This article was originally published 1/19/16 by Students for Liberty. Jim Babka is Co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project and President of DownsizeDC.org.
A 2015 speech by Lew Rockwell is titled, “Open Borders: A Libertarian Reappraisal.” But this isn’t a new look at immigration from the libertarian perspective. It’s actually a reevaluation of libertarianism, where Rockwell decides border control matters more than the principles of liberty.
He’s not alone. An amazingly high number of libertarians switch sides when immigration is the topic. “We have a welfare state,” they cry. “These teeming hordes don’t appreciate our heritage of liberty.”
With this most recent piece, Rockwell’s upped the claim. He argues that politically unwelcome immigration violates personal property rights as understood by libertarians.
Rockwell’s approach is not libertarian because it violates the primary principle of libertarianism…
The Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP): No one has the right to initiate force against peaceful persons. Since no one has that right, no one can delegate it to their most elite neighbors – politicians.
An important corollary to the ZAP is…
The Equal Liberty Rule: Every human being is free to do what they believe is right, so long as they don’t violate the rights of others. My rights stop at the end of your nose.
Lew defends both of these concepts in other cases. But you cannot really make an exception to a principle without losing the principle itself.
Rockwell’s claim is that national borders are just extensions of private property rights.
He argues that public property (even roads) is actually owned by the taxpayers. He writes:
[I]mmigrants have access to public roads, public transportation, public buildings, and so on… and the result is artificial demographic shifts… Property owners are forced to associate and do business with individuals they might otherwise avoid.
But are public spaces really, secretly private property?
Does a man in Cincinnati, with only the deed to his house, have the right to stop traffic in Phoenix, checking for citizenship papers? How else, other than through The State, can you assume control over property 1,000 miles away? Axiomatically, the larger the boundary you seek to protect, the bigger the “government” you’ll need.
The result of this new property rights formulation is shocking to libertarian sensibilities — people could be banned from common spaces by political majorities. An immigrant walking down a local street becomes, in Rockwell’s words, a “forced association,” even if he’s on his way to a place where he’s quite welcome.
This new, forced association principle clashes with the ZAP. To stop aliens who are walking, job seeking, purchasing, and house renting, there will be cases where someone must be prepared to shoot them. Who, amongst the libertarians, is willing to pull the first trigger?
Still, let’s assume roads really are private property, owned by taxpayers. Then, we’re left with an ironic question…
Where do we draw the line?
- Can your neighbors ban you from carrying guns to the shooting range because of forced association?
- Can your neighbors prohibit you from buying marijuana and driving it home to smoke it?
- Could your neighbors decide that, since we have government healthcare, they can regulate what you can take home from the grocery store?
Rockwell might suggest that these actions differ from immigration restriction because they violate free trade rather than free immigration. He asserts these are not the same because there isn’t a willing recipient of immigration. Leaving aside the bald anti-humanity of the idea that our worth is based on who wants to consume our services, the fact is, the immigrant has to eat and obtain shelter too. He’s going to do that by selling his services.
In fact, the demand for migrant labor is quite high. This is why, despite the nativist bent of the Republican grassroots, the country club elite that controls the GOP keeps trying to put some kind of “amnesty” plan forward. They want to hire migrant workers.
As libertarians, we should be concerned about any method of suppressing this labor market. The State, through immigration restrictions, makes it cumbersome or impossible for businessmen to hire these workers. We abhor regulation elsewhere, viewing it as a violent intrusion into a voluntary relationship. On what principle do we suddenly shift ground? Lew’s forced association doesn’t make the grade.
Most important of all, consider the following real-life example. By accident of birth, a human being was born on the other side of a line. You want to hire them to work on your property. Border control means that, if I have political power, I have the right to use violent force to terminate this relationship between consenting adults. Do you really believe that?
Even if you do, can anyone call that view “libertarian?”
Insightful and spot on, as always. I appreciate your consistency on this issue.
My brain enjoyed comparing the arguments of two great libertarians, Lew Rockwell and Jim Babka. I think that in the end, Jim Babka’s argument is more consistent with libertarian principles. It seems to me that Lew Rockwell’s argument, for all its seeming rationality, is a stealthy appeal to a reader’s potential xenophobia (Forced association –> an attack on “our way of life.”)
Trying to craft a quasi-libertarian argument in favor of immigration control focuses on a symptom rather than the cause. The anti-illegal-immigration sentiment shared for so long by many in the U.S. is a natural outcome of living in a nation state that forcibly extracts taxes for so-called public goods such as roads, schools, welfare benefits, medical care, etc. This leads to illegal immigration being viewed, at minimum, as a strain on the existing tax-purchased resources. It’s not hard to see how the desire to control immigration is a direct outcome of the welfare state.
The real solution to immigration is the ZAP. Without forcibly-funded public benefits to be “taken advantage of” by those who aren’t seen to be part of the public that was forced to fund them, the immigration problem disappears.
Thank you Lynn
Your last two sentences, Lynn, say all that really needs to be said about this. The welfare/warfare statists produced this problem, voting them out would almost certainly solve it.
I am left scratching my head. In principal, I agree that the wall would be unnecessary if we did not have the inducements for non-citizens to come to the U.S. in order to get free schools, medicine, housing and food. Who in their right mind would not risk the trek from Honduras to the U.S. if you knew the government here would make work largely unnecessary. Take away the incentives, and I agree with Jim. But the incentives make this not such an easy decision.
