Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dances With Elephants

Recently I have commented quite a bit on libertarianism and culture – prompted by the singularly identifiable event of the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.  This journey has led me to Hoppe and his views on this intersection of libertarianism and culture.  Recently, the conversation has turned specifically to Hoppe’s views on immigration. 

I was offered the following by Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM at August 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM:

I’m restating Block. You really should read his stuff to get it from the horse’s mouth. He obliterates Hoppe’s argument. He answers your objections.

So I went looking for Block’s articles on this topic. 

I first will thank the anonymous commenter for pointing me this way.  It is one of the benefits of documenting my intellectual journey in a public forum; I often receive such good feedback.

I will add, however, that I find it difficult to imagine that anyone “obliterates Hoppe’s argument” on anything libertarian.  I say this not because I personally find disagreement with Block on this topic (on many points I agree, on some minor points I disagree, on the major issue at hand I conclude the issue might very well be insoluble via the thinnest of thin libertarian theory alone – and certainly not via the method Block recommends); I do this because in this debate, perhaps the most capable, knowledgeable, well-read and thoughtful libertarian theorists sit on opposite sides.

On one side is Block; on the other you will find Hoppe and (per Block) Kinsella.  One or the other of these gentlemen is going to obliterate the others on a question of libertarian theory?  I don’t think so.

What makes it even more impossible to award one side or the other the title of “Champion Obliterator” is Rothbard.  According to Block, Rothbard changed his views from one side to the other over the course of his life (moving from what is today Block’s position toward what is today Hoppe’s position).  So, I guess Rothbard sits on both sides…perhaps he obliterated himself?

This is not the stuff of obliteration.

The fundamental issue is that this is a dialogue inherently intertwined with the state’s involvement in “owning” and defending property.  It isn’t clear that there is a purely libertarian-based argument to untangle this, other than abolish the state and remove from it all property and all decisions regarding property.  But the debate isn’t waiting for this hoped-for day of salvation.  So we are left with a debate regarding the second-best option.

Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique

The thesis of the present paper is that the claims of Hoppe (1998, 2001), Kinsella (2005) and Rothbard (1998) on immigration are erroneous. In their view, the government of the U.S. is at present justified in restricting immigration to the country, on libertarian grounds.  There is no need to even discuss what libertarian theory is, since “there is not a dimes’ worth of difference” on this score between the three of us on this matter.

In case you didn’t hear me the first time: four individuals, each of whom is rightly considered extremely thorough in their understanding of libertarian theory and further (despite my disagreements with each on certain topics), each is always unquestionably sincere in his attempts to apply libertarian theory to the everyday problems of the real world.  Yet they sit on different sides of this discussion.

Block presents Crusoe on an island.  When Friday arrives, can Crusoe legitimately bar him from cultivating unused land on the other side of the island?  Crusoe claims the entire island as his own – he just hasn’t got to doing much with all of it yet.  Block believes this is not a legitimate claim on Crusoe’s part.  Block uses this to demonstrate the “unowned” nature of much of the so-called government owned land.  No one is using it – the Rocky Mountains and the vast deserts, for example.

This raises a point that I have always stumbled over.  I have never contemplated it to any great extent, so consider here that I am shooting from the hip (“What’s new?” I hear some of you say in the audience).

When the British first colonized the Americas, from their little footholds on the Atlantic (previously owned?) they claimed the territory with no (or an undefined) border in the west; coast to coast…or whatever there was over those mountains (I am greatly simplifying this, I know).

What does “own” (defined as control, use, and disposition) mean in such a world, this world we occupy? 

The several million (or however many) inhabitants of the northern portion of the North American continent were of little or no consequence to the British and their land claims (BTW, did those few people really exercise ownership of an entire three-thousand-mile-wide continent?).  Conversely, the British were of no consequence to most of those inhabitants. 

My point is the claims of one side meant nothing to the claims of the other – as long as the two parties didn’t come in contact.  The British might “claim” whatever was over those mountains, but until the two sides actually came into contact in a meaningful way, the issue of “own” was kind of irrelevant. 

Yet “own” means something – eventually they come into contact.  This leads me to consider the possibility: “own” means what one can defend.   I don’t say that this fits neatly in libertarian theory; I don’t say it is just; I don’t say that if an individual can present a valid claim to previously stolen goods (land ownership) that he is not entitled to it. 

How about another example?  Today, many wealthy Americans own millions of acres of land – much of it left in its natural state.  It is difficult to for me disagree with the notion that the landowner of one million acres of virgin forest is justified in removing squatters – even if the landowner is doing nothing with the land besides leaving the trees to grow.

Is each individual entitled to only the amount of land he can cultivate with his bare hands?  With a mule and a plough?  A tractor?  Who is to say the proper limit?  Does he “own” it only when he ploughs it?  what if he just likes to look at it?

Even if the land is nothing but virgin forest, is he not entitled to keep others out if he is so able – in other words: how much land can he defend? 

In the civilized world, we “defend” the ownership interest in our property via lawyers, recordings of title and the like.  In the uncivilized world (for the case relevant to the debate between the libertarian elephants, meaning the world of the state)?  How might the state defend its land claims?  Well, if lawyers don’t work, I am certain the United States government, all state governments, and all local governments can violently defend the Rocky Mountains and the vast deserts from trespass.  They have bigger guns than you do.

“Oh, bionic, you are now calling for state action.  What kind of libertarian are you?”  One that is attempting to address what seems to be an insoluble problem, a problem (immigration) not separable from state involvement.  Be patient, I will expand on this.

I suppose, given my logic above, I could conclude that Block’s immigrant squatter on the top of the Rocky Mountains now “owns” the land under his feet – at least until the owner (taxpayer, government – it really doesn’t matter at the moment) defends it and removes him.  Which the state will, via the US military (or some similar agency). 

But you see the circle this leads to?  It is just for me to defend my property, it is just for me to assign an agent to this task, I am severely limited in who I might assign (I have no say in the matter), so I am conflicted in exercising what is inarguably my right.

Hence I come back to the underlying difficulty of this entire topic: this is a dialogue inherently intertwined with the state’s involvement in “owning” property.

“But the state can’t own property,” you say.  I say your theory sounds nice, very sweet, innocent in fact.  In practice?  HAHAHA comes to mind.

I will address, shortly, how it might be possible to turn that theory into practice – Block has a plan.  Maybe it can work, or maybe not.

Now, as to what kind of libertarian I am: although funded via coercion, there are state activities that would be considered legitimate if privately funded.  Instead of rewriting my thoughts, I will offer my reply to Todd August 10, 2015 at 12:14 PM, who wondered exactly this question: because of the forced nature of financing, no state function can be legitimate.  What kind of libertarian are you, bionic?

Todd, we walk down a path from where we are today to the libertarian utopia. Along this path will be interim steps. Are the interim steps illegitimate if they are taken with a view of the ultimate objective? Is this not a libertarian path?

We don’t get to start as virgins. We are all soiled, swimming in mud. We debate things like “can a libertarian use a sidewalk?”

Libertarian theory is one thing; reaching something close to a libertarian ideal is quite another; maintaining a libertarian tradition once achieved is even another.

What is the ultimate objective? For the one community where I would choose to live out of the ten thousand different communities that I hope are to come, my ultimate objective is to achieve a condition where all functions are funded voluntarily; where private property is respected absolutely; where the non-aggression principle is respected.

There is a rub – culturally I would add other conditions to my community. With my neighbors, we agree in a very libertarian manner to these not-libertarian-based conditions. Is this libertarian? I say yes.

In any case, we don’t get to start where we would like; we only get to start where we are. The subject of immigration doesn’t even exist in a world without a state; libertarian theory and practice need not butt heads.

