E.U. Debate Highlights Why Libertarians Shouldn't Support the U.K. Independence Party

Youtube screengrabYoutube screengrabLast night the British deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, and the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, debated the U.K.'s membership in the European Union. The "debate" was more of a Q&A with the audience than an actual debate between the two men, but despite its format the event did allow for Clegg and Farage to make their cases and vent some frustration.

It's unlikely that many people watching the debate will have had their opinion on U.K. membership in the E.U. changed by the two men's arguments. Clegg offered the usual justifications for staying in, while Farage rehearsed reasons for getting out.

The debate did highlight, however, that despite the E.U.'s burdensome and undemocratic attributes, UKIP is not offering solutions that should be welcomed by libertarians. This is important to note given that the party's constitution (apparently removed from the party's website as part of a recent redesign) does describe the party as "libertarian." The party has been described as having "a strong libertarian flavour (sic)" and Farage himself has reportedly claimed that the party is libertarian.

Farage did make good points about the undemocratic state of the E.U. and made it clear that he is sympathetic to trade without interference from politicians and bureaucrats. "Trade is not something created by politicians and bureaucrats," he said. "Trade is created by consumers who make a decision: 'I like this product, I'm prepared to pay its price.'"

However, Farage's comments on immigration were less enlightened. One of the E.U.'s few redeeming features is its open borders policy, and it was this policy that sparked one of the most fiery parts of the debate. Clegg argued "to pull up our drawbridge we would destroy jobs for everybody in this country." Farage argued that open borders may have made sense when it applied to countries with a standard of living comparable to the U.K.'s, but that now that the policy applies to poorer countries which were once behind the Iron Curtain the policy should be changed.

UKIP's record on alarming predictions about immigration isn't very impressive. The quasi-libertarian party warned of immigrants coming to the U.K. from Bulgaria and Romania, two of the E.U.'s most recent members, ahead of migration controls being lifted at the beginning of this year. Since those controls were lifted Bulgarians and Romanians have not swarmed into the U.K.

That Farage is so concerned about workers from poor European countries coming to the U.K. and being willing to work for less money than most Britons underscores the fact that UKIP is more interested in implementing populist policies that would give advantages to British workers and British businesses than it is in establishing a limited government tasked only with protecting Britons' liberties.

While I might not be a fan of UKIP's immigration policy the party is right to condemn the E.U.'s democratic deficit, which Clegg and other fans of the E.U. should work quickly to address and reform if they want to halt UKIP's increasing popularity.  

Polling from YouGov suggests that most Britons think Farage performed better than Clegg. Watch the debate below and see if you agree:

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  • UnCivilServant||

    Have you seen the price tag for the UK's social welfare schema? Keeping borders open with that bundle of handouts would rapidly bankrupt the treasury without adding to the productivity of the nation. One or the other must go for reasons of simple practicality.

  • Brett L||

    While I disagree with the UKIP's policy, I certainly think you can make UCS's argument without being a racist neo-fascist, which this and the previous article last week on the UKIP did. If reason thinks the UKIP are actually worse than Labour or Tory, give us some meat, not this continued insinuation that these guys would be Pink's party in The Wall

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Then reform the entitlement system dumb dumb.

  • entropy||

    Single issue immigration libertarians? The argument here seems to be they suck and they're not libertarians because they don't support open borders.

  • Restoras||

    Tou know who else supported open borders?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Tom and Louis Border?

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    fanatic book buyers?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    ya thats bullshit.

    I'm declaring that people who think they can revoke other peoples libertarian cards because they aren't pure ancap on immigration aren't real libertarians. So suck on that Feeney.

  • ||

    I love that you "sic"ed "flavour".

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I thought that too. Catty!

  • JW||

    "Don't come to flavour country."

  • ||

    I used to refer to Virginia as "flavor country" until I realized that anyone more than, say, 5 years younger than I am wasn't getting it.

    Just like the young'uns at my hair salon don't get it when I say my hair is "bouncin and behavin".

    *sigh*

    Getting old sucks.

  • JW||

    Ahyep. It's inevitable, which only equalizes the fact that my memory has become shit and I don't understand half the slang and current pop culture references from the youngins' to begin with. "Who? Why in the fuck should I give any shits about them?"

    I take great fatherly pride in that when I ask the she-spawn, "What do you do if someone tries to hurt you?'

    "If someone ever tries to kill you, you try and kill 'em right back." That's my girl....

  • Restoras||

    The Libertarian Purity Test now includes immigration, abortion, NY-style pizza, and perfect grammar & spelling. Am I missing anything?

  • Brett L||

    circumcision?

  • Restoras||

    Oh right, good catch. How about vaccinations?

  • Brett L||

    You can believe in homeopathy or whatever you want as long as you don't ask me and mine to practice it or associate with your disease-vector spawn.

  • DJF||

    """"or associate with your disease-vector spawn."""

    So you are against open borders?

  • Brett L||

    I don't know. Is advocating for having immigration centers where people who are not known criminals in this or another country are allowed entry, offered vaccination, given whatever level of identification the current government structure requires, and sent on their way open borders? What if I also want those to known to be criminals in another country to be able to petition for asylum as we might be willing to admit some "criminals" whose crimes do not rise to the American standard of criminal.

    Is that racist closed-border rhetoric, or a reasonable position for a sovereign state to take to protect its territory and current residents against an infiltrating army and the dumping of violent criminals by other regimes?

  • DJF||

    Depends on which version of libertarian your talking too.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    That is Ellis Island, Brett.

  • Brett L||

    I was going to call it my 50-state Ellis Island approach.

  • DJF||

    You can have any opinion you want comrade, as long as it agrees with the Party.

  • ||

    Chicks, man. There are no libertarian women, ergo if you're a woman...

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    NY-style pizza

    Say what?