This where you are wrong, Jim. If we don’t have a system closed enough to preserve basic western values of LIBERTY and the values to support it, we lose ALL LIBERTARIAN ability to exist. Assimilation TO those values is imperative, anything else is suicide. Perhaps “limiting” immigration to a point where assimilation is possible is the only answer. Unfettered freedom without responsibility is suicide. Unfortunately extreme libertarians and leftists who don’t care except for plantation voters will likely ultimately prevail and it will take a thousand years to climb back out of the statist hole made by open borders. Because believe me, the elite will quickly move to “use” these low skilled workers and liquidate the useful idiots who brought them here.
People from the West will immigrate to a country in the West and destroy Western values. Makes perfect sense.
Let me get this straight, you are advocating having an ideological test for who can come here? That would be morally equivalent to a religious test, and I can’t think of anything more anti-American and totalitarian in nature.
Anti-American? Didn’t America once screen for known communists at immigration interviews? The right self defense is never abrogated, even against the right of other’s freedom of movement. SO it is quite American to protect against anti-American ideologues and totalitarians establishing themselves in the country. Certainly these are currently dwarfed by the home grown variety
Such efforts to screen out communists were also anti-American, in my opinion, as they were contrary to the American ideal of liberty. There have been many, many actions taken by our government which have been anti-American in this regard.
I believe your article fails to engage with Mr. Rockwell’s argument, and really just attacks a strawman throughout.
He does not argue that “national borders are just extensions of private property rights.”
I find it strange that the implication you take from his argument that taxpayers are the true owners of the things bought with the resources stolen from them is not that these resources be privatized in some manner and the taxpayer compensated as owner (indeed, Rockwell directly compares it to the process of privatization in former communist countries), but rather that these things should be unowned (or perhaps communally owned?).
A number of things you write lead me to wonder whether we were reading the same Rockwell essay:
“How else, other than through The State, can you assume control over property 1,000 miles away?”
You can’t, but what is it that you think Rockwell, the guy who wants to privatize everything and abolish taxation, desires? Under the anarcho-capitalist system he supports, no one would be forced to pay for roads 1,000 miles away (or 1 mile away).
“Axiomatically, the larger the boundary you seek to protect, the bigger the “government” you’ll need.”
Yet Rockwell wants the boundaries to be around private property, not the nation-state.
If you want to make arguments about the best case policy given the existence of the interventionist nation-state, that’s fine. But don’t make it seem as if Rockwell is arguing that the nation-state ought to control the territory it claims as if it were its own private property.
Consider the “Like” button pressed for Lysander’s remarks.
My characterization of this article is quite accurate as proven by the fact that, since Lew first published his piece, I’ve had more than a dozen people represent it to me as if I’d never heard the argument before. They say things like, “we own this country, and we can put a fence around it” or “you lock your doors, don’t you, you hypocrite.” So, for all those times it’s been shared back at me, these raving fans apparently missed Lew’s point, right?
No, I think they got it. But your defense of the piece is trying to have things both ways: State prohibition is acceptable until we can arrive at full anarchy. Well…
The proposal before us is NOT whether we’re going to privatize all the land first. But even that would be a HUGE mistake in the application (I disagree with it too). Today, we have the ability — right now — to stop destroying the God-given rights (as spelled out in The Declaration). No money must be spent. No rights need be violated. We can just stop. Humans have a right to travel, peacefully, to engage in commerce or friendship with others, to pursue happiness, so long as they don’t harm others.
I agree. Those who live on the border (and own land there) are the only ones who can determine what is best for them. Not the individual states, and certainly *not* the federal government.
I find it a bit awkward that you defend your interpretation of the article by referring to what other people have said. Why not criticize them directly?
Like I said, if you want to make arguments about the best case policy given the existence of the interventionist nation-state, that’s fine. Make that argument.
Perhaps I was unclear. The others were quoted because I believe they read Lew Rockwell’s piece accurately.
In this thread, you’ve demonstrated to me that you misread both Lew and, in your response to Michael, me as well. And that was why I quoted the others. They agreed with Lew, and I disagree.
I suppose I must have misread, because I’m not sure what you are talking about when you “quoted the others”. Are you referring to “We have a welfare state,” and “These teeming hordes don’t appreciate our heritage of liberty”?
Please tell me where I’ve misread Mr. Rockwell and yourself. I honestly don’t understand why Michael directed his comment at me. Rockwell writes, “It [public property] was purchased and developed by means of money seized from the taxpayers. They are the true owners. (This, incidentally, was the correct way to approach de-socialization in the former communist regimes of eastern Europe. All those industries were the property of the people who had been looted to build them, and those people should have received shares in proportion to their contribution, to the extent it could have been determined.)” I see this leading to a number of possibilities, including what Michael suggests (that is, the taxpayer-shareholders could sell their shares and thereby have their money returned). I don’t see it as necessarily implying what you’ve suggested, which is that any taxpayer has the ability to stop anyone using the road, as if it were their own personal private property. I don’t think Rockwell is saying “public spaces are really, secretly private property” in that sense.
I think we should be clear about what it means to “agree with Lew.” One can agree, say, with the proposition that the correct libertarian position on immigration is not “open borders,” but come to that conclusion by other means. In that sense, I don’t think all the things said by anyone who agrees with Rockwell’s conclusions can necessarily be imputed to Rockwell.
