Saturday, August 29, 2015

Compared to What?

Libertarians and immigration; absent the state, the answer is easy.  In today’s world, every second-best answer is a compromise; some second-best answers offer worse.

Jacob Hornberger offers his thoughts.  I do not intend to go into a line-by-line analysis; I am of the view that finding libertarian purity on this issue in this world is a fool’s errand.  Instead, I offer one snippet:

There’s one big problem, however, for libertarians who support immigration controls: The enforcement of immigration laws entails socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on economic liberty. That means, obviously, that libertarians who support immigration controls are, at the same time, supporting socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on the exercise of economic liberty.

Is that a good thing?

I freely admit it isn’t a pure thing.  But “a good thing?”  Compared to what?  The option of a private market for immigration decision-making and enforcement does not exist (and there would be a private market for this, not in violation of the NAP).  Thereafter, we are stuck with second best options for those libertarians who do not believe that their property or their neighborhood (with the neighbors’ agreement) should be freely open to all bipeds.

I will offer Mr. Hornberger my Mr. BHNC libertarian test; in order to not personalize such a dreadful thought, I will modify my customary practice regarding this test.

Mr. Hornberger’s best friend calls him with horrible news.  His friend’s wife and children have been murdered.  Mr. Hornberger, despite knowing that government law-enforcement and judicial agents offer the only means to achieve justice and punishment (at least not including means that will put his friend in jail), in any case tells his best friend the following:

There’s one big problem, however, for libertarians who support calling the police and using state district attorneys and courts in this circumstance: The investigation and adjudication of a murder case entails socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on economic liberty. That means, obviously, that libertarians who support such investigations and adjudications are, at the same time, supporting socialism, police-state totalitarianism, and infringements on the exercise of economic liberty.

Is that a good thing?  Compared to what?  Not bringing the murderer to justice?

Libertarian theory is easy (most of the time).  Putting libertarian theory to practice in today’s world, not so much – every libertarian makes compromises every day; this is unavoidable (well, you can hand me your FRNs if you are so pure in practice).

I have the right to keep people off of my property; I therefore have the right to hire an agent to perform this task.  As I have no choice about the agent…well, I am being repetitive to my prior posts on this topic.

I will only add a minor point, and one that I will not address at this time:

Libertarians pride themselves for being about freedom. …libertarians…support the right to do “anything that’s peaceful.”

Something always sticks in my gut whenever I read these, especially the “anything that’s peaceful” thing.  I am not sure exactly what, and maybe my gut is wrong.  Someday I might dive into it.


  1. Open borders libertarians always point out how terrible it is that government is used to stop people from exercising their “right of movement’.

    However they rarely if ever talk about how government is used to facilitate movement, the creation of a road, air, shipping system using forced taxation. The public accommodation laws which force property owners to allow people to use their property. Laws which require the provision of emergency services to migrants. Laws which require businesses to hire migrants.

    They imagine a world with free movement when in fact such movement is only possible with massive government force. A world without borders would be a one world government world which would use force to make individual property owners open up their property to the immigrants.

    Property ownership is based on limiting others from using that property since if you give unlimited access to property you have lost control of it and soon will lose the property. Unlimited movement is a direct attack on property ownership. Free movement is not something that will happen in a market based world, since such a world is based on negotiation and trade and why would a property owner give away for free what is valuable. Instead he may give limited rights of movement in exchange for some compensation but that would be determined on a case by case manner and the person moving would not have a right to it but instead must both pay and follow the rules of the agreement.

  2. I don't understand the point you are trying to make?

    How is supporting state-coercion the second best option?
    You are presenting a false dilemma and then expecting people to accept that as a legit premise when it isn't.

    There is no reason you can't limit the scope to simply respecting the rights of the property owners in a dispute. If I open my business, home, or whatever to immigrants or migrants why do I need the state or the local community's permission to do so? Is it not my property. If you would work from the aspect of who owns the property I think your supposed confusion would be cleared up.

    As for the state policing, you work with the options you have at the time, but why should the argument be limited to if that is what you have now, you should be content with it. It makes no sense.

    We currently have a state monopoly on policing powers, of course if you don't want to lose your freedom and life, you are forced to operate within the confines of that system. How does that invalidate the argument going forward for a more private based alternatives to policing and a break of the government monopoly? It doesn't.

    1. There is a context to this. Please read the following, in order. If you still have questions, I will gladly address these.

