COLLEGE DEGREES AND OTHER TOILET PAPERS

 

By Wil Schroter 

We’re excited that you graduated college. We’ll high five you when you complete your MBA. Oh, you’re a doctor now? That’s wonderful.

Congratulations on all of your degrees — you’ll be happy to know they mean nothing here.

Now before you start pelting me with your student loan re-payment coupons, let me explain why we want you to be excited about this fact.

WE’RE A MERITOCRACY

In our time we’ve seen very little correlation or causality between the level of education people have achieved and their ability to excel at their jobs. In fact, many of our best performing folks don’t even have a resume that makes any sense with their current title — and yet they rock.

We’ve created an environment where people aren’t defined by their degree or their resume. They’re defined by their contribution.

We’re a meritocracy here. If you show up and rock it, you can do whatever you want here. We don’t care how old you are. We don’t care where you went to school. We don’t care what you did in your last job.

We very much care about what you’re capable of here. And we want to be the place that tests who you truly are, not how great you are at taking tests.

BREAKING BROKEN THINKING

You might be surprised how hard it is to get folks to stop thinking about their past as the delimiter of their future.

You were lead to believe that the kid that got an A in science class was more capable than you were. You were lead to believe that when you’re 22 you get a crappy starter job and when you’re 42 you should be a senior manager. You were lead to believe that there’s some time in the future (never now) that you’ll be able to do the things you thought you could do.

This is broken thinking. It assumes that your capabilities exist on a linear spectrum, something you probably learned from many years of schooling.

You’re probably as capable as you’ll ever be right now. You’ll have more experience later, but your IQ isn’t going to change and your energy levels certainly aren’t going to increase. Your core stats are as good as they are going to get.

SET YOUR OWN PATH

Here you’ll get to take all the blinders off and have a stark, naked look at yourself — how good are you really? What if you’re 10x more capable than that ‘D’ you got in science class suggested? On the other hand, what if that perfect 4.0 GPA you got in College means nothing now?

There’s nothing prescriptive about your job or career progression here. The only thing preventing you from skipping from 1st grade to college is you.

You want to double your salary this year? Go join the sales team where your comp is 100% defined by your hustle. You want to be a badass engineer? Grab one of the million side projects we have cooking and present it on Monday. You want your manager’s job? Think bigger. Think about a product or department that doesn’t exist that you could build and lead.

BURN DOWN YOUR PAST

Again, we’re proud of you for setting goals around your education and seeing them through. That’s fantastic. But we want you to burn your past down to the ground.

We want you to stop thinking about your past wins and losses — because we certainly will.

We want you to do one thing — challenge yourself. We want you to reach for more than anyone ever told you that you could. We want you to be the Kindergartner that walks in on the first day of school and asks to take the SATs. You’re going to fail a few times in the process, and that’s OK. We’re a friggin’ startup company that helps build startups. Failure and rebuilding is a pattern we know well and most certainly embrace.

From this point on your degree is just the most expensive piece of artwork from your past. Let’s work together to make it the least important thing in your future.

UPTREND OF HEALTHCARE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

Healthcare companies are developing new digital technologies to give consumers more control over the care they receive. That could upend the industry’s move toward greater consolidation and scale.

InterSystems, a global leader in health information technology, and Neuro Spinal Hospital, the first super-specialty neuroscience hospital in the Middle East region, have announced a plan to implement the InterSystems TrakCare® unified healthcare information system to enable Neuro Spinal Hospital to remain a regional pioneer in medicine and technology.

In the not-distant future, financially accountable, tech-enabled consumers may avail themselves of a range of discrete digital health services from a variety of providers. As a result, they would be able to create their own health-management ecosystems, acting as stewards of their care and controlling not just where they access it but also how and from whom, as well as the price they pay. The impact of these changes—the friction created between large, fully integrated healthcare systems that prioritize efficiency and scale, and newer, more distributed digital upstarts emphasizing speed and the consumer experience—could put up for grabs $270 billion of the incumbents’ current revenues and an additional $13 billion to $24 billion in new ones.

For over fifteen years, Neuro Spinal Hospital has established itself as a renowned center of excellence and referral destination for neurosurgical, spinal, neurological, and orthopedic treatments.

TrakCare will enable Neuro Spinal Hospital to keep on with its mission of providing excellence and leadership in tertiary healthcare by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. TrakCare will support clinicians at the hospital in their clinical decision-making, ensuring that decisions are better informed in order to strengthen patient safety and achieve successful clinical outcomes. Neuro Spinal Hospital will leverage TrakCare’s embedded analytics capabilities that will lead to greater insight into the operations of healthcare delivery, which in turn will lead to improving outcomes while reducing costs.

Admittedly, several significant barriers must be overcome before that shift in the sector’s dynamics can fully take root. At present, the effectiveness of many digital and mobile technologies remains to be proved. In fact, the IT platforms needed to aggregate data and to integrate the consumer experience across care venues and new modalities (e-visits, for example) remain to be built. Other hurdles include concerns about information security and about who should underwrite the cost of adopting these solutions at scale, as well as the potential need for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of some devices. But even the modest adoption of the new technologies could have enormous implications for providers and health insurers alike.

According to our research and analysis, technologies that make it possible to deliver primary care less expensively could save $175 billion to $220 billion a year if they came into widespread use. Although consumers are likely to be the primary beneficiaries of the savings, incumbents will probably capture some of the money. Increased automation and self-service could lower their overall administrative costs by an additional $24 billion to $48 billion annually through productivity gains.

Although some of the new technologies will replace more expensive services, others (personal diagnostic devices, for example) will create new classes of offerings. Furthermore, healthcare-utilization levels may rise once primary care becomes cheaper and more accessible. Combined, these factors could generate $13 billion to $24 billion in new revenues for incumbents and technology companies.

To better understand the path to this reordered landscape and its implications for participants in the sector, we interviewed technology innovators, investors, healthcare providers, and insurers. We also surveyed thousands of US consumers. Our research revealed five key findings, three of which we outline here:

Consumers are starting to replace traditional healthcare services with digital ones. Although utilization trails awareness, inroads are being made, particularly among younger Americans. Millennials, for example, are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (and three times as likely as people born before 1945) to use email or text messages to communicate with physicians.

Investment in digital and mobile health and in related technologies is robust and growing. The strongest growth has occurred among direct-to-consumer technologies that require little or no involvement by physicians (for example, wearable fitness trackers and scheduling applications) and among intermediated technologies (more complex ones, such as remote diagnostic equipment, that require a doctor’s prescription). Investors appear equally interested in both, but for different reasons: direct-to-consumer technologies for their ability to achieve scale quickly and intermediated ones for their greater cost-reduction potential.

The advanced interoperability that TrakCare provides Neuro Spinal Hospital is aligned with the direction of the Nabidh scheme. The Nabidh initiative from Dubai Health Authority is a health information exchange platform that connects public and private health systems to ensure that patient records can be securely shared and viewed across all of Dubai by authorized clinicians.

