Is Singapore a Libertarian Utopia?

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Matthew Yglesias kindly comments on "Guests in the Machine":

I'd definitely recommend that you give Kerry Howley's Reason article on guest workers in Singapore a read. It's a very thorough and balanced discussion of the way it works. That said, given that the crux of the opposition to such programs for the United States is "it's repugnant and un-American, violating everything this country stands for" to say in reply but look at how well it works in a small, regimented, highly inegalitarian Asian dictatorship doesn't seem very persuasive.

The experience of a more similar society, Germany, is not something that many Americans look at and would desire to replicate. Meanwhile, I have no desire to see the United States become more like Singapore. We are, however, in the midst of a burgeoning libertarians against democracy moment (a return to classical liberalism's traditional anti-democratic sentiments) of sorts, so maybe we'll start seeing more and more aspects of Singapore and Hong Kong recommended to us as models.

This gets at the article's core themes and then somehow misses the point completely. Is Singapore a more totalitarian country than the United States? Absolutely. But who has the more illiberal immigration policy? In 2006 the U.S. government allowed something like .3 percent of the current population to immigrate legally. Insofar as uneven access to wealthy labor markets reinforces global inequality, numbers like that strike me as "repugnant and un-American," as well as pathetic and cruel.

No, we don't want to be more like Singapore overall. We want to be more like Singapore in the ways that Singapore is more liberal than we are. I think we can reasonably expect a U.S. guest worker program to be more compassionate and less disturbingly efficient than a Singaporean one. If the system is bettering lives over there, it would surely do so in a country less excited about, say, executing people for marijuana possession.

That such a system would be more difficult to stomach in an egalitarian society like the United States is obviously true, and that's the point of this paragraph:

The moral calculus, then, is to be weighed between the welfare of potential workers and the preservation of an idealized American narrative. Does it reflect better on the American character to lock poor people out than to permit them entry on limited terms? Guest worker programs do clash with deeply held mythologies about our relationship to the global poor. We live in a state of relative political equality nested awkwardly within a deeply unequal world, and it can seem better, kinder, to keep the inequality outside, walling it off and keeping our hands clean.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia would be worse off if Singaporeans thought they had to endow every immigrant with the legal status of citizenship–a legal status that plenty of those people wouldn't even want. That's something that needs to be grappled with honestly, preferably without recourse to "but that's not what America stands for." If your conception of "what America stands for" is one that leaves people worse off, maybe it's time to rework your definition of Americanism.

I'm happy to cede that we're in a "libertarians against democracy moment," but this article does not belong in that ideological space. My libertarian dictatorship would be one of wide open borders; a guest worker program is the compromise libertarianism makes with democracy. It's a messy, ugly compromise, to be sure. The pure humanitarian, pure libertarian position is not one that is currently politically feasible in any nation worth immigrating to. I think we'll get there eventually, but meanwhile we need to measure proposed policies against the current situation.

If you've gotten this far, I recommend checking out James Poulos' thoughtful response to the article, which is an honest expression of the conservative mentality that finds open borders-ism totally horrifying.

[Cross-posted at KerryHowley.com

NEXT: D'Souza on Libertarians: Gay or Drugged-Out or Loose or All Three

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  1. My solution: generous immigration for highly-skilled workers, work-permits for low-skilled workers (no vote, no welfare benefits, and no birthright citizenship). Let the labor market free!

  2. To further clarify, the restrictions on low-skilled immigrants are to keep them from turning the USA into a Latin-American socialist state. Giving poor southern immigrants the vote is libertarian suicide. See:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YTNiMDIxNTk3NGQ0NTUyYmExMWE0NGE2NTk1Mzc1Yzk=

  3. To further clarify, the restrictions on low-skilled immigrants are to keep them from turning the USA into a Latin-American socialist state. Giving poor southern immigrants the vote is libertarian suicide.

    More fodder for the “libertarians against democracy movement.”

  4. Jacob,

    Aren’t you basically arguing for the status quo? We already have immigration for “desirable” immigrants and H1 visas that function as work permits. Admittedly, H1 requires an employer to say, “I want Jose Schmoe to come here and work for me,” as opposed to letting Jose apply independently of an employer. However, if we want to ensure that those we let in will be working instead of being in need of public assistance, requiring an employer to say they want the workers seems like a good idea. We don’t need a new guest worker program; we need to expand the existing program.

    The only problem with the status quo is that we’re not giving enough H1 visas. This is a problem more for low-skill jobs than for high-skill ones (although the original outsourcing of software development was based more on the shortage of visas than on a desire to pay lower wages). The owners of strawberry farms either aren’t willing to put in the effort to secure their workers legally, or aren’t successful when they attempt to do so.

  5. There are three things that make this immigration issue so difficult to deal with:

    1) Our government refuses to control the borders.

    2) Our government refuses to severely punish employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

    3) Our government still extends the same welfare and other benefits to immigrants that citizens get.

    The fact is that libertarians cannot look intelligent to the majority of America on the immigration issue until they make getting rid of the welfare state, or at least permanently ending all state benefits for immigrants, the first step toward immigration reform. Milton Friedman pointed out the hard truth when he said that it is obvious that you cannot have free immigration and a welfare state.

    The libertarian movement often comes off as a movement of desperate political losers because it has no strategy, nor a collective ability to realize the danger of certain policies not preceding or coinciding with others.

  6. I hate temporary work visas. However, I want more legal immigrants to be allowed in the country. In short, I think we should do the exact opposite of Singapore-you can come here, but only if you are willing to become an American (as opposed to the Singapore way, which is you can go there to work but you will never become a Singaporian). We shouldn’t want people who are only here to collect a paycheck and then go back home to their country after a few years (sending half of it home to their familes in the meantime)-we want them to make the US their home, with their familes coming along as well.

