The Freedom To Be

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I came to Arizona in 1967 to fly for the Air Force at Williams Air Force Base, now called Williams Gateway. During the next five years I frequently had occasion to fly along the border with Mexico as I traveled back and forth between Williams and bases in southern California. It always seemed odd that the major populated areas that straddled the border had an obvious difference in appearance between the portion on the Mexican side and the portion on the United States side. The most obvious was the fact that the United States streets tended to be paved and the Mexican streets tended to be dirt or gravel. The housing and commercial properties on the Mexican side also seemed to be of poorer quality.

I often wondered why this would be so. The terrain was no different; the natural resources were no different; the people, for the most part, were no different. Why is there a clear economic division between the United States and Mexico? It was not until I began reading free-market philosophers like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman that I figured out that the reason is that freedom works, and we have greater freedom in the United States. Conversely; systems of government oppression do not work, and there is greater government oppression in Mexico.

It then became clear to me how we can help the citizens of Mexico and reduce the immigration tensions: support and pursue more economic and political freedom for Mexicans. Then they will experience the same economic boom that citizens of the United States have. Mexican citizens will not have to face the huge personal and legal dangers inherent in crossing our borders to experience the benefits that freedom provides.

One might logically ask why we do not hear politicians and editorialists calling for more freedom for Mexicans. I contend that it is because it is much easier to focus on democracy instead of freedom, because democracy is easier to obtain, and because, even though we have democracy in the United States, our own march toward socialism is causing us to lose more of our freedoms.

We should not focus on democracy as the solution. We are making the same mistake in Iraq: we are more concerned about allowing the citizens of Iraq the right to vote than we are about ensuring their ability to own property and have private contracts enforced, and having their individual rights protected. If we can’t help make these changes in a country that is right on our border, what makes us think we can accomplish this in a country 10,000 miles away that has a markedly different culture?

I suggest the solution to the immigration problem is to do everything we can to help Mexico move in the direction of protecting individual liberties and that, in order to avoid hypocrisy, we stop the erosion of individual rights in our own

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