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Is Being For More Immigration Inherently Unlibertarian?

Some argue libertarians must oppose more immigration, because immigrants will vote for more big government and make the country less libertarian. That's either a bad argument or one for total tyranny in the name of liberty.

After writing a long essay about how and why modern American libertarianism in the tradition of Ludwig Von Mises has free trade and free migration as a core component, many people told me that no matter what I or Mises thought, the free migration part especially was a terribly naive position for a libertarian.

dog.happy.art/Foterdog.happy.art/Foter

Why? Because immigrants tend to vote more Democratic. This, say many trying to convince libertarians to turn on more open immigration, means they will vote for larger and more expensive government in a manner that's supposedly dangerously distinct from the larger group of American voters.

Thus, being for more immigration, no matter what that means in literal freedom of movement and association for both citizen and non-citizen, is inherently unlibertarian because it will surely result in a less libertarian country, because, democracy.

There's a lot wrong with this argument. Let's start by thinking through its underlying presumption: that libertarians' dominant priority should not be actually advocating that government behave in a manner that directly leaves people more free of active physical government interference in their motions, actions, choices, and relations. (Enforcing immigration restrictions inherently involves such interference not just for the would-be immigrant, but for the citizen who wants to buy, sell, trade, or have any kind of human relationship with that immigrant.)

The "libertarians have to be against immigration because democracy" argument presumes a libertarian's prime goal must rather be crafting a democratic electorate reasonably more likely to vote for smaller government. Whatever furthers that goal, then, should be what libertarians support.

While I consider this argument ultimately absurd, I'll grant that anyone desperate to come up with a reason to oppose immigration while still thinking of themselves as a libertarian, or to make you feel that you as a libertarian can or must oppose immigration, can almost think it makes sense, if you don't look too closely.

After all, don't many libertarians use persuasion, education, and activism, to try to convince politicians to behave in a more libertarian manner or voters to vote for politicians who will? Isn't libertarianism as an intellectual and activist movement in practice about forging a people who think like libertarians? In a democracy more American libertarians will eventually lead to a government that behaves in a more libertarian matter, goes that line of thinking.

This might happen through the direct action of voters, or the indirect creation of a libertarian climate of opinion that politicians will come to embody naturally or at least feel pressured to obey in order to keep their phony-baloney jobs.

Some slight air of a convincing argument can be detected here. Persuasion is indeed what most libertarian movement advocacy and education is about, persuasion toward creating a more libertarian American electorate. And an electorate with more immigrants, goes the argument, will never be that.

The above mass persuasion is not necessarily all that the libertarian movement is about, and it could be argued it's not really what the libertarian movement in practice is even mostly about. A fair amount of libertarian advocacy is aimed at elite opinion among policymakers and professors, the people who have a more direct grip on what government does and what the educated classes think about what it should do; in the classic Hayekian mode, shaping the thoughts of the elites who shape the thoughts of the electorate writ large might be the best strategy. To the extent that is true, to that extent the "libertarians must be against immigration because democracy" argument fails even more thoroughly.

If we accept the above about the actual tactics of the American libertarian movement, then, why shouldn't a libertarian recognize that a policy reasonably known to lead to more voters likely to vote for bigger government is an un-libertarian policy?

I'll take as a given for now, even though it's obviously absurd in the age of Trump and before, that "voting not for Democrats" means "voting for smaller or more libertarian government."

But that's just to bend over backward for the libertarians eager for a reason to be against open immigration. In fact, 95 percent or more of American voters have always in living memory voted for more expansive and expensive and destructive government, no matter what they think they intend, because that is what both parties have been giving us.

If the argument then is said to merely be about people voting for the Party (Republicans) that maybe on some metrics will make government grow less (though there is scant real evidence for that), that seems like a very small benefit for the incredible abuses of both foreigner and citizen rights that any real attempt to enforce immigration law requires.

It is easier to find such an argument convincing if you believe that no benefits that matter to either immigrants or citizens arise from more open immigration, but that requires an ugly solipsism toward other human beings trying to peacefully live that shouldn't even require sophistic arguments to support. If you just don't want to see strangers of a certain type in "your country," just say so.

Underlying this argument, not always explicitly, is a belief that it should be irrelevant to an American libertarian how the American government treats non-citizens. But any human the American government acts upon, this particular libertarian advocates the government should act upon that person in a libertarian-appropriate way.

That includes not tossing them bodily from their home without them having committed a crime against others' person or property justifying that. And don't forget, even citizens' freedom to choose who to deal with, hire, rent to, sell to, or befriend is violated by randomly barring those born outside the U.S.

It may well be that more immigrant voters will add at the margins to an already unshakable monolith of Americans who vote badly in libertarian terms. But it seems hard to imagine that their marginal effect will change anything compared to the situation without them, at least not a change that should be of vital concern to a libertarian (as opposed to a GOP partisan). Again, you would have to place an absurdly small value on the liberty or both immigrants and non-immigrants to think that the possibility of the Republican Party losing some elections it might have won in the future justifies mass arrests and boondoggle border walls.

But the key problem with this cutesy arguments that helps people weirdly uncomfortable with non-natives living in America feel like heroes of liberty for wanting to violently disrupt peaceful person's lives is that it proves way, way too much, and I've never seen anyone apply it consistently against people other than foreign-born rabble who for whatever reason are held to a more stringent standard.

Because if we held consistently to the standard that libertarians must fight to keep out or eliminate any identifiable group more likely to vote Democratic, what other groups must libertarians drive from the country, or advocate robbing of the franchise?

Let's look at CNN exit polls for the 2016 election. In it, you will find all these groups likely to lead to a less libertarian America if you define that as "more likely to vote for Democrats." (In this poll, 64 percent of voters not born here went for Clinton.)

• women (54 percent);

• those under 44 (53 percent);

• blacks (89 percent);

• Asians (65 percent);

• those who have done postgraduate education (58 percent);

• those who earn under $50,000 a year (53 percent);

• the unmarried (55 percent);

• the Jewish (71 percent);

• the atheist (67 percent).

A pretty large bloodbath on the path to Total Liberty seems required if in fact libertarian priority number one must be crafting a voting electorate most likely to vote not-Democrat. (For those who would fall back on: well, we can't get rid of Americans already with citizenship rights no matter how terrible their voting proclivities are, or we can't impose successful thought control on citizens, while that is true you also can't actually keep people not born here from coming here in any reasonably conceivable free country lacking walls across its southern border and legal government-issued documents to work.)

Perhaps to their detriment, libertarians have mostly decided the solution to an electorate that wants more government is education and persuasion, not dividing them into identifiable groups and trying to bar those groups from a chance to vote through violent attacks on the innocent.

The most obvious counter to this crummy argument is that the vast majority of voting Americans are not in fact voting for "more liberty." And if you, or they, believe they are in fact voting for more liberty by proxy, the fact that they are not getting liberty is a core structural problem with American democracy and ideology that smacking around immigrants is going to do very little to solve at a very large cost to liberty.

As Ron Paul reminded us during his 2012 campaign, one part of this supposedly "libertarian" policy of tough immigration restrictions is a "border wall" that means you only get out of the country according to government diktats, just like "they" only get in that way. In the communist age, we understood very well how hideous in both symbolism and practice a "border wall" was. It's bloody disgraceful the Republican Party, of all parties, running on "anti-communist" fumes for decades, is gleefully forgetting this.

The "libertarians must be for a more libertarian electorate and thus reject immigration" argument sounds next-level sophisticated, and it allows people to sigh and square their desire to see innocent strangers harmed with some sort of self-image as an advocate and lover of liberty.

But it doesn't hold up. The freedom to move and the freedom to do business and personal relations with anyone we want no matter where they were born is a core freedom, not one to strategically quash because of some sort of loose-jointed, multi-step, unconvincing imaginary construction by which that grotesque blow to freedom will lead to a more solid voting majority for some future Trump, which is great because at least that person won't be a Democrat.

There are many horrible, freedom-destroying things we could do to ensure a more libertarian electorate, from barring the expression of bad ideas to taking the franchise away from identifiable "wrong thinking" groups, and none of them are in any way libertarian, which is a philosophy of restricting government action, via persuasion, not via barring the non-libertarian.

Photo Credit: dog.happy.art/Foter.com

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Now you've done it, Doherty.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    Pssh, they do that every day.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    They'll play coy, but they can't quit us. It is known.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That Alexa bitch says a lot of things.

  • John Titor||

    We're missionaries, trying to steer the misguided to the Promised Land.

    Also, some of us come here to suicide-bomb.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    Also, some of us come here to suicide-bomb

    You can call it trolling. We all recognize it.

  • John Titor||

    Judging by recent threads, it ain't us doing the trolling.

  • John Titor||

    Case in point, people.

  • Rhywun||

    Oh god what have I walked into.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, I'll make up my own mind on that, thanks.

  • Bacon-Magic glib reasonoid||

    All bacon snack bar! *ululates then explodes in a shower of bacon grease*

  • Bronson, Missouri||

    OMG!! Collectivize much brah??

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Because if we held consistently to the standard that libertarians must fight to keep out or eliminate any identifiable group more likely to vote Democratic, what other groups must libertarians drive from the country, or advocate robbing of the franchise?

    We can start with the Reason staff.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'd be okay with a blanket deportation order for MRAs.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Foreign chicks are more submissive.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You'll lose that pesky virginity one day, Johnny! Maybe!

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    That's why Johnny's body pillow is from Japan.

  • The Grinch||

    I like the way you think.

  • Rich||

    In fact, 95 percent or more of American voters have always in living memory voted for more expansive and expensive and destructive government, no matter what they think they intend, because that is what both parties have been giving us.

    In fact, that's the thought process that enables Al-Qaeda to engage civilians as legitimate military targets.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Collectivists gonna collectivize.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Hey look, our land is our womb. We don't want unwanted parasites and have the right to eject them out. It's not our problem that they can't survive in their own country.

  • Titan||

    We couldn't live in our land at one time and so we did something about it. They can do the same. But hey, your approach is great. More welfare and more welfare recipients. Quite libertarian.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    While I have no doubt that you are arguing against a position that some actually hold, could you address why open immigration for all is more important than removing or at least reducing entitlements?

    The argument is frequently made that the borders must be open to all at any time. Unfortunately, not so much is said about dumping entitlements. I don't think it's necessarily a crazy position to say that if entitlements are removed there will be a sharp decrease in immigration. Of course not being a libertarian gives me that luxury I suppose.

  • Rhywun||

    "You get more of what you encourage?" I think I've heard that somewhere. Sounds like crazy talk.

  • Social Darwinist||

    I'm a libertarian and I agree with you. I'm all of open immigration, but I don't want to pay for it. I don't even want to pay for the social safety net for citizens so why would I want to pay for people just arriving here? Get rid of or reduce drastically the entitlements and I agree with you that there will be less immigration. I'd bet more people would approve of increased or open immigration.

  • chemjeff||

    The converse is also likely true: the more rigid the border controls are, the more likely we will get a bigger welfare state, since otherwise borderline voters will be more inclined to vote for more welfare knowing that the benefits will only flow to them, and not to the undeserving foreigners.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So locks encourage crime? Property rights encourage theft? I'm gonna go with "no" on that one.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: Property right encourage theft.

    Well just to be a pedantic asshole, this is actually true: Theft can't even take place UNLESS property rights exist. So in that sense, property rights do cause theft.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    The things you own only end up owning you. It is known.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hell, if it weren't for existence, there'd be no murder, either. DOWN WITH LIFE!

  • mortiscrum||

    Just to be clear, I'm not saying this because I'm leading to some conclusion like we should do away with property rights to reduce theft. That's idiotic. I'm just pointing out a kind of fundamental truth of law: if the law doesn't exist or can't effectively be enforced, it can't really be broken.

  • dchang0||

    I don't think this is true. Free Shit Army voters are going to vote to get free shit regardless of border controls.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "I don't think it's necessarily a crazy position to say that if entitlements are removed there will be a sharp decrease in immigration."

    I wonder if this is true. During the Obama administration, the opposite seems to have occurred.

  • dchang0||

    What entitlements were removed during the Obama administration?

  • ImanAzol||

    Up next: Is swallowing rat poison inherently suicidal?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    We have a Constitution free zone within 100 miles of the border. You have to prove to Washington you are a citizen before you're 'allowed' to work for a living (yea, no chance of people 'accidentally' being dropped from the database if they get to politically uppity). How about the immigration brigades fight against that, which fits with their pro immigration stance and actually does something about government overreach?

    Nah, we want hip new ethnic restaurants and cheap nannies.

  • The Grinch||

    When the people who fund your operation tell you to prioritize open borders you prioritize open borders.

  • Social Darwinist||

    Every company I ever worked for had to submit an I-9 form before I was allowed to work. Is this what you are referring to? That's nationwide not just 100 miles from the border. Also, people I haired in places within 100 miles of the border never had to prove any legal right to work beyond the I-9 so I'm not sure what you're referring to. Please elaborate. Thanks.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Having to prove you can work here and the 100 mile constitution free zone are two different complaints, not a single one.

  • prolefeed||

    I've been through a bunch of the "border" checkpoints almost 100 miles inland -- nothing like a little taste of Stasi East Germany to piss one off.

  • hpearce||

    The whole concept of property rights - INCLUDING the public's property - is that owners have the right to dtermine whom they allow on their property.
    We don't use libertarian principle to judge their behavior from a political standpoint as that would over-ride their property rights. The same applies to how the public controls their property.

    The problem here is that the state has either taken over that management of the public's property or the public gave their consent - depending on your political views.

