Within the liberty movement there are a number of varying opinions with regard to how best to maximize individual liberty in an ideal society. We all agree on the ultimate goal, but the policies that take us there are still hotly debated.
One of the fundamental disagreements that still circulates discussion forums is whether or not a truly libertarian society can survive mass immigration from cultures that hold wildly different beliefs than those on which liberal democracies are built.
The Libertarian Party platform holds to a well-established principle that the free movement of people is a vital keystone in a liberal society. Until recently, I agreed with this position.
At least if the large welfare benefits that attract non-productive individuals could be abolished, there is no reason that all peoples could not be welcomed into society, able to live free and thrive.
However, I think it’s time that Libertarians have an honest discussion about the practicality of this principle in light of a migrant crisis, terror attacks, and the self-destruction of liberal democracies across Europe, we have to accept that liberty as a prime factor in society must ultimately be protected from those who would undermine it.
We must maximize the liberty of our citizens by ensuring we grant such liberty only to those willing to perpetuate it.
It’s not secret that we are fighting an uphill battle in propagating the ideas of liberty. The Libertarian Party continues to be an almost insignificant disruption to the monolithic two-party system, and, across the west, we are seeing the rise of populist authoritarianism, socialism, and other illiberal ideologies.
While the USA was largely founded on libertarian principles, the men who fought and died for these ideas have become seen as relics of an era best forgotten, with some even calling for the removal of statues of George Washington.
This is not to say that our battle is futile, simply to illustrate that as we continue to make progress we will be accosted from all sided by illiberal ideas and individuals. Whether it’s the Marxists within, or the Islamists without.
Given this, it seems an unfortunate but undeniable truth that if we succeed in building a society that values liberty above all else, we will always be outnumbered by those who would seek to enforce their own moral or political standards on all. For this reason, we cannot simply allow the influx of any and all individuals who wish to join our society. It would take only a large movement of people and a single democratic election to bring about catastrophic change that would destroy everything for which we have long fought.
The solution, however, is not isolationism or a border wall.
The solution is confidence. we must be willing to openly and without reservation affirm our beliefs, non-negotiable and unchanging, that all people are to be free and equal. As Europe becomes less and less willing to assert the superiority of Western values, we must fill that gap by proclaiming that these values are what make us great, and that any who wish to join us must demonstrate their understanding of these principles, and their unwavering commitment to it.
How this looks in practice is another policy discussion that I’m sure can be dissected, but we must be willing to take the first step and admit that if we wish to build a liberal society, we must be willing to prevent those who do not value our principles to be a part of it.
Michael Lloyd is a British immigrant living in New Zealand, an advocate for liberty and free speech, and a staunch opponent of the two-party political system. He is the creator and sole contributor of Logic, Empathy, Honesty and Think.Center.
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