None “Heil” Trump

America is a country founded on the principle—regardless of how imperfectly carried out in practice—that all men* are created equal. We celebrate and honor the value of the individual, endowed irrevocably with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We cherish the American Dream that, regardless of the circumstances of birth, with grit and determination, anyone can succeed.

And while we may not yet be there, we strive to fulfill Martin Luther King’s dream of a nation in which all are judged solely by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin.

How un-American, therefore, to witness Donald Trump as a candidate for the Presidency of the U.S. practicing identity politics, lumping together and branding an entire population—illegal immigrants from Mexico—as rapists and murderers.

And he goes farther. Trump lays the blame for the moribund American economy at others’ doors: “[The unemployed] can’t get jobs, because there are no jobs, because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs.”

Witnessing cheers for such scaremongering should strike fear in the hearts of everyone who loves liberty. We’ve seen before a country weary of economic malaise cheer a charismatic leader rallying his followers against a scapegoat: Hitler laying the blame for Germany’s economic crisis on the Jews.

And just as disastrous German economic and monetary policies exacerbating the punitive Treaty of Versailles—not “the Jews”—produced Germany’s ills, so Trump and the American people need look to our own dysfunctional government—not Mexicans—as the primary producer of our economic stagnation.

A government peddling mediocrity and class warfare in the place of “public” education; a government erecting increasingly insurmountable barriers to economic opportunity and entrepreneurship; a government bankrupting the middle class and inuring dependency.

A land of opportunity has no fear of more people—we recognize them as a source of wealth—human capital, growing our economy.

American Conservatives cheering Trump have forgotten that their patron saints—Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan—both recognized Mexican immigrants as a benefit to the U.S.

Friedman famously tempered his support for immigration—

Now, that Mexican immigration, over the border, is a good thing. It’s a good thing for the illegal immigrants. It’s a good thing for the United States. It’s a good thing for the citizens of the country. But, it’s only good so long as it’s illegal.

—with warnings on the costs of welfare: advocating illegal immigration, since illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare. Thus, he rightly called for the abolition of the Welfare State—not the abolition of immigration.

Yet even accounting for the costs of public benefits, numerous studies from Independent Institute and others find that immigration produces a net benefit to the U.S. economy, and a restriction on immigration especially hurts small business.

As more than 500 economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, agree:

Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.

So this is the cry around which all Americans should be rallying: dismantle the horrific government programs that are producing an ill-educated citizenry, blocking opportunity and entrepreneurship, and replacing our culture of valuing every individual as possessing unique and unlimited potential with one that classifies and brands us by race, creed, national origin, and gender.

Americans should indeed stretch out our right arms—not in “Heil” for Trump’s ridiculous scapegoating—but to raise high the lamp of liberty, a welcoming beacon for all who yearn to breathe free.

*”Man” is our genus: human being, and encompasses male and female.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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