Prof. Hoppe still wrong on immigration

Prof. Hoppe bolsters the paleo anti-immigration stance with continued muddled thinking. Unfortunately, those who desire and need most to benefit from a relatively free-market economy – the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the minority, etc. – continue to be thought of as parasites.

Prof. Hoppe begins by revisiting his notion of immigration-by-invitation and applies it to a (legitimate albeit dangerous) social form: the factory town. He says that there an employer does invite the worker by bearing the full cost of his immigration. However, factory towns died out (mercifully so) in the 19th century in America. Few societies are organised that way today.

In a market anarchist society more closely calquing what we have now, the immigrant isn’t invited by anyone explicitly. The immigrant drives on a private road or flies in a private jet to a private airport and finds a motel, inn, relative, or flophouse to stay in. The motel, of course, never explicitly sent the immigrant a notice inviting him to purchase a room at the motel, and of course that idea makes no sense: motels implicitly invite everyone to stay. While there, the immigrant finds a job, get a more permanent place to live, and continues his life rather normally there, without ever having been invited.

Prof. Hoppe is concerned that companies hiring immigrants don’t bear the full cost of importing them, but, in this more modern example, the employer does not pay the full cost of the immigration either: the immigrant (or perhaps some sort of charity) does.

In our current system, the state, of course, owns most of the entrypoints into the country. Rather than say, “The state ought to sell off the entrypoints into the country,” Prof. Hoppe and the anti-immigration ilk actually call for the government to use its control of the entrypoints to enact an explicit invitation policy. Yet, in modern societies, this idea simply makes no sense. As I have pointed out above, modern societies don’t work on explicit invitation but implicit invitation: Wal-Mart sends me circulars but certainly doesn’t mail me letters inviting them to shop in their stores. They open their doors and say, “Come and buy.” In the same vein, private airports, roads, places of lodging, and all the various accoutrements of travel would likely all work on the same way. Why he wants the government to ask for letters of invitation (or presumably some bureaucratic form) for immigration travel when no other sort of travel works on that principle is puzzling.

In his second error, Prof. Hoppe points out that immigration imposes burdens on taxpayers, hence immigration should be ceased. This is also a bizarre argument. He argues that the business is allowed to impose external costs on the rest of the society for the immigrant it hires.

His first fallacy is that the business has no choice. It resides in some state’s jurisdiction (California, Colorado, Alabama, the United Kingdom, etc.) and must either abide by the state’s rules or be put out of business. That an immigrant comes to this country and drinks public water from the tap and drives on public roads is in no way the fault of the business. Even if the business opposed these things, it has no choice in paying taxes or whether or not the roads will be public or private. Those decisions were made before the owners of the business were even born, and the business, while it may reside anywhere, will be under the state’s compulsion anywhere it chooses to reside. This “blame the victim” argument is nonsense.

Furthermore, Prof. Hoppe confuses two different things: the coercive nature of the state and the private contracts of the immigrant. The public roads, sewers, water, electricity, etc. that the state coercively provides are neither the fault of the business nor the immigrant, nor does their agreement to trade labour for wages in any wise empower the state (except in its role as contract enforcer). The contract does not create anti-discrimination laws, or public sewers, or any other state intervention. It’s a private agreement between employer and employee: you will do x for y. That coming to this country and becoming a legal resident also entitles the immigrant to the protection of the state is not the fault of the business or the immigrant, either. The only argument that could be made is that the contract between employer and immigrants grants the immigrant legal status to live in the country and, therefore, to enjoy its public facilities. But why should that be a concern of the business? The business cares about turning labour into profit (the immigrant, too). What the state does with the agreement is out of the power of the company or the immigrant, and neither one could rightly be blamed for it. If the state passed a law saying it would shoot 10 bunnies every time a parent hugged their child, does the problem belong with the child, the parent, or the state? Should parents refrain from hugging their children because the state will commit bunnycide if they do? Of course not. Then why should the immigrant be restrained for the state’s excesses?