Lysander, If the Govt wishes to compensate the taxpayer for the money it stole, then the only solution involves returning the money, not making the taxpayers the owners or controllers of the goods the Govt expropriated, which the taxpayers may have no interest in owning or controlling. Michael
I believe your comment should be directed to Mr. Babka, as he is the one who seemed to think that the logical implication of the idea that taxpayers are the owners of things bought with resources stolen from them is that those taxpayers ought to direct those resources in some communal manner.
Sorry guys, still love ya, but you’re dead wrong on this one.
The immigration issue is muddled. There are really two solutions to evaluate: A truly libertarian/anarcho-capitalist/voluntaryistical solution that consistently applies private property principles, and a makeshift bridge that seeks to end the human suffering.
“Left-libertarians” (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) and (alas!) voluntaryisticals (to distinguish this site’s usage from completely different usage elsewhere) actually take to the muddle as a pig takes to mud, since it gives them a lifeline to preserve the concept of public property. However, consistent anarcho-capitalism must see the eradication of public property (illuminated here: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/12/terry-hulsey/capitalist-culture/ ).
One could idealistically bail by saying that in such an ideal anarcho-capitalist world, the absence of public property will allow each owner will decide how to give strangers access to his property. However, sloth is a mortal sin, so until the New Jerusalem dawns we must entertain a makeshift bridge. H.H. Hoppe and Lew Rockwell do this by applying the paradigm of the homeowners’ association. That is, private property owners consent to an enforcement of their property rights as a group.
Critics of Hoppe and Rockwell claim that since universal consent in such a “Super HOA” is impossible (at least one person would not give such consent), then the entire concept must be jettisoned.
But there is no reason to apply such a reductio. Even if an overwhelming majority of the “Super HOA” members wanted to exclude the riff-raff, the dissenters can be accommodated. This would be done by having them put up or shut up by pledging surety for all those they would invite into the community. Such dissenters might be required (or might willingly agree by arbitration) to put up a bond of, say, $20K for every immigrant they accept into the community, with the bond gradually retiring over 5 or 10 years as the immigrant proves himself no threat to person or property; or the dissenters might create an insurance agency for the same amount of surety. However, if the immigrant does commit a tort, the restitution is paid out of the bond, or – if insufficient – the bond is forfeited to the injured party and the tortfeasor deported.
A near flawless response, Terry, thank you, for nailing the open border Libertarian problems to the wall and proffering a detailed solution that can strategically bridge the gap between those that ascribe to the ZAP in various degrees across the political spectrum and can be utilized as a cohesive voting block
“H.H. Hoppe and Lew Rockwell”
Hoppe and Rockwell are not anarcho-capitalists, they are examples of what libertarian historian Anthony Gregory would term advocates of “anarcho-statism” (http://www.strike-the-root.com/content/anarcho-statism/):
an’ar’cho’stat’ism n. The theory or doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive and undesirable and should be abolished, but in the meantime those governments should go on doing what governments do, for the most part.
The fact that Hoppe and Rothbard would use the violence of existing State apparatuses to enforce their prejudices and bigotry is not, in any fashion, pro-liberty. They and their ilk have misled and misdirected the efforts of many fine minds of would be advocates of liberty. If you doubt the bad intentions of Lew Rockwell, in particular, observe his March 10th, 1991 Op Ed in the Los Angeles Times defending the police beating of Rodney King, and his half-serious calls for banning video cameras (I can no longer find a link, but, I remember it vividly, as I was a libertarian and it outraged me).
Endorsing State violence to enforce your prejudices is NOT pro-liberty.
“The fact that Hoppe and Rothbard”
Sorry, meant “Rockwell,” not “Rothbard.”
‘“Left-libertarians” (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one)’
I tend to view libertarians as radical moderate centrists. Radical, because we advocate radical change, moderate, because we wish to moderate the extreme violence of the State, and centrist, because we oppose left-wing and right-wing abuses of State violence with equal fervor. I see some validity, however, in viewing libertarianism as far left wing, as it is the most anti-State ideology (i.e. – the most leftward). I cannot, however, in any fashion see how libertarianism can be considered right wing in any meaningful way, as liberty and the free market are radical forces, not reactionary, conservative forces.
I like the idea of having an immigration sponsor post a bond. This isn’t too different from when I immigrated, I required a sponsor and a pledge not to apply for government benefits for at least 5 years. A necessary condition to having a sponsor is IMMIGRATION CONTROL. Illegal immigrants exercising their freedom of movement do not submit to immigration control, and thus would escape the sponsorship system.
We have several times advocated sponsorship of new immigrants. Perry Willis floated a proposal like this on our Facebook, AGAIN, just last week. We have, now scores of times, advocated a Congressional change to the law to create a legal process. But then, we’re told, “Oh no, we cannot let those dirty brown people in.” (Of course, they’re rarely this accurately blunt about their feelings.)
having a sponsorship system necessarily requires control of who comes in. SO the sponsorship idea is not compatible with open borders
The main reason why States have borders, is to mark which State governs the land and people within those borders.
A libertarian dictatorship run by Bill Maher would not need any borders..,Bill would simply rule the entire planet and impose whatever he considers sensible upon the rest of us.
If we replace dictatorship with democracy, then borders must exist, that determine whose votes the elected officials of each state, must obey.
