Friday, January 17, 2014

Real Freedom

Over the past few months, I've had a few brief exchanges with left-libertarian writer Sheldon Richman and his colleague Jacob Hornberger.  Richman opposes a libertarian immigration policy that selects for a libertarian-compatible population.  He believes that libertarians' rational self-interest in wanting to deny statist politicians more Third World-derived voters cannot “justify violating the freedoms of foreigners,” as he put it in his most recent email to me.

My response apparently left him speechless, as I have not heard back from him in the several days since.  



Sheldon,

I'd like to make sure I understand what you mean by "freedom" when you claim that foreigners' freedoms are violated whenever they are denied residency by any country.   What you assert seems to entail a trump card for anyone in the world to thwart full, sovereign ownership of any land area.  Your  conception of freedom implies that all land is ultimately communally owned by all people in the world (with limited rights of private land ownership permitted only under the jurisdictions of states that maintain open borders).

If I misunderstand you, then please clarify by answering the following questions: 

Under your conception of freedom, would it be morally acceptable for the peaceful owner(s) of a private island to break away from the state that claims jurisdiction over it and exercise full sovereignty over their island?  

Obviously, owning a private island would be meaningless if ownership didn't entail the right to exclude people from coming onto it.  By becoming sovereign, must the fundamental rights of property ownership be surrendered to a global community whose members possess a positive right to migrate anywhere?

Under a propertarian framework of liberty, a private island isn't violating the freedom of uninvited people by refusing them entry.  You seem to want to appeal to propertarian freedom by calling yourself a free-market libertarian...while siding substantively with communitarian conceptions of freedom and championing a positive right of all people to violate any sovereign property boundaries.  Which is it?



Libertarians who argue against immigration selectivity on the basis that barriers to the movements of foreigners violate the freedom of foreigners implicitly cling to a definition of "freedom" that renders private property, secession, and non-state sovereignty illegitimate.  These anti-propertian libertarians don't want to admit that they find the full exercise of private property rights and the assertion of sovereignty to be morally abhorrent.  That's why they won't answer the questions that reveal the contradictions in what they espouse.

I note, in conclusion, that my private island example isn't merely hypothetical.  Some libertarians are working to create private communities.  And the private town of Orania, while not established on libertarian ideology per se, is nevertheless a bastion of freedom and prosperity within the violent and socialistic nation of South Africa.  Libertarians who claim that Orania violates rights because it restricts who can live there encourage and embolden the thuggish, statist enemies of Oranians' propertarian freedom.

13 comments:

  1. You're quite the skilled writer, LR. Good post, which clearly explains why libertarians should, and arguably must, oppose open borders, and shows that this position is not in contradiction with the advocacy of freedom, sensibly construed.

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  2. This is the argument that got be blocked by BlockingMrE. Foreigners have no right to move into a nation that is not theirs, any more than I have a right to move into my neighbour's house. A nation is basically the collective property of the native or founding population. Some so-called Libertarians don't admit the possibility of collective property, which is just absurd, to my mind. To give another analogy, I might own a car jointly with my brother, it doesn't mean anyone's rights are violated if only he and I have the right to drive it. These open-borders 'libertarians' are buffoons, denying the right to collective property, or to protectionism on the part of a particular group. I can only assume that these 'libertarians' are corrupt and in the pockets of factions that want immigration either to keep wages down or for sinister ideological reasons.

    Liberty doesn't stand a chance without the safeguard of nationalism, to keep out those who would favour statism and socialism, and who would vote to do-away with individual freedoms and property rights.

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  3. Very god content as always, congratulations, you just got another regular reader.

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  4. There is something bigger going on here. Libertarians never made such an obsession with open borders in the past. Nor was open borders much of an issue anywhere else on the political spectrum (aside from some marginalized groups). Yet today, open borders is the issue for most of the left, the business sector (via globalization)...and many libertarians.

    Why this is so ought to be up for discussion.

    Is there some kind of mass insanity going on here? Something akin to a Medieval hysteria, a sort of children's crusade in reverse? And why has this become the Number One issue for so many people?