    I will not endorse the concept of the state having a valid claim to property ownership and rights as open border advocates do.
    They advocate that the state should simply allow any and all people to access (trespass on) the public's property by simple state mandate.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I think you've accidentally identified a problem with the concept of "public property."

  • hpearce||

    Not accidentally

    I understand the problem\The real question is the original intent AND how these things current work in communities run by housing associations, etc. where their is shared control of property rights under-written by contract - such as having to mow one's lawn and keep the property tidy, etc.

    You can either endorse the concept - however it actually takes place - of the public owning the property OR endorse the concept that the state owns it

    I will not endorse the latter concept.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Reality has ways of hitting you over the head whether you endorse it or not.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Who is "the public"? If "the public" includes me, can i sell my shares of public property for beer money? Who manages public property? Isn't "manager of public property" just another name for "state"?

    /Judge Napolitano

  • hpearce||

    Currently no, you cannot - because the state will not let you

    In housing associations and condo associations one can sell "one's share" by selling one's house or condo and moving elsewhere.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    because the state will not let you

    So how is "public property" different from "state property" again?

  • hpearce||

    State property gives the state a valid right to control their property - to begin with.
    Most libertarians know the state has no property except what it took from others to begin with.

    Public property is more like a corporation where people have "shares" in the property/corporation based upon their ownership of property in the community.
    Now I understand that is not how public property actually works in the U.S., but it spells out how the concept may not be a totally illegitimate one if applied to housing associations and their communties.

  • JFree||

    Most libertarians know the state has no property except what it took from others to begin with.

    And there is no such thing as private property in land unless title is given/acknowledged by the state - which took it from someone else in order to clear the title and give it to you. But hey - that's OK isn't it

  • Free Society||

    And there is no such thing as private property in land unless title is given/acknowledged by the state - which took it from someone else in order to clear the title and give it to you. But hey - that's OK isn't it

    Uhm no. Property rights do not arise from the state. It just happens to be the case that the state has monopolized the the economic service of protecting and delineating property rights.

  • JFree||

    Land is different. It doesn't just 'happen to be the case'. It is always going to be based on a coercive monopoly of one sort or another. Whether it is a lion fighting others to protect its exclusive claim - or an individual fighting others to protect their individual claim - or a group fighting others to protect their collective claim. The only claim that actually creates 'property' is - the biggest baddest meanest collective one.

    The lion can't meaningfully sell their territory. They can't gift it to their offspring. They can't create land via their own liberty - or withhold the creation of land because they are pissed at their lack of liberty. Nor can any individual. It is NOT property in any meaningful sense that other stuff is 'property'. It can only be usufruct.

    Further, the ethical basis of land usufruct - whether biblical/jubilee or Lockean/Jeffersonian/natural - is that the Earth can only belong to the living - not the dead. Which also means there can be no ethical/natural basis for the collective which does 'protect the exclusive claim' to assign permanent/absolute ownership to any individual.

    This - that land is different - was all self-evident to everyone until neoclassical economics (marginalists and Austrians later) decided to pretend that land and capital are the same thing in economics (following from freaking Marx of all people) and decided to treat them as identical.

  • Free Society||

    Land is different. It doesn't just 'happen to be the case'. It is always going to be based on a coercive monopoly of one sort or another.

    Well absolutist positions are tricky in that it takes only one counter example to disprove to the argument. There have been, at different times and places polycentric legal orders that land guarantees were not monopolized. Medieval Iceland and Ireland come to mind, as well as intermittent periods in mainland Europe where there existed "allodial title". There are times and places where property rights in real estate have existed without a single government or any government for that matter, bequeathing and delinieating them. Plus your argument totally ignores the concept of homesteading, the existence of which is again enough to disprove the notion that all property derived from the government stealing it from someone else. Property rights as a concept even predate statism as we have it which is yet again enough on it's own.

    This - that land is different - was all self-evident to everyone until neoclassical economics (marginalists and Austrians later) decided to pretend that land and capital are the same thing in economics


    Just because property in the modern world is guaranteed by the state, doesn't mean that it can only be guaranteed by the state. Land can be capital and capital can be land, they were speaking of as the "factors of production" which are categorically "capital goods".

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: There are times and places where property rights in real estate have existed without a single government or any government for that matter, bequeathing and delinieating them.

    Negatory. "Rights" in the general sense are abstract, and only exist as far as they can be enforced through violence. If two people are stuck on an island, and they agree to split it down the middle, their "right" to half the island lasts as long as the other person holds off on bashing their brains in.

    A government gives us "rights" (speech, property, whatever) by fighting on your behalf when someone else encroaches. If a governmental force didn't exist, you'd be on your own - maybe you're strong enough defend your property, maybe your not, but it still comes down to violence.

  • Free Society||

    Negatory. "Rights" in the general sense are abstract, and only exist as far as they can be enforced through violence. If two people are stuck on an island, and they agree to split it down the middle, their "right" to half the island lasts as long as the other person holds off on bashing their brains in.

    The same goes for your right to live. It's not as though it's not a violation of your rights to murder you in an area outside of any government's jurisdiction. The non-existence of a protector, be they a monopoly or a constituent entity of a polycentric order, does not abrogate your right to live or your right not to be butt raped. Of course being the meanest guy on the block helps to protect those rights from infringement, but it's not as though it's not a crime to kill a little old lady just because she can't defend herself.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: The same goes for your right to live.

    Quite correct.

    RE: but it's not as though it's not a crime to kill a little old lady just because she can't defend herself.

    This is not true. For there to be a crime, there must be a law, and for their to be a law, there must be a organization to enforce it (call it "government"). It's still IMMORAL of course - that I'm not arguing - I'm just pointing out that "rights" do not exist in any capacity whatsoever outside the violence needed to enforce them.

  • Free Society||

    This is not true. For there to be a crime, there must be a law, and for their to be a law, there must be a organization to enforce it

    It's called 'natural law'. It's the source, known or not, of all other legitimate man-made laws. It's inherently against human sociality to have free-for-all murder, it's unconducive to the survival of our social species. Thus the prohibition against murder is rooted in natural law. But that's another story. The fact that you think rights come from government tells me that arguments about natural law or objective morality are going to bounce right off your noggin.

    If in international waters, it's still a violation of the little old ladies right to live to murder her. Just because a lightning bolt doesn't come down from the heavens to smite you doesn't mean it's not a violation of her rights. It's "immoral" precisely because it's a violation of her right to live.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: It's called 'natural law'

    You're conflating morality with legality. Terms like "natural law" are grandiose ideas we make up in the process of crafting behaviors that leads to good outcomes for more people. There is zero weight behind them, aside from the weight that comes 1) from the perpetrator's conscious (which hopefully prevents the action entirely), and 2) the repercussions that follow the breaking of the law that is based on the moral principle.

    Back to the island example: if one of the people killed the other, what would happen to the murderer? Nothing! No justice served, no retribution, nothing. The concept of rights in any meaningful fashion are utterly reliant on retribution for transgressions against those rights.

  • Free Society||

    You're conflating morality with legality.

    No, "legal" and "law" though often used interchangeably, are not in fact synonyms.

    if one of the people killed the other, what would happen to the murderer? Nothing!

    That doesn't mean the perpetrator committed violated no ones right or that they did nothing wrong.

    The concept of rights in any meaningful fashion are utterly reliant on retribution for transgressions against those rights

    This tired old argument is so shallow I don't know where to begin. The fact that the universe doesn't strike you down after killing the defenseless old lady doesn't mean that it's not a violation of her rights to kill her. The fact that a murder remains unsolved does not mean that the murderer did not commit a crime. The repercussions of a crime do not determine the existence of a crime in the first place.

    Why is it "immoral" to kill the old lady? Hint: "Because it's just like wrong and stuff" is not a valid answer. Since the question is rhetorical I'll go ahead and answer for you, it's only morally wrong because she own's herself, it is she alone who has the right to decide what to with her body. She has a right to live if she so chooses. It's only immorally wrong because she is the rightful owner of herself.

  • mortiscrum||

    RE: That doesn't mean the perpetrator committed violated no ones right or that they did nothing wrong.

    Clearly someone is doing something morally wrong. I'm really, really not saying they aren't. If you want to say what they did is wrong because they violated someone's "rights", that's fine (I'd agree with you) - but they still did it, and suffered no consequences. My point is that natural rights ALONE are an insufficient framework for a society to flourish.

    A strong society requires things like freedom of association, right to property, speech, reasonable freedom from violence, etc., yes? Even if you contend that all of those things are granted to a person at birth, they mean very very little (nothing, really) without a mechanism of enforcement.

    My original comment was a response to the idea of ownership of land absent a legal retributive (governmental) framework. I find this....odd.....as "ownership," as in "that's mine and you can't take it" rely on an implicit threat of retribution. Absent that retribution, ownership doesn't have any meaning, or even make sense.

  • GeoffB1972||

    This is what I was thinking. How is keeping you from taking my teddy bear different from keeping you from encroaching on my land? And if I have my teddy bear, were not resources taken from land to make it? Land is property.

  • JFree||

    There are times and places where property rights in real estate have existed without a single government or any government for that matter

    Hunter/gatherer societies (no concept of 'ownership' beyond claim) - or clan/tribal societies (no concept of 'individual' outside 'tribe'). Allodial title is a ghost. Any court that adjudicates/surveys is subordinate to some sovereign including eccles court.

    ignores the concept of homesteading

    No it doesn't. Homesteading was spend five years improving unassigned fedland and the US will create/assign federal land patent (ie monopoly). Because at that time 'direct tax' (ie land) was forbidden to the feds, the future tax/legal authority on that land reverts to state when fedland is turned over to the states as boundaries of statehood.

    Land can be capital and capital can be land they were speaking of as the "factors of production" which are categorically "capital goods".

    The two are not the same. Yes introecon still mentions 'land/capital/labor' as three factors because classical economists (Smith/Ricardo/George) dealt with them as different and neoclassical/marginalist want to coopt them while ignoring the troublesome property issue (which is - land not capital). Land (rent) is ALWAYS based on monopoly, capital/labor isn't. Understand the difference and it has difficult implications. Ignore the difference and ideology can be purist. Even anarchists understood this then.

  • Free Society||

    Hunter/gatherer societies (no concept of 'ownership' beyond claim) - or clan/tribal societies (no concept of 'individual' outside 'tribe'). Allodial title is a ghost. Any court that adjudicates/surveys is subordinate to some sovereign including eccles court.

    That's not a response to what I wrote. You said property rights must always rely on a monopoly enforcer to exist, this is historically not the case. Thus your argument, at least with it's absolutist qualifiers, is invalid.

    No it doesn't. Homesteading was spend five years improving unassigned fedland and the US will create/assign federal land patent (ie monopoly).

    The concept of homesteading is not something that only came into existence because of a statutory law in a particular country. Homesteading is a principle of property rights, it's the starting point of property rights. Stated differently it's "original appropriation". The fact that you're essentially saying "nuh uh homesteading was invented by statute in the US" tells me that you have read woefully little about the abstract concepts and principles surrounding property rights.

  • Free Society||

    The two are not the same. Yes introecon still mentions 'land/capital/labor' as three factors because classical economists (Smith/Ricardo/George) dealt with them as different and neoclassical/marginalist want to coopt them while ignoring the troublesome property issue (which is - land not capital).

    You're missing the point. In the context you're using, the Austrians regard land as a "factor of production" for the purposes of certain types of economic analyses. If you're building a factory to produce widgets, the "factors of production" that go into making widgets are capital resources that are required for economic production, one of the factors of production is the land that the damn building is sitting on. If you're seriously saying that land is not a factor of production then you seriously have no insights into economic thought or economic reality let alone the history of it.

    Land (rent) is ALWAYS based on monopoly,

    As I said, any one single example where that's not the case invalidates your whole thesis. Such examples do exist. Your thesis is invalided by every single example in isolation.

  • JFree||

    You said property rights must always rely on a monopoly enforcer to exist, this is historically not the case.

    I am talking about LAND. Not buildings or factories or generic 'property'.

    Stated differently it's "original appropriation".

    Locke (where you are getting this idea) assumes that frontier (yet-unenclosed 'commons') exists -- As much land as a man tills...and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labour does, as it were, inclose it from the common...Nor was this appropriation of any parcel of land, by improving it, any prejudice to any other man, since there was still enough, and as good left; and more than the yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there was never the less left for others because of his enclosure for himself

    Once frontier itself ceases to exist - then all the classical implications of land - economic and legal - begin to rear their head.

    the Austrians regard land as a "factor of production"

    Not as anything separate from capital. Bohm Bawerk, specifically citing/misstating Henry George, mushed growth of agricultural crops as simply about time/interest (ie return on capital). He never did an experiment where he grows pot on HIS land vs pot on the town commons. The difference in harvest between the two is mostly RENT not interest. And it depends on a coercive monopoly.

  • JFree||

    Specifically in the Homestead Act - a settler had to, at the end of five years, provide an affidavit that 'no part of said land has been alienated' (ie sold or mortgaged) 'and that he [settler] has borne true faith and allegiance to the US' (ie acknowledges US as sovereign over that land) - otherwise - no land patent. From that point on, the land patent is the SOLE basis of what we call 'ownership'. The federal land patents along with remaining unassigned federal territory were transferred to the states on statehood. And any future sale/assign/mortgage is the sale/assign of the PATENT not the land itself.

