Handsome, young, and pretty dang good at yoga (who can forget this picture) – for most in the United States, “Liberal” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a dashing smile who challenged the Obamas to a push up challenge, and appointed equal number of men and women to his cabinet making him perfect fodder for one minute videos that gives people the impression they’ve learned something. I won’t pretend to be an expert on the current political climate in Canada (are you? Let us know!), nor the inner workings of the Trudeau government. Instead, I want to use public statements on two different events to highlight a dissonance that arises in the thinking of many found on the “Left” – by which I mean those political ideologies which tend to regard egalitarian and socialist policies as preferable to those of individualism and liberty.
The Left, and the death of Fidel Castro – creator of refugees
My statement on the death of Fidel Castro, as the grandson of Cuban refugees, was the recognition that if he hadn’t destroyed Cuba by implementing his perverse ideology my family there would not have fled, and I may never have been born. It’s a startling thought for a child to have, but it is one of the reasons why I became an advocate for the ideas of individualism, freedom, and private property – so another grandson of refugees didn’t have to have the same realization. Contrast this with Prime Minister Trudeau, who upon Castro’s death said
It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”. I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba. On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.
The words of an affluent and politically powerful Canadian, and the echoing of his sentiment by many other Canadians and Americans, ring hollow in the ears of Cuban refugees and their descendants. It is common knowledge in these communities that Cuba’s claim to excellent health care are specious, and insofar as literacy is concerned I have this statement (in brief) to offer – it doesn’t matter if (and that’s a big if) everyone can read, if you do not have the freedom to read what you choose. It wasn’t for nothing that thousands fled the island nation only 90 miles from Florida’s Key West leaving behind their possessions and becoming refugees, they were escaping firing squads and the only future that communism can promise – crumbling infrastructure and starvation. The unwillingness of those who agree with Trudeau to recognize the oppression individuals suffer under despots like the Castro brothers and “democratically” elected Socialists like President Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, as well as the objective failure of Communist and Socialist states to provide basic necessities to their people, calls to question the thinking of people who mourn the death of Fidel as a loss to the human race. It is not quaint that the people drive cars from the 60’s in Cuba, it is not an accident people are being murdered waiting in breadlines in Venezuela, it is the reality of a system under which markets are not allowed to operate freely.
The Trump Administration and Refugees
Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump (still seems weird to say) has wasted no time in his issuance of executive orders – largely to the silence of republicans who criticized President Obama for usurping Congress only a few months ago. The one order which has captured headlines this week, perhaps because of the immediacy of its impact is his so-called “refugee ban”, which suspends the admittance of visa applicants and refugees from 7 countries which are predominately. We’ve already talked about the issue of executive power in the modern presidency here at Subversive Liberty, and how both sides realize this problem as exemplified in the protests against executive action under both Obama and Trump. The amount of power that has been given to the modern President is greater than Kings and Queens of old, and something that must be stopped – though Republicans and Democrats don’t care to as “their guy” could hold the office next. Almost instantaneously following his signing of the restrictions – protests erupted at airports and judges suspended parts of the order pending further judicial view. Additionally, Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.” Showing his government commitment to resettlement of those escaping war.
The Real Issue
Make no mistake, however compassionate the intentions are of the protesters and those speaking against the Trump Administration – the entirety of the conversation and protests against the Trump Administration have purposefully side stepped the most important issue that exists within our time. The reason why these refugees exist in the first place are the policies of the United States government irrespective of whatever political party is in power. The so-called “War on Terror” started under President Bush and continued under President Obama, the first US President to be at war for all eight years, has destroyed multiple countries, and paved the way for the refugee crisis that exists. Furthermore, our continued military presence adds to anti-American sentiment and creates the conditions under which organizations like Daesh and Al Qaeda have fertile grounds on which to recruit. Even more egregious is the under-reporting of the US Government’s foreknowledge the possibility of a group like Daesh, in their intentional efforts to destabilize Syria. Considering Trump’s continued support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen including American troops, as well as his talk of “safe zones” in Syria, it seems that business as usual viz. foreign intervention will be the standard in Trump’s America too. This temporary ban fulfills a campaign promise which simultaneously rallies his base and opposition into their usual fervor, but if you look at the larger issue, and ask the question “Why do we have refugees in the first place?” it becomes evident that no US politician – with few exceptions – care about stopping the destruction of other countries and thereby stopping the need for refugee resettlement.
Want a Solution?
While I think there is a strong case that says allowing refugees to relocate is a more compassionate position compared to not allowing them to relocate, the means by which it occurs and how it should best be accomplished is another matter entirely. As it stands, the process involves going through first the United Nations and then State Department and Homeland Security procedures -this is the process that the Trump Administration has decided to review. What is not possible is for individuals and groups in the United States to privately and directly sponsor the resettlement of refugees, while it is possible and successful due north in Canada. It may seem glib to some, merely call out the favorite libertarian solution to a serious matter, but private sponsorship of refugees – with appropriate vetting – would reduce bureaucratic bloat, incentivize private individuals to take an interest in the success of refugees brought over, and lessen the burden on the collective taxpayer. Of course, the United States Government could also cease its interventionist foreign policy (another campaign promise of both Obama and Trump), that is the right solution. That should be the solution people are protesting in the streets for, instead they’re diving down every rabbit hole the Trump Administration gives to the media and still think it’s only a matter of what team resides in the White House that makes them good or evil.
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