Liberty, Libertarianism

The Costs of Immigration Are the Price of Liberalism

By Chris Freiman and Javier Hidalgo

Our first post in this series argued that freedom of immigration is on a par with other important liberal freedoms like occupational choice and freedom of association. Next, we argued that if states’ rights to collective self-determination justify restrictions on freedom of immigration, they justify restrictions on these other important liberal freedoms, too. Now we’ll show that the costs allegedly created by freedom of immigration are also costs that other liberal freedoms may create. Since the costs don’t justify restricting these other liberal freedoms, they don’t justify restricting freedom of immigration either. Let’s run down the list.

Overconsumption of Government Services

The worry that immigrants will consume more in government services than they pay in taxes and thus increase citizens’ tax burden is a common one, particularly among libertarians. Suppose for argument’s sake the empirical claim is correct (we doubt that it is, but we won’t press the point). This doesn’t clinch the case for immigration restriction—after all, an increase in the tax burden is a predictable consequence of the exercise of lots of liberal freedoms. You have the right to enroll in any philosophy Ph.D. program that accepts you. But this choice puts you at risk of long-term unemployment and raises your odds of needing unemployment benefits.

Or suppose you convert to Thoreauvian transcendentalism and become a hardcore minimalist. You quit your job, chop down your house, burn all of your remaining property, and give away your land. But now you’ll need public assistance to get food, healthcare, etc. Still, liberals (including classical liberals) think you are within your rights to do all of these things. Indeed, as one of us has argued before, libertarians think you are within your rights to consume heroin despite that fact that doing so increases the likelihood you’ll need government-funded medical assistance.

Wage Effects

Another popular objection to open borders is that the subsequent increase in the labor supply will drive down wages for native-born workers, particularly lower paid native-born workers. Here again, just suppose for argument’s sake the empirical claim is correct. Plenty of other choices people make can have this same effect. The most obvious example is outsourcing, which places domestic workers in direct competition with foreign labor. Automation worsens the labor market position of native-born workers, too (at least in the short run). So do certain forms of occupational choice. If a bunch of highly-paid lawyers burn out and decide to work as baristas, they’ll drive down the wages of existing baristas. But surely a liberal state may not prohibit this career change. There is evidence that women drove down the wages of men when they entered the workforce in large numbers. This is obviously a bad reason for forbidding women from finding jobs (although not everyone has always agreed).

Norms and Institutions

Consider the claim that an influx of immigrants will disrupt the recipient country’s cultural norms. The problem with this objection is that cultural change can occur through the exercise of a variety of liberal freedoms, like freedom of speech, association, and religion. But a liberal state wouldn’t prohibit people from publishing the Communist Manifesto, joining an unorthodox and unpopular religion, or protesting prevailing cultural and political norms.

Another worry is that immigration damages political institutions. The fear is that immigrants will push for illiberal laws and norms. Notice though that many of our fellow citizens support illiberal policies. Nonetheless, liberals don’t think it’s a good idea to put our illiberal compatriots in detention camps. (Happily, there is little evidence that immigration actually does undermine good institutions).

Now, you might be thinking that we have stronger reason to refrain from restricting the freedom of fellow citizens than the freedom of non-citizens. Our final post will explain why our obligation to refrain from coercing non-citizens is just as strong as our obligation to refrain from coercing citizens. But before we get to that, we’ll add a post addressing the objection that the freedom to move across borders simply isn’t as important as other liberal freedoms and thus isn’t deserving of the same protection.

  • Jerome Bigge

    Zero control over who comes here would likely be a disaster, but why restrict those who come here to work, make a living for themselves, participate in the free market? There have always been jobs that “Americans don’t want to do”. Jobs that were filled by people from other countries willing to take such jobs as a way of starting a new life here in the USA. There are doctors from other countries who would be glad to practice medicine here, but at a lower fee than what the native born now demand. This is what the “free market” consists of. Not a society where “government” in all its manifestations decides who is allowed to provide a service and who is not. The argument is always the same: “Protecting the consumer”. Realistically what is “protected” isn’t the consumer, but the ability to charge a higher price than what would be allowed under free market conditions.

    • Theresa Klein

      Exactly, at least in the US, the anti-immigrationist position ultimate always comes back to the interests of domestic labor in fearing competition from foreign workers. Whether it’s doctors who don’t want to compete with immigrants or low-wage workers who are afraid of losing their factory jobs, when you peel back the onion, it’s always the self-interest of the worker. This is especially true among self-identified libertarians who take an anti-immigration position. They will hem and haw and concoct every rationalization possible, regardless of how factually incorrect it is or inapplicable to the US, but when pinned down it always turns out to be about competition for jobs.

  • Fritz

    Your case boils down to this: Things are bad, so why not make them worse? You my convince the already convinced, but I doubt that you’ve made a dent in the rest of us.

    • Theresa Klein

      I’m at a loss as to where you see them claiming things are bed. They are merely pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in the anti-immigration position among some libertarians. Nobody is “making things worse” by allowing in immigrants, unless you believe that all immigration is defacto bad (and bad for whom, and in what way?). Rather we’re advocating making things better in terms of respecting the human rights of non-citizens.

  • “Consider the claim that an influx of immigrants will disrupt the recipient country’s cultural norms. The problem with this objection is that cultural change can occur through the exercise of a variety of
    liberal freedoms, like freedom of speech, association, and religion. But a liberal state wouldn’t prohibit people from publishing the Communist Manifesto, joining an unorthodox and unpopular religion, or protesting prevailing cultural and political norms.”

    That does not appear to be much of an argument. A liberal state enforces rules that secure freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion. It therefore does not prohibit people from publishing controversial or revolutionary political or religious views. It thereby facilitates cultural change. So far, so good. But it may be that one of the rules that must be enforced to secure freedom of speech, association and religion is a rule excluding mass immigration from backward cultures that breed people who are vehemently, and even violently, opposed to the freedoms in question.

    You have not addressed that point. Indeed, stating the claim as “an influx of immigrants will disrupt the recipient country’s cultural norms” seems to be a way of avoiding the real issue. The problem is not disrupting cultural norms. That is a good thing. As you recognise, any vibrant society will be full of people busily engaged in disrupting cultural norms. The problem is immigrants from very illiberal cultures who are intolerant of the freedoms that a liberal state is obliged to protect.

    “Another worry is that immigration damages political institutions. The fear is that immigrants will push for illiberal laws and norms. Notice though that many of our fellow citizens support illiberal policies. Nonetheless, liberals don’t think it’s a good idea to put our illiberal compatriots in detention camps.”

    There are a number of points jumbled together there. First, in a liberal society that secures freedom of speech, anyone may argue for illiberal laws and norms, and anyone else may argue against them. Some of the arguments for the illiberal laws and norms may come from people outisde of the society; indeed, in this internet age one would expect that to be so. It may even be that, on some issues, the people arguing for the illiberal laws or norms win the argument, that is, what seems to be an illiberal measure turns out to be a liberal one, as I am currently arguing with regard to immigration restrictions.

    Second, it is a real problem that some citizens in liberal societies push for illiberal laws and norms through the political process, that is, by voting, lobbying and making financial contributions to political parties or politicians. That is a corruption of the liberal state. Some of the rules enforced by an ideal liberal state (if there could be such a thing) would be rules aimed at preventing the state from being corrupted by such pressures. The US Constitution is one such set of rules which governs its own citizens. A rule limiting immigration from some backward places would be another such rule.

    Third, if people demanding illiberal measures resort to illegal means to impose their views, such as intimidation or violence, then the state will put them into detention centres (prisons). So, on all three counts, it seems that there is a parity in the treatment of citizens and immigrants rather than the disparity that you suggest.

    • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

      The OP states: “But a liberal state wouldn’t prohibit people from publishing the Communist Manifesto, joining an unorthodox and unpopular religion, or protesting prevailing cultural and political norms.” But it would, and should, jail people who attempt to change such norms using violence and intimidation and, in order to preserve its liberalism, it might reasonably exclude persons from entering the country who present an unacceptable risk of such conduct. I made an argument very similar to yours in response to the last post, and received no response. I wish you better luck.

      • Chris Freiman

        Hi Danny and Mark,

        Thanks for your replies. I think that everyone would agree that the use of _violence_ is something that the state can restrict. But I wasn’t clear on where you both stand on the following sort of case. Suppose a citizen, through the use of things like speech and association, starts to successfully move public opinion in the direction of, say, re-criminalizing marijuana in Colorado (feel free to plug in your favorite illiberal policy here). As you, Danny, say, this would be a “real problem.” But that language is ambiguous–the key question is whether the state can use coercion to prevent that persuasive citizen from speaking freely in order to prevent re-criminalization. I take it that the answer is “no.”

        • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

          Speaking for myself, I agree that the answer is “no.” But, frankly, I don’t see the connection to the objection I have raised. Certain would-be immigrants might present an undue risk of a resort to violence to get their way. For the reasons adduced in response to earlier posts by Jason and you, I don’t believe a liberal state is required to give each such potential immigrant a full due process hearing before refusing admittance. If I am correct, then the case for true open borders is flawed. Neither Jason, nor you so far, have made a substantive response.

          • murali284

            But the set of people who would produce an undue risk is far smaller than the set of people currently legally prevented from migrating. So, even if not completely open borders, much more open (and perhaps almost completely open) borders are justified.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            As I’ve argued many times and in many places including on the last thread, it is impossible to give every would-be immigrant a due process hearing. So, we are entitled to use categories and probabilities, or impose a substantial cash bond requirement on those sponsoring them. See http://naturalrightslibertarian.com/2016/02/internal-migration-and-open-borders/. I do agree with “much more open” borders.

        • Hi Chris,

          I agree that it would be a real problem if someone uses freedom of speech and association to move public opinion in the direction of some illiberal measure. As you may expect, I think that the solution to that real problem is to show, by argument, why that person is mistaken. With you, I think that the state is not entitled to use coercion against the person; and nor is anyone else. In fact, I have been saying this all along, because I have been insisting on freedom of speech and association.

          Where I differ from you may be here. I see national (or perhaps smaller) governments as being inseparable from freedom, indeed, inseparable from civilised living. So, in any civilised (part of the) world, there will be different governments, with each having some obligations to the people inhabiting its territory which it does not have to people outside. That creates the possibility of legitimate immigration rules. The sort of crap we are seeing in Europe and the UK lately indicates that the possibility is in fact an actuality.

          • King Goat

            “I think that the state is not entitled to use coercion against the person; and nor is anyone else”

            But why not? If a majority in the state reasonably believe certain speech will undermine their liberal order (for example, people in Germany seem to firmly believe that Nazi or other types of hate speech led to their Nazi regime and that restrictions on such speech are therefore necessary), the order which maximizes every person’s potential to flourish to paraphrase you, then your political theory seems to not only allow, but require them to pursue such restrictions via the state.

          • I have said nothing at all about what a majority in the state “reasonably believe.” That kind of talk belongs to a mode of theorising that I eschew.

          • King Goat

            You’ve said this is an accurate portrayal of your position:

            1. States must not violate the moral law, and the moral law is that set of rules which promotes human flourishing.

            2. One of the rules that promote human flourishing is some rules restricting immigration from ‘inimical, backward societies’

            3. Therefore rules restricting immigration from ‘inimical, backward societies’ are not state violations of the moral law.

            How do you think states should go about discerning what is the moral law, what set of rules promote human flourishing, if not by some decision-making process based on what they reasonably believe? The people of Germany think Holocaust denying speech, pro-Nazi speech, or hate speech is of a type that led to a breakdown of their liberal order and that they must prohibit it lest there be a risk of that happening again. If they’re correct, then you’d have to not only say it’s OK for them to restrict such speech, but they’re required to, correct?

          • What promotes human flourishing is a factual matter. It is a question for the social sciences.

          • King Goat

            Right, so as I said, if evidence is found that hate speech does not promote human flourishing, then it, under your philosophy, not only can be banned but should be. Likewise the right to keep and bear arms, or the right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right (or privilege) to smoke, and on and on. This is Chris’ point I think, that once you open yourself up on the matter of immigration you’ve opened yourself to a host of other illiberal policies, if only the social science goes against you.

          • No. The duty of the state is to enforce that set of enforceable rules that provide the best prospects for human fulfilment. There is a difference between rule-consequentialism and act-consequentialism.

            But you are right about me being willing to revise my views in response to the latest social-scientific findings. At the moment, I think that free speech should be protected, and that includes hate speech and holocaust denial. The argument for that is so broad and general, and goes so much to the heart of the human condition, that I cannot imagine ever giving it up. See here:

            https://www.academia.edu/20435616/Freedom_Positive_Negative_Expressive

            But who knows what future scientific research will reveal? Who could have expected that science would show that simultaneity is not absolute?

          • King Goat

            “The duty of the state is to enforce that set of enforceable rules that provide the best prospects for human fulfilment.”

            Right, and if the rule ‘prohibit hate speech’ provides the best prospects for human flourishing, then your theory would say the state is duty bound to prohibit it, correct?

          • Yes. That is implied by what I just said. But I would emphasise the ‘if’.

        • A further point, having just read Mark Friedman’s response to you. It is not just the risk of violence that troubles me, though that certainly does trouble me (assaults on women, killing of cartoonists, butchering of people in the street, and so on). It is also the pressure brought to bear through the political process, particularly organised lobbying and dominating particular electoral constituencies. The U.S. has a written constitution that tends (only tends) to limit the damage that such ‘political muscle’ can do. In the UK we do not have a written constitution: freedom of speech is more easily curtailed here. If the government permits a large influx of people who have no tradition of free thought and speech or who, indeed, have a strong tradition of execrating it, it is predictable that free speech in the UK will, bit by bit, be eroded by politicians trying to win support from the new-ish immigrants for electoral advantage.

          • King Goat

            Is it predictable? Here in the US we were told that Catholic immigrants would be incompatible with the American way of life (after all, people who are devoted to a non-democratic, hierarchical system with a history of stamping out dissent can’t be good democrats, as the theory went). By the 1980’s most of these immigrants were voting for Ronald Reagan…

          • Except that my ‘prediction’ is being borne out.

          • King Goat

            Is it? I’m not being facetious here, but I’m not sure it is. Are there sensationalist stories of misdeeds by Muslim migrants (or their children or grandchildren)? Yes. The same was true about, say, Irish or Jewish immigrants in the early 20th Century USA. But is there an overall net loss of liberty?

          • Here’s just a couple of examples. In 2006 the UK got a new law against speech ‘inciting’ religious hatred. The word ‘inciting’ is used in a very broad sense (not in the way Mill uses it in ‘On Liberty’). I saw my doctor (GP) just before Christmas. As I was about to leave I wished him a merry Christmas (I am not a Christian, it is just a customary greeting at that time of year). He remained silent and looked uncomfortable. He is an elderly, white Englishman. Our National Health Service, for which he works, has barred its employees from wishing people a merry Christmas (or, probably, referring to Christmas at all) because some people find it offensive. I wonder who those people are?

          • King Goat

            I’d bet the NHS policy has more to with home grown atheists than immigrants (who tend to be rather big on their religions). In the US that’s who pushes for that sort of thing (I think they’re right too, government workers shouldn’t be engaged in religious expressions while on the job). The 2006 law is certainly unfortunate in my view, but it’s not like speech restriction laws only sprang into existence in the UK in 06 (see the 1986 Public Order Act). On the other part of the ledger, it was in no small part due to outrage among England’s muslims that it took such a solid stand against torture recently. These things seem more complicated than sometimes presented.

          • Jeff R.

            KG, notice that the US put immigration restrictions in place in order to effectively limit Catholic immigration. Would you be pointing to Catholic immigration as a successful model of mass immigration/assimilation if, say, under an open borders policy regime, Catholics had had the political muscle to, say, overturn Roe v. Wade or Griswold v. Connecticut in the 1960’s?

          • King Goat

            For the first 150 years prior to that there were no such limits though, and I don’t see any appreciable loss of liberties due to it (btw-most Catholics use birth control).

          • Jeff R.

            See the following chart:
            https://foleyheather72.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/fig1.jpg

            Immigration spiked substantially in the 1900’s-1920’s. This wave of immigration included a healthy portion of Catholics and eventually spurred the Immigration Act of 1924, which was aimed at limiting further immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. You’re saying mass immigration from Catholic countries was a great success; I don’t disagree, but my point is that Catholic immigration was, in fact, limited by law, and in a hypothetical world where the Immigration Act of 1924 was not passed, you might not be so sanguine about the idea of open borders. For example, on the topic of Griswold v. Connecticut, sure most Catholics use birth control today, but they had rather different views in 1960. If they had made up a larger percentage of the electorate during the ’60’s, it’s not far-fetched to think that such SCOTUS decisions might have turned out differently or been dealt with via some kind of legislation.