  3. Bionic makes a perfectly good case to question ideal law solutions in a nation that 1) claims to have a constitution (common law) protecting certain inalienable rights from our Creator and 2)in a nation that has adopted, practice, adheres and may I say worships the authoritarianism of Babylonian-Romanist civil law authoritarianism.
    From Excellence of the Common Law by Brent Winters:
    "The common-law tradition does not hold that every detail of republicanism is harmful, but does recognize the fundamental superiority of the common-law tradition over Greek republicanism, providing greater stability for a country through individual freedom and dignity. For example, though the political aspect is a part of both republicanism and the common-law tradition, the two rest nonetheless, on distinct and different political ideals: republicanism's fountain of political authority is man; common law's foundation of political authority is the Creator. Rebellion at Babylon spawned the humanistic seeds of republicanism, which developed in the Greek city-states, advocating a total state dependent upon men alone. The Creator, however, implanted the seeds of the common-law tradition in the yearnings of each person, which demands, in trust of God, limited government.
    Though there are differences of opinion as to what a republic is, most agree that "republic" describes a certain form of government, but not its workings.""
    Winter's book delineates the differences between our common-law tradition and civil law authoritarianism, or what Anthony Wile describes America as a regulatory authoritarian democracy. Our common-law tradition is as much process - due process and fair play than it is a set of laws. Civil law is centralized power for control by statute and suppressing due process and presumption of innocence.
    I highly recommend the work. I consider myself a radical christian- Libertarian where I place the first principles of the common law as the bedrock of a free people.
    Christians are often offended to discover their cherished beliefs in our government are false, (to use civil law authoritarianism as a force to punish evil).
    Mr. Bionic Mosquito would likely find Mr. Winter's work indispensable in his quest to weed out the bad, cultivate the good in his otherwise brilliant work.
    The Excellence of the Common Law can be purchased at
    As a student of liberty (Mises, Lew Rockwell, Rothbard,Vance, North), Mr. Winter's book was essential to my understanding placing liberty in context to our Creator's world.
    Even if you despise religion and Christianity, this work will at least explain in detail what is meant by 'law'.

  4. "Thereafter, we are stuck with second best options for those libertarians who do not believe that their property or their neighborhood (with the neighbors’ agreement) should be freely open to all bipeds."

    Are immigrants trespassing on your personal property? First of all, why does it matter if they are immigrants or the local teenagers? And, wouldn't the second best option be to call your local police department, as you suggest for your hypothetical situation? Why would you think the federal government should get involved?

    1. Ed, you have a difficult time reading English, I think.

  5. The following is a little off topic, yet it has features of interest. The discussion of the pursuit of justice in those murders, even through a libertarian court and libertarian police, if such may be possible, would involve some form of invasion of privacy and unreasonable intrusion aka torture. The agents, in order to get at the truth, would necessarily have to question witnesses, indeed, having them testify at some hearing, and,as anyone knows, this questioning and testimony is got by a kind of torture, no, not waterboarding or the rack, just the probing into areas the victim may not want to relive, or the accusitory nature of the questions. In a word, even to ask a question, especially regarding something like a rape case, would force the witness to relive an event that was traumatic.
    Indeed, all such questioning involves invasions of privacy
    But then how would the libertarian justice system find out the truth. The mugger, killer and liar will not vanish when the State goes away.
    We are left with the problems of getting justice regarding those secondary crimes, those not of the State. The second best solution may be to tolerate dispute resolution organisations that do have police powers, to arrest, investigate, convict and punish, with the unfortunate collateral damage involved in the investigation, with the ever present problem of convicting an innocent.
    How to get around that, I dunno..

  6. You, as Hoppe, remember only the right to keep others out, but i have also the right to let others in my property. I have the right to decide for me and my property in both ways. While no one can murder, migration is an other thing, since it can be legal.

    When Hornberger wirites "socialism" I think he is referring to planning and drigism, that is to force central political decision. In the case of murder there is no "decision".. is always illegal, so the problem of centralization and dirigism doesen't arise in the same way.


    1. That is one Walter Block's critiques of Hoppe's position. What happens if Entrepreneur A wants to sell Product B to people that are forbidden access to his business because a charter community has had its Covent amended to keep certain people out. Group rights are now trumping individual rights.

  7. This seems like a bad joke: "government law-enforcement and judicial agents offer the only means to achieve justice"

    I find it hard to believe you haven't read at least these two:

    Channeling the Soviet Union: How U.S. Federal Criminal Law Has Reincarnated Beria
    By William L. Anderson July 9, 2009

    The Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction
    By William L. Anderson July 8, 2009

    There are many more, but it's late, and I'm exhausted.

    Also, RE: "justice" How is it justice if the victim is not compensated, the goobermint and prison contractors are rewarded, and the taxpayer is burdened to pay for it all? In addition, in the case of a capital punishment, a great many christian taxpayer who is forced to foot the bill is robbed if that taxpayer would rather the offender spend time in a cell contemplating things and perhaps decide to repent. You seem to be in tune with contracts, how does this process make the wronged party whole? Seems like there are several newly created wronged parties now that "justice' was served.

    "Is that a good thing? Compared to what? Not bringing the murderer to justice?" What IS "justice" to you, Mr. Bionic Mosquito? Pay-outs to the industrial prison complex? Revenge?

    Suppose that "justice" ends, the moment self-defense turns into revenge,... or something more? ...You would pick up the stone?

    1. The joke is on you - you are seeing things that are not here. Did I write anywhere that the US criminal justice system is not filled with corruption?

      Many not guilty are in any case incarcerated. Many guilty of victimless crimes are incarcerated.

      But many convicted of violations of the non-aggression principle are also incarcerated. Do you have an alternative in today's world? Not in a fantasyland, but today, the world actual human being occupy?

      Further, if I want a court for securing financial compensation - somewhere to file a civil suit - what do you suggest?

    2. BM, there is no way you are going to get the people that object want you are saying to deal with reality over fantasy land. I can't even get one of these people to acknowledge that having millions of third world foreigners demographically overwhelming a libertarian community will lead to a non libertarian outcome.

      Frankly I have seen several libertarian proposals for private criminal justice and from what I can see it does nothing to resolve the issues of false convictions or corruption in the justice system. This leads me to believe that this is another instance where libertarianism doesn't give any guidance - that libertarianism does not have a solution to the practical and mechanical problems of the criminal justice process, except to ensure that there are as few laws as possible to break.