  7. JMR,

    Is it so hard to imagine that immigrants from countries like Mexico, where Socialism is the ideology of the major political parties, might bring Socialist politics with them? No matter how hard an immigrant works, their Socialist politics will always make them a shitty excuse for an American citizen. America should no more embrace a wave of immigrants from a country dominated by Socialism than it should from a country dominated by Islamism.

  8. We shouldn’t want people who are only here to collect a paycheck and then go back home to their country after a few years (sending half of it home to their familes in the meantime)-we want them to make the US their home, with their familes coming along as well.

    The majority of the world doesn’t come even close to sharing the classical liberal values that America’s major institutions were built on. The last thing we want is a lot of people to come here, make a fake pledge of loyalty, and work to better themselves. Losing one’s native citizenship to escape a poor country for one as rich as ours, is a small price to pay for most of the world. Do you really want such people, or their offspring who will be raised with their values, participating in our system of government?

  9. **and work should have been “in order to work”

  10. Furthermore, someone who comes here only to work hard, but who doesn’t share our values, will never be an American, no matter what their passport says. It is better to have an honest relationship with them. If they’re producing productively here, we should let them stay here as long as they stay productive and don’t commit any crime worse than a misdemeanor.

  11. MikeT-So you think Mexicans (or whatever) are somehow unworthy of becoming US citizens, because their government is supposed so different from ours? That smacks of racism, my friend. They are no different than you and me.

    Plus, if they are leaving a socialist country-maybe they are doing so because they don’t like the government-if they liked it, wouldn’t they would stay?

    Also, it takes a lot of guts to leave one’s country and go to another one to better themselves, as opposed to taking the easy way out and staying put-you would thinkthose who would immigrate would have all of the characteristics of entrepreneurship and self-reliance that would make a good citizen.

    I think you just don’t want any more brown people living next door to you.

  12. JMR, Is it so hard to imagine that immigrants from countries like Mexico, where Socialism is the ideology of the major political parties, might bring Socialist politics with them?

    My comment was not a disagreement with this… in fact I think a lot of Democratic openish-border support is based on the fact that they think that the immigrants will be leftish-leaning voters.

  13. Plus, if they are leaving a socialist country-maybe they are doing so because they don’t like the government-if they liked it, wouldn’t they would stay?

    Correlation does not equal causation. What makes you think that they are leaving it because they don’t like their country and how it’s run? Rather they are leaving it because of the poverty.

    As to your accusation of racism, “anti-racist” arguments like yours are the last refuge of scoundrels. Based on my comment, a reasonable person would say that I don’t favor much immigration from a country like France or Canada either.

  14. I think you just don’t want any more brown people living next door to you.

    I think you’re afraid to admit that this issue has nothing to do with race.

    My wife and I renewed our lease in an apartment complex where most of our immediate neighbors are Indians. Yeah, we really hate those brown people. Can’t stand them, that’s why we’re going to be living around them a while longer.

  15. Do you really want such people, or their offspring who will be raised with their values, participating in our system of government?

    Is this a joke?

    Also, Kerry’s site is very difficult to masturbate to.

  16. MikeT-As Warty just pointed out, the argument you are making doesn’t make any sense. “Don’t let in any more immigrants because they might be…OMG…SOCIALLLISSSSTTTSS!!!!” It’s one of the stupidiest arguments I’ve ever heard of. And, usually when we run into stupidity on this topic it’s because the person making the retarded argument is really a closet racist.

  17. Also, Kerry’s site is very difficult to masturbate to.

    I believe your needs are better addressed at reason.tv

  18. Sorry, I have to reject the claim that Singapore is totalitarian. They don’t cook their books in the elections. Singaporeans really do vote for a government that will fine them $500 for spitting on the sidewalk or urinating in an elevator.

    They like a neat, orderly society, and they vote for it.

    -jcr

  19. ” the restrictions on low-skilled immigrants are to keep them from turning the USA into a Latin-American socialist state.”

    I’d have to say that judging by the Cubans, Russians, and Chinese people I’ve met, socialist inclinations are the last thing we should fear from people who’ve fled from socialist regimes to the United States for economic opportunity.

    Do you imagine any of the Mexicans who come here illegally believe that the Mexican economy is better?

    -jcr

  20. The last thing we want is a lot of people to come here, make a fake pledge of loyalty, and work to better themselves. Losing one’s native citizenship to escape a poor country for one as rich as ours, is a small price to pay for most of the world. Do you really want such people, or their offspring who will be raised with their values, participating in our system of government?

    Millions and millions before them made the same choice throughout America’s history. You can bet a lot of them were citizenship “fakers” too. But a funny thing happened: their children were less good at faking than their adults. Grandchildren less so. Pretending that immigrants (especially those that can speak English) will totally overwhelm our own culture with their dark socialist tendencies is silly

  21. “No, we don’t want to be more like Singapore overall. We want to be more like Singapore in the ways that Singapore is more liberal than we are.”

    It’s like pointing out that we have more people incarcerated than China, and Yglesias objecting that we don’t want to emulate an authoritarian state like China.

    He so obviously missed Howley’s point, but I think he just wanted to decry our anti-democratic bent. …and everything on the internet is just another example of a bigger point he’s making, I guess.

    By the way, I don’t think the anti-democratic undercurrent he’s talking about is particularly libertarian or classically liberal so much as it’s a collective reaction to the realization of what we’ve done in this country since 2001 or so. For every overreaction there’s an…uh…overreaction.

  22. We shouldn’t want people who are only here to collect a paycheck and then go back home to their country after a few years (sending half of it home to their familes in the meantime)-we want them to make the US their home, with their familes coming along as well.

