European Union

Unfortunately, Swiss Voters Have Backed Immigration Restrictions


Credit: kbrookes / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday, 50.3 percent of Swiss voters backed a limit on immigration in a referendum. The vote nullifies the free movement of people between the European Union and Switzerland. According to the Associated Press, "The decision follows a successful last-minute campaign by nationalist groups that stoked fears of overpopulation and rising numbers of Muslims in the Alpine nation."

The euroskeptic nationalist Swiss People's Party (SVP), the party with the most number of seats in the Federal Assembly, campaigned in favor of the immigration restriction.

Although not part of the E.U., Switzerland has adopted many of the the bloc's policies such as the free movement of people. Understandably, the result of the referendum have not been welcomed by Brussels, and the president of the European Parliament has said that Switzerland should expect treaties with the E.U. to be reviewed.

The Swiss vote is undoubtedly bad news for fans of the E.U., an organization that is rightly criticized for its undemocratic structure, subsidies, absurd bureaucracy, and fondness for regulation. However, euroskeptics of the classical liberal variety should not applaud Swiss immigration controls.

As City A.M.'s Allister Heath rightly points out, there are some aspects of the E.U. that are supported by classical liberal euroskeptics, such as "the free movement of goods, services, capital and people." Unfortunately, the Swiss voted against one of the few policies the E.U. should be praised for, the free movement of people.

The illiberal nature of the recently-approved Swiss immigration restrictions can be highlighted by those praising the vote.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the euroskeptic Dutch Party for Freedom who recently formed an informal alliance with Marine Le Pen of the French National Front, tweeted the following in response to news of the recent Swiss vote,"What the Swiss can do, we can do too: cut immigration and leave the EU. Fantastic!"

Marine Le Pen also tweeted her approved of the referendum result.

The National Front and the Party for Freedom are not sympathetic to classical liberalism, and are based on the worrying combination of xenophobia and nationalism.

Responding to news of the Swiss vote Nigel Farage, the leader of the euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), said that "This is wonderful news for national sovereignty and freedom lovers throughout Europe." Of course, it's not "wonderful news" for "freedom lovers" if you believe that people should be free to move where they want in order to improve their lives.

As the European elections approach it should not be surprising if the Swiss People's Party, UKIP, the Party for Freedom, and the National Front use more of the sort of freedom rhetoric demonstrated by Farage. It's worth remembering that supporters of euroskeptic parties are very particular about the freedoms they approve of.

The Swiss vote may well be a blow to the to the E.U., but it was also a blow to those who support the free movement of people, one of the E.U.'s only good policies.

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  1. Yesterday, 50.3 percent of Swiss voters backed a limit on immigration in a referendum.

    Why do you hate democracy?

    1. Elections Referendums have consequences

      Law of the land

      The government is us


      1. A Mandate!

  2. The hillbillies and rednecks in Switzerland have spoken, and they don’t want any brown people.

    1. They only want the rich, technically unavailable and extremely useful. Kind of a Tina Turner/IT wizard/medical specialist program.

  3. here we go again. The Swiss exercise sovereignty, Matthew has a sad. Maybe the Swiss has seen the immigration that has occurred in other European countries, not always with good results.

    1. +1 No-go zone.

  4. If only 0.31% of the xenophobes had read Richman’s weekend article, they would have known that their votes were worthless and stayed home.

  5. This is Switzerland! French, German, English, and Romansch only!

    1. Don’t forget Italian.

        1. So are you in Switzerland now, or just working for the Swiss?

          1. I toil on their behalf, but am in Murica.

  6. So basically, the take away is that Europe is screwed even when the EU collapses under its own weight?

    1. The Swiss are probably just thinking that they see no reason to dragged under if/when the Brussels bureacracy collapses.

      Think of sovereignty as a firewall, a way to keep the stupid shit your neighbors are up to from infecting your country. Like all firewalls, it will also block some good stuff, but compartmentalization is fundamental to damage control and risk management.

      By giving up their sovereignty, the other Euro countries have signed onto a system with a single point of failure, where previously it had multiples, which means containment and backup were possible.

      Naturally, any parallels to the slo-mo loss of sovereignty by US states are purely imaginary.