          • King Goat

            But on the other side of the ledger it was Catholics, almost alone, and often successfully, who opposed the Eugenic sterilization laws. These are complicated books to balance.

      • Sergio Méndez

        Well, funny, by your own logic people like you . You are the ones promoting illiberal views regarding the rights of individuals to move and migrate, and you are the ones who are willing to use the state (violence and intimidation) to restrict those liberties (and also the liberties of people who want to receive those immigrants in their houses or business). Suit yourself.

        • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

          Maybe you can cite an instance where I used “violence or intimidation” to change liberal political norms. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

          • Sergio Méndez

            People like you who vote for politicians willing to apply violence are in a way doing so…isn’t that you and your ilk complain about the political preferences of immigrants (meaning they are going to vote democrat)?

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            “You and your ilk…” Really nice “argument.” Let me repeat for your benefit, political advocacy is not the same thing as killing people for drawing a cartoon. But I’m done here, so blither away.

          • King Goat

            ” Let me repeat for your benefit, political advocacy is not the same thing as killing people for drawing a cartoon.”

            But you’re not talking about keeping people out for killing people for drawing a cartoon (everyone agrees that such persons shouldn’t be admitted), you’re talking about keeping them out because they belong to a group which you think has an increased risk of maybe, one day, down the road, doing such a thing. Likewise, many people think that illiberal speech has an increased risk of maybe, one day, down the road, leading to violations of people’s basic rights and/or security. In a past discussion you actually conceded that libertarians might have to re-think their position on prohibiting hate speech, didn’t you? You seem on a range of issues quite willing to sacrifice liberty to ‘save’ it, and that’s kind of been Jason and Chris’ point all along, that if you endorse illiberal policies to ‘save’ liberalism in this area you’re not different than others who would endorse other illiberal policies for the same reasons…

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            ^ [This is my personal troll. His signal to noise ratio is very low, so I do not initiate dialog with him. But he loves talking to me. See, e.g. the immediately prior post. I find this annoying. I don’t think he likes it when I publicize my books and blog, so I am going to try this tactic…]

            I suggest you consult on this point Chapter 10 of my Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World http://www.amazon.com/Libertarian-Philosophy-Real-World-Politics/dp/1472573390?tag=bleedheartlib-20, and this blog entry: http://naturalrightslibertarian.com/2011/12/libertarianism-and-immigration-a-reply-to-michael-huemer/

          • King Goat

            Lol, you don’t need a troll to relentlessly hawk your stuff, you do it in every thread whether I’m there or not. What would be more unusual would be for you actually answer critiques of your positions.

          • Lacunaria

            People who advocate violence against those who insult their religion do have a higher incidence of committing such violence. And every such threat is a positive obligation for us to achieve justice, which is pragmatically greater near than far.

            Why is it so illiberal to believe that we have preferential obligations to those with whom we’ve agreed to politically compromise for internal justice including defense against external threats, than to those who we potentially defend against?

            Jason and Chris’s conclusions on liberty are only valid if we assume that there is perfect justice without burden, and no preexisting, justifiable associations or agreements between people in that regard. But these are not realistic or reasonable assumptions.

            Communities form because justice is a burden, including defense against external threats. This not only provides greater access and willingness to take greater risks for those within the borders, it also inherently necessitates compromise at the borders regarding what constitutes a threat.

            Even in the ideal libertarian state there will be some agreement for mutual defense which inherently prefers the safety of those inside to those outside.

            I think it is fairly accurate for you (and Jason and Chris) to frame this as sacrificing a liberty of import in exchange for securing liberty inside our borders, but it is grossly hypocritical if you think that you are not likewise sacrificing liberty by ignoring the burden of justice, along with externalities which violate liberties. What’s worse is that you are ignoring the ubiquity of people making this voluntary trade-off in the formation of communities.

          • Sergio Méndez

            Who said it was an “argument”?

    • Sergio Méndez

      “That does not appear to be much of an argument. A liberal state enforces rules that secure freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion. It therefore does not prohibit people from publishing controversial or revolutionary political or religious views. It thereby facilitates cultural change. So far, so good. But it may be that one of the rules that must be enforced to secure freedom of speech, association and religion is a rule excluding mass immigration from backward cultures that breed people who are vehemently, and even violently, opposed to the freedoms in question.”

      There lies the whole contradiction of your position, and you don´t even seem to even remotely notice it. When a liberal state or society protects freedom of speech, association or religion, it is protecting rights that in practice could be used to overturn the liberal society. And it does because it is liberal, it has to assume that risk. The same goes with freedom of movement people have (including people of other nationalities). The moment a liberal society tries to limit or deny such rights, out of fear of the supposed illiberal consequences they can have, it STOPS BEING LIBERAL (the same way it will stop being liberal if limit the right of free speech or association, or religion, in the way described in this entry).

      • You are right that I see no contradiction in my position. You can show that there is one if you offer a derivation of a proposition of the form ‘p and not-p’ from the propositions I have put forward. In the absence of that, your claim that I contradict myself is arbitrary. If you attempt the derivation, I suspect you will discover that you are assuming something that I do not accept. It would be illuminating to discover what that assumption is. Your words suggest that you might attribute to me the contention that there is a universal right to freedom of movement. But that so obviously contradicts what I am saying that I presume that your assumption is something less substantive.

        • King Goat

          Danny, will this promised forthcoming discussion then involve a critical premise for you?

          “But before we get to that, we’ll add a post addressing the objection that the freedom to move across borders simply isn’t as important as other liberal freedoms and thus isn’t deserving of the same protection.”

          • We’ll have to see what they say. But I would not say that freedom to move across borders is less important than other freedoms. Important for whom? It may be extremely important for the people who want to cross. But that does not mean that they have a right to it.

          • King Goat

            I think their argument runs like this: there are things considered liberal freedoms, like free speech, and freedom of movement is one of them. If a person says they’re willing to restrict freedom of movement for the sake of ultimately protecting liberalism they’re in the same boat as those who say they wish to restrict freedom of speech to ultimately protect liberalism. It’s an empirical matter, of course, as to which, if any, of the two are correct about the threat, how to address it and the potential result, but in terms of the principle ‘it’s ok to engage in illiberalism to ultimately protect liberalism’ the two are the same. And it’s a principle that seems, well, not very ‘libertarian’ (because pretty much all people who want to restrict freedom of speech and other classically accepted liberties put forward as a rationale something very much like what those arguing to restrict freedom of movement put forward).

            So I’m not sure I understand your answer here when you talk about the (relative) ‘importance’ of the freedom. Would you talk the same way about freedom of speech (that it depends on who you’re talking about, I mean, it my be extremely important for people who want to speak, but do they have right to do so…)?

          • Chris Freiman

            Yep, this characterization of our argument is pretty accurate.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            If so, then I’m afraid your argument ignores the differential obligations of states to members and non-members. Citizens and foreigners (in my view) enjoy the same natural rights, but states are only morally obligated to vindicate the rights of the former (and legal aliens). This hardly seems controversial.

            If, as in the Jim Crow South, a local majority tyrannizes and oppresses a minority, the federal government is duty-bound to intervene, with force if necessary. The minority is comprised of citizens and thus entitled to this protection. But, if the Sunni do the same to the Shia in Saudi Arabia, no such obligation exists. Our state is duty bound to vindicate its citizens’ freedoms of expression and association, which it does by according such rights near absolute status. But a person outside our borders cannot look to the US to enforce these rights, and our state should recognize the right to migrate only to the extent it would not degrade the moral rights of its members, to whom it owes its primary duty.

            At this point, the argument usually turns to the right of US citizens to hire or invite foreigners to move here. And this is where the notions of risk and negative externalities apply. The former should be familiar. We arrest people for DUI before they kill someone, because of the undue risk they pose. Inviting or hiring certain foreigners poses the risk of crimes perpetrated against citizens not directly benefiting from this employment. Thus, on this logic, we might ban or limit migration from countries such nations as Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia where a majority or large plurality believe that apostates should be stoned, sharia law should be the law of the land, and so on. Alternatively, we might require those sponsoring such migrants to post a large cash bond guarantying their good conduct. This policy should also be applied to non-Muslims, if there are identifiable communities with similar beliefs

            These restrictions are appropriate not because these beliefs are horribly illiberal, but because beliefs often get transformed into violence. Obviously, the extent of this risk is an empirical matter, subject to debate, but I am simply defending he philosophical principle that IF (say) unrestricted migration from North Waziristan made it substantially more dangerous here to mock Mohammad, for gays to engage in public displays of affection, or for persons to walk down city streets dressed as traditional Jews, etc., than such restrictions are morally permissible. Neither you, Jason, or anyone else to my knowledge has refuted this relatively obvious argument.

