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Kerry Howley explains why you can't be for free markets and against open borders.

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  • Anti-<b>ILLEGAL</b> Immigratio||

    Um, Friedman was against open borders or something.

    [runs off, goes back to VDare.]

  • ||

    What part of illegal don't I understand?

  • Cesar||

    LoneWacko WillTell Us AboutAmnesty and the SenateBill in 5, 4, 3....

  • ||

    Um, Friedman was against open borders or something.

    Yes, Milton Friedman, in 2005 on the Charlie Rose show said, "Look, you can't have open borders when you have a welfare state!" There is no refuting that.

    Unfortunately, what's going to happen is that nothing is going to happen. Millions of illegals will remain here with "silent" amnesty and they won't close the borders. This is a topic just like tax reform. No matter how much we talk about it, it's not going to change anything. There are too many powerful interests who want it to stay just the way it is.

  • ||

    Republicans make such an eloquent argument for school choice. Just change out the word "school" for "country" and you have the GOPs worst nightmare.

  • ||

    So, the next article that Ms. Howley needs to write is how you can't be for open borders and welfare at the same time. Of course, it will have to be published in the NYT and WaPo for it to really cause a stir.

  • Cesar||

    Notice no one ever says, "You can't end the drug war with a welfare state."

  • ||

    Um, Friedman was against open borders or something.

    Yes, he was. As has been every other libertarian economist of note that I can think of. I doubt you can name me a single counter-example that isn't on the payroll of the Cato Institute. But I'll give you an example of the kind of economist that does support open immigration.


    Interestingly, the difference of views has nothing to do with the economics of immigration, on which I think we all agree. Expanded immigration is likely to exert downward pressure on workers' wages in the U.S. Where we disagree is on whether the gains to the rest of the world make this still a worthwhile effort (in the context, of course, of efforts to cushion the adverse effects on U.S.). As Alex Tabarrok points out in a recent post, the differences have to do with what we think is the relevant moral community for making public policy decisions. George thinks the purely national perspective is the right one, and he figures the aggregate gains for the U.S. are small relative to the distributional costs, which makes this bad policy. For my part, I believe cosmopolitan considerations should enter our calculus when the gains abroad (or to foreign nationals) are sufficiently large, which they would be with temporary labor flows. (So I am not a strict nationalist on these matters, to revert to Tabarrok's terminology.)

    In other words, this "libertarian" open immigration idea from the likes of Reason and the Cato Institute amounts to a international redistribution program at the expense of Americans who can afford it the least.

    Over the next six years, a quarter of the Irish left, en masse, to legally enter more prosperous countries. Millions more left in the years after; even now the population of Ireland is only where it was 200 years ago. And, incredibly, real wages never fell through the period of adjustment after the disaster. Labor prices rose as population dropped.

    Um, yeah. And obviously the reverse is true too. Labor prices will drop in the country gaining the increased labor pool. So apparently you're arguing that it's a good thing when labor prices rise, and also a good thing when labor prices drop. Which is it?

    Also, if you look at the current economy of Ireland, it's apparent they aren't hurting from the depletion of their population.

    To the best extent that I've been able to determine, there's no economist of any political stripe that's arguing there's a net benefit to United States citizens accommodating this kind of immigration, indeed, even the ones that advocate it acknowledge it's going to exert a downward pressure on American wages. The argument is apparently that we should accommodate immigration at the expense of Americans because it's good for foreign nationals(!).

    Libertarians, eh? Being charitable at somebody else's expense?

    Stop me if you think you've heard this one before....

    Now, I'm not going to pretend I have any but the most rudimentary understanding of economics, but I'm smart enough to understand when economists from across the political spectrum (including libertarians) are yelling "Bullshit!" to the party line, it probably is.

    Kerry Howley explains why you can't be for free markets and against open borders.

    The hell she does! Trade is a proxy for immigration. The ability to move goods across borders negates the need to move the labor to produce them.

    Now if you want to make the argument that opening our borders is our Humanitarian Social Responsibility to Our One Big Happy World (sound familiar - again?), go ahead and make the argument.

    Just don't piss on our backs and tell us it's raining.


  • ||

    you can't be for free markets and against open borders.

    i would agree, but one CAN be for free markets and against opening our borders at the present time (i.e. oppose the current legislation). until we eliminate the welfare state, we do not have a free market in this country. once we implement a free market, i'm 100% for opening all the borders. until that time, we can't afford to do so. you need to have both at once, not one before the other.

  • ||

    "Trade is a proxy for immigration. The ability to move goods across borders negates the need to move the labor to produce them."

    You sure it doesn't have anything to do with the Mexicans' inability to buy the goods? Nothing to do with their poverty? If trade is a proxy for immigration, then the pope is a proxy for sex with donkeys.

  • ||

    The ability to move goods across borders negates the need to move the labor to produce them.

    Now that's plain silly...

  • Cesar||

    Pig Mannix-

    Since ending farm subsidies would help foreign farmers at the expense of American farmers, do you also support massive farm subsidies?

  • matt||

    Good article although i would like to make a point.

    You are correct that people who seemingly support free markets fail to realize that labor is also a market.
    I believe that most conservatives who support free markets simply oppose free labor because it constitutes a change in the "face" of America. The new face is is seemingly more threatening than previous waves of Irish, Italians, and Eastern Europeans (although the rhetoric was no less vitriol) because it is a darker shade.

    That doesn't mean they are racist. Many conservatives have great respect for other races, but they are concerned about change.

  • ||

    To the best extent that I've been able to determine, there's no economist of any political stripe that's arguing there's a net benefit to United States citizens accommodating this kind of immigration, indeed, even the ones that advocate it acknowledge it's going to exert a downward pressure on American wages.

    You are kidding, right?

    Every study I have ever seen on immigration -- even on illegal immigration -- shows a gain for all wages of all American natives except the very lowest class. That lowest class sees a drop in wage of between 0% and 8%, depending on the study.

  • ||

    I believe that most conservatives who support free markets simply oppose free labor because it constitutes a change in the "face" of America.

    I agree (and there are many other reasons -- myself identifying as a conservative). One of my complaints about all the "pro-market" sides of this debate is that they each exclude certain markets from their analysis (with culture also being a market).

  • ||

    If congress passed a law, permitting US citizens to legally shoot and kill the invading illegal aliens beginning January 1, 2008 with a 5-year sunset clause, the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens would be gone by New Years Eve.

    It is perfectly acceptable and moral to kill people that are invading one's country.

  • ||

    From what I gather from some of the comments is that we should stop people from moving from New Orleans to Houston because it may cause the price of labor to move up or down. Everyone should just stay where they were born and die there.

  • ||

    "Bullshit!"

    I believe the correct term is "shenanigans".

  • ||

    "K.T. | May 31, 2007, 3:57pm | #

    The ability to move goods across borders negates the need to move the labor to produce them.

    Now that's plain silly..."

    Why? Because you say so? Damn you're smart! Maybe you could give me some pointers on getting my roof shingled.

  • ||

    Why? Because you say so?

    It's hard to move a lawn to mexico to be mowed and then returned to the home owner.

    Most of the "growth" in jobs is low-end service-oriented work. That means labor has to be where the service is provided

  • ||

    "If congress passed a law, permitting US citizens to legally shoot and kill the invading illegal aliens beginning January 1, 2008 with a 5-year sunset clause, the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens would be gone by New Years Eve."

    Tammy - Please tell us you are kidding.
    It is gettng really difficult to tell the snark from the serious comments on immigration threads.

  • ||

    "Most of the "growth" in jobs is low-end service-oriented work. That means labor has to be where the service is provided"

    You mean like meat pakers in Worthington, MN?

    To claim that illegals are just up here to mow lawns is laughable.

  • ||

    Republicans make such an eloquent argument for school choice. Just change out the word "school" for "country" and you have the GOPs worst nightmare.

    I don't think too many school choice proponents believe that each individual school should be compelled to accomodate absolutely every single person who wants to attend.

  • ||

    "Tammy - Please tell us you are kidding"

    I'm absolutely serious.

  • ||


    You mean like meat pakers in Worthington, MN?


    So you suggest shipping cattle from the upper plains states to mexico to be slaughtered and processed, then the resulting products shipped back north to be sold to customers?

    If so, your understanding of basic business economics is sorely lacking.

  • highnumber||

    Has "Juanita" just been unmasked as "Tammy"?

    Quelle intrigue!

  • ||

    "So you suggest shipping cattle from the upper plains states to mexico to be slaughtered and processed, then the resulting products shipped back north to be sold to customers?"

    No. I suggest paying a living wage to meat packers in Worthington, MN who also happen to be American citizens. Granted, real earnings will deminish for the shareholders. But that's just the cost of doing business legally.

  • Cesar||

    Tammy-

    I think you got the wrong site

  • ||

    "Has "Juanita" just been unmasked as "Tammy"?"

    I had forgotten that argumentum ad hominem was a staple around here. Doesn't it ever get old? It sure dose for me.

  • highnumber||

    1. BS Spotter's name is ironic.

    2. Tammy just called for legalizing murder of immigrants and she's calling me out for a supposed argumentum ad hominem.

    Did I wake up in Bizarro world?

  • John in Nashville||

    Tammy, how would you determine who is (or more importantly to your hypothetical, who is not) an illegal alien? Or do you propose open season on those of a particular skin tone?

    By the way, Tammy, with what Native American tribe are you affiliated? Cherokee? Chippewa? Seminole? Souix?

  • jimmydageek||

    Tammy fails to realize, there are quite a few Mexicans, and many more Cubans (but they aren't really illegal per se, right?) who look quite similar to the way she does (i.e. light skin, blue eyes, blond hair, etc...).

    Fuck it, let's kill everybody...

  • ||

  • ||

    "Tammy just called for legalizing murder of immigrants and she's calling me out for a supposed argumentum ad hominem."

    Are the two mutually exclusive. If so, please explain.

  • ||

    "Tammy just called for legalizing murder of immigrants"

    No. I said ILLEGAL immigrants. Also, defending one's country against invaders is not "murder".

  • ||

    "Tammy, how would you determine who is (or more importantly to your hypothetical, who is not)"

    National ID.

  • highnumber||

    Tammy,

    Let's take the supposed argumentum ad hominem first. Please explain what was the argumentum ad hominem.

    Thank you in response for your answer.

  • Cesar||

    Tammy, they are only invaders if they are 1) armed, 2) part of an organized army sponsored by a foreign government.