  • David Emami||

    The Libertarian Purity Test now includes... NY-style pizza,

    I sure hope not. Chicago style all the way.

  • Homple||

    Homple(Covers eyes, shrieks) Unclean! Unclean!
    (exits running, stumbling, stage right)

  • The Original Jason||

    Pursued by a bear.

  • John||

    There is no "Libertarian" party in the UK. So the question is which is the lesser evil. This article seems to be saying that parties that embraces what is quickly becoming a totalitarian EU megastate but embraces open borders is the lesser evil to the party that rejects that state but wants to close the borders.

    I understand the debate about open borders. But since when is open borders such an important issue that all others fall by the wayside? At this point are libertarians just single issue immigration voters?

  • Restoras||

    Open Borders is pure libertarian fantasy. It is as fantastical an idea as World Government. It completely ignores human history and human action and, just like all the proggie government programs libertarians claim to hate.

  • John||

    Open borders is asking people to vote against their interests. I always laugh when I read Reason articles saying that open borders are great because the Mexicans who come here will be so much better off if we let them in. I am sure that is true or they wouldn't want to come here. But only a Libertarian could be dense enough to think that argument is going to be persuasive to someone who already lives here and stands to be worse off from open borders.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I'd be better off because I would have access to less expensive labor, which leads to less expensive goods and services. There, was that so hard?

  • John||

    You might be better off but a lot of other people wouldn't. Besides which that is a separate argument.

    Yes, saying that the country as a whole benefits from increasing the labor pool is an argument that if it succeeds would actually convince people who live here to support it.

    But Reason has written multiple articles that didn't make that argument. Instead, they argue that the world as a whole will be better off if we would just have open borders. That is a nice and all, but saying that people from Haiti and Mexico are going to be better off isn't likely to convince people in America to support the policy.

    Borders are a tough issue. Opening up an endless supply of cheap low skilled labor screws the people on the bottom end of the labor pool who are already here. Maybe that is a price worth paying. That is of course the debate. But Libertarians seem to not understand that the people who are getting screwed might not be so keen on supporting open borders and object to it out of valid self interest.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    They're not that tough to me. Whoever I want to have come into my home is my business, not yours. You can come up with all the fancy pseudo-justifications you want but at the end of the day you're just intruding into my freedom of association the same way the Lefties do.

  • John||

    Sure it is your business. And last I looked you were not king and the state of the borders are up to a vote via elections.

    Maybe having self righteous rants telling people to go fuck themselves makes you feel good. If it does, have fun, because you are going to be having a lot of them as people turn away from your position.

    Basically, people like you and most Libertarians tell about 1/3rd of the country to go fuck themselves that you don't give a shit what their interests are and then you act shocked when you never seem to win any support. But of course you try and make up for it by telling those people that "hey we are really sorry about you paying for welfare for these immigrants, and someday we will end that and make sure you are cut off as well you fucking deadbeat just as soon as we can get our Progressive buddies to see the light."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Sure it is your business. And last I looked you were not king and the state of the borders are up to a vote via elections.

    That's like saying "sure you have the right to your religion, but the laws are up for a vote via elections so suck it up and provide free birth control"

    Same argument - you're just appealing to the process. You don't say why the results of those processes are right, though.

    I'm not shocked about getting no support - economic ignorance and a fear of freedom rule the day. It's just nice to see the Right remind me that it's both sides that do it.

  • John||

    NK,

    Thanks for giving me an example of why having this debate with Libertarians is a waste of time because you just end up talking past each other.

    You are a transnationalist who doesn't recognize national sovereignty. All you are doing is telling me how horrible and wrong national sovereignty is. Good for you. You are entitled to your opinion. I don't agree with you on that and I don't see any way to debate you about it beyond just saying "I agree with sovereignty" and you saying "I don't".

    Yes, if you don't agree that the US government or any government has any right to control its borders or act in the interests of its citizens over anyone else, open borders are a given. But if you don't, the issue is a bit more complex.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Nope, I never said anything about 'sovereignty'. I said it's not your business and you don't like that. Like a typical busybody nanny.

  • John||

    I said it's not your business and you don't like that.

    Which is just your way of saying the government has no right to control its borders. That is denying national sovereignty. If a government can't control its borders, it doesn't have sovereignty.

    Again, we are just talking past each other. I am saying "immigration is fine except when it is not in the interests of the nation" and you are saying "the government has no right to control its borders regardless of how good or bad doing so is." You can't reconcile or really debate the two positions because they both are based on completely opposite assumptions. You can just talk past each other.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You're defining sovereignty in a self-serving fashion. Who says that in order to have sovereignty you must have the right to stop peaceful people at a border?

  • John||

    I and a lot of other people say that NK. If you want to define the word differently, go ahead. But that doesn't change the fact that we are just talking past each other.

    Who says governments don't have the right to control their borders if that is what their citizens want?

    See, we both can play at that game. We are arguing assumptions and there really isn't any way to do that without just each of us yelling "but I say you are wrong" at each other.

  • DJF||

    How do they get to your house without the agreement of others and where do they go once they leave your house?

    If you want to be sovereign in your own house thats great, but if you want something outside of it then you are going to have to negoicate with the neighbors

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    How do they get to your house without the agreement of others and where do they go once they leave your house?

    1) private agreements with whoever - airplane companies, car rental companies, etc. How do you get from place to place?

    2) It's none of your business what they do once they leave. Do you check in with your neighbors when you leave your house?

  • DJF||

    1. Airplane companies and car rental companies are not going to stand up to the State on this.

    2. Of course its my business if you dump them on my property. Or dump them where they will cost me money.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    1. Irrelevant. You asked me, I answered. How do you get from place to place?

    2. I am not dumping them anywhere. If they trespass on your property I encourage you to handle it. I am not responsible for free adults and what they do. They aren't trash you "dump" any more than my houseguests are "dumped" out of my home at the end of an evening.

