Open Borders


George Mason economist and recreational controversialist Bryan Caplan has teamed up with artist Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame to create a surprisingly readable visual case for open borders.

Overall, the arguments in Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration are rather sophisticated—much more so than skeptics of the genre might expect. A red devil in a necktie fights with a cartoon Caplan about the impact of immigration from low-trust societies. Caplan digs into the infamous Skittles metaphor ("If you have a bowlful of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem.") to talk about crime rates and terrorism risk.

A cartoon Lant Pritchett in a Harvard sweatshirt (it's hard to differentiate between economists, OK?) raises the specter of "zombie economies" that are insufficiently responsive to changes in the demand for labor, as actual zombies shamble through the next panel.

Of particular note is a lively debate about Milton Friedman's claim that "you cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state." The bespectacled cartoon Friedman looks enough like Caplan himself that Weinersmith has distinguished the two by draping a Nobel Prize around Friedman's neck, a charitable gesture to the person he's arguing against.

To its credit, Open Borders backs up its claims. It contains meta-panels in which cartoon Caplan holds a copy of his book The Myth of the Rational Voter as a kind of visual footnote to his arguments, as well as a large section of actual footnotes, livened up with delightful doodles.

NEXT: Brickbat: Pay Per View

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Overall, the arguments in Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration”

    And there is the fallacy !
    That open border is only about immigration and not about other who cross the border illegally – like those in foreign military uniforms.

    Reason should write an article as to how open borders would stop military invasions before soldiers actually entered the country and attacked people.

    1. I’m pretty sure that nobody is advocating for borders open to invasion from a hostile military force. That might just be the strawman of all strawmen.

      1. But they are arguing for open borders without reform to entitlements which is just as stupid.

        1. The Democrats are. Sure. Libertarian, they are not.

          I’m pretty sure that nobody at Reason would agree with the statement that we should not reform entitlements.

          1. Really? Because I’ve read a lot of these articles and not one of them mention the entitlement cost of their fairy tales.

      2. Is demographic replacement and cultural terrorism not hostile just because they aren’t wearing uniforms? Americans are truly suicidal if they think we can open the floodgates and maintain liberty. Sorry, but most of the world simply does not believe in natural rights the way we do. It took hundreds of years to make America how it is today and look at how quickly our commitments to God and freedom have crumbled within the native-born population. The answer is to make our own house in order, not to burn it down.

        1. You value order and tradition over liberty and individualism. Got it. But why do you think these ideas would ever gain traction among libertarian-minded people?

          1. Dismissing the borders of nation states is as collectivist as it gets

            1. It is the opposite. Championing the interests of the collective nation-state over the liberty of the individual is the height of collectivism. That is what you espouse.

              If the interests of the nation supersede the liberty of the individual, they why does it end with immigration? Maybe the state really should spy on you, “for your own good”. Maybe your liberty to be free of unwarranted searches is asking too much. Why not? After all, we have the health of the nation-state to consider here! Do you hate America?

              1. Citizen of the world!

                1. Once again you fail to answer the question or address the point.

                  Do the interests of the nation-state supersede the liberty of the individual? If so, under which conditions?

                  1. The interests of the USA and its citizens supersede the interests of foreign nations and foreign nationals in all instances of US policy

                    1. Do the interests of the American state supersede the liberty of the individual American citizens? If so, when and under what conditions?

              2. Well said chem Jeff

                1. Nope.
                  But feel free to post your address, and not deny others their liberty

            2. The only borders that should matter are privately held ones. Let each individual owner set their own immigration policy and their own policy on welfare. Problem solved.

          2. Not really. I just realize that liberty and individualism can’t exist when collectivists can freely migrate, gather the numbers necessary to overpower us, and then do it.

            Might doesn’t make right, but might makes. It always has and it always will.

            1. So you oppose democracy then in favor of an authoritarian regime. Arrest Bernie Sanders perhaps.

              1. Your commentary is vapid and without value.
                GTFO here

        2. @awildseaking

          Caplan addresses and refutes that in his book. He find these concerns are overblown. Surveys of current immigrants show they do not differ significantly from the native-born population on policy views.

          Surveys of the kind of low-skill immigrants we would see more of with open borders do show that they are about 20% more anti-freedom than the average American. However, Caplan finds that they show up to vote 24% less often, that low income voters both native and foreign-born are generally ignored by the government regardless, and that the children of low-shilled immigrants assimilate and have the same political views as other Americans.

          He does find that immigrants are less likely to vote Republian, but that is a phenomenon that emerged in the 80s due to Republican politicians courting the xenophobe vote. Before then, Republicans and Democrats got an equal share of the immigrant vote. So all Republicans have to do is quit being horrible and they’ll get the immigrant vote right back.

          1. “that low income voters both native and foreign-born are generally ignored by the government regardless”

            He actually wrote that? What a giant pile of bullshit. They weren’t ignored during the Obama Administration, when government agencies were lobbying and advertising for people to make use of their services. Low income voters may have an actual job, but a significant additional job is to keep voting for the gravy train.

            Again. The Democratic Party and the Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party wouldn’t be as up in arms about Trump restricting immigration if they believed the new immigrants were going to just vote for Trump anyway.

            This has the whiff of the oft-repeated bullshit stat that Cato and Reason like to throw out, that lower income new immigrants use fewer government services than native born Americans. That could be true, if the natives you were comparing them to were members of the welfare class. I thought we libertarians weren’t fond of the welfare class either?

            It’s just a fundamentally dishonest way of looking at the question. If the rest of the book’s reasoning is on the level of the quoted sentence at the top of this post, I’ll save my time and skip reading it, despite my on-again, off-again like of SMBC.

          2. Demographic and voting data doesn’t support that assertion one bit and it’s convenient that you fall back on partisan pejoratives.