  • ||

    Pig Mannix, I agree. Those supporters of unchecked immigration are usually those who benefits from cheap labor costs. Give Americans the liveable wages, and they will do any job. Common you can let whole continent pour into your country even if US is the vast expanse of land dotted with little suburbs and habitats. The same supporters of unchecked immigration will change their mind if American universities, businesses, newspapers, hospitals and banks start hiring all their professors, managers, reporters , doctors and executives from India and China.

  • jimmydageek||

    So, Tammy, let me get this straight. You propose we go up to suspected illegal aliens (skin color being the obvious suspicion), ask them for identification, and shoot them if they cannot provide it? What of forgotten wallets?

    You need some trolling lessons, Tammy. Come back when you're good and ready.

  • ||

    Tammy,

    If you really believe that it is acceptable and moral to kill people that are invading your country then you must support the efforts of the Iraqi insurgency in their attempts to kill every US soldier that they can. As you pointed out, it is their duty to protect their country from the invaders with deadly force if necessary.

  • jimmydageek||

    And, by the way, Tammy, I doubt the illegal aliens would leave when they could just as easily arm themselves and shoot back.

  • ||

    "Let's take the supposed argumentum ad hominem first. Please explain what was the argumentum ad hominem.

    Thank you in response for your answer."


    "Juanita" is a pejorative.

  • ||

    "Tammy, they are only invaders if they are 1) armed, 2) part of an organized army sponsored by a foreign government."

    You make that up?

  • jimmydageek||


    "Juanita" is a pejorative.


    Actually, it might be a step up for you...

  • jimmydageek||

    Where's URKOBOLD when you need him / it??

  • highnumber||

    How is "Juanita" a perjorative?

  • Cesar||

    "You make that up?"

    I'm pretty sure thats international law.

  • highnumber||

    I don't think Urkobold needs to bother with this. Zod is slipping in the polls. He needs to consider hiring Tammy as a campaign strategist.

  • Cesar||

    How is "Juanita" a perjorative?

    Come on, highnumber, if you're a nativist, how would you feel if someone gave you a latin-sounding name?

  • ||

    Tammy,
    you have friends waiting at www.michaelsavage.com

  • ||

    "So, Tammy, let me get this straight. You propose we go up to suspected illegal aliens (skin color being the obvious suspicion), ask them for identification, and shoot them if they cannot provide it? What of forgotten wallets?"

    You seem quite fixated on skin color. How sad for you.

    To clarify, my position is that the prospect of being shot dead at the drop of a hat (or to use your perspective "sombrero" would incent them to leave the USA. Ergo, very few would actually require shooting.


    One could

  • ||

    So you suggest shipping cattle from the upper plains states to mexico to be slaughtered and processed, then the resulting products shipped back north to be sold to customers?

    If so, your understanding of basic business economics is sorely lacking.


    If I recall my history correctly, I believe cattle were once shipped from not only the upper plains states, but also from the southwestern states to slaughter houses in various cities hundreds if not thousands of miles away. The resulting products were then shipped back to not only from whence they came, but to other cities farther east. I think some guys in funny-looking hats had something to do with it. I think they were called horseboys or cowguys - something like that.

  • ||

    "You need some trolling lessons, Tammy. Come back when you're good and ready."

    Again with the personal attacts. It really is sad.

  • ||

    "And, by the way, Tammy, I doubt the illegal aliens would leave when they could just as easily arm themselves and shoot back."

    They would then fit Cesar's definition of invader.

  • ||

    How is "Juanita" a perjorative?

    Oh, I didn't realize you meant that as a compliment. I regret the error.

  • ||

    Give Americans the liveable wages, and they will do any job.

    What if the job is not worth what Americans think is a livable wage?

    The alternative is not between an American doing the job for more money and an immigrant doing it for less. It's between an immigrant doing the job for less, an American doing the job for less, or the job not existing. Of those three options the first is clearly the best: It is better for the employee and better for the employer, providing a producer surplus to the economy, and it frees up the American to do a higher value job that is worth a livable wage.

  • highnumber||

    It's not so much sad as it is humorous.
    You're a spoof, right? Give me a hint. Who are you?

  • ||

    The same supporters of unchecked immigration will change their mind if American universities, businesses, newspapers, hospitals and banks start hiring all their professors, managers, reporters , doctors and executives from India and China.

    Name one supporter of unchecked immigration who will change his or her mind under these conditions.

  • ||

    you can't be for free markets and against open borders.

    Sure you can. It just depends on what you mean by "open borders."

    If you mean anyone at all should be allowed to move into the United States on a permanent basis, no restrictions or requirements, full stop, then I would say that has nothing to do with free markets.

    If you mean to say that we should not keep out people from other countries so long as they have gainful employment in the US, hell, I would probably agree. Because in that case you are actually talking about the labor market.

  • ||

    So you suggest shipping cattle from the upper plains states to mexico to be slaughtered and processed, then the resulting products shipped back north to be sold to customers?

    If so, your understanding of basic business economics is sorely lacking.

    If I recall my history correctly, I believe cattle were once shipped from not only the upper plains states, but also from the southwestern states to slaughter houses in various cities hundreds if not thousands of miles away. The resulting products were then shipped back to not only from whence they came, but to other cities farther east. I think some guys in funny-looking hats had something to do with it. I think they were called horseboys or cowguys - something like that.
    Sure, why not? If it is cheaper to have US cattle shiped to Mexico for processing and import the processed products, it would make sense. Mexicans would get jobs right at their home.

  • jimmydageek||

    Tammy | May 31, 2007, 5:32pm | #

    "So, Tammy, let me get this straight. You propose we go up to suspected illegal aliens (skin color being the obvious suspicion), ask them for identification, and shoot them if they cannot provide it? What of forgotten wallets?"

    You seem quite fixated on skin color. How sad for you.


    Tammy, your original argument was to legalize the shooting/killing of illegal aliens. It was then asked how you would determine the legality of said people. You said, "National ID Card".

    So, let me get this straight. You would ask everybody you run into for identification? Regardless of skin color? If a person failed to show it to you, you would shoot them? If that's the case, my apologies for the skin color references. Silly me.

  • gy||

    The alternative is not between an American doing the job for more money and an immigrant doing it for less. It's between an immigrant doing the job for less, an American doing the job for less, or the job not existing. Of those three options the first is clearly the best: It is better for the employee and better for the employer, providing a producer surplus to the economy, and it frees up the American to do a higher value job that is worth a livable wage


    So, Mike P, you expect every Americans to be a doctor or a manager or an analyast or what ever higher wage earning personnel?

  • highnumber||

    gy,

    You are a hell of a reader!

  • ||

    Even if there were no welfare state, I'd still be against open borders. Defending our culture and values is important. Mexicans come here and bring their dysfunctions with them. A friend of mine from Mexico, who came here legally as a child, said that after her father tried to bribe a cop after a traffic stop she was shocked when she realized that American police don't accept or demand bribes as is common (according to her) in Mexico. I feel a little tiny bit of that when New Yorkers or New Jersians relocate down here to Florida but don't give up their high tax, high regulation, big government ways when they vote.

    A whole lot of Mexicans are here to colonize, not to assimilate, and the Mexican government gives it semi-official sanction. Check out the publications of La Raza and Mecha if you don't believe that.

    More to the point, open borders means letting a whole lot of people into the country that don't share our values and would like to replace them. How about opening the borders to Muslims? Look at what happened in Lebanon in the last 30 years, when the Christian population went from 60% to 25% (and dropping fast as the Christians leave because the Muslims are issuing death threats). It became a hellhole fast, just like every other Islam-controlled country. It's not just a whole country, a city will do. Malmo and other Swedish cities are nearing Muslim majorities and the crime statistics, especially rape, are even less encouraging to the idea of open borders.

  • ||

    you can't be for free markets and against open borders.

    Sure you can. It just depends on what you mean by "open borders."

    If you mean anyone at all should be allowed to move into the United States on a permanent basis, no restrictions or requirements, full stop, then I would say that has nothing to do with free markets.

    If you mean to say that we should not keep out people from other countries so long as they have gainful employment in the US, hell, I would probably agree. Because in that case you are actually talking about the labor market.

    RC, I totally agree. People are trying to abuse the notion of free trade and free labor market for illegal and unchecked immigration.

  • ||

    So, Mike P, you expect every Americans to be a doctor or a manager or an analyast or what ever higher wage earning personnel?

    No. I didn't say the highest value jobs. Nor did I say a much-more-than-livable wage.

    If a job can be done by -- to borrow from another thread -- someone with a third grade education who can't speak English, then surely a person with a ninth grade education who can speak English can get a higher paying job.

    The fact that the unemployment rate is not affected by immigration is pretty conclusive evidence that immigrants don't disemploy great numbers of natives. The fact that immigrants -- even illegal ones -- are earning well above minimum wage should tell you that so are the natives that you imagine have been displaced by them.

  • Cesar||

    And the Eurabia meme appears yet again....

  • ||

    jimmydageek says: "So, Tammy, let me get this straight. You propose we go up to suspected illegal aliens (skin color being the obvious suspicion), ask them for identification, and shoot them if they cannot provide it? What of forgotten wallets?

    You need some trolling lessons, Tammy. Come back when you're good and ready."

    Actually, I suspect Tammy would be OK with walking up to anyone she wants dead, whether a legal citizen or not, shooting them, ditching their wallet, and then claiming, hey, as best I could tell they were illegal, so my killing was lawful.

    Congratulations! You managed to make Dan T. look reasonable by comparison.

  • ||

    Okay Mike P, tell me a job that a ninth grader can get, that a third grader can't get. Land scaping, construction, fast food jobs, aren't these the same jobs the ninth grader school dropouts and third grader immigrants compete for? I agree there still are lots of jobs and US has very low unemployment rate and can manage many more immigrants. But, for how long? Isnt that the answer we all seek. Many of our bottomline is not hurt. Yes, many people are richer now than they were before. But, the lowest tier has been put further and like I said before there wont be any debate about this if the bottom line of upper class were being hurt.

  • ||

    The fact that immigrants -- even illegal ones -- are earning well above minimum wage should tell you that so are the natives that you imagine have been displaced by them.

    What do you mean by well above minimum wage? $5.75

  • ||

    Or, $5.16 Mike P?

  • ||

    Mike P,
    I do cater to same beliefs as yours, mostly of free market and deregulation. But, i am not a blind to not see, the state of American lower class, who used to enjoy the good paying construction jobs. Remember, the last time when minimum wage was increased? Do you know how much change in the value of income the inflation has brought? Compare price of milk from the last time the minimum wage was set and the price of milk now.
    And, who keeps the wages down? Free and unlimited supply of immigrant workers who are happy to work for less, and trust me I don't hate them a bit. My only request is that immigration should be managed so as not to disturb the lives of people who are already here and deserve attention from the law makers.