Unfortunately, in the absence of convincing arguments, Prof. Hoppe decides he’s now going to psychoanalyse the pro-immigration crowd. That would be fine except that most libertarians are pro-immigration, and most libertarians are neither left-libertarian libertines or Objectivists. There’s no deep psychoanalysis to uncover: open state borders is correct from fundamental libertarian principles of natural law. Honestly, it’s an embarassment for someone who’s of his supposed intellectual capacity to scream “Hippies!” as an argument.

39 thoughts on “Prof. Hoppe still wrong on immigration”

  1. Heh, I just realized that the Callahan article Kennedy linked above makes the same point I did. Great minds thing alike, I guess.

      Do you mean you & Callahan, you & Kennedy, or both?

  2. I think maybe what Hoppe is trying to say is: “As long as we have an illegitimate state, taking my money to spend on social welfare programs and warmaking, let’s make sure the state spends that ill-gotten capital on me and mine, rather than dole it out to new free riders.”

    Well, I (and Rothbard, maybe) would agree that is never the right direction to go with Austrian principles. Obviously the solution to the problem of free riders is to privatize whatever resources are being consumed, and the free riders will no longer be attracted to that resource.

    However, as a member of the middle class, I will agree that as long as the state is going to take my money, I want it spent on me, and not some poor people. That’s because I’m a selfish a**hole who only likes giving to churches and private charities, where my giving is dependent on my perception of how well those organizations are satisfying my demand for emotional well-being.

  3. Hoppe contradicts himself:

    “It would also be wrongheaded to attack the above case for free immigration by pointing out that because of the existence of a welfare state, immigration has become to a significant extent the immigration of welfare-bums, who, even if the United States, for instance, is below her optimal population point, do not increase but rather decrease average living standards. For this is not an argument against immigration but against the welfare state. To be sure, the welfare state should be destroyed, root and branch. However, in any case the problems of immigration and welfare are analytically distinct problems, and they must be treated accordingly.”

    The state is the only problem here, not immigrants and not business. Immigration is analytically distinct from costs imposed and distributed by the state.

    Hoppe’s argument now might as well be an argument for deporting welfare state beneficiaries.

    Gene Callahan already did a good job of dismissing this.

  4. Do you mean you & Callahan, you & Kennedy, or both?

    Callahan and I. Kennedy linked to a piece by Callahan in which Callahan makes the same argument I made earlier today (Of course, if we granted patents for good ideas, Callahan would get it before me).

    This is not to say that Kennedy doesn’t have a great mind. Although it is somewhat flawed for its over-consistency. :)

  5. When you blurt out an expletive at the very first sentence of a piece, you know it’s going to be bad:

    It is incorrect to infer from the fact that an immigrant has found someone willing to employ him that his presence on a given territory must henceforth be considered “invited.”

    Obviously the question here is “Invited by whom?”, and that raises the question of who hands out the invitations. And who’s that? The property owners, that’s who. Hoppe and his clique of paleocreeps have exactly nothing at all to say unless it’s their property which is getting used against their wishes.

    And it isn’t.

    Say, who the hell invited Hoppe into America, anyhow?

    More nonesense:

    They [“left-libertarians”] express special “sensitivity” in every manner of discrimination and are not inhibited in using the power of the central state to impose nondiscrimination or “civil rights” statutes on society.

    Well guess what, neither is Hoppe:

    What should one hope for and advocate as the relatively correct immigration policy, however, as long as the democratic central state is still in place and successfully arrogates the power to determine a uniform national immigration policy? The best one may hope for, even if it goes against the “nature” of a democracy and thus is not very likely to happen, is that the democratic rulers act as if they were the personal owners of the country and as if they had to decide who to include and who to exclude from their own personal property (into their very own houses).

    Get it? Hoppe has no problem whatsoever when he’s holding the whip. It’s only when dirty wetbacks have political power, that that power is bad. Of course he caps off with this knee-slapper:

    They can indulge in their “alternative” lifestyle without having to pay the normal price for such conduct, i.e., discrimination and exclusion.