          • King Goat

            “your argument ignores the differential obligations of states to members and non-members”

            It doesn’t ignore it, at every step they’ve promised to address this point in an upcoming entry. Here they say: “Now, you might be thinking that we have stronger reason to refrain from restricting the freedom of fellow citizens than the freedom of non-citizens. Our final post will explain why our obligation to refrain from coercing non-citizens is just as strong as our obligation to refrain from coercing citizens.”

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            ^ [This is my personal troll. Now deploying troll neutralization procedure…]

            Hey, Barnyard Animal, did you see that my book Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World received a really favorable review here: http://interpretationjournal.com/backissues/Vol_42_3.pdf. I suggest you run out and buy a copy.

          • King Goat

            You strike me as borderline autistic (the all caps handle, the repetitive hawking of your books, the seeming inability to see other people’s arguments that you disagree with, the way you have this theory and just repeat it without acknowledging counterarguments people make, etc.). If only your autism were focused on something more benign, like discovering patterns in sidewalk cracks and not in pedaling such a dangerous, anti-liberty philosophy…

          • I don’t begin with a list of freedoms or rights that all persons have. I think that approach is wrong-headed.

            To be a person is to have relations with other persons and thus with a community (even hermits grew up in a community). And the continued existence of a community requires a state. But there can be no world state – the area is too big and the people too many. So, to be a person is to have a relation to a specific state which is differentiated from other specific states (I ignore the issue of dual nationality/citizenship here, as I am sticking to the basics). In rudimentary societies, the state is represented by the chief (i.e., a particular person INSOFAR AS HE FULFILS THE DUTIES OF A SPECIFIC SOCIAL ROLE), perhaps aided by a few wiseacres; in modern societies it is represented by a bureaucratic monstrosity. With settled communities, as opposed to nomads, the state and its community belong to a territory. The notion of the rights of individuals has to be worked out within this context. So, there are always rights of the state as well as rights of individuals; and the rights of individuals within one specific state will differ from those of another if their states lay down different laws. A state’s scope for legitimate action is circumscribed by The Moral Law, which prescribes (amongst other things) maximal initial equal freedom for each person; but there may still be legitimate differences between the laws of different states because, e.g., the same co-ordination problem often has equally optimal solutions.

            The Moral Law is that set of rules that provides the best prospects for human fulfilment. What we know at present indicates that the set of rules in question will include freedom of speech, extensive private property rights, and some rules restricting immigration from inimical backward societies. If all states operated as they should, enforcing all and only rules sanctioned by The Moral Law, the rules restricting immigration would probably be otiose, because there would be no inimical backward societies. Unfortunately, no state operates as it should.

            I do not think the views just set forth involve self-contradiction. Indeed, I hope not, because I have a forthcoming paper addressing the issue in a bit more detail, which is available here:
            https://www.academia.edu/9200305/The_Good_Bishop_and_the_Explanation_of_Political_Authority
            I also criticise Huemer’s too individualistic approach in a recently published paper here:
            http://reasonpapers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/rp_372_13.pdf
            In case you are interested in further detail, that is.

          • Sergio Méndez

            Maybe you are right. I assumed something you did not: that you defended or spouse liberalism. From this post, I don´t think you qualify neither as a libertarian nor as a liberal.

          • King Goat

            Indeed. It seems an odd libertarian starting point to be: “I don’t begin with a list of freedoms or rights that all persons have. I think that approach is wrong-headed.

            To be a person is to have relations with other persons and thus with a community (even hermits grew up in a community). And the continued existence of a community requires a state.” and then move to “The notion of the rights of individuals has to be worked out within this context. So, there are always rights of the state as well as rights of individuals.” That seems a very communitarian view (which doesn’t make it wrong mind you, just odd labeled libertarian).

          • Sergio Méndez

            Exactly my thoughts. Danny seems to be a communitarian, not a liberal or a libertarian. Which is ok, but makes you wonder why he will try to intervene in a discussion among libertarians and the coherence or not of their beliefs.

          • Libertarianism is, I think, most strongly associated with a style of thinking that grew out of Enlightenment state-of-nature theorising. I was enamoured of that kind of libertarianism myself, two decades and more ago. But I began to see the problems with it around the year 2000.

            One of the troubles with that kind of theorising is its almost child-like simplicity. We begin with separate individuals who decide to co-operate because they conceive it will be to the advantage of each to do so. They therefore agree on various things.

            But before they can do that, they must have a common language. Where did that come from? The child-like response would be that initially they all spoke different languages, but they learned to translate each other. But even that assumes that they have a common capacity for language; or, rather, a capacity for a common language. How did that come about? We know: they evolved as members of a social species. John Watkins was one of the leading advocates of methodological individualism in the 1950s and 1960s (possibly even going back to the late 1940s); yet by the mid-1970s he was arguing that the fact of language showed that methodological individualism has its limitations.

            There are other problems too, some of which I am currently working out in a paper critical of Searle’s social constructionism. In short, a recognition of the social nature of human persons is required by any sensible libertarianism – and it need have nothing to do with the sort of tripe spouted by ‘communitarians.’ Perhaps we could call it ‘relationalism.’ If that sort of view is not yet common amongst libertarians, it soon will be, if they are to be taken seriously in theoretical debates.

          • King Goat

            I’m not sure libertarianism or liberalism has, a historical matter, or is, as a contemporary matter, rooted in what you describe, but you’re aware though, I’m guessing, that most communitarian theories have a similar starting place?

          • Sergio Méndez

            I agree that certain forms of libertarianism tend to rely on social atomism, and that is a bad thing. But it would be a great exaggeration to say it is all of them. Personally I see libertarianism (properly understood) to be atomistic only in the sense that it recognizes that is individuals, persons, are the subjects of rights, not that they are some sort of entities totally unrelated to each other until the moment they “decide” to cooperate.

          • King Goat

            This really seems to be the crux: “The Moral Law is that set of rules that provides the best prospects for human fulfilment. What we know at present indicates that the set of rules in question will include freedom of speech, extensive private property rights, and some rules restricting immigration from inimical backward societies.”

            Your argument seems to me to be the following:

            1. States must not violate the moral law, and the moral law is that set of rules which promotes human flourishing.
            2. One of the rules that promote human flourishing is some rules restricting immigration from ‘inimical, backward societies’
            3. Therefore rules restricting immigration from ‘inimical, backward societies’ are not state violations of the moral law

            It seems to me that it’s that part 2 that is at play here. Is that correct? It certainly doesn’t seem self-evident.

          • Yes, I say 1, 2 and 3. And I agree that 2 is not self-evident (nothing is self-evident). In fact, it is only in recent years that 2 has become evident to me, from what has been happening in Europe and the UK.

            I don’t know whether nearly eveyone who wants to restrict free speech or private property endorses 2. If it is true, it is a psychological curio. It does not seem relevant to the question of whether 2 is true.

          • King Goat

            Maybe it’s not a psychological curio but indicative of a general illiberal approach?

          • I’m a refutation of that hypothesis.

          • King Goat

            Are you?

          • You have to look at these things case by case. Everyone who knows anything about liberalism accepts that some restrictions on freedom are necessary to secure overall freedom. To borrow from Nozick, my freedom to swing a baseball bat is limited by the position of your head. The authors of the article under discussion make the same point themselves. I have given reasons for drawing a line at immigration from particular types of hell-hole (not all types), and they are the sorts of reasons that a liberal should recognise, because they bear on overall fredom.

          • King Goat

            “You have to look at these things case by case.”

            Do you? Because another approach I’ve seen from libertarians (and liberals to some extent) is to say that unless something involves an act of coercive force or fraud it should not be prohibited by government. You mention Nozick’s line about swinging baseball bats, but you’re not talking about me swinging a baseball bat at your head, you’re talking about something more like we can’t let certain people into the country because they come from groups with higher mean baseball bat assaults than other other groups.

