.”
Someone like Spencer P. Morrison could bring in the big guns, eloquently argue why America, in general, needs big, beautiful tariffs. Bier would be not only unconvinced but unmoved.
For Bier, America is a market to which every human value and interest is converged on the economic and productive plane.
America, in this view, has no unique character or culture, therefore to be an “American” is merely to participate in the process of acquisition, consumption, and production. Human welfare is determined by the distribution of wealth and goods. Any impediment—such as tariffs—to market processes is deemed aberrant, sacrilege against the Invisible Hand.
It becomes evident that libertarianism has the same subversive character found in its apparent nemesis, Marxism. Both systems make the economy their standard and main concern.
Libertarianism, like Marxism, is also an internationalist movement. It does not recognize the nation-state, let alone borders, as more than an effervescent unit of human organization, as something to be overcome and assimilated into a “global community” and “global economy,” at the expense of the historic character, independence, and very sovereignty of the United States.
If anyone should reject to this scheme, as Trump has, it appears that the Libertarian-right and Left can agree that mass immigration is an effective vehicle to affect or accelerate the one-worldism they are already lurching us toward.
What libertarianism and Marxism find unpalatable is patriotism. Not the phony, pixelated stuff one will find in Bier’s Twitter bio, but genuine patriotism that recognizes as its heart the sovereign nation-state.
The patriot finds its roots among the Romans, mainly in the terms patria and patrius, which indicate, unfortunately for Bier, “fatherland” (literally) or “what is native.” A patriot without a nation is empty, a nation without borders is nothing.
Trump’s tariffs are the epitome of patriotism. They recognize the imperative of the nation-state, and acknowledge the injustice that his people have suffered at the hands of another. A slight increase in the cost of goods is a small price to pay to this end.
Perhaps what Bier fears the most is that more and more Americans are becoming aware of the subversive similarities of libertarianism and Marxism, and are therefore increasingly inclined to tolerate such measures as tariffs in the struggle to preserve their homeland. Someday soon, Bier and his colleagues might find themselves no less welcome than the Communists who were extirpated from the United States during the early 20th-century.
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