Monday, October 7, 2013

Immigration Insanity

Those who assert a global “right to travel and settle anywhere” seek to erase all national borders, or at least render them functionally meaningless.

Sheldon Richman

But why stop there?

All property boundaries restrict movements under the implicit threat of retaliatory force against trespassers.  Wealthy individuals or groups of individuals banding together can buy up vast chunks of formerly open land for themselves and declare it off-limits to whomever they please.

If the principle is freedom-of-everyone-to-move-anywhere-at-will, then the policy prescription that follows is communal or government ownership of all land.  After all, countries where governments own the beaches and provide public access to them enable greater geographic freedom of movement of more people than countries where beaches can be privately owned, with access restricted.

Of course, if you are an advocate of private property, then you recognize no such thing as a global positive right of movement, let alone a global positive right of permanent settlement, let alone a global positive right of citizenship.

In a society where property is owned privately, a foreigner’s desire to be let in is irrelevant.  A foreigner’s desire entails no obligation on the part of property owners to actually let the person in.

The notion of global open borders is alien to propertarian conceptions of liberty, because in reality open immigration could only exist as an artificial creation of government.  (I don’t think large-scale voluntary communism is feasible.)  Advocates of open immigration assume the existence of a powerful central government to prevent local governments from erecting their own settlement criteria.  They also assume the existence of public entryways into the country rather than the private fences, gates, and other barriers that would be erected in a country consisting entirely of private property.

Appeals to a proffered global "right to settle" are appeals to positive rights made possible only by large-scale statism.  In the U.S., the central government forcibly prevents states, towns, and private communities from erecting their own sovereign borders and expelling people.  The U.S. government coercively imposes open borders in areas where the landowners and local governments would prefer to have restrictive borders.

The borders between all the states of the United States are open because of federal supremacy. The U.S. government prohibits the states from exercising sovereignty.  If the Unionists hadn't won the War Between the States, then there probably wouldn't be completely open immigration between the Northern and Southern states.  And if the feds dropped their guns and stood down now, then odds are some states would start to exercise more sovereignty, and some regions of some states might break away on their own.

If the feds and the states respectively took a completely laissez-faire approach and allowed the Minutemen and other volunteers to stand guard along the U.S.-Mexico border, that border wouldn’t be open.  Open borders on a large scale require a large and powerful government to thwart the will of all the pockets of people living along the border.

Open-borders globalists who call themselves libertarians invoke the rhetoric of free markets, small-government, and individual rights. But in practice they betray libertarian principles. They are quite willing to see the liberties of citizens trampled for the sake of the global ideals that actually animate them.

Open immigration entails granting government an open-ended power to turn unlimited numbers of foreign nationals into voting citizens. Voting is not a natural right and is not a market transaction.  It is a potential act of aggression. Neither politicians nor immigrants nor their employers have a positive right to expand the electorate at their will and at the expense of those of us who find ourselves increasingly outvoted by a burgeoning non-native demographic that favors bigger government.

Voting and citizenship can and should be restricted under a libertarian framework to whatever extent best safeguards national liberties.  If restricting immigration and voting privileges to people with IQs over 120 results in more freedom and more prosperity, then there are no libertarian grounds for opposing democracy restrictions of such a nature.

What we’re dealing with in the open-borders camp are not libertarian purists; rather, they are moral purists whose creed is altruistic egalitarian humanism.  They believe that it’s morally wrong for the people of any nation to pursue a self-interested immigration program.  They regard any restrictions by any nation on inflows of poor and oppressed people as cruel and unconscionable.

Now there are billions of poor and oppressed people in the world.  The problem is logistically insurmountable through the mechanism of mass migration.  What do the open-borders prescribers believe – that it’s the duty of Americans to invite literally billions of the world’s downtrodden into their neighborhoods?

Well, actually, yes.  That is what they believe!

It’s enough to make you question the sanity of the global open-borders idealists.  But no psychological evaluation is necessary in order to come to the conclusion that open-ended mass-immigration policy prescriptions are insane.