Liberty, Libertarianism

Libertarians Can’t Believe in Closed Borders

Patrick Lynch wrote an interesting and provocative piece the other day arguing that immigration restrictions are consistent with libertarianism. An earlier post of mine explains why I disagree but I wanted to take the chance to say more on the issue. Lynch says:

Support for open borders implies the elimination of national boundaries for the purposes of political organization and is much more consistent with anarchism than with classical liberalism— both of which are now commonly referred to as libertarian. It’s a position that rejects the entire experiment in constitutional governance and different political systems that has been a foundational belief in liberalism for hundreds of years.

I’m not sure why support for open borders implies support for the elimination of meaningful national boundaries. Think of it this way: there’s an open border between Virginia and West Virginia but that doesn’t mean that we’ve eliminated state boundaries for the purposes for political organization. It just means that the state of Virginia can’t forcible exclude West Virginians from entering.

Next, in responding to Michael Huemer’s argument on behalf of open borders, Lynch writes that what Huemer “and others are doing is confusing a core value that all classical liberals, libertarians, and anarchists value—the right to exit—with a much more controversial claim, the right of entrance.” Lynch provides an analogy to marriage.

You have a friend who is in a horrible, abusive marriage. This person decides to exit the marriage because the safety of themselves or perhaps their children is at risk.  You can support the idea that an abused spouse can end a bad marriage, but this does not obligate you to provide financial support to or marry this person. Exit from a situation does not require that someone else allow entrance.

However, one of Huemer’s key points is that states that restrict immigration do not simply withhold benefits from would-be immigrants—they actively and coercively interfere with them. Closed borders forcibly exclude immigrants from working for employers who want to hire them and buying housing from willing sellers. To run with the marriage analogy, it’s as though A and B want to marry, but C steps in and forcibly prevents them from doing so.

Lastly, Lynch writes,

In fact borders may be consistent with a core libertarian principle, exclusion by groups. [Bryan] Caplan would reject this argument, claiming that problems with political decision-making make the analogy baseless.  However, instead of “groups” let’s substitute the words “homeowners’ association.” Unlike a club or group (Huemer uses the example of a philosophy discussion club), a homeowners’ association is very similar to a government with a geographically defined boundary. It sets up rules under which people gain and maintain membership. It and controls the living space of individuals. And it can discriminate based on age or any number of factors.

Here’s the problem: if the state really is like a homeowners’ association, then not only can it forcibly restrict a person’s liberty to enter, it can forcibly restrict all sorts of liberties. For instance, my HOA routinely threatens to fine me for having an unkempt lawn. But I don’t think that the U.S. government can restrict my right to grow an unkempt lawn. The point is, private organizations to which people expressly consent can be justified in restricting liberties in ways that the state is not—and this goes for the liberty to enter, too.

  • sym

    These explanations just doesn’t work.

    Think of it this way: there’s an open border between Virginia and West Virginia but that doesn’t mean that we’ve eliminated state boundaries for the purposes for political organization. It just means that the state of Virginia can’t forcible exclude West Virginians from entering.

    Yes but it’s one thing to have open borders between people who are virtually indistinguishable (economically, culturally etc), and open borders in general.

    West Virginians have no reason to mass migrate to Virginia, and if they did, Virginia wouldn’t change significantly. Contrast Pakistan and Switzerland.

    Closed borders forcibly exclude immigrants from working for employers who want to hire them and buying housing from willing sellers.

    That’s all very nice, but you’re conflating “open borders” with “open borders for those with offers of employment or those who have the means to buy a house”. What about the others? We could get 50 million Bangladeshi into Switzerland without any prospect of employment or house purchase whatsoever. Or that’s no “open borders” in your definition?

    But I don’t think that the U.S. government can restrict my right to grow an unkempt lawn.

    That’s because it’s not the appropriate governance level for this problem. As you explain, your HOA may force a particular lawn policy on you. In Switzerland, the Gemainde can do the same. However the federal government (in both the US and Switzerland) is the appropriate level for immigration legislation.

    The whole “open borders” thing is a bonkers idea. Caplan keeps peddling the same crap, over and over again. If it were good, than any outcome would be good. Yes, one person might make no difference. But I don’t think that 50 million Pakistanis migrating to Switzerland will produce a culturally enriched Switzerland, but a hell-hole, complete with utter destitution, blasphemy laws, lynching, terrorism etc.

    People aren’t just economic widgets. Much more importantly, they are carriers and producers of culture. In large numbers, and where said cultures are incompatible, this creates huge problems. Probably nobody (perhaps excluding Caplan) wants his or her own culture wiped out from around them.

    And speaking of the economic side, there was a recent study in the UK showing the lack of economic integration of Muslims. Half the Muslim men and 75% of Muslim women there don’t work, and instead, live off welfare.

    There’s a reason why an unqualified “open border” policy is widely considered to be a lunatic, fringe policy, by virtually everybody. It lacks basic common sense. It amazes me that a few otherwise intelligent people keep pushing it.

    • Sean II

      Let me add: advocacy of open borders hinges on two very willful-looking forms of innumeracy:

      1) Refusing to understand that dose makes the poison when it comes to culture – i.e. refusing to grasp the fairly obvious reasons why having, say, 1% of X population may be enriching for a city, because it means delicious food and interesting music, while having 10% of that very same population may be disastrous, because it means dramatically increasing rape rates and a simmering backlash against liberalism.

      2) Making the same mistake – refusing to admit of gradation – when it comes to their famous GDP projections. Open border advocates love to say their policy would “double world GDP”, but you can’t catch them dead or alive making any intermediate prediction. They never say “10% more migrants will get you this much alpha atop your normal GDP”. They certainly don’t say “based on the migration we’re seeing in [actual place, actual time] we’d expect to see [near-term testable growth prediction]”. Indeed, shouldn’t we be talking about a miraculous spike in European output right now? Why do the GDP benefits of open borders only kick in when the aperture is at 100%?

      But as you say…responses like these are obvious enough to make one wonder what’s really going on here. And it sure seems to be something less than honest intellectual inquiry. A scholar would be much troubled by questions like those you raise, an advocate not at all.

      The tragi-comic thing is a lot of these guys live and work within an hour’s drive of a great cautionary tale about demographic insolubility known as Baltimore, Maryland. A dude like Caplan or Huemer would last about five minutes at night there. The smarter they talked, the quicker violence would come to visit them. Nor would they fare much better in Clichy-sous-Bois.

      So the problem is not just figuring out why smart people believe this particular stupid thing. It’s also figuring out why smart people believe something so much at odds with their own interests.

      • sym

        I’m having a lot of trouble understanding how they can believe this crap.

