Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Full Cost of the Anti-Immigrant State


By Robert Higgs

Okay, let’s suppose you hate Mexicans, Haitians, Hondurans, and all the other foreigners trying to get out of their wretched places and into the USA—obviously lots of people do hate them. So naturally you want the authorities to take whatever measures they deem necessary to keep these people out—walls, border thugs, internal checkpoints, whatever it takes. Okay, so far, so good (given your hateful values).

Except that this “benefit” you want the government to give you has a cost. And I’m not referring merely to the scores of billions of taxpayer dollars it will pour into its “secure the borders” rat holes. I’m thinking of the way in which the government will extend its police/surveillance systems into every nook and cranny of the USA—into every employer’s business, into every financial transaction, into every movement of vehicles on the highways, into every email or snail mail that is sent, into what is said in private houses and apartments themselves (the cops are already equipped with the listening technology).

So, as Kant taught, he who wills the ends wills the means, inescapably. To satisfy your hatred of disagreeable aliens, you are asking for the government to turn the USA into a police state on steroids. Are you really willing to pay this price to sate your bigotry?

The above originally appeared at the Independent Institute.

44 comments:

  1. Higgs is an amazing thinker and libertarian leader. So I don't understand why he subscribes to this lazy argument.

    People generally believe, including libertarians, that the crimes of rape, murder and theft should be policed, and redress (i.e. justice) provided. All other things being equal, here is the choice Higgs is asking that people make for immigration, but in this different context:

    (1) have a government, but it does not police or provide redress for these crimes. And, it is illegal for individuals to engage these services with private means.

    (2) have a government, where the same things are illegal to enforce privately, but government will provide monopoly policing and redress for those crimes.

    Most people prefer #2 over #1.

    In the immigration context, the crime is trespass on property and on freedom of association. Neighborhoods, companies, etc., in a proper libertarian order, have the right to screen and include aliens at their discretion, and to exclude at their discretion.

    But under current law, no one is allowed to do this. And, no one is allowed to block off public roads (or even claim ownership of public roads, public parks, public spaces) in order to exercise the right of inclusion and exclusion.

    So all the costs of not being able to exercise discretion in these matters will fall on the existing homesteading property owners. Why is that fair? All these people have a claim on public property as a matter of justice. Why can they not, using very imperfect means, ask that the thief (government) in charge of this property at least be a steward of it?

    Asking the police to protect borders is not a perfect libertarian solution. But neither is saying don't protect borders, and no you cannot do it privately. Oh, and add the usual accusations of bigotry.

    If there is an argument I am missing, I am all for hearing it. Instead of grandstanding, I wish Higgs and others would actually write a scholarly piece that attempts to refute Hoppe and others who have made the case against open borders on a libertarian basis.

    Disclaimer: I'm a Mexican from Mexico, and a US Citizen. So spare me the usual racialist hyperbole if you have a disagreemen.

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    1. There are plenty of scholarly articles that critique the Hoppean immigration argument

      Frank Van Dun

      http://users.ugent.be/~frvandun/Texts/Articles/LibertarianCaseAgainstImmigration.pdf

      Walter Block

      https://mises.org/system/tdf/21_3_2.pdf?file=1&type=document

      Jesus De Soto

      https://mises.org/system/tdf/13_2_5_0.pdf?file=1&type=document

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    2. What don't you understand about feelz?

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    3. Re: Perry Mason,

      --- In the immigration context, the crime is trespass on property and on freedom of association. ---

      Yohr property boundaries do not extend around mine, and immkgrants are NOT violating my right to freely associate.

      You are a LIAR.

      --- Neighborhoods, companies, etc., in a proper libertarian order, have the right to screen and include aliens at their discretion, and to exclude at their discretion. ---

      The government is removing that discretion for all u der the idea that it knows better than you or the neighborhoods, companies and others who DO want to associate with immigrants. That's professor Higgs' point which you seem to miss while writing your overlong soliloquy.



      Neighborhoods, companies, etc., in a proper libertarian order, have the right to screen and include aliens at their discretion, and to exclude at their discretion.

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    4. Thank you Andrew! I'm familiar with much of the existing work. Block particularly. But my intent was to call for new arguments from the likes of the grandstanders like Higgs.

      I personally do not subscribe to the premise of Block and many others -- that public land is unowned or should be treated as abandoned. I also think that, even if the premise is true, one can craft a self-defense argument to allow for controls on public property. I believe De Soto does not address that argument, for example; although, he is much closer to Hoppe's view than others if you look at his proscriptions for immigrants.