    Yea…but ONLY if they are WHITE. Fat Mexicans need not apply

  23. “The libertarian movement often comes off as a movement of desperate political losers because it has no strategy, nor a collective ability to realize the danger of certain policies not preceding or coinciding with others.”

    That doesn’t even make any sense. I can’t advocate policies that will benefit our economy with cheap labor because I’m also against the welfare state? Where’s the contradiction?

    “Do you really want such people, or their offspring who will be raised with their values, participating in our system of government?”

    I’m going to end up sounding like a broken record around here, but close family ties, a commitment to hard work and a conviction that the only job to be ashamed of is a job poorly done–those are the values I’m supposed to be afraid of?

    …on a strictly values basis, I’d like to trade Mexico 3-1. We’ll take in three hard working Mexican people for every native born, pubic school attending, college tuition loan sucking, not saving for retirement, burden on Medicare entitlement hog they’ll take off our hands.

    If people are the problem with this country, it isn’t the hard working people who want to come here; it’s the native born who think that being born here entitles them to the fruit of other people’s labor.

  24. “We’ll take in three hard working Mexican people for every native born, pubic school attending, college tuition loan sucking, not saving for retirement, burden on Medicare entitlement hog they’ll take off our hands”

    Mr. Shultz,
    You can say all the sweet things about me you want. I ain’t moving to Mexico.

    And Merry Christmas

  25. I think we can reasonably expect a U.S. guest worker program to be more compassionate and less disturbingly efficient than a Singaporean one. If the system is bettering lives over there, it would surely do so in a country less excited about, say, executing people for marijuana possession.

    Kerry-

    I’d like to agree with you on that, but I am stuck with a contrary thought: What if the reason that Singaporeans are more willing to let foreigners in is precisely because they trust their illiberal state to “keep those people in line”?

    If I were a xenophobe, I might still be willing to put up with having “those people” do construction on the cheap if I had reason to believe that some tough-ass cops will bust their chops for so much as spitting on a sidewalk. OTOH, if I were a xenophobe in America, I’d be more skeptical about the idea that our government will “keep those people in line”, so I’d be less likely to compromise for cheap labor.

    Fortunately I’m not a xenophobe, so I’m all in favor of anything that leads to an overall freer flow of people, products, information, and money.

  26. There is one thing that makes this immigration issue so difficult to deal with:

    1) The US government believes it has the legitimate authority to restrict the free movement of an individual solely because he was born somewhere else.

  27. Our government still extends the same welfare and other benefits to immigrants that citizens get.

    No it doesn’t.

    To be fair, the fact that citizen children of immigrants get welfare is an issue. But it is trivially solved by placing citizen children of immigrants on the welfare schedule of their parents, not that of a longtime citizen.

    The fact is that libertarians cannot look intelligent to the majority of America on the immigration issue until they make getting rid of the welfare state, or at least permanently ending all state benefits for immigrants, the first step toward immigration reform.

    That was done in 1986. What is the second step?

  28. As for the above comments’ Manichean positions pitting permanent immigration against temporary work programs, I think the US should do it the obvious way:

    Anyone who wants to come to the US to make a permanent home is free to do so. Anyone who wants to come to the US seasonally or for a few years and take his savings back to his home country is free to do so.

    Oddly, the tendencies of the opportunities offered in the US will balance very well the choices made by the prospective migrants or immigrants. I believe it’s called a “market”. Yes, I’m almost certain that’s what it’s called.

  29. Meh, milquetoast liberal cares more about U.S. unionized labor than poor foreigners seeking their share of the American dream. What else is new?

    It’s cold comfort when all you have to say for your own ideology is “50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong!”

  30. We need to keep them hard working, family oriented, Christians out of this America.

  31. Possibly the best thing about having 10-20 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. is that it proves the feasibility (and appeal!) of making it without the government’s support. And to me, it seems more likely that immigrants will understand the value of a free economy than native citizens. There are a ton of citizens whose families have been here for many generations who feel quite entitled to a retirement they didn’t save for, a job that is obsolete, a mortgage they can’t afford, or a wage that doesn’t match their skill set, and they’ve got all sorts of ancestral national origins. Folks who understand that you’ve got to go where the work is, make something for yourself, and strive for long-term goals are NOT THE ENEMY. (The Republicans made a huge mistake in alienating (pun intended) “them hard working, family oriented, Christians.”)

  32. Insofar as uneven access to wealthy labor markets reinforces global inequality, numbers like that strike me as “repugnant and un-American,” as well as pathetic and cruel.

    Not that we don’t already have poor people here – but fuck ’em! They’re only Americans! Obviously, the responsibility of the US government is to provide access and opportunity to all the rest of the world first!

    Next I expect that I’ll be hearing that the white race is a cancer on world. Methinks the brand of libertarianism promoted by Reason owes more of it’s DNA to Susan Sontag than Ayn Rand.

    My libertarian dictatorship would be one of wide open borders; a guest worker program is the compromise libertarianism makes with democracy. It’s a messy, ugly compromise, to be sure.

    Given that anyone who’s looked at an opinion poll or a newspaper lately knows damn well an American populace unfettered by law and government is a lot more likely to storm the Cato Institute with burning torches and pitchforks than to put up with having their country turned into an open borders three-ring circus, I suspect your “libertarian dictatorship” would have to be a lot heavier on the dictatorship than the libertarian bit.

    The pure humanitarian, pure libertarian position is not one that is currently politically feasible in any nation worth immigrating to.

