'Pro-Freedom' Parties That Aren't on Immigration

In Europe and the U.S., some parties use pro-freedom rhetoric, but fail to follow through on immigration policy

Last weekend, the Swiss voted for immigration restrictions supported by the nationalist and euroskeptic Swiss People’s Party, the party with the most seats in Switzerland’s lower house of the Federal Assembly. The party campaigned for the restrictions using the depressingly common fear mongering about overpopulation. The referendum nullifies an agreement between Switzerland and the European Union relating to the free movement of people. Although not a member of the E.U., Switzerland has adopted many of the bloc’s policies and the Swiss Franc is pegged to the euro. Interestingly, as was noted by George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan, the areas of Switzerland where there are the least immigrants are where support for the immigration restrictions were the strongest.   

The vote was praised by nationalistic, xenophobic, and euroskeptic parties across Europe. It shouldn’t be surprising that members of such parties support the referendum, which was backed by 50.3 percent of Swiss voters. However, what is notable is that European politicians and parties in favor of the Swiss immigration restrictions are exhibiting a behavior seen in the Republican Party when it comes to debates on immigration; giving lip service to freedom without being able to match the rhetoric with action.

Many euroskeptic politicians and parties use the word “freedom” without any hints of irony or sarcasm. It should be obvious to those who call themselves “libertarians” or “classical liberals” that parties such as the xenophobic and nationalist Dutch Party for Freedom and the Freedom Party of Austria have little to do with freedom when it comes to immigration.

The outline of the Freedom Party of Austria’s program does mention freedom, but only as “our most valued asset,” not a universal right. The document goes on to state bluntly that “Austria is not an (sic) country of immigration.”

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, praised the Swiss minaret ban, which was passed in a referendum in 2009, and said, "What can be done in Switzerland, can be done here." Wilders has also spoken out against dual citizenship, and has called for the Koran to be treated like Mein Kampf and banned. These are not the positions of someone who believes in the value of freedom.  The Party for Freedom also advocates for economically liberal policies such as lowering taxes on citizens. 

The Swiss People’s Party’s program states that the party wants “a secure future in freedom and prosperity” and calls for “more market forces and less bureaucracy,” “the protection of private property and privacy,” and lower taxes.

The selective understanding of freedom demonstrated by European euroskeptics was perhaps best expressed by Nigel Farage, the leader of the euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), who said the following in response to the recent Swiss vote, “This is wonderful news for national sovereignty and freedom lovers throughout Europe." Farage evidently doesn’t think much of the freedom of movement, and views the restrictions on where people can choose to live and work and on who people can hire and rent or sell property to as “wonderful news.” Farage’s comments are especially ironic given that UKIP’s constitution describes the party as “libertarian,” and says that the party will back policies that “encourage those who aspire to improve their personal situation.” Of course, moving within or between countries is one way people try and make their life better. 

Although the British Conservative Party, which includes a number of euroskeptics and claims to support free enterprise, did not respond to the Swiss referendum, it is worth noting that the party's website has a whole section dedicated to reducing immigration. 

This confused messaging over freedom and immigration is also seen in the U.S. The majority of members of the Republican Party as well as those that lean Republican claim to have positive outlooks on free enterprise and capitalism. However, the recent Republican rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate on this side of the Atlantic has not been supportive of capitalism or limited government, which is especially worth noting considering that the GOP fancies itself as “the party of maximum economic freedom and the prosperity freedom makes possible.”

According to Reason’s polling, 80 percent of Republicans believe that we would be “Better able to handle today's problems within a free market with less government involvement.” 80 percent also believe that “The less government the better.” As has been pointed out by Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Shikha Dalmia, on the issue of immigration many Republican lawmakers and pundits abandon their supposed distrust of government and belief in the free market.

Reason’s polling also shows that 53 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of Democrats believe that immigration hurts the economy. Additionally, Reason’s polling found that Republicans who favor immigration are more likely than Democrats who feel the same way to back raising the cap on high-skilled visas. However, while the benefits of high skilled immigration are rarely disputed, it should not be forgotten that low-skilled immigrants are also good for the economy.

It is impossible to consistently believe that the free movement of goods is beneficial while making an exception for labor. If someone is a free marketeer they should support the right of any business owner to employ anyone they wish, be they from New York, Arizona, Norway, Mexico, Laos, or any other part of the world. In addition, those who claim to believe in natural rights should also argue in favor of the free movement of people. As Andrew Napolitano explained last year, immigration is a natural right

Republicans who are wary of immigration reform, like anti-immigrant euroskeptics, could respond by making cultural rather than economic objections to immigration. Given that I am a libertarian it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I don’t believe that the state should have any role in shaping culture and find these sort of objections silly, immoral, or both. That said, those who oppose immigration are welcome to make these objections, but they should acknowledge that restrictions on immigration are anti-free market.

