Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Open Borders for Israel

I have a proposition for those libertarians who support open borders.  Write a defense of your thesis regarding the nation-state of Israel.  Make it convincing.  Get it published at one or more of the sites that regularly pound the table for open borders.

If the theory is valid and universal – as is claimed by many, if not all, of you true for libertarian theory – you must find a credible application for Israel.

I am challenging specifically:

Jacob Hornberger
Sheldon Richman
Steven Horwitz
Jeffrey Tucker

The sites to which your defense should be posted include:

Foundation for Economic Education
Future of Freedom Foundation
Bleeding Heart Libertarians

So, the issue at hand: write your defense of open borders for Israel.  Publish it at one of the several sites that has no fear advocating for open borders.


  1. a 'put your money where your mouth is' challenge has been printed. the responses will be, at a minimum, enlightening and, i hope, reproduced here.

    1. If I see a response, I will certainly note it in this thread. I am sure other regular readers will do the same.

  2. It will be interesting to hear the responses. I wonder how many will speak to Israel as a special case under special circumstances that isn't the same as anywhere else, so it wouldn't apply in all ways? I guess I should just be patient and see...


  3. Replies
    1. I think Matt (maybe you?) first wrote something like this a couple months ago, as a challenge to Hornberger.

      Anyway, it has remained on my mind, triggered by both an email exchange and also Horwitz. So, out it came now.

    2. It was me. Hornberger said it applies everywhere, but he only ever applied it to Europe and America in his writings.

      Let's see the unprincipled exceptions that these people make for their own people.

  4. I'll go on record saying I don't anticipate a single response. Not even an acknowledgement. This is like asking someone to go to the altar and disrobe during mass. Even approaching it would be too embarrassing to stomach.

    1. I agree with you. However, people will see this challenge - people who buy into the open-borders-in-a-world-of-state-borders nonsense. A few of these people will wonder why these advocates are silent; a few more will see right through the hypocrisy, and see it for what it is.

  5. I am glad you named-names. It is helpful for the intellectual context. I wish Robert Wenzel would do the same when he calls out "Austrian-lites".

    1. Thanks. I believe it is a sign of respect.

      In such a case, it also can be a sign of weakness: they want to be able to challenge without much risk of being challenged in return.

      Hornberger published something just like this a day or two ago. While he misrepresents my view, I know he is challenging me because it is the same misrepresentation he would make when we exchanged on this topic in the past.

  6. If they can get you asking the wrong questions they don't have to worry about the answers.


  7. Great job throwing down the gauntlet! Impeccable logic, Unhappy Conservative and you.

  8. No takers? But what happened to MUH PRINCIPLES?!

    1. There are no excuses; see the comments:

    2. There is so much wrong in that article you linked that I don't even know where to start.

  9. I tried to comment there. It turns out that I am banned for some reason.

  10. Israel is not a special case. If everything were made private--roads and streets included--then folks who wanted to enter "Israel" would be free to do so--the borders would be open--provided they did not commit criminal trespass.

    So what's the Big Dilemma? Some outsiders would be admitted as trustworthy commercial actors, many others would be excluded.

    But that solution does not accord at all with imposing government restrictions on the right of property owners in the USA to choose to admit, or exclude, certain others from their premises. Anti-immigration people simply want to shut down all immigration, thereby robbing other people of their freedom to make their own decisions about who to associate with.

    That's not libertarian, i.e. consistent with the principles of individual liberty; it is Big State BS.

    1. are you one of: Jacob Hornberger, Sheldon Richman, Steven Horwitz, Jeffrey Tucker? Maybe someone else who has published at one of the aforementioned sites on the topic of open borders?

      "If everything were made private..."

      Now...that's cheating, don't you think? Everything isn't private - not in Israel and not in the USA.

      Beside, the aforementioned four (I may not have asked, are you one of them?) never offer this precondition when the preach open borders - not that I have read.

  11. It ought to be obvious that the solution to the immigration issue is not further restriction on the freedom--what remains of it--to choose; but junking all the restrictions and mandates that demoralize Americans. That won't happen any time soon, obviously, because people don't understand or desire freedom.

    What anti-immigration people hope is this rear-guard action of banning immigration will keep out people with bad ideas. That won't work, ever.

