by John Miltimore
The Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against SpaceX, the California-based spacecraft manufacturer and satellite communications company founded by Elon Musk.
In its lawsuit, the DOJ accused SpaceX of only hiring US citizens and green-card holders, thereby discriminating against asylum seekers and refugees in hiring, an alleged violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Musk denied the allegations and accused the government of weaponizing the DOJ “for political purposes.”
“SpaceX was told repeatedly that hiring anyone who is not a permanent resident of the United States would be a violation of international arms trafficking laws, which would be a criminal offense,” Musk said. wrote On X, formerly known as Twitter.
It’s uncertain whether the DOJ is actually targeting SpaceX (more about that in a minute), but George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok immediately found a problem with the DOJ’s allegations.
“Do you know who else advertises that only US citizens can apply for jobs?” Tabarrok asked. “DOJ.”
Tabarrok also brought receipts: a screenshot of a DOJ job website that clearly states, “US citizenship required.”
So, if Musk is discriminating against non-US citizens in his hiring processes, the DOJ is doing the same.
This makes the case prima facie absurd at one level. However, one could also argue that there may be good reasons to discriminate in hiring. And as is usually the case, for better or for worse, the government gets to decide when it’s okay to discriminate and when it’s not okay.
And this is where things get murky.
Musk and others claim that companies like SpaceX are legally required to employ U.S. citizens because of the International Arms Traffic Regulations, a federal regulatory framework designed to protect military-related technologies.
The DOJ disagrees. So who is right? It’s hard to say, Tabarrok said.
He wrote, “As I understand it, the distinction is based on the difference between American persons and American citizens.” frontier revolution“But [SpaceX is] 100% correct that the DoD frowns upon non-citizens working for military-related enterprises.
In other words, it appears that SpaceX is trying to comply with Defense Department rules by not using non-citizens in military-related operations, and in doing so, it may be in violation of the DOJ.
This brings me back to the question of whether the DOJ is acting in good faith in its lawsuit. We don’t know the answer to that, but the weak nature of this lawsuit and other evidence suggests that Musk is indeed being harassed for political reasons.
After all, it’s not just the DOJ breathing down Musk’s neck. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, who has become obsessed with Musk since he bought Twitter (now “Twitter has provided access since purchasing.”
How this demand sits with the spirit of the First Amendment, I’m not sure. But Khan claims his concerns are related to user privacy, which is rich given that the FBI had been collecting large amounts of user data from Twitter for years. (The exact amount is unknown because the FBI ordered X to be banned when the company attempted to publish the details in its biennial transparency report.)
It is certainly possible that the FTC and DOJ are deeply concerned about user privacy data and non-citizens seeking employment with SpaceX. But it’s much more likely that their actions stemmed from Musk’s purchase of Twitter and the subsequent publication of Twitter files that revealed the FBI was secretly controlling the flow of information on the platform.
It may be difficult for many people to believe such an allegation. There is a tendency to view government as benevolent and honest, an institution filled with people seeking the common good and protecting the weak and poor.
Yet economist Murray Rothbard long ago destroyed the myth that government is a “semi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization.” In fact, it is like a mafia, which will ruthlessly defend its territory, especially against “threats to its own gratification”.
The DOJ’s frivolous lawsuit is likely to go nowhere, but if Rothbard’s view of the state is correct, it’s a safe bet that this won’t be Musk’s last feud with the syndicate.
About the author: Jonathan Miltimore is editor at large for FEE.org at the Foundation for Economic Education.
Source: This article was published by FEE