  • ||

    It's been a while since I've heard of immigrants earning less than minimum. I'm sure it happens in personal hiring of cleaning or childcare. Whenever there is some sob story on the radio about having trouble hiring strawberry pickers or the like, the wage is in the $8-10 dollar range.

    As for the ninth grade educated native, I recognize that high school dropouts will see their wages drop to some degree due to competition from immigrants. Nonetheless, they should still be higher than the entirely unskilled immigrant strawberry picker.

  • ||

    My only request is that immigration should be managed so as not to disturb the lives of people who are already here and deserve attention from the law makers.

    So the 90% of the populace whose lives are improved by immigration don't deserve attention from the lawmakers?

  • ||

    So the 90% of the populace whose lives are improved by immigration don't deserve attention from the lawmakers?

    Yes, they do but not at the cost of the people who are already finding it hard to make a living. Following the thread of your argument, why not subsidize the living of thess 10% at your expense? That means we hire and train all our lawyers from India who will charge just 10% of what the lawyers now charge in US. All the costs of doing business will go down, all oue legal costs would be reduced by 90%. Most of the people will benefit. I guess the population of lawyers account for less than 1 percent. 99% would benefit.

  • ||

    Sounds good, gy. If you can pull that off -- without state subsidy of course -- I'm all for it!

    Good luck keeping clear of Congress, though, since you are going after their occupation. You think Congress is protectionist now? Just try to free up the market for lawyers!

  • ||

    Whenever there is some sob story on the radio about having trouble hiring strawberry pickers or the like, the wage is in the $8-10 dollar range.

    Check how much a drive through worker in your local McDonald's make? Ask your Walmart cashier how much she makes? Multiply that by 40, meaning forty hours and multiply it by 2 for two adults working in a family and multiply the result by 4 for four weeks, subtract that from the average rent for a two bed room apartment in your town-health insurance for a family of four with decent health conditions-fuel costs-grocery-average utility costs, and see where these people stand? I dont think your $8-10 range will meet their needs

  • jimmydageek||

    What happened to Tammy? Did her head explode after she realized the fallacy in her argument?

  • highnumber||

    jimmy,

    She disappeared after asked if she was a spoof and asked for a hint to her real identity. I think she was really Mr Steven Crane.
    Just a theory.

  • ||

    Good luck keeping clear of Congress, though, since you are going after their occupation. You think Congress is protectionist now? Just try to free up the market for lawyers!

    I dont know about the jobs of those lawmakers but they will surely come after your job one day. And that day you will be on my side. And I would be happy to have indian lawyers who charge me less rather than those who charge humongous amount and hesitate to pay his maid a decent living wage.

  • ||

    She just visited michaelsavage.com

  • ||

    I dont think your $8-10 range will meet their needs

    This is an entirely different issue from that of immigration. Whether or not immigrants enter the economy these people aren't going to be making more than that. Where do you think the wealth would come from to pay them more?

    This is going way off topic, but you can say the minimum wage should be a "livable" wage. But all you are doing is saying that any job that is worth less won't get done and that anyone whose labor is worth less won't be working. That may be a trade-off that you find acceptable in order to provide some floor for some class of worker. But do realize that you are building that floor on the backs of the lower classes of workers who are no longer employable.

  • ||

    hey mike, to be contd.

  • ||

    I dont know about the jobs of those lawmakers but they will surely come after your job one day.

    The more people doing my job, the better for me and the better for everyone. The world is not zero sum.

  • William R||

    Folks, the Reason foundation gets huge donations from the corporate welfare elite. The idea that you can't have free markets without open borders is so dumb it is beyond belief. I suggest Ms Howely read Thomas Sowell's book on Elementary Economics. As Sowell writes Some free-market advocates argue that the same principle which justifies free international trade in commodities should justify the free movement of people as well. But this ignores the fact that people have consequences that go far beyond the consequences of commodities.

    Commodities are used up and vanish. People generate more people, who become a permanent and expanding part of the country's population and electorate.

    It is an irreversible process -- and a potentially dangerous process, as Europeans have discovered with their "guest worker" programs that have brought in many Muslims who are fundamentally hostile to the culture and the people that welcomed them.

    Unlike commodities, people in a welfare state have legal claims on other people's tax dollars and expensive services in schools and hospitals, not to mention the high cost of imprisoning many of them who commit crimes.

  • ||

    Wow. Just wow. Tammy suggests that someone who has been so extraordinarily fortunate, as herself, to be born on this side of an imaginary line should have the right to violently destroy another, much less fortunate, human's existence when he seeks only the ability to live and work in the same way to which she feels entitled through nothing but her own dumb-fucking-luck. I think that may just be the vilest, most abhorrently repulsive rhetorical vomit I have ever read on H&R. Congratulations Tammy, you have set quite the standard.

    And what is with those of you who chose to argue with her on the practical grounds that her idea would be difficult to implement because we could not be sure who was here illegally? Huh!? Is that really the right argument to make against such a sickening proposal?? I mean, assume arguendo that you could in fact know with 100 percent certainty who was here legally and who was not. Would her idea be okay then - just another potential policy to be debated on the merits? Now, let me say clearly that I don't think any of you who raised that objection think so, but I am a little disheartened that people chose to engage such intellectual garbage on pragmatic grounds instead of simply calling it out for its patent moral bankruptcy. I mean seriously, if someone proposed reinstating slavery I hope we wouldn't have to argue about the logistical difficulty of rounding up millions of people and the efficiency losses from forced labor in order to come to an agreement that it was a bad idea.

  • ||

    Brian Courts: Such a plethora of ways to attack Tammy's murderous idea, so don't be hating on those who chose sarcasm and logic instead of unironic moral indignation. It ain't a zero-sum game -- everyone gets a swipe, mmmm-kay?

  • ||

    once again i havent had time to read the whole thread yet so please forgive me if im beating deceased equines. here we go. first let me say that the amount of variables that would be effected by an opening of the border (welfare state or not) is so large that hand waving becomes rampant. that aside, when you're talking about a real-world switch from controlled immigration to open immigration, then you are obliged to talk about the short vs long term. yes, in terms of low paying, low-skilled jobs, wages will intitially drop in the recieving country (but as already mentioned, this drop is unlikely to be an apocalyptic/GOP style one). But one of the main effects of wage drop is price drop, and due to division of labor small drops in wages (labor cost) equal eveb greater drops in price. Thus as production increases within the country, prices go down and the standard of living rises for all consumers (and in the end its SOL, not price, that matters). i think this much is demonstrable.

    now the weirder part is this talk of 'what we owe', morally speaking, to our own citizenry against 'what we owe' to the citizens of other countries. i think its clear we can largely blame the logic of nationalism for this even being an issue. despite widespread gov't spending, most of what we depend on has little to do with anything nationalistic/governmental - its just the result of voluntary agreements with other people. i mean, this is where all the good things in life come from. so try to forget the existence of government for a second. if you lived in some arbitrary geographic location (and you aren't inherently agititative or warlike) would you prefer to have more or less people around? the answer is obvious - the more people around making and doing shit the better off you (and them) are. if you didn't have government around artificially adjusting the price of labor and redistributing people's possesions, then no (sane) person would be 'anti-immigration'. so when people start talking about the 'domain of moral consideration' they are only being coherent insofar as they recognize that posessions are being forcibly redistributed.

    in fact this is the actual reason why nationalism (and racism or any other groupism) is irrational. it has nothing to do with 'universal rights' or equality or egalitarianism or any of that bullshit. the more one buys into that stuff (i.e. nationalism) the more he constrains the potential field of indivduals that he can enter into beneficial relationships with. this is all fairly obvious shit, but for some reason it continues to elude the vast majority of people.

    finally im gonna go out on a limb here and say that, even with a welfare state, the borders should be opened or at least relaxed. truth is our welfare system isnt that comprehensive and if you forgo becoming a citizen and getting a ss # then there is a limit to how much you can really get away with. this might sound naive but i get the feeling that very few people come over the border so they can live in a shitty apartment and just consume foodstamps and unemployment until they die (although in countries like norway i can see this being more of a legit concern). universal healthcare would certainly be bad news in this respect though. in the end the simple fact is that what gets taxed is far less than what gets produced. i bet you all that if you made welfare prgograms available only to, say, 3rd or more generation americans, then you would still have essentially the same amount of people trying to come over the border.

  • ||

    So, when did Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity crawl up Neal Boortz's butt? Neal used to be more of a free market advocate; now all he wants to talk about is the evils of Islam and illegals.

    *yawn*

    Oh well, Neal was fun for a while. Thank goodness for podcasts.

  • Henryk A. Kowalczyk||

    Regarding Milton Freidman's position on immigration. On October 16, 2006, I received an email from Milton Friedman supporting my position on immigration as defined at http://www.henrykkowalczyk.com/immigration.htm .

  • highnumber||

    Brian Courts,

    You need to relax. I'm sure it was a spoof. Besides that, when someone talks that crazy, one's mind begins to reel.

  • ||

    Looks like corporate welfare to me. Companies get the cheap labor they want, the US taxpayer get to pay for it.

    Executive Summary: The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer

    Welfare is only a modest part of the overall system of financial redistribution operated by the government. Current government policies provide extensive free or heavily subsidized aid to low-skill families (both immigrant and non-immigrant) through welfare, Social Security, Medicare, public education, and many other services.... it is fiscally unsustainable to apply this system of lavish income redistribution to an inflow of millions of poorly educated immigrants.

  • ||

    More corporate welfare.

    I estimate that if all the current adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. were granted amnesty the net retirement costs to government (benefits minus taxes) could be over $2.5 trillion.


    Granting amnesty or conditional amnesty to illegal immigrants would, overtime, increase their use of means-tested welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Fiscal costs would go up significantly in the short term but would go up dramatically after the amnesty recipient reached retirement


  • Henryk A. Kowalczyk||

    As someone raised under the socialistic system in Poland, than the part of the Soviet Bloc, I am frightened by the socialistic views of people placing comments here. I experienced socialism first hand and had my share of fighting with it. I never thought that I will need to continue this in America.

    The Freedom of Migration Act is the only solution to our immigration problem that makes sense.

    Read about it at http://www.henrykkowalczyk.com/immigration.htm .

    See it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i8xbHNCxoU

    Tell me, what is wrong in the Freedom of Migration Act?