    The only way to change thinking of people who embrace destructive anti-life notions is let them suffer the consequences of their thinking, defend and retaliate against their aggression, and wage valiantly the intellectual battle for reason and freedom.

    That way, someday and somewhere, reason and freedom will take root and flourish. Until that happens, politics won't change anything for the better, because politics of a culture reflects the premises and ideas of most people.

    1. "...junking all the restrictions and mandates that demoralize Americans."

      I agree. You think maybe the aforementioned four (have I yet asked, are you one of them?) might include this in their pleadings for open borders, wouldn't you?

  12. "The only way to change thinking of people who embrace destructive anti-life notions is let them suffer the consequences of their thinking, defend and retaliate against their aggression, and wage valiantly the intellectual battle for reason and freedom".

    How? I have advocated a 'user pays' system for immigration advocacy, but it has been ignored/rejected by open borders promoters. My proposal is that to avoid moral hazard, proponents of open borders should be compelled to pay the costs associated with immigrants coming to western countries, at any time they incur a public cost, be it welfare, infrastructure, health and housing, and so on.

    I don't see any way of retaliating against their aggression because the state is in their hands.

  13. BM, the most explicit on this topic you're probably going to see is what Bryan Caplan wrote in his 2014 Reddit AMA. To quote him:
    "The Middle East really could use a lot more diversity. One religion gives you totalitarianism. Two gives you civil strife. A hundred gives you peace. (With apologies to Voltaire)."

    1. When you consider a meaningful (to the individual) geographic-political community, there has never been one with 100 religions. I doubt there are 100 meaningful religions in the world.

      To write such words is to be ignorant (or to just ignore) human nature. We like to belong to community; after family and tribe, perhaps the oldest community to which humans have belonged is religious.

    2. The Middle East is, together with Subsaharan Africa, one of the most diverse places on the planet.
      There are Christians, Cryptochristians, Gnostics and smattering of ethnic groups and old religions and different branches of both Islam and Judaism on top of it.
      Yet all of this diversity didn't result in the kind of social atomization that would bring about the world of low-conflict cooperation expected by Caplan.

      Which leads me to the conclusion that Caplan is either a IYI who believes it's not the right kind of diversity or he's malicious in intent, plainly speaking.

  14. I totally understand that conservatives oppose open borders. I get emails all the time from conservatives lamenting the "illegal invasion" of America and other such things. I'm accustomed to it, just as I am accustomed to conservatives who criticize me for calling for the legalization of drugs, opposing school vouchers, and opposing foreign interventionism.

    I am also accustomed to conservatives joining the libertarian movement because of their disenchantment with the conservative movement in general.

    What happens, however, is that when conservatives join the libertarian movement, some of them are simply unable to accept the full libertarian package. While embracing most of the libertarian paradigm, they hang onto their conservative beliefs in certain areas, such as immigration, education, Social Security, healthcare, drug laws, or foreign policy.

    And there is no doubt that government-controlled borders is the conservative position, just as drug laws, Social Security, and foreign interventionism are.

    Okay, so what's wrong with just saying, "Jacob, we are libertarians but we think the libertarians are wrong when it comes to immigration ... or foreign policy ... or Social Security ... or education ... or healthcare?" Why join the libertarian movement and then go through all sorts of intellectual contortions to show that libertarianism is really conservatism, at least insofar as immigration, trade, Social Security, healthcare, education, or foreign policy are concerned? Why not just say, "We are libertarians but we still hew to conservatism on those particular issues"?

    Bionic, whether you realize it or not, your question regarding Israel is highly revealing. Here's a variation of your question: "Would you libertarians actually be willing to write an article saying that drug legalization would work in Israel?"

    The implication, of course, is that libertarian principles are not universal--that they apply only in certain instances or only in certain areas.

    Not so! Libertarian principles, including drug legalization, open borders, and no welfare-warfare state apply not only to the United States but also to Israel, Mexico, North Korea, Venezuela, and everywhere else. Any libertarian with a sufficiently strong belief in libertarianism and a deep understanding and appreciation of its principles will tell you that libertarianism is universal and that its principles apply everywhere.