    Who wouldn’t stop their “alternative” (Does that mean “miscegenation”? I think it does.) lifestyle at the threat of being excluded from the paleo-creep playground? Jesus, to think of the Hoppeans discriminating against a guy whose last name ends in Z…

  6. And if you do it better than the average person you win, so why should the more capable be worried about this prospect?

    Political success requires more than better-than-average political skills. A person can be the most talented politician in the world, but without the proper connections, the sentiment of the voters and the special interest groups, and dumb luck, among many other factors, political success can be elusive.

    George Bush will probably live a pretty successful life, even when compared to his other available alternatives. But George Bush is a rare person, with proper connections, support of the populous and special interest groups, and dumb luck. My consequentialist arguments might not appeal to a Bush, but they should appeal to almost everyone else.

    By your consequentialist standards there is a winner and loser in every transaction compelled by state force. Why not win when you can?

    Because you may be sacrificing your long-term interests for short-term gain, without taking this tradeoff into account.

  7. This really weak argument gets weaker every day as the location of bodies has ever less to do with the traffic of ideas.

    Weak argument? Please. It’s just an extension of the division of labor, applied to ideas. And while it is true that it doesn’t really matter whether you are an intellectual in the U.S., Europe, Japan, or other 1st world countries, it does matter that children born in third-world countries don’t have the opportunity to put their potential skills to use. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that all of the great minds in recent history have come from a select few geographical areas? Maybe we should attribute some innate racial characteristics to explain this phenomenon?

    Or maybe there are just as many potential South Americans and Africans as there are North Americans and Europeans who have the potential to do great things and approve the welfare of everyone, yet they never get the opportunity, education, and social influences that others enjoy.

    However weak you may think this argument is, and I don’t see why you would think that, it’s no where near as weak as your mystical argument for how karma will get the prudent predator in the end because of some nonsense called “objective reality.” The world doesn’t care whether you are good or bad. There are no iron rules of history that mandate suffering for those who are evil or pleasure for those who are good.

  8. “One answer to both questions is Julian Simon’s: more people mean more ideas, which means more wealth for all of us. What if Albert Einstein, Johnny Von Neumann, and all the other people who fled from Europe before WWII were prevented from entering the country? We would all be worse off. And there is no way of knowing, ex ante, whether an immigrant or an immigrant’s child will come up with the Next Big Idea.”

    This really weak argument gets weaker every day as the location of bodies has ever less to do with the traffic of ideas.

    But this is typical of what you’re left with if you have no moral argument.

  9. Of course if you don’t recognize right and wrong I can’t think of any other reason why you shouldn’t prudently prey on such individuals by way of the existing state.

    Because, by doing so, by increasing the power of the state, you give others the ability to prudently prey on you.

    And that, in the words of George Bush I, “wouldn’t be prudent.”

  10. Micha,

    “Because, by doing so, by increasing the power of the state, you give others the ability to prudently prey on you.”

    And if you do it better than the average person you win, so why should the more capable be worried about this prospect?

    By your consequentialist standards is George Bush apt to end up less well off for having preyed on others via the state?

    By your consequentialist standards there is a winner and loser in every transaction compelled by state force. Why not win when you can?

  11. Can you think of any reason why it cannot in principle be in an individuals long term interest to prey on others via the state?

    Of course not. As I said, consequentialism will not convince everyone. But I think most people would prefer to avoid the risk of others using the power of the state against them even if they have to give up their effort to use the power of the state against others. Take free speech for example: there are all sorts of things that people vehemently disagree with and see no value in permitting. But in order to ban what they consider offensive, they would need to give the state the power to censor, which they recognize may one day come back and bite them on the ass.

  12. Why shouldn’t you push for the state to not let poor people have children?

    One answer to both questions is Julian Simon’s: more people mean more ideas, which means more wealth for all of us. What if Albert Einstein, Johnny Von Neumann, and all the other people who fled from Europe before WWII were prevented from entering the country? We would all be worse off. And there is no way of knowing, ex ante, whether an immigrant or an immigrant’s child will come up with the Next Big Idea.

