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People aren't just workers

Some libertarians (or those who lean in that direction) support a free movement in not only goods, but people. They think that if we allow refrigerators from other countries to come here freely, that means we should allow people to come here freely too.

Some of the same and others tend to focus only on someone's fiscal benefit to the U.S., treating people as just a factor of production.

Both those are wrong: people aren't refrigerators. A refrigerator just sits there, but people do things beyond just working. Some write symphonies, some commit crimes. Some have a low fiscal benefit to society but - due to their other actions - have a high overall benefit. And, vice versa.

And, unlike refrigerators, people grow up and then many years later age. Refrigerators can just be thrown out when they don't work anymore, but even most libertarians will probably admit the same isn't true of people.

Refrigerators don't have an impact on the U.S.'s politics, but people do: either through voting or through just forming a power base for politicians and in some cases foreign governments inside the U.S.

The political impact of one group of immigrants has a cost to some set of people, and a benefit to another. But, you'll be hard pressed to find a libertarian-leaning promoter of the "people are just refrigerators" school of thought acknowledging that.

If you see a libertarian-leaner treating people as just workers, ask them to put a price tag on that same person based on all their actions, not just their current working ability.

Last modified Jun 20, 2012
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Childlike Frank Keating of American Bankers Assn uses Reagan to promote amnesty, loose borders - 11/11/13

... As discussed in depth on the people vs workers page, people are not like refrigerators: people do things for good or ill that refrigerators don't do. 4. It isn't "razor-wired walls that separate children from their parents", it's parents who decide to put their children in harm's way. Prison walls don't separate criminals from their children, the bad decisions by those criminals did. The...

Crazy Rand Paul fully supports amnesty, misleading, Hispandering, and reading poetry to do it - 03/19/13

... voting for the Democrats? See people vs workers for more. Then, it's time for his plan: The first part of my plan – border security – must be certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General and then voted on by Congress to ensure it has been accomplished. This is what I call, Trust but Verify. Top Republicans in Congress are pushing amnesty in a misbegotten quest for the Hispanic vote....

Marco Rubio smears Republicans who oppose illegal immigration and amnesty, keeps helping the far-left - 12/05/12

... enough to do that himself: see people vs workers. UPDATE: Shortly after post time, Fox News Latino helped illustrate my first point by offering 'Marco Rubio: Illegal Immigration not "Plague of Locust"' (link) which starts like so: Piggybacking off his speech on Tuesday night, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reiterated his vision for the future of the Republican party on Wednesday which includes...

Matt Yglesias' crazy libertarian immigration plan would harm hundreds of millions of people - 10/05/12

... - in purely fiscal terms. See people vs workers for an explanation of why that's wrong. Yglesias also engages in the immigration tradition fallacy, see that link for the details. Please take a moment and write @MattYglesias with your thoughts. Even better, search for those he converses with and tweet them this post (use the short link below).

Matt Yglesias' crooked, libertarian, cheap serf labor scheme (immigration, Slate, DREAM Act) - 06/20/12

... about that is discussed on the people vs workers page: people aren't refrigerators and they do things besides just working. Good luck getting Yglesias to factor that into his analysis. 4. Labor costs are not a large part of the cost of production for most crops. Even the USDA admitted that millions of illegal aliens leaving the U.S. would not devastate agriculture. The crops rotting in the...