Economics

You Can Believe in Ignorant, Statist Voters and Open Borders At the Same Time

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Economist Bryan Caplan is doubtful about the perspicacity of voters when it comes to economics–yet as an open borders libertarian, he wants to increase the likely number of economically foolish voters. And he's OK with that:

Once you admit that (a) democracy does what voters want, (b) voters irrationally oppose markets and liberty, (c) voters from less pro-market and pro-liberty lands are probably even more irrational than we are, doesn't the case for strict immigration restriction readily follow?

No…. 

1. Open borders are an extremely important component of the free market and human liberty.  The labor market is roughly 70% of the economy.  Labor is the main product that most people around the world have to sell.  Immigration restrictions massively distort this market, and deprive literally billions of people of the freedom to sell their labor to willing employers.  So even if open borders made all otherpolicies much less pro-market and pro-liberty, the (open borders + side effects thereof) package would almost certainly constitute a net gain for free markets and liberty.

2. The political effect of immigrants on markets and liberty is at worst modestly negative.  The median American isn't a libertarian, and the median immigrant isn't a Stalinist.  We're talking about marginal disagreements between social democrats, nothing more…

….perhaps it's best to respond to the political externalities question with another question: "If you favor markets and liberty, how can you oppose the deportation of the entire statist generation?"  Native voters under 30 are more hostile to markets and liberty than immigrants ever were.  Why not just kick them out?  Part of your answer, hopefully, is that mass deportation would be a vastly greater crime against markets and liberty than anything voters under 30 are likely to manage.  My position in a sentence, similarly, is that immigration restrictions are a vastly greater crime against markets and liberty than anything immigrant voters are likely to manage.

Caplan's reasons for doubting voters economic perspicacity were explained in his classic Reason magazine cover story from October 2007, "The Four Boneheaded Biases of Stupid Voters (And We're All Stupid Voters)."

NEXT: Watch Freedom Watch Tonight! Reasoners Gillespie, Mangu-Ward, & Welch on What it Means to be a Libertarian!

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  1. DEY TURK UR VOTES!

  2. So is he proposing that the U.S. unilaterally open it’s borders, or that all countries do so? If it’s the first, then it’s not truly a free labor market since the original inhabitants of the U.S. wouldn’t be free to engage in whatever labor markets THEY chose.

    1. This is just a dressed-up version of “we can’t reduce our tariffs/import barriers until other countries do.”

      Closing your borders imposes and economic burden on your own people, both in terms of increased prices and reduced productivity. What the other country does will have an impact, but slashing your wrists because the other side gave you a paper cut is not a smart way to operate.

      1. Theory vs. Reality again.

        Opening up borders has placed a huge burned on the California people. While the whole country can eat the slightly cheaper veggies and fruits, the CA taxpayer pays the costs that the employer doesn’t.

        Get rid of welfare, public education, etc. THEN talk to me about open borders. To do it in reverse it just insane.

        1. Is it really? How much are you guys really suffering?

          Besides, again, I say flood the system until it breaks.

          1. The state is almost insolvant and we already have the highest tax rates in the country. So I’d say we’re not doing well.

            1. Good, just a little bit more until it breaks.

              1. If you want to advocate for anarchy, that’s fine, but don’t try to tell anyone that things won’t get worse before they get better.

            2. CA isnt almost insolvant because of immigrants. They are almost insolvant because the state legislature wont cut spending and failure to fund pension plans the last 20 years.

              1. Numbers I’ve seen estimate the cost of the combination of welfare state/illegal immigration costs CA upwards of 10 Billion annually. That doesn’t include welfare to illegal parents with legal children.

                I agree we have more problems in CA than illegals, and blaming them for our problems is a cop out. I don’t blame them for even their portion of the costs – I blame the people who are getting ‘cheap labor’ on the taxpayers dime…

        2. burned should read ‘burden’ although maybe burned fits the current situation too

        3. We can’t free the prisoners until their torture stops!

    2. Re: FleeingCali,

      So is he proposing that the U.S. unilaterally open it’s borders, or that all countries do so?

      If it’s the first, then it’s not truly a free labor market since the original inhabitants of the U.S. wouldn’t be free to engage in whatever labor markets THEY chose.

      That would belie common sense and economics. If people are migrating IN due to open borders, it would indicate a demand for labor, whereas if people were trying to migrate OUT, it would be because of an excess supply of labor or higher labor costs, which would obviate the open border policy.

      Either way, it is preferable to have open borders as the importation of labor reduces the overall cost of production, increases division of labor and increases productivity.

      1. “If people are migrating IN due to open borders, it would indicate a demand for labor………”
        Maybe, but that is definitely not the only indication. Just as likely, family, housing, public schools, welfare, emergency rooms, drug violence, ease of crossing border and everything else you can think of where that item is worse off in mexico. Imagine if there was a wall which didn’t allow immigration, there would still be a demand for labor but not nearly as much in-migration.

        1. Re: ola,

          Maybe, but that is definitely not the only indication. Just as likely, family, housing, public schools, welfare, emergency rooms, drug violence, ease of crossing border and everything else you can think of where that item is worse off in [M]exico.

          He’s not talking about an open border sorely with Mexico. All other things being equal and if only the US had open borders, an influx of migrats would indicate a higher demand for labor (cheap or otherwise), and if no demand existed then the fact that there’s an open border policy would be irrelevant.

          Imagine if there was a wall which didn’t allow immigration, there would still be a demand for labor but not nearly as much in-migration.

          Maybe, but then the higher demand of labor would simply make labor more expensive, not less.

