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.


  1. Very much agree.

    Some libertarians seem to think that they will get rid of government and things will be the same They don't seem to realize how much government has created today's world and how much will change without it

    In fact I think that many who call themselves libertarian don't want government to disappear but instead they want the government to provide them with the freedom to do what they want. Including as you point out the freedom to move all over the world.

    In a world without government a person going from Mexico City to Chicago would pass through dozens, hundreds, thousands of properties all of whom would place some restrictions on their travel. The roads themselves would be divided up and everything from tolls to outright banning of some people or goods would happen.

  2. Here's one more objection to the open borders argument: what if the immigrants do not play it by the rules of the society to which they migrate?

    For example: say that proverbial third world immigrant agrees to work for an American citizen for $2 an hour in a sweatshop and live six people to a room. OK, say he keeps his agreement...for a year. And then at the end of that year he demands $10 an hour plus a room of his own. What does our open borders employer do? Order him back to his home country? What if he refuses to move? What if he takes it to the streets in mass protest? What if he seizes control of the sweat shop? What if he starts burning cars?

    We have seen precisely this occur worldwide in Europa, in South Africa under apartheid, and recently in America (albeit more mildly).

    Or what if the immigrant decides these conditions are fine, but his or her children do not? What if they do not like living six people in a room and their only prospect is $2 an hour? So they take it to the streets, burn cars, start gangbanging, demand affirmative action, etc?

    Again, we have seen this worldwide, with a consequent diminishing of liberties.

    What would our American citizen's response be--call in the cops and start busting heads? That doesn't sound very libertarian.

    We have seen how in Europa the response of the government has been to crack down on the citizenry with various hatecrime laws, plus amp up the social welfare benefits to mollify immigrants. And with the Greek government attacking the Golden Dawn party. i.e., the citizens are treated as an occupied people who must be controlled for the benefit of the immigrants -- many of whom happen to be in country illegally.

    None of this sounds very libertarian.

    The dilemma is, as usual, abstract ideological reasoning without relating it to the real world. In point of fact, the USA has had de facto open borders in one form or another for several decades. Yet the power of the government is increasing. We can't blame this on third world immigration alone, of course. But it is a fact that third world immigrants have become a base of support for the Democratic Party, which pushes more government: taxes, gun control, regulation, affirmative action, etc. At the same time, cheap labor has undermined the middle class, which means it is harder to oppose the powerful. And since few of the immigrants find their way to the Libertarian Party, in the long term it means further marginalization for libertarians.

    None of this is very libertarian.

    A number of years back when Liberty magazine was still in print, the editor came out with a strong position against open borders, and gave some practical libertarian reasons for so doing. It's worth digging up a copy.

    1. R.W. Bradford?

      The idea that you can treat immigration as a free-market exchange of labor, apart from demands for citizenship and all the other social and political impositions of immigrants, is absurd and doesn't even make sense in the abstract theoretical world that open-borders absolutists inhabit.

  3. Great post, I like how it goes along with the video.

  4. R.W. Bradford?

    His successor, Stephen Cox.


  5. "[Advocates of open immigration] 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."

    The claim that every square inch of space in every inhabited country would be private property, and none of it would be left open, may seem like an obvious implication of private-property libertarianism to you. But I don't know why. It's actually kind of insane.

    The further claim that, not only will every square inch of space in every inhabited country be privately owned, but also that all this privately owned property will naturally be closed off with "private fences, gates, and other barriers," then this is also of course completely insane. Nobody will have a business incentive or a personal or social incentive to provide an open-access entry-way? Really? Privately-owned roads, bridges, footpaths, airports, sea-ports, tunnels, river-barges will all dutifully make sure to turn away customers based on their national origins? If this is "realism," then I wonder what fantasy and wishful thinking look like.

    "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."

    Please. The U.S.-Mexico border is not the property of "the Minutemen and other volunteers."

    "Advocates of open immigration assume the existence of a powerful central government to prevent local governments from erecting their own settlement criteria."

    I'm sure some advocate of open immigration assumes this. But libertarian advocates of open immigration simply point out that local governments have no more right than the federal government -- which is to say, no right at all -- to tell individual landowners who they can or cannot invite to rent or buy or stay on their property. You might, of course, think that local governments have some right to inflict these "criteria" on local residents if you thought that local governments had some kind of proprietary interest in all the land that immigrants might choose to rent, buy or settle on. But of course no libertarian in their right mind thinks that.

  6. Immigration control could only be moral if Americans collectively owned the entire territory. They don't, and there is no plausible argument that they do. You have a right to keep whoever you like off of your land, but not off of mine.



    It's catching on. Sort of..

  9. I am a Philadelphian.. I think it's pretty decent how uh. Some pages are up but the rest looks and sounds gay. I happen to be heterosexual.. that means I am a man who loves the opposite sex. I am of course texting through one of the parts of google revealing arabic writing.. However It seems as though psychos keep fanaticising the usual. I can't file a complaint really in the middle of a brainwashed community & It's tough to get work. I saw on one of the pages wasting alot of our time that the cyber thing is fixed according to a post glorifying our U.S President but the bad part about it is that it doesn't look so thorough due to the lack of sense made in commentary. I spunt alot of years gathering accents/acsents & I am tired of the weird noises from the sickos!! I threatend to burn their house down.. I shattered one of their windows 3 times in a row but they never shuddap! I am sunni Muslim & ALLAH does not like the nastiness.. According to the constitution.. If the psycho's plan works.. I could be executed so I do not betray the Holy Quran & I do not teach non-believers!!

  10. Charles Johnson has an excellent take down of this garbage.