      1. Sounds like what they need is a second Brussels, configured in High Availability Mode, with a spare in the closet.

  7. “…if you believe that people should be free to move where they want in order to improve their lives.”

    I want to improve my life and believe it would be exponentially improved by moving into Matthew Feeney’s house/apartment. Okay with you Matthew? No? Too bad, I’m exercising my freedom.

    1. The parallel situation would be if Feeney wanted to let you move into his apartment, but the state forbid you to do so because you were born in the wrong place.

      It always amazes me to see libertarians making the argument that an entire country is the collective property of its citizens.

      1. Yeah, Zeb, but they got theirs and don’t currently want to move anywhere that they’re being prevented from doing so, so fuck immigrants. They got theirs.

        1. I come from a family of immigrants, and frankly, you don’t want any more of me running around the country.

      2. It always amazes me to see libertarians making the argument that an entire country is the collective property of its citizens

        I think maybe ‘collective property’ is a stumbling block.

        Picture Libertopia as being built of adjoining pieces of private property. Utilities will be either self provided or purchased from citizens who have the ability to provide power. Roads will be private, access to roads will be purchased. Nothing is ‘public’.

        Unless your property borders the current edge it becomes impossible for someone to ‘freely move’ to your residence to work without passing through others property. You can pay for the right of way, but the person can’t simply wander in looking for work.

        And I frankly can’t see any place in the way libertarianism is supposed to work that abrogates the idea of private property to the point that populations can migrate wholesale in a manner that goes with this whole ‘freedom of movement thing’.

        I get freedom of movement to vacant places, and freedom of movement to a place you’ve been invited to, but I just can’t see freedom of movement to a space that you’ve not been invited to that’s occupied by someone else.

        1. And also noteworthy- in Libertopia there really won’t be any such thing as “Vacant”. Someone will own anything.

          Likewise, there is nothing in Libertopia that would prevent “Covenants” from forming. If a group of people got together and created a gated community, then that gated community could easily refuse “Freedom of Movement” even if one person in that community disagrees. There is nothing in Libertarian philosophy that would prevent such an arrangement, so I don’t see why Libertarians consider Immigration control somehow an anathema to their philosophy.

          1. If one person in that prospective gated community disagrees, then abrogating the right of way to his property is outright theft.

            Libertarians consider immigration control an anathema because there is no way a community the size of a state makes such a decision unanimously. So anyone in the state who wants to associate with migrants, employ migrants, house migrants, transport migrants, or let migrants travel on his roads is simply having his rights denied.

    2. Yes, because private property and a country are totally analagous.

      1. No. Not completely analogous. But to dismiss as unimportant people’s connection to some level of sovereignty to home or country is to ignore the things they are invested in as individuals.

        As individuals and libertarians we build personal space and communities voluntarily. To suggest we shouldn’t have some influence in who shares our space is insane.

        1. But to dismiss as unimportant people’s connection to some level of sovereignty to home or country is to ignore the things they are invested in as individuals.

          I don’t care if people are invested in telling me who I can hire or who I can rent my house out to.

          As individuals and libertarians we build personal space and communities voluntarily.

          Except when we don’t, apparently.

          1. This is a natural tension within libertarianism and classical liberalism. Both positions are, imo, principled. If you’re a libertarian, though – not an anarchist – you accept some limited role of the state and the concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty has some legitimacy within a democracy as a voluntary association. A voluntary association means controlling to a degree who we are associate with.

            If you’re an anarchist – well, then no libertarian will be pure enough.

            1. Please stop using “sovereignty” to mean “nationality” or “favored peoples” or the like.

              Sovereignty is nothing but the positive fact that a government can do whatever it wants — and other governments can’t do anything it doesn’t want — within its dominion.

              You are stretching sovereignty to implicitly mean the government should use that power to prohibit people you don’t like from entering its dominion. That’s a completely separate concept requiring a completely separate argument.

              1. Bullshit. That’s one definition of sovereignty. It also means a cultural or historic connection to a “territory” by a people. Even if the US government ceased to exist “Americans” could still have sovereignty over our “territory”.

                People are to a certain degree invested in or connected to the place they live – they have a certain degree of sovereignty.

                1. It also means a cultural or historic connection to a “territory” by a people.

                  I tried two dictionaries and failed to find your definition.