“The values that drive us at Neuro Spinal Hospital are all centered around the needs of our patients and their families. We are committed to provide them with the best care by combining expertise from around the world with cutting edge technology. We selected TrakCare as part of our mission to remain a pioneer in medicine and technology in the Middle East region,” said Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Founder and Medical Director of Neuro Spinal Hospital.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Neuro Spinal Hospital. TrakCare as a service™ will enable the hospital to continue to focus on delivering the highest standards of patient care while entrusting InterSystems with their Electronic Medical Records,” said Michel Amous, InterSystems Managing Director for Middle East, Italy, and India.

New technologies address consumer dissatisfaction with the current healthcare system. These technologies fall into six categories, all of which could alter the economics of the healthcare system:

  • self-service tools that make it easier to schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, and pay bills
  • “quantified self” and wellness tools that assess a patient’s health status, monitor adherence to treatment, or enable coaching, as well as devices that can be worn, ingested, or embedded in the human body
  • clinical-transparency tools that help patients use healthcare services more appropriatelyby enabling them to make more informed decisions
  • financial-transparency tools that help consumers to compare prices and benefits from different health plans and providers
  • virtual-access tools that enable consumers to consult with doctors online, to be monitored remotely, or to receive certain types of care at home
  • IT platforms that aggregate data from different tools and enable them to work together, as well as technologies that help consumers receive information through multiple channels

While it remains unclear who will pay for the new technologies, most of the stakeholders we interviewed believe that employers, providers, and insurers will assume this responsibility.

The more engaged consumers enabled by new digital health technologies could shift the sector’s dynamics in three ways:

  • The basis for competitive advantage changes. The geographic scope of competition, historically concentrated in metropolitan areas, could broaden, especially once digital access points, such as self-service tools, become more prevalent and price- and quality-transparency tools alert consumers to higher-value alternatives.
  • Consumers become clinical-data integrators. Increasingly, consumers could own and manage their clinical data, which would allow them to decide for themselves who should gain access to that information (and when) in clinical, transactional, and administrative settings.
  • The roles of providers and insurers evolve. Providers, especially physicians, could find themselves spending less time gathering information about their patients and more time helping them make sense of the information already gathered. Insurers may become trusted advisers, helping consumers to understand how best to manage their financial accountability and risk preferences. They’ll have competition for this role, though. Retirement and wealth advisers, for example, could include health-risk assessments and estimates of health costs in the advice they give clients.

Notwithstanding the barriers, incumbents should be prepared to make bold changes to their business and operational models to compete in a digital healthcare landscape. Their approach to the coming transformation should be comprehensive and integrated, not a series of random, disconnected initiatives. The transformation process will require frequent trade-offs between physical and digital assets, and all bets on new technologies will probably have to be reviewed every three to six months.

Incumbents shouldn’t rely on price as the sole point of competitive difference. Those that prevail will be defined by how well they know their customers—and by how customers behave in a given scenario. Physically active consumers, for example, may be price seekers when they shop for primary-care services but completely indifferent to price when they look for orthopedic surgeons.

The full impact of engaged, tech-enabled healthcare consumers may not be felt for five to ten years, but now is the time for providers and insurers to start preparing for the new reality. If they don’t, they might find it too late to remain in the game. In other sectors, many companies that didn’t prepare for the impact of digital and mobile technologies eventually lost out to more nimble new entrants. \
InterSystems is the engine behind the world’s most important applications. In healthcare, finance, government, and other sectors where lives and livelihoods are at stake, InterSystems is the power behind what matters[TM]. Founded in 1978, InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide, and its software products are used daily by millions of people in more than 80 countries. 
Conveniently located on the Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai, Neuro Spinal Hospital is a renowned private neurosurgical, neurological, spinal and orthopaedic specialist facility with a dedicated, expert staff of specialists using the most advanced equipment, technology, and evidence-based techniques. The Neuro Spinal Hospital takes great pride in its tertiary healthcare facility, offering superior diagnostic, rehabilitative and curative services for a wide range of neurological, spinal and orthopaedic disorders. The multinational staff is a dedicated, problem-solving team, working together with the patient and the patient’s family to provide the highest levels of care and specialty services.

INNOVATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS

 

Innovative Solar Systems, an Asheville, NC based developer of Utility Scale Solar Farms has just announced the first of many joint ventures between VIVO Power and ISS. The first JV that just recently closed involves VIVO Power purchasing a total of 37 Utility Scale Solar Farm projects from ISS that totals 1.8GW’s of Solar Energy plants. Representatives from both companies are very excited about this joint collaboration and state that it is natural fit in that both companies’ plans are to develop, design and construct well over 5GW’s of Solar Farms over the next several years and this is just the first of many large joint ventures that the two companies plan together. The most recent purchase of 1.8GW’s of Solar Farm projects from Innovative Solar Systems was not the first venture that ISS and VIVO has had together and most recently VIVO has just brought online Several ISS projects, both IS31-35MW(AC) and IS47-35MW(AC).

 

 

New sources, mobility, and industry fragmentation are set to disrupt the system. Change is afoot in the energy system. Soaring demand in emerging markets, new energy sources, and the likely growth of electric vehicles (EVs) are just some of the elements disrupting the status quo. It is hard to discern how the aftershocks will affect the extraordinarily complex network of sectors and stakeholders. 

An array of energy technologies seems poised for a breakthrough. Within two decades, as many as 20 new energy sources could be powering the global economy, including fuel cells; small, modular nuclear-fission reactors; and even nuclear fusion. Fossil fuels will still be part of the mix, but renewables’ share is likely to grow owing to environmental concerns, further cost reductions that make renewable energy more competitive, and demand for electricity. Electricity demand is expected nearly to double by the middle of the century, propelled primarily by economic development in China and India. By 2050, electric power, which can be generated by low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar, could account for a quarter of global energy demand.

An economy based on so many technologies is unprecedented. The Industrial Revolution relied on steam engines powered by wood, water, or coal. In the 20th century, oil and gas were added to the mix, then nuclear fission. The abundant choice on the horizon raises new dilemmas. For example, where should governments focus investment and research efforts? Most are minded to keep their options open for the time being in order to satisfy demand, as well as for cost and environmental considerations. Over time, though, they might have to choose. Uncertainty about how funding will be shared between new technologies could slow their development. And if technologies are in contention, governments might struggle to secure reliable energy supplies. Securing those supplies, however, will no longer necessarily depend on access to oil, gas, and coal reserves—access that has long colored geopolitics. In tomorrow’s world, access to the technologies that harness resources such as wind, sun, water, or heat from the earth’s core is likely to matter most.

VIVO Power is just one of many of ISS’s large clients that repeatedly buys and constructs the quality Solar Farms that ISS delivers to the solar market place. Innovative Solar Systems is known for developing crown jewel Solar Farm projects all across the United States that offer buyers and investors the highest returns, and overall lowest operating costs. ISS has become the #1 US Developer of Utility Scale Solar Farms and has a yearly pipeline of approximately 200 projects in over thirty states that total over 10GW’s. Large investment funds have grown to depend on ISS for their yearly capacity of high quality projects that the company is able to deliver at either “Shovel Ready,” NTP or full COD. ISS is without a doubt the best and highest quality Solar Farm Development Company in the US for many reasons and new clients are lining up daily to cement new relationships and JV’s with ISS as ISS is the largest and most sophisticated developer of Utility Scale Solar Projects in the US.