        It’s like looking at a junior programmer who wrote a function add(x, y) that works when y is small, clearly doesn’t when y becomes a sizable fraction of x, crashes the computer when y >> x, but still, he will brazenly tell you that it’s fine, “it’s good in principle”, and anyway, in most situations b is quite small. I’d think that either he doesn’t know anything, or that he’s crazy.

        The worse thing is that their obviously obtuse, stupid point of view obfuscates the larger problem at hand: perhaps a more liberal, and certainly more thoughtful immigration policy might be good. Perhaps letting in more people is good policy – of course, heavily dependent on which ones, their willingness and capacity to integrate and contribute, and the feasibility of them being assimilated in the existing population.

        But start talking about “open borders” as a moral issue to let every third world country dump its population on your doorstep (and they are very populous), and suddenly it’s all noise. That’s their big accomplishment.

        Perhaps the secret agenda is to push for something so out there, to discredit the very notion.

        • Sean II

          “I’m having a lot of trouble understanding how they can believe this crap.”

          Me too. At first I thought it was just a case of “libertarian macho” gone awry, or what Caplan would call “social undesirability bias” – i.e. the relishing of an opinion precisely because it strikes most as absurd. For it’s true that many libertarians enjoy shocking people for its own sake. You know the game: “Surely, sir, you don’t mean to say that plutonium should be available OTC?” “Surely, I do!”

          That really doesn’t capture it, though. So next I thought maybe it’s all just a self-imposed reductio ad absurdum from within the blank slate camp. Which makes sense because if you assume culture is 100% of what makes, say, Arabs allergic to democracy, then why not break the cycle by simply pushing for a shuffle of the world’s demographic deck?

          But that won’t wash either. Caplan, for example, wrote an entire book premised on the idea that nature is more determinative of human behavior than nurture. So he can’t possibly be smoking that particular kind of stupid.

          Which throws me back to wondering W…T….F?

          • Libertymike

            The answer my dear Sean is right in front of you. You have often adverted to it.
            You know that most of the BHL, CATO, and Reason cognoscenti are terrified at the prospect of a certain appellation being directed at them.

          • Sean II

            A real thing, to be sure, yet not a real explanation. Everyone knows defensive measures against the label are pretty much useless. Hell, even famous leftists aren’t safe from being called that, so CATO must know how quickly its feeble membrane will be pierced if ever the need arises.

            One suspect that should never be far behind when our kind is concerned: “crazy rationalism”. Again, Caplan himself provides the label for a behavior of which he is almost surely guilty: starting out with a good principle and then deriving lunatic consequences, without blink or blush.

            It’s true that the act of stopping a refugee, by force, from crossing a border, to improve his life, is morally hideous. They’re right about that. They really are. A fine starting point.

            Now…what happens next is madness. What happens next is…they look you dead in the eye and say ridiculous things like: “You can let an unlimited number of people move from Kinshasa to Kalamazoo, and there is no risk that Kalamazoo will end up functioning like Kinshasa.”

            That’s absurd. That’s obviously absurd. But like many absurd things, it started from a morally sound premise.

          • oldoddjobs

            They are Star Trek people. Caplan is the king of the Trekkers. He has no nation, no identity other than a long list of -isms he settled on one day, no heritage, no duty, no ancestry, no civilization, no kinship, no memory, nothing. He lives on his Star Trek spaceship bubble, and all of those things I mentioned are indulged, if at all, on the holodeck. Ha! Remember when primitive people had an identity? How quaint!

            Then he sets off into the pure void and now and then encounters a planet. Oh, look! It’s the Gengorians of Gengor 5, ha ha look at them with their physical place and ties of blood. Ha ha. Let us go down and observe them and preach our post-human nihilism at them. We musn’t interfere! But somehow we always do!

            Then the Caplan bubble ship leaves Gengor 5, back into the enlightened Nothing, searching for more people to destroy in the name of…… in the name of…. space communism? free market nihilism?…in the name of?…

            Gee, I don’t know. Mommy, why did we replace the native French and British population with Arabs? Don’t they already have loads of countries of their own? Why did we abolish ourselves?

            No reason. Something something GDP, maybe. Wow, thanks Trekkers!

          • Libertymike

            This morning, after a long weekend, I come to work and I read James Howard Kunstler’s (The Long Emergency, The Geography of Nowhere) weekly article on his Clusterfuck Nation webpage, and found proof that a leftist (in most respects) is not, in your words, “safe from being called that.”

            Sorry, I can’t seem to link to the article, but if you google Kunstler, you will see the article.

      • JoshInca

        So the problem is not just figuring out why smart people believe this particular stupid thing. It’s also figuring out why smart people believe something so much at odds with their own interests.

        It’s a quasi-religious belief for many, emotional not rational and as such is immune to trifling things like logic and evidence. Through some quirk of human psychology, deeply held religious convictions often run counter to the material well being of those holding them. Advocating the destruction of your society via mass immigration is similar to self flagellation and vows of poverty.

        • Sean II

          Good point. There’s something to the idea that “Open Borders!” is becoming for libertarians what “Climate Action Now!” is for left-wing statists:

          The latter signal virtue by pretending a willingness to give up the comforts of 1st World life.

          The former signal virtue by pretending indifference to the demographic and culture make-up of their society.

          Like many a Tartuffe, both groups flaunt their hypocrisy.

          Greenos spew CO2 in quantities that would embarrass Johnny Cash.

          Caplan openly brags about living in a demographic and cultural bubble, safely removed from the wretches of the earth. Brennan calls himself a snob, and means it as a compliment. Yet both insist it’s wrong for others to want the benefits of bubble-dwelling, on a group level (i.e. the only level possible to them, since private bubbles are a rich man’s thing). The contradiction is glaring.

          • King Goat

            It’s interesting that you note similarities between the pro-immigration and global warming groups, because the line of argument that you and many anti-immigration groups make reminds me of another group: academic feminists. Your argument is 1. while most people in ethnic group X are not rapists, there are more rapists in ethnic group X than in other groups 2. allowing that ethnic group in would therefore raise the number of rapes in society and that would lead to a culture of fear which would undermine the foundations of the open society that lets them in, so 3. we shouldn’t let the group in.

            That’s very close to what an academic feminist might argue: 1. while most men are not rapists (heck, they’d even argue most men are!), there are more rapists in the male group than there are in the female group 2. allowing men into the college would therefore raise the number of rapes on campus and that would lead to a culture of fear that would undermine the foundations of the open campus that lets them in, so 3. we shouldn’t let men into colleges.

            In fact, you’d have to say the academic feminists are a bit more liberal (in the classical sense) minded than your argument: most that I’m aware of aren’t for total exclusion of men, just different treatment of them after they are let in (based though, on the similar idea that they are disproportionate threats).

          • Sean II

            King, I’m not for the “total exclusion” of anyone. That’s just some shit you conjured up from a pile of straw.