    I’m still waiting to hear just when open borders became “the libertarian position”. To the extent that any libertarian of note discussed the matter, they were against it. No Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek or von Mises ever advocated any such thing. Few libertarians of my acquaintance hold any such views, and as was posted on Hit & Run some time earlier, even 2/3’s of the Libertarian Party candidates ran on an anti-immigration platform in the last election. Or has the editorial staff of Reason now arrogated to themselves the role of defining what is and isn’t libertarianism?

  33. I’m still waiting to hear just when open borders became “the libertarian position”.

    Well, it is the Libertarian Party’s immigration plank

    The Principle: The legitimate function and obligation of government to protect the lives, rights and property of its citizens, requires awareness of and control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demands that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.

  34. No Rothbard, Friedman, Hayek or von Mises ever advocated any such thing.

    And, come to think of it, at least one Friedman advocated such a thing…

    In my opinion, the restriction on immigration is a mistake: we should abolish it tomorrow and reopen the most successful attack on poverty the world has ever seen.

    — David Friedman, “Open the Gates,” The Machinery of Freedom

  35. I don’t know about Singapore, but Paul Krugman, and the New York Times obviously think poorly of Libertarianism…

    Fed shrugged as subprime crisis spread,” was the headline on a New York Times report on the failure of regulators to regulate. This may have been a discreet dig at Mr. Greenspan’s history as a disciple of Ayn Rand, the high priestess of unfettered capitalism known for her novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

    In a 1963 essay for Ms. Rand’s newsletter, Mr. Greenspan dismissed as a “collectivist” myth the idea that businessmen, left to their own devices, “would attempt to sell unsafe food and drugs, fraudulent securities, and shoddy buildings.” On the contrary, he declared, “it is in the self-interest of every businessman to have a reputation for honest dealings and a quality product.”

    It’s no wonder, then, that he brushed off warnings about deceptive lending practices, including those of Edward M. Gramlich, a member of the Federal Reserve board. In Mr. Greenspan’s world, predatory lending – like attempts to sell consumers poison toys and tainted seafood – just doesn’t happen.
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/122107H.shtml

  36. In the open borders utopia, what do we do about people who just want to conquer us?

    There are a number of racist groups (MeCHA, La Raza, etc) that want to conquer the US for Mexico, and they have substantial support within the immigrant population. Mexico’s president has made a number of statements that are little more than thinly veiled calls for Mexicans to restore the American southwest to Mexican control through colonization.

    Muslims are quite public about demographic jihad and using immigration as a means to conquer the west. Even if we changed the rules so their children (and they have a lot of children) weren’t citizens, are we prepared to kick them out, violently if necessary, when they don’t obey our law, as Islam says that mustn’t? If we aren’t, are we prepared to accept “no go” zones like they have in France, where Muslims openly attack police and commit arson without fear of any substantive reprisal. It isn’t about jobs, it’s about establishing Islamic mini-states where infidel law doesn’t rule.

  37. So we should keep Latin American immigrants from becoming fully fledged US citizens in order to preserve our freedoms? The idea being that people from socialistic states will be more inclined to be socialist themselves, and will therefore “pollute” our own nation?

    Interesting theory. Where was Ayn Rand from? Would you consider her a socialist? How about all of those Vietnamese immigrants living in Southern California – socialists as well?

  38. The fact is that libertarians cannot look intelligent to the majority of America on the immigration issue until they make getting rid of the welfare state, or at least permanently ending all state benefits for immigrants, the first step toward immigration reform.

    That was done in 1986. What is the second step?

    Actually doing it before allowing a flood of indigent immigrants into the country.

  39. Actually doing it before allowing a flood of indigent immigrants into the country.

    I don’t know… The way Bob Smith tells it, the only thing that will save America from the Reconquista is Islamic Balkanization.

  40. Balkanization won’t work, and there is no will to limit welfare. The liberals and the conservatives both want an unfettered flow of illegals, each for their own self-serving reasons.

    Bottom-line, the US will either assimilate the flow of poor immigrants without a significant degradation in living standards, or it won’t. With globalization of trade already pressuring blue-collar wages in the US, I am skeptical that this will have a happy outcome for lower and middle class Americans.

  41. Balkanization not only won’t work, it’s all but guaranteed under any open borders regime. I’m also amazed at the many people who think economics trumps culture. Culture is everything. It is what makes the economics work. Open borders means millions of people who do not and will not adopt our values. Why should they? The right way to bring economic freedom to others is to convince them to bring it to themselves, where they live, not to let them live here.

  42. Kerry, don’t let Yglesias back you up with that “anti-democracy libertarian” bullshit.

    The most undemocratic document written in the history of our republic is the Bill of Rights. Anyone who likes the Bill of Rights is properly understood as an enemy of democracy.

    The purpose of democracy in our system is to prevent the entrenchment of one faction in the offices of government. That’s it. It’s desirable for no other reason and frankly the public will usually sucks balls when it’s allowed to express itself.

    Like abortion? You hate democracy. Like free speech? You hate democracy. Like habeus corpus? You hate democracy. And so on, ad infinitum.

  43. The bottom line here is that immigration isn’t the problem: democracy is. It’s a much harder sell, but once you recognize democracy for the loser that it is, everything becomes a lot clearer.

    To be more specific, the problem isn’t poor people coming to the US to get on our Welfare/SS/Medicare rolls; rather, it’s the fact that any citizen can vote themselves the fruits of productive labor, and there is a perception (whether true or not) that poor immigrants who become citizens are more likely to do this than existing citizens.

    I personally don’t buy it: Americans have been quite happy to vote themselves others’ money for 70+ years, and I don’t expect that to change as long as they’re able to choose people to put in control of the crime syndicate we know as government, no matter who we let in.

    Every other debate about citizenship is just a reflection of one simple observation: voters like free stuff, and the government has the guns and the perception of legitimacy required to make you hand it over.