There are of course many differences between the explicitly xenophobic parties in Europe and the American Republican Party. As bad as the anti-immigrant sentiment expressed by many Republicans is, it is nowhere near as bad as much of the xenophobic and nationalist nonsense expressed by members of UKIP, the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Swiss People's Party, and the Freedom Party of Austria. Yet what European euroskeptic parties and the Republican Party have in common is a fondness for messaging that sounds pro-liberty while also advocating for immigration policies that require big government and restrictions on freedom.

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  • Jerry on the boat||

    On principles you might be right Feeney -- but in terms of practical politics who are those immigrants going to vote for? Alas, in Europe they tend to get sucked into the social-democratic machine.

  • BambiB||

    Matthew doesn't even believe in what he's writing. Until he invites anyone who wants to move into his home (rent free, free good, no duties, take what you want, destroy what you want), we know that what's coming out of his mouth is not wisdom, but only hot gas.

  • BambiB||

    free FOOD.

    Really, an edit option would be nice, Reason.

  • David Wall||

    Fallacious argument. How does arguing for a principle of free association--my freedom to hire someone from another country, or another person to accept my offer of employment equate to me having to give that person free rent, goods, etc.? The welfare state of this country is immoral. It steals from one group of people to give to another group of people--the system is immoral regardless if the people receiving the stolen goods are immigrants or not. But that immorality does not justify further encroachments on my liberty--my liberty to associate or hire anyone I want.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I support this freedom--

    my freedom to hire someone from another country, or another person to accept my offer of employment

    I do not support the version of it that has the people from another country wandering about aimlessly waiting for you to decide you want the freedom to hire someone from another country, or another person to accept your offer of employment today.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Not all immigrants have the same views you collectivist.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    They aren't going to make the cultural argument against immigration (at least the smart ones won't) cause they don't want to get tarred as racists.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    They aren't going to make the cultural argument against immigration (at least the smart ones won't) cause they don't want to get tarred as racists.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Well, it is the SWISS People's Party, not the Polish or the Turkish People's Party.

  • Acosmist||

    Go Swiss, fuck xenophilic assholes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I find your comment hilarious in light of the fact that Switzerland is a multicultural state, by definition, with four major ethnic groups: Deutschschweizers, Romands, Svizzeri italiani, and the Romansh, each with their own language and traditional religious affiliation. You know, everything you claim to hate. But I guess only brown people count in your equations.

  • PapayaSF||

    Part of the reason this vote happened now is because of a change in EU rules that would allow cross-border movement by members of extra nations, including Romania. Romania has lots of Roma, and many Swiss were not thrilled with the idea of lots of Roma moving in. Which is understandable if you know anything about Roma.

  • BardMetal||

    When did he mention brown people?

  • Boisfeuras||

    with four major ethnic groups: Deutschschweizers, Romands, Svizzeri italiani, and the Romansh

    Yeah, i.e. Swiss Germans, Swiss French, Swiss Italians, and a uniquely Swiss ethnos. Try explaining to a Deutschschweizer that they are a German.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "His people are off-white on the left and cocaine white on the right. My people are cocaine white all over, and the priests of our church wear a different shaped funny looking hat."

  • Ann N||

    most of the immigration into europe is from off continent, usually africa and often muslim.

    there are real problems being introduced but you are too much of a race crusader to be honest with yourself about what reality contains.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Fuck nationalist collectivist assholes.

  • burserker||

    open borders to welfare nations don't exist very long

  • ||

    Cite?

  • JeremyR||

    Math?

  • ||

    So... no cite then.

    It is much easier to wall off welfare than it is to wall off the borders.

  • David Wall||

    It may be easier to wall it off, but it should be abolished.

    Also, immigration should be easy to a free country, but citizenship should be hard earned. Only those ready and willing to pledge allegiance to freedom-protecting institutions should be allowed citizenship and the right to vote.

  • ||

    the Swiss Franc is pegged to the euro

    Really?

    http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/ec.....X;range=5y

  • DEG||

  • ||

    I see.

  • GregoryL||

    Switzerland is smart enough to avoid the tragedy of the commons of its country that mass immigration would bring. If they are doing long-term national planning for sustainability, they will, along with restricting immigration, want to have a stable population. Switzerland (and the world itself) is finite.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yay for protectionism and inbreeding!

    /sarcasm

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, how can the Swiss possibly survive without large numbers of Bulgarians and Gypsies? They are doomed!!!

