Immigration - the flaw in libertarian thinking?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ghost of Cutten, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Imagine that the unlikely happens, and a democratic country elects a broadly libertarian government. Consistent with libertarian philosophy, the borders are opened, and residence is allowed for anyone who can pay for accommodation. Citizenship is granted in the normal way, with long-term residence qualifying you (e.g. after 5-10 years).

    Seeing an opportunity, China sends millions of its citizens over, enough to become an actual majority of the population, subsidises them so they can afford to live there, and gets them to pursue citizenship. After 5-10 years, they then vote en masse for the "Chinese People's Party", winning the election by sheer weight of numbers. The CPP then immediately votes to annex the formerly libertarian country to China in perpetuity.

    Alternatively, imagine the Muslim world sends millions of its citizens over, enough to become a majority, and once they gain citizenship in 5-10 years, they unify as a voting bloc, and elect the Shariah Law Party, which promptly enacts Saudi-style rules and regulations. The formerly libertarian country is now not so libertarian.

    What do any libertarians here think about this possibility? Does it mean that libertarian politics must take a strict line on immigration? Or be strict on citizenship? It will be impossible to stop this by a 'citizenship test' because applicants will simply lie and pretend to be libertarian in order to qualify.
  2. I don't think restricting all kinds of immigration is productive, maybe a better solution is to restrict immigration to people who have something to contribute like investments, technology, scientists, engineers, otherwise they will just ask for handouts.

    But the socialism threat is always there, immigration or not, there will be always someone claiming he deserves more than what he's got and the government must give it to him, if not unlucky people going through hard times, broke businessmen asking for bailouts.

    Probably the best first line of defense is enshrining libertarian ideals in the Constitution and make it a serious offense to even try to sidestep it.
  3. Libertarianism doesn't require an open border policy as you described. Save for perhaps some crazy anarchist/libertarian extremist brand of libertarianism. The vast majority of the strata of libertarian thought approve of secure borders and selective immigration. The category known as "Libertarian Nationalism" particularly so. You are describing some sort of anarcho-capitalist brand of libertarianism, which isn't heterogeneous with much of libertarian thought.

  4. No, there was a discussion a while ago and Ron Paul nicely summarized the libertarian position.

    Libertarians are in principle opposed to all kind of restrictions on freedom including capital AND labor freedom of movement.
    So, libertarians are IN PRINCIPLE opposed to immigration restrictions. But, sometimes libertarian policies are not practical due to some government distortion and/or regulation. And in this case that distortion is the Welfare State. The country would be overrun by welfare immigrants the next day borders are opened and the country would be broke.

    So real Libertarians are not against immigration per se, it's the Welfare State they are against.

    In Cutten's libertarian Utopia I suppose there is no Welfare State and therefore no libertarian objections to unrestricted immigration, then Cutten wonders what if that freedom is abused by anti-liberty foreign powers, I answered maybe some laws are the solution, the Constitution for ex.
  5. Ricter


    You've essentially ignored the OP's thought experiment merely to make your opinion on socialism known. Why not start your own anti-socialism thread instead?
  6. The OP is discusing libertarian thinking. I am discussing libertarian thinking.

    For example, you can read on the Libertarian Party web page:

    "We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property."

    Hardly anti-immigration.

    Libertarian 101: What is the libertarian position on immigration?

    Libertarians advocate a more sensible policy that would, simply put, make immigration a non-issue.

    The Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold says; "Crossing an international border to support your family and pursue dreams of a better life is not an inherently criminal act like rape or robbery. If it were, then most of us descend from criminals."

    Knowing that and at the same time admitting there is a problem, how do we fix it sensibly?

    -Stop rewarding failure with government subsidies. Without a welfare state, we would all know that everyone coming to America wanted to work hard and support him/her self. Those same welfare programs and minimum wage laws also create an artificial market of immigrant labor to do the jobs Americans supposedly won’t do in the first place.

    -Allow for more legal immigration. We should change our laws to more closely line up with how people live. Our system as currently structured offers no legal channel for anywhere near a sufficient number of peaceful, hardworking immigrants to legally enter the United States even temporarily. The predictable result is illegal immigration.

    -Stop guarding other country's borders and not our own. America continues to send border patrol professionals to Iraq and Afghanistan to train their forces, instead of focusing on the decades long epidemic of violence on our own border. Ron Paul points out that "We are still patrolling Korea’s border after some 50 years, yet ours are more porous than ever." We could allocate far more resources to our own coasts and borders without an abhorent societal cost, that can't happen without drawing down our forces overseas. Also keep in mind, it is one of the few delegated powers of the Federal government in the Constitution, the powers explicitly laid out in Article 1 Section 8 regarding the 'naturalization of citizens'. You can't have national sovereignty without borders and Libertarians understand that.

    -Stop drug prohibition in America. And subsequently a huge cash cow for the violent Mexican cartels that exist only to bring illegal drugs into our country. A more sensible Federal drug policy of legalization would likely shut down the violence and turf battles of foreign nationals overnight. Also, the resources recouped by not chasing 'drug offenders' could be more wisely allocated to actually stopping violent crimes.
  8. What it means is that any type of purist of any political faction will be disappointed when they find out no one system contains all the answers.
  9. So you propose a no-system political system.
  10. No! I propose common sense negotiation, without all the silly labels and pissing contests. Where libertarian philosophy works, use it. Where anything else works, use that.
    #10     Dec 29, 2010