          • We cannot, sensibly, say what is coercive force or fraud independently of a presupposed set of moral rules. If I help myself to your dinner and you try to stop me, which of us (if any) is exercising coercive force? It comes down to who (legitimately) owns the dinner and what permissions he has given for the use of it; and that presupposes a set of moral rules.

            And why do you just assume that it is always wrong tp exclude some categories of people en masse? I think Mark Friedman pointed out the error in that assumption, above.

          • King Goat

            Sure, one needs rules about property and deception to give coercive force and fraud content, but I’m not sure how that undermines the point.

            “And why do you just assume that it is always wrong tp exclude some categories of people en masse?”

            Because you have to have some kind of direct, imminent harm at issue to justify initiating an act of force against someone. Being a member of a group that has a higher mean assault record doesn’t seem to cross that threshold. I should add another reason: I think one of the tenets of liberalism is that government should not act against (or maybe even for) an individual solely because of their membership in an immutable group, such treatment violates their right(s).

          • You illustrate here the point you impugn. Why is excluding a would-be immigrant an act of force? If there is indeed a struggle between the immigrant and an enforcemnt officer, why isn’t it the immigrant who is using force? Can’t you see that you are begging the question at issue?

          • King Goat

            What? Noone is defending the right of a migrant to cross the border to assault a border guard. We’re talking about an immigrant who is walking via a public road to see if there are any who would associate with them. That’s not an initiation of force.

            Now, someone might say, ah, well walking onto private property without permission is a trespass and can be considered an act of aggression, so couldn’t the migrant be said to be ‘trespassing’ against the ‘collective’ owners of the USA? But I doubt you’d make such an argument because 1. you’d realize that you’d be begging the argument (since then what we’re discussing here is ‘should the collective owners prevent the migration or not?’) and 2. the theory of ‘collective ownership’ is very uneasy with liberties (collective owners of land can not only forbid entry to trespassers, they can control who speaks on the property, whether entrants on the property can carry firearms, and a host of other liberties we hold dear).

          • We’re talking about a migrant crossing the border. If he has the right to cross the border, then preventing him is, normally, an impermissible use of force. If the state has the right to exclude him, then preventing him is, normally, not an impermissible use of force. Whether the imigrant or the state has the right here is the question at issue. By insisting that the state impermissibly uses force against the migrant, you are begging the question.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            I do admire your patience, I really do. Perhaps you should spell out for KG what it means to “beg the question.”

          • King Goat

            “Why is excluding a would-be immigrant an act of force? ”

            Your first question was not about whether it would be a permissible or impermissible use of force, but whether it would be a use of force. It certainly involves a use of force though, you concede? You just think it permissible. I don’t think it’s begging the question to say that the use of force against another is impermissible unless certain conditions exist (in other words, force is usually wrong but can be justified). I think historically the essence of liberalism is that the state can only use force when it is justified by some reason. It’s on you to supply the justification for the state to use force on the migrant.

          • ‘Force’ can be used as a descriptive term or as a normative one. You seem to be switching between the two. Physically preventing a migrant from crossing the border is an act of force (descriptive). If you have the right to prevent him crossing the border, then physically preventing him from crossing (presuming you have no other way, reasonable in the circumstances) is not an act of force (normative), though it is still an act of force (descriptive). If you keep the two senses separate, you should not get confused.

          • King Goat

            That seems more than a bit idiosyncratic and overly complicated (having to use the same word but with two quite different meanings). It’s ‘physical power or violence used on a person or thing’ to quote Merriam-Webster. Force is force, it can be justified or not. The user should justify the force, but especially when that user is the state.

      • Lacunaria

        A liberal state secures liberties for its members, not for non-members.

        A liberal state does have to assume risks of liberty, but only internally and only within reason. At some point, you can put people at a great enough risk that even a liberal state can prohibited your actions.

        A liberal state that fails to secure liberties is also not a liberal state. It must both assert liberty and secure it. The burdens of justice should not be ignored.

        The truth is that a liberal state can assume greater risk within its borders because it has borders, allowing it to control its exposure and responsibility.

        • King Goat

          “A liberal state secures liberties for its members, not for non-members.”

          Wouldn’t one of these liberties be my and other citizen’s liberties to associate with, do business with, rent to, immigrants?

          “t some point, you can put people at a great enough risk that even a liberal state can prohibited your actions.”

          That’s a view, but it’s an odd *libertarian* one. Everyone thinks people that harm others can be stopped, but libertarians tend to think the action has to be pretty direct and imminent rather than ‘oh, we can use force on this fellow because what he’s doing (walking across the border, engaging in ‘hate’ speech, owning carrying a firearm, smoking cigarettes, take your pick of liberties) may, sometime down the road, have a chance of causing harm to people.’ Heck, it’s even worse in the immigration arena as it tends to be ‘this person is from a group the majority of which are known to be peaceable but for which the average number of people harming behavior is higher than other groups, so we will use force on him.’ The author of the OP’s point is that if a person is willing to use force on that ‘chance of a future harm’ here, then how can they object (other than on empirical grounds) to anyone else taking a similar view in regards to other liberties? Gun banners, hate speech banners, etc., really do think that those activities have to be restricted or else basic liberties (by which you really mean securities, protection from non-state violators) will be restricted.

          • Lacunaria

            Wouldn’t one of these liberties be my and other citizen’s liberties to associate with, do business with, rent to, immigrants?

            Sure, your half, just not their liberty to immigrate. In fact, we aren’t necessarily obligated to secure any of their liberties abroad.

            Of course, the US could be the policeman of the world, meting out justice as it sees fit and breaking people out who are unjustly imprisoned so that you can associate with them. Would that be more libertarian in practice? If not, why not?

            “At some point, you can put people at a great enough risk that even a liberal state can prohibit your actions.”

            That’s a view, but it’s an odd *libertarian* one.

            That was specifically to counter the idea that any risk must be accepted within liberal societies.

            My justification for allowing a lower standard of risk for outsiders than insiders is that we have a greater obligation to insiders to secure their rights through the burdens of justice and mutual defense.

            Not only does that obligation not extend to outsiders, it is explicitly skeptical of outsiders — that’s who we are defending against.

            That’s why this issue uniquely pertains to the borders and is not analogous to internal violations of liberty.

            For example, taxing for mutual defense is arguably “the use of force on the chance of a future harm”. Even worse, it’s a use of force against people who are not those who will harm us!

            If it’s voluntary, then you are subjecting your estimation of external threats to your community’s estimation of external threats in order to cooperate in mutual defense.

            Now, if you want to get rid of the state and see what associations we voluntarily form in order to secure our liberties, fine, but it’s naive to suppose that we won’t agree to mutual defense and a greater obligation to the burdens of justice for members of our community than non-members.

          • King Goat

            “Sure, your half,”

            Well, that seems to be a rather significant matter then…

            “we aren’t necessarily obligated to secure any of their liberties abroad.”

            I think this is a mistake that several people are making and that Chris has hinted he’s going to address in this last point about citizenship, confusing the non-obligation *to secure* rights for non-citizens with the obligation to not actively violate the rights of the same. A state may not be obligated to do certain things *for* non-citizens, but it is obligated to not do certain things *to* non-citizens. The US has no obligation to protect a non-citizen living in Lima from kidnappers, but it does have an obligation not to kidnap the same person. When the US government uses force against a peaceably entering immigrant it is an not ‘securing’ or ‘not securing’ his rights, it’s actively violating them.

          • Lacunaria

            Chris has hinted he’s going to address in this last point about citizenship

            Yes, I’m looking forward to his response, too, since it’s a glaring omission that makes all of their arguments by analogy seem like strawmen.

            The US has no obligation to protect a non-citizen living in Lima from kidnappers, but it does have an obligation not to kidnap the same person.

            As a matter of Natural Rights, absent any agreements, I agree, but the US does have a specific obligation to its members over non-members which becomes pertinent at the border.

            When the US government uses force against a peaceably entering immigrant it is an not ‘securing’ or ‘not securing’ his rights,

            The whole process actually includes both and more.

            A potential immigrant at the border is asking us (the US) to take on the burden of securing his rights as well as the burden of any absolute increase in violations (not merely the relative risk) due to admitting him.

            The US must weigh this request against its existing obligation to current members. This is what allows us to have a lower tolerance for risk from the outside than the inside who we’ve already committed to.

            What your side is implicitly asserting is that:

            (1) there exists some innate right to demand that others secure your rights, and,

            (2) that #1 right overrides any existing community arrangements for preferentially securing rights.

            Are those libertarian?