  3. I’m sorry, FleeingCali, but we don’t get to tell other countries what to do. Our government can do it for itself. If we unilaterally lower our barriers, others will follow suit.

    What you are proposing is a positive right. You do not have a right to tell other countries what their immigration policy should be.

    1. This is a good example of how something sounds great in theory, but the practical application is a disaster.

      “if we unilaterally lower our barriers, others will follow suit”

      WTF? You really believe that? Hey, maybe if we disarm our military, the whole world will do the same too. Maybe if we have a separation of church and state, others will follow. (oops, that didn’t seem to work out)

      We have a living example of what unregulated, mass importation of low skill, low wage workers will create. It’s called California. Seems great for a while when you get cheap low end services, but then you realize that we live in a welfare state. And each child of each immigrant costs the state taxpayer about 10 grand. Then, since the employers bringing in cheap labor probably don’t want to provide any sort of health insurace, those workers end out in hospital ER’s for non-emergency care.

      I don’t blame the immigrants – they’re doing what’s in their best interests and have pretty limited options if sneaking through the desert(for a low end job) is considered a good one.

      1. Suck it up, Cali. You whities are too damn expensive.

        1. May I please fuck your racist ass? I don’t really like the smell, but the squishy is teh awesome.

      2. We have a living example of what unregulated, mass importation of low skill, low wage workers will create. It’s called California.

        We have another example, too. It’s called “Europe”. And the same stupid idea is working out about as well there as it is in California.

      3. Which is it- an unregulated market or a welfare state?

        1. Both.

          You can pick one or the other, but not both.

          Open borders combined with a welfare state do not work.

          1. Then lets everyone in, break the bank! The system would collapse under the sheer weight of it all.

            1. You must be a child right? An adult wouldn’t hope for an economic collapse of the country they live in. I understand the ‘it’s got to get worse before it gets better’ argument, but a fiscal and economic collapse would ruin millions of lives. If there is a way to fix the situation without collapse, it would be immoral to allow it to happen.

              1. Small price to pay.

                1. To pay for what? It doesn’t sound like I’ll be getting anything I’m interested in having for the price.

                  1. Get out of here, Third Positionist. You don’t get a voice here.

                    1. Since when does a loud mouthed runt like you get to decide who gets a voice in what?

                    2. Since when did a low form of life get the authority to tell me to shut up?

                    3. Shut the fuck up, cunt.

            2. Then lets everyone in, break the bank! The system would collapse under the sheer weight of it all.

              Which is much, much more likely to end in dictatorship not libertopia.

      4. We have a living example of what unregulated, mass importation of low skill, low wage workers will create.

        You mean America from the 1890s-1940s?

        Oh, I guess that doesn’t count because most of those immigrants were “white”.

        1. You mean America from the 1890s-1940s?

          You’re making this way too easy. Compare the size of the federal government in 1890 and 1940 and tell me again that unrestricted immigration is good for liberty and limited government.

          1. You’re making this way too easy. Compare the size of the federal government in 1890 and 1940 if only all those Jews didn’t vote for FDR, and tell me again that unrestricted immigration is good for liberty and limited government.

            I believe that is what you were trying to say. However, I’m still not buying your argument that free immigration led to the expansion of federal government. The burden of proof is on you to prove that immigration, in and of itself, leads to an expansion of government. Especially considering how liberty entails freedom of movement.

            1. Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. I meant that the Jews put FDR in office. You got me.

              As far as burdens of proof go, you’re the one who made the initial assertion that mass immigration 1890-1940 had only salutary effects on liberty. So tell me why the New Deal – the greatest assault on economic freedom in American history – followed the importation of all those freedom-loving European immigrants.

            2. Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. I meant that the Jews put FDR in office. You got me.

              As far as burdens of proof go, you’re the one who made the initial assertion that mass immigration 1890-1940 had only salutary effects on liberty. So tell me why the New Deal – the greatest assault on economic freedom in American history – followed the importation of all those freedom-loving European immigrants.

              Especially considering how liberty entails freedom of movement.

              Liberty does entail freedom of movement. Liberty does not entail the right to tell me how to live my life, which is what enfranchising everyone will do.

              1. As far as burdens of proof go, you’re the one who made the initial assertion that mass immigration 1890-1940 had only salutary effects on liberty

                Actually, I didn’t. I just said that mass immigration made America what it was from 1890 to 1940-ish.

                Yes, immigrants fuelled the “Tammany Hall” political machine. What I’m saying this that America survived the Boss Tweeds of that era. Indeed, a large part of the downfall of Tammany Hall was when the New Deal was trimmed in the 40s, leaving the NY Democrats with less resources to buy political patronage with.

                1. I just said that mass immigration made America what it was from 1890 to 1940-ish.

                  I’m sorry; what exactly was America from 1890-1940, and how did mass immigration make it that way? If you’re saying that America didn’t become a Stalinist hellhole, then yeah, I agree with you. But in this discussion you’ve been disputing the existence of a negative relationship between mass immigration and freedom.

                  The period that you identified (1890-1940) included the New Deal, which was major assaults on liberty. Proving me wrong should not be that hard to verify. If you can show me that the white Europeans who immigrated to the United States in that period tended to vote against the party that put the New Deal in place, I’ll reconsider my position.
                  But I believe that you’ll find that the immigrants voted for the party that gave us Wickard, just as immigrants voted for the party that gave us Obamacare.

                  You know what will also cause me to reconsider my position? If you can show me that immigrants at any time in this nation’s history tended to vote for politicians promising more economic liberty.