The way we move around our ever-spreading cities is set to be transformed by technology and the drive to reduce pollution, congestion, and carbon emissions. Center stage is the electric vehicle. EVs still have high upfront costs compared to conventional vehicles, but thanks in part to the falling price of batteries, they may be competitive by the mid-2020s. By the mid-2030s, our research shows they could account for between 27 and 37 percent of new-vehicle sales, depending on the extent to which regulation, technology, ride sharing, and self-driving vehicles further reduce costs and boost EV popularity.

These factors present a range of potential consequences. For example, global demand for liquid fuel used in light vehicles could fall by between two million and six million barrels a day (a drop of between 8 and 25 percent), helping to make the chemical industry, not transportation, the source of demand growth for these fuels. Oil companies might need to rethink their strategies as a result, perhaps acquiring more acreage to support production of naphtha or natural-gas liquids—key feedstocks for chemical plants. If mobility patterns change rapidly, city planners could find themselves in a matter of years with expensive parking lots that stand empty. And if the cost of moving around cities in self-driving, shared vehicles falls to the point where it matches the cost of using public-transport systems, passenger numbers and revenues for these systems could fall, potentially making them harder to maintain.

For the past half century, large players have dominated energy markets. Today, technology is spawning many smaller operators at the same time as new sources of capital emerge. Public markets and governments were once the only investors in the energy sector. But with many governments now cash-strapped, pension funds and private-equity firms are taking up the slack. In the past five years, private-equity firms invested more than $200 billion in the sector, matching new ideas and business models with capital hungry for returns. This fragmentation is diminishing the power of scale to shape markets.

A large number of shale gas and oil producers in North America, for example, make uncoordinated decisions about supply, challenging the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to influence prices. Large utilities have to factor into their strategies the growing number of cities, businesses, and households that generate their own energy from renewables, often selling surplus back to the grid. And governments could find it harder to implement effective regulation. Rules around drilling, water disposal, and public health and safety are already being tested in North America because of the speed at which the number of oil and gas producers has grown. And distributed power generation has sparked regulatory questions about how to charge grid users equitably. Assuming it is wealthier consumers who can afford to install solar panels, the cost of maintaining the grid falls to a smaller number of less affluent households.

Innovative Solar Systems will be shutting down their new client list soon and then the company will no longer be taking on any additional new clients. After ISS forms a few more relationships with Billion Dollar funds that wish to build and own the majority of ISS’s yearly pipeline the company will no longer be selling large blocks of projects on the open market so time is truly of the essence for any entities wanting to secure large blocks of projects (300MW-3GW per year) for the next five years. The minimum block or portfolio of projects that ISS now sells to any new client is 300MW (AC) min. Most new clients that ISS is currently forming partnerships with all wish to have solid access to a minimum of 500MW to 1GW of projects per year. Innovative Solar Systems is not the company that sells singular projects anymore, the company sells no less that 300MW’s to any single buyer on any single transaction now, this is important to note when contacting ISS to explore the possibility of becoming a new ISS client.

As scale in some areas diminishes in importance, agility takes precedence. With so many players interacting in so many different ways in so many different locations, it is harder than ever to predict the future. Billion-dollar investments in assets that must be productive for three decades or more become far too risky. Instead, companies will need to make smaller initial investments and be able to adjust their strategies rapidly as circumstances change or local conditions dictate. Local differentiation carries increasing competitive weight. In oil and gas, service providers increasingly tailor their offerings not at the country or even regional level, but basin by basin; power companies may need to consider different strategies for different cities depending on the choice of feedstock and the numbers of residents and businesses producing their own energy.

Ironically, fragmentation is likely to encourage more partnerships. While these are already commonplace in oil and gas, where companies split the cost and risk of large capital projects, one might assume that smaller assets with lower costs and risk would have less need of them. Yet with a rising number of participants in an energy system where local differentiation counts, the reverse could be true.

The speed and scale of change in the energy system will depend on the pace of technological advancement—in establishing cheaper, more efficient power storage, for example—and on government policies and regulation. Unless system participants start to plan now, they could find themselves left adrift.

SMART DRIVE OF 360 DEGREES

SmartDrive Systems, a leader in driving performance solutions that reduce collisions and improve fuel efficiency, extended the value of SmartDrive 360, the company’s solution that enables fleets to deploy additional cameras to gain 360-degree insight into risk.

 

 

In this latest release, SmartDrive 360 expands its on-demand video capability with triggering on up to four cameras simultaneously based upon high-risk maneuvers—providing better insight into frequent causes of collisions and clearly exonerating drivers in all collision types. SmartDrive was previously awarded a patent for Advanced System Triggering with a patent pending for this latest innovation. In addition to delivering an unprecedented level of coverage, SmartDrive 360 provides the fastest insight to risk. Offloaded in minutes and, in most cases, reviewed by an expert driving analyst within one hour, confirmed collisions and alerts are sent to customers so they can react swiftly to the incident. This immediate access to video allows fleets to improve their safety programs, reduce claims processes and increase safety measures.  

 

“SmartDrive customers are an integral part of our innovation process,” stated Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive. “Working together, we took SmartDrive 360 to the next level by taking advantage of the safety technology investments our customers have already made. Since 35 percent of collisions are side and rear incidents, a growing number of fleets are adding more cameras to their trucks. By capturing triggered video across these additional cameras, fleets can now gain immediate visibility to the highest risk—and most costly events—in and around their vehicles.”

The new SmartDrive 360 multi-camera triggering makes it easy for customers to quickly access and view the complete picture of high-risk events. When a vehicle with SmartDrive 360 experiences a risky maneuver, such as swerve, U-turn, high impact/collision, or the driver initiates a manual recording, video is captured from all four cameras. The video is then automatically offloaded from the SmartRecorder, along with the in-cab and forward-facing camera views.  Previously, these videos were only available on-demand. Now, the immediacy of these videos allow fleets to get expanded insight on those incidents where it matters most, delivering on a main tenet of the SmartDrive Promise: “We deliver video in minutes, not days.”

Reinforcing the ease of fleets to include SmartDrive 360 as part of their video-based safety solution, Mitgang comments, “This new capability is available without a costly hardware ‘rip-and-replace’. This points to the power of our open platform, which continues to pay dividends to customers and takes advantage of their other safety investments.”

Whereas just a few years ago, fleets were reticent to install one camera, the adoption of multiple cameras is rapidly increasing as fleets move to proactively identify risk. The ability to have an expansive view of the vehicle in its operating environment helps ensure safety in fleets that drive in congested areas (such as food/beverage and distribution/delivery) that routinely face sideswipe incidents, compliance-heavy industries where operational procedures need to be meticulously followed and fleets driving specialty equipment.

“Not only have our drivers fully embraced the SmartDrive video-based safety program, but they also recognize that additional cameras equal more protection for them in collisions or other incidents where they are not at fault,” said Michael Lasko, safety manager, T.F. Boyle Transportation. “Additional video from different areas around the vehicle gives us a deeper understanding of what happens on the road and which drivers need coaching to improve safety.”


