Clarification on “Dear Rand Paul”

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Yesterday Punk Rock Libertarians published my article criticizing Rand Paul for kowtowing to Islamophobes and proposing a bill to prevent Syrian refugees from entering the US. This caused a kerfuffle on Facebook during which I learned I’m an idiot, not a libertarian, and almost certainly a retarded liberal. I don’t mind the name-calling, in fact I think it’s pretty funny. But I do think it’s silly that so many people were attacking PRL and me for something we never said.

The people upset with the article seemed to fall into two camps:

  1. Those who think terrorists will come in with the refugees.
  2. Those who think PRL is advocating for government support of the refugees.

The first issue was actually addressed in the article, because it is a valid concern. But history has shown that refugees, at least those coming to the US, are NOT terrorists. Not to mention that entering America as a refugee is a long drawn-out process that can take several years. If a terrorist wants to come to the US, all he has to do is get a tourist or student visa – that’s what the 9/11 terrorists did. Read the article if want a more complete explanation.

The second issue was not even mentioned in the article, pro or con. That is because Rand Paul’s bill did not address government support for refugees. Neither I nor the PRL staff think it’s a good idea for the government to support refugees. We don’t think anyone should be suckling at the taxpayers’ teat.

Several posters on Facebook say they’re waiting for us to explain why we support welfare for refugees. Well, here’s the explanation – we don’t.

After the original article was written, Paul submitted an amendment to a transportation bill that would block refugees from 34 countries from receiving government support. Sounds good to me. In fact I would have expanded it. No immigrants, be they legal, illegal, or refugee, should get taxpayer funds. Then I would introduce a bill to phase out all welfare while giving a dollar for dollar tax credit for donations to charities that take care of the poor. Let’s get the government out of the welfare business completely.

Paul’s amendment is separate from his bill to bar refugee entry and they tackle different issues. The bill is about crossing an imaginary line on a map and nothing more. Paul fell on the anti-freedom statist side of this issue and that is why I criticized him. His amendment is about not forcing taxpayers to support someone else. He falls on the anti-coercion limited-government side of this issue and that is why I support it. A bill similar to Paul’s anti-refugee bill has already passed the House of Representatives with a veto-proof majority, so it looks like no Syrians will be coming here for the time being. Paul’s amendment to stop refugee welfare has not been included in the transportation as of Thursday night. It’s doubtful it will get voted on, so it looks like you will continue to support refugees whether you like it or not.

And to those of you who asked, “why don’t the refugees stay and fight?” Really? One side is ISIS and the other is Assad. The other rebel groups are getting wiped out. Anyone with half a brain is trying to get out of that hellhole.

Now go fire up Facebook and tell me I’m an ignorant slut.

Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of Five Ways to Beat the Market and The Golden Age of Distance Running.

About Author

Wayne Middlesteadt is a 1986 graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from Georgia State University. Currently working as a financial writer and track and field historian, his latest book is Five Ways To Beat The Market.