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Trashing the Border

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has established a new website, AzBorderTrash.gov, to call attention to the mountains of garbage left behind by illegal immigrants.  The site estimates “more than 2000 tons of trash is discarded annually in Arizona’s borderlands.” 

As related in a Fox News story on the website, this refuse includes “plastic containers, clothing, backpacks, vehicles, and paper,” plus the occasional deposits of human waste and medical items.  The average border crosser is said to contribute about six pounds of trash to the problem.  Arizona is looking for volunteers to help clean up the mess.

This is exactly the kind of visible, human-caused environmental devastation that used to make Iron Eyes Cody cry in those public-service TV commercials of the 70s, but you won’t hear much about it from Green groups.  You’re more likely to hear calls to action from Arizona Tea Party groups than the Sierra Club, which does make a point of complaining about the “environmental impact” of the border fence. 

The AzBorderTrash website claims the problems caused by these garbage piles includes erosion, watershed degradation, loss of vegetation and wildlife, uncontrolled fires, and bio-hazardous waste.  You would think environmental activists would be pushing Minutemen out of the way to swarm the border with trash bags and shovels.  It’s one more example of how the biosphere is ultimately less important to these activists than the political sphere.

It’s also an example of how a violated system collapses, and why defense of the border is both morally and logically imperative.  It’s not surprising that people fleeing across the border would take few pains to properly dispose of their trash.  Cleaning up this sea of garbage is very expensive – the ADEQ lists landfill fees alone as $37 to $49 per ton in southern Arizona, meaning that even once the trash is collected and transported to a landfill, it could cost up to $100,000 just to bury it.  Who pays for all that?  Hint: it won’t be the folks who dropped all the garbage.

The funding of government services, at any level, is morally premised on the idea that all citizens benefit from them, so all should pay for them.  (Let’s ignore the way progressive taxation corrupts that ideal for a moment.)  The introduction of a large population that does not pay these costs, and feels no obligation to obey community standards, destroys the system on both ethical and practical levels.  Public resources always deteriorate, because what belongs to everyone is cared for by no one.  The people trashing Arizona feel even less ownership of the border area than a disaffected citizen would, so they treat it even worse.  I wish the ADEQ luck with their website effort, but I doubt the Arizona border will ever be clean – not as long as the infusion of Chaos into the system outweighs the resources Order can bring to bear.

If illegal aliens weren’t devastating the border, the ADEQ would be primarily concerned with illegal dumping operations, a topic they address on their website.  Such operations are much easier to locate and punish.  If a hundred thousand illegal aliens weren’t dumping garbage in the border area, you wouldn’t have a hundred thousand Arizonans driving out there and emptying their dumpsters just for kicks.  Reasonable funding would be allocated to handle environmental issues in the area, and the state would have a manageable law enforcement challenge on its hands.

Instead, the citizens of Arizona are expected to pay for the effects of an alien invasion, and they’re even being asked to volunteer for trash collection duty.  By letting this problem fester, the government is failing to hold up its end of the social contract… which becomes one more piece of refuse blowing in the desert wind.  

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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