  44. Every other debate about citizenship is just a reflection of one simple observation: voters like free stuff, and the government has the guns and the perception of legitimacy required to make you hand it over.

    Given that a lot of people perceive many government actions to be legitimate, I suppose it would be in you and I’s best interests to change that perception. Agree or disagree?

    I don’t expect that to change as long as they’re able to choose people to put in control of the crime syndicate we know as government

    Are you really trying to start another anarco-minarchy debate, like it matters?

  45. In the open borders utopia, what do we do about people who just want to conquer us?

    What exactly do you mean by “conquer”? Displace our current government for something worse or better? If it promises something worse, then kill them. Get all Red Dawn on their asses. If it’s better (meaning increased liberty low-no taxation, etc.), then roll out the red carpet.

  46. Of course, in my previous post, I refer to an actual, state-sponsored invasion of our nation.

  47. A Sunday immigration thread sure brings out some different types.

    Immigration is like the WOD. People will go to where the work is whether you “let” them or not. Just like they will get weed whether you “let” them or not. So it’s just another form of prohibition. And we know how well that shit works, don’t we?

    It is not only illiberal to attempt to control the free movement of people, it is stupid. It just doesn’t work. So as usual, we have the government attempting to control something that it should not be controlling, and on top of that, cannot.

  48. “And we know how well that shit works, don’t we?”
    Actually, while it dosen’t work if you mean “ends drug use” it certainly works if by works you mean “there is less drug use with it than without it.” It’s just common sense as well as economic sense that providing a dis-incentive makes for less of something. So, for those of us who don’ like immigration much, especially illegal immigration, then we would like some more dis-incentives please.

  49. Most of us are, hopefully, spending time with their families during this holiday season. It’s neat that everyone thinks it is OK to treat your family to certain benefits that you would not treat to an outsider. It doesn’t mean you hate the outsider or wish him ill, its just that you give your family this preferential treatment. There is an emotional bond, a belongingness amongst you.

    What libertarians, I think, may be failing to see, is that for many (probably most) Americans this feeling can be extended to their communities, their states, and even their country. And just like we would not want someone to move into our house and get the benefits therein we don’t want just anyone to move into our larger communities and get the benefits therein.

  50. So, for those of us who don’ like immigration much, especially illegal immigration, then we would like some more dis-incentives please.

    Yes, by all means, let’s have totally totalitarian, police-state measures to reduce drugs/immigration/turd-burgling/gambling reduced by .0003%. What a great fucking solution, which also adds to our own personal freedom as well!

  51. So, for those of us who don’ like immigration much, especially illegal immigration, then we would like some more dis-incentives please.

    In other words, to quote Strangers With Candy, the only thing you hate worse than racists are spics.

  52. “Yes, by all means, let’s have totally totalitarian, police-state measures to reduce drugs/immigration/turd-burgling/gambling reduced by .0003%.”

    I’d say making things illegal makes for much less than a .0003% reduction in them. Again, that’s just economics 101. Its called incentives.

    “In other words, to quote Strangers With Candy, the only thing you hate worse than racists are spics.”

    Epi, you really should read the entire post that you quote from, cuz often the person’s answer is already there!

    “It doesn’t mean you hate the outsider or wish him ill, its just that you give your family this preferential treatment. There is an emotional bond, a belongingness amongst you.”

  53. But since we’re quoting Strangers With Candy (a great show and movie) here is one along the same lines:
    “I do like black people. It just took a white one to prove it to me.”

    That Jerri Blank, will she ever learn?

  54. Epi, you really should read the entire post that you quote from, cuz often the person’s answer is already there!

    Hey, it’s Sunday, I have a hangover, and I feel like being inflammatory! Besides, this isn’t about skinning and eating animals so I have to bait you somehow.

    “Historically, syphilis is right up there with Germans. It wiped out the Romanovs, it decimated our fleet at Pearl Harbor, and of course, Fidel Castro impersonated Marilyn Monroe and gave President Kennedy a case of syphilis so severe that eventually it blew the back of his head off.”

  55. Libertarians want “open borders” so their corporate masters can continue to rake in record profits while they are allowed to pay a pittance for their labor.

    Immigration and outsourcing (so-called “free trade”) are the reason for the decline of the American Middle Class.

    America doesn’t produce anything of any value anymore exccept pieces of paper. Our trade deficit is at a record level.

    No for the things our corporate masters can’t outsource to cheap labor overseas, they will bring the cheap subservient labor here.

    We should be focusing on strong unions and a high minimum wage.

  56. Reason even outsources its bolding to IllegalMexicans to provide profit for its CorporateMasters.

    LoneWacko, is that you?

  57. I don’t hate Mexicans, they are being exploited just like the American worker.

    What they need is strong labor unions to raise their standard of living, like we had here from the 50s to the 70s.

  58. I agree that the labor market needs to be free in order to be efficient. The existence of 12 – 20 million illegals in the US today is testament to the unmet demand for labor in the domestic market. I am saying that we should free the labor market, but there are some drawbacks to throwing open the floodgates on full citizenship.

  59. People aren’t listening to me. Hmmm, maybe I should try BOLDING. Nobody can deny the logic of BOLDING.

  60. Notice that no one has answered my arguments!

  61. Or those of Pig Mannix!

  62. Given that a lot of people perceive many government actions to be legitimate, I suppose it would be in you and I’s best interests to change that perception. Agree or disagree?

    Absolutely. The more people who see the government for the criminal gang it is, the better for liberty.

    Are you really trying to start another anarco-minarchy debate, like it matters?

    It does matter. When I get into debates on the internet, I don’t do it for the benefit of the person I’m arguing with, who generally already has his or her mind made up. I do it for the benefit of the other people reading/lurking, who may never have heard arguments in favor of anarchy/agorism before.