To your critique: it is undeniable that some of the functions currently done by the state will also be desired by voluntarily-paying customers in numbers sufficient to create a market. Many of these are quite consistent with libertarian theory and the NAP – private arbitration instead of state courts, private security services instead of city police, etc.

It is in reference to these functions that I use the label "legitimate."

For example, in a libertarian world, some people would voluntarily fund the salaries of individuals who are today professors employed by state-funded universities!

In all seriousness, when the only reasonable course of action for a just (via the NAP) act is through a state actor (yes, I know…taxes), let’s just say that eliminating this isn’t high on my list of concerns – on the list of reasons to end the state, these would be in the “One day, when I get to it” category.  The list of unjust actions by and through government actors is both very long and far more damaging.

I will take it a step further – a measure of your “thinness,” if you will:

·        If you walk on sidewalks, you have gained one pound.
·        If you drive on public roads and highways, you have gained three pounds.
·        If you fly, you have gained five pounds.
·        If you call the fire department because your house is burning, you have gained four pounds.
·        If you use the court system, you have gained six pounds.
·        If you visit a National Park, you have gained three pounds.
·        If you use Federal Reserve notes (or Euros or Swissies or Yen), you have just gained twenty pounds.

The FRNs have the most calories and simple carbs; central banking is the ultimate tool of control – and you are contributing to this control of your fellow man (yes, every single purist reading this post).

I could list 100 more items – each perfectly just if funded voluntarily, yet jaded by the method of funding and the lack of reasonable alternatives.

You see, being thin when it comes to libertarian theory is easy – even mandatory in my book.  Putting “thin” into practice?  You can’t even live in a shed at 10,000 feet and accomplish this – well, for sure if you are also reading this post you can’t (I don’t have to worry about the non-readers disproving me).

Oh, where to draw the thin-libertarian line….

But I digress.  Block disagrees with Kinsella’s argument that the state has a right to establish rules for property it owns.  The example being offered is that of a community pool.  Block offers the proper way to put libertarian-theory purity into libertarian-inducing practice.

Block says, don’t follow their rules; instead, he says “tear down the wall” (well, he doesn’t really say that, but it flowed very nicely, don’t you think?):

The radical alternative is that the “rules” of the pool should be fashioned so as to eliminate these enterprises from governmental control. For example, everyone, anyone, should be “allowed” to walk off with the water in the pool, even the very bricks of which it is composed.

(See, he kind of did say that Pink Floyd thing.)

OK, Block; I will dip my toe in the water. 

My point is that the radical scenario I am positing seems to me more compatible with the libertarian ethos than the more conservative one depicted by our author.

It might be more compatible, but it is a dangerous game with a very unsatisfactory outcome.  Once property destruction takes hold, does Block believe the participants (because once property destruction starts, the participants will likely not be limited to NAP-respecting libertarian purists) will listen kindly to a meek [insert age, hairline, nationality/religion here] professor about his libertarian theory?  Will they stop their destruction merely at the community pool, or only state owned buildings?

Will Block physically stop them?  Talk about trying to defend the undefendable! (I will send flowers.)

Remember, Block isn’t suggesting what to do in a world made up of a large portion of libertarians.  He is writing of today’s world.  So, no, they won’t stop there.  And then, when all the destruction and looting (yes, there will be looting) comes to your street and your house and your store – no problem; Professor Block will offer you a smiling face: “welcome to the libertarian world.” 

Of course you libertarian purists will be smiling, perhaps serving lemonade while basking in the glow of your purity.  But what about your neighbors?  Do you think your non-libertarian-purist neighbors will resist the urge to call in the state in order to bring this glorious liberation to an end?  And will the state then say, “No, you don’t understand – Professor Block said it was OK.  We will not increase in any way the draconian police state as a result of this crisis”?

The state will allow a crisis go to waste?  Maybe a reverse ratchet effect?  That would be a first, wouldn’t it?

Are you sure Block’s second best solution will be more conducive to a libertarian nirvana?  Really?

Not me; in fact I am sure it won’t be.  I think the most compatible is to advocate turning title of the pool over to those who funded it.  In the meantime, proper fiduciary care of the pool wouldn’t be a bad idea as a second best option.  I am certain it is a better second-best option, given the certain (yes, I am comfortable using that word) consequences to the depravation of liberty via Block’s option.

It seems to me decidedly unlibertarian to advocate these sorts of “reasonable” rules. A more libertarian stance would be to welcome actual chaos on all property statists steal from victims. The likelihood is that pure bedlam and pandemonium on all such terrain would deter the thieves from their evil deeds.

Out of the chaos brought on by social conflict will emerge libertarian order?  I greatly admire and respect Dr. Block, but I cannot resist.  On what planet?

This “out of chaos libertarian order” view is also the view of left-libertarian anarchists, about whom I have written fairly often recently (and no, I do NOT include Block as a member of this philosophical-basket-case crowd).  The only thing that differentiates this left-libertarian view from the views of Antonio Gramsci is that left-libertarians claim respect for property rights…they don’t really, but they say they do.

But once property rights are disrespected – no matter the theoretical soundness of the professor’s idea – will the masses listen to libertarian reason about where to draw the line?  Once property rights are disrespected, you are left with pure Gramsci.  I am not arguing libertarian theory; I am suggesting that Block’s suggested path from here to there will move society away from, and not toward, a libertarian world.

Interim steps are fine, as long as they move us toward liberty.  I think some guy named Murray wrote something like that once.  So why choose a path certain to steer the car in the wrong direction?

Human nature and history are on my side – liberty has rarely, if ever, sprung forth from such bedlam.  Instead, the people demand a savior to stop the bedlam – using any and all liberty-destructing tools available.

I know I have referred to it before, I will again.  The European Middle Ages offers one of the better examples of something coming close to a libertarian theory of law.  It did not come out of violence – no one took the Colosseum down stone by stone.  It was based on the sacred oath – a man’s word was his bond – with God as party to the deal (and if there was disagreement about the words, the person with the oldest document won).

Rome died its own slow death – it died more from apathy of the people and Rome’s expansion of empire than it did from any invading army.  Roman citizens fled their so-called civilization and voluntarily became slaves to the barbarians.

Look more recently at the former Soviet Union.  It too died from a slow withering-away – not because the people stormed the Kremlin.  Certainly, what replaced it was not libertarian; yet, anyone with knowledge of life behind the Wall (Pink Floyd again) would agree that there is more freedom today than during Stalin’s time.

However, I have a concern I regard as even more important; libertarian theory. Perhaps it is possible for utilitarian or consequentialist libertarians to reconcile their principles with regulated borders, but this is not possible, I contend, for deontological ones such as myself.

But it is possible.  If I have a right to control the borders to my property, I along with my neighbors have the right to delegate this to an agent, acting on our behalf.  This is as perfectly libertarian as it gets.

The only issue is that today’s provider is the monopoly state; I have only one way to put my sound libertarian right into practice.  Only one.  It is also true that those libertarians who wish to allow any and every biped from all corners of planet earth onto their property also have only one way to put their desire into practice.  Only one.

Libertarian theory supports both.  Libertarian theory offers no answer.

Of course, we have no way of knowing how many people would choose this service given that the agent today is the monopoly-state.  We do know that where property owners have freedom to discriminate, they do so.  There is a market for discrimination-supportive services – today.  In any case, if one is arguing solely on the libertarian theory of the matter (and not the practical application), my statement is at least equally as valid as is Block’s.

“Oh, but bionic, by definition as you are leaning on the state, yours is less libertarian.”

Perhaps you are right – but we are left with second-best alternatives in this discussion.  So you see, I won’t go away so easily. 

Let’s try a little experiment.  We can examine the views of Mr. Federal Reserve Note (FRN) libertarian and Mr. Protect My Border (PMB) libertarian.