  • ||

    Heres a good idea.

    Lets kick all of the people who followed the rules and are trying to enter the US legally right square in the balls. Lets give those who illegally entered the US better residency faster.

    Hard kick right square in the balls

    Derb-Here's a quick comparison of the provisions that matter to me:

    1.
    H1-B: 6 years max, with option for green card (several year wait).

    Z-visa: can remain in U.S. indefinitely, just have to renew every 4 years; also path to citizenship.

    2.
    H1-B: tied to one employer, must obtain new visa if change jobs.

    Z-visa: fully transferable (essentially, a renewable green card).

    3.
    H1-B: Must pay taxes (I've paid six figures in two years).

    Z-visa: Tax amnesty for all unpaid taxes.

    Which status would you rather have?

    H1-B visa is what people who legally move to the US get. Z visa is the proposed amnesty visa

  • ||

    Z-visa: Tax amnesty for all unpaid taxes.

    A tax amnesty for illegal immigrants? What kind of shit is that?! How about a tax amnesty for friggin citizens? Goddamn the sons of bitches in Washington! That really chaps my ass.

  • rhywun||

    a potentially dangerous process, as Europeans have discovered with their "guest worker" programs that have brought in many Muslims who are fundamentally hostile to the culture and the people that welcomed them

    Horseshit. The reason they are "hostile to the culture" is because the culture is hostile to them. Notice that America has lots of Muslims and they by and large fit it rather nicely? Shame on Sowell; he's not usually this lazy.

    What really bothers me about this whole argument is that so many people seem to be forgetting that immigrants aren't entering a static, unchanging economy. They buy stuff and demand services, too. Many of them perform jobs that wouldn't exist without their presence. And the immigrant who makes some dough in the US and sends it back to Mexico is no different from the small-town hick who makes a mint in the big city and sends it back home to Kansas. Whatever unfortunate results of illegal immigration that exist are entirely the result of its illegal status. (This argument should sound familiar from the many drug-war threads.)

  • ||

    @Lamar

    You sure it doesn't have anything to do with the Mexicans' inability to buy the goods? Nothing to do with their poverty? If trade is a proxy for immigration, then the pope is a proxy for sex with donkeys.

    WTF are you talking about?

    @Cesar

    Since ending farm subsidies would help foreign farmers at the expense of American farmers, do you also support massive farm subsidies?

    No, I don't. On the other hand, I don't support subsidizing their foreign competitors, either. Which is essentially what you're proposing.

    Every study I have ever seen on immigration -- even on illegal immigration -- shows a gain for all wages of all American natives except the very lowest class. That lowest class sees a drop in wage of between 0% and 8%, depending on the study.

    I suggest reading studies from sources other than the Cato Institute and the WSJ. The most generous thing that could be said of the data concerning the economic impacts of immigration is that it's ambiguous. The source I quoted and linked to was one of the same ones Ms. Howley cited in her article (Dani Rodrik).

    What - he's credible when he's shilling for immigration, and not credible when he's being honest about the costs?

    I notice as of late, even Reason has abandoned the "it's good for the economy!" argument.

    So the 90% of the populace whose lives are improved by immigration don't deserve attention from the lawmakers?

    Who gets to decide if their lives are "improved", and what trade-offs they should be prepared to make to realize that "improvement"?

    I doubt you'll ever find me a poll that says 90% of the country believes immigration is improving their lives.

    It's a good thing libertarians aren't elitists who think they know better than you do how to live your life!

    @Leif

    now the weirder part is this talk of 'what we owe', morally speaking, to our own citizenry against 'what we owe' to the citizens of other countries. i think its clear we can largely blame the logic of nationalism for this even being an issue.

    Now that's what we need! People running the country who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the concept of country! That's what we're paying taxes for - so the government can protect the interests of our competitors!

    the answer is obvious - the more people around making and doing shit the better off you (and them) are.

    Damn! Now that you mention it, that's so obvious! Just look at the regal lifestyle enjoyed by the residents of large, heavily populated countries like India and China as compared to the miserable life residents of small, lightly populated countries such as Luxembourg, Ireland and Norway are forced to endure.....

    oh, wait....

    NEXT!!

  • William R||

    rhywun | May 31, 2007, 10:52pm | #

    Horseshit. The reason they are "hostile to the culture" is because the culture is hostile to them. Notice that America has lots of Muslims and they by and large fit it rather nicely? Shame on Sowell; he's not usually this lazy.


    Ohhh please. You're so naive it's almost comical. Perhaps this might be a good reason why Muslims just aren't a good fit in classical liberal Western Civilization Malaysia is supposed to be the model tolerant Muslim majority country. An example of what Islam can really be like. Hilarious. Some of the utopianoids that call themselves liberarians are truely out to lunch. As for our Muslims, 26 percent of muslim men under the age of 30 think suicide bombing is justified. Sounds like they're really fitting in alright. LOL


  • ||

    mannix.

    the concept of country [i]is[/i] largely illegitamate. india and china are overly regulated. and not everyone here (i know i dont) consider foreign workers as "competition" any more than they consider fellow americans as competition. the point is that valuing the jobs of faceless domestic workers over faceless foreign workers is logically unjustifiable. that gut feeling you get when you hear about mexicans taking "our" jobs is not a legit basis for an argument. [i]there is no such thing as being entitled to a job[/i]

  • ||

    Pig Mannix,

    I suggest reading studies from sources other than the Cato Institute and the WSJ. The most generous thing that could be said of the data concerning the economic impacts of immigration is that it's ambiguous.

    From an Open Letter on Immigration...

    ...as economists and other social scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.

    Overall, immigration has been a net gain for American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.

    Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.

    In recent decades, immigration of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to have been small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.

    While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy.



    Not all of the 500 economists who signed this letter are on Cato or WSJ payrolls. And I don't think any of the five Nobel Laureates are.

  • ||

    I doubt you'll ever find me a poll that says 90% of the country believes immigration is improving their lives.

    You can say much the same about trade with China or outsourcing to India.

    It's a good thing libertarians aren't elitists who think they know better than you do how to live your life!

    Interestingly, only one side of this debate advocates the use of force to prevent the migration and labor of people and the employment of those people by American citizens.

    Who is telling who how to live their life? Libertarians are only asking that people be left alone.

  • ||

    Wow man. [smiling ear to ear]. I never thought I'd see a day like today. For once I'm not the lone voice in the wilderness around here. There actually are people out there who aren't ready to just throw the borders open to all comers -- whether we ever do anything to reduce the welfare state or not.

    btw, virtually all of our '08 presidential candidates are promising to expand the welfare state, to varying degrees. But I don't expect that Reason will ever publish this one.

    So, the next article that Ms. Howley needs to write is how you can't be for open borders and welfare at the same time.

    They won't write it, because in fact they don't mean it.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    Interestingly, only one side of this debate advocates the use of force to prevent the migration and labor of people and the employment of those people by American citizens.

    Interestingly, are you also unable to grasp the difference between armed robbery and fraud? I believe that there is in fact a difference, one of them involving violence and the other not. But I forget now just which one is which.

    There are a vast number of "non-violent" methods of doing immense damage. If you don't understand this then I suggest you go read that great "non-violent" Indian guy, Ghandi. He was really good at stabbing people in the back non-violently.

  • ||

    The one good point made in this entire article:

    Most disturbingly, the bill includes the Electronic Employment Verification System, which would require that every single worker, American or otherwise, seek the Department of Homeland Security's permission to work legally.

    This is BS, plain pure and simple.

    I am not in favor of this bill, but I am also not in favor of opening the borders to all comers.

    Does anyone here even pretend to know how many immigrants we can take in -- at what rate and over what period of time -- before it has a substantial impact on our culture? I'm sure the answer is no.

    Many here have told me I'm nuts for thinking that we could possibly ever get that many immigrants. But I just came back from spending three weeks in Asia, talking to the locals.

    There are LOTS of them over there, who are not here only because they can't get it. Anybody who tries telling me that opening our borders wide wouldn't bring on a tidal wave of immigrants is full of shit.

    I for one think that what the US represents is something worth preserving. I also do not see that the US owes anything to anybody else on the planet. There is nothing stopping any other country from adopting free market policies and private ownership.

    So if you want to bitch about what people in Mexico don't have, stop asking me to let millions of Mexicans (or whoever else) come here -- and start writing letters to the Mexican government (or change to government of your choice).

    I don't owe Mexico a thing, any more than I owe the beggar who comes up to me at the gas station asking me for "spare change".

  • ||

    Genghis Kahn,

    If you're saying that the US doesn't actually use actual force on the million or so people per year who don't immigrate because it's not legal or even on the vast majority of the half a million who do immigrate even though it's not legal, then I guess I agree.

    If, on the other hand, you are implying that people's beneficial and voluntary associations somehow cause nonviolent damage to third parties that overwhelms the benefits of the primary associations, I would in general disagree.

  • ||

    You understand the idea of private property, right? A nation is a type of property.

    The fact that somebody wants to come onto my property does not give them the right to do so. If they come onto it anyway, against my clearly expressed desire to the contrary, then who's right and who's wrong?

    The only possible way anybody is going to convince me that opening the borders wide up, is smart, is if they can convince me that it's in my best interests as an American.

    I have yet to see that argument made in a convincing enough manner. The "open the borders" crowd ignores entirely too many things in their canned rhetoric.

  • ||

    You understand the idea of private property, right? A nation is a type of property.

    No. It isn't.

  • ||

    And the first thing they ignore is the fact that nobody is ever going to kill the welfare state.

  • ||

    No. It isn't.

    Yes, it is.

  • ||

    Who owns this "property"?

  • Tokyo Trader||

    Gengis Kahn,

    I for one think that what the US represents is something worth preserving
    Sure. How about?.. "Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."

    The only possible way anybody is going to convince me that opening the borders wide up, is smart, is if they can convince me that it's in my best interests as an American.

    I am strongly in favour of open borders, dreaming of the day I may set light to my passport. I do have moral reasons but I see it also as very much in my own interests. I don't know about your specific situation but surely you can imagine benefits to allowing more cheap labour into the country? Don't you imagine there would be more varied and cheaper goods and services available to you? Nothing like that?

    To give one example from my personal case, I employ a Philippina maid and I would feel a definite loss if her visa was not extended and she could no longer work here.

  • ||

    You understand the idea of private property, right? A nation is a type of property.

    Property isn't the germane concept here, sovereignty is. Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise political authority within a geographic region, and is not contingent on ownership. It is not a property right, per se, but could be construed as a meta-property right prior to property rights. In the United States, the sovereign is the people, with the federal government acting as their regent.