            Hatred of others knows no bounds. It is often exhibited best by the elites who sequester themselves and compartmentalize all cultures different from their own, partaking in them at a safe distance but never letting them within arm’s reach, lest those uppity colored folk start asserting themselves and questioning those in power.

      3. Yeah they are. Unregulated open borders is just that.

    2. Haha. unreason is so desperate to spread their un-Libertarian Propaganda about open borders that they have hitched their wagons to cartoons to get the Hitler Youth involved.

      Genius KMW, fucking genius!

  2. “See, look! Somewhere there is a real convincing argument for Open Borders! Trust us!”

    Reason has yet to explain how they plan to make the US *more* libertarian by importing *less* libertarian people.

    1. How about we make the US more libertarian by actually allowing people liberty, rather than requiring a government permission slip to live and work here.

      1. Sure, let’s reform the paternalism in the system by reducing entitlements and I’ll jump on that train with you.

        1. Sounds like a great idea. I’m certainly on board with reducing or eliminating entitlements.

          To think about it in reverse, though, you’re basically arguing that in order to combat government illiberalism (entitlements) we need MORE government illiberalism (restriction on movement and association). It seems to me that linking the two is advocating for a slippery slope towards authoritarianism (that we are already on by the way) in which one government wrong requires another government wrong, and then another, another, another…

          Or to take the thought process one step further I’d ask, what other liberties would you give up because we have entitlements in this country?

          1. No, what I’m arguing for is non naive policy construction. You cant continue to grow the government by growing agencies and dollars spent through unfettered population growth and expect reforms to happen later. As entities grow they gain momentum and are harder to reform.

            I’d rather stabilize the system before introducing growth into it. It is the only chance to reform it, especially as entitlements and handouts attract people more likely to want those handouts.

            1. Many articles have been hosted on this very site that show that, perhaps, the only way to pay for our current entitlements is to grow the tax base relative to those eligible for the entitlements.

              That’s a good, practical argument for a looser immigration system in which we allow folks that are already coming here to work to be “above board” thereby growing the tax base. If constructed right, that system could eliminate growth in the entitlement recipient base by disallowing them access to entitlements. I’ve advocated for such a system in other various comment sections on Reason.

              Many, many workers would be willing to accept this sort of visa system in which they can easily come here, work, pay taxes, and get nothing in return but an honest pay check and not have to fear deportation at every turn.

              I don’t normally argue for my positions by appealing to growing the tax base, but if it moves the needle towards more liberty then I’m willing to make that concession. And it’s not a perfectly libertarian system (visas are still government permission slips) but again, it moves the needle toward liberty so I’m willing to concede.

              1. We already have what you describe, in that the illegal sub-humans pay into Social Security, but can’t get those bennies. That is ONE reason why the feds often PRETEND to be draconian, and put on the SHOW of being draconian, while secretly being glad that the illegal sub-humans are propping up Social Security. Meanwhile, LOCALs (cities and states) are forced to pay emergency room bills and for schooling… So, different branches of Government Almighty have different axes to grind. “Bracero” programs would be nice, but liberals won’t allow it.

                See “The Truth About Undocumented Immigrants and Taxes” (in quotes) in your Google search window will take you straight there, hit number one… AKA For details about us natives mooching off of the taxes of the illegal sub-humans, for Social Security…

                1. “” in that the illegal sub-humans pay into Social Security, but can’t get those bennies.””

                  That’s because they stole someone else’s SS number.

                  1. For the purpose of GIVING UP THEIR MONEY to the taxman! In order to WORK for a living! That doesn’t sound like much of a crime to me!

              2. I don’t normally argue for my positions by appealing to growing the tax base

                You just did.

                1. And I explained why.

                  I’d rather appeal to the fact that liberty for no other reason than the sake of liberty is ideal. But that argument doesn’t seem to work with the conservatives in this comment section.

                  1. The free state project = political change via demographic change. If you buy into the concept there, then you accept the possibility of it elsewhere.

                    1. The idea behind the Free State Project is that libertarians *with a committed ideology* will move to New Hampshire and vote for more libertarian-leaning policies.

                      It seems strange to compare migration for ideological reasons, with migration for essentially economic reasons. Are the Mexican day laborers at Home Depot committed ideological socialists or something?

                    2. They are not committed Marxists, but you are, rather ironically, making a very collectivist decision that the nation did not consent to. If NH was a libertarian island, sure, you guys can do whatever you want and commit cultural suicide. Of course the dissidents of your libertopia will probably want to exact revenge on you depending on how widespread the problem becomes, but that’s not important. So long as you’re in the US, inviting people with open borders means the rest of us have to take a gamble on demographic and cultural replacement all because you are 100% convinced that you can convince these people to be like you. If your efforts fail, which they will, then what will you say? Only utopians think that you can make other people change, even if its “voluntary” or done in a “libertarian” way.

                      Basically, what we’re trying to warn you of is “don’t be that jackass who takes our culture for granted and gambles on the sociopolitical structure of America.” There isn’t exactly a union of free nations comparable to America. We’re just as radical today as we were almost 300 years ago and the world still wholeheartedly rejects freedom. We’re even starting to reject freedom. So don’t be that rube who tries to pull that “maybe we were the bad guys all along” crap. Protecting freedom by any means necessary is what you have to do sometimes.

                    3. Protecting freedom by any means necessary is what you have to do sometimes.

                      “We had to destroy liberty in order to save it”, is that it?

                      And besides you are not “protecting freedom”, what you are advocating is to destroy freedom in the name of social order. You want to take away my right to associate with whom I choose, because you don’t approve of the choice that I might make.

                    4. And by the way.

                      No I do not think I can convince everyone else to be just like me. That’s not the point. The point is to respect people’s liberty to be free to do whatever they wish (consistent with the NAP of course), even if they would make different choices than what I would have made.

