Friday, January 30, 2015

There's No Right To Work

President Obama's nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, is confused as to the "rights" that are properly possessed by foreigners who illegally violate our borders.

This is in part understandable, as her questioner, Mr. Sessions, is more than a little confused as to the concept himself. My thoughts today touch on how the words we employ affect our comprehension.

EVERYONE has the same rights. That's why they're "inalienable". They're not bestowed upon you by the government. The problem is that few people recognize the distinction between "rights" and "privileges".

You might argue that it's semantics, and the unfortunate thing is that we have allowed it to become so. It's not a trivial difference, and it underscores the importance of getting the language right. We do ourselves no favors as individuals or as a nation when we let privileges become rights or grants become entitlements. Yet we do it all the time, to our detriment.

Voting, for instance... that's a privilege, not a right. It's reserved for citizens in good standing, which is why felons may be disenfranchised. When you claim that voting is a right of citizenship rather than a privilege and obligation, it quickly becomes confused with those inalienable rights due to all people. Muddy language leads to muddy understanding, to the point where elected politicians would cede control of elections to non-citizens, effectively ceding sovereignty. The slippery slope is real, and visible. Idiot lemmings are already sliding down it.

Mis-labeled "right to work" laws notwithstanding, working is also a privilege, not a right, even for citizens. It's why your employer can fire you... he doesn't owe you a job. It's why you can be denied employment by the state. Child molesters can't work with children; doctors and lawyers (and many others) must be licensed, etc. Even if you're self-employed, nobody has to buy your efforts, and you serve at the pleasure and forbearance of those customers who keep you self-employed.

Work is not a right for anybody, and quite frankly, your life gets a whole lot easier when you realize what a privilege it is to be able to serve others and you act accordingly. It changes your entire outlook. Clear language leads to a clarity of purpose; and in this case, makes you more employable.

In the case of illegals, they are plainly illegal, and should go through the same channels to acquire the privilege of working in this country as were used by the millions of legal immigrants. Either that, or they can go home and exercise the privileges that they already have there.

This single comment of Lynch's isn't as damning as many on the Right claim. In the clip above she's merely indicating that people should pull their own weight. That by itself is reasonable. The problem with it is that they should be doing it in their own country. She blythely states, "...if someone is here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not...".

Well... no. I would prefer that visitors not participate in the workplace. Visitors should visit, then go home. Certainly you would agree with this in principle, rather than implying (however obliquely) that you'd rather have every Disneyland tourist pressed into a job than not.

She doesn't mean that, of course, despite the words she used. And these aren't tourists we're talking about. They are would-be immigrants. We  have laws that spell out rather completely the procedures required of immigrants. Rather than effectively argue that they be changed, and support the proper legislative process; the President appears to believe he can "selectively enforce" them. By this he means "ignore them". I disagree. It is his primary job to defend our nation's Constitution and provide for the common defense of its citizens. His job description requires him to secure our border. To that end, I prefer that people who are not visitors be here legally.

That's not an anti-immigration stance. Rather, it's simultaneously a pro-immigration and pro-security stance. It's a pro-American position which reserves permanent residency in this country to those who were born into it or who swear to abide by its Constitution. It's the same position taken by the other countries on our planet regarding their borders and privileges of citizenship. It's the porous border mentality that is logically unfit and needs serious explanation.

It's a matter of legality and constitutionality. When Senator Ted Cruz asks if selective enforcement of laws is unconstitutional, we learn that "unconstitutional" is far too nebulous a concept to be nailed down by a brilliant legal scholar like Lynch. (for the record, selective enforcement is a far cry from prosecutorial discretion. Presidents are allowed the latter within limits). Cruz's hypothetical is interesting in that skirts the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. That amendment requires that each State treat its citizens equally under the laws of that State. It doesn't place that requirement on the Federal government. As this is a matter of interpretation, and therefore fluidity, the question is a fair one. The reigning interpretation is that such selectivity is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment's mandate of due process.

But beyond that, Cruz is asking whether a President can choose to treat States unequally despite the clear intent of Congress that the law be equally applied. For instance, can the President choose not to enforce laws in a specific state? The correct answer really shouldn't be difficult. Those laws duly passed by the representatives of the People in Congress should be enforced as they were intended, and are not subject to the whim of one man.

Nevertheless, despite numerous pointed requests, no actual answers were offered. Such answers as we got indicate that Lynch would at least consider the constitutionality of the violation of equal treatment of States under Federal law. And it's Lynch's circuitous answers in their entirety and in context that cast some doubt on her suitability to be Attorney General. As this Congress seems to value answers far less than displaying skill in avoiding them, of course she'll probably be approved.

No comments:

Post a Comment