  • Brett L||

    It's none of your business what they do once they leave. Do you check in with your neighbors when you leave your house?

    Unless your neighbors on all adjacent property forbid them entry.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Yes, Brett, when that fantastical situation happens I will be the first to say you are right. But in all other situations, you are wrong.

  • Brett L||

    More fundamentally, John, is the concept of territorial sovereignty. If the State cannot forbid persons from their territory, they are not sovereign. See, oh, the formation of Texas. Whereby Mexico, fearing they lacked the resources to prevent a takeover by US settlers, tried to make Mexicans of Americans through land-grants and controlled immigration. See also, the sacking of Rome in 415. If not being able to control your borders is bad for your citizens, advocating for NOT controlling them in any manner is probably also a loser.

  • John||

    Brett,

    Most Libertarians are transnationalists who don't recognize territorial sovereignty of any kind. As a result, the immigration debates with libertarians are generally a waste of time if you are not a transnationalist. You just talk past each other. Libertarians don't recognize sovereignty so they think that the US government has the same duty to protect everyone's rights foreign or US citizen alike.

    It is not an irrational position. But it is a position that is unlikely to win many converts.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If the State cannot forbid persons from their territory, they are not sovereign.

    That's a tautology, not an argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    I agree with Milton on this one.

  • DJF||

    Depends if you are a consumer or a producer? Do you produce more then you consume or do you consume more then you produce?

    Producers might have a problem with bringing in more producers that undercut them.

  • Homple||

    Yes, more recruits for the reserve army of the unemployed will lower labor costs.

    You seem to forget, however, that we now have a welfare state which is happy to fund, with your tax money, a STANDING army of the unemployed.

    You might want to factor the effects of this welfare state into your utility calculation.

  • ||

    Worth mentioning that you only get the "less expensive labor" benefits out of illegal immigrants, by virtue of their non-legal status. Once they get that green card they are subject to labor laws, including min wage and every safety and health regulation ever put on the books. And just like that, your competitive advantage is gone.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That's a conclusion combined with name-calling, not an argument.

  • Restoras||

    Just so I am clear with you NK, I agree with your statement above. In addition I also beleive that immigration should be easier than it is now, at least here in the US. However, the broad concept of Pure Open Borders is far-fetched. It ignores that there are whole swaths of people and cultures that dislike each other intensely and I find it very hard to beleive that any amount of Open Border Libertarinism will change that. In addition, while there absolutley are people that emmigrate from other places to work it is also true that others emmigrate just to sponge off of those that do. So I suppose if you can change human nature to eliminate those impediments to a Pure Libertarian Society then I would be all for it. Until then, at least insofar as here in the US, I'd prefer to see a more streamlined immigration process that allows individulas that want to work here do so legally instead of the onerous system we seem to have in place now that encourages an awful lot of illegal immigration.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I acknowledge that legalizing drugs may lead to more welfare applications as well. But you don't see me holding the right of self-ownership hostage because of the existence of some other injustice over there.

  • Restoras||

    I don't think I am holding the right of self-ownership hostage because I oppose pure Open Borders.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    you're telling me I cannot associate with That Person Over There because he's on That Side of the line. I don't know how much more absurd you can get.

  • Restoras||

    Sorry, but I never said that. I have never proposed, supported or condoned Sealed Borders. I understand you using hyperbole to make your point but it is small beer.

  • ||

    It's not hyperbole, his views on the issue are just that simplistic.

    Something tells me that living in Libertopia with a neighbor or road operator like Jim Gilchrist would turn NK into very different kind if libertarian.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    The Berlin worked so well! /sarcasm

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    *Berlin wall

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    I was hoping there was a new Berlin Well in place.

  • JW||

    I thought he was talking about Terri Nunn.

  • ||

    Hate what it stood for, but it did a serviceable job keeping people in. Keeping people out of East Berlin didn't require a wall.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Take liberal dollops of culture war, stir in some "anti-racism," sprinkle with phony moral equivalence, heat with rhetoric, and voila!

  • GILMORE||

    Seconded.

    I'm pro-immigration overall, but see no need to insist that everyone else in the world be the same. I believe free movement of labor is in the economic best interests of all, but you can't force that view on countries with a long list of other problems they need to address (and that includes the US). If the UKIP is selling a brand of xenophobism as part of their platform, I think that deserves criticism, but simply being on the wrong side of 'open borders' shouldn't be something used to condemn anyone by itself.

  • entropy||

    UKIP seem to be selling no more xenophobia than Ron Paul is arguably guilty of.

    It mostly seems to be guilt by association since they don't disassociate and ostracize anyone who doesn't tow a strict PC line.

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    *ahem* tow the lion

  • GILMORE||

    YOU ROUND EYE G.I.! You Ptoh Te Lian!! MAO!! (Slaps face, hands revolver)

  • Restoras||

    Well said, Gilmore.

  • Brett L||

    Open borders are perhaps the optimal situation from a rights perspective, but if a government cannot decide to deny entry to those known or suspected to be hostile to the citizenry, you are advocating for anarchy, not a libertarian state. After that, the bright-line distinction is lost and a self-governing populace or its representatives clearly have the power to forbid entry to others and to expel those who are present in violation of entry rules. Free markets function best with free-est flow of resources, including people, but sub-optimal markets are not inherently anti-libertarian.

  • Restoras||

    Also well said, Brett L.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    uh, so in other words, you want to limit rights because otherwise there would be your own self-serving definition of anarchy.

    that's cool. just don't get your bee in a bonnet when Salon pulls some rhetorical bullshit on you based around that premise.

  • Brett L||

    You may believe, NK, that you can have a government without this ability, but I have no point of reference to it other than Neal Stephenson novels, which seem to have a very clunky interface for what happens when the citizens of two polities have a rights dispute in real-space.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Why do you feel that stopping peaceful people from moving about is an essential trait of sovereignty?