                  Got a link to your dictionary?

                  1. If you failed to find my definition you can’t read or google. One or the other. I’m thinking the former.

                    1. So, no link then.

                2. Even if the US government ceased to exist “Americans” could still have sovereignty over our “territory”.

                  See, that’s exactly what I reject. I make no claim of ownership or sovereignty over any territory other than the land I own and control as an individual. The idea that we all have some right to control in some way the territory that the US government happens to have jurisdiction over seems utterly contrary to any libertarian principle. We each own what we own and that’s what we get to control. The government’s job is to punish people who hurt other people, not to make some collective determination about how the territory is best used.

                  1. You don’t need to claim anything. It just is by virtue of being. If the US government fell, absent an invasion of a foreign power, “Americans” would still own and control their territory.

                    Collectively (oh, God, not that word), but individually “Americans” would still have sovereignty (ownership and control for the pedantic) over their own space.

                    1. I agree with everything you say there.

                      No one should be forced to have immigrants or anyone else in the space they control. Similarly, no one should be forbidden to.
                      “Americans” taken as a whole disagree about most things. So there is no such thing as “Americans” deciding who they do or don’t want to associate with.

                    2. Yes. but now let’s talk about public space. Space not owned by any individual. Who gets to control what goes on there?

                      I just want to say, I’m a libertarian – a small (very small) government type. I’m okay with a weak (very weak) central government and somewhat stronger states (not much stronger). I’m not an anarchist.

            2. Oh, and a democracy is not a voluntary association.

              Anarchist and non-anarchist libertarians are a lot more alike than you think. In particular, neither says things like “democracy as a voluntary association”.

              1. Yeah, you’re not great with qualifiers or direct quotes are you?

                Here’s what I wrote:

                “Sovereignty has some legitimacy within a democracy as a voluntary association.”

                You might want to read what I actual wrote instead of using me as your strawman.

                1. I still have no idea whatsoever “voluntary association” is doing in that sentence. Neither sovereignty nor democracy has anything to do with the voluntary.

                  Could you elaborate?

                  1. Do you know how paragraphs work?

                    You put sentences together to build and/or explain a larger idea or concept.

                    That particular sentence was written within a paragraph that provided context.

                    1. I’m honestly having trouble here. The context didn’t help.

                      You are already trying to smuggle unrelated meanings into the concept of sovereignty. Now it seems you are also trying to smuggle unrelated meanings into the very plain concept of voluntary association.

                    2. Okay.

                      If a group of independent individuals, who control their immediate environment, choose to organize and chose a form of democracy as the structure for group decision making, would that be a voluntary association?

                    3. Yes! That’s good for up to one or two dozen “independent individuals”. After that, you’ll probably need an HOA or the like governing subdivided land voluntarily acquired with knowledge of the terms of governance. That’ll get us to one or two hundred individuals.

                      Now, how do you get to a “voluntary association” of 315 million individuals residing in government-claimed, mostly unowned territory?

                    4. Right. So, we agree there’s a point at which there is legitimacy to sovereignty – that it can be a democratic voluntary association . You think it’s at around 200 individuals; I think it’s somewhere else, not 315 million – but probably at the state level. And that’s the natural tension within libertarianism I was talking about in my initial post.

                    5. There is nothing libertarian or voluntary about the state imposing its will — whether democratically determined or not — over individuals and their private property.

                    6. And, we’ve come full circle.

                      Nice regurgitation of the obvious.

          2. You can hire who you want–and you can rent your property to whoever you want. Feel free. Search out the best workers or tenants from wherever on the planet and have them come to your property and work or live.

            Let’s just not have them wandering aimlessly about hoping that you might need them to do a job or rent a house–because then, they’re not on your property.

            1. Let’s just not have them wandering aimlessly about hoping that you might need them to do a job or rent a house–because then, they’re not on your property.

              Please stop confusing public property and private property. By your own argument, leaving my house is trespassing.

              1. In Libertopia there will be no “Public Property”.

                There might be common property held in trust by a private concern, but it would be ruled by the owners of the common land.

                And by the way, this is why I have such a hard time with Libertarians thinking that in the Libertopia, there will be freedom to move around.

