Libertarian Party Monday Message: Don’t Blame Immigrants

Via email and LP blog:

Dear Friend of Liberty,

The recent legislation in Arizona has put immigration back in the news.

The Libertarian Party has a long history of defending immigration. Our website has an article discussing immigration. I think that if there’s a problem with massive illegal immigration, then one of the best solutions is to make legal immigration easier.

From an economic point of view, immigrants are an asset, not a liability. Business owners usually understand that, but politicians often either don’t understand or don’t care. In an environment of fear, which is where many politicians seem to want to keep us, they use immigrants (both legal and illegal) as scapegoats so they can duck blame for problems caused by too much government. Republican George W. Bush gave us the enormously expensive Medicare prescription entitlement. Republican Senator John McCain famously put his 2008 presidential campaign on hold to rush back to Washington to bail out failed banks and businesses. When times are tough, focusing on immigrants helps distract from these homegrown threats to our economy.

Perhaps I have a soft spot in my heart for immigrants and foreigners. I’ve traveled extensively and lived overseas. I worked for six months in South Africa and was welcomed by blacks and whites into their communities. I’ve spent over six months of my life traveling throughout Mexico. Recently having lived in Texas, I’ve met and worked with a lot of Mexican nationals who were in Texas working hard in the construction industry. I can imagine that if I’d been born in Mexico or Central America, and the American immigration laws were so convoluted, I’d have found my way around them one way or another.

I realize immigration, legal and illegal, is a controversial issue both for Americans in general and for Libertarians. Obviously, some immigrants take advantage of our welfare system. (That’s one more reason to get rid of government welfare.) And some immigrants commit violent crimes. (That’s one more reason to get rid of victimless crime laws that waste police effort and fill up our prisons with people who haven’t hurt anyone.) However, those aren’t good reasons to stop people from coming to America. America was founded by immigrants, many of whom were escaping economic and religious oppression. I think support for immigrants, many of whom are poor and honest, shows our humanitarian side to those who want to characterize Libertarians as uncaring individualists.

I’m also very concerned that the immigration debate will be used as an excuse to impose a National ID card. (Let me see your papers!)

Now is the time to stand up for liberty. We must not let the federal government use immigration restrictions as a sneaky way to crack down on all Americans and take away our freedoms.

See this Cato study on the economic effects of immigration reform.

Sincerely,

Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

247 thoughts on “Libertarian Party Monday Message: Don’t Blame Immigrants

  1. Timothy Yung

    I agree that this law goes too far. But one of the reasons why I am never going to join to the Libertarian Party is that the LP supports open-borders. Pure Libertarians don’t accept the concept of nation-states. I don’t blame illegals for coming here I blame politicians like George W. Bush for refusing to have any border security.

  2. Solomon Drek

    It’s refreshing to see that once in a while the Libertarian Party actually sounds like a libertarian party rather than a billboard for rightwing talking points and “tea party” xenophobia.

  3. Bruce Cohen

    I’m in full disagreement with Mister Benedict.

    And, in fact, I think it was a calculated effort on his part to change the face of the LP.

    Many good Libertarians are against illegal immigration, against amnesty and for controlling our borders.

    Without being the least racist.

    I seem to remember Ron Paul being for controlling illegal immigration, no?

    I’m a Libertarian and have been since 1979.
    And I’m against ‘Open Borders’.

    I do want to protect what we have here in all respects and check who is coming in.

    I am for making it far easier for the folks we want to come in, and far more difficult for folks we don’t want to come in.

    And, I do think it’s the responsibility of the Federal Government to police and control our borders so people with bad intent or communicable diseases don’t come in without our knowledge.

    Wes does not speak for me or for at least 50% of the LP Street.

  4. Matt Cholko

    Bruce – reread the Monday Message. You’re not in complete disagreement, at least based on what you said in your comment. Maybe 50% disagreement.

  5. Brian Holtz

    Gary, what entitles you to invite arbitrarily many people to come and pollute/deplete/congest the natural resources where I live, and to free-ride on the public goods (streets, pipes, dams, justice system) I’ve helped pay for?

    Migration of persons should be without constraints, provided that migrants 1) do not trespass, 2) pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, and 3) are sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children.

  6. Brian Holtz

    The LP Platform currently says: “We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.”

    The 2010 PlatCom report (preview here) recommends changing this to: “We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Economic freedom demands movement of goods and capital across national borders. We support prohibiting entry into our country of those foreign nationals posing a credible threat to security, health or property. We invite those not requiring public assistance to come to our country to embrace the American dream.”

  7. "Big Tent" Always Expanded Rightward

    Classic Libertarianism 101 was ZERO foreign intervention (NO foreign aid, NO war), and OPEN BORDERS.

    Okay, so maybe we need to be a “Big Tent” and “moderate” the LP’s views.

    But why is the “Big Tent” always expanded rightward? Why must only the pro-war and anti-immigrant factions (Cohen and Holtz) be placated?

    Yes, I know the LP is pro-gay marriage and anti-drug war. But that has always been so. Why not expand the “Big Tent” leftward to balance its rightward expansion?

    Let’s balance Republican Lite policies with Democrat Lite policies.

    If some war and some immigration control are okay with Cohen and Holtz, why should the LP not support some tax increases to fund some social programs?

    If a pro-war, anti-immigrant person can still be a libertarian in good standing, surely a pro-tax, pro-socialized health care person can also be a libertarian in good standing.

  8. Brian Holtz

    No libertarian can favor war for war’s sake. But a libertarian can favor war to depose tyranny and close a safe harbor for terrorists.

    No libertarian can oppose the right to migrate based simply on the migrant’s nationality. But a libertarian can oppose trespass and free-riding.

    No libertarian can support taxing someone’s peaceful labor to finance handouts to someone else. But a libertarian can support taxing aggression (such as pollution) and paying the proceeds to the victims.

    And if some of the victims want to spend their share on health care, that doesn’t make the arrangement un-libertarian.

    I’m a green-/geo-libertarian. That’s a flavor of left-libertarianism, not right. I would be happy to see the LP move to the Left by embracing the Free Earth Manifesto, but the LP isn’t ready yet.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    As a geo-libertarian, how much ground rent do you think that you and those who agree with you should pay to the 5.x billion people whom you propose to exclude from 3.8 million square miles of land?

  10. Robert Capozzi

    tk, as a geo-L-leaner, you’ve put your why I don’t sign on to the Geo school. Even if one buys the ground rent construct, there is the practical matter of making the transition to it. How that could be done is not obvious, but my guess is it’s more appropriately done at the state level, if at all.

    I would support a pollution tax to replace one or even all federal taxes, with SS being the obvious choice for me. Even if it were revenue neutral, it would put us on a path of reducing coercion, including PRIVATE coercion (i.e., polluting). A huge blow for liberty, IMO.

    And that would be a MAJOR step toward expanding the L tent leftward, since green is generally considering a left issue.

    Of course, in my case, I prefer to see the LP being the dovish peace party, also left leaning.

  11. Eric Dondero

    Did anybody catch the part above where Benedict says, essentially, if there’s a problem with crime from illegals, just legalize it?

    Well, yeah, if it pertains to the War on Drugs.

    But what about Cop Killers? What about those who violate Property Rights.

    The War on Drugs is just one aspect of the problem with Illegal Immigration. The bigger crime problem is murder of police offices, and even individuals (remember the infamous train killer, illegal alien from Mexico, who killed 11 Americans?) , and those who are trampling on the property of South Texas and other Border Stae ranchers (the rancher who was just murdered by an illegal in AZ).

  12. Robert Capozzi

    ed, Benedict is making an opportunity cost argument here: “(That’s one more reason to get rid of victimless crime laws that waste police effort and fill up our prisons with people who haven’t hurt anyone.)”

    IOW, to the extent that illegal, undocumented immigrants commit violent crimes, one way to check violent crime (by citizens and immigrants alike) is to repoint law enforcement at violent crime rather than victimless crime, the latter of which is a poor use of resources on many levels.

  13. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I don’t believe in empire or world government. Compensation to others for polluting/depleting/congesting/monopolizing a natural commons you share with them should be administered at the most-local level that is consistent with justice.

    Of all the natural resources in question, land is the one where impairing the access of others can be policed most locally. If you put up a fence in the mountains in Colorado, it doesn’t necessarily impair the natural land-access needs of people in Australia, or even in Mexico. But if you pollute a river like the Colorado, or deplete an aquifer like the Ogallala, or take too many migratory fish or game, or deplete the ozone layer, or congest the best orbits, it can impair the rights of people much farther away.

    Local jurisdictions for administering justice and land access should address such issues by confederating, or (better yet) by entering into special-purpose treaties.

  14. JT

    Timothy: “I agree that this law goes too far. But one of the reasons why I am never going to join to the Libertarian Party is that the LP supports open-borders. Pure Libertarians don’t accept the concept of nation-states. I don’t blame illegals for coming here I blame politicians like George W. Bush for refusing to have any border security.”

    The LP platform, in fact, does not endorse completely open borders. Part of plank 3.4:
    “However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.” That implies some minimal control (like a blood test and a criminal background check) to deny criminals or people with communicable diseases.

    What the LP rejects is trying to forcibly deny peaceful and non-infectious people who can get here to enter the country and become legal citizens. The LP wants to dispense with ethnic quotas and a lengthy bureaucratic process, which would remove the incentive to come here illegally. The economic study from Cato documents well the immense overall economic benefit that immigrants provide, in addition to the moral benefit of not initiating physical force against peaceful, nonthreatening people.

  15. Geno Canto del Halcon

    Immigration is one of those issues that readily distinguishes real libertarians from those who fail to understand that you cannot really have freedom unless you are willing to give it to others (with a thank you to Dick Boddie).

    I applaud Wes Benedict for his Monday message, and, to all of you who agree with Wes, I strongly encourage you to be in St. Louis at the end of May.

    Immigration reform that encourages people from other lands to become American citizens, and contribute to the rich fabric of our culture, is what we need; fences will fail just like the Great Wall of Zhongua and Hadrian’s wall, too.

    We need to spend a few dollars on trying to distinguish criminals from those who simply come to the USA seeking opportunity and a better life. Fences will fail.

    We need to defend our borders against those who want to do us harm, not those who just want a better life. Fences will fail.

    We need to celebrate our diversity, not sink back into the abyss of racism; help our new immigrants integrate into and understand our country. Fences will fail.

    And, to the racists among you who think I believe this way because of my Spanish name – I’m a native-born, forth generation US citizen. Admit it – it’s what some of you were thinking.

  16. Brian Holtz

    Here are five propositions about human migration that cannot all be believed simultaneously:

    1. Technology will continue to drive the costs (in money as well as social disconnection) of emigration dramatically lower.
    2. Societies with significantly more economic liberty will continue to grow dramatically more prosperous than other societies, increasing their attractiveness as immigration destinations.
    3. People living in such prosperous societies are reasonable to expect something better than the subsistence labor markets and ubiquitous squalor typical of economically unfree societies.
    4. Charity (whether public or private) can and should maintain America’s current effective minimum living standards (which are extravagant by global standards).
    5. Immigration of peaceful honest people to America should be unrestricted.

    Nobody can seriously dispute (1) or (2). If you accept (5), then you have to reject (3) and/or (4). I’ve never heard of an open-borders advocate with the stones to explicitly do so. Unless you walk daily past homeless beggars (e.g. in San Francisco), to be an open-borders advocate in modern America is to free-ride on the willingness of others to defend your quality of life.

  17. Pingback: Some Libertarian thinking on immigration « OntheWilderSide

  18. None Shall Pass

    Where does a person get the right to point a gun at another and say you may not go from there to here?

    BH@12 Your image is hillarious like just about everything I have seen you post. However, it is also rather untruthful.

    Shanty towns are not a result of unchecked immigration and lack of planning. They arise from fences and guns. There are plenty of zoning laws and restricted immigration in the US… everywhere. But still Colonias are not just a phenom found on the Mexican side of the border.

    People not allowed to participate in the economy: People not allowed to purchase water or electricity; people that are not allowed to bank or participate in a distributed credit market; people who may not work for an honest wage; people who are corralled by guns and fences create shantytowns.

    Brazil’s favalas are the same. They originated as “temporary” settlements. Government denied them connection to services and has ever since. The repression of economy in the brazilian favelas still continues with the same bent. In an effort to “clean up” the area, the favelas are torn down and people displaced, services are not allowed to be connected because it would only “encourage growth”.

    Townships in South Africa were created by laws passed in the creation of apartheid. Other shanty towns in africa form at the borders of conflict states where armed men stop people fleeing from violence and corral them.

    Where ever you find a shanty town you find guns, fences and the rule of unjust law creating them.

  19. JT

    I don’t follow your logic, Brian. It seems as though you’re smuggling in the premises that immigrants cause lower living standards and squalor and rely on handouts. If true, then you’re wrong about immigrants on the whole.

    Yes, there are some immigrants who only rely on handouts, just as there are some that commit crimes. They’re both a small fraction of the whole. The vast majority of immigrants work hard for themselves and their families and pay more in taxes than they ever get. Many of them (though certainly not all) do jobs that don’t command high wages but still need to be done. The great economic value of as much labor as possible–at all levels of productivity–is such common knowledge in economics that it’s practically beyond scholarly dispute. Check out various studies by Cato on the subject.

  20. Immigrants Create Wealth

    JT: Brian. It seems as though you’re smuggling in the premises that immigrants cause lower living standards and squalor and rely on handouts.”

    I remember when a common Libertarian 101 talking point was: Immigrants create wealth.

    What ever happened to such classic libertarian views in the LP?

    * Immigrants create wealth.

    * War is the health of the state.

    * Smash the welfare/warfare state.

    * States have no rights. Only individuals have rights.

    You don’t hear those sort of sentiments too much in today’s LP. Increasingly, the LP is becoming the Republican Lite party.

  21. David F. Nolan

    I can’t help but suspect that Bruce Cohen is attacking Wes Benedict because Bruce’s idol, Wayne Root, wants to fire Wes and and they’re trying to create a phony groundswell of anti-Benedict sentiment. Wes is certainly not perfect, but he’s the best E.D. the Libertarian Party has had in quite some time,

  22. Brian Holtz

    None Shall Pass writes: Where does a person get the right to point a gun at another and say you may not go from there to here?

    As a geolibertarian I say: excellent question! What is your answer for fences and “keep out” signs and crosses planted on sandy beaches claiming land for some distant king?

    Allodial libertarians advocate absolute soveriegnty over a parcel for the first person strong enough to exclude all others, but effectively deny people the right to protect local natural resources and public goods from overuse / free-riding by economic refugees.

    Geolibertarians advocate advocate insitutionalized protection of local natural resources and public goods from overuse / free-riding by economic refugees, but deny there is a right to absolutely exclude all people from a parcel just because you were (or transacted with) the first person strong enough to do so.

    So I’ll see you and raise you, and say that if we’re going to erase all borders around any natural commons, then let’s also erase all borders around personal kingdoms. :-) However, I think both ideas conflict with basic facts about human territoriality and the non-excludability of the resources on which we depend.

    JT, you are smuggling in the assumption that the numbers and self-sufficiency of immigrants to America wouldn’t change much if all immigration restrictions were eliminated. If I thought that, I’d advocate open borders too. I again invite you to either claim that all five propositions @26 are consistent, or identify the one(s) you don’t defend. Until you do, you are not engaging my argument.

  23. wolfefan

    Hi Eric – with respect, I think you’re mis-representing what Wes wrote. Nowhere does he imply that violent crime should be legalized. Nowhere does he “essentially” say that it should be legal to kill police officers.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    none: Where does a person get the right to point a gun at another and say you may not go from there to here?

    me: Or, what gives a person the “right” to leave his/her property?

    Is there such a thing as “trespassing,” and if so, can a trespasser be escorted off another’s property through use or threat of force?

    If you want to get back to Square One, let’s REALLY get back, Jo Jo.

  25. Bruce Cohen

    David@32:

    I have not discussed any of this with Wayne.
    My message about Wes was not coordinated with anyone.

    My sentiments are exactly as I expressed, regardless of any outside political considerations.

    I disagree with how he is performing as ED, and don’t like how he has been rude to friends of mine who have called him on the phone to discuss some of these ‘position papers’ he’s passing off as everyday email communications.

    But if David wants to imagine something more, fine. It says far more about his thought process than it does mine.

  26. None Shall Pass

    BH@33
    “Allodial libertarians advocate absolute soveriegnty over a parcel for the first person strong enough to exclude all others”

    and

    “Geolibertarians advocate advocate insitutionalized protection of local natural resources and public goods from…”

    Both solutions wholly look to the use of force for a solution to man’s territorial pissing. As a presumption this is a little myopic. The base solution for most problems of man’s base instincts (murder, violence, rape) are not handled after someone’s rights are violated it is handled before there is a problem with people’s common understanding of respect.

    I think that the immigration issue is a good one to illustrate the need for our sometimes concentrating on general cultural mores over specifics of law or theory. Laws do not prevent people from doing bad things, they deal with the consequences. It is cultural understandings of respect that do most of the prevention of bad deeds.

    I think we get lost in the finer points of theory and forget the needs of men where there is common ground for finding solutions for easements and accessibility. Whether there is an alloidal approach or a Georgist approach, the rights of men to move about must also be respected. With either approach there must be respect for the usage or ownership of resources.

    Libertarians can be proactive from the other side, promoting respect for both without needling the details. Culture and understanding are that which shapes how men interact far more than law and we should be educating on that front before trying to engage how force may be justly applied.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    none: Laws do not prevent people from doing bad things, they deal with the consequences. It is cultural understandings of respect that do most of the prevention of bad deeds.

    me: Hmm, yes, it’s true that laws don’t generally “prevent.” However, I’m one L who’s a-OK with laws that SIGNAL to the population what is respectful behavior and what isn’t. Murder isn’t respectful, perhaps most know that, yet they do it anyway. If the laws against murder CODIFY and SIGNAL, hey, those considering murder: Don’t do it!

    That can evolve, seems to me. We used to perhaps not realize that dumping chemicals into the environment was disrespectful, and people did it with impugnity. Now we have laws that say you can’t do it as much. HOW that’s being signalled is not optimized IMO, but I take some solace that it’s at least being done to some extent. How it SHOULD be signaled gets very gray, and of course some Ls seem to think it’s perfectly OK to spew chemicals and, to the extent it isn’t, torts is the appropriate remedy.

    I’m not seeing it as a plausible remedy, given that the cause and effect are not localized and specific.

    The upshot: Old-school L-ism needs its premises checked. This is especially so with complex issues like immigration and the environment.

    IMO.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    make that: Murder isn’t respectful, perhaps most know that, yet a few do it anyway.

  29. Brian Holtz

    None Shall Pass, I do “respect the rights of [people] to move about”. I just say that as they do it, 1) they may not trespass, 2) they may not pollute/deplete/congest the natural commons of where they migrate to, and 3) they may not free-ride on the public goods (e.g. charity) available there.

    With which of these three principles do you disagree? Also, please either a) tell me which of the five propositions @26 you dispute, or b) explain how you could believe all five at the same time.

    Until you do these things, I just don’t understand how/where you disagree with me. We all agree “there must be respect for the usage or ownership of resources”, but if you want to get from there to completely open borders, you’re going to have to show your work.

    I appreciate your recognition that force is involved in both geo- and allodial libertarian prescriptions for resource usage. I think the core problem is analyzing when/whether the force in question is initiated or defensive. “Promoting respect” sounds vaguely good, but I didn’t feel a lot of respect when your first sentence read: “Where does a person get the right to point a gun at another and say you may not go from there to here?” :-)

  30. JT

    Brian: “JT, you are smuggling in the assumption that the numbers and self-sufficiency of immigrants to America wouldn’t change much if all immigration restrictions were eliminated.”