PMB: You know, I hate the state.  But in the case of border control they do provide a service that I value.
FRN: You know, I hate the state.  But in the case of medium of exchange they do provide a service that I value.
PMB: I would give anything to have an alternative to state-provided border control.
FRN: I would give anything to have an alternative to a state-provided medium of exchange.
PMB: Wait a minute; I have no alternative, but you do.
FRN: No I don’t.
PMB: Barter.  Metals not stamped by the government mint.  Bumpers for chickens.
FRN: Never mind.

Good old Mr. FRN has more alternatives than Mr. PMB, yet it is Mr. PMB taking all of this abuse.

So, I will tell you what.  The only way I will consider further counter arguments: Please, hand over to me all of your FRNs in your wallet and digits in your bank account.  Of course, you don’t drive on the government roads, so I will take your car also – and I will not have one ounce of libertarian-purity-remorse when I use the government’s DMV to register the car in my name.

Oh yeah, no walking on sidewalks – I will take your shoes, thank you very much.

As they say, put your money where your mouth is.  Until a commenter in support of open borders takes me up on this, you will be referred to as Mr. Big Hat No Cattle (BHNC) – wow, when did I become the Mogambo Guru?

Today the state is the agent regarding this aspect of defense of property.  We all agree: the state is, always and everywhere, the enemy. 

Yet, I wonder if a libertarian frequent-flier would be in favor of suddenly dismantling the FAA while he is in flight in a thunderstorm while flying over one of the busier airports of the country – say Atlanta or Dallas (both about equidistant from New Orleans, I will guess; and both home to some of the worst thunderstorms known to man).  You know, unplug the computers, shut off the radios, you get the idea.

In theory it is a good idea.  In practice?  I am not so sure.

Thank goodness, Block rides to the rescue.  Even Block offers that certain functions of the state need not be stripped tomorrow, due to the likelihood for chaos (in this example, roads; in my example, Block making a flight connection through one of two nearby hubs).  From On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe, By Anthony Gregory and Walter Block:

One day’s notice would be simply far too little. But, suppose that the government made this announcement one year ago, and allowed a libertarian tribunal to figure out which private companies (owned by mulcted taxpayers) should take over which roads.

So perhaps libertarians might consider working on dismantling the state before deciding to throw the world into chaos by dismantling the community swimming pool.  Besides, why give William F. Buckley, Jr. more cannon fodder?

Returning to immigration: I think this issue is not resolvable via strictly thin libertarian theory in a world where the state owns property.  At least not resolvable via libertarian purity.  

The result will be chaos, not liberty. 

I know I jumped into this fight beginning what seems like a year ago – with the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.  I made the point then that the issues I raised were more cultural than libertarian.

Libertarian purity in practice is not the only acceptable standard for a libertarian given that we live in this world – no one is a virgin, no not one.  It is not even achievable in theory given the many questions upon which libertarian theorists with unimpeachable devotion to the theory disagree.  Hoppe, Kinsella and Block disagree on this topic.  Rothbard the elder apparently even disagreed with Rothbard the younger.  Yet, somehow, libertarians are supposed to have complete conviction on the answer to this question in today’s state-run environment?

Even without this disagreement amongst elephants, libertarian theory is in any case not enough to answer every question in life.  I know for certain that I do not want the chaos of wanton destruction of community swimming pools.  I know where that culture leads.

It might be debatable as to the second best option regarding immigration in a world where the state owns property; I know Block doesn’t find it.  It is not debatable that culture matters generally, and that certain cultural norms are more conducive to maintaining a libertarian social order than others. 

I don’t want Block’s wished-for chaos – a one-way train to totalitarian-town. 

I continue in my agreement with Hoppe.

Well, what do now?


  1. One other thing is the left libertarian assumption that open borders is the default state of existence. I very much doubt that. In fact I think that the state, at least in western countries, has forced open the borders over the objections of the hapless 'taxpayers' under its jurisdiction.

    As for Professor Block's communal pool riot scenario, this is another example of where he shows occasional bad judgment (support for Rand Paul is another). If the looters taking apart the pool start beating up people using the pool, will Block wash his hands of it?

    Imagine telling the people of Ferguson that the state in Ferguson has been abolished and libertarian ideology now reigns. The people of Ferguson are among America's least law abiding and least educated people. What does Dr. Block think would happen? We all know what would happen. More looting, riot, mayhem, and ultimately people begging for a state to rescue them.

    As I have noted before it is these kinds of ideas that make libertarianism intolerable to normal people. People want to see their communities continue with minimal disruption.

    1. "If the looters taking apart the pool start beating up people using the pool"

      ...then they become aggressors. People can tell the difference between the property of person or institution A vs. property of person or institution B. Block is not advocating general mayhem. He's pointing out that since Uncle Sam has stolen stuff from us taking stuff back from Uncle Sam wherever feasible is not only justifiable but morally superior. That's it. I think the average 8 year old, even in Ferguson, would be able to grasp this concept and the distinction. Anyone going beyond this is being thuggish of his own accord for his own reasons.

      “Imagine telling the people of Ferguson that the state in Ferguson has been abolished and libertarian ideology now reigns. The people of Ferguson are among America's least law abiding and least educated people. What does Dr. Block think would happen? We all know what would happen. More looting, riot, mayhem, and ultimately people begging for a state to rescue them.”

      So people can’t handle their own freedom? They are too lawless and uneducated? Without the state there would be chaos? People need the state to boss them around and protect them from each other? This classic statist appeal to FUD attempts a utilitarian argument, ignoring principle, providing a rationalization for maintaining the state fully resourced and studiously avoiding any attempt to perturb state functions. After all, any such steps necessarily involve disruption of some sort, such as the trauma of people needing to think for themselves and re-skill themselves for independence. This argument elevates practical expediency over moral considerations, claiming that cooperating with the government to maintain the status quo of its calm, orderly, wholesale pillage of private property and lives is superior to risking potential rambunctiousness disrespecting government authority and stolen loot.

      " is these kinds of ideas that make libertarianism intolerable to normal people. People want to see their communities continue with minimal disruption."

      Yes, they do. And they want free stuff. And Donald Trump for president. If the criteria for deciding the question of a proper libertarian stance on immigration in a statist environment boils down not to the principles of property rights and non-aggression but to utilitarian calculations of whatever most pleases the lowest common denominator of a statist population, well, that’s exactly the same values a statist politician holds. Hoppe would likely approve, at least.


      “The true test, then, of the radical spirit, is the button-pushing test: if we could push the button for instantaneous abolition of unjust invasions of liberty, would we do it? If we would not do it, we could scarcely call ourselves libertarians.

      “The genuine libertarian, then, is, in all senses of the word, an ‘abolitionist’; he would, if he could, abolish instantaneously all invasions of liberty.…He would, in the words of another libertarian in a similar connection, ‘blister my thumb pushing that button!’

      “Antilibertarians, and antiradicals generally, characteristically make the point that such ‘abolitionism’ is ‘unrealistic;’

      "The libertarian must perforce be a ‘button pusher’ and an ‘abolitionist.’ Powered by justice, he cannot be moved by amoral utilitarian pleas…"

    2. “People can tell the difference between the property of person or institution A vs. property of person or institution B.”

      When it comes to mayhem, this is wishful thinking. I would describe it as naïve.

      “Block is not advocating general mayhem.”

      I am sure the looters will respect this.

      As to citing Rothbard, take it up with Block – your supposed savior of obliteration. He is the one who suggested a one year notice would be acceptable.

    3. "So people can’t handle their own freedom? They are too lawless and uneducated? Without the state there would be chaos? People need the state to boss them around and protect them from each other?"

      The people of Ferguson, yes. Absolutely, positively, 100% and with nary a doubt. I would be very surprised if you didn't believe this too.

