By Ryan Lindsey
(Letter from the Editor for Issue II)
First, I want to say thank you to everyone who read (and especially those who purchased) Issue I of WAL Reader. I truly hoped all of you enjoyed it and/or learned something valuable from it – I know that everyone who contributed to the inaugural issue put a lot of work into it.
Secondly, of course, I want to thank all of you who are now reading the second issue (and again, a special thank you to those of you who purchased it in one form or another). I am extremely proud to be putting out the magazine you’re now holding or looking at on a screen. While I think the first issue was a great success, I believe this second issue has raised the bar.
I am thrilled with the variety of subjects covered in this issue – contributors to this issue talk about the death penalty, universal basic income, the importance of family, reparations, and more. I’m excited that the variety of the magazine’s content is continuing to expand and stretch.
Of course, as you can likely tell from the cover and table of contents, the primary focus of this issue is immigration, one of the most contentious issues among Americans and libertarians. Several talented writers have contributed articles about immigration from a variety of viewpoints about the issue (including positions ranging from open borders to strict border control). I think anyone can find something in this section that they agree with, something that will challenge them, and (undoubtedly) something that will irk them. That’s good, that’s what I want to happen. There’s a bit of fun in being irksome every once in awhile.
My Quick Thoughts on Immigration
Personally, I support open borders, seeing as how I refuse to support violence against non-violent people doing nothing more than crossing an imaginary line drawn up by an imperialist federal government in the 1800s. I believe that cultural diversity (just like intellectual diversity) is a great, great thing – no single culture is superior to others in all (or even most) aspects and all cultures have something to gain from one another. I utterly reject the sense of “Western supremacy” that is present in so many American political ideologies. That being said, I’m not foolish enough to believe that cultural mixing never leads to cultural clashes. Obviously not all aspects of every culture are compatible, but I believe that most of those difference can be resolved peacefully and without government, if the populace is willing to put in the work required for peace.
Furthermore, I believe that immigration is a boon for the economy, on the local, regional, and state levels. More individuals means more potential for innovation, contribution, and consumption; I know that potential is not always realized, but it’s still there and worth building up. It makes sense to me that workers from less-developed areas of the globe will be more willing to work the important jobs in America that an increasingly privileged populace is unwilling to. That being said, I’m not naive enough to believe that immigration will never lead to temporary displacement of blue-collar workers or that capitalist employers will never take advantage of immigrant labor in extremely exploitive ways. But I also do not believe that those unfortunate realities can be solved by government border control and economic protectionism.
Lastly on immigration, I want to utterly denounce the concentration camps that the government is currently running on the Southern border and the gestapo-esque ICE raids on non-violent people throughout the country. The Trump administration’s actions towards migrants is disgusting and I would feel morally-bankrupt if I didn’t use my platform to say so. It’s disgusting how many people believe that migrant children in DHS’s custody do not deserve soap, blankets, or basic childcare. It’s cruel to mock the struggle of migrants trying desperately to better their situations. It’s absurd to support Trump’s desire to force asylum-seekers to wait in the dangerous situations they are attempting to escape from.
For that reason, this issue of WAL Reader is dedicated to Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter, Valeria, who drowned in the Rio Grande river while trying to enter the U.S. after their asylum request was denied. An awful picture of their bodies has been circulated in the media recently and was even mentioned during the first Democratic 2020 primary debate. The image on page 6 is Óscar and Valeria as I imagine their family would like them to be remembered.
Like I said at the beginning of this letter, I was very pleased with the first issue of WAL Reader and for the most part, I was very pleased with the feedback I received. By and large, our readers seemed happy with We Are Libertarians’ newest deliverable. However, I was not at all happy with the response to one of the articles in particular (if you follow WAL Reader on Facebook, you likely know which article I’m talking about).
For Issue I, Kenton Merrill wrote a thoughtful and well-researched article on the history of and in favor of the libertarian-socialist ideology. This was one of my favorite articles in the issue because it did challenge so many ideas that I have taken for granted before, it made me think a whole awful lot. Personally, I think thinking’s a good thing.
I guess a lot of libertarians didn’t want to be challenged though. Several individuals and groups not only denounced the article, but the entire magazine and We Are Libertarians network, claiming that we were all “commies”. What a bogus, hilariously-idiotic claim.
Let me be clear: if you are the type of person to launch personal, ad hom attacks against someone due solely to a disagreement on theoretical societal models, WAL Reader doesn’t need your readership or involvement. Unlike many political and libertarian outlets, WAL Reader (and We Are Libertarians in general) does not pride itself in being an echo chamber; in fact, we pride ourselves in exactly the opposite. If an echo chamber is what you’re looking for I can suggest a few other outlets, groups, and caucuses that might be better suited to your tastes (I won’t name those here).
Now that that messy bit of housekeeping is out of the way, I hope you all enjoy Issue II of WAL Reader. Again, all I ask is that you read through the following pages with an open mind. I want to thank all the writers who contributed to this issue, as well as Donald Keller for designing this issue’s cover. And of course, to Chris Spangle for starting, growing, and sharing the We Are Libertarians label.
If you want to check out Issue II (which I highly recommend), you can do so here.