  • Brett L||

    Why do you assume that I want to stop the peaceful ones?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    that's what we were talking about literally the entire time.

  • ||

    that's what we were talking about literally the entire time.

    ...

    ...if a government cannot decide to deny entry to those known or suspected to be hostile to the citizenry, you are advocating for anarchy, not a libertarian state.

    Your reading comprehension is nearly as good as your argumentation.

  • DJF||

    What rights?

    There is no right to move onto other peoples property. And to get from A to B most people have to move on other peoples property.

  • Jordan||

    There is no right to move onto other peoples property. And to get from A to B most people have to move on other peoples property.

    Complete bullshit. By this logic nobody can ever leave their house without trespassing.

  • DJF||

    No, they have an agreement with their neighbors, its usually called government. But the government has rules and you must get at least 50% of the people to agree to the rules.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Circular cat is circular. And that doesn't make the government *right*.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    There is no right to move onto other peoples property. And to get from A to B most people have to move on other peoples property.

    Then deal with that when it happens. Sealing off the border because it *might* happen is like throwing someone in jail *before* they commit a crime.

  • DJF||

    But borders are property lines. They show the property of the citizens of each country.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    But borders are property lines. They show the property of the citizens of each country.

    I can't tell if you're being serious.

    No, they do not.

  • DJF||

    Don’t you see the signs, “Property of the US government”,

  • Jordan||

    Okay, then it's cool if 50%+1 of those "property owners" want to ban guns on their property, right?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Don’t you see the signs, “Property of the US government”,

    Oh well despite the sign that says "Buckeye Fan Parking Only" somehow other people manage to park there.

    Seriously, a fucking sign. *shakes head*

  • ||

    No, they do not.

    They establish jurisdictions where your property rights are arbitrated, and by which set of rules, which is nearly the same thing. If tomorrow a Red Dawn scenario took place, showing the invading army your property deed and threatening to take them to court probably isn't going to mean much.

    Of course, in NK's Libertopia all it would take is one collaborator with the invading army to morally justify their presence on both his property and any public space, plus the routes thereto. What they do between point A and point B, well, that's your problem.

  • Drake||

    So open borders is the litmus test for Libertarians? Guess I'm not one after all.

    I thought the other test was not imposing our values on other nations - like telling the Brits they have to admit waves poor immigrants.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Because talking about things = imposing. Quit imposing your views on me, Drake!

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    Its imposition all the way down

  • ||

    I'm still confused about immigration and open borders and the right of governments to control them and how it relates to the libertarian position.

  • Drake||

    Oh boy. I predict a flood of long repetitive articles about the awesomeness of millions of poor uneducated immigrants whose voting habits destroyed their home countries.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Yeah all immigrants think the same you collectivist.

  • ||

    That's only true of "Massholes" ruining Vermont, or Californians ruining Nevada though. On an international scale, it's totally different!

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Rufus J. Firefly,

    I'm still confused about immigration and open borders and the right of governments to control them and how it relates to the libertarian position.


    As far as I've been able to discern, there are two camps within the libertarian movement regarding immigration policy. One is the natural rights camp that supports open borders, arguing that migration is a natural right. Most Rothbardians would accept this argument. The other camp is not so inclined to open borders, arguing for private property rights, that is migration should be free inasmuch the property owners invite and vouch for migrants, indicating that opening the borders to complete migration tramples on property rights as migrants become squatters or tax consumers. These two camps make good points but I believe the private property rights camp makes the more compelling case for only letting in those migrants that have the means to purchase property or rent property or are invited by property owners, and not simply give a person a free pass to wander and mooch from already-existing property owners.

  • Drake||

    Many of us in the second camp could probably be convinced that looser immigration policies would be beneficial - AFTER the Welfare State is disassembled. Until then, I have no interest in the topic.

  • Restoras||

    In addition, after elimination of minimum wage laws and other state distortions of the labor market.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So, like I said, you can pretty much justify any Statist issue using these tools.

    "oh, can't legalize drugs until we eliminate the Welfare State"
    "oh, can't allow a free market in alcohol until we eliminate the Welfare State"

  • Restoras||

    I dunno NK, you don't seem willing to see any side of the issue except your own or for that matter any desire to deal in any of the nuances or subtleties of the issue. That's fine by me but I'll just disagree and call it a day.

  • Jordan||

    That is, of course, the exact same logic that progs use when advocating for sugar/smoking/whatever bans because they might have to pay for your healthcare.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Exactly. And I am sure these libertarians now have no problem with the 100-mile Constitution-free Zone around borders, right? Because we can't have foreigners who might one day take welfare maybe possibly or might one day trespass on someone's 5000 acre farm. No siree.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Jordan,

    That is, of course, the exact same logic that progs use when advocating for sugar/smoking/whatever bans because they might have to pay for your healthcare.


    It's not the same logic because Proggies beg the question by asusming that someone else's costs are their costs as well. That's not the same argument as I laid.

    Besides, the private property rights camp can be satisfied in their preoccupations by assuring that only migrants who are invited in by other property owners or that can become property owners themselves will enter (almost all migrants fall in this camp as it is right now, anyway) and that the government (the tax and spend agency) will not provide sustenance to migrants at all.

    Instead, those bans the Proggies are so fond of call for direct violations of property rights by government, so we're not talking about the same thing, not even within the same planetary vicinity.

  • OldMexican||

    That Farage is so concerned about workers from poor European countries coming to the U.K. and being willing to work for less money than most Britons underscores the fact that if UKIP is more interested in implementing populist policies that would give advantages to British workers and British businesses than it is in establishing a limited government tasked only with protecting Britons' liberties.