            The reason why you don’t know my actual immigration policy preference is: you’ve never asked.

            For the record, I favor a greatly enhanced H1B program, raising the inflow (for starters) to 1,000,000 a year instead of whatever paltry 150,000 we let it now.

            In re: our Southern Border, I would be thrilled beyond belief if we simply removed the welfare state incentives that tend to attract non-worker migrants.

            If I may suggest: you’d probably dislike the candor of my reasons much more than the content of my proposals.

          • King Goat

            “I’m not for the “total exclusion” of anyone”

            I could have sworn your analogy of the old landlady refused an entire group based on the fact that there was a .02 risk one might turn out badly. And when our discussion moved seamlessly from that to discussion of Muslims presenting the same situation you were getting at…what, exactly?

            But you know what, why even do that dance when we don’t have to? You’re pretty clearly, in this discussion and our other one from a few weeks ago, talking about the idea of *some* differential treatment, if short of total exclusion, based on what group people are in, on the idea that while a minority of group X do bad things, that the group is more likely than others to have members doing the bad things. So I can easily just tweak my analogy (I already noted that even the most rabid feminist I can think of hasn’t called for total male exclusion from colleges): since men are much more likely to engage in violent acts than are women then, even though only a minority of men do such things, I guess you’d be all for treating men differently in admissions (as you might put it, let’s talk about screening measures applied disproportionately to them!).

    • Jerome Bigge

      The reality of the issue is that no country on Earth allows “open borders” in that there are no restrictions upon entry. As a matter of fact, human groups have always been “territorial” in that they view a certain territory as “theirs”. We also share this trait with some other species including the primates. The reasons for this are likely evolutionary in origin. Groups that did not “protect” their territory didn’t survive as “groups”. There is a considerable difference between state borders and national borders. Most countries do have smaller “states” within themselves and as a general rule, people are free to move to and from these internal states as they wish. The EU does allow people from one country to move to another without a great deal of restriction, but this is not unlimited and you do have to meet some qualifications when doing so.

    • Craig J. Bolton

      The problem with all these restricted border positions is that they are ahistorical. IN FACT borders were open in Western Europe until the Napoleonic Wars and of the United States until the late 1800s. You could enter or exit from a country as you wished.

      Perhaps open immigration is a threat to a welfare state, although there is again a lack of actual examples. But if so, are libertarians trying to defend the continued existence of welfare states?

      • Sean II

        Craig, try and grasp these two analogies:

        1) Guy goes to see the doctor and announces his intention to consume an entire canister of sea salt over the next 5 days. The doctor says “Don’t do that. You’ll get hypernatremia. If you get enough of it, the result will be edema, seizure, coma, maybe even death.”

        The guys retorts: “Shut up, Doc. Stop being such an alarmist. I’ve been eating salt for years. Once, when I was a younger I drank an entire bottle of soy sauce on a dare. Nothing happened. Why should I worry now?”

        If you can see what’s wrong with the guy’s argument, then you should be able to see what’s wrong with yours. If can’t see what’s wrong with either, then go eat a canister of sea salt.

        2) Next patient comes in, and announces his intention to consume an entire bag of de-icer over the next 5 days. The doctor says “Don’t do that. The salt alone is hazardous in that quantity, but the mixture may also contain potassium chloride, calcium chloride, etc. The LD 50 on those is much lower. Similar as they are to salt, your body is far more sensitive to them. Plus, we don’t have good data showing how these particular compounds will interact. If you insist on doing this, please go slowly, carefully limit the quantity, and leave yourself an out.”

        The guy retorts: “Shut up, Doc. We’ve heard this all before. I know a guy who drank a whole bottle of soy sauce once. As you can see, he’s fine. How different can this be?”

        Again, if you can see what’s wrong with the guy’s argument, you can see what’s wrong with yours. And if you can’t, well…let me just say that Snow Joe is a very good brand.

        And finally, if you pull through after these experiments, try to get your facts straight. Irish people DO have higher rates of alcoholism. I should know. Germans DO have a tendency to conformism, especially when compared to their Western neighbors. Some stereotypes are bullshit. Others are true. The truth or falsehood of any given stereotype is an empirical matter.

  • Bob

    The problem is focussing on averages.
    http://www.3spoken.co.uk/2014/06/how-immigration-affects-uk-economy.html?m=1
    “For immigration to have a positive effect it needs to be of high value. That helps to ensure that the multiplier is large, and that the new jobs created by the cascade have a chance of being of a low enough level to soak up the remaining people on the unemployment queue.

    However if you allow an unskilled migrant to come in, then the chances of creating a job that will match somebody else decrease significantly. The multiplier doesn’t have as strong an effect. More likely you will just recreate nearly the same job you just filled.

    And that is what we see. Over time the number of people goes up, the number of hours demanded goes up, but the rate of under engagement stays about the same. If the total goes up and the rate stays roughly the same then the number of people unemployed, underemployed and inactive continues to go up – each one of those cases being a personal disaster for the individual involved.

    So allowing unskilled migrants into the country is great for the business involved and great for GDP, but it offloads costs onto the existing unemployed (who don’t get trained) and society at large (which struggles to maintain an infrastructure that can cope, and suffers lower productivity and wage growth ). Again business gets to socialise their costs to increase private profit, and we see the impact in terms of lower productivity and lower business investment across the economy and a degree of social unrest.

    A rational immigration policy is one that concentrates on high value individuals and one that makes those visas very expensive for the businesses involved. That way business is more likely to choose to improve the capital stock of the nation rather than going straight for the ‘nick somebody else from abroad’ option.

    Yes we need the release valve of immigration to get around persistent shortages on the supply side in high value services, but business should never profit if they use that option. The value should really accrue to the state to offset the additional social costs of maintaining a higher population.”

  • stevenjohnson2

    The irony in the title is delightful!

    “…private organizations to which people expressly consent can be justified in restricting liberties in ways that the state is not—and this goes for the liberty to enter, too.”

    It is not clear how “express consent” of members gives private organizations powers in the public sphere. Surreptitiously redefining it as private is a way of begging the question. Further, it is not at all clear why express consent in democratic states can’t justify “restricting liberties.”

    I don’t understand why libertarians don’t simply say they accept open borders because they would abolish all social welfare programs, therefore no immigrants will be draining the treasury, if there was one left? It’s true that privatizing education almost certainly means the failure to assimilate immigrants, which in the long run would lead to cultural replacement, but the freedom for cultures to die is a good thing because freedom is everything, right?

    • Joshua Holmes

      You can voluntarily surrender rights as part of a contract. In fact, that’s what a contract is, a negotiated surrender of liberty or property for some benefit. When you purchase property under an HOA, you enter a contract to abide by the HOA’s rules and rule-making procedures, surrendering your liberty to receive the benefit of the HOA. Whereas with states, there is no negotiated surrender of liberty or property to receive the state’s benefit, so the state has much less legitimacy in its rules and rule-making process.