    And yes, sovereignty very much implies the authority to enforce borders and deny or grant access to the territories over which it has dominion.

  • rhywun||

    Malaysia is supposed to be the model tolerant Muslim majority country.

    Who cares what happens in Malaysia? All I care about is how folks behave when they come here. And you might have noticed that 1) we don't have Sharia and 2) we have a little thing called the Bill of Rights. And I wouldn't put much stock in the beliefs of any cohort under the age of 30, either.

  • ||

    in general, I'm for maximizing freedom, but I tend to agree with Pig Mannex's arguements. The issue for me is legality. Which than raises the real issue: Do people here believe that there should be free, unrestricted immigration? That is, if 200 million from India, and 500 from Asia want to come, would that be acceptable?

  • William R||

    We don't have Sharia yet because as a percentage of the population Muslims are still only a very small part of the country. But our neighbors to the north Canada, Muslims there are demanding Sharia family courts. Just as they are in Great Britain. To all the utopian dreamers at Reason, all civilizations and cultures aren't equal. Or like the fools at the WSJ Editorial Page who think America is just an idea. Not a historic culture. That the American people could be replaced by a Muslim majority population and nothing would change. History History History.

  • ||

    Ghengis Khan is right. America is in some ways our "property", and in some ways like a club. The open-borders types clearly forget this. Do they honestly believe any immigrant should be able to move to their own personal property and claim a share, or join their favorite club without the consent of the club members?

    I currently own a 1/300,000,000 share of Yellowstone National Park (among many other things). When an immigrant legally moves here, that drops to 1/300,000,001. I am harmed, because I receive nothing in return. I do not gain his or her share of all the national parks in Mexico, for example. This problem can be eliminated in two ways. The first is to get rid of nation states entirely, in which case my one in six billion share of Yellowstone is not diminished when someone moves. The second is a "flat world", where immigration between any two countries is fairly bi-directional, and the net change is small. For example, we could have open borders with western Europe or Japan with no problem. Until one of these scenarios hold true, however, immigrants necessarally affect our per capita wealth as a nation.

    If we truly enacted open borders to the world at large, hundreds of millions would desire to come here. How would the open borders crowd address this? The few tens of millions that are already here are breaking many systems as it is.

    Open borders are a hypothetical ideal, and a goal we should be striving for. But they do not work in the very non-ideal world that we live in.

  • ||

    When the countries of origin of the illegal immigrants to the US give US citizens the same rights and benefits the proposed amnesty gives illegal immigrants, then we will have the mythical "open border" people are talking about.

    Until then what we have is a one way corporate welfare program.

  • ||

    I have seen a lot of arm waving and slogan chucking regarding the economic benefits of illegal immigration.

    This has been combined with a studied effort to ignore the actual negative economic impact of illegal immigration as outlined below.

    I estimate that if all the current adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. were granted amnesty the net retirement costs to government (benefits minus taxes) could be over $2.5 trillion.


    Granting amnesty or conditional amnesty to illegal immigrants would, overtime, increase their use of means-tested welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Fiscal costs would go up significantly in the short term but would go up dramatically after the amnesty recipient reached retirement







    Executive Summary: The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer

    Welfare is only a modest part of the overall system of financial redistribution operated by the government. Current government policies provide extensive free or heavily subsidized aid to low-skill families (both immigrant and non-immigrant) through welfare, Social Security, Medicare, public education, and many other services.... it is fiscally unsustainable to apply this system of lavish income redistribution to an inflow of millions of poorly educated immigrants.


  • ||

    The US immigration system gives us the worst of both worlds. It harasses the daylights out of those who are trying to enter the country legally and do high value work.

    It tends to wink at those who illegally enter the US to do low value work.

    If the comment made by Mark Steyn is accurate it neatly illustrates this problem.

    Kick them in the balls again


    Larry makes a good point about high-skilled workers being tied to individual employers. As I understand this new bill, a low-skilled illegal immigrant will have more employment mobility than a high-skilled legal immigrant - and his Z-1 visa will last a year longer the E2 Investor visa for foreigners who come here, start a US business and employ American citizens.

    Hmm.


  • ||

    This has been combined with a studied effort to ignore the actual negative economic impact of illegal immigration as outlined below.

    That is not "actual negative economic impact". That is actual government budget impact, a wildly different thing to all but the most strident statist.

    I'm sorry, but these findings are just not that interesting. The great majority of Americans are in "net fiscal deficit" by the standards of this approach. After all, it is the goal of most of government to take money from the haves and give it to the have nots. Highlighting that point while ignoring all other economic effects of immigration is patently silly and proves little.

    And, need I say it again, the problem that approach highlights is welfare, not immigration.

  • ||

    TJIT,

    Yes, the current state of immigration sucks. Yes, the current Senate immigration bill probably sucks more. Plainly open borders would be better and allow the higher skilled immigration that helps the most. Tell me something I don't know.

  • AmericanResistance||

    We need to stop the illegals, now. I don't care what it takes. Even if it meant militarization of our border, and costs trillions of dollars. We need to stop the wretched Third World tidal wave from engulfing our culture and civilization.

  • ||

    BTW, PigM, what makes you think Ireland and Luxembourg are low density populated compared to India and China?

  • William R||

  • William R||

    The Free Market Case Against the Immigration Bill


    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=060107F

  • ||

    If a person is constrained from making an honest living in the place where he lives, the MORAL thing to do is move to a place where he can. People who come here to do that are worthy of respect.

    And if that lowers the wages of high school dropouts, maybe they shouldn't drop out of high school.

  • ||

    Property isn't the germane concept here, sovereignty is.

    I stand corrected. Well said.

  • ||

    I am strongly in favour of open borders, dreaming of the day I may set light to my passport.

    Good for you. But you'll never do anything but dream, because the fact is that as someone else puts it,

    Open borders are a hypothetical ideal.... But they do not work in the very non-ideal world that we live in.

  • ||

    I am heartened to see that I'm not alone on H&R in my opposition to open borders.

    And to Brian Courts (and any other open-borders-because-its-only-right supporters), I ask, how many Mexicans (Muslims, etc.) do you have living at your house? I'm sure many would love to stay with you as it would dramatically improve their lifestyle. Surely, you wouldn't exclude them from your property simply because you were lucky enough to be born on the good side of some imaginary line and therefore had the opportunity to buy such a nice place.

  • AmericanResistance||

    Lets face it, people who favor open borders either hate Western Civilization, or are whores for the almighty dollar.

  • AmericanResistance||

    I also want to know if Kerry Howley, or any of the other Elites in this country, have ever lived next to a townhouse full of impoverished Mexicans? Or a majority-Muslim neighborhood?

  • ||

    AmericanResistance: Those of us who live in NYC are years past your silly little criticism. Many of us southern white folks in NYC live in neighborhoods where English is a rarity. I tend to think it is the anti-brown bigots that have never lived in a diverse community.

  • AmericanResistance||

    Don't you know that diverse communities tend to be the most insulaar and isolated? Read Steve Sailer on that topic.

    And where would you rather live? "Diverse" Brazil or Finland?

  • ||

    And to Brian Courts (and any other open-borders-because-its-only-right supporters), I ask, how many Mexicans (Muslims, etc.) do you have living at your house?

    As has been established, a nation is not property. Analogies to property don't work.

    Surely, you wouldn't exclude them from your property simply because you were lucky enough to be born on the good side of some imaginary line and therefore had the opportunity to buy such a nice place.

    What, do you open your house freely to every person from Mississippi or Puerto Rico who wants to improve his standard of living because you were lucky enough to be born on the other side of some imaginary line between states?

  • ||

    AmericanResistance: Brazil, by far.

  • AmericanResistance||

    So I guess you wouldn't mind having your children attend a public school in Sao Paulo, huh?

    And since you love "diversity" Im sure they will welcome you after dark in their favelas.

  • ||

    I am heartened to see that I'm not alone on H&R in my opposition to open borders.

    I'm curious. Do you consider the open borders between wherever you happen to be and Mississippi and Puerto Rico simply an unfortunate historical accident that you have to live with?

    Would you like to see closed borders with every political jurisdiction other than yours? Or do you really want closed borders with every political jurisdiction that is poorer than yours but open borders with every political jurisdiction that is richer than yours? Do you really think that that provides the very best scenario for your well being?

  • William R||

    MikeP | June 1, 2007, 2:01pm | #

    Out to lunch city. We have open borders with Puerto Rico. It's part of the USA. To have open borders with a country like Mexico is insane. I'm all in favor of the free movement of goods and services between the USA and Mexico. People no way. Because one here they have claim to my tax dollars. It only encourages more poor Mexicans to come here and set their eyes on my paycheck. We already have a huge problem with the welfare state and my fellow Americans draining my paycheck, why on earth do you want to bring in more people that will use huge amounts of government services.

  • ||

    William R,

    Would you like to answer the questions I posed to NAL?

  • ||

    Because one here they have claim to my tax dollars. It only encourages more poor Mexicans to come here and set their eyes on my paycheck.

    I'm sorry to break into your imaginary world, but poor Mexicans don't come here to steal your paycheck. They come here to work and to earn a better living than they could where they came from. If it was easier for them to come and go, a healthy portion of them wouldn't even stay after they saved enough to make a good living back home.

    We already have a huge problem with the welfare state and my fellow Americans draining my paycheck, why on earth do you want to bring in more people that will use huge amounts of government services.

    Those immigrants are more productive and use fewer government services than your current fellow Americans who are draining your paycheck.

    The problem you are bringing up is welfare, not immigration. As Leif notes above, if you restricted welfare to 3rd generation residents, you would not decrease the demand for immigration one iota.

  • ||

    Brazil or Finland? You gotta be kidding! Who the hell wants to live in Finland, for godsake!

    Anyone who'd live in Finland rather than Brazil has to be half crazy. But then again I've lived in a Latin American country for half my life and yes, raised my kids there. My daughter, who is a US citizen, wants to give birth in the US, but raise her kids in Latin America, like she was.

  • William R||

    MikeP | June 1, 2007, 2:47pm | #

    I agree, Mexicans aren't breaking in with idea of stealing my paycheck. But nevertheless thy're still doing it. They use huge amounts of social services. 80 Hospitals have closed their doors in California alone due to illegals aliesn. Non payment for services. Our government schools are being destroyed. The prison population etc etc etc. Importing poor people only grows the welfare state. Business likes it because they reap all the benefits from the cheap labor while the taxpayers are left picking up the tab. This is no brainer. Our entire immigration system needs to be changed to a skills based level. If you're self sufficient, educated and not going to become a jihadist. It's time we stop being a safety valve for the Mexican elite. They have a very rich country. Grow up. It's time to get off the TIT

  • ||

    I currently own a 1/300,000,000 share of Yellowstone National Park (among many other things). (Chad)

    Hmmm, can you SELL that 1/300,000,000 share? If not, then you don't actually OWN it.