In many areas, I’m in full agreement with Libertarians, however, reading this article makes me realize that if this is truly a Libertarian position, they have no regard for the Constitution, which is the Law of the Land and what America was founded upon. People have a right to protect the borders of their country and their government, has the responsibility to protect those borders. Interestingly, Libertarians that take the position of open borders for all, are fully in line with the globalists and Soros, which mean to control the entire world regionally. Bottom line, I’m taking it that Libertarians have absolutely no respect for the Constitution. Freedom is a two way street that stops when you infringe on another’s freedom. Freedom for all to cross into my country, infringes on the freedom that the citizens in this country, hold dear. It would appear that Libertarians believe this ZAP principle overrides the Constitution which puts them at odds with Americans that want our Constitution, upheld. I’ll keep this in mind when I see a future politicians run that support Libertarian beliefs.
Alice, The Constitution is a document of enumerated powers (Ninth and Tenth Amendments). Congress only has the power to regulate naturalization, not immigration. Moreover, the Declaration of Independence observes that rights are natural, given to us by our Creator. The Constitution was designed to protect those rights. For more information, please go here: https://downsizedc.org/jim-babkas-post-statist-review-podcast-4/
It has been said that the idiot and the fool will share the same row boat to hell… nowhere is that more obvious than the “open border libertarian” and the “communist” “intellectual”… both espouse views that appear pretty good on paper, but in practice becomes a steaming pile of maggot and parasite infested shite… It is always the ones with the most “common sense” that come up with the solutions that succeed.
One of the Federal Govt’s few delegated duties under the Constitution is to provide for the “common defense”, which WOULD include border AND immigration control, sir, which the Supreme Court has upheld since 1875 (back when the “Supremes” didnt just pretend to care what the Constitution said, btw)… So, your “big brain” idea as leader and lecturer of the Libertarian Party (instead of taking to task hyper surveillance OR civil asset forfeiture OR fraudulent prosecution OR historic levels of censorship OR govt fraud and waste OR voting fraud OR foreign aid fraud OR black budget abuses OR even instead of developing strategies to win higher office) is to repeatedly argue to “relitigate” 200 years of judicial precedent and declare an “open borders Right” to free association even while a majority of the electorate recognizes the clear and present danger of unlimited immigration, and in light of what it’s done to Europe? GTFOH
It’s absolute lunacy on it’s face, just like the recorded history of Communism… it doesnt work, has not worked, and it will not work… and neither will unlimited immigration… We can certainly see why the Left now advocates it, they see it as an easy source of fraudulent voters that they can pay off with welfare benefits, but what the hell is your strategy, the absolute abolition of the Libertarian Party?! Did/do you think you are/were going to talk the majority of the country into your lunacy or that you were going to talk the endless mindless hordes looking for a handout into voting for the greater principles of self reliance and free enterprise and abiding by the laws of 1st world civilization? If you did, you are delusional and should surrender your position and role in the Libertarian Party to members and minds that not only understand cause and effect, but can advocate winning strategies and platforms for the Party.
I should like to point out, in response, that I am not a spokesman for the Libertarian Party nor a member thereof.
Please read Article 4 Sec. 4 of the U.S. Constitution
And yes, what we are facing is an invasion. In addition, there are lawful ways to enter into this country. These people are not opting to go through those lawful means of entry, but are trying to force their way.
The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
How does peacefully crossing an imaginary line between political jurisdictions constitute an “invasion?” How is this different in principle from a person crossing the “border” between California and Nevada?
If you support property rights and freedom of association, how is denying me or any other American the right to freely contract with, or otherwise associate with, an “illegal” immigrant however I so choose to consistent with that? Yo have the right to determine who does or does not enter your own property. You have no right to determine who does or does not enter mine!
Also, please notice, in the last clause of the Preamble to America’s Constitution, that this Constitution was established for the citizens of this country, NOT, the citizens through out the world.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The bill of rights does not, I believe, include the word “citizen” anywhere, however, there are numerous mentions of “people” and “persons.” Natural rights must apply to all human beings, or they mean nothing at all.
Ultimately, I concede that what you describe is how I view the matter. I favor, ultimately, ZAP over the Constitution (as it presently reads). However, I am a gradualist. I believe there would be utter chaos if we went from the current state of affairs to a pure ZAP-based system overnight, or even over a handful of years. I wouldn’t seek to ignore the duties of The State which the Constitution outlines; I would instead aim to fulfill those duties in a manner consistent with the ZAP if at all possible. If not possible, I would support doing what need be done (necessary and proper, n’ all).
Adherence to the Constitution as it stands is an excellent, unifying step toward realization of Libertarian goals. The Constitution is an imperfect document as it stands, but has the capacity to be amended and gradually re-written as the people deem appropriate, which makes it a document with the potential of perfection. I would seek to amend it along ZAP lines over time. But now is not that time. There is a great deal of work to be done just to adhere to the Constitution as it stands.
Now, I don’t think we should have a wall. I think the wall is a silly, expensive, pork project. I think we can solve the actual problems we’re having by ending other State programs (State schools, drug war, Federal welfare, and others I’m sure). But I realize the probability of ending such incentives is abysmally low in the short term, and the people deserve some short term security. To that end, I’d have a hard time arguing the notion that the Constitution forbids using a wall to securing the borders in the pursuit of enforcing our other laws (albeit unconstitutional laws).