      However, I think HOAs are a problem for libertarianism. Purchasing property under an HOA is very similar to immigrating to a state. A sufficiently-large HOA is indistinguishable from a small state, e.g., Monaco. HOAs can overstep their rule-making authority, compelling you to surrender liberties outside the bargain. And so on.

      • stevenjohnson2

        Insisting that a state must negotiate specified concessions and services in a contract assumes that only specifed concessions and services in a contract are valid. (I’m not sure who would be negotiating such an agreement anyhow.) National defense against invasion surely is a benefit but who could specify the costs and concessions? Social life is not reducible to a set of contract terms.

        It’s true that HOA administrations are as susceptible to corruption of their professed aims as public ones, but I’m not sure that constitutes a refutation in principle. I can’t imagine any abstract set of principles guaranteed to succeed in the face of human variability, cognitive limits to reason and the inevitable unlikely series of adverse random events. Every generation has to guard its freedoms.

        However surely one of the purposes of HOAs is to manipulate the market. It’s pretty commonly agreed that formally or informally agreeing not to sell to undesirable minorities (racial, religious or social stratum,) is dubious.

        • Joshua Holmes

          I disagree with your first sentence, because parties can not only trade specific services but also promise to do things “in good faith” and set-up rule-making procedures. Your confusion in the rest of the first paragraph is the basis for the libertarian anarchist argument that the state is illegitimate: there is no meaningful way to accept or reject the state’s services and rule-making procedures, hence there is no contract, hence the state’s power violates liberty and is illegitimate.

          I agree that HOAs shouldn’t be disregarded in principle, but there are some boundary questions about how much private power can be concentrated before you have a de facto state.

          • stevenjohnson2

            Agreeing to do things in good faith and setting up rule-making procedures seems to me to characterize democratic politics much better than business. Unincorporated associations tend to operate like that but when they end up in court the members can have some unpleasant surprises as to outcomes. Businesses as a rule do not operate like that, nor do most individuals do this with their own goods and property except for families. But families are not libertarian institutions.

            As for libertarian anarchists, I don’t think there’s any meaningful way to negotiate all aspects of social life. The inability to treat the state as a contract doesn’t mean that the state is therefore illegitimate, it means that the contract analysis is inadequate and misleading and more or less wrong.

          • Joshua Holmes

            Businesses negotiate all the time to do something “in good faith”. For example, two businesses are developing a drug together and are sharing resources. In addition to all the specific requirements, there will likely be some clause about “cooperating in good faith”. And that’s just one of several common but vague contract clauses; “commercially reasonable” is another. So no, contracts aren’t limited to specific things.

            There’s quite a bit of voluntary, contractual rule-making procedure. Any time you see the word “by-laws”, that’s what you’re looking at, more or less. Democratic politics is just one area of life with rule-making procedures.

        • Jerome Bigge

          Idea behind HOA’s is “preservation of property values”. Force the property “owner” to do things that others consider to be of value in preserving the “value” of the property in question…

          • stevenjohnson2

            Yes…and some of them may be in concert against unorganized members of the public, or otherwise constitute manipulation of the market. But I guess that’s actually another way of saying an HOA may begin to qualify as a state of sorts itself.

      • Jerome Bigge

        And governments, local, state, national, do the same thing. The politically powerful pass laws that have nothing to do with harming or endangering others. Watching the debates leaves no doubt that every one of these people wants to have laws passed to either prevent people from doing what they want or forcing others to do business with people that they don’t want to do business with. Or something that will prevent you from doing something that might make you a “burden upon society” and so forth. Then both houses of Congress is filled with people with the same ideas. Along with President Obama who shares much of this same ideology.

      • JoshInca

        When you purchase property under an HOA, you enter a contract to abide by the HOA’s rules and rule-making procedures, surrendering your liberty to receive the benefit of the HOA. Whereas with states, there is no negotiated surrender of liberty or property to receive the state’s benefit, so the state has much less legitimacy in its rules and rule-making process.

        So in this construct, would the children born to property owners, after the property was purchased, be bound by the terms of the HOA? If so, why – those particular individuals were not themselves a party to the contract.

        Extending it out further, how about their child (grand children of the original contracting party ) or their grand children (great grandchildren of the original contracting party)?

        • Joshua Holmes

          Excellent comment. HOAs are a problem for libertarian anarchism, because a sufficiently powerful and intrusive HOA is hard to distinguish from a state and presents the same exit/voice concerns. I don’t have a good answer for you; I don’t know where to draw the line between Strong But Libertarian Private Power and State.

  • Joshua Holmes

    WV & VA are states under a common national government, one that provides a lot of public goods and monitors (albeit often ineffectually) the rights and liberties protected by the state governments. Your example doesn’t quite work.

    Regarding the marriage analogy, states aren’t people and don’t have the same rights and responsibilities. Lynch’s argument here is really poor.

  • King Goat

    I see the usual pants wetting by the anti-open borders crowds of CULTURE!!! and, of course MUSLIMS!!! The idea that Baltimore is such a terrifying place is also hilarious (I mean, really, I go to Baltimore all the time, even [gasp] at night!). I think we can safely assume what’s really at the heart of such fears.

    We have some experience with open borders in this nation at it’s beginning, and it worked out not just fine, but quite well. ‘Our culture’ didn’t collapse, it flourished.

    There’s also the added benefit of not violating people’s fundamental rights to freely move and associate.

  • Christopher Ritchie

    I would agree that finding some-one who claims general libertarian principals together with Closed borders is a tad suspect. Obviously many libertarianis do support closed borders and immigration restriction, and I think that more indicative of the truth of libertarianism as a political movement rather than core statements of philosophy.

    One can imagine a world formed of supposed libertarian states who all recognize the right to exit(you can leave at any time) but deny any right of entry, thus making the prior meaningless.

    More-over, it’s odd to here people who generally reject the notion of considering people in aggregate groups(Individualism is one of libertarianism central calls is it not?) than do so in this particular instance. What basis does a libertarian have to deny immigration to an individual just because some demography to which he belongs is statistically likely to be X, Y, or Z. Libertarians reject restricting liberty in other instances with other such arguments, usually in the most vocal terms.

    I would suggest Nationalism, and various other social and political forces produce those beliefs, leading from and to one of my principal critiques of libertarianism; that there are other political goods than liberty.

    As an aside; there is interesting work at play when you observe how rapidly the ‘culture’ argument pops up. Libertarians making classic nativist arguments from the 19th century. I might suggest there are contrasting beliefs in whether you think some variant of liberalism is such a powerful force it over-comes others, and/or how you view culture. The more essentialized and deterministic your thinking, the more likely you are to think that closed borders are necessary to preserve some cultural abstraction, since you’ll see culture as a distinctive unit.