    Or the most likely explanation is that Farage does not want to appear too liberal when it comes to immigration. Blaming immigrants for economic woes is the typical pastime of blue-collar and unionized workers in the U.K., so Farage may be playing his cards carefully. Still, that only explains his rhetoric; it does not excuse it, as it is rife with economic ignorance.

  • Tman||

    Immigration is so easy.

    Wider gates, taller fences.

    There.

    Problem solved.

    Oh, and Nigel Farage is pretty much the ONLY Libertarian voice left in Europe, and shitting all over him for not towing the open-borders line is about the absolute dumbest thing a libertarian magazine could be doing.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    and all of the money it would cost. You might as well point to "universal" healthcare as the solution to the screwed-up healthcare system in the US.

  • Tman||

    As opposed to how "free" it is now?

    My point is that I don't think we should have quotas for immigrants who want to come in through the front door. But I don't think open borders is the answer either, and therefore we need to take our borders more seriously.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    If I want to fuck a foreigner then hire them it should be none of your, or the government's, damn business.

  • BakedPenguin||

    There's also the president of Estonia. (He's a free-market guy, anyway.)

    But in general, I agree. Farage may be slightly wrong on this issue, but if so, so is Ron Paul. And nobody's saying he isn't libertarian.

  • Paul.||

    "Trade is not something created by politicians and bureaucrats," he said. "Trade is created by consumers who make a decision: 'I like this product, I'm prepared to pay its price.'"

    And he's so very right on this particular subject* that I want to import him for half an hour to explain this, carefully, to Seattle Times reporters who keep writing "Now that Marijuana has been legalized, the state must create a market"

    *given his immigration position, clearly he doesn't believe in people making a decision and deciding on a price

  • John||

    Yes he does. He just understands that increasing the supply of labor is going to reduce the cost of it, which isn't so good for the suppliers of labor, namely the British people. He also understands that the UK has a welfare state so it isn't just about people negotiating a price.

  • Paul.||

    No he doesn't. If I decide to hire someone, and that someone agrees on a price, why am I hurting "the British people"?

    When you say that hiring labor recently arrived from a foreign nation "hurts the British people" you are, by definition, begging the question.

  • Brett L||

    Would they be there without the social safety net? Did they just happen to come over to live on the street? You can't argue against distortion and then use the example of a grossly distorted market.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Would they be there without the social safety net?

    Yes.

  • Brett L||

    You assume.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    No, as has been demonstrated, immigrants consume less in public welfare than native-borns. If the use of welfare is a justification to limit rights, then I assume you're in favor of birth permits based on income?

  • Brett L||

    immigrants consume less in public welfare than native-borns

    Which is a distortion. If they got the same welfare benefits, the locals would have a lower clearing price or the immigrants a higher one.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    but they don't so what's your point?

  • Drake||

    Has it been demonstrated in the UK? Or CA?

  • ||

    No, as has been demonstrated, *legal* immigrants *under the current skills-and-education-based quota system in the United States* consume less in public welfare than native-borns.

    FTFY

    The UK has a completely different set of both welfare and immigration laws than the United States, and pointing to hyper-educated legal immigrants who must demonstrate financial independence and have employer sponsorship under the current American quota scheme as justification for open borders would rise to the level of brilliant satire if presented by someone cognizant enough to notice the irony.

  • John||

    You are hurting the British people in two ways. First, the wages they will make for their labor will be less. Second, those British people will be paying welfare and social benefit cost for these immigrants you want to hire.

    Your the one that doesn't understand decision making and price. You think every agreement lives in isolation from the larger world and market. It doesn't.

  • Paul.||

    So what you're really complaining about is minimum wage laws, more specifically, the lack of them, correct?

    Your the one that doesn't understand decision making and price.

    This is rich. Fantastically rich. I as a consumer of labor seek out to hire a laboror and we come to an agreement on price, you are claiming that any agreement we come to on price that comes under some kind of mandated standard (A number in your head, I presume) hurts the British people.

    So tell me, John, what's the number in your head?

  • John||

    The minimum wage law has nothing to do with this or my point. The minimum wage law screws people who are not productive enough to justify a wage equal to the minimum.

    If I am a supplier of something and the supply of that something goes up, I am going to see the price of it go down. It is called supply and demand. Opening the borders increases the supply of low skilled labor and reduces the price. That is against the interests of the people who are already in the country. Defending those people's interests is in no way inconsistent with understanding how markets and decisions work. In fact is shows a perfect understanding of it. You just don't like it that he is defending these people's interests.

    It is really that simple. You either too bull headed to admit it or you are another in the long line of libertarians I have met who has no fucking clue about how markets work beyond mouthing a few buzzwords.

  • Paul.||

    If I am a supplier of something and the supply of that something goes up, I am going to see the price of it go down.

    Why then, do you presume then, that the supply of labor only flows in one direction? If everyone opened up their borders, everyone's labor pool grows equally? Or labor moves in many directions at once?

    Opening the borders increases the supply of low skilled labor and reduces the price.

    So prices must only go up, Mr. Bernanke?

    By what... law of the universe?

    You just don't like it that he is defending these people's interests.

    I don't like that he isn't defending the interests of people who want to make more money than they do in the shithole they're coming from, bringing in labor, new ideas and wealth along with them.

    You either too bull headed to admit it or you are another in the long line of libertarians I have met who has no fucking clue about how markets work beyond mouthing a few buzzwords.

    So, let's see if I understand this correctly. Two people who agree on a price on something must not be allowed to agree on that price because it offends your sensibilities toward constantly rising prices for British People and British People only, and I'm the one who doesn't understand markets.

    It looks like we both understand markets, John, you just seem to get cranky when they don't work your way.

  • John||

    Why then, do you presume then, that the supply of labor only flows in one direction? If everyone opened up their borders, everyone's labor pool grows equally? Or labor moves in many directions at once?