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Who cares about ancestry? INDIVIDUALISM please not collectivism.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm not referring to ancestry but to culture, as manifested in individuals.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Any well-run government will stay out of matters that are intangible.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    So when is America, and for that matter, the rest of Europe going to get a referendum on immigration?

    Oh, that's right! Never! Because freedom means having no input into whether or not your country gets used as an international trailer park.

    Besides, you just can't trust the damn peasants to vote the right way.

  • Svenster||

    Stupid Swiss! Don't they know that the fastest way to greatness is to encourage a flood of low-IQ, no skill, non-assimilating foreigners into your country? Works great for America!

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    What union do you belong to?

  • PapayaSF||

    You don't have to be in a union to see that, but you may have to remove purist ideological blinkers.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Lol, I think worker's comp, federal food labeling laws and SOME taxation is legitimate. I think you need to remove your collectivist blinders.

  • hk||

    Reason doesn't have the most disciplined libertarians, unfortunately. ;]

  • Ann N||

    i love a lot of the concepts libertarians come up with, but immigration is not one of them. You really need to start from a position of anarchism to even properly argue the case. if the state is legitimate then so is its right to control its boundaries. its axiomatic.

  • Ann N||

    (identity and entity are similar concepts, dont take identity to mean anything about race, its about existentialism)

    self determinism is essential for identity, whether that is an individual or a nation. if you occassionally get possessed by an evil space ghost you are an ephemereal identity without border. today you are jack, tommorrow who knows? but certainly not the same identity.

    disallowing a group to control access destroys its group determinism.

    its fine to have an opinion that we are all citizens of the world, but be honest about where the gulf lies: determinism and identity, NOT freedom.

    not allowing others to invade your personal space does not infringe on their freedom. the real question is whether a group contract can be recognized as a distinct identity (with associated natural right to control its access points). the deeper question raised is whether group arrangements can enjoy ANY identity protections and enforcements (be that national or corporate or what have you). you would think libertarians would be gung-ho to defend that. and statists, if they had a brain, would 100% support that.

  • Ann N||

    the premise of this article has the same accuracy as framing rape victims as against others voluntary choices. while its true rape victims seek to prevent others willful behavior, even by force, calling that anti-freedom abuses truth. "she shouldnt try to control access, she is just being stingy with a resource we could all benefit from."

    identities have natural rights to self governance. if the US govt is not an identity then it has no just power to be an agent over real persons lives. IOW you would have to be a complete anarchist to make such a claim.

    the real problem with illegal immigration is importing conditions of foreign lands, which conditions are resultant from uncontrollable political factors. this separates control (over their nation of origin/and them entering borders) and responsibility (to deal with conditions they bring), another great evil. they are in reality inseparable, but immoral social contraints often dissect them. its a debilitating evil. this is what forced invasion means. who is doing the forcing? NAP makes this situation obvious (if you accept nations have right to determinism).

  • hk||

    The premise of the article is that your anti-immigration argument is unscientific inflationary tactic. But most of all it ignores property rights.

    And excuse me, but it sounds a lot like the anti-second amendment argument to me. Just because introducing immigration (or insert any other word here) somewhere *might* be risky, that still doesn't mean you get to be my nanny and tell me who to invite onto my property. Further, only the business owner gets to decide who gets hired, no one is entitled to anything. No one is entitled to one monopoly culture. The only legitimate gripe is welfare because that is forced on everyone.

    If you are afraid of Foreigner X that is fine and everything, but not everyone thinks like that. Leave other people alone, and allow yourself to discriminate as much as you want. It is easier to draft anti-welfare legislation than to station thousands of questionable troops (have you seen police brutality articles here at reason?) along a border anyway.

    The NAP is nonsense when libertarians arbitrarily decide that they want free markets for X but not Y, and we need to impose force on taxpayers to get more of Y. It sounds like nonsense to me, this is why I take the Austrian School more seriously. I disagree with statists but it makes sense when they make these kinds of arguments as well. In the long-run none of the "reasonable" immigration rules will remain limited; don't be gullible.

  • hk||

    *argument is an

    It seems pretty naïve to me to think the state can manage immigration well, but can't even manage to run the post office correctly. They're incompetent sorry, and you have a strange definition of property rights, not to mention that in this country bills of attainder are illegal.

  • PapayaSF||

    Ann N is closer to the truth than you are.

    A few immigrants are generally fine and get assimilated. It's adding a carrot to the stew. But if you add too many carrots, you lose the main flavor of the stew and just get wet carrots.

