Open Borders and the Pursuit of Happiness

powered by Surfing Waves

In a few days, Americans will be celebrating the Declaration of Independence. Amidst the hot dogs and the fireworks, it’s worth pondering the principles that Jefferson enunciated in that document.

The Declaration states that people have been endowed with natural, God-given rights and that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Let’s focus on that last one. Is the pursuit of happiness a natural, God-given right or not? I say it is. I think Jefferson was right: The pursuit of happiness is certainly not a privilege bestowed on us by government. It’s a right that preexists the existence of government. 

So, what is government for? The Declaration provides the answer: to protect the exercise of natural-God given rights, such as the pursuit of happiness. 

Is it possible for government to become a destroyer, rather than a protector, of people’s rights? Of course it is. The United States is a good example of that phenomenon, given the power of the federal government to do such totalitarian-like things as assassinate people, torture people, indefinitely detain people, and punish people for drug possession.

What happens if government becomes a destroyer of rights rather than a protector of rights? The Declaration provides the answer: It is the right of the people to alter or even abolish such government and institute new government that protects rather than destroys people’s rights.

Given that the pursuit of happiness is a natural, God-given right, that means that government cannot legitimately infringe or destroy it. A right is a right. It preexists the existence of government. It cannot be taken away. It cannot be infringed or destroyed. 

There is something else to note about the Declaration and the nature of rights: The principles enunciated in the Declaration do not apply only to Americans. Instead, they are universal. They apply to everyone. 

In other words, every person in the world has the natural, God-given right to pursue happiness. No government, including the U.S. government, has the legitimate authority to interfere with the exercise of that right. 

When foreigners come to America, they are obviously exercising their natural, God-given right to pursue happiness. Given such, under what authority does the federal government interfere with them by stopping them, arresting them, jailing them, and deporting them? Remember: either the pursuit of happiness is a natural, God-given right or it isn’t. If it is, then people have the right to exercise it in any way they see fit, limited by the fact that they cannot violate the rights of other people to do the same, like with such crimes as murder, rape, robbery, etc.

There is something else to note about the rights that Jefferson enumerated in the Declaration. Liberty, which is another natural, God-given right, obviously encompasses multiple facets, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and religious liberty. It also encompasses liberty of contract, freedom of association, and freedom of trade. 

Given such, under what authority does the federal government interfere with the natural, God-given right of foreigners to associate with American employers and to enter into contracts and trades with them and others?

Finally, Jefferson refers to the right to life. What does that right encompass? At a minimum, it encompasses the right to sustain one’s life through labor and exchange. Given such, under what authority does the federal government interfere with a foreigner’s right to sustain his life through labor and exchange by accepting a job from an American employer?

In the wake of the recent deaths of 53 immigrants in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas, it’s worth asking on the Fourth of July why the federal government has an immigration-control system in the first place, given that it not only produces needless deaths of people who are doing nothing more than pursuing happiness but also violates our nation’s founding principles. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the only system that is consistent with the Declaration of Independence is the libertarian concept of open borders. 

The post Open Borders and the Pursuit of Happiness appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


The Washington Gazette works at our discretion with businesses, non-profits, and other organizations. We do not work with socialists, crony capitalists, or disinformation groups. Click the green button below to view our services!

HTML Button Generator

powered by Surfing Waves


SHARE our articles and like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

Post a Comment