What I fear is that a wall might work well enough that the incentive to end the aforementioned incentives will vanish, and we’ll turn into just another Eurozone style country, propping up State-supported programs because it’s politically expedient and the diffused cost to the citizenry is an insufficient spur to buck The State off our backs. I fear we run the danger of becoming again complacent, thinking “this isn’t great, but this is fine”.
I also fear that walls work both ways. The Soviets had a wall. It wasn’t to keep the West out. It was to keep their subjects IN. God forbid that our border wall, if constructed, should serve to trap millions of Americans into a collapsing system when otherwise they’d have some hope of escape.
Jim, thank you so much for not selling out, and not giving in to xenophobia. It is my opinion that the liberty movement can only succeed if it stays true to its principles. The American people, for all their faults, can smell a hypocrite a mile away. I hate having to explain the opinions of people like Lew Rockwell to prospective libertarians, and why “libertarians” support such statist measures as legal restrictions on freedom of travel. People like you restore my faith in liberty.
Thank you, Mark. As you can see, elsewhere in this thread, telling the truth gets you called names and accused of all matters of heresy.
The function of government is to protect the people of the nation, their lives and property. That goes beyond the endpoints of death and the geographic coordinates of a piece of land. The country, the people in it and the government together have built a society, have developed standards of acceptable behavior, of hygiene. To use a few specific examples, the US spent millions to eradicate measles. Measles is now no longer indigenous to the US, and new cases come from outside. Good progress has been made against TB, with the number of cases dropping and 70% of those are in people born outside the US. Drunk driving used to be acceptable! The rationale used to be “you can’t blame the driver, he was drunk!”! MADD changed that, and our society is better for it. My point is that we do have a society to protect, a society that didn’t just occur by accident and even if that isn’t directly an extension of private property it is worth protecting. That requires immigration control and vetting of new arrivals, with the right to refuse entry for cause.
You need to live in the real world and not your Libertarian utopia. The real world is that there is welfare, and a majority of immigrants, illegal and legal, partake in it. Not only do most 3rd world immigrants use welfare, they stay on it, and their descendants will be on it as well. My tax money going to these people is a violation of the non-aggression principal. Many of these people are coming over for the sole purpose of fleecing Americans, and sending money back to their families.
The cheap labor that these people are coming over to fill is rapidly being filled with automation. Why would we want to fill the country with low IQ, low skilled workers, that soon won’t be able to find any work? The idea that Americans don’t want these jobs is also untrue. They are just willing to work cheaper, so they price out Americans who could do the work. We are also rapidly approaching a time when we will no longer be able to print enough money to cover the unfunded socialist liabilities that we’ve signed on to. How will these immigrants react when they lose their government checks let alone the Americans already here?
Most of these people are socialist or communist, and they vote hard left. Any freedoms or hopes of non-aggression that you have will be voted away more and more the longer unchecked 3rd world immigration flows in. Not all cultures are equal or have common values. The more 3rd world you bring in the more 3rd world your country will become. Get real people.
Schrödinger’s Immigrant. He’s a lazy bum who consumes welfare from we taxpayers, while simultaneously stealing our jobs.
It’s also stunning to me that advocates of a southern Border Wall aren’t working for a northern one. Indeed, the nationalities of the south are family-oriented, religious, with a work ethic. You’d think conservatives would want to win them over to their side — would try to expand their dying vote bloc (age is killing-off their angry voters). But the Great White North is more socialist than we are — much further down the progressive tracks. No, those people are no threat to “our way of life.” Oh, the irony.
“But the Great White North is more socialist than we are — much further down the progressive tracks. No, those people are no threat to “our way of life.” Oh, the irony.”
The real irony is that xenophobes posit that immigrants from any country are more in favor of the welfare/warfare state than native born American citizens. Are our current leaders anything close to advocates of liberty and peace? I know if I were coming to America from another country, I would be doing so with the intention of increasing the level of liberty in my adopted land. Why enter the land of milk and honey, just to turn it into bitter ashes? It seems to me that what attracts immigrants to America is what’s left of our liberty, and that, immigrants would be at the forefront of trying to preserve and enhance it.
What really saddens me about xenophobes is that they invariably blame the victims of the welfare state for its existence. There is never any constructive talk about repealing and eliminating it, just hatred exhibited toward “welfare queens” and “welfare cheats.” What about Donald Trump? He is one of the biggest corporate welfare queens the world has ever known, using the violence of the State, through eminent domain, to kick little old ladies out of their apartments and into the cold so that he can build his casinos.
“My tax money going to these people is a violation of the non-aggression principal.”
By your logic, we should deport every native born citizen over the age of 65, as their “welfare’ (Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare) consumes, conservatively, 40 to 50 times the tax revenue of any benefits to “illegal” immigrants.
Instead of blaming the victims of the welfare state, why don’t you join with us in working toward repealing and eliminating it? Oh, but then we couldn’t scapegoat immigrants, and that’s no fun.
“Most of these people are socialist or communist, and they vote hard left.”
I see no evidence of this. It is true that, on average, immigrants prefer Democrats over Republicans, but that has a simple explanation. It is simply that Democrats have, by and large, been less rhetorically hostile to immigrants than Republicans. And you have been duped if you think that Republicans are any less supporters of the Welfare State than Democrats. Our current President, who is a Republican, has vastly increased the federal budget and deficit, certainly at a faster rate than Democrat Obama did.