    The number would certainly change if immigration restrictions were eliminated (though I don’t advocate letting in criminals or infectious people, so I don’t favor “open borders”). There would obviously be more immigrants than now if that were the case. That doesn’t bother me because I know immigrants as a whole are a huge economic benefit and not a drawback, and I don’t mind other cultural celebrations, languages, or customs.

    The ratio of self-sufficient to non-self sufficient immigrants probably wouldn’t change much. The vast majority who come in *illegally* now, as I said, are already productive, peaceful people, and not criminals or welfare queens. I think the welfare state should also end though.

    Brian: “I again invite you to either claim that all five propositions @26 are consistent, or identify the one(s) you don’t defend. Until you do, you are not engaging my argument.”

    Okay, I’ll play along. Props. 1, 2, and 5 (except for people with communicable deadly disease) are true.

    Regarding Prop. 4, “people living in such prosperous societies are reasonable to expect something better than the subsistence labor markets and ubiquitous squalor typical of economically unfree societies.” People in America do expect that because that’s the way it is now. There are some very low labor markets (though the minimum wage is in effect) and some areas of squalor that exist now.

    I’m not sure I understand the phrasing of Prop. 5. “Charity should maintain America’s current effective minimum living standards?” I guess if you mean that individuals who are incapable of working for themselves because of their unusual mental or physical condition should rely on family, friends, and charities to live, then yes. Those are a tiny percentage of people.

    So draw the logical conclusion for me, because I’m not seeing what it proves about immigrants (both legal and illegal) who generally work hard, are peaceful people, and pay more in taxes than they receive from government.

  31. None Shall Pass

    RC@38
    I understand what you mean by laws “signaling” where the lines are, and I understand the psychological mechanisms there. I think that when we think of laws as signals though, we turn the individual upside down to law in terms of the possessor of responsibility.

    That is: When the law sets what is “right” rather than reflect that which is right, people lose ownership of “rightness”*. Also the law creates hard barriers to situations that it does not predict.

    When rights are violated on one side only, the law is most useful in finding justice. It is not so easy though when two rights collide. When rights collide, the solution needs to be subjective and law does not do this well.

    Tort resolution and peer review of situations are “better” at finding justice when two individuals need help in negotiating respect for each other.

    * The platonic concept of “cupness” was battled by Diogenes and if it is OK I would like to avoid a repeat of their semantic argument over the nature of “rightness” if we can.

    BH@various:
    “Here are five propositions about human migration that cannot all be believed simultaneously:

    1. Technology will continue to drive the costs (in money as well as social disconnection) of emigration dramatically lower.
    2. Societies with significantly more economic liberty will continue to grow dramatically more prosperous than other societies, increasing their attractiveness as immigration destinations.
    3. People living in such prosperous societies are reasonable to expect something better than the subsistence labor markets and ubiquitous squalor typical of economically unfree societies.
    4. Charity (whether public or private) can and should maintain America’s current effective minimum living standards (which are extravagant by global standards).
    5. Immigration of peaceful honest people to America should be unrestricted.

    Nobody can seriously dispute (1) or (2). If you accept (5), then you have to reject (3) and/or (4).”

    I do not buy that 3 and 5 are at all linked. We are not at all near limits for harvesting or production. Nor do I think that those limits exist in the bigger picture.

    (I digress from the main point here for illustration. Please do not whack on my purposeful and constructive use of hyperbole) The universe is a big place and while getting out of the gravity well is expensive, the political barriers to resource exploration and production are far more prevalent than the temporal barriers. This is true also with terrestrial resources.

    I do not understand, or maybe do not accept #4 as written. Charity is an individual choice, not a social one. I do not believe that charity as “I” might define it exists in a collective.

    #5 I disagree with the approach of the statement. I cannot justify drawing a line and saying “none shall pass” or even “some shall pass”. I cannot justify either trying to set rules for what peaceful or honest looks like as a preemptive or predictive trigger. I do not believe that such decisions can be made with justice.

    People move about seeking opportunity. The presumption that they move about with the intent of robbing, raping, and murdering is paranoia. To elevate the idea to relevance in a discussion of immigration justice smacks of emotional manipulation; the type used by evil people to control those that they consider their chattel.

    I understand that you present it as an illustration of the matrix of beliefs or disbelief of differing people. On a practical level finding justice for people, I ignore it as noise to the real problem. It is illusionist fear and I would combat it with empathy, truth and culture not law or punishment.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    none: That is: When the law sets what is “right” rather than reflect that which is right, people lose ownership of “rightness”*. Also the law creates hard barriers to situations that it does not predict.

    me: Yes, I believe we agree. Law should REFLECT commonly understood virtue, not be edicts handed down from on high, i.e., the political class. And, yes, of course many, probably most, laws have unintended consequences.

    As a lessarchist, I’d like to winnow-away laws that amount to political-class edicts, reducing the number of laws and the size of the State substantially, even dramatically over time. I would keep the respectful laws that signal in place and have a smaller State to enforce those laws.

    There may come a day when even State-enforcement would not be necessary. For that to evolve, non-State peacekeeping mechanisms would need to develop so as to maintain some semblance of domestic tranquility.

    Illegal, undocumented immigration does not have a bright-line solution. I certainly favor relaxing current quotas, all else equal. I don’t have a particular problem with deporting those who’ve broken the laws, however. Yet, politically, I do not suggest that the LP adopt advocacy of harsh tactics to “cleanse” the nation of those who’ve come into our nation in an undocumented manner. In this case, moderation and centrism is the optimal positioning for Ls, especially because we’re very divided on this issue ourselves. We certainly don’t want to sound like Rush Limbaugh on this one.

    There’s a season for all things, and this issue ain’t in season for Ls, as I see it. I say let agri-business and the hard right fight this one out, we’ve got a State to dismantle.

  33. Brian Holtz

    The ratio of self-sufficient to non-self sufficient immigrants probably wouldn’t change much.

    That’s where we disagree. Begging on the streets in America is far more profitable than begging on the streets of Mexico City or any other third-world city. Inviting all the planet’s economic refugees to America would probably double our population in a decade. At what equilibrium would the tsunami of economic refugees stop? Only when the expected increase in one’s living standards became less than the cost of the travel. And travel is cheap and keeps on getting cheaper.

    I repeat the conditions I would impose on migrants: 1) they must not trespass, 2) they must pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, and 3) they must be sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children. Which of these conditions do you disagree with?

  34. Brian Holtz

    The presumption that they move about with the intent of robbing, raping, and murdering is paranoia.

    Strawman. I merely presume that most of the world’s billions of poor people would leap at the chance to be poor in America, because it’s all upside modulo the cost of travel.

    I agree that the problem is a political one, not a final-resource-limit one. (I’m a big Julian Simon fan, and I think the only real resource constraint on Earth’s population is heat pollution from our energy budget.) I don’t advocate limits on migration beween areas that are roughly equal in economic freedom, because those areas will already be in migratory equilibrium.

    Torts alone can’t solve the negative-externalities problems of modern societies. Never have, never will. More at http://libertarianmajority.net/can-torts-police-all-negative-externalities

  35. Alexander S. Peak

    When I was young, and in that phase where I was not yet a libertarian but not exactly a liberal either, I decided to look at the LP platform, and I liked what I saw.

    Naturally, nobody ever reads a party’s platform front to back. That’s not the point of a platform. The GOP and the Democratic Party both have extremely long platforms, and of course no one reads them thoroughly.

    What people do is they check the issues that are of particular interest to them. Since my two biggest issues were anti-censorship and anti-racism, I naturally checked the LP platform’s positions on censorship and (since there was no plank dealing with racism per se) on immigration. I thought both were perfect. I also checked a few other stances the party held. This is what drew me in initially. I can honestly say that I would never have joined the LP if it had had some other policy.

    I’m glad to see the LP is still standing up for open immigration, freedom of association, freedom of contract, and property rights. Central planning of human migration is a threat to these things, one that we should never condone, as individuals or as a party. I am proud to be a member of a political party that does not advocate some shameful regulatory policy on human migration.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  36. Born Again Non-Voter

    Brian Holtz: “1) they must not trespass”,

    So you mean they must not trespass on your personal property? Sure, I agree.

    Or do you mean that they must not trespass into “your” country?

  37. JT

    Brian: “That’s where we disagree. Begging on the streets in America is far more profitable than begging on the streets of Mexico City or any other third-world city.”

    Why aren’t the large majority of Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) doing that NOW? Why do most of them have jobs?

    Brian: “Inviting all the planet’s economic refugees to America would probably double our population in a decade.”

    It might. On what are you basing that estimate?

    Brian: “At what equilibrium would the tsunami of economic refugees stop? Only when the expected increase in one’s living standards became less than the cost of the travel.”

    I don’t see an enormous addition of workers as something threatening. And I want to tell you that many people in poor countries don’t want to leave their own countries, even when being here means a higher standard of living. Many people could immigrate here now (legally and illegally) and don’t. Why?

    How about responding to my question @ 42, since I was so kind as to address all your propositions? What are the logical connections and conclusion? I’d like to understand it.

  38. Don Wills

    The way I figure it, if we opened the borders and allowed unrestricted entry into the United States, the flow of newcomers would be some 2 million per month. Thus, the population of the United States would double in 12 years. Anyone who believes that our society and way of life could survive in the face of such an invasion are idiots. If Libertarians are not idiots, then an ulterior motive must be at work. Anarchy anyone?

  39. paulie Post author

    The way I figure it, if we opened the borders and allowed unrestricted entry into the United States, the flow of newcomers would be some 2 million per month.

    Based on what?

    Thus, the population of the United States would double in 12 years. Anyone who believes that our society and way of life could survive in the face of such an invasion are idiots.

    It’s not an “invasion,” and I think our way of life would become better, not worse.

    You may consider me an idiot if you wish.

    If Libertarians are not idiots, then an ulterior motive must be at work.

    Which would be what?

    Anarchy anyone?

    Yes, please!

  40. Robert Capozzi

    jt: Why aren’t the large majority of Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) doing that NOW? Why do most of them have jobs?

    me: It’s unfortunate that one country is called out here. For ex., where I live, I don’t believe there are many hailing from Mexico, but rather Central America, Ethiopia, the Middle East, Korea, and Vietnam, near as I can tell.

    We of course can’t know exactly what motivates any one individual, but I’d suggest the plausible explanation that most current immigrants are early adopters who are interested in working in the US. They apparently often send money home to support family back there.

    The early adopters are more likely to immigrate legally. The next wave seem more prone to undocumented immigration. Many are not quite “homeless,” but they do queue up in spots around town in the hopes of getting day labor.

    Were there NO border checks, the least productive would have no obstacles to crossing the border for more lucrative begging and free health care.

  41. Brian Holtz

    BANV, I of course mean “private” property.

    JT, if all the people who want to come here are already coming here, then there’s not much problem, is there? I have no problem with current levels of economic migration, as long as they are self-sufficient and pay for their impacts.

    As I’ve tried repeatedly to explain, the point of my five propositions is that economic freedom plus a generous safety net (whether public or private) equals flood of economic refugees whose earning power would be well below our safety net. Maybe you wouldn’t consider that a problem. Most Americans would.

    If you oppose my requirement for self-sufficiency, then I surmise that you lack confidence in your intuition that the flood of economic migrants would be overwhelmingly self-sufficient.

    I don’t claim I can prove my intuitions about what opening the borders would cause. But I’m confident that my intuitions are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in societies with relative economic freedom and prosperity. I’m confident that none of them will open their borders as you desire until that intuition gets changed. Moralizing about the freedom to be an economic refugee won’t get the job done — even within the LP itself.

  42. paulie Post author

    But one of the reasons why I am never going to join to the Libertarian Party is that the LP supports open-borders. Pure Libertarians don’t accept the concept of nation-states.

    Most libertarians are not anarchists, although some of us are.

    So, I’m in the minority in believing in completely open borders.

    I don’t blame illegals for coming here I blame politicians like George W. Bush for refusing to have any border security.

    How about just making it legal?

  43. paulie Post author

    While there is a need for immigration reform, amnesty is not the answer.

    I agree that amnesty is not the final answer – I believe we need to permanently legalize immigration, without quotas – but it’s a good first step.

  44. paulie Post author

    I’m in full disagreement with Mister Benedict.

    Not from what I can tell. Maybe if you want to characterize his position as being different than what it is.

    And, in fact, I think it was a calculated effort on his part to change the face of the LP.

    Not in the least.

    He’s ably articulating our long-standing position, and no part of what he writes here is in disagreement with even the current platform plank.

    Others may be trying to change the face of the LP. With this article, Wes is working to preserve it.

    Many good Libertarians are against illegal immigration, against amnesty and for controlling our borders.

    Then they are the ones who are trying to change the face of the LP. And I’m against illegal immigration, too. That is, I’m against it being illegal.

    I seem to remember Ron Paul being for controlling illegal immigration, no?

    Depends on when.

    When he ran as a Libertarian in 1988, he wasn’t.
    When he ran as a Republican in 2008, he was.

    I think he was right in 1988 and wrong in 2008.

    I’m a Libertarian and have been since 1979.
    And I’m against ‘Open Borders’.

    So?

    I do want to protect what we have here in all respects and check who is coming in.

    And this is relevant how? Your opinion does not define what the rest of the party thinks.

    I am for making it far easier for the folks we want to come in, and far more difficult for folks we don’t want to come in.

    Who is this “we” and how do “we” know which is which and who is who?

    And, I do think it’s the responsibility of the Federal Government to police and control our borders so people with bad intent or communicable diseases don’t come in without our knowledge.

    The LP platform currently agrees with you (unlike in the past), and I didn’t see Wes saying anything to the contrary.

    Although, I personally don’t agree, and don’t see how any reasonably thorough check of the many thousands entering US borders and ports every day could be done and allow people to enter the same day.

    Wes does not speak for me or for at least 50% of the LP Street.

    Where are your poll numbers coming from?

    He’s speaking for our platform and for long-standing libertarian theory.

  45. paulie Post author

    Bruce – reread the Monday Message. You’re not in complete disagreement, at least based on what you said in your comment. Maybe 50% disagreement.

    I don’t even see where it’s 50%.

  46. Don Wills

    I wrote – “The way I figure it, if we opened the borders and allowed unrestricted entry into the United States, the flow of newcomers would be some 2 million per month.”

    And paulie asked – “Based on what?”

    Based on the essentially unlimited demand vs. the limited capacity of ports of entry into North America. The borders from Mexico and Canada could support an essentially unlimited flow. Thus the limit would be the capacity of airports and seaports in North America. Assume 100 such international airports and seaports exist and each has a capacity to accept 2000 people per day, the math is 100 x 2000 x 30 per month or 6 million per month. Then reduce that number by 2/3 for inefficient usage of capacity and voila – 2 million per month.

    At some point our country would be so overrun that the flow would taper off, quite possibly before the population approached 600 million, but only after the quality of life here deteriorated to the levels of the countries that the immigrants are coming from. Compound the huge number of immigrants with no minimum wage (another libertarian tenet) and things would deteriorate here pretty quickly. Such an experiment would reduce the standard of living here to that of India or Mexico in a matter of a year or two. The natives wouldn’t stand for it and war/anarchy would soon break out.

    Libertarians are notorious for their lack of understanding of human nature and for the consequences of ideas that look really great on paper, but that have no hope of working in the real world. This mental exercise concerning open borders is just one example.

  47. Born Again Non-Voter

    Brian Holtz: “I of course mean ‘private’ property.”

    In that case, I don’t see why you’d oppose open borders, up until the moment someone crossed your personal property line.

    Your private property is in northern California, no? So why are you opposed to open borders along the public lands in southern California, Arizona, etc.?

  48. paulie Post author

    what entitles you to invite arbitrarily many people to come and pollute/deplete/congest the natural resources where I live, and to free-ride on the public goods (streets, pipes, dams, justice system) I’ve helped pay for?

    Migration of persons should be without constraints, provided that migrants 1) do not trespass, 2) pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, and 3) are sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children.

    Does this view only pertain to migration between nation-states, are also to migration between US States, counties, cities, etc?

  49. paulie Post author

    The LP Platform currently says: “We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.”

    The 2010 PlatCom report (preview here) recommends changing this to: “We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Economic freedom demands movement of goods and capital across national borders. We support prohibiting entry into our country of those foreign nationals posing a credible threat to security, health or property. We invite those not requiring public assistance to come to our country to embrace the American dream.”

    The 2008 platform sounds better than the proposed 2010 platform.

  50. paulie Post author

    No libertarian can favor war for war’s sake. But a libertarian can favor war to depose tyranny and close a safe harbor for terrorists.

    Dondero favors war for war’s sake. He thinks it makes men more manly. Says it all the time.

  51. paulie Post author

    No libertarian can oppose the right to migrate based simply on the migrant’s nationality. But a libertarian can oppose trespass and free-riding.

    Trespass occurs when someone crosses legitimate property lines without permission.

    For US borders to be legitimate property lines, that would mean that the US government is the property owner – at least in part – of the entire area within its borders.

    I don’t think it is, thus, migration =/= trespass.

  52. paulie Post author

    But what about Cop Killers? What about those who violate Property Rights.

    Why would than be any less or more of a problem with migrants than non-migrants? If someone commits a real crime, they should be arrested, tried, etc.

  53. Brian Holtz

    Paulie @62: answered @46.

    BANV@61: Are you seriously asking a fellow libertarian why he defends the rights of other people? OK, roll the video:

    I’m not gay, but I defend gay rights. I have no plans for migration, but I defend the right to migrate when it doesn’t involve trespass, tragedy of the commons, or free-riding.

  54. paulie Post author

    one way to check violent crime (by citizens and immigrants alike) is to repoint law enforcement at violent crime rather than victimless crime, the latter of which is a poor use of resources on many levels.

    Exactly.

  55. paulie Post author

    The LP platform, in fact, does not endorse completely open borders. Part of plank 3.4:
    “However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.” That implies some minimal control (like a blood test and a criminal background check) to deny criminals or people with communicable diseases.

    What the LP rejects is trying to forcibly deny peaceful and non-infectious people who can get here to enter the country and become legal citizens. The LP wants to dispense with ethnic quotas and a lengthy bureaucratic process, which would remove the incentive to come here illegally. The economic study from Cato documents well the immense overall economic benefit that immigrants provide, in addition to the moral benefit of not initiating physical force against peaceful, nonthreatening people.

    All true. However, I disagree with that part of the LP platform.

    I don’t think reasonably thorough checks for infectious diseases and criminal history can be done in a reasonable amount of time.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with same in crossing state, county, city, etc., lines, would you?

  56. paulie Post author

    I applaud Wes Benedict for his Monday message, and, to all of you who agree with Wes, I strongly encourage you to be in St. Louis at the end of May.

    Planning on it.

  57. paulie Post author

    Immigration reform that encourages people from other lands to become American citizens, and contribute to the rich fabric of our culture, is what we need; fences will fail just like the Great Wall of Zhongua and Hadrian’s wall, too.

    Excellent point.

    We need to spend a few dollars on trying to distinguish criminals from those who simply come to the USA seeking opportunity and a better life.

    There, I disagree, but in the grand scheme of things that’s a minor disagreement.

  58. paulie Post author

    Here are five propositions about human migration that cannot all be believed simultaneously:

    Technology will continue to drive the costs (in money as well as social disconnection) of emigration dramatically lower.

