Statism versus unfettered immigration

Some libertarians naively believe that unfettered immigration would be a good thing and that the State is wrong in limiting the movement of people.  So claims Manuel Lora in his strike-the-root column.  Of course not all libertarians agree with him; many argue that the best solution would be a total lack of public property.   Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in Democracy:  The God that Failed, argues for complete private ownership of lands.  If all lands are private, then any “immigrants” would be trespassers and dealt with accordingly.  One problem with this solution is that, presumably, leftists would also be allowed to own property.  They could then proceed to invite multitudes of undesirables.  Another difficulty is that the people of any particular society may actually want there to be communal land.  Are we to force them into private ownership?
The underlying flaw in Lora’s logic is that he completely ignores the concept of group rights.  The rights of an individual are important – but each individual is partly defined by which groups he belongs to.  If you negate the group, then you also negate an important part of the individual.  If you completely destroy the culture of an Amazonian tribe, for example, but leave the shaman intact, what really remains of the shaman?  His identity was closely linked to that of his tribe.  Without his tribe, his life may be meaningless.  Even if you went about alienating the rest of his tribe by persuasion, so that each individual acted of his own free will, nevertheless you have violated the rights of the individual shaman.
The word “libertarian” implies a belief in liberty and liberty should be valued not only on the individual level, but also on the group level.  Unfettered immigration violates the liberty of successful societies because it will always lead to a large influx of “refugees” from less successful societies.  In the end, there would be no successful societies as they would all have descended to the lowest common denominator.  That Lora can recommend massive immigration from countries like Haiti – and blame all their problems on socialism – reveals a woeful ignorance of racial reality.
In conclusion, even though the State is responsible for much evil in the world, it does have legitimate functions.  One of those functions is to protect its indigenous citizens from being overrun by foreigners.  It might even be said that this is its primary function.  This claim is eloquently made by Frank Salter in his book On Genetic Interests.  I highly recommend it.

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12 Responses to Statism versus unfettered immigration

  1. jewamongyou says:

    In an earlier post, I equated taxation with theft. If the State has ANY legitimate functions, then one would think it must tax in order to gain the resources necessary to perform those functions. I’ll allow a month or so for others to tackle this issue – by either disagreeing with one or both of my points or by reconciling them. Then I’ll have a go at it.

    • 1) RE: “Any Legitimate Function” and “The State”.
      a) First, you are assuming that a state exists as an abstract entity, or that it needs to. Under monarchy for example, there is an owner of the means of dispute resolution. In tribal societies there is usually that same headman function. There is someone who is the final decision maker in risks absorbed by the group. In the market societies, there must be some manner of dispute resolution and enforcement of contract. There must also be some means of controlling the coordinated defense of territory (time and space) from collapse. However, these are decision making criteria needed for cooperation. And in them, there is no reason that there is any need for taxation in particular. I think that these are the NECESSARY functions of government: control of the means of dispute resolution. Not Taxation. And in fact, it may be that taxation is the root of all oppression.
      b) I don’t think you can define ‘legitimate’. I think you can define necessity and preference, but not legitimacy. I bet you can’t define justice either.
      2) Define “RIght”. Doing so will mean that you must address the possibility of such a thing existing, and where it cannot exist. For example, for something to be a right (that is, something due to all) it must be something that each individual can act on. For example each of us can create property rights by not stealing. Each of us can pay for society by adhering to social mores – almost all of which ask us to forgo opportunity for gratification because that gratification is at another’s expense. If you extend rights from opportunity costs to material costs (paying for things) then each person contributes unequally.

      • jewamongyou says:

        Good points and thanks! Seeing as I’m now suffering from a bug and I’m too miserable to think clearly, I’ll probably have to wait a few days before responding to your most worthy thoughts.

  2. Gaurav Ahuja says:

    Add the comment to your post “Jewamongyou”. Also, libertarians do not believe in group rights. However groups may freely associate and contract with each other, groups are made up of individuals. I agree with your point about individuals are worse off when they are not not being a part of a tribal and/or racial group. However, even if unfettered immigration made things worse it does not follow that the state has any rights to do anything. States should not do anything since intervention leads to more intervention. Those interventions are the violation of the natural rights of at least one person. The less a state does, the better it is for everyone even when those rules would take hold in a free country since the state is illegitimate based on it being the most immoral organization on Earth. Dr. Hoppe’s analysis is very good, but it does not answer the unseen consequences of statist immigration enforcement which he cannot logically favor in his ideal world since Dr. Hoppe believes in no state. Remember, what he have now is not free and open immigration. Free immigration would mean that immigration would probably have not be so heavily titled to Mexico since transportation costs are relatively low and English is the lingua franca of Latin America overall.