    • Sean II

      “More-over, it’s odd to here people who generally reject the notion of considering people in aggregate groups (Individualism is one of libertarianism central calls is it not?) than do so in this particular instance.”

      What an odd thing to say. There is nothing about libertarianism that prohibits statistical discrimination. Good thing too, since prohibiting such a common and common-sense practice would be both shockingly intrusive and stupid.

      Libertarians believe in car insurance, for example, even though everyone knows car insurance companies charge young people higher rates, as a group, without – shock, shock – even bothering get to know them as individuals. Libertarians who aren’t full of shit don’t even mind when an old landlady decides not to rent her spare room to a young male, because she understands the vast majority of violent crime is the work of young men.

      Why? Because libertarians are supposed to know econ’, and econ’ teaches us that individual judgement is costly…hence not always feasible.

      • King Goat

        “Libertarians who aren’t full of shit don’t even mind when an old
        landlady decides not to rent her spare room to a young male, because she
        understands the vast majority of violent crime is the work of young
        men.”

        What a foolish old lady she would be then, since while the vast majority of violent crime is the work of young men the vast majority of young men aren’t violent criminals. While any given young man is more likely than any given young woman to be a bad tenant, any given young man is much more likely to be a good tenant than he is a bad one. That’s (one) of the problems of the approach you advocate.

        Also, a major tenet of libertarianism involves a critical distinction between private institutions and public policy. Private institutions should be free to interact with people in whatever way they want, by overgeneralizing if they desire or by, as you would see it, adhering to a foolish idealism. If they wish to, to use your example, base their bottom line on generalities like how young their insured driver is (as opposed to more specific, individualized measures as I’d advocate for if I ran an insurance agency-note how companies like Allstate are touting this as their approach recently), they can because if they’re wrong the market will likely develop other alternatives. Public institutions should, however, deal with individuals, not generalities. Imagine how your approach works out in areas like, say, rights. There was a racialist thinker not too long ago that suggested that based on research suggesting that blacks on average had shorter time horizons than whites that trials for the former should be designed to be shorter (therefore increasing deterrent effect). That’s a terrible idea because even if the premise upon which it is based is true it’s also true that there would be many ‘false positives’ that would get this heavy handed treatment. When we are dealing with the coercive power of the state we can’t have that (the old saw about letting a hundred criminals free to save the imprisonment of the one innocent man comes to mind).

        • Sean II

          “While any given young man is more likely than any given young woman to be a bad tenant, any given young man is much more likely to be a good tenant than he is a bad one.”

          That is perfectly true, and utterly trivial.

          The old lady is well within her rights to decide that a .02 risk is much too much.

          If the magnitude of a bad outcome is “old lady gets hit over the head and has premature stroke”, the event probability need not to be high in absolute terms. She can rationally look for any available reduction. The difference between a .005 and a .02 risk is quite massive given the stakes.

          • King Goat

            That’s ridiculous. That kind of thinking would make one stay at home rather than drive to vacation. After all, the risk of the latter is surely about if not higher than the one you point out.

            There’s some debate about the idea of whether a minimax approach is rational at some level, but you’re beyond that point.

          • Sean II

            Wrong again. People drive to vacations because what they gain is, TO THEM, worth the risk of a car accident along the way.

            A little old landlady gains nothing by ignoring her own interests to embrace YOUR SCRUPLES against statistical discrimination. What she risks is however very real.

            But good thing you mentioned that, because now we come to the heart of the matter: you think there’s some higher social purpose to be served by this lady taking in a 6’3″hulk with an armful of tats, or whatever. You think she should take a risk for the sake of that purpose, presumably to test the idea that life would be nicer if people could just stop being scared of scary-looking dudes.

            But that’s something you want, and the life you’re willing to risk for it is not your own. The polite thing to do in such cases is: shut up, and mind your own business.

            In fact, why don’t you become an Uber driver and start picking up the people other drivers won’t. That way, you’ll be using your own safety to test your own theories, instead of telling someone else to test them for you.

          • King Goat

            No, you’ve misunderstood. While I do indeed think there is such a good in avoiding overgeneralizing when it comes to government action (the same good behind the old saw about letting many guilty men go free to save one innocent man from false imprisonment for one, and the value of a government that treats individuals with equal treatment for another), I’m not making any such claim for the old lady. For her, I’m saying she would be in the position of the person who gives up their vacation for fear of a disastrous but unlikely result: she gives up the chance for an excellent tenant, which a young man is more likely than not to be.

            Above you try to paint this as a debate between sentiment driven policy or decision and rational driven policy or decision, but come one, your thinking here is as sentiment driven as anything else, and that sentiment is fear. Fear driven policy leads to more and more government restriction and intervention, not less, which is why libertarianism as I understand it rejects it.

          • Sean II

            Nope.

            The hope that millions of Muslims can become feminism friendly Western liberals shortly after crossing a European border, that’s a mere sentiment.

            The fact that rape rates have quadrupled in various parts of Europe, thus visited, is not sentiment. It’s just…evidence.

          • King Goat

            Except that of the millions of Muslims that have crossed over European borders recently, most of them have not been involved in what you’re talking about. That’s evidence too.

            The debate is over what’s the rational way to weigh certain evidence, whether making big decisions in life based on a fear of a .02 risk coming true is rational. There’s a reason why we don’t hold up fear prone little old ladies as paragons of rationality but as sad shut ins.

          • Sean II

            So what. The fact that most migrants aren’t rapists doesn’t change the fact that these particular migrant groups contain many more rapists (and rape-apologists) than a place like Denmark should have to contend with.

            Perhaps you think it’d be okay if Copenhagen became like Johannesburg, where people need armed convoys to go to and from the grocery store?

            I don’t think that’s okay, not least of all because what you get in the final result is A MUCH LESS LIBERAL SOCIETY.

          • King Goat

            Johannesburg and South Africa in general have a pretty particular history that has led to that sad result. It’s not a result of immigration, and neither would it be likely that immigrants from Johannesburg would turn Copanhagen into Johannesburg (the kind of people who leave a place are usually not indicative of the kind of people causing the problem in that place).

            We have examples of cities in the US with lots of immigrants. Those places might actually have slightly higher crime rates than some other US cities, but guess what? They’re not places where liberal values have broken down and people cower in their houses like frightful little old ladies. Instead they tend to be some of the most vibrant city scenes out there with dynamic economies.

          • Sean II

            Oh, what greatness could be if your energies were given to investigation instead of advocacy!

            Johannesburg is indeed a city of recent immigrants. One could hardly hope for a better example. Most of the groups who live there came from elsewhere, about as recently as New York. Brits and Dutch came from Europe, Asians from the Sub-Continent, Xhosa, Zulu, et. al. from places elsewhere in Africa. Like New York, the number of honest-to-god indigenous people in that particular spot was not high.