  • Free Society||

    Alright I get it, you don't know what I mean by "homesteading". You can't wrap your head around the idea that I'm not talking about an historical government policy. Come back to me when you've read Hazlitt's Economic's in One Lesson and I'll tell you about some works by Rothbard and Hoppe that deal extensively with the concept of homesteading. I realized that I'm debating with someone that has a grade school grasp of the concept there's really no point in taking this further.

  • JFree||

    you don't know what I mean by "homesteading".

    I know exactly what is meant by 'homesteading' and 'original appropriation'.

    Now if you want to play HumptyDumpty - When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all. then not much I can do.

    Rothbard and his pet puppy Hoppe perpetually and deliberately misquote and misinterpret both Locke and the 19th century anarchists. If you think those two invented those concepts, then perhaps you should examine whether you are a cultee or not.

  • Gracchus||

    Just curious, where or when did Marx equate capital and land ? I'm not much of an expert on classical economics, but my recollections tell me that Marx followed the Ricardian schematic of political economy (landowners and rent, capital and profits, labor and wages, etc). Neoclassicals sure do conflate the two, but I'm not sure if Marx did.

  • JFree||

    Just curious, where or when did Marx equate capital and land? I'm not much of an expert on classical economics, but my recollections tell me that Marx followed the Ricardian schematic of political economy

    He did follow that. Even Kapital early on id's the factors as a)labor, b)subjects of labor (land) and c)instruments of labor (capital). And his history is certainly 'classical'. But once he gloms the latter two into 'mode of production' and elevates that into his big Hegelian stuff, then it's just Big-L Labor vs Big-K Capital exploiter of Labor - and the fighting begins.

  • Gracchus||

    He did follow that. Even Kapital early on id's the factors as a)labor, b)subjects of labor (land) and c)instruments of labor (capital). And his history is certainly 'classical'. But once he gloms the latter two into 'mode of production' and elevates that into his big Hegelian stuff, then it's just Big-L Labor vs Big-K Capital exploiter of Labor - and the fighting begins.

    As far as I could tell, land didn't "disappear" in the sense that it became synonymous with capital. I think Marx was emphasizing that the real players in the "capitalist" mode of production were labor and capital, and I can't disagree with that; political disputes over land ownership today are pretty tame compared to the days prior to the Industrial Revolution, considering how the ex-peasants gave up land ownership and worked for wages in factories or clerical departments.

    In the underdeveloped world (as well as 19th century America), however, land ownership and land reform was, and still is, one of their biggest political issues (that and plain-old economic development). My guess would be that Marx was putting land ownership off to the side, considering how it had basically become a moot point in Western Europe after the Industrial Revolution. Agriculture was getting more capital-intensive, so I suppose he was working towards a "euthanasia of the landlord" theory that essentially replaces feudal-type landlords and aristocrats with "agricultural capitalists".

  • JFree||

    political disputes over land ownership today are pretty tame compared to the days prior to the Industrial Revolution...so I suppose he was working towards a "euthanasia of the landlord" theory

    I assume that Marx believed that - and neoclassicals too. That 'land' was pretty much just an agricultural factor and therefore increasingly irrelevant. And certainly Keynes got real explicit about euthanasia of the rentier.

    I would argue that land, viewed in the classical terms, is at the center of today's environmental issues (from pollution to energy to climate change), of externalities and intergenerational debt and the unhinging of debt-based money from the economy, of much of the squeeze felt by those at the bottom of the ladder which is what's pushing migration worldwide, and electoral populism. I don't think its gone away at all. We merely don't understand it anymore so we find scapegoats we can understand.

  • Gracchus||

    While I can understand land's pertinence to the various environmental issues facing modern society (as well as the general housing shortage), I can't see it as being a cornerstone of modern political economy. The shift from labor-intensive agriculture to capital-intensive agriculture reduces land's importance by complicating the social relations between landowners and capitalists, as the former now relies on the latter for machinery, credit, and the actual exchange of goods for money. In the old days, the landlord and the capitalist had their own separate geographic centers; capitalists concentrated in major towns and cities to benefit from population density, and landowners gobbled up the fallow lands around major urban areas.

    Also, I would argue that the waves of global migration are rooted in the failures of the postcolonial movement, specifically in Latin America and Africa. Political instability, ethnic strife, and over-dependence on mono-cultural industries seem to have a greater effect on refugee patterns than the growing price of land.

  • buybuydandavis||

    If "the public" includes me, can i sell my shares of public property for beer money?

    It would be interesting to let people sell their US citizenship.

    I bet it would be a seller's market.

  • prolefeed||

    Just because our dear leaders call it "public property", doesn't mean the public owns that property.

    It is owned by the quasi-mafia rulers who get to control how the property is used. Period.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    The "public property" proponents, who claim that the taxpayers own public land and can therefore vote to keep immigrants out, do not realize that they have just signed on to support other things that the taxpayers can vote for, such as keeping guns out of public property, or banning the criticism of government on public property.

  • Titan||

    Or they realize that if they regain power over a true constitutional government, that property is indeed public and the government can keep immigrants out without losing rights.

  • hpearce||

    Doherty's and Gillespie's socialist/fascist view in total state ownership or control of the public's property for the purpose of achieving open borders MUST be challenged by all libertarians.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Hahaha

  • John Titor||

    "How dare customers complain about a product, what children."

  • John Titor||

    Don't make ignorant assumptions about things you don't understand. I still provide links and support for quality Reason work. ENB's recent article on the moral outrage study was good, for example, and I recommended it to others.

    At this point you're nothing but a whiny troll.

    Thus sayth the person engaged in a whiny two minutes of hate over his tribalist opponents. Please, lecture me more on your libertarian purity, hypocrite.

  • Gadfly||

    If you agree with this article that open borders is an essential facet of libertarianism, then you should have no problem with John's actions. Surely you don't want to restrict who can and cannot come to this forum?

  • John Titor||

    'Obsessive'=Reads both sites, makes comments about it. Alright then.

    I note the decline of a once great publication that now produces clickbait, and criticize and insult staff who do deserve it (while actually saying nice things and defending when they do good work). I mock trolls and fools such as yourself DanO., not the quality commenters. Of course, in order to support your dishonest position, you need to lie and selectively quote.

    I'm not worried about it at all, the opinions of most of the 'new' commentariat don't mean anything to me, I jump between the two and notice things. I'm just interested in the fact that this site has been demonized so quickly, it's a fascinating little example of internet tribalism. Group dynamics are fun.

    You know, the part you left out so you can whine about my non-existent 'persecution complex' because you're a disingenuous idiot.

  • hpearce||

    Well, Reason has never been specifically a Libertarian magazine despite the general tendencies to support it.
    I also hope to convince libertarian into adopting my position or at least understanding why I have taken this position.

    I still have some of the original Reason manually-stapled publications produced out of MIT

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Care to name one publication that is more libertarian than Reason? I am just curious what your gold standard is.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Is Liberty magazine still around? They were pretty doctrinaire.

  • prolefeed||

    Liberty online is still staggering along, with infrequent articles, no dead tree issues, and almost no comments.

    It's on life support.

  • prolefeed||

    Foundation for Economic Education -- fee.org -- is overall way more libertarian than Reason.

    Though, this Doherty article is way more libertarian than the average Reason article. Strong work, Brian!

  • Titan||

    Because if there is nothing more libertarian than Reason, it is de facto pure libertarian. Got it.

    Perhaps the gold standard is simply being libertarian.

    It's like asking what better civil rights organization is there than the ACLU because they claim to be it and they occasionally do things for civil rights.

  • Bman||

    lewrockwell dot com
    mises dot org
    http://strike-the-root.com/
    zerogov dot com
    zerohedge dot com
    https://fee.org/

  • Sam Haysom||

    Fuck off slave driver. Tulpa. You're religious your argument shouldn't count.

    Cosmotarian greatest hits.

  • chemjeff||

    I will not endorse the concept of the state having a valid claim to property ownership and rights as open border advocates do.

    Okay then. Consider this hypothetical argument:

    We are neighbors, and I invite you onto my property. You walk off of your property and onto my property. No problem, right? Nobody has trespassed anywhere because all motion is via invitation. Right?

    Now, suppose we are neighbors, and I invite you onto my property, but there is a border line separating our two parcels of property. Now, because of the border line, the government gets a veto over whether I may invite you onto my property.

    The government is inhibiting both of our private property rights by inserting itself into the private, mutually agreeable transactions between individual citizens. Do you disagree?

  • hpearce||

    No

    The border is a theoretical line between property and not owned by the state.
    The property itself is always owned and controlled by the owner .

    Who comes on your property is your decision - those that trespass are violating your rights.

    I fail to see the issue.

  • DJF||

    So what happens when your property and the other owners property is separated by my property and I don't allow you on my property?

    And what happens when you invite 50 Haitians to pick your strawberries but when they are done you find out that the neighboring strawberry farms have automated the picking and does not need your strawberry pickers and you are stuck with them?

    And then the 50 Haitian strawberry pickers look at your farm and tell you, "we like this land, we are staying"?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You can expel Haitians from your property. No one here is arguing you can't. But you also can't prevent someone else from inviting them, which was the original point you haven't answered. The anti-immigration position is morally bankrupt, because you have no answer to this. All it takes is for one landowner at the border, or one owner of a boat slip, to decide he wants to charge money for people to pass through, and you have no property rights argument to stop immigration. Do you think private road owners, private bus operators, Uber, private developers, or anyone else cares who they sell to? No, they will happily take an immigrants money, aso would you. If you have a business, would you refuse to sell to immigrants? Because if not, you are enabling them, buddy.

  • retiredfire||

    Your hypothetical assumes something completely untrue: that you "own" your piece of land. You don't.
    In the world, as it actually exists, all the land is divided up between states/nations/governments, who have overall ownership. These entities grant "title" to someone, like you, but subject to their restrictions and one of those restrictions is who you can allow to enter your property.
    You don't get to do anything you want, because you have title. You can't murder someone and say: "You can't punish me because I did it on my property".
    If a foreign nation is invading, through your land, the government doesn't have to ask your permission to stop that invasion.
    By your, pie-in-the-sky reasoning, property taxes would not be able to be imposed. Try your argument with the government entity that imposes them and see how long you own that piece of land.

  • Not a True MJG||

    I will not endorse the concept of the state having a valid claim to property ownership and rights as open border advocates do.

    They advocate that the state should simply allow any and all people to access (trespass on) the public's property by simple state mandate.

    1. What rules do you think the state should have for the 'public property' of the border, and do those rules not suffer the same problem?

    2. If the state is in charge of that property, shouldn't a liberal or libertarian state be constrained by considerations for liberty? The state is infringing on my liberty to hire or invite or rent to someone on the other side of the border (and the liberty of that person, which is supposed to exist regardless of citizenship).

  • Free Society||

    The state is infringing on my liberty to hire or invite or rent to someone on the other side of the border (and the liberty of that person, which is supposed to exist regardless of citizenship).

    But that seems to be a different issue. "Open borders" arguments are more broad than just invitees, but also includes mass migration of people who were not invited by anyone. I support migrants being invited and sponsored by citizens for some period of time, I don't support the idea that anyone and their entire extended family can come in at any time. I would be rather amenable to the idea of open borders myself if there weren't a welfare state and there weren't public accommodation laws that work in unison to strip society of it's own non-violent means of preserving it's culture and values to some extent.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You could make the exact same argument to deny a US citizen's ability to travel from Florida to Georgia. If someone from Georgia didn't invite them, then why should they be allowed in?

    The difference is that you're assigning a special status to illegal immigrants because they're not "legal." That argument is circular.

  • Free Society||

    Georgia and Florida pool their sovereignty with all the other states that form the basis of the union. That's just a de facto arrangement not a principle in it's own right. Does supporting the ability of Floridians to enter my polity mean that I'm obliged to support the ability of the sum total of China to enter and reside in my polity as well? Does that mean I'm obliged to support pooling US sovereignty with Malaysia and South Sudan too? Taking your position to it's logical conclusion: no one has a right to exclude anyone else from anywhere on any piece of land at any time. That's absurd.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The point is that you're suggesting that there is an implicit arrangement that enables free migration from Florida to Georgia but that the same arrangement doesn't exist between Georgia and China. So the legal statutes in place appear to be dictating your moral objection to the idea of immigration (specifically, "illegal" immigration).

    Fine. Make it legal. Now we're all in agreement on immigration.

  • Free Society||

    So the legal statutes in place appear to be dictating your moral objection to the idea of immigration (specifically, "illegal" immigration).

    Fine. Make it legal. Now we're all in agreement on immigration.

    No.
    My ideal mechanism for restricting immigration would be freedom in the hands of society, freedom to discriminate and the freedom to not subsidize the immigrants or anyone else. Until then, we'll have to rely on the rules set down by the people who've nationalized my right to exclude and who have stolen my money. Just like I disagree with the government virtually monopolizing all road construction and use, that doesn't mean I think there shouldn't be traffic laws because that would just make things worse.

    Until society is free to discriminate and free to not subsidize immigrants, the sub-optimal nationalized mechanisms for controlling immigration are what must be relied upon.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    What's so special about birthplace? Why not target a group of people who make heavy use of public subsidy and deport them, US-born or not? Your argument relies on the notion that immigration control is a just and valid activity, which is circular when we're discussing whether immigration control is a just and valid activity.

  • Titan||

    I love the death wish of open-border libertarians.

    "We can't really make any headway into the political scene with libertarian representation so let's insist that our welfare state allows in people from cultures who not only have no appreciation for libertarianism but would also thrive on the welfare state."

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    And black people too. Let's get rid of them.

