Have you ever noticed that those most opposed to keeping tabs on people who might be in the United States illegally are also those typically most enthusiastic about wanting to keep tabs on American citizens?

During the last Republican administration, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain and their friends went into neocon-vulsions if anyone dared question their so-called “PATRIOT Act,” and were just as self righteous in their support of 2007’s failed “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” or, blanket amnesty. As our current Democratic administration extends the PATRIOT Act, ignores America’s porous borders and continues with many other Bush-era policies, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republicans-who-think-they’re-Democrats, like Senator Lindsey Graham, are heavily promoting a national ID card including “biometric identification,” a proposal perhaps even more Orwellian than the PATRIOT Act. Not-so-coincidentally, Schumer and Graham were major supporters of 2007’s amnesty legislation, something many Democrats are now looking to revisit.

What some have called “invade the world, invite the world,” is now standard US policy, in which America goes to war all over the globe in the name of exporting some vague “freedom” while allowing itself to be invaded via illegal immigration, also in the name of a similar, supposedly universal “freedom.” “Freedom is popular,” Congressman Ron Paul rightly says, but what is he talking about? Is it the kind of “freedom” George W. Bush described, doing his best Woodrow Wilson impression, in the lead-up to the Iraq war? Many Iraqis and Afghanis-not to mention Americans-still aren’t sure what Bush was talking about after nearly a decade of war. “Freedom” in many Middle Eastern countries means the liberty to impose Shariah law, and such nations often find American-style democracy as alien as we find their society. Is it possible that American “freedom” is something more particular and concrete than what the “invade the world, invite the world” crowd suggests?

Paul seems to think so. The primary argument of his book “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” is that the maintenance of American liberty is contingent upon us minding our own business and allowing other nations to conduct their own affairs. According to Paul, citizens of the United States can only enjoy their constitutional, historically-rooted liberties so long as they are free of big government, both home and abroad.

Are these American liberties universal? Should we simply have open borders, allowing everyone access to American freedom, in much the same way our government insists foreigners overseas must adopt our model? Paul seems to suggest that American liberty-or being an American, period-is something more particular than that, or as he noted after the pro-illegal immigrant, May Day rallies in California in 2006:

“The recent immigration protests in Los Angeles have brought the issue to the forefront, provoking strong reactions from millions of Americans. The protesters’ cause of open borders is not well served when they drape themselves in Mexican flags and chant slogans in Spanish. If anything, their protests underscore the Balkanization of America caused by widespread illegal immigration. How much longer can we maintain huge unassimilated subgroups within America, filled with millions of people who don’t speak English or participate fully in American life? Americans finally have decided the status quo is unacceptable…”

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