                      I don’t want a homogeneous society. I don’t want a bunch of clones all acting and behaving the same.

                    5. There’s no such thing as a right to association with foreigners within any geographically autonomous region, otherwise there would be no such thing as statehood.

                      If I’m destroying liberty, then you’re doing it too because your choices will bring more people who continue to restrict freedom. I guarantee you that if we had two concurrent societies with our own policies, yours would become much less free much more quickly and it would eventually degenerate into civil war. That’s what happens when you violate a collective right to association with an individual right to association. A bunch of people decided something, you were born into those circumstances, and have decided otherwise. Don’t get upset when society doesn’t mirror you. Majorities are real, they’re allowed to impose, and that’s how it has to be.

        2. Okay Jesse, so what’s your plan for reducing entitlements?

        3. Me, too. Can’t have one without the other.

      2. Describe to me an immigration system that allows people to exercise liberty coming here, but doesn’t allow people who intend to restrict our liberty to do the same. I’m not talking about people like 21st century Ds who want to use government force to take your guns. I’m talking about literal Nazis and Islamists who really don’t care for your rules and will kill you once they have the numbers.

        1. Why should the state be in the business in the first place of deciding who comes and who goes?

        2. Eliminate all public property. Only recognize borders held privately. Let each owner set their own immigration policy. Easiest solution ever. Oh yeah, also let each owner also set their own policy on bearing arms. Can’t forget about that part.

          1. Cool.
            What’s your address?

      3. Islamofascists, Communists, Superstitious Misogynists, Coronavirus sufferers, all are welcome

    2. I’ve read it. It’s a joke, but if you’re going to run with joke arguments, I suppose a cartoon is the right format.

      1. Haha. Yup. Evidently unreason is moving to cartoon format to fit their joke arguments.

    3. What makes you think that people fleeing the horrors of authoritarian regimes, extremist terror, and failed states would be less libertarian than the Republicans and Democrats we have entrenched here already?

      It seems to me that people with visceral memories and experiences of all the horrors of other ideologies create and inflict would be willing ears for libertarians to bend.

      1. I’d be more worried about their kids. You’re not thinking about the long game.

        There’s a reason the larger political situation in central America is what it is, and it’s not just down to American interference. There are deep-seated cultural issues there that you may want to think twice about before you import them.

        Read some Hoppe.

        1. Can we knock it off with the “importation” talk? They are not slaves, they are not cargo, they are free people choosing to migrate of their own free will.

          Furthermore, would YOU, individually, want to be judged based on some broad-brush cultural stereotype based on where you live? “Oh those Americans, they’re fat, lazy, and indulgent, who wants THAT???”

          1. We’re making a decision to let them in, and it wasn’t the people he suggested we were importing, it was their culture.

            That’s the real killer for me: You are what you eat, your national culture becomes more like the culture of the people you invite in.

            Immigrants don’t just assimilate into the country they move to. The country assimilates into them, too. Both sides move, and the higher the rate of immigration, the more the country moves in the direction of the immigrants.

            I look at the countries most of these illegal immigrants are coming from, and I ask, “What lunatic would want the US to become more like those hell-holes?” Why would we want to become more like these failed nations with endemic corruption at levels that make even Washington look clean?

            It isn’t just food and quaint folk dances that they’re bringing here. It’s the cultural attitudes that brought their own countries down!

            1. This word “culture” is being thrown around far too loosely.

              Why do you think that, say, Guatemala is a poorly run country? Because of “Guatemalan culture”? Like what precisely? Do you think the state of Guatemala today reflects the pure unadulterated will of the populace of today?

              A big reason why so many Guatemalans are trying to come here is because Guatemala is NOT the type of country they would want!

              Can you separate the people of a nation, from the government that rules over them?

            2. This.

              It’s the basic problem with economic refugees. Often, they want what the people above them on the social adders in their home countries had–not the better life in general that’s on offer here.

              Because of this, they have a tendency to support the familiar–with the added impetus that comes from thinking that someone’s actually listening to them now.

              So they end up supporting things that will re-create the hellholes they escaped from.

              Not good.

              Oh, if you think you’re NOT judged on the “those Americans, they’re fat, lazy, and indulgent” stereotype, I’ve got this bridge you might be interested in….

              1. That takes a lot of latitude on how you judge culture, whatever that is. As if individuals can be judged that way. The Irish, Italians, Jews, Asians, Blacks, Catholics, have all been judged that way and still are. It is in their culture you know and we don’t need them here.

                Doesn’t ring too well for a libertarian who is grounded in the principles of natural rights. It is not because of something you read or an oath you took or where you were born. Just that “all men are created equal” stuff will do.

                There are arguments against immigration to be made. The cultural one is the weakest. It is pure xenophobic nativism. We can’t have “them” diluting the volk. They don’t share our values. I know I have heard that before.

                1. There are a lot of places in the world where people who have anything of value need to keep it behind walls and bars. That includes their children.
                  I have been to a bunch of those places, but I live in a place where doors are rarely locked, and windows on homes do not have bars welded across them.
                  The difference is cultural. High-trust societies are the exception to the norm, and easily disrupted. Historically, one of the big human cultural and technological innovations was the idea of putting walls around a whole city, where the people inside shared civic responsibility and looked out for each other.

      2. Oh, because every public opinion poll taken with these populations shows they vote Democrat 2 or 3 to 1? Go look at polls Pew has taken of refugee populations and their voting propensity. Consider also that if Democrat leadership didn’t think these newcomers would vote for them, they wouldn’t be moving heaven and earth to ensure their arrival in the US.

        Contrast it with attitudes in media and the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) about the idea of allowing white South African farmers to emigrate. Those are small business owning folk and rural agrarians, who will probably vote Republican if allowed to emigrate. Consequently, the attitude of party leaders, when they bother to address the topic at all, is to let those people rot in South Africa.