SmartDrive Systems, the recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s Customer Value Leadership Award for Video Safety Solutions, gives fleets and drivers unprecedented driving performance insight and analysis, helping save fuel, expenses and lives. Its video analysis, predictive analytics and personalized performance program help fleets improve driving skills, lower operating costs and deliver significant ROI. With an easy-to-use managed service, fleets and drivers can access and self-manage driving performance anytime, anywhere. The company, which is ranked as one of the fastest growing companies by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, has compiled the world’s largest storehouse of more than 180 million analyzed risky-driving events. SmartDrive Systems is based in San Diego, and employs over 500 people worldwide.

LUCRETIUS

By Dale DeBakcsy

Lucretius is the keystone of materialism, its prime example of how staggeringly far a single mind can go in understanding the universe aided by nothing but the proposition that everything is composed of atoms. His masterpiece, De Rerum Natura, published over two thousand years ago, is an astonishing encapsulation of prescient hyper-modern insights into the physical world. From genetics to cosmology, optics to neuroscience, Lucretius’s ideas are correct freakishly often, explainable only under the hypothesis that (1) Lucretius was a Time Lord, or (2) a little bit of materialism unencumbered by the need for theogonic consistency goes a long way indeed.

 

 

 

 

We know shockingly little about the man whose book was, for a millennium and a half, deemed too dangerous for general consumption. We know that, like his role model and inspiration, Epicurus, he lived in a time of tectonic civilizational change. Born 100 BCE-ish, Lucretius experienced the last days of the Roman Republic and died around 55 BCE. During that time, two Roman generals, Marius and Sulla, broke the back of the Republic with their constant wrangling for power, each establishing in turn a rule more tyrannical than the last. Political enemies were executed in droves on the streets of Rome as the vaunted traditions of Roman religion and justice stood impotently by.

Little wonder, then, that a return to the even-handed realism of Epicurus proved so popular. In a world so markedly capricious, maintaining a belief in the rule of benevolent gods was not merely foolish, but harmful. Lucretius, before he gets down to the business of explaining “Life,” “The Universe,” and “Everything,” makes it his first priority to clear away the inherited religious detritus of the Greek and Roman systems, and to remind us of the violence to which religious belief incites men:  “Remember how at Aulis the altar of the Virgin Goddess was foully stained with the blood of Iphigenia… struck dumb with terror, she sank on her knees to the ground… It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father’s hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by religion.”

He then sits back, proposes the idea that everything we know is the result of entirely natural processes driven by the combination and recombination of elemental atoms, and treats us to a Neil deGrasse Tyson-worthy tour through the resultant recesses of the cosmos and the minds of men. The book is an accomplishment which has only grown more staggering with the passing of time, as ideas that were scoffed away as unworthy in the eighteenth century have since gained vindication from an age able to physically probe the regions he touched with his powerful sense of imaginative rigor. Here is a modest sampling of what he was able to conclude from the vantage point of basic atomism:

  1. The sun is the result of the chance combining of atoms over time, arising out of a natural accumulation, and having an inevitable and fixed end. It is not a deity, not even eternal, but just another natural object that must be constantly diminishing from radiation. The earth, also, is a natural object, with a definite and irrevocable end.
  2. There is a special material substance passed on to children which has within it contributions not only from the mother and father, but from previous relatives as well, the resultant child being determined by the particular ancestral mixture passed on from each parent. So, inheritance is determined by a random remixing of traits from multiple generations encoded on some physical medium… basically, meiotic crossing over and DNA.
  3. New organs and physical variations arise and are kept based on their usefulness. We weren’t created with eyes for the express purpose of seeing, but rather, an eye-like thing occurring throughout the random combinations of living forms, it created the possibility of sight, which was useful. It’s tantalizingly on the verge of our notion of genetic mutation as the motivator of evolutionary change, and a rebuttal of intelligent design two-thousand years before the fact.
  4. The speed of light must be slower in more dense media due to interference effects, and opacity is the result of coherent images being scattered by a non-uniform surface.  Mirror images are the results of reflecting particles, and how far “into” the mirror they appear is determined by an act of physical/mental calculation. Granted, Lucretius thinks the act of computation is triggered by the amount of air a traveling image particle pushes in front of it, rather than the straight-line computation model we’ve since discovered but still, a lot of the basic structures are there.
  5. Air is a fluid, and must be treated as such in all questions of falling bodies. Different objects fall at different rates because of the impact of air particles on the falling body, but in a vacuum, all objects should fall at the same rate, regardless of weight. That’s Galileo.
  6. Sensory motions and reactions are triggered by incredibly small particles which create a cascading chain reaction amongst larger masses of atoms to produce sensation. Lacking our vocabulary of nerves and nerve-triggering neurotransmitters, Lucretius nevertheless once again picked up on some of the salient physical details of sensation—that a miniscule initial physical reaction to a stimulus has to be appropriately amplified through intermediary circuitry, and that somewhere in the automatic processing of that signal lies our sensation of that stimulus.
  7. “It is in the highest degree unlikely that this earth and sky is the only one to have been created and that all those particles of matter outside are accomplishing nothing. This follows from the fact that our world has been made by nature through spontaneous and casual collision and the multifarious, accidental, random and purposeless congregation and coalescence of atoms whose suddenly formed combinations could serve on each occasion as the starting point of substantial fabrics—earth and sea and sky and the races of living creatures. On every ground, therefore, you must admit that there exists elsewhere other congeries of matter similar to this one which the ether clasps in ardent embrace.” Boom.

Sure, there are parts of De Rerum Natura which are just plain wrong. Though he annihilates with devastating cleverness the ancient idea that the whole universe must be made of one of the four classical substances (fire, for example, if you believe Heraclitus), those substances still figure prominently in a number of his explanations. But even some of his seeming absurdities, like the rooster-shaped eyeball pores in today’s comic, hold at their core something very powerful and true. What he was giving utterance to is the idea that we now recognize as true: that molecular shape has a crucial role in how that molecule functions. Bend a protein one way, and it does one job, bend it another, and it does something completely different. Lucretius’s obsession with hypothesizing about the role that atom shape plays, which struck later chemists as comical, was actually a good deal closer to the mark than most chemistry before the mid-twentieth century was capable of realizing.

Our sniggering was premature, as sniggering often is.

Of course, the grand tragedy is that this shimmering moment of potential was produced on the doorstep of Christian cosmological hegemony. If one mind, starting from materialist principles, was able to produce all of those astonishing insights within the span of forty-five short years, what might a whole continent have accomplished in the millennium-and-a-half it took us to allow ourselves the pleasure of his philosophical company again?

Such is the standard lament, but remember that the Greeks and Romans were not experimental people. They were astounding in their ability to take a premise to its logical conclusions, and where the initial premise was good, as it was with Lucretius, the end results were brilliant. But the scientific method of devising test conditions to verify hypotheses is a necessary thing to regular and reliable progress, and who’s to say that the daft fumbling of medieval Aristotelianism wasn’t exactly the thing that we needed to shock us into such a radically rigorous way of searching for knowledge? Perhaps the poetry of Lucretius was too alluring an intellectual diet to spark such a fundamental departure in scientific thought.

Ultimately, Lucretius stands at the zenith of ancient materialism, and the traditional story goes that our humanist thread doesn’t get picked up again until perhaps the fifteenth century. But, as Mikhail Bulgakov noted in a different time of darkness, “manuscripts don’t burn,” and our next few figures represent startling returns to the best classical traditions during the most unpromising of times. 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S IMMIGRATION TRACK RECORD

 

The first 100 days of the Trump administration are upon us, with all of the hype and freighted expectations usual for the first period of a new presidency, even when accomplishing long-term goals or structural changes is completely unrealistic in such a short time.