    Not that Switzerland is in danger of being swamped. But they like their country, largely the way it is. I'm happy for them. One need not be a collectivist to believe that a group of individuals, in a certain social group, have the right to be that group, and set some limits on change and dilution. More immigrants will mean more crime, more welfare, higher housing costs, less social cohesion, more political strife.

    This is a country where it's not unknown for storekeepers to scrub the sidewalks outside their stores every day. It's not surprising that they aren't thrilled with the idea of thousands of poor Bulgarians and Gypsies showing up. I wouldn't be, either.

    In multicultural-biased welfare states, mass immigration can be considered a form of aggression. Let the Swiss be the Swiss.

    You want to help Bulgarians and Romanians? Make Bulgaria and Romania more like Switzerland, not the other way around.

  • hk||

    No buddy, how about you repeal your dumbfuck law first? I assume you want to also stop me from eating McDonalds, since medicare is now paid for by the public?

    What don't you get about private property rights? Frankly it doesn't matter if it makes you worse off in the long-run, stop telling other people who to hang out with. It is a valid position in and of itself.

    Immigrants aren't criminals either, so give them due process if you want to charge them with something or shut up.

    You didn't answer my question. What's easier, eliminating welfare or maintaining a ridiculous border that people can just get through if they try 10 or 12 times.

  • hk||

    *times?

    Define free market. Ok that's what I thought, bruh.

    Frankly my dear, there's no conceivable way immigrants should vote for fair-weather fake-capitalist Libertarians. Deporting someone who is completely innocent and just making a living for themselves is disgusting.

    Kicking someone out of their home and sending them to a terrible country is a lot worse than having to pay for their shoddy welfare. What you're doing to them is a lot worse than what they did to you. Spain is a better place to live in than Switzerland, I can't imagine all the bitching and immoral deporting they've already done over there. Take your free market losses like a man and grow some balls. The world isn't about banning things that are really not all that dangerous.

    Bill of attainder, learn it.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "Identity" is not an entitlement. If the voluntary actions and perceptions of others cause your "identity" or culture or whatever to not be what you want it to be, that is toooooo bad.

  • Ann N||

    right, cuz private groups shouldnt be able to have freedom of association, and nations also should not have that principle.

    immigration is a freedom of association issue. latinos are basically saying USA doesnt enjoy that as a 'right'.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yes immigration is a freedom of association issue. If I want to have sex with an immigrant and hire them then I should be able to.

  • MarkinLA||

    What more free than Swiss freely deciding they don't want any more non-Swiss in their country? Oh I get it freedom means everybody else but the Swiss get to decide what Switzerland does.

  • hk||

    Because not all Swiss are part of one hive mind? I know some Swiss there that disagree, and forgive me for not thinking as a mindless collectivist, but I am more concerned with individual rights. You're not entitled to a job, and you should stop telling people who to hang out with.

  • MarkinLA||

    Is there a point to this or like all libertarian postings, it is just a mindless free association rant?

  • hk||

    My point is maybe you should take some English lessons? Is there anything factually incorrect with my statement?

    Surprise, this is a libertarian website Lol.

  • ||

    50.3 percent of Swissman can't be wrong!

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    My definition of a Swiss person is simply someone who is a Swiss citizen. They don't have to be a native of German, Italian and French ancestry. Only a medieval collectivist would argue otherwise.

  • Azathoth!!||

    And Swiss citizens that meet your definition voted and decided that they wanted to limit immigration into their country.

    You, like MikeP, have a massive problem with the fact that 50.0000000000001% of the people that voted got to decide.

    Problems with voting as a thing are a big issue here.

    But voting on issues is better than the alternative.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yeah tyranny of the majority. I doubt Swiss Japanese voted for it.

  • BambiB||

    Matthew Feeney has **ZERO** credibility on this issue until the day he opens HIS home to every bum and criminal, inviting them all to move in and stay as long as they like. The invitation must come with free rent, free food, no requirement to contribute anything to maintenance or upkeep and he is not allowed to complain to anyone about the behavior of the "immigrants" who may sleep in his bed, defecate on his floor and rape and kill his family with his tacit approval.

    That's why the Swiss shouldn't allow unrestricted immigration.
    That's why AMERICA shouldn't allow unrestricted immigration. (We never have. If we ever do, America will be destroyed.)

  • hk||

    What happened to due process? I didn't know immigrants were suddenly all automatically criminals, lol.

    Whoa dude, you seem hyperbolic. Get out of your comfort zone and travel around the world a bit.

  • ||

    That's why AMERICA shouldn't allow unrestricted immigration. (We never have. If we ever do, America will be destroyed.)

    The 19th century is on the phone. It wants to talk with you.