    I am tempted to bring out James Burnham's "Suicide of the West," in which he claims that liberalism is an ideology which rationalizes away the decline of Western Civilization. Many liberals do see the world entering into a new phase of global civilization. But that is largely a delusion. True enough, corporations, military coalitions and NGOs may jet set around the world. But for the average "global citizen," life is becoming increasingly nasty, brutish, solitary and short. Just look at the car burnings and rioting in ancient European cities, thanks to third world mass migrations. Or the expansion of gated communities and private security companies for even the wealthy from Johannesburg to points west and east.

    In any event, we do have de facto open borders, and the Western world is getting less free.

    Maybe this is why so many libertarians have latched on to open borders: they can not deal with the drug war, the Patriot Act, the speech codes, the NSA surveillance, the endless war for endless peace, and a myriad other forms of state expansion. But they can revel in the vision of a world free of borders...at least until the boot comes down on their necks.

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    1. Do you really not understand, Calif? Everything falls neatly into place if you consider that communist Jews have been behind every single aspect of "liberalism" for generations. They gave us the 1965 immigration act and are the #1 force in destroying America's borders and traditional ethnic character since much farther back than that. They hate us and are striving to wipe us out. Modern clubby Libertarianism is conservatism with race, religion and morality neatly judaized out of it and a few needed updates like pot legalization. Try JewWatch, InstaurationOnline, IHR, ANUNews for a crash course.

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  5. Not to be nasty, but Sheldon Richman and libertarian-anarchist (Murray Rothbard) are Jews. The U.S. Constitution, American nationalism, the Bible, and libertarianism can be brought together, but not by Jewish left-libertarians. Nuff said'.

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    1. Not nasty at all, but having a few Jews in top positions on our side (they're everywhere) doesn't outweigh the Titanic-sized Jewish factor in all "liberalism" and political correctness, including the Republican/neocon kind. Evidently you didn't check out JewWatch et al.

      Brilliant thoughts from you, Scott V. Metaphysics, so true!! Whenever gliberals' stuff goes haywire they do just paint a new coat of verbal chicanery over it, thus global warming becomes climate change, et al. Hope you're writing articles or columns somewhere.

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  6. I've noticed that pro-mass immigration advocates have dropped (or put less emphasis on) the argument that mass immigration is a boon to the economy. Instead, they say we should open the borders because it is unfair that some people are born in poor, dysfunctional countries, while others are born in free, prosperous countries (an "accident of birth" as they put it). This is based on some very speculative metaphysics. In the first place, how does anyone know what is accidental and what is necessitated? Causal determinism may be true, in which case everything is causally necessitated, including one's birth. Secondly, isn't this just an extension of equality of opportunity applied to the entire world? Why would libertarians want that? Alex Tabarrok made this "accident of birth" argument recently.

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    1. Look up "libertarian socialism"; libertarianism casts a very wide net.

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  7. PS Obviously my barbs don't apply to this site. It appears on my first visit to be libertarianism (lower case) as it should be.

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  8. I don't think the entire land mass of the US/Canada/Europe/UK is analogous with a private-owned island or gated community. I agree with Bryan Caplan that it is anti-libertarian to interfere with free trade (in this case employers/employees and landlords/tenants). In addition, Caplan, as one of the leading spokesmen of pro-immigration policies, has in no way "dropped or put less emphasis on" the economic benefits of immigration.

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  9. Murray Rothbard was not a "left-libertarian". And his and Richman's Jewishness is irrelevant. It's true that many Jews (relative) to their numbers have promoted an anti-liberty agenda but they never would have gained a foothold without a gentile majority also subscribing to and promoting their own or similar anti-liberty agenda.

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  10. Easily reconciled when you realise that whilst collective property is indeed possible in a libertarian legal framework (where it would be joint private property), nation-state borders - which are set by an overarching state, regardless of the private property admission preferences of those contained within - don't fit the sufficient criteria for analogies to be made.

    Once you set the standard that state action is analogous to the will of "the people" (despite the diversity of opinion in said class), you've fallen into the democratist trap.

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