        1. they vote Democrat 2 or 3 to 1?

          Why do you think that is? Because they are culturally programmed robots? Or because Team Red does an exceptionally lousy job trying to cater to them?

          1. The answer is obvious, “team red” doesn’t offer them enough free stuff. But you know that, you like to play dumb.

            1. Is that so?

              Doesn’t Team Blue offer you tons of free stuff too? Why have you not taken them up on their offer?

              If the logic is as simple as “free stuff buys votes”, then why isn’t everyone a Democrat? Hmm?

              Perhaps there is more to the explanation besides “free stuff”.

        2. chemjeff is here to say it’s Americans fault that non-Americans are Socialist.

          Haha. unreason sock trolls make me laugh.

        3. And Jews. Don’t forget Jews. They vote democrat 70% so don’t let any more of them in.

          What you are really advocating is single party rule. Gerrymandering policy to favor your party.

          1. To paraphrase:

            When a group cannot implement its ideology via democracy, they will give up on democracy, not on their ideology.

            1. This country was founded on ideals of liberty, but two and a half centuries of democracy have seen almost all of that liberty given up. Liberty, evidently, cannot be implemented via democracy. I know which is my higher value, and I suspect I know which is yours as well.

            2. The USA is NOT a Democracy.

              Its a Constitutional Democratic Republic.

              If you work to destroy the US Constitution and this Republic, you are not welcome here. Fuck up some other country.

              Keep doing it at your own peril.

  3. “Our best argument is a book of cartoons.”

    1. All of my arguments throughout my life have been based on The Family Circus, Drabble, and Marmaduke. I’ve been done pretty well if I must say so.

      1. No Cathy?

        1. “No Cathy?”

          He didn’t think much of the, ‘On the one hand this; but on the other hand, that’, school of argumentation.

      2. I’ve always base mine on the Far Side.

      3. What about Monty Python? “Strange women lying about in ponds distributing swords is no basis of a system of government”

        1. Well, after a couple hundred years of taxation WITH representation, I am willing to give it a try.

        2. Pretty much described Federal bureaucracy right there.

    2. Considering how much mileage Team MAGA gets from memes posted on Facebook and Twitter…

  4. This comic has been highlighted several times before here. The arguments still suck

    1. Since SMBC is a part of this, the cloud of smug from this book will be seen from space.

      I did like their take on quantum computing though:

  5. Open borders trample property rights, hence not libertarian. On what grounds do these arguments keep appearing here?

    KMW is an anarchist, hence not libertarian, as anarchy inevitably establishes ‘might makes right’.

    When is Koch going to get back to libertarian principles?

    1. “KMW is an anarchist…”

      No shit? I don’t remember reading anything of hers where she identified with anarchism. Or anarchocapitalism, but I haven’t looked. Where did she say that?

      1. Yale undergrad essay published in student magazine.
        Then she grew up to be the editirix of a statist magazine w/ a clickbait website.

        1. Thanks.

          LOL at the anarchism. I hope she outgrew it.

          The more Ivy graduates I meet, the more I want to give the next crack at running the country to people from the land grant colleges.

      2. Debate: Be an Anarchist, Not a Minarchist

        Private, Contractual Methods Are More Efficient and More Just
        Katherine Mangu-Ward
        I’m an anarchist because government tends toward ineptitude and consent is extremely important. If you describe yourself as a libertarian, you probably agree with both of those propositions.

        unreason staff really fucked up when they thought they could be honest about being Lefties and Anarchists and still claim to be Libertarians. It was about the time that unreason really stepped up the TDS.

        1. You are such a damn retard. You know nothing about anarchocapitalism yet constantly accuse Reason writers of being anarchists, despite the fact that the vast majority are not. You constantly conflate libertarianism with the Libertarian party, yet don’t know enough history to know it was founded by anarchists. People have made this point to you a hundred times yet you insist on spewing your ignorance all over the comment section.

          You are not remotely a libertarian. I don’t understand why you even comment here.

          1. You are not remotely a libertarian. I don’t understand why you even comment here.

            Probably for many of the same reasons that most of the other “not remotely libertarian” people come here as well.

          2. HAHAHA. Anarchists created the LP for tiny and limited government, under Rule of Law? HAHAHA.

            You heard it here folks- the Libertarian Party is about Anarchy!


            1. You are seriously unhinged. Murray Rothbard was an anarcho-capitalist. Roy Childs was, too, at least for a time. Ed Crane certainly wasn’t, but I doubt you consider him much of an ideological bedfellow. I don’t know if David Nolan or Tonie Nathan ever publicly endorsed anarcho-capitalism, but they did endorse the centrality of the NAP and it’s pretty clear from the company they kept that they didn’t consider it to be some foreign, unrelated position as you seem to think.

              But then, because you are a lazy, ignorant stooge, I’m sure you’ll go on thinking that, never learning anything about the LP’s history, or libertarian theory, or anarcho-capitalism.

              1. Anarchists always end up doing communists bidding

                1. Like the Lefties that think they are immune from the Socialists putting people up against a wall, the Anarchists think they have a pass with Communists…because they helped seize power.

                  It ALWAYS ends the same for the Useful Idiots.

              2. Anarcho-Capitalism is NOT Libertarianism either. That is why they call themselves Anarcho-Capitalists.

                Libertarianism is fine with tiny and limited government under Rule of Law.

                It is funny how mad you get when I wont let you people post your nonsense without retort.

        2. Look at the unreason sock trolls ATTACK.

          So hilarious. Look at them defend unreason.

    2. Open borders trample property rights, hence not libertarian.

      This is only true if you believe in collective property rights, that is all of the US really belongs to the state and the majority gets to decide who comes here.

      If you believe in individual property rights, then you would see that you have no more right to tell me that I can’t let an immigrant onto my property than I have to tell you that you must let them on.