                  1. You know what will also cause me to reconsider my position? If you can show me that immigrants at any time in this nation’s history tended to vote for politicians promising more economic liberty.

                    That might be difficult considering, you know, “secret ballots”. 🙂

                    1. Come on, there are a lot of ways to measure this. Voter registration records showing party affiliation of those with Polish, Irish, and Italian surnames will do nicely, as will the voting patterns of cities with large numbers of immigrants.

                    2. Before then, we had everything from the Alien & Sedition Acts to slavery to the Civil War. Most voters for FDR were not immigrants, and his base was more blacks and women (the latter newly enfranchised during that same period and leading the push for Prohibition) than anything else. FDR also carried the Southern states, and his reelection campaigns ended in landslides. The last time he was basically reelected on his deathbed.

        2. Have it your way. But answer me this: How many major corporations have been founded, and how many Nobel prizes have been won, by people whose origin was a third world country?

          How many significant inventions have originated south of the Rio Grande?

          Immigrants whose countries of origin already have a tradition of creativity and innovation tend to continue being innovative and creative once they are here. Immigrants from countries that don’t have those traditions aren’t magically developing them once they get here, either.

          Like it or not, a nation is composed of it’s people, not it’s constitution. I suspect Thomas Edison would have still have been a great inventor whether or not we ever gained our independence from the British Crown.

          1. Get the fuck back to the Stormfront boards, bitch.

            1. Whatsa matta U? A factual rebuttal to the statement is beyond the scope of your talents, or what?

              1. It’s meaningless. A genius is a genius and a brute is a brute. Don’t bring your collectivist bullshit here.

            2. Get the fuck back to the Stormfront boards, bitch.

              Hilarious.

              The dude said “Immigrants whose countries of origin already have a tradition of creativity and innovation tend to continue being innovative and creative once they are here.” I’m pretty sure that India counts, and that country has had both innovators and brown people. You know what else they had? The rule of law, given to them by the same country that gave it to America.

              1. Get the fuck back to the Stormfront boards, bitch.

                Hilarious.

                The dude said “Immigrants whose countries of origin already have a tradition of creativity and innovation tend to continue being innovative and creative once they are here.” I’m pretty sure that India counts, and that country has had both innovators and brown people. You know what else they had? The rule of law, given to them by the same country that gave it to America.

                Um, no. Tristan is talking about the fact that Slap the Enlightened!’s handle links back to a neo-fascist website.

                1. Well, if they’re fascists, you should be able to point out to us which fascist policies they’re advocating. Care to enlighten us?

                  1. Well, if they’re fascists, you should be able to point out to us which fascist policies they’re advocating. Care to enlighten us?

                    Sure.

                    The American Third Positionists advocate a populist, economic nationalist form of Producerism. In the Party’s own words, “The American Third Position rejects the notion that we should protect the rights of individuals at the expense of our communities and nation. But we also reject the thought that we ought to hinder competition in private enterprise. As true economic nationalists, we believe that there must be a delicate balance achieved between the two.” This is the exact definition. As such, the party supports trade protectionist policies: “To nurture start-up businesses, and to foster growth in existing businesses, the A3P will protect against unfair imports. These are imports which are a product of those businesses who have established manufacturing installations in foreign lands so as to gain an unfair advantage against companies at home. They are imports that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

                    The American Third Position will also penalize, as much as possible, those businesses and businesspersons who exploit immigrant and disabled labor. Existing laws will be enforced, and new laws will be created to ensure that these sorts of sickening business maneuvers are immediately halted.”

                    Furthermore, many planks of the party rest on ethnonationalism; for example, the party’s “mission statement”: The American Third Position exists to represent the political interests of White Americans. And of course their viewpoint on “globalization”: And while the American Third Position recognizes the importance of trade, we do not recognize other peoples and other nations as having any competitive advantage beyond a willingness to accept inadequate wages or beyond merely holding resources important to our advancement. That there is no one more inventive, more industrious, or more hard-working than the American is an idea constituting a part of the cornerstone of our ideological platform. Where others falter in their belief of this idea, we will stand steadfast in our conviction.”

                    Their plank on immigration is equally neo-fascist, and sickening:If current demographic trends persist, European-Americans will become a minority in America in only a few decades time. The American Third Position will not allow this to happen.

                    To safeguard our identity and culture, and to maintain the very existence of our nation, we will immediately put an indefinite moratorium on all immigration. Recognizing our people’s right to safety, and respecting the sanctity of the rule of law, we will immediately deport all criminal and illegal aliens. We believe, too, that American citizenship should be exclusive and meaningful. As such, the American Third Position will end the practice of automatic birthright-citizenship for children of illegal aliens. To restore, with civility, the identity and culture of our homeland, we will provide incentives for recent, legal immigrants to return to their respective lands.

                    The rationale behind this policy is textbook European fascist-style romantic nationalism: Like all other things, the character and soul of a nation is a product of the things it is comprised of. A nation is more than a meaningless geopolitical boundary; it is a collection of people who share many things in common. These people are brought together for more than simply quelling an atavistic dread of the elements -to gather food or last through winter ? or the desire to protect themselves against a foe, although these are purposes the nation serves. A nation is an extension of our family. When we change who we consider a part of our family, as if we could, we change the nature of our family, its character and its soul.

                    Immigration is more than a national security issue. It is more than an issue of pragmatics: how much immigrants give in contrast to how much they take. It isn’t an issue of simply combating crime, traffic congestion, soaring home prices, the decline in the state our education, hospitals, and infrastructure. It isn’t simply about protecting our wages or keeping us employed. Although all of those things are very important to us and to the health of our nation and economy, there are other things that are of equal, if not greater, importance.