    Kyle

  63. One thing that struck me when I started paying serious attention to politics is how often counter-arguments to libertarian positions miss the point.

  64. The existence of 12 – 20 million illegals in the US today is testament to the unmet demand for labor below market rates in the domestic market.

  65. Middle Class Worker,

    “We should be focusing on strong unions and a high minimum wage.”

    Right… because a less productive, more expensive domestic workforce will somehow make it less attractive for employers to outsource work to lower cost countries.

    Pure economic ignorance.

  66. Right… because a less productive, more expensive domestic workforce will somehow make it less attractive for employers to outsource work to lower cost countries.

    Pure economic ignorance.

    Pure economic ignorance == fully informed economic trade-off Russ R doesn’t approve of.

  67. Libertarians are against democracy, but only because we’re against the state generally. It’s nothing personal!

  68. fully informed economic trade-off

    Informed by whom? And why do you feel it’s OK to decide with what people others choose to trade?

  69. As an aside, has anyone else noticed how inane Paul Krugman’s columns about sub-prime lending have been? He claims that it was caused by some sort of insidious free-market ideology run amok from Republicans which led to unregulated financial markets. Does the idea that Republicans are pro-market and banking is unregulated have any basis in reality?

    He just presents it as obvious that more regulation would have prevented the mortgage crisis but he never proposes any specific regulation that would have this effect. He just assumes that more regulation equals better economic decisions. It makes no sense.

  70. America doesn’t produce anything of any value anymore exccept pieces of paper. Our trade deficit is at a record level.

    I’m sorry, do you dictate what’s valuable and what isn’t?

    A PT Cruiser is not valuable to me because I don’t want one. Value is agent-relative, not absolute.

    No for the things our corporate masters can’t outsource to cheap labor overseas, they will bring the cheap subservient labor here.

    Oh, we wouldn’t want people moving here, would we? I have just the political party for you.

  71. Its not that I don’t want people moving here. I don’t want poor people of color being exploited by the big corporations. If they were given workers rights and a living wage I would not care.

  72. Informed by whom?

    Informed by reality. If cheap labor is good, free labor is obviously better. Hence, we have a sound economic argument for bringing back slavery if economic benefits are going to trump all other considerations.

    But if other considerations are going to come into play, clearly you’ve conceded maximizing economic benefit is not the end-all and be-all of public policy.

    And why do you feel it’s OK to decide with what people others choose to trade?

    Conflating immigration with free trade deserves all the credibility of the teenagers you caught screwing on your couch telling you they were practicing co-ed deep-breathing exercises. Yes, that may indeed be one of the results, but anyone trying to tell you that is only or even the primary consequence is either an idiot or a liar.

    When my iPod registers to vote, organizes a immigration rally, or gets busted for a DWI, then you can come back and tell me immigration is merely a form of trade.

    Unfortunately, your private “trade” has public consequences that effect other parties besides the immediate participants.

    And when that is the case, yes, I have no problem with public law regulating it.

  73. If they were given workers rights and a living wage I would not care.

    Given by whom? Perhaps they, like any other worker, can try earning it.

    I don’t want poor people of color being exploited coming to America and making better lives for themselves by being hired by the big corporations.

    When my iPod registers to vote, organizes a immigration rally, or gets busted for a DWI, then you can come back and tell me immigration is merely a form of trade.

    You think you can only trade in goods? How do you get paid, by charity?

    Unfortunately, your private “trade” has public consequences that effect other parties besides the immediate participants.

    Prove that. And who is the public?

  74. “Ayn_Randian”, what crosses the line into exploitation for you? Anything?

    What about a poor minority working ten hour days for $3 an hour, with no healthcare, no retirement, and no vacation?

  75. “Ayn_Randian”, what crosses the line into exploitation for you? Anything?

    It’s exploitation when that person doesn’t have a choice anymore. See: taxation.

    What about a poor minority working ten hour days for $3 an hour, with no healthcare, no retirement, and no vacation?

    A. Better for him than dredging mud, doing sustenance farming at 14 or 16 hours a day in his hellhole country.

    B. Stop playing the race card. Identity politics doesn’t become anybody. If it’s wrong for a “minority” to work in those conditions, then it’s wrong for everybody.

    C. If it’s so bad, why don’t YOU pay him more, if you’re so worried about it?

  76. When my iPod registers to vote, organizes a immigration rally, or gets busted for a DWI, then you can come back and tell me immigration is merely a form of trade.

    Wait, your argument here is that because uh, people live and machines don’t, that uh, we have to stop people from coming here?

    OK…I’ll note that all of the examples you gave could just as easily be actions an American would do.

  77. Wait, your argument here is that because uh, people live and machines don’t, that uh, we have to stop people from coming here?

    Actually, I’m not. Whether we should or shouldn’t is an entirely different argument.

    My point is that conflating immigration with trade is a sleight-of-hand designed to obscure the fact that the consequences of immigration and trade are two different things entirely. A point which you manage to avoid addressing entirely, I’d add.

    When you’re prepared to quit lying about what it is you want to do, I’m prepared to debate the merits of it…..

  78. When you’re prepared to quit lying about what it is you want to do, I’m prepared to debate the merits of it…

    You know, culturally speaking, I don’t have a lot in common with people from rural Alabama. They’re generally Republican, Christian and that immigration! = trade. I agree with social conservatives.

    If their source of economic viability ceased to be productive for them any longer, I wouldn’t advocate limiting the number of them that can cross the “border” in to Columbus, Ohio.

    My point is that conflating immigration with trade is a sleight-of-hand designed to obscure the fact that the consequences of immigration and trade are two different things entirely.