    4. @bionic

      "When it comes to mayhem, this is wishful thinking. I would describe it as naïve."

      It may in fact be naïve on my part. None of us can predict such outcomes with certainty. What I do know is respect for property rights and the NAP take precedence over utilitarian calculations when determining the ownership status of property.

      Based on Block’s other writings, I feel certain he would blister his finger pressing the button just as urgently as Rothbard, racing him to get to it in order to immediately remove the property from state control. Block has clearly declared non-aggression to be a higher priority than restitution. Block has clearly declared non-aggression to be a higher priority than “maintaining social order” (for goodness sakes). If Block didn’t push the button, there is no way he, or anyone else, could justify so enabling the state to continue to use the property to perpetrate additional aggressions over the course of that next year.

      My savior of obliteration (of the state and its means of aggression) does not delve into what ownership status the property would have during that one year. I suspect the one year period is Block’s guess at how long it might take to resolve any competing claims on the liberated property. During that time the ownership status of the property would presumably be “disputed” with multiple claimants. There is plenty of reasonable common law legal precedent for how property under dispute may and may not be utilized while ownership title is being resolved.

      P.S. Your citation of Block on one year notice in your article is incorrect. That quote is actually from “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique”

    5. I can predict the outcome. It has happened too many times in history. And Block, no matter how theoretically correct he might be, offers a path certain to lead to less liberty.

      Talk about winning the battle and losing the war. William F. Buckley, Jr. is having a good chuckle right now, whatever hell he is in.

    6. @Matt

      "The people of Ferguson, yes. Absolutely, positively, 100% and with nary a doubt. I would be very surprised if you didn't believe this too."

      I understand what you are getting it. Many of these people are intellectually stunted and morally compromised. We don't disagree on that.

      We disagree on the next part. I say, “Free them,” regardless. You instead attempt a utilitarian justification for using force to rule these people. Because you, Matt, and certain others like you, assert a right to dictate to Ferguson residents what they can and can't do with their own bodies and property. "For their own good," of course. This is a paternalistic, authoritarian, statist way of viewing the world. If you are an indeed a statist we probably shouldn't delve into that larger can of worms here as it's too far off-topic.

      Humans are highly adaptable creatures that generally rise to respond whatever incentive structure they face. Before you write off people in impoverished areas as incompetent to run their own lives, watch this TED talk:

      But alas, now I fall into the same trap you have fallen into. It is irrelevant the skill level of handling freedom these people have. Even if they struggle and suffer mightily in their transformation from slavery to freedom, no moral person may sanction forcibly keeping them in slavery against their will for any period of time for any reason. Your argument of incompetence is the same one southern plantation owners offered when abolitionists lobbied to free the slaves. Practicality is irrelevant. Your argument has no moral legs to stand on.

    7. Anonymous, I have no care what Ferguson residents do with their own lives or property. I am concerned that Ferguson residents are disproportionately NAP violators. Check YouTube if you doubt it.

      Suddenly having libertarianism would do nothing for that. In fact now they would have no welfare and no income from selling drugs (drugs legal). What do you suppose would happen? I guess that since you do not live in Ferguson you do not empathize and do not care. This is the same line of thinking as the communists. When something doesn't work out it is the fault of the wreckers.

    8. "I am concerned that Ferguson residents are disproportionately NAP violators."

      I think it would be an interesting analysis to compare the damage wrought by aggression by individual criminals in Ferguson vs. the damage wrought by aggression by heeled investment bankers in Wall Street wielding federal law and the state enforcement apparatus. Pound for pound of human devastation, old Ferguson maybe ain’t so bad.

      However, I’ll grant your premise the overtly violent crime rate in Ferguson is higher than in other communities. You concern about that of course is valid. I understand it. I respect it. It is grounded.

      This suggests additional support in security may be particularly valuable to help Ferguson residents transition from living under statist dynamics to freedom dynamics. Such as forming highly capable, well-resourced private defense agencies right away to respond to expected high Ferguson market demand for security, ensuring any aggression meets sift justice. In a free market, the bigger the problem, the more profit is to be made from solving it, the bigger and faster the solutions arrive on the scene courtesy of entrepreneurs. That’s how freedom works.

      Your argument opposing liberation of oppressed people commits grave errors of reasoning. The most obvious being that one can't judge all Ferguson residents by the actions of a few. That's collectivist. In this case, neighborhoodist. Only individuals may be judged for their individual actions.

      "Suddenly having libertarianism would do nothing for that."

      It would do everything for that. It would change the incentive structure. When a man can get ahead in life faster and more effectively by productivity rather than aggression, he will do so. It's a cold, hard personal calculation. Libertarianism supplies a benevolent incentive structure. It really makes crime not pay.

      Your hypothesis, your prediction of widespread violence emerging from a fully freed Ferguson at all, much less not evoking a prompt market response dealing with it if it did, dovetails with oceans of state propaganda about why we can’t be free. Accordingly your hypothesis might seem well-founded to your mind. I'm sure socialist government leaders would vigorously agree with you and warmly embrace your “I can predict societal outcomes” premise. You could have rich discussions with state planners on which statist scheme to impose on people attempting to achieve your desired outcomes. But any social planning backed by violence is inherently un-libertarian, immoral, and ineffectual.

      In other words, your personal vision is not a valid basis for pre-emptive use of force to strip away liberties of other individuals. You may morally use force to defend yourself against individuals who aggress against you and to obtain restitution. That’s it. You may not morally use force pre-emptively against entire categories of people you deem undesirable or high-risk, such as Ferguson residents.

      "you do not empathize and do not care."

      I empathize and care profoundly for victims of aggression. Be it you or be it Ferguson residents. I would stand by you gun in hand to defend you against anyone who aggresses against you just as I would do the same for Ferguson residents. That's what being a libertarian means.

    9. Anonymous (BTW, can't you just end your posts with "Jack" or "batman" or something? There is already more than one anonymous on this thread),

      By all means, bring in libertarianism. If there is going to be a plan to enforce against NAP violations, good. I do recall Dr Block inciting people to riot, however, and with Ferguson residents I agree with BM that they would not stop at government property. Someone said that residents could tell the difference between state property and private property. I am not sure that is true. Look at how Ferguson residents believe that ghetto Korean and Arab merchants are "stealing" from their community by having a business there.

      I want to make it clear that in the short term, measured over decades, libertarianism is a very bad deal for black people ("Ferguson residents") which is why there are so few black libertarians. Libertarianism would mean an immediate drop in black incomes, would lead to many blacks shut out of middle class lifestyles afforded to them by affirmative action and government jobs, the end of massive transfer payments to the black community, etc.

      The incentive for these Ferguson residents is to have a state that enforces the status quo. They have a tradition of riot and mayhem and would surely do that under libertarianism. All I want is for people, especially libertarians, to look at this with open eyes.

    10. “BTW, can't you just end your posts with "Jack" or "batman" or something?...”

      “Batman” is very tempting. However, I’ll re-christen myself “AA8.”

      “Someone said that residents could tell the difference between state property and private property…. Look at how Ferguson residents believe that ghetto Korean and Arab merchants are ‘stealing’ from their community…”

      I said it. Residents don’t really hate merchants. They hate their life situation. The merchants are serving as expedient scapegoats for outrage over residents’ plight because in a leftist victimhood culture it’s not ok to blame the state but is ok to blame capitalism. On a practical level, vandalism is made possible only by lack of consequences thanks to state monopolization of policing and justice. No one could afford vandalism or have any incentive to pursue it where private property is actively defended.