                No, it will be like those small towns where drifters find themselves arrested for walking through town. They’ll be cruising along “Enjoying the sites of America” and wind up in CurlCo Town- a private community of 10,000 like minded people. People who have congregated into a private HOA-like organization that has set very rigid rules about who may or may not be allowed in their town. And they will have the ability to forcibly detain you for trespassing on private property- even if someone invited you because they were not contractually allowed to invite you.

                1. Unfortunately for this position, there are centuries of common law that make the situation you describe the exception rather than the rule.

                  To put it bluntly, people who have wide open rights of way to their property will find themselves much better off than those who go out of their way to forgo those rights.

  8. A wonderful example of why it’s time to stick a fork in libertarianism. Our political elites couldn’t wish for a more accommodating opposition.

    Maybe it’s a good time to take a look at a real alternative?

    1. Yes, a real alternative that has fallen, time and time again.

      But that’s just the fault of those perfidious Jewish Lizard People, right? 😉

      1. The Lizard People are Jooooz? I thought the chemtrails turned people into Jooooz?

        Man, it is hard to keep up!

    2. neoTraditionalist twaddle. Vote for Huckabee all you want, just us out of it.

      1. You read that shit? You really are a masochist.

        1. Oooo! Looks like I hit a sore spot! Here, sir! Have another!

          1. I’ll get right on that. Don’t wait up.

  9. This is where I begin to pull away from Libertarianism; There are people, even peoples, in the world with whom I do not wish to associate. I would welcome Immigrants from the Islamic pest holes of the third world IF I thought that some real effort would be made to ask them to either conform socially or go away. If we get Sharia Patrols in the U.S. as Britain is seeing in London and elsewhere, I want them landed on with cleats. If we see child marriages, as are being reported on in Australia, I want the bastards jailed. Multiculturalism is swill. And if we aren’t going to stand firm on this kind of thing, then I don’t want free immigration.

    Mark me down as a bigot. If one society is debating whether right. I may be wrong, but I’m not recognize Gay Marriage and another is debating HOW to execute homosexuals, I know which one is

    1. My favorite political figure of the previous decade was Pim Fortuyn of the Netherlands, a gay professor who wanted his lifestyle to be free and legal, his government to be solvent, and his culture protected from those who would remake it in much the manner you’ve described.

      1. +1 Bloody street killing

    2. I agree that holding up multiculturalism as a good thing in itself is dumb. Melting-pot-ism is much better. Bending over backwards to allow immigrants to maintain their cultures is stupid and only helps keep them marginalized and poor. But I stick to libertarian principle and reject that as a basis for restricting immigration generally or for particular ethnic or religious groups. And as far as Sharia goes, if it is used as a voluntary alternative means of settling disputes and family matters, it’s none of my business. Just enforce the applicable criminal laws as necessary.

      1. “Bending over backwards to allow immigrants to maintain their cultures is stupid and only helps keep them marginalized and poor”

        It’s only stupid if you don’t WANT them to stay poor. I’m not asserting that all Liberal Intellectual fans of multiculturalism do ? i Am saying that sometimes I wonder.

        “Just enforce the applicable criminal laws as necessary.”

        If I thought for one fat instant that the applicable criminal laws WOULD be applied, without scads of well meaning twits carrying on about “Racism” I would cheerfully agree with you. Sadly, it has been my observation that the Political Left is chock-full of bigots who will not hold non-caucasians to basic standards of behavior, because (one suspects) they secretly believe in the black depths of their Liberal hearts that brown people are ignorant and stupid monkeys who cannot learn any better.

    3. Do you have any evidence that Sharia Patrols and child marriages would be at all tolerated in the U.S.? Or that it would amount to anything more than a few isolated cases?

      These concerns seem analogous to those of people who want to ban or severely limit gun ownership because a small fraction of gun owners use them to commit crimes.

      1. We do have something like that already; the Hassidic judiciary in some boroughs of New York.

        The thing is, though, that such groups are always fringe groups. Having come from a non-free country to a free one, I can speak from personal experience. Freedom is a fucking intoxicating self-promoting thing.

        There is no reason why the people fleeing Islamic shitholes won’t embrace American culture like people fleeing the shithole that was Ireland, the Balkans, Italy, Sicily, Japan, China, Cameroon or Cuba would.