    Societies with significantly more economic liberty will continue to grow dramatically more prosperous than other societies, increasing their attractiveness as immigration destinations.

    People living in such prosperous societies are reasonable to expect something better than the subsistence labor markets and ubiquitous squalor typical of economically unfree societies.

    Charity (whether public or private) can and should maintain America’s current effective minimum living standards (which are extravagant by global standards).

    Immigration of peaceful honest people to America should be unrestricted.

    I don’t have a problem with any of those.

    Nobody can seriously dispute (1) or (2).

    Well, actually let me go back and say that I don’t think #2 will be true long term, as I think economic liberty will sweep the world. Granted, that won’t probably be tomorrow or the next day.

    If you accept (5), then you have to reject (3) and/or (4).

    Why? I don’t see where that follows. Maybe if the size of the economic pie was fixed?

    I’ve never heard of an open-borders advocate with the stones to explicitly do so.

    Well, I would say that I would still support 5 even if I accepted your contention that to do so would be to negate 3 and/or 4. But, I don’t think that it does.

    Unless you walk daily past homeless beggars (e.g. in San Francisco), to be an open-borders advocate in modern America is to free-ride on the willingness of others to defend your quality of life.

    I’ve walked past plenty of beggars. I don’t see where that has anything to do with it.

  59. paulie Post author

    What ever happened to such classic libertarian views in the LP?

    * Immigrants create wealth.

    * War is the health of the state.

    * Smash the welfare/warfare state.

    * States have no rights. Only individuals have rights.

    Some of us still agree.

  60. paulie Post author

    Wes is certainly not perfect, but he’s the best E.D. the Libertarian Party has had in quite some time,

    Agreed.

  61. paulie Post author

    smuggling in the assumption that the numbers and self-sufficiency of immigrants to America wouldn’t change much if all immigration restrictions were eliminated.

    The numbers would probably change, though probably not as much as at least one other person here suggested. I think self-sufficiency would not be in any significant way lower.

  62. paulie Post author

    Or, what gives a person the “right” to leave his/her property?

    Easement.

    Is there such a thing as “trespassing,”

    Yes. For starters, rape.

    How far it extends beyond that is disputed.

  63. paulie Post author

    Begging on the streets in America is far more profitable than begging on the streets of Mexico City or any other third-world city.

    The process of migration across large territories tends to self-select against those whose highest aspiration in life is begging.

    And travel is cheap and keeps on getting cheaper.

    Depends on what you call cheap. Migrating to another country is far from easy, even when legal.

  64. paulie Post author

    I’m a big Julian Simon fan

    Me too. One of the main reasons I evolved towards libertarianism in the early 90s.

    His writings on migration are great and on point, too.

  65. paulie Post author

    I’m glad to see the LP is still standing up for open immigration, freedom of association, freedom of contract, and property rights. Central planning of human migration is a threat to these things, one that we should never condone, as individuals or as a party. I am proud to be a member of a political party that does not advocate some shameful regulatory policy on human migration.

    I agree, and although I don’t like recent changes in the migration plank – it’s still good compared with most other parties.

  66. paulie Post author

    Were there NO border checks, the least productive would have no obstacles to crossing the border for more lucrative begging and free health care.

    Naturaly lazy people are the least likely to do something like migrate thousands of miles.

  67. paulie Post author

    As I’ve tried repeatedly to explain, the point of my five propositions is that economic freedom plus a generous safety net (whether public or private) equals flood of economic refugees whose earning power would be well below our safety net.

    I see where you asserted it, but if you’ve proved it, I haven’t read that far in the thread yet.

    Of course, I suspect that JT would agree with me that we ought not have a tax-financed “safety net”.

  68. paulie Post author

    If you oppose my requirement for self-sufficiency, then I surmise that you lack confidence in your intuition that the flood of economic migrants would be overwhelmingly self-sufficient.

    I’m fairly confident in that, but it doesn’t follow that I would issue a one-size-fits-all requirement.

  69. tab

    “Naturaly lazy people are the least likely to do something like migrate thousands of miles.”

    Not when you get free health care, food stamps, and welfare.

    in 1995 households headed by illegal immigrants were awarded about $1.1 BILLION in AFDC and Food Stamps benefits.

  70. Bruce Cohen

    How can Wes be the ‘Best ED’ in any way, when he hangs up on people he disagrees with and clearly chooses sides between internal factions?

    Should he not be ‘neutral’ philosophically?

    Should he not welcome all and alienate none?

    Isn’t he sort of an Ambassador and a Diplomat?
    Seems to me he sorta-oughta be both.

    Seems to be if he can’t be nice to a Life Member who calls with a concern about his email, how can he deal with the press.

    Say if Chris Matthews or Glenn Beck or take your pick, interviewed the guy… If he can’t be nice to his own LP Members, how can he be our #1 paid Staff person?

    Will he fire office staff if they don’t agree with him on what coffee they should have in the office?

    Or how about if they disagree on some facet of immigration?

    I’m not claiming to be the most diplomatic person in the world, but I don’t hang up on folks as a matter of routine.

  71. tab

    I have nothing against immigrants, I just don’t believe it is good for our system. I support reforming the current immigration laws to make it easier for those to come into the country.

    The problem is the Spanish immigrants are not adopting and integrating into American culture. Quite unlike the German and Italian immigrants.

    Rome shows us that when a country is burdened with immigrants who have no loyalty then the system will collapse.

  72. paulie Post author

    Based on the essentially unlimited demand vs. the limited capacity of ports of entry into North America. The borders from Mexico and Canada could support an essentially unlimited flow. Thus the limit would be the capacity of airports and seaports in North America. Assume 100 such international airports and seaports exist and each has a capacity to accept 2000 people per day, the math is 100 x 2000 x 30 per month or 6 million per month. Then reduce that number by 2/3 for inefficient usage of capacity and voila – 2 million per month.

    None of this says anything about what number of people would be willing and able to leave their entire life and culture behind to move to the US. Your calculations, even if they were not based on a whole bunch of what appear to be guesses, are based on a giant assumption which is faulty and unproven.

    At some point our country would be so overrun that the flow would taper off, quite possibly before the population approached 600 million, but only after the quality of life here deteriorated to the levels of the countries that the immigrants are coming from.

    Again, completely unproven and unsupported by logic, history, or economics.

    The US had essentially open borders for most of its history. The sea borders were harder to cross back then, but the land borders were wide open too.

    Lots of people did immigrate, increasing the population dramatically, but the standard of life increased, not decreased.

    Compound the huge number of immigrants with no minimum wage (another libertarian tenet) and things would deteriorate here pretty quickly.

    Quite the opposite. No minimum wage would mean that people would not be forced into artificial unemployment. That is all.

    Such an experiment would reduce the standard of living here to that of India or Mexico in a matter of a year or two.

    More faulty, unproven, ahistorical and illogical assumptions.

    …anarchy would soon break out.

    I could only wish.

    Libertarians are notorious for their lack of understanding of human nature and for the consequences of ideas that look really great on paper, but that have no hope of working in the real world. This mental exercise concerning open borders is just one example.

    If by Libertarians lacking understanding of human nature you are referring to what you just wrote, I agree.

    Somewhat unfortunate that an LP state chair would state the above.

  73. paulie Post author

    Paulie @62: answered @46.

    Thanks, hadn’t read that yet when I asked.

    However, as all areas – says, US states – have different economic levels, who and how determines when those are close enough?

  74. Don Wills

    paulie – Dismissive arguments like “faulty, unproven, ahistorical” have little merit. Readers can decide for themselves as to the plausibility of the scenario of open borders that I sketched out.

  75. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, if you don’t mind walking past beggars, that explains our disagreement perfectly.

    I said nothing about begging being a “highest aspiration”. I talked about it being part of the “safety net”.

    I’ve repeatedly tried to make the point that it doesn’t matter whether the safety net is public or private. If people who need it arrive, then either the money will be transferred to them, or there will be squalor in our streets. It doesn’t matter whether the money is public or private.

    I don’t have to “prove” that a flood of economic refugees will happen; you’re the one who has the burden of proof of convincing the rest of us it won’t. You’re the one who wants to allow the rate of migration to radically change, not us. If you can’t convince fellow Libertarians about this, then good luck convincing the American voting public.

    Also, your deontological argument should demand that borders be open even if we all agreed it would bring a billion of the world’s least-productive and most-impoverished people to America — right? Surely your position isn’t based on a consequentialist analysis of what kinds of people would choose to migrate here. Open borders is morally mandatory, regardless of consequences, right?

    The cheapness of travel is measured in the number of hours of labor required to purchase it. The primary cost of travel is energy, and the price of energy in terms of human labor has plummeted in the last century or two. See the graphs on pp. 168-169 of Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource II. Then consider the population graph I showed above.

    How do I decide if two regions are close enough in economic freedom/prosperity to allow open borders between them? Easy — if they are at or near equilibrium in terms of the flow of economic refugees.

  76. JT

    Brian: “As I’ve tried repeatedly to explain, the point of my five propositions is that economic freedom plus a generous safety net (whether public or private) equals flood of economic refugees whose earning power would be well below our safety net. Maybe you wouldn’t consider that a problem. Most Americans would.”

    I’m a smart man, but I don’t see the logical connections between each of your five propositions and that conclusion. If you don’t want to specify the valid connections between those (sometimes tedious) sentences and the inference you’re drawing from them, that’s your right, but it’s not self-evident.

    Brian: “If you oppose my requirement for self-sufficiency, then I surmise that you lack confidence in your intuition that the flood of economic migrants would be overwhelmingly self-sufficient.”

    I don’t really care what you surmise, but I don’t take political stances by “intuition.” I do it based on objective evidence. And the evidence shows that generally immigrants, both legal and illegal,
    are already economically self-sufficient. And that’s with a monstrous welfare state.

    Brian: “I don’t claim I can prove my intuitions about what opening the borders would cause. But I’m confident that my intuitions are shared by the overwhelming majority of people in societies with relative economic freedom and prosperity. I’m confident that none of them will open their borders as you desire until that intuition gets changed.”

    I hate to tell you this, but the majority of people’s “intuitions” are against other stances of the Libertarian Party. You can be confident of that, too. And you’re right that we have to change many minds on some things to get most people on the side of freedom. As I’ve already said, however, I’m not advocating “open borders” but rather allowing all peaceful, non-infectious people to easily become naturalized citizens of the country that immigrants built.

    Brian: “Moralizing about the freedom to be an economic refugee won’t get the job done — even within the LP itself.”

    Clearly, I didn’t merely “moralize” about freedom (although I think the moral aspect is important); I addressed it from an economic perspective as well.

    And as far as the LP goes, it’s I whose on the side of the LP on this issue, not you. Look up the platform, which has taken essentially the same position on immigration since 1972. Looks like you’ve got a lot of Libertarian minds to change.

  77. Don Wills

    JT writes “And as far as the LP goes, it’s I whose on the side of the LP on this issue [open borders], not you. Look up the platform, which has taken essentially the same position on immigration since 1972. Looks like you’ve got a lot of Libertarian minds to change.”

    Not that many minds! Witness the selection of Barr/Root in 2008 and the very real possibility that Root will be elected chair of the LNC. It’s been a real eye-opener to me as to the stratification of state LPs WRT the anarchist/constitutionalist schism.

  78. Michael H. Wilson

    re: #60 Without being a smartass let me point out that Japan is about 2/3 the size of California. Only 20% of the land mass is inhabited. In that land area there are 120 million people or about 40% of the U.S. population.

  79. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 87 BC wrote: “How can Wes be the ‘Best ED’ in any way, when he hangs up on people he disagrees with and clearly chooses sides between internal factions?”

    Bruce if Wes is hanging up on people that is fine. He and the others in the office have far too much work to do than to be on the phone all day with people calling in to bitch about nonsense.

  80. Michael H. Wilson

    If you put all the people in the world in the U.S. you would have about 3 per acre.

    They could all stay here and we could take our ideas and move to Hawaii.

  81. Brian Holtz

    JT, I submit that conditions 1, 2, and 4 together are a recipe for a flood of economic refugees. If I don’t have “objective evidence” that it would happen, then you don’t have “objective evidence” that it wouldn’t happen. Nothing remotely approxmiating those conditions has ever been combined with unlimited economic migration any time in human history. When my ancestors left Germany less than two centuries ago, it was an enormous investment that they knew was a one-way trip, never to again see or hear the loved ones they left behind. Now, India and China are just a cell phone call away.

    That is why data about current immigrants is not very relevant here. My concern is about the very real possibility of two orders of magnitude more migrants, with a large portion of them being economic refugees. Migrants don’t currently come to America with a fallback plan of taking welfare or begging on our sidewalks, because they know they couldn’t get away with it. When you offer that fallback plan — an offer never made by any society in human history — you completely change the dynamics of who decides to come here.

    The popular intuition I’m talking about is just the very basic question of how many of Earth’s 6.8 billion people would choose to walk through a wide-open door leading to America’s opportunities and public/private safety net. That’s very different from questions like how labor markets would respond to the elimination of the minimum wage.

    As for how Libertarians feel about open borders: your proviso about disease/threats was only added in 2006. Ron Paul’s drastic change on immigration parallels changes within the libertarian movement. When Liberty Magazine polled its readers on the question of whether “the U.S. should remove all restrictions on immigration”, the ayes plummeted from 69% in 1988 to under 30% in 2008.

    Michael, I’m not saying America couldn’t support 500M prosperous residents. I’m confident it could eventually support ten billion prosperous residents. Inviting in hundreds of millions of economic refugees wouldn’t rule out that future. It might even make it arrive sooner. But it’s not going to happen that way. Stepping onto U.S. soil doesn’t magically turn third-world human capital into first-world human capital. Americans will not let their shares in America’s resources and infrastructure be diluted by massively inflating the currency of U.S. citizenship.

  82. Don Wills

    re: #95 and #97: It’s not about people per acre or even resources generally. It’s about the destruction of our (comparatively high) standard of living.

    Like it or not, limited immigration props up average wages in the USA. Totally open borders would result in huge waves of immigrants who would reduce wages here significantly – the law of supply and demand can’t be avoided. The result would reduce existing citizens’ standard of living significantly.

    In a nutshell, open borders would be good for immigrants and very bad for natives. The political stability that we’ve generally enjoyed in our land for a couple of centuries would end quite abruptly.

  83. Brian Holtz

    From the Library of Economics and Liberty article on Immigration:

    An important consequence of the shift toward a less-skilled immigrant flow is a sizable increase in the costs associated with welfare use among immigrants. In 1970, immigrant households were slightly less likely to receive public assistance than were native households: 5.9 percent of immigrant households received cash benefits, versus 6.0 percent of native households. By 2002, immigrant households were much more likely to receive assistance: 22.7 percent of immigrant households received some type of welfare (defined as cash benefits, Medicaid, or food stamps) versus 14.6 percent of native households.

    Recent evidence on the national labor market impact of immigration is striking. The evidence indicates that the wage of the skill groups—defined in terms of educational attainment and labor market experience—that experienced the largest influx of immigrants grew most slowly over the 1960–2000 period. It has been estimated that the wages of native workers in a particular skill group will decline by about 3–4 percent for every 10-percent increase in the number of workers that can be attributed to immigration. So, for example, if there are 1,000,000 workers in a particular skill group and that group is expanded by 100,000 immigrants, the hourly wages of the entire group would fall by 3 to 4 percent.

    Although the entry of immigrants reduces the wages of comparable natives, it increases slightly the income of U.S. natives overall. Using a well-known formula in economics (a variation on the theme of the so-called Harberger triangle), we can estimate that immigration increases the real income of natives, but only by about 0.2 percent. U.S. natives’ economic gains from immigration, therefore, are relatively small: about $22 billion per year (in 2003 dollars). Of course, not everyone benefits equally from immigration; workers with competing skills lose, while owners of land and capital gain.

  84. Steven R Linnabary

    The common thread here from those opposing immigration seems to be that immigrants will bankrupt our socialist programs. Forgetting of course that all socialist programs are bankrupt anyway.

    This argument I expect from a democrat or republican, as they aren’t opposed to socialist programs anyway.

    But it seems particularly inane to hear it from a purported Libertarian to be wailing that poor people are bankrupting the “social safety net”. What’s next, will you claim that too many old people are bankrupting Social Security?

    I’ll leave for another argument the repulsiveness of the person that doesn’t want to “see” beggars. He probably doesn’t want to see developmentally disabled, disabled, or even people of color on the street either.

    PEACE

  85. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, I don’t believe in empire or world government. Compensation to others for polluting/depleting/congesting/monopolizing a natural commons you share with them should be administered at the most-local level that is consistent with justice.”

    Or, in English:

    “NIMBY” for me, “as much and as good left for others” for thee.

  86. Brian Holtz

    Steven, I make no apologies for not wanting to take part in your experiment of seeing how many beggars I would have to ignore on my sidewalk before newly-arriving beggars decided to look for someone else to parasitize.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with skin color, but thank you for this handy gauge of your ability to engage the substance of my argument.

    Nor does it have anything to do with the misfortunes that befall people already in my community. Misfortune targeted them; they didn’t target me.

    My only objection is to being a target for parasites. I favor unlimited levels of non-parasitic immigration. Your position only differs from mine to the extent that you concede that some immigration will be parasitic.

    Tom, “as much and as good” doesn’t mean “my community’s resources can be diluted by as many parasites as you can unload at our city limits”. Not in English, or any other language.

    Again: if you open-borders types were confident that the parasitic component of unlimited immigration wouldn’t exhaust our resources and charity, then you wouldn’t oppose a rule that parasites can be barred/returned if said exhaustion occurs.

  87. Steven R Linnabary

    Again: if you open-borders types were confident that the parasitic component of unlimited immigration wouldn’t exhaust our resources and charity, then you wouldn’t oppose a rule that parasites can be barred/returned if said exhaustion occurs.

    I passed out “Reagan Cheese” from the back of a truck (without police security), when it was gone, it was gone. I helped start a Homeless Shelter, we never turned anyone away, even though the city said we could only house so many.

    Sure, a few that crowded around the truck for free cheese probably didn’t really need it. And a few in the shelter might have been considered “parasites” to some. But vast majority were in need.

    But I would never suggest sending the “Marielito’s” (this was a few years ago) back to Cuba, even if you KNEW that some of them were of a criminal mindset. And I never gave a thought that these Marielito’s were destroying our (private) security net.

    In short, your argument has no “substance”, only fear, contempt and hostility.

    PEACE

  88. Brian Holtz

    I wouldn’t send anybody back to Castro, either. And I’m happy to help ensure that nobody in my community goes hungry. But just as I’m not responsible for feeding the world, I also don’t want to be responsible for feeding the subset of the world that can afford a ticket to get within staggering distance of my sidewalk.

    That doesn’t make me fearful, contemptuous, or hostile. It just makes me clear-eyed about the historically unprecedented gradients in prosperity that freedom has created, even as technology has made the world unprecedentedly tiny and unprecedentedly crowded. I’m sorry if the confluence of these three new phenomena have obsoleted the moral intuitions that you inherited from our nomadic hunter-gatherer ancestors, but that doesn’t make me an immoral person — no matter how badly you need to think me so.

    I favor unlimited levels of non-parasitic immigration. I’m still waiting for you to tell us what level of parasitic immigration you would tolerate. Until you do, your arguments seem indistinguishable from name-calling. (And if you vouch that immigration would never be significantly parasitic, then it turns out that — despite all your name-calling — our morality may be identical and we just have different judgments about counterfactuals.)

