Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How a Passport Became a Prison

How quickly weforget.  It has been less than a century since walls have been erected,worldwide, to limit our movements, yet many of us seem to think it's"always been this way".  And the only way we are now allowed totravel internationally is with the permission of our slavemasters (country)using a slave card (passport).
Things resemblingpassports can be traced back to the time of the Persian Empire in about 450 BCwhen an official serving King Artaxerxes I of Persia, asked leave to travel toJudea, and the king granted leave and gave him a letter "to the governorsbeyond the river" requesting safe passage for him as he travelled throughtheir lands.  But, this is hardly the purpose of a passport today, despitewhat it may say inside the cover page.
Up until 1914,there were only two countries in the world that required you to have a passportif you wanted to enter - Czarist Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Anywhere else,you could come and go as you pleased.  It was then, with the outbreak ofWorld War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements forsecurity reasons (allegedly to keep out spies) and to control the emigration ofcitizens with useful skills, retaining potential manpower. These controlsremained in place after the war, and became standard procedure... and this hasled, over time, to the worldwide limitation of travel except by the permissionof the government of each country.
There are now 196tax farms (countries) in the world and you will need a passport to enter any ofthem.  But, worse, because they have greatly controlled movement and allinstitute varying levels of government controls on economic transactions, theyhave caused a great amount of dislocation.  This dislocation causes greatstress as, for example, when a country like China goes from decades of Maoistcommunism to a form of free market communism, it can cause great changes aroundthe world as a wealth of new, cheap labor comes into the market.
It is thesestresses, caused by government involvement in the movement and freedom ofhumans, that has people in other parts of the world calling formore governmentinvolvement!  The self-licking ice cream cone that is the state knows nobounds.
This, to someextent, leads to xenophobic reactions and is helped along as people in variouscountries are taught by both their public indoctrination system (schools) andthe propaganda on their nightly news to fear and hate people in othercountries.
In the US, forexample, there are two groups who complain about jobs and borders:
The "Buy American" group.  Theycomplain when a company chooses to produce products in a country other than theUS and then sell those products within the US. Somehow this destroys jobsin America.
The "Hire American" group.  This group complainswhen individuals enter the country "illegally" and who are willing towork without the permission of the state for a lower wage than the stateallows. Somehow this steals jobsfrom Americans.
Both groupsmisunderstand the root cause of the conflict: the vampire leviathan state thatlimits the freedom of all who wish to build a better life for themselves.
"BuyAmerican" is the cry of protectionists and special interest groups such aslabor unions. Unwilling or unable to compete in the global marketplace, theypush Big Government to restrict trade with other tax farms in order to raisetheir own wages. Of course this does nothing but act as an inefficiency tax onthe Americans who are forced to purchase the overpriced goods. Overall thishurts other parts of the economy, as consumers simply have less money to spendon other goods.
An unintendedconsequence of this protectionism is often that the beneficiary of the tariffor trade barrier gets addicted to the subsidy and grows fat and lazy. Forexample, the steel industry in American has demanded protection since itshnception. To this day the steel industry still demands protection.  Asrecently as 2002, GW Bush placed a 30% tariff on foreign steel products. These industries remain "infant industries" that will foreverneed coddling by the corporate welfare state. The rust belt of the midwest is atestamanet of the destruction wrought by these policies.
Recently, thereis a new addition to the "Buy American" crowd: the righteouslyindignant "locavore".  This breed of bigot lives mainly in urbanareas, but demands that all of their food be grown within an arbitrary distanceof their house. They mix a blind faith in the pronouncements of global warmingconmen such as Al Gore with a close-minded desire to "keep" theirmoney in their community.
We recentlysurveyed the origins of the food in a Canadian grocery store, and the resultswere astounding.  The produce of nearly 100 countries was represented inthe well stocked shelves. To go back to the world that existed when everyone"ate local", in Canada, would mean subsisting on a diet of roots,tubers, dried buffalo meat and seal blubber for six months of the year. Mmmmmmmm, seal blubber!
Internationaltrade benefits everyone, and for every dollar that goes from the USA or Canadato purchase food in another country, money flows back in the form of exports tothe rest of the world.
It is a fallacyof the highest order to block international trade.  The logic used tojustify it could be readily applied to tariffs and trade barriers betweenStates, cities and even households.  "Don't buy Cincinnati produce! Buy Clevelander!"
The Division oflabor is the key to prosperity - as Adam Smith put it in "The Wealth ofNations":
It is the maximof every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what itwill cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make hisown shoes, but buys them of the shoe maker. The shoemaker does not attempt tomake his own clothes, but employs a tailor. The farmer attempts to make neitherthe one nor the other, but employs those different artificers. All of them findit for their interest to employ their whole industry in a way in which theyhave some advantage over their neighbors, and to purchase with a part of itsproduce, or what is the same thing, with the price of a part of it, whateverelse they have occasion for. What is prudence in the conduct of every privatefamily can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.
The "HireAmerican" group is afraid that illegal aliens who arewilling to work in jobs that the average pampered, overweight and indoctrinatedAmerican wouldn't stoop to, or dare commit the crime of working for below thestate-enforced price floor of "minimum wage" are somehow"stealing" jobs from hardworking Americans or are exploiting thewelfare state that the Fascist Nanny State has imposed on its citizens.
Nothing could befurther from the truth. The 19th century saw the greatestexplosion of wealth the world has ever known - millions were lifted frompoverty through the application of laissez faire capitalism and a policy ofopen borders allowed millions to come to America and make a better life forthemselves and work co-operatively with others.
The inscriptionon the Statue of Liberty gives you an idea of what the attitude of the USAtowards the peoples of the world once was:
"Give meyour tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"
Although, as canbe seen from the poster below, by 1917 the meaning of "freedom" hadalready been contorted into your duty to "buy government debt to killforeigners".
Today the USresembles an armed police state - forcing those who wish to come and work toeither subject themselves to the rigors of the bureaucratic nightmare of the USCIS or attempt a harrowing journey inwhich countless die each year.
Authorities havediscovered 252 bodies in the Arizona desert over the past year - the remains ofmigrants who died trying to cross into the U.S. illegally. That's a record, butoverall the Border Patrol says the number of people crossing illegally is down.So, why the increase in the number of bodies? 
And on the flipside, it is now becoming harder and harder to leave.  Fences built on thesouthern border, drones flying the northern border, and cash sniffing dogs downevery jetway all signify that while it may be hard to get in, it will soon beharder to get out (which is why we implore US citizens to get a second foreignpassport, like in the Dominican Republic).
Per Bylund nicely describes the world that we have inherited
The pre-1914world saw no immigration issues or policies, and no real border controls.Instead, there was free movement in the real sense; there were no questionsasked, people were treated respectfully and one did not even need officialdocuments to enter or leave a country. This all changed with the First WorldWar, after which states seem to compete with having the least humane view onforeigners seeking refuge within its territory.
The"immigration policies" of modern states is yet another licensingscheme of the 20th century: the state has enforced licensing of movement. It isvirtually impossible to move across the artificial boundaries of thestate's territory in the search for opportunity, love, or work; one needs a state-issuedlicense to move one's body, be it across a river, over a mountain or through aforest. The Berlin Wall may be gone, but the basic principle of it lives andthrives.
The greatness ofwhat was once America was built on the sweat of millions of "undocumented"immigrants who just wanted a shot.  America is long forgotten, and now theUS will fall as the doors close to the best and brightest.
Funnily enough,despite all of their misconceptions about how and where goods come from,millions of American families actually have it right when they bow their headsand thank Jesus for the food he lay before them each night.  They justpronounce "Jesus" wrong.