In the libertarian community, the open vs. controlled borders debate has been a hot topic since the rise of Donald Trump, increased Islamic terrorism, and the European “refugee” crisis.
Now, after the recent attack in Berlin, the election of Trump, and a series of European elections coming up this year pitting populists against establishment candidates, it is a topic that will not soon abate. That is why I now must address the faction of libertarians advocating for open borders and continued migration – and what better way to do such than refuting Austin Petersen, former Libertarian presidential candidate and owner of The Libertarian Republic?
Recently, Austin has decided to publish a series of Facebook posts and responses to comments on them of which I shall use to make my argument. I would first like to recognize I understand that his views are not representative of all open border advocates, but I do believe they represent a large enough faction and philosophy that refuting them is worthwhile.
Austin, like many libertarians, blames the West’s aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East for the refugee crisis. I mean, it must be all our fault, right? Can’t be anything else!
Well, sorry “Austinista” libertarians, it is time to retire this tired old talking point. According to Pew Research and Eurostat (the European Union’s official statistics organization) 20 to 37 percent of refugees to Europe in 2015 came from nations that are not being actively bombed by the US or other Western nations, like Gambia, Iran, Pakistan, Albania, etc. Then there is Syria, the nation of origin that in 2015 accounted for the plurality of refugees into Europe (29 percent). The Syrian Civil War is largely to blame for the conditions that have caused massive demographic flight from the country. Yet, the Civil War was a direct result of the upheaval of the Arab Spring, a regional uprising in North Africa and the Middle East that saw the toppling of multiple dictators since 2011. While since then the West has involved itself to varying degrees in the aftermath, it was not directly to blame for it.
So, therefore, 49 to 66 percent of refugees come from nations where indiscriminate bombing by the West was not the decisive factor in the destabilization that has lead to the refugee exodus.
Here we see Austin refuting a legitimate concern with a simple “No?” and link to a New York Times article that does nothing to actually define what a refugee is, and whether the migrants arriving in Europe and America fit the description. The original commenter said “None”, which is going a bit to far, but “many” would have likely elicited that same response from Austin, who constantly bends over backwards to defend his position on refugees and borders.
The fact of the matter is many migrants to Europe claiming to be refugees aren’t really refugees, but they are still allowed to stay legally.
This is because, according to the European Union Common Asylum Policy, there is another category, Subsidiary Protection Status, via which migrants can be classified in order to stay in Europe. Subsidiary Protection Status has such broad qualifications for application that even if risk “due to violence in the case of internal armed conflict” is present, asylum can be granted. In other words, war alone in one’s nation, even if they are not directly targeted, is enough to have legal status granted to you in the European Union. This has helped open the flood gates to millions of Africans coming into Italy from across the Mediterranean Sea legally as economic migrants, from war disrupted nations, who otherwise would not qualify as a traditional refugee at all.
Here we see Austin finally breaking down into full asinine mode in his comparison of the Jewish flight from Europe during Hitler’s rise, and the current migrant crisis in Europe. This is comparing apples to oranges. First, unlike the Jews, who were a peaceful religious minority, a vast majority of the fleeing migrants are Muslim, which is the majority religion in almost all of the Middle Eastern and North African nations they are originating from. At most, some may face mild levels of discrimination for not being part of their respective nations’ majority sect (Sunni or Shia). Yet, that pales in comparison to the treatment of Jews and Christians living in the same locations, or the historical treatment of the Jews by the Nazi regime of Germany.
Second, Austin does nothing to refute the claim that many of the migrants are violent and anti-liberty. No surprise, because if he sticks to the truth, he can’t.
As we now know, the Berlin Christmas market attacker was of Tunisian origin and able to gain access to Europe via its porous borders. He went on the rampage after his failed bid for asylum and was motivated by, you guessed it, anti-Western Islamic ideology. After the attack, close links were found between the attacker, Anis Amri, and Salafist preacher, Abu Walaa, a known ISIS recruiter in Germany. Another migrant, this time of Afghani origin, earlier in 2016 was arrested after committing an ax attack on a German train. Then there was also the Ansbach bomber, a Syrian migrant who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before trying to blow up a German concert, and the list goes on.
Now, while the examples above were specific, high profile cases, of migrant violence in Europe, detractors may claim I am taking these occurrences out of context. But according to a report released by the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) in the first three months of 2016 alone, migrants committed 69,000 “would-be” or actual crimes of which 23 percent were violent offenses, such as bodily harm, robbery, and unlawful detention. These occurrences are not isolated incidents; they are the overwhelming trend, and the Jews fleeing Europe in the 1930s had no comparable record of violence.
Now, that only covers direct actions taken by the migrants, and has not even began to scratch the surface of the toxic cultural transformation they are importing.
In the Netherlands, a nation long renowned for it tolerant culture and liberal values, Alaa Ammar, a real refugee fleeing Syria as a persecuted sexual minority, did not find the Netherlands the world long has known. Instead, he reported tales of harassment and constant fear within his migrant camp from devout Muslim migrants. The migrant crisis is importing an anti-liberal culture into and across Europe at an alarming rate. Polling last year in Britain indicated that 52 percent of British Muslims thought homosexuality should be re-criminalized. What is even more frightening is that Muslims in Britain, compared to many nations in Europe, are a more established community with high rates of second and third generation families. Families, that after years of integration, should have shed such radical views, but haven’t; so we can only guess in horror to what high degree migrants directly out of the Middle East today hold such archaic views.
Well, Austin, no, I don’t sit up at night in paranoid fear, thank you very much. Yet as a gay, atheist, anti-Islamic writer for a public platform, I am a little uneasy with the direction the West is headed. Be it our society devouring itself by persecuting those who speak out against Islam or immigration, like Geert Wilders recently convicted of hate speech in the Netherlands. Or a terrorist’s shooting rampage at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Both of these examples’ root cause is Islam, which the West has either failed to accept is a problem, or bent over backwards to silence those who bring the issue to light. Open borders, particularly in Europe, have done nothing but increase the Islamic populations in their nations, thereby increasing the threat to, and furthering the destruction of our civil liberties.
Yet, what is your solution, Austin? Oh yes, just arm up!
While I agree most of Europe and even much of America needs to loosen their gun laws, that alone is not a solution. Would an armed cartoonist in the office of Charlie Hebdo distracted by his work have been enough to take down a team of terrorists armed to the brim with multiple rifles? Or how about a giant truck like those used in Nice and Berlin? The answer to that is self evident, as is your complete and utterly disgusting retort in which you would seem to place the burden on the victims, because they were unarmed, not on the perpetrators of the crimes themselves.
Maybe none of this has convinced you, dear reader, to rethink your position on open borders and migrant policy pertaining to Europe and the United States. Very well, I just hope it has informed you of the flawed and ultimately false rhetoric spewing forth from Austin Petersen and other fellow-minded libertarians used to support their positions. Blaming the West’s foreign policy, downplaying the real reasons behind many of the “refugees” migrations, comparing them to the Jews of Europe in the 1930s, and saying a comprehensive solution to Islamic terrorism is simply better gun rights is at best misleading, and at worst down right dangerous to our future liberty and security because of the dismissal of these fundamental issues linked to open border migration.
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