Thursday, July 23, 2015

Objectivism and Immigration


How does a philosophy that champions meritocracy end up with spokespeople who sneer at the idea of a meritocratic immigration system?  How does a philosophy that champions Western ideals end up with spokespeople who demand that the West open itself up to its demographic destruction?  How does a philosophy that champions the principle of rational self-interest end up with spokespeople who insist that immigration policy altruistically serve the interests of foreign-born Muslims, Marxists, and moochers? 


Why do open borders Objectivists undercut their own philosophy?  Let’s find out…







Self-described Objectivist Harry Binswanger goes so far as to demand that our government issue a collective apology to illegal aliens:  “Amnesty ForIllegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve An Apology”.


John Galt would be shrugging in his fictional grave.  The strikers in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged who established Galt’s Gulch unapologetically rejected the notion of a positive right for outsiders to move into their utopia uninvited.  Harry Binswanger apparently believes that everyone would have a positive right to crash the border of a real-world Galt’s Gulch and take up residence there uninvited.  That’s the implication of the global right to migrate he asserts. 


But Galt’s Gulch was a private community, not a sovereign state.


Well, what possible moral objection could an Objectivist raise to a fully independent and sovereign Galt’s Gulch?  A real-life Midas Mulligan could conceivably buy up vast contiguous parcels of land, develop a private community there – membership by invitation only, and eventually build it into a self-governing, self-sufficient micro-nation that peacefully secedes and becomes the sovereign state of Galtlandia.  On the day Galtlandia becomes independent, does the rest of the world suddenly acquire a positive right to take up residence there?  A right that nobody had the day before, when Galtlandia was a private restrictive community? 


That would mean that Galtlandia’s declaration of independence achieves the opposite of independence.  Galtlandian independence ends Galtlandia as a community by and for lovers of liberty.  It turns Galtlandia into a cog in the global community that is duty-bound to take in anyone from anywhere in the world, including the very sorts of people Galtlandians sought to get away from.  Before, Galtlandia could ensure that it would be composed of a high-quality population by setting high standards for admission.  Now that it’s an independent sovereign jurisdiction, it must throw away its founding principles, and its demographic future, in the name of Binswanger’s egalitarian altruism.


Binswanger masquerades as a defender of freedom.  But opening up immigration to both friends and enemies of freedom equally isn’t how a free nation defends its freedom.  It’s how a nation sacrifices its freedom.  All in the name of freedom for them – the others.  It is through hijacking freedom movements and the language of freedom that egalitarians advance their leftist political aims.  Behind Binswanger’s superficial appeals to freedom, he reveals his egalitarian moral core.


Binswanger regards a meritocratic immigration selection process as unfair to immigrants who don’t merit selection.  He laments that they would be treated as “undesirables.”  He places “undesirables” in mocking quotation marks to express his egalitarian revulsion at the very idea of judging some immigrant populations as more desirable than others.


For the egalitarian, being non-judgmental is the highest virtue.  For the egalitarian, all immigrants have the same fixed inherent worth.  If you judge immigrants based on your own values, you might as well be a Nazi.  Either you’re an egalitarian or you’re a Nazi at heart – that’s the false dichotomy the egalitarian pushes.  But if you value the preservation of your liberty, then you oppose both Nazism and open immigration stampedes that threaten your life, liberty, and property.


Foreign-born populations that commit violent crimes at 10 times the rate of the native born or terrorism at 100 times the rate of native-born citizens are undesirable from the standpoint of any citizen who desires liberty.  Immigrants who enter illegally are undesirable in a free society that grounds itself in the rule of law and should therefore be deported.  What’s the alternative?  Amnesty, plus citizenship, plus voting rights for all past, present, and future border crossers?  An open-ended power for the government to dilute the liberty vote and transform the electorate in the image of the Third World?


Deportation is a much more circumscribed power.  The costs to taxpayers of deportation are far lower than the costs of building more prisons to warehouse foreign-born criminals.  It’s far cheaper to close the door on open Muslim immigration than it is to wage war against Muslim countries because Muslim immigrants commit acts of terrorism.  The long-term economic and political costs of lowering the national IQ average due to low-IQ immigration and dysgenic immigrant fertility are difficult to calculate.  But immigration-driven IQ degeneration is nearly impossible to reverse without making immigration more selective on the basis of IQ.  This is because IQ is a highly heritable trait that is distributed unequally both within and between populations. 


