I was sent another Hoppe immigration article by email, from someone who disagrees with Hoppe’s views on the matter. This one is entitled On Free Immigration and Forced Integration.
Hoppe walks through the issue of who owns the property. In an ancap environment, it is clear: all property is owned by individuals or private entities. In such an environment, it seems difficult to disagree with Hoppe’s conclusions on immigration.
He then moves on to some version of monarchy and ends with a look at today’s western democracies. Here is where the issue gets cloudy for some. They are unwilling, or unable, to extend the principle that is perfectly sound in a completely private-property society and apply it to today’s world.
I have two thoughts on this matter:
First of all, the discussion gets so cloudy because the state is right in the middle of this. Given we have a state, I suggest the only legitimate functions of a state are to secure the property and life of those under its jurisdiction - call it a mutual aid society for enactment and enforcement of the NAP.
The state has no legitimate function to allow others to come to my property without my permission. You might say, “bionic, you can keep them off of your lawn; the state isn’t forcing you to let them in your shower.” You would be quite correct (I think. I won’t take any bets on this).
So, to ignore this is to say that the state should not perform the legitimate function of securing my property and instead perform an illegitimate function of giving away my property.
And somehow this is deemed by some to be libertarian.
Second: property rights vs. positive rights. I have written extensively on this in the previous post. I will only summarize: my right to discriminate regarding my property supersedes anyone else’s right to come on to my property. Which comes back to the first point.
And it is on this point where Hoppe concludes:
The current situation in the United States and in Western Europe has nothing whatsoever to do with "free" immigration. It is forced integration, plain and simple…
You see, it all depends on whose viewpoint you consider: the property rights of those already occupying the property or the positive right of someone who wants to move in. When these are in conflict, which one supersedes in a libertarian society – or even in libertarian theory? Does this need to be explained?
Hoppe adds a very enlightening observation, after describing why decentralization of state authority and localization of decisions regarding immigration is the proper path to help take the confusion out of this issue of immigration:
…to solve the "naturalization" question somewhat along the Swiss model, where local assemblies, not the central government, determine who can and who cannot become a Swiss citizen.
In today’s statist world, the closest model in an advanced-economy of localization and decentralization is Switzerland. The Swiss do not consider that any and all comers will be residents or citizens. It is not a national question but a local question. And it can take years or decades before your neighbors decide you are qualified.
Who has the right to decide who lives there – the ones who already live there or the ones who would like to? Is it a property right or a positive right? The Swiss have answered this question properly – likely just as it would be answered in many places. No one has the right to move in; they must be invited.
I will add other examples: homeowners associations, apartments, condominiums, hotels, amusement parks, multi-tenant office buildings, companies of all sorts. Each of these – in areas where the government has not established “forced integration,” to use Hoppe’s perfectly formed term – has rules and guidelines for those who would like to enter.
They do not allow any and all comers with any and all behavior. They do not allow uninvited visitors free use of the cafeteria, bathrooms, telephone and internet. They do not allow trespass-occupation of temporarily unused conference rooms or hotel rooms. They do not allow tents in common areas known as hallways or lobbies.
In each of these examples, the owners control access to their property. This is what a libertarian, free-market immigration policy would look like. And in a state-controlled world, even here it exists.
I know what the left-libertarians would say: “there should not be such discrimination.” I say you are certainly free to open your home to all comers. In any case, an inherent aspect of property is discrimination – as Hoppe so well explains.
And this brings us back to the fundamental issue – the difference of right and left. Discrimination or no discrimination? Property rights or positive rights? This conflict cannot be avoided.
I have a right to my house. No one else has a right to my house. This simple concept can be extended to a community and country. That the state performs many illegitimate functions should not distract one from one of the few legitimate functions of a state (if we are to have one) – to protect my property in a manner consistent with the NAP.