      Now ask yourself which is more libertarian… individuals deciding whom to associate with on their property, or the state granting permission slips?

      1. You seem to be suggesting a direct sponsorship system, which I think absolutely works in a libertarian framework. Broadly speaking, why is there not more focus on that rather than the buzzword open borders?

        1. Right?
          We can talk about sponsorship, but open borders is straight communism

        2. The idea of sponsorship is worthwhile in a utilitarian sense only. It still places the burden of proof on the wrong party though. The default assumption should be liberty, and the burden of proof to determine if an individual should not have liberty should be placed on the state. That is not what we have now though. Currently, the default assumption is restriction, and the burden of proof to determine if a person should be permitted the liberty to come here rests on the individual. Sponsorship doesn’t change that essential dynamic which is why they are unsatisfactory conceptually.

          1. You want absolute liberty?
            Post your address, and we can see how your liberty holds up

            1. The default assumption should be liberty, and the burden of proof should rest on the state to have to justify why an individual ought not be entitled to liberty. Do you agree, or disagree?

              If you disagree, clearly explain why.

              1. Cool.
                Post your address.
                Then I can exercise my liberty at your location.
                Put up or shut up.

                1. Hey I’ll go

                  1623 E J Street, Tacoma, WA, 98421-1615

                  1. Good to know.
                    I respect you for actually living by your principles.
                    Many will appreciate the shelter you’ve offered.

                  2. You have given this information to all immigrants rights groups, right?

                    1. They know.

                      Hey it’s a good gig. The government contracts pay well and you foot the bill. Billions in food, medical care, and operations awarded to contractors.

        3. I’m not advocating sponsorship here by any means. I’m trying to refute the idea that the anti-immigrant argument is somehow pro property rights. It is most certainly not.

          The ideas about expanding visas, which I discuss upthread, are not ideal for me but certainly a reasonable compromise. Given that the idea of “open borders” strikes fear of criminals crossing our border into a lot of our population, I think visas are a good way to alleviate some of those fears. You could grant visas based on a criminal background check, for instance.

          By the way, increasing the ease of immigrants who have been screened for security allows the Border Patrol agents to focus on securing the border from any actual threats. Of course any guest worker visa system has to be unlimited or it simply leads back to the point we’re at in which we have a black market for labor crossing our border.

        4. Leo does not understand how volunteerism works.

          People can voluntarily combine property rights rather than have them collectively taken over.

          The Founders started the United States of America because they wanted to and Americans wanted that or they left with the British.

      2. I think most aren’t doing the required work, which people’s rights claims should be resolved first? People living in the US whose property rights are currently being infringed or those who seek to enter the US?

        Until current US property owners rights infringements are dealt with it there can’t be any clear argument or analysis regarding people who wish to enter the country.

        1. People living in the US whose property rights are currently being infringed

          Do you have immigrants squatting in your house? If so, I’d suggest calling local law enforcement. Otherwise your claim makes no sense in light of my argument.

      3. Open borders trample property rights, hence not libertarian.

        This is only true if you believe in collective property rights, that is all of the US really belongs to the state and the majority gets to decide who comes here.

        Why ‘the state’?

        I believe that the US belongs to the citizens. NOT the state.

        The state is a tool the citizens use to settle disputes, manage
        infrastructure, and engage with the citizens of other countries.

        The person wielding the hammer does not belong to the hammer.

        1. I believe that the US belongs to the citizens. NOT the state.

          Is that so. Then I suggest you try to exercise your ‘property rights’ over, say, the Washington Monument, and see what happens. After all, aren’t you a joint owner?

          And besides, what you advocate is literal communism.

        2. I believe that the US belongs to the citizens. NOT the state.

          A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.

        3. Leo wont discuss volunteerism.

          Its either Communism (not the worst date Leo has had) or Anarchy (which Leo prefers).

        4. I agree with that.

          I think people forget that states do not have rights. Only individuals have rights, dignity, and autonomy. Because we need some level of government for the reasons you mentioned we have no choice. The collective “we” often votes for actions or representatives who may violate our individual rights including property rights or even our lives.

          Libertarians seek a smaller role and scope of government because we know its faults. There is a trade off as some security and other benefits may be traded for individual choice and autonomy. It is not easy to stand out from the crowd and stand up for libertarian principles.

          1. States have rights. They are listed in the US Constitution and in the respective state Constitutions.

    3. “Open borders trample property rights, hence not libertarian.”

      ‘1) CLOSED borders, then, ARE libertarian? HOW MUCH of my income should be taxed, to police the borders against HOW MANY species of people, plants, and animals? Property confiscations to “build that wall”, are they libertarian? Unconstitutional actions by which the POTUS diverts money allocated by Congress (Congress’s job) for OTHER purposes, to build walls? Conscriptions to draft wall-armies? Jailing people who “aid and abet” illegal sub-humans, by feeding them, or pressing an elevator button for them? Without the assisters saying “papers please”, first? “E-verify”, need Government Almighty permission to WORK, fer chrissakes?!?! HOW DRACONIAN do we get, before this is NOT libertarian? What about MY freedom to associate with people I please to associate with, on MY property? That I pay property taxes on?

      ‘2) Which is more libertarian, having “the collective hive” making these kinds of decisions (see above), or allowing free individuals to decide for themselves, whether or not to associate with illegal sub-humans?

      1. PS, these kinds of “property rights” to be free of the untermenschen? It is VERY closely related to the “good old days”, when, in the name of my community’s “rights” to be free of dark-skinned peoples, I could ADD an “in perpetuity” contractual clause when I sold my house, that NO darkies were EVER to be allowed to buy this house! “Property rightS” and “freedom of contract”, right? Was this libertarian , too? Have we lost libertarian freedom, in that these kinds of contractual provisions can no longer be enforced… BY THE STATE?! BY MEN WITH GUNS?!