    Let me put your question to you this way: Is there any other libertarian position, other than open borders, that you feel would not work for Israel? If open borders is the only libertarian position that you think would not work for Israel, that might reveal something important to you.

    Libertarianism is a consistent philosphy. It cannot embrace opposite or contradictory positions. Open borders and government-controlled borders (with enforcement mechanisms) are opposite, contradictory positions. They cannot both be libertarian.

    If you are embracing a position that involves central planning and the initation of force (e.g., immigration enforcement measures) and you're convinced that it is consistent with libertarian principles, my advice is to take Ayn Rand's advice: Check your premises.

    So, I can fully understand that you all oppose open borders, just as all conservatives do. My question is: Why go thought all the intellectual contortions to show that conservativism is libertarianism, at least insofar as immigration (or vouchers, Social Security reform, foreign interventionism, etc) is concerned? Why not just be direct by saying "We are libertarians but when it comes to immigration (or Social Security, vouchers, foreign interventionism, healthcare, etc) we continue to hew to conservatism?

    That's where my hypothetical comes into play, the hypothetical that no proponent of immigration central plannning and interventionism (including immigration enforcement measures) has ever been willing (or able) to refute.


    1. Jacob

      I have skimmed this and will not waste my time reading it - I have even addressed your hypothetical, but as usual you euither ignore this or lie about it - I am coming to the conclusion that you are nothing more than a dolt.

      I ask a simple thing and you write 1000 words while avoiding what I have asked. I will try this very slowly: Write an article for your daily blog and email on the topic of open borders for Israel. Advocate for it. Explain why it will be good for the residents. Explain how it will bring about more peace and a less tyrannical government.

      You are purely a waste of time.

    2. Bionic,

      When one resorts to name calling in a debate or discussion, it is a strong sign that he has lost faith in the strength of his position and unable to adequately defend it. That should cause you to pause and reconsider your support of immigration central planning and immigration interventionism (and any other government programs that entail the initiation of force against people who are engaged in purely peaceful activity). Stick to the arguments and omit the personal attacks.

      My hypothetical demonstrates that immigration controls necessarily involve the initiation of governmental force against people engaged in purely peaceful and consensual activity. If you addressed it, I am not aware of where your response is. Please send me the link. If you did address it, I am confident that you did not refute it.

      Regarding your point about open borders (and possibly other libertarian positions) not working in Israel, a libertarian and a conservative are in a bar, and the following conversation takes place:

      Libertarian: Do you think that libertarian free market principles would work in North Korea.

      Conservative: Oh, no! They have socialism in North Korea.


      To Bionic and other proponents of immigration controls:

      Take a look at the following beating at the hands of government agents, who initiated the beating to enforce a highway immigration checkpoint, which is one of the ways the government enforces immigration controls, which you support:

      How in the world can you defend this initiation of force against a peaceful person who is simply exercising his fundamental God-given right of freedom of travel? How in the world do you purport to reconcile this beating with libertarian principles?

      After beating up the victim, the government filed criminal charges against him for not cooperating with its highway immigration checkpoint. At trial, the jury found him not guilty. Do you really think that the jury was wrong to acquit him just because he refused to cooperate with a tyrannical immigration highway checkpoint intended to enforce immigration controls? Highway checkpoints are a staple of communist and other totalitarian regimes. They have no place in a free society.

      By the way, the victim is a Christian pastor.

      Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!

    3. Jacob, you are writing things claiming I have certain positions that I do not hold. You put a name to such an actor.

      You are wasting my time. Are you going to write the post or aren't you?

    4. Really? You, the Bionic Mosquito, support government immigration controls. Surely you're not going to deny that, unless you have suddenly changed your position and decided to join up with us libertarians and support open borders. That would be good and shocking news! :)

      Are you actually claiming that you don't support the governmental enforcement of immigration controls? If so, then what good does it do to support immigration controls and, at the same time, oppose the enforcement of immigration controls, given that foreigners are naturally going to ignore the controls if they're not being enforced?

      Please stop being so evasive and so cryptic. Do you support governmental enforcement of immigration controls or not?

      Here's my counteroffer: If you publish an article arguing that open borders won't work for Israel, I'll consider writing a response sometime after the Christmas holidays. Not a promise because I have lots of other projects and articles in the FFF pipeline but I will certainly give it my consideration after seeing whether your article is worth responding to or not.