  89. Steven R Linnabary

    I’m still waiting for you to tell us what level of parasitic immigration you would tolerate. Until you do, your arguments seem indistinguishable from name-calling.

    ROTFLMAO!! You are the one referring to immigrants as “parasites”! Certainly not me.

    But for the record, I like seeing people act like they WANT a job, and running circles around good white American born folks who would rather text their girlfriend than fix my burger or mow my lawn.

    And except for a handful of the Marielito’s, ALL the immigrants I have met have a work ethic that we can only hope to instill in the next generation.

    And where I live has a huge Somali immigrant population, as well as a sizable Hispanic community. It’s a wonder that the Somali’s have been so industrious, having absolutely nothing when they came, and today they are rather prosperous. Even the Somali underclass, the Bantu, are successful (which drives the local urban black community nuts).

    And it’s extremely rare to see a Somali or even a hispanic person in the soup kitchen line or seeking shelter!

    So your hostility is misplaced. Your hostility should be aimed at those born here that have been raised to believe the world owes them.

    Immigrants, with or without various bureaucratic paperwork are NOT the problem.

    PEACE

  90. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home.......... Lake

    Bruce Cohen // Apr 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    “How can Wes be the ‘Best ED’ in any way, when he hangs up on people he disagrees with? I’m not claiming to be the most diplomatic person in the world, but I don’t hang up on folks as a matter of routine.”

    [a] any thing you’d like to share on your behavior during the California Long Beach Convention ?????????

    [b] the down ward titling USA blowing $T and thousands of lives in the Middle East per annuam ???????

    [c] same on Israeli murder of American sailors on the USS Liberty ??????

    inquiring minds want to know ………..

  91. Born Again Non-Voter

    Brian Holtz: “Are you seriously asking a fellow libertarian why he defends the rights of other people?”

    No. I was asking why do you oppose the rights of people to migrate freely into the U.S., so long as they don’t cross your personal property line?

    How carefully did you read my post @ 61 ?

    It seems you “read” the opposite of what I wrote.

  92. Jack

    How about libertarians with brains?

    “End the welfare-warfare state, then open borders”

    Open borders before ending welfare-warfare state is a disaster for liberty.

  93. Robert Capozzi

    Think of the US as a gigantic condo association, and the Constitution is the association’s rules. One rule there is the delegation of a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.”

    That seems sensible to me on a lot of levels. It’s peaceful, too, for no rules of naturalization seem potentially gravely dysfunctional.

    I wonder how many Ls have been attracted to L-ism and the LP because of absolutist immigration language like Peak @ 47 was. I’d be surprised if it were more than a handful.

  94. Starchild

    What a welcome and timely message! This will give Libertarians something positive to communicate to defenders of immigration on May 1 (traditional day of immigrant rights activism). Thanks, Wes!

    Here are a few suggestions to make the next message you write on this topic even stronger:

    -Point out the unconstitutionality of immigration restrictions (Congress is authorized to regulate *naturalization*, not immigration)

    -Refer to “undocumented migrants” rather than “illegal immigrants”; if you use the term “illegal”, put it in quotes (see first point above)

    -Don’t refer to the U.S. economy, country, government, etc., with personal pronouns like “our”, “us”, or “we” — this contributes to
    nationalism and encourages people to see the U.S. as “their” property (hence their imagined “right” to keep “foreigners” out)

    -Don’t mention that some immigrants commit violent crimes without mentioning that other people do so as well, and at comparable rates

    -Condemn anti-immigrant actions by government more strongly and specifically

    -Point out that border walls, fences, guards and so on can easily be used to keep people *in* as well as out

    -Cite the enormous costs of anti-immigration enforcement, both fiscal and to the civil liberties of people (both the migrants themselves and
    to others already inside the U.S., such as via armed personnel stopping vehicles at checkpoints many miles from the border)

    Nevertheless, good work! It’s about time the Libertarian Party started devoting more energy to defending the libertarian stance against government border controls.

  95. Starchild

    Jack @109,

    Making a right, such as the right of freedom of movement across national borders, contingent on no one being able to abuse that right (i.e. accept government welfare) sets a dangerous precedent.

    Opponents of the right to self defense, for instance, could argue that the right to keep and bear arms cannot be allowed until people stop shooting each other.

    Opponents of the right to free speech could argue that free speech cannot be allowed until people stop engaging in “hate speech”.

    Libertarianism is about treating people as *individuals*, not members of groups. Just because some migrants accept government welfare (just as many non-migrants do), does not justify government discrimination against all migrants. It does not justify violating the human rights of all migrants to freedom of movement across non-privately-owned portions of the earth’s surface.

  96. Brian Holtz

    BANV, you asked @61 why I oppose opening borders that are hundreds of miles away from the resources and public goods of my community. My answer is that I care about protecting the resources and public goods of every community.

    Steven, anecdotes aren’t data. I repeat this fact about the Real World: “By 2002, immigrant households were much more likely to receive assistance: 22.7 percent of immigrant households received some type of welfare (defined as cash benefits, Medicaid, or food stamps) versus 14.6 percent of native households.”

    But in your universe, America could open its doors to the 2.7 billion humans who now earn/produce less than $700/yr, and there magically wouldn’t be a problem of people flooding here whose fallback plan is to rely on an American safety net that is, by global standards, luxurious.

    Fine. In your universe, I too favor unlimited immigration. And I also favor every child on the planet getting a pony from his/her parents for Christmas.

    Now that Steven has converted me to his perspective, I hope to resist further comments on this thread. I think I’ve said enough to make my position clear to anybody who actually wants to understand it — as opposed to making themselves feel good about their smug unthinking contempt for anyone who disagrees with open borders.

  97. Born Again Non-Voter

    Brian Holtz: “you asked @61 why I oppose opening borders that are hundreds of miles away from the resources and public goods of my community. My answer is that I care about protecting the resources and public goods of every community.”

    Public goods?

    I can understand you defending the private property rights of people everywhere, but what does that have to do with “public goods”?

    Why do you oppose the rights of immigrants to enter public lands, which do not belong to you or any other individual?

  98. Starchild

    One thing that virtually all anti-immigration arguments have in common is nationalism. Nationalism puts the interests of the State before the interests of liberty, and is therefore fundamentally at odds with libertarianism.

    While opponents of freedom of movement usually reject any allegations that they favor discrimination on the basis of race, they don’t seem to have any problem with governments discriminating on the basis of nationality, which is no less bigoted and irrational.

    After all, people can no more choose where they are born than they can choose their ethnicity, or the gender they are born into.

    The concept of being a “citizen” of a particular country (i.e. under the control of a particular government) is illegitimate unless the individual can freely choose with which government to affiliate. Right now most people have little or no choice in the matter.

    In such a global system of control by nation-states (i.e. by national governments), the “citizen” concept, which is an artificial human invention that has no basis in nature and thus no connection to natural, inalienable human rights, mainly serves to enable government control and discrimination.

    All people deserve equal rights under the law, and no government has the right to discriminate on the basis of nationality.

  99. Robert Capozzi

    sc: It does not justify violating the human rights of all migrants to freedom of movement across non-privately-owned portions of the earth’s surface.

    me: OK, Starchild, if you want to get highly theoretical, then if the entire US border was sold to a private entity, do I take it that you would in effect support some form of immigration control, as anyone not granted easement and passage would be a trespasser?

  100. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “if you open-borders types were confident that the parasitic component of unlimited immigration wouldn’t exhaust our resources and charity, then you wouldn’t oppose a rule that parasites can be barred/returned if said exhaustion occurs.”

    That statement has a lot more to do with our desire to have your cake and eat it too than it does with my confidence.

    I’m not the one asserting a “parasitic component” of “unlimited immigration.” You are.

    I’m not the one assuming the collective ownership of resources. You are.

    I’m not the one a priori and arbitrarily excluding a super-majority (of non-specific measurement, presumably particularizing on the factor of how badly you want to keep any given X for yourself instead of sharing it) humanity from the assumed “our” in “our resources.”

    I’m not the demanding that all bow in worship to imaginary lines drawn on the ground by hypertrophic street gangs. You are.

    Why would I have confidence in anything related to a huge, steaming pile of irrationality like that statement?

  101. Robert Capozzi

    sc: One thing that virtually all anti-immigration arguments have in common is nationalism. Nationalism puts the interests of the State before the interests of liberty, and is therefore fundamentally at odds with libertarianism.

    me: Actually, no. We Ls who would have far more liberal immigration policies but would have some checks are being practical and peaceful. Completely open borders — especially at this point in time — would not in my judgment be peaceful.

    If you choose one absolutist construct and one lens, you see the world one way. Apparently in yours, reasonable border controls = nationalism, which is an opinion you’re entitled to, of course.

    In mine, there are nations now, and nations have borders, nations have laws, and the people in that nation sort out how they wish to maintain domestic tranquility. Most people in this nation want at least some border control for practical reasons. Some of those people are bigots, but not all are. I’d suggest that most aren’t.

    Tautologies can be tidy, but they generally don’t work in the real world.

  102. Don Wills

    There are Libertarians who live in the real world and see real consequences of their ideas, and there are libertarians who live in a fantasy world where there are no nations, no taxation, no governments. Such dreaming makes for great science fiction and personal amusement, but has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to peacefully make the real world a better place through electoral politics in the United States of America. The Libertarian Party will live or die by this battle for the heart and soul of the party.

  103. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @92 writes, “Paulie, if you don’t mind walking past beggars, that explains our disagreement perfectly.”

    First of all, I’ll point out something that I hope we can all agree on, namely that there is no libertarian right to not have to see beggars on the streets, even if the sight of them makes you feel uncomfortable.

    While Brian to his credit doesn’t assert that there is such a right, his language above seems to imply that Paulie is insensitive if he does not have qualms about walking past beggars.

    But this is simply a parochial view. The fact is that imposing border controls does not reduce poverty in the world — in fact just the opposite, because it interferes with the ability of poor people to relocate to places where greater economic opportunity exists.

    If the poor people you are not helping all live hundreds or thousands of miles from you, rather than being people you walk by on the streets every day, this does not make you more compassionate!

  104. Starchild

    Robert Capozzi @116 asks,

    “OK, Starchild, if you want to get highly theoretical, then if the entire US border was sold to a private entity, do I take it that you would in effect support some form of immigration control, as anyone not granted easement and passage would be a trespasser?”

    My response — If land spanning a distance anywhere near the size of the entire U.S. border were sold to a private owner, I think easements and rights of passage should be required as a condition of ownership. To deny people the right to move across such a huge piece of land would constitute an unreasonable infringement on freedom of movement.

  105. Robert Capozzi

    sc: By what authority would you impose these easements? Are you claiming there is a “right” to “freedom of movement,” and, if so, from where does this right derive? I thought they were life, liberty and property only….

  106. Starchild

    Robert Capozzi @118 disagrees with my contention that “virtually all anti-immigration arguments have in common is nationalism. Nationalism puts the interests of the State before the interests of liberty, and is therefore fundamentally at odds with libertarianism.

    I’m not entirely sure which part of the above you are disputing, Robert, but let me elaborate a bit more and perhaps you can tell me where you think I’m wrong.

    If discrimination on the basis of race is racism, then discrimination on the basis of nationality is nationalism. Granting automatic citizenship only to people born within a certain area, and generally prohibiting non-citizens from entering the area unless they are just visiting temporarily or go through complicated and expensive procedures to gain residence, constitutes discrimination on the basis of nationality. Thus border controls as practiced by the national governments of the world are nationalist.

    Because nationality is an inherent and unchosen characteristic like race or gender, discrimination on the basis of nationality is a form of bigotry. Nationalism is thus on an equal moral footing with racism, sexism, etc.

    Admittedly, many people who support border controls are not necessarily bigoted in their personal lives or relations with persons of other nationalities, just as many people who support coercive taxation are not necessarily robbers in their personal lives. So I would agree it’s a bit of a stretch to call all supporters of border controls bigots. But they are supporting a bigoted policy.

  107. Starchild

    Robert Capozzi @122 asks, in reference to my response @121,

    “By what authority would you impose these easements? Are you claiming there is a “right” to “freedom of movement,” and, if so, from where does this right derive? I thought they were life, liberty and property only….

    Yes, I am claiming there is a right to freedom of movement over non-privately-owned portions of the earth’s surface. I believe it falls under the category of “liberty”.

    Since you asked me about a highly implausible theoretical example @116, I’ll return the favor. ;-)

    Suppose you were born in Vatican City (one of the world’s smallest countries), and the government of the surrounding country of Italy refused to allow you to leave, on the grounds that you would be trespassing on the private property of the Italian property owner who had purchased all the land immediately surrounding the Vatican. Would you consider this legitimate, and be satisfied to live out your entire life within the confines of the Holy See?

  108. Brian Holtz

    BANV, by the “public goods” of a community I mean its streets, pipes, levees, justice system, etc. By the “natural commons” of a community I mean its air, water sources, non-private land, fish and game, local EM spectrum, etc. I contend that you have a greater right of access to these things in your locality than does someone arriving from an Australian community. Similarly, that Australian has a greater right of of access to such things in her Australian community than you do. (Tom Knapp disagrees — with hyperventilating flourish.)

    Tom, I don’t really “assume collective ownership of resources”. What I do is note the reality that 1) natural resources (like the atmosphere) are by definition non-excludable and thus not privately ownable, and 2) public goods in a locality get financed by the locals. Those are just facts, whether you like them or not.

    If you vouch that unlimited immigration would never be detectably parasitic — that it would never cause noticeable pollution / depletion / congestion of a locality’s natural resources and public goods — then we are in violent agreement about favoring unlimited immigration. So by disagreeing with me, you are conceding that unlimited immigration might be detectably parasitic, no?

    Starchild, this analysis doesn’t have anything to do with nationalism. It treats borders as boundaries between areas with different policy regimes, within which there is generally already a migratory equilibrium.

    there is no libertarian right to not have to see beggars on the streets

    That’s up to the entity that owns the street. And I don’t claim that border-based protection of natural resources and public goods “reduces poverty in the world”. I say it reduces the aggression constituted by polluting/depleting/congesting such resources and goods.

    As a geolibertarian I see jurisdictions as like clubs, and they tend to have the rule that club members can sponsor their offspring for membership as long as the parents pay their way. I say that club members should be allowed to sponsor immigrants in an analogous way, so I’m pretty much immune not only to your charge of bigotry or nationalism, but even to the charge of nativism.

  109. Starchild

    In response to Don Wills @119:

    There are Libertarians who accept a large amount of statism — legal discrimination on the basis of nationality, coercive taxation, etc. — as inevitable and sometimes even desirable, and there are those who do not.

    There are Libertarians who operate from a nationalist worldview that sees the United States as the be-all, end-all in the fight for freedom, and there are those who do not.

    It’s not about living in a fantasy world — it’s about daring to imagine a much freer world than the one we live in, and to fight for it as a real possibility.

    All major historical steps toward freedom — ending legal slavery of the traditional human bondage variety, securing equal rights for women (in more socially advanced countries), etc. — have been led by people of vision and daring who were able to look beyond the constraints and conventional wisdom of the times in which they lived.

  110. Robert Capozzi

    sc: …border controls as practiced by the national governments of the world are nationalist.

    me: I would not say you are “wrong,” I would say your analysis is hyper-technical, excessively literalistic, and divorced from the real world.

    I come at this from a non-atomistic perspective, which may be why we are not communicating. Nations are established — at least in part — to maintain domestic tranquility. Governments — including the US government — generally do reasonably good jobs of this. Most people in most nations can most of the time go to work, go to play, travel (domestically and sometimes internationally), etc., unharrassed by either the State or others. This is surely not ALWAYS the case, and governments are quite often DISTURBERS of domestic tranquility.

    Near as I can tell, most people want SOME government, and they want that government to guard the borders of the nation and to enforce the laws, especially those designed to maintain domestic tranquility.

    With me?

    Were there a popular vote on the following: “RESOLVED, the US government should cease and desist any and all border control functions and immigration control measures immediately,” it would fail by profound margins. Agreed?

    If so, you may label that “nationalism,” in which case, yes, we have some nationalistic tendencies on a massive, near ubiquitous, scale. But I’d use different phraseology: I’d call it “realistic.” I understand and ACCEPT that there is what could be called a “nationalistic” element to such a vote, but I’d suggest that such labeling misses the forest for the trees.

    First and foremost, people gravitate to views that work. I — and probably most — believe that completely open borders would not work, in my case for many reasons, but mostly because the risks to the domestic tranquility would be unacceptably high. Second, for me, the view some Ls hold that open borders is the “principled” position is highly porous. I actually LIKE the sentiment, and I look forward to the day when such a policy could plausibly work. That day is NOT today, in my judgment, nor is it likely any time soon.

  111. Melty

    @88 “The problem is the Spanish immigrants are not adopting and integrating into American culture.”
    I’m baffled by this mentality.

  112. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @125 writes,

    “Starchild, this analysis doesn’t have anything to do with nationalism. It treats borders as boundaries between areas with different policy regimes, within which there is generally already a migratory equilibrium.”

    Brian, in practice in the world as it exists today, your prescription would clearly mean cutting off freedom of movement at national borders. So while I concede that your language could theoretically have a non-nationalist application, applying it to the world we live in would produce a strongly nationalist result.

    In response to my assertion that “there is no libertarian right to not have to see beggars on the streets”, you write,

    “That’s up to the entity that owns the street. And I don’t claim that border-based protection of natural resources and public goods ‘reduces poverty in the world’. I say it reduces the aggression constituted by polluting/depleting/ congesting such resources and goods.”

    If the entity that owns the street is a government, that government has no right to discriminate on the basis of nationality.

    Claiming that border controls protect natural resources and public goods is quite absurd when one considers that the most serious threats to the earth’s natural resources — resources like rain forests and coral reefs — are disproportionately occurring in developing countries which tend to be countries of origin for migration, rather than countries of destination.

  113. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @125 further writes,

    “As a geolibertarian I see jurisdictions as like clubs, and they tend to have the rule that club members can sponsor their offspring for membership as long as the parents pay their way. I say that club members should be allowed to sponsor immigrants in an analogous way, so I’m pretty much immune not only to your charge of bigotry or nationalism, but even to the charge of nativism.”

    To paraphrase your previous response to Paulie @92, if you see entire nation-states as private-membership-based clubs, that explains our disagreement perfectly!

    As someone with geo-libertarian views myself, I couldn’t disagree more.

  114. Brian Holtz

    Starchild, I say that jurisdictions — whether they are “governments” or homeowners’ associations — have the “right to discriminate” based on whether a newcomer will be polluting /depleting /congesting local resources and infrastructure without paying their way.

    I’m not saying we live in geolibertopia, or that all border controls in our world have geolibertarian motivations. You need to decide whether you’re arguing against all possible rationales for border controls, or just against the dumb ones.

  115. Starchild

    P.S. to Brian Holtz – Just because you think of countries in terms of “clubs” with “members,” rather than as nation-states with citizens or residents like most other people, does not make your view any less nationalist, imho.

  116. Brian Holtz

    Starchild, you’re blatantly equivocating. You above defined nationalism as discriminating based on where someone is born. I then explained that it shouldn’t matter to the club where you’re born, as long as you pay your way. So now you redefine nationalism as any belief that communities can require people to pay for their impacts on local resources and infrastructure.

    If you re-define nationalism as non-anarchism, then yes, I plead guilty to nationalism.

  117. Starchild

    Brian,

    There are huge differences between countries and homeowners associations! Average size, for one thing, average population for another, involuntary versus voluntary membership for a third, being based on property rights versus being (typically) based on entitlement for a fourth.