                    Immigration affects our culture. It affects the way we feel, act, and operate within a community. It affects whether or not we can have actual communities at all. It affects our welfare and livelihood in ways that are immeasurable, aside from the efforts we go to in protecting against it. Immigration erodes our culture and sense of identity. In cities where many cultures meet, there is an atmosphere of hostility. Neighborhoods become atomized, and a true community is never established.

                    Again, notice how they appeal to a communitarian idea of the “nation” as an organic entity. The party’s plank on “Rule of Law” is equally fascist/authortarian: The A3P will restore law , order, and public confidence. We are not interested in respecting the rights of people who harm others, while failing to observe the rights of their victims. We will unbind the hands of our law enforcement officers and we will free up the court system in order that the rule of law is maintained.

                    You hear that Balko? According to Slap the Enlightened!’s ilk, our LEOs have their hands bound.

                    And of course, like all true Fascists, they have a Space-fetish: We believe that all of our people aspire to explore the heavens and learn more about their place within the cosmos. This aspiration is such a part of us that it does not require justification in order for a government to pursue it. It is something we must do. It is a necessity. That our space program has been allowed to deteriorate into what it is today is shameful and unforgivable.

                    We will once again extend the arm of man into the heavens and reach for greatness. We will put our trust in the hands of our people, providing incentives to our best and brightest to pursue our space exploration goals. We will do this while also maintaining and improving the current, federal space exploration program. The A3P will restore America to its former glory.

                    I’m sure there is more, but that’s all the time I wish to spend analyzing the political platform of such scum as the A3P.

                    1. This is the exact definition.

                      Should read, “this is the exact definition of Corporatism.”

              2. Get the fuck back to the Stormfront boards, bitch.

                Hilarious.

                The dude said “Immigrants whose countries of origin already have a tradition of creativity and innovation tend to continue being innovative and creative once they are here.” I’m pretty sure that India counts, and that country has had both innovators and brown people. You know what else they had? The rule of law, given to them by the same country that gave it to America.

                Um, no. Tristan is talking about the fact that Slap the Enlightened!’s handle links back to a neo-fascist website.

                1. Doesn’t look at all fascist, but avowedly racist.

      5. pretty limited options if sneaking through the desert(for a low end job) is considered a good one.

        This is how lazy us Americans are. “Ugh, sneaking through a desert? That’s like, a bunch of effort, and it’ll be hot (or cold), and I’d have to carry a bunch of water, and get some good sunscreeen. And what if my iPod ran out of songs before I reached my destination? You expect me to listen to the same song twice? OMG, I’d rather lay down and die!”

        Kudos, Mexicans, you’re still real human beings. Meanwhile, we’ll just keep atrophying into a paler shadow of the fine examples of mankind that built this nation.

        1. “Meanwhile, we’ll just keep atrophying into a paler shadow of the fine examples of mankind that built this nation.”

          Ever dig your way out of a Minneapolis snowstorm?

          1. I was pretty sure the Minnesota was it’s own country.

            1. ITS (i’ve been doing so well)

            2. I was pretty sure the Minnesota was it’s own country.

              Yes, and from what I understand it’s a strong ally of the Iraq.

          2. Ever dig your way out of a Minneapolis snowstorm?

            Yep, just this last weekend. 🙂

  4. Besides, immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial and hard working than natives, welfare or not. That’s because they don’t take anything for granted. They have less of a sense of entitlement. That’s because their livelihoods weren’t handed to them.

    If anything, more immigrants would mean a more libertarian America. Homogenous populations are more likely to favor high welfare spending anyway.

    1. “Besides, immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial and hard working than natives, welfare or not. ”

      BS. U.S. workers are amazingly productive and hard working. The statistics bear that out.

    2. I’m not sure that you can make a blanket statement that most immigrants are libertarian hard working salt of the earth folks who don’t want to add to our welfare woes.

      California is broke right now and a big chunk of that tab is welfare for illegal immigrants.

      That doesn’t mean that I’m saying that most immigrants are welfare leeches, but I don’t think it’s black or white one way or the other.

      1. So, you’re willing to be a ultilitarian about this?

        1. So, you’re willing to be a ultilitarian about this?

          I’m not sure what you mean by that.

          1. I think he means, to quote myself:

            Fuck Utilitarianism.

      2. California is broke right now and a big chunk of that tab is welfare for illegal immigrants.

        Citation. I don’t have any citations at hand, either, but the impression I have from readings is that the closest true statement you could have made is “a big chunk of that tab is K-12 public schooling for illegal immigrants”.

        1. It’s more than just k-12-

          http://thesop.org/story/201011…..ities.html

          “Right now, about 25,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to receive in-state tuition rates in California.”

          When you include the welfare benefits that US-born children of illegal immigrants receive (which primarily ends up in the pockets of the illegal immigrant parents) the costs get substantially higher.

          http://www.judicialwatch.org/b…..e-checks-0

          1. Anyways, the point I’m going to guess your glossing over in your mind:
            1) California blows much bigger chunks of money on other, more wasteful things.
            2) California doesn’t have to give out as much aid to illegal immigrants as it does now.
            3) Illegal immigrants pay all kinds of taxes, just like the rest of us.
            4) Illegal immigrants could be made legal.

            1. 1) California blows much bigger chunks of money on other, more wasteful things.

              Blowing $100 on Barry Manilow tickets doesn’t justify blowing $75 on Neil Diamond tickets.

              2) California doesn’t have to give out as much aid to illegal immigrants as it does now.