  • JFree||

    The 19th century did NOT allow unrestricted immigration. We had bilateral consular agreements with every 'country' in Europe starting in the 1820's or so - including 50 or so of the German 'countries' that later became 'Germany'. Those were later modified/expanded into what became called the 'Bancroft Conventions'.

    Every ship that was given permission to dock at a US port was also required to record information about all its passengers. Any passenger lacking that documentation was not allowed to disembark - and the ship was required to pay for their passage back.

    Every port had an immigrant processing facility - subject to state laws until 1890 when those laws were federalized. The only reason NYC (Castle Clinton) became the main port was because NY had lenient state laws - ie a destitute immigrant could disembark there as long as they had a final destination outside NY (and either the train ticket or sufficient money to buy one). The very existence of those pre-federal laws is precisely why you can look up your ancestors and find out which ship they arrived on.

    Once the disembarkation laws became federal, then the feds immediately created a 'standard' set of immigration requirements. Which is why Ellis Island had a quarantine center and a deportation center

  • ||

    Which is why Ellis Island had a quarantine center and a deportation center...

    ...that deported an astonishing 2% of third and steerage class passengers and 0% of first and second class passengers.

    You also forgot to mention that the ships' doctors gave everyone on board a full medical rundown and certified their health or lack thereof to immigration authorities.

    The point is that the very few prospective immigrants who were denied entry were rejected with cause specifically applied to each individual and not because the quota of people like them was full, as is the case today.

    This is all far closer to "unrestricted immigration" than anything since 1917 and ample evidence that "unrestricted immigration" did not destroy America.

  • JFree||

    You are clearly missing the point. The US exerted its sovereign right to control its border from day 1. The particulars of HOW it did so then are obviously particular to THEN. The 'frontier' (defined by the government as 2 people per square mile) existed until the 1890 census and there were perpetual labor shortages throughout the century. Every 'recession' back then was a purely monetary/banking crisis. The government encouraged internal (ie citizen) labor mobility - rather than actively restricting it. So there was no reason - political or economic - whatsoever to restrict 'quantities' of immigrants.

    And by the way, one class of individuals who would have been deported back then is anyone who called themselves 'libertarian' back then since that meant 'anarchist' (not 'classical liberal') then.

    Personally I don't care much about legal immigration levels. But the emphasis on this issue (and all of the 'open borders' crap) is, at best, misbegotten (and, more likely, cronyist/statist corruption). It is an attempt to ignore actual increasing restrictions on citizens and to divert attention to a nonsensical and never-real ideology.

  • ||

    The US exerted its sovereign right to control its border from day 1.

    File this under Duh.

    Since this is the second day of the thread, I can also point out that 1940s Germany exerted its sovereign right to kill millions of its denizens as well.

    The questions are (1) what should the US do with this sovereign power and (2) was 19th century immigration effectively unrestricted.

  • JFree||

    This is clearly not 'Duh' to people like you. The 'open borders' argument rests on the notion that 'border control' equals 'denying a foreigner his freedom'. Which while appearing to be an argument for limited government is actually no different than a Trotsky/etc (and since you mentioned Hitler - let's include him too shall we) argument for world government.

    Further, the means (those bilateral agreements) by which we managed 19th century immigration also did create the immigration patterns we got. The first agreements were with Britain and the German states - first immigrant wave is Irish/German. The second agreements were the Nordic - followed by the Nordic immigrants. The third set of agreements were with the Central/Southern/Eastern European states - followed by their immigrant waves. Immigration then was not 'effectively unrestricted'. Rather it was simply 'effective'.

    And I have never seen a single modern pro-immigration argument that advocates bilateral agreements with other nations. Just a bunch of ignorant horsemanure memes about 'the 19th century' and some bullmanure memes about 'xenophobia'.

  • ||

    Okay, I looked up the Bancroft conventions. Those all had to do with citizenship! Specifically, they had to do with naturalization and under what conditions repatriation meant one lost the naturalized citizenship and regained his original citizenship. The reason? To make draft dodging difficult!

    Being about naturalization and citizenship, these have pretty much nothing to do with restrictions on immigration. Also, surprise of surprises, these actually exercise a constitutionally granted power of the federal government!

    Further, the means (those bilateral agreements) by which we managed 19th century immigration also did create the immigration patterns we got.

    Might you be confusing cause and effect here?

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    His home is private property. A country is not private property.

    What union do you belong to?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Why? Why isn't a country considered private property, owned by it's citizens, and operated via elected representatives?

    What about the maintenance of this country is paid by someone else as owner?

    Finally, who does the damned thing belong to if not it's citizens?

  • ||

    Why isn't a country considered private property, owned by it's citizens, and operated via elected representatives?