If supposed advocates of liberty defended the rights of immigrants as vociferously as they do medical marijuana users and raw milk vendors, you would see a lot of support by immigrants for liberty candidates. Even now, informal polls have shown that Libertarian Party candidates for federal office receive their highest vote percentages from naturalized Latino immigrants and their families, and libertarians oppose ALL welfare.
No matter what attempts are made to restrict immigration, Latinos are going to soon be a voting plurality in this country. I’d much rather they have good will toward self described advocates of liberty than poison the well the way conservative Republicans have done.
Open national border supporters should consider the negative consequences if foreigners are allowed into the U.S.A. at free will.
1. Foreigners divide America with language (verbal, written and body) and cultural differences which leads to misunderstandings, and violations of norms and laws. Birds of a feather flock together. Many foreigners do not want to assimilate to become Americanized. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
2. Hurts our culture with chaos and disagreements caused by cultural differences, alters our social norms (less defined) and lowers our standards. Immigration hurts nations financially, economically, culturally, socially and politically.
3. Increased unemployment of natives (those born in the U.S.A.).
4. Cost taxpayers money for translators, healthcare, government publications in other languages, ethnic and “sensitivity training”, different treatment of minorities, handouts (welfare, food stamps,…), minority departments at public schools, bilingual education…. $23,812 for San Diego county for January 2010.
5. Many foreigners bring diseases and their collectivist ideas to America and expect Americans to adopt these unconstitutional ideas. They do not need to live in America to contribute good ideas, inventions and innovations.
6. Some foreigners come to America to escape retribution for a crime or other wrong.
7. Some foreigners come to America to commit crimes to profit, get even for bad foreign policy (“terrorism”) or “hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture’s got to go” and “no trump, no wall, no USA at all”. Foreigners commit the most crimes as a percent. Boston Bombers (Tsarnaevs), for example.
8. Open borders would violate current national law and our Constitution article IV, section 4, and encourage the invasion as it did after the amnesty of 1986.
9. Politicians who want amnesty do so for political reasons only – to get more votes.
Some people say that skilled and/or educated immigrants should be allowed in. Who decides? Do you want to pay for this? What if the applicant lies? Will the feds follow the criteria or let only people with lots of money, big government ideas or clout to enter? Many immigrants do not work hard, do not assimilate nor learn English. “Native” means the place of one’s birth. Therefore, Indians are not the only natives in America. Besides, Indians immigrated here (U.S.A.) also. Immigration is not just about Mexicans or the southern border.
These points indicate that even legal immigration should be stopped. Protect America. Stop all immigration.
Randy, where do I begin?
1. “Foreigners divide America with language…”
You mean like that third world nation of Switzerland, which has three official languages?
2. “Hurts our culture with chaos and disagreements caused by cultural differences, alters our social norms (less defined) and lowers our standards. Immigration hurts nations financially, economically, culturally, socially and politically.”
Voluntary interactions with others always benefit all parties, financially, economically, culturally, socially, and politically. Only when the violence of the State is involved, are there losers.
3. “Increased unemployment of natives (those born in the U.S.A.).”
Immigration boosts economic activity. High unemployment rates are a result of interventionist economic policy by the State. When an American employs an immigrant, the immigrant produces wealth. Some of that wealth is retained by the employer, who then uses it to hire new employees, or to pay higher wages to existing ones. The immigrant spends and invests what he receives as a paycheck, increasing employment and wages in the general population through his demand for goods and services.
4. “Cost taxpayers money for translators, healthcare, government publications in other languages, ethnic and “sensitivity training”, different treatment of minorities, handouts (welfare, food stamps,…), minority departments at public schools, bilingual education…. $23,812 for San Diego county for January 2010.”
This is a strawman argument. The fact that immigrants consume government benefits is a reason to eliminate the welfare state, not a reason to restrict immigration.
5. “Many foreigners bring diseases and their collectivist ideas to America and expect Americans to adopt these unconstitutional ideas. They do not need to live in America to contribute good ideas, inventions and innovations.”
Diseases carried by foreigners should be handled like any other health problem, through inexpensive, free market medical care.
What makes you think that most immigrants are any more collectivist than native born Americans, on average? You, for instance, appear to be quite collectivist, judging by your hostility to the free market (open borders is one aspect of the free market).
6. “Some foreigners come to America to escape retribution for a crime or other wrong.”
Considering what some Latin American governments consider to be “crimes,” I would think that most of these cases would be justified examples of seeking asylum.
7. “Some foreigners come to America to commit crimes to profit, get even for bad foreign policy (“terrorism”) or “hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture’s got to go” and “no trump, no wall, no USA at all”. Foreigners commit the most crimes as a percent. Boston Bombers (Tsarnaevs), for example.”
No, foreigners do not commit most crimes as a percentage. Here is a link which debunks that notion: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/19/two-charts-demolish-the-notion-that-immigrants-here-illegally-commit-more-crime/?utm_term=.920e315dae41
8. “Open borders would violate current national law and our Constitution article IV, section 4, and encourage the invasion as it did after the amnesty of 1986.”
