I was one of the panelists tossing questions at Libertarian Party presidential candidates at the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania‘s convention on March 7. Kudos to 3L Productions for making a superb video of the debate. Larry Sharpe did a great job of moderating the panel. I asked Sharpe earlier in the day whether I should wear my railroad engineer cap during my luncheon speech. He replied, “Yes because the hat represents locomotion – which symbolizes freedom of movement.” Best damn reason I’ve heard yet for wearing that hat. And a hat tip to the other panelists – Jim Babb and Hesham El-Meligy.
42 minutes into the video, I asked the candidates, in light of their support for “open borders”: “There is an absolute stampede as far as public fear over the COVID-19 virus right now. How is it possible to reconcile open borders with public health on a crisis like this?”
Vermin Supreme gave the first and most direct answer: “I don’t know.”
Adam Kokesh pointed out that this is an “overblown threat.” He said, “Freedom of movement is not the threat because government is not effective” at dealing with problems anyhow. Kokesh also observed that “the government officials responding to the crisis were protected from accountability.” He also called for transparency.
Jacob Hornberger stressed out that America had “open borders” between states. “Everybody is accepting that this is part of the crisis, that this is part of the life process – but nobody domestically is saying let’s have a police state to protect us” from the other parts of the U.S., Hornberger declared. He concluded, “It seems to me that the same principles would apply internationally.”
Jo Jorgensen replied, “Is the corona virus 20 times more deadly than the flu? Ya, but it’s still only 2.3% deadly.” Jorgensen added that she still favored open borders and would not “restrict access” – except for people that were positively carrying a dangerous illness.
Ken Armstrong stated that it was a “weak epidemic” and “we can fight it through education.”
UPDATE 3/27/20: The assumption that the 50 states do not restrict citizens from other states in response to COVID-19 bit the dust today. Rhode Island began a massive crackdown on people arriving with New York license plates. Bloomberg reports, “National Guard members will be stationed at the T.F. Green airport, Amtrak train stations and at bus stops. The citizen-soldiers will be following up with people at local residences.” Also, “On Saturday, the National Guard will help [police] conduct house-to-house searches to find people who traveled from New York and demand 14 days of self-quarantine.”