              But if illegal immigrants could vote, they’d vote themselves more aid.

              3) Illegal immigrants pay all kinds of taxes, just like the rest of us.

              Sure, but the ones getting paid under the table don’t pay taxes to the extent that legal workers do.

              4) Illegal immigrants could be made legal.

              Thereby eliminating the major benefit of employing Manuel Labor: you can treat him like absolute shit and pay him virtually nothing. And once he’s legal and voting, he’s going to vote himself a raise and a bunch of free shit.

            2. Masturbatin’ Pete took care of the bullet point rebuttal quite well so I don’t have much to say to that, but I will say this- I cannot state that illegal immigrants are a net gain or a net drain on our economy with any degree of accuracy. This was my original point in this thread.

              Without a doubt immigrants -both legal and illegal- are an integral part of our country and workforce, and it’s safe to say America would not be anywhere near as prosperous and innovative without immigrants. My grandparents both came over here from Ireland and Scotland during the big push years ago, so I wouldn’t be here without immigration.

              That being said, one can argue that currently we have a large population of illegal immigrants (recent estimates are now up to around 20 million) and they are BOTH a drain and a benefit to our economy. Which side the needle leans towards is tough to say, but I disagree that it is that obvious one way or the other.

              1. And you can say the same thing about our legal immigrants and native-born citizens. Lots of us provide no net benefit to the economy.

                1. And you can say the same thing about our legal immigrants and native-born citizens. Lots of us provide no net benefit to the economy.

                  “Doctor, the accident ripped off his left arm.”

                  “Okay, let’s amputate his right arm. As long as he’s missing one arm, he might as well lose two.”

              2. That being said, one can argue that currently we have a large population of illegal immigrants (recent estimates are now up to around 20 million) and they are BOTH a drain and a benefit to our economy. Which side the needle leans towards is tough to say, but I disagree that it is that obvious one way or the other.

                So you must think that the welfare state is at worst a push and possibly a net benefit to our society and economy.

                Strange position for a libertarian to take.

            3. 3) Illegal immigrants pay all kinds of taxes, just like the rest of us.

              How much taxes do you think someone making $20,000 a year pays?

              How much do you think that person and his four kids get from the welfare state?

    3. Besides, immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial and hard working than natives, welfare or not. That’s because they don’t take anything for granted. They have less of a sense of entitlement.

      Ever heard of Nicky Diaz?

  5. So is he proposing

    He isn’t proposing anything.

    He’s saying, like he always says, that he’s a better person than libertarians who aren’t him?or who aren’t indistinguishable from him?are, because they’re distinguishable from Democrats.

    1. So, apparently, the seems like you mean conservative. Looks like you paleocons have taken over the movement.

  6. I’m genuinely confused here. I was always under the impression that the libertarian position on immigration was that labor should be permitted to move freely across borders. That’s an argument about the freedom of contract and the sovereignty of the individual, pretty standard libertarian fare. But it’s quite a different thing to say that foreign laborers working in America should be able to vote. I’m unclear as to why Manuel Labor should have a voice in setting the laws that govern my life just because he happens to be laboring in America. Is this really the libertarian position?

    Caplan doesn’t actually say that anyone adult working in America should be entitled to vote, but doesn’t his column imply that? He says “voters from less pro-market and pro-liberty lands are probably even more irrational than we are.” What else could he possibly mean, other than that Manuel Labor should be given the right to vote?

    If that’s his position, then the concept of “citizenship” has lost all meaning. Anyone can come here to work, and once they get here, they set the rules for how America is run. No, I’m sorry, that makes a mockery of individual rights. If you want to hire Manuel to work on your house, that’s fine, but foreigners don’t get to vote for the laws that govern my life and my property.

    1. Then make it easier to become citizens. Streamline the process, make it so that citizenship is.

      Either that, or no votes for anybody.

    2. What’s so great about “citizenship” anyway? Sounds like mystical mumbo-jumbo. Just abolish citizenship altogether.

      Everyone would just be a resident.

      1. What’s so great about “citizenship” anyway? Sounds like mystical mumbo-jumbo. Just abolish citizenship altogether.

        But…but then I wouldn’t be able to get a hard-on every time I see the Stars ‘n Stripes or hear God Bless America.

        1. and I NEED this! the little blue pills stopped working…

    3. What’s so great about “citizenship” anyway? Sounds like mystical mumbo-jumbo. Just abolish citizenship altogether.

      Everyone would just be a resident.

      1. I wish I could say “obvious troll is obvious,” but I think you’re serious. God help us all.

        We’re only able to enjoy the rule of law because the people who are entitled to choose our leaders value it. You get the wrong class of voters in America and the Constitution and its protections of individual liberties can easily vanish. The First Amendment and the common law of contracts will exist only as long as the voters don’t choose to abolish them. And if just anyone gets to vote, including as many Chinese Communists, Muslim fundamentalists, and Mexican Catholics as can make it to our shores, those rights are in serious danger.

        1. You get the wrong class of voters in America and the Constitution and its protections of individual liberties can easily vanish.

          Indeed! We need to bring back the poll tax because those coloreds are getting mighty uppity!

          Slippery slopes suck.

          1. So you’re fine with:

            (1) Allowing absolutely anyone who wants to come to America to come here, no restrictions, and
            (2) Giving every person who is in this country for any reason the right to vote.

            Is that right?

            Why not eliminate a step and just give every human in every country an absentee ballot for every election?

            1. In many American municipalities, resident aliens already have the right to vote in local elections. So, in some ways, this argument is moot.