            Please directly defend those items or explain how they are incorrectly deduced from your position.

            it’s actively violating them.

            No, for the reasons I laid out above. Whoever invited them may not have that authority given their existing obligations to their community.

          • King Goat

            “A potential immigrant at the border is asking us (the US) to take on the burden of securing his rights as well as the burden of any absolute increase in violations (not merely the relative risk) due to admitting him.”

            Can you elaborate on this? It seems to me the immigrant is asking ‘don’t forcibly stop me from peaceably entering and trying to associate with others’ only.

          • Lacunaria

            So the existence of a state and borders is entirely superfluous to your conception of immigration?

            In your view, does the state have any preferential obligation to its members?

            In my view, a state exists for a reason: to secure the rights of its members, including for mutual defense. This establishes obligations among its members that are affected by immigration.

            It’s as if you and I agreed to mutually defend one another and now you are asserting that you can invite anyone you want into our agreement because freedom of association, and I’m saying, no, you can “associate”, but you can’t unilaterally extend our agreement to more people.

          • King Goat

            “In your view, does the state have any preferential obligation to its members?”

            Yes, as I’ve explained, but it has duties to not use coercive force on anyone, citizen or not, unless that person is presenting a direct harm to someone within its jurisdiction.

            “you can “associate”, but you can’t unilaterally extend our agreement to more people.”

            But the discussion is only about association, not extending our agreement to more people (granting citizenship).

          • Lacunaria

            Yes, as I’ve explained, but it has duties to not use coercive force on anyone, citizen or not, unless that person is presenting a direct harm to someone within its jurisdiction.

            “Coercive force” is a red herring, since you are arguing that any member inviting an immigrant grants him the right to force his way in if necessary, correct?

            The real question is, does that right exist? And if so, is it affected by positive obligations of mutual defense and justice to prefer your community over anyone you might invite?

            Of course, you could create a community that secures that right of invitation, but I don’t think states do that and I think it would be a hard sell to most communities which agree to the burden of mutual defense and justice.

            “you can “associate”, but you can’t unilaterally extend our agreement to more people.”

            But the discussion is only about association, not extending our agreement to more people (granting citizenship).

            The obligations extend to anyone physically present. Or are you seriously suggesting that we do not need to secure non-citizen immigrants’ rights within the US? Or we are not obligated to address violations by non-citizens within the US?

          • King Goat

            “you are arguing that any member inviting an immigrant grants him the right to force his way in if necessary, correct?”

            I’m arguing that any person has a right to resist aggression, yes. That would be true for anyone facing someone using coercive force against them.

            “you could create a community that secures that right of invitation”

            In part that’s what we’re debating right now. I’m not sure it would be such a hard sell, for most of US history we had it that way.

            About the securing point, let me ask you this question: do you think there is a right to free trade? If I want to trade a few boxes of books to Pedro in return for his shipping me a few boxes of books, who lives across the border in Mexico, can the state prevent that from occurring? If your answer is no it cannot, I’ll point out that this trade would necessarily involve ‘increasing positive obligations of securing rights’ (the travel and protection of our respective goods for example). Does this mean that the US or Mexico state could rightfully prevent our peacable trade?

          • Lacunaria

            I’m arguing that any person has a right to resist aggression, yes. That would be true for anyone facing someone using coercive force against them.

            Sure, but, again, the question is, who is aggressing in this case: the person using force to enter, or the person using force to keep them out?

            The answer hinges on both our negative rights and the obligations we accept in order to better secure our negative rights.

            In part that’s what we’re debating right now. I’m not sure it would be such a hard sell, for most of US history we had it that way.

            When communities and immigration are naturally fairly homogeneous, it’s easy to conflate the lack of federal restrictions with the lack of right to restrict. I’ve been referring to the latter.

            I actually favor liberal immigration in practice and believe it is worth taking risks, but I don’t see the moral imperative to use the same standard for rejecting immigrants as we do for putting citizens in prison, given our obligations to the latter but not the former.

            If your answer is no it cannot, I’ll point out that this trade would necessarily involve ‘increasing positive obligations of securing rights’ (the travel and protection of our respective goods for example).

            We already agreed to the obligations of defending free trade within the US, so that is not an issue. The question is solely what happens in crossing the border.

            If Mexico also defends free trade, then I see no justification for preventing the trade.

            However, if a belligerent Mexico was incensed at the books coming in and was willing to go to war with the US because of it, then the US might prohibit the crossing from its side.

            It’s unfair, but it is not the US’s responsibility to protect free trade in Mexico, while it is the US’s responsibility to protect our rights and lives within the US.

            Does this mean that the US or Mexico state could rightfully prevent our peaceable trade?

            Everyone on your side likes to assume peace in their premise, but the fact that achieving peace and justice is uncertain and a struggle, is precisely what leads us to preemptively agree to positive obligations, which is what you keep ignoring in your analysis.

          • King Goat

            “who is aggressing in this case: the person using force to enter, or the person using force to keep them out?”

            In the liberal tradition the use of force needs to be justified (the default is that it’s wrong). Walking is usually not aggression. It can be if there’s something like a private property system and you’re walking through it against the rules of that system. If you think that’s the case with the migrant, then make that case, because I think the kind of ‘collective property’ premises that would rest on causes more issues than it solves for any political theory professing to be liberal.

            I can’t make sense out of your free trade answer. I’m talking about a majority of the people in the US deciding they don’t want to allow me to trade with Pedro, he wants to trade, I want to trade, but a majority of people think about our trade much like you, Mark and Danny seem to think about migration, namely that his books coming over the border threatens our liberties in some way (maybe they think the content of the books does this the way conservatives and feminists think about, say, violent pornography, or maybe they think this because it undermines booksellers/distributers in the US). When Pedro’s books come into our country they’ll be subject to the protections we give citizen’s property, so according to your theory my trade with Pedro has ‘increased the obligations’ and your theory seems to say that’s grounds for the rest of the people in our agreed nation to say no to it, right?

          • Lacunaria

            I think we differ in our conception of a “state”, which is causing confusion.

            As best I can tell, you (and others) view a state as a God-like abstract entity which must not violate any natural negative rights (as we all must not do) but which is also somehow obligated to defend our rights. There is no agreement and no compromise involved. A state just is.

            I view a state as a large outgrowth of a community, where we make positive obligations to each other in anticipation of violations in order to better secure our rights. There is some kind of agreement and compromise at the moral root of a state.

            I don’t assume that everyone perfectly consents to their state (which does affect the morality of their state), though immigration does indicate a degree of consent, as well as the freedom to exit.

            So, when you say, “should the state do this or do that?”, you are in part asking me what people should agree to. And I have an opinion on that. There is a moral ideal for a state.

            But that doesn’t mean that people can’t agree to something else and thereby form some obligation to that. Out of humility and necessity, we compromise. Now, I believe we have the right of exit, but that doesn’t mean such exit has to be easy.

            “Collective property” might not be the right term, but there is certainly some degree of compromise at our borders in exchange for mutual defense that is part of our state. Do you disagree?

            As applied to you and Pedro, I think states should protect your trade within their respective borders. If a mere majority can legitimately outlaw your trade, then you have three options:

            (1) You can accept their decision. In this case, you decide that the benefits of your state are still worth the costs, even though you think they are unjust in this case. You fight within the system and bear the unjust burden yourself of not being able to trade those books in the meantime.

            (2) You can operate a black market. In this case, your property and other rights are unwittingly protected by the majority, which is unfair, but it will not be protected if it is caught and in the meantime you get to trade books, which is fair. So, it’s a mix.

            (3) You can move to or form another community/state that protects free trade. To the extent that that is not possible, then that is greater moral justification for #2.

            #1 and #2 are the most common. #3 is the most moral option but it also puts the greatest burden on you. Ancaps theorize the elimination of that burden. I’m not so sure that is possible because compromises seem inevitable to me in reality. But it is still a useful ideal.

            When Pedro’s books come into our country they’ll be subject to the protections we give citizen’s property, so according to your theory my trade with Pedro has ‘increased the obligations’ and your theory seems to say that’s grounds for the rest of the people in our agreed nation to say no to it, right?

            The minority can still “say” yes to it, but if they agreed to the rules, then they do have some obligation to choose either #1 or #3 rather than defraud the majority with #2. Nevertheless, depending upon the circumstances, #2 might still be justifiable.

            Feel free to consolidate our threads. I had already written most of this so I decided to finish it.