  13. Patri,

    ‘”…why shouldn’t I push for the state to not let new welfare cases in?”

    For roughly the same reason you shouldn’t push for the state to prevent citizens from having children. That lets welfare cases in, doesn’t it?

    You shouldn’t because you’d be pushing for the state to use aggressive force against those who have done you no harm, and that’s wrong.

    Of course if you don’t recognize right and wrong I can’t think of any other reason why you shouldn’t prudently prey on such individuals by way of the existing state.

  14. open state borders is correct from fundamental libertarian principles of natural law

    But this is not the issue. The issue is, in the current, very non-libertarian state we have today, should borders be open or closed? And that is a much trickier issue. Revenue-negative immigrants (those who take more in benefits than they provide in tax dollars) may be costing me money. They might cause taxes to increase, or to be shifted from things which do me a tiny bit of good to things which do me no good at all.

    Just as I might push for the state to revise welfare laws so as to spend less of the money it steals from me on welfare, why shouldn’t I push for the state to not let new welfare cases in?

  15. “Weak argument? Please. It’s just an extension of the division of labor, applied to ideas. And while it is true that it doesn’t really matter whether you are an intellectual in the U.S., Europe, Japan, or other 1st world countries, it does matter that children born in third-world countries don’t have the opportunity to put their potential skills to use. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that all of the great minds in recent history have come from a select few geographical areas? Maybe we should attribute some innate racial characteristics to explain this phenomenon?”

    I can surely see how being raised in America might improve the ideas of a third world child, it doesn’t follow at all that this will have any net benefit to me *given the state*.

    How much would you pay out of your own pocket for a private company that was importing such children to be raised here? Hoppe and Patri are noting that they are paying for the immigration of such children.

    You’re arguing that they should prefer to improve the prospects of others over money in their own pocket. If you don’t reject government iterference in immigration as simply wrong then you’re arguing that compelled charity is beneficial to Hoppe and Patri as things stand.

  16. Micha – When an immigrant enters the country, we do not know whether, ex ante, this immigrant will be a net cost or net benefit for us.

    But we can guess. For example, if the imimgrant is coming to work for Intel he is much more likely to be a net benefit than if he is coming for a minimum wage job.

    JTK – What’s not clear? What would persuade you that you ought to be in favor of being coerced to pay for someone to come here and make a better life for themselves?

    That I got more benefits from their presence than I lost in coercion. For example, the supply of cheap immigrant labor might lower costs for services that I value. Depending on how much I pay in taxes and how much I buy things made with immigrant labor, this might be a net win.

    I am not against being coerced at all costs. Coercion and taxation are simply one of many costs I face in life.

    Would you in principle be willing to stand on the border and shoot peaceful individuals attempting to cross? Because fundamentally that’s what supporting closed borders entails.

    I totally disagree with this. If I am trying to minimize rights violations, I might consider letting in revenue-negative immigrants to be more of a rights violation than keeping them out, but less of a violation than killing them. In that case, I would be willing to block the border but not to shoot people, and to encourage the same policy.

    Then you can support public programs to have thise babies deported, or to have poor people sterilized. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that I’m not sure what I can do to help.

    Forcible sterilization seems ilke a greater rights violation than making me pay more taxes. But deportation seems more reasonable.

    But I’ll try again: Your only legitimate beef is with those coercing you, not individuals who’ve done you no harm. It’s wrong to support harm being done to them.

    Look at it this way. Those who are coercing me have set up a special list. They call it, the list of US citizens. They use that list to decide who gets taxed, and who gets subsidized. They also use it to decide who gets in. I am arguing about who they should put on that list. I don’t want them to put on that list people who are going to cost me money. That is my beef, and it is with those who are coercing me.

    Of course, *not* being on this list causes these individuals to be coerced out of coming to the US, but that isn’t my fault. So given the existence of these rights-violators and their list, rights violaitions happen *either way*. Why does their right not to be coerced outweight mine?

