Friday, November 09, 2007

National Borders

National borders are imaginary lines on a map that people are willing to kill and die to keep imagining. I know a lot of people disagree with me on this issue. I am not looking to get into an argument over it; just explain how I think, and why. I have heard all the opposing points, at least I think I have, but they ring hollow to me.

I am not talking about natural physical boundaries like rivers and mountain ranges, or different zones like deserts or forests. These can make real differences in the needs of the people who live there. Those differences can be worked out through cooperation and compromise and trade. I am talking about lines on a map that cut through the natural zones and ignore natural boundaries. Lines that can force different cultures together or separate one culture. Lines that ignore realities of different needs and goals for the purpose of unifying under one authority people who might choose to form a culture of their own. This ignores the basic right of association.

I think national borders are harmful to liberty. Why do they exist?
Is it because our laws are better than the laws across the border? Since almost every single law in any country is absolute nonsense, that can't be the reason.
Is it because "our flag" is better than "theirs"? Its colors are more noble or its design divinely inspired? That is a silly reason to give up your liberty.
Is it because "those people" are genetically inferior to "us". Maybe their IQs are really low and they can barely breathe without help... or maybe they are too smart and would make us feel stupid if they came here.
Is it because their culture is despicable? "They behave like animals and eat their enemy's babies, after all". "They breed like rabbits and overrun the countryside, destroying everything in their paths, like locusts, ya know". "Our culture can't survive if it is exposed to theirs." If a culture can't survive exposure to another culture, it is probably not worth saving.
Is it because their god and his followers are evil? If that is the case, shouldn't your good god be able to defend you against them, with or without lines on a map? Followers of the same god never fight amongst themselves, do they? Is it excusable to be murdered if your attacker follows the same god you do?
Is it to keep terrorists from infiltrating our towns and killing us? Without the government helping terrorists by disarming the population, there would be no real danger.

Do the borders have value because "our" government is honorable and just while theirs is a genocidal tyranny? After Waco (killing people because of their religion), Ruby Ridge (killing people because a gun is 1/8 inch "too short"), Wayne Fincher (kidnapping a non-violent man for owning guns specifically protected by the Bill of Rights), Ed Brown (kidnapping a family for wanting to keep their own money and property), WWII internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent (kidnapping people because of their race), The War on Some Drugs (kidnapping and killing people over the chemicals they choose to ingest), and too many other examples to mention, I have my doubts about any moral high ground here.

No, my belief is that the only value of "national borders" is to be found in governmental control. Borders allow governments to control all the people who live inside the lines. It gives them an excuse to send people to their deaths against the people across the lines. Governments need a "them" to unite the people against in fear; borders empower that. Forcing people to get permission to cross those lines allows governments to keep prisoners and gather information on, and even physically search those who are allowed to cross. Borders are a great psychological tool for people control. I just don't buy into the propaganda.