    Trying to equate them is an extreme case of apples and oranges. And no, I do not concede that coercion-based governments have the same legal privileges as consensual homeowners associations.

    I have yet to hear a rationale for border controls that I agree with, so currently I’m arguing against all of them.

  118. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @133,

    Where did I define nationalism as discriminating based on where someone is born?

    I said @115 that “Nationalism puts the interests of the State before the interests of liberty”

    And I said @123 that “If discrimination on the basis of race is racism, then discrimination on the basis of nationality is nationalism.”

    I did not say that discriminating based on where someone is born is the *only* characteristic of nationalism.

    Wanting freedom of movement in the world to be restricted along the lines of national borders is also nationalist.

  119. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, I don’t really ‘assume collective ownership of resources’. What I do is note the reality that 1) natural resources (like the atmosphere) are by definition non-excludable and thus not privately ownable, and 2) public goods in a locality get financed by the locals. Those are just facts, whether you like them or not.”

    Let’s look at those two points.

    It may be that non-excludable natural resources are not privately ownable (I’m personally undecided on that whole issue, but I’m willing to stipulate to the geo claim for purposes of this discussion).

    It does not follow from said resources not being privately ownable, however, that an arbitrarily defined group of “locals,” rather than everyone, collectively owns them.

    As far as “public goods” in a locality being financed by the locals, once again I’ll stipulate to the existence of “public goods” for purposes of this discussion, and simply state that I find your claim at least bizarre and probably hallucinatory. Most of the “public goods” that come to my mind are paid for by the people who use them, whether those people are “locals” or “furriners,” with the latter being progressively and aggressively tapped for larger and larger pro rata shares through various tax schemes (hotel taxes, road tolls, etc.) for shifting costs.

    If you vouch that unlimited immigration would never be detectably parasitic — that it would never cause noticeable pollution / depletion / congestion of a locality’s natural resources and public goods — then we are in violent agreement about favoring unlimited immigration. So by disagreeing with me, you are conceding that unlimited immigration might be detectably parasitic, no?

  120. Brian Holtz

    I believe that in Foldvarian cellular democracy, the local jurisdictions (equivalent to homeowners’ associations) would federate into country-sized regions that are roughly homogeneous in terms of economic freedom/prosperity and thus at equilibrium in terms of flows of economic refugees. I believe such confederations would naturally and legitimately have rules restricting inflows of economic refugees who are unable to pay for their impacts on resources/infrastructure.

    Your arguments about bigotry and birth-based discrimination don’t even come close to addressing what I’m talking about.

    Again, if by “involuntary membership” you’re complaining that I oppose personal secession, then yes, I concede that I’m not an anarchist.

  121. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Sorry, I hit submit before addressing another paragraph (which I also accidentally left appended to my comment without quotes to identify it as yours instead of mine:

    “If you vouch that unlimited immigration would never be detectably parasitic — that it would never cause noticeable pollution / depletion / congestion of a locality’s natural resources and public goods”

    1) If the definition of parasitism is that it causes noticeable pollution, depletion and congestion, then the “locals” are at least as parasitic as the “furriners.”

    2) You’ve offered no reason, other than your assertion, to suppose that “resources” and “public goods” belong to “localities.”

  122. Brian Holtz

    Starchild, you wrote @115: they don’t seem to have any problem with governments discriminating on the basis of nationality, which is no less bigoted and irrational. After all, people can no more choose where they are born than they can choose their ethnicity, or the gender they are born into.

    And you say: Wanting freedom of movement in the world to be restricted along the lines of national borders is also nationalist.

    Then that’s even more evidence that I’m not a nationalist. I favor pretty much the same freedom of movement among the nations of the EU as I do among the states of the U.S.

  123. Brian Holtz

    the “locals” are at least as parasitic as the “furriners.”

    All I ask is that locals and newcomers be treated exactly the same in terms of paying for their impacts on local resources/infrastructure. Again, it sounds like we’re in violent agreement here. But here’s your mistake:

    Most of the “public goods” that come to my mind are paid for by the people who use them

    The crucial public good in question here is America’s charitable social safety net — which as good little libertarians we all believe would still catch everyone even if it were voluntarily financed, right?

    Now re-read the statistic about 2.7B people in the world who earn/produce less than $700/yr.

  124. JT

    Brian: “The popular intuition I’m talking about is just the very basic question of how many of Earth’s 6.8 billion people would choose to walk through a wide-open door leading to America’s opportunities and public/private safety net. ”

    Well, I think we can agree that it would likely be a lot more than now if the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen were easy instead of difficult and there were no ethnic quotas. Obviously, I don’t believe in a public (i.e., government force-funded) safety net either, and a private safety net run by immigrant groups and financed with voluntary donations isn’t a threat to anyone.

    Brian: “As for how Libertarians feel about open borders: your proviso about disease/threats was only added in 2006. Ron Paul’s drastic change on immigration parallels changes within the libertarian movement. When Liberty Magazine polled its readers on the question of whether “the U.S. should remove all restrictions on immigration”, the ayes plummeted from 69% in 1988 to under 30% in 2008.”

    I’m not aware of Paul’s “drastic change” on immigration; I thought he always took that position. When exactly did he change his mind on that? I don’t know the sample size of the Liberty poll, but I can say that polls in which respondents are self-selecting aren’t really reliable. Plus, the question’s phrasing includes criminals and those with communicable deadly diseases, so I’d probably say “no” as well.

    Brian: “I favor unlimited levels of non-parasitic immigration.”

    So do I, because I want to end government handouts. If you do that, you don’t have to worry about any immigrants being “parasites,” even though the vast majority aren’t now. Or are you concerned about more panhandling on sidewalks by some people? In any major city, panhandling is already a common occurrence. When I’m in such a city’s downtown area, I ignore it the same way I ignore people trying to sell me something on the street. That works.

  125. Starchild

    Robert Capozzi @127 writes in defense of border controls, “First and foremost, people gravitate to views that work.”

    You seem to have a lot of faith in the rationality of human beings! In my observation, people gravitate first and foremost to the views with which they are raised. Secondarily, they gravitate toward the mainstream views of the society in which they live. Those who are more free thinking may escape these two constraints, but they tend to be a minority.

    You write, “Were there a popular vote on the following: ‘RESOLVED, the US government should cease and desist any and all border control functions and immigration control measures immediately,’ it would fail by profound margins. Agreed?”

    Actually no, I don’t agree! If a truly popular vote were held on this question, I’m not sure what the results would be, but I think it would have at least a decent chance of passing.

    You assume it would pass by a large margin because you are so used to thinking in the nationalist paradigm that you just presumed, without actually specifying it in your hypothetical, that only people in the United States would be voting on this question!

    Only about 5% of the world’s people live in the United States. You see the U.S. border controls as “practical” and conducive to “domestic tranquility” which you value, because you are among that relatively wealthy and fortunate 5%.

    For the hundreds of millions if not billions of poor people legally trapped in low-economic-opportunity countries, border controls are *not* practical. It is in their interest to be free to relocate to areas where they have a better chance to live decent lives.

    As someone with largely libertarian views, I think their freedom is more important than our “tranquility.”

  126. Thomas L. Knapp

    “All I ask is that locals and newcomers be treated exactly the same in terms of paying for their impacts on local resources/infrastructure.”

    So you believe that locals should only be allowed to remain where they are if they can find sponsors to treat them like, as you put it, children?

  127. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The crucial public good in question here is America’s charitable social safety net”

    OK, so now things which are both rivalrous and excludable are also “public goods?” Is there anything that isn’t a “public good?”

  128. Starchild

    In my last message @142, the second sentence in the fourth paragraph should read,

    “If a truly popular vote were held on this question, I’m not sure what the results would be, but I think it would have at least a decent chance of NOT passing.”

  129. Michael H. Wilson

    Somewhere above Brian wrote; “By 2002, immigrant households were much more likely to receive assistance: 22.7 percent of immigrant households received some type of welfare (defined as cash benefits, Medicaid, or food stamps) versus 14.6 percent of native households.”

    One problem Brian is that there is no breakdown that I see of this data by immigrant group. What do we know about the various groups receiving benefits tell us? How are immigrant Russians doing compared the Hispanic groups?

    Since the immigrants come from a variety of backgrounds we should have a variety of different results for different groups.

  130. Starchild

    Brian Holtz @139 submits the following as more evidence that he is “not a nationalist”:

    I favor pretty much the same freedom of movement among the nations of the EU as I do among the states of the U.S.

    Ah, but the European Union still limits freedom of movement based on national borders — not at the border between Spain and France, or between Greece and Italy, but at other borders such as the one between Spain and Morocco, and Greece and Turkey.

    And unless I misunderstand you greatly, you still favor governments in other parts of the world restricting freedom of movement at “their” national borders as well.

  131. Mark Seidenberg

    Most of these posts are very interesting. I was interested in the economic views on the following statement: “Public benefits for illegal
    immigrants costs Californians twelve million dollars yearly.”

    It is my understanding that California has over
    37 million in population. Therefore, by simple
    math the cost would be well under 33 cents per
    Californian yearly. I view the idea of costs on
    Californian only twelve million dollars yearly
    as off the wall. I would like the input here.

    Twelve milllion dollars suggests that illegal
    immigration is a non-issue for California and
    I disagree.

    The source of the above quoted statement was
    Chelene Nightingale who is running for Governor in the California primary under the
    American Independent Party ticket and was
    Art Olivier’s campaign manager in 2006.

    See: “AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY
    CANDIDATE STATEMENTS”, page 50,
    OFFICIAL VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE,
    CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE DIRECT PRIMARY ELECTION, Tuesday, June 8, 2010,
    (Sacramento, California State Printer for Debra
    Bowen, Secretary of State, March 18, 2010).

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman,
    American Independent Party

  132. Starchild

    Michael @147 writes,

    “Somewhere above Brian wrote; “By 2002, immigrant households were much more likely to receive assistance: 22.7 percent of immigrant households received some type of welfare (defined as cash benefits, Medicaid, or food stamps) versus 14.6 percent of native households.”

    So should we conclude, based on Brian’s stated view that people should be required to pay their own way in order to be “in the club,” that he wants to deport 22.7% of “immigrant households” and 14.6% of “native households”?

    Or does he want the U.S. to be the kind of club that lets you stay in even if you break the pay-your-way rule?

    I guess taxes can also be justified as “membership dues”?

    Michael further writes, “One problem Brian is that there is no breakdown that I see of this data by immigrant group. What do we know about the various groups receiving benefits tell us? How are immigrant Russians doing compared the Hispanic groups?”

    Hey, don’t forget about the natives! They aren’t broken down by group either. How are people under the age of 10 doing as far as covering the cost of benefits they receive such as government schooling?

    Oh, their parents (as current club members) are “sponsoring” them? But wait, what’s this, I see a lot of those parents aren’t current on their dues and are using club benefits they aren’t paying for!

    Hmm, we seem to have a problem…

  133. Brian Holtz

    JT: a private safety net run by immigrant groups and financed with voluntary donations isn’t a threat to anyone

    It’s akin to a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractive_nuisance. Either every single immigrant in need would be supported at U.S.-safety-net levels, or we’d be importing third-world squalor. I’m not impressed with how people in the Third World support the indigent in their communities, and I don’t really believe that under open borders their indigents wouldn’t follow them here and get the same level of support.

    Tom: So you believe that locals should only be allowed to remain where they are if they can find sponsors to treat them like, as you put it, children?

    As opposed to where? No, what I believe is that people who through their migration effectively target a community for free-loading should be barred or returned.

    Is there anything that isn’t a “public good?”

    If you’re confused about what a public good is, crack a textbook instead of heaping contempt on me like @117. I offer references at http://libertarianmajority.net/public-and-private-goods. For example, here’s Mankiw in Ch.11 on why fighting poverty is a public good:

    Suppose that everyone prefers to live in a society without poverty. Even if this preference is strong and widespread, fighting poverty is not a “good” that the private market can provide. No single individual can eliminate poverty because the problem is so large. Moreover, private charity is hard pressed to solve the problem: People who do not donate to charity can free ride on the generosity of others.

    Now, I don’t believe in force-initiating tax-financing of public goods. The only public goods I would advocate my community financing would be 1) general protection against aggression and natural disaster, and 2) a geolibertarian “citizen’s dividend” that returns to each local his share of the local fines for polluting/depleting/congesting/monopolizing the local natural commons. I think such public goods should be financed by using land-value taxes to recapture the value they add to local land, and that landholders who opt out of LVT should be ruthlessly ostracized from the streets and courts etc. that they decline to contribute to. If found trespassing on our streets, such free-riders should be fined and hauled back to their own land. Ditto for immigrants who are unable/unwilling to pay for their impacts on local resources/infrastructure.

  134. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian one more point (there may be others). Is this data for all immigrants, legal and illegal? If so how do illegal immigrants stack up against legal immigrants in terms of welfare use?

  135. Brian Holtz

    Starchild, my point in citing the EU is that what I care about are borders between areas with similar economic freedom/prosperity. I don’t advocate migration controls at borders just because they demarcate different flags or languages or anthems or whatever.

    You’re a smart guy. Do you seriously claim you don’t understand this distinction? Really?

    Michael, when BANV offered his anecdotes, I responded with actual data by doing my research. I’m not going to do yours.

  136. None Shall Pass

    BH@various
    Brian, you repeatedly use the term parasitic to refer to immigrants in some part.

    Let me ask you which creates the parasitic effect:

    1) Where a person (aka parasite) was born.

    2) Creating “parasite only” feeding centers (welfare) and closing down access to non-parasitic opportunities (work permits)

    Now which of these 2 is the immigrant responsible for?

    Which of these are you and I responsible for?

    I cannot fathom people thinking that they can argue on this blatant hypocrisy (well at least to me). The “welfare problem” is an artificial construct that immigrants are not responsible for. You and I are responsible for it.

    You cannot use that construct to justly argue that immigrants are a tragedy to the commons because of a failed ponzi scheme that you, yourself (along with all of us) are responsible for creating and maintaining.

  137. Born Again Non-Voter

    Mark: “Chelene Nightingale who is running for Governor in the California primary under the
    American Independent Party ticket and was
    Art Olivier’s campaign manager in 2006.”

    That’s curious.

    A recent Libertarian activist is now running on the American Independent Party ticket?

    How did that happen? Is there a story behind it? Why did Ms. Nightingale switch parties?

  138. Starchild

    Brian Holtz writes @153,

    “Starchild, my point in citing the EU is that what I care about are borders between areas with similar economic freedom/prosperity. I don’t advocate migration controls at borders just because they demarcate different flags or languages or anthems or whatever.”

    So you agree that border controls between the United States and Canada should be eliminated?

  139. Brian Holtz

    None Shall Pass, you just don’t get it. I’ve said perhaps a dozen times that the safety net I’m talking about is not just government welfare, but also the charitable safety net that all good little libertarians believe could and would totally replace government welfare.

    Either 1) the world’s poor would be guaranteed by that safety net, or 2) our magic soil under their feet would make the world’s poor not need our safety net, or 3) the world’s poor wouldn’t come here, or 4) the world’s poor would bring their squalor here and we’d let it fall through our safety net and land on top of our resources/infrastructure.

    So which is it? I don’t want to pay for (1), I don’t believe (2) or (3), and I won’t accept the aggression constituted by (4).

  140. Brian Holtz

    So you agree that border controls between the United States and Canada should be eliminated?

    I advocated moving the border controls outward to the frontier of where the common U.S.-Canada level of economic freedom/prosperity ends and the rest of the world begins.

  141. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 113 Brian you wrote “Steven, anecdotes aren’t data. I repeat this fact about the Real World: “By 2002, immigrant households were much more likely to receive assistance: 22.7 percent of immigrant households received some type of welfare (defined as cash benefits, Medicaid, or food stamps) versus 14.6 percent of native households.”

    Last time I looked the issue at the beginning of this thread was about those the media and government refer to as illegal immigrants.

    However in your quote you use the word immigrant without telling us whether you are referring to those who are legal or illegal or both combined.

    That point makes a big difference.

    You have either strayed off topic or trying to use data improperly.

  142. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Either 1) the world’s poor would be guaranteed by that safety net, or 2) our magic soil under their feet would make the world’s poor not need our safety net, or 3) the world’s poor wouldn’t come here, or 4) the world’s poor would bring their squalor here and we’d let it fall through our safety net and land on top of our resources/infrastructure.”

    By arguing that (4) is a possibility, you’re admitting that the “safety net” isn’t a public good, since it’s excludable.

    You’re also admitting that it’s rivalrous when you argue that people would move to where they could take advantage of it instead of some other “safety net” (and indeed all forms of welfare are rivalrous — witness the competition between states and localities to offer the most attractive corporate welfare packages in order to induce enterprises to locate there).

  143. Robert Capozzi

    sc 142, when I say “work,” I mean “work for the individual.” What works has to be subjective.

    Of course I meant a vote by US citizens, only. They’d be the germane subset.

    I of course want liberty and peace for all. In my judgment, erasing US borders paradoxically (perhaps) would likely lead to less liberty everywhere. I don’t expect open borders would be the path to global liberty, and I predict it won’t be since it ain’t gonna happen, esp. any time soon.

    All bets are off in case of Mad Max-type scenarios.

  144. Brian Holtz

    Tom, reread the Mankiw textbook quote above. The free-riding that makes charity a public good is that of would-be charity donors who defect (in prisoner’s dilemma terms) and free-ride on the charity of others.

  145. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Mankiw’s argument is just a variant of yours: Fighting poverty is a “public good” because if it isn’t there may be results that you (or Mankiw) don’t like.

    Nonetheless, the safety net is both rivalrous and excludable. Even if there is such a thing as a “public good,” it isn’t one by any reasonable definition. And even if it was, your position is that it should be a “public good” when you’re complaining about it and a private good that you want to keep to yourself.

  146. _

    Immigrant activist Chelene nightingale for governor 2010…changed parties because of the libertarian stance…she is a person that stands on corners where immigrants look for work and yells at them with a bullhorn. She has belonged to noless 4 parties in the last 6 years. She floats like a leaf…a true “drifter” (in all senses of the word)
    She is a tax defier and filer of insolvancy with the government. Oh yes, a true patriot…(ha) someone we should all look up too…(ha) a leader of leaders (ha) and all her one follower gruntmann can defend is his inane parrot speak…about siedenberg..blah blah…the facts are just that facts…she only gets attention from these threads which I know is really pathetic..and we keep feeding it..but I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel…and the mere fact I read so many untruths about how Patriotic this woman is makes want to refute them. Not out of vindictiveness..but out of hoping that unsuspecting voters won’t bite the evil apple of this woman and her gang. I hate to see people getting duped.

  147. Brian Holtz

    For would-be donors to a charitably safety net, it’s an indisputable textbook truth that the pleasure of watching the safety net save people is both non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

    Instead of shouting at the textbooks trying to get them to redefine what economists mean by “public good”, your next move should be to jump into the Austrian foxhole and baldly deny that people really enjoy the sight of charity that they don’t contribute to. That’s slightly less silly than the pretense that the utility of a safety net financed by others is just a myth that Mankiw and I concocted out of our nefarious desire to bend people to our idiosyncratic whims. :-)

    Readers can evaluate for themselves whether 1) most bystanders see utility in a safety net they neither need nor donate to, and 2) what is the Prisoner’s-Dilemma payoff matrix for a donor withholding his entire donation while thereby making the safety net only infinitesimally weaker.

  148. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Readers can decide for themselves”

    Yes, they can. And is usually the case when you say that, you’re saying it because you know you’re a) wrong and b) caught.