    5. Jacob, you are a coward. Write the article.

    6. Bionic,

      Someone once noted that nothing worse can befall a cause than to have it ineptly defended. Stick with the issues and lay off the personal attacks and the name-calling, which only serve to demonstrate the insecurity you feel about your immigration-control position. If you can't stand the heat of a civil debate over an intellectual issue, then you should think twice before you start an intellectual fight with a libertarian. Write your article on Israel and I'll consider responding to it.

    7. "However, in some cases, ad hominem attacks can be non-fallacious; i.e., if the attack on the character of the person is directly tackling the argument itself. For example, if the truth of the argument relies on the truthfulness of the person making the argument—rather than known facts—then pointing out that the person has previously lied is not a fallacious argument."

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. People who clamor for open borders for Israel are anti-Semitic. That's why left-libertarians are reluctant to apply their short-sighted anti-principles to the Zionist project. People who clamor for closed borders for Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, interestingly enough, are likewise anti-Semitic--to say nothing of racist, Islamophobic, and neo-Nazi. Self-preservation is for the Jews. It is also be for Africans, Asians, and Native Americans. It most decidedly is *not* for the Euro-Christians. Those people are vermin.

  15. Tax the serfs to bomb the wogs.
    Tax the serfs to resettle the wogs.
    Tax the serfs to provide welfare for the wogs.
    Tax the serfs to compel serf association with the wogs.
    Tax the serfs to quell the inevitable serf-wog clashes that ensue.
    Tax the serfs to fund the police state necessitated by all that quelling.

    When open-border libertarians talk about "free" movement, they don't use the word the way I do. There will be far less movement--to the West, at any rate--under separation of borders and state.

  16. Jacob Hornberger,

    When someone like Walter Block writes a case for libertarianism, he makes a positive case for socially despised people like drug dealers, pimps, misers, and misogynists. When you do it you make a case for an inoffensive brother just across the border, a fringe case that represents a statistical zero percent of immigration cases in America or Europe. Make the case for immigration as immigration stands today - the costs in welfare, crime, affirmative action, and so on.

    Write the article for open borders for Israel. With all the words you have written here in the last 24 hours you could have easily written the article. Do it, Jacob.

  17. Israel is the unprincipled exception of libertarianism, no doubt due to the number of people eligible for Israeli citizenship among libertarians. Open borders for thee, but not for me is their rally cry.

    Ayn Rand said "racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism", but she condemned the Palestinians as "savages", and justified their expulsion and stolen property by claiming that they were "nomads" anyway, and "primitive" to boot. Rand was looking out for her own ethnic group.

    Here is a Jewish guy advocating open borders for America and Europe for about 2 hours on Stefan Molyneux's show. When asked about open borders for Israel, he says that it wouldn't be in the best interests of Israelis.

    1. BM,

      Indeed. It shows that when libertarianism clashes with tribalism, the tribalism wins out especially when the advocates of libertarianism and supposedly universal principles are of the world's most ethnocentric ethnicity.

      European whites score very low on ethnocentrism, which is why it can be hard for them to understand the ethnocentric point of view of some of the people that you have asked to write about open borders for Israel. What IS important to understand is that when they reject open borders for Israel as harmful to Jewish Israelis, but advocate open borders for Europe and the US, they are not trying to 'help' the white people in these countries, they are trying to harm them. Their advocacy is sparked by ethnic animus towards European whites.

  18. At a 1999 lecture in Dublin, Gore Vidal said:

    "A characteristic of our present chaos is the dramatic migration of tribes. They are on the move from east to west, from south to north.

    "Liberal tradition requires that borders must always be open to those in search of safety or even the pursuit of happiness. But now with so many millions of people on the move, even the great-hearted are becoming edgy.

    "Norway is large enough and empty enough to take in 40 to 50 million homeless Bengalis. If the Norwegians say that, all in all, they would rather not take them in, is this to be considered racism? I think not. It is simply self-preservation, the first law of species."

    1. I guess Gore Vidal is just another conservative who understand tradition and culture, and opposes open borders - oh, wait...check that.