  6. It takes a cartoon to ‘explain’ open borders.

    1. Here is another cartoon book you may be interested in.

      Written by some guy named Hayek.

  7. I really dont need articles on AOCs summer reading list.

    1. You are hereby authorized to NOT read them, or these kinds of articles, at all! You’re even authorized to NOT read ANYTHING written by!

      (If you’re not getting your money’s worth, you can even ask Reason for your money back).

      1. Your arguments are actually more worthless than a comic book, which is a testament to your consistency.

        1. Your arguments are prime illustrations of the “tragedy of the commons”… When NO ONE owns the fish in the deep ocean blue, the fish are “for free”, the fish get over-harvested, and all that we have left, is the jellyfish, that no one wants!

          Comments here are “for free”, so we are stuck with “jellyfish”, thead-shitters like Tulpa and liars like Jesse!

  8. I might have to check out this book! How well does he draw the banlieues and the no-go zones and the “parallel societies” in Europe? Surely he’s not just examining the theory of unrestricted immigration when there’s so much empirical evidence right there in Europe. I’ve heard the amalgamation of cultures is just a little more chunky than smooth.

    1. “I’ve heard the amalgamation of cultures is just a little more chunky than smooth.”

      Pffft! Magic dirt, bro. It’ll make everything OK.

      What are you, some kind of bigot?

  9. The high-tariff / low-immigration Drumpf economy has been absolutely disastrous for the net worth of’s benefactor Charles Koch. We therefore need to make the case for unlimited, unrestricted immigration in as many ways as possible.


    1. PS — Although I usually agree with longtime commenter Tony, I hope this convinces him to stop using his silly talking point “OMG literally nobody supports ‘open borders,’ that’s just a strawman.”


  10. Open borders sound like no borders.
    Without borders, there is no country.
    Who governs?

    1. You’re going to base your entire strawman argument on an appeal to authority… on a libertarian site? LOL

      1. I agree that asking who governs? is a silly question considering the forum, however, perhaps a more salient question could be Do communities of property owners/tax payers get to decide who is or isn’t allowed in their community?

        Also, when discussing these topics, wouldn’t it be beneficial to parse what is a Nation versus what is The State?

        1. Do communities of property owners/tax payers get to decide who is or isn’t allowed in their community?

          Property owners get to decide who can use their private property. “Taxpayers” by which I assume you mean a voting majority. If a majority of voters were to vote to disallow a property owner to lend use of his property to anyone he chooses that constitutes a taking, which is fundamentally illiberal.

          Americans don’t get to define how I use my property or with whom I associate even on US soil unless I’m using it in violation of someone’s rights to life, liberty, and property.

          Likewise you don’t have property rights, per se, in the commons areas that we consider public property. Your payment of taxes or citizenship status don’t bestow these rights upon you. If you doubt that, then go set up camp in a public school and tell me how that works out for you.

          1. How about home owner’s associations?

            Also, I noticed you ignored my second question. Freedom of association swings both ways and I always notice how the global citizen types conveniently ignore that.

            1. HOAs, I live in one, are ultimately enforced the state and local government. There are legal restrictions on what they can and cannot do and disputes are resolved in courts or by the city. You are also still subject to local and state property and tax laws. The only difference is that the homeowner elected to become a member by purchasing the property.

              However the same goes for any property. Buying a home in my city means that I am subject to those local laws and taxes. I could have bought one somewhere else. The HOA just adds another layer to that.

              It does not make any measure or law taken by the HOA or city council fundamentally more or less illiberal. It is still my property and my rights may be violated either way.

          2. “”Americans don’t get to define how I use my property”‘

            Sure they do. In some places you cannot keep an unlicensed car on your driveway. You can’t grow grass to the height you want. You can’t build on it without permission.

          3. You can’t keep your property without paying the man.

  11. Yale undergrad essay published in student magazine.
    Then she grew up to be the editirix of a statist magazine w/ a clickbait website.

    1. Is it statist to advocate against requiring permission to move and associate from… the state? Maybe you don’t own a dictionary, but it’s much more likely that you’re arguing with ad hominem in bad faith.

      1. Is it statist to advocate against requiring permission to move and associate from… the state?

        I don’t know. It is you who are suggesting that some nebulous governing authority should overrule the citizen owners who voted to NOT allow people from other countries to run willy-nilly across the border.

        You keep suggesting that there is a thing separate from the citizen owners that should be listened to or that was listened to and that there is some other group–perhaps non-citizen non-owners who you feel have some better claim than those who own.

        1. It is you who are suggesting that some nebulous governing authority should overrule the citizen owners who voted to NOT allow people from other countries to run willy-nilly across the border.

          Incorrect. I don’t believe in majoritarianism, which is what you’re advocating. I believe in a limited democracy in which 50% +1 don’t get to vote to violate the natural rights of 50% -1.

  12. Bryan Caplan has teamed up with artist Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame to create a surprisingly readable visual case for open borders.

    What a coincidence!

  13. What method of “new math” does the cartoonist subscribe to?
    330 million people earning an average of $60K and 7 billion earning an average of $20k doesn’t equal a combined average of $40K.

  14. I started putting out food for the squirrels in my yard. As much as they wanted. Magically, they all came in and ate what they needed and left and returned to their productive lives as squirrels eating nuts in the forest.

  15. This comment section is painful to read. It’s mostly a string of thought terminating cliches.

    How about you folks actually try reading the book?

    1. Don’t encourage this nonsense by buying the book. You can find out the gist of his arguments by listening to interviews with him. That’s all this crap deserves.

      1. unreason sock troll BLPoG trying to sell books.

        Anything unreason endorses should not be viewed with extreme skepticism as unreason is a Propaganda outlet.