Overall, the administration so far has done well. Though there is much yet to be achieved, and in some areas campaign promises have not been met, a significant amount has been done, or at least started down the right path. Viewed against the backdrop of the Obama administration’s eight-year history of deliberately ruinous immigration policies, this is impressive. What a difference 100 days can make.

We believe in private property rights. I do not have the right to wander into your house, or into your gated community, or into Disneyworld, or onto your private beach, or onto Jay-Z’s private island. I can move onto any property I myself own or whose owner wishes to have me. I cannot simply go wherever I like.

Now if all the parcels of land in the whole world were privately owned, the solution to the so-called immigration problem would be evident. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that there would be no immigration problem in the first place. Everyone moving somewhere new would have to have the consent of the owner of that place.

When the state and its so-called public property enter the picture, though, things become murky. Consider, for instance, the large number of ethnic Russians whom Stalin settled in Estonia. This was not done so that Baltic people could enjoy the fruits of diversity. It never is. It was done in an attempt to destroy an existing culture, and in the process to make a people more docile and less likely to cause problems for the Soviet empire.

This overview provides no grade or score for the administration’s performance. Instead, we consider developments in the following areas:

  • Illegal immigration, border control, and crime;
  • Legal immigration and foreign workers;
  • National security and vetting; and
  • The rule of law.

Illegal Immigration, Border Control, and Crime

The administration kicked off with a bang, issuing no fewer than three presidential executive orders (EOs) within weeks of inauguration, serially addressing border control (including construction of the border wall), interior enforcement, and transnational border- and immigration-related crime, including drug and people smuggling. Among other things, the EOs directed the expeditious hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents, hundreds of new air-and-marine officers for Customs and Border Patrol, and 10,000 new interior immigration enforcement agents.

The EOs in turn were followed quickly by policy memoranda from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also issued directives and made public pronouncements making clear that the Department of Justice (DOJ) under his leadership was committed to vigorous prosecution of immigration offenses, including alien smuggling and transporting, illegal entry and reentry after deportation, and drug and weapons crimes, plus an emphasis on targeting and dismantling cross-border carters and transnational gangs. 

As many media outlets have noted, illegal border crossings are markedly down since President Trump took office. That is a good sign, and indicates that aliens are taking the rhetoric of the president and his staff seriously. Some have claimed that this signals that a border wall isn’t really needed. But we have seen such dips before — for instance, after passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 — and whether the slowdown becomes institutionalized will depend in no small measure on the willingness and ability of the administration to put action to its words. Smuggling organizations and the illegal aliens themselves will at some point begin testing our border enforcement resolve and whether illegal crossers will be detained upon being apprehended or allowed to settle in the United States, as was the norm during the Obama presidency.

The Wall. To this end, it is important that the border barrier proceed expeditiously, so that it becomes one of several layered defenses that render it unnecessary to choose between detaining or releasing tidal waves of humans attempting to cross. While there appears to be some willingness on the part of Congress to consider technology and additional resources, it has balked about funding the wall itself, and Democratic legislators have threatened a shutdown of the government rather than pass a budget that contains funding for the wall. It seems likely (as of this writing) that Republicans will cave on the issue of funding the wall for the moment. We are concerned about throwing good money after bad on other forms of layered border security, though. While the fledging drone program at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), parent agency to the Border Patrol, sounds cutting edge — and may be an excellent pork project for certain senators and representatives, as well as the drone manufacturing industry — there is little evidence that it has worked effectively or cost efficiently.

As to funding the wall itself, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced legislation that would permit DOJ and DHS to divert funds seized from drug cartels such as that run by El Chapo (Shorty) Guzman before his arrest and extradition to face U.S. charges, in order to fund the wall. This merits serious consideration.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has also introduced legislation that would authorize levy of a 2 percent tax on wire transfer remittances sent to certain countries that are the sources of illegal border crossers, with the proceeds to be used to fund the wall. We are generally in favor of such a tax, which was in fact first proposed by one of our fellows several years ago —although if the legislation were amended to permit across-the board taxation of remittances, it would increase revenues and perhaps even permit additional funding to be used for hiring of the enhanced border and interior enforcement agent corps.

The most important improvements in immigration security have been the reversal of the Obama administration’s version of “catch and release” at the border and ending the disastrous prioritization scheme that resulted in tens of thousands of deportable aliens (including many criminals and egregious immigration scofflaws) escaping removal each year.

Catch and Release. The most noticeable change was putting a stop to the practice of releasing arriving non-Mexican illegal border crossers with a notice to appear for an immigration court hearing years in the future, which was usually ignored. Now most new arrivals are either turned back right away or held in custody, and if they ask for asylum, their claims are reviewed promptly by a group of asylum officers and immigration judges that were recently deployed to the border areas. Several temporary holding facilities were set up, and a plan to house up to 12,500 people was adopted. Plans were made to conduct deportation proceedings by videoconference. In addition, the administration issued new guidance to asylum officers directing that cases must now be adjudicated according to the law, rather than according to a relaxed standard or review that leaned heavily in favor of approval. As it turned out, the deployment of asylum officers and judges and the new detention space was not needed as much as expected, because following the implementation of the new policies, the number of new illegal arrivals declined dramatically, bringing border apprehensions to a 17-year low.

No Exemptions. Within the country, ICE officers and agents have been directed to exercise their authority under a new enforcement prioritization scheme that does not exempt most illegal aliens from enforcement, as was the case under Obama policies. As has always been the case, the majority of ICE deportation cases are still criminal aliens who come to ICE’s attention after an arrest on state or local charges, or after incarceration. The big difference is that now ICE officers can act on any deportable alien as soon as they are encountered, and detain the aliens if appropriate, so that the person is actually removed, held accountable for any local crimes, and does not have the opportunity to flee from deportation. ICE has increased its detention capacity by 1,100 beds, and made plans to acquire 21,000 additional beds if funding is made available. Equally important, ICE officers are no longer told that they must look the other way at deportable aliens who have committed ID theft, been charged with minor crimes, have family members here, or have advocacy groups orchestrating a campaign for leniency on their behalf. Criminals are still the priority, but anyone here illegally is potentially subject to deportation.

287(g). The Trump administration has resurrected a popular and successful enforcement partnership program to enable local law enforcement agencies to supplement ICE and the Border Patrol efforts in their local areas, known as the 287(g) program. ICE fast-tracked the approval of eight new jurisdictions to participate (which had been stalled by the Obama administration) and already has identified 50 more local law enforcement agencies that want to participate.

VOICE. During the election cycle, candidate Trump made clear his strong disapproval of sanctuary states, counties, and cities that have resulted in the murder or injury of so many because they release alien criminals to the street instead of into the hands of federal ICE agents. At many campaign stops, the surviving family members of some of the victims of these crimes.

As evidence of his continuing concern, the president ordered creation of a new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The office has been launched and will be a welcome relief from the old ICE ombudsman’s office, which functioned as a one-stop shop for the private immigration bar to obtain relief (from detention, deportation, whatever) when they could not achieve it through the due process system.