    2. FFF article: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Classical-Liberal Alternative by Richard M. Ebeling:

    3. Richard Ebeling writes, "Property could be acquired or transferred only on the basis of free-market transactions, voluntary gifts, or bequests. Thus, no individual could be evicted or removed from his legal and rightful real property or any other property without his consent and agreement."

      When talking of "rightful real property", that fails to recognize there are hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who can trace ownership of the exact parcels of land their grandparents were driven from by Israeli forces and which in turn were doled out to Jews. Do you believe there is a snowball's chance in hell that modern day Israeli's would vacate those properties so that Palestinians could return to their ancestral homes? Only a fool could believe that. Practically, where then would the Jews go? Most of the land would revert to Palestinians, and considering the history of Palestinian/Jewish relations, good luck getting Palestinians to sell or lease property to Jews. Sadly, your solution is doomed to failure.

    4. Lybard Hoppe,

      Too true. Ebeling is "clock setting", choosing a particular point in history in which if his preferred system were to come about it Israel, the final ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians would be a fait accompli, because Ebeling obviously isn't entertaining the notion that stolen property should be returned to its rightful Palestinian owners.

      Ebeling is a cohort of Jacob Hornberger. Both of them display a considerable obsession with the alleged historical wrongs done by non-Jews to Jews. It's likely that these two consider return of stolen property to Palestinians, and open borders for Israel, to be antisemitic.

  19. Hey BM, if you appreciate Gore Vidal on the immigration subject, you'll love what Pete Hendrickson has to say:

  20. Migration to richer welfare States is subsidized state-induced migration, financed by the victims of state theft-us. More So when supported by state invitation via open border policy.

  21. I'll take up your challenge, but in part, not in full. I don't believe in open borders for anyone because that would be lunacy, but I do think that Israel's immigration policies should be significantly loosened. Anyway, here goes:

    Is condemning millions of people to a lifetime of poverty, misery, and/or oppression genuinely the *Jewish* thing to do? You talk about preserving Israel's Jewish majority, but in reality, Israel's Jewish majority can likewise be preserved even with mass non-Jewish immigration through things such as mass intermarriage (as is the case among a lot of Diaspora Jews) and the adoption of patrilineal descent--or, more accurately, bilineal descent--for determining Jewish status (as the US Reform and Reconstructionist Jewish movements have already done). So, there doesn't actually have to be a conflict between Israel's Jewish majority and mass non-Jewish immigration into Israel.

    In addition, if Israel has the right to prohibit non-Jews from moving there in order to preserve its Jewish character/majority, why exactly would it be unacceptable for Israel to restrict speech and/or religion if doing this ever likewise became necessary in order for Israel to preserve its Jewish majority--for instance, if huge numbers of Israelis will hypothetically begin leaving Judaism and converting to other religions (and Yes, this could include religions that don't exist right now but that will exist in the future)? In such a scenario, would it be permissible for Israel to restrict speech and/or religion (for instance, by making it illegal for Israeli Jews to convert to other religions) in order for Israel to preserve its Jewish character/majority? If you're going to object to this as being excessively coercive on the part of the Israeli state, I would like to point out that the Israeli state is likewise currently using coercion in order to ensure that millions of people are not going to be able to escape poverty, misery, and/or oppression simply because these people aren't Jewish! That's an EXTREMELY significant way to use coercion, don't you think? Indeed, just how exactly is this use of Israeli governmental coercion MEANINGFULLY different from a case where a future hypothetical Israeli government decides--with sufficient justification--to restrict speech and/or religion in order to preserve Israel's Jewish character?

    1. Your comment raises many of the issues that make it impossible to find an answer to immigration through borders that are state borders.

      On one point: it is NOT coercion to not allow someone on your property. No one has a right to enter my property without my permission. Here again, libertarian theory cannot provide a direct answer: if a group of people (let's say Jews in this example, or any homeowners association) wants to set requirements before someone is allowed into the community, they have every libertarian right to do so.

  22. Was this enough to actually fulfill your 1,000 words open borders for Israel challenge? It was a bit wimpy and not a full-on endorsement of total open borders, and it was also a bit short, but it still advocated in favor of Israel allowing MUCH more non-Jewish immigration than it currently does--indeed, up to the point of having Israel quite literally accept millions of non-Jewish immigrants over the next 50-100 years or so!