  17. Actually, the question is about natural rights, since Hoppe and I are both deontologists.

    Josh – Hoppe specifically mentioned the context of the welfare state in his article. It appeared to me that he was criticizing immigration within this context. So while it may be a question about natural rights, it is a question about natural rights within a statist, rights-violating framework.

    As for the comments about babies, I agree that it is consistent with the position I am arguing to be against revenue-negative babies. Fine. What is wrong with being against citizenship for revenue-negative babies? Why shouldn’t I feel that their presence in this country slightly increases the violations of my rights?

  18. provided the extra immigration in B is enough to outweigh marginally less compelled charity in A. Which in most cases, it is. I don’t think the people risking their lives to come to the U.S. are doing so because they want to free ride on our welfare state. They have a welfare state of their own. (See: Cuba). Rather, they came here for the opportunity to work and make a better life for themselves.

    I do not doubt the motivations of immigrants. But there are two serious problems with this argument. First, I don’t think the facts bear out the idea that few immigrants are revenue-negative. The problem is that many immigrants are very poor, and the jobs they come here for don’t pay much. Our tax system is fairly progressive, so people who don’t earn much don’t pay much. Our benefit system is also progressive, so those who don’t earn much get more benefits. The net result is that people who come here from countries where they can make $1/hr so that they can make $5/hr end up being revenue-negative. Not because they are mooches, but because that’s how our system is designed.

    Second, even if many immigrants are revenue-positive, if we can tell in advance which are most likely to be revenue-negative, we can still improve immigration through screening.

    I am not convinced that I should be in favor of being coerced to pay for someone to come here and make a better life for themselves. Its true that I benefit from their labor, and that may outweigh the tax burden. I don’t know. But I don’t think its clear.

  19. Then you can support public programs to have thise babies deported, or to have poor people sterilized. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that I’m not sure what I can do to help.

    Why is that, John? Maybe because moral claims cannot be justified past a certain point? That once you reach the atomic level of moral intuition, past which moral arguments cannot be reduced, if two people do not share the same atomic moral inuitions, no rational argument will be possible between them?

  20. “Do you think the group of immigrants who come to America, taken as a whole, both legal and illegal, make the existing residents, taken as a whole, better off or worse off?”

    Given the welfare state the answer may well be that existing residents are worse off by consequentialist standards.

    “Can you surely see how raising an immigrant in America might also be a net benefit for you, even when we take into account the costs imposed because of the state?

    I should prefer to pay to have the child raised here because it might benefit me? I can think of other things to do with the same money that will certainly benefit me.

  21. Kennedy,

    Do you think the group of immigrants who come to America, taken as a whole, both legal and illegal, make the existing residents, taken as a whole, better off or worse off? Would we be better off if we marginally decreased the number of people coming into this country? Would we be worse off if we marginally increased the number of people coming into this country?

    I think the answers to these questions are exactly the same as the answers to questions about protectionism and free trade. Sure, free trade has costs, and some people might even be better off under a system of protectionism. But does that mean that only moral arguments, not economic arguments, support free trade? Of course not.

    And this ignores the fact that even if consequentialist arguments are found to be lacking, that still doesn’t save the terribly flawed moral arguments.

    I can surely see how being raised in America might improve the ideas of a third world child, it doesn’t follow at all that this will have any net benefit to me *given the state*.

    Can you surely see how raising an immigrant in America might also be a net benefit for you, even when we take into account the costs imposed because of the state?

    How much would you pay out of your own pocket for a private company that was importing such children to be raised here?

    If I had money to spare on charity, and I hope to have some when I get out of school, this might be a valuable program. Helping those immigrants who want to move to the U.S. to get settled in, find jobs, places to live, etc.

    Also keep in mind that open immigration makes the welfare state impossible.

    If you don’t reject government iterference in immigration as simply wrong then you’re arguing that compelled charity is beneficial to Hoppe and Patri as things stand.