        Sure immigrants modify the culture, but the people who are here are also modifying their culture as well, and often the result is better for everyone around.

        1. There is no reason why the people fleeing Islamic shitholes won’t embrace American culture

          Other, of course, than the multi-culti philosophy which tells them not to embrace American culture, but to require that, where the two cultures are incompatible, its the American culture that should give way.

        2. If we still believed in freedom in the US I’d say you might be onto something.

        3. I’m not familiar with the Hassidic judiciary, but are they actually using force and/or doing anything contrary to NY law? Or are they just enforcing cultural norms and religious law within a voluntary group? If the former, then yeah, clamp down on that shit. If the latter, then oh well. People are free to live by those standards if they want. I would hold Sharia to the same standard.

          1. I believe they are more than just in NY, but they only are used by Jews who agree to use them. Sort of like how two companies could agree to private arbitration.

            The only case I recall was about two kosher butchers, where one had moved to close to the other. (The Jews have rules about competition.) And the decision is binding and the state will enforce it.

            “A beth din is sometimes used within the Orthodox Jewish community to resolve civil disputes, with the Shulkhan Arukh[3] calling for civil cases being resolved by religious instead of secular courts (arka’oth). Modern Western societies increasingly permit civil disputes to be resolved by private arbitration, enabling religious Jews to enter into agreements providing for arbitration by a particular beth din in the event of a dispute. By this device, the rules, procedures, and judgment of the beth din are accepted and can be enforced by secular courts in the same manner as those of a secular arbitration association. However, the decisions of religious courts cannot be binding without the prior agreement of both parties, and will otherwise act only as mediation”

            Caveat: IANAJ and IANAL, so this is all based on me currently reading the book A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson…

        4. Not every religious group deserves comparative equivalence with Islam, but some of those Hasidics really push it.

      2. Do you have any evidence that Sharia Patrols and child marriages would be at all tolerated in the U.S.?

        Its amazing that they are tolerated in England and Australia. I see no reason to believe that the same proggy/multi-culti thinking that exists in those countries and the US, and which justifies these practices in those countries, couldn’t also justify it in this country.

        1. There is a lot of silly multiculturalist thinking in the US, but there is also a long and strong tradition of integration of immigrants from widely varying cultures which doesn’t really exist in Europe. So I’m quite a bit more hopeful about the US.

            1. I know about that. There are even weird towns almost entirely populated by orthodox Jews. If a group is sufficiently determined to stay isolated from the larger culture, they will. I still think there is good reason to believe that our immigration situation is not going to start looking a lot more like Europe’s.

            2. Isn’t this out of the pages of libertarian regulation? Consumer led boycott. No force used.

              Sharia patrols make people pour out beer or force them to leave areas.

              Though I could easily see escalation of these techniques by any group.

            3. Isn’t this out of the pages of libertarian regulation? Consumer led boycott. No force used.

              Sharia patrols make people pour out beer or force them to leave areas.

              Though I could easily see escalation of these techniques by any group.

        2. But what exactly is being tolerated? I have a hard time believing it is honor killings and child abuse.

      3. 20 years ago I would have laughed at anyone who suggested that they would be tolerated in Britain, and the British are our spiritual political ancestors.

    4. If we get Sharia Patrols in the U.S. as Britain is seeing in London and elsewhere, I want them landed on with cleats.

      I think it’s safe to say they would be… here.

    5. ^ This @CSP Schofield.

      Switzerland is not being xenophobic (the go-to word for open-borders loons to describe non-loons), they are being OBSERVANT.

      Multicultists are detached from reality.

  10. Let the Swiss be Swiss.

  11. I’m glad it was a close vote, at least, because if you were to take some people’s word for it, you might think the worst of a larger share of Swiss residents.

    I get the principle of the argument here but, honestly, Switzerland would not be my first choice for a new home.

    1. Good thing then that there’s no chance of them ever letting you have citizenship.

      Win wn for both of you.

      1. If I want to live next to a bunch of snooty rich people, I could travel a much shorter distance to Lake Oconee or Eagle’s Landing.

        The next place I expect to move to will be a colder environment, but the people will be more agreeable, and the entire economy won’t be based on laundering other people’s dirty money.

        1. That’s right. If you have a stupid amount of money, you can directly negotiate your own tax treaty with the government.