      Nevertheless let’s presume my prediction is wrong and yours is right. This just means there will be a learning curve. Give a dog a new master and it can take a few “learning incidents” for the new rules to sink in. A lifestyle of non-aggression has different rules. Just as much as libertarians would encourage Ferguson residents to degrade state property, we would also encourage private property owners to vigorously defend theirs. Yes, some heavily institutionalized Fergusonites may need to suffer the barrel end of the guns of armed private property owners or their agents once or twice to realize the shape of the new landscape. Some may need a wake-up call that there is a new sheriff in town, and its name is private property.

    11. “…in the short term, measured over decades, libertarianism is a very bad deal for black people (‘Ferguson residents’).…Libertarianism would mean an immediate drop in black incomes….”

      I agree with that for a period of months, not decades. It’s reasonable to expect over the first year of transition, the Ferguson community might initially seem worse, feel poorer as misallocated human and physical capital is reallocated from leisure and dole surfing behaviors to productive ones. This can be a painful switch. But when this “crash” is allowed to happen with full severity and swiftness, the pain will not endure. Moreover, compensating for this, outside investment capital and support would rapidly pour into the community seeking the higher returns possible conducting business under freedom.

      Ferguson would become a burgeoning free-trade Mecca within the span of one year. Property values would skyrocket. Opportunities would flood onto the scene. The attention of residents would quickly turn away from munching Cheetos and watching soap operas in cinderblock public housing units. Such a lifestyle would no longer be viable or appealing. Residents would be thrust into healthy competition with each other to rise to the challenge of best exploiting full employment with lucrative job and entrepreneurial opportunities. The labor market would become hot. Productive ambition would become the most lucrative value to adopt. Any individuals unwilling to adjust who stubbornly persist in lazy or aggressive behaviors would not be productive enough to afford to remain for very long. They would be economically compelled to move out.

      Moreover, even if temporarily cash poorer initially when the government checks stopped, I predict everyone in Ferguson successfully making the transition to responsible living would become happier. Happiness is strongly tied to individual freedom and productive growth rather than any particular absolute level of wealth. And the wealth would quickly follow.

      “They have a tradition of riot and mayhem...”

      Ask yourself why and where that comes from. Cultural traditions are formed in response to underlying incentives surrounding the circumstances people find themselves in. Traditions are behaviors that made sense for a group of people at some time in the past. Radically different circumstances with different incentives give rise to new traditions that promptly displace old ones.

  2. Good article.

    Why would the state use its powers to limit immigration to actually limit immigration any more than it uses its powers to "fight terrorism" to actually fight terrorism? Why wouldn't it primarily use that ability to elect itself a new population to rule? Note how control of the roads has morphed into control of everything even tangentially associated with roads.

    We have short run and long run consequences to talk about when dealing with the imperfect world as it lays in front of us.

    Some of the open borders folks try to characterize EVERYONE who isn't as a nativist hater, which isn't fair.

  3. No acronyms, I wanted to have some fun in the post because i have concluded the conversation is getting too heavy for an issue with no clear-cut answer.

    I tried to address theory: in theory, I have a right to discriminate regarding my property, therefore I have the right to assign this duty to an agent - this is great libertarian theory. I have no choice as to the agent - having no choice in practice is PRACTICE, it isn't theory.

  4. I don't understand the need to ideologically take half measures and argue a gradualist/utilitarian position.

    "Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice." - William Lloyd Garrison

    I see no reason to argue for half steps and measures of freedom.

    Why not advocate outright the position of freedom, it it is accepted then it will be enacted in half measures, but I don't think we should limit ourselves to supporting bodies and establishments already in place.

    As for immigration, explain to me how the state has the right to stop a private business from opening up its property to anyone to stay, a home from being sold to anyone that gathers the money to buy or rent?

    How does the state have the right to stop a private business from employing anyone they choose to employ, regardless of nationality.

    It seems some on this board and Hoppe have a reactionary bent in trying to use the state to defend themselves from ideological competition by simply stating or trying to allude that immigrants will destroy "western progress" or increase the rate of failure so they should be kept out with the power of the state, while those within try to change the tide in their favor. This seems hypocritical to me.

    If you are against the state as immoral because its very existance violated the NAP then hold it.

    As for the state does actions that some consider legitimate if it were private, thats a big distinction. Its about as big as saying a rapist isn't performing an act any different than a lover if they engaged in consensual sex. Well the consensual aspect is the elephant in the room isn't it.

    1. Why do people write as if they haven't read the post?

      As to your analogy, it isn't analogous. And I have already addressed this above.

    2. I find it astonishing that people who realize they live in a social system that uses voting to set (or at least consent to) policies that absolutely affect them are blind to what happens when a group of people whose values, demonstrated by the places from which they come, are inimical to the locals' values, arrive in a tsunami.

      You folks are like a guy who can't swim, hates the water, yet when he notices an incoming tsunami he exclaims, "well, in my view there's really no action I should take, the water has the right of way."

  5. there is a very easy way to put it:

    topological simple-connectedness is a boundary condition proviso on any property rights regime. That simply means any two points on the surface of the earth is path connected. It doesn't mean that a person to go from point A to point B has the right to trespass your property but it does mean that if there is no path between A and B, then the property rights regime is unjust.

    This is consistent with a Lockean proviso. And it is what I mean by "open borders."

    1. That's a very interesting requirement that I haven't heard before. Where did you get this idea?

    2. Well, in an earlier life I was a math major. Topological Simply Connectedness is a concept in topology that i've applied to the "open borders" debate to give an exact definition to what is actually being implied by "open borders" and to offset the strawman that open borders somehow advocates arbitrary right of trespass.


    3. "...if there is no path between A and B, then the property rights regime is unjust."

      No, that's not true. No one is "owed" passage over private property where owners don't allow it. You don't have a positive right to have others transport people over their property to make it to your property.

      For libertarians, private property is sacrosanct. The open borders discussion is solely about the question of passage over state controlled property.

    4. "No, that's not true. No one is "owed" passage over private property where owners don't allow it. You don't have a positive right to have others transport people over their property to make it to your property.

      For libertarians, private property is sacrosanct. The open borders discussion is solely about the question of passage over state controlled property."

      That's just the thing. Libertarians continue to misunderstand the nature of property rights, especially as they pertain to land. Property rights place an obligation on everyone. If person A has a bundle of property rights in property B, it places obligations on how everyone else should treat property B. For example, it places an obligation on other people to walk around the property. Thus, in a sense, property rights ARE positive rights.

      Because of this reason (but also because of other reasons), reasonable people will continue to disagree about first principles as they relate to property rights. We have a good example of this here. There is no magical right answer about what sort of first principles are correct from a libertarian perspective.

      So what to do? Do we support some sort of natural law per Rothbard that applies to everyone, or do we let different jurisdictions adopt different principles, per Friedman? I am always in support of people making their own choices and letting them pick their own principles. Let the market sort it out. Though we of course can't predict what would happen, I would guess that many people would find dL's principles reasonable. Furthermore, since such principles allow more freedom of movement, such jurisdictions would be more attractive to people and would outcompete jursidictions that prevent such free movement.

  6. I'm not sure whether I agree with you on this or not, but I just wanted to state that I appreciate the way you tie things to the individual - put up or shut up as it were. If there were more of this kind of self-examination there would probably be less of, say, spoiling for war with Eurasia or Eastasia or whomever (you want war eh? Then you're willing to send your son to fight and possibly die? Or pick up a rifle and go yourself?) That kind of thing.

    1. I truly appreciate your comment. Sometimes I feel the intent is lost, certainly on those for whom this tactic is directed.

  7. I am having a hard time understanding how people that oppose the free movement of people can call themselves libertarian. One of the things that appeals to me about libertarian philosophy is that it lines up so nicely with what economics teaches us about how to maximize prosperity. Economists, and Austrian economists in particular (since all other economics are just butchered Austrian economics), teach us that free trade between two countries will always result in both countries being better off overall (though of course some companies will suffer, if they can't compete with companies in the other country). Why would you think that this does not apply to the labor market? Once could argue that the labor market is the most important market of them all. Open borders just mean free trade in the labor market.