E-Verify. Worksite enforcement has not received the same attention so far as criminal-alien issues, but the president’s FY 2018 budget blueprint does request $15 million to begin implementation of nationwide E-Verify. The online system allowing employers to check the work authorization of new hires was used for about half of all hires last year, but is still voluntary. Making it universal for all new hires nationwide would require separate legislation from Congress.

In a fully private-property society, people would have to be invited onto whatever property they traveled through or settled on. If every piece of land in a country were owned by some person, group, or corporation, this would mean that no person could enter unless invited to enter and allowed to rent or purchase property. A totally privatized country would be as closed as the particular property owners desire. It seems clear, then, that the regime of open borders that exists de facto in the U.S. and Western Europe really amounts to a compulsory opening by the central state, the state in charge of all streets and public land areas, and does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the proprietors.

In the current situation, on the other hand, immigrants have access to public roads, public transportation, public buildings, and so on. Combine this with the state’s other curtailments of private property rights, and the result is artificial demographic shifts that would not occur in a free market. Property owners are forced to associate and do business with individuals they might otherwise avoid.

Commercial property owners such as stores, hotels, and restaurants are no longer free to exclude or restrict access as they see fit. Employers can no longer hire or fire who they wish. In the housing market, landlords are no longer free to exclude unwanted tenants. Furthermore, restrictive covenants are compelled to accept members and actions in violation of their very own rules and regulations.

By admitting someone onto its territory, the state also permits this person to proceed on public roads and lands to every domestic resident’s doorsteps, to make use of all public facilities and services, such as hospitals and schools, and to access every commercial establishment, employment, and residential housing, protected by a multitude of nondiscrimination laws.

It is rather unfashionable to express concern for the rights of property owners, but whether the principle is popular or not, a transaction between two people should not occur unless both of those people want it to. This is the very core of libertarian principle.

In order to make sense of all this and reach the appropriate libertarian conclusion, we have to look more closely at what public property really is and who, if anyone, can be said to be its true owner. There are two positions we must reject: that public property is owned by the government, or that public property is unowned, and is therefore comparable to land in the state of nature, before individual property titles to particular parcels of land have been established.

Legal Immigration and Foreign Workers

The administration’s actions and approach to amending the current approach to legal immigration, both temporary and permanent, are promising, but mixed. For instance, there have been a number of high-profile appointments made of individuals whose expansive views on the hiring of “temporary” foreign workers by certain industries are well known.

Although the president has issued an EO dealing with the importance of ensuring full employment for American workers, the signal sent by these appointments is in conflict with the emphasis on buying and hiring American. Which direction will prevail in the Trump White House remains to be seen.

Guestworkers. The new administration has so far made few solid accomplishments in these fields, but it has made a number of promising statements, notably as related to the H-1B program (for college grads to work in the U.S.). These are complex programs that have been shaped, for years to meet the needs of employers, who, in turn, have shouldered aside US workers from good jobs they are qualified to do.

The administration has signaled it will roll back two of its predecessor’s more egregious decisions: 1) the granting of work permits to the spouses of H-1B workers (who are supposed to be here only on a temporary status); and 2) the extension of OPT (Optional Practical Training) status to some alien college grads working in high tech industries, enabling them to stay to work for as long as 24 months after graduation.

Further, eliminating the purchased, speedier processing for those employers seeking quick decisions on their H-1B applications, a standard feature of previous H-1B programs, was useful both as a symbol of fairness (you should not be able to buy your way to the front of the line), and as a symbol that the administration was not going to leave the H-1B program in its current shape.

H-1B. Much needs to be done to cut back the H-1B program to its original design – to allow employers to hire skilled individuals from abroad to fill certain types of positions – and address one common current abuse, which is to replace American workers with lower-paid guest workers. It was too much to expect that reform could be installed before the annual submission of H-1B applications, during the first week in April, but now there is opportunity to rethink the types of workers that can be imported, the wages paid in those jobs, the number of admissions a year, and the length of the visas. Currently an H-1B gets a three-year job, and then, almost automatically, a three-year-extension, and an infinite time beyond that if his employer had filed for a green card for that worker.

OPT. While H-1B is a rather widely-discussed program, its hidden handmaiden, the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program is rarely mentioned. It allows most alien college grads up to a year of legal employment beyond the degree (earned in the US) and, beyond that, another additional 19 months for those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The program is often used to bridge the gap between the alien’s college years and an H-1B appointment.

What is scandalous is that U.S. employers are given a bonus for hiring an OPT, rather than an American with the same skills for the same salary. What OPT does is, in effect, touch the alien grads with a magic wand and convert them to students again, so that neither they nor their employers have to pay the usual payroll taxes. This can be as much as a $10,000 bonus to the employer for hiring a former foreign student rather than a citizen. While the Trump administration has often mentioned H-1B as a program needing change, we have seen no similar mentions of OPT.

Permanent Immigration. As to changing the permanent legal immigration system to mitigate, if not eliminate, the present extended-family oriented chain migration system (which works contrary to the national interest): that is a legislative chestnut that must be dealt with by Congress. One sign that some in Congress are willing to address this issue is the introduction of the RAISE Act by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue. The White House not yet endorsed the bill, but the senators met with President Trump, who is said to have welcomed the bill as moving toward his goal of a merit-based legal immigration system.

Until Congress enacts changes, the administration will be reduced to nibbling around the edges of that system until the statutory basis behind it is changed, although much could, and should, be done to minimize the rampant fraud now existing throughout the immigration benefits adjudication regimen.

To that end, one area in which the administration has extensive power that it has not yet wielded is in wise and targeted use of the bloated slush fund known as the Examinations Fee Account, which presently holds well over $1 billion in reserve. Much of that money could be used to substantially increase the presence of USCIS fraud detection officers at key field locations, and to support beefed-up post-audits of high-fraud prone applications and petitions.

The administration has taken steps to tackle the rampant fraud in the legal immigration system by detailing fraud officers to the border facilities and increasing the number of fraud officers who work on asylum cases. In addition, ICE has been directed to resurrect the important Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces throughout the country, which work cooperatively to target document fraud rings, immigration fraud schemes, and identity theft problems, all of which are part of the criminal infrastructure that supports illegal immigration and exploitation of our legal immigration system. Further, ICE has been directed to bring more immigration fraud and human smuggling cases to prosecutors.

National Security and Vetting

Consistent with his campaign promise to ensure “extreme vetting” of visa applicants and refugees wishing to come to the United States, along with the several other immigration-related EOs President Trump issued one titled, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”. Both the first and second iterations of this EO ran into a buzz saw of lawsuits, several of which were filed by various states.

Various courts issued restraining orders enjoining the executive branch from implementing key provisions, such as a time-out on admitting nationals from certain states identified as high-risk, despite the law and prior court precedents being clearly on the side of the president’s authority in the matter.

Issuance of the EO was criticized as having been poorly planned and announced, and ill-executed by the various immigration agencies. But in truth even a flawless roll-out would not have stopped the inevitable lawsuits strategically planted by opponents in the most liberal courts they could find in the United States, where they were most sure to meet with sympathetic sitting judges both in the district and appellate courts. This was proven when, after the initial EO was withdrawn, recalibrated, and reissued, the successor once again dead-headed at the Ninth Circuit.