    I don't. I never claimed everyone's wages will go down, just some people's. Who that is depends on who the immigrants are.

    I don't like that he isn't defending the interests of people who want to make more money than they do in the shithole they're coming from, bringing in labor, new ideas and wealth along with them.

    You think the immigrants are great and the natives suck. We already knew that.

  • John||

    Two people who agree on a price on something must not be allowed to agree on that price because it offends your sensibilities toward constantly rising prices for British People and British People only, and I'm the one who doesn't understand markets.

    Considering that sentence makes no sense, yes you are the one who doesn't understand markets. You don't like it that you can't hire your cheap labor for Pakistan. I got that. Other people don't like it that they have to pay welfare and social services to your cheap labor and don't like it that their labor is now worth less than it was before thanks to the presence of your cheap labor.

    You love the Pakistanis and hate the British and therefore want the cheap labor. The British themselves disagree and would like to avoid paying welfare and seeing the value of their labor go down.

    It is at this point a value debate not an economic debate. You just think the other side doesn't understand economics because you don't really understand economics yourself and confuse economics with with values that you prefer like "freedom of contract" and "freedom of movement".

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Shorter John: you don't understand markets because people can vote your rights away. That's solid logic there John.

  • John||

    NK<<br /
    I honestly thought you were smarter than this. I forget sometimes what blind spots you have.

    The logic is that economics are what they are and say nothing one way or the other about whether open borders are a good or bad idea.

    Good or bad is a subjective decision. It has nothing to do with economics. You like open borders. That is a perfectly rational position. But it doesn't' give you a monopoly on economic knowledge or give you the ability to claim "economics dictates this and anyone who disagrees with me doesn't understand markets".

    That is what Paul was claiming above. And it is complete horseshit. The workings of the market have nothing to do with the desirability or undesirability of open borders. Economics is just going to tell you what will happen when you open or close the borders. It will make no statement on the relative value of either result.

    You guys don't seem to get that and treat economics as some magical oracle that vindicates your values. It doesn't. It just describes things.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Just yes or no, John: your values here are protectionist, correct?

  • John||

    NK I haven't really given a position on open borders. All I have said is that the people who object to immigration are making rational arguments based on their interests. That is it.

    Am I a protectionist? I don't know. It depends on what day of the week you catch me on and what the issue is.

    I don't view this debate in terms of absolutes. I view it as a choice between what kind of country do you want. Do you want a country full of immigrants that has pretty high unemployment and a lose labor market but really cheap goods and service or do you want a country with fewer immigrants, a tighter labor market and more expensive goods and services?

    And it is not even that simple since having a big supply of labor can cause the economy to invest in less capital. You don't worry so much about mechanizing things when you can always hire armies of cheap labor to do it. For this reason, I am not convinced true open borders are good for the economy long term.

    I don't think about these issues like you do. I don't get emotional about them. I don't look at them as some vehicle for affirming larger rights. I look at them from a strict calculation of what is better for the country and the economy in my view. You don't do that. You don't think the government has any right to make such a calculation and that the absolutes of movement and freedom of contract prevent that from even being a legitimate question. That makes us debating this issue generally pointless.

  • Paul.||

    John

    This word salad you just posted is an amalgam of goalpost moving, obfuscation, misdirection of the point...

    So the problem with the British economy is Pakis? What about French trying to escape higher taxes, or people from PIIGS countries who want to be productive but can't because of entrenched corruption? All of these people might agree to a lower price for labor for a host of reasons which I won't go into because I'd go way past 900 characters.

    You keep sliding past the concept two individuals agreeing on the price of labor, and are now trying to insert "values" as some kind of concept trumps two individuals agreeing on a price.

    It's really quite simple. Either people aren't allowed to agree on price-- 1. by law (minimum wage), or 2. barring people who might agree on a lower price from entering into the market at all-- or they are allowed to agree on price. It seems clear which side you're coming down on.

    (I'm not bolding because I'm yelling, I'm bolding because it's really the point of my post)

  • John||

    Either people aren't allowed to agree on price-- 1. by law (minimum wage), or 2. barring people who might agree on a lower price from entering into the market at all-- or they are allowed to agree on price. It seems clear which side you're coming down on.

    So what Paul? Even you admit that the government should be able to bar criminals. That is telling me I can't hire a criminal alien. That is just as much of an imposition on me as any other immigration restriction.

    Regardless, no amount of economic analysis is going to answer the question of whether we should or should not have open borders. It just won't. So please stop claiming economics dictates your position.

  • Jordan||

    Defending those people's interests is in no way inconsistent with understanding how markets and decisions work.

    So, it would be just fine if we banned Honda and Toyota from selling in the US, right, in order to protect the UAW?

  • John||

    So, it would be just fine if we banned Honda and Toyota from selling in the US, right, in order to protect the UAW?

    I don't know. You are doing the same thing Paul is doing Jordan, you are confusing the values you hold dear with economics. Whether that is a good idea or not depends on what your values are. My or your answer that question has nothing to do with economics. I could have perfect knowledge of the economics involved and still answer the question either way depending on what my values were.

  • Paul.||

    Oh, and by the way, I am personally in a market which is ground...fucking...zero for being affected on price and availability by immigrant labor and outsourcing. If anyone here should want the borders closed down, protectionism and penalties for outsourcing, I would probably be very near the top of the heap. Very soon, my job will be outsourced to India. Around May/June I'm told. And yet here I am, supporting open borders. Because as a libertarian, if I can't provide the value to my employer and justify my ever-rising labor price, I go somewhere else.

    That's how markets work.

  • SusanM||

    So, if someone wants to hang you, will you sell them the rope?

  • Jordan||

    Would you ban people from selling ropes because somebody might use it to hang someone else?

  • SusanM||

    Some people need hanging. I just disagree with the utilitarian argument presented.

  • John||

    No Paul, that is one example of how markets work. They could differently if we choose to intervene in them.

