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Monday, December 21, 2015

What Is A Right?

There are some self-styled free-market advocates who believe that free markets and liberty require absolute open borders. This is an issue because of the recent Senate bill introduced by Senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions -- to which I link, and which I strongly suggest readers carefully read, and which I further discuss here:

to restrict H1B visas to those workers making at least what comparable American workers made, or $110,000, whichever is greater. The goal is to prevent American companies from firing American workers and replacing them with cheaper foreigners.

Funny how the discussion divides along lines of citizenship more than ideology. There are some "Objectivists" (the Ayn Rand disciples) -- not surprisingly, they consist largely of foreigners who really, really want to come here -- who argue that foreigners have pretty much an absolute right to an H1B visa.

The "right" to come to America is is not a "right." This is a privilege. As for the H1B visa and any other visa granting the right to entry, any such visa is, legally, the equivalent of a conditional license, granted at the discretion of the grantor (here, the United States). That discretion and power is inherent in property rights and the concept of one's dominion (which dates back in human history to the Old Testament). It is inherent in the concept of the property right, the right to sovereignty, of the owner and possessor of the property; here, that means the people who are citizens of the United States. To oppose that concept is to oppose the very notion of the sovereignty of the United States, and at that point, we have a rhetorical invasion of a country that is functionally equivalent to the stated desire for a literal political revolution to overthrow and dissolve the target country.

In this sense, advocating a "right" to open borders, which requires that the host country surrender ITS right to that dominion and control -- i.e., its sovereignty -- imposes a duty, obligation and penalty on others. As such, it fails the definitional test of a true right, which is one that burdens nor affects anyone else.

The Founding Fathers enumerated three basic rights from which all others derive: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These true rights burden no one else nor require the action, or approval, of anyone else. They are "natural" rights. In that light, under that definition, is the "right" to an H1B visa the same thing?

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