    I don’t think it’s a sleight-of-hand. Point addressed. What you were going for is that immigration!=trade. I agree with you there; immigration is about the people moving themselves, whereas trade is about individuals trading one thing for another and both coming away better than they were before (that’s optimal, of course).

    I will note that immigration can be very similar to trade. Ever wonder why all the “boat people” from Viet Nam came here at a serious risk to themselves? They decided the risk was worth the benefit.

    When you’re prepared to quit lying

    I’m lying? Where?

  79. You know, culturally speaking, I don’t have a lot in common with people from rural Alabama. They’re generally Republican, Christian and that immigration! = trade. I agree with social conservatives.

    If their source of economic viability ceased to be productive for them any longer, I wouldn’t advocate limiting the number of them that can cross the “border” in to Columbus, Ohio.

    The difference is that Ohio and Alabama are both signatories to an agreement called the Constitution that recognizes reciprocal rights of migration, a common interest in defense, and other common rights. Ohio is not obliged to unilaterally allow Alabama to dump it’s excess population on them with impunity.

    When you have a similar agreement with Mexico and Canada, I’ll buy the proposition that those situations are comparable. Until then, that’s a pretty thin argument.

    I’m lying? Where?

    I’ll withdraw the accusation of lying, and replace it with one of being disingenuous. Your original post to me on the subject asked, “And why do you feel it’s OK to decide with what people others choose to trade?” Obviously, we aren’t discussing trade, except tangentially.

  80. Obviously, we aren’t discussing trade, except tangentially.

    It’s always about trade, Mannix. I mean that in the individual sense, where it belongs.

    that recognizes reciprocal rights of migration, a common interest in defense, and other common rights

    First of all, they aren’t rights, they’re obligations

    Where does the Constitution speak on immigration matters? If you cite Art. 4, Sec. IV, I’m going to stop taking you seriously.

  81. So, Pig, if you can call someone a lier without any basis, does that make you a lier? Or just disingenuous?

  82. The existence of 12 – 20 million illegals in the US today is testament to the unmet demand for labor below market rates in the domestic market.

    With unemployment rates still in the mid single digits, the existence of 12 – 20 million illegals in the US today is testament to the demand for labor in the domestic market. Period. There’s no such thing, really, as “below market rate” in this environment.

  83. lyre?

    liar?

    OK there we go…

  84. There’s no such thing, really, as “below market rate” in this any free environment.

  85. It’s always about trade, Mannix. I mean that in the individual sense, where it belongs.

    You might as well say it’s all about shitting, because all people do that, too. That doesn’t give them the right to do it anywhere they please.

    Where does the Constitution speak on immigration matters? If you cite Art. 4, Sec. IV, I’m going to stop taking you seriously.

    How about Article I, Section 9?

  86. “I don’t want poor people of color being exploited by the big corporations. If they were given workers rights and a living wage I would not care.”

    Let me get this straight. You don’t care if America competes in the real world but rather we should just feel good for a few months (then the crash) knowing that we voted to live in the bizzaro world just to say we did it for “the poor”? This would benefit no one and harm the poor the most. Other than illegal immigrants only a small portion of the legitimate workforce even attempts to live solely from a minimum wage.
    They also don’t stay at the lower 20% of the income spectrum very long either. Contrast this with the average illegal immigrant who has no where to go but a small step up from Mexico no matter how long they stay. So what you are asking us to buy into is a situation where we just say come on in and dilute the hugely successful social and market system we have going and we will also grant you the right to speak freely about how corrupt the system is that is exploiting you? The system you can’t move up in because you can’t speak English and you have only rudimentary skills. A system that you have no grasp of in terms of custom and rule of law. And you ask us to ignore the obvious remedy; FIX MEXICO.
    Nope can’t buy into that one.

    “One thing that struck me when I started paying serious attention to politics is how often counter-arguments to libertarian positions miss the point.”
    Well said!
    I think the very same thing every time I hear, read or see a news item.
    They just don’t get the point. Does anybody here pine for a almost Libertarian who will do what he promises. Fred Thompson is as close as we have ever been to a Constitutionally guided individual. He has touted federalism since first on the public scene. He would be one huge step closer to a Libertarian philosophy than any of the other viable candidates.
    Fix the border and enforce the law? After all we did pass the law. Is that radical?

  87. We don’t have a free market in most categories of labor.

    Turning a blind eye to migration of poor workers from parts of Latin America while strictly enforcing immigration and employment laws for workers from other classes and places of geographical origin for protectionist reasons is not an “open immigration” policy.

  88. Ohio is not obliged to unilaterally allow Alabama to dump it’s excess population on them with impunity.

    What’s to stop them?

  89. Ohio is not obliged to unilaterally allow Alabama to dump it’s excess population on them with impunity.

    That strikes me as a blatantly false and if you don’t mind me saying, idiotic, statement.

    What is stopping someone from AL moving to OH?

  90. 1) Our government refuses to control the borders.

    In what way are the borders “uncontrolled”?

    Are you suggesting we post a guard every hundred yards along the border, or what?

    2) Our government refuses to severely punish employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

    And how precisely, short of establishing a police state, do you suggest we enforce this?

    3) Our government still extends the same welfare and other benefits to immigrants that citizens get.

    Quite wrong! There are any number of state and federal laws that specifically deny welfare benefits to not just illegal immigrants but to legal ones as well.

    Frankly, it would really help if people like you learned what laws actually applied in these areas before you spout your racist bugshit.

  91. Its a good thing we have posters like Middle Class Worker.

    If we didn’t I might run out of fertilizer for my organic garden.

  92. Is it so hard to imagine that immigrants from countries like Mexico, where Socialism is the ideology of the major political parties,…

    Wow, oh, wow, the PAN (the ruling party in Mexico) is no more a “socialist” party than Bush’s Republicans.