    There is nothing holy or sacred about the market. It is just a way of describing things.

  • ||

    They could differently if we choose to intervene in them. There is nothing holy or sacred about the market. It is just a way of describing things.

    The "thing" that the market describes is the NAP applied to commerce. It certainly can work different if we intervene - just like it does in North Korea or Cuba or Venezuela - but that would violate the NAP. In case you were gone that one day it was discussed, the NAP is kind of the foundational moral principle of libertarianism.

  • ||

    Opening the borders increases the supply of low skilled labor VCR's and reduces the price. That is against the interests of the people who are already in the country. Defending those people's interests is in no way inconsistent with understanding how markets and decisions work.

    John, Circa 1982.

    Of course increasing supply without a commensurate increase in demand lowers prices, John. That's ordinarily seen as a *good* thing. You're focusing on only the supply side. No supplier ever wants to see their price go down. No consumer ever wants to see their price go up. That's the nature of literally every market transaction. You're just taking for granted that the desire of the consumer is subordinate to that of the supplier where labor is concerned, because reasons.

  • Jordan||

    First, the wages they will make for their labor will be less.

    So you're totally cool with economic protectionism? And they will be better off, overall, due to lower prices and a larger labor pool.

  • Paul.||

    John talks about supply, demand, markets, choice, price (it's not what you say it is, it's what the market will bear) on a libertarian board, demands protection and constantly rising prices, then lashes out and says we don't understand markets.

  • John||

    Depends on the circumstances. But even if I think it is a good idea, that doesn't mean I don't understand markets or decision making. It just means I favor one group's interests over another group's interests.

  • Paul.||

    It just means I favor one group's interests over another group's interests.

    And agitate for government policy and laws enshrining those interests. There's a word for that, John. And it ain't "free market".

  • John||

    And agitate for government policy and laws enshrining those interests. There's a word for that, John. And it ain't "free market".

    Big fucking deal. Since when does not believing in a pure free market mean someone doesn't understand economics?

    For the third time Paul, stop confusing your values and preferences with hard economic reality or knowledge. The two are not the same.

  • ||

    Since when does not believing in a pure free market mean someone doesn't understand economics?

    Since when is stupidity preferable to ignorance?

  • Brett L||

    What a nation may do and what it should do are different. Why is that so difficult? The citizens of a nation that CAN forbid access to people MAY choose to do so in a way I disagree with. That does not make them racist xenophobe statists.

  • Paul.||

    The citizens of a nation that CAN forbid access to people MAY choose to do so in a way I disagree with. That does not make them racist xenophobe statists.

    I haven't called anyone a racist. Xenophobe... maybe. The issue here is market protectionism. Either your for it, or against it. Closing the borders because it causes elasticity in prices that you're uncomfortable with is protectionism.

  • Brett L||

    I haven't called anyone a racist.

    Not you Paul. But both of reason's articles seem to want to tie UKIP to overtly racist continental anti-immigration parties. UKIP may, in fact, be a bunch of racists, but I have not been offered evidence of that. Sorry if it seemed I was calling you one, I was taking a swipe at Feeney.

  • Paul.||

    UKIP may, in fact, be a bunch of racists, but I have not been offered evidence of that. Sorry if it seemed I was calling you one, I was taking a swipe at Feeney.

    For the record, I'm not against the UKIP. I really don't know much about them. But when a UKIP representative can declare that markets are about consumers making decisions on productand price, then immediately turn around and essentially say, "Except here!" I'm going to point it out.

  • Azathoth!!||

    But when a UKIP representative can declare that markets are about consumers making decisions on productand price, then immediately turn around and essentially say, "Except here!" I'm going to point it out.

    But it IS 'except here'--because one supplier has all sorts of extra costs imposed on his labor so he can't name his own price--he, and the employer, have to price his labor at the state mandated minimum.

  • Paul.||

    Also, I don't have a problem with some kind of immigration policy which says we can bar people because they're criminals, dangerous etc. Even my 'open borders' vision has limits. But when you want to close borders because you fear it will lower prices, that's just plain old anti-market protectionism.

  • Restoras||

    There is no such thing as 'nation' in Libertopia.

  • sarcasmic||

    Open borders, or a welfare state. Pick one.

  • Lord Humungus||

    ^this^

  • tarran||

    As an Open Borders fanatic, I must rise in defense of the UKIP stance...

    England is in very, very bad shape, and the welfare state is a large part of the reason why. The council system of government has essentially created a massive civil service bureaucracy that is accountable to no one and maintains a totalitarian control over its territory.

    And the bureaucracy is finalizing a massive change in the culture of britain, and it is intentional; what we are seeing is exactly what the Fabian Society (the intellectual center of Labor) was set up to do.

    In seeking to close the borders, the UKIP is attempting to deprive the council welfare system of a steady stream of human raw material to both justify their jobs, and to indoctrinate in this anti-English culture.

    From a realpolitic stance, this is eminently reasonable! It's no different than a politician arguing to treat employer contributions to health care and premiums paid to employer health insurance as taxable income. As an anti-tax fanatic, I may oppose him, but it doesn't make him some asshole who is wanting to raise taxes just cause...

    The UKIP has a very difficult course ahead of them, literally the entire political establishment of the United Kingdom is allied to support the Fabian cause. They cannot defeat all their enemies at once, but must divide their enemies and defeat them piecemeal.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Yes - You can't talk about mass immigration without talking about WHO supports it and WHY.

    In Western democracies, the Left supports mass immigration of unskilled Third Worlders because it provides clients of the welfare state and voters. Notice US Democrats' hostility to limiting new entries to skilled immigrants.

    If you want less welfare state voters and Leftist voters, then oppose unlimited Third World immigration. YES, destroy the welfare state - but does a constant influx of new clients make that task easier or harder? Ask California.