  • Titan||

    Libertarians playing the race card. Yeah, Reason is a really hard-core libertarian production.

  • Titan||

    Libertarians playing the race card. Yeah, Reason is a really hard-core libertarian production.

  • Not a True MJG||

    I start small instead of going for the whole tamale.

    I think the basic presumption of liberty is enough for most "open borders" arguments, but I know a lot of folk will only go back to the Constitution or their own personal liberties when making this argument. So I start with their own liberty to contract with others.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "They advocate that the state should simply allow any and all people to access (trespass on) the public's property by simple state mandate."

    This is a very interesting sentence because it's not clear what "trespass" means in this context. If an American citizen walks on public property, is that trespass? I'll assume your answer is no. If your citizenship is what determines "trespass", then you've gone and put the cart before the horse.

  • Titan||

    This is a very interesting sentence because it's not clear what "trespass" means in this context. If a property owner walks on his property, is that trespass? I'll assume your answer is no. If your ownership is what determines "trespass", then you've gone and put the cart before the horse.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Citizenship implies ownership? That is the absolute epitome of collectivism.

  • Titan||

    Public vs. private. Read the thread.

  • chemjeff||

    The way I see it, the ones advocating for strict border controls for cultural reasons (as opposed to, say, economic or national security reasons) are simply advocating for a type of central planning. But instead of central planning of economic decisions, it is central planning of the residential population. They want Top. Men. to decide who are the "good people" who deserve to come here and who are the "bad people" who should stay out. Central planning just never ever works, and the same pathologies that lead to the failure of central planning regimes everywhere are evident in the failure of our own immigration restriction scheme here:

    * Laws are twisted to favor the connected and the powerful, instead of some principled (but misguided) central planning scheme.
    * The byzantine laws and rules incentivize ordinary people to turn to criminal behavior just to express their liberty.
    * The one-way ratchet that accompanies the enforcement of any central planning scheme is in play here as well. The response to illegal behavior is always more laws, more restrictions, more rules, more regulations, more deprivations of liberty, more more more. We know how that story ends.

  • chemjeff||

    I have nothing against Glibertarians. They are free to hold their individual views (which are not monolithic, by the way) and Reason writers and commenters are free to express theirs. Personally I think the divide between the "splitters" and the "remainders" is much larger than just a dispute over immigration policy.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Please enlighten us with more Reason historical facts. Your knowledge must be vast considering how long and extensively you've commented here.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    "Down goes strawman, down goes strawman!"

    /Howard Cosell

  • DOOMco||

    *waves hello*

  • Sam Haysom||

    Cosmotarian is at least a neologism that explains- glibertarians is just a really lazy pun. I'd say the glib people are the ones just hand waving away the implications of nearly 1billion potential immigrants overrunning western societies. I mean speaking of glib all you've done in this section is name call and try and arrogate the mantle of comment police.

  • Titan||

    And can you give us an example of libertarian utopia that will provide a better life for its residents than what we have in the US now? If people won't stand up to their politicians, in which fantasy world do they stand up as libertarians and defend their interests against vast, powerful nation states?

    I have a passion for libertarian ideals but reality and a long history of human nature always seem to get in the way of idealism.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Oh, lord.

    So first, be sure that you clarify between immigration and illegal immigration. I'm in favor of easy immigration processes and a relatively free and open immigration policy, but I'm also in favor of the rule of law and, because I'm not feeling especially ancap today, secure borders.

    Second, not all libertarians are Mises. Some are more Rothbard. I daresay he was also responsible in some small, modest way for the intellectual underpinnings of American libertarianism. And while I respect your adherence to the time-honored tradition of telling people who disagree with you why that makes them not real libertarians, I'm not sure an arbitrary litmus test is particularly useful.

    Finally, don't conflate democracy with liberty. Democracies routinely vote in favor of policies which curtail individual liberty. If libertarianism is about anything at all, it's about preserving those liberties in the face of collective assault. Arguing that people from other countries who do not own property here, have not paid taxes, and don't have anything invested in local communities have a right to immigrate that trumps the rights of people already here is a pretty strange argument for a libertarian to make.

  • ThomasD||

    This. Add in the avoidance of any substantive response to the open borders/welfare state dichotomy, along with the repeated conflation of legal and illegal immigration and you pretty much describe every reason I find Doherty to be unpersuasive at best.

  • chemjeff||

    Add in the avoidance of any substantive response to the open borders/welfare state dichotomy

    What is the dichotomy?

    Can you find a Reason writer, or even commenter, who favors keeping the welfare state on some principled level?

    I mean, I imagine you could probably find people making pragmatic arguments about which aspects of the welfare state should be eliminated according to some timetable. But I doubt you could find any who are in favor of keeping it *in principle*.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Can you find a Reason writer, or even commenter, who favors keeping the welfare state on some principled level?

    Yes, I can.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Better thinkers like Hayek and Friedman also supported universal minimum income for what it's worth.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Must be Tulpa.

    Google says this account is roughly as old as yours, so.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay, being at work I can't actually watch the video right now. But if in that video Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie are actually arguing for a state-funded state-coerced wealth redistribution scheme then that would be wrong.

  • John Titor||

    Gillespie at least has been openly in favour of a welfare state for years, this isn't a new thing, most of us were aware of it long ago.

  • chemjeff||

    Really. Well that is disappointing if true.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Matt Welch: Our next question comes via Facebook from Dave Antony Amrosini. "Is it possible for a libertarian to support things like a safety net, vouchers for the especially needy and environmental protection?"

    Nick Gillespie: Yeah, I don't think that there's a fundamental conflict. Libertarians are not anarchists, they believe in a minimal government and a limited government. In the August/September issue of Reason Magazine I co-authored a cover story about getting rid of old age entitlements and replacing them with a safety net for the elderly - or rather for any needy American. So I don't think it's a problem. There are certain types of environmental issues such as air pollution that are best served through collective action. That leaves a lot of room open for what are the best, least intrusive and most effective both in a moral way as well as a, uh, a kind of an environmental way what are the best solutions. But there's not a conflict.
  • Nuwanda||

    So, what is it in principle that differentiates a Liberal from a libertarian like Nick Gillespie?

    In case Nick hasn't worked it out after all these years, it's not just the size of the state that is at issue, it's also the powers of the state. A small state can also have enormous power if granted the wrong functions.

    Can Nick lay his finger on the clause in the Constitution that grants the power to create a financial safety net--a welfare state--to the government?

  • fakelibertarian||

    Matt Welch: I would amend that saying some libertarians are certainly anarchists and many people think theoretically in a world would be treated better if there were no safety nets. Nick and I especially in the book, we talk about kind of engaging with the world in the framework that it exists right now and how do we lead towards that. So if you like a safety net or if you think that there should be a safety net you have to be an opponent of entitlements. Because entitlements are completely bankrupting the country. It's more than a third of federal spending now, it's going to be half of federal spending by 2030. So if you like any of that stuff you're going to have to pick things to get rid of, and entitlements - just by graduating to age 65 you shouldn't get a lot of free stuff and that is actually jeopardizing the safety net much more than any crazy libertarian ever could.
  • Titan||

    Free stuff? Checking my pay stubs for the last 30+ years shows a massive investment for eventually graduating at 65. But apparently the new libertarian position per MW is to give all your working age taxes to those who "really" need it.

  • The Grinch||

    When it comes to purity tests and othering those who don't strictly adhere to their own vision libertarians might have a leg up on Marxists. We're a lot less likely to end up with an ice axe to the forehead though.

  • chemjeff||

    We're a lot less likely to end up with an ice axe to the forehead though.

    Won't be an ice axe. It will be a mummified sharpened orphan.

  • John Titor||

    You didn't roll with the Marxists. Their purity contests are worse.

    Hey, what's the difference between a Maoist and a Trotskyite? No one but the communists care, and they'll never shut up about it.

  • The Grinch||

    You're right but it was a bit of a joke. We should stop with the litmus tests though, particularly when it comes to this issue as we agree more than we disagree on so many other things.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    I'm in favor of easy immigration processes and a relatively free and open immigration policy, but I'm also in favor of the rule of law and, because I'm not feeling especially ancap today, secure borders.

    At the moment with our current immigration laws though, those are in direct conflict. You have to pick one, and picking the second option without the first results in some rather totalitarian behavior. As Doherty so nicely put it the other day:

    "Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement."

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "Arguing that people from other countries who do not own property here, have not paid taxes, and don't have anything invested in local communities have a right to immigrate that trumps the rights of people already here is a pretty strange argument for a libertarian to make."

    How about people born in the US who do not own property, have not paid taxes, and don't have anything invested in local communities? Do they have a right to remain?

  • John Titor||

    Reason tends to not help it's argument by pretending illegal immigration and immigration are the same thing. I mean, if you want to pat yourself on the back, fine. If you're trying to actually convince someone you're right you are probably going to have to recognize the distinction.

  • John Titor||

    Even the most utopian libertarian free state projects have restrictions on who can enter. Try again.

  • The Grinch||

    Think god for the gatekeepers. Keep up the good work.

  • John Titor||

    *Continues to engage in vapid tribalism, declares himself to be the arbitrator of libertarian thought while being an open collectivist*

    Keep up the good work.

  • fakelibertarian||

    Fake libertarians -- glibertarians -- like yourself make excuses for the state

    You ain't a real libertarian until you find room in your heart for Nazi cakes and carbon taxes.

    Blow it out your ass, Howard.

  • hpearce||

    Free movement ? Across people's property ?

    That is a total contrary view as to what liebertarians believe.

    No one has a right to free movement anyplace/anywhere

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Bullshit. Of course there is a right of free movement. It is inherent in the property allocation regime, not in your right to trespass against anyone's property. It is called the free movement proviso or the simple-connectedness proviso. The Blockean proviso is a weaker version of this.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    "Real libertarians value free movement of human beings! Now get back to your own website, scum, 'cause we don't want your kind around here!"

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    pretending illegal immigration and immigration are the same thing.

    I don't think they are pretending they are the same, they are recognizing facts on the ground- there is literally no path to legal immigration for unskilled workers who don't have family here, except for an extremely unlikely lottery. Just like with marijuana or Uber or exercising your 2nd amendment rights, sometimes the only way to live a free life is to route around gov't obstacles.

  • Jerryskids||

    Supporting free speech means supporting the right of socialists like Bernie Sanders to speak and influence the general public. Look at what happened when the socialists persuaded a majority of the voters that they're entitled to free stuff because it takes a village and you didn't build that. We're all collectivists now, merely arguing over which top men should shepherd the flock to the shearing shed and what we should use the wool for. Just don't get too curious about where mutton comes from, you don't want to know.

    Despite the argument that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, it actually is. If enough people want to jump off the cliff, we're jumping off the cliff. Or maybe it's more correct to say that since enough people voted to jump off the cliff, we've already jumped off the cliff. I'm just hoping I'm dead before we hit the ground so I don't have to listen to the wounded and crippled grouse about how nobody thought to repeal the law of gravity. Look, you morons, there's no such thing as free stuff and hoping ain't gonna change reality. The rules of math are non-negotiable.

  • Gadfly||

    Yes, many rights have a downside, and it is good not to ignore this. The two most fundamental rights, that to free speech and to bear arms, both have downsides (the perpetuation of bad ideas, the potential for brown-shirts/insurrection), as do many others it is necessary to secure to the people. Immigration, whether you view it as a right or a privilege, has downsides as well (societal/economic disruption of magnitude depending on the circumstances). It is well not to ignore the downsides, so that any who you are trying to convince to adopt a position know what they are getting into.

    And I'd argue that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, society itself is. It is societal mores that determine how well the Constitution will be followed and how it will be amended, so even the best designed system would be dependent upon the good character of the people.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Labor crossing borders as freely as any other good, that's what free markets are all about--and I'm all for it.

    "Is Being For More Immigration Inherently Unlibertarian?"

    The problem is that the loudest voice for more immigration at Reason is Dalmia, and she doesn't only want more immigration--she also wants the government to stop enforcing immigration law.

    There's a big difference between a libertarian who wants as expansive an immigration policy as legitimate security concerns will allow--and someone who wants the government to abandon enforcing border controls.

    I want a treaty with Mexico that will allow their citizens to cross our border at will--so long as they develop a reliable ID system so that we can ensure that their citizens aren't convicted felons, aren't known terrorists, they're immunized against certain diseases, etc. I believe this to be both Constitutional (treaties and naturalization are enumerated powers of Congress) and within the bounds of the government's legitimate responsibility to protect our rights from foreign threats. We could expand that to other countries if appropriate--and that's all libertarian to my eye.

    Shika Dalmia has gone so far as to oppose screening Syrian asylum seekers in the name of libertarianism--and I don't appreciate what that's doing for libertarian outreach.

  • DJF||

    """""Labor crossing borders as freely as any other good, that's what free markets are all about--and I'm all for it."""

    So 500 million Chinese laborers show up and its all good?

    What happens when they bring their labor organizers, the Chinese Communist Party, is that all right too?

  • prolefeed||

    I'm gonna go with the supposition that the people fleeing communist states are more inclined toward freedom than the average American citizen.

    If 500 million people tried to flee Communist China, and our government dropped all opposition to them coming, I'm guessing that somewhere around one million successful immigrants in, the communist government would take severe steps to stop their property -- the people they rule -- from taking flight.

    Right now, the U.S. feds are doing that dirty job for the communists.

  • The Last American Hero||

    You missed the point, prolefeed. China wouldn't stop them because it would be a de facto communist takeover of the US. We'd be a province of the PRC. Why on earth would they stop that?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "So 500 million Chinese laborers show up and its all good?

