[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]
I accept the traditional libertarian arguments for open borders. But I’m not going to rehash those arguments here.
Let me try a different tack.
Libertarian defenders of gun rights like to point out that gun control has often been a precursor to, because an enabler of, democide. When they are asked “do you really think our government poses that sort of danger?” they rightly remind the questioner that relatively benign regimes are sometimes succeeded by rather less nice regimes, who conveniently inherit a disarmed public, or at least a gun-registered public (so they know just where to go to round up the arms), from their predecessors. (Obvious example: the Weimar Republic.)
So here’s a reminder and a question for anti-immigration libertarians, and particularly for those who support the proposed U.S.-Mexican Border Fence.
A wall that can be used to keep people out can also be used to keep people in.
Do we really want to trust the U.S. government – meaning not only the present regime but all future U.S. regimes – with a tool of that nature?
Very interesting! In a way, your argument about immigration is stronger than the argument about guns. To many people, it’s not very intuitive that citizens having revolvers (etc.) is a serious deterrent to state power, but the fact that a country that’s easy to get into will be easy to get out of, should you need to do so … well that at least is hard to deny!
Realistically speaking, those libertarians/cargo cultists who support open borders will never get what they want. However, what their support for open borders will get them is a fence and a national ID card. So, once again speaking realistically, libertarians might want to consider opposing illegal immigration (or at least not confusing the different types of immigration) and thereby reducing the possibility of fencing the entire border as well as a national ID card.
It’s like the scene in “The Magnificent Seven”:
“There’s lots of new walls, all around.”
“They won’t keep me out.”
“They were built to keep you IN.”
As long as we are being “realistic”, why don’t we stop opposing the war on free speech and “indecent” works of music and film? After all, their continued proliferation will only trigger even worse measures to combat them than currently exists.
Or do I have your reasoning all wrong?
If we toss aside our principles as you suggest, what differentiates us from the Busheviks? If we oppose illegal immigration, on what grounds do we oppose the fence, the ID card, militarized borders, and whatever other statist swill is tossed out? These, after all, are only meant to better enforce the laws in question; your “we oppose illegal immigration, but we won’t use any tools to actually stop it” stance somehow fails to impress.
After all, libertarians tend to be “unrealistic” on any number of issues. Should we oppose drug relegalization, RKBA, an end to State subsidies, favors, special privileges of all kinds, an end to State licenses(including of marriages!), radical market liberation(aka “privatization” before that term came to refer to statist cartel-building), an end to the looting, rape, torture and murder of people overseas in the name of “defense”(to say nothing of “national greatness”, an end to vicious,quasi-totalitarian nonsense such as pre-trial asset forfeiture, etc., etc.
If we repudiate the above positions(or others similarly radical) we will throw every scrap of ethical, cultural, and rhetorical influence we have or could achieve out the window- in exchange for a few begrudged scraps of “realistic” political power- power of a type we consider intrinsically evil. We may “realistically” be stuck with it for now, but that doesn’t mean we should help it along. Your “realism” amounts to suggesting that we exchange gold dollars for fiat pennies-just because more vendors currently accept the latter. This is shortsighted to the point of being ludicrous.
libertarians might want to consider opposing illegal immigration (or at least not confusing the different types of immigration) and thereby reducing the possibility of fencing the entire border as well as a national ID card
How would opposing illegal immigration reduce those possibilities? Isn’t opposing illegal immigration precisely what fuels such possibilities?
I mean, I’m against selling out principles for the sake of pragmatic advantages in any case, but in your argument I can’t see what the pragmatic advantage is even supposed to be. If you want me to sell my soul, at least give me reason to believe I’ll get something cool in exchange for it.
I share the worry about the govenrment keeping folks in with a fence. I hadn’t thought about things in this light before, but it is a real concern.
Also, it is interesting to to note that I have not heard (even from neo-conservative hawks) that we should also fence up the Northern border. Why? Well, certaintly not because terrorists threats only come from the South. The border wall is little more than a political band-aid used to satisfy (pacify) certain folks in the Southwest.
“If you want me to sell my soul, at least give me reason to believe I’ll get something cool in exchange for it.”
Penn Jilette just had a discussion about exactly that:
Bush and the Republicans were not protecting us on 9-11, and we aren’t a lot safer now. We may be more afraid due to george bush, but are we safer? Being fearful does not necessarily make one safer. Fear can cause people to hide and cower. What do you think? How does that work in a democracy again? How does being more threatening make us more likeable?Isn’t the country with
the most weapons the biggest threat to the rest of the world? When one country is the biggest threat to the rest of the world, isn’t that likely to be the most hated country?
If ever there was ever a time in our nation’s history that called for a change, this is it!
We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!
I’m a new Libertarian.
But I oppose illegal immigration, for a very libertarian reason, actually.
Illegal Immigrants use up billions of dollars worth of social services that they mostly never fully pay for, causing causing taxes to rise. (And we Libertarians hate tax hikes and social services).
Only when we get rid of those services that fund illegal immigrants so they can stay here at tax payer expence will I consider an open border as a possibility.
a) If you think that’s a reason to keep new immigrants out, why isn’t it an equally good (or bad) reason to kick existing welfare recipients out of the country? What’s the difference? Aren’t U.S. citizens a much bigger drain on tax rsources (especially once we include corporate welfare) than immigrants?
b) Anyway, even granting your point, doesn’t it fail to address the cocnern in my post?