    Because the government, contra the market, is the agent of involuntary association. As such, anyone who actually believes in voluntary association should readily conclude that government authority and power should be as tightly circumscribed as possible.

    Finally, who does the damned thing belong to if not it's citizens?

    Those parts not privately owned are part of the commons. The commons may be improved and maintained by government, but government does not own it in any rights-effecting sense. Those parts privately owned are privately owned. The residents of a country are not its tenants.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Why? Why isn't a country considered private property, owned by it's citizens, and operated via elected representatives?

    I don't want cigarette smoking in my private dwelling, but I don't believe it should be illegal. You think the people should be allowed to outlaw it.

    What about the maintenance of this country is paid by someone else as owner?

    Poor grammar. Can't understand.

    Finally, who does the damned thing belong to if not it's citizens?

    That doesn't mean they can tyrannize others.

  • David Wall||

    A very good friend of mine is a world-class engineer from Germany who has fought for 15 years to obtain a green-card that would allow him to work legally and permanently in this country. It is a violation of his rights to make him go through all the hurdles for the mere right to do his job which he does very well. Obviously, I support free immigration.

    I would gladly invite my friend to live in my home if he needed a place to live. But how does my support of free immigration mean that I should now be required to allow anyone from another country to live in my home? Your argument is fallacious and stupid.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    The Swiss are entitled to have whatever policy they want on immigration. What business is it of the United States what policy the Swiss have on this issue? We have enough problems of our own. Why do Americans think that what every country in the world does or does not do is our business? Time to stop sticking our collective noses up everyone's butt all over the world and mind our own damn business.

  • ||

    Collectivist much? Reason is not "the United States".

  • ThinkThrice||

    I don't mind low-skilled workers coming to the United States but I believe they should come here legally. It seems to me that we have our quota filled of low-skilled workers. The last thing we need is non-working low-skilled workers.

    The absence of a needy low-skilled job market is detrimental to the development of our people's work ethic. There's nothing wrong with an American citizen deciding that all she/he wants to be is a bean picker or floor mopper. There's nothing wrong with an American citizen deciding to work hard in school so that they can do something with better income than a bean picker or floor mopper.

    I'm not even sure what the 'immigration' issue is? If you want to enter the US - do so legally. Anyone who doesn't get's deported or enlisted in our military for two years and is granted citizenship.

  • Robert||

    Where Mr. Feeney sees confusion and irony, I see that he's making too superficial an analysis. At least many of the activists he sees as self contradictory, mendacious, or whatever, when they advocate both liberty in general and restriction in the case of immigration will say that this is a necessary compromise—that what they want regarding immigration is an unfortunately necessary reduction in liberty in that one sector in order to secure it in others. In this country the late talk show hosts David Brudnoy and Gene Burns had the same view: that unrestricted immigration would lead to a reduction in liberty in the long run. I don't think these people are correct on the facts, but if I thought they were, or that liberty in some other regard gave strong enough evidence of leading to long term decreases in freedom in the larger field, I too would consider that a tradeoff might be required.

  • David Wall||

    Robert--

    You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    Liberty and individual rights are based upon a principle. Freedom and liberty are a requirement for human life, for all human lives, and to protect these freedoms for one person or one group of people is to protect them for all. The opposite it true. If you violate the principle in any regard or for any person, you violate it in all other regards and all other people.

    You do not understand the nature of freedom and individual rights at all. I would be embarrassed if I were you.

  • Azathoth!!||

    But the right to freedom of movement that you lay claim to is not a right. No animal on the planet has a true freedom of movement.

    They can try, but there stand other animals ready to stop them.

    Humans, like other animals, are territorial, they 'protect their home range'--that being the amount of space within which their needs are met. Being gregarious, they have the ability to live in groups, and often do, quite amicably. But they will fight when their territory is infringed upon by another human.

    Evolution has allowed human ranges to change from actual, self patrolled tracts of land into the bustling metropoli we see today, with numerous ranges overlaid and co-existing.

    But they are still there. The village, city, city-state, kingdom, and nation are all steps in that process. At no point have humans sought non-territoriality.

    Even ideologies that claim to pursue such merely seek to make their 'range'(their ideology) cover everything.

    Thus there is no right to freedom of movement--precisely because there is a right(and an instinctive need) to hold the best range one can. That range being private property.

  • David_B||

    I think the tightening of immigration is probably to prevent being swamped by millions of Muslims coming over from the middle east and Africa and thus attempting to prevent the undesirable influence of Islam through immigration control.

    If you don't understand why it is important to prevent the movement of Islam into freedom loving democracies, then you do not understand Islam's insidious nature.