              Why not eliminate a step and just give every human in every country an absentee ballot for every election?

              I’d rather eliminate the concept of the nation-state, but whatever works.

              1. In many American municipalities, resident aliens already have the right to vote in local elections. So, in some ways, this argument is moot.

                “resident alien” != “migrant fruit picker or drifter who happens to be in the country on election day”

                Get back to me about mootness when anyone who happens to be in this country for any reason can vote for Senators, Representatives, and the President.

                I understand your anarcho-capitalist vision, but empowering everyone in the globe to choose America’s leaders is going to make our leaders look more like the leaders of the rest of the world than anti-state libertarians.

      2. What’s so great about “citizenship” anyway? Sounds like mystical mumbo-jumbo. Just abolish citizenship altogether.

        The libertarian suicide pact.

        I’m sure you won’t object when they vote expropriate all of your property, you filthy capitalist pig.

    4. I think he is saying that even IF they are allowed to vote, and they vote shittily, the net effect is still positive. I don’t he is taking any stance at all on wether they should be allowed to vote.

      1. Well, if he is, he’s retarded, and if he’s not, apparently there are plenty of people who are willing to take his position and be retarded for him.

      2. To use a little less snark here…

        There are six billion people in the world. Only about one in twenty of them are Americans. If you were to take everyone in the world and enable them to vote for America’s leaders, we’d end up with leaders who look like the people governing those places. No thank you.

        Caplan says that “We’re talking about marginal disagreements between social democrats, nothing more.” That’s right if we’re talking about Germans, French, Swedes, Jamaicans, and Indians. Less so if we’re talking about Afghans.

        1. If you were to take everyone in the world and enable them to vote for America’s leaders, we’d end up with leaders who look like the people governing those places.

          DoesNotFollow. Most countries in the world are not democracies.

          1. Fine. Our government would only be as bad as Mexico’s. Or maybe we’d have all the economic freedom of Sweden. You want that deal?

          2. Most countries are not democracies, but most of them that aren’t still have a gov’t derived from the people. That is, it wasn’t foreigners who came to govern them. Via whatever process, they arrived at the gov’t they have thru the actions mostly of natives.

            Of the democracies, many were established by foreigners rather than natives — viz. the USA. But that doesn’t matter, because they’re democracies now.

          3. Even if you don’t consider a place like Venezuela to be a democracy, the fact is that a sizable portion of Venezuelans like being governed by Hugo Chavez. Even if Chavez has been stealing elections, the election has to be close enough to steal, and the pro-Chavez protests seem to indicate that he’s fairly popular.

            I don’t want the kind of people who vote for Hugo Chavez voting for my President. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I’ll let you hire that person to pick your fruit, but that person is not allowed to cast a ballot that has the effect of taking my property or liberty.

      3. To use a little less snark here…

        There are six billion people in the world. Only about one in twenty of them are Americans. If you were to take everyone in the world and enable them to vote for America’s leaders, we’d end up with leaders who look like the people governing those places. No thank you.

        Caplan says that “We’re talking about marginal disagreements between social democrats, nothing more.” That’s right if we’re talking about Germans, French, Swedes, Jamaicans, and Indians. Less so if we’re talking about Afghans.

  7. Besides, don’t immigrants leave a less free land to seek freedom?

    1. Yup. And Americans used to generally acknowledge this point, and take pride in it.

    2. You would think so, unfortunately, some immigrants choose to bring that fun old world thinking with them.

      If you are leaving Buttfuckistan, leave all Buttfuckistani behavior there as well. I don’t care if open graft, losing your virginity to goats, and burying disobedient children alive is your time-honored cultural heritage for 1000 years.

      If we’re going to have free immigration for all, assimilation needs to be a part of the program.

      1. From your linked article

        Dude,” she wrote at 1:06 p.m. last October 20, “my dad is here at the welfare office.”…
        Amal was there to complete a change-of-address form for welfare benefits. She too is Iraqi by birth, but moved to the States only about a decade ago, and her proficiency in English was such that Noor came along to help translate.

        So much for the heroic entrepreneur immigrant.

    3. Remenber all them immigrants between 1870-1920?

      They helped pass the Harrison Act, voted for the politicians who wanted the income tax- then passed the 16th, 17th and 18th amendments, and created the League of Nations.

      Then, they voted for Hoover and FDR.

      Doesn’t seem like “freedom” to me…

  8. The problem is that open immigration is confused with illegal immigration. Advocates almost never answer the question of breaking the law, as if simply admitting that illegal immigrants are illegal would nullify the argument for open immigration. Making the current ones pay a fine to stay and opening it for the rest would solve both problems.

    1. If the law conflicts with individual rights, then the law must yield.

      1. Individual rights as determined by whom?

        Ay, thar’s the rub.

        1. Nature and nature’s god.

          I cant exactly remember where that is from….

    2. They tend not to answer historical examples of their policies failing miserably, either. Any time you point one out to them, they respond with, well, if it weren’t for This goddam law and That goddam policy, and Those goddam nativists, and the rest of that goddam Western Civilization shit… it woulda worked!

      In other words, they have perfect policies for a world that doesn’t exist.

      1. They tend not to answer historical examples of their policies failing miserably

        In other words, they have perfect policies for a world that doesn’t exist.

        Key qualifications for being a liberal, progressive, socialist, totalitarian, fascist, or communist.

      2. Burn in Hell, fascist scum.

        1. My previous comment was for Slap the Enlightened, who is indeed fascist scum.

    3. Making the current ones pay a fine to stay

      Somehow I think it would cost more to collect that money than would actually be collected…

    4. Let’s see. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of times anti-immigration folks saying, “They’re breaking the law!”. Which is a totally nonsensical and disingenuous argument to make against someone who is saying that the law should be changed to open up immigration.