  149. Brian Holtz

    OK, let’s see how many people here are willing to paste either of the following two statements into this thread:

    1) It’s not true that most bystanders see utility in a donation-financed(*) safety net they neither need nor donate to.
    2) The Prisoner’s-Dilemma payoff matrix for a safety-net donor does not naturally incent him to withhold his entire donation while thereby making the safety net only infinitesimally weaker.

    (*) Throughout this discussion I have been explicitly assuming that the voluntary safety net in open-borders libertopia would work as well or better than a government safety net, per standard libertopian dogma.

    Heck, I’d be surprised if Knapp himself was willing to assert either of these two statements. If he does, then that part of our debate is (thankfully) over.

  150. Michael H. Wilson

    “(Claremont, CA…) Despite claims by politicians that Latino immigrants rely heavily on public assistance, a forthcoming report from the Tomas Rivera Center (TRC) provides evidence to the contrary.

    Poverty and Welfare Recipiency Among Immigrants in California is the third in a series of studies commissioned by TRC examining the impact of immigrants on the California economy. The report, by Dr. Frank Bean, a nationally-recognized demographer at the University of Texas at Austin, compares welfare recipiency among immigrants and natives and is based on figures from the 1980 and 1990 Census.

    Findings from Bean’s analysis show that from 1979 to 1989 the percent of immigrant households in poverty has increased while the percent of native households in poverty has decreased (See Table 1).

    In 1989, 20.2 percent of immigrant households lived below the poverty threshold compared to only 11.2 percent of native-born households.
    However, amid the increase in poverty among immigrants, this report finds that Latino immigrant households falling below the poverty line are less likely to receive welfare than their native counterparts.

    In contrast, native-born households, in general, living below the poverty line show an increase in welfare recipiency, from 21.8 percent in 1980 to 26.2 percent in 1990 (See Table 2).

    Bean’s study indicates that much of the general increase in welfare use by immigrants can be directly attributed to refugees, who are immediately eligible to receive a wide array of public benefits upon arrival to the United States.

    This study also finds that refugees who use public aid initially, achieve greater mobility toward economic independence.”

    http://www.mexica.net/immigrat/lat_imi2.php

    Personally in my opinion a lot of this bias and fear is because these immigrants are brown and Catholic

  151. How Many Pols Does it Take to Screw in a Lightbulb

    BH@157
    “None Shall Pass, you just don’t get it. I’ve said perhaps a dozen times that the safety net I’m talking about is not just government welfare, but also the charitable safety net that all good little libertarians believe could and would totally replace government welfare.”

    I think you confuse safety nets and opportunity.

    Charity or safety nets are not the negative sum game you present it as. Some charitable safety net programs could very well (especially were it Libertopia) increase the economic pool rather than parasitically draw from it.

    Your argument takes no account for programs which organize people on the bottom rung into doing things that improve infrastructure and their own economic stability. Programs for instance that voluntarily take out-of-work people and put them to building houses for each other or extending services like water and sewage to their own neighborhoods.

    I deny that squalor is a function of the geolocation of birthplace. I contend that squalor is a symptom of repression; that the economy is never hurt by philanthropy in a free market; and further that philanthropy in a non-free market is quickly turned into a tool of repression itself and is a drain on centralized pools of stagnant and depreciating production.

    The symptoms you seem to argue are a tragedy of commons, are really symptoms of the tragedy of violent repression from my point of view.

  152. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home.......... Lake

    Thomas L. Knapp // Apr 28, 2010:
    In response to: “Readers can decide for themselves”

    “……… And is usually the case when you say that, you’re saying it because you know you are

    a) wrong
    and
    b) caught ……..”

    from a guy whom agrees with George ‘LP as the only Peace Party’ Phillies ………

    How is W. A. R. doin’ ???????/

  153. Alexander S. Peak

    If you own your own property, you should be free to rent it out to whomever you want. When the government says, “You may only rent it out to those people who have paperwork approved by us,” the government is thereby infringing upon your right to private property.

    If you own your own business, you should be free to hire whomever you want. When the government says, “You may only hire those people who have paperwork approved by us,” the government is thereby infringing upon your freedom of contract.

    Central planning of human migration is economically destructive, just as is central planning on the importation or exportation of capital goods.

    Open borders is the only truly American position.

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

  154. jack hamm

    The immigrants should be educated and helped. It makes for a better world for all of us.

  155. Brian Holtz

    Policing the aggression associated with X is not the same thing as “centrally planning” X.

    If you own your land, and your own streets, and your own sewer system, and your own watershed or aquifer, and your own air basin, and your own justice system, then you are free to share them with however many people you want.

    But if we are already sharing the same streets, or sewer system, or watershed, or aquifer, or air basin, or justice system, then you inviting the world’s hordes to pollute/deplete/congest them is naked aggression against me.

    Decentralized aggression is still aggression.

    Abolishing aggression — including aggression against one’s right of access to the unproduced natural commons — is the optimally libertarian position.

  156. Mark Seidenberg

    TO: BORN AGAIN NON-VOTER

    Reply to your post # 155. The American Independent Party of California has been a
    party since 1967. In addition to Nightingale,
    former Libertarian Party activist Lawrence Beliz
    is running for California State Controller.

    As how it happened, in 2009, Mrs. Nightingale
    re-registered to vote in the American Independent Party, Then one year latter her
    flagging was removed by the Los Angeles County
    Registrar of Voters and she filed nomination papers to run for Governor. As to why she switched parties? I believe it was to run for Governor under the AIP ticket.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman,
    American Independent Party

  157. Robert Capozzi

    ap 171: Central planning of human migration is economically destructive, just as is central planning on the importation or exportation of capital goods.

    me: Pithy! But I’d suggest highly misleading. Rules for entry is not IMO in any meaningful way “central planning.” It’s prudent.

    Is contract law “central planning”? Are laws against murder “central planning”?

    By your logic, it appears you’re saying all rulemaking and enforcement are “central planning.” Are you?

  158. Tom Blanton

    In the past, Master Holtz has argued that borders are just arbitrary lines drawn by statists – that is when he thinks a nation needs liberation through bombing. Yet when it comes to immigration, borders suddenly take on a new significance for him.

    It seems rather bigoted to suggest that immigrants are parasites and beggars. This just isn’t the case.

    I live on a short road and the vast majority of my neighbors are Mexicans. I would venture to guess that most of them are undocumented. Most of them don’t speak English and mind their own business. Their children, even the young ones, generally do speak English and are among the most well-behaved, respectful and polite children I have ever met. I have no problem with them breathing “my” air.

    For example, a ball appeared in my yard. I left it where it was, assuming a kid had left it there and would come back for it. Several days later, I pulled up and was getting out of my car when a little Mexican boy came up. He asked my permission to walk into my yard and get his ball. He addressed me as “Mister” and thanked me for allowing him to get his ball. How’s that for respecting property?

    But, I must admit, I have a hard time understanding the plight of the wealthy white suburbanite. It must be pretty awful if it spawns these tortured souls that become pro-war anti-freedom “libertarians”.

  159. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Abolishing aggression — including aggression against one’s right of access to the unproduced natural commons — is the optimally libertarian position.”

    Very well put. So why are you insisting on maintaining precisely that kind of aggression against people who happen to be located on the other side of an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a glorified street gang?

  160. Brian Holtz

    Holtz has argued that borders are just arbitrary lines drawn by statists

    No, what I argue is: “the duty of a liberty-loving polity to defend human liberty does not vanish completely at lines drawn on maps by statists.” The “lines on maps” language is to highlight how so-called anarchists like to talk about states as collectives with rights that can be aggressed against.

    It seems rather bigoted to suggest that immigrants are parasites and beggars

    If we’re back in the fantasyland in which none of the world’s billions of paupers can ever cross an open border to become a parasite or beggar, then I’m an open-borders guy too.

    an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a glorified street gang

    It’s not my imagination that there are regions in the world with drastically different levels of economic freedom and prosperity. Those are the only lines that I’ve said are relevant to this discussion.

  161. Starchild

    Brian Holtz writes @173,

    “Abolishing aggression — including aggression against one’s right of access to the unproduced natural commons — is the optimally libertarian position.”

    Indeed! And preventing people from crossing national borders is aggressing against their right of access to the unproduced natural commons.

  162. Starchild

    The fact that there are large wealth disparities in different parts of the world is an argument for *lowering* barriers to human movement, not *raising* them.

    The alternative boils down to putting walls and armed guards around the wealth gated community, to keep the poor people in the ghetto where they belong.

    It is not the fault of people living in the poor areas that people in the wealthy areas have set up statist welfare systems that could be overwhelmed if too many poor people are allowed access to them. It is unjust to make poor people who had nothing to do with these bad policy decisions bear the burden of their unintended consequences.

    It is a fundamental libertarian principle to treat people as individuals, rather than members of groups. By unjustly treating people as members of groups, border controls help perpetuate a collectivist mentality that plays into the statist agenda.

  163. Starchild

    Ah, I see that Tom Knapp @178 had the same thought that I articulated @180. Sorry about the redundancy folks!

    But in this economic climate when as we know from history the prejudices of fearful people naturally turn to scapegoating immigrants, good arguments upholding freedom of movement deserve repeating.

  164. Holtz Is a Pro-War Hypocrite

    Holtz: The ‘lines on maps’ language is to highlight how so-called anarchists like to talk about states as collectives with rights that can be aggressed against.”

    No, that language is Holtz’s attempt to defend libervention from an anarchist or purist stance, so as to disarm his “left libertarian” critics.

    Hotlz’s excuse to the contrary make no sense.

    No antiwar anarchist or minarchist ever opposed the war as an aggression on the Iraqi state; they opposed it as a murderous aggression on Iraqi women and children.

    Blanton is right. Holtz supports Statist lines to keep out immigrants. But Holtz doesn’t want Statist lines to prevent a high-tech superpower from bombing poor women and children.

  165. JT

    Tom: “It seems rather bigoted to suggest that immigrants are parasites and beggars. This just isn’t the case.”

    I think this is really the crux of the dispute here. Brian continually refers to immigrants in this way. I suppose if I thought of most immigrants from poor areas of the world as disgusting parasites and beggars, I’d be more sympathetic to his position. But my personal experience and the objective evidence I’ve seen tells me that just isn’t true of the vast majority of them.

    I live in a city with a high density of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and Africa, obviously all very poor parts of the world. Most of the immigrants I know are more respectful and more hardworking than many native born Americans I know. They came to America as poor people without much formal education or technical skill. Now they have jobs and earn an honest living for themselves and their families.

    Brian seems to think the ratio of parasites to productive people would change dramatically if almost all foreigners who could get here were easily able to become naturalized American citizens. All the “hordes” of the Earth’s “parasites” would quickly descend on America and we’d be doomed somehow, even if there were no tax-funded welfare handouts.

    Anyway, what reason is there to think that ratio would change much? The immigrants, both legal and illegal, who are here now and hail from poor areas of the world could be parasites if they want to be; yet they aren’t. Almost all immigrants who come to America now do so because there’s far more opportunity to get honest work here and improve their condition, which they want not only for themselves but for their children as well. So why is this the case now, but it wouldn’t be the case if immigration policy were changed as the LP platform prescribes and the ethnic quotas and lengthy process were eliminated? How are those things securing a certain quality of legal immigrant now, in addition to those who are here illegally?

  166. Holtz Is a Pro-War Hypocrite

    Holtz (like Root and Cohen) represents a new Big Tent Libertarian Party:

    * Pro-War

    * Anti-Immigrant

    Freedom for rich white Americans.

    Border fences and bombs for poor brown foreigners.

  167. Brian Holtz

    Starchild, my position has absolutely nothing to do with the government’s welfare state. I’m running out of ways to re-state this point, and I don’t see how you could possibly have missed it.

    I do treat migrants as individuals. Each one must individually not trespass, must inddividually pay for how much he pollutes, congests, or depletes the natural commons, and must individually be sponsored by someone (perhaps himself) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for his subsistence as parents do for native children.

    I don’t require that “poor people stay in the ghetto where they belong”. I just require that they pay for their impacts if they move into my community, just as I should have to pay for my impacts if I move into theirs.

  168. Tom Blanton

    If we’re back in the fantasyland in which none of the world’s billions of paupers can ever cross an open border to become a parasite or beggar, then I’m an open-borders guy too.

    How many parasites are too many for Master Brian? One?

    So, billions of dollars should be spent, jails built, federal agents hired, IDs issued, checkpoints set up to examine the papers of individuals, border fences, etc. all because Master Brian is worried that a pauper may slip in? Perhaps Master Brian would prefer the untouchables of Mexico be liberated by carpet bombing to maintain the aesthetics of his gated community.

    Master Brian’s little world is like a toilet – shiny and white on the outside, but lift up the lid and it’s full of nastiness.

  169. Holtz Is a Pro-War Hypocrite

    Tom Blanton: “So, billions of dollars should be spent, jails built, federal agents hired, IDs issued, checkpoints set up to examine the papers of individuals, border fences, etc. all because Master Brian is worried that a pauper may slip in?”

    Hotlz also supports spending trillions of dollars for war and empire. (Which he euphemisticly calls “libervention.”)

    And then Hypocrite Holtz posts pictures of his daughter holding signs saying how much federal debt she owes, while Holtz laments that it’s so unfair that his daughter should bear this debt — a debt incurred through Holtz’s own policies!

  170. Brian Holtz

    Yeah, “bombing poor women and children” was my motive in defending the overthrow of totalitarian genocidal tyranny in Iraq. I guess that proves that it’s not aggression for migrants to pollute/deplete/congest the resources/infrastructure of a distant community.

    No antiwar anarchist or minarchist ever opposed the war as an aggression on the Iraqi state

    LOL. Care to put some wager money in escrow before I eviscerate this claim?

    rich white Americans [...] poor brown foreigners

    Readers here are far too smart not to notice that my policy proposals have zero to do with skin color. The coward who here anonymously slanders me as a racist apparently doesn’t know that his IP address tells us IPR moderators who he is. Does he dare identify himself, or does he admit his intellectual bankruptcy by remaining anonymous and issuing clumsy lies about how I “support spending trillions of dollars for war and empire”? The more emotionally unhinged my detractors become, the more we know that they can’t answer my actual arguments.

    JT, your questions @184 are already answered @92 — exactly halfway back in the thread, a sure sign that all the objections available here have been asked and answered.

  171. And In California .......... Lake

    Holtz Is a Pro-War Hypocrite
    // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Holtz (like Root and Cohen) represents a new Big Tent Libertarian Party:

    * Pro-War

    * Anti-Immigrant

    Freedom for rich white Americans.

    Border fences and bombs for poor brown foreigners.

    Lake: Told ya so, told ya so, told ya so!

    (and Israel First America Second Zionists)

  172. Starchild

    I wrote @181 that, “It is not the fault of people living in the poor areas that people in the wealthy areas have set up statist welfare systems that could be overwhelmed if too many poor people are allowed access to them. It is unjust to make poor people who had nothing to do with these bad policy decisions bear the burden of their unintended consequences.”

    Presumably in response to this, Brian Holtz protests @186 that “my position has absolutely nothing to do with the government’s welfare state.”

    Are you serious, Brian?

    You say @157, “I’ve said perhaps a dozen times that the safety net I’m talking about is not just government welfare…”

    That clearly indicates that government welfare *is* part of what you’re talking about. You keep referring to “parasitical immigration”. Is it your opinion that people who take advantage of voluntarily offered, non-government assistance are parasites?

    You claim @105 that “I’m happy to help ensure that nobody in my community goes hungry.”

    Why? Why should you help people who, by your own logic, are “parasites”? It seems clear that you propose to discriminate in favor of people who are in “your community”. And it seems equally clear that you would like the national government that claims jurisdiction over you to share this parochial bias.

    If your other protestation @186, “I do treat migrants as individuals” is true, it seems to me that the logic of your position requires you to advocate government getting into the business of saying who is and is not allowed to have children.

    You want to prohibit people migrating to the U.S. without a sponsor of sufficient means. So do you also favor laws denying people born in the U.S. and recognized as citizens, the freedom to have children unless they pass a means test, or someone else “sponsors” them? Or do you in fact have a double standard that discriminates on the basis of nationality?

    If you are consistent, and really do want government to regulate who can give birth, how much stolen taxpayer money are you willing to see spent on enforcing “anti-parasitical-parenting” regulations?

  173. Robert Capozzi

    tk: So why are you insisting on maintaining precisely that kind of aggression against people who happen to be located on the other side of an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a glorified street gang?

    me: Interestingly, the Rockwell crowd generally is for border controls and yet identify themselves as “anarchists” while often using the “street gang” metaphor.

    In my case, I’m for some border control because I believe sequencing matters. The day may come when borders are not necessary to keep a semblance of domestic tranquility. Today is not that day in my judgment, just as today is not the day to abandon the silos.

    As you know, this is why I don’t cling to the NAP and an absolutist interpretation of it in assesssing my positions. IMO, politics involves judgment, it’s not arithmetic!

  174. Brian Holtz

    Is it your opinion that people who take advantage of voluntarily offered, non-government assistance are parasites?

    Yes, that is how I’ve been using this term throughout this entire discussion. What matters to them is the incentives to migrate, not how the incentives are financed.

    you propose to discriminate in favor of people who are in “your community”.

    As I said @103: “Nor does it have anything to do with the misfortunes that befall people already in my community. Misfortune targeted them; they didn’t target me.

    As I said @151: “People who through their migration effectively target a community for free-loading should be barred or returned.”

    Yes, if women in my community were able to birth two billion babies that they could not afford, I absolutely would police such aggression against the rights of locals to their local resources/infrastructure. Aggression is aggression, whether it’s by walking or birthing.

    how much stolen taxpayer money are you willing to see spent

    Zero. See @151.

    You can keep trying to find an asymmetry in my policy between newborns and newcomers, but you will fail every time. I stipulate the symmetry.

  175. Holtz Wants to Police Births?!

    Brian Holtz: “Yes, if women in my community were able to birth two billion babies that they could not afford, I absolutely would police such aggression against the rights of locals to their local resources/infrastructure.”

    What if a woman only “aggressed” by birthing one child she could not afford? Would you “police” that?

    If so, how? Forced abortion? Forced sterialization?

  176. Don Wills

    What a ridiculous thread. With this level and tenor of discourse within our party, it’s no wonder that the LP is ignored by 99% of Americans.

  177. Don Wills

    The LP candidates for elective office in our state are mostly against open borders. But we’re not W.A.R. types. We’re more in sync with Ron Paul. We are anti-war, anti-empire and anti-big government. We want to abolish the welfare state and the Federal Reserve. We believe that limited government is just, that limited taxation is necessary for limited government, that legal immigration at a controlled rate is a very good thing, and that our borders need to be closed to illegal immigrants jumping the line for entering the country ahead of legal immigrants.

    Such a position is antithetical to anarchists like Ernie Hancock, Starchild, et al.

    Is there room in the LP for folks who hold our beliefs? Are we welcome? Is the LP interesting in recruiting more folks like us?

    These are the questions that matter; philosophical navel gazing such as shown by this thread is a giant waste of time.

    Anyone?

  178. Brian Holtz

    Forced abortion or sterilization? No. As I said all the way back @12: Migration of persons should be without constraints, provided that migrants 1) do not trespass, 2) pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, and 3) are sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children.

    Humans generally do not have more offspring than they can afford. When population increase by reproduction stops being self-policed, then I’ll worry about policing it. Not before.