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    5. Van Dun's paper I think is the best of them all and goes more into the weeds than Block or DeSoto. I would do Van Dun a disserve to try and summerize his arguments

      Also I think it should be noted, Van Dun is one of the most profilic libertarians nobody in America has heard of. He is a Dutch anarcho libertarian who developed the argumentation ethic independently of Hoppe and his critique on immigrantion is based on being at the PFS society meeting where Hoppe and Peter Brimelow argued their case.

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    6. Perry Mason,

      You are missing #3: don't have a government or a monopoly provider of enforcement agencies. Spontaneous order, free markets, PPS, NAP, or other variants on non-state societies are the alternatives.

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    7. Re: Andrew Murphy.

      This is what Van Dun argues, addressing the situation from a point of view of philosophical libertarianism:

      ─ From a libertarian point of view, respect for the freedom of all non-criminal individuals is the supreme moral and political value that ought to govern all forms of human interaction and all human institutions. While the libertarian rights of individuals do not include trespassing on the private property of other individuals, they certainly do include the right of free movement to the extent that no such trespass occurs. Unless and until a proof of the contrary is given [Footnote: an "illegal" immigrant is not eo ipso a criminal], we must presume that immigration per se no more involves trespassing on other people’s property than does taking an extended vacation or working as an expatriate in a foreign country. Therefore, the libertarian baseline concerning immigration is that everybody has the right to emigrate from one country to another, subject only to the condition that one thereby does not trespass on the rightful properties of others or unilaterally interfere with their rightful freedom in any other way. ─

      In other words: Unless the immigrant commits an actual ***crime***, the immigrant is therefore free to migrate from country A to country B.

      This is Van Nun critique of Hoppe's anti-immigration argument:

      ─ In his usual radical fashion, Hoppe argued that a policy of open immigration is wrong because immigration is itself a wrongful act, except perhaps under strict and onerous conditions, which he did not discuss in detail. His argumentative strategy was designed to prove that there is no freedom of migration, no freedom to move except on one’s own property.[...] No such thing as ‘public’ property or ‘open frontier’ exists.” In such a world, every step one wants to take outside one’s own property requires the consent of some other person or persons. The obvious implication of the model is that there is no freedom to move outside one’s own property. For those who happen to be
      without property in land, there is no freedom to move at all. The less obvious implication is that freedom to move is not to be considered a libertarian right, if we assume──as Hoppe implies we should do──that such a world would be a full realization of a libertarian order. ─

      What Van Nun is saying here is that Hoppe's ideal society would be one where but a slight possibility for contractual agreements between property owners would exist to allow passage from place A to place B which would exclude any other individual. Thus implicit is a situation where each person lives a life that runs contra human nature, that is one which is strictly insular, where each human being is in fact a PRISONER inside his or her own property. There seems not to be space for the fact that property owners in many small societies traced streets to allow for the free access of people between properties in this Hoppean society.

      I have criticized Hoppe's argument many times in many pages precisely because it ignores one aspect of human nature which is the need to improve one's lot, or our own GREED. Because of our GREED, we WANT to have access to other properties in order to engage in TRADE. Hoppe is actually describing something more akin to a Communist society and not a libertarian society. As a critique against immigration, it fails miserably precisely because it ignores human desire to improve their own lot, which would include marrying the girl next TOWN, for instance, let alone the girl from Nigeria.

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  2. "Disclaimer: I'm a Mexican from Mexico, and a US Citizen. So spare me the usual racialist hyperbole if you have a disagreemen."

    Congratulations! I know some Mexican immigrants myself that spent the money and time to do it. Maybe you could tell us how Mexico handles illegal immigration?

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  3. Just because you don't want to live in Haiti doesn't mean you hate Haitians. To insinuate otherwise is intellectual dishonesty of the lowest order.

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  4. There’s no sanctuary in a sanctuary city. RIP Kate Steinle

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    1. And if Miss Steinle had been shot by a native-born citizen? There's even less sanctuary when the shooter is a citizen, he won't get deported, he'll be back on the streets.

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    2. But she wasn't, was she? What a stupid argument.

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  5. To those libertarians afraid of the immigrant hordes: Have you personally ever been “afraid” of an individual illegal immigrant?

    I see both arguments. I just personally have never come across someone that makes me say “that person needs to be deported immediately or I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

    Maybe my life is too blessed and lucky, but that’s my take.

