Note: Okay, in spite of what I said earlier today, maybe one blog post wouldn’t kill me.  Today has already been a rather long day, but intensive Arabic hasn’t proven to be quite the mind-killer that I expected it to be.  Then again, it has only been one day so far.  This is not going to be the beginning of a lot of nightly posting, so enjoy it while you can.  Now, on to the main event…

Reihan has responded ably to this Will Wilkinson post, which, among other things, says that Ross is a “populist nationalist” who wants to keep the Mexicans out because he just doesn’t like them (unbelievably, this was provoked by this post).  Naturally, coming from Wilkinson this is supposed to be an insult, though I rather enjoy the idea that everyone to the right of La Raza on immigration is a “populist nationalist”–this would give said populist nationalists a supermajority beyond our wildest dreams, and it would automatically make every opponent of lawlessness and amnesty a disciple of Buchanan and Dobbs.  This would be fine by me, and it would be great to have Ross with us.  Even so, somehow I think the analysis might be a little bit flawed.  Ross once mentioned that it is a lonely thing to be a moderate restrictionist, and I suggested a couple reasons why that is the case.  I should thank Mr. Wilkinson for validating one of my arguments.

Reihan notes that one important part of Wilkinson’s (truly bizarre) attack is simply, completely wrong:

Where exactly is Will getting the idea that Ross actively dislikes Mexicans? Could it be from … his imagination?

Mr. Wilkinson likes to imagine sinister things about people who would like to enforce the border and defend American sovereignty (you see, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound like you’re engaged in some horrible act of oppression, but rather basic law enforcement), or he sometimes tries to make otherwise perfectly decent things sound like the equivalent of war crimes.  At least he didn’t call Ross “anti-cosmopolitan”!

There are many ways to go with this.  I could start by noting that no one has the “right” to enter another country–he enters by the leave of the people who already live there.  This control over who comes into a country is one of the main features of sovereignty, which is a very real and significant element of something we call “international law.”  Additionally, nations actually exist; they are not plots created by editors at The Atlantic to deprive Mexicans of higher earning opportunities (as much as I’m sure they all secretly yearn to do this above all else).  If Wilkinson wants to see some really serious ”populist nationalists,” he might look to Mexican and other Latin American immigrants to find people who are under the strange impression that remitting money from here to their families back home makes their nation stronger and that they regard helping their own people to be not just a nice side effect of their pursuit of their “moral right to cooperate” (whatever this is supposed to mean) but one of the main reasons why they have come.  It might be worth adding that the more certain people wrap up manifestly undemocratic and unwise policies in the rhetoric of human rights, the less most Americans will respect the legitimacy of the very concept of “human rights,” since they might conclude, not unreasonably, that pretentious elitists drag out this phrase whenever they wish to abuse or in some other way take advantage of the rest of the country.  The more certain people feel the need to declare the sentiments of the broad majority “repugnant” because the majority thinks that there is no “right” for other people to settle in their country, the more they will find themselves isolated in their ever-smaller ghettoes of self-righteous irrelevance.  Anyone who would like to know why libertarianism gains few followers, read Wilkinson’s post.  If anyone would like to see why it is a very good thing that no one embraces libertarianism, read Wilkinson’s post.  

Self-governing peoples are supposed to be in control of their governments (I know this is a threat to liberty, but bear with me), and those governments are supposed to pass laws and enact policies consistent with what its citizens wish it to do.  Having then passed these laws and enacted these policies, it is the government’s obligation to its citizens to enforce the laws and follow through on its policies.  To do otherwise is to frustrate self-government and subject citizens to arbitrary government.  I thought libertarians were against arbitrary and lawless government, but at least in some cases that evidently isn’t the case.