Standing against big government and for the people!
I had the honor of participating in a forum on the immigration issue on Thursday evening. The meeting was produced by Today’s News NJ and moderated by Richard Lee of the Hall Institute of Public Policy.
Joining me on the panel were:
· Adrianne Knobloch of Tax Revolt NJ and a realtor by trade
· Dr. Gayle Kesselman co-Chair of NJ Citizens for Immigration Control
· William Garces, Esq, founder and managing partner of Garces & Grabler
· Shai Goldstein – Executive Director NJ Immigration Policy Network
Ms. Knobloch and Dr. Kesselman kicked off the discussion from what I would characterize as a conservative perspective. Both offered compelling accounts of the social and economic challenges that undocumented aliens bring to New Jersey. Ms. Knobloch spoke mostly from first hand experience stemming form her real estate business while Dr. Kesselman based her presentation on mostly secondary statistical data.
I have no doubt that the problems that they presented are very real. My main objection was to their conclusions that the problems that they outlined were the fault of the immigrants. I see the issue as one of a failed welfare state combined with statist no-growth economic policies that create misery for everyone.
Mr. Garces took a human interest approach by relating the inspirational story of his own father who arrived in America unable to speak English, took a janitor’s job, got an education and worked his way up to being a top research scientist at a major corporation. While Mr. Garces was very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants, he is also cognizant of the threats that unbridled immigration poses to taxpayers within our current welfare state.
My presentation was based upon the precepts of Classical Liberalism that inform our founding documents as well as free market Austrian economics. From a libertarian perspective, I support the free movement of people to better their lives. However this must be balanced with the reality that America cannot afford to provide no-charge social welfare services to millions of undocumented aliens who are not paying into the system. In a nutshell, my position reflects Milton Friedman’s axiom that, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state…As long as you have a welfare state, I do not believe you can have a unilateral open immigration.”
Then came Mr. Goldstein. His performance did nothing to edify us the audience regarding immigration policy. But it did teach us plenty about demagoguery.
His first tactic was to claim “victimhood” by asserting that he was being ganged up on by a panel that was stacked against him 4-1. Clearly not true. As you can see from the above the breakout was, at worst, 2-2-1.
His next parry was to question the veracity of the two female panelists by denigrating their presentations as “lies, damned lies and statistics”.
He followed up this with an impressive combination of cheap shots and low blows that were reminiscent of vintage Bruce Lee in their speed, fury and intensity. These included:
· Name calling by inferring that other panelists were “bigots”, “fear mongers” and perhaps even “white supremacists”
· Playing the race card by saying that the forum was skewed because there were no African-Americans present. In fact there were several in the room who voiced opinions that did not sit well with Mr. Goldstein. Therefore he discounted them.
· Distraction and divisiveness by introducing the libertarian position on drug policy and trying to use it as wedge between me and the other panelists.
· Discrediting the panel’s competency to even discuss the issue by claiming that this topic should only be legitimately addressed by an authority figure with an advanced degree in Urban Studies.
· Misrepresentation by inferring that Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention supports open immigration while, in reality, their approach is more in keeping the common sense libertarian position that I advocated.
· Being just plain rude, talking over, shouting down and trying to intimidate everyone in the room. There is just no excuse for bad manners.
Once his tirade was completed, Mr Goldstein ran home for cover well before the discussion was concluded. In fact, Mr. Goldstein completely disregarded the moderator’s instructions to give an opening statement outlining his position and to refrain in that statement from commentary on the other panelists positions. He simply went straight into attack mode.
Mr. Goldstein, we are still waiting to hear a well reasoned and dispassionate discourse on your immigration policy. We promise that we will listen respectfully.
However, we do thank you for a vivid demonstration of what statists do when they have no reasonable or defensible positions to put forward.