      When I ask if they’d be just fine with Latino immigrants if we simply changed the law to make their immigration legal, the real reasons for opposing their immigration always start to come out.

      1. True, but it’s not like you open borders guys are saying, “OK, enforce the laws that we have now, but we want to change them in the future.” You squeal like stuck pigs when the government enforces the laws we have now.

        People on both sides argue in bad faith.

        1. Fuck you. That isnt even remotely true. That is exactly what this open boarder guy has been saying.

          I want open boarders but anyone here illegally better sneak back across and enter legally (okay, I will let them just show up at the boarder, maybe a 7 day grace period, you got me there). You dont want to get caught here illegally when its that easy to enter legally.

          Hell it isnt like the 2004 LP candidate didnt suggest treating anyone found crossing illegally as a foreign invader and captured or killed on sight.

          When there is no reason to cross the boarder illegally, its a lot easier to enforce the border. If they are crossing, they are VERY bad guys (or drug mules, but I figure we will get open boarders about the same time the drug war ends, so problem 2 solved).

          1. Ok, but under an open borders policy, why is there even a crime such as “illegal immigration”? Would just be “you need to fill out this paperwork.”

            but I figure we will get open boarders about the same time the drug war ends

            So, never? Thanks for the bringdown. Ya jerk. *shaken fist*

            1. There wouldnt be a crime of illegal immigration, it would be “invasion of the US”. Much greater penalty.

              The reason for the border check would be to keep out felons and terrorists. Some might say my “open border” isnt truly open, but Im okay with that.

              1. So you favor draconian penalty for violating your favored immigration laws, but not for the current immigration laws. Despite the fact that the crime is identical.

          2. I want open boarders

            Are you saying that anyone can crash at your house for free? or

            Are you arguing the free lumber position?

      2. I’m opposed to large-scale minting of new citizens from any country with substantially less freedom than America. And Swedish blondes are hot.

        There’s also a difference between permitting Manuel Labor to come to this country to work and permitting him to come to this country to vote himself my money.

        1. There’s also a difference between permitting Manuel Labor to come to this country to work and permitting him to come to this country to vote himself my money.

          And that’s why we need to make provisions for both possibilities. Wanna work here, make some money, then go back to your shithole of a country? Fine, we can handle it just like Americans working overseas. Wanna move here and be an American? There’s another form for that.

          1. Wanna move here and be an American? There’s another form for that.

            Well….. you’re kind of missing Caplan’s point. As far as I can tell (and this seems to be the position of many in this thread), he believes that there should be a “form” for obtaining the right to vote, i.e., he doesn’t think there should be any significant obstacles to voting for migrant fruit pickers.

            1. er, “shouldn’t” be a form.

        2. Oh, and, Manuel Labor.

          Tee-hee. (even if it was unintentional)

      3. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of times anti-immigration folks saying, “They’re breaking the law!”. Which is a totally nonsensical and disingenuous argument to make against someone who is saying that the law should be changed to open up immigration.

        I don’t think such statements are entirely disingenuous, and they do have some reason behind them. My point is that any law that’s widely though far from universally violated allows a distinction between those who do violate it and those who don’t. There may be many factors in the decision, but one of them is likely to be one’s propensity to be law-abiding.

        So it’s like with narcotics laws. We can repeal them, but would you want to know who was violating them in the meantime? Those who go into the legal narcotics business are unlikely to be the same people who were in the illegal narcotics business.

  9. Who’s “illegal”? I’ve looked and looked and I can’t find the place in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to restrict immigration.

    Historically (and fairly recently, at that), Congress just took the power, and the Supreme Court backed them up.

    Maybe it’s the “commerce” power–the same one that’s used to support everything from the New Deal to Obamacare. But it seems to me, if the Framers meant for Congress to have the power to restrict immigration, they would have said so.

    1. Well then, according to the 10th Amendment, powers not delegated to the Federal government are retained by the states. Can we put you down as supporting Arizona?

      1. +1

        1. Dude, you just got pwned when you tried to argue that Congress doesn’t have the power to regulate immigration. It happens to us all; we all sometimes express ideas that are less than completely thought out and we get called on them. Take your beating like a man.

          1. Oh, I think it’s pretty clear that the Framers would have allowed the states to regulate immigration. I don’t deny that.

            It’s not that state laws would be invalid (in the Framers’ conception), but they would be hostile to liberty.

            You’ve got to decide what you’re for: governments telling people what to do, or liberty.

    2. “The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importations, not exceeding 10 dollars for each person.”

      1. “There has never been any doubt that this clause had exclusive reference to persons of the African race.” New York v. Compagnie Generale, 107 U.S. 59 (1883).

        1. No doubt.

          Certainly the Confederate States of America made the intent of this clause clear enough when they got rid of the euphemisms in their Constitution

          The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

        2. There may have never been any doubt in 1883, but I’m reading it in 2010, and it’s written in plain language. If they’d meant persons of the African race only, they could easily have written that. They even anticipated that some could come as slaves, because they added “or importation”. So I’m saying it applied irrespective of race. If the language had been unclear it’d be another matter, but this one’s plain as day.

          1. James Madison, Federalist 42

            Attempts have been made to pervert this clause into an objection against the Constitution, by representing it on one side as a criminal toleration of an illicit practice, and on another as calculated to prevent voluntary and beneficial emigrations from Europe to America. I mention these misconstructions, not with a view to give them an answer, for they deserve none, but as specimens of the manner and spirit in which some have thought fit to conduct their opposition to the proposed government.