    The cost of Liberty is eternal Vigilance. In the same way Tolerance can only be maintained though Integrity. Tolerating insipid intolerant ideologies such as Islam and Nazism for example, weaken the integrity of a democracy.

    If you cannot see how integrity is the backbone of tolerance, then you do not understand why vigilance is the backbone of Liberty, and thus do not understand Liberty at all.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    So if you took the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, replaced the word Jew with Muslim, you would agree with it? Not all immigrants have the same views and they are not a part of some hive-minded conspiracy theory. My grandmother was unfortunate enough to have been born in Germany when Hitler was in power. Her and her family quietly opposed the regime but when she came to the US in 50s she had to put up with all sorts of collectivist nonsense even though her husband/my grandfather was one of the American troops who landed at Normandy. Now she's in her 80s and she's the worst type of reactionary "anti-fascist" leftist just short of being an anarchist or pure socialist. I love her but she's crazy.

  • hk||

    Sorry, immigrants are not felons. Every case should be treated individually.

    If you dislike someone then do not associate with them, but they're completely innocent until given their day in court. Natural rights and due process apply to everyone, not just people that look or talk like you.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I would say that the author, as indeed many Americans do, runs into a fundamental cultural divide. Americans tend to see Europeans basically as themselves, just speaking funny languages. This isn't true.

    Europe is really a different continent and different culture(s). Current European borders and state are result of several millennia of constant warfare, a 2-hour drive in random direction will often bring you to a country speaking a very different language, the streets of major cities are a Babel of languages etc.

    Therefore, an average European is constantly being reminded of the fact that the continent is a wild mixture of cultures.

    This results in tribal awareness of much higher level than in the USA, and, as a consequence, European libertarianism *is* very different from American, much more economically oriented.

  • David Wall||

    I think the reason that so many otherwise supporters of capitalism end up falling on the wrong side of the immigration issue is because the accept a false premise. The false premise is assuming that individual rights of immigrants are equal to the voting privileges of citizenship. All human beings have a right to live their life as they wish. If they have job opportunities in another country and they are free of a communicable disease and have no history of criminality, why should they not be allowed to live their life in another country. Anyone who wishes to hire someone from another country should be allowed to do so. To impede such decisions is to violate basic individual rights. As many libertarians rightly point out, individual rights are not granted by governments, they are a requirement for living for all human beings. A just society protects these rights, and realizes that violating one persons individual rights in principle violates everyone's individual rights.

    Citizenship is a different issue. Moral governments are formed to protect individual rights, but the freedom-protecting institutions are man-made. It is logical for a free country to demand an understanding of its institutions and a pledge of allegiance for which they stand.

  • Will4Freedom||

    "If they have job opportunities in another country and they are free of a communicable disease and have no history of criminality, why should they not be allowed to live their life in another country."

    You're putting restrictions on their freedom of movement.

    I don't have an issue with legal immigration... it's the flood of people who come here with no job prospect, no validation of past criminal activity and no check for diseases.

    So are you for "some" freedom of movement? I am. A little more restrictive, in that I ask they do it legally.

  • David_B||

    @Will4Freedom,

    No need to take the protocol of Zion and change the word Jew to Muslim, just take Islam's most sacred texts, the Koran, Hadith and Surah and you have all the makings of a theocratic totalitarian, racist, sexist, misogynistic, fascist state, which usually comes in the form of Sharia law, just for a start.

  • David_B||

    Sorry that post was suppose to be directed @ CentristClassicalLiberal

  • hk||

    And most of them are normal people, sorry your argument is absurd. You're committing a ridiculous act of aggression against someone that is innocent.

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude does not seem to know whats up man.

    www.GoAnon.tk

  • Will4Freedom||

    There's over 1 billion people in China and over 1 billion in India. Let's fling open the doors and see what happens. That is... how long will it take for the United States to become either Communist or Socialist. But wait... there's more. There's over a billion Muslims in the world. Let's throw them into the mix. Will their desire for Sharia law win out?

    I can see the economic "freedom" already.

    Sorry, but we can't even manage to keep our own people from stomping on our Freedoms... how are we going to keep them when anyone can walk into our country?

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yes all Chinese, Indians and Muslims have the same exact views. No one from communist China or or India has ever fled their country and started their own business creating wealth and jobs /sarcasm

  • Will4Freedom||

    My point was not that all people from China are communist. My point was that with totally open boarders, there is no restriction on who comes in... including the entire Chinese comunist party.

    The Chineese or North Koreans or Iranians would not need to fire a shot. Just come in. The door is open. And once enough of one group of people are here, the political landscape of the US will change. They may respect our Constitution, but there is no way to know for sure.