            None of which matters, because the point of Jo-burg is that it suggests lingering problems with demographic diversity.

            Immigration produces demographic diversity, so any defense of immigration must ultimately include a defense of it. Problematic examples like Johannesburg, Rio, outer ring Paris, Detroit, Baltimore, etc. are very much relevant to any discussion of a policy which would mean UNLIMITED demographic change.

          • King Goat

            So wait, you’re not just talking about recent immigrant groups, you’re also talking about groups that came generations ago (“Most of the groups who live there came from elsewhere, about as recently as New York.”), and ultimately just talking about diversity itself as the driver? It’s interesting you compare Johannesburg to New York, both as you say have a lot of cultural diversity but only one is the scary place you’re using as a cautionary tale, the other is a vibrant, exciting, economically dynamic place, one of my favorite places to go in the world. One would think that might suggest to you that the situation in Johannesburg has less to do with demographic make up and more to do with the pretty awful repressive government that existed there until recently (you know, the one imposed by people you’d likely say are genetically more disposed to ‘liberal’ values).

            Let’s concede for the sake of argument that the crime rates in culturally diverse cities might be somewhat higher than that in others. It’s also true that cultural diversity at the level of a city seems to be strongly related with economic dynamism. You would deny those who benefit from that based on what are in the end higher though not dramatically so crime rates? It’s interesting that above you mock climate change advocates, since your approach seems similar: there’s a chance of some negative though hardly catastrophic outcome, so we should restrict basic liberties and property rights and likely dampen economic progress to combat this. How’s that them but not you?

          • Sean II

            No need to concede for sake of argument that which is obviously true. The “worst 15” city crime rankings are: Memphis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Jackson, Birmingham, Bridgeport, Newark, Gary, Cleveland, St. Louis, Oakland, Detroit, Flint, and Camden. (Chicago, not officially ranked, is so bad it refuses to participate in UCR.) Look up the census for those cities.

            New York isn’t actually a good counter-example for you. It’s 25% Black, 28% Hispanic, 34% NH White, 13% Asian. The first number is the key predictor of crime rates. The second number, Hispanic %, is more or less neutral. The last two are negatively correlated with crime, very strongly so for Asians. What you need is a city that has +50% on the first number, and yet has low crime. Let me know if you find one.

            Also, New York seems to rely pretty heavily on police tactics I’m pretty sure we both oppose, in order to get the numbers it has. Which means: New York is a shining example of diversity, only if you refuse to notice the system of probable-cause-less searches it uses to keep nearly a quarter of the population in a state of permanent unease.

          • King Goat

            So we’re where I guessed we’d be in my first comment. It’s not really immigration, it’s not even really diversity, it’s blacks. You had me at your hyperbole about Baltimore there.

            But as to the substance of this claim, perhaps I could point out that the black population in two cities you note as especially violent, Chicago (32%) and Bridgeport (30%), are comparable to NYC’s black population, so there goes that idea of yours to hand wave away NYC’s lower crime rate as just not hitting some ‘critical mass’ or what not.

            Your second attempt to hand wave away this inconvenient example (it was one you first brought up btw) by arguing it is due to the stop and frisk tactics of their police that the lid is kept on what should be a boiling pot according to your views, is if anything even worse. For one thing, Johannesburg, of all places you could have picked, was one of the major cities to which Bratton (and even Guliani) provided consulting to about incorporating these kinds of approaches after they left NYC. Secondly, the evidence that stop and frisk in NYC had little impact on crime is strong.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/12/03/new-york-has-essentially-eliminated-stop-and-frisk-and-crime-is-still-down/

          • Sean II

            That was a feeble attempt to avoid conceding an obvious fact.

            You wanna know why I called you a troll the other day?
            It’s because of shit like this. You went out and did a bunch of furious googling, the result of which is…you find out there really is a robust correlation between demography and crime. And it’s just the one I said you’d find.

            And even though you found this, you came right back here and did something other than admit it.

          • King Goat

            Among other things, it seems you don’t know what a ‘troll’ is. Trollish behavior would be things like your handwaving when your own examples are shown to be problematic. You brought up NYC as an analog to Johannesburg, but when I pointed out that far from a place where liberal values have dissipated in the face of your predicted parade of horribles, it’s in fact a relatively safe place of exceeding economic dynamism, you handwave with a new theory about critical mass of blackness, and when I show that’s untenable because, once again, some of your cited examples have the same figures as NYC, you resort to name calling. That’s a troll dude.

            Trollish behavior would also be your refusal to meet the questions of those who disagree with you, but to instead repeat your talking points. I asked you several comments ago about the proven connection between demographic diversity and economic dynamism in urban settings, you never responded. That too is a troll.

            More than anything, trollish behavior is exemplified in this idea the troll has that they have some truth that, a la Jack Nicholson, everyone else on the board can’t handle, but they are going to bring it nonetheless. So your hanging out on a libertarian website bringing your racialist determinism (kind of trollish in itself, isn’t it?), and you think it’s rejection by people there is, of course, just their inability to handle this deep, shocking truth. Let me help you with that: get over your self. Everyone here recognizes demographic correlations with crime. Our point has always been that that doesn’t justify public policy based on demography, for a variety of reasons, such as that it violates central tenets of liberal government, the demographic correlates you note are complicated , with enough counterexamples that should give pause (with cities like NYC not obeying your predictions, with historical examples like the American experience with the Irish, the Chinese, and other groups
            predicted to be demographic disasters not working out as predicted, etc), are not as consequentional as you make out (even in the cities you note the crime rates just aren’t that awful) and are outweighed with other demographic correlates (like that between economic dynamism and diversity).

            Most people in the West have rejected your brand of racialism long ago. Far from it being some new, secret truth people can’t handle, it was the ascendant, establishment truth for a long time, the basis of policy. But it fell out of favor for good reason: the ‘truths’ it pedaled were found to be more often contrived justifications for self interested beliefs and the policies it suggested were shown to be morally horrendous. That’s why some writers here just dismiss you as racist and move on. But you know what, I’ve not done that, I’ve tried to argue your ideas on their own merits, and yet you still engage in your ‘you can’t handle the truth’ shit. Ironically, it’s like you’re determined to be a troll.

          • Sean II

            “Everyone here recognizes demographic correlations with crime.”

            A day ago you offered to concede that idea “for the sake of argument”. Where English is spoken, that means “I don’t actually believe this, but let’s pretend…”

            Are you now conceding it outright? Please be explicit. Say exactly what correlation you are willing to recognize.

      • Christopher Ritchie

        Libertarians may considered whatever they wish, but can they make decisions based on those considerations and still consider those decisions based on libertarian principals?