    • jewamongyou says:

      Then perhaps I am not a strict libertarian. Even as individual rights should be the primary ones we concern ourselves with, I think reality is much more complex than that. One matter that needs looking into is whether most “adults” are truly that different from children. The masses act as a herd and they are easily manipulated. Do their “choices” really reflect their own “individual rights” or are they merely manifestations of messages the powers that be implant into their heads? In “Reflections of a ‘Racist’ Father” I argue the latter.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I didn’t meant to imply that there is such a thing as a “group” that is independent from the individuals of whom it is comprised. Only that those individuals have a right to form a union and bestow upon that union, collectively, some of the rights they enjoy individually.

  3. Vanessa says:

    This is an interesting point. I’m a minarchist myself, we do need some government to make sure that everything runs smoothly. However, I never did get why so many of my fellow libertarians think unfettered immigration is good. If there were no limits on immigrants, our crime would go up, our taxes go up and there would be a lot more problems, period. I guess that they take liberty to mean anarchy, I don’t think that’s such a good idea.

  4. countenance says:

    Pure libertarianism, the sort that only believes in individual rights and nothing else, is self-defeating. That sort of mentality is the philosophical underpinnings of world government, which would be the bane of civil liberties. Only institutions between the whole of humanity and the individual, e.g. nations, cultures, faiths, etc., can ensure real liberty.

  5. Madison Grant says:

    While Manuel Lora seems like a nice enough guy it’s truly sad that he honestly believes Haiti’s problems are all due to “socialist government”. The real problem is 200 years of black rule.
    And did you know that the diversity-loving Lora recently moved to almost-all-white New Hampshire? Why didn’t he move to Little Haiti in Miami or a black, Asian or Hispanic neighborhood since he loves multiculturalism and wants to inflict it on the rest of America?

  6. Patrick says:

    Immigration would have little impact on society if America was organized into a confederation of city-states. If each city had a wall or some other sort of boundary that allowed city officials to control who enters then it would be irrelevant whether or not there was open borders. In olden days cities had walls and I see no reason why such a state of affairs couldn’t return.

  7. FrankBD says:

    I’m not a libertarian precisely because there are many things in which the people (let’s say Americans, for ease) simply need an organizational structure for expressing the will of 300 million people. Would a libertarian society have built the interstate highway system? Probably not. Would we be better off without free public education? I don’t think so. Would you de-regulate air traffic control? Forget it.
    Social security is an example of a program libertarians cite as a form of slavery. But today something like a fourth as many elderly live in poverty as 50 years ago. If you oppose welfare, do you think single mothers with children will just disappear; or would they become a blight on all our environments?
    If you visit a place like Costa Rica, you see the price of extreme income inequality, like cars that have to be locked up at night. I’ll pay to skip that here.

  8. WR the elder says:

    I make no claim to be a libertarian, although I have enough sympathy with libertarian ideas to have had no trouble voting for Ron Paul in the 2008 presidential election. He was certainly the only candidate who didn’t suck.
    Unlike many libertarians I don’t reject the concept of a nation state. There are conservative Muslims who want to live under sharia law, and lots of other people who don’t. The best way we can live in peace and get along is if the sharia law loving Muslims live in their own countries and the rest of us live in ours. As Steve Sailor said, that’s why we have different countries. I think that one of the legitimate functions of the federal government is to control our own borders. After all, the Constitution does say that the federal government is to protect the various states from invasion. An “invasion” is precisely what we’re getting from Mexico now. In practice mandating the use of e-verify by employers and being strict about preventing illegal immigrants from getting public benefits would go a long way towards ending illegal immigration.
    On the other hand, making all land privately owned would solve nothing. Private landowners would still be happy to stuff 3 illegal immigrant families into each one family rental housing unit, and employers would continue to be happy to employ illegal immigrants to keep wages low.
    Auctioning off our national parks and national forests would do nothing to stop illegal immigration.

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