    The other point to make here is that protectionism has enforcement costs. Companies lobby for protectionist measures in order to externalize these costs onto the taxpayers. In a free society, they would not be able to do this. If they tried to enforce protectionist measures, such as tariffs or business regulations, by themselves, they would become unprofitable, as they would have to raise their prices to finance these measures. Why would you think this does not apply to the labor market? In a free society, immigration restrictions would have to be enforced by those that want them, and they would have to pay for them. If we compare two city-states, one that spends money on immigration enforcement, and one that does not, we would see that the city-state with free immigration would eventually out-compete the closed-off state.

    So, are you anti-immigration folk ready to abandon Austrian economics when it is applied to labor?

    1. I oppose free movement on my property. My landlord opposes free movement in the apartment complex. Last hotel I went to, the manager opposed free movement in the hallways and lobby. Disney opposes free movement in their amusement parks.

      It shouldn't be so hard to understand.

    2. "Last hotel I went to, the manager opposed free movement in the hallways and lobby."

      did the ball and chain get charged to your bill as an amenity?


    3. dL, your question fully answers and explains my meaning. Do you see it?

    4. but your meaning to me is a red herring.

      You certainly are free to mandate a ball and chain as a precondition for overnight lodging, but I am also quite confident that you wouldn't be in business very long. Now If you were to remain in business, and I was also unable to find a hotel that did not mandate a ball and chain, I would have severe doubts about the justice of a property rights regime in question.

      "Open Borders" is not a specific claim against your property rights. Rather it is a boundary condition, a proviso, on the property rights regime. Like if Disney bought up all the land in central florida and then forbade any economic goods to travel by land/road to south florida. In that case, Disney then becomes the property rights regime (as opposed to the instance of Disney World in Orlando forbidding the flow of economic goods on its property--so be it in that case).

      To me, I thought this kind of proviso stuff was more or less settled since Nozick.


    5. Ed Ucation.

      You are a villager. You and 99 other people live there. You have a good life. Unfortunately you also have open borders. 200 foreigners turn up. They say there are refugees, turfed out from elsewhere. Some of the refugee men take offense at the customs practiced by your village, such as religious beliefs, diet, and so on, and are determined to stop it. They have clubs and decide to impose democracy and social justice. They also say that your people have 'white privilege' and that they are determined to abolish whiteness.

      Over time your people work, and the foreigners watch over you with clubs. One day there is a rebellion, and you throw the former refugees out. The refugees move on to the next libertarian open borders community.


      Open borders libertarianism doesn't work. And with open borders libertarians, it is always the open borders part that is absolutely non-negotiable. Even when open borders result in outcomes that lead to less liberty, they still demand it. Why?

    6. dL, As you stated, I am paying a bill. The restrictions aren't for me, the paying customer; the restrictions are for the guy who wants to move into the hallway and lay out his cardboard bed.

    7. bionic says: "The restrictions aren't for me, the paying customer; the restrictions are for the guy who wants to move into the hallway and lay out his cardboard bed."

      You seem to be taking the position that trespass to land and immigration are the same thing. Except, they are not. Immigration refers to the influx of people into a geographic area (on the scale of at least a village). Trespass to land refers to wrongful interference with one's possessory rights in land property. The only way they would equal is if one entity controlled all the land in the geographic area. There has never been a situation in history where such a situation arose naturally, with the entity acquiring such property rights justly and in accordance to libertarian principles.

    8. Ed, I don't know why you speculate as to the position I seem to be taking. Read the post; it should clarify your confusion.

    9. Todd, look at the "refugees" in Calais, trying to get into the UK. They are already in France and they are not in any danger even if you consider them real refugees(I don't). What is their intention in going to the UK? Well, the UK is far more generous with "refugees" than is France and a "refugee" can live his life in the UK without ever spending a day working. The people that pay for this are hapless UK taxpayers that oppose it but this opposition never translates into political action.

      Therefore the "refugees" in Calais are literal parasites and their intention is aggression. You can talk about pull factors of the welfare state but the fact is that we have a state right now. We have to deal with reality as it stands today.

      I am actually much more in favor of open borders than I appear on this thread. However any open borders libertarian arrangement needs some form of management or statists will come in and destroy it. Is that so hard to understand?

    10. @Matt

      "Therefore the ‘refugees’ in Calais are literal parasites and their intention is aggression. You can talk about pull factors of the welfare state but the fact is that we have a state right now."

      You see taxation pull-through where I see none. Thus, I see the government being compelled to pay for an influx of refugees as beneficial to the taxpaying public.

      I can find no plausible reason to think the extent of the government’s extortion from the population is not always pushing the maximum it can possibly be. Like ordinary people, politicians have unlimited spending desires. There are unlimited pressing government spending needs of all kinds ranging from feeding the homeless to curing AIDS to funding our national defense to improving infrastructure, etc. etc. Only a limited supply of government resources bounds spending. That makes prioritization the only question. What programs get less funding in order to provide more to others.

      A quantity of government funds channeled into the pockets of non-aggressive private individuals who are net victims of the state, as immigrants tend to be, results in less aggression against me and less destruction of my prosperity than that same quantity government funds channeled into most other types of government programs. Such as law enforcement and expansion of state machinery corrupting free markets. By diverting funds away from these more pernicious uses, burdensome immigrants hamper the state’s means of doing harm to me. They do me a service.

    11. I don't know where you live but in my state the presence of immigrants has expanded the power of the state, not decreased it. Taxes are up, spending is up, free speech has been curtailed or banned for native non-immigrants. I don't see this as a service at all!

    12. "I don't know where you live but in my state the presence of immigrants has expanded the power of the state, not decreased it. Taxes are up, spending is up, free speech has been curtailed or banned for native non-immigrants. I don't see this as a service at all!"

      new immigrants have enacted laws banning the speech of the indian tribes in your state?

    13. AnonymousAugust 17, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      State = the national jurisdiction where I live. Not state as in a state of the USA.

    14. "State = the national jurisdiction where I live. Not state as in a state of the USA."

      what country do live in Matt? I live in the US, and I can say as an objective fact that new immigrants have not passed free speech laws against the native indian tribes or against people who refer to themselves as "native non-immigrant" even though I'm quite sure a genealogy going back a couple of generations would trace them back to immigrants.


    15. I live in Australia. Immigrants didn't pass the laws. The government passed the laws on their behalf.

    16. Well, Matt, Australia is indeed pretty bad re: censorship. Not sure how you can blame the existence of the Australian Labor Party on recent immigration, however.

      On a side note, in briefly reviewing the regulatory history of the Australian government, it appears that government first obtained the "authority" to regulate broadcast content via the 1917 Customs Act.

      Lastly, i believe the the more familiar term for "native, non-immigrant" in Australia would be aborigine, correct?


    17. AnonymousAugust 18, 2015 at 10:00 PM,

      Aborigines are native but had no role in the formation of the country (aside from their demographic displacement, that is). My ancestors were pioneers, and are described that way in historical newpaper clippings and documents. At no time did contemporary documents describe them as immigrants. The reason is that when they arrived in Australia there was no Australia, there was no infrastructure, no welfare, and they was considerable risk and hardship.

      There has been a push since the 1970s by the government to describe the country as a nation of immigrants (a term that should be familiar ~ its the propaganda line of just about every western government, including in Europe). The government did this because they want to force integration over the objections of the natives.

      In order to do this there are numerous laws at both federal and state level, banning so-called hate speech. In effect the law can affect any white person under its jurisdiction that objects to immigration. Opposition to immigration is effectively illegal.

      I'm not sure what your reference to the Australian labor party is about. I made no reference myself. The immigration issue has long been bipartisan and bypasses any kind democratic vote.