        Assertions towards the closed border policy usually make arguments regarding ‘culture’ in some abstract sense. Yet similar considerations in other fields are rejected by Libertarians as being antithetical to ‘liberty’. If a broad compulsory education system is necessary to inundate proper cultural values for example, Libertarians reject this as coercion. Mandatory civil service? Regardless of it’s objective ‘effects’ would also be rejected. Those are simple cases based from similar argumentation(i.e. we need to preserve a cultural basis to preserve liberty). The problem becomes that if one requires a limit on liberty in order to enhance liberty, the entire libertarian enterprise falls apart. If to have more liberty tomorrow I may be required to sacrifice some today, the same may be true tomorrow… in perpetuity. i.e. A lower level of liberty might be better for everyone.

        Or to put this in simpler terms; there is no libertarian justification for closed borders. Liberals and Conservatives and Marxists and Monarchists and all sorts can make these justifications, but Libertarians? Any reasonable person considering the rest of the philosophy might stop and think “Hmmm, that’s odd that you want to deny liberty to this group of people for your own good, but not in any other instances.” To be blunt I think the reason for this, as I first states, has to do the political realities that underpin libertarian movements(specifically in the united states). That is the how and hwo and why of those who become or join or have sympathies with Libertarian movements. That is; the reasons you give for rejecting open borders are likewise reasons to reject libertarianism in total.

        • Sean II

          (yawn). To the extent that anything meaningful can be panned from your stream of meandering prose there, you seem to be seeing: liberty in the general can NEVER be advanced by any restriction on ANY particular type of liberty.

          Not much to say about this Christopher…except that it’s all-or-nothing ideological purist bullshit.

          If you’re not already familiar with the arguments against that position – in a sense that goes way beyond open borders – well, then you aren’t worth talking to.

          • Christopher Ritchie

            Oh no. I think restrictions on freedom are perfectly reasonable for a plurality of reasons. I don’t hold liberty as the ultimate and sole political good, but just one of many. But I’m not a libertarian.

            To be clear I think Libertarianism is founded on pretty ideological shaky grounds and this is a good example of that. One side or the other here is experiencing some sort of cognitive dissonance(both may be in fact), I just think those from the libertarian camp arguing from closed borders are doing so more obviously. Are there any other broad collective uses of force they would justify against themselves in pursuit of social benefit? We can talk about a ‘common good’ and benefit to society of course, but for that we just need good old fashion liberalism or conservatism. Libertarianism hardly seems necessary or even advisable at that point.

            In simplest terms; as an ‘outsider’ looking in at an argument between two ‘sides’ of a team, it sure seems the open guys are talking alot more like you usually do.

          • Sean II

            Oh, I get it. You’ve seen other libertarians be doctrinaire idiots when it comes to non-aggression. And you think this is bad. Now you see me telling other libertarians we should’t be doctrinaire idiots when it comes to non-aggression. And you think is bad (because hypocritical?)

            But look where you are. This is BHL. This is the place for libertarians who are willing to breach the principle of non-aggression, given a reason. There are people here who favor a minimum basic income, for christ’s sake. There are people here who support forced association regimes to combat race or sex discrimination. There are people who would gladly suffer the evil of military conscription if the alternative was being trampled on by some neighboring People’s Army.

            Granted, it would be very easy to get the fight you’re picking over at mises.org. Those guys really do paint themselves into a corner, with all their blathering about the non-aggression “axiom”. Fucking with them is good clean fun, since they refuse to yield before even the most obvious thought experiments. You: “What if a 5% income tax was all it took to prevent an asteroid from destroying Earth?” Them: “No, no, still no! That would just mean the Earth isn’t worthing saving!”

            Besids, you’ve get the comparison set wrong. You shouldn’t be asking me “in what other cases are you willing to use coercion for the wider benefit of liberty?”

            You should be asking “in what other cases are you willing to suspend a generally valid moral principle in order to avert disastrous consequences?”

            My answer: as needed. I’m for switching the trolley. I’m for torturing the kidnapper. I’m for levying the 5% tax to stop the asteroid. I’m for temporarily enslaving male 18 years olds, if that’s what it takes to stop fascists and communists from enslaving everyone.

            And yes, I’m for having a border if that’s what it takes to prevent Western scientific rationalism and liberal market society from being swallowed by the existential threat of approximately 4 billion people who hate those things.

          • Christopher Ritchie

            Well that’s great… now are you a libertarian? Because that’s the question at hand. Plenty of people can make those decisions and those arguments and such. But if we are going all ‘consequences are all that matters’ than we have to identify those consequences that do matter and look for policies that enact them. I would suggest if you need to perpetually suspect your general policies in the face of the real world there is something a bit askew going on. I mean if a self-avowed Marxist-Leninist supported say, the elimination of the Capital gains tax for some reason, we might be a little suspect wouldn’t we? If he offered an argument that had no connection to class consciousness or revolution or dialectic, we’d be more than a little skeptical, we’d say ‘You don’t sound like a Marxist to me.’ The same is true here.

            Though perhaps I’m not being clear in that I think people are libertarians for alot of different reasons, but that I suspect the growth in ‘the field’ as it were is one of political labeling. I don’t think the fact the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ emerged from libertarian thinkers and a community known for it’s production of ‘libertarians’ is a mistake or an oddity, but indicative of historical political processes.

          • Sean II

            Let me translate that for the benefit of anyone else who might be following this exchange:

            Sean: [explains why specific restrictions on liberty are consistent with a general libertarian preference, gives examples of same, all available at this very web address]

            Chris: “No, please. Don’t go. I really wanna play a game of “No True Libertarian” with you. I’ve got the board all laid out, and everything. The sooner you take your turn, the sooner I can spring my carefully prepared stratagem. If I re-state my invitation with a few new words, will you please reconsider?”

            Sean: “No.”

  • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

    Huemer’s argument only “works” if you grant him his very optimistic empirical assumptions, Absent this, it is perfectly possible to oppose open borders while staying true to core libertarian principles: http://naturalrightslibertarian.com/2011/12/libertarianism-and-immigration-a-reply-to-michael-huemer/.

    • Sean II

      If I haven’t before, let me praise you now for smoking out one of the cheesiest equivocations in the history of argument.

      When open border skeptics like me worry what might happen to our culture, we mean “Culture A”: individual liberty, markets, bourgeois virtue, public safety, enforceable contracts, women driving cars, etc.

      When open border advocates answer, they tend to say things like: “Wrong, culture improves with immigration. The best parts of America are the ones with more migrants…”

      But of course this is utterly non-responsive, because they’re only taking about “Culture B”: restaurants, dance festivals…and, um, restaurants.

      “Culture A” refers to the most important aspects of our civilization.

      “Culture B” merely refers to the culture section of one’s local newspaper.