    You ignored most of what I wrote. If you read it again, you'll see that:

    1) I want a treaty with Mexico

    2) Treaties and naturalization rules are both enumerated powers of Congress (constitutional and rightly subject to democracy).

    3) Defending our rights against foreign threats is a legitimate function of government.

    4) Congress should only expand that Mexican treaty to other countries if it's appropriate.

    In other words, I did not say "500 million Chinese laborers show up and it's all good" in four different ways.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "I want a treaty with Mexico that will allow their citizens to cross our border at will--so long as they develop a reliable ID system so that we can ensure that their citizens aren't convicted felons, aren't known terrorists, they're immunized against certain diseases, etc."

    This is perfectly reasonable. But my question (similar to my other questions in this thread...) is: what about people who were born in the USA several decades ago who fail this litmus test? For example, an american citizen who is a convicted felon and doesn't have his immunizations, maybe even has tuberculosis this very minute -- what does a libertarian do with that guy?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Dalmia isn't just saying that expansive immigration is inherently libertarian--she's saying that enforcing the thoroughly constitutional rules of immigration as enacted by Congress is inherently un-libertarian.

    Anyone who conflates Doherty's position with Dalmia's is doing so unfairly. Reason staff have never agreed on every issue any more than the rest of us have agreed with any one of them or each other. That being said, Dalmia has gone off the rails on this topic--to the point where, yesterday, she was comparing deportation to enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act.

    It's unfair when the person who kicks the hive isn't the one who gets stung, but somebody at Reason might wants to talk to Dalmia about kicking hives, you know?

  • fakelibertarian||

    Malcontents gonna bitch and moan

    And rarely with enough self awareness to recognize when they are doing it.

  • John||

    One man's criticism is another man's bitching and moaning.

  • Outside the Box||

    "she was comparing deportation to enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act."

    Sound correct to me.

    Look: what actually, physically happens in "deportation"? What exact actions are taken? Does it involve physically confining someone, perhaps in handcuffs, and then physically transporting them, picking them up and carrying them if necessary, or perhaps holding out a threat of further violence if they do not cooperate?

    Then that is an act of violence. No person can claim to be "civilized" if they advocate and tolerate acts of violence initiated against a peaceful person. I am going to choose to be civilized: no matter my difference of opinion with someone, no matter how much I disagree with them, if they don't escalate the dispute into violence, I *will not*. If you choose to "deport" someone, then you do.

  • John||

    Under an ideal Libertarian government, immigration would take care of itself. Without welfare or public aid, immigrants would only come if they could find a job and would just always pay their way. In a libertarian society. there would be no public schools or other services for immigrants to overwhelm. All services would be paid for by the users and never by the collective. So, you would only get immigrants who paid their way and brought benefit to society. Those who didn't would quickly have no way to make a living and go home or more likely never come.

    We don't have an ideal Libertarian government and likely never will. So immigration doesn't just take care of itself. And it can be a burden and a net negative on society if uncontrolled. As Sparky points out above, reason not only doesn't recognize that it is always willing to place open borders over creating a fully libertarian government.

    Libertarians who push for open borders without first creating a libertarian state and eliminating public services are whether they intend to be or not useful idiots for the Cloward-Piven socialist state.

  • chemjeff||

    The problem is, if you use consequentalist arguments to defend border controls, then what is the principled reason for not using consequentialist arguments to argue against expressions of liberty in other contexts? For instance: "Free speech is good as long as it produces valuable speech".

  • John||

    There isn't. But consequentialist arguments are sometimes valid. That is why life is hard. If you never had to worry about the consequences of your actions and could just act on abstract principles, ethical dilemmas would not exist. Every principle no matter how noble or deeply held has its limit when the consequences of holding it are so grave that holding it becomes immoral. It is, of course, very difficult to find that line. It lies between two equally immoral extremes; having no principles or morality and acting only on your principles to the exclusion of all consequences. Acting with no principles is to have no morality. Acting only on principles is to create a ready-made rationalization for even the most monstrous acts of evil.

    This is why morality and politics are such hard questions that are never resolved. It is also way anyone who says they "only act on their principles" is likely lying and certainly doesn't understand morality.

  • chemjeff||

    For a place devoted to the defense of liberty, it's pretty hard for me to justify prior restraint of said liberty simply because expression of that liberty might produce results we don't like. I've always believed that the proper libertarian approach ought to be "defend people's liberty first and foremost, and deal with the consequences later". Now liberty ought to be broadly defined, to include both the liberty to move across arbitrary lines on a map, and also one's economic liberty to spend one's own money as one sees fit and not be coerced into funding an involuntary welfare state, EVEN IF free movement might produce some undesirable results, and EVEN IF a coerced welfare state might produce some positive results.

    I mean, I can see that type of argumentation working if you are approaching it from some purely pragmatic point of view. Costs vs. benefits and the like, where you include the cost to denying people's liberties to do stuff. I have always hated that type of thinking because it reduces the beauty of human expression of liberty to just a number on a ledger, plus justifying the Top. Men. in their attempts to try to centrally plan society according to some grand balance sheet. So I am going to stick to what I perceive as the libertarian view, which is going to place liberty at a much higher level of importance IMO.

  • John||

    The reality is what it is. It is better to live on welfare in the US than it is to live at all in many countries. So if you have true open borders, people will come to collect welfare and then vote accordingly. If you want to sacrifice any hope of a free society for the principle of free movement, well that is your choice. But don't lie to yourself or others and pretend that you are not doing that.

  • ace_m82||

    But consequentialist arguments are sometimes valid.

    You are a Utilitarian, at least, when it suits you. You therefore inherit all the pitfalls Utilitarians have.

    God help you if you ever become a "Lonesome Stranger" in a town where there was an unsolved murder...

    http://phil0sophy101.blogspot......anger.html

  • John||

    If you can never take into account the consequences of following a principle, then explain why the categorical imperative wasn't the final answer to all ethical debates? Please show your work.

    Your principles tell you not to lie. That is great until the Nazis show up and ask if the Jews are hiding in the basement.

    I just can't understand how people can be so fucking stupid as to believe that there are no limits to principles or that life is so simple that you never have to engage in a utilitarian calculation.

    How do people like you feed yourselves?

  • ace_m82||

    If you can never take into account the consequences of following a principle...

    Non Sequitur. In fact, the reason that the "Lonesome Stranger" thought experiment works to disprove your brand of Utilitarianism is because it shows that Utilitarian thought results in you doing evil while following your principle.

    explain why the categorical imperative wasn't the final answer to all ethical debates?

    Basically, it is, though those who perhaps were trying to defend it were using the incorrect starting point. I'm an Evangelical Christian, so it's "Do what God says" (or something close).

    Your principles tell you not to lie. That is great until the Nazis show up and ask if the Jews are hiding in the basement.

    I've shot the Nazis long before this has happened. I'm probably dead. So are lots of Nazis.

    I just can't understand how people can be so fucking stupid as to believe that there are no limits to principles

    That is a principle. "Show your work" my right foot...

    or that life is so simple that you never have to engage in a utilitarian calculation.

    You don't have to, but that's not the point. Something is not right just because you think it will end well.

    How do people like you feed yourselves?

    I trade my labor to someone who demands it in a mutually beneficial free market exchange.

  • John||

    Basically, it is, though those who perhaps were trying to defend it were using the incorrect starting point. I'm an Evangelical Christian, so it's "Do what God says" (or something close).

    That is the funniest thing I have ever read. It is nothing like that at all. It is a meaningless joke. It is nothing but a way to describe rationalization. And if you think it in anyway matches up with Christianity, you don't know much about either.

    Your response to the Nazi dilemma is a non sequiter. That is because there is no response other than the categorical imperative works right up until it doesn't, which is my point.

    You don't have to, but that's not the point. Something is not right just because you think it will end well.

    I am not saying it is. You lack the mental ability to comprehend what I said. So you are wasting your time.

  • ace_m82||

    That is the funniest thing I have ever read.

    You need to get out more.

    It is nothing like that at all.

    Actually, it's "a moral law that is unconditional or absolute for all agents, the validity or claim of which does not depend on any ulterior motive or end":

    https://www.britannica.com

    To which "Do what God says" fits precisely, for a Christian.

    Your response to the Nazi dilemma is a non sequiter.

    If I'm an idiot, and I put myself in that type of situation (again*), then I say nothing. I then shoot the Nazis.

    *I was a frikkin Marine who didn't lie to a bunch of petty control-freaks (NCOs). I've lived a form of that dilemma out more than once. Do not lecture me about it. And no, I didn't lie.

    You lack the mental ability to comprehend what I said.

    John, John, going straight to ridicule? So, the Republican is stealing right out of Alinsky's playbook. Good job.

    You said:

    But consequentialist arguments are sometimes valid.

    That's pure Utilitarianism. I told you that you'd better hope to not become the "Lonesome Stranger". You haven't responded. I have responded (twice) to your moral dilemma. So keep on your way, turning into a liberal as you go. Logical consistency is a "b", ain't it?

  • Sam Haysom||

    People are stupid until there are consequence then the smarten up really fast. Libertarians currently don't live where immigration is destroying native folkways and don't have children that have to go to overcrowed increasingly chaotic schools where many of the children don't speak and aren't interested in learning English.

  • ace_m82||

    Libertarians currently don't live where immigration is destroying native folkways

    I'll bet libertarians live everywhere.

    don't have children that have to go to overcrowed increasingly chaotic schools

    Most libertarians aren't all that friendly with compulsory government indoctrination centers.

  • Sam Haysom||

    You are right I left out a for the most part. Libertarianism is weak in the states with huge levels of immigration and strongest in the lily white western states- probaly a conicidence.

  • Robert||

    John 3.3.17 @9:46AM wrote some of the most important words ever in a comment here.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Small quibble. Co-operatives aren't inherently unlibertarian.

    Farmers, for example, don't consider themselves socialist, because their socialism is all at a very local/family level.

    Schools can be the same way. You support schools because you don't think kids should suffer for a lack of parental resources, and because you think that your own life will directly benefit from having more educated consumers, workers, voters.

    That isn't the same thing as *requiring* kids to attend the public school. You could also have a cost sharing arrangement between the community and the kids attending.

  • John||

    Private Cooperatives are not inherently unlibertarian. I did not mean to imply they were. But that is true only if they have the freedom to control who is a member and no one is forced to join them. Immigration is not a problem for such cooperatives because they just won't accept immigrants who can't pay their pay or that they can't afford to help.

    Government run cooperatives usually are inherently unlibertarian. They generally cannot deny new members and in many cases people are forced to join them. Immigration can be a big problem for such institutions.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Bingo. Voluntary association vs. forced association or something.

  • Outside the Box||

    "Private Cooperatives are not inherently unlibertarian."

    It's more than this though: libertarianism is about what actions are considered legitimate, and its stance is that actions that represent an initiation of force (I prefer initiation of violence, but that's a different point) are ones that a libertarian does not want to consider legitimate.

    The construction of abstractions like "cooperatives" or any other grouping of people is completely and utterly irrelevant to libertarianism, because such a construction isn't even an action. It doesn't have anything to do with "membership": that is an abstraction. The only thing that can be unlibertarian is specific actions of specific individuals. Were some individual to, say, steal from someone, that is unlibertarian despite their reason, whether it's because "I'm a thief" or because "I'm a member of a private cooperative and I think you must be a member who pays our fees." The reason doesn't matter. It's the act that matters.

    This is why more complicated abstractions like "country" and "nation" etc have nothing to do with libertarianism: your reasons for your actions don't matter. If they are initiations of force, I will not consider them legitimate, whether it's because you say you are from the Girl Scouts or "America" or whatever.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    According to reason, libertarians argue that your problem with the welfare state is independent of immigration, so just go fix that separate problem. They then turn around and say we have to recognize gay marriage because otherwise we won't be doling out the welfare goodies evenly. So somehow the knock-on consequences of the welfare state matter when it coincides with your social agenda and only then. But they're principled and consistent. Truly.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Under an ideal Libertarian government, immigration would take care of itself.

    No.

    There is a feedback loop back from immigrants to governments. That people can see and desire the benefits a libertarian government produces does not mean that they desire a libertarian government, or will support one or liberty generally.

    The problem isn't benefits, it's attitudes toward the use of force, government being one example.

    The level of support for liberty in the US, as much as we may bitch about how low it is, is much much higher than the general level in the world. Import from that lower pool, and you lower the level in the US.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Open borders make sense in a constitutionally limited republic. That ship sailed long ago.

  • John||

    Thank you, and I mean that seriously, for summarizing my above post in one succinct sentence.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Hey, can we hire you out to follow John around and post one sentence summaries for his comments? Also, if you could do the same thing for Ken, yeah, that'd be great.

  • John||

    On a deeper level, a libertarian state can only exist if the population either through culture or deterrence respects the non-aggression principle. Libertarian states are defenseless against groups of people whose culture rejects the NAP and whose beliefs are deeply held enough to not be deterred by the threat of self-defense or state sanction. Libertarians like Doherety and company cannot comprehend that. While Doherety and Gillespie are politically Libertarians, they are cultural leftists because they buy into the principles of multiculturalism and refuse to admit the reality that not all cultures are compatible with a libertarian state. If your society doesn't value freedom, responsibility, and respect the nonaggression principle and instead embrace tribalism and religious or ideological fanaticism, you can't have a libertarian state or even a free state. Such people will not tolerate one and will resort to methods to prevent one that will force everyone else to either conform to their political will or resort to methods of resistance inconsistent with a free society.