If borders were open de jure, meaning that if there were no statutory restrictions on peaceful immigration, then, by definition, immigration would not violate the law. And open borders is the only Constitutional position. The enumerated power to regulate immigration is not present anywhere in the Constitution, therefore such a power does not exist. A person crossing the US/Mexican border to seek a job and a better life is no more an invasion than a person crossing the California/Nevada border to do so would be.
9. “Politicians who want amnesty do so for political reasons only – to get more votes.”
I am proof that that is not true in general. I ran for US Congressional District 13 in 2002 and 2004 in California. Open borders was part of my platform, as it would be of any candidate who supported liberty and the free market. I was under no illusions that I would win or that this would increase my vote total. I just viewed it as the right thing to do.
I think that conservatives using an anti-immigration platform to gain votes are at least as common as liberals using an immigration friendly platform to gain votes.
Great stuff Mark!
Hey, Perry, I don’t know if you are the webmaster for this site, but, if not, maybe you could ask the webmaster to answer the following question:
In posting comments on this site, what, if any, HTML tags are allowed? I was thinking specifically about both embedded links and images. On some sites, I can simply experiment, as they give plenty of time to edit my comments. Here, though, I am only allowed five minutes, even if I wish to edit several times. I know for links I can simply paste in the URL, and that will be picked up automatically, but I wished to maybe post a link that included both a URL and inner text so that the inner text is what is displayed, not the URL.
Let me know. And is there any chance of increasing the allowable edit time to significantly more than five minutes?
I am not the webmaster, and we are about to launch a new and improved site. I will inquire about your questions.
Mark, You didn’t refute what i said in 1., 2., 4., 5., 6., 7., 8., 9.. You were off of the specific subject in these responses.
Foreigners are different and so there is conflict regardless of “voluntary interactions”.
Immigrants do not boost the economy because they take other people’s jobs, spend less because they have less $ and cost $ for translators and other costs REGARDLESS of the welfare state.
My criminology book contradicts your left-wing Washington Post propaganda.
Open borders DOES violate our constitution and any “law” that opens our borders would violate our constitution.
Democrats want open borders so they can get votes. Next time carefully read what I type. CLOSE THE BORDERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Foreigners are different and so there is conflict regardless of “voluntary interactions”.”
We are all different. We are all individuals. Even identical twins, although sharing the same genotype, are completely different individuals, sometimes one twin being gay and the other straight. There is nothing different, in principle, between an immigrant and a native born citizen, that is any more significant a difference than between two native born citizens.
“Immigrants do not boost the economy because they take other people’s jobs, spend less because they have less $ and cost $ for translators and other costs REGARDLESS of the welfare state.”
Any voluntary interaction between individuals boosts the economy, unless you believe some socialist economic theory which posits a static economy with a zero sum distribution of wealth.
“My criminology book contradicts your left-wing Washington Post propaganda.”
While the Washington Post certainly is a source of much left wing and right wing propaganda, the article I cited used the Criminal Justice system’s own statistics. Are you saying those statistics are manufactured? What is the criminology book you are referring to? I could always take a look at it and see if it has any validity.
“Open borders DOES violate our constitution”
No, it does not. Read what I wrote. There is not one word in the Constitution about a power to regulate immigration. That power, because it is not enumerated in the Constitution, simply does not legally exist. Read the 10th Amendment.
“Democrats want open borders so they can get votes.”
It does not matter to me what the reasons are that some Democrats support open borders. If they agree with me on an issue, I am willing to work with them in trying to expand liberty and the free market. I am not willing to work with anyone on any issue, no matter what, if any, political party they support, if that issue is an effort to diminish liberty or expand regulation of the free market. Keep your socialist laws off my body.
Foreigners are far more different to the point of conflict and inability to communicate. They damage our culture by dilution. And they cost US $ for their special “needs” – interpreters, papers and signs in their language, crimes, …
“Voluntary interaction” has ZERO effect on an economy. We are have one now and the economy is the same. I’m talking about something very different than the spin you keep creating. Foreigners take jobs, lower wages, lower quality and lower standards because they typically come from low standard nations.
The criminal justice system is run by politicians who have an agenda ($ and power) and may want more foreigners as do Democrats and they contradict (according to u) other stats. “Criminology” by John Conklin.
Read the Constitution! : Article I, section 8 “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” “and repel invasions” and article 4, section 4 “and shall protect each of them [states] against invasion”.
Democrats are not interested in liberty nor free markets. They want power and they need votes from foreigners. This is why they (& u?) want open borders. CLOSE THEM !!!
Hi, Jim, I am just trying out a hyperlink, to see if it would work.
Indeed, it worked perfectly. Thanks, Jim.
Hi, Jim, now I am trying out an image. I am using my gravatar image to experiment with.
No, images don’t seem to work.
OK, I couldn’t get an image to work. Now, I am going to try to embed a YouTube video.
OK, that didn’t work, either.
I guess I am limited to standard page links, and cannot embed either YouTube videos or images. Just in case I am doing part of it wrong, if you could ask your webmaster if there is a proper way to embed either images or YouTube videos, I would appreciate it. Thanks, Jim.
“Rockwell’s claim is that national borders are just extensions of private property rights.
“He argues that public property (even roads) is actually owned by the taxpayers.”