    It is correct to say that compelled charity in this instance is beneficial relative to a world in which there is marginally less compelled charity and a lot less immigration. A world in which there was a lot less compelled charity and a lot more immigration would be better still.

    World A: Less compelled charity than B, much less immigration than B.

    World B: More compelled charity than A, much more immigration than A.

    World C: Less compelled charity than A, more immigration than C.

    A < B < C, provided the extra immigration in B is enough to outweigh marginally less compelled charity in A. Which in most cases, it is. I don’t think the people risking their lives to come to the U.S. are doing so because they want to free ride on our welfare state. They have a welfare state of their own. (See: Cuba). Rather, they came here for the opportunity to work and make a better life for themselves.

  22. JTK: JTK: What’s not clear? What would persuade you that you ought to be in favor of being coerced to pay for someone to come here and make a better life for themselves?

    Patri: That I got more benefits from their presence than I lost in coercion.

    So you favor being coerced to do what benefits you?

    “I am not against being coerced at all costs.”

    When are you in favor of imposing coercion on peaceful immigrants?

    Let’s say terorrist capture you and Micha. They plan to execute one of you. Do you support Micha’s execution?

  23. So you favor being coerced to do what benefits you?

    If it benefits me on net, I don’t need to be coerced! But I may have slipped up here and strayed from my mine line of reasoning. I meant “in favor of” here as in “wouldn’t mind”, not “think is OK and would impose on people”. I’m not saying that coercion is OK or that I’d impose it on people here. What I am saying is:

    When are you in favor of imposing coercion on peaceful immigrants?

    When their presence will cause even more coercion to be imposed on peaceful current citizens in the form of taxes stolen to pay for welfare for the peaceful immigrants.

    Let’s say terorrist capture you and Micha. They plan to execute one of you. Do you support Micha’s execution?

    What does “support” mean here? I certainly don’t want it to happen. But given a choice between us, I’d rather that I lived. I’m selfish, I admit it. But that choice does not increase the amount of coercion. No matter what I choose, one person dies. In the case of the immigrant, I am saying that we should weigh the various coercions against each other. Yeah, we’d be coercing the immigrants out. But if we let them in, we’re coercing current citizens to pay for them.

    Please explain to me how in your moral system, it is OK for the immigrant to get the government to coerce me by becoming a citizen and causing my taxes to go up, but it is not OK for me to get the government to coerce the immigrant by voting for / advocating closed borders. I can see how both could be viewed as wrong, or both as right, but I do not understand how they are different.

  24. “I am not convinced that I should be in favor of being coerced to pay for someone to come here and make a better life for themselves. Its true that I benefit from their labor, and that may outweigh the tax burden. I don’t know. But I don’t think its clear.”

    What’s not clear? What would persuade you that you ought to be in favor of being coerced to pay for someone to come here and make a better life for themselves?

    You obviously shouldn’t favor being coerced, the question is whether you ought to favor state coercion against peaceful individuals attempting to enter this territory.

    Would you in principle be willing to stand on the border and shoot peaceful individuals attempting to cross? Because fundamentally that’s what supporting closed borders entails. If you wouldn’t in principle be willing to do this yourself I can’t imagine how you could be willing to support it as a matter of public policy.

  25. Given the welfare state the answer may well be that existing residents are worse off by consequentialist standards.

    I didn’t ask what was theoretically possible. I asked what you think. Do you think immigration under the current system makes you better off or worse off.

    I should prefer to pay to have the child raised here because it might benefit me? I can think of other things to do with the same money that will certainly benefit me.

    You’re confusing the issue. When an immigrant enters the country, we do not know whether, ex ante, this immigrant will be a net cost or net benefit for us. True, he might go on welfare, use lots of government services, etc. Also true, he might work and pay more in taxes than he takes out of the system. I should prefer to have a system of open immigration even under a welfare state regime because the latter is more likely than the former, because open immigration makes it more difficult for the welfare state to sustain itself, and because we should care about the interests of other people and not just ourselves.