    Don, don’t worry about what you’re seeing in this thread. Most of the sound and fury you see here is coming from a handful of people who fall into the category of village anarchist. When their bumper-sticker-sized worldview is finally confronted with ideas they never bothered to measure it against, it’s deeply traumatic for them. The naive dogma of open borders no longer commands a majority even among National Convention delegates, who are generally more extremist than the general LP membership.

  179. Robert Capozzi

    dw: Is the LP interesting in recruiting more folks like us? These are the questions that matter; philosophical navel gazing such as shown by this thread is a giant waste of time. Anyone?

    me: Yes, many, possibly most, in the LP not only want to recruit Ron Paulish and other lessarchists, but most are so. Those who could be categorized as in the lessarchist camp will sometimes engage on a theoretical plane with small but vocal minority of abolitionist anarchists as these anarchists prefer to deal in highly theoretical analysis in the Rothbardian tradition. As a Rothbardian in recovery myself, I offer a different perspective on liberty and the ways and means to achieving it. By engaging the abolitionists, my hope is that they recognize and respect that they do not have a monopoly on truth or even “right thinking.” I can’t say I’ve met a L or otherwise who perfect knowledge, myself most definitely included.

    Historically, non-abolitionists have ceded the theoretical high ground to the abolitionists, but have suggested they are not “practical.” I’d agree that abolitionism not only isn’t practical, but it has theoretical holes — inadequacies. All theory IS inadequate, else we’d have liberty! By checking the premises of the abolitionists, it’s my hope that they loosen up their approach to the LP, making it more inviting for those who don’t fully toe their particular plumbline.

  180. JT

    Brian: “JT, your questions @184 are already answered @92 — exactly halfway back in the thread, a sure sign that all the objections available here have been asked and answered.”

    I don’t think so.

    Brian: “I don’t have to “prove” that a flood of economic refugees will happen; you’re the one who has the burden of proof of convincing the rest of us it won’t. You’re the one who wants to allow the rate of migration to radically change, not us. If you can’t convince fellow Libertarians about this, then good luck convincing the American voting public.”

    There will be more people seeking economic opportunity in America, yes. What’s being disputed is the characterization of these people as “hordes of parasites” relying on handouts. The reason is that this isn’t the case now among both poor legal and illegal immigrants, whereas by your logic it should also be the case now.

    Brian: “Also, your deontological argument should demand that borders be open even if we all agreed it would bring a billion of the world’s least-productive and most-impoverished people to America — right? Surely your position isn’t based on a consequentialist analysis of what kinds of people would choose to migrate here. Open borders is morally mandatory, regardless of consequences, right?”

    The moral *is* the practical; there’s no dichotomy there. The position of the LP platform also comports with studies of almost all of the people who migrate here now. This position isn’t even “open borders” (which would accommodate the violent and the infectious), although you keep calling it that. Reminds me of how some people keep insisting that any Libertarian who believes in military defense but not military aggression is a “pacifist.”

    Your view of “aggression” is a confused one. The individual who asks for change from strangers isn’t committing aggression against anyone unless that person physically intrudes on someone else. People who are poor and live in squalor, as some people in America are and do today, aren’t ipso facto committing “aggression” against you or anyone else. Aggression means actual physical intrusion on the body or property of another person against his or her will.

    I don’t think there’s anything else to be said about this issue here. I think the LP platform position is the right one. The fact that it hasn’t essentially changed in three decades I think speaks for itself.

  181. Brian Holtz

    JT, let me stipulate that by “open borders” in this discussion I mean any policy of allowing unlimited numbers of economic refugees to migrate to areas where they are not required either 1) to pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, or 2) to be sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children. I have concerns about how practical it is to pretend to be able to screen migrants for risks of violence and disease, but that’s not what we’re debating here.

    I don’t say all immigrants under open borders will be parasites. I just predict that far too many will be.

    by your logic it should also be the case now

    I repeat what I said @98: “Data about current immigrants is not very relevant here. My concern is about the very real possibility of two orders of magnitude more migrants, with a large portion of them being economic refugees. Migrants don’t currently come to America with a fallback plan of taking welfare or begging on our sidewalks, because they know they couldn’t get away with it. When you offer that fallback plan — an offer never made by any society in human history — you completely change the dynamics of who decides to come here.”

    Nevertheless, see also the data I cited @100 about immigrant households’ higher dependency on welfare, even under the current immigration restrictions and self-selection.

    I’ve never said begging is aggression — unless it violates the rules adopted by the owners/shareholders of the property on which it occurs. If you want to disagree with my core position here, then try saying this: “it is never aggression for migrants to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating the locals who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.” If you can’t say that, then you’re just not disagreeing with me. After all this discussion, I don’t think a single person has asserted the grammatical negation of my position. Care to be the first? :-)

    For decades the platform opposed all restrictions on immigration, and even advocated that international travel not require passports. Only in 2006 did the platform start advocating “control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property”. That was a major change, that is bitterly opposed by anarchists and advocates of unrestricted human migration. Indeed, given that the platform talks about “individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife” as if they are a form of property right, then the “threat to property” language arguably is consistent with the resource-protection policy that I’m advocating here.

    So I can agree with you the the Migration plank doesn’t really need to change. :-)

  182. Thomas L. Knapp

    “For decades the platform opposed all restrictions on immigration, and even advocated that international travel not require passports.”

    In other words, it reflected:

    - Official US policy on immigration until 1882 (when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed — and from then until 1952′s McCarran-Walters Act, regulation of immigration was ad hoc rather than comprehensive).

    - Official US policy on passports until 1941 (with the exceptions of wartime passports during the Civil War and World War I).

    To hear the Know-Nothings complain, you’d think that open borders was some far-future utopian scheme. In fact, CLOSED borders are an artifact of the last 60-70 years of hyper-statism.

  183. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, the last 70 years HAS seen the State grow on all fronts. Timing and context is everything!

    If liberty could plausibly be enhanced by the LP — as an organization — holding high an open borders stance, I’d probably be for it, despite the risks that completely open borders would entail. However, holding high that banner actually hurts liberty’s and the LP’s prospects of rolling back the State IMO, so I’m not for it.

  184. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Since you like to talk about timing, context and calibration so much, I’m going to raise the bullshit flag on your comment @205 on precisely those grounds.

    Timing: 70 years of immigration regulation has been ineffectual in terms of actually controlling immigration, but highly effectual in feeding money and bodies into the sausage grinder of the bureaucracy created pursuant to that regulation. While we’re not at the height of any actual “immigration crisis,” we do appear to be on a fairly high plateau of Know-Nothing dominance. The timing for making a move of SOME kind is very good.

    Context:

    There are two anti-immigration-freedom “major parties.”

    Among “third parties,” the Constitution Party are also Know-Nothings and the Greens take essentially the same weak-kneed approach as the LP has taken since 2006 (although their platform’s verbosity on the subject is more akin to our 2004 platform’s).

    Yes, the majority of Americans are clamoring for more restrictions on immigration.

    However, that majority is already being pandered to by both major parties and at least one, and arguably three, third parties.

    There is no third party actively pursuing the support of the double-digit minority which favors a drastic increase in immigration freedom.

    Do we want to pursue that large minority which is to some degree in agreement with our party’s principles, or do we prefer to sacrifice those principles in order to scrap for the votes of a majority already served by two major parties, and at least one minor party?

    I keep end up chasing the LP around this same damn tree.

    In 2001, when the Libertarian National Committee passed its milquetoast “kinda for, kinda against, let’s just throw out some mush that nobody can dislike” resolution on the Afghanistan war, Steve Givot told me that we couldn’t come out against the war because it would “marginalize” us.

    In response, I pointed out that the percentage of Americans opposed to the war was (charitably) 40 times the usual vote percentage garnered by the LP’s presidential candidates.

    You don’t build a majority by selling your soul to scrap with other parties for the satisfied majorities they’re already serving. You build a majority by courting the unsatisfied, unserved minorities who are already on the same sheet of music as you are.

  185. Andrew

    NEW LPNC DEBATE VIDEO’S!!!

    Ernest Hancock – Libertarian National Chair Debates – Kansas & Indiana April 24th 2010

    Ernie is a hardcore libertarian activist that doesn’t abandon libertarian philosophy but embraces it 100%. He is a principled man, just what LP needs!

    The arrests of legal Americans that have a Drivers License but do not have their Birth Certificate with them has begun already in Arizona. “Papers Please” has already begun…. let the battle begin.

    Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock Morning April 26th 2010

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Uploads/001/Media/2010-04-26-ernie-a.mp3

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Uploads/001/Media/2010-04-26-ernie-b.mp3

    To Watch Video Go to:
    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/068107-2010-04-28-ernest-hancock-libertarian-national-chair-debates-kansas-indiana-april-24th.htm

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com
    http://www.ernesthancock.org

  186. Andrew

    Ernie talks about SB1070 and National ID’s
    NEW LPNC DEBATE VIDEO’S!!!

    Ernest Hancock – Libertarian National Chair Debates – Kansas & Indiana April 24th 2010

    Ernie is a hardcore libertarian activist that doesn’t abandon libertarian philosophy but embraces it 100%. He is a principled man, just what LP needs!

    The arrests of legal Americans that have a Drivers License but do not have their Birth Certificate with them has begun already in Arizona. “Papers Please” has already begun…. let the battle begin.

    Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock Morning April 26th 2010

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Uploads/001/Media/2010-04-26-ernie-a.mp3

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Uploads/001/Media/2010-04-26-ernie-b.mp3

    To Watch Video Go to:
    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/068107-2010-04-28-ernest-hancock-libertarian-national-chair-debates-kansas-indiana-april-24th.htm

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com
    http://www.ernesthancock.org

  187. Robert Capozzi

    tk, yes, your answer sounds like it comes from an absolutist paradigm, where everything is all or nothing.

    I think the LP should be the immigration friendly party. One can “stand out”, not be “milquetoast” and yet not position us as extremists.

    This is part of our ongoing dialog…I’m for low taxes, less spending, some defense, some courts, at least for the foreseeable future. I’m not for zero taxes, zero spending and silo abandonment, even if the idea has some theoretical appeal to me.

  188. Robert Capozzi

    tk: You build a majority by courting the unsatisfied, unserved minorities who are already on the same sheet of music as you are.

    me: For real? Have you given any thought to the notion that extreme absolutism MAY have SOME appeal to these “underserved” you allude to, but aggregating open borders, children’s rights as understood by the old platform, no regulation of any arms whether inherently dangerous or not, etc. serves to alienate just about everyone except absolutist abolitionists?

  189. cali lady

    Immigrants will move to other neighboring states…nevada utah etc…
    you all you really have is shuffling cards..unless all states adopt Arizona’s position….the problem just morph’s to somewhere else….thats why……Get the immigrants on the PATH TO BEING AMERICANS….its the only real solution. we can’t reinvent the wheel…
    the problem is here…and it would much better to be progressive about it…
    we don’t have much time..on this earth (as humans) maybe 30 years…(due to death etc…I know “but what about our children?) personally they will be just fine taxes taxes taxes….forget it…just enjoy your life
    try not to dwell….its later than we think…..

  190. JT

    Brian: “If you want to disagree with my core position here, then try saying this: “it is never aggression for migrants to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating the locals who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.”

    In a public context, if those things constitute aggression then I shudder to think how many people, immigrants and natives, are constantly committing aggression against everyone else.

    Brian: “Indeed, given that the platform talks about “individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife” as if they are a form of property right, then the “threat to property” language arguably is consistent with the resource-protection policy that I’m advocating here.”

    If you want to construe the plank’s mention of threat to property in that way, okay. I think that’s obviously twisting the intention. It’s like those who are anti-gun saying the Second Amendment applies only to militias.

    I think that’s it for me on this one.

  191. Robert Capozzi

    tk, in your mind, perhaps ;-)

    How’s about:

    - Shuttering the Supreme Court
    - Ordering all NORAD pilots to hit the eject button
    - Turning over the congressional dome and making it into a gigantic flower pot.
    - Cutting the power on all government lighthouses

  192. paulie Post author

    “Naturaly lazy people are the least likely to do something like migrate thousands of miles.”

    Not when you get free health care, food stamps, and welfare.

    To some extent, even then. Moving thousands of miles is still a major undertaking that self-selects against the lazy, even if there is a reward at the end.

    in 1995 households headed by illegal immigrants were awarded about $1.1 BILLION in AFDC and Food Stamps benefits.

    That’s far less than the amount that undocumented workers pay into a system they can never collect from using fake SSNs to get employment and having money withheld.

    And, of course, there would be no afdc, food stamps, etc. under my proposed system, so that’s besides the point.

  193. paulie Post author

    How can Wes be the ‘Best ED’ in any way, when he hangs up on people he disagrees with and clearly chooses sides between internal factions?

    Should he not be ‘neutral’ philosophically?

    Should he not welcome all and alienate none?

    Isn’t he sort of an Ambassador and a Diplomat?
    Seems to me he sorta-oughta be both.

    Seems to be if he can’t be nice to a Life Member who calls with a concern about his email, how can he deal with the press.

    Say if Chris Matthews or Glenn Beck or take your pick, interviewed the guy… If he can’t be nice to his own LP Members, how can he be our #1 paid Staff person?

    Will he fire office staff if they don’t agree with him on what coffee they should have in the office?

    Or how about if they disagree on some facet of immigration?

    I’m not claiming to be the most diplomatic person in the world, but I don’t hang up on folks as a matter of routine.

    Staff have limited time and endlessly debating every tiny point of LP disagreements with every member who calls them is not the best use of their time.

  194. paulie Post author

    The problem is the Spanish immigrants are not adopting and integrating into American culture.

    See radgeek.org on “assimilation” of migrants.

    Quite unlike the German and Italian immigrants.

    Not true at all. Similar concerns about assimilation were raised with those waves of migration as well.

  195. paulie Post author

    paulie – Dismissive arguments like “faulty, unproven, ahistorical” have little merit.

    Sorry for the dismissive tone, but I don’t think you have even come close to proving the assertion that “Such an experiment would reduce the standard of living here to that of India or Mexico in a matter of a year or two. ” And, I don’t see where anything in history or economics bolsters your argument.

    Readers can decide for themselves as to the plausibility of the scenario of open borders that I sketched out.

    That’s my intent, in fact.

  196. paulie Post author

    Paulie, if you don’t mind walking past beggars, that explains our disagreement perfectly.

    That depends on what you mean by “mind.” Do I expect that I should have the police remove people’s right to ask me for money in public places, or prevent me from asking someone else? No, absolutely not.

    Do private property owners have the right to forbid it on their property? Yes, if they are truly private property owners.

    I said nothing about begging being a “highest aspiration”. I talked about it being part of the “safety net”.

    Then perhaps I did not make my point clear. While they may at some point be reduced to beg/borrow/receive aid, migrants will generally work hard rather than beg, more so than native born. And work for less. And start more buisinesses. ETC. Thus, I expect a higher, not lower, standard of living without migration quotas.

    Second, since private safety nets are much more efficient than tax-financed safety nets, if there is a shortfall – temporary or otherwise – it would be met, in my expectation, as well.

    I’ve repeatedly tried to make the point that it doesn’t matter whether the safety net is public or private. If people who need it arrive, then either the money will be transferred to them, or there will be squalor in our streets. It doesn’t matter whether the money is public or private.

    It does, because of the respective efficiency, but I understand. I do not expect any significant degree of squalor. If anything, less than at present.

    I don’t have to “prove” that a flood of economic refugees will happen; you’re the one who has the burden of proof of convincing the rest of us it won’t. You’re the one who wants to allow the rate of migration to radically change, not us. If you can’t convince fellow Libertarians about this, then good luck convincing the American voting public.

    Some people will agree with me, some people won’t. My ability and time for persuasion are limited.

    Also, your deontological argument should demand that borders be open even if we all agreed it would bring a billion of the world’s least-productive and most-impoverished people to America — right? Surely your position isn’t based on a consequentialist analysis of what kinds of people would choose to migrate here. Open borders is morally mandatory, regardless of consequences, right?

    Yes, ultimately, but I do have consequentialist preferences – even if they are theoretically trumped by rights-based arguments – and I happen to believe that my preferred consequences are the natural result of what I believe the rights-based argument demands in terms of policy, not that one has to be chosen over the other.

    The cheapness of travel is measured in the number of hours of labor required to purchase it. The primary cost of travel is energy, and the price of energy in terms of human labor has plummeted in the last century or two. See the graphs on pp. 168-169 of Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource II. Then consider the population graph I showed above.

    OK.

    How do I decide if two regions are close enough in economic freedom/prosperity to allow open borders between them? Easy — if they are at or near equilibrium in terms of the flow of economic refugees.

    Well, unless the neighborhoods have changed a lot since when I have lived there (many have), north of 96th street on the east side of Manhattan is much poorer than south of 96th.

    Should anyone from north of 96th who gets a job with a willing employer south of 96th have to go through border checkpoints and be checked for diseases and criminal history? Or be limited by quotas? What about if they have the money, or someone wants to aid them, to move — quotas, checkpoints? What if they have a date with someone on the wealthier side of the divide, do they have to justify walking down the street? ETC. There are many examples like this within US borders, not just at international border lines.

    At what point would governments intervene to determine whether there is sufficient equilibrium – states, counties, cities, neighborhoods, blocks, floors of buildings…?

  197. paulie Post author

    DW,

    JT writes “And as far as the LP goes, it’s I whose on the side of the LP on this issue [open borders], not you. Look up the platform, which has taken essentially the same position on immigration since 1972. Looks like you’ve got a lot of Libertarian minds to change.”

    JT did not write that his position is open borders. It isn’t. Mine is, but not JT’s. JT wants the border checkpoints.

    Not that many minds! Witness the selection of Barr/Root in 2008 and the very real possibility that Root will be elected chair of the LNC. It’s been a real eye-opener to me as to the stratification of state LPs WRT the anarchist/constitutionalist schism.

    There’s no anarchist/constitutionalist schism here, the constitution says naturalization can be regulated – not (im)migration.

    The very narrow win by Barr and Root for nomination does nothing like prove that “not that many” minds in the LP have to be changed to reverse the party’s position and have us come out in favor of migration quotas.

    Nor does the possibility that Root would be elected chair of the LP.

    I doubt Mr. Root would be willing to agree with your stipulation and ask that all those who oppose migration quotas vote against him for chair on every ballot.

    Are you intending to make that argument on his behalf?

  198. paulie Post author

    The popular intuition I’m talking about is just the very basic question of how many of Earth’s 6.8 billion people would choose to walk through a wide-open door leading to America’s opportunities and public/private safety net.

    Since immigration laws are not very effective, and those who are motivated to find ways around them already do, why would you expect that the difference would be expressed in terms of “orders of magnitude” if these ineffective laws were formally repealed?

    There’s also a “popular intuition” that use of currently illegal drugs would go up by orders of magnitude if they were legalized, and that such use would come with all the violence and property crime that comes with their illegal status – but magnified because that use would be greatly expanded.

    I submit that the “popular intuition” is wrong on both those points, and equally wrong about a “flood of economic refugees.”

  199. paulie Post author

    As for how Libertarians feel about open borders: your proviso about disease/threats was only added in 2006.

    I would take it back out if I could.

    Ron Paul’s drastic change on immigration parallels changes within the libertarian movement. When Liberty Magazine polled its readers on the question of whether “the U.S. should remove all restrictions on immigration”, the ayes plummeted from 69% in 1988 to under 30% in 2008.

    A function of who and how we have been recruiting.

  200. paulie Post author

    Like it or not, limited immigration props up average wages in the USA. Totally open borders would result in huge waves of immigrants who would reduce wages here significantly – the law of supply and demand can’t be avoided. The result would reduce existing citizens’ standard of living significantly.