    2. Switzerland would not be my first choice for a new home.

      It used to be my backup plan, but my contacts are 23 years out of date at this point.

  12. Funny how Reason is all about not meddling in other country’s affairs right up until they aren’t. Maybe it is none of our business how the Swiss run their country?

    1. Please explain, in detail, how reason is proposing meddling with the Swiss. I’m really curious where they said that.

    2. Even if you want to classify criticism as “meddling”, it’s still not a violation of the non-aggression principle, and Reason has never advocated against criticizing other countries.

    3. Commenting is not meddling. I can have opinions on other people’s personal lives while still understanding that it is none of my business and I shouldn’t interfere.

      1. “Commenting is not meddling.”

        This, frankly, is stupid bullshit and you know it.

        That you eve try it is sad.

        1. That’s sarcasm, right? Or Mary?

  13. The main problem I have with this piece is that, like a lot of others I’ve read about free movement, is that it seems to gloss over the fact that the people in question aren’t remotely libertarian and have set up their society reflective of that fact. Free movement is way down the list of any libertarian to-do list that I could conceive of being practical. Until the underlying issues that make it so unattractive are handled it’s a total non-starter.

    1. One tough thing about libertarianism is that you have to respect the rights of people who disagree with you as well.

      1. Then why do you criticize them?

        Are you a hypocrite, or do you not understand what “respect” means?

        1. I said respect their rights, not their beliefs.

          1. Have you heard? “Respect” has been redefined as “not hurting one’s feelings”.

            I blame the public schools.

            1. I blame correctly identify a major source of this stupidity as the public schools.


      2. The rights of the people.

        Said rights being identical to the right you have.

        You do not have to respect, tolerate or accept their asinine cultures–particularly if those cultures are actively trying to destroy yours.

        They absolutely have the right to disagree—-somewhere else.

        Free movement is a wonderful ideal–and utterly impossible until everyone shares the same basic mindset about it.

        Why is that so hard to see?

    2. Yep. First time I’ve read a Reason immigration post in a long time. I don’t even want to hear about until the spending and the Welfare State is fixed.

      1. I don’t even want to hear about___________ until the spending and the ___________ is fixed.

        Gun control, violent crime
        free trade, unfair trade
        free market healthcare, access to healthcare

        1. All far more important that Swiss immigration policy.

        2. Yeah, its a bullshit argument, because you cant control the order.

    3. is that it seems to gloss over the fact that the people in question aren’t remotely libertarian


      Everyone has human rights, even those who arent libertarian.

      1. They do? Prove it!

        1. Its the nice thing about axioms, they can just be declared, they dont have to be proven.

          1. Indeed. The nice thing about axioms is that they’re like standards. There are so many to choose from!

  14. Keep Switzerland Swiss!

  15. This would have been bad news for the Von Trapp Family Singers!

    1. “And why do you think we revolted against the Austrians and became independent!!!!”

      /Pike and crossbow wielding Swiss

    2. And it would have made The Great Escape a much shorter movie.

  16. As many editors as reason has, you’d think someone could have proof read this before posting it.

  17. Back when I lived in Switzerland, it was very easy to work in the country, nearly impossible to ever get citizenship.

    It was also a bit tricky getting a residence visa. You didnt need a visa to work in Switzerland at the time, but you would have had to commute from another country.

    This was pre-EU. And pre Switzerland joining the UN.

    I understand the citizenship path is easier, but it sounds like the immigration path is harder.

    1. And the fun of trying to get your $ out of the Swiss pension system when leaving…

      1. Or the fun of trying to get your money out of the Swiss banking system after you’ve been overthrown in a coup and or defeated in war. Now that’s a bitch.


    1. I smell the pee of a Romani?

  19. Back when I lived in Switzerland, it was very easy to work in the country, nearly impossible to ever get citizenship.

    I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t understand the obsession with citizenship which poisons the “debate” in this country.

    1. So, you have a large group of resident workers in your country that don’t have political rights, have restricted legal rights, etc.

      Worked out well for South Africa, didn’t it?

      I submit “guest worker” programs are merely the camel’s nose under the tent. Let’s see how long we have to wait before we start hearing about The Injustice of the Apartheid State.