  • ||

    I agree, Mexicans aren't breaking in with idea of stealing my paycheck. But nevertheless thy're still doing it.

    Just to clarify the situation... It is the government that is stealing your paycheck.

  • William R||

    Yes, it is the government for refusing to enforce laws already on the books. What we need is another President Eisenhower.

  • ||

    I would prefer the thinking of Abraham Lincoln on the matter...

    Resolved, That foreign immigration, which in the past has added so much to the wealth, development of resources and increase of power to the nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy.

  • ||

    I just can't agree with this -- and I'm about as radical a free market guy as one can get.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sympathetic to the argument and it does give me at some degree of pause that willing individuals would be precluded from transacting with one another because of something so arbitrary as borders and sovereignty.

    But, after all, sovereignty does exist -- and, moreover, it's absolutely necessary to protect the integrity of the foundation of law that all the best free market thinkers I've read in my life agree must exist in order for markets to flourish.

    Peter Bauer, to name one, wrote at length about the importance of a just and orderly system of law being necessary for peoples to prosper....that free markets were for naught in lands with dysfunctional legal systems.

    So how is it that, in this case, it's best for us to simply ignore our sovereignty and laws? And we can't say that it's merely a one-off -- because it will be the 2nd time in a generation that we've conferred broad regularization to people who did, in fact, disregard our sovereignty and law.

    Markets don't exist without laws. And laws mean nothing if they're not enforced. And, make no mistake, what we're talking about here is deciding that our laws were not worth enforcing.

  • ||

    Doesn't federally-mandated minimum wage screw with the scenario? If one is in favor of importing unskilled labor, shouldn't one also be in favor of letting the market set the "minimum wage"? Either employers will find ways of getting a job done with fewer overpriced "minimum wage" workers, or they will continue to pay undocumented workers under-the-table wages - which I would bet a large number of current undocumented workers would prefer to 1)losing the job they currently have, or 2)having to contribute payroll taxes.

  • ||

    And laws mean nothing if they're not enforced. And, make no mistake, what we're talking about here is deciding that our laws were not worth enforcing.

    Were the Fugitive Slave Act, the Nuremberg Laws, the Jim Crow laws, or the laws governing Apartheid worth enforcing?

  • ||

    Lamar,

    I tend to think it is the anti-brown bigots that have never lived in a diverse community.

    Your tendency is wrong. The Middle East is as diverse as it gets, and we all know what a love-in that place is.

    btw, I'm part of the currently unwanted minority (white male, western civilization type) and I married an immigrant. I've lived with diversity a lot more than the average person.

    If you're one of those people who thinks that the whole motivation against immigration boils down to simple racism, you need to go back to school. Or something. Because you're missing the boat.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    As has been established, a nation is not property. Analogies to property don't work.

    Yes, in fact they do. If you don't believe me, then I sugget you go rent yourself a Cessna and fly it over Chinese airspace (PRC). When they ask you WTF you think you're doing on the radio, while they're aiming missiles at you, then ask yourself if "property analogies" might not be a little closer to the mark after all.

    I'm sorry to break into your imaginary world, but poor Mexicans don't come here to steal your paycheck.

    I'm sorry to break into the imaginary world that you seem to be occupying. But immigrants (legal or otherwise) use infrastructure in this country and it isn't free. The idea that immigrants don't cost the US taxpayer anything is a very tired joke by now.

    Not to mention the fact that the cost of the welfare state (and the infrastructure) is only one of the reasons that immigration should in fact be restricted.

  • ||

    How about open regulatory environments? Either apply U.S. regs on all open market peers, or allow businesses to pick and choose which regs from any of the open markets they prefer to be bound by.

    I'm constantly amused how U.S. corporations are expected to subject to some of the most stringent labor, financial, and product liability regulations while competing on parity with foreign firms without any of the burden. Don't misunderstand me - working in risk management in the financial industry, it's a damn good thing we have a stronger regulatory framework. But to expect a highly regulated, lower risk firm to survive with those lacking such governance is like expecting a California emissions constrained Honda Civic to race an Indy car.

  • ||

    Genghis Kahn,

    State sovereignty is the formal recognition of the de facto situation that a state can impose force on those subject to its sway and other states cannot do much of anything about it.

    It escapes me how this is closely analogous to property. If I fly a Cessna over your ranch, you can shoot me down without reprobation?

  • derf||

    It's interesting to me that Reason and Cato don't seem to acknowledge the primary reason that so many people dislike mass immigration. It's not simply a matter of being racist - the larger complaint is that it changes the culture. Libertarians, being on the losing end of that cultural shift for decades, would seem to be able to understand that, but their emphasis on seeing nearly everything as an economic issue blinds them to this.

    Previous mass migrations helped change the US from a much more individualist society to the soft-socialism we have today. Look at the history of labor unions and left-liberal socialism - the early movers are almost all non-Protestant immigrants or their first-generation descendants.

    14 million Catholic, social-justice Latin American immigrants are not going to be joining the Libertarian Party. While individually hard-working, they have collectivist ideals (try reading the pamphlets or signs at any immigration rally and listening to the speakers).

    The strongly libertarian leaning West is increasingly becoming Democratic. It's not because the Goldwaterites have had a change of heart - the demographics are changing so fast that they'll be a lonely minority of a solidly Democratic region in 15 years.

    Reason and Cato may love immigration, but it will kill any hope they have to become more than an ever-more-frequently ignored wing of the Republican Party. Soon, they won't even be able to field a token Libpublican like Ron Paul.

  • Manuel||

    Why do the proponents of the new immigration bill (such as W.) devote so much time to attacking their foes' motives? It reminds me of the debate over affirmative action -- anybody who opposes it is instantly accused of being a racist (or a self-hating Uncle Tom, in the cases of Ward Connerly and Thomas Sowell), end of argument.

    One of the unspoken truths is that most legal immigrants abhor the new immigration bill, and not just for economic reasons. For most of them, it's about fairness and the rule of law. My parents are both (legal) immigrants, and so is my wife (I was born in the U.S.). And all three of them are appalled by this proposal.

    By the way, since we're so focused on motives, why don't more libertarians wonder why the vast majority of statist politicians (such as Ted Kennedy and W. Bush) are so adamant about ramming this phonebook-sized bill through with little or no substantive debate?

  • .||

    The "libertarians" who support this bill are the same kind who would support a "legal" marijuana bill that let the FDA regulate THC levels, gave Phillip Morris a monopoly on production, taxed it at $1000 per ounce, mandated Federal registration of users and required a prescriptiion card from your psychiatrist to legally own/use it.

  • ||

    My word. I traipse into this den of Tax Evaders to find a spirited misunderstanding of sovereignty and property?

    Consider this homeschooling:

    Sovereignty is what you have over property. That dominion is what makes a given piece of property "yours".

    Further, consistent with Libertarian thought, one can contractually cede defense of that property to another individual, body, or collective.

    Continuing, one can also cede by contract that you will only transfer ownership to those that will also continue the status quo of which individual or collective has the responsibility of the defense of that property.

    Congratulations! You just discovered a Libertarian approach to constructing nations and national borders.

    (Otherwise known as an HOA with guns...)

    So yes, national borders are exactly property. And are perfectly consistent with Libertarian thought.

    Now for a thought experiment:

    Since illegal aliens enter this country by trespassing on private land in the form of individually owned tracts or by collectively owned roads then why is it so abhorrent to Libertarian thought for the owners of such property to defend against such trespass lethally?

    Further, in what manner would it be a violation of Libertarian thought for a rancher to sell the privilege of hunting trespassers on his property to any random individual he wished?

  • ||

    The biggest problem I see to your statements are that we don't break even on the social and economic costs until the third generation. That 69% of the first and second generations of immigrants drop out of high school. I am not sure we can afford thaqt many "haulers of water"

  • ||

    Some people on this thread have constructed a shiny myth of an open border utopia.

    Everyone should understand that the current amnesty legislation will not improve the immigration situation it will make it much, much, worse.

    My brief two cents on this, as an immigrant and indeed an immigrant attorney, is that the bill presently in the senate is the worst piece of proposed legislation I have ever seen and was clearly drafted by people who have no idea what the current law is or the reality of immigration procedure.

    Other quote from the linked item

    Take for example, my neighbors, Ecuadorian by birth but the children of US citizens there. They have been here on legal Visas trying to get the BCIS to recognize their status. They have now have been told to return to Ecuador while things are finalized and have therefore had to sell their house, at a loss of many thousands of dollars. How much easier it would be to go illegal and then claim amnesty. But they are not that type. Instead, they're the type we should love to have in the country. So BCIS is hounding them out even as preparations are made to accomodate those with little respect for the rule of law.

    The current legal immigration system is broken. The proposed reforms merely crush the remains.



  • ||

    So yes, national borders are exactly property. And are perfectly consistent with Libertarian thought.

    Since I have never ceded any such right on myself or anything I own, nor has anyone who owned my property before me ceded such right in any way I could detect, I would have to say your "proof" of this assertion is profoundly broken.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    What Geistmaus said. I'm not sure why you've had so much trouble connecting the dots....

    And btw, derf nailed it right on.

    It's not simply a matter of being racist - the larger complaint is that it changes the culture.... Previous mass migrations helped change the US from a much more individualist society to the soft-socialism we have today.....14 million Catholic, social-justice Latin American immigrants are not going to be joining the Libertarian Party. While individually hard-working, they have collectivist ideals....

    Suffice it to say that I do NOT have collectivist ideals. But I do live in Arizona, and I've ample contact with Mexicans. I can attest first hand, they will not be supporting the libertarian party anytime during the 21st century.


    TJIT,

    The current legal immigration system is broken. The proposed reforms merely crush the remains.

    It's a sad story that you tell, but I've heard similar stories from my wife's side of the family (Vietnamese immigrants).

    I couldn't agree more with your conclusion about the immigration bill. We're penalizing the people we should be encouraging most, and letting the others off the hook.

    I've always half-joked, they write lots of speeding tickets here in Arizona because it's easier than fighting Mexicans.

  • ||

    Since I have never ceded any such right on myself or anything I own....