Fighting these lawsuits has now gained in importance, because they are a clear affront to the lawful powers of the president (as opposed to Barack Obama’s illicit use of executive action), and must be battled all the way through the circuit courts to the Supreme Court in order to address the obstacles that have arisen.

But looked at objectively, the so-called “travel ban” EO was never intended as anything more than a place-holder to give the administration breathing room to consider what needed to be done to shore up its hemorrhaging vetting system for immigrants and refugees (and asylees, too, for that matter), because it has become abundantly clear in recent years that there is no category of visa recipient or entrant that isn’t subject to fraud and, more significantly, a risk to public safety and national security. We have seen jihadists enter as fiancees, refugees, students, and family members. We have seen permanent residents and naturalized citizens charged for material support of terrorism. In fact, since the 9/11 attack, 72 individuals from the seven countries subject to the travel restrictions have been convicted of terror or terror-related crimes, and currently there are more than 1,000 open terror investigations involving foreign nationals, according to the Justice Department.

But there is another area in which simple fraud detection efforts won’t work, and that has to do with admission of persons with ideological, religious, or cultural views that are antithetical to our constitutional system and values of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. This is what “extreme vetting” was originally intended to address.

While the administration has not yet publicized a plan for such “ideological exclusion”, the first iteration of the terrorist entry EO (but not the second one) specifically referred to the need to keep out those who hate America, even if they are not themselves terrorists. The relevant passage read: “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”

While the lawsuits work their laborious way through the judicial system, we hope and expect that DOJ, DHS, and the State Department are busy working on reforms to the visa and benefits applications process.

The Rule of Law

DACA. One of candidate Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to roll back the unconstitutional and extra-statutory programs granting a renewable two-year amnesty to so-called “Dreamers” — illegal aliens who came before age 16. Far from simply providing “protection from deportation”, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status enables an illegal alien to get a work permit, a Social Security number, a state driver’s license, and access to certain welfare programs.

It appears to have been easier for the candidate than for the elected president to take the matter head-on. So far, nothing has been done to dismantle the program. In fact, USCIS continues not only to renew the status of DACA recipients, but is continuing to approve new applications, actually expanding the number of people covered by this amnesty and giving it the de facto imprimatur of the current president.

Sanctuary. The principle of defunding sanctuaries was also embedded in the president’s EOs, and was quickly followed up by announcements from AG Sessions that DOJ would be doing exactly that. The DOJ had already put 10 of the most egregious sanctuaries on notice of possible debarment and clawback of prior grants, and gave several sanctuary jurisdictions until June 30 to comply with federal law (specifically 8 U.S.C. 1373). One of these jurisdictions (Miami-Dade County, Florida) has already reversed its policy.

An April court ruling widely described as halting those efforts at defunding did no such thing and, in fact, specifically acknowledged that the DOJ grants in question could be withheld.

Another part of the administration’s struggle to get sanctuary cities to comply with the law is a weekly report listing instances of criminal aliens released by sanctuary cities. This was temporarily suspended due to problems with data collection, but is expected to be restarted, and may well prove a potent tool in building political support for confronting cities, counties, and states that take immigration-enforcement decisions into their own hands by deciding if and when they will cooperate with ICE.

Certainly we cannot say public property is owned by the government, since government may not legitimately own anything. Government acquires its property by force, usually via the intermediary of taxation. A libertarian cannot accept that kind of property acquisition as morally legitimate, since it involves the initiation of force,the extraction of tax dollars, on innocent people. Hence government’s pretended property titles are illegitimate.

But neither can we say that public property is unowned. Property in the possession of a thief is not unowned, even if at the moment it does not happen to be held by the rightful owner. The same goes for so-called public property. It was purchased and developed by means of money seized from the taxpayers. They are the true owners.

This, incidentally, was the correct way to approach de-socialization in the former communist regimes of eastern Europe. All those industries were the property of the people who had been looted to build them, and those people should have received shares in proportion to their contribution, to the extent it could have been determined.

In anarchy, with all property privately owned, immigration would be up to each individual property owner to decide. Right now, on the other hand, immigration decisions are made by a central authority, with the wishes of property owners completely disregarded. The correct way to proceed, therefore, is to decentralize decision-making on immigration to the lowest possible level, so that we approach ever more closely the proper libertarian position, in which individual property owners consent to the various movements of peoples.

Free immigration would appear to be in a different category from other policy decisions, in that its consequences permanently and radically alter the very composition of the democratic political body that makes those decisions. In fact, the liberal order, where and to the degree that it exists, is the product of a highly complex cultural development. One wonders, for instance, what would become of the liberal society of Switzerland under a regime of open borders.

Switzerland is in fact an interesting example. Before the European Union got involved, the immigration policy of Switzerland approached the kind of system we are describing here. In Switzerland, localities decided on immigration, and immigrants or their employers had to pay to admit a prospective migrant. In this way, residents could better ensure that their communities would be populated by people who would add value and who would not stick them with the bill for a laundry list of benefits.

Obviously, in a pure open borders system, the Western welfare states would simply be overrun by foreigners seeking tax dollars. As libertarians, we should of course celebrate the demise of the welfare state. But to expect a sudden devotion to laissez faire to be the likely outcome of a collapse in the welfare state is to indulge in naïveté of an especially preposterous kind.

Can we conclude that an immigrant should be considered invited by the mere fact that he has been hired by an employer? No, because the employer does not assume the full cost associated with his new employee. The employer partially externalizes the costs of that employee on the taxpaying public.

Equipped with a work permit, the immigrant is allowed to make free use of every public facility: roads, parks, hospitals, schools, and no landlord, businessman, or private associate is permitted to discriminate against him as regards housing, employment, accommodation, and association. That is, the immigrant comes invited with a substantial fringe benefits package paid for not (or only partially) by the immigrant employer, but by other domestic proprietors as taxpayers who had no say in the invitation whatsoever.

These migrations, in short, are not market outcomes. They would not occur on a free market. What we are witnessing are examples of subsidized movement. Libertarians defending these mass migrations as if they were market phenomena are only helping to discredit and undermine the true free market.

Moreover, the free immigration position is not analogous to free trade, as some libertarians have erroneously claimed. In the case of goods being traded from one place to another, there is always and necessarily a willing recipient. The same is not true for free immigration.

To be sure, it is fashionable in Occident to laugh at words of caution about mass immigration. Why, people made predictions about previous waves of immigration, we’re told, and we all know those didn’t come true. Now for one thing, those waves were all followed by swift and substantial immigration reductions, during which time society adapted to these pre-welfare state population movements. There is virtually no prospect of any such reductions today. For another, it is a fallacy to claim that because some people incorrectly predicted a particular outcome at a particular time, therefore that outcome is impossible, and anyone issuing words of caution about it is a contemptible fool.

The fact is, politically enforced multiculturalism has an exceptionally poor track record. The twentieth century affords failure after predictable failure. Whether it’s Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, or Pakistan and Bangladesh, or Malaysia and Singapore, or the countless places with ethnic and religious divides that have not yet been resolved to this day, the evidence suggests something rather different from the tale of universal brotherhood that is such a staple of leftist folklore.