Albeit there may be some home- and business-owners who like being forced to pay taxes
[tax payers (two words – someone who ‘pays’ a tax) – as opposed to “taxpayers” (one word with a “legal definition” – 1313(b) & 7701(a)(14)]
but I would venture to say that most [50% + 1] don’t volunteer to have their property
[money – your pants are your “property”; the wallet in your pants is your “property”; the money in your wallet is your “property”; your labor you traded for money is your “property”]
stolen; but even if it could be argued that only a minority don’t volunteer to have their property stolen, I would ask Lew how does forcing this minority to surrender some of their property/money make them owners of public land? Ownership includes the *right* to sell what an individual owns. Are there any ‘owners of public property’ who can sell the Washington monument, or, sell any of the National Parks? Or sell a strip of public road? No! Then, ipso facto, no “public property” is owned by anyone who voluntarily pays taxes, or, anyone who is forced to have their property [money] confiscated.
Taxation is a *mala in se* crime – there are victims
[just as there are victims in all *mala in se* crimes such as arson, murder, rape, ad nauseum].
Lew take notice… Taxation IS Theft!
The following facts/truths bear this out…
1.) It is NOT voluntary
2.) FORCE is used in its collection
3.) One may NOT give another permission to do something [such as steal] one has no right to do…
…which is articulated in our legal system as:
Nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet.
[i.e., “No one can transfer a greater right than he himself has.”]
– – – – –
For those religious folks who hold the bible as God’s Word…
…voting for a tax breaks three of the 10 Commandments of the OT!
8th: Thou shalt not steal.
If God says it’s wrong to steal, but…
…Gov’t says it’s okay to steal if you call it a tax,
then, voting for a tax places Gov’t above God.
1st: Thou shalt have no gods before Me.
10th: Thou shalt not covet… A vote to tax covets your neighbor’s property.
– – – – – – – – – –
In the NT…
…voting for a tax breaks the second of the two commandments Jesus gave:
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
One does not steal from one’s self, therefore one should not steal from another.
– – – – – – – – – –
If you do not agree with the facts that prove taxation is theft then you are obligated to rebut them with your own facts. If you can offer nothing in rebuttal then it is taken, in law, that you agree and the facts, as stated, stand in testimony of the truth.
A world of zero aggression? It’s tilting at windmills. But to advance to that point, try this experiment: Teach Mexicans how to be peaceful. Yes, Mexicans, who comprise many of the most brutal, stupid, exploitative and violent people on the face of the earth. In other words, admitting Mexicans en masse is about the last thing that our crowded country wants or needs.
Good for Lew Rockwell for making some sense on immigration.
I’ve been enjoying most of the articles on this site. The one major sticking point in libertarianism I’m still working through is the open border issue. First of all, I would like to say that it gets extremely tiresome when the usual pejorative remarks such as “xenophobia” and “hating brown people” and “bigot” are thrown around in the same way that the leftists do. Why suddenly act like collectivists with the name calling instead of tackle the actual issues? (There may be some people that are racists but I’m pretty sure it’s the extreme minority).
As someone who grew up in the Caribbean, visited many countries, lived in Asia four over a decade, and even married a woman of another race, it is extremely disheartening to be accused of being a racist simply because I am not sure if borders should be completely open. In fact, I know many immigrants (my wife for one) who are vehemently opposed to open immigration. Are they racist xenophobia, too?
Here’s where I stand, and I’ve shifted my beliefs quite a bit in the past eight years as I’ve been exploring libertarianism. If we did not have the current system, a welfare/warfare state that is taxing us to death, and also attracting hundreds of thousands of people for the benefits, I would have no problem with people coming here who just wanted to work to build a better life for themselves and their family.
And the issue the vast majority of people have with open borders has nothing to do with xenophobia. Stop using the leftists talking points. Most people are concerned with the amount of taxes required to support people they think are going to exploit the welfare system AND they are worried that with too many people here it will be harder to find employment to take care of their families.
Like I said I’ve come a long way in my thinking regarding this issue. If someone could give me a good answer to the issue of jobs and welfare I would be very willing to listen. But until the welfare state is abolished open borders is going to be a hard sell.
It’s far easier to simply NOT give non-citizens tax-funded benefits than it is to stop people from coming here. Immigration control is simply people prohibition, and it doesn’t work for the same reason that alcohol, drug, and gun prohibition don’t work. Even if there weren’t dozens of ways to escape border security there would still be the problem that many people come here on legal visas and simply stay. Unless you want to close off all travel you are never going to solve that problem.
So why does the public debate focus on border controls when it would be easier to simply deny tax-funded benefits to non-citizens? Could it be because at least some of the people pushing this issue the hardest really are bigots? Both things can be true. Some of the people pushing this issue are bigots and some aren’t. But this issue might not have any traction minus the bigots.
A final point – one reason the politicians focus on border control rather than simply denying tax-funded benefits to non-citizens, is because border control is impossible. That means they will always have an issue they can use to create conflict and drama and intense emotions that will enable them to manipulate their supporters.
That makes sense regarding politicians latching onto borders as an unsolvable problem that they can use to manipulate people emotionally with. I still don’t see bigots as being anywhere remotely close to having enough power in this society to have any type of influence. I’ve never personally met any people who are against open borders who have ever expressed racism as their reason. It’s always economic, jobs, or welfare.
Maybe someone needs to run for office with the plan to eliminate all entitlements as a requirement to completely open the border. I’m sure this would be greeted favorably by many people who previously have been against open borders. If not, then you may be right about some other underlying motives.