    Eric Morris

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    1. VoP,

      I very much value your view and comments on this site. In a cultural and moral sense, I agree with your sentiment. As a Catholic, I believe a healthy society is ideally a sanctuary for those looking for a better lot in life. However, my conception more directly fits in a Christian society (not a secular monopoly government society) with the aim of conversion.

      Accordingly, even a sanctuary must be well-tended, and prioritize those who are seeking a better life in good faith (and would respect the culture of the place they are invited), rather than those who come to undermine the faith or a way of life compatible with the faith. I would also recognize, as Mises does, that radical changes in the makeup of the body of people would create a high risk of conflict, due to the fears of changing an entire people's way of life.

      But those sentiments of mine rest more in the realm of a PPS, rather than serve as direct instruction for a monopoly government. That is what makes the debate so strident and difficult. Government ruins things and creates the initial problem by assuming all power over inclusion/exclusion. Higgs et al are indeed right to note that the police powers of the state can backfire very quickly.

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    2. Hi Mr. Mason, thank you for the kind words. Your more nuanced and reasoned take hopefully helps others dug in on both sides on this site to think more deeply. Some of the reasons of others border on (!) the “Incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial.”

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    3. Re: Perry Mason,

      ─ [...] rather than those who come to undermine the faith or a way of life compatible with the faith ─

      Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

      Jesus wasn't afraid of unbelievers. As a Catholic you should know that **our** task is to show the path to those who don't know the Good News that Jesus was born into this world to save us from death and has risen from the dead, and bring those who stray from the flock into the flock. The Lord's castle is open to everyone who wants to take the Word, none shall be turned away.

      You're no Catholic. You're a liar, a deceiver, a hypocrite and a blasphemer. You're a person with hatred in your heart and in your mind. Stop calling yourself a Catholic. You disgust me.

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    4. From the illegal Francisco Torres, "...our task is to ...bring those who stray from the flock into the flock..."

      Also the border jumper, "Stop calling yourself a Catholic. You disgust me."

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  6. Well it all hinges on your line in the sand. I have know dozens of immigrants from nearly as many countries. I have no issue with any that work toward a life that encompasses who we are as a country.

    My line dictates that you dont come to this sovereign to upset or to supplant the social, moral or legal fabric of its functioning structure. If you are not trying to bend me or others to your will or your religion or your social order then feel free to move about the country and make a way for yourself.

    But be warned if you try to exert yourself on my freewill and determination in the name of your cause, you are committing treason in my eyes and will be treated accordingly with extreme prejudice. Let there be no ambiguity.

    I would wager that that I am only one of many with a similar viewpoint.

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  7. Higgs is an idiot. Who's talking about hate? Have I ever said I hate immigrants?

    Do you think if the proportional equivalent of 70+ million Americans (the legal post-1965 immigration) were to move to Mexico that Mexico wouldn't become more like America, even much more? Of course it would! Americans might think that's a great thing, but Mexicans would beg to differ.

    It doesn't matter how honest they are, how hard working they are, how much they contribute to their new lands. Immigrants in large numbers do not assimilate and work to make their new home like the home they left, period.

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    1. Most of the immigrants to this country quickly assimilated into welfarism, warfarism, drug prohibitionism, minimum wagism, standing for the flagism, etc.

      Isn’t the better option cheering the tearing down of those walls toward freedomism rather than bigger walls to lock us into status quoism?

      Don’t major companies lobby the government to build larger barriers to entry through the regulatory state to keep down competition? Are the companies behind those moats the best producers?

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    2. Re: Shimshon,
      ─ Higgs is an idiot. Who's talking about hate? Have I ever said I hate immigrants? ─

      You haven't provided evidence for at least respecting their rights to freely associate with the employers who want to hire them, no.

      ─ It doesn't matter how honest they are, how hard working they are, how much they contribute to their new lands. ─

      Oh, so you DO hate them.

      ─ Immigrants in large numbers do not assimilate ─

      Liar.

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    3. Really? Did the white immigrants assimilate into the various tribes' cultures, or did they supplant and dominate them? Do you know what the descendants of the original ihabitants say to us today?

      Don't make the same mistake we did.

      Francisco, you too have to go back.

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  8. Sure there will be that cost if one looks for the usual solution to government caused problems as being more government.