Meanwhile, the world's most religious people and the world's poorest, most dependent people are having the most children.  Through lopsided birth rates and through migration, they will genetically swamp those of us who claim to value reason and liberty.  If we do actually value reason and liberty, then we must stop sacrificing our actual values to the phony universal ones egalitarians bait us with.  That’s how they turn us into practicing pathological altruists who work on behalf of our own demise. 


They get liberty advocates to embrace immigration policies that lead in practice to the demographic degradation of the libertarian electorate.  They get Objectivists who champion the Western-derived values of reason and individualism to promote immigration policies that replace Westerners with Third World Muslims and other cultural primitives whose congenitally low IQs predispose them against adopting a rational philosophy. 


Ayn Rand believed that the Europeans who discovered America were right to claim the land for Western civilization.  They were right because their values were superior to those of the American Indians, and so was their capacity for achievement.  Individual liberty, electricity, automobiles, skyscrapers, space flight, computer technology – none of these things would have been achieved by more primitive societies left to their own devices.


If it was right to establish Western civilization in lands ruled by savages, then it is wrong to allow Western civilization to be invaded by savages. 


Some Objectivists get it, at least in part.  Leonard Peikoff represents the doctrinaire strain of Objectivism, but to his credit he takes a contextual, non-dogmatic approach to immigration policy.  He doesn’t prescribe open immigration for all countries regardless of the detrimental consequences to those countries. 


David Kelley represents the open-tent version of Objectivism.  I asked him a few questions about his approach to immigration policy from his booth at FreedomFest.


It’s hard to tell whether Kelley is a categorically committed immigration egalitarian like Binswanger or whether he’d be morally amenable to an immigration system that filtered out high-risk culturally hostile populations.  But clearly, any self-described Objectivist who champions “open borders” as an ideal has consciously rejected the “selective borders” model of Galt’s Gulch.  And such a rejection is almost certainly the result of latent egalitarian premises that Objectivism has failed to fully expunge from its adherents.


If you claim to value the West but not the preservation of its people, you’re attempting to divorce mind from body.  A nation isn’t a mere set of abstract principles.  It’s an integrated sociobiological construct. 


If I were to say to the Japanese that I respect their culture but don’t care if their people get completely overrun and replaced by Congolese refugees because I believe in open borders, what kind of backhanded compliment would that be?  It wouldn’t be a compliment at all.  It would be a lie.  Because if I truly respected Japanese culture, I would recognize that the Japanese people are a crucial part of its identity and maintenance.


If we in the West are to stop our decline and enter into a new ascendancy, we need an ascendant demography.  We aren’t going to apologize our way to an ascendant society.  If our government did owe anyone a collective apology for its immigration policies, it would be only to the citizens it exists to serve.  If the government deprives us of bright, freedom-loving immigrants of good moral character who would have been model citizens, then it is in the name of our interests that the government should change its immigration policies.  Not in the name of an egalitarian positive right of each of the world’s 7 billion people to immigrate regardless of their cultural compatibility with our Western values.  But the core problem with our immigration policy is that it is not selective enough. 


Why was this unassimilable Haitian savage allowed into the country?  Why wasn’t he deported before he savagely murdered Casey Chadwick?  Why isn’t the government apologizing to the victim’s family for failing at its most basic duty of keeping out and physically removing foreign threats?


Open immigration proponents argue that immigrants who are peaceful, intelligent, productive, and freedom-loving add value to a country.  But that is no argument for open immigration.  It is instead an implicit argument against letting in immigrants who exude the opposite characteristics.   I am here making that argument explicit.


And open-borders proponent Don Boudreaux made explicit the fact that open borders ideology is in principle (if not in particular cases) suicidal.  Boudreaux expressed concern about the negative political consequences of unfettered immigration from people hostile to liberty.  But, he said, "I still support open immigration.  I cannot bring myself to abandon support of my foundational principles just because following those principles might prove fatal." 


That level of pathological altruism is implicit in all arguments for open immigration.