  16. So the objective is to turn the US from one of the most prosperous countries in the works ($60k/family) into a mediocre European s…hole ($40k/family).

    Of course it doesn’t end there. Families making $40k/year pay little income tax and receive lots of government services, so the tax burden on higher income earners increases massively. Later, they will consume far more in social security and Medicare than they paid in.

    This kind of global redistribution and leveling out is a negative sum game. It is also profoundly unfair to people who created wealthy societies in the first place. In the end, the book is simple advocating socialism via open borders.

    1. It makes perfect sense if you think the goal is global neo feudalism. A giant proletarian class, stupefied by government handouts, and kept under control by energy restrictions, lack of social mobility, a vicious criminal class, and repression to ostensibly handle the vicious criminal class. The job of this giant group will be to vote and make sure the chocolate ration gets increased from 4 to 3 grams.

      The ruling class will be doing something else. At least until the robots and primitive robot AI gets up to speed.

      The US, and specifically, the middle class of the US, stands in the way of Utopia.

      1. Someone gets global socialism

      2. +10000

    2. The operative word in “classical liberal” is still “liberal”. And there’s no such thing as a good liberal!

    3. He explains that in the book. He refers to that argument as the arithmetic fallacy. You are not likely to be persuaded by his arguments so probably not worth reading for those already convinced on the issue.

      1. Math is so oppressive

  17. Unfortunately, this is a cutesy response to the worst aspects of the immigration debate. Of course the skittles analogy was bad, because that’s true of any random population group– there will be bad actors tucked inside.

    The issue of immigration in the modern west is one of stresses on pan welfare and social services, and wage and employment disruption at the lower end of the employment spectrum.

    I don’t know if George Mason, Bryan Caplan or Zach Weinersmith actually advocate for “Open Borders”, but because they’re self-titling this with the term, let me ask this question:

    If I decided to go uninsured medically, then find myself in need of an expensive surgery, should I be able to drive across the Canadian border and receive free healthcare? If not, why not. Explain carefully, and show your work.

    1. To further break down the immigration debate, not all immigration is “the same”. We need to disavow ourselves of that Hollywood trope. People come here for different reasons, and to quote Douglas Murray on this, one way to help solve the immigration debate is to recognize that there is a difference between refugees escaping war and social turmoil and economic migrants seeking a better life– And we should hang on to those definitions as tightly as we can.

      Once we can recognize those differences, dealing with immigration will get much easier and much less disruptive to the local residents.

    2. You’ve stumbled onto one of the reasons open borders can help oppose the welfare state, which is that it increases native frustration with welfare programs.

      1. “which is that it increases native frustration with welfare programs”

        Yea that won’t start a culture war or anything. Your solution is death and destruction?

      2. But it doesn’t, the welfare programs stay in place and immigrants become the butt of the native* population’s resentment.

        *No, by “native” I don’t mean white people, I mean people who are established citizens who’re fully integrated into society and the economy.

        1. The evidence I’ve seen regarding attitudes in several European countries suggest that it does diminish support for welfare programs.

          If that is true and the welfare programs stay in place, that’s just a further indicator of how entrenched they are, and how unachievable a political goal it is to remove them.

          Which implies that the “get rid of the welfare state first” argument reduces to “no open immigration ever” because we can’t get rid of the welfare state, at least through political means.

          That leads to two further points. First, that the extreme anti-liberty position of increasing the power of governments to restrict freedom of movement would not be a temporary stopgap, and second, that if more immigration places further burden on the welfare state, it is actually a more practical way to get rid of it, through collapse.

          1. Which implies that the “get rid of the welfare state first” argument reduces to “no open immigration ever” because we can’t get rid of the welfare state, at least through political means.

            Not necessarily. Most people who ever say “get rid of the welfare state first” are usually declaring an an opposition to “open borders”.

            Very few people want to stop immigration altogether. In fact, that’s the main problem with this debate. If you declare any skepticism towards “open borders” you’re labeled a ‘phobe’. I’m very pro immigration, but I’m against open borders. If one keeps shouting “open borders” but you don’t really mean unrestricted borders in which anyone can come in an is automagically eligible for the panoply of social services and welfare programs, then quit saying “open borders”.

            You can have a perfectly rational immigration system in which people can come here, and even come here quite easily without offering free Medicare For All for every person that dives into the endzone, no questions asked.

            1. I really like this response because it reminded me of a point I usually make about the term “open borders” as well as its advocates and detractors.

              The fact is, I don’t actually know what “open borders” means. I think that if we pinned it down to a narrow definition we’d find that almost no one actually supported it, even if they claimed to.

              What I personally want in the US is extremely scant restrictions on immigration or ability to restrict it, which might or might not fall under the scope of this nebulous term depending on who you ask.

              But the reason I’m commenting on this thread isn’t so much to advocate for that opinion as it is to push back against the idiots with bad arguments. I’ve seen Caplan’s arguments and they are good. He doesn’t straw-man anything; he doesn’t attack anyone as a xenophobe or racist; he addresses things like welfare state, voting patterns, crime and the like in the way they have to be addressed: as empirical questions. The proper way to argue against him is to find a flaw in his numbers or logic, but folks like lovesocialism1917 aren’t interested in actually looking into them.

              He also addresses questions that aren’t as uncertain in magnitude or sign, like economic benefits, and those are enormous. It’s up to restrictionists not just to show that the more uncertain areas are in favor of their position, but that they are such large problems as to overcome the large, more certain benefits.

            2. A rational immigration policy allowing people to legitimately work would greatly cut down on the Medicaid problem as most jobs offer insurance.

              For those not covered the only argument for Medicaid is as a subsidy to hospitals who are going to treat urgent problems anyway. Since nothing is free the cost is eventually going to shift to you and I as a $70 Tylenol.

              As for Medicare for all let’s just hope that never happens.