          • King Goat

            I’m going to take your polite offer (and thank you for it) to consolidate out threads here.

            You ask here and below about my concept of the state as you see this as the main sticking point. I’ll try to answer here: I think the chief moral rule is not to initiate force against another (or perhaps, don’t engage in behavior which you know or should know will lead to physical harm to others). You could say we have a right not to have force initiated against us (and a corresponding duty not to do it to others) or that it’s the best utilitarian rule, etc..

            Sadly, there are going to be people in the world who won’t live by this rule, so, as you speak of, people might form groups to protect themselves from such people or, in other words, to secure these rights. The state formed from this does *not* create rights, it recognizes them and pledges to protect those of its members. The state cannot (in a moral sense) violate these rights-either of its members or non-members. They’re what might be called ‘human rights,’ universal, ‘all men’ in the (sexist) words of the DOI have them. So, if a member is in the group’s territory or outside of the territory, the state has a duty to work to secure their rights. It doesn’t have the same duty to work to secure the rights of a non-member out of the territory, but it does have a duty not to violate the rights non-members it comes into contact with, and this would include migrants coming across its borders. Migrants peaceably entering through public venues are not initiating force, they can’t be said to be acting in a way involving a high risk of rather direct, particularized, imminent harm to others-so their right to move cannot be restricted by the threat of force.

            So what of risk? There are times when someone is not yet initiating force against another but the risk of them doing so is quite high. They’re walking around juggling vials of nitro glycerine for example, or they’re screaming fire! in a crowded theater. Force can be used to restrict those kind of things. But things that are more tenuously connected to the harm of others, that can’t be restricted.

            So, let’s take some things we’ve been talking about. Pedro and I want to trade with each other. Unless the trade can be shown to involve a very high, direct, particularized, imminent risk of physical harm to others, then my (and Pedro’s) state can’t (and I mean ‘can’t’ as in ‘can’t in compliance with what’s right or with my or our rights’) restrict it. Likewise, if I want to publish violent, gory or pornographic speech, unless it can be shown to involve a very high, direct, particularized, imminent risk of physical harm to others, then the state can’t restrict it.

          • Lacunaria

            Sadly, there are going to be people in the world who won’t live by this rule, so, as you speak of, people might form groups to protect themselves from such people or, in other words, to secure these rights. The state formed from this does *not* create rights, it recognizes them and pledges to protect those of its members.

            How does a state “pledge”? I mean, people are the only ones who can “pledge”, right?

            And what is that protection in exchange for? Taxes? Some compromise on how defense of those rights occur?

          • King Goat

            I hate to answer your question with another one, but when, as in our Constitutions (both state and federal), the state is restricted from, say, abridging the freedom or speech or infringing the right to keep and bear arms, who is being restricted? That’s who is pledged I’d say. And why does it or they do it? A sense of duty and/or paycheck (which comes from taxes). I should note here, immigrants, at least documented ones (and I’d like them all to be documented when admitted under a more open border policy), will pay taxes.

          • Lacunaria

            I hate to answer your question with another one, but when, as in our Constitutions (both state and federal), the state is restricted from, say, abridging the freedom of speech or infringing the right to keep and bear arms, who is being restricted?

            Agents of the state.

            That’s who is pledged I’d say. And why does it or they do it? A sense of duty and/or paycheck (which comes from taxes).

            So, you view the state as being voluntarily employed by the people?

            How do you justify taxes?

            To the extent that taxes are justifiable, I justify them as part of an exchange, but you avoid that line of reasoning by not answering those questions.

            Based upon the logic that you have presented, isn’t the state violating people’s negative right to property by taxing them?

          • King Goat

            “but you avoid that line of reasoning by not answering those questions.”

            I do? I think, at least in theory, people pay taxes for things like police protection. That’s why if an immigrant enters we can justly have them pay taxes too while they are here.

            “isn’t the state violating people’s negative right to property by taxing them?”

            Perhaps, but if this is a necessary evil it doesn’t justify any further state action violating rights.

          • Lacunaria

            “but you avoid that line of reasoning by not answering those questions.”

            I do?

            Yes, you skip over my questions regarding compromising on threat determination, handling, and restrictions for mutual defense. You ignore my questions regarding whether potential immigrants should get a say in that compromise since it affects them. You ignore that the state is an agreement amongst the people and for the people, not for foreigners.

            I think, at least in theory, people pay taxes for things like police protection.

            Sure, but why is that justifiable? Maybe I’d rather defend myself, or maybe the police are corrupt or doing a bad job or charge too much or I’d simply rather pay someone else to do that job.

            “isn’t the state violating people’s negative right to property by taxing them?”

            Perhaps, but if this is a necessary evil it doesn’t justify any further state action violating rights.

            So forcing payment of lax cops is a necessary evil? How do you determine what is and what is not a necessary evil?

          • King Goat

            “You ignore that the state is an agreement amongst the people and for the people, not for foreigners.”

            That’s a non sequitur (or maybe begging the question), isn’t it?

            “How do you determine what is and what is not a necessary evil?”

            People have natural rights, these rights are universal, human rights. States can be formed to secure people within their jurisdiction’s rights, that is, prevent the violation of rights by bad actors, and this is paid for by taxes charged to all within their jurisdiction, but states are not to violate people’s rights (their only justification after all is that they secure those rights). That minimal level of rights violation that is necessary to operate a state which then protects rights generally is a necessary evil, and it’s a line which must be constantly and vigorously policed.

          • Lacunaria

            It could be begging the question if you want to argue that the state is inherently just or that foreigners should have a say in it.

            So, your view is that consent is irrelevant and the state must minimally violate rights in order to protect rights. Is that about it?

            But rights violations increase when high risk individuals immigrate. What about minimizing those rights violations? How do you pick which ones are ok to violate?

        • Sergio Méndez

          The liberal theory of rights does not selectively decides what people has rights based on their nationality…They are UNIVERSAL, inalienable and not “given away by some state”. Their lies the whole problem with your approach.

          • Lacunaria

            And how are you going to secure your rights?

  • TheBrett

    Wouldn’t this just shift the restrictions on mobility to a lower level? I’ve read posts from libertarians arguing for “private cities” along with open borders. But if private cities can impose restrictions on residency and mobility within their areas, and broaden those, then all you’ve done is balkanized immigration restrictions.

  • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

    Apropos of our continuing discussion. Woman set on fire in Pakistan for rejecting a marriage proposal: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/01/asia/pakistan-woman-fire-death/. Not a one-off. From the article: “In 2015, police formally investigated 76 cases of women being set on fire, according to the commission’s latest report.” This of course in on top of the many other types of horrific crimes inflicted on women there. Most crucially, perhaps, it is only the existence of widely shared social beliefs and practices that enable such abuse. I do not wish to live within the same borders as those who practice or condone this barbarism in the name of a false “liberalism.”

    • King Goat

      Apropos of our discussion, teen that went on four day killing spree seems to have been inspired by the film, The Purge. Not a one off-many acts of violence have been linked to inspiration from books, movies, video games (for a review of an extensive social scientific literature on the latter see Justice Breyer’s dissent in Brown v. Entertainment Merchant’s Ass’n). This of course on type of many other horrific crimes inflicted on others inspired by books, movies, etc. (such as rape-pornography). I do not wish to live within the same borders as those where such speech is allowed to inspire such acts, in the name of a false “liberalism.”*

      *of course I’m mocking Mark’s argument here by showing its similarity to nearly every effort to restrict basic liberties, I actually believe in strong speech rights

      • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

        ^ [This is my personal troll. I think he has a little too much time on his hands, as he follows me around BHL like a lost puppy dog, commenting on my comments. I am trying to discourage this, as I don’t have the patience to train him not to soil the carpet. Thus, I am now activating troll counter-measures…]

        Hey, Barnyard Animal, did I happen to mention that my Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World: The Politics of Natural Rights (Bloomsbury, 2015) received a really positive review in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, http://interpretationjournal.com/backissues/Vol_42_3.pdf. My favorite part is this (p.489):

        It would be misleading, however, to suggest that Friedman simply speaks to shared beliefs. He often offers arguments that are remarkably lucid, succinct, and thorough, and he is honest when he does not know how to solve a problem.

        Was that also your favorite? If you ask your Mommy really nice, perhaps she’ll loan you the money to buy a copy. BTW, I’m still looking for great stuff written by “King Goat,” but haven’t found it. Don’t fret, I’ll keep trying.