    Who ever has the most people here, they are the ones who determine what the country looks like.

    Just ask the native Americans. If I'm wrong, please tell me how 500 million muslims will not change the fabric of the US. Will the freedoms be secure?

  • steedamike||

    I had also imagined this scenario which quite easily (to me anyways)debunks the idea of open borders. China could just send half their population over here and *poof* now they have the majority.

  • hk||

    If you dislike person X, then discriminate against them. That's your paranoid problem dude.

    I don't think you should be telling others who to chill with though, sorry.

  • hk||

    Chinese people make more money than white people, and they're smarter.

    Lol nice try.

  • hk||

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_American

    Woops dude, I hope you're embarrassed now. If anything, this country would be much better with an Asian work ethic.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    What makes you think North Korea wants to let any of their citizens go? They can't even leave their own towns let alone the country, and neither Iran or North Korea can launch a scud without it failing. Let me guess you're one of those people *coughs neocon* who fear ten foot tall wife-beating desert warriors who drool acid and shoot lasers out of their eyes while flying magic rugs of Islamofascist doom?

    please tell me how 500 million muslims will not change the fabric of the US

    So basically you believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion except the word Jew is replaced with Muslim.

  • TX_Teacher||

    Freedom of movement shouldn't be a cultural suicide pact. Allowing an influx of people who on whole have very different values than the mainstream of a nation AND a much higher birthrate sets up demographic and political consequences that are not difficult to foresee.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yes all immigrants have the same exact views /sarcasm

    Going by your username there's a good chance you're a member of a union. Not surprising at all.

  • steedamike||

    Don't hate on the union members...Good people can do bad things when there's no accountability. Hate the system!

  • foodscientist||

    As a libertarian and Reason magazine supporter, I am continually baffled by the confusion of immigration policy (for or against) with freedom/open-mindedness. Yes, I support individuals right of movement, but societies should have freedom to maintain and promote their own organizations/values/beliefs, etc. and it is certainly not a "natural" right for others to encroach upon that.

    In any event, studies promoting the economic benefit certainly do not account for long-term social costs and the incremental benefits of a system with decreased regulations/taxation which would promote hiring of of citizens.

  • steedamike||

    I also find it fascinating when I find a subject that both the readers and authors seem to fall on either side of an issue (also Intellectual property issues). I myself consider immigration to be my weakest area in applying my version of libertarianism to. I'm currently leaning away from totally open borders - I just need to figure out why and in a way that doesn't make me sound racist or nativist.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    societies should have freedom to maintain and promote their own organizations/values/beliefs

    So if society doesn't like tobacco it should have the "freedom" to legally oppress those who use it? That's called tyranny of the majority.

  • hk||

    Yes, quite an interesting (phony) definition of freedom.

    Freedom begins at the individual level, based on the principle of self-ownership. Austrian economics is far more disciplined on these matters.

  • Garagefather||

    The biggest challenge for Reason to overcome in convincing its readers of its position is the gut feeling by its readers that once Reason gets what it wants (open borders), they and like minded Americans will cease to exist as an influence in the USA because the culture will be forever transformed and there will be no support for their opinions amongst the new majority on everything else Reason finds important. Essentially, Reason mag is Marx's useful idiot in the debate. Reason's position will further marginalize libertarianism in a country no longer interested in American ideals, let alone libertarian ones.

    The biggest argument in Reason's quiver is the economic growth benefits to the indigenous population. Here is one of many dissenting views I arrived at with a simple internet search which discusses research on the topic:

    http://www.vdare.com/articles/.....-complete-

    excerpt:

    Peter Brimelow writes: Everyone knows, or concedes, that immigration is good for the economy—except economists. Amazingly, since the early 1990s, a consensus has existed among labor economists that the current unprecedented influx into America is of no particular economic benefit to native-born Americans in aggregate.

  • hk||

    The problem with xenophobes is that they're not talking about banning swimming pools or cars. When you treat people like criminals, without any sort of judicial procedure, then you're violating the consitution. That no longer is a cogent argument. Frankly it doesn't matter if the economy becomes better or not with immigration. Freedom means the ability to smoke, befriend assholes, or anything that is consensual amongst two adults.

  • cheap soccer jerseys||

    The point is that the very few prospective immigrants who were denied entry were rejected with cause specifically applied to each individual and not because the quota of people like them was full, as is the case today. Agree

  • Nobamunism||

    Open borders are the poison pill of big L libertarianism. Open borders guarantee the end of any kind of libertarian oriented society. I know closed borders are an anathema to freedom lovers like us, but we must at some point realize most countries don't have democracy or a republican form of government, much less freedom.

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