No doubt some of the new arrivals will be perfectly decent people, despite the US government’s lack of interest in encouraging immigration among the skilled and capable. But some will not. The three great crime waves in US history – which began in 1850, 1900, and 1960 — coincided with periods of mass immigration.

Crime isn’t the only reason people may legitimately wish to resist mass immigration. If four million Americans showed up in Singapore, that country’s culture and society would be changed forever. And no, it is not true that libertarianism would in that case require the people of Singapore to shrug their shoulders and say it was nice having our society while it lasted but all good things must come to an end. No one in Singapore would want that outcome, and in a free society, they would actively prevent it.

In other words, it’s bad enough we have to be looted, spied on, and kicked around by the state. Should we also have to pay for the privilege of cultural destructionism, an outcome the vast majority of the state’s taxpaying subjects do not want and would actively prevent if they lived in a free society and were allowed to do so?

The very cultures that the incoming migrants are said to enrich us with could not have developed had they been constantly bombarded with waves of immigration by peoples of radically different cultures. So the multicultural argument doesn’t even make sense.

It is impossible to believe that the USA or Europe will be a freer place after several more decades of uninterrupted mass immigration. Given the immigration patterns that the US and EU governments encourage, the long-term result will be to make the constituencies for continued government growth so large as to be practically unstoppable. Open-borders libertarians active at that time will scratch their heads and claim not to understand why their promotion of free markets is having so little success. Everybody else will know the answer.

  • Borders satisfy innately human desires for order and separation. Borders arise and exist naturally, without being created or enforced by political entities (although they were generally less rigidly defined and more porous prior to the era of modern governments).
  • Nation is not state. Nations can and do emerge naturally, while states tend to be late-arriving artifices that do injury to earlier, more natural borders.
  • In-group preferences are strong. Provided groups coexist without coercion or violence, libertarianism has nothing particular to say about such preferences. 
  • Humans are not all good and well-intentioned, nor are they fungible. People with money, intelligence, or in-demand skills are better immigrants than people without these attributes. Poor and criminal immigrants impose huge costs. Any worldview that denies this, or downplays this, fails to comport with reality. Libertarianism, rooted in natural law, should by definition accord better with reality than worldviews requiring positive law. Why do we lose sight of this?
  • Humans naturally want to live in safe areas, i.e., in “good neighborhoods” on a macro scale. And they want to know their neighbors are not a threat. In other words, there is a market for security beyond one’s own property — not everyone can own and control vast areas of property like Ted Turner. This is why gated communities exist. Simply stating that “nobody has a right to control any property they don’t own” does not address reality.
  • Almost all instances of rapid mass migration do not occur as natural marketplace phenomena. Instead, they usually occur due to wars, famine, and other state-created disasters. So it does not follow that resistance to mass migration is anti-market.
  • Every human has a natural right to control his body and movement. No human should be falsely imprisoned, enslaved, or held in a place against his will. But the right to leave a physical place is different than the right to enter one. Entry should be denied or permitted by the rightful owner of the property in question. But when vast areas of land are controlled (and/or ostensibly owned) by government, the question becomes much more complex — and the only way to make it less complex is to privatize such land. Unless and until this happens, it is facile for libertarians simply to insist that everyone has a right to go wherever they wish.
  • The concept of open borders is mostly a big-government construct. Without state-provided incentives (food, housing, clothing, schooling, mobile phones, etc.), and frequent NGO funding for actual travel, immigration naturally would be far more restricted.
  • A libertarian society has no commons or public space. There are property lines, not borders. When it comes to real property and physical movement across such real property, there are owners, guests, licensees, business invitees, and trespassers.

Libertarianism is not a suicide pact. It does not require us to ignore history, tradition, culture, family, and self-preservation. It does not require us to live as deracinated, hyper-individualized people who identify with nothing larger than ourselves and have no sense of home.

Conclusion

The administration’s efforts at implementing its immigration agenda has been, and will continue to be, met at every step with determined resistance, not least by using “lawfare” through the federal court system. It is the equivalent of trench warfare, and the Trump White House will be obliged to show equal determination, and a long-term strategic and tactical commitment to defending itself against the lawsuits with sufficient and well-prepared legal resources in order to prevail. It might also steal a chapter from that playbook, and strategically initiate some of its own in judicial districts and circuits which are likely to support key initiatives, and which will drain the coffers, time, and energy of open borders advocacy groups in defending against the lawsuits, in the same way that they are attempting to do against the government and its resources.

Further gains may well depend on whether congressional Republicans get on board with the administration’s immigration priorities and begin promoting a vigorous agenda to get long overdue legislation passed. A public that “hired” Donald Trump as president will have little tolerance for inactivity from our lawmakers if the result is that critical reforms don’t take place. A key take-away lesson from the Obama presidency is that, if we value checks and balances in government, not everything in government can, or should, be done by executive order.

FIRST PASSENGER VESSEL TRANSITS NEW PANAMA CANAL LOCKS

 

The Disney Wonder transited the Panama Canal as the first passenger vessel to go through the canal’s new set of locks, marking a milestone for the cruise industry. The Disney Cruise Line 2,713-passenger ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet.

 

Headlining the ship’s enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney’s Frozen – a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney’s Princess and the Frog, and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.

Select Maritime points out the Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.

The milestone signals the further diversification of traffic through the Expanded Canal and with it, introduces new repositioning opportunities for the cruise industry and benefits to its customers. “The original Panama Canal has been a cruise destination for many years,” said Panama Canal Deputy Administrator Manuel Benitez. “Today’s historic transit marks the beginning of cruise lines being able to include the new locks as part of their itineraries, opening up additional transit options and allowing cruise passengers to witness first-hand this feat of modern engineering.”

Select Maritime notes the Disney Wonder is one of several cruise ships to have transited the canal during the 2016-2017 cruise season that ends in May. Notably, the Disney Wonder’s transit, marked the first time a passenger vessel utilized the new locks of the Expanded Canal. Other lines such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line all sent passenger vessels through the original locks. In addition, smaller vessels, such as the Safari Voyager and National Geographic’s Sea Lion, which call on ports in the Caribbean and along the east and west coasts of Central America, contributed to the segment’s traffic as well.

By the close of the 2017 fiscal year, which ends September 30, Panama Canal International Trade Specialist Albano Aguilar expects 233 passenger vessels – representing a total 237,298 passengers – to have transited both the original and new locks.

On April 1, the Panama Canal began accepting booking requests for passenger vessels in the new locks. So far, 18 reservations have already been made for passenger vessels to transit the Expanded Canal for the 2017-2018 season, a number which is expected to increase in the coming months.
The Panama Canal is run by an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. 
The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest enhancement project since the Canal’s opening in 1914. Considered and analyzed for a decade with more than 100 studies, the Expanded Canal provides the world’s shippers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers with greater shipping options, better maritime service, enhanced logistics and supply-chain reliability. The Expansion included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway, creating a third lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway. While the expanded locks are 70 feet wider and 18 feet deeper than those in the original Canal, they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit. In line with its commitment to customer service, the Panama Canal will continue to provide the world with value for another century and beyond.

Select Maritime is the leader in canal transits. For more information,  please refer to www.selectmaritime.gr