    Doherety and Dalmai and the rest of the Reason staff should ask themselves one question; if it is not possible for the US to militarily enforce classically liberal values on some populations, what reason is there to believe the people from these places will voluntarily adopt such values by virtue of moving here?

  • Tumulus||

    Agree with you on this. This goes for your other comments on this dumb article.

  • Outside the Box||

    "a libertarian state"

    No such thing can exist.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Isn't libertarianism as an intellectual and activist movement in practice about forging a people who think like libertarians?

    As Haidt shows in "The Righteous Mind": People are driven by their moral values, there is little to no convincing to be done.

  • John||

    That is absolutely correct. But it is not because people are irrational. It is because rationality is value neutral. You can reason any conclusion, provided you start with the right assumptions. Your moral values are the assumptions you base your reasoning upon. So they necessarily are going to drive and determine your conclusions and ultimately your actions. No amount of "reasoning" is going to change someone's mind when they do not share a common set of assumptions with the person trying to convince them.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Libertarianism is not a suicide pact.

  • Tak Kak||

    "Did America commit suicide after the Irish came? The Germans? The Italians and Jews? Why are the Mexicans different? Because food stamps?"

    The answer is "yes".

    "But not only do immigrants assimilate to the culture, the culture also assimilates to the immigrants, and the greater their number the more it does so."

  • buybuydandavis||

    When you import people, you import their politics with them.

  • dchang0||

    Worse, you import their culture and values. These are usually immutable once the persons have passed about age 7 or 8.

    Such values may include: it is okay to stone gay people to death or men raping women is okay.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Yep.

    Electoral political preferences are just a subset of political values, which are a subset of cultural values.

    The Cologne New Year's Eve sexual assault riot wasn't a voting pattern, but it was both political and cultural.

  • Sam Haysom||

    A certain vision of America (held by most founding fathers) as a WASP nation (the to us and our posterity part) died.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Arguing against immigration because of what immigrants allegedly think is worse than governments suppressing speech for its content -- it's equivalent to governments suppressing authors because of what they might write.

  • John||

    In a sense sure. But allowing enough people who hold values inconsistent with a free society into your country without demanding they change will doom your free society.

    What do you want to do? Suppress the content of speech or eventually see the nature of your society transformed into something much less free? Those are your choices.

  • chemjeff||

    But allowing enough people who hold values inconsistent with a free society into your country without demanding they change will doom your free society.

    Who is demanding that immigrants not change? If an immigrant comes here and violates the NAP, then I think even the most anarchist of libertarians would agree that this immigrant should be punished in some way, even if that immigrant's actions would not have been illegal in his/her home country.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Damn straight. Their opinions are none of my business. Their actions are, if they harm me.

    Pretty simple principle.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Principles come to mind.

    People are entitled to their opinions. Coercing them based on those opinions is heinous.

    The real devil is coercive government which enables people's opinions to become coercive. Banning immigrants because our government sucks is side-stepping the issue and betraying principles.

  • John||

    They are entitled to your opinions and sometimes they will take those opinions and stick a boot on your face with them. If you love your principles more than you hate the boot on your face, that is your choice. But stop lying to yourself and pretending that it isn't.

    Like I explain above, if your only answer to a moral quandary is "principles", you don't have an answer. You have a rationalization.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Is a boot on my face not harm? Is a real threat of said harm not cause for pre-emptive action? Grow up.

    Seems you can't tell the difference between opinion and actual harm. No wonder you have no principles.

  • John||

    Yeah it's a harm. But what do you do when pushing the boot off requires you to violate your principles?

    God damn you are dense. Just stop thinking about these issues. Really, just stop.

  • fakelibertarian||

    [The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using.... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.
    --Ayn Rand

    Let us know when you've read a 2nd book cytotoxic.

  • John Titor||

    I don't post under fake handles, "DanO.", who's writing style is suspiciously similar to a historical troll of this site.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Arguing against immigration because of what immigrants allegedly think is worse than governments suppressing speech for its content

    Me no likey reality! Wah! Makes me uncomfortable in muh principles!

  • damikesc||

    Baffling article given this site's near orgasmic delight at the thought of more illegal immigration. And the sheer idiocy to not recognize that illegal and legal immigration are actually different.

  • Outside the Box||

    In a society with no countries and thus no borders, the term "immigration" doesn't even make conceptual sense. That is what I personally and subjectively would like to see.

  • Free Society||

    If Rhode Island experienced an influx of Somalis so extensive that the population was majority Somali, would it still have the same political culture? The same regular ole culture? Would present population of Rhode Island be better or worse off for that?

    If immigration is always and everywhere an unmitigated good with no downsides, then the magic dirt of Rhode Island should wash away the illiberal culture of the Somali colonists.

  • Free Society||

    That's what we call the "open borders" argument. It asserts that any restriction of immigration is violation of the immigrant's natural right to traverse any private and/or public property boundaries to go wherever the fuck they want.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Which is totally separate from calling it "an unmitigated good with no downsides."

  • John||

    Why is it a strawman? Even if you admit a downside in the abstract, that downside is never important enough to change your position. If it were, you wouldn't be open borders.

    Open borders supporters will if forced admit to the downsides of immigration, but those downsides are always just the price that someone else must pay for the open borders advocates' "principles".

  • ScottK||

    I'm opposed to ethnically cleansing Rhode Island, though I have to wonder how those Somalis were able to afford those big houses in Newport with their Sharia law mortgages where the interest is all in the form of up front points.

  • Sam Haysom||

    I know you are being what's that word- oh yes glib- but you should see the prices in Detroit for what used to be wonderful mansions.

    There is no eternal law that says new port has to be a fairy land of pleasant experiences. A lot of highly conscientious WASPs made it that way. Newport inhabited by Somalis probally won't be as nice- and Nick sure as hell won't spend any time there.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Huge numbers of libertarians seem fundamentally unable to get this. It's like banging your head against a brick wall. There is simply no way you can maintain a libertarian polity while importing collectivists as fast as you possibly can.

    Libertarianism is great, but one of the essential functions of the "night watchman" state libertarians support is to protect the state from invaders. It's naive in the modern world to think that all invaders come with tanks and guns and announce that they're invading.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Making the government ever more statist is not what libertarianism is about.

  • dchang0||

    That's not what MiloMinderbinder said.

    It is possible to have as small a state as possible whose very limited functions include defending the country from invasion, including slow-motion, non-violent invasions. If it is impossible to do so, then libertarianism is impossible, because sooner or later, some other country or culture will use a slow-motion, non-violent invasion to invade and conquer the country.

    National defense does not automatically mean growing statism (although it is definitely true that the Republicans use national defense as an excuse to grow the state).

  • Outside the Box||

    "If it is impossible to do so, then libertarianism is impossible, because sooner or later, some other country or culture will use a slow-motion, non-violent invasion to invade and conquer the country."

    You can't talk coherently about libertarianism while referring to "countries". A libertarian society has no countries. It's like saying "you can't have a catless society because all of the cats... ": if it's a catless society, then you can't reason in terms of "cats".

    If there are no countries, there can't be "invasions" of any speed. And yes, that is what I at least want: no countries, no blessings given to *anyone* to initiate violence.

  • DOOMco||

    Feel the love.

  • eyeroller||

    The premise seems to be that Republicans are more libertarian than Democrats -- a premise proved false over and over.

  • DOOMco||

    What party does rand paul and justin amash belong to?

  • Free Society||

    Where are these libertarian compatible Democrats? The ones who like expanding the scope of civil liberties for their protected groups while curtailing them for others?

  • Not a True MJG||

    Jesus, Brian. You didn't have to come hard like that.

    Henceforth, you shall be known as Doherty the Merciless.

  • Azathoth!!||

    When you don't grasp the issue, how can you be expected to comment rationally upon it?

    Let's start by thinking through its underlying presumption: that libertarians' dominant priority should not be actually advocating that government behave in a manner that directly leaves people more free of active physical government interference in their motions, actions, choices, and relations

    Incorrect. The underlying presumption is this--

    "Libertarians' dominant priority should be actually advocating that government behave in a manner that directly leaves people more free of active physical government interference in their motions, actions, choices, and relations "

    Actively importing people who will actively work against this is lunacy.

    In fact, one could infer that 'libertarians' who advocate such may not be libertarian at all.

    The article notes that libertarianism already has an uphill battle, if one sees this as a TEAM Blue vs TEAM Orange issue.

    A libertarian sees this as a battle to get libertarian ideas to majority status, TEAM be damned. Again, one takes pause at the actions of the so-called 'libertarians' framing this issue.

    Where are such wide open borders ideas commonplace? They're a staple of international socialism. Ah. Well that says all that needs to be said.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "Actively importing"

    Que?

  • Outside the Box||

    "Libertarians' dominant priority should be actually advocating that government"

    Gracious me.

    First off: a person's priority are purely subjective and cannot be argued, anymore than you can argue what flavor of ice cream someone "should" like most. Jeez, Doherty himself failing at a fundamental concept (and then dragging you in).

    But then I can't get past the notion of libertarians advocating anything about "government" except "let's get rid of it". You can't be both.

  • Brandybuck||

    Why? Because immigrants tend to vote more Democratic.


    ONLY BECAUSE REPUBLICANS TREAT IMMIGRANTS LIKE SHIT!


    Why the hell do libertarians care whether immigrants tend to vote for one statist party over the other statist party? Are we now supposed to be Republicans?

    Besides, given the most recent popular vote, CITIZENS tend to vote more Democratic!

  • MarconiDarwin||

    That is the simplest explanation. Happens to be true as well.

  • damikesc||

    Well, CA did. So, let Hillary serve as Governor of CA. She lost the other 49 states comfortably.

  • ScottK||

    If the Reason bloggers would simply use a capital L when writing about being "libertarian," there would be far less discomfort in the ranks when said bloggers suggest that a policy might lead people to vote for Democrats. We all understand that the uppercase Libertarians (from Kochland) cannot fathom that redistributive policies are a social imperative or even a social benefit. Conversely, a lowercase libertarian (from somewhere in Europe with better health care) would oppose both enslavement by the State and enslavement by the State's corporate puppeteers.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Where is this fairy tale land of which you speak? Would it be an oil rich country of 5 million white people and low population density?

  • ScottK||

    It is everywhere and nowhere, and you can find Schrodinger's Cat, Krugman's alien zombies, Tyler Durden and enemy combatants there.

  • MarconiDarwin||

    When libertarians stop being Republicans, then perhaps we can revisit "the welfare state is what I object to, not immigration. I am for open borders, but not welfare" argument.

    The constitution says NOTHING about immigration, it is not an enumerated power of Congress. Whether or not you agree with welfare being allowed, it is hypocrisy to claim you are for constitutional adherence, and then hand wave the immigration overreach.

  • ScottK||

    Article I, Section 8, clause 4. Thanks for stopping by, Kellyanne.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Sorry, but having a high fence (not literally)/wide gate attitude does not a Republican make. I would suggest that a better libertarian position would be to to pull the border checkers much closer to the border, enact a much more streamlined work visa program, expand said program by several orders of magnitude, oh, and cut back the welfare state dramatically to reduce incentives for people to come illegally.

    None of those positions are Republican, except for some overlap on getting better control over the border. They all seem to be contradictory with much of the Reason staff, which seems to want to have no borders and believes everything will be totes cool if we just fire the border guards.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm pro-immigration. I'm much more interested in what Reason has to say regarding border security. It seems as though any attempt to require people to knock on the front door before entering is considered racist. The idea that you have zero border security which it seems is what writers at Reason believe is what I think is naive.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The great thing for libertarians is that they never really have to talk about the details. As long as they're politically obsolete they can live inside the ideology like Richman does.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You may be blurring the line between border security and defense from attack. I don't really see the utility of "border security", for the same reason I don't see the utility of background checking US citizens. What are you checking at the border, and why is it ok NOT to check the same thing when a US-born person turns 18, for example?

  • Free Society||

    Natural rights are not abridged by restricting immigration. Natural rights are abridged by treating the outcome of biological reproduction by the natives in the same way.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The connection between natural rights and arbitrary and invisible boundaries is not clear to me. Natural rights that apply to humans on one-side of a man-made dividing line but do not apply to humans on the other side of a man-made dividing line do not strike me as "natural."

  • Outside the Box||

    while I'm not a natural rights guy, I still love this.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well, why don't you travel to one of the seven countries that were on the travel ban list and walk the streets unescorted. I'll tell you why, because you would be killed within an hour. But keep talking the fantasy.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Like I said before, it's very nice to be able to avoid reality and be oh so santiminious about it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We neef to molest grandmas and little girls traveling domestically at the airport instead of 20 somethings traveling from Fallujah to prove to the world that we're not racist.

  • Thrackmoor||

    I'm against immigration because they're taking all of the prime lettuce-picking jobs from me!

  • INTJ||

    "anyone desperate to come up with a reason to oppose immigration while still thinking of themselves as a libertarian"

    While I don't think that being a libertarian would require one to oppose immigration, and I think the "they will vote Democrat" argument isn't particularly persuasive, neither is it clear to me that being a libertarian requires one to favor open borders. To the extent that I am any kind of libertarian, I am so within the context of being an American, and that includes accepting reasonable limits on immigration, and treating those who violate the laws intended to enforce those limits.

  • Outside the Box||

    "To the extent that I am any kind of libertarian, I am so within the context of being an American,"

    yeah, unfortunately that means you're not any kind of libertarian. Nationalism/Statism is incompatible with libertarianism because they are defined by the assumption that it is legitimate for some group of people to initiate violence against others, which is precisely in violation of the libertarian concept.