  • John||

    Well said Tarran. It is nice to see someone understand that there is a hell of a lot more going on here than a simple debate about immigration laws.

  • Restoras||

    Devil is in the details. Details are minute and get lost in the broad brush strokes of absolutes.

  • LilDebbie||

    You cite a BBC story on "anecdotal reports from councils and community leaders" that there is no rise in Romanian and Bulgarian immigration. Here's what the last official Migration Statistics Quarterly Report said on the subject:

    There was a statistically significant increase in immigration of EU2 (Romanian and Bulgarian) citizens to 24,000 in the year ending September 2013 from 9,000 in the previous year. An estimated 70% arrived for work and 30% for study.

    That's some quality hack journalism, Mr. Feeney. Will you be quoting the SEIU next on labor market conditions? Perhaps the SPLC on Patriot groups?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Open borders has nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. It is a statist subterfuge grafted in to keep the concept of libertarianism self contradictory and thus unworkable. Think Gramsci.

    In a 'libertopia' there is no 'public' space some foreigner can wander in to--all the land at all the borders is privately owned. A person who owns land at the border can let in as many as they want--but they have nowhere to go save that person's land.--unless someone else pays for their rights-of-way.

    This bizarre 'open borders' stance--that also includes an insane 'freedom of movement' stance undermines any attempt to form a libertarian state.

    And while none of this has anything to do with reality, here's something that does--the waves of immigrants who work for less do so because the government has priced cheap native labor out of the market for shit jobs. One of the side effects of minimum wage laws.

  • DJF||

    ^this^

  • Jordan||

    A person who owns land at the border can let in as many as they want--but they have nowhere to go save that person's land.--unless someone else pays for their rights-of-way.

    This is Tonyesque levels of stupid. By this logic, nobody can leave their own house, ever.

  • DJF||

    Yes they can, they just have to get the agreement of their neighbors.

    Either the way its done now with government roads or with a libertarian way with contract. But either way there are going to be restrictions

  • Jordan||

    And only people born on this side of the magic line are capable of doing that?

  • DJF||

    When it comes to government roads then yes.

    As soon as you create libertarian land then I suppose property owners can determine who gets permission.

    But as I said, it will not be without restrictions. Once you give away your rights on a property you might as well not own it

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Roads justify all! Thanks, Elizabeth Warren.

  • DJF||

    Once again the road problem is ignored even though its central to travel

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Azathot!

    here's something that does--the waves of immigrants who work for less do so because the government has priced cheap native labor out of the market for shit jobs. One of the side effects of minimum wage laws.


    Actually, it is a combination of minimum wage laws, labor laws, FICA, FUTA, other costs on hiring and compulsory education that is pricing some people out of the labor market.

  • ||

    This. The regulatory compliance costs for legal workers come close to exceeding the actual hourly rate for their labor at the bottom end of the wage scale. Contrary to what you often hear, not all illegal immigrants are working for below minimum wage. In fact, a great many of them make pretty decent wages depending on their trade - double the federal minimum and up. Employers can afford to give them a better hourly rate because they are unshackled from the costs of regulation.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Well, yes, I was simplifying.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    From the article Feeney linked to:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26682144

    But some arrive with no money and nowhere to stay. Homelessness has been a stubborn problem.

    At dawn I joined police and outreach workers looking for some of the migrants who have disappeared into London's underworld. At the Brent Cross flyover in north London we were taken to some disused maintenance sheds.

    Inside there was a shocking picture of destitution. The migrants had just slipped away. But the stench of dirty sheets and rotting rubbish was overpowering.

    But yeah, this is all about individuals having the right to have whoever they want on their property.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    There are no native-born homeless?

    So when do we start with the birth permits?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    There are no native-born homeless?

    Which has nothing to do with whether the subject is about individuals having the right to have who they want on their property. It isn't and if it were, there would likely be very little argument about it.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Yes it does unless you're advocating that the native-born homeless have no rights to movement either.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yes it does

    No, it doesn't. Neither immigrants or native-born have the right to squat on another's property.

  • Jordan||

    Immigration is not squatting on somebody else's property.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Tell that to whoever owns the maintenance sheds being squatted in.

  • Jordan||

    Every immigrant is coming here to squat in maintenance sheds. Derp.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Every immigrant is coming here because he has a job or has an invitation to stay on someone's property. Derp.

  • Paul.||

    I don't see a lot of homeless immigrants in my country. I see mostly (what appear to be) homeless natives. The immigrants are too busy working.

  • Jordan||

    So we should prevent anyone from coming because some might trespass. By that logic, we should prevent anyone from leaving their own home.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    So we should prevent anyone from coming because some might trespass. By that logic, we should prevent anyone from leaving their own home.

    Yes, leaving your property to enter publicly utilized space or property where you are implicitly invited to for trade is exactly the same thing as leaving your country for another where you have no property or the ability to buy property.

  • Paul.||

    Trying to escape the frustrating economics vs. values conversation above, the only place I have an issue with large numbers of immigrants coming in, is when you have a nation that wants to pay people not to work. But even then, there are ways to handle that.

  • Brett L||

    Sure. If they paid everyone the same to not-work, it might raise the clearing price for workers, but essentially everybody would have the same market price determined by the not-work benefit. But, as NLK pointed out, if immigrants are induced to come over because not-work in destination country is better than either the work or not-work condition in home country AND work is better than not-work in the destination country AND work for immigrants is still cheaper than not-work for natives, you get the UK.

  • JeremyR||

    So immigration is the only thing that defines a libertarian?

    Even though (as I pointed out in another thread), Milton Friedman correctly stated, "”You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state”.

    Also amusingly you have an article praising Australia as being friendly to libertarians, even though they have an extremely strict immigration policy. Unless things have changed in the last 10 years, you have to prove that no Australian can do the job you are taking...

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