    [sigh]

    Your inability to grasp this not-so-complicated matter, forces me to conclude that it isn't worth debating anything further with you, until you've gone back to school for a few years.

    I never "ceded" the "right" for any state to impose on me the requirement that I obtain a driver's lisence, or register my car. Or pay taxes for that matter. Does that invalidate the DMV and IRS both? Along with every other part of government that I don't happen to like or agree with?

    Get a grip boy.

  • ||

    Some people on this thread have constructed a shiny myth of an open border utopia.

    That is your opinion.

    Everyone should understand that the current amnesty legislation will not improve the immigration situation it will make it much, much, worse.

    But here I'm trying to figure out who exactly you are arguing with.

    I have read this thread. I do not recall a single person on it who actually advocated the bill being considered in the Senate.

    If you think the existence of this bill is proof that open borders are bad, I have no clue how you came to that conclusion.

    If instead you are seeking to convince people to actively oppose this bill, then you need to learn a little diplomacy.

    Try something like this:

    I know its fun to debate unrealistic issues like whether open borders are good or bad. But there is a serious and real issue right now with this crap they are calling immigration reform. It will make things much worse than they are today. Here's an extensive excerpt from an article that I hope gets you to call your senator!



    See? Like that.

  • ||

    I never "ceded" the "right" for any state to impose on me the requirement that I obtain a driver's lisence, or register my car. Or pay taxes for that matter. Does that invalidate the DMV and IRS both?

    Whether or not it invalidates the DMV or IRS, it does pretty much invalidate the ludicrous argument that was used to stretch individual property rights into the assertion that national borders are property.

    Along with every other part of government that I don't happen to like or agree with?

    What, pray bloody tell, could the government do that would make you think it was doing wrong?

    It utterly escapes me that people think that simply saying "sovereignty" is an argument for anything. Sovereignty is merely a de facto condition. It is a recognition that a government can do whatever it wants within its own dominion. It carries virtually no normative context, and is therefore a complete non sequitur in a normative argument.

    Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Apartheid South Africa: All of these were sovereign states. Tell me again why sovereignty has anything to do with whether the US should have a policy of open borders or not?

  • ||

    Since illegal aliens enter this country by trespassing on private land in the form of individually owned tracts or by collectively owned roads then why is it so abhorrent to Libertarian thought for the owners of such property to defend against such trespass lethally?

    Geistmaus,

    Since you seem to think the nation is property and seem to be okay with trespassers being killed, I gather you would have no problem with the government rounding up everyone in the country whose birth mother's name started with the letter 'B' and executing them.

  • ||

    Are the libertarians for free movement of labor, but not citizenship? Otherwise, I don't see how opening the border to millions of people is fair. Lots of socialists will move to America and expand the welfare state, increase taxes, etc. Then where do I immigrate to? Australia? I hear they have some tough restrictions....

  • ||

    "I suggest paying a living wage to meat packers in Worthington, MN who also happen to be American citizens"

    And the price of American meat rises to the point that it can't compete with imported meat. Then all of the employees of the packing plant, even those who weren't in competition with immigrant labor are out of work. But, hey, at least they get to exalt in the "living wage" they aren't getting.

  • ||

    "The same supporters of unchecked immigration will change their mind if American universities, businesses, newspapers, hospitals and banks start hiring all their professors, managers, reporters , doctors and executives from India and China."

    Here's a hint. They have been. For a long time. I work in finance in Manhattan. Within my unit, immigrants grossly outnumber natives. That and $2 will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

  • ||

    TJIT,

    With all due respect, I also found Rector's piece that you've been referencing. In my dictionary under "big steaming turd". He assumes correllations of 1 for things that empirically there's no argument whatsoever for such an assumption, assumes no interaction of economic growth and immigration, and proxies unskilled labor for immigration.

  • ||

    Bill Dalasio,

    With all due respect, after your dictionary cools down you might want to check 'correllations of 1', and then curtail your own usage.

  • ||

    "Since you seem to think the nation is property and seem to be okay with trespassers being killed"

    Intriguing. So, to you, a question about consistency with Libertarian thought from me, a petitioner, is my personal advocacy and comfort of the consistency questioned?

    A sad lack of reason on a site so named.

  • ||

    One thing left out of the discussion of the 'free' labor market is that in this country the labor market is not truely 'free', but is supported at many levels. If all counrties had similar welfare support for retirement, health care, schooling, etc., then one could justify open borders: without such equality, the whole discussion is compromised.

  • ||

    We don't need cheap labor, I will use tomatoes production as an example. When the Bracero program was ended in the 1960's the California tomatoes growers predicted an end to their labor intensive industry, at that time production was around 3 million tons. By using mechanization and other strategies today California produces 12 million tons. Labor costs for this huge increase? Labor costs were reduced by a whopping 97%, there are far less people involved in tomatoes production now than at the end of the Bracero program and they are processing 4 times the tomatoes. Prices? Adjusted for inflation way down, to the point where the big challenge for producers now is over production. At the Federal level illegals pay 16 billion in taxes, but use 26 billion in government services. What this really amounts to a subsidy for some businesses paid in taxes by some and lower wages by others. Labor is in fact not like any other commodity , as WilliamR pointed out, when we had the huge increase in immigration at the turn of the century we also had a considerable amount of labor unrest and the rise of socialism. As low wage American workers being forced to compete with illegals seethe over the money being made by business owners at their expense they will be very susceptible to the demogogs, and don't think this can't lead to a violent reaction at some time. When a member of the CATO institute takes a bullet through the head from some radical this discussion about a "commodity" changes dramatically.

  • ||

    I hear the[ Australians] have some tough restrictions....

    And where, exactly, did you hear that?

    The Australians grant admittance on a point scale. Applicants are given points based on education, experience etc.

    Except for the very sensible two-year waiting period before getting any welfare (except the healthcare subsidy) It is somewhat less onerous for skilled workers than the US system.

    Of course, just as in the US system unskilled workers are shit out of luck. However, again, just as in the US system, the level of illegal immigration indicates they may ought to rethink things.

    In case you are referring to the "White Australia Policy" which excluded African and Asian Immigrants and limited Southern European ones, it was repealed in full in 1973 after having been eased after WWII.

  • ||

    Intriguing. So, to you, a question about consistency with Libertarian thought from me, a petitioner, is my personal advocacy and comfort of the consistency questioned?

    My apologies for not recognizing it as either petition or satire. But I thought the straw man argument you were making was so ridiculous and unconvincing that only someone who actually believed it would present it.

    I should have realized that it was so outlandish that no one could possibly believe it.

    What Geistmaus said. I'm not sure why you've had so much trouble connecting the dots....

    Well, almost no one.

  • ||

    If one can't have free markets and be against unlimited immigration, then count me opposed to free markets. There are things more important than cheap prices and labor, and I'll let the rationalists try to figure out what they are. Marx tried to persuade us when all was said and done, man was no more than an economic unit, but it didn't work.

  • ||

    The thing about past population shifts is that they occurred in the past. What was the world population in the mid nineteenth century? What was the US population then that enabled us to take in so many immigrants? We're not comparing these trends in light of the fact that we already have 300 million people here as opposed to half that number during the last great migration. Leaving aside the question of economics for a moment and ask yourselves how many people can occupy this country while maintaining a semblance of our quality of life. It's not important to think about where they come from or their economic situation, only think about the space they will inhabit. By the way, depressing wages and rewarding illegal entry here is not very appealing to me. On the other hand, the children of immigrants shouldn't be punished because of their parent's behavior.

  • Cesar||

    Stevem Charles Swan-

    Some of the most densely populated areas on earth (New York City, Hong Kong, Singapore) are extremely densely populated, yet still maintain a first-world quality of life. In fact, I probably just named some of the three wealthiest places on earth.

  • ||

    Cesar, there are a lot of people who don't want to live in places like New York City, Hong Kong or Singapore. How many cities like this do we want in the US? There is something to be said for the ability to wave a stick without hitting somebody.

  • ||

    Kerry Howley forgets most of the story.

    The efficient operation of free markets depends on the rule of law. When the rule of law is subverted in a market, the rusults lead to all of the abuses and inefficiencies one would find in any other kind of failed State.

    The cost of digging a ditch is what it is. When government looks the other way while it's friends in the construction business pass off some of their costs to the government treasury, such as education and health care, it is called Government Corruption. It is not a free market any longer. People are not free of the tax to pay the construction business' expenses.

    Back in the day, the U.S. was not a Welfare State. People that came here either made it on their own or they didn't make it. You missed the fact that 50% the legal immigrants that came to the U.S. in the last half of the 19th century moved back to their country of origin.

    Your theory is simplistic, to say the least.

  • ||

    In case you are referring to the "White Australia Policy" which excluded African and Asian Immigrants and limited Southern European ones, it was repealed in full in 1973 after having been eased after WWII.

    In fact I was not, but thanks for showing an open mind about your opponents. Australia tightened immigration policies in the 1990's, by not allowing people who landed on outer islands to immigrate.

    In fact America does not have a point system, as you claim. Family ties count, and there is no skills check for family members.
    Also, from the Wiki on Australian immigration:
    In 1992 mandatory detention for illegal immigrants was introduced, and has been maintained by successive governments. In 2001 the Australian migration zone was reduced by excising many offshore islands which had been used by unauthorized arrivals to seek entry to Australia, particularly those guided by people smugglers.

  • Tokyo Trader||

    Gengis Kahn,
    I'm having trouble understanding your point of view. First you say
    The only possible way anybody is going to convince me that opening the borders wide up, is smart, is if they can convince me that it's in my best interests as an American.

    Sure. But then it turns out that you married an immigrant. Surely this counts as quite something in your interest.

    I hope you'll forgive me taking your personal example but can you explain? If you feel that it was right that your wife was allowed to come and live in the country, as I presume you do, why do you think others should be denied that chance? Again, I don't mean to comment on your life about which I know almost nothing but for myself I think about these things on the personal level. I want the chance to live and work where I like. I also want the chance to employ anyone I like. How do you justify saying I should not be allowed to do so?

  • Tokyo Trader||

    Steven Charles Swan,
    Really? The overpopulation argument? Have a look at P.J. O'Rourke's fine take on the issue - Just enough of me, way too much of you in All The Trouble in the World
    The fact is that population density in the US is still very low on the global scale. Even if issuance of working visas was massively increased I doubt you could even see the effect on the ground in terms of actual human density. Even if you could, are you really claiming that your personal preference for lower population density is more important than other peoples opportunity to work and employ?

  • ||

    Tokyo Trader,

    Gengis Kahn,
    I'm having trouble understanding your point of view....can you explain?


