Richard Ebeling emails:
I participated in the January 18, 2017 “Libertarian Angle,” podcast sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, with the Foundation’s president, Jacob G. Hornberger, on the topic: “Trump’s Immigration Dictatorship.”
Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily freezing entry into the United States by refugees or immigrants from seven Muslim countries have brought about a firestorm of anger and opposition by a variety of groups and individuals around the United States.
There is “shock, shock” that Trump should asset the authority to impose such restrictions and controls through an executive order. But from where did the precedent come for Trump to do so? Certainly, many presidents have issued executive orders, but it was Barack Obama who most self-righteously declared his power and authority – with his pen and phone – to do so, whenever the Republican-controlled Congress would not comply with his legislative demands.
Now the Democrats and others on “the left” are up in arms when Trump does what their beloved prophet of “hope and change” did with that pen under the standard “progressive” cry that the Constitution needs to be a “living document” responsive and adapted to the changing ideological and policy fads and fancies of the day. Well, you reap what you sow; that such executive orders are a two-edged sword that can cut for or against what you want from government.
The Republicans are not much different. The Speaker of the House of Representatives cow-tows to Trump’s presidential decrees, a few conservatives and Republicans, to their credit, have declared their opposition to Trump’s intensified immigration restrictions, but from the vast majority of those Republicans the most telling sound is their – silence.
The classical liberal/libertarian position has, traditionally, been for the right of a freedom to move as an inseparable part of a political philosophy of individual liberty. But the abrupt, abrasive and uncoordinated manner in which this executive order was announced and implemented should arouse the disapproval and indignation of any who believe in a dignified treatment of human beings the vast majority of whom have only one desire and dream in coming to America – to have a chance for a better and more peaceful life for themselves and their family.
Whether abrupt or more deliberative, the friend of freedom should be disturbed and opposed to any president who asserts the right through such political devises as “executive order” to play dictator-in-chief in changing the rules and undermining not only a more dependable and consistent rule of law, but further weakening the principle, practice and protection of the right to life, liberty and property for all who live within or desire to enter into the United States of America.
But what about the threat of terrorists and “enemies” of America? The American political and legal tradition has been and should be that any person – whether a native-born American citizen or not – is presumed innocent until proven guilty. And that innocence or guilt applies to the individual who has been suspected or accused of violating or imminently planning the violation of the individual rights of another. Presumption of innocence or guilt should not be on the basis of some collective identity such as religion, race, or place of national origin. All Americans should consider that to be “un-American.”