    18. so white people who travel and settle down are pioneers while brown people who do the same are immigrants. Got it...

      If we keep with your language then we can accurately say that your ancestors pioneered the legal foundation and authority of the censorship regime that you are complaining now has been turned against you.

      But you are only demonstrating my point. A point that is axiomatic. "What is done to them will eventually be done to you."

      More specifically, laws erected for the purpose of social control(whether population, ideas, or both) will eventually be used against those who erected them.

      And I have no sympathy for the argument that when "we" do it, it is "law and order, "liberty" and "civilized," and when they do it, it is tyranny, plunder and barbaric.


    19. dL,

      You want to suggest that my objection is against brown people and that I am a racist, correct? That's exactly the same routine that the state is running against Australians. Despite the fact that I made it clear the difference between immigrants and pioneers (no welfare, limited safety, considerable risk of death or utter impoverishment, no existing infrastructure), you want to insist that I am motivated by animus of "brown people".

      Fine. You lose.

    20. @Matt

      ”Taxes are up, spending is up, free speech has been curtailed or banned…”

      And you consider this unusual? How often do taxes get cut, spending get slashed, and free speech get expanded? Politicians’ public statements notwithstanding, higher taxes, increased spending, and reduced speech are not correlated with much less caused by immigration.

      ”…in my state the presence of immigrants has expanded the power of the state, not decreased it.”

      You don’t know that because you don’t know what would have happened absent immigration. Your view presumes (incorrectly) that the state would not have just seized upon some other issue to use as pretext for comparable actions. You take at face value the government’s stated reasons for raising taxes. You accept the (false) premise that not for immigration specifically, taxes would not have been raised. This can be true only if government growth is spurred only by a quantified need, for a particular level of response, to a fixed number of problems crossing some absolute standard for importance. This is the only way you can plausibly maintain that if no new qualified problems arose state power would remain constant. And this view also implies if the number of such problems fell, state power would shrink. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the state works.

      State power moves in one direction only - bigger. There are an unlimited number of problems with an unlimited amount of need to solve with an unlimited amount of taxation, spending, and loss of liberty possible. Accordingly which particular new “problems” the state turns to “address” in the course of going about expanding its power doesn’t matter much. Politicians allocate their attention to issues not according to their intrinsic qualities, but relatively, according to whatever yields the maximum incremental power back to the politician per unit time, energy, dollars, and favors invested into the new legislation and enforcement efforts.

      In other words, politicians will always find or fabricate whatever excuses are expedient to raise taxes, spend more, and increase government power to the greatest extent they can get away with. State growth is the horse pulling the issues that are the cart. If it wasn’t “in response to immigration,” it would be “in response to .” Politicians face unrelenting competitive pressure to behave this way in order to beat out rivals for their positions as rulers. They compete for who can acquire the most power, i.e. more influence, more authority, more resources, and more beholden constituencies via higher taxes, more spending, more control over the population.

      Putative reasons for state expansion merely rationalize. They merely camouflage a fundamental political process that inherently requires the state to always expand. If not in one way, then in another. If not for one reason, then for another.

      Public sentiment du jour usually serves up attractive issues to be fodder for crafting a narrative justifying state expansion. What the chosen issue happens to be is immaterial; the politician is indifferent. State expansion has as much to do with immigration as it does with fighting terrorism, protecting the environment, maintaining public safety, educating the young, eliminating poverty, or improving public health. I.e. nothing. These are all merely pretexts for massive state action. These are causes célèbre that legislators latch onto and pledge to “do something about” to be able to excuse their actions depriving the public of still more of its earnings and freedoms.

    21. I find it bemusing that people are arguing over the finer points of "what is a libertarian" while the world in which they think they live is being inverted right under their noses. Libertarians are very much in danger of going the way of the White Rose. I salute Sophie Scholl's steadfastness in her beliefs, but *she's DEAD,* executed in her youth, having never experienced most of the great adventure that is life. This is not the future I desire for my grandchildren.

      I don't love the liberal-conservative false dichotomy, but unless you wish to live in a society orders of magnitude more inimical to your values than now you better open your eyes. Neither Argentina nor Venezuela is a libertarian Utopia. The USA today is far preferable, and giving people a taste of autocratic horror does not yield philosophical libertarians, it yields gulags and corpses. The lunatic Left-collectivists behind replacement level immigration are on a collision course with a populace highly likely to choose iron-fisted, bloody-knifed Right-collectivism as the antidote.

      Figure it out.
      "Like many others in the alt-right, I was a good, racially blind conservative until fairly recently. I approvingly cited MLK's maxim about the content of character.

      "However, what happened around 2008 or so is that the Democrat Party openly declared war on white people. You've seen the screeds about white privilege, reparations, diversity programs, and open borders all couched in explicitly anti-white lines. This isn't a "conspiracy theory." It's what they, themselves, say to anyone who's listening. They hate white people. "White male" is a pejorative whenever spoken by a Democrat.

      "Their open, stated goal is to strip white people of all "privileges" we have---including our incomes, our neighborhoods, and our avoidance of incarceration---and no one on the mainstream right is willing to stand up to it.
      "I didn't become racially conscious because I hate blacks. I became racially conscious because the left hates me as a white, heterosexual man. And it hates me, not out of irrational loathing of light colors, but because it loathes the values that white, heterosexual men cultivate and promote.
      "You know what's short-sighted? Displacement-level immigration. Hispanics are not going to vote for freedom and capitalism. They don't vote for it in Mexico, they don't vote for it in Venezuela, they don't vote for it in Colombia, they don't vote for it in Bolivia, they don't vote for it in Argentina, they don't vote for it in Brazil, they don't vote for it in Chile, they don't vote for it in Guatemala, and they're not going to vote for it here. If there were any chance of the Hispanic vote turning conservative, Democrats would be putting landmines at the border."

  8. Jimbobla
    So the Mongol hordes were immigrants?

  9. you and Hoppe are strange libertarians.. Rothbard admonish us to hate the state, and as libertarians we believe the state is the worst gang around.. so why are you arguing that is a good idea to support state management of immigration? the problem with the state is not only his monopoly.. you are like a supposed man of the anti-mafia that try to persuade other that mafia is not so bad sometimes, that mafia can do the right thing here and there, and that let mafia protect his territory is not so bad.. Maybe you are wavering in your libertarianism? The decision taken by current democratic process are not to be considered valid.. you and Hoppe wants only to impose via democratic violence yours preferences about immigration. But as libertarian you must not do so. You must speak against the state also if sometimes statism has an orientation you like. Libertarianism is against the state, not in favor of the right orientation of statism. As owner in my property i can exclude, but also include, and i can do so whit my reason, whatever they are: solidarity for example. And i can also let it open far all to pass. And a community can choose to let every one that find an arrangement for himself stay freely if he like so. Hoppe prescriptions will collide with the criterion of everybodyelse, every other owner that has diffrent preferences that Hoppe, in democracy. So he is calling for violation of everybodyelse rights. Instead of "no state on borders" (and no welfare, no forced integration, etc..) he calls for more state on borders (state mean taxes, burocracy, guns, etc.). In which world is that libertaranism? not on earth! Maybe if you and Hoppe don't believe that libertarianism can work, and if you believe that in reality you have to do things that contradict libertarian theory.. you have to consider to stop using libertarian label. Hoppe is on that path he is now calling himself a thick libertarian and a right libertarian.. that is the first step, and maybe you, Hoppe - and leftist too - can make a further step and make a coming out, instead of be libertarians in name only.

    1. "not on Earth." You hit the nail without realizing it.