    First there is a great deal of taxpayer funded encouragement for people to come to the USA from elsewhere. Get rid of that. Right there a good hunk of people would not show up. Then there are the large numbers of people who end up here thanks to fedgov's foreign policy. Stop that. Even more people won't show up. Then comes the economic meddling world wide stop that and people could better their lot where they are.

    There's much more from immigration policies that put people at the mercy of corporate employers to requiring all sorts of things be put in multiple languages that result in the problems americans experience from immigration.

    I could go on, but this immigration issue can be dealt with by reducing government in our lives too.



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    1. It seems like this argument, which is sound, readily goes in one ear and out the other with people.

      People worry about immigrants bringing idiotic political views into the majority. Reducing the government-given benefits is the surest way of minimizing as much.

      Keeping immigrants out won't stem the tide of idiotic political beliefs, either. As H.L. Mencken amusingly observed, intelligence seems to be recessive. You rarely get a philosopher from two idiot parents. But two intelligent parents will still sometimes produce lifelong socialists. In other words, wherever you are, we're always progressing towards idiocracy.

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    2. Re: Jimmy Joe Meeker,

      ─ First there is a great deal of taxpayer funded encouragement for people to come to the USA from elsewhere. ─

      People don't just uproot and abandon family and friends for an EBT. Your contention is not only absurd, it is obviously false.

      ─ There's much more from immigration policies that put people at the mercy of corporate employers [...] ─

      So now you're engaging in class warfare. This is getting better and better...

      ─ [...] to requiring all sorts of things be put in multiple languages that result in the problems americans [sic] experience from immigration. ─

      "Bwaaaaa! I don't like that these instructions also come in French and Spanish! Bwaaaaa!"

      GROW. UP.

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    3. "People don't just uproot and abandon family and friends for an EBT."

      You did.

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    4. Re: Paul Hansen,

      ─ You did [for an EBT]. ─

      Not for an EBT. I did it to spite you.

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    5. Torres, I'll ask you again, are you a troll or do you just like making an ass of yourself?

      When you need to use a Kathy Newman style you've already lost.

      Furthermore in your twisting you've taken the position of a statist defending everything from welfare to the indentured servitude of H1B and government regulations and requirements on language. Good job showing your true colors.

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    6. Re: Jimmy Joe Meeker,

      --- are you a troll or do you just like making an ass of yourself? ---

      That's rich. The pot calling the kettle black.

      --- in your twisting you've taken the position of a statist [???] ---

      Right. A "statist". It ain't me asking to unleash the full power of the state to keep the "illegulz who takum er jebz!" out.

      --- defending everything from welfare ---

      LIAR!

      --- to the indentured servitude of H1B ---

      It's clear you care nothing for the added value the H1B visa means for the immigrant, which is applying for a greencard. Few other visas allow this. That, or you're merely calling "indentured servants" just because you can.

      You still understand nothing, J. Being consisten with the NAP is respecting the Market demand for immigrant labor. Protectionists, Trumpistas and "the nice people" who march with torches do not hold the NAP as their all-encompassing moral principle. Yet you dare call me a "statist". Who is the true troll.

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    7. You're not consistent Torres. I wrote about the government stopping its interferences encouraging immigration and you launched into a Newman style tirade (twice now) as a result. That's what left-statists do. They moan that the removal of government subsidy is unfair and then attack the character of the people who suggest government stop doing things. You're using strawmen, ridicule, and various other forms debate dishonesty to argue for the status statist quo.

      You have defended retaining welfare programs by writing they aren't enough in your opinion to attract people. You defend through ridicule government requirements that mitigate immigrants' language learning burdens. You defend the H1B visa program which restricts immigrants as being better than the existing alternatives. You're obviously a statist when it benefits things you think are good ideas. You make that abundantly clear.

      The true troll is the one who "reads between the lines" in an absurd fashion to a get arise out of people even if it is done with a purpose to his beliefs. In this case to defend the immigration status quo because you know as well as I do that without the US federal governments' present involvement and the consequences from its activities immigration into the USA would likely fall or change in composition away from what you prefer. You try to claim you're being libertarian but my mere suggestion that government get out of the way sets you off. It's pretty clear where you stand.


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    8. Re: JimmyJoeMeeker,

      --- I wrote about the government stopping its interferences encouraging immigration ---

      And I accuse you of being a liar. Because you're lying. The government may be encouraging many things but one ain't immigration. Immigration is 100% a Market phenomenon. By which I also imply that you're economically ignorant, a mountebank.

      --- and you launched into a Newman style tirade ---

      Blah, blah.