            3. I believe there’s at least something to his point. I think it does generally help people accept a generous welfare state when the population is generally homogeneous. And I’ve seen evidence of that acceptance waning in cases where the people wanting government assistance are not (yet) part of the larger group, as is the case with most immigrants for a generation or so.

              For example, I used to live in Denmark. Which, despite what the Sanders campaign might say, is a highly capitalist little country that values individual liberty, even though they still have a monarchy and a generous welfare state. They have things like state-funded churches and subsidized housing and transit. But, they also have a population where about 5 of the 5.6 million people who live there are Danish by birth, heritage, and ethnicity.

              When I was living there, Middle Eastern refugees – mostly from the Palestinian territories of Israel – would regularly protest in the plazas near the government center demanding that their mosques receive the same funding as the Danish Lutheran Church (the state run one).

              The typical Danish response was to tell them to fuck off. And it was the eventual government response as well.

              1. Which has also created problems for the small Jewish community in Denmark and one attack that I know of. Denmark has a remarkable history of tolerance and acceptance of its Jewish community. The boat lift of thousands of Jews as the nazis closed in is just amazing. The Danish just saw them as fellow Danes.

                The US as you know is quite different. The population is anything but homogenous in origin, religion, culture and anything else. There are huge regional differences as well.

                So how does a government here still maintain its founding principles of equality and liberty? We are never going to have the cohesive culture of someplace like Denmark. Not sure I would want that actually.

                It is a bit rough at times but overall works remarkably well.

                Here is a link if anyone cares to read about Danish resistance and the Holocaust

                1. “So how does a government here still maintain its founding principles of equality and liberty”

                  By respecting the concept of citizenship

                  1. Since we are discussing on a civil level.

                    I don’t care all that much about citizenship. It gets you some benefits. You can vote, get a coveted US passport and Social Security benefits.

                    I am more concerned with the expensive inefficient policy we have now. It is not working and has not for decades.

                    Let’s say we have a five year term as legal resident and then you can apply for citizenship. I am fine with that. Children can be naturalized citizens.

                    Tell me what is wrong with that?

                    Respect. I am libertarian. Tell me what I am supposed to respect besides your rights as an individual. The flag, the government, borders, What.

    3. Canadians aren’t going to like that one bit.

      You think Americans are concerned? Canada will say ‘hold my beer’ the second we experience a border crisis anywhere near the levels seen in the USA. The test will be how they react to Trudeau promising to cap new immigrants to 100 000; instead he upped that to 200 000 (because he’s a lying sack of smug shit) in a matter of months. In a way, though, we’re stuck because we have an aging population and no net births; unlike America.

      In any event, watch Europe carefully. People are pushing back. Pay close attention to Italy. If Salvini wins (and he’s polling very well), that’s going to send shock waves. It’ll align Italy with Poland and Hungary (who are pariahs within the PC/EU). And by default, the UK will fall on that side of the coin if Brexit happens. That’s TWO net contributors to the EU opposite to Germany and France with Italy being increasingly skeptical and the UK pulling out.

      And the people voting for him aren’t ‘extremists’ or ‘racists’. They’re people who live with the ramifications of ‘open borders’ pushed by the irresponsible German government and they’re saying enough. Lega Nord was once upon a time a regional ‘Northern’ nationalist party. Now they’re popular in hard left places like Calabria in the deep south.

      Citizens want stability and security. Nothing wrong with that.

      No one is saying stop immigration. They’re saying reign in the illegal part and in Europe it’s the migrant part.

      Just a spew on my part.

      1. “”Canada will say ‘hold my beer’ the second we experience a border crisis anywhere near the levels seen in the USA. “”

        Most counties would.

      2. The trend here is to rein in both the legal and the illegal parts. Basically there are a lot of folks here who are anti immigrant unless you are a computer engineer from Norway. That is not everyone but it drives a lot of the politics.

        If we were streamlining and opening up legal immigration there would be a lot less illegal immigration. Also Canada could use more people. The US would still be a backwater if it were not for Ellis island. There was a lot of opposition then as well. It may take a generation or so but prosperity is the end result.

        The interesting thing is Canada and the US are some of the most prosperous freedom loving countries on earth and only exist that way because of immigration yet I see a lot of xenophobia here. Then people pretend there is not an undercurrent of “just not those types”.

        1. And the bigot finally comes out and says it directly

  18. If you have a bowlful of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.

    The Skittles aren’t actively plotting to kill me, as far as I know.

    1. Also, Skittles taste delicious, w/o ANY cooking at ALL!

      I’m not so sure about Syrian refugees! And I’m not hungry enough to try them! I hope that never happens!

  19. If you have a bowlful of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.

    Except that while YOU have to take a handful, the whole bowl gets to be placed in your country.

    So you’re three people are going to find those ones that can kill you for sure.

    1. What about the bowls full of native-borne skittles? Among them will be rapers, murderers, terrorists, and even serious libertarians who want to reduce the powers of Government Almighty! SURELY the Government Almighty must protect us from them as well, by implementing some sort of “pre-crime” determinations to fence them OUT!!!

      1. You start by making anyone who owns an inexpensive plastic flute register with authorities.

  20. This looks really awesome. I’ve been back into comics the last couple years anyway, so this will fit comfortably into my current reading habits.

    1. I downloaded it on Kindle. I liked it but I am pretty much an open borders type anyway.

  21. I’m honestly curious if this ‘comic’ addresses my ‘right’ to emigrate to Mexico since last I checked other countries continue to exist and continue to dictate their own immigration policies.

    If I can’t legally emigrate to North Korea, do we really have ‘open borders’?

    Tell me, at what point is invasion of a foreign nation acceptable to enforce open borders? After all, you’re the one telling me that they are restricting my human rights…

  22. Libertarians want cheap labor. Remember, the true minimum wage is $0. Open boarders will step closer to that dream.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.