      1. Hell, in most of Europe, you are a less than a citizen even if you were born there but your parents weren’t. What could possibly go wrong.

      2. They currently are not citizens, and even illegal, and yet they chose to come here. Its different from SA where they did not make that choice.

        Also, green card holders have almost all of the rights of a citizen.

        They don’t have to serve on juries, so they escape one of the responsibilities, too.

        And as the world democratizes and the economy globalizes you will have vast numbers of expat workers in every country who make work there for decades but really do not want to become citizens because their home country is pretty nice, too.

  20. The last three hordes to invade ate all the cheese and drank all the willemsgeist.

  21. Nothing unfortunate about it. The Swiss made a great country and don’t want to flush it down the toilet like England and France have done.

    It’s the OPPOSITE of unfortunate. Go Swiss!

  22. Most euroskeptics form their critiques on nationalist or socialist grounds rather than anti-regulatory grounds. So the likely alternative to the bureaucratic, slothful, meddling EU is increased meddling, sloth, and bureaucracy at the level of 28 member states. They want to dismantle or curb the free trade aspects, and bolster domestic protections and regulations.

    Criticism of the EU should be seen more like criticism of NAFTA or WTO, rather than criticism of the federal government. It’s true that the EU and trade agreements are laden with regulations and controls that are manipulated for the sake of well represented interests. But the alternative to NAFTA or the EU is unlikely to be trade that is freer and more open, but rather trade that is less free and less open.

    1. Shorter:

      Common Market good. European Community good. European Union bad. Alternative to European Union likely even worse.

  23. The Swiss wised up. When are you “Reason” geniuses going to?

  24. Actually, it is GREAT news for the Swiss people – and that’s what really counts when it comes to Swiss law, isn’t it? I mean, only a bunch of dumb asses would pass laws that are great for other people, but bad for the home team.

    What Reason seems to miss is that while waves of detritus washing over the borders of civilized nations may be good news for the detritus, it is NOT good news for the people who have worked and contributed and built a superior country.

    Let me draw a parallel.

    You work. You save. You buy a nice house. You built it. It’s yours. Now people you don’t know say you have to share your house with the first bum that comes down the street. I’m sure Matthew Feeney would have no problem with the newcomers burning cigarette holes in the furniture and carpet, or puking on the floor, or running the air conditioning with all the doors and windows open, or raiding the ice box (but never buying any food to replace what they’ve taken), or dirtying all the dishes – but never washing a single one. This is what the bums crossing the border “to improve their lives” do. Sure, it improves their lives. They were living in a shit hole down the street – a shit hole of their own making. A shit hole with cigarette burn marks on every horizontal surface, reeking of vomit, empty of food, buried in dirty dishes with sky high utility bills. But did they stay and try to improve the shit hole? Did they try to clean it up? Build their own home? No.

  25. (cont)
    They just moved into Matthew Feeney’s house, and Matthew couldn’t be more thrilled.

    And now they want to move into YOUR home too!

    Would YOU be thrilled?

    I think not.

    Well, neither are the Swiss. They’re tired of the riffraff coming to their Country and causing problems. They’re tired of the bums (always foreign bums) hanging out in their parks. They have no patience for the wave of new criminals and they don’t want the gigantic suitcases full of problems, from health problems, to increased crime, to abuse of a well-ordered society, that come with the people from the shit hole.

    And if Americans were not so freaking clueless, they’d be FURIOUS about the way bad government and bad corporations are selling out their Country to the shit hole people.

    But then? Americans are a stupid lot. Any country that could elect Barack Obama TWICE has to be full of idiots.

    And so it is.

    But the Swiss are not stupid. Their country is not for sale. And frankly, they don’t give a crap if the EU or Matthew Feeney doesn’t like it.

  26. Probably Sweden thought their welfare state would last a little longer if they limited the corollary growth of tax sucking trash to the homegrown. Libertarians on the other hand prefer to invite the world’s socialist millions to help themselves to every welfare state’s paychecks, ensuring a fast track to inevitable national bankruptcy. Perhaps libertarians are hoping that the violent chaos engendered by welfare trash running out of other people’s money will add weight to their pleas for freedom.

    1. You appear to be well-read, so you probably know this, but David Friedman has made a similar argument.

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