  • Robert||

    OK, Mr. Doherty, but now what would you say regarding the opinion that immigration into a country, particularly from certain other countries or by people w certain characteristics, may lead to reductions in liberty in the country they're migrating to, and that therefore forbidding some immigration may be good for freedom in that country?

  • Outside the Box||

    That "freedom" is an incoherent concept and you will reason better with coherent concepts such as the specific actions that people take.

  • XM||

    If you don't support absolute freedom of "movement" and believe that a nation should have its own immigration law, then there's nothing unusual about wanting to limit entry on the kinds of people who pose a threat to freedom or smaller government.

    We don't accept North Korean immigrants (not refugees) and the government discourages trade with that nation. Whether they want to move here or sell goods is a moot point. The reason is obvious.

    Americans here like free stuff, which cost a lot of money. That level of "big government" is a bit different than hard collectivist, borderline marxist societies many immigrants hail from. Latinos are a natural fit for the democrat party, which has the most power to implement dramatic overhauls that would dismantle even a libertarianish society.

    Of course, there are risks to government micromanaging immigration. If the dems were in power, they might filter out gun enthusiasts or supporters of traditional marriage. If you're not a threat to others, I think you should qualify regardless of your education, skill level, etc. But having a generous immigration system isn't the same thing as an open borders. We can still exercise discretion on applicants if they pose a threat to our way of life.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The problem is that terms like "our way of life" and "filter out" are vague enough to be dangerous. The first has been used countless times to promote racism and nationalism, and the second is actively being used today to enforce violations of liberty that all of us oppose. When you say, "if you're not a threat to others", who decides that? Jeff Sessions has a pretty clear idea what that means, and I bet it's one you wouldn't agree with. Your example of fearing the possibility of dems filtering out "gun enthusiasts" in immigration policy is ALREADY happening today. Thousands have been deported for nothing more than the act of owning a firearm.

  • XM||

    "Our way of life" is just something you might find in any civilized society.

    if you're a serial rapist or Jihad sympathizer, you don't get in. If you're a normal human being but also member of a Westboro type church or a radical mosque, the immigration officials would take that into consideration. That you want to freely trade and work doesn't override it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    If the dems were in power, they might filter out gun enthusiasts or supporters of traditional marriage.

    Or *filter in* Big Government voters. Which is what they did.

  • Brandybuck||

    Libertarians are not "pro-immigration". Neither are they anti-immigration. They are merely "get the government out of the travel business". If Juan wants to come work for me in my factory, it's none of your goddamned business!

  • dchang0||

    This is a great point.
    If Juan crosses the border to work in my factory and then crosses back to go home, I am perfectly okay with that.

    If Juan crosses the border and proceeds to vote in or attempt to influence our elections (via riots/demonstrations) while not being a member of our country (i.e. a citizen), I am not okay with that. It is violation of the NAP against citizens (by diminishing the power of the citizens to control their own gov't, or by preventing citizens from driving to work as rioters block major freeways in Southern California, etc.)

    If Juan crosses the border and commits violent crimes or property crimes, I am not okay with that.

    If Juan crosses the border and puts down roots and helps himself to welfare and other transfer payments, I am not okay with that.

  • Outside the Box||

    "If Juan crosses the border and proceeds to vote in or attempt to influence our elections (via riots/demonstrations) while not being a member of our country (i.e. a citizen), I am not okay with that. It is violation of the NAP"

    Dude, as soon as you said "border", "elections", "country", "citizen", you already advocated violation of the NAP.

  • Jr12||

    Libertarians are not against immigration. Libertarians are against a welfare state in which citizens are forced to support immigrants, or anyone for that matter.

    What's in it for Reason to build an anti-immigrant straw man and then argue with its irrelevancy. Lies do not attract the intellectual integrity necessary to freedom.

  • ranrod||

    Fox News repeats the same old media/politician lie of 11-12 illegal aliens in the USA!!

    Univision boasts 50 million
    Retired INS M. Cutler talks 40-50 million
    Debbie Schlussel writes of 40 million
    CAPS Study 2007 talks of 38 million...

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  • buybuydandavis||

    Two points for Brian Doherty!

    It only took almost two years, but Reason's Open Border Uber Alles star chamber has finally stepped up to the plate and made an argument beyond "Racist!"

    It's nonsense on stilts, but it's got words and sentences and paragraphs and everything! Bravo!

    Why? Because immigrants tend to vote more Democratic.

    Actually, not just Democratic, but Big Government.

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/201.....-religion/
    Hispanics Want Bigger Government Providing More Services over 3 to 1

    Thus, being for more immigration, no matter what that means in literal freedom of movement and association for both citizen

    When it's more freedom for Big Government supporters from around the globe to join our polity and point government guns at Americans, it's not more freedom for Americans.

    that libertarians' dominant priority should not be actually advocating that government behave in a manner that directly leaves people more free

    Libertarians dominant priority should not be *advocating* for liberty, it should be for ensuring that Liberty exists. Maintaining freedom in your own country should be a goal. If you want to save the world, protecting LIberty in the few countries in the world that actually place some premium on it should be a priority.

    Open borders for the World! Yay! Let's cross out those extremist 1st and 2nd Amendments!

  • buybuydandavis||

    While I consider this argument ultimately absurd,

    Well reasoned retort!

    I'll grant that anyone desperate to come up with a reason to oppose immigration

    If you don't want to vote on the proper method of execution for Adultery, Apostasy, and Homosexuality, you are so racist!

    Isn't libertarianism as an intellectual and activist movement in practice about forging a people who think like libertarians?

    The second thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body — but, above all, over the mind....
    Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
    -- O'Brien

    Your soul is showing.

    If the argument then is said to merely be about people voting for the Party (Republicans)

    Actually, it's not. Because the vast majority of people in the world are even worse than the Democrats when it comes to Liberty. Mexico is like Mexico because of Mexicans. Pakistan is like Pakistan because of Pakistanis.

    When you import people, you import their politics with them.

    How many countries should Americans wish to be *more* like? Should we aspire to be *more* like Mexico, or *less*? Should Libertarians worldwide wish to make the *most* Libertarian countries *less* Libertarian?

    The Anglosphere has created and preserved the freedom the world knows. Would world Liberty be better off if it were convereted to France? Germany? Mexico?

  • buybuydandavis||

    If you just don't want to see strangers of a certain type in "your country," just say so.

    Everyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi!

    this particular libertarian advocates the government should act upon that person in a libertarian-appropriate way.

    Is it libertarian appropriate for *your* government to act on others so that they can impose force and fraud on you?
    I think not.

    And don't forget, even citizens' freedom to choose who to deal with, hire, rent to, sell to, or befriend is violated by randomly barring those born outside the U.S.

    I'm an anarchist and I hate governments! Borders are evil! Governments are evil!

    I don't want them to "randomly" bar non-citizens, I want them to *methodically* bar non-citizens.

    And by the way, birthright citizenship is not constitutional.

    But it seems hard to imagine that their marginal effect

    Why "marginal" effect? Open Borders, baby! Every poor person in the world has the right to come to the US, get on welfare, and vote to take away freedom from US citizens. Because libertarianism!

    Be consistent, Anarchy Boy. *Everybody* in the world who wants to come here can. How many hundreds of millions do you suppose that is? The Chinese could send a quarter of their population and institute Communism. Muslims could send a quarter of them to institute the Caliphate.

    Because libertarianism!

  • buybuydandavis||

    But the key problem with this cutesy arguments that helps people weirdly uncomfortable with non-natives living in America

    Everyone who disagrees with me is Hitler!

    Because if we held consistently to the standard that libertarians must fight to keep out or eliminate any identifiable group more likely to vote Democratic

    No! Liberty requires surrender to totalitarianism! Let the Chinese and Muslims fight over the carcass of the US, because libertarianism!

    Perhaps to their detriment, libertarians have mostly decided the solution to an electorate that wants more government is education and persuasion, not dividing them into identifiable groups and trying to bar those groups from a chance to vote through violent attacks on the innocent.

    We just believe in talking! Even to people who will kill us for talking! Because libertarianism!

    Heaven forfend we actually *take action* to defend ourselves from those who would enslave us! Then we would be bad! Wah! Muh self-righteousness!

    The freedom to move and the freedom to do business and personal relations with anyone we want no matter where they were born is a core freedom

    Me no likey governments! Let's destroy the most libertarian countries in the world - because libertariansim!

  • Flaco||

    Thank you for laying out the bloodbath required for Total Liberty. Get on that, folks!

    Just kidding, FBI. We know you love watching the Reason comments section.

  • GlenchristLaw||

    This is deliciously analogous to the faux-libertarian bigots who insisted that gay marriage should be banned because "government should get out of the marriage business" and therefore anything that prevents even a single marriage is to be embraced. Equal protection (and basic human dignity) be damned.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Getting the government out of your living arrangments is the libertarian position.

  • dchang0||

    "Getting the government out of your living arrangements SO LONG AS they do not harm anyone else nor force anyone else to participate against their will" is the libertarian position.

    For instance, if a person's living arrangements involve using the gov't to forcibly take $500 from each of my paychecks to subsidize their rent, a libertarian could not and should not support that.

  • Heresiarch||

    The entire moralist position about government and society-- to elide the two-- is what is at stake in the gay-marriage thing. In this case, moralists of the Left are trying to use government to terraform society. That's un-libertarian, regardless.

  • Heresiarch||

    Bullshit. Gay marriage should be a matter of state law at best. Or the states should have no such thing as marriage. This "government is society so we can use the Feds to force social engineering on everyone" shit is what is not libertarian. YOU are not libertarian.

    Equal protection? Equal protection is satisfied with civil unions, because C.U.s supply every benefit that law supplies marriages. Law supplies nothing to anyone by bestowing the name of marriage; the name of marriage is created by community, and nourished and maintained as an idea by community.

    Basic human dignity? It's a meaningless concept in terms of language-- if you disagree, give a hard and fast definition which can't be distorted by activists to cover anything-- and means even less in terms of Constitutional law, the idiot-savant language in Obergefell notwithstanding. The phrase itself is statist and conformist-- two of exactly the sort of enemies of real consent in democracy which caused Trump and Brexit.

  • gjdagis||

    You cannot have open borders while you are a welfare state. Eliminate the welfare state first and THEN, perhaps, we can talk!

  • buybuydandavis||

    You can't have Open Borders while people vote.

  • Outside the Box||

    Right.

    So get rid of the vote, get rid of the State, and then btw you also get rid of "borders" since that is a Statist concept.

    Associations of people do not require geographic continuity and thus "borders". The GirlScouts do not have borders, they have members. "People that shop at Kroger" does not have borders, it has members. "Fiscal conservatives", "social liberals", and any other set does not have borders, it has members.

    Replace "countries" and "states" with "organizations" and then this whole "border" thing becomes obviated.

  • Joaquim||

    Thanks, Brian. +200 comments and almost no anti-freedom-of-movement "libertarian" has even engaged your argument.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Fundamentally the Open Borders proposition is that everyone in the world has the right to point the government's guns at me.

    No thanks.

  • Outside the Box||

    Putting the word "fundamentally" in front of a strawman does not make it less of a strawman.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Fundamentally, Doherty's argument is that we have no right to bar other "peaceful" people from coming to the US. Open Borders Uber Alles.

    Probably the fundamental distortion of his argument is basing his minimization of the consequences on Voting Democratic (which he likes to pretend is an inconsequential difference from Voting Republican). So he gets to pretend that his self righteousness is free, and has no associated costs.

    If you want to play the categorical "Muh principles" game, it's BS to wish away all costs.

    The Mexican government is not inconsequentially different from US government. Nor Pakistan. Nor most all of the African continent. The Middle East. Central Asia. It's not that these people vote Dem. It's that their cultures are much less libertarian than ours.

    Muh principles! Do they all get to come, Brian? Billions of people, with decidedly unlibertarian cultures?

    If you're committed to muh principles to the point of suicide, say so.

    If not, admit that you are an evil closed border racist bent on violating the rights of billions of would be immigrants.

    Be honest on that point first.

    If it's the former, and you're suicidal, I aint, but we'll at least know where we stand.

    If it's the latter, then we can talk about how many you will let in, how you choose them, what the consequences of letting in those people would be, and in particular the consequences of different levels of increased electoral support for Dems.

  • dchang0||

    Excellently put.

  • Mike Flores||

    I live in Chicago where the Mayor promised 23,000 government jobs for illegals who could make it here. For the first time immigrants coming in AREN'T all becoming Democrats. In fact, as a Republican judge in the last primary where you have to declare your party to vote I can tell you 90% of Muslims including women in burkas asked for Republican ballots.
    Let me begin with a question - In World War 2 should we have offered an open door and government jobs, to people living in Germany?
    This is not a silly question. Syria is in a civil war and we have bombed them. While liberals for the first time in their lives now see immigrants as individuals- they are wrong. They are a community. A community at war. That is what being bombed tends to do to you. Remember how we reacted after 911? Imagine that happening every day.- attacks and bombings. People unite and harden.
    The Middle East has put up with years of our stumbling, bumbling and killing.
    There is also another problem - we are letting in people with child brides. Where girls have their clitoris removed. Where women are taught your husband is OK to beat you. And we are doing absolutely nothing to tell the new immigrants this is not acceptable. That means, it is.
    Finally, how does a immigrant feel who is learning about America and spending years trying to become a citizen, when Mayors declare they have government jobs with huge pensions waiting for illegals?