      --- You try to claim you're being libertarian but my mere suggestion that government get out of the way sets you off. ---

      And there you go again --lying.

      Juat what the heck do you think we free-market advocates mean by defending markets and the free flow of goods, services, capital and, yes, labor, across the border? Where is "government must intervene!" in that? You're just another right-wing Socialist, projecting.

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  9. Very sad to see Higgs adopt the lefts favorite tactic... 'If you don't believe X... then you are a racist...' Very weak argument. I love when commenters out perform the original article. Great work, Perry. You even got the worst poster on the site, Francisco Torres, to call you a liar when he felt his weak retort wasn't enough to 'win'.

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    1. Re: Rob,

      ─ Very sad to see Higgs adopt the lefts favorite tactic ─

      Very common to see right-wing Socialists project.

      ─ 'If you don't believe X... then you are a racist...' ─

      Also very common is to see right-wing Socialists rely on a strawman argument to impugn a libertarian's argument.

      ─ You even got the worst poster on the site, Francisco Torres ─

      And you remembered my name! I feel so touched!

      ─ to call you a liar when he felt his weak retort wasn't enough to 'win'. ─

      I don't call someone a liar because he's argument is strong. I call that person a liar because he is LYING.

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    2. Yet another bunch of boring words put together in an attempt to place someone in a box. By all means, continue your reign as the worst poster on the site.

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    3. Re: Rob,

      "Blah, blah, blah. More Trumpista pap. Blah, blah, blah."

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  10. Dr. Higgs you have your answer: “Yes please administer the leviathan state and inevitably aggress on millions of innocent people to satisfy my personal preference to see no brown people.”

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    1. Against open borders? You must be racist.
      These are the arguments of the left and now libertarians are using it...
      You. Can. Do. Better.

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    2. Re: Rob,

      No. Against open borders? You're an economically-ignorant protectionist. Which is the truth.

      Against immigration? You're a xenophobe. Against immigration from non-Nordic countries, in tune with David Duke and Richard Spencer? Then, yes, of course.

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    3. As Walter Williams points out, "The debate is not over immigration. The debate is over illegal immigration."

      The best point Walter makes in his article is this:
      Yes or No: "Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border?"
      No searches, no id check, come on in. If you're good with it at the border, why not at the airport?

      If we want to keep it Constitutional, Article 1 Section 8 states:
      "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,"

      Nobody is against immigration. Read Walter's article and then tell me how hes a big racist xenophobe or maybe call him a right-winged socialist. I look forward to your future terrible post.
      https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/01/walter-e-williams/immigration-lies-and-hypocrisy/

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  11. Hey, lookee here. I guess we really do need more illegal immigration.

    http://diversityischaos.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-crime-rate-among-illegal-immigrants.html

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    Replies
    1. Hey, lookie here! Trumpistas are playing fast and loose with statistics --again!

      https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/restrictionists-are-misleading-you-about-immigrant-crime-rates

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  12. I just haven't had the time the last couple of days to comment on this post and maybe more at the Sanctuary City one from a few days ago. But for now, I want to mention that on Wednesday's LRC, the lead article was this from Walter Williams: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/01/walter-e-williams/immigration-lies-and-hypocrisy/ I have more to say, and possibly later today or tomorrow I'll get to it, but I wanted this article to be mentioned.

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  13. Well, here you go, Bob. A drunk, illegal alien (not an immigrant - an illegal alien) kills two people, including a football star. And people are trying to make Indianapolis a sanctuary city - another city like SF where illegals can get away with murder. I love your websites, and I'm pretty sure this is the only thing we disagree on, but unless/until we can create the private property society you envision, we need to keep the illegals out so that sheer numbers don't destroy the culture. It's just that simple. There is a process to immigrate into this country. And there is an order to creating a private property society, and it is not putting the cart before the horse, which is what having open borders does.

    I'm also posting this in the 'Block-Wenzel Exchange' post because it is recent (and less likely to be missed than in the SF sanctuary city post) and it's loosely related since Red Ronnie (Reagan who was a one-worlder masquerading as a conservative) made three million illegals eligible for amnesty.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/4/alex-gonsales-accused-dui-death-colts-edwin-jackso/

    https://www.chicksonright.com/2018/02/04/indianapolis-colts-player-killed-by-drunk-illegal-alien/

    http://toprightnews.com/right-before-super-bowl-beloved-nfl-star-killed-by-illegal-alien/

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