          2. No doubt about it: For some people, the Framer’s intentions matter. For some people, they don’t.

    3. I’ve looked and looked and I can’t find the place in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to restrict immigration.

      Maybe you should try reading the constitution instead of Liberal-tarian douchebaggery.

      Article One Section Eight To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization

      Article One Section Nine
      “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight,

      1. Immigration and naturalization are two different things. A person can live in a country without being a citizen, and be a citizen of a country without living there.

        The two are completely different.

        The fact that the Framers mentioned naturalization and not immigration is just more proof that they didn’t intend for Congress to have power over immigration.

        1. I think naturalization meant something different in th 18th century than it does today.

          And anyway, what of the reference to limiting “migration” in section 9?
          It is clearly not slaves which are covered by the phrase “importation” in the same section.

          1. It is clearly not slaves which are covered by the phrase “importation” in the same section.

            Fixed.

            1. Thanx, I fucked that up but the point is legit.

              1. Not really. Look upthread a bit.

          2. I think naturalization meant something different in th 18th century than it does today.

            Let’s ask the Naturalization Act of 1795, shall we?

            BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise. First, he shall have declared, on oath or affirmation, before the Supreme, Superior, District, or Circuit Court of some one of the states, or of the territories northwest or south of the Ohio River, or a Circuit or District Court of the United States, three years at least before his admission, that it was, bona fide, his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof such alien may at that time be a citizen or subject. Secondly…

            It goes on like that. It’s pretty clear it meant then exactly what it does today.

  10. We had an open borders policy for over a hundred years, seemed to work pretty fucking well.

    1. We also had frontiers, an emerging economy, and no welfare state back then.

      1. I think you mean

        “We also had natives without a means to defend themselves, an economy that was still based on horses and no ability to take from a man what he earned.”

        The only thing that changed are the interest groups and the technology.

    2. Please provide the start and end dates for this period. Also, please describe the extent of the welfare state during this period.

    3. It worked pretty well when we needed bodies.

      The myth is that america took in all of these poor, hungry, etc. out of some sort of idealism. Actually, we were at a stage in our history and economic development that required large numbers of able-bodied people.

      The modern US economy isn’t structured for large numbers of low-skilled workers. There’s not enough value to make it reconcile with our cost of living. Even with employers who exploit illegals, there’s a bottom limit on what they can pay them and still be able to get workers. And that number is still higher than you would pay someone in Indonesia, Malasia, China, etc to do the same work.

      There’s no way to have labor in the US (whether it’s legal or illegal) that can truly compete with the labor costs in other parts of the world.

      Outsourcing is actually more efficient. You want cheap labor move the manufacturing where both the labor and cost of living are priced lower…

  11. Yogi: Guns crossing the border, drugs crossing the border, people crossing the border, where does it end? Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it. Why are there not laws against these things? What we need is a long laser from San Diego to San Antonio to keep us safe and pure.

    Boo Boo: A giant laser, that’s your answer to everything.

  12. Native voters under 30 are more hostile to markets and liberty than immigrants ever were. Why not just kick them out?

    Another reason not to do so is that most become more friendly to economic liberty as they age and experience government interference in their economic lives. It takes some time for the habit of letting Mommy and Daddy handing you everything on a silver platter — which is most closely approximated by an economically totalitarian govt — to fade.

    1. Depends on if they get a government job or not…and those are the only ones hiring.

      Fire the unions then progress can be made.

  13. Let’s stop dicking around. Let’s send buses down to Mexico and bring their entire population up here in time for the 2012 election, and give them the right to vote. Caplan tells us that the net effect on liberty will be positive. Anyone want to defend that proposition?

    1. Anyone want to defend that proposition?

      I’m not sure who here is going to support spending a metric shit-ton on all those buses. Maybe if the Mexicans want to pay the fare. Oh wait, that would be too much like them immigrating here on their own.

      1. So then your position is that anyone who shows up at a polling place on election day gets to vote? And the result will be a net positive for liberty?

        1. to protect your liberty, you must refuse it to others, apparently

    2. Re: Masturbatin’ Pete,

      Let’s stop dicking around. Let’s send buses down to Mexico and bring their entire population up here in time for the 2012 election, and give them the right to vote. Caplan tells us that the net effect on liberty will be positive.

      Sure, all we have to do is convince them to vote for the write-in candidate George Stephanopoulos, which they will surely know to spell.

    3. Caplan does not tell us that the net effect on liberty of your proposition will be positive. He tells us that the net effect on liberty of free migration, with something like the current naturalization policies, will be positive.

      Neither forced busing nor subsidized importation of voters qualify.

  14. If you favor markets and liberty, how can you oppose the deportation of the entire statist generation?

    Why do you assume that I don’t? For each Mexican that comes here, ship one of their asses to Mexico.

  15. our country tis of thee
    sweet land of liberty
    of thee I sing

    Land where our fathers died
    land of the pilgrims pride.

    Not so much

    My country tis of thee
    my ethnic property…
    needs a bigger fence

    Or a giant laser beam
    to stop all the pinto beans
    eatin up the welfare green
    immigrants is bad

    1. Your country is for me
      Sweet land of freebies
      For me I sing;
      Land where your fathers died,
      Will be my children’s prize,
      Some day you bitches will
      Work for me!

      My native country, sucks,
      Full of violent schmucks,
      That’s why I move;
      To this land of yours,
      Here I get to take;
      What others make.
      Is not this country great?

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