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Middle East has put up with years of our stumbling, bumbling and killing.

    Probably a pretty good rule - don't allow unrestricted immigration from a country you have recently been bombing. Quite obvious that some of those we bombed would be happy and eager to return the favor.

    There is also another problem - we are letting in people with child brides.

    Another good rule - don't let in people with fundamentally different values, to the point where we view their basic family units as *criminal*.

  • williamd||

    The real problem with Libertarians vs libertarians view of immigration is that it is completely conceptual and Utopian.
    If you could convert the rest of the world to Libertarian, then yeah, we could have open borders, but......... Other people have different ideas about how the world should be ordered.
    The problem with Libertarians is that you want to "Put the cart before the Horse"
    Open borders are only (theoretically) possible after you do all the other work.
    I thought that the first rule of Libertarian-ism is that " There's no such thing as Utopia"
    The author used a lot of words ( most of which) I skipped over to try and visualize a fantasy.

    William Shakespeare said it best " Brevity is the soul of Wit"

    So here is a bit of home spun wit of days gone by.

    "Good fences make good neighbors"

  • dchang0||

    Well put. Doherty chooses to use political opponents (Democrats and Republicans) who are already within our borders and already within our system of gov't.

    But he does not mention competing meme-plexes outside of our borders and alien to our system of gov't. For instance, one meme-plex completely incompatible with libertarianism is sharia law.

    Doherty mentions "other human beings trying to peacefully live." What if the competing meme-plex is:

    a) violent
    b) authoritarian
    c) invasive

    Imagine this competing meme-plex sends 1,000 of its adherents into the USA per month illegally. It is a slow-motion invasion. Because of their religious fervor, they are impossible to persuade to become libertarian.

    Should we as libertarians try to vote to enforce our borders (and other peaceful means of political self-defense), or should we wait all the way until it becomes a defensive shooting war on our own soil as the authoritarians try to kill us in our own lands?

  • buybuydandavis||

    The real problem with Libertarians vs libertarians view of immigration is that it is completely conceptual and Utopian.

    Some of the difference is philosophical - deontologists vs. consequentialists.

    The Open Borders crowd are deontologists. Clerico libertarians. It's "just wrong" to prevent people from immigrating here. It's sin. Their goal is to avoid sin.

    The goal of the consequentialists is to make liberty actually *exist* in the world, and in particular, in our own countries.

  • Outside the Box||

    "The Open Borders crowd are deontologists. "

    Not true. I am neither a deontologist nor a "borders" person.

    Also, you seem to be dividing folks into "deontologists" or "consequentialists" exclusively: is it your claim that a libertarian must be one or the other? Perhaps this is a controversial take, but I don't think that is necessary, I think one can just be a "subjectivist": since all valuation is subjective, why isn't it just ok to say "I subjectively prefer a Stateless society in which people do not consider the initiation of violence to be legitimate?" Why do I have to justify a personal subjective valuation? I can try to explain it, of course, but that's not an "argument".

    "The goal of the consequentialists is to make liberty actually *exist* in the world, and in particular, in our own countries." I appreciate your hope here, but I think that as soon as you say "country", you have made it impossible for there to be "liberty". The two are fundamentally at odds.

  • Heresiarch||

    Your head really is that far up your ass. Unbelieveable.

    "Enforcing immigration restrictions inherently involves such interference not just for the would-be immigrant, but for the citizen who wants to buy, sell, trade, or have any kind of human relationship with that immigrant."

    Yes, there's a phrase for this-- "NATIONAL BORDERS". Your approach is to act as if political realities are something we can all just get past if we concentrate on being ideologically correct and taking the shortest path between us and "more liberty". I'm not even sure that anything as kind as "naive" is the correct word for your position.

    The fact is that most of the rest of the world is much more statist than we are. The fact is that the more, and the faster people from a given culture get to immigrate, the more likely they are to retain their culture instead of assimilating into the host country's culture. (See the "dish cities" of Europe for a prime example.) The more they retain their culture, the more like that culture (read: statist) the U.S. becomes. The more people like that that are constantly being let in, the more work libertarians have to do just to stay in place and the fewer the resources we have to make any actual progress.

    (continued)

  • Heresiarch||

    Your arguments to the contrary make large numbers of assumptions about underlying social and economic patterns which are founded on limited immigration, and which with unlimited immigration will become valueless as support for your position. (That sort of unthinking assumption that points of conventional wisdom of the past are quite reliable and can be counted on to continue into the future indefinitely is the kind of thing that both major parties were guilty of in the election just past-- which is why the result was so incredibly shocking to them.)

    Simply put, your arguments are ridiculous.

  • dchang0||

    I'm beginning to think the Open Borders position is not really a libertarian position but an anarchist position.
    Here is my reasoning:

    The anarchist believes that sovereignty rests in each person. The libertarian believes that sovereignty rests in a gov't kept as small as possible. If we are to have a gov't, that means that we MUST define who is subject to this gov't's governance and who is not (who are citizens?; who are within our geographic borders?). If we are not willing to actually decide or discern who is subject to the gov't's governance, we are essentially behaving as anarchists.

  • dchang0||

    Not that being an anarchist is a bad thing. I have great respect for many true anarchists whose philosophy and political positions are well thought out.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I'm beginning to think the Open Borders position is not really a libertarian position but an anarchist position.

    The anarchist impulse is usually the holy commandment of clericolibertarianism, "thou shalt not initiate force". And a pretty good impulse it is.

    But the consistent application of it, to the exclusion of all other impulses, does not make for a functioning society.

    On the one hand, it's a pacifism that would allow invading armies to "immigrate", *until* they fire a shot. And then, of course, you could only respond to the person firing the shot. Because you mustn't judge people by collectives, right?

    While on the other hand, notice that it tends toward absolutist use of force to protect property rights. Curious, is it not?

    The Lockean Proviso no longer holds. The basic argument in for private property contains a proviso "...at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others". Yet Reason never discusses this.

    If they were so concerned about "initiation of force", shouldn't this be a fundamental topic of discussion here?

    But it's not, because that discussion is messy and unsatisfying for them, and puts Reason writers on the defense for their all consuming messy, force initiation *alternative* to State messy, force initiation.

    A State makes for a functioning society. So does property rights. Both are messy from an initiation of force perspective, but it's not reality's job to correspond to our moral intuitions.

  • Outside the Box||

    "I'm beginning to think the Open Borders position is not really a libertarian position but an anarchist position."

    Since when are those mutually exclusive? I'm a libertarian anarchist. I am against the violence of States; in the absence of States, my personal preference would be a legal system based on strong private property rights, but I'm aware that that is a subjective preference - all preferences are, including your preference for a preferred rule-set - and I would advocate through the many peaceful means achievable to me for broader adoption of property-based legal rules.

    But honestly, as soon as you say "Open Borders", you've already *assumed* States, right? There are no "borders" in an anarchic society so of course an anarchist cannot, by definition, be *anything* when it comes to a position on "borders", either open or closed or polka-dotted. They don't exist.

  • dchang0||

    I object to this claim: "Enforcing immigration restrictions inherently involves such interference not just for the would-be immigrant, but for the citizen who wants to buy, sell, trade, or have any kind of human relationship with that immigrant."

    Logically, it should be split into two arguments.

    1) Libertarianism shouldn't restrict a citizen's right to buy, sell, trade, or have any human relationship with any other person.

    2) The immigrant should be allowed to cross our national border freely in order for 1) to occur.

    We can show these are two separate arguments by considering this possible situation:

    A US citizen in Chicago hires a Mexican national and IT worker to fix his computer operating system remotely from Mexico City.

    A libertarian is certainly going to oppose any attempts by the gov't to restrict this voluntary transaction.

    But once the Mexican national tries to the cross the border to work on the US citizen's computer in person, then some libertarians will object.

    The act of crossing the border freely is a discrete problem, separate from the reason to cross the border. So Doherty is trying to have one objectionable (to some libertarians) argument ride on the coattails of another unobjectionable (to all libertarians) argument.

  • dchang0||

    Extending the example further:

    If the work MUST be done in person, the US citizen can: a) travel to Mexico City with the computer, b) ship the computer to Mexico City.

    Arguments in favor of freely allowing the Mexican national to come to Chicago to fix the computer essentially boil down to CONVENIENCE for the US citizen.

    Then, we must weigh the convenience of the US citizen against the conveniences of other US citizens. If the Mexican national freely crosses the border and moves to Chicago and and brings his family (illegally) over (like Calif. State Sen. Kevin de Leon did), and those family members go on welfare b/c they don't have IT skills, that inconveniences a lot of US citizens for the benefit of the one US citizen whose computer is getting fixed by the Mexican national. In other words, there is an externality to the US citizen's business transaction with the Mexican national.

  • Outside the Box||

    You are picking an exchange that *could* be done remotely and generalizing based on that. Unfortunately, that isn't true, e.g. selling someone your home.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I noticed that one too. Trade doesn't always require physical presence in the US.

    But sometimes it does. Trimming your trees from Mexico isn't quite practical.

    But physical presence for trade isn't the only issue, because presence for trade implies presence for other things. Like crime. Or voting, which is often simply organized crime. And *more often* in other countries. Which is why immigration of statist voters is initiation of force.

  • Outside the Box||

    "Which is why immigration of statist voters is initiation of force." That is some twisted, circular reasoning my friend.

  • Outside the Box||

    What if you want to sell the "Mexican" (why in a libertarian setting are we using Statist's trappings like "nationality"??) your house?

  • Raker||

    Open borders will not be sustainable in the USA welfare state.

  • Presskh||

    Exactly. The current welfare state that is available for illegals completely nullifies any utopian libertarian argument in favor of open borders. In the 1800's and early 1900's, this was not the case.

  • Outside the Box||

    The whole question is moot in a properly libertarian and thus stateless society. Get rid of the State, which gets rid of both a "welfare state" and "borders" and solves the problem. In that sense, in any way granting the State more power fights against both of those.

  • dchang0||

    Here's a totally different approach to the problem of open borders.

    An anarchist believes he is his own state and thus, his borders are at minimum, at the surface of his body (unwanted penetration of foreign objects through this border such as a stabbing = act of war) but at maximum as far as he can enforce them (edge of his lawn, maximum range of his rifle, etc.)

    A libertarian, agreeing to have a gov't with other persons, has borders much further out than the anarchist.

    But an anarchist would never practice an open border policy on his minimal borders (at the surface of his body, which would be the smallest possible state to have, smaller than Sealand). Even if he is a masochist and likes to be freely anally raped by total strangers, he cannot always like to be raped. At some point he is going to feel chafing and want the raping to stop, if temporarily. Thus, he will enact border controls and tell the strangers to go away.

    Why then, does the libertarian, with far wider borders than the anarchist, not believe in border controls?

  • Outside the Box||

    "An anarchist believes he is his own state " This is incorrect, and the rest of your argument, while common, falls down because of this. Unfortunately, many "libertarians" misunderstand the difference between "ownership of property" and a "State", and it causes this kind of faulty reasoning. "Ownership of property" is at its heart an agreement with others who might have interest in the scarce/contested "property" that the owner gets to decide the use/disposition of that item. It does *not* include "and I get to do whatever I want to whomever might happen to touch or interact with that property." You don't get to make "laws" about your shoes, for example, just because they are your shoes. If someone does happen to damage your shoes, of course you can take them to court for property damages, but that is most certainly not the same as saying "I get to make up and enforce whatever rules I want with regards to my shoes." Same goes for your land: if someone violates your property rights, say by trespassing, you can take them to court for damages. You cannot however just say "well I put up a sign that says trespassers will be shot, so I'm going to shoot you and no one else in this libertarian society will bat an eyelash." Yes, yes we will, you murdering bastard.

    OWNERSHIP IS NOT A DICTATORSHIP, it is an agreement and a limited one at that.

  • Outside the Box||

    and honestly, the sentence "an anarchist believes he is his own state" is just patently absurd (or at least should be). An anarchist is *against* all states, the last thing they'd then do is say "I am what I hate."

  • ejhickey||

    I am all for open borders but only if laws are passed stating clearly that non citizens are not entitled to any welfare or health care benefits at public expense, not even Social Security or medicare. Fine with me if they pay into the system but they don't have the right to get anything back.

  • Outside the Box||

    I don't think "libertarian" means what I thought it meant. "I'm all for open borders": that's a Statist way of framing the issue. The issue isn't whether you are "for open borders", the issue is "will you kidnap and physically transport someone against their will - clearly an act of physical violence, as all kidnapping is - who has not initiated violence themselves?" If your answer is "yes" under any circumstances, then you're not the person I want to associate with.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Some argue libertarians must oppose more immigration, because immigrants will vote for more big government and make the country less libertarian. That's either a bad argument or one for total tyranny in the name of liberty.

    I'm a libertarian who lives in a statist society; my position on immigration isn't informed by libertarianism, it is informed by self-preservation.

    You, however, aren't a libertarian, you're simply a fool.

  • Outside the Box||

    "my position on immigration isn't informed by libertarianism"

    Then I'm not interested in allying with you.

  • Presskh||

    We need to adopt the same immigration policies that most other non-suicidal countries have, e.g., if you have a specifically-needed skill, can show that you are able to financially support yourself, and have no felony criminal record, you will be considered for possible immigration.

  • Outside the Box||

    Totally with Brian here. Wanting to use force on people is always unlibertarian, and the actions taken to enforce "immigration restrictions" are forceful actions. Just an absurd, absurd and self-defeating posture to take.

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