    I'll try [warning: long post ahead]. I'm willing to debate this issue on rational grounds, but most of the mud slinging simply isn't rational.


    To begin, yes I' married to an immigrant (happily thank you). To boot, I married into a family of political refugees. My wife's brothers were soldiers in South Vietnam during the war and they're boat people, literal escapees who risked their lives to get here.

    So I'm not a cold heartless slob who has no inkling of why immigrants might want to come here.

    But I also largely ascribe to rational self interest. The fact that an immigrant wants, even needs, to get out of their country, does not give them an automatic right to come to this one. How many immigrants we let in is (properly) to be determined only by the rational self interest of the United States.

    I do not see that wide open borders are in the best interests of the US, because --


    The basic problem with wide open borders is not, as Gillespie is so sadly mistaken about, a simple matter of racism. It's a matter of ideology, and the simple fact that our ideology here in the US can be diluted by immigrants to the point that we loose it (though I concede, we are doing a good job of abandoning it all on our own).

    I like history and have read lots of it. I especially like ancient history, and the formative/early stages of the birth of great nations and empires. My fascination is with the whole process of what it takes to put a great nation or empire together, as well as why they've failed more often than not.

    Do you know how many empires were almost born over the ages? Many more than the successes that we read about today. And do you appreciate just how rare, how unique, the United States is, taken from a historical perspective? The fact that it ever came to exist at all is amazing. I for one believe that what we have -- or had and are throwing away? -- is more precious than any amount of gold.


    I'm an engineer by training. In the air conditioning industry where indoor air quality is an issue, we have a saying: the solution to pollution is dilution. A similar line of logic can be applied to immigrants.

    The US simply cannot absorb a limitless number of immigrants at any given instant of time. If we get too many, at some point it shifts the ideological scales. There are people who argue, not without some merit, that this has already happened over the past 200+ years.

    Here are the ultimate extremes of this. On the one hand we have China. The Chinese were conquered twice by barbarians, upon which the barbarians became nothing less than Chinese. Absorbed. Diluted. Obliterated. Nobody has the head count required to dilute China.

    Note: whether the newcomers are armed invaders or just coming to settle is not relevant. When the western half of the Roman Empire fell, much of the dilution of the old Roman ideology was due to immigrants who were not armed invaders.

    At the other extreme we have the Middle East. While empires have lived and died there, nobody has ever achieved enough population density to maintain a consistent ideological bent over any significant period of time.

    Note that I'm talking about the ME as a region, not the little corners like Egypt or Sumner. Even the Romans and later the Ottomans, were never really able to do it, even though they ruled over it.

    Note also that while China has absorbed many over the ages, they have not always been successful either. Vietnam and Korea are examples.

    The net result is the disaster you see today in the Middle East. There are other parts of the world with similar problems but the ME is one that most people are most aware of.

    From my reading of the history books I venture this: there will not be peace in the Middle East until somebody conquers the whole damned region and somehow manages to impose a consistent ideology on the vast majority of the population. I wouldn't bet that's going to happen any time soon.


    Hence I contend that US ideology can be diluted by too many immigrants. Some Americans are a bit naive, in their belief that we can take anything -- that we can assimilate an unlimited number of immigrants at any given instant of time. That belief is false.

    Now, for the final part of my opposition to open borders. Many will attempt to argue that even with open borders, there won't be enough immigrants here for the feared dilution to happen. To that I say hog wash.

    In grad school I was often the only American in class (including the professor). I've got lots of friends from China and India. I've talked with lots and lots of immigrants. They told me that they all know lots of people back home who would be in the US now, if US immigration limits allowed them to come here.

    A few days ago I returned from a three week visit to Asia. I talked with lots of locals. If I was single and a younger man, and it wasn't against the law, I could have come home with a few dozen wives. There are lots and lots of people in Asia, who would be in the US right now if the US would let them in.

    I've seen surveys of Mexico, just to pick one Latin American country, that show large percentages of their population hoping to come to the US sooner or later. Mexico is not the only country like this.

    Not everybody wants to become an American. But there are lots of lots out there who do want to come here and stay. Nobody has convinced me that if we opened our borders wide, we wouldn't get a tidal wave of immigrants.

    Upon which the dilution of the US would occur, and it would be entirely too late to do anything about it.


    Now, you may argue that we're letting in the wrong kinds of immigrants, when we do let them in. You could even argue that we aren't letting in as many immigrants as we could reasonably absorb. I wouldn't argue with either of those points. And I do have sympathy for immigrants, such that I believe on humanitarian grounds we should let in as many as we can reasonably absorb. But wide open borders is an entirely different matter.

    I don't believe anyone knows what our absorption rate is, and I would venture that our government ought to be studying that question (objectively, if you believe ha ha that's possible), because it's a matter of a government function.

    I hope that answers your question, whether you agree with me or not is up to you.

  • John Rohan||

    From the article: "The U.S. ranks 168th in population density, below the vast majority of developed countries. As earnest pundits are fond of pointing out, there is a "real" America out there, and it's largely a land of sparsely dotted exurbs and open space."

    Yeah, and some of us would like to keep it that way for awhile. Mexico's irresponsible growth caused its population to quadruple in the last 50 years from 25 mil to over 100 mil. As a result, a hell of a lot more land turned to desert, and less avaiable for farming (not to mention the wildlife). So I ask you all, you want the same thing for the US?

    Someone mentioned that crowded places like Hong Kong and New York maintain a high standard of living. Well, they can only do that because you have wide open areas like New York State, or mainland China that support these cities. In any case, as someone pointed out, not everyone wants to live in a crowded city.

    Tokyo Trader said:"are you really claiming that your personal preference for lower population density is more important than other peoples opportunity to work and employ?"

    I'll turn this around. Why do your preferences for a crowded nation override my preferences to have more living space and less encroachment on the environment and wildlife? The nation does not just belong to those born here, but to our generations in the future. When the population of the US hits one billion, people in the future can't very well go back to only 300 million again without a civil war or mass genocide.

    http://shieldofachilles.blogspot.com

  • ||

    mr_wright | June 2, 2007, 10:57am,

    Trust me, I'm more than well aware of the definition of correlation. Would you care to elaborate on why I should curtail my use of the term? He assumes multiple variables have perfect correlation to population. Therefore, correlations is perfectly appropriate.

  • Tokyo Trader||

    Genghis Kahn,
    Thank you for the long reply. It's seems perhaps we're not as far apart as I thought. There are still some things that I don't understand though. You seem to argue that some level of people should be allowed in but there needs to be a limit because US ideology can be diluted by too many immigrants.

    I have to admit this one is a first for me. I've heard many talk about defending culture but ideology, it's the first time. We could start arguing the historical interpretation, where I don't really agree with you but I'm not sure that would really go anywhere.

    Instead, I would argue that what is crucial about the US ideology is already enshrined in the constitution and that even large inflows of people would not change that. Also, if the US ideology you like is the limited government model of the founders you'd have to admit that the voting patterns of the current population have brought us to a big government pattern fairly removed from that. Do you really think immigrants could vote worse?

    What ideology is that you're afraid of? Socialism? I can't pretend to have any figures on this but I would really imagine that those who come would tend not to be so socialist. After all they up sticks and travel long distances to start a new life, work and make money. What could be more... American?

    John Rohan,
    Thanks for the comment. But I don't think your turnaround question is fair.

    Why do your preferences for a crowded nation override my preferences to have more living space and less encroachment on the environment and wildlife? If it was like that, certainly it wouldn't. In fact I have no preference for a crowded nation. My preference is for a greater level of liberty. I think it is more important that people be allowed to employ and to work, to make a living where they are able than for other people to be allowed to prevent this to maintain a low population density. Does that make sense?

  • ||

    T.T.,

    I've heard many talk about defending culture but ideology, it's the first time.

    Maybe they're the same thing. In my mind the ideology is broader than "culture". But it's debatable I suppose.

    I would argue that what is crucial about the US ideology is already enshrined in the constitution and that even large inflows of people would not change that.

    Well, maybe you haven't read as much history as I have.

    No written laws can ever be a substitute for the intentions of the ruling class. They will find ways to subvert inconvenient laws.

    I believe we've already seen it happen here. And the voters have helped them do it in more than one instance.

    So the fact that it's already written down is no particular insurance by itself.


    It's already hard enough to muster enough votes to uphold free market principles and individual rights. Diluting the voting pool with a big new influx of left-leaning immigrants is not a good thing.

    I can't pretend to have any figures on this but I would really imagine that those who come would tend not to be so socialist.

    I wish that was true, but it really isn't. I know a number of people from Britain and Australia who came here for the economic opportunities. But they'll tell you in the very same breath that "Americans just have too much freedom". Yessiree....

    I did construction before going to college. I now live in Arizona, and we've built three new houses since I moved here. I have this thing about getting to know the crews who work on my houses.

    So I've spent a lot of hours talking to migrant Mexicans (I'd bet many $ that many of them were not legal entrants). I've gotten to be friends with more than a few of them.

    I can tell you for sure, the mainstream Mexican who comes here has decidedly socialist tendencies. If you don't believe it, come visit us sometime and go listen to what they talk about when the immigrant groups get together. They don't advocate capitalism at their Sunday picnics.

    Sure, they came here for the economic opportunities. But don't underestimate the general level of ideological inconsistency that people are capable of.

  • John Rohan||

    Tokyo Trader: In fact I have no preference for a crowded nation. My preference is for a greater level of liberty. I think it is more important that people be allowed to employ and to work, to make a living where they are able than for other people to be allowed to prevent this to maintain a low population density. Does that make sense?

    It makes sense but the question still remains. Some of us (many, many people in fact) would prefer to live in a less-densely populated nation. Bringing in millions new foreign workers is interfering with the liberty of those people already living there. So why do their rights overrule others?
    Nations like Bangladesh have allowed their population to increase so much that there is literally no forests left there at all. If left unchecked, the same thing would happen everywhere else. Certainly, market demand would mean that some forests would be saved for cultivating timber, but they wouldn't be wild places anymore.

    http://shieldofachilles.blogspot.com

  • ||

    In fact America does not have a point system

    Where did I say they did?

  • ||

    I had the pleasure of seeing ms howley on "Redeye". She was very entertaining and quite humorous. greg guttfeld mentioned that howley was a writer for reason.com, so i thought i would take a look at her writing.

    I have read a few these articles, and I just dont agree with very much that i have read. Left me an uneasy feeling.

    She reminds me of the socialist types that I encountered at university.

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