- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I came to Arizona in 1967 to fly for the U.S. Air Force at Williams Air Force Base, now called the Phoenix Mesa Airport. Over the next five years, I frequently had occasion to fly along the border with Mexico as I traveled back and forth between Williams and bases in southern California. It always seemed odd that the major populated areas that straddled the border had an obvious difference in appearance between the portion on the Mexican side and the portion on the United States side.

The most obvious difference was the fact that the streets tended to be paved on the American side and tended to be dirt or gravel on the Mexican side. The housing and commercial properties also seemed to be of poorer quality on the Mexican side.

I often wondered why this was so. The terrain was no different, the natural resources were no different, the people, for the most part, were no different. Why is there a clear economic division between the United States and Mexico?

It was not until I began reading the free-market philosophers like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman that I figured out the reason: We have greater freedom in the United States and freedom works here. Conversely, there is greater government oppression in Mexico and systems of government oppression do not work.

Once I realized this, it became clear to me how we could help the citizens of Mexico and reduce immigration tensions. We must advocate and pursue more economic and political freedom for Mexican citizens. Then they will experience the same economic boom that citizens of the United States experience. Mexican citizens will not have to face huge personal and legal dangers inherent in crossing our borders to experience these benefits that freedom provides.

One might logically ask why we do not hear politicians and editorialists calling for more freedom for Mexicans. I contend that it is because it is much easier to focus on democracy than freedom because democracy is easier to obtain. Even though we have democracy in the United States, our own march toward socialism is causing us to lose more of our freedoms.

We should not focus on democracy as the solution. We are making the same mistake in Iraq where we are more concerned about giving Iraqis the right to vote than insuring their ability to own property, engage in private contracts and exercise their individual rights. If we can’t help enact these kind of changes in a country right on our border like Mexico, what makes us think we can accomplish this in Iraq, a country 10,000 miles away that has a markedly different culture?

I suggest that we do everything we can to see Mexico move in the direction of protecting individual liberties. In order to avoid hypocrisy, we should stop the erosion of individual rights in our own country.

ROY MILLER

Phoenix