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Snowden’s Freedom to Travel Curtailed

August 14, 2013

Basically, Edward Snowden’s freedom to travel was eviscerated by the government via revoking his passport because they hate and fear the fact that he exposed their plans to spy on more U.S. citizens than ever before. If we are ever to be free, we must possess an absolute, uninhibited right to travel the world free from interference by government.

Restrictions on one’s right to travel connote that the government is the individual’s master rather than his servant. Is that the case for Snowden? Is that the case for us? Is our government our servant or our master? Why do we have a government? What is its purpose? If the government usurps this ultimate right from property owners or grants itself a monopoly over certain modes of travel, then clearly the rights of individuals extend only so far as the government wills them. Freedom that is subject to the governments whim is not freedom at all. Furthermore, circumventing the right to travel is particularly antithetical to the Natural Law and the principle that the temporal is always subject to the immutable.

Edward Snowden had a right to move about the planet being and that right is not predicated on whether the United States government is satisfied with his loyalty to their invasion of private citizens security or not. Movement is essential to the very existence and recognition of other inalienable rights. If, for instance, you are prevented from leaving your home, your speech is automatically repressed. If you are not permitted to travel, you are kept from practicing your religion with a community of believers. As a result, you are restricting from selecting whom you meet and whom you marry. If your freedom to travel is limited, you are held back from potential employment opportunities and prevented from receiving the education you desire. Clearly, our right to move and be present is inextricably linked to a host of other fundamental rights that we possess as free individuals. Liberty, at its core, is encompassed in the right to leave the place of repression.

The most egregious violation of the right to travel and one that unfortunately has the support of most North Americans is the government’s controlled immigration policy. I for one am guilty of this and I now realize its because all members of my family that ever immigrated to the United States did it legally and yet I have seen millions immigrate to this country illegally with very little to offer society and the economy. With that said, I now realize that immigration limitations fundamentally inhibit a person’s free will to come and go as he or she pleases. Because the right to move is a natural right, it is not limited to just North American citizens. Rather, the right to move is absolutely fundamental: it is possessed by all human beings–whether or not they are immigrants. Based on fundamental principles of property, private landowners have the right either to prevent or allow “immigrants” (or anyone) from coming onto their land, but the government does not enjoy a similar right.  To suggest otherwise is to say that the government itself somehow “owns” our country and possesses property rights to it.

So upon what legal basis does the government ownership of property exist? It can have no legal basis whatsoever. The government can only vest property rights in itself by providing just compensation to the owner. Any argument that the government has the property right to exclude rests in turn upon the socialistic claim of collective ownership. Therefore, if the state wants a solution to the unlawful stream of immigrants in and out of the country, then it can simply abide by the Natural Law and let them enter legally.

Furthermore, the uninhibited freedom to travel would not have the devastating impact on North American jobs that is so often conjectured as long as this freedom is accompanied by the abolition of the minimum wage. “When the minimum wage rises, what happens? Some jobs that were worth hiring  someone to do are no longer worth filling. The jobs lost are the most marginal  ones, the ones that had low value and that paid little. That’s why the vast  majority of studies of the minimum wage have found that increases, all other  things equal, reduce the number of low-skilled jobs offered and filled.” As a result, there are fewer low-skilled jobs available for people who live here legally. Thus, when the minimum wage rises, employers–in order to cut their costs—hire illegal immigrants at a lower price instead of hiring people who live here legally and paying them the minimum wage.

Alternatively, if the minimum wage were eliminated, employers would pay people who live here legally fair market value rather than the government-mandated amount for the work they do. As a result, immigrants would be less inclined to move here for fear of not finding work.

Opponents of open borders argue that illegal immigrants steal jobs and Social Security numbers, drive down wages by working under the table, and do not pay taxes to the detriment of the nation’s budget. But if these men and women were made legal, then they would not have to “steal” jobs and Social Security numbers, but rather they would have their own.


From → Liberty

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