    Keep shovelling though. My beefsteaks are getting huge.

  93. It’s exploitation when that person doesn’t have a choice anymore. See: taxation.

    Taxation is the price we all pay to run a civilization. Running a civilization an be expensive, but its even more expensive if we end up having a French or Russian Revolution due to lack of a social safety net.

  94. Running a civilization an be expensive, but its even more expensive if we end up having a French or Russian Revolution due to lack of a social safety net.

    1) We don’t lack a safety net
    2) Any segment of society that extorts the rest with threats of violence should be kicked out immediately
    3) Our supposed lack of a safety net means we’re a lot richer than France
    4) Our poor lives like France’s middle class
    5) Everybody’s getting richer: Rich Get Richer, Poor Get Richer: http://www.heritage.org/press/dailybriefing/policyweblog.cfm?blogid=CEF990B2-B435-FD35-2721093D68720048

  95. Middle Class Worker

    The French Revolution resulted from the fact that the bourgeoisie (the actual middle class ie business owners) got tired of the fact that the aristocracy (ie welfare bludgers) took all of their money through taxation.

    Where do you think the next revolution will happen?

    Keep shovelling, my tomatoes are getting dependent on what you produce.

  96. Is Singapore a Libertarian Utopia?

    No.

  97. Nothing more fun than a commie/libertarian throw-down…

    Platitudes and axioms flying every which way…

    =/;^)

  98. That strikes me as a blatantly false and if you don’t mind me saying, idiotic, statement.

    What is stopping someone from AL moving to OH?

    Ok, that was badly worded. What I meant was that they’re parties to a reciprocal arrangement. Someone from Ohio is just as free to move to Alabama as someone from Alabama is to move to Ohio. A resident of Ohio can own property in Alabama. A resident of Ohio has substantially the same legal rights in Alabama that they have in Ohio. The point is, it’s not a one way arrangement. The agreement between the states is not the same as the situation between different countries.

  99. Platitudes and axioms flying every which way… I’m convinced Middle Class Worker is some kind of clown version of the most common (and stupidest) anti-libertarian arguments out there. It’s MikeT, dumbed down (somehow).

  100. Taxation is the price we all pay to run a civilization.

    I don’t buy into running a civilization based on such an uncivilized concept that people are inherently stupid.

    The point is, it’s not a one way arrangement.

    If Mexico can’t figure out a governmental system that lets motivated and productive workers produce, I’m inclined to say “Your loss, our gain”.

    Is there any particular reason Mexicans shouldn’t be as free as Alabamans or Ohioan?
    Just asking, because that seems to be what you’re saying.

  101. SIV:
    Turning a blind eye to migration of poor workers from parts of Latin America while strictly enforcing immigration and employment laws for workers from other classes and places of geographical origin for protectionist reasons is not an “open immigration” policy.

    Who said it was?

  102. If Mexico can’t figure out a governmental system that lets motivated and productive workers produce, I’m inclined to say “Your loss, our gain”.

    If there was any consensus that the situation was a net gain, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I’d say most of the consensus seems to be in the other direction.

    Is there any particular reason Mexicans shouldn’t be as free as Alabamans or Ohioan?
    Just asking, because that seems to be what you’re saying.

    I have no problem with Mexicans being just as free as anyone else. But that’s an issue citizens of Mexico need to take up with the Mexican government. Not the government of the United States.

    Oh, you meant should non-naturalized Mexicans have the same rights in the United States as citizens of the United States have?

    I’ll buy into that the day Mexico guaruntees Americans the same rights Mexicans have in Mexico.

    I notice that the champions of “equal rights” don’t seem to have anywhere near the interest in securing the same rights for Americans in foreign countries that they seem to think foreigners should have in America. Their idea of “equality” usually amounts to “Americans, bend over and grab your ankles! You owe the world!”.

    The Susan Sontag Libertarians….

  103. The agreement between the states is not the same as the situation between different countries.

    Be that as it may, it is hardly relevant to the issue of whether individuals should have the right to migrate irrespective of what governments say or even whether “uncontrolled” immigration is of net harm.

    It may be the case that the people of Alabama want to leave their state in droves to migrate to Ohio, yet no one in Ohio wants to go to Alabama. The fact that there is full reciprocity between the states is utterly immaterial to the experience of Ohio under that immigration load.

    Similarly, the fact that it is harder for American retirees to land themselves in Mexico than it is for Mexican twenty-somethings to illegally enter and work in the US is hardly material to the experience of the US under that immigration load.

  104. I notice that the champions of “equal rights” don’t seem to have anywhere near the interest in securing the same rights for Americans in foreign countries that they seem to think foreigners should have in America.

    Every individual should be accorded the protection of his or her natural rights regardless of where he or she was born and regardless of what government claims dominion over where he or she resides.

    Apologies for the oversight…

  105. Pig Mannix, you sound dumber than Lou Dobbs.

    Try not to cry, I know that’s crushing.

  106. While I sympathize with Kerry’s response (and any post which points out that Matt Y missed the point), I think she misses an important point: it’s the ways that Singapore is less liberal than the U.S. that allows them to be more liberal than the U.S. in this regard.

    For instance, the article points out that pregnant guest workers get abortions or get sent home from Singapore. But the U.S. would never be able to enforce that. (For one thing, our bureaucratic machinery ain’t that efficient! By the time anybody in the government figured it out, the kid would be celebrating its third birthday.) But our bleeding heart crowds would be up in arms at the notion that a woman be forced to choose between abortion and going home. Or if we didn’t give the choice, and sent her home, they’d be aghast at the notion that a woman could be fired — let alone deported — for getting pregnant.

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