  26. “Josh – Hoppe specifically mentioned the context of the welfare state in his article. It appeared to me that he was criticizing immigration within this context. So while it may be a question about natural rights, it is a question about natural rights within a statist, rights-violating framework.”

    Hoppe has previously correctly identified the welfare state and immigration as analytically disctinct matters, as I’ve cited above.

  27. “As for the comments about babies, I agree that it is consistent with the position I am arguing to be against revenue-negative babies. Fine. What is wrong with being against citizenship for revenue-negative babies? Why shouldn’t I feel that their presence in this country slightly increases the violations of my rights?”

    Then you can support public programs to have thise babies deported, or to have poor people sterilized. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that I’m not sure what I can do to help.

    But I’ll try again: Your only legitimate beef is with those coercing you, not individuals who’ve done you no harm. It’s wrong to support harm being done to them.

  28. Josh – Hoppe specifically mentioned the context of the welfare state in his article. It appeared to me that he was criticizing immigration within this context. So while it may be a question about natural rights, it is a question about natural rights within a statist, rights-violating framework.

    I don’t see how that bears on the fact that we are deontologists. His argument is a natural law one: Letting in immigrants means letting in people who will be mooching. Mooching is wrong. Ergo, restrict immigration. I countered that by breaking the necessity link between entering and mooching, and the lack of any affirmative duty of the business to do something about the state.

    As for the comments about babies, I agree that it is consistent with the position I am arguing to be against revenue-negative babies. Fine. What is wrong with being against citizenship for revenue-negative babies?

    It’s not just being against revenue-negative babies, but forcibly stopping revenue-negative babies from entering American society. Neither the baby nor the immigrant has done anything to you.

    Why shouldn’t I feel that their presence in this country slightly increases the violations of my rights?

    I think that’s a perfectly acceptable sentiment, but it, again, confuses an act that is rights-neutral (Hector Garza’s existence in San Diego) with something that is rights-negative (Hector Garza drinks public water). Nor is the immigrant the reason why your rights are being violated: it’s hardly just to punish him for what he hasn’t done.

    – Josh

  29. “I am saying that we should weigh the various coercions against each other. Yeah, we’d be coercing the immigrants out. But if we let them in, we’re coercing current citizens to pay for them.”

    No, we can’t possibly be coercing current citizens to pay for them. If we were doing it that would mean I was doing it and I know I’m not corercing anyone to pay for it.

    “What does “support” mean here? I certainly don’t want it to happen. But given a choice between us, I’d rather that I lived. I’m selfish, I admit it. But that choice does not increase the amount of coercion. No matter what I choose, one person dies.”

    But after the fact when you were home safe and sound you wouldn’t be freely volunteering “I supported Micha’s execution”, now would you?

    “Please explain to me how in your moral system, it is OK for the immigrant to get the government to coerce me by becoming a citizen and causing my taxes to go up, but it is not OK for me to get the government to coerce the immigrant by voting for / advocating closed borders.”

    How is he getting the government to coerce you by crossing a line on a map?

    He’s not.

  30. What a great many of you guys seem to be missing out on is that, welfare state or no welfare state, the free-willed movement of individuals from one place to another across the different countries of this good old earth is an absolute good in the long run. The matter of welfare states and their effects is, as has been stated before, is an entirely distinct one that only has an incidental connection to immigration. Immigration itself is practically little different from global trade, its just another increasing aspect of world wide free markets. Like outsourcing jobs, exchanging goods, or moving assets from one jurisdiction to the next, movement of people is beneficial to liberty.
    The modern western states annually spend billions of dollars trying to reign in all sorts of economic activities that attempt to escape the state; tax aversion, black markets, smuggling, moving assets offshore, etc.. If we apply the paleo argument on immigration to this then we would all have to agree that the above activities should be stopped becuase we are forced to pay for the governments war on them. They cause money to be taken out of our pocket. But its not the fault of those who are trying to escape the state that its taxing people to fight them, in just the same way its not the fault of an immigrant who wishes a better life that the state gives out welfare services or builds a public infrastructure that he might use.

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