      So yeah, that’s textbook equivocation. Also, it’s bullshit. And so far I haven’t heard any open border advocate answer an argument about “Culture A” with an argument about “Culture A”.

      • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

        Right, Pakistani food may be yummy, Pakistani attitudes towards free expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association, not so much.

      • oldoddjobs

        “Open Borders” androids just prove how utterly stupid we have become. The idea that these men offer “expert” “guidance” is just…..hideously daft. Huemer, Caplan – why are these tax parasites listened to? Who are they?!

        • Sean II

          Caplan and Huemer are both brilliant men. I do my best to read everything they write. Caplan has an astonishing gift for the art of debate, and Huemer an awe-inspiring level of mental discipline.

          These guys are right about nearly everything, and they’re better than nearly anyone at explaining why.

          I can’t really say what’s made them go crazy on this one particular subject, but they have. As sure as I know anything beyond the realm of experimental science, I know they’re wrong here.

          Or…to say the truth more strictly, they’re right about everything to do with open borders except their absurd conclusion. The original chain of argument is sound. Only the result is mad.

          • Jim Kramer

            The idea that Caplan is brilliant at debate is completely untenable in light of his performance in the IQ2 open borders debate. His performance was so terrible his own team mate effectively joined the other side midway through the debate. Caplan’s value is as a semi-autistic Overton Window boundary mover. Basically uncomfortably weird cop/ normal cop routine.

          • Sean II

            I saw that debate, and Caplan was by far the best guy on his team.

            He didn’t suck because he was Caplan.

            He sucked because he was crazy stupid wrong, defending a position whose very wrongness is partially illuminated by the rest of his own intellectual work!

            The is, after all, the same Caplan who elsewhere argues that a) key cognitive and personality traits are largely inherited, b) stereotypes and statistical discrimination are generally valid, and c) it’s a mistake to let formally sound moral logic run us over a cliff just because we can’t identify the exact point at which “sounds right” becomes “insane result”.

            So you see, he is a great debater. All you need to defeat Open Borders Idiot Caplan is…a healthy dose of Regular Caplan.

  • Mortado

    Again, the problem here is with the real world (i.e not abstract philosophy) implications of an open-border policy that people on this blog seem so hesitant to address. Philosophically, is there a way of reconciling libertarianism and closed-borders nativism? Not really, though people like Hoppe have come close. But we need to realize that if we ever want libertarianism to become reality and not just intellectual masturbation, we desperately need closed borders. Do you think people from the Middle East hold libertarian values and want to create a free and open society? If so, where are the Arabic libertarians? The fact is is that only Western countries have ever cared about libertarian values and if libertarianism is to ever become political reality, it will happen with a Western population. Diluting the population of Westerners in order to cater to the supposed rights of third-worlders is not going to result in a net increase in liberty or a shrinking of the state. Besides, there are values other than abstract freedom that aren’t even considered by you lot, and these values are threatened by mass immigration.

    • Sean II

      Indeed. The harsh truth of it is: if you care about the wider libertarian project, there is simply no population that can be added to the United States without making that project even less likely than it already is.

      Imagine the best incoming population we might hope for, and you still get that result! Even an influx of Germans or Brits would do the trick.

      There was an incident a few years back which nicely demonstrates the difference in political spectrum on either side of the Atlantic. Daniel Hannan, a wild-eyed libertarian by UK standards, appeared on an American talk show to warn people against passing the ACA. Words to the effect of: “Look at Britain to see why you shouldn’t go down that road”. His own supposedly free-market party promptly demanded he apologize for insulting the NHS.

      Point being: most “libertarians” in Europe would rate as party-line or left-wing Democrats here. We’re talking about people who readily accept the idea of state-owned firms, 15% or 25% unemployment rates, 40% or 50% tax-burdens-to-GDP, direct government controlled broadcasting, tossing people in jail for political speech, etc.

      Not that we’d even be lucky enough to get THAT population! No, the bulk of our new arrivals would come from South America and Africa. The latter of which, for example has 1.1 billion people, with a percentage of classical liberals that rounds to zero.

      The complete failure of open border advocates, not just to answer this objection, but EVEN TO DISCUSS IT!…is infuriating. One of many things which tips the balance for me from a suspicion of ignorance to a suspicion of self-indulgent signaling and bad faith.

  • stevenjohnson2

    Historically, genuinely superior cultures assimilate individuals, who are eager to take on the benefits. The ability to bring benefits to more people is possibly the definition of superiority for a culture! (Part of the libertarian problem here is that it disdains mere benefits to ordinary people, preferring to justify the power of superior private persons over the inferior people, fighting to remove all legal and moral restraints against them in the name of liberty.) The only exceptions appear to be when the inferior culture nevertheless has greater military power. This exception is irrelevant to the immigration debate.

    Also, if the superior women were willing to lie down and do their job, the superior race would out breed the inferiors…and take the jobs they came for anyhow. Except I would think the inability of the local population to reproduce its society is an indicator of extensive social failure, not superiority.

  • oldoddjobs

    I asked Caplan once why he wants to abolish my tiny country. He had no answer.

    • Jim Kramer

      That’s the truly damning thing. Caplan has less reason for ruining all the small countries of the world than the bullies who picked on him in school did for picking on him. The bullies didn’t like Caplan because he is weak, funny looking and socially awkward. Those are inexcusable reasons to pick on someone for, but at least they are reasons. Caplan wants to wash away a bunch of low population states with a tide of third world immigration basically for the hell of it and to get back at those bullies.

      • oldoddjobs

        The part of his brain concerned with heritage, race, cultural consciousness, history, duty, national loyalty etc is broken. Actually, scratch that. It’s not broken, he uses it to enjoy fantasy novels and science fiction. How quaint! Look at these people with identity! And lands and kingdoms and countries! Ha ha ha what primitive fun

  • Les Kyle Nearhood

    The actual experience going on in Europe right now invalidate all of these immature theories.

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  • Bob

    Being FORCED to move around the world in search for a minimum wage job as the libertarian retards want is disgusting. The labour market needs a ‘no deal’ option to prevent coercion.

    Unskilled immigrants that otherwise would not get a Visa to work here do cause low wages – because they prevent the state introducing a full Job Guarantee at the living wage. Thereby keeping all the people here without work that want it, or in poor paying bad hours jobs in Poverty. Very Bleeding Heart.

    If you believe immigration causes no social problems, no shortage of housing, no lack of school places and no impact upon incomes, then promise to implement a full Job Guarantee at the living wage with completely open borders and see how far you get.

    And if you’re not prepared to do that then you are admitting that completely open borders cannot work in a country paying decent wages with sufficient jobs for all. At which point the debate can proceed to decide where the line is drawn.

    This love of immigration over the needs of people that are already here (including those here on Visas who are unfairly denied access to the social security system – a truly racist act) needs to stop.

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