      Only when I was younger and much less experienced did I believe that a market-ordered, private property society was possible. It is theoretically the best system for humans, but would never be chosen by 99% of people. Sallust stated the truth 2000 years ago: most people prefer a benign slavery to having to rely on nothing but themselves to chart the course of their lives. If you put 1,000 people on an island, unless they were devoted market-order anarchists, within no time there would be a push to establish a monopoly organization for dispute resolution, if originally only to narrowly address the "injustice" of free riders. Even if such a society lasted for a while, the ease and comfort generated by unleashed human creativity would yield sloth and complacency within three generations. Such is the power of the disutility of labor. It *always* corrupts.

      So I am a philosophical libertarian. But I recognize that very few of my fellowmen can imagine such a world or the benefits it would yield. What percentage of people, in your experience, have the abstract thought processes to grasp a market-order?

      Instead of pining for what cannot be, I'd rather concentrate on what paths are likely and plan accordingly. (BTW, I suggest that your pure libertarianism would last only so long as it took three others, likely people born with narcissistic personalities, to gang up on you. In a social world, whether you call it left-collectivism, right-collectivism or whatever, whether it's a democracy or some other form of autocracy, the attitudes of those around you count just like votes, and the pure libertarian will be swarmed by parasites. Only the very young and inexperienced doubt the single-minded determination of people born with black souls to destroy the happiness of those around them.)

  10. It seems to me that a case for closed border si a case against free trade, and free market of labour.. Goods don't fly on their own and don't come with Teleport.. They come trough many other places and country and in a more libertarian word where there will be many more little states and community they will come trough many more places so the capitalistic part of the ancap fly away with too much insistence in closing borders. Naturally a conservative first and libertarian maybe Hoppe can value more cultural omogenity that free trade and ancap..

    I find many intresting thoughts about immigration in this work..

    1. To an extent, I agree. There may be a change of the importation of goods if some of the costs weren't being socialized. But the change would be much less drastic that the migration of people. Goods coming into a country doesn't change the culture or the politics. I'm not being a thick libertarian, either. If you brought 1 million people with a somewhat foreign culture into the US, things will change for the worst. That's a fact. It's a numbers game. If the overwhelming majority of people don't support liberty, your rights WILL be taken away through voting. You could construe immigration controls as self-defense, which is a legitimate function of the government as long as there is a government.

  11. I apologize if I'm making a point that was made.

    The way I look at the issue is what would be the pattern of migration in a purely private property society. We don't know exactly, but I very certain that the movement of people would be less restrictive. In that case, in our state-dominated society, the best we can do is have government policy approximate what the free market would do. How best to achieve that? Decentralize immigration policy. ( Incidentally, with the exception of the original 13 States, the Constitution leaves immigration in the hands of the States.) Leave it to States or preferably localities to set "immigration policy". This is the same reasoning I use to critique the immature and counterproductive "civil disobedience" of many of the Free Staters in NH. Do people really believe that if a public street was owned by the area businesses or if a park was owned by a private group, that pot-smoking and breast painting would be tolerated.

    "Open-border" libertarians, as well as some CD activists, are using public property to impose on others what they could do in a free society

    1. I meant to say MORE restrictive.

  12. "if a park was owned by a private group, that pot-smoking and breast painting would be tolerated. "

    i imagine it would tolerated roughly to the same extent open carry of a loaded weapon would be tolerated


    1. Agreed. To be consistent, the open carry people should ask themselves whether or not they would be permitted to open carry if the property they are doing it on were private.

    2. @Anon Aug 19

      Impossible to make such a determination. Only actual owners may make such a decision. This is another reason why "public" property with no legitimate owner cannot be treated as if private property.

    3. I realize that it is impossible to make a determination. But the State exists and it controls so-called public property. So what do we do? Have an anything goes policy on the public property? What if 99% of the populace, who pays for the public property, objects to nudity in a public park? Are we to say "too bad", the government can't sets rules for the park?

    4. @Anon Aug 19

      If you purge the state's public property / public interest propaganda from your mind you’ll see your question of how to best manage “public property” is as invalid a question as how you should best manage the use of stolen property. If you believe in property rights, this question can’t be answered, because you have no right whatsoever to manage the use of property not belonging to you. At all. Under any circumstances. For any reason. Even a little.

  13. Philosophically I am a libertarian-anarchist. Sallust informed me 2000 years ago of how Utopian this is when he wrote that "most men don't desire liberty; most only wish for a just master."

    The truth of this is evident everywhere. Throughout history men, if left in liberty, eventually succumb to their innate disutility of labor and seek a ruler who will relieve them of the fear of their own inabilities to order their own lives.

    Tens of millions of "new residents," empowered by the violence of "democracy," promise utter chaos. As Hateful Heretic wrote, when it comes to limited government, free markets and the rule of law, [Meso-Americans] don't vote for it in Columbia, they don't vote for it in Argentina, they don't vote for it in Honduras or Nicaragua or El Salvador...and they won't vote for it here. The current invasion is every bit that, it is the apotheosis of the last 100 years of killing limited government.

    Hoppe is right. If you have (or want) a particular social arrangement, you must be single-minded in expelling those who if given enough time, will simply overpower your social group and victimize you and your descendents. Replacement level immigration in an age of democracy is intolerable, an open invasion that should be resisted the same as if those marching in are carrying machine guns and acting like Sherman.

    People who enjoy the fruits of markets and "lessened despotism" should energetically expel foreigners of unlike mind as well as the rotten apples in their midst, the Fabians and the communists. Sadly, it seems that a century of Left-collectivism is peaking in a blow-off, and it will usher in (as an antidote) Right-collectivism which has its own set of horrors.

    A society of market-based order can only be constituted of highly intelligent, philosophically wise people. No such population is present, or promised, so the path head will continue with collectivism...just of a different sort.

  14. Re: Bionic Mosquito,
    ─ Now, as to what kind of libertarian I am: although funded via coercion, there are state activities that would be considered legitimate if privately funded.─

    All government activities are privately funded. All funds are private, taken by force indeed but private nonetheless as government produces nothing nor does it engage in voluntary trade.

    If what you mean is voluntarily-funded, then you would have a point.

    ─Once property destruction takes hold, does Block believe the participants [...] will listen kindly to a meek [...] professor about his libertarian theory?─

    So in essence you are assuming that property rights cannot exist unless the property owner happens to be Conan the Barbarian and because the rest of humanity is composed of uncaring savages. Is that your contention?

    Would it be possible to think that people who migrate are already respectful of private property? Because, otherwise, they would not be MIGRATING but INVADING. Yes, there Is a difference.

    ─When Friday arrives, can Crusoe legitimately bar him from cultivating unused land on the other side of the island?─

    Of course he can bar Friday from doing so and it is up to Friday to negotiate with Crusoe.

    Based on what I've read so far, your basic arguments are framed around the notion that people eschew their self-interest and rationality just because they arrive at some other place after moving from their place of origin. I wonder how is it that the people who migrate from California to Texas don't simply take Texans homes and lands by musket fire. I have to wonder where this idea that people turn into something else, besides human beings, when migrating, is coming from.

    1. 1) "voluntarily funded" would have been a better choice on my part.
      2) The context is in an event of physical destruction of property. Ask someone like Reginald Denny how focused such events remain.
      3) Take it up with Block, he disagrees with you.
      4) I do not understand how you reach your conclusion, at least not via the context of anything written in this post.

  15. I believe that those libertarians against Hoppe's argument consider it childish but don't want to say that, because that would make them look childish.

    I also believe that libertarians pro Hoppe's argument don't want to see it's shortcomings. One of them is that it looks like a sophist's trick. And it turns out that almost everyone alive today, libertarian or not, is a sophist, and no sophist ever likes sophistic arguments, except for their own.

    Even if Hoppe's right, which he may very well be, the format of the argument will always be used as an excuse to disagree.

    It is all about aesthetics, IMHO.