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Paradigm Shift

The old guard built this movement. Without them, it’s unlikely any of us would be aware that a liberty movement even exists! This alone is an accomplishment. And the history books will look favorably upon them for it - & justifiably so. Their preference for a political approach however, has been ineffective at bringing about liberty (just take a look around, if you’re still permitted). Progress hasn’t just stagnated, we’ve been losing ground rapidly. It’s time for a paradigm shift. One that moves away from the old way of thinking & instead focuses on teaching people how to opt out of corrupt systems & to build competing, market-based alternatives to state institutions. Like sports teams, ideas also get tired & worn out, old players retire, & new, fresh ideas take their place. In the world of ideas, when paradigm shifts occur, the old guard resists the change at first, but eventually comes around to seeing the benefits and virtues of the new way. This is how progres

Illegal Immigration & the Agora

Few people might expect agorism in a brick-and-mortar storefront. Usually, it is difficult, if not impossible, to set up shop in the open. However, one special class of storefronts has seemingly overcome this obstacle: La Tiendas. La Tienda* is, simply put, any Hispanic grocery store. Many sell unfamiliar items like churros or authentic piñatas. Most, though, sell goods that most Americans would be accustomed to such as laundry detergent, bleach, and alcohol. However, brand names will be in Spanish and you might just be able to not 'get IDed.' The first time I walked into la Tienda, I was amazed. Being a law nerd and an agorist, I was in humble awe of the public, if not flashy, display of a non-FDA-approved pandaría (bakery) and carnicería (butchery). And, at the risk of generalizing, it would be foolish to think that all of the workers were "legal" immigrants who submit W2s at the beginning of each year.

What kind of confidence is it to practice such an unashamed kind of free market? My conclusion has been that the nature of "illegal" immigration drives individuals and others around them to a sort of emboldened agorism. Before I continue, let me clarify that I do not use the term either as an insult or as in its true definition. In fact, much of this article will describe the bravery that agorist migration entails. No person can be "illegal," but the state--by its very nature--must declare an 'other.' Our job as agorists should be to break down those barriers whenever possible.

Let us take a second to review the definition of government: a political entity with a monopoly on violence and law over a populace within a defined territory. Particularly, these last two characteristics--populace and territory--are important. The State must exercise control over a defined piece of land. In other words, it must have borders. Without this, people and goods may come and go as they please without any input by the State. That is exactly what agorist immigration accomplishes. It strikes at the very definition of the State, the very heart of its power. Without control over its borders, every aspect of the State is undermined. Agorists bring agorist goods and services into the nation that exponentially multiply the free market's production possibilities. Though, perhaps the most valuable good that is brought is a clear and unambiguous culture of ignoring the State.

With any kind of immigration comes the elimination of government-enforced cultural boundaries. Back to my first visit to la Tienda, there was a sign up on the pastries written in Spanish, a class I barely passed. However, after a simple picture and upload to google translate, I understood what the sign was saying--something along the lines of "help yourself but please use the trays for cleanliness." Immigration does more than encourage market-solutions to language barriers. Of course, Google Translate is not the grey/black market, but an increase in agorist immigrants incentivizes white market firms to lower cross-cultural transaction cost.

When you are used to seeing people wearing hijabs, yamakas, and crucifixes, you're less inclined to believe the State's propaganda that these religions must be fought against or for in endless wars. We start to see each other as individuals deserving of property rights, and the State loses a schism it could previously use to motivate us to support war. If there is any truth in claims that cultural regulation is a true intent of policy--though I suspect immigration laws have much more to do with the later points--then agorist immigration helps to break down cultural divides that would otherwise be advantageous to the State.

Agorist immigrants also force domestic markets to have freer labor. Businesses across the country hire undocumented immigrants for the specific reason that they are undocumented. With no taxes or mandatory compensation, people are free to negotiate a wage that is mutually beneficial to both parties, just as it should be for the whole market. Firms constantly take the risks of fines or sudden labor shortages due to deportations just to avoid burdensome taxes. These lower wages help keep consumer goods at lower prices, despite the government's best efforts to make all of our lives miserable.

Agorist immigrants strike the brutish mouth of the state. A State without a tax revenue is like a vampire without a victim. They not only undermine the State's ability to steal from firms, but also from the smallest minority: the individual. Perhaps in the future everyday goods that would be taxed through tariffs will find their way across borders with agorist immigrants.

Most glaring, however, is that agorist immigrants show just how inept the State is at its one societal duty of providing public goods. It is often said that the State must provide roads and defense because of free riders. It must provide education and healthcare because of positive externalities. It must provide labor and cultural standards because of negative externalities. Yet, agorist immigrants show how the State does not truly solve any of these market issues.

The only thing the State can do is force riders through taxation. It can only hold a gun to its subjects' head to provide what it thinks are positives and prevent what it deems are negatives. These are not solutions, they are subversions. Agorist immigrants show the true face of the State and how it works through threats and violence. And when that violence is avoided by agorist immigrants using roads and public schools, the State is shown to be toothless. When those threats are ignored by agorist immigrants working for below minimum wage, the State is shown to be naked. If left alone, the market would find ways of internalizing these issues--such as Google running ads on a non-excludable and non-rivalrous service. As it stands, the State claims a monopoly on all of these goods, so the market has no had the opportunity to truly solve them.

The very nature of illegal immigration makes it an agorist action. Crossing the border in defiance of the State injures its ability to tax, to regulate labor, to control the imports, and to provide public goods. Wherever there is illegal immigration, there is the agora.

*La Tienda here is used as a general term and does not specify any particular store or person

Derrell McIver | @BenjaminDMyles1


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