Birthright citizenship – a libertarian value?

By Nathan Barton

Wow, the Donald has a way of riling people, doesn’t he? His latest “gaff” seems to demonstrate he’s not lost any skill in angering and upsetting people.  And is willing to do so regardless of mere things like mass murder or upcoming invasions or elections.

(By the way, don’t think I’ve heard anyone call him “The Donald” for some time now.  Not even when they cuss about him.)

I am of course referring to his planned use of executive orders to get rid of that cherished American institution, birthright citizenship.

(Warning, I will no doubt tick off a lot of people. Be prepared.)

Synopsis: “Birthright citizenship” cannot be a libertarian value, because the very concept of mandatory or automatic citizenship (based on your parents or where you were born) is contrary to liberty.

To explain:

Ever since Trump announced his plan, he’s been condemned by people of all political persuasions for his effort, calling it a dictator’s effort to amend the Constitution, and more.

Of course, there is far from agreement. Many people argue that there is nothing in the 14th Amendment or anywhere else in the US Constitution, since the common law of jus soli applies only to the children of those “under jurisdiction” of the FedGov (well, technically, the State governments) as stated in the 14th.  Indeed, Congressional records  in writing and passing the 14th seems to be very clearly against any such interpretation. The example always given is “diplomatic personnel.”  Less frequently, it is said that “not under jurisdiction” includes invading soldiers.

On the other hand, Never-Trumpers, and in general the 2018 version of the Democratic Party, scream that birthright citizenship is a right that cannot be taken away without destroying our society.  Indeed, they seem to think that to deny that the 14th Amendment does not provide for birthright citizenship is tantamount to restoring slavery.

This is very strange, because the FedGov has never had a policy of universal birthright citizenship.  And not just “Indians [AmerInd] not otherwise taxed.”

Here are a few examples that go beyond diplomats and invaders.  Every year, thousands of allied military personnel (and their families) are stationed in the US.  To my knowledge, no one has ever claimed that the son of a Luftwaffe member, born at Joint Base Bliss, had any claim to American (Texan or New Mexican) citizenship.  Even though the treaty between the BRD (Germany) and the USA makes it clear that Luftwaffe personnel and their families are subject to US law (“under jurisdiction” of American authorities).

Ditto for crews (and families) of ships in US waters.  Whether we are talking the 200-mile or 12-mile or 3-mile limit.  Ditto for enemy prisoners of war held in the US during WW2 (the last time that I am aware of that there were large (if any) numbers of enemy prisoners held in the US).

Nor did birthright citizenship apply to the residents of American colonies (possessions) (such as the Philippines, other Pacific Islands) unless the law specifically stated that (as it does for Puerto Rico, for example).

Or to American conquered and controlled areas of Japan, Germany, Italy, and Korea, during and after WW2 and the Korean Conflict. Or even later in American bases, when there were still treaties that denied local jurisdiction over American personnel.  Example: Nachrichten Kaserne (US Army Hospital Heidelberg) almost certainly had German babies born there, in an area clearly subject to American jurisdiction (before the occupation of Germany officially ended), but they didn’t automatically have dual American and German citizenship.

Finally, IF “birthright citizenship” based on place of birth is a fundamental American value, then why are not AmerInd tribes forced to make anyone born on a reservation a member of that tribe?

But from a libertarian point of view, all this doesn’t matter.  Whether or not “under jurisdiction” has ever been legally defined is a moot point for libertarians.

The problem is with “citizenship.”  And the difference between “residence” and “citizenship.” The problem is involuntary submission to the jurisdiction of the FedGov (or state, or local, or even tribal governments).

Indeed, I believe the very idea of “birthright citizenship” is contrary to basic principles of liberty.  The concept (that I have no choice but to be an American citizen because of where I was born and because of what my parents decided) is bad.  It takes away the liberty of millions.

I did not sign the Constitution (or even the Articles of Confederation).  How can I be governed by that – just because one or more of my distant ancestors might have been forced to accept the jurisdiction of the governments who DID sign that constitution or were admitted to the Union afterwards? We rejected inherited slavery a long time ago.  Or did we?

I do not see, morally and ethically, how anyone can accept “jurisdiction” except voluntarily and individually.  I do not see how such jurisdiction (control) can be inherited, or how someone 231 years ago can make a commitment that is binding on me. That is totally different from someone, at the age of majority (18) or the age of accountability (usually age 12 or 13) voluntarily agreeing to be under the jurisdiction of a Federal state or the Fedgov.

Let freedom ring! Reject birthright citizenship.



About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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4 Responses to Birthright citizenship – a libertarian value?

  1. beau says:

    ‘birthright citizenship’, or ‘bovine scat citizenship’, is, as seemingly all things washington, d.c. today, a lie to assure a democrat – liberal, socialist, etc – agenda can be foisted on this nation.


    • TPOL Nathan says:

      Indeed. And they have convinced too many people that BRC (or BSC, as you call it, Beau) is an essential part of “democracy” and government and American exceptionalism. But is based on the idea that we individual persons are subjects (“citizens”) with no inherent right to decide for ourselves what or who (if to anything or anyone) we owe allegiance.


  2. Darkwing says:

    Years ago the courts ruled that a person born in the US is a citizen, even if that person parents are here illegally. NOW sheeple: it was a court ruling, it can be over turned by an EO from a president or a law passed by congress. PROBLEM: presidents and congress do not have the balls to do it.


    • TPOL Nathan says:

      If you are speaking of the 1898 case regarding the Chinese couples, they were legal residents. The 1999 court case wasn’t about illegal or legal immigrants, but about citizenship and residency as a citizen.
      You are certainly right that either the POTUS or Congress could resolve this and remove any applicability of the 1898 (or 1999) SCOTUS decisions.


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