    Faulty argument – assumes a fixed or near-fixed economic pie.

    If migrants increase productivity and expand the economy, there is no reason to assume that wages would go down just because there are more people.

    If they are willing to work for lower wages, that means that the prices of many goods and services go down, and that there is more money available to employ other people at higher wages and to allow more people to specialize.

    If what you say were true, limiting migration between states, cities, counties, etc., would serve to increase wages/purchasing power on average. In fact, it would do the opposite.

    In a nutshell, open borders would be good for immigrants and very bad for natives. The political stability that we’ve generally enjoyed in our land for a couple of centuries would end quite abruptly.

    The same type of groundless alarmism has always been prevalent during past waves of migration. It wasn’t true then, and isn’t true now. It’s based on a faulty understanding of economics.

  201. paulie Post author

    Again: if you open-borders types were confident that the parasitic component of unlimited immigration wouldn’t exhaust our resources and charity, then you wouldn’t oppose a rule that parasites can be barred/returned if said exhaustion occurs.

    Addressed this previously. While I’m fairly confident that no such exhaustion would occur, even if it somehow did, there would be no entity with the right to make such a determination, much less carry it out, if I could help it. If one did exist, I would have no confidence in its ability to make such a determination fairly, or carry out its “barring/returning” mission without causing much more harm than good and/or without massively violating people’s rights while ferreting out migrants for the “returning” process (including rights of non-migrants).

  202. paulie Post author

    Open borders before ending welfare-warfare state is a disaster for liberty.

    I disagree that it would be a disaster for liberty unless it happens in your preferred order.

  203. paulie Post author

    Think of the US as a gigantic condo association, and the Constitution is the association’s rules. One rule there is the delegation of a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.”

    That seems sensible to me on a lot of levels. It’s peaceful, too, for no rules of naturalization seem potentially gravely dysfunctional.

    Migration and naturalization are two different things.

    I have seen no one in this discussion propose that there be no rules of naturalization.

    The most basic right of anyone in a society is the right to leave.

    That right is contingent on the right to be able to go somewhere else.

  204. paulie Post author

    What a welcome and timely message! This will give Libertarians something positive to communicate to defenders of immigration on May 1 (traditional day of immigrant rights activism). Thanks, Wes!

    Here are a few suggestions to make the next message you write on this topic even stronger:

    -Point out the unconstitutionality of immigration restrictions (Congress is authorized to regulate *naturalization*, not immigration)

    -Refer to “undocumented migrants” rather than “illegal immigrants”; if you use the term “illegal”, put it in quotes (see first point above)

    -Don’t refer to the U.S. economy, country, government, etc., with personal pronouns like “our”, “us”, or “we” — this contributes to
    nationalism and encourages people to see the U.S. as “their” property (hence their imagined “right” to keep “foreigners” out)

    -Don’t mention that some immigrants commit violent crimes without mentioning that other people do so as well, and at comparable rates

    -Condemn anti-immigrant actions by government more strongly and specifically

    -Point out that border walls, fences, guards and so on can easily be used to keep people *in* as well as out

    -Cite the enormous costs of anti-immigration enforcement, both fiscal and to the civil liberties of people (both the migrants themselves and
    to others already inside the U.S., such as via armed personnel stopping vehicles at checkpoints many miles from the border)

    Nevertheless, good work! It’s about time the Libertarian Party started devoting more energy to defending the libertarian stance against government border controls.

    Excellent points.

  205. paulie Post author

    Opponents of the right to self defense, for instance, could argue that the right to keep and bear arms cannot be allowed until people stop shooting each other.

    Better analogy here: they might argue that we can’t allow individual gun ownership rights until we end drug prohibition.

    Or that we can’t end drug prohibition until we end welfare.

    ETC.

  206. paulie Post author

    America could open its doors to the 2.7 billion humans who now earn/produce less than $700/yr,

    Who would all be willing and able to save the money to come to the US?

  207. paulie Post author

    if the entire US border was sold to a private entity, do I take it that you would in effect support some form of immigration control, as anyone not granted easement and passage would be a trespasser?

    It wouldn’t be “immigration” or “US border” then, just a property line like any other.

    And, yes, easement is a valid issue in such a case.

  208. Brian Holtz

    The argument that aggression cannot competently be policed by government doesn’t work on us non-anarchists.

    In a world of diminishing migration restrictions within regions of roughly similar economic freedom/prosperity, the slippery-slope argument about immigration checkpoints between floors of buildings can’t be taken very seriously.

    When the popular intuition is that fewer rules would result in people acting against their self-interest — in doing drugs, risking their safety, risking their money, etc. — then the popular intuition is almost surely wrong. When the popular intuition is that fewer rules would result in people acting for their self-interest — in polluting or depleting common resources, or migrating to areas with better resources — then the popular intuition is almost surely right.

    I’m happy to cede to your side of the question anyone who thinks that the amount of immigration wouldn’t increase massively if America removed all restrictions against economic refugees.

  209. paulie Post author

    While Brian to his credit doesn’t assert that there is such a right, his language above seems to imply that Paulie is insensitive if he does not have qualms about walking past beggars.

    Actually, I am somewhat insensitive to that. Quite used to it from growing up in major cities and frequent travels in “third world” countries.

    If the poor people you are not helping all live hundreds or thousands of miles from you, rather than being people you walk by on the streets every day, this does not make you more compassionate!

    I don’t think that was what Brian meant. I haven’t read further yet, but I suspect he has already pointed that out.

  210. paulie Post author

    The argument that aggression cannot competently be policed by government doesn’t work on us non-anarchists.

    To a lesser degree, it works on many non-anarchists. Many non-anarchists, especially most minarchists, acknowledge that monopoly government is highly inefficient and frequently causes more problems than it solves.


    In a world of diminishing migration restrictions within regions of roughly similar economic freedom/prosperity, the slippery-slope argument about immigration checkpoints between floors of buildings can’t be taken very seriously.

    You haven’t lived in some of the buildings I lived in. There are very real economic differences between neighboring cities, neighborhoods, etc., in the US. And even between floors in some buildings in big cities. I can see why you wouldn’t want to consider this part of the argument in greater depth.


    When the popular intuition is that fewer rules would result in people acting against their self-interest — in doing drugs, risking their safety, risking their money, etc. — then the popular intuition is almost surely wrong. When the popular intuition is that fewer rules would result in people acting for their self-interest — in polluting or depleting common resources, or migrating to areas with better resources — then the popular intuition is almost surely right.

    Self-interest here is too narrowly defined. Potential migrants have to take the potential opportunity or reward and balance it against the costs – granted, diminishing as you have pointed out, but still astronomical to someone making less than $700 a year; and the costs go well beyond the cost of a plane ticket.

    There’s the loss of ties to friends, family and community. Granted, you now have cell phones, etc., but many in poor countries don’t have them, and they don’t quite replace the ability to be there in person all the time.

    And even when immersed in an immigrant community, there is a lot of strangeness to get used to in moving to an alien culture thousands of miles away.

    So, I rather don’t see the self interest as one-sidedly as you do.

    I’m happy to cede to your side of the question anyone who thinks that the amount of immigration wouldn’t increase massively if America removed all restrictions against economic refugees.

    I grant that it would probably increase. I think it wouldn’t be by anything like orders of magnitude, however.

  211. paulie Post author

    By what authority would you impose these easements? Are you claiming there is a “right” to “freedom of movement,” and, if so, from where does this right derive? I thought they were life, liberty and property only….

    Interesting question. Off hand, I’d say that in the case of easement liberty (and sometimes life) trumps property. The demand on property may be negligible. If not, some form of compensation after the fact could reasonably be required.

  212. paulie Post author

    I come at this from a non-atomistic perspective, which may be why we are not communicating. Nations are established — at least in part — to maintain domestic tranquility. Governments — including the US government — generally do reasonably good jobs of this. Most people in most nations can most of the time go to work, go to play, travel (domestically and sometimes internationally), etc., unharrassed by either the State or others. This is surely not ALWAYS the case, and governments are quite often DISTURBERS of domestic tranquility.

    I would contend that they disrupt tranquility more than they ensure it.

  213. paulie Post author

    I say that jurisdictions — whether they are “governments” or homeowners’ associations — have the “right to discriminate” based on whether a newcomer will be polluting /depleting /congesting local resources and infrastructure without paying their way.

    Sounds like border checkpoints and movement quotas might become quite prevalent under such a scenario?

    Not just at national and neighborhood lines, but many other levels in between as well…

  214. paulie Post author

    Starchild, my point in citing the EU is that what I care about are borders between areas with similar economic freedom/prosperity.

    Many in Europe would argue with the contention that all of Europe is of similar economic freedom/prosperity, particularly as the Eurosphere expands.

  215. paulie Post author

    A recent Libertarian activist is now running on the American Independent Party ticket?

    How did that happen? Is there a story behind it? Why did Ms. Nightingale switch parties?

    AIP seems to be a better fit. She came there by way of being an anti-immigration activist (“Save Our State”)

  216. paulie Post author

    I’ve said perhaps a dozen times that the safety net I’m talking about is not just government welfare, but also the charitable safety net that all good little libertarians believe could and would totally replace government welfare.

    Either 1) the world’s poor would be guaranteed by that safety net, or 2) our magic soil under their feet would make the world’s poor not need our safety net, or 3) the world’s poor wouldn’t come here, or 4) the world’s poor would bring their squalor here and we’d let it fall through our safety net and land on top of our resources/infrastructure.

    So which is it? I don’t want to pay for (1),

    Nothing in a voluntary safety net forces you, personally, to pay for (1).

    I don’t believe (2) or (3), and I won’t accept the aggression constituted by (4).

    IMO it would be a combination of 1 — better, more effective safety net when not artificially quasi-monopolized; a freer economy creating dramatically more wealth, along with greater availaibility of the ultimate resource – esp. when freed from the harmful economic effects of taxation/regulation/prohibition/mandates/forced monopolization (nowhere among your 1-4, as far as I can tell, unless transformed into 2 by those who don’t fathom the science behind the “magic”); 3 to some extent, as explained in previous comments, and if nothing else — I don’t see 4 as aggression in nearly the same way as you do.

  217. Brian Holtz

    A right to go somewhere else does not imply a right to go anywhere you please and not pay for your impacts there.

    Again, if you want to disagree with my core position here, then try saying this: “it is never aggression for migrants to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating the locals who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.”

    It may indeed be that you really really want to disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean you actually have done so. The only person here who I remember sort-of disagreeing with my stand is our friend None Shall Pass, who recognized the core problem here of “man’s territorial pissing”.

  218. Alexander S. Peak

    Mr. Holtz,

    Since the state has no legitimate ownership over “its” roads or other public lands, it has no authority to restrict who can use said roads or public lands.

    If the legitimate owner of an otherwise-unowned resource is she who mixes her labour with said resource, then the legitimate owners of the roads are whomever use them. Since the state has no legitimate ownership, since its “ownership” of the roads is of the illegitimate sort, the state should surrender ownership of the roads to those who rightfully own them, i.e. those who use them.

    Unfortunately, the issue become tricky because we all use roads to differing degrees, and we often use roads out-of-state, too. So, there is no perfect solution. But, it seems to me that the best solution is this:

    Residential roads should be surrendered to the residents who live on them. Everyone on Henry Avenue, for example, should receive exactly one share in ownership of Henry Avenue. We could then sell our shares, buy shares from our neighbours, hold on to our shares, and whatever else.

    Highways are a bit trickier. I would simply say more or less that they should be surrendered to every resident within a given state equally.

    I think this is as close as we’re going to get to returning to the people what was systematically stolen from them.

    Now, what about immigrants? Statistics indicate that immigrants tend to pay more in taxes than they get out in social programmes. They have had the fruits of their labour stolen from them as well, whether we call them legal or “illegal.” And, they are also people who use the roads, who mix their labour.

    Immigration regulation does nothing to diminish aggression. It simply denies to a specific class of individuals access to resources that the state has no legitimate ownership or control over anyway. If Jose is living in State X “illegally,” and State X decides to do the right thing, decides to privatise its roads by surrendering ownership of them to the people, I see no reason why Jose should not also receive a share. He’s just as much a victim of the state as you or I. He’s doing the same things as you an I. He’s working, producing, living, and consuming, thereby creating new job opportunities just like you and I. Where a person is born is irrelevant, right? Thus, if the state were to deny him his equal share, that would be naked state aggression against him, wouldn’t it?

    Decentralized aggression is still aggression.

    Abolishing aggression—including aggression against one’s right of access to the unproduced natural commons—is the optimally libertarian position.

    Mr. Capozzi,

    The quota system is definitely indicative of central planning. Perhaps you oppose the quota system, in which case your position is commendable in so far is it does.

    The law against murder is a natural law. It is not created by any person or organisation. Natural laws are not examples of central planning.

    Perhaps we could say that all statutory laws in conflict with natural law constitute central planning. Perhaps.

    Rulemaking can be a nonaggressive thing. For example, if you have a voluntary organisation, you can set up bylaws. These bylaws are rules, but since the organization is a voluntary one that does not aggress against anyone, the rules are not themselves examples of aggression.

    Mr. Wills,

    You write, “Is there room in the LP for folks who hold our beliefs? Are we welcome? Is the LP interesting in recruiting more folks like us?”

    Ron Paul admits that his view on immigration is an unlibertarian view. I have no problem with Ron Paul-types being in the party, just as long as y’all admit what Ron Paul admits.

    Harry Browne used to advise LP candidates to let voters know, if and when they advocate unlibertarian positions, that their positions are in conflict with libertarianism. Anyone who pretends that the closed-border position is the libertarian position does a disservice to the party and the movement. But if you say something like, “The Libertarian Party favours open borders. I disagree with my party on this issue. I think we should make legal immigration easier, but continue border testing for diseases and terrorism,” I’d probably wouldn’t feel that upset having you as my candidate.

    Of course, as a personal message, I urge you to oppose immigration regulation. One thing Ron Paul fails to recognise, and I wish he did recognise this, is that immigration regulation, at least at the federal level, is unconstitutional. I can expand upon this argument further if you wish to hear it.

    Mr. Holtz (again),

    You write, “let me stipulate that by ‘open borders’ in this discussion I mean any policy of allowing unlimited numbers of economic refugees to migrate to areas where they are not required either 1) to pay for how much they pollute, congest, or deplete the natural commons, or 2) to be sponsored by someone (perhaps themselves) who can afford to assume the same responsibility for their subsistence as parents do for native children.”

    Your #2 seems to simply be a complicated and confusing way of saying, “uncondumented residents should not have access to tax-funded services.” I would agree. But the villian here is not the unknown random immigrant, but rather the criminal gang stealing the money, viz., the state.

    If an emigrant to the United States has no money, but immediately gets a job, starts earning a living, rents an apartment for himself without any assistance from the tax-payer, would you say he’s sponsoring himself, and that he has every right to be here? Would you say that he only becomes a criminal/parasite if he initiates force against someone for money, or accepts money that the state has acquired through initiating force against innocent tax-payers? (I assume you wouldn’t have a problem with the immigrant receiving money from the state in the event that the state acquired its money through some nonviolent source, like a lottery system, since not even I would have a problem with that. Hence why the previous question specifically referred to money acquired through aggression.) Would you say that as long as the immigrant does not do this, he is therefore to be regarded as someone who is sponsoring himself, and that you have no issue with his being here?

    If this is what you’re saying, then I find myself far more sympathetic to your view than to the view I initially thought you were advocating. Let me know if I’m understanding your position correctly.

    Further questions: Would you agree with me that this nonaggressive emigrant to the United States has an equal right to engage in all sorts of market-based activity here as we do? Would you agree with me that he should not be kicked out of the country? Would you agree with me that if the government does kick him out of the country, that it is aggressing against him, regardless of what sort of paperwork he has, and regardless of what languages he can speak?

    Would you agree with me that the conservatives who call in to talk radio shows and say, “The government should shut down any business that is discovered to have hired an illegal”—that these conservatives are un-American, and that their position smacks of state socialism?

    :)

    Mr. Capozzi (again),

    Regarding light-houses, here’s what I’d do:

    To those shippers who use light-house X on a frequent basis, I’d surrender ownership of said lighthouse in the form of one share each. I’d let them know that the government electricity would continue to run for X amount of time, but that after that period, they would be responsible for paying for their own electricity.

    Do you think this is a good solution?

    Regarding the U.S. Capitol building, I’d probably auction it off to the highest bidder and put the funds toward the elderly on Social Security.

    Or, maybe we should simply surrender ownership of the building to the elderly Americans in the form of one share each; they could then choose what to do with it, whom to lease it, how much to charge, etc.

    Which of these solutions is better, in your opinion?

    In any event, turning the building into a big flower-pot doesn’t exactly strike me as the path I’d take.

    I also see no reason for ordering NORAD pilots to eject themselves mid-flight. If anything, I would see that as unduly dangerous. What if the plane crashes into somebody’s private property, or worse yet, kills someone? Then the person who ordered the mass ejection is completely responsible for the damage or loss of life.

    The government court system, along with local law enforcement, would probably be one of the last things to go. I suspect the most practical solution to the matter is to let the public know that, in one year’s time, these things would no longer be government-funded, and that thereafter it will be every household’s or individual’s personal responsibility to hire private arbitration firms and whatnot.

    But this is all assuming that revolutionary changed comes through the party system, which I doubt it will anyway. I’m more inclined to suspect that, should this sort of revolutionary change occur, it will occur from bottom up, through counter-economics, rather than from top down, through a libertarian party.

    I suspect that the most a libertarian party could ever achieve is minarchy, and I doubt our party will even achieve that, at least in my lifetime.

    Mr. Holtz (a third time),

    You write, “A right to go somewhere else does not imply a right to go anywhere you please and not pay for your impacts there.”

    I don’t think any of us open-border-types have argued differently. You don’t have a positive right to go just anywhere. You must have permission from the owner of a privately-owned plot of land if you wish to tread upon it (although you may freely tread upon unowned plots of land without anybody’s permission). But, assuming you do have said permission from the private owner, then you have an absolute negative right to not be prevented from treading upon it by some third party, regardless of the sort of papers you may have. Are we in agreement? :)

    Sincerely yours,
    Alex Peak

  219. None Shall Pass

    BH@242
    “Again, if you want to disagree with my core position here, then try saying this: “it is never aggression for migrants to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating the locals who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.” ”

    I deny that this core tenet is a immigration problem. I think that it is a distraction, a false collision of rights. That it is only connected to immigration through the use of fear and unjustly so. So in its current phrasing. I do definitely agree.

    If your assertion were phrased:

    “It is never aggression for new comers to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating those who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.”

    I would still object to the negative proof wording, “It is never…”

    Since proving a negative is in-itself impossible I would refuse to agree with or to counter your premise because it is approached from fallacy.

    To fix this I might rephrase it again reversing the argument to something should be a rhetorically identical:

    “It is always aggression for new-comers to pollute/congest/deplete local natural resources or public infrastructure without compensating the locals who have been using those resources or financing that infrastructure.”

    But I still disagree with the absolutism of the stance. Neither “never” nor “always” can be true; what if the locals had a policy of open house?

    Welfare, run by a government that has an “equal protection” mandate, is a de facto open house policy. To address your concerns, this issue is not immigration, but either “equal protection” is wrong, or government stealing resources from locals and giving them away to new-comers is wrong.

    Why are we applying the fault of your interpretaion of resource agression to the new-comers and seemingly trying to justify curtailing their rights for it?

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