      • Lacunaria

        You are both right, but we have accepted the teen as our problem. The Pakistani is not our problem and we are not obligated to make him or his compatriots our problem.

        • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

          The pornographer is not responsible for what happens when moral agents view his work. The bastards setting woman on fire in Pakistan are also moral agents, and thus are culpable for these heinous acts, so KG’s mockery is really only self-mockery. But I agree that this is not our problem, and we are not obligated to let Pakistanis in if they represent too large a risk (many do IMHO).

          • Lacunaria

            I agree. I just meant to address the teen vs. the Pakistani and the relevance of borders.

          • King Goat

            The majority of potential Pakistani migrants who are not setting fire to women are also not responsible for what the minority who are do, yet you will use force to bar their entry as surely as my example would use force on the pornographer.

        • King Goat

          It’s not the teen I’m drawing the analogy to, it’s the speaker. The Pakistani immigrant at our border is ‘the problem’ for you, Danny, and Mark, the speaker is ‘the problem’ for those who think certain speech undermines the security of our liberties. If, as you say, the purpose of the state is to secure the rights of its members, then that includes dealing with perceived threats to those both foreign and domestic, no?

          • Lacunaria

            Yes, and even within the US, your negative rights to free speech and association do not create positive obligations for or to others.

            But immigration does create positive obligations.

            I’m curious, what do you suppose you are compromising when you agree to mutual defense and justice within a community?

          • King Goat

            “our negative rights to free speech and association do not create positive obligations for or to others.”

            According to those who want to ban speech of course they do. Their argument is: ‘dangerous’ speech inspires/influences/causes people like this teen to engage in horrible, rights endangering behaviors which must then be combatted by the police and such therefore increasing the positive burdens on us all. You seem to think a state can intervene at this point, no?

          • Lacunaria

            No, there is no increase in obligations with each speech, even if it does create more burdens due to being “dangerous”.

            (1) Despite your right to free speech, no one is innately obligated to defend it.

            (2) When a community (or state) does agree to defend free speech, then that creates a wholesale duty to each person within the community, even if some members or speeches turn out to be more of a burden than others. We’ve already committed to them.

            The question is, why should we include you in our mutual defense group if every indication is that you are going cause trouble for us?

          • King Goat

            Of course there’s an increase in obligations in securing liberties (as you call it). When the speaker speaks, if his speech does inspire all the negative consequences those who oppose it say it will, then those negative consequences have to be addressed by the state (whose job is, as you put it, to secure those liberties threatened by the speech), so the obligations are increased.

            Your point 2 just begs the question.

          • Lacunaria

            See, my answer to the question is rather easy. The state shouldn’t prohibit the speech because it causes no direct imminent harm. Ditto for the peaceable entry of migrants.

            I agree that, ideally, the state shouldn’t prohibit speech. Individuals shouldn’t prohibit speech, either, though in that case, it would presumably be categorized as assault or other property violation.

            But how will you secure those “shoulds” without making agreements (such as the state)?

            What you persist in ignoring is that what should and should not be done is not the same as what is and what is not secured. And here’s the key: we actually make compromises in order to secure our rights.

            For example, in terms of mutual defense, we have to come to some compromise on the rules, preparations, acts, threats, etc. I don’t get to determine unilaterally what is and what is not a threat anymore once we agree to mutual defense.

            How do you view mutual defense, including taxes, rules, threats, etc.?

            Your theory seems to have to look at what the social contract has agreed to.

            Our agreements absolutely affect our obligations. It’s an odd theory of individual liberty where that is not the case.

            It’s like you are simply assuming the benefits of justice and mutual defense without considering how that actually comes about.

            “why should we include you in our mutual defense group if every indication is that you are going cause trouble for us?”

            I’m glad you put it this way, because no one here is showing something like that level of certainty toward any individual migrant.

            By the logic you have put forth, even if there were a high degree of certainty, we would have to let him in. If they have not committed a crime, then we can watch them, like we can watch our own citizens if we suspect them, but we cannot prohibit their immigration.

            To you, rejecting an immigrant is tantamount to convicting them of a crime, correct? If not, what standard are you using and how do you justify it?

          • King Goat

            “To you, rejecting an immigrant is tantamount to convicting him of a crime, correct? ”

            Forcibly restricting peaceable activity, whether that right be free speech, freedom of movement or free trade, needs a strong justification. It needn’t rise to the level of criminal conviction-we might restrict the right to yell fire in a crowded theater because the risk there is so high of harm to others. Likewise, if a particular potential migrant has a history of and stated intent to harm others that could be grounds to restrict their entry. That’s not quite the same as criminal conviction though, which must come from an act, not a propensity (however strong).

            I’m not sure what to make of the rest of your reply here. You’ve said that freedom of movement of migrants can be restricted because it can be thought to increase the obligations of securing rights/liberties. In response to my point that a state which restricts freedom of movement could just as easily restrict free speech or trade, because the latter can arguably increase the obligations of securing rights/liberties too, you speak once again about the compromises inherent in the agreements made to create states to secure our rights/liberties. Are you conceding that restrictions on free speech or liberty just might also be part of the compromises made in any agreement to secure liberty? As my examples at the beginning of this comment indicate, I, and I think everyone, will agree that at some point restrictions on liberties might be justified. It just seems I’m taking a much higher bar, there has to be a particularized showing of a very high and reasonably certain risk of rather direct harm before a freedom can be restricted, while you seem to emphasize the needs of the state to restrict liberties to secure it (liberty) overall. You’re more Hobbes while I’m more Locke…

          • Lacunaria

            Likewise, if a particular potential migrant has a history of and stated intent to harm others that could be grounds to restrict their entry. That’s not quite the same as criminal conviction though, which must come from an act, not a propensity (however strong).

            So, you are agreeing with my assessment of your position that we must treat the immigrant’s entrance exactly the same as allowing a citizen back in or allowing movement within the US, correct?

            Are you conceding that restrictions on free speech or liberty just might also be part of the compromises made in any agreement to secure liberty?

            Yes. It may not be the most moral agreement that would best preserve their negative rights, so the state agreement *should* be different, but forming such an agreement does create *some* obligation to it. Otherwise, you are using fraud to get others to protect your rights even as they may also be violating some aspect of your rights.

            As my examples at the beginning of this comment indicate, I, and I think everyone, will agree that at some point restrictions on liberties might be justified.

            How do you justify that, and don’t we have to somehow agree on those restrictions?

            Does the immigrant have a say in our agreement on those restrictions? If not, why not?

            You’re more Hobbes while I’m more Locke…

            Haha, I hope not. 🙂 Though there is some degree of obligation to a social contract in my theory to the extent that others are agreeing to defend your rights on certain conditions.

            Do you think Locke would approve of forcing others to defend your rights even when you violate an agreement in that regard?

            Do you think you have a right to force others to secure your rights?

            I think we could make a lot of progress here if you would please answer how you think mutual defense agreements are actually formed and whether that positive obligation constitutes a compromise on taxes, threat determination and handling, etc.

            I’d be happy to consolidate our threads to this one.

    • Sergio Méndez

      “Underlying message to all women: “we (males) own you–better accept your fate.”

      I am glad you recognize the evil of patriarchy. Same goes with rape in the west (and in most parts of the planet). That still is not a justification to deprive all muslims (or males) of their political rights.

      • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

        Arguments have been presented, which you do not refute, that such a “right” does not exist.

        • Sergio Méndez

          You did not present an argument. You just presented news accompanied by a commentary about the widely held beliefs in Pakistan regarding the status of women. And I agree, Pakistan (as many muslim societies) has a terrible problem with patriarchy (and so do many other societies, including western ones, even if it is in a lesser degree). That still not an argument for denying men (and women who are the victims of such machism) their basic liberties (including the one emigrate to other countries to work and live in peace)

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Gee, maybe you could read the rest of the thread?

          • Sergio Méndez

            Geee….Maybe I was just responding to that specific commentary?

  • J.C. 75

    why does an immigrant have a “right” to go where the majority of a population do not want them, and/or what right do YOU have to claim your neighbors have no such right when the immigrant you favor bringing in will likely affect their property interest and/or the absolutely valid right, if one chooses, to remain an ethnic majority [let’s concede there is a racial element – this does not mean it is “wrong” or “hate” per se, notwithstanding Leftist twaddle on European or “white” nationalism/nativism].

    It is easy to be generous with the property, or country, of others